Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/01/07

DE RUEHKO #0859/01 0600132
P 010132Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


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

4) Foreign Minister Aso stresses desire by Japan to take proactive
stance toward Middle East peace process

5) Japan-Russia premier talks focus on agreement to start nuclear
power cooperation, with Russia entrusted to enrich Japan's spent
uranium fuel

6) In Japan-North Korea working group starting March 7, Japan before
considering aid to seek DPRK acknowledgment that abduction issue is
not "resolved"

World War II residue:
7) LDP group that claims WWII Japanese military never involved in
"comfort women" business seeks revision of Kono Statement of 1993
8) Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence) to take action to
try to block US congressional resolution on Japan's comfort-women
9) US member of Congress Mike Honda: Record of pursuing Japan on
wartime responsibility
10) Deputy chief cabinet secretary hints that Prime Minister Abe may
use his "Yasukuni card" and visit the shrine

National security:
11) Government to strengthen foreign intelligence gathering
function, particularly on North Korea
12) Government mulling new law to protect state secrets

Political agenda:
13) Cooperation between LDP, coalition partner New Komeito strained
these days
14) Unified elections: With announcement a month away, LDP is shy 50
candidates of goal, but Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) has
added 200
15) Stock market plunges worldwide, including Japan, could affect
Abe's economic growth strategy
16) Asano to declare candidacy to run against Ishihara for governor
of Tokyo, but relationship with Minshuto, which wants to back him,
is still unclear



Asahi & Tokyo Shimbun:
Ex-Miyagi Gov. Asano to run in Tokyo gubernatorial election

Tokyo Electric Power covers up 2 cases of nuclear reactor emergency

Kansai TV admits to 3 more fabrications of health information

Nihon Keizai:
60% of those changing jobs leave behind fixed-benefit pension plan

Nagoya subway bid-rigging: Vice presidents of 4 contractors agreed

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to continue bid-rigging even after 2005 when discontinuation of
bid-rigging was decided

Local governments create manpower dispatching and contract companies
to camouflage increase in unstable employment


(1) Falling stock prices: Danger facing the global economy
(2) Utsunomiya's diary: Precious evidence of bitter history

(1) China-triggered global market decline: We should be aware of
(2) Japan-Russia talks: Political dialogue should be promoted
following economic talks

(1) Global downturn in stocks: Emerging China threatens global
(2) Compensation claim for Nikko Cordial: How will firm deal with
delisting crisis?

Nihon Keizai:
Stock decline warns against excessive optimism

(1) Global downturn in stocks: Greater sense of urgency needed
regarding potential risks
(2) Toyo Town applies for high-level radioactive disposal site

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Global downturn in stocks: Concern about flows of money
(2) General contractors must change their nature

JNSC: Control tower to engage in war overseas

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, February 28

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2007

Met with Natural Resources and Energy Agency Director-General
Mochizuki at Kantei.

Held an interview with major Russian press companies with Special
Advisor Seko, MOFA Press Secretary Sakaba and others present.

Attended unveiling ceremony for statue of former Prime Minister
Ichiro Hatoyama at the Hatoyama Residence in Bunkyo Ward, along with
Russian Premier Fradkov, former Prime Ministers Nakasone and Kaifu,
and others.


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Arrived at Kantei.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matoba. Afterwards, met with
LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nakagawa. After him, met
Special Advisor Nemoto.

Met with Fradkov. Later, attended signing ceremony for agreement and
then held a joint press conference.

Attended dinner party for Fradkov.

Arrived at the Kantei residence.

4) Foreign Minister Aso highlights positive stance on Middle East

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 1, 2007

Foreign Minister Taro Aso yesterday delivered a speech titled "My
Thoughts on Middle East Policy," in which he emphasized that Japan
would actively address the Middle East, including bringing peace to
the region, saying, "Japan will further deepen relations with the
Middle East not only in economic affairs but also in political

Aso stated that as part of peace-building efforts, Japan would
invite Iraqi legislators and influential leaders of various
religious sects to a national reconciliation session to be held in
March. He added, "We need to halt the bloodshed in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Otherwise religious strife and terrorism could spread
to various quarters of the world. This is a matter of urgency."

Japan relies on the Middle East for 90% of its oil imports. Aso
pointed out, "The Middle East stands at an important crossroads at
present as to whether it will head for stability or for chaos."
Noting that there are not bad feelings toward Japan in the Middle
East, he said that Japan can make use of the fact that it can
conduct diplomacy while keeping an equal distance with all the
countries in the region.

