Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/15/07

DE RUEHKO #1122/01 0740121
P 150121Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule

Opinion polls:
4) Asahi poll shows 70% negative about sending more US troops to
5) 69% opposed to extending Iraq Special Measures Law, 75% see Iraq
war as "wrong": Asahi poll

Ambassador Schieffer:
6) US envoy urges Japan to increase defense spending
7) US envoy asks Japan for appropriate defense burden sharing
8) US defense spending burden 10 times larger than Japan's: US envoy

9) US-DPRK normalization premised on solution to abduction, other
pending issues: US envoy

US-Japan ties:
10) Japan, US hold joint memorial on Iwojima for fallen soldiers
11) ACCJ awards Toyota's Okuda as "Person of the Year" for US-Japan
economic ties

Comfort women issue:
12) US Representative Honda pursuing comfort women issue receives
money from China lobbies
13) LDP group to continue investigating comfort women issue

Political agenda:
14) Prime Minister Abe to make decision on his own over whether to
extend law for Japan's Iraq mission
15) Prime Minister Abe wants national referendum bill to get through
Diet during current session for constitutional revision

16) Japan's envisioned national security council not to call in
special advisor to prime minister
17) Japan to host Middle East peace talks for 1st time
18) Gov't to start preliminary environmental survey next month for
Futenma relocation, Okinawa withholds answer

Foreign Minister Aso, LDP execs on the move:
19) Foreign Minister Aso to visit South Korea on March 31
20) Foreign Minister Aso to visit India next month
21) LDP Secretary General Nakagawa, other coalition leaders to meet
with Chinese President Hu



Tokyo District Court rules pediatrician's suicide was work-related
death, cites his working on night duty eight times per month as

Mainichi, Yomirui & Tokyo Shimbun:
ANA accident: Detached bolt the likely cause of landing gear

Nihon Keizai:
Government to establish by this summer a clear standard for taxation
on profits from intangible assets like technology and brand names

TOKYO 00001122 002 OF 011

Chinese-Americans made $110,000 in contributions to Congressman
Honda last year; Honda working with anti-Japanese organizations to
pursue "comfort women" issue

Health minister's advisory panel decides not to time-limit
rehabilitation for some diseases, including heart disease


(1) ANA accident: Why did emergency device not function?
(2) Firm bears a heavy responsibility for leak of personal

(1) Agriculture Minister Matsuoka not fit for the post
(2) Leading firms' wage hikes: Don't leave small business workers
and part-timers behind

(1) Spring labor offensive: Will pay raises spread to small business
workers and part-timers?
(2) Politics and money: The system needs to be reviewed swiftly

Nihon Keizai:
(1) Management decides to hike wages, but with priority given to
staying competitive
(2) Problems in US housing market lie behind falling stocks

Six-party talks: Concern about being betrayed by America

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Utility costs: MakeAgriculture Minister Matsuoka speak
(2) Spring labor offensive: We hope the trend for pay hike will gain

National referendum bill intended to make it easy to amend the

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 14

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Met Justice Minister Nagase at the Kantei, followed by Vice Health
and Welfare Minister Tsuji, Social Security Agency Director General
Murase, and others.

Met a delegation of the Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology, which
will open a school in Thailand, in the presence of Lower House
member Seiken Sugiura and others. Afterward, met Vice Foreign
Minister Yachi and Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau chief Sasae.
Yachi stayed on.

TOKYO 00001122 003 OF 011

Met National Police Agency Director-General Uruma.

Had lunch with LDP first-term lawmakers and others.

Met LDP Secretary General Nakagawa.

Met Israeli Vice Premier Peres, Palestinian negotiator Erakat, and
other confidence-building meeting members.

Met LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nakagawa, followed by
Advisor Nakatani.

Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matoba, followed by FIA President
Max Mosley and others.

Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan President Saito and

Met at the Akasaka Prince Hotel with former Japan Business
Federation Chairman Okuda and others.

Returned to his official residence.

4) Poll: 70% negative toward US plan to send additional troops to

ASAHI (Page 9) (Abridged slightly)
March 15, 2007

People in Japan, Australia, Britain, Poland, and other US allies are
becoming increasingly skeptical of the Bush administration's policy
toward Iraq, where the security situation is worsening.

