Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/12/07-1

DE RUEHKO #1038/01 0710218
P 120218Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) US criticism of Japan over comfort women issue is a rehash of
case already settled with punishments

(2) House Committee on Foreign Affairs to take vote on "comfort
women resolution" this month

(3) Comments by US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer

(4) Minshuto launches a parliamentary council to seek review of Kono

(5) Schieffer warns of move to revise Kono Statement

(6) US Ambassador Schieffer: Retreat from Kono Statement "will
create destructive effects"

(7) Views divided in Kantei over calls for re-investigations on the
comfort-women issue

(8) Group of Minshuto lawmakers calls for review of Kono Statement

(9) US beef: OIE to scrap age condition for beef export; Formal
decision will likely come in May

(10) Prime Minister Abe: Koizumi reform drive is a powerful
medicine, mine is herbal one

(11) Defense Ministry eyes PKO training facility in collaboration
with private sector

(12) Japan plans to deploy new missiles at 10 bases in 2007-2010


(1) US criticism of Japan over comfort women issue is a rehash of
case already settled with punishments

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 10, 2007

Yoshihisa Komori, Washington

Some members of the United States Congress and the New York Times,
in criticizing the wartime comfort women issue, cite a case of Dutch
women as the worst example of the former Imperial Japanese Army's
coercion of sex slavery. However, it has been revealed that,
immediately after learning that lower-rank soldiers had rounded up
women against the military brass' decision, the upper ranks had
ordered those soldiers to suspend the illegal acts. It has also been
found that heavy penalties, including the death penalty, were
inflicted on responsible soldiers in a court martial. The recent
criticism of Japan in the US is a rehash of the case that has
already been settled with punishments.

The New York Time dated March 8 reported as if Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe totally denied the government's coercion of wartime sex-slavery.
In this article, the focus was on the testimony of a Dutch woman,
84, in which she said, "When I was under detention in Indonesia, I
was forcibly taken by an officer into a brothel for soldiers and was
treated as a sex slave." The newspaper quoted her testimony in
public hearing at the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Feb.

TOKYO 00001038 002 OF 008


According to sources close to Japan-US relations, however, an
officer and 10 civilian soldiers were found guilty in March 1948,
and heavy penalties were imposed on them, based on testimonies by
former comfort women in a court martial in Indonesia. Although the
former Dutch comfort woman demanded Japan take responsibility in the
public hearing, those involved in her case had already been punished
nearly 60 years ago.

(2) House Committee on Foreign Affairs to take vote on "comfort
women resolution" this month

SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
March 10, 2007

Hidenari Yamamoto, Washington

Defining the comfort women issue as "a forcible prostitution system
introduced by the government for the Imperial Armed Force," a
resolution under debate at the United States House Committee on
Foreign Affairs urges Japan to formally acknowledge, apologize, and
accept historical responsibility; and educate current and future
generations about this crime.

Representative Mike Honda, who proposed adopting the comfort women
resolution, cited in his letter to the president of the House that
the Japanese government in its statements has not indicated a stance
of placing emphasis on the issue. In reaction, Ambassador to the US
Ryozo Kato made these counterarguments: (1) The Japanese government
has already acknowledged and accepted historical responsibility for
the comfort women issue and offered an apology; (2) The government
has disbursed 40 million dollars for the Asian Women's Fund designed
to provide former comfort women with compensation; and (3) many
publications, including school textbooks, refer to the comfort women

In its recent article critical of Japan over the comfort women
issue, a US liberal newspaper focused on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
statement denying the presence of any evidence to back the
government's coercion of wartime sex slavery in a narrow sense.
Liberal newspapers tend to see the prime minister as a nationalist.
The prime minister's series of remarks denying the government's
coercion and refusing to offer an apology irritated their fixed

Many observers anticipate that the House of Representatives would
take a vote on the resolution in a meeting of the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs by the end of this month and adopt it in a plenary
session, while keeping in mind Prime Minister Abe's planned US visit
in April. Some persons indicated that the resolution is likely to be
adopted due in the aftermath of the prime minister's remarks.

(3) Comments by US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 10, 2007

The following are main points of US Ambassador to Japan Thomas

7 The comfort women issue is a very difficult issue for both Japan
and the United States. Even though some groups in Japan may belittle

TOKYO 00001038 003 OF 008

it, the issue could become a serious issue in the United States.
American voters, whatever groups they belong to, are nervous about
sexual slavery and human trafficking involving women. If the
American public takes Japan as backing away from the Kono statement,
that could have a destructive impact. It is a mistake to marginalize
the impact Japan's response to the comfort women issue will have on
the US.