The government has declared the concept of creating a corridor of
peace and prosperity aimed at promoting the Middle East peace
process. Referring to the area from the West Bank to the Gulf
nations via Jordan, Aso stated, "We plan to change the flatland of
the Jordan Valley into a value-added agricultural base." Japan plans
to help construct irrigation networks and transport routes to Gulf

5) Japan, Russia agree to start talks on nuclear cooperation accord

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Russian Prime Minister
Mikhail Fradkov officially agreed to start talks on concluding a
nuclear cooperation accord under which both countries pledge to
ensure the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. The Japanese

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government and electric power companies have decided to let Russia
enrich uranium taken from spent nuclear fuel at domestic power
plants. The accord is premised on pushing ahead with this policy
decision. The Russian agreement on negotiations is likely to
accelerate moves toward cases of cooperation between Japanese and
Russian private companies in the nuclear power area.

In a joint press conference after meeting with his Russian
counterpart, Abe said, "We need to make more efforts to fully make
use of both countries' potential in the economic sector and promote
mutually beneficial cooperation." As the areas of cooperation, he
cited energy, railways and airlines, and IT and telecommunications.
Abe also said, "Both countries will begin negotiations on concluding
a nuclear power agreement in the energy area," thus indicating a
strong desire to deepen bilateral cooperation in the nuclear field.

Japan and Russia concluded an agreement in 1991 on nuclear power,
including the exchange of information. But no accord has been
reached to ensure both sides' pledge not to convert enriched uranium
into nuclear weapons. Although Abe and Fradkov did not announce when
both sides plan to conclude the agreement, Japan aims to strike a
deal at an early date to make nuclear power cooperation a key
element in overall bilateral energy cooperation.

Sergey Kirientko, director of the Russian Federation Atomic Energy
Agency, is also visiting Japan with the prime minister. He met with
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari at the ministry the
same day. He expressed his expectations for wide-ranging bilateral
nuclear cooperation, remarking, "A variety of cooperation programs
are conceivable, such as those for providing uranium enrichment
services, exploration of uranium minerals, and nuclear plant

6) Japan to demand North Korea recognize abduction issue as
unresolved during working group talks March 7-8

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

Japan and North Korea will hold working group talks on normalizing
bilateral ties in Hanoi on March 7-8. The government has decided to
urge the North in the talks to recognize the issue of North Korea's
past abductions of Japanese nationals as unresolved and to promise
to continue investigating and to provide related information. If
North Korea accepts Japan's request, the government will study
joining the energy aid program adopted in the latest six-party

The government has so far taken the stance of "not providing energy
assistance as long as no progress is made on the abduction issue,"
as Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki said. But it has not specified
what "progress" entails. It has been reported that when Prime
Minister Abe revealed this stance to United States Vice President
Dick Cheney on Feb. 21, he said, "I will judge whether there has
been progress or not."

Regarding a "settlement" of the abduction issue, which Japan has set
forth the prerequisite for resuming normalization talks, the
government cited three conditions: (1) return all living abductees
to Japan; (2) reveal the truth; and (3) hand the criminals involved
in the abductions over to Japan.

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North Korea, however, has continued to insist that the abduction
issue has been already resolved. If the North continues to take this
stance, the upcoming talks might go nowhere. Japan, by sharing the
common awareness of the issues with the North, now intends to link
energy aid and the talks between Japan and North Korea.

In the six-party talks held in Beijing in mid-February, negotiators
agreed to provide North Korea with energy aid equivalent to 1
million tons of heavy fuel oil in stages if Pyongyang shuts down and
seals its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and also disables all
existing nuclear facilities.

However, only Japan announced it would not join the energy aid due
to the abduction issue but would offer only indirect cooperation,
such as surveying the demand for energy in North Korea.

Prime Minister Abe told reporters at his official residence
yesterday: "Unless we determine that there has been progress (on the
abduction issue), the North's current situation will improve.
Pyongyang must be fully aware of it." He indicated that North Korea
should make a sincere response."

7) LDP lawmakers interested in the comfort-women issue say: "There
was no forced rounding up of women by the military"; Seek revision
of the Kono Statement

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 1, 2007

A draft proposal by a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) committee of
lawmakers to consider Japan's past and historical education (chaired
by Nariyaki Nakayama) to seek a revision of the statement by then
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993 on the comfort women
issue was revealed yesterday. The proposal will ask for the
inclusion of the statement: "Although there may have been forced
recruitment of women against their will by traders, there was no
forced rounding up of women by the military or other authorities."
The proposal will be formally accepted on March 1 and then presented
to the Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence).