In a nationwide opinion poll conducted recently by the Asahi
Shimbun, 70% of the respondents took negative views on President
George W. Bush's new Iraq strategy to send additional troops to that
country. Negative views came even from 52% of those who said "the
Iraq war was correct" and 55% of people who indicated that
"America's military action has helped constrain terrorism."

At the same time, 69% of all respondents expressed opposition to
extending the Iraq Special Measures Law. Opposition also came from
58% of those supporting the Abe cabinet and the Liberal Democratic
Party. Views split among those who said the war was correct, with
48% expressing support and 47% opposition. With the law scheduled to
expire in July, heated debate is expected to take place over the
appropriateness of its extension.

Polls were also conducted in Australia, whose troops conducted
activities with Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force troops in the
southern Iraqi city of Samawah. According to Newspoll, a private
research organization, 46% of respondents said in a February 2004

TOKYO 00001122 004 OF 011

survey that Australia's Iraq mission was "worthwhile," while 45%
indicated it was "not worthwhile." But in a survey last December,
71% of respondents called it "not worthwhile."

The Sydney Morning Herald's Marian Wilkinson, a senior security
writer, attributed the growing public opposition to the Australian
government's decision to keep its troops in Iraq for training local
security troops even after the GSDF left the country last July.

Surveys took place in Britain, as well, where Prime Minister Tony
Blair has announced a plan to gradually withdraw from Iraq. In a
poll conducted by the Times this past January, 60% of respondents
called for an immediate withdrawal, while only 31% urged British
troops to remain in Iraq until it becomes stable.

Severe views on the United States are also beginning to show in
Poland, as well, which is committed to Iraq. In a poll conducted by
the BBC in January, favorable feelings toward the United States
dropped from last year's 62% to 38%. In addition, 52% of the people
said they do not support America's Iraq policy.

5) Poll: 69% opposed to extending Iraq law, 75% see Iraq war as

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
March 15, 2007

According to findings from a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun on March 10-11, 69%
answered "no" when asked whether Japan should continue the Air
Self-Defense Force's mission in Iraq by extending the Iraq Special
Measures Law, which is to expire in July. What lies behind the
figure is the public's criticism of the United States' Iraq policy.
In January this year, US President Bush announced a new strategic
plan to send reinforcements to Iraq. In the survey, however, a total
of 70% took a critical view of the new strategy, saying it will not
lead to the stabilization of public security in Iraq.

Japan has been deploying ASDF troops in Iraq to back up US and other
Iraq-based multinational force troops with airlift activities. This
ASDF deployment is based on the Iraq Special Measures Law. In
response to the US government's decision to send reinforcements to
Iraq, the Japanese government has now decided to extend the law to
continue the ASDF deployment past July. In the survey, 19% were in
favor of extending the law. The Abe cabinet, as was the Koizumi
cabinet, remains committed to Japan's support for the Bush
administration's Iraq policy. When asked whether Japan should
continue its cooperation, however, "yes" accounted for only 18%,
with 69% saying the government should review Japan's cooperation.

Respondents were also asked whether they thought the United States'
military operations for its "war on terror," now expanded from
Afghanistan to Iraq, have led to antiterror deterrence. In response
to this question, "yes" accounted for 24%, and "no" at 57%.
Respondents were further asked about the Iraq war itself. In
response, those regarding it as right accounted for only 12%, with
75% seeing it as wrong.

6) US ambassador to Japan calls on Japan to increase defense

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)

TOKYO 00001122 005 OF 011

March 15, 2007

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer yesterday said in a speech
in Tokyo that the United States devoted 4% of its GDP to its
national defense budget. And referring to Japan's defense spending,
Schieffer said, "(Japan's defense budget) is 1% of its GDP. We hope
to see Japan increase the budget. The more contributions from Japan,
the better." He thus called on Japan to increase its defense

7) US Ambassador calls for Japan to bear due burden regarding
defense spending

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 15, 2007

In a speech in Tokyo yesterday, United States Ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer said that the share of Japan's defense spending to
gross domestic product (GDP) is smaller than that of the US.
Schieffer expressed his hope for Japan's greater burden, citing
modernized military forces and other reasons.

