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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03//07

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DE RUEHKO #0876/01 0600821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010821Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TOKYO 000876

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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 03//07


INDEX:

(1) US to quickly provide North Korea with humanitarian assistance
including food and power generator, after it ascertains nuclear
facility has been shut down

(2) Economy high on agenda in talks between Japanese, Russian prime
ministers, with territorial issue also in mind; Disappointment with
scant achievements

(3) Scanner column -- Japanese version of NSC: Kantei to take lead
in charting security strategy; How to eliminate divided
administrative functions remains challenge

(4) Government has to give order of priority for key bills

(5) Education Minister Ibuki keeps mentioning his stock arguments;
He made controversial remarks last year as well: Japan is a
homogeneous country (Nov. 28); if you gorge yourself with human
rights, you will develop metabolic syndrome (Nov. 30)

(Corrected copy) 3,600 candidates to run in 44 prefectural assembly
elections

ARTICLES:

(1) US to quickly provide North Korea with humanitarian assistance
including food and power generator, after it ascertains nuclear
facility has been shut down

MAINICHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
Eve., March 1, 2007

Toshihiko Kasahara in Washington

It was learned on Feb. 28 that if North Korea carries out the terms
of its agreement at the six-party talks on the nuclear issue,
including shutting down and sealing its Yongbyon nuclear facility in
the northwest portion of that country, the United States government
in return plans to provide the North with emergency humanitarian
aid. The information was briefed to this newspaper by senior US
officials. Until now, the Bush administration has taken a cautious
stance about an early provision of assistance in return (for
fulfilling the agreement), so by deciding to actually provide aid,
the US has moved closer toward a shift in its policy line toward
North Korea.

Regarding emergency energy aid, a high-level US official explained:
"The 50,000 tons of heavy oil at international market prices is
equivalent to approximately $15 million dollars (approximately 1.8
billion yen) in aid, which (the five countries) will implement." The
official added: "Although the US cannot provide heavy oil, we are
considering emergency humanitarian aid, such as food and some other
form of energy." Another US official concerned said, "The specific
contents have not yet been decided, but a power generator or
shipment of diesel fuel to a hospital is possible as humanitarian
aid."

In addition, the high-level US official clarified the policy course
of close contact between the US-DPRK and Japan-DPRK normalization
working groups and of urging North Korea to take a positive stance
in the Japan-DPRK working group. The same official expressed the
view, "Japan is a key player in the six-party talks, so if North

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

Korea does not cooperate with Japan in their talks, we will not be
able to have a successful conclusion."

(2) Economy high on agenda in talks between Japanese, Russian prime
ministers, with territorial issue also in mind; Disappointment with
scant achievements

ASAHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
March 1, 2007

Masahiko Ota, Miho Tanaka, Hideaki Abe

Prime Minister Abe and Russian Premier Fradkov reaffirmed in their
talks yesterday that both sides would continue efforts to come up
with a resolution acceptable to both sides. But in the talks this
time, their energies were focused mostly on "creating an environment
for resolving the territorial issue" via strengthening economic
ties, a Foreign Ministry official said.

No progress on oil project

Coinciding with the premier's visit to Japan, the Russian economic
minister and a large group of Russian corporate leaders came to
Japan. On the Siberia-Pacific pipeline project for the
transportation of oil from East Siberia to the Pacific coast,
Russian Industry & Energy Minister Khristenko in a meeting with
Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Amari promised: "We
will complete the construction of the pipeline to reach Japan." But
they went no further than to confirm previous plans. Japan aimed at
negotiating with Russia over interests in oil resource development,
but negotiations made no headway, as Russia is moving to put natural
resources under state management. A senior official of Japan's
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) lamented,
"Oil-producing countries hold a strong position."

On nuclear energy, as part of efforts to cope with the escalating
price of uranium, Japan suggested promoting cooperation so that it
can ask Russia to enrich spent uranium, and Russia agreed. But in
order for Japan to do so, the two countries need to sign a nuclear
energy cooperation agreement. Given this, the progress is seen as a
half step forward, not a full step.

The aim of the Russian mission to Japan this time was apparently to
expand investment from Japan not only in the area of resources and
energy but also in such other areas as automobiles and IT and
telecommunications. But Japanese firms are still highly skeptical
about investment in Russia. In fact, at the Japan-Russia investment
forum held in Tokyo yesterday, Kunio Anzai, an advisor to Tokyo Gas,
said in a speech: "Some progress has been seen in the investment
environment, but uncertainties still lie ahead when it comes to
administrative procedures."

