(Provisional Translation)

Statement by the Prime Minister

5 December 2000

I have determinedly carried out a reshuffle of the Cabinet. Looking ahead to the upcoming reform of the central government ministries and agencies set to take place on 6 January 2001, this reshuffling aims at the establishment of a powerful system embodying the very nature of reform that will enable us to make a full-fledged start in the 21st century.

As we embark on a new century, I will skipper our national government aiming to build ga nation of people who live in security embracing our dreams for the future.h To that end, it is of primary importance to place the economy firmly on a path to self-sustained recovery, while moving towards the prompt implementation of the gPolicy Package for New Economic Development toward the Rebirth of Japanh including the supplementary budget decided in the latest Diet session, and to take appropriate economic and fiscal measures based on the formulation of the FY2001 budget and revisions to the taxation system.

In addition, in order to lay the foundation for new development in the 21st century, I will continue to work towards the strategic development of measures in the four crucial areas outlined in the Japan Rebirth Plan-promotion of the IT revolution, response to environmental issues, measures to address the aging society, and the development of urban infrastructure-while maintaining steady progress in economic structural reforms to respond to these changes. In particular, regarding the promotion of the IT revolution, we will quickly formulate a gpriority planh based on the IT Basic Law and intensively implement reforms of the systems.

Furthermore, with the arrival of the new century, I resolve to take a mid- and long-term view, to squarely deal with issues of education and social security, which can be regarded as the basis of our country-building, and to promote reforms rooted in nation-wide discussion, presenting a clear vision for the Japanese people. At the next ordinary Diet session, which will be characterized as the gDiet Session for Educational Reform,h I plan to submit a series of bills relating to educational reform.

The Government also intends to make its utmost efforts to respond to natural disasters, such as the volcanic activity of Miyakejima, which has forced residents to evacuate their homes for a long period of time, by assisting those afflicted by the disaster to resume their lives and by orchestrating reconstruction work.

As for diplomacy, I will work to build a relationship of trust with the next president of the United States of America who will assume office in January. In respect of negotiations for a Japan-Russia Peace Treaty, I will exert utmost efforts, based upon the results of the negotiations with President Vladimir V. Putin of the Russian Federation. I will also work for further development in our relations with Asian countries, beginning with the Peoplefs Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and the members of ASEAN, and will work for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region through persisting with normalization talks with North Korea in close cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea.

As the head of the Cabinet, I will use the occasion of the reform of the central government ministries and agencies to further promote administrative reforms such as the streamlining and rationalization of the government, policy evaluation, and regulatory reforms, while breathing life into these new organizations from the viewpoint of the Japanese people. Also bearing in mind the inauguration of the Cabinet Office I will fulfill my responsibilities by exercising firm leadership in formulating economic and fiscal policies and the science and technology policies, which are key to the policy of national government.

Under the credo of gGovernment that steps with the people and is trusted by the people,h I will with a fresh mind strive single-mindedly to resolve pressing issues at home and abroad while respectfully listening to the will of the people.

I humbly ask for the support and cooperation of the people of Japan.