Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 206 (October 13, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
Yesterday morning, a clear and crisp autumn day, I was taking my usual walk from my official residence to my office when I spotted mushrooms amongst the shrubbery in front of my residence. Looking closer, I found an assortment of mushrooms scattered about, whose varieties ranged from large-capped mushrooms to small mushrooms that were nearly hidden by the shadows of the weeds. I am eager to look them up to learn whether they are edible.
Around me were also many small acorns that had fallen to the ground. Reflecting on my childhood days, when I would often pick up acorns and play with them, I felt a hint of the coming of autumn here in the center of Tokyo.
On Tuesday, the plenary session of the House of Representatives passed the bill related to the privatization of the postal services by a wide margin of 200 votes, with 338 members voting for the bill and 138 members against it. To think that before the dissolution of the House of Representatives, members of the House only passed the bill by a margin of five votes at the plenary session on July 5, I was overcome by the enormous extent to which the powerful support of the people delivered in the previous general election helped pass the bill this time around.
Today I will attend deliberations in the House of Councillors on the bill related to the privatization of the postal services from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon. Accepting the mandate expressed by the people that "privatization of the postal services is necessary" and that we should "not stop reforms," I will speak at the Diet and clearly explain the necessity of reform and press ahead with the prompt passage and enactment of the bill.
The earthquake centered in northern Pakistan caused enormous damage, claiming more than 20,000 lives. Many people are buried under the rubble, and earnest rescue efforts are continuing.
This earthquake devastated the family of Mr. Satoru Narahara, who was dispatched to Pakistan to offer his guidance as a Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) urban waste disposal expert. I have heard that Mr. Narahara had assimilated into the Pakistani community and was offering his help and cooperation as the face of Japan. I offer my sincerest condolences for those who lost their lives in this disaster and my heartfelt encouragement to all the people still coping with the earthquake's aftermath.
As an immediate response to the earthquake, the Government of Japan dispatched a Japan Disaster Relief Team and delivered assistance in kind to Pakistan, which included tents, blankets and water purifiers, worth approximately 25 million yen. In response to the rapidly deteriorating situation, the Government has also decided to provide grant aid of 20 million dollars (approximately 2.14 billion yen).
The Japan Disaster Relief Team consists of 49 rescue team members and 21 medical team members and includes staff from the National Police Agency, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, and the Japan Coast Guard, as well as medical doctors, nurses and a pharmacist. Despite facing a difficult environment with aftershocks still looming and goods in short supply, the Japan Disaster Relief Team immediately began its tasks. Members of Japanese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also entered the disaster-afflicted areas. In addition, preparations are underway to dispatch Self-Defense Forces (SDF) helicopters for the transport of relief goods to the afflicted areas.
At the time of the Niigata Prefecture Chuetsu Earthquake last year, countries reached out to Japan with a helping hand. Japan will continue to actively extend assistance while cooperating with countries around the world.
* Mushrooms at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
* 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.
- Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues
(October 12, 2005)
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