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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02//07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 000784

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DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA
SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07


INDEX:

(1) Editorial: We are concerned about no Cheney-Kyuma meeting

(2) Editorial: Abe, Cheney underline importance of enhanced Japan-US
alliance that requires constant efforts

(3) Consul General Maher meets deputy governor for exchange of views
on Futenma, etc.; Confirms prefecture's stance based on assembly
replies

(4) Interview with former Defense Agency Director General Shigeru
Ishiba on North Korea

(5) Defense Ministry considering setting up PKO center

(6) Examining the Abe administration (Part 2): Keeping appropriate
distance from Kasumigaseki essential

(7) Government, opposition parties engage in heated debate over
social disparity, each side presenting own data

(8) Idea of democratization in China might be an illusion

ARTICLES:

(1) Editorial: We are concerned about no Cheney-Kyuma meeting

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
February 23, 2007

During his visit to Japan, US Vice President Dick Cheney in his
meetings Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso
agreed to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance relationship.

Referring in particular to the six-party talks on North Korea's
nuclear programs, Cheney said that cooperation between Japan and the
United States was "extremely important." Commenting on the abduction
issue, he stated, "Resolving the tragedy of abductees is a common
challenge for Japan and the United States." The vice president also
met with Shigeru Yokota and his wife on Feb. 22 immediately before
he left for Australia. Shigeru Yokota is the representative of the
association of the families of abductees.

At the recent round of the six party talks, agreement was reached
that energy aid would be provided to North Korea in return for the
North's decision to abandon its nuclear programs. Japan's position
is that it will not extend assistance unless progress is made on the
abduction issue. There is the view concerning that if Japan focuses
too much on the abduction issue, it will be isolated from other
six-party members.

Cheney's remark about the abduction issue being a common challenge
for Japan and the US was an expression of his understanding for
Japan's position. The Japan-North Korea working group under the
six-party talks will soon start meeting. It is laudable that Japan
and the United States were able to confirm bilateral cooperation on
the North Korea issue.

The main purpose of the vice president's trip to Japan was to
discuss security issues. However, it is regrettable that a meeting
between the vice president and Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma did not
take place.

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Kyuma criticized the US government's decision to start the war in
Iraq as a "mistake." He also wanted changes in the Japan-US
agreement on building a V-shaped runway on the coast of Camp Schwab
in Nago City as the alternate facility for Futenma Air Station.
Kyuma, commenting on the US, which has not accepted any revisions,
said, "The US should not talk so high-handedly."

The government explained that Cheney's tight schedule did not allow
him to hold a meeting with Kyuma, but Cheney held talks with senior
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) officials, besides the prime minister and
foreign minister. It is only natural to assume that the US
government was unhappy with Kyuma's remarks and thus refused to hold
a meeting between the two.

On the question of the relocation of the US Marine Corps Futenma Air
Station, it is reasonable for the central government to make efforts
to persuade local municipalities to accept the bilateral agreement.
Kyuma's comment, though, lacked consideration for the United
States.

In order to play up the need to strengthen the bilateral alliance
Tokyo and Washington should have aimed at realizing a Cheney-Kyuma
meeting with both sides making a diplomatic effort.

The government has submitted to the Diet a bill to promote the
realignment of US forces in Japan. The bill includes Japan's share
of about six billion dollars for base relocations within Japan, as
well as the move of 8,000 US Marines in Okinawa to Guam. A total
figure has yet to be set. So there are many issues that should have
been discussed with the US.

On the Iraq issue, Abe told Cheney: "Japan also will support Iraq
through Air Self-Defense Force personnel's operations and official
development assistance (ODA) programs." The Iraq Special Measures
Law will expire on July 31. Japan will now begin major debate in the
Diet on whether to extend ASDF operations in Iraq.

There are many security issues, including missile defense (MD), to
address. Cooperation between Japan and the United States in dealing
with the North Korea issue also is crucial. Since Kyuma took over
the defense minister's portfolio, no Japan-US Security Consultative
Committee (2 plus 2) meeting has been held. Such a meeting should be
held as early as possible, and efforts should be made to ease the
strained ties between Tokyo and Washington.

(2) Editorial: Abe, Cheney underline importance of enhanced Japan-US
alliance that requires constant efforts

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
February 23, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Vice President Dick Cheney
highlighted the importance of the Japan-US alliance, possibly
because the bilateral alliance is faced with difficulties.

