Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 194 (June 30, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Last week on June 23, I attended the Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the 60th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Okinawa. This was my fourth time to attend the ceremony since being appointed prime minister. As always, the sun was blazing on this day. Sixty years ago as well, the sun must have been scorching. In the strong belief that "war must never be repeated," I offered my sincere condolences to the war dead.
After the memorial ceremony, I visited the Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum. In the last days of the Pacific War, the Tsushima-maru, a ship carrying children who were being evacuated from Okinawa, was torpedoed by a submarine and sank at sea. Most of the victims were schoolchildren. In the photographs and portraits on display at the museum, the looks of the children reveal their innocence and naivety.
I feel a strange bond with Tsushima-maru. The oceanographic vessel used to locate the sunken Tsushima-maru belonged to the Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (now called the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) in my hometown of Yokosuka City. Back when I was Minister of Health and Welfare I also participated in the first memorial service when it was held out at sea near the site where the Tsushima-maru had sunk. I was aboard a ship and stayed there overnight.
We should all be grateful and be fully aware of how fortunate we are to be living in peace right now. We should never forget that we who have survived or have never experienced the War did not build this peace alone, but that it is founded on the sacrifices made by the many people who lost their lives in the War.
On Tuesday, June 28, there was a meeting at my office that brought together the people concerned with crime prevention measures and those responsible for urban renaissance to discuss the promotion of building a safe and reassuring community.
Ms. Hiroko Nakayama, the Mayor of Shinjuku Ward, is spearheading the efforts for revitalizing the Kabukicho district in Shinjuku into a safe and enjoyable area. From what she told me, I can clearly see how the residents and storeowners in the shopping district have risen to the challenge of transforming their neighborhood into a place with charm by cooperating with the administrative bodies and the police force, as well as the immigration authorities, who deal with foreigners illegally staying in Japan.
I think the experience of Kabukicho can be harnessed for other districts as well. I hope we will see similar movements take hold nationwide, in places like Susukino in Sapporo City, Sakae in Nagoya City, Minami in Osaka City, Nagarekawa and Yagenbori in Hiroshima City and Nakasu in Fukuoka City.
Some people might point out that even if we make Kabukicho safe, crime will simply move to neighboring districts or towns. It is like in the arcade game Whack-A-Mole: even if you whack one mole that pops out, another will immediately appear out of a neighboring hole. I, however, would disagree. If we work together and continue to whack the moles all over Japan, we can make strides in building communities in which the elderly and the young alike can live safely and happily.
* 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.
Climax for reform of the United Nations (UN) Security Council
In a previous issue of this e-mail magazine, I wrote about the Ambassadors' Meeting that was held with the attendance of Japanese ambassadors from around the world, at which I gave a resounding call for each and every ambassador to strive to bring about support of each country for reform of the United Nations (UN) and the Security Council. Security Council reform has now reached a critical juncture.
Japan is currently finalizing a draft framework resolution on Security Council reform by the Group of Four (G4), together with Brazil, Germany and India which have same aspiration as Japan of becoming permanent members on the Security Council. G4 is aiming to submit this draft framework resolution to the UN General Assembly and to be adopted.
This draft resolution seeks to better reflect the realities of today's international community in the Security Council, which differ greatly from those of 60 years ago, by expanding both permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council, including both developed and developing countries.
For the draft framework resolution to be adopted, it is necessary to gain the vote of more than two-thirds of all member states, that is, at least 128 states.
Some member states are advocating a proposal of increasing the number of non-permanent members only. The United States (US), which had not made its stance on this issue very clear so far, presented its own proposal for reform on June 16, which adds Japan and another country as a new permanent members of the Security Council. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned me directly to explain this proposal.
Under these circumstances, when I attended the Iraq International Conference in Belgium on June 22, I took this opportunity to call upon the foreign ministers of Brazil, Germany and India and held the G4 Foreign Ministerial Meeting. The G4 foreign ministers, including myself, demonstrated our resolve to the world to make sure the draft resolution is adopted.
Since the end of the Second World War, Japan has paved a way forward as a peaceful nation.
Japan has vigorously made efforts to realize a nuclear-free world based on its position as the sole country in the world ever to have suffered from nuclear devastation. It has made every effort to bring about international peace and stability through such venues as contributions to the UN and official development assistance (ODA).
As seen in the examples of East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, Japan is also making an international contribution in terms of personnel, for example, through dispatching the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) overseas and through the dedicated efforts by the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV).
I have confidence that these steps that Japan has provided a solid basis to assume global responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.
I will make all the efforts, with the support of the people of Japan, to seize this opportunity to reform the UN for the future of Japan and of the UN.
* Profile of the Minister for Foreign Affairs
- Mr. Bill Gates Pays a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (June 29, 2005)
- Japan-Vanuatu Summit Meeting (June 29, 2005)
- African Diplomatic Corps Pays Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (June 28, 2005)
- The Joint Meeting of the 5th Ministerial Meeting Concerning Measures Against Crime and the 14th Meeting of the Urban Renaissance Headquarters (June 28, 2005)
- Japan-Fiji Summit Meeting (June 24, 2005)
- National Conference on the Creation of a Gender-equal Society (June 24, 2005)
- Prime Minister Attends the Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the 60th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Okinawa (June 23, 2005)
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