Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 12, 2010)
The opinions and materials contained herein do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Government of Japan.

In this issue

1. New Year's Press Conference by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

2. New Year's Message from the Ambassador

3. New Year's Day Editorials Discuss Prospects for 2010

4. Japanese Government Aims for 3% Annual Growth up to FY 2020

5. Japanese Astronaut Heads to Space Station Aboard Russian Soyuz



New Year's Press Conference by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

Prime Minister Hatoyama
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (Cabinet Public Relations Office photo)

-Hatoyama Cabinet
January 4 , 2010

Opening Remarks by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama

Happy New Year to all of you. First, let me express my hope that 2010 will prove to be a wonderful year for you all.

Last year, the Japanese people brought about a once- in-a-century change of government. We regard this not as an end, but as a beginning. In place of a politics in which everything is left to bureaucrats, we intend to introduce a new kind of politics in which the people are the protagonists. Thanks to your support, we were able to bring about a change of government in order to implement such bold reforms on a once-in-a-century scale. Now we begin this task in earnest. More than a hundred days have passed since the change of government. I suspect there is much to be desired [concerning the current one]. We have been going through trial and error and have faced a number of difficulties. I believe, however, that the public senses that politics has begun to change.

As Prime Minister...

Read more

Back to top


New Year's Message

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
(© MOFA)

-Ichiro Fujisaki
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of Japan to the United States of America

With the hope that this year will be one that fulfills your hopes and desires, I wish all of you a Happy New Year.

Looking back, last year was certainly a year of change. A birth of new administration under President Obama was a historical event. Japan also saw political change, with the emergence of the Hatoyama administration.

As a result, there were three "firsts" in the Japan-U.S. relations in 2009.

One is that Hillary Clinton visited Japan in her first official overseas trip as Secretary of State.

Second, then Prime Minister Aso became the first foreign leader to be invited to the White House by President Obama.

Third, President Obama made Japan as the initial destination on his first Asian trip.

I had an opportunity to be at all these meetings which helped me realize how the U.S. values its relationship with Japan. In July, Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress visited Hawaii and were very welcomed there. I was moved to see how graciously they treated the people they encountered.

As you know, we have an issue regarding U.S. military bases in Japan between our two countries. Of course, this is important, and we need to continue working toward a solution. Nevertheless, I am optimistic about the future of the Japan-U.S. relations. There are many reasons for my optimism: we share the basic values of democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights, we have the will and capability to lead the global economy as the largest and the second largest economies in the world, and we need to cooperate on many critical issues including nuclear nonproliferation, energy, and the environment. Ultimately, the most important fact is that our two peoples trust each other. According to the recent opinion polls by the Cabinet Office and others, 80% of both Americans and Japanese citizens trust and have positive feelings toward each other.

The friendship between Japan and the U.S. has been augmented a great deal by the efforts of the 400,000 Japanese citizens living in the United States, who are in their own way serving as "Ambassadors." This fact cannot be denied. I hope they continue to play a significant role as a bridge in order to strengthen the friendship between Japan and the U.S. From this point of view, we would continue to have our Embassy and Consulates General serve as an open and valuable resource for all Japanese citizens living in the United States.

This year, there are three significant events that will require close cooperation between Japan and the United States. First, 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan. Since 1960, this Treaty has served as the basis of the Japan-U.S. alliance. Second, the year 2010 also marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the U.S. in 1860. It was in 1860 that more than 80 Japanese diplomats visited Hawaii, San Francisco, Washington, and New York. Third, this year's APEC summit will take place in Yokohama, which will offer our two countries the opportunity to work together in tackling various global challenges, while aiming at the APEC summit that is going to take place in Hawaii next year.

I pray that this year is going to be a good year for both Japan and the U.S.

Back to top



New Year's Day Editorials Discuss Prospects for 2010

new years image

Maneki-neko (beckoning cats) beckon in good
luck for the coming year.( © RodolfoCLIX )

-FPCJ, No. 0979
January 4, 2010

On January 1 Japan's major newspapers all carried lengthy New Year's Day editorials discussing prospects for 2010. The Yomiuri Shimbun editorial stated that "Without a national strategy, Japan will be left adrift" and emphasized "political leaders' responsibility for guiding the nation through this critical time." Focusing mainly on the national security problem, the Asahi Shimbun editorial questioned the meaning of the Japan-US alliance and commented, ". . . this is a good opportunity to discuss from a long-term perspective the importance and difficulty of maintaining the alliance." Describing 2010 as a year of reconstruction, the Mainichi Shimbun editorial asserted, ...

Read more

Back to top


Japanese Government Aims for 3% Annual Growth up to FY 2020

(image) economic growth

-FPCJ, No. 0980
January 5 , 2010

The basic policy for a new growth strategy announced by the Japanese government on December 30 envisages an average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3% in nominal terms and 2% in real terms in the period up to fiscal 2020. To achieve this goal, the basic policy selected six key sectors as strategic fields: (1) environment and energy, (2) health service, (3) Asia, (4) tourism and community revitalization, (5) science and technology, and (6) employment and human resources buildup.

If the growth strategy programs materialize, the government says, Japan's nominal GDP will rise to around...

Read more

Back to top


Japanese Astronaut Heads to Space Station Aboard Russian Soyuz

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi (© JAXA)

-FPCJ, No. 0977
December 28, 2009

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, off for an extended stay in space at the International Space Station (ISS), was launched on December 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz successfully docked with the ISS early on December 23. During Noguchi's approximately five-month stay aboard the ISS, he will conduct space experiments in...

Read more

Back to top


To subscribe to Japan Now, the Embassy's e-newsletter,
please click here to fill out our online form.