Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
August 27, 2007
Today I reshuffled the Cabinet.
The previous regular election for the House of Councillors delivered a very harsh result for the ruling parties. The votes reflected what the people had felt -- the growing pain in local and rural regions and the anger and distrust derived from the problems surrounding the nation's pension records and political funding issues. I deeply regret that my efforts have fallen short of catering to all these feelings of the people and that I have thus allowed a loss of trust in politics and in the administration.
Nevertheless, it is also vital that we advance reforms -- structural reforms in the economic, administrative and financial spheres as well as reforms such as education rebuilding and reconstruction of our national security system -- in order for the people to enjoy a life of prosperity and ensure them a bright future, in the face of the major changes that are now taking place including our declining population, intensified global-scale competition and changes in the security environment surrounding Japan. With this belief in mind, I have determined to stay in office and reshuffle the Cabinet, to create a trustworthy system and to further advance reform. Under the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito, the Cabinet will bring together all its forces to conduct the affairs of the state.
At the start of this Cabinet, I would like to make it clear that I put the foremost priority on dialogue with the people of Japan. I will furthermore strive to share the views of the people to directly get in touch with the reality of their life, thereby earnestly committing to shedding light thoroughly on those areas that have not yet seen the light of reform.
I will investigate the pension record problems and I am committed to solve the problems without fail.
In sincerely responding to the anxieties of people in the regions voicing concerns over disparities and their future prospects, I will make every effort so that those people too can truly taste the fruits of reform.
I will involve the whole of our society to achieve the rebuilding of education and reconstruct the educational environment children are in today.
Japan will realize sustainable economic growth even during this phase of declining population, making the utmost use of the strengths the country has thus far accumulated, such as environmental and scientific technologies. I will push through administrative and financial reforms aimed at "zero waste" to firmly advance integrated reform of expenditures and revenue. I will also promote the reform of the civil servant system and present a new image of civil servants toward which all those who will uphold the administration of the country in the 21st century may strive.
I will continue my endeavors for "proactive diplomacy." I will ensure that Japan fulfills its responsibility in the fight against terrorism as a member of the international community. I will also make sure that Japan further strengthens its partnership with the international community to solve North Korea's abduction, nuclear and missile issues. I will exercise leadership to realize major achievements on issues related to global warming at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit to be held next year.
"A beautiful country, Japan." I am firmly determined to devote all my heart and soul to fulfill the responsibility I bear as Prime Minister of Japan, looking to an ideal future for our country and keeping in mind our very starting point.
I ask from my heart for the understanding and cooperation of the people of Japan.