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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 214 (December 8, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

Appreciation from Iraq

Junichiro Koizumi here.

On December 5, I met with Prime Minister Ibrahim Al Ja'fari Al Eshaiker of the Iraqi Transitional Government at my office. The people of Iraq have been making untiring efforts to build a democratic country with their own hands, and a general election to elect the members of the Iraqi National Assembly is due to be held on the 15th of this month.

I heard from Prime Minister Al Ja'fari directly about the sincere efforts made by the people of Iraq in fervent hopes of realizing peace and stability in their own country, despite experiencing some setbacks along the way due to terrorist acts.

Prime Minister Al Ja'fari offered his words of gratitude on behalf of the people and the Government of Iraq for the humanitarian and reconstruction assistance activities performed by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF), as well as the financial assistance through the official development assistance (ODA) extended by the Government of Japan. He also shared with me how impressed he was in hearing directly from the people of Samawah on the occasion of his visit to the region how grateful the people were and how positively they assessed the activities conducted by the SDF who are working side-by-side with the locals.

Japan will provide assistance to its fullest capacity for the realization of peace and stability in Iraq in cooperation with the international community.

Last weekend, I visited a textile manufacturing company in Kyoto which has been in business for generations. Textiles produced with the techniques of Nishijin weaves adorn such distinguished sites as the Imperial Palace, the National Diet Building, the newly completed Kyoto State Guest House, and the Prime Minister's Official Residence.

I spotted on the wall of the museum a replica of "The Colors of Nishiki," which was used in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate up to the Meiji Restoration. I had heard of the story of such a flag, but it was my first time to actually see what it must have looked like.

Also exhibited at this museum was the original drawing for a wall tapestry entitled "Inuoumono (Dog Chasing Game Played by Mounted Archers)" depicting the training of the art of the warrior, which Emperor Meiji offered as a gift to Crown Prince Nikolai of Russia, who later became Emperor Nicholas II.

Many of you readers are probably familiar with the "Otsu Incident" in the Meiji Era, in which a policeman attacked Crown Prince Nikolai with his saber and injured the Crown Prince in Otsu City during his visit to Japan. However, it is not so well known that at that time Emperor Meiji offered Crown Prince Nikolai a Nishijin wall tapestry. It has been said that Crown Prince Nikolai was deeply moved by this gift.

The tapestry that was produced based on the original drawing I saw in the museum is actually displayed to this day at the State Hermitage Museum in Russia. I was deep in thought wondering what the people of Japan and Russia at the time felt and thought looking at this tapestry, as well as the role the techniques and traditional arts of Japan played in our diplomatic relations with Russia.

Next week, I will be attending the East Asia Summit to be held in Malaysia. I will also be visiting the Middle East early next year. Furthermore, next year's G8 Summit will be in St. Petersburg, which happens to be where the State Hermitage Museum is located. As a responsible member of the international community, Japan will endeavor to contribute as much as possible to the peace and prosperity of the international community.

* "The Colors of Nishiki"

* "Inuoumono(Dog Chasing Game Played by Mounted Archers)"

* 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]

- The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (December 6, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "This will be the last budget formulation under the Koizumi Cabinet. The budget formulation must be commensurate with the Reform Continuation Cabinet."

- Japan-Iraq Summit Meeting (December 5, 2005)
The two leaders discussed such matters as the assessment of Japan's assistance to Iraq, the situation in Iraq, and the activities conducted by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in Iraq.

- Prime Minister Observes Textile Manufacturing Company in Kyoto (December 3, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi had the opportunity to see the restored "The Colors of Nishiki," the flag of the imperial forces and to weave a stage curtain with a large loom.

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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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