What's up around Prime Minister

Friday October 3
"Women's Session" Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Upper House

Women volunteers participated in a festive "women's session" of the House of Councilors at its plenary session hall to mark the 50th anniversary of the House Oct.4.
On its eve, they threw a party elsewhere in central Tokyo, in which Prime Minister R. Hashimoto took part with Lower House Speaker Juro Saitoh.
Before the all-women crowd of "Parliament members," Hashimoto said jokingly:
"In the event of a crisis, women team up firmly -- as in my family. Their rule of decision by majority vote always beats me."

Monday October 6
Archbishop Cipriani Visits Hashimoto

Prime Minister R. Hashimoto met at his official residence Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani who mediated the critical bargaining between Peruvian terrorists in Japanese Embassy and President Fujimori a year ago and ex-Foreign Minister Francisco Tudela who was taken hostage then.
The two visitors responded to the invitation Hashimoto made as a token of thanks when he visited Peru last May.
In their talk, Hashimoto noted that "Japanese will never forget Mr.Cipriani's great role and Mr.Tudela's leadership among hostages."

Thursday October 9
"Decentralization Cmte." Commends Hashimoto

The "Committee on Decentralization of Power" (Chairman Ken Moroi) working on Government reform to make it slim presented to Prime Minister Hashimoto its 4th compilation of recommendations focusing on relegating power to local autonomies.
That followed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd recommendation packages the Committee made since December, 1996. The 4th this time virtually concludes its laborious work.
These formal suggestions call for an end to "delegate jobs" that have made up 80% of local governments' workload, as well as limits to Central Government's various subsidies.
Hereafter, these ideas will be implemented to realize a "decentralized Japanese society."

Thursday October 9
Hashimoto Meets Thai Premier

Prime Minister Hashimoto met Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh at his official residence. In view of the troubled economy of Thailand, Hashimoto offered expanded economic cooperation as by a $1 billion foreign trade insurance over the next 2 years and also pledged to dispatch some 1,000 Japanese engineers to Thailand to help its industrial restructuring.
Hashimoto then asked Chavalit to ease Thai regulations against foreign capital inroad. Chavalit expressed a positive reply.

Friday October 10
Hashimoto Enjoys Opera at New State-Run Theater

A new Government-run theater has been inaugurated among the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, Tokyo and the gala curtain was raised on Oct.10.

While the older theater (also in Tokyo) is devoted to classic Japanese performing arts, this one is for opera, ballet, theatricals and other modern stage arts. It consists of an opera theater which seats 1,814 people, a medium-size theater for 1,038 and a small one for 468.
The show of the day was "TAKERU," the story of legendary founder of the country of Yamato (Yamato Takeru-no-Mikoto) which derives from the oldest Japanese literature.
The show was preceded by Prime Minister Hashimoto's congratulatory speech, and among the audience of Act 3 through the end of the show were Emperor and Empress.

Sunday October 12
Hashimoto Meets Leaders of Southern Pacific Region

The Foreign Ministry hosted for the first time a "summit" of 16 South Pacific countries including Australia and New Zealand (SPF) in Tokyo.
Nations' leaders discussed continued Japanese aids to small island countries, stronger multilateral cooperation for UN-led sustainable development programs, and deeper people-to-people exchange in business, education, tourism, cultural activities, etc., declaring a joint communique at the close of the forum.
After day was done, Hashimoto treated those visitors to a dinner at the Guest Palace at Akasaka.

Wednesday October 15
Hashimoto Talks with NATO Chief Secretary

Prime Minister Hashimoto and Chief Secretary of NATO, Javier Solana Madariaga met at Premier's official residence and, in common recognition that security in Europe and that in Asian-Pacific Region influence each other, agreed to have closer contacts for exchange of opinions.
Regarding the May, 1997, agreement between NATO and Russia for a new security framework in Europe, Hashimoto noted that "it is important for Russia to be more firmly involved in the peace keeping institution of the international community."

Thursday October 16
Hashimoto Meets Hongkong Chief Executive

Welcoming the Chief Executive of Hongkong, Tung Chee Hwa , at his official residence, Prime Minister Hashimoto positively evaluated the status of Hongkong after its handover to Chinese rule:
"I once had some apprehension about the so-called dual system within a country but that has ebbed after my visit to China this past September."
He also opined about Hongkong's potential and roles for Chinese economic growth:
"Hongkong owes itself the mission of contributing its knowhow on market economy to help advance Chinese economy markedly."
The Hongkong leader said in reply:
"We think we can contribute to mainland Chinese efforts at evolution. Prosperous mainland will benefit Hongkong, too."

