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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 189 (May 26, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Restoration of public safety and "Kabutomushi exchange"

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Last Thursday night, although very briefly, I had a chance to visit and take a look around the Kabukicho district in Shinjuku.

I suspect that for a good number of people the word Kabukicho conjures up images of a shady district that is home to many illegal foreign workers or a hotbed of organized crime and gangs.

Discontented with such a negative image and determined to revitalize Kabukicho as a place where residents and visitors alike may happily go about their business without fear, measures were launched to create a safe district. The Shinjuku ward office, police force, fire department and immigration office are cooperating to accomplish this endeavor. For our part, the national government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are fully supporting the efforts.

Storeowners in the shopping district as well as the residents of Kabukicho have risen to the challenge of making their district a better place, without merely relying on the police force or government to ensure the area's safety. The creation of a safe place to live is now underway through concerted efforts of the residents and the administration.

Everyone concerned is now working together to deal once and for all with various nuisance acts, crack down on illegal businesses that are serving as financial sources to gangs, prevent illegal parking, and formulate fire prevention and safety measures for multiple-tenant buildings.

Ideally, I would like to see Kabukicho remain as bustling and vibrant as it is now, while simultaneously transforming itself into a safe district.

Yesterday, I met with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was visiting Japan, and over lunch we discussed further developing the friendly relationship between our two countries. I shared with him the story about a Japanese city and its Malaysian twin city, where the rhinoceros beetle, or "kabutomushi," is a key factor in their relationship.

The two cities are Tamura City in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan and Sungai Besar in Selangor in Malaysia. Tamura City, a city born from a merger of several towns this March, has been promoting its beetles since when it was still known as Tokiwa Town. The city dispatched a local elementary school student as a "Goodwill Beetle Ambassador" to Malaysia, where the largest beetles in Asia are found. This is how the twin cities came to be.

Since then, through dispatches of Goodwill Beetle Ambassadors and homestays, these twin cities have been actively conducting youth exchanges.

At this meeting, we concluded a basic agreement for the economic partnership agreement between Japan and Malaysia. In the future, I wish to expand our friendly and cooperative relations not only for free trade but also in various areas including education and human resources development through these kinds of youth exchanges.

* 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]

- Members of the Permanent Forum for Japan-Chile Relations Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (May 25, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from the attendees of the first meeting of the Forum and held talks with them.

- Japan-Slovakia Summit Meeting (May 23, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Mikulas Dzurinda, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic.

- The First Meeting of the Central Council on Promotion of Measures for Persons with Disabilities (May 20, 2005)
In his address, Prime Minister Koizumi said, "I intend to effectively utilize this Council to enhance the measures for and welfare of people with disabilities."

- Prime Minister Visits Kabukicho in Shinjuku for Public Safety Survey (May 19, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "What is most important is how the visitors to this lively district will enjoy their time here without putting their safety in danger."

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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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