Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 196 (July 14, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
News of the terrorist bomb attacks in London reached the Group of Eight (G8) Summit right before the meeting began on Thursday and transformed the atmosphere of the summit held in Gleneagles, Scotland in the northern part of the United Kingdom.
The G8 leaders immediately issued a forceful message, expressing strong outrage toward terrorism and their resolve to fight without succumbing to terrorism. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was chair of the summit, hastened back to London after the morning meeting ended. Nevertheless, the leaders decided that the summit should not be canceled because of the terrorist attacks and that the meetings should proceed. Permanent Under-Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service Michael Jay and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw chaired the meetings admirably in Prime Minister Blair's absence.
The terrorist bomb blasts were indiscriminate in the injury they inflicted on so many people. I express my condolences to the victims and extend my deepest sympathy to all those who were affected.
Prevention is critical in combating terrorism. In Japan, we will make certain that the government as a whole coordinates seamlessly with the relevant organizations to ensure the safety of public transport and other areas of daily life. In cooperation with other countries, we will gather intelligence, remaining alert and vigilant at all times.
The major topics on the agenda at the G8 Summit were Africa and climate change. Among the countries participating in the summit, Japan is the most geographically distant from Africa. Japan's basic policy is that there can be no world stability and prosperity unless the issues of Africa are resolved. With this basic policy in mind, Japan has provided as much assistance as possible in a way that distinguishes itself from other countries in such fields as stable livelihood, poverty alleviation, health with respect to infectious diseases, education and agriculture. The focus of Japan's cooperation has been assistance that the people of Africa most need and that will enable African countries to stand on their own feet.
At the summit, I announced that Japan would increase economic cooperation through Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 10 billion US dollars over the next five years. In particular, I stated that assistance to Africa would be doubled in the coming three years.
As for climate change, I explained that Japan was tackling this issue based on the principle of the 3Rs in order to Reduce waste, Reuse products and Recycle resources. I also introduced the concept of "mottainai" (literally translated as "don't waste what is valuable"), the other element of Japan's approach. I urged other countries to cooperate in advancing efforts to ensure environmental protection while pursuing economic development, harnessing the power of science and technology.
Scottish folk music was played at the dinner hosted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II the night before the summit began. With a rendition on the bagpipes towards the end of the meal, I was told that this signifies that the evening is drawing to a close. In response, I explained that in Japanese custom the Scottish ballad Auld Lang Syne was played when a gathering reaches its end.
The lyrics in the original Scottish ballad speak of the importance of cherishing friendships with old friends. I hear that it is sung on New Year's Eve as well.
At the dinner, I shared the story of how Auld Lang Syne is used in the film "Waterloo Bridge," which in Japan is released under the title "Aishu," a Japanese word meaning "sorrowful." This and other topics made for stimulating conversation on music and film with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Blair and President George W. Bush of the United States.
Deliberation on the bill related to the privatization of the postal services began yesterday in the House of Councillors. I will clearly and carefully explain to the people how the work of the postal offices can be more than adequately performed by private sector personnel, without the need for more than 400,000 civil servants. I will work sincerely to gain the understanding of many people toward the enactment of this bill.
* 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.
- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Pays a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (July 12, 2005)
- The 7th Meeting of the Council on the Promotion of Cultural Diplomacy (July 11, 2005)
- Japan-Solomon Islands Summit Meeting (July 11, 2005)
- Japan-Iceland Summit Meeting (July 11, 2005)
- The G8 Summit Meeting (Gleneagles Summit)(July 6 to 8, 2005) http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/koizumiphoto/2005/07/08summit_e.html
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