In his meeting with Cheney, Abe described the Japan-US alliance as
irreplaceable for the world and Asia. Cheney reaffirmed America's
unwavering commitment to the alliance with Japan.

A functional alliance takes ceaseless efforts by the two sides.

This applies to the latest six-party agreement aimed at North

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07

Korea's nuclear dismantlement and the abduction issue.

Some take the view that the United States has softened its stance
toward North Korea and effectively accepted direct dialogue with
that country.

Although North Korea does not possess any missiles capable of
landing in the continental United States, its Rodong missiles target
Japan. There is a huge gap in perceptions of a North Korean nuclear
threat between Japan and the United States. The United States is
busy dealing with the Iraq quagmire.

In Japan, there is skepticism about the United States' commitment to
convince North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and programs.

Abe and Cheney confirmed that close cooperation between Japan and
the United States is extremely important. The two countries must
realize the complete abolition of Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

The six-party agreement stipulates that the United States will begin
work to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of
terror.

Developing nuclear weapons and missiles and abducting foreign
nationals are typical acts of state-sponsored terrorism.

Removing North Korea from the US list of nations sponsoring
terrorism is tantamount to leaving Japan behind.

We assume that Cheney referred to the abduction issue as a common
cause of Japan and the United States with such apprehension in
mind.

Although Cheney expressed his gratitude for the Air Self-Defense
Force's assistance in Iraq, he did not meet Defense Minister Fumio
Kyuma, which was absurd.

Kyuma described Washington's decision to launch the Iraq war as a
mistake. He also said, "The United States must not make high-handed
remarks about the relocation of Futenma Air Station."

Cheney's decision not to see Kyuma apparently reflected Washington's
displeasure.

The Japan-US alliance is vital. Kyuma must watch his tongue so as
not to undermine the nation's interests.

Abe and Cheney also confirmed the need for Japan-US alliance-based
responses to the rapidly changing situation in East Asia. The
alliance must be enhanced further.

(3) Consul General Maher meets deputy governor for exchange of views
on Futenma, etc.; Confirms prefecture's stance based on assembly
replies

RYUKYU SHIMPO
Evening, February 22

US Consul General for Okinawa Kevin Maher this morning called on
Vice Governor of Okinawa Prefecture Zenki Nakazato at the
prefectural building. In their exchange of views, Maher asked
Nakazato about the prefecture's thinking, centered on the governor's
replies during the prefectural assembly session that opened Feb. 21

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about Futenma Air Station's relocation and other issues. It is
unusual for a local representative of a foreign government to ask to
meet a senior prefectural official when the prefectural assembly is
in session.

After the meeting, Nakazato noted: "We exchanged views on the
current situation. He wanted to ask such questions as what issues
would be in the spotlight in the assembly, and what was the
prefectures' thinking in facing the assembly." Nakazato revealed he
had informed Maher that questions have been raised about the Futenma
relocation issue and that he had conveyed the prefecture's thinking
regarding the planned return of bases as part of the realignment of
US forces in Japan.

Nakazato stressed that the prefectural government's perception of an
early relocation of the Futenma airfield is consistent with those of
the Japanese and US governments. The vice governor added that he had
expressed his regret over the issue of the US military's paint
balls, which had been found at a northern Okinawa dam.

According to a senior prefectural official, the request for the
meeting with Nakazato came from the consulate general on Feb. 21.
The official said: "I assume that the United States wants to know
what's going on behind the scenes. I think that means that the
United States is paying attention (to Okinawa's posture)." After the
meeting with Nakazato, Maher simply said: "We exchanged views on a
variety of matters."

(4) Interview with former Defense Agency Director General Shigeru
Ishiba on North Korea

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full
February 23, 2007

Maintaining the framework of the six-party talks on North Korea's
nuclear programs is significant. In the latest six-party talks, an
agreement was reached. But Japan is not totally happy with it
because it stopped short of ensuring that North Korea will eliminate
its nuclear and missile threats. Nevertheless, it is better than an
embattled North Korea getting out of control. I can give a positive
assessment to the fact that the six-party talks were able to
maintain the framework of multilateral talks with North Korea.

North Korea has gone nuclear based on its own unique national
strategy, so there is no reason for it to easily abandon its nuclear
weapons and programs. The Japanese government, too, must come up
with long-term plans and a national strategy for settling the
issue.