The ambassador stated in the speech, "The US forces in Japan, which
have contributed to maintaining peace in Asia as a whole, are
pushing forward the modernization of their capabilities." He then
called for Japan to shoulder a due burden in proportion to its
economic scale, remarking:

"The US paid more than 4% of GDP for defense expenses in 2005. It
has disbursed funds also for the sake of Japan and its concerned
areas. Meanwhile, the ratio is less than 1% in the case of Japan. An
increase in Japan's defense spending will have a favorable effect on
our nation."

8) US ambassador to Japan seeks increase in Japan's defense budget,
noting, "US defense expenditures are 10 times more than in Japan"

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer yesterday gave a speech in
Tokyo. In the speech he called for strengthening Japan-US defense
cooperation in such areas as missile defense. He stressed that
Japan's share in defense cooperation is insufficient, saying:
"Japan's national defense budget is less than 1% of its GDP, while
that of the US is over 4%. US taxpayers are shouldering more than 10
times the burden of Japanese taxpayers. I hope Japanese taxpayers
will share more burdens. It costs a great deal to protect national

Japan's defense budget is 4.8139 trillion yen in fiscal 2006, while
that of the US is 512 billion dollars or approximately 60.41
trillion yen in fiscal 2007.

9) US ambassador stresses need to resolve abduction and other
pending issues as precondition for normalizing relations with North

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

United States Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer delivered a

TOKYO 00001122 006 OF 011

speech in Tokyo yesterday, in which he stressed that the US regards
the settlement of all pending issues, including the nuclear and
abduction issues, as the precondition for normalizing its diplomatic
ties with North Korea. The ambassador stated:

"The agreement (in the six-party talks in September 2005) specifies
that all issues, including nuclear, humanitarian, and human rights
issues, must be settled. The US will normalize its relations with
North Korea for the first time after seeing many issues disposed

10) 500 guests attend joint Japan-US memorial service on Iwo Jima

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 28) (Full)
March 15, 2007

A joint Japan-US memorial service was held yesterday on Iwo Jima
(Ogasawara Village in Tokyo), which was a fierce battleground during
World War II. About 500 former soldiers from both sides, bereaved
families of the war dead, and US Marines in Okinawa attended the
event. The participants prayed for the roughly 28,700 people who
died in the battle.

The Battle of Iwo Jima was in the news because of two films Clint
Eastwood directed from both the Japanese and American viewpoints.
Many books related to the battle have also been published. Because
of the films and books, the battle has now drawn wider attention in

The event took place before the memorial tombstone for Japan-US
reunion. Iwo Jima Association Chairman Yoshiki Endo, 84, a resident
of Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, said in a speech:

"I lament that the sorrow and suffering of the bereaved families of
the war dead have been forgotten these days. We should hand down the
battle from generation to generation so that we will never repeat
such a terrible war."

An association of former US Marines returned to Japan items that had
been brought home after the war. Japanese and US individuals
connected with the battle offered flowers at the memorial.

11) ACCJ to honor Hiroshi Okuda for contributing to Japan-US
economic relationship

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 5) (Full)
March 15, 2006

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan yesterday selected Hiroshi
Okuda, advisor to Toyota Motor, as its person of the year for 2006
to honor persons who contributed to the development of Japan-US
economic relationship. The reason for his selection is that he
contributed to creating job opportunities in the US when he was
Toyota's president and chairman.

Asked about the possibility of Akio Toyoda, the eldest son of the
founding family of Toyota, becoming president, Okuda, after saying
that he could not reply to such a delicate question, bewildered
reporters with this reply: "The criteria for leadership in the 21st
century is being able to hear the footsteps of God. I don't know how
many such people there are in Toyota, but the next president will be
picked from among them."

TOKYO 00001122 007 OF 011

12) Congressman Honda received $110,000 in political donations from
Chinese-Americans last year; Working with anti-Japanese
organizations on "comfort women" issue

SANKEI (Top play) (Excerpts)
March 15, 2007

Yoshihisa Komori, Washington

It was learned as of yesterday that Representative Mike Honda, who
introduced a resolution condemning Japan over the "comfort women"
issue in the US House of Representatives, has had a high reliance on
political donations from Chinese-Americans in the past elections.
Chinese contributors included a number of senior members of
anti-Japanese organizations based in the United States but
apparently linked to Chinese authorities. It also turns out that
Honda's pursuit of Japan's "war responsibility" for many years had
been closely linked to those Chinese-affiliated organizations.

