Some 230 representatives of the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Associations of Japan and the Republic of Korea, including 150 Korean boys and girls, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Prime Minister's official residence. This was part of the program of Japan-Republic of Korea youth exchange pledged by the Prime Minister and President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea during the latter's official visit to Japan last year. Greeting the representatives, the Prime Minister said, "I am happy to see your successful exchange activities, which join two items high on the agenda of my public life, friendship between Japan and the Republic of Korea and international youth exchange."
On the fifty-fourth anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, held in Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima. Attending the ceremony were about 50, 000 people, including surviving A-bomb victims and members of bereaved families. Foreign ambassadors were also present. In his remarks the Prime Minister referred to the proposals recently compiled by the Tokyo Forum for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and said that the government would continue to play an active role in efforts to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons through further progress in nuclear powers' nuclear disarmament, upholding and strengthening nuclear nonproliferation arrangements.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi attended an overnight retreat of the Prime Minister's Commission on Japan's Goals in the Twenty-first Century, headed by Dr. Hayao Kawai, Director General of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. The retreat was held at a hotel in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture. In his address to the commission members on August 6, the Prime Minister said, "I define the current period as the era of modern Japan's Third Reform, following the reforms after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and after World War II," and emphasized the boldness the reforms will entail. He also said, "I declare that it is one of my sincere commitments, not confined to the Obuchi Cabinet, to make Japan conceptualize its future direction and ideals with the help of the distinguished members. " The agenda of the retreat included a plenary meeting attended by the Prime Minister and discussions by the commission's five subcommittees.
Fifty "budding reporters" chosen from among elementary and middle school pupils in Okinawa Prefecture paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Prime Minister's official residence. The Okinawa "budding reporter" program, which aims to expand exchange with children in other parts of Japan, has been held during summer vacation every year since 1962. The Prime Minister told the youngsters, "I hope seeing other parts of Japan with your own eyes will deepen your interest in conditions on the main islands." A second-year pupil at Ozato Village Middle School, speaking on behalf of the group, said, "Thank you for deciding to hold next year's Group of Eight summit in Okinawa. Please do everything you can for Okinawa's development."
On the fifty-fourth anniversary of the end of World War II, the annual government-sponsored Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead was held in Nippon Budokan Hall in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. The approximately 6,500 people attending, including members of families of the war dead, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and representatives of various walks of life, prayed for the repose of the more than 3 million war dead. In his address the Prime Minister said, "We are entrusted with the important duty of reflecting on the past with humility, telling the next generation about the tragedy of war and the many precious lives sacrificed, and establishing lasting peace so that the calamity of war will never be repeated in the international community."
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi was presented with the first set of the Twentieth Century Museum series of postage stamps issued by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications at the Prime Minister's official residence. The Prime Minister, a keen philatelist, heads the Philatelist Parliamentarians Club.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi presented Prime Minister's commendations to individuals and groups that had made outstanding contributions to the National Greening Campaign at a ceremony in the large hall of the Prime Minister's official residence. The National Greening Campaign is carried out under the auspices of the Liaison Council for Greening. The council, which has gained national participation, promotes afforestation in keeping with local conditions. Two individuals, 13 groups, four schools, and five local government bodies recommended by relevant ministries and agencies received commendations.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi held a "dialogue gathering" with school pupils, called "Summer Vacation Talk with the Prime Minister, " at the Prime Minister's official residence. A total of 47 children from the fifth year of elementary school through the third year of middle school, one from each prefecture or prefectural equivalent, were invited. The question-and-answer session held in the press conference room featured typical children's questions, such as "What are you most afraid of?" and "What do you think of Diet members dozing off?" but also hard-hitting questions about recently passed legislation in connection with the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation and tougher measures to combat organized crime. The Prime Minister related how U.S. President Bill Clinton had decided he wanted to be president someday as a high school student, when he had shaken hands with President John F. Kennedy, and said, "Shaking hands with me, I hope you'll all work hard, whether it's to become prime minister or to follow some other walk of life." Responding to the final question, on his feelings about his hometown, the Prime Minister said, "I hope you'll all treasure your hometowns even as grownups." The gathering ended with a commemorative photograph.
A youth delegation from the Russian region of Sakhalin paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Prime Minister's official residence. The visit was arranged by the Japan-Russia Youth Exchange Center (also known as the Obuchi-Yeltsin Center), which was established in May this year on the basis of the agreement between the Prime Minister and President Boris Yeltsin of Russia reached in Moscow last November to dramatically expand Japan-Russia human exchange at the grass-roots level. The Prime Minister told the delegation, "I hope seeing Japan as it really is will deepen your understanding." Svetlana Korneeva, a teacher of Japanese at Sakhalin State University ,replied, "I've learned a lot from coming into contact with Japan's culture, economy, and traditions. I intend to keep studying the Japanese language."
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, together with Economic Planning Agency Director General Taichi Sakaiya and others, visited the sites of the 2005 World Exposition, Japan (EXPO 2005), at Kaisho no Mori, Seto, and Aichi Youth Park, Nagakute, in Aichi Prefecture. Looking out over Kaisho no Mori from the roof of one of the buildings of Aichi Prefectural University, located in Nagakute, the Prime Minister said, "We must make the exposition a success. I look forward to attending the opening ceremony."
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Economic Planning Agency Director General Taichi Sakaiya attended a meeting with citizens in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, to discuss Japan's future. About 1,100 people living in and around Nagoya took part in the meeting, held in a Nagoya hotel. The Prime Minister enthusiastically exchanged views with a company manager, a bank employee, a homemaker, and people in other walks of life, as well as a middle school student and a university student, regarding the future to which Japan should aspire. The Prime Minister reiterated his determination to make modern Japan's Third Reform, following those after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and after World War II, a success and to lay the groundwork for a twenty-first-century Japan that would continue to be affluent and would enjoy even greater respect from the world.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi visited the village of Yamada, Toyama Prefecture, known as "PC Village" because it has loaned personal computers free of charge to about 320 households, more than 70% of the total. The Prime Minister chatted with children using computers in the village's information center and talked with elderly people via picture phone.
Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, together with Minister of Education Akito Arima, visited the Super Kamiokande water Cerenkov detector at Kamioka Observatory, part of the University of Tokyo's Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, located in Kamioka, northern Gifu Prefecture. The 50, 000-ton water Cerenkov detector of Super Kamiokande (Super Kamioka Neutrino Detection Experiment), constructed 1, 000 meters underground in a disused mine, is used for research in cosmic particles. The Prime Minister, wearing a hard hat, viewed the huge water Cerenkov detector and other equipment and questioned researchers keenly about their work.