7 We are concerned that the Japan-North Korea working group made no
headway in their talks in Hanoi on such issues as the abductions,
but that does not surprise us. The US has endorsed Japan, and the US
shares the Japanese government's position that there will be no
normalization of diplomatic relations unless the abduction issue is
resolved. We don't think Japan will be isolated, and Japan does not
have to worry about the isolation.

7 There is a subtle difference in priority issues among the
six-party member nations. For instance, China and South Korea are
highly concerned that North Korea may collapse. The US is wary about
a transfer of weapons of mass destruction from North Korea to
terrorists. However, all the member nations have agreed on the need
to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

(4) Minshuto launches a parliamentary council to seek review of Kono

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 10, 2007

The move for seeking a review of the statement released in 1993 by
Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono or the so-called Kono statement, which
offered an apology and remorse concerning the "comfort women" issue,
is gaining momentum in the largest opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto). Likeminded lawmakers of the party set up a
parliamentary group called "Council to Verify the Comfort Women
Issue and the Truth about the Nanjing Incident" (chaired by House of
Representatives member Shu Watanabe). Unlike the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party's (LDP) similar council calling on the government
to reexamine the issue instead of calling for a review of the Kono
statement, Minshuto's group intends to call on Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe to release a fresh statement with this wording "There was no
case of using public authority to round up women."

The first meeting of the council was attended by 15 Minshuto
lawmakers from both houses of the Diet. Watanabe, a conservative
junior lawmaker, told the meeting: "There is no national body to
produce counterevidence against a claim disgracing the country. We
will endeavor to shed light on the truth as the matter remains in
political ambiguity." Based on the data already released and
accounts by experts, the group intends to demonstrate the conclusion
that "there was no coercion of women by public authority."

Tsutomu Nishioka, professor at Tokyo Christian University who

attended the meeting as a guest speaker, stated, "Action is needed
to remove the international misunderstanding," and he suggested the
need to release a new statement in the name of the chief cabinet
secretary or the prime minister, as well as to review the previous

public relations activities by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The group intends to strongly urge Prime Minister Abe, who was
initially skeptical about the Kono statement, to review it. But
there is a gap between the group and the party executives over the
Kono statement. In fact, Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama stated:

TOKYO 00001038 004 OF 008

"Our understanding is that the Kono statement was based on facts. We
on the part of the party respect (the statement)."

Proponents of the council are the following:

House of Representatives members: Takashi Ishizeki; Koichiro
Ichimura; Takashi Kawamura; Keiro Kitagaki; Yasuko Komiyama, Jinpu
Hideo; Katsumasa Suzuki; Masayo Tanabu; Kenji Tamura; Akihisa
Nagashima; Yoshio Maki; Jin Matsubara; Mitsuo Mitani; Izumi Yoshida,
Hirofumi Ryu; Eiichiro Washio; and Shu Watanabe

House of Councillors members: Yasuhiro Oe; Hirokazu Shiba; and
Shinpei Matsushita

(5) Schieffer warns of move to revise Kono Statement

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2007

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer, speaking to a group of
Japanese reporters on Mar. 9, strongly warned of a move in Japan to
revise the 1993 Kono Statement (on the "comfort women" issue. He

"None of our Japanese friends in the United States wants to see the
Japanese government back down from the Kono Statement. It was a
positive move for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to announce his position
to adhere to the Kono Statement."

At the same time, indicating that past Japanese prime ministers had
sent letters of apology to the surviving former comfort women,
Schieffer said, "The government must not generate an impression that
it would step back from the statement."

(6) US Ambassador Schieffer: Retreat from Kono Statement "will
create destructive effects"

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2007

Asked by reporters on March 9 about a resolution before the US House
of Representatives (that demands a formal apology from the Japan's
prime minister for) the wartime sexual enslavement of women across
Asia, US Ambassador Thomas Schieffer responded: "If Japan retreats
from the Kono Statement, it will have a destructive impact."
Schieffer expressed his concern about the development of Japanese
lawmakers' calls for a review of the 1993 statement on the
comfort-women issue by then chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono.

(7) Views divided in Kantei over calls for re-investigations on the
comfort-women issue

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2007

The views are split also in the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) over a group of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers
calling on the government to reinvestigate the truth about the
comfort women issue. The LDP group, headed by Nariaki Nakayama,
calls itself the parliamentary group to consider the future of Japan
and history education.

