－Message from the Prime Minister Taro Aso－
I am pleased to announce that the formulation of the fiscal 2009 budget and of the second fiscal 2008 supplementary budget has just been completed.
These budgets are budgets to defend people's daily lives.
The world is on the verge of a once-in-a-century recession.
Abnormal economic circumstances demand exceptional responses.
By taking bold measures, we aim to extricate ourselves from this recession the earliest of all countries.
In October we passed the first [fiscal 2008] supplementary budget.
Following that, the specifics of the second supplementary budget [government proposal] were determined.
And today, the fiscal 2009 budget [government proposal] has been completed.
We will proceed with the three sets of measures in a seamless manner, as if they were a three-stage rocket.
The total scale of the three packages reaches 75 trillion yen.
The total of fiscal spending and tax reductions amounts to 12 trillion yen.
Twelve trillion yen is equivalent to 2 percent of gross domestic production (GDP).
In the United States this is 1.1 percent and in Europe 1.5 percent, meaning that the scale of these measures is among the very largest of measures undertaken by any country.
First and foremost come measures to save employment.
The most pressing issue of this year-end period is people losing their homes.
Employment-promotion housing facilities have already begun to accommodate such people,
Companies that extend regular employment contracts to temporary staff, students whose tentative employment offers have been cancelled
Furthermore, a fund of 400 billion yen will be established for the purpose of creating new jobs.
The fund would nurture businesses in future-oriented fields, such as in the areas of nursing care or catering services for the elderly.
Since assuming the office of Prime Minister,
I have always worked according to the same system:
Throughout this process, there have been twists and turns, which have led some people to suggest that I might be losing my grip.
Ultimately, however, I have been able to bring to fruition everything that I have instructed,
First, with regard to the region-friendly one trillion yen,
Second, the pension system must be made stable.
Third, we are reaching the limit of curbing increases of social security expenditures
As such, we will provide finance of 220 billion yen for social security expenditures, by rationalizing expenditures of the coming fiscal year
Fourth, stable funding resources for the social security system must be secured so that it can give peace of mind to the public now and in the future.
The decision was thereby taken to take necessary legal measures in advance so as to ensure that
I will present these budgets to the regular session of the Diet, which is scheduled to be convened on 5 January.
The early passage and execution of these budgets will constitute the best possible economic countermeasures.
This will determine the future of Japan's economy and, indeed, the future of Japan as a nation.
The Diet's ability to take decisions and its political will and resolve will be tested during the next Diet session.
The question is whether or not the Diet can defend people's daily lives amidst this economic crisis.
The government and the ruling coalition have formulated what we consider the best possible proposal.
We are certainly willing to discuss any good proposals that the opposition parties may have.
However, there is simply no time for wasteful delay before reaching a final decision.
I will do everything in my power to defend the daily lives of the people.
I am determined to see this crisis through. I will take on this crisis, leading the way without fear of criticism.
I ask the Japanese people for their understanding and support.
This is the final e-mail magazine of the year.
Let us remain "strong and bright."
I will close by extending my very best wishes to everyone for a very happy New Year.