According to an investigation by the Sankei Shimbun based on the
reports released by the US Center for Responsive Politics (CRP),
Honda received a total of $370,000 in political donations from 449
individuals for the House of Representatives election in 2006. Of
that amount, approximately $110,000 came from 94 Chinese-Americans.
This number of contributors and this amount accounted for 21% of the
total and 30% of the total, respectively. Honda was elected in
California's 15th Congressional District, where 29% of the
population is Asian-American, of whom Chinese-Americans account for
only 9%.

Of the donations by Chinese-Americans to Honda, some 40% was
contributed by Chinese-Americans outside California. Donations other
House of Representatives received outside their electorates
accounted for about 10% or so. Compared to them, it is clear that
Honda received donations from Chinese-Americans across the country.
This percentage was unusually high.

South Korea should have been deeply involved in the comfort women
issue, but when it comes to donations by Korean-Americans to Honda,
the amount Honda received in 2006 totaled $7,000 from 10
Korean-Americans. This amount was one-tenth of the donations from
Chinese-Americans. This fact confirms how influential
Chinese-Americans are.

13) LDP parliamentary group to continue investigation into comfort
women issue

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

The group of lawmakers considering Japan's future and history
education, composed of Liberal Democratic Party's likeminded
lawmakers under Chairman Nariaki Nakayama, has decided to continue
investigating the wartime comfort women issue, focusing on whether
the Imperial Japanese Army coerced young women into sexual slavery
and other points. The decision came in response to Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe saying that the government would render cooperation, for
instance, by presenting data if the LDP reinvestigates the issue.
Chairman Nakayama will present the proposal during a meeting of the
group shortly. The plan is likely to be approved.

TOKYO 00001122 008 OF 011

14) Prime Minister Abe: "I will decide whether to extend Iraq
Special Measures Law on my own judgment"

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

In a recent public opinion poll, 70% of respondents opposed an
extension of the Iraq Special Measures Law. Regarding this survey
result, Prime Minister Abe said before reporters yesterday: "While
taking the security situation in Iraq and other elements into
consideration, I will decide on whether to extend the law on my own

He then stressed the significance of the dispatch of Self-Defense
Force (SDF) troops to Iraq, remarking:

"Japan has dispatched SDF personnel from the viewpoint of fulfilling
its international responsibility. Iraqi people have expressed great
appreciation. I want the people to also understand this."

15) Prime minister determined to secure Diet passage for national
referendum bill during current session

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday had lunch with Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) freshman Lower House lawmakers. During lunch,
he indicated a strong desire to get Diet approval for the national
referendum bill that stipulates procedures for revising the
Constitution, noting: "I will get Diet passage for the national
referendum bill by all means. I think this is possible because so
many LDP candidates were elected."

This was Abe's second informal discussion meeting with freshman Diet
members following the one held on Mar. 7. Approximately 40 members
took part. Some participants criticized Agriculture Minister
Toshikatsu Matsuoka for his political funds issue. The prime
minister said, "I understand this issue is causing trouble," but he
reportedly did not touch on how he is going to deal with this

16) Government plan for JNSC: Permanent post for special advisor to
prime minister not to be created

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 15, 2007

A bill amending the National Security Council Establishment Law
intended to establish a Japan National Security Council (JNSC) next
April has been outlined. According to the outline, a right to demand
information from related government agencies will be created so that
the JNSC can obtain key information without the fetter of
bureaucratic sectionalism. In the meantime, the bill will not
mention the establishment of a permanent post for a special advisor
to the prime minister. The government is expected to submit the bill
to the Diet in late March.

The Council to Reinforce the Functions of the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei) Regarding National Security in late
March compiled a set of proposals, including the establishment of a
permanent post for a special advisor to the prime minister in charge

TOKYO 00001122 009 OF 011

of national security issues. However, due to opposition that the
establishment of such a post would confuse relations with the chief
cabinet secretary, as a senior member of the Cabinet Secretariat put
it, the government has given up the idea of amending the Cabinet
Law, which stipulates the special advisor system. It instead decided
to mention in the regulation on attendance in cabinet meetings the
status of a special advisor as a semi-member of the cabinet meeting
who can take part in meetings of a small number of cabinet
ministers. As such, whether a permanent post for a special advisor
to the prime minister will be established will be up to whoever is
in power as prime minister in the future to decide.

