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Reflections at the Beginning of a New Year

January 11, 2013

My warmest wishes for the New Year.

Our party has again been entrusted to administer the government of the nation, the result of so many of my like-minded colleagues being accorded seats in the Lower House elections held in December 2012. We are deeply grateful, yet we believe that this victory came about not because our Liberal Democratic Party has genuinely regained the trust of the electorate, but because the people rose up to put an end to three years of tremendous disappointment. The people have judged that successive clumsily-run administrations led by the Democratic Part of Japan have damaged national interests, and that the DPJ's erroneous interpretation of "political leadership" has led to confusion and paralysis in the political realm.

The will of the people has been made clear. Yet mindful of the fact that our LDP is also under harsh scrutiny, we intend to throw ourselves body and soul into rebuilding a Japan in which we can all feel pride and honor.

Following the election, I was selected to become the 96th Prime Minister of Japan. When I regard the current state of the nation I am to serve, however, I do not think it an overstatement to say that we are now facing a crisis in almost every area, whether we look at the economy, diplomatic and security issues, educational policies, or the reconstruction of the Tohoku region of Japan. I believe that the greatest mission we have been entrusted with is to take the mandate of the people to our hearts, pull together all of our resources and strengths, and strive to overcome these numerous crises facing our nation.

In order to revive the economy and free Japan from its current deflationary situation and the negative effects of a high yen, we will pursue a threefold approach--we will focus on monetary policies, fiscal policies, and growth strategies. In the area of diplomacy and security issues, we will repair and strengthen the important ties that are the heart of the US-Japan alliance, thereby securing peace and safety in East Asia. After regaining our ability to implement strong diplomatic policies, we will work to improve relations with various nations, and secure the protection of our territorial lands, airspace, and waters. Education, which deteriorated under DPJ-led administrations, will be revitalized so that we are able to regain the high levels of education as in the past. We will accelerate reconstruction activities in the devastated Tohoku regions by aligning ourselves more deeply with the everyday lives of the people in this area, and by ensuring that the national government assumes responsibility for making decisions and issuing directives that truly meet the needs of these regions.
Each of the topics described above are of vital importance and present numerous difficult challenges, yet we are determined to confront each and every problem head on, and to implement initiatives as speedily as possible.

As the 'party of responsibility', the Liberal Democratic Party is resolved to rebuild Japan. We possess a wide diversity of talented people who can effectively implement the policies that will be required. Building on the experiences and beliefs our party has developed over its long history, we are determined to do our utmost to regain a Japan in which we can feel honor, and together with the people of this country, to greet a new dawn for our nation.

With my prayers for your continued success and good health, I offer my very best wishes for a happy new year.

Shinzo Abe,
President of the Liberal Democratic Party
January 1, 2013

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