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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 197 (July 21, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

Summer reaches its peak

Junichiro Koizumi here.

The rainy season has lifted across the country except for the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions, leaving us to face the heat of the summer season. I am sure that this year COOL BIZ will provide a welcome relief, keeping us fresher and more comfortable than in years past.

The evening before last, tie- and jacket-less, I attended the Certification Presentation Ceremony for Plans for Special Zones for Structural Reform and Plans for Regional Revitalization.

Special zones for structural reform are part of efforts to promote regional vitalization, particularly by advancing regulatory reforms in the regions concerned. There is a nationwide movement to establish ingenious, unique and attractive special zones in all regions, for instance, the "special zone for the manufacturing of unrefined sake, Doburoku," and the "special zone for the establishment of schools by private companies and non-profit organizations (NPOs)."

In this round, 51 plans were newly certified. We received new and innovative ideas from all over Japan, such as the "special zone for the promotion of licensing for trap hunting of boars." This plan would ease the regulations for acquiring a license to hunt boars, which wreak havoc on farm crops.

Plans for regional revitalization are endeavors spearheaded at the local level. Under this system, all national structures designed to support local regions in Japan are comprehensively integrated, including the subsidies provided by the various central government ministries, and the regions take the lead in formulating their own plans for revitalization. This was the first round of certifications following the enactment of the Regional Revitalization Law. Many ingenious ideas designed to capitalize on natural, tourism, and industrial resources of the regions gained certification.

While many mayors who had come to Tokyo to attend the ceremony of certification were wearing a suit and tie, I also saw many governors and mayors in smart COOL BIZ attire. I took this as a sign that "casual summers" are becoming more widespread in the localities as well.

Special zones and plans for regional revitalization both constitute important pillars of the Koizumi Cabinet's structural reforms: "leave to the private sector what it can do," and "leave to the localities what they can do." I will continue to encourage and support these efforts with a view to progressing nationwide reform built on the wisdom and creativity of the regions.

Just recently my days have been given an added touch of excitement. Azure-winged magpies have made their nest in the branches of a potted tree on the veranda of my official residence. By the time I returned from the G8 Summit the eggs had hatched, and now the parent birds are busy feeding and caring for their brood of four little chicks.

The chicks normally stay very still in their nest. When a parent bird returns, however, they spring to life, opening their beaks wider than their tiny little bodies in an effort to get some food. I can see all this right from my window. It is a heartwarming scene.

The strong parent-child bond between the birds is impressive, and I hope that the chicks will quickly grow big and healthy.

Mid-August will see the 200th edition of the e-mail magazine. The reason the e-mail magazine has endured so long is entirely thanks to its dedicated readers. I thank you all very much.

To celebrate the 200th edition, there will be a round-table discussion among the readers and the people who have contributed to the e-mail magazine. Although it is a busy time of the year before the current Diet session draws to a close, I hope to join the discussion if time allows.

The best part about the e-mail magazine is that it enables a two-way dialogue with readers. Through the e-mail magazine, I will continue to inform you all of the policies of the Koizumi Cabinet, clearly and concisely.

* COOL BIZ: A Japanese government campaign aiming to promote jacket- and tie-free business attire. This will lessen the need for air-conditioning and thereby contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- The Six Regional Organizations Submit a Reform Proposal to Prime Minister Koizumi (July 20, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a recommendations report entitled "Reform Proposal on State Subsidy: Aiming to Secure the Transfer of Tax Sources of Three Trillion Yen."

- The Ceremony of Certification of Plans for Special Zones for Structural Reform and Plans for Regional Revitalization (July 19, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi delivered an address,"You all have utilized your knowledge and drew up various plans. . . . The government intends to keep endeavoring to harness your ideas."

- Japan-Bangladesh Summit Meeting (July 14, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with H.E. Begum Khaleda Zia, the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

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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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