Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 205 (October 6, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Time flies by, and it is already October. The hot summer rays have softened, and the cool air in the mornings and evenings makes me feel that autumn has truly arrived.
October is the time to change clothes for the new season. COOL BIZ, which has become a household name since June, has come to an end, and since Monday I have been back in my tie and jacket on a daily basis. Being tie-free was comfortable and relaxing, but wearing a tie keeps me alert.
The four highway-related public corporations were privatized on October 1. Six new companies were established to operate the highways, and every one of these companies is headed by private-sector executives.
In the summer of 2001, when I revealed my idea to privatize the highway-related public corporations, all I heard were objections that "there is no way something like this can be done." Of all the special public corporations, the highway-related public corporations were the largest ones privatized. I think that it was quite an achievement that we were actually able to privatize the highway-related public corporations.
I am sure that many of you are aware of the long road we had to travel to accomplish privatization. I would like to express my appreciation and respect to the many parties involved in this process, beginning with the members of the Promotion Committee for the Privatization of the Four Highway-Related Public Corporations.
We have already lowered the highway tolls-something that has never before been achieved. I hope that from now, with the knowledge and ingenuity the private sector possesses, newly established corporations will operate the highways from the users' vantage point, enhance the services and completely repay the debts amounting to 40 trillion yen as early as possible.
October 1 also saw a tragic incident overseas. A large-scale terrorist bombing occurred on the island of Bali in Indonesia, killing and injuring many, including Japanese nationals.
I expressed my condolences and sympathies to President
I am filled with outrage at such a despicable act of terrorism. Japan will vigorously take part in the fight against terrorism in cooperation and coordination with the international community to eradicate such brutal terrorist acts.
On October 3, I met with the crew members who were on board the space shuttle Discovery, including Mission Commander Eileen Collins and Mr. Soichi Noguchi, a Japanese astronaut.
According to the crew members, Discovery orbited the earth 219 times in its most recent flight. All the crew members are certainly superhuman, since they performed tasks outside the space shuttle which was revolving around the earth at a speed of nearly 30,000 km/h! When I met the crew members, though, they were all serene people, and it was hard to imagine that they were the same astronauts who had undergone such rigorous training.
I also heard stories about the difficulties that the crew members experienced. For instance, they had to be extra careful when eating in outer space, making sure that food did not splatter the inside of the shuttle.
I expected to find Mission Commander Collins to be a more imposing woman, but in fact she is a kind and gentle person. I was impressed that the crew members accomplished their mission under mental and physical pressure greater than that which the average person could endure.
Autumn is synonymous with all sorts of words: reading, arts, sports and appetite, to name a few. I hope all of you will find your own autumnal delights.
In my case, I would like my autumn to be about reform and enacting the bill related to the privatization of postal services.
* 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.
- The Crew of Space Shuttle Discovery Pay a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (October 3, 2005)
- Meeting of the Central Disaster Prevention Council (September 27, 2005)
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