Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

I invited to the Prime Minister's Office last night the medalists and Olympic diploma recipients at the London Olympics and I presented them with certificates of commendation and commemorative gifts. Perhaps it was because they had just finished the tremendous parade in the Ginza where they saw for themselves the great number of people who have been rooting for them, but in that relaxed atmosphere I saw their faces filled with a sense of accomplishment.

I had prepared hand-written message cards for the gold medalists, which I handed to them individually. While I normally would have liked to have handed these to all the athletes, I could only let out a truly joyful cry at having the greatest number of medal recipients and the greatest number of Olympic diploma recipients ever in our nation's history.

While the Japanese National Team did achieve stellar results, it was not merely their record that was great.

An approach to competition of holding fast to principles of fair play; unrivaled teamwork; the spirit of never giving up. I believe that such earnest and refreshing performance as athletes, including by those who regrettably did not receive a medal or diploma, both encouraged and moved us.

Although the deliberations on the bills regarding the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems reached their peak around the time when the Olympics were being broadcast daily, at times when I didn't have deliberations from early in the morning, I too had the television on until late at night, watching as many competitions as I could and cheering the team on in front of the screen.

This is a time once only every four years when a large number of our fellow Japanese share in this excitement and inspiration. I did so because I too wanted to witness the same scenes, breathe the same air, and share in the same emotions as all of you.

You know, we have been watching the success of athletes who have participated in the Olympics multiple times, including hammer thrower Mr. Koji Murofushi and wrestlers Ms. Saori Yoshida and Ms. Kaori Icho, for more than a decade. For table tennis players "Ai-chan" - Ms. Ai Fukuhara - and Ms. Kasumi Ishikawa, I even somehow feel like a friendly older "uncle" in the neighborhood who has been watching their progress since they were very young. I can no longer think of the athletes' every move on the world stage as unrelated to myself.

The athletes' performance has brought encouragement to the disaster-stricken areas while delivering dreams and inspiration all throughout the country.

I would like for this thrill that they felt in London to be felt in common here in Tokyo as well and to be shared throughout Japan in the future. I hope that the athletes who had such outstanding performances in London also shine on the winners' podium in Tokyo in 2020. I am now dreaming of such days ahead. In order to make such a future a reality, we will continue to work to the fullest on the Olympic bidding activities to bring the Games to Tokyo and on preparations for the support system for the competition.

The Paralympics will begin from the 29th. I hope that people continue to root for our participating athletes.

The events that people share with others living in the same age are not limited to the Olympics. It is truly regrettable that in the afterglow of the Olympics, a festival of peace, there have arisen the situations of the illegal landing of foreign nationals on the Senkaku Islands and the landing of President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea on the island of Takeshima. In order to respond resolutely, on the 17th and today, I held a meeting of the relevant ministerial council on each of these issues, where we discussed the subsequent responses to be taken.

I am devoting myself daily to making politics something that is able to bring dreams and hopes and encouragement to the public.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
August 21, 2012

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