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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 210 (November 10, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

Autumn, a season for diplomacy

Junichiro Koizumi here.

The "Reform Continuation Cabinet" has gotten off to a good start.

There is a great array of challenges we must tackle to reform, including the reform package of the three issues on subsidy, tax sources and local allocation tax, reduction in the total personnel cost of civil servants, integrated review of expenditure and revenue, review of government-related financial organizations, review of tax revenues earmarked for road projects, and reform of the medical insurance system.

The newly appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary and ministers have gotten right to work and have begun holding serious discussions toward reform. While I believe various opinions will be raised during these discussions, the Cabinet members are united in their resolve to "press forward with the reform."

Bearing in mind that from now until the end of the year we must move forward with the process of formulating the budget for fiscal year 2006, I intend to draw conclusions on those reforms that are to be implemented from next year and to clearly set out the direction of the reform for medium-term issues.

For the first time in quite a while I saw a Japanese film last week. It was "Semishigure" based on the novel by Shuhei Fujisawa. It takes place in Tohoku region during the Edo period and is a story about the love and friendship of a young samurai. Starring Somegoro Ichikawa and Yoshino Kimura, this film depicts the modest mentality of the Japanese people often forgotten in today's fast-paced society. I was so drawn into the story that I lost all sense of time. I was also enthralled by the breathtaking sceneries of all four seasons of the Shonai region in Yamagata Prefecture where the film was shot, as well as by the beautiful music which added further depth to the film. I would also like to give credit to the performance of the child actors who played the younger versions of the two main characters.

The leading actress Yoshino Kimura has served as the first Goodwill Ambassador to Promote Tourism. Ms. Kimura is also serving as the Goodwill Ambassador to Promote the Japan-ROK Joint Exchange Year this year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and as such has been designated as the "Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005." Ms. Kimura admirably played her role of a Japanese woman with elegance and purity, both of heart and deed. I am sure that this is a film that would be popular amongst the Korean people and elsewhere in the world.

Another "beauty" of Japan will cross the sea to the ROK. The Takarazuka Revue Company will perform for three days in Seoul starting tomorrow, November 11. At the end of last month, the leading actresses Wataru Kozuki and Yuri Shirahane visited me at my office and we exchanged a few words. To date the Takarazuka Revue Company has performed in 16 countries around the world in Asia, the Americas and Europe. I hope that Takarazuka will contribute to further promoting Japan's cultural exchanges with other countries with its beauty and talent. The draw of Japanese culture could be its unique style of performing arts such as the all-male kabuki theater and all-female Takarazuka.

My schedule for this autumn is almost fully booked with diplomatic events. This week, I welcomed to my office and held talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium and will meet Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis of Greece. Following this chain of meetings, I will meet with President George W. Bush of the United States next week in Kyoto at its height of fall foliage. Soon after, I will be heading to Busan to take part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit Meeting, which will be followed by the visit to Japan by President Vladimir Putin of Russia. In December, the East Asia Summit will be held in Malaysia. While we are faced with a number of diplomatic issues, I will endeavor to establish friendly relationships with countries around the world.

We launched the "Government Internet TV" today. Through video feeds, Government Internet TV will offer a clear and concise introduction to government activities including what the Cabinet has been doing and endeavors for structural reform. I hope you will enjoy it together with this e-mail magazine.

* Government Internet TV (available only in Japanese) can be viewed from the following link:

* 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.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Japan-Belgium Summit Meeting (November 9, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Guy Verhofstadt, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium.

- Japan-Yemen Summit Meeting (November 7, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi held a meeting with Mr. Ali Abdullah Saleh, the President of the Republic of Yemen.

[The Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Jinen Nagase
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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