In my view, settling the North Korean issue will take at least 10
years. Busy dealing with issues in Middle Eastern countries, such as
Iraq and Iran, the United States' attention to North Korea is
limited and it cannot afford to take military action against the
North.

Given the situation, it would be one approach for the four six-party
members excluding Japan to extend massive energy and food aid to
North Korea to prompt it to open up its heart to the international
community to change its system.

At the same time, Japan needs to make preparations against terrorist
and nuclear attacks. We can learn much from Sweden, a country with
legislation requiring its people to install shelters and conduct

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07

evacuation drills.

Above all, it is important to enhance a relationship of trust with
the United States. Japan is counting on the United States in dealing
with North Korea. Lawmakers of such a country must not criticize
Washington's decision to launch the Iraq war as a mistake. I would
like to see the terms of the Iraq Reconstruction Law and the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law extended and US forces in Japan,
including Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, realigned, as was agreed
upon with the United States.

(5) Defense Ministry considering setting up PKO center

SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
February 23, 2007

In order to smoothly implement the Self-Defense Forces' (SDF)
participation in such overseas missions as the United Nations
peacekeeping operations, the Defense Ministry has launched
full-scale coordination to establish an International Peace
Cooperation Operation Center (also called the PKO Center), which
would conduct training, academic research and public relations
activities. The ministry has decided to set up the PKO Center since
the SDF's international peace cooperation activities (overseas
missions) have become primary duties as the SDF Law was revised,
following the upgrading of the status of the Defense Agency to a
ministry. The ministry aims to include research expenses in a budget
for fiscal 2008. It intends to work out details, including where the
PKO Center should be set up, by the summer.

The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) plans to set up an
international activities education unit, which would be in charge of
education and training for overseas missions and which would come
under the Central Readiness Command, which will be established in
March. The ministry has decided to set up the PKO Center from the
viewpoint that only GSDF personnel will be allowed to participate in
the education unit and that it is necessary to create a
comprehensive training facility jointly operated by the GSDF, the
Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) and the Air Self-Defense Force
(ASDF) in order to immediately respond to requests from the
international community.

The PKO Center will also provide information about the international
situation and language training to promote overseas missions by the
GSDF, MSDF and ASDF in cooperation with the education unit.

A senior Defense Ministry official said: "We want to enhance
academic research and educational activities." So the ministry
intends to use the PKO Center as a research base for peace-building
by receiving trainees from other countries.

The PKO Center will take charge of PR activities regarding the SDF's
overseas missions. At present, ASDF troops are carrying out a
mission for Iraq, MSDF troops in the Indian Ocean, and a PKO unit
made up of mainly GSDF personnel participating in the UN
Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights. However,
the significance of the SDF's overseas missions and how they carry
them out are not known, so the PKO center will conduct PR
activities.

The Defense Ministry intends to bring its idea into being, referring
to Canada's internationally recognized Pearson Peacekeeping Center,
which provides research, education and training regarding

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07

ceasefire-monitoring operations.

In 2002, the International Peace Cooperation Council, a private
advisory organ to then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda,
proposed that the government and private sector jointly create a
system to cultivate human resources. Following the proposal, the
government once looked into the possibility of setting up a similar
PKO center. However, the government was unable to coordinate views,
since the issue related to the Defense Agency, the Cabinet Office
and the National Police Agency, and as a result, it failed to
establish a PKO center.

(6) Examining the Abe administration (Part 2): Keeping appropriate
distance from Kasumigaseki essential

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
February 22, 2007

In late January, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki raised
his voice to Health, Labor, and Welfare Vice Minister Tetsuo Tsuji,
who expressed reluctance to establish a special system to provide
subsidies to repatriated war-displaced Japanese in China. A decision
by the Tokyo District Court on a class-action suit filed by a group
of Japanese orphans left behind in China seeking compensation was
only days away.

In many cases, cash-strapped Japanese orphans are forced onto
welfare once they return to Japan. Shiozaki undertook coordination
at the order of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said: "This is a
matter that concerns human dignity. It must not be put in the
framework of welfare." But the Welfare Ministry raised objections,
saying: "They are not the only ones who are in dire situations
because of the war. The legal welfare system would collapse if a
special case was established."

To reject the ministry's argument, Shiozaki said in the end: "Why
don't you put your opinion on paper and convince the prime
minister?"

