What's up around the Prime Minister

Monday, July 5
Prime Minister Observes Job Skills Training Center

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi observed the Lifelong Human Resources Development Center, in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, and spoke to trainees. Some 160 people who had lost white-collar jobs were undergoing training in skills to facilitate reemployment. After touring the center the Prime Minister told trainees that reviving the economy and creating employment opportunities were the greatest challenges facing Japan and said he hoped training at the center would lead quickly to reemployment.

Monday, July 5
Russian Students Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister

Fifty Russian university students invited to Japan as the first project of the Japan-Russia Youth Exchange Center paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Prime Minister's official residence. Establishment of the center had been decided in talks between the Prime Minister and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the fall of 1998. The Prime Minister told the students, "I hope you will experience Japanese society and culture firsthand and make Japanese friends," and presented each one with a Japanese-Russian dictionary.

Monday, July 5
Economic Council Submits Economic Plan to Prime Minister

The Economic Council, an advisory body to the Prime Minister, met at the Prime Minister's official residence and submitted an economic report for Japan until about 2010 to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. The report, "Ideal Socioeconomy and Policies for Economic Rebirth," comprises a preface, "To the Era of Knowledge," and three parts: "Value of Formulating 'Ideal Socioeconomy in the Twenty-first Century and Policies for Economic Rebirth,'" "Ideal Socioeconomy in the Twenty-first Century," and "Government Policies for Economic Rebirth "

Tuesday, July 6
Prime Minister Meets with Australian Prime Minister

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met at the Prime Minister's official residence with John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, who was in Japan on an official visit from July 5 to July 9. The two leaders confirmed that Japan and Australia had become real partners in the Asia-Pacific region and agreed to further strengthen their cooperative relationship as global partners.

Thursday, July 8, to Saturday, July 10
Prime Minister Visits China

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi made an official visit to the People's Republic of China from July 8 to July 10. He met with Premier Zhu Rongji on the morning of July 9 and with President Jiang Zemin and National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng that afternoon.

Saturday, July 10, to Sunday, July 11
Prime Minister Visits Mongolia

Having completed his official visit to China (see preceding item), in the afternoon of July 10 Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi flew to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, where he met with Prime Minister Janlavin Narantsatsralt and President Natsagiin Bagabandi.

Thursday, July 22
Prime Minister Attends Ceremony Commemorating Centenary
of Japan's Copyright Law

Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, and other dignitaries attended a ceremony at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, commemorating the centenary of enforcement of Japan's Copyright Law. His Majesty the Emperor, the Prime Minister, House of Representatives Speaker Soichiro Ito, House of Councillors President Juro Saito, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Shigeru Yamaguchi delivered addresses, and commendations were presented to 46 people who had contributed to the development of Japan's copyright system.

Thursday, July 22
Prime Minister Meets with New Zealand Prime Minister

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi met with Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister of New Zealand, at the Prime Minister's official residence. The two leaders confirmed their countries' good bilateral relationship and agreed to further strengthen and expand relations. They also had a candid exchange of views on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the World Trade Organization and confirmed their cooperation to ensure the success of the APEC Ministerial and Leaders' Meetings in Auckland and the new round of multilateral trade talks to be held under WTO auspices.

Tuesday, July 27
Prime Minister Attends Meeting
of Central Disaster Prevention Council

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi attended a meeting in the National Diet Building of the Central Disaster Prevention Council, which he chairs. The meeting adopted a revised version of the Basic Plan for Earthquake Disaster Prevention--the first revision in 20 years--which sets forth measures to be taken in connection with the prediction of and issuing of warnings concerning a major earthquake in the Tokai region west of Tokyo.

The revised Basic Plan aims to enhance measures to deal with a severe earthquake in the Tokai region on the basis of the lessons of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of January 1995. Among the changes are clarification of the roles of disaster-prevention bodies and strengthening of liaison among them, implementation of preparatory measures utilizing information concerning a Tokai earthquake, improvement of evacuation measures, measures to minimize disruption to the daily life of residents outside the evacuation area, enhancement of information transmission and public relations when issuing earthquake warnings, and provision of facilities urgently needed for earthquake disaster prevention.

Tuesday, July 27
Prime Minister Attends First Meeting
of Judicial Reform Council

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi attended the first meeting of the Judicial Reform Council, an advisory body to the Cabinet, at the Prime Minister's official residence. The council is charged with elucidating the role of the judiciary in twenty-first-century Japanese society and considering basic measures necessary for reform of the judicial system and improvement of the judicial infrastucture, including the realization of a judicial system easeiar for people to use Addressing the council, the Prime Minister said, "I ask for your fullest efforts to make Japan's twenty-first-century judicial system more responsive to public expectations, a system that can adequately fulfill its role and function." Professor Koji Sato of Kyoto University was chosen to chair the council.

Thursday, July 29
Young People Taking Part in Northern Youth Exchange Project
Pay Courtesy Call on Prime Minister

Eight young people descended from families that had lived in the Northern Territories of Japan (the islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan, and Habomai, which are occupied by Russia) and taking part in the Northern Youth Exchange Project, including Satomi Shima of Wada Middle School, in Hokkaido's Nemuro City, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi at the Prime Minister's official residence. Greeting the Northern Youth, the Prime Minister said, "Through this experience, I hope that you will carry on the movement for the return of the Northern Territories and that the movement will further broaden." (The Northern Youth also took part in the Kanto-Koshin'etsu Youth Exchange Meeting in Gunma Prefecture on July 31 and August 1.)

Thursday, July 29
Prime Minister Attends Wake for All Nippon Airways
Pilot Killed in Hijack

Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi attended the wake for Mr.Naoyuki Nagashima, the All Nippon Airways pilot killed by a hijacker on July 23, at the Aoyama Funeral Pavilion, Tokyo. Preceding the wake Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka presented a commendation from the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Transport Motoo Hayashi presented a commendation from the Minister of Transport to the late pilot's family.

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