Nakayama said in a meeting on March 9 of the group: "When I asked

TOKYO 00001038 005 OF 008

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shimomura about the issue, he said
that (the government) would definitely investigate it." He revealed
that he had checked by phone with Shimomura with whom he met the
previous day.

Asked by reporters on March 9 about the conversation between
Shimomura and Nakayama, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has denied
the possibility of reinvestigations by the government, responded
with annoyance, saying the government's intention to provide
documents might not have been correctly conveyed to Nakayama.
Shimomura, however, gave "no comment." Therefore, some have doubt
about the government 's consensus on the issue.

On the issue of the group calling for a review of the 1993 statement
on the comfort women issue by then Chine Cabinet Secretary Yohei
Kono, since both Abe and Shimomura actively worked in the group as
its members, they cannot turn the group's call away.

(8) Group of Minshuto lawmakers calls for review of Kono Statement

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2007

Conservative lawmakers in the main opposition party, Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan), formed on March 9 a group calling on
the government to review the so-called Kono Statement on the
comfort-women issue. The group tentatively calls itself the
association to verify the truth about the comfort women issue and
the Nanjing Incident. A total of 16 lawmakers, including Shu
Watanabe and Jin Matsubara, attended the first meeting of the group.
Watanabe, who heads the group, underscored: "If we do nothing, the
comfort-women issue will become a fact in history. We will do our
best to find the truth."

The Minshuto executives are becoming increasingly nervous about the
group's move because they have taken a strategy of showing the
public how hawkish the Abe administration is, taking up such issues
as the comfort-women issue during the campaign for the July House of
Councillors election.

(9) US beef: OIE to scrap age condition for beef export; Formal
decision will likely come in May

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, March 10, 2007

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Mar. 9 released an
outlook that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), a
Paris-based international agency in charge of defining the degree of
potential BSE risk, will recognize the US as a country that can
export its beef products without any limits on the age of cattle. If
the OIE reaches a formal decision in May, the current age criterion
that only beef from cattle aged 30 months of age or younger is
eligible for exports will be eliminated, substantively easing export
conditions. An even stricter condition is imposed on products bound
for Japan, based on a Japan-US agreement. As such, the US intends to
strongly urge Japan to ease this condition on the strength of the
approval by the international agency.

The OIE is an international agency that sets safety standards for
livestock. It sets minimum standards its member nations should
observe based on scientific grounds. Regarding such standards for
BSE, beef-exporting countries are categorized into three, based on

TOKYO 00001038 006 OF 008

the following definitions: countries whose BSE infection risks can
be (1) ignored; (2) are under control; and (3) are not known, based
on respective BSE infection records and BSE-preventive measures.

Countries whose BSE risks are categorized into "not known" can only
export boneless beef aged up to 30 months. Countries that are
recognized as "controlling BSE risks" can export products without
age limits.

The USDA on Mar. 9 announced that the OIE Scientific Steering
Committee agreed to categorize the US as a country where BSE risk is
under control. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)
released a statement the same day, noting that they expect to see an
improvement in its export share on the global market.

The OIE will make a formal decision, based on views of member
nations. The view is that there is little chance of the expert
committee's judgment being reversed.

However, Japan sets its own import condition that Japan-bound beef
must be from cattle aged 20 months or younger, the age bracket that
has a less BSE risk. In order for Japan to ease this condition, the
government's Food Safety Commission needs to decide to change this

Pressure on Japan bound to increase

(Commentary) The US has indicated an outlook for the easing of
conditions for beef exports before May, when the international
standards are expected to be changed. It has thus signaled a warning
that it would urge US beef importers, such as Japan, to ease their
regulations. The US has urged Japan to hold talks to ease the
conditions. However, Japan has not responded to the call since
Japanese consumers are still concerned about the safety of US beef.

A large portion of US beef does not meet the condition set by Japan
- 20 months of age or younger. The US had exported beef worth
approximately 1.3 billion dollars a year to Japan before Dec. 2003,
the year Japan stopped importing US beef. The estimated value of US
beef exports to Japan in 2006 is approximately 50 million dollars.
Many US meatpackers are criticizing Japan, saying that Japan-bound
products take them extra effort and Japan's regulations are impeding
smooth trade. Some even say that US meatpackers should file a
complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the
Japanese standards as being too strict.

However, in view of the fact that beef suspected of violating the
age condition was found in US beef shipment in February, trust in US
beef has yet to filter down to Japanese consumers.

