Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 187 (May 12, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
I was in Moscow on the evening of May 9 (the early hours of May 10, Japan time) when I heard that a Japanese national had been one of a number of people attacked by an armed group in Iraq and was now missing. I immediately gave instructions for the facts surrounding the case to be verified and for measures to deal with it to be taken.
The government will continue to make every effort to gather intelligence concerning Mr. Akihiko Saito's safety and will take the steps required to resolve the situation.
Just as the Iraqi people themselves are working to create a government of their own, their efforts are being thwarted by armed groups who resort to terrorist attacks, rendering the situation in Iraq quite difficult. The international community and the people of Iraq must not bend to such attempts to hinder the process in Iraq. We must cooperate with the Iraqi people in their efforts to build a democratic country.
In Samawah, the Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) has been welcomed by the local people and has gained their trust. They continue to perform the extremely valuable task of carrying out humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities. I would like to express my sincere respect for the SDF members who are all toiling under harsh conditions.
I visited India, Pakistan, Luxembourg and the Netherlands during the Golden Week holiday.
It was my first time to visit India and Pakistan as prime minister, and both countries maintain a very friendly and positive relationship with Japan. While in New Delhi, I visited a junior high school in which Japanese is taught. Even though none of the teachers there was Japanese, the students spoke excellent Japanese and welcomed me with Indian and Japanese songs and dances.
Many people had gathered by the roadside at the airport in Islamabad, Pakistan to welcome me. I was particularly surprised to see that the group included dancing horses, with bells on their legs.
In India, I met with President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and in Pakistan with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In my meetings with these leaders, we talked about cooperating on peace and development in Asia, further promoting our friendly bilateral relations and reforming the United Nations.
Both India and Pakistan are countries full of potential and great possibilities for dramatic development in the future. Japan will further reinforce its bonds of friendship with India and Pakistan, and cooperate as much as possible in the development of the two countries.
Although Luxembourg is a small landlocked country surrounded by neighbors Germany, France and Belgium, it is a wealthy country, enjoying a rich natural environment, with the world's highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (about 50,000 US dollars). I heard that the country was originally a fortified city state surrounded by cliffs. My visit to Luxembourg was the first ever made by a Japanese prime minister.
During my stay, I attended a dinner hosted by His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri and also met with Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. Luxembourg holds the European Union presidency for the first half of this year, and I took part in the 14th Japan-EU Summit which was attended by leaders including President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
That afternoon, I flew to the Netherlands and met with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende at the former residence of Philipp Franz von Siebold, which has now become a memorial museum for the man who spent time in Japan during the Edo Period. I was also granted an audience with Her Majesty Queen Beatrix at the royal palace of Huis Ten Bosch (House in the Forest).
My stay in each of these countries was short, but proved extremely fruitful.
In the first half of the week, I traveled to Moscow to attend the Ceremony of the Commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. This ceremony followed the adoption of a United Nations General Assembly resolution declaring May 8-9 as "days of remembrance and reconciliation." I mourned the victims of war and prayed for world peace together with the other world leaders gathered there.
In my time between meetings, I visited the cemetery in Moscow that is the last resting place of Japanese nationals who were imprisoned by Russia and passed away during their internment.
Over the course of the 60 years of the post-war period, Japan has steadfastly held onto its resolve to pursue development as a peaceful nation. Even after becoming an economic power, Japan has never once turned its back on this resolve; never once becoming a military power. Instead, Japan has continued to find peaceful solutions to every problem without resorting to armed force. Japan's commitment to peace is clearly reflected in its actions.
We must not forget that Japan's post-war development was achieved not only through the effort of each and every individual, but also with the warm support of the international community. With the Japan-US alliance and international coordination as the basis of foreign policy, Japan will fulfill its responsibility as a member of the international community while valuing the trust it has earned and forging friendly relations with countries around the world.
The succession of overseas trips that began with the Asian-African Summit in late April provided me with far more than merely results of conferences and ceremonies. The warm welcome and hospitality I received in each of the countries, the glimpses of breathtaking scenery I caught between my busy schedule of meetings and events, and the smiles on the faces of people I met during my trips have given me newfound strength and resolve to cooperative with the international community to protect peace.
The Golden Week holiday has come to an end. Heated debate has already resumed at the Diet. The bills related to the privatization of the postal services have been submitted, and I hope that deliberations will begin as soon as possible.
* 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.
- Prime Minister Attends the Ceremony of the Commemoration of the
Sixtieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War (May 9, 2005)
- Prime Minister Visits Southwest Asia and Europe (Fourth Day) (May 2, 2005)
- Prime Minister Visits Southwest Asia and Europe (Third Day) (May 1, 2005)
- Prime Minister Visits Southwest Asia and Europe (Second Day) (April 30, 2005)
- Prime Minister Visits Southwest Asia and Europe (First Day) (April 29, 2005)
- The First Meeting of the Committee for the Promotion of Measures for Crime Victims (April 28, 2005)
- Statement by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the Cabinet Approval of the Kyoto Protocol Target Attainment Plan (April 28, 2005)
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