Immediately after the Tokyo District Court handed down a decision
against the plaintiffs on Jan. 30, Abe ordered Welfare Minister
Hakuo Yanagisawa to consider relief measures for the war-displaced.
The ministry subsequently announced a plan to come up with specific
measures by summer.

Ever since its inauguration last fall, the Abe cabinet has been
enamored with the idea of decision-making under the leadership of
the Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence). Abe specifically
eyes a system to coordinate and determine government policies in
line with the prime minister's wishes by destroying the conventional
sectionalism-oriented decision making system.

Before the Lower House Budget Committee on Feb. 14, Abe said: "In
reality, I think government agencies forced private firms closely
linked to them to offer lucrative jobs to retiring officials. We are
planning an investigation." Abe's comment conflicted with the
government's view denying such a practice.

Abe's reply was also aimed at a Kantei-led decision-making system.

But some have begun pointing out the possibility of the Abe
cabinet's obsession with a Kantei-led system taking a toll on smooth
policy coordination.

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07


Secretary Yoshiyuki Inoue, who is responsible for coordinating the

SIPDIS
prime minister's schedule, has been strictly restricting senior
officials' access to the prime minister. The aim was to prevent
bureaucrats from pushing ahead with policies to suit their
convenience by trumpeting the prime minister's seal of approval.

A Yomiuri survey found that Prime Minister Abe has individually met
the vice ministers of only five ministries: the Foreign Ministry (18
times); the Finance Ministry (six times); the Defense Ministry (four
times); the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry (one time); and the
Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry (one time).

Government officials are increasingly irritated with the low level
of communication with the prime minister, as seen in a senior
Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry official's complaint:
"Information doesn't reach the prime minister. We don't know how the
prime minister is getting information or what he is thinking
about."

Some ascribe the cabinet's poor policy coordination to Shiozaki, who
is now solely responsible for receiving reports from all government
agencies and has a hand in determining priority policies.

Known as a micromanager in the Kasumigaseki bureaucratic district,
Shiozaki assembles government officials even on holidays to draw up
policies with them.

"There are limits to what one individual can accomplish. Mr.
Shiozaki works so hard and so long that he does not have the time to
perform his main duty of doing the spadework in the government and
the ruling coalition," a Kantei staffer noted.

Unless the mental distance from Kasumigaseki is reviewed, the Abe
administration eying a Kantei-led system might stumble along the
way.

(7) Government, opposition parties engage in heated debate over
social disparity, each side presenting own data

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
February 22, 2007

The issue of social disparity has taken center stage in debate in
the current Diet session. The government and the ruling camp have
engaged in heated debate on the issue by presenting data as evidence
to support their respective argument. The government insists that
the social disparity issue should be redressed by means of economic
growth, while the opposition side asserts that economic growth alone
is insufficient to narrow the income gap. In a public hearing at the
House of Representatives Budget Committee yesterday, too, no
agreement was reached on this issue among experts. It seems
difficult for both sides to find common ground. There might be no
other means but for the voters to make a judgment in casting their
ballots, based on hearing both sides' views.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number
of welfare recipient households, which was 630,000 in fiscal 1997,
topped the one million household mark for the first time in fiscal
2005. In November 2006, the number climbed to 1.08 million
households.

According to a survey of households of two members or more conducted

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02//07

by the banking public relations central committee (with Secretariat
in the Bank of Japan), those who replied they had no savings
accounted for 10.2% in 1997, but this figure doubled in 2003 under
the Koizumi administration. In the 2004 - 2006 period, the
percentage reached the 22% level.

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) lawmaker Naoto Kan criticized
the prime minister's lack of awareness of the social inequality
problem, saying, "I want you to take careful note of the fact." In
response, Prime Minister Abe displayed an indicator showing
improvement in the job market. The unemployment rate dropped from
the 5% level marked from 2001 to 2003 to 4.1% in 2006. The number of
regular workers inched up to 34.08 million on average in the July -
September period in 2006, marking the third consecutive quarterly
rise.

Even so, the rate of regular employees to total workers, which
exceeded three-fourths in 1997, has decreased to about two-thirds,
and instead, irregular workers have increased.