The Kono Statement, which expressed "apology and regret" toward the
former comfort women, recognized that there had been forced
recruiting of women by the former Japan Imperial Army and government
authorities. The draft proposal points out: "The grounds are only
the investigation of the oral testimony of former comfort women; no
documentary proof was ever discovered." In addition, the proposal
calls for removing the word "military" from the term "military
comfort women" that is in the Kono Statement. Since Prime Minister
Abe has stated that he would follow the Kono Statement, the request
to drastically revise the statement was put off.

Regarding the draft resolution presented by the US House of
Representatives criticizing Japan on the comfort women issue, the
proposal asks the Japanese government to rebut the resolution,
stating, "The Kono Statement has damaged Japan's image, and has
invited criticism of Japan that is filled with factual errors and
hateful feelings."

8) Kantei working to prevent US adoption of military comfort women
resolution; LDP to meet today on revision to Kono Statement

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)

TOKYO 00000859 006 OF 011

March 1, 2007

The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are
gearing up to prevent the United States House of Representatives
from adopting a resolution condemning Japan over the military
comfort women issue. The resolution is under deliberation in the
House. The Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) has led the
move to convey Japan's concern to the US government and
congressional members concerned and ask for their cooperation to
prevent the adoption of the resolution. The LDP will send a mission
to the US. It is also reviewing the so-called Kono Statement, which
has been made the basis for the resolution.

The government is concerned that if the resolution were to be
approved, that could "affect significantly" Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's plan to visit the US possibly late April, one government
official said.

Abe in this regard sent Special Advisor Hiroshige Seko to the US on
Feb. 19-22. During his stay in the US, Seko emphasized to scholars,
journalists, government officials, and others problematical points
concerning the resolution.

According to one government official, the government has received
the impression via Seko's US visit that at this point, "The
resolution has not become a big matter of concern in the US." His
visit also made it clear that the Japanese Embassy in the US
remained slow to prevent the adoption of the resolution. The embassy
staff has not made a clear protest against the contents of the
resolution, such as "the Japanese government's coercion of women
into sexual slavery" and "human trafficking on the most massive
scale in the 20th century." The same official noted, "All the
embassy staff had done until then was to explain that Japan has
apologized many times for the military comfort women issue."

To deal with the matter, the Kantei strongly urged the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the embassy staff to take action to deal
with the move. It is also stepping up efforts to lobby behind the
scenes against the bill while surveying support for the resolution
in the US House.

Meanwhile in the LDP, the subcommittee on the military comfort women
issue (chaired by Yasuhide Nakayama) under the Parliamentary Council
to Think about the Future of Japan and History Education will meet
today with the participation of LDP Policy Research Council Chairman
Shoichi Nakagawa and put together a proposal for revising the Kono

The proposal is likely to be presented to the government after going
through due procedures at the party's Education Division and its
Policy Deliberation Commission because "the party otherwise cannot
approve it as the party's proposal," Nakagawa said. Following this
move, the government envisions the possibility of discussing a
partial modification of the Kono Statement.

The LDP plans to send some members of the parliamentary council to
the US early March. It is also arranging a meeting with House of
Representative Mike Honda, the Democrat who submitted the resolution
to the House, and also to contact other members of the House showing
understanding toward the resolution so that they will turn around.

9) Representative Mike Honda pursuing Japan's war responsibility,

TOKYO 00000859 007 OF 011

getting support from Korean- and Chinese-Americans

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 1, 2007

Congressman Mike Honda, 65, is a third-generation Japanese-American
and was born in California. In childhood during World War II, he and
his family were interned in a camp for Japanese-Americans in
Colorado. After serving as an assemblyman, he was elected to
Congress in 2000.

Honda has pursued Japan's historical issues and its war
responsibility, mustering support from Korean- and

Honda sponsored a resolution calling for am apology and compensation
from Japan for the Nanjing Incident and military comfort women,
which was adopted at the state assembly. Of the eight resolutions
condemning Japan over military comfort women submitted to the House
since 1996, Honda was involved in five. The resolution this time
condemning Japan was jointly introduced by Honda and six other
lawmakers to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Jan. 31.

The Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Foreign Affairs
Committee held a hearing on the resolution on Feb. 15. Three former
military comfort women who testified before the subcommittee were
the same persons who had testified at the Women's International War
Crimes Tribunal, which Japanese and Asian NGOs held in 2000 with the
aim of bringing the former Imperial Japanese Army's sexual violence
to light.