The bill will also include a regulation allowing the JNSC to demand
the chiefs of related government agencies provide information. This
will be part of efforts to establish a system for the JNCS, which
will consist of a cabinet meeting with small membership for
conferring on long-term strategy and a staff organization with 10 to
20 members, to obtain necessary information from various government

17) Japan hosts first four-party talks on Middle East peace

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Jin Omae

The first four-party meeting on the Middle East peace process took
place at Japan's Foreign Ministry's Iikura Guest House in Tokyo
yesterday. This framework is the first occasion for Japan to be
fully engaged in the peace process. Joining the meeting were
cabinet-level officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority,
Jordan, and Japan. On Japan's proposal for constructing an
agricultural industrial park in the West Bank, the meeting agreed to
send a fact-finding team to the area by the end of the month, hold
working-level talks in June and look for a candidate location for
the construction.

The session was held in line with the idea of creating a Corridor
for Peace and Prosperity as proposed in last July by then Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The officials participating in the
session were Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Israel's Deputy Prime
Minister Peres, PLO Negotiations Affairs Department chief Erekat,
and Special Advisor to the King of Jordan Kasrawi. Erekat expressed
hope: "Japan's vision is important in the sense of bringing peace to
the region. It is essential for a third party to play a role."

Later in the day, Aso announced grant aid to the Palestinians worth
12.6 million dollars (1.487 billion yen) for medical assistance and
job creation. The third round of confidence-building talks of
high-level government officials and experts from Israel, the
Palestinian Authority, and other countries also began in Tokyo.

18) Futenma relocation: Government notifies Okinawa of its plan to
begin preliminary environmental assessment in April

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
March 15, 2007

The government has notified Okinawa that it will begin a preliminary
survey in April before the planned environmental assessment of Nago,
the relocation site for the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station,

TOKYO 00001122 010 OF 011

according to an informed source yesterday. The prefectural
government has yet to convey a reply to the central government.
Obtaining concurrence of local governments is not required to
conduct an environmental assessment. The central government plans to
determine a contractor to conduct the preliminary survey later this
month to begin the survey in early April.

The government wants to start the survey early because dugongs lay
eggs in May through June in waters around Camp Schwab, the
relocation site. The assessment must include the survey of the
growth of dugongs for a year starting with their egg-laying period.
Missing this year's egg-laying period would force the government to
delay the survey for a year thereby forcing Tokyo and Washington to
miss their target of the new base making operational in 2014.

The Environmental Assessment Law requires a set of procedures,
including: (1) presentation of documents detailing assessment
methods to the prefectural government from the enterprising body
(the government), and (2) hearing of views from people, including
the public, for a month and a half. This process will take at least
two months. Tokyo intends to conduct full-fledged negotiations with
local governments on launching the assessment once the April 22
Upper House Okinawa by-election is over.

19) Foreign Minister Aso to leave for South Korea on March

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Foreign Minister Taro Aso will make a two-day trip to South Korea
from March 31. He will hold talks with Foreign Affairs and Trade
Minister Song Min Soon. The two foreign ministers will discuss the
issue of Japan-South Korea talks on the demarcation of the
boundaries of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the Sea of
Japan, as well as their response to the six-party talks on North
Korean nuclear weapons program.

20) Foreign Minister Aso to visit India in April

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Foreign Minister Taro Aso has decided to visit India on April 3-4.
He is expected to meet with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.
He also plans to attend the summit of the South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to announce Japan's policy of
supporting the SAARC's efforts for democratization and economic

21) LDP Secretary General Nakagawa to meet in Beijing with President
Hu Jintao

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 15, 2007

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa and New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa will visit
China on March 15-19. The two ruling coalition leaders will meet
with President Hu Jintao on March 16 to hand him Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe's letter. The purpose of their China visit is to
strengthen bilateral relations by exchanging views on such issues as
North Korea's nuclear weapons program, as well as to pave the way

TOKYO 00001122 011 OF 011

for a visit to Japan in April by Premier Wen Jiabao.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


COP24: Rapid Action Urged At Climate Change Conference

Following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe, from California to Kerala, and Tonga to Japan, the annual UN Climate Change Conference opens with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. More>>


New Report: Refugees In PNG Being Pushed To The Brink

Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International paint a stark picture of a traumatised refugee population hit hard by Australia's recent healthcare and counselling service cuts, as well as continued threats to their safety. More>>


Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>


MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC