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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 183 (April 7, 2005)

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

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile

Fight the big fight, and do not bother with trifles

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Earlier this week, His Holiness Pope John Paul II passed away. I would like to express my deepest respect for his dedicated efforts for world peace and offer my sincere condolences for the loss of such a great individual.

A new fiscal year has just begun. Those for whom this marks the beginning of a new stage of their lives, such as starting school or joining the workforce, may be experiencing some trepidation at the changes in their environment, but I am sure that out of this tension comes also the motivation to engage in their new tasks. My word of advice is "Never forget what it was like to be a beginner," and my wish for all those people is that they will further develop and improve themselves.

There is a passage in the Analects of Confucius that says, "The wise man is in harmony with other people and is not easily compromised; the man without virtue is easily compromised and not in harmony with other people." The best kind of person is the one who is capable of accommodating others, but who manages not to lose a sense of self. This is a person who is neither unduly led by other people, nor attempts to flatter others with obsequies. A person without virtue, on the other hand, is someone who makes no attempt to accommodate other people, even those with matching views. I wish everyone embarking on a new stage in their lives to be "in harmony" with others who hold different views, without forgetting to think independently about what it is that needs to be done.

On Monday, April 4, we compiled and announced the draft of the government's policy on the privatization of the postal services. The privatization is at the heart of the structural reforms we are advancing under the principle of "leave to the private sector what it can do."

Under the privatization plans, approximately 250,000 civil servants will become a part of the private sector. Special public status, however, will be given to those handling special mail, such as content-certified mail. Neither will we close down post offices in sparsely populated areas.

I will continue to vigorously work on the coordination process with the ruling parties, and plan to submit the bills on the privatization of the postal services to the Diet by the end of April.

I frequently receive inquiries via e-mail that ask "Why should the postal services be reformed and privatized when they are adequately run now?" I agree that over-the-counter services provided at post offices across the nation are convenient. However, the cost of operating postal savings and postal life insurance businesses in the private sector would be lower than continuing as a state-run business, and would also lead to improvements in services. You may recall that it was in fact a private corporation that was innovative enough to initiate some of the services in the mailing business we now take for granted, such as the parcel delivery of chilled goods.

President Horst Koehler of Germany visited my office on April 5. He offered me his strong words of encouragement regarding the privatization of the postal services, saying, "You have been working on this issue with patience and persistence. I believe the privatization will be realized." This was strong praise indeed from the president of a country that has already gone down the path of postal privatization.

Last week, I met with a group of graduate school students from the United States who will be the next generation of leaders in their respective countries. They asked me what it takes to be a leader, to which I responded, "Fight the big fight, and do not bother with trifles."

In saying this, I implied that we need to thoroughly discuss important issues to ensure that our opinion is reflected. Conversely, those matters that are not as relevant should not warrant a great deal of attention.

Above all, this means to adequately judge what is really important. There are matters that you may think important which other people do not, and vice versa. This is one of the most difficult aspects of ensuring smooth person-to-person interaction.

I will try to determine what is important in structural reforms and continue to advance them boldly.

* 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]

- Prime Minister Delivers Address to New National Public Employees (April 6, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi attended the ceremony inaugurating the joint training for new national public employees.

- Prime Minister Koizumi Meets with President Koehler of the Federal Republic of Germany (April 5, 2005)
Two leaders discussed about enhancement of Japan-Germany cooperation, UN structural reforms that Japan and Germany are each promoting, among other topics.

- Boy Scouts Awarded the Fuji Badge Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (April 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi received a courtesy call from representatives of the boy scouts who were awarded the Fuji Badge.

- President of the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations Pays Courtesy Call on Prime Minister (April 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "Our bilateral relations have prospered greatly over the past year, and I intend to further develop these relations. Japan is willing to provide assistance."

- Prime Minister Meets with the Representatives of People Campaigning for the Return of the Northern Islands (April 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said that he intended to convey to the Russian side that it was the wish of all the people of Japan for the Northern Territories to be returned to Japan

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

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