Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 153 (September 2, 2004)
[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
September 1 is National Disaster Prevention Day in Japan. As always, evacuation drills were conducted at schools and workplaces across the country. The government also held a disaster prevention drill involving all Cabinet members to respond to the scenario of a Tokai earthquake. I then flew by helicopter to areas on the Yokohama waterfront and Gotenba at the foot of Mt. Fuji to take part in the drills conducted there.
This day came just after Typhoon No. 16 left behind its path of destruction mainly in the Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions at the beginning of this week. One important lesson to be learned from the torrential rains and typhoon is how to facilitate the evacuation of the elderly and ensure the safety of the people. It is imperative for the people of the region to unite and help one another in the face of disaster.
The saying goes "disasters hit when least expected," but it can also be said, "always be prepared and there is nothing to worry about." Each and every one of us must manifest in our daily lives an awareness for disaster prevention.
It would of course be ideal if disasters did not occur at all, but I intend to build Japan into a country that can promptly deal with them and keep damages to a bare minimum in the event that a disaster occurs.
The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy is conducting vigorous discussion on the privatization of the postal services, which is at the heart of structural reforms implemented by the Koizumi Cabinet, aiming to compile its basic policy in early September.
There is enthusiastic support for the view that the government must aggressively advance administrative and fiscal reforms, but once it gets to the stage of discussing the details, voices of opposition are raised. The privatization of the postal services is a case in point. As we start discussing the details, I know that the voices of the opposition will rise to a crescendo but I will stand firmly resolved in advancing reform according to the plan already decided.
Yesterday evening, I invited the Japanese athletes who accomplished great achievements at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games to my office to congratulate them on their outstanding performance.
Whereas their looks of determination amidst the pressure and tension of the Olympics had been familiar to me from the broadcasts on television, I got to see a side of the athletes that has been less exposed, of them expressing feelings of satisfaction and being refreshed.
Watching the events, I was so moved by their achievements to the point where tears welled up in my eyes numerous times. I believe their self-disciplined attitude of making the most of the talents that they were born with and enduring strict practice regimens inconceivable for an ordinary person were an inspiration to people all over the country.
As people watched the athletes in Athens, I am certain that many young people were inspired to dream of one day participating in the Olympic Games. With the intent to reward the athletes for their performance, I have instructed the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to complete the construction of the National Training Center ahead of the current schedule so that people who aspire to become Olympic athletes can use this facility to obtain scientific training, in addition to their own preparations, to improve their skills for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
With the Olympic Games now over, medal or not, all athletes must be looking toward their next goal. I hope that they take advantage of their experience in Athens and continue to draw on their talent to the fullest.
Today, I traveled to Hokkaido and viewed Kunashiri Island from aboard a ship as I passed through Cape Nosappu and Kaigara Island, which is a part of the Habomai Islands of the Northern Territories.
The Northern Territories are part of Japan's territory and I have long wished to view them with my own eyes. I believe it critical for the people of Japan to be more aware of the issue of the Northern Territories as something which affects not only the people of Hokkaido, former residents of the islands and their descendants, but as an issue that concerns the whole of Japan. Without the resolution of the Northern Territories issue, there will be no conclusion of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia.
The resolution of the Northern Territories issue is of benefit to both Japan and Russia. I will stand firm in this belief and endeavor to reach a resolution of this issue.
* 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.
- Award Ceremony for the Athens Olympic Team (September 1, 2004)
- Disaster Prevention Day Drills (September 1, 2004)
- Joint Memorial Service by the Cabinet and Liberal Democratic
Party for the Late Mr. Zenko Suzuki (August 26, 2004)
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- Click here to make comments on administration of Japan.
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