Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 211 (November 17, 2005)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
I am overwhelmed with feelings of joy on the marriage of Princess Sayako to Mr. Yoshiki Kuroda on November 15. On behalf of the Japanese people on this heartwarming and wonderful occasion, I would like to congratulate the couple from the bottom of my heart. It is my hope that they will build a happy home and a wonderful life together.
Yesterday, on November 16, I met with President George W. Bush of the United States in the ancient capital of Kyoto. In the early morning, I visited Kinkaku-ji Temple with President and Mrs. Bush. Under a cloudless sky, the morning sun shone upon Kinkaku-ji Temple, casting upon the pond an image of the golden pavilion that reflected like a mirror, and with autumn maple leaves beginning to take color, we enjoyed for a time the beauty of the Japanese garden. As we leisurely strolled around the pond, we said how wonderful it was to be able to start our day-long summit in a locale that made us feel so serene.
After our excursion, we moved to the Kyoto State Guest House, where President Bush and I held a summit and press conference. First Lady Laura Bush then joined us for lunch.
It is the Japan-US alliance and international coordination which have served as the backbone to Japan's peace and prosperity since the end of the Second World War, forming the basis of Japan's foreign policy. Japan-US relations are the most important bilateral relations in the world. I believe that Japan's relations with China, the Republic of Korea and other Asian countries as well as with other countries around the world will be enhanced further as ties between Japan and the US become stronger and closer.
President Bush and I had the opportunity to exchange frankly our thoughts on such issues as terrorism and North Korea, the situation in Iraq as well as the issue of the US military bases in Japan, cooperation in the economic sector, among other topics, from the perspective of the "Japan-US alliance in the global context."
The Kyoto State Guest House is furnished with a great collection of Japanese traditional crafts and skills reflected in its architecture, landscape, ornaments and furniture. It was completed only just this past April. President Bush and I were able to talk at ease in this amiable setting.
The ties between our countries are deepening in the sports scene as well. An American baseball manager Bobby Valentine led the Japanese professional baseball team Chiba Lotte Marines to the Japan Series championship. Mr. Valentine is a former manager of the Texas Rangers, during the time when President Bush was an owner of that team. In US Major League Baseball (MLB), the Chicago White Sox won this year's title. The performance by the Japanese MLB player Tadahito Iguchi still remains fresh in my mind.
I met with Mr. Iguchi at my office on November 14. As the second batter in the lineup and a second baseman on the field, there were times when he knew that he had to take a strike in spite of a good pitch or swing at a ball to help the runner steal second. I believe that Mr. Iguchi's living up to the spirit of "for the team" led the Chicago White Sox to win the title.
Last weekend, I made a trip to Oita Prefecture and visited a farmers market that sells local agricultural products and a farm in Hita that grows pears that are also exported to China. I also stopped by Kangien, one of the leading Shijuku private schools in Japan at the end of the Edo period which was founded by Tanso Hirose. I then stayed for a night at Yufuin.
Yufuin is a small town known for its hot springs. It is solely due to the enthusiasm of the local people to "make our town unique in the world with unmatched character" that the area developed into a world-renowned hot spring resort.
On Sunday, November 13, I attended the 2005 World Students' Tourism Summit held in Beppu, which turned out to be a large international meeting welcoming over 1,000 participants from around 30 countries and regions. I felt the energy and passion of the youths from around the world towards tourism.
It was an encouraging trip for me being exposed to and learning about the local people's drive to develop their town, local products and education system to a first-rate level.
I believe that each and every town and village has a charm unique to itself. I hope that the people will discover the strengths and appeals of the area they live in and value its individual differences. Through these efforts, I want Japan to be a nation rich in "first-rate rural areas" and "first-rate cities."
During my stay in Oita Prefecture, I was able to relax in a hot spring for the first time since I became prime minister. In Kyoto, I enjoyed the fall foliage. Every aspect of this trip was refreshing, both for my body and mind. Feeling anew, I will continue to tackle issues both on the domestic and diplomatic fronts.
* 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.
- Japan-US Summit Meeting (November 16, 2005)
- The First Meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Privatization of the Postal Services (November 15, 2005)
- US Major League Player Tadahito Iguchi of the White Sox Pays a Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (November 14, 2005)
- Prime Minister Tours Oita Prefecture and Attends 2005 World Students' Tourism Summit (November 12-13, 2005)
- Japan-Greece Summit Meeting (November 11, 2005)
- Prime Minister Attends Meeting of Nation's Prefectural Governors (November 11, 2005)
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