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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 185 (April 21, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Cooperation with Asian and African countries

Junichiro Koizumi here.

On Monday this week, April 18, I met with President Samuel Schmid of Switzerland and on April 20, yesterday, with Prime Minister John Howard of Australia. Japan's economic relations with both Switzerland and Australia are expected to grow even closer in the future. We enjoy a highly cooperative relationship with Australia, our joint endeavors including peacekeeping operations (PKO) in Timor-Leste and reconstruction assistance activities in Iraq. I intend to further enhance these ties with both these countries.

I will be in Indonesia from tomorrow until Sunday to attend the Asia-Africa Summit Meeting. This meeting will be convened to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference of 1955, which was attended by leaders of 29 Asian and African countries. This time leaders of approximately 100 countries are scheduled to assemble at the meeting.

At the Summit Meeting I will set out Japan's renewed cooperation commitment to Asian and African countries. To the extent that time allows, I intend to hold as many bilateral meetings as possible in between the general meeting sessions, which will further enhance Japan's relations with Asian and African countries.

On Saturday, I will fly into Aceh Province in Sumatra, which was severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, to see for myself the situation on the ground and Japan's reconstruction assistance efforts. Japan will continue to extend a helping hand as much as possible to assist the region in recovering from the disaster.

Some of the demonstrations that occurred again in China over last weekend resulted in stones being thrown at Japanese consular offices and the premises of Japanese companies, and acts of violence against Japanese people. It is extremely regrettable that such damage occurred.

The Government of Japan has requested an apology and compensation from the Chinese government as well as for efforts to be made to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents. Even at times when Japan and China have differing opinions, what is of greatest importance is to cooperate in a future-oriented manner rather than being confrontational or criticizing each other.

It is also most saddening that in response to the violent actions in China, there were some instances in Japan where paint was splashed on Chinese-related facilities and razor blades were mailed to such places. It is my hope that at such times people will remain calm and will act on the basis of a spirit of friendship between Japan and China.

The bills relating to the privatization of postal services continue to go through a thorough process of coordination between the government and the ruling coalition parties. Given that there are many Diet members who have been opposed to privatization of postal services from the start, I am prepared for a difficult passage through the coordination process.

It is the government's policy for the Cabinet to approve the bills and submit them to the Diet by the end of this month. My intention remains unchanged to proceed with privatization based on the Basic Policy that was approved by the Cabinet in autumn last year.

Work is now in its final stages and I will continue to endeavor towards the compilation of the bills, making every effort to gain the understanding of the members of the ruling coalition parties.

* 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]

- Japan-Australia Summit Meeting (April 20, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. John Winston Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia.

- Green Feather Campaign (April 19, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from the 20th Japan Cherry Blossom Queen on the occasion of the Green Feather Campaign, an event of the Greenery Week and the Green Funds.

- Japan-Switzerland Summit Meeting (April 18, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Samuel Schmid, the President of the Swiss Confederation.

- Prime Minister Koizumi Attends the Grand Opening Ceremony of the State Guest House in Kyoto (April 17, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said that he hopes many foreign guests will often use this facility.

- Commemorative Ceremony for the 150th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Russia (April 16, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi addressed, "We must build new, future-oriented relations looking ahead to the next 50 to 100 years..."

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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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