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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 200 (August 11-August 18, 2005)

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

*Next issue will be delivered on August 25, 2005.

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

"Postal services dissolution"

Junichiro Koizumi here.

On August 8, I dissolved the House of Representatives. The bill related to the privatization of the postal services, which is at the heart of the reforms implemented by the Koizumi Cabinet, was defeated in the House of Councillors. I dissolved the House of Representatives based on my belief that the people should be directly consulted about whether they truly feel that the privatization of the postal services is unnecessary.

You could say that my dissolution of the Diet is a "postal services dissolution." Are you in support of privatization of the postal services? Or are you opposed to it? I would like to put that question clearly to the people.

Until now all of the political parties have opposed privatization of the postal services. Why is it that while espousing "leave to the private sector what it can do" they say that the privatization of postal services is not acceptable? I am truly baffled by that.

Is it really the case that only civil servants can perform the work of the post office? Is it really true that only government officials can do it? I have never thought that way. The very notion that "it is such an important job and therefore can only be carried out by civil servants" embodies the view that government officials are somehow superior to ordinary citizens. I think that is rude to people in the private sector.

I still believe that if given the chance, private business executives are more than capable of handling the work of the post office. Moreover, I believe that if the private sector were to undertake the services offered by the post office, it would be able to provide a greater diversity of services than is now available, contributing to enhancing benefits to the people. Private business executives do not wait for the government to oblige them to "manufacture these kinds of products" or "offer these kinds of services."

I am aware that there are many people who say that there are things that are more important than privatization. Still, if we are unable to achieve privatization of the postal services, then what major reforms can we accomplish? As I have been saying, calling for administrative and fiscal reforms yet opposing the privatization of the postal services is like tying someone's arms and feet together and telling them to swim.

If we really want to implement administrative and fiscal reforms, the privatization of the postal services is a must. Approximately 380,000 civil servants are engaged in the work of the three postal services. What I am saying is to open up these services to the private sector. I believe that the post office is an asset of the people. Post offices will not disappear from sparsely populated areas. The three postal services can be sufficiently maintained both in sparsely populated areas and in the regions even if we leave it to the private sector. This is precisely my point.

Approximately 400 years ago, at a time when the world was convinced of the geocentric theory of the solar system, Galileo Galilei announced that "the Earth moves" according to heliocentric theory. It is said that even after being found guilty of heresy, he stated, "But still the Earth moves."

The Diet has now reached the conclusion that there is no need to privatize the postal services. However, I still believe that the postal services must be privatized. I intend to once again ask the people whether it really is the case that only civil servants can handle the work of the post office and if we really cannot allow the private sector to take it on.

If the people support the privatization of the postal services and grant the ruling parties majority control in the House of Representatives, I believe I will be able to gain the cooperation of those who opposed the bill in the House of Councillors. I will call a new Diet session to order after the election and make every effort to ensure that a bill to privatize the postal services is passed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the afternoon of August 8, a roundtable discussion with readers of this e-mail magazine was convened at my office in commemoration of the 200th issue. I regret very much that I was unable to attend the discussion as it coincided with the extraordinary Cabinet meeting on dissolving the House of Representatives following the dropping of the bill related to the privatization of the postal services. However, I did make it back in time for a commemorative photograph with the participants on the same staircase inside my office as that on which ministers stand to have their photograph taken when a new Cabinet is formed.

Although I did not get a chance to directly exchange words with the group of e-mail magazine readers on this occasion, I will continue to respond to the questions I receive from readers by e-mail to the greatest extent possible.

This Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine, which has been published since the inauguration of the Koizumi Cabinet, marks its 200th issue this week. I never thought that it would last this long. Yet it has, not least thanks to your warm support, words of encouragement and honest criticism. My deep appreciation goes out to every person who reads the e-mail magazine each week.

I hope that you will continue to support the e-mail magazine.

* 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 Attends Nagasaki Memorial Service for the Dead and Peace Ceremony (August 9, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said in his address that, "Japan will lead the international community to promote international efforts for nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation . . . ."

- Press Conference by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (Upon dissolution of the House of Representatives) (August 8, 2005)

- Prime Minister Attends Hiroshima Memorial Service for the Dead and Peace Memorial Ceremony (August 6, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi attended the Ceremony, which marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

- Conversation with Astronaut Soichi Noguchi on Space Shuttle Discovery (August 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi conversed with Mr. Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut, and Ms. Eileen Collins, the Mission Commander, who are at the International Space Station.

- Award Ceremony to Present the Prime Minister's Commendations for the Award of Japan for Crafting (August 4, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi said, "The Japanese are highly skilled in crafting. . . . I ask that you will pass on your skills and passion for crafting to the people who will follow in your steps."

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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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