In a public hearing, Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)
Deputy Chief of Secretariat Naoto Omi stated, "As a result of
companies promoting the replacement of employment status as
cost-cutting measures, the income disparity is widening." Keio
University Professor Haruo Shimada defended the government's growth
strategy, remarking, "Reform and growth are indisputably the proper
path the government should take to rectify the existing disparity."

Regarding international comparison on income disparity, the
government and opposition parties picked statistics that help to
support their respective assertions from a report released in 2005
by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD).

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Ozawa picked a list
of relative percentages of those who earn less than half the average
income level. According to this list, Japan ranked 5th among 27
countries, with a 15.3% percentage and far over the average
percentage (10.4% ) of the OECD members. Among the G-7 nations,
Japan comes in second, following the US. In a public hearing
yesterday, Rengo Omi commented, "Poverty is apparently increasing
even seen from an international point of view."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki offered a counterargument with the
Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality defined as a ratio
with values between O and 1. For instance, 0 corresponds to perfect
income equality. Japan is 10th among 27 countries, with 0.31. Among
the G-7 countries, Japan's figure is lower than those of the US,
Italy, and Britain.

Even so, the trend of expanding income disparity is also seen from
government statistics. The 2006 Economic and Fiscal Policy White
Paper worked out Cabinet Office pointed out that the income
disparity has expanded among the same age bracket, according to the
Gini coefficient worked out by age brackets based on labor income.
In a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee meeting on Feb. 13,
Prime Minister Abe had to admit the widening of the income
disparity, saying, "It has been shown that the income inequality is
expanding among people in their 20s and 30s."

(8) Idea of democratization in China might be an illusion

ASAHI (Page 15) (Excerpts)

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February 22, 2007

Yoichi Kato, American Affairs Bureau director

"Although the Chinese economy is growing, its political system is
unlikely to undergo democratization." James Mann, a former Los
Angeles Times correspondent well versed in Chinese affairs, made the
above statement in the book The China Fantasy, which he authored and
issued last week.

In a public hearing in the US Congress early this month, Mann said,
"US policy toward China is based on wrong views." This remark drew
much attention.

According to Mann, the US has come up with two scenarios regarding
the future of China: that democracy will take root in China or that
China will break apart. Mann calls his own view "a third scenario,"
adding that few have spoken of this "third scenario."

Many people in the US believe that the first scenario will come
true, citing these reasons: (1) China is now under the control of
the Communist Party; (2) a middle class has been created in China;
and (3) the Communist Party will have to give in to pressure from
those in the middle class after both forces clash.

Mann, though, deems the first scenario a "fantasy" on the grounds
that because middle-class people in cities are still a minority in
Chinese society, farmers are likely to take the initiative in
running the state should a democratic election be held.

This kind of view itself is not new, according to a China expert in
Washington. In actuality, the book If China Is Not Democratized was
already published in 2001. This expert regards as fresh Mann's call
for policy debate out of the judgment that democratization is
unlikely to make progress in China.

When I met Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan early this
month, I asked for his view about the possibility of democratization
in China. He replied: "There are both positive and negative views. I
believe that China will continue to grow only if it moves toward
democratization."

The Second Armitage Report, worked out by a panel of bipartisan
Asian experts and released in Washington last week, is also based on
the premise that "commitment" or "integration" policy with the aim
of promoting democratization is applicable in mapping out a strategy
toward China.

Will China's political system be changed into a democratic one in
which the presence of opposition parties is allowed? Even experts
have not found the answer to this question yet. The US hopes to
change the direction China is going to head in and the Bush
administration's policy by improving the environment surrounding
China.

According to Mann, the main problem behind the integration policy is
that "you never know whether the US has drawn China into the
international economic order or China has drawn the US into the
international political order in disregard of democracy."

Mann, though, notes that he has "no answer" to the question of how
the administration's current policy should be changed. This point is
indisputably what has come under fire from experts.

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In Washington, the Iraq war has taken center stage in policy debate.
But with an eye on the presidential election in 2008, experts on
foreign policy have turned to Asia, as represented by the Second
Armitage Report and the establishment of a new think-tank to compile
a comprehensive Asia policy under the lead of former Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense Campbell.

However, US major newspapers, including the New York Times and the
Washington Post, have not reported on the Armitage Report and Mann's
new book at all. It is interesting to see what effect the stir
created by Mann will have on the Bush administration's policy toward
China and Asia. Regardless, interest in Asia policy is unlikely to
grow in the US for a while.

DONOVAN

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