Since the Democratic Party with a strong protectionist trend has
leadership in the US Congress, the US government's pressure on Japan
will likely mount in the run-up to the presidential election next

(10) Prime Minister Abe: Koizumi reform drive is a powerful
medicine, mine is herbal one

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 10, 2007

Referring to differences between former Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's reform drive and his own in a House of Councillors Budget

TOKYO 00001038 007 OF 008

Committee session on March 9, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated:

"Former Prime Minister Koizumi was the most suitable person to
destroy the conventional system since Japan's economy was unable to
recover the lost decade. I think that Mr. Koizumi's reform program
was a powerful medicine that might have included adverse effects. My
reform drive will produce considerable effects like an herbal
medicine that will work gradually."

Abe stressed that his reform measures have steadily made
achievements, citing the passage of a set of bills revising the
Basic Education Law during last year's extraordinary session of the
Diet and the upgrading of the Defense Ministry to the status of
ministry (in January).

(11) Defense Ministry eyes PKO training facility in collaboration
with private sector

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
March 11, 2007

The Defense Ministry is scheduled to establish a Ground Self-Defense
Force international activities training force later this month. By
enhancing this plan, the ministry has decided to establish a
facility tentatively called the International Peace Cooperation
Center to give training to the Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces,
as well. The center is expected to become operational in several
years. With the upgrade of the Defense Agency to ministry status
that also raised the SDF's overseas activities to primary duties,
the ministry has recognized the need for a broad range of
specialized knowledge and practical training. The ministry plans to
call on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit
organizations (NPOs) in the private sector to develop human
resources who can conduct peace-building and reconstruction
assistance along with SDF personnel.

The training force will be established within the GSDF Central
Readiness Command (CRC) tasked with responding to early-stage
terrorist and guerrilla attacks and international contributions. The
training force will give practical training only to GSDF troops
mostly based on the GSDF's experience in UN peacekeeping operations
in Cambodia. For this reason, he Defense Ministry has recognized the
need to establish a facility where all SDF troops can learn of the
Air Self-Defense Force's airlift mission in Iraq, the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, and
other activities.

In sending SDF troops on overseas missions, the government has
enacted individual time-limited legislation, such as the PKO Law and
the Iraq Reconstruction Law. Envisaging a permanent overseas
activities law in the future, the center is expected to conduct a
study and research on a broad range of overseas activities.

A number of plans have emerged, including one to attach the
envisaged center to the Joint Staff Office (JSO), the National
Institute for Defense Studies, or the National Defense Academy, and
another to establish a government-financed NPO. Candidate sites
include spots in Tokyo and Camp Asaka in Saitama Prefecture that can
give easy access for the private sector.

The ministry thinks the United States' provincial reconstruction
teams (PRT) in Afghanistan and Iraq will give momentum to the plan.

TOKYO 00001038 008 OF 008

(12) Japan plans to deploy new missiles at 10 bases in 2007-2010

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged)
March 12, 2007

The government yesterday revealed a plan to deploy Patriot Advanced
Capability 3 (PAC-3) ground-to-air guided missiles for Japan's
anti-ballistic missile defense. According to the plan, the
government will deploy the first three PAC-3 units to three bases in
the Kanto region in fiscal 2007 and will next install 12 units at
seven bases in the central parts of Honshu and in the northern parts
of Kyushu. A total of 15 PAC-3 units will be deployed to 10 bases
across the nation over the next four years.

In fiscal 2007, one PAC-3 unit will be deployed to each of the Air
Self-Defense Force's detachment bases at Kasumigaura in Ibaraki
Prefecture, Narashino in Chiba Prefecture, and Takeyama in Kanagawa
Prefecture. The government has already decided to deploy a PAC-3
unit to the Iruma base in Saitama Prefecture at the end of March
within the current fiscal year. The government will first lay down a
missile defense shield in the Kanto region to cover Tokyo and its
metropolitan environs from late this March through next fiscal

In fiscal 2008, the government will deploy four PAC-3 units to the
Hamamatsu base in Shizuoka Prefecture to provide against attacks
targeting atomic power plants in the Tokai districts. In fiscal
2009, the government will deploy four PAC-3 units to the Gifu base
in Gifu Prefecture and two detachment bases in Aibano, Shiga
Prefecture, and Hakusan, Mie Prefecture to cover the area of Nagoya
City and defend atomic power plants on the Sea of Japan side. In
fiscal 2010, the government will deploy four PAC-3 units to the
Ashiya base, the Tsuiki base, and the Koradai detachment base (all
located in Fukuoka Prefecture) in the northern parts of Kyushu,
which is nearest to North Korea, in order to shield big cities in


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