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Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.37 (July 12, 2007) ============================================================

"Hello, this is Shinzo Abe" -- Message from the Prime Minister
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Shinzo AbeProfile Japanese

A Sense of Professionalism

Hello, this is Shinzo Abe.

The heavy rains that hit the Kyushu and Shikoku regions last week caused the total or partial collapse of houses, flooding, landslides and other damage.

I express my condolences to those whose family lost their lives in this disaster and extend my deepest sympathy to all those affected. The Government will continue to stay alert and be prepared for disasters.

On the problems surrounding the nation's pension records, I have promised that the Government's checks will continue until the very last record has been verified and that we will ensure that everyone receives their full pension. The Government is steadily moving, step by step, to resolve these problems.

A third-party committee to check pension records has compiled a list of criteria for making fair judgments on payments.

To cite just a few examples of the various problems at hand, we understand that there are cases in which families have been paying their pensions together and the payment records have been lost only for one family member. There are other cases where pension contributions were collected through neighborhood associations and payment records are missing for just one person.

Even if they do not have receipts, we are asking people to bring anything that may help to verify payments, such as bankbooks, payment slips and household account books. Even if no such documentation is available, the committee will review cases and make a judgment from the standpoint of the people, listening carefully to their stories.

Regional committees of the third-party committee will be launched in 50 locations nationwide, and acceptance of applications from the public will begin as early as next week.

An inspection committee led by former Prosecutor-General Kunihiro Matsuo is thoroughly investigating the causes of the current problems and the locus of responsibility.

I will ensure that notifications of pension record verification results reach the hands of the people starting from this December, and that everyone receives notification by October of next year.

Yesterday, I visited the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where I was informed that many companies and other establishments will be setting up consultation services to answer questions on this issue with the cooperation of certified social insurance labor consultants. This is indeed a collective national endeavor that goes beyond the efforts of government alone.

I will continue to do everything in my power to resolve the problems with the firm determination to carry out all the actions that need to be taken.

Overseas, Ichiro Suzuki was awarded the title of MVP at the Major League All-Star Game. I am sure everyone, not only the audience at the ballpark but all the people watching the game on TV as well, was dazzled by Ichiro's inside-the-park home run and his dynamic sprint to home plate.

At the press conference the day before the game, Ichiro said, "The most important thing to me is that the people watching the game enjoy it." His words speak to his immense professionalism, and his fine play truly lived up to his words.

No matter what the circumstance may be, Ichiro never loses sight of what it is that he is supposed to do, and he always achieves nothing less. I am inspired by his sense of professionalism.

[What's New in Government Internet TV]

- Prime Minister's Week in Review (June 25 to July 1, 2007)

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- Interim Report of the Inspection Committee on the Pension Record Problems (July 10, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe said, "I would like the Committee to further investigate the causes of these problems and clarify the responsibility."

- "A Wish for a Cool Earth"
Tanabata Festival Event Marking One Year until the 2008 Hokkaido Toyako Summit (July 7, 2007)
In connection with the July 7 Tanabata festival, local elementary school representatives showed the Prime Minister their wishes written on strips of paper.

- Press Conference by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
After the Closing of the 166th Session of the Diet (July 5, 2007)

- Liaison Council between the Government and Ruling Parties on the Reconstruction of Pension Operations (July 5, 2007)
Prime Minister Abe spoke about restoring trust in the pension system and the establishment of a new system for pension record management.

[Abe Cabinet E-mail Magazine]

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General Editor: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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