Wednesday October 22
Nation's "Rice Girls" Pay Courtesy to Hashimoto

Eight p.r. girls from the country's major rice growing districts visited the Parliament building and presented Prime Minister Hashimoto 4 big balls of "Koshi" brand rice.
The event was part of some MPs' campaign to help sell more rice to the nation in an age when rice consumption slumps.
Given a rice ball 4 times larger than a normal size, Hashimoto took a bite saying,
"I know rice grown in Okayama is good!" Recalling his memory as a kendo trainee in college, he added:
"I used to empty 4 or 5 bowls of rice then."

Thursday October 23
Hashimoto Meets El Salvador President

Hashimoto met President Dr. Armando Calderon Sol of El Salvador at a Tokyo hotel.
He recognized the Central American country's steady economic progress following its ceasefire in 1992. He then said that Japan will hereafter switch gradually from gratuitous financial aid to loans.
President Calderon Sol expressed thanks "on behalf of my nation" that "our economy could not grow so smoothly without Japanese aid." But he also gave a mild note of defense against that "shift" that Hashimoto suggested.

Thursday October 23
Hashimoto Meets Italian Premier

In a meeting with Prime Minister Hashimoto at his official residence, Italian Prime Minister Mr. Romano Prodi expressly said that the Italian idea for revamping UN is to increase the number of non-P5 members in the Security Council and differs from Japanese policy, adding, however, that "we never mean thereby to hurt the friendly relationship between the two countries."
Hashimoto in an answer said:
"We understand your meaning well but actually your lobbying in UN has been making Japanese position difficult."

Friday October 24
Hashimoto Meets German Deputy Prime Minister

German Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Klaus Kinkel met Prime Minister Hashimoto at his offcial residence and gave him a critical opinion on the target figure that US announced for reduction of green-house gas emission at the Kyoto Conference on global warming.
Hashimoto as the leader of the host country promised utmost efforts to reach a global agreement but simultaneously requested a flexible action on the ground that "despite our endeavor to change people's life styles and renovate industrial technology, we cannot chalk up unattainable agenda."

Saturday October 25
Hashimoto Mourns Dead Defense Troopers

Prime Minister Hashimoto attended the "Memorial ceremony for Defense Forces servicemen who died during 1997." In his speech of condolence he said:
"They demonstrated to the nation their pride and sense of mission and commitment by sacrificing their lives. We shall make certain that they never died in vain. We will inherit their will and keep up our defense responsibilities."
The number of deaths among Self-Defense Forces in 1997 was 15, 11 more than a year ago, due to accidents in ranger training, amphibious drill and jettison from transport planes.

Sunday October 26
Hashimoto Inspects Escort Fleet

Ceremonial inspection of Self-Defense Force seaborne fleet was held in Sagami Bay off the coast of Kanagawa Prefecture.
Prime Minister Hashimoto as commander in chief went aboard escort ship "Shirane" and observed fleets of other boats and echelons of aircraft.
Touching on the new "guidelines" for Japan-US security cooperation in his formal speech then, Hashimoto stressed that "the whole Government tries to maintain an effective defense power as by legislation and will make efforts as ever to get understanding from the nation and neighboring countries."
The fleet inspection this time was the 21st of its kind and the first in 3 years (since1994). Forty-six ships chugged their way and 47 airplanes flew around.
The event organized by all the 3 armed services (land, sea and air) was also joinned by a Defense Force company of music makers.

Tuesday October 30
Hashimoto Puts Head Together with Spanish Premier

Prime Minister Hashimoto met his Spanish counterpart, Mr.Jose Maria Aznar Lopez, at his official residence and reached an accord for stronger political and cultural bondage.
Mr.Aznar referred to ASEM where Asian and European political leaders rally and expressed Spain's "positive attitude towards ASEM to bring the two continents closer."
Hashimoto was "pleased" and vowed that he will relay Spain's good will to Asian leaders at the ASEAN summit in coming December.

Back to The Top Page