Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

Yesterday (the 13th), I delivered a policy speech to the Diet for the first time. Only my speech to the House of Representatives was broadcast on TV, but I delivered one at the House of Councillors as well. I therefore finished a total of two speeches, at roughly 35 minutes each.

As I said during that speech, the issues that the Noda Cabinet needs to be engaged in are self-evident: "overcoming the dual crises" of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the global economic crisis. We will also "restore a Japan that has pride and hope." In a phrase, this is recovering our "national credibility." Then, through "implementation," we will spare no efforts in leading to "results."

In the text of my policy speech I used an expression that many in the public thought it was a typing error. I used the expression "seishin sei-i" in explaining how I will conduct myself as Prime Minister, and this is normally written with Japanese characters to mean "wholeheartedly." I however chose to use different characters in rendering this expression, using instead the characters originally used by the statesman Katsu Kaishu―"sincere spirit and just intent"―in order to express my current thinking more aptly. Taking this approach of "sincere spirit and just intent," I will "amass and concentrate Japan's potential." This is my sincere wish, and what I am resolved to do.

In fact, the policy speech to the Diet is not an occasion in which you can get a feeling for the atmosphere and insert ideas on the spot or express yourself as you like. The text is approved by the Cabinet in advance and printed copies must be handed out at the Diet beforehand, so you cannot deviate from the prepared text even the slightest as you deliver it. Not being able to modify my approach as I looked at the faces in the audience, I felt it was a little inconvenient to deliver a "speech" of this kind.

Thinking of the form the Diet should take, using dialogue to work towards agreement, I carried on until the speeches were finished.

In the introduction, I made an appeal to the public, stating three times "there are things we should not forget."

I spoke of Ms. Miki Endo and her disaster prevention messages over the radio, and the mayor of the town of Nachi-Katsuura, Mr. Shinichi Teramoto, who impressed me deeply when I met him in person, and the words of a play by high school students that moved me when I watched in on a DVD given to me by Mr. Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima Prefecture. Rather than ride upon the words of great persons in world history or upon "borrowed" words arising from abstruse historical events or famous sayings, I wove in some episodes that truly moved me deeply, hoping to communicate heart to heart with the public. I would like to pray once more for the repose of the souls of Ms. Endo, Mayor Teramoto's family, and the others who have lost their lives, while also extending my sincerest sympathies to all those who have been affected by the disaster.

The play created by Fukushima high school students, from which I quoted the very striking line, "To see our grandchildren in Fukushima, to see our great-grandchildren in Fukushima, and to end our days in Fukushima" is one that is truly moving. I've inserted a link to the video here* and I would be very pleased if as many people as possible watched it.

Query sessions by representatives of political parties will continue at the Diet until the day after tomorrow (the 16th). Next week I will make a speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. I will express Japan's appreciation to the international community for the assistance we received in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami disaster, and demonstrate Japan's orientation as we work vigorously towards recovery and reconstruction.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
September 14, 2011
*Links to a YouTube video (only in Japanese)

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