The seven past resolutions were all scrapped, but the resolution
this time is likely to be adopted, as human-rights lawmakers of the
Democratic Party have assumed the chairmanship of the subcommittee
and the committee respectively, following the midterm elections.
When the resolution would be adopted depends on the chairmen's
decision. "No optimism is allowed as to when the resolution will be
adopted," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Regional Policy Division

10) Abe may visit Yasukuni Shrine: Shimomura

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2007

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura implied yesterday
that Prime Minister Abe might pay homage at Yasukuni Shrine sometime
in the year even though China has been constraining such a visit.
"The Yasukuni card is not in the hands of China," Shimomura said in
an Asahi Newstar program recorded yesterday for a CS broadcast.
"It's in the hands of Prime Minister Abe," he added.

Abe has been withholding his definite answer to China's invitation
to visit China this fall. "It's a clear-cut message meaning that the
prime minister will not do anything that would prevent him from
going there (Yasukuni Shrine) as a result of being caught in the
grips of diplomacy," Shimomura stressed.

11) Gov't eyes revamping intelligence-gathering capability; North
Korea targeted for overseas human intelligence

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00000859 008 OF 011

March 1, 2007

The government yesterday held a meeting of its advisory panel at the
Kantei to reinforce its intelligence-gathering capability. In the
meeting, the panel, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki, released an interim report to revamp the Kantei's
capability of gathering and analyzing intelligence on diplomatic and
security affairs. The report suggests the necessity of posting
intelligence analysts with a high level of analytical capability at
the Kantei, and the report stresses revamping Japan's capability of
gathering human intelligence overseas.

In order for Japan to have the capability of collecting human
intelligence overseas, the panel report envisages establishing a new
organization and developing human resources. For that purpose, the
report suggests the necessity of starting feasibility studies
immediately about special and organizational entities for human
intelligence overseas.

In addition, the panel report also specifies the need for the Joint
Intelligence Council (JIC) to work out intelligence evaluation
reports that analyze intelligence gathered by each entity. The
report proposes posting intelligence analysts in the Cabinet
Intelligence and Research Office to draft intelligence evaluation
reports, aiming to integrate intelligence from various government
offices, including the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Agency.

The report envisions several experts, including private-sector
persons, serving as intelligence analysts. In order to secure a high
level of expertise, intelligence analysts can be posted for a long
period of time, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the report also says the government should expedite
specific steps to prevent electromagnetic leaking and eavesdropping.
At present, the period of penal servitude for an infraction of
confidentiality is up to one year under the Government Officials

Law. The report therefore notes the insufficient deterrence for
information security, and it says the government should study new
legislation to tighten penal regulations for information security.

The JIC, periodically meeting at the Kantei, is made up of senior
officials from the Kantei, the National Police Agency, the Defense
Ministry, the Public Security Investigation Agency, and the Foreign
Ministry. However, the council's members only report pending
matters. Its weak intelligence gathering and analytical functions
have been called into question.

The panel will study specific measures to beef up the government's
capability of collecting intelligence overseas and will work out a
final report within six months.

12) New law eyed for state info security

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2007

A government panel, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki to improve the government's intelligence-gathering
capability, released an interim report yesterday. In its report, the
panel proposes revamping the Cabinet Intelligence Council (CIC), an
entity made up of subcabinet-level officials from government
ministries and agencies, so that the council can direct government

TOKYO 00000859 009 OF 011

offices to collect and analyze intelligence needed for policy
planning. The report also incorporated a course of action to study
setting up a special entity to gather overseas intelligence. The
panel will work out a final report within six months to come up with
specific proposals.

Meanwhile, the government plans to establish another entity called
the Japan National Security Council (JNSC). Along with this move,
the CIC will be reorganized with the participation of the JNSC's
secretariat chief and other staff members tasked with planning

foreign and security policies. This is aimed at notifying government
ministries and agencies of information needed for policy planning.

The panel report also specifies the necessity of reinforcing the
government's intelligence-gathering capability due to its lack of
overseas intelligence in the security area, such as weapons of mass
destruction and international terrorist groups. The report proposes
looking into the feasibility of launching a special organization at
an early date for that purpose. It also suggests the need for the
government to consider new legislation for information security
intended to prevent critical information from leaking.

