4 July 2000
Today I have once again taken on the important responsibility of Prime Minister of Japan.
As we stand at the dawning of the 21st century, Japan is approaching a critical moment in its progression to the rebirth of the nation. During such an important time, considering the weight of the tasks and responsibility with which I have been entrusted, I reaffirm my resolution to dedicate myself to squarely confronting this difficult situation. Solemnly taking account of the judgment of the Japanese people in the recent general elections, and based on the stable political foundations of the tripartite coalition among the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito and the Reformers' Network Party, and the New Conservative Party, in which the people of Japan have put their trust, I shall take the helm of government with full responsibility upon myself as I set a course for Japan drawing upon the collective wisdom.
When I assumed the office of Prime Minister this April, I stated to the Japanese people that toward the 21st century I would strive toward ensuring a "rebirth of Japan" aimed at the realization of a nation of people who live in security embracing our dreams for the future, a nation of beauty rich in spirit and a nation that engenders the trust of the world. With my blueprint for reform toward the next era -- the Plan for the Rebirth of Japan -- as the basis for our policies, the Cabinet and I shall exert all efforts to achieving this objective. As for the pillars of government policy, I shall place utmost priority on the full-fledged recovery of the Japanese economy, which has begun to show brighter signs; the promotion of economic structural reform at the forefront of the new era, such as measures for new economic development, including the information technology (IT) revolution; radical "urban rebirth" measures; the realization of reassured, confident living in the aging society; rebuilding of the education system under the banner of true "freedom and discipline"; and reform of the judicial system. I will also ensure comprehensive and flexible policy formulation and government administration well responding to the needs of the Japanese people through the smooth implementation of the reform of the central ministries and agencies to take place next January, and the preparation of the budget under my leadership as Prime Minister, as well as through other actions.
I shall also take all possible measures in response to the natural disasters and accidents which threaten the safety and lives of the Japanese people, including measures to address the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of Mt. Usu in Hokkaido and Miyakejima Island and Kozushima Island belonging to the Tokyo Metropolis.
In the area of foreign policy, we must above all work to ensure the success of the upcoming G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit. In cooperation with the people of Okinawa Prefecture, as well as Nago City and the other local governments involved, I am determined to deliver a powerful message from Asia on the three themes of the Summit -- "greater prosperity," "deeper peace of mind" and "greater world stability." Furthermore, I shall contribute to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world by actively promoting "creative diplomacy" within the current international situation, including the situation in the Korean Peninsula, where significant change has begun to take place recently.
The trust of the people is paramount in government. Therefore, under the credo of "Government that steps with the people and is trusted by the people," and ever remembering my original intention, I pledge to strive forward boldly and responsibly in the administration of the state, at all times listening to the voices of the Japanese people and mindfully observing the way in which they live.
In this I humbly ask for the support and cooperation of the people of Japan.