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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 182 (March 31, 2005)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Visit to Japan by President Jacques Chirac of France

Junichiro Koizumi here.

On March 26, last Saturday, I visited Genkai Island where great damage was caused by the recent earthquake off the western coast of Fukuoka. I spoke with the islanders who had been evacuated to listen to them and give them my words of encouragement.

I saw at Genkai Island a devastating picture of landslides, cracked quaysides and many collapsed houses that had once stood on hillsides. As I toured the vicinity, I was struck by the magnitude of the damage. Together with the prefectural and municipal governments, we will make every effort to provide restoration and reconstruction assistance in order that those affected by the disaster can return to their everyday lives without delay with peace of mind.

Another big earthquake has occurred off the coast of Sumatra. The Government of Japan immediately dispatched a Japan Disaster Relief Team to the affected region. Japan will seek to extend promptly a helping hand responding to requests from affected regions.

March 25 heralded the start of the Exposition of Global Harmony (2005 World Exposition), under the theme "Nature's Wisdom." I attended the opening ceremony and enjoyed a great variety of events, from music, ballet and drum performances to dance performances by robots. As unfortunately I had no time to take a tour around the site to enjoy the various exhibits, I am looking forward to visiting again. I am sure that one day is not enough to fully take in all the attractions.

I heard that some complaints had been made that homemade food could not be brought into the Exposition site, not even a rice ball, due to a regulation prohibiting people bringing in their own lunch boxes and drinks. Although this regulation was introduced as a measure to prevent food poisoning and to counter terrorism, I gave instructions for it to be speedily reconsidered and for a more visitor-friendly approach to be taken.

As early as today, the Secretariat will announce a new measure allowing lunch boxes prepared and packed at home to be carried into the site.

There may still be some foods and beverages that will be restricted for safety reasons and as counterterrorism measures. I ask for your understanding and cooperation in this regard.

The first foreign Head of State to visit the Exposition was President Jacques Chirac of France. President Chirac is a self-confessed fan of everything Japanese and he also attended the Grand Sumo Spring Tournament. On Sunday, March 27, we held a summit meeting and discussed a wide range of themes, including United Nations reform and the international situation.

On UN reform, I was heartily encouraged by President Chirac's full support for Japan's bid to become a permanent member of the Security Council. Japan and France already enjoy good relations in a variety of areas, including politics, economy and culture, and we affirmed that we will make every effort to further strengthen these ties.

On Monday, Mr. Richard Gere visited my office. He was in every way a true film star. He is currently appearing in the film "Shall we Dance?" which is based on a Japanese film of the same name. I have already seen the Japanese version, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing the remake at a cinema.

This week we have reached the peak of activities among members of the ruling parties to work on the bills on the privatization of the postal services, which are at the heart of reforms. Although there are still strong voices of opposition, I will make every effort in this coordination process so that the bills can be compiled in line with the Basic Policy on the Privatization of the Postal Services.

* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- The Global Warming Prevention Headquarters (March 29, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said that he would intend for Japan to take the lead in advancing efforts to achieve the reduction targets.

- The United Nations Youth Ambassadors Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (March 28, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from the Youth Ambassadors who participated in the campaign of supporting activities to prevent drug abuse in developing countries.

- Japan-France Summit Meeting (March 27, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Jacques Chirac, the President of the French Republic.

- Prime Minister Visits the Disaster Site of the Earthquake off the Western Coast of Fukuoka (March 26, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his intention to give his best efforts for the restoration of the region.

- Members of the Joint Support Committee for Japan-ROK Joint History Research Pays Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (March 25, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi expressed his gratitude for the members' efforts and his intension to further develop the Japan-ROK relations.

- Prime Minister Attend the Opening Ceremony of the Exposition of Global Harmony (2005 World Exposition) (March 24, 2005)
In his address, Prime Minister Koizumi expected that the exposition would mark the starting point to think about a way for humankind and nature to coexist into the future.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiken Sugiura
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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