13) Cooperation in Upper House election between LDP, New Komeito
strained by LDP switching candidates in proportional races

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpt)
March 1, 2007

Cooperation between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New
Komeito in this summer's Upper House election has started to waver.
The LDP has begun to back candidates one after the other for Upper
House proportional seats in regions and localities considered by the
New Komeito to be its strongholds. In reaction, the Komeito has
reacted sharply, aiming at "defending to the last gasp" eight seats
currently held in the proportional races.

14) 3,600 candidates to run in 44 prefectural assembly elections

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2007

About one month is left until the official campaign for the unified
local elections, will begin on March 30. Unified local assembly
elections will be held in 44 prefectures, except for Ibaraki, Tokyo,
and Okinawa. According to a survey compiled by Kyodo News Agency as
of yesterday, 3,581 persons are now preparing to run in the
elections, but the number of prospective candidates is 121 less than
that in the 2003 elections. The number of prospective female
candidates also decreased by 14 to 328. One of the reasons is that
the number of total seats in the election has been cut to 2,544. The
competition ratio would be about the same as last time: about 1.4
times more candidates than seats.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to file 1,439
candidates, a drop of 50 from the previous election. The reason
seems to be changes in electoral districts due to the integration of
municipalities. The main opposition party, Minshuto (Democratic
Party of Japan), will file a total of 4,070 candidates, including 29
to run in the Iwate prefectural assembly election, aiming to win a
majority of the 48 seats, and more than 40 candidates in the
Hokkaido, Kanagawa, and Aichi races.

TOKYO 00000859 010 OF 011

The New Komeito has endorsed 181 persons as its candidates -- the
number is the same as that of the previous race, with the aim of
having all the candidates win. The Japanese Communist Party planned
to field 279 candidates and the Social Democratic Party, 75, hoping
to hold on to the number of seats they currently have. The People's
New Party will field four candidates in the elections.

A total of 1,088 persons have announced their candidacies as
independents. The 1,088 include 432 ruling camp-affiliated
candidates, 320 opposition camp-affiliated candidates, and 326 other

A total of 1,316 people are planning to run in 15 government
ordinance city assembly elections, the official campaign for which
will start on March 30.

15) Uncertainty looming over Abe administration's growth strategy;
Government officials stress: "The economy will continue to grow,"
despite worldwide stock plunges

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 1, 2007

A cause for concern in the form of a possible downturn in the
economy has started to spread across the Abe administration a time
when its popularity has continued to slip in the polls. Should the
administration's "growth strategy" be negatively affected by falling
stock prices and a strengthening of the yen, the social and income
disparity issue might be further exacerbated. In addition, the
administration will unavoidably be pressed with the difficult task
of raising the consumption tax to improve the budget balance. Senior
members of the government and the ruling parties in an attempt to
dispel concern stressed in unison: "The trend of moderate economic
recovery will continue into the future."

Asked for his comment by reporters on the plunges in Tokyo shares
yesterday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flatly replied, "I had better
not comment on stock moves and their causes." Regarding the impact
of the stock falls on the government's economic policy, he only
said, "The policy will remain unchanged."

Based on the judgment that it would be unwise for the Prime
Minister's Office to make a conspicuous response, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also just said in a press conference

yesterday: "The government should not comment on moves at the stock
market. The market is in the hands of market players."

In the ruling camp, though, some members express concern about the
future of the Japanese economy. Liberal Democratic Party's Tax
System Research Commission Chairman Yuji Tsushima remarked: "Tokyo
stocks may tumble further. We must continue to pay close attention
to future moves in the market." New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo
Kitagawa voiced apprehension about moves on the foreign exchange
market, saying, "World stock markets declined, leading to jacking up
the yen's value further. We must keep a close watch on the exchange

16) Ex-Miyagi Gov. Asano likely to run in Tokyo gubernatorial race

ASAHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
March 1, 2007

TOKYO 00000859 011 OF 011

Former Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano, currently a professor at Keio
University, 59, has decided to run in the Tokyo gubernatorial
election, the official campaign for which starts on March 22. As a
result of Asano's decision, the leading opposition party Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) deferred the announcement of its own
candidate for the Tokyo race at a fund-raising party yesterday.
Asano apparently intends to run in the election as an independent
supported by a civic groups that called on him to enter the race. He
will likely to formally announce his candidacy next week at the
earliest. The Minshuto leadership intends to back Asano, giving up
fielding its own candidate, once he announces his candidacy. With
Asano's decision, the lineup of prospective candidates is complete.

Minshuto does not plan to sponsor Asano as a candidate, but just
support him, in line with his intention. In a press conference
yesterday in Fukui City, President Ichiro Ozawa indicated that his
party would not place importance on fielding its own candidate.


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