Investment rule-setting

Trade value between Japan and Russia is on the increase, but it is
yet only one-sixteenth of that between Japan and the United States
and one-fifteenth of that between Japan and China. In order to
improve this situation, the governments of Japan and Russia signed
an agreement yesterday for expanding cooperation on trade and
investment in a bid to improve the investment environment. A senior
METI official noted: "Taking advantage of Russia's enthusiasm for
investment expansion, we have now been able to set the rules. This
will sooner or later bring about progress in negotiations on

TOKYO 00000876 003 OF 008

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

energies."

"Strengthening relations at various levels will lead to forming the
foundation for resolving the territorial issue," a Foreign Ministry
official noted, finding hope of resolving pending issues even in
economic-oriented exchanges this time.

No breakthrough came in the stalled territorial talks under the
Koizumi administration, but Prime Minister Abe met with President
Putin in Hanoi in last November soon after coming into power. This
past January, Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi
visited Moscow and had the first strategic talks with his Russian
counterpart. Opportunities for bilateral talks are on the increase.
Relations with Russia are becoming more and more important in
dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue and the abduction issue,
as Russia is a close friend of North Korea.

Territorial issue ultimately depends on Russia's response

Even if Japan-Russia relations are strengthened, the territorial
issue ultimately "depends on how Russia wants to change its
relations with Japan," a senior Foreign Ministry official commented.
No one can tell what will happen with the future of bilateral
relations.

(3) Scanner column -- Japanese version of NSC: Kantei to take lead
in charting security strategy; How to eliminate divided
administrative functions remains challenge

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
February 28, 2007

Kiyoshi Miyamoto

Will a national strategy for foreign and security policies be
determined swiftly? A Japanese version of the US National Security
Council (NSC), establishment of which Prime Minister Abe is aiming
at, was outlined yesterday. We examine the mechanism of Japan's NSC
as proposed in the final report released by the Council to
Strengthen the Prime Minister's Official Residence's Functions on
National Security and the challenges.

In step with US

"I received an excellent idea. We can swiftly deal with foreign and
security issues, responding to the change of the times," Abe told
reporters late yesterday with a satisfied look when asked about a
Japanese version of the US NSC, establishment of which was mentioned
in the final report.
Up to now, foreign and security policies have been handled each by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Defense
(MOD), but now a system is taking shape to allow the Kantei to lead
the process of charting a national strategy.

Abe came up with the idea of creating a Japanese version of the US
NSC, learning lessons from North Korea's missile launches last July,
when he served as chief cabinet secretary. Abe was impressed by the
fact that US National Security Adviser Hadley, whom Koizumi at the
time made contact with, had powerful authority. Abe then keenly
realized the need to have the equivalent of America's national
security adviser by creating an organization like the US NSC in the
Kantei so that Japan can act in concert with the US.


TOKYO 00000876 004 OF 008

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

US Deputy National Security Adviser Crouch, who is number two in the
NSC, yesterday met with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Yuriko
Koike at the Kantei. After the meeting, Crouch told the press corps:
"We are looking forward to deepening cooperation (with Japan's NSC
or JNSC)."

Anticlimax

Whether Japan's NSC will function like the US NSC as Abe expects is
questionable, however. There are some in Japan that think the NSC
system is not fit for Japan's political system.

Norihiko Narita, vice president of Surugadai University, cited the
difference in the political system between the US, where
administrative power is concentrated in the president, and Japan
with a parliamentary system of government: "Abe has no experience of
serving as a minister heading a ministry, even though he served as
chief cabinet secretary. That's why he came up with a Japanese
version of the US NSC. If an advisor to such an entity gives orders
to MOFA, MOD, and other ministries, ignoring their ministers,
government offices would only be thrown into confusion."

The JNSC will be far smaller in size than the US NSC. The US entity
has a staff of 200 at its secretariat, while Japan's is expected to
have a staff of only 10-20. Shinichi Kitaoka, the professor at the
University of Tokyo who wrote the final report, explained: "Our idea
is that it is better to see at a glance who the members of the
organization are. A large staff would easily turn the organization
something bureaucratic." But according to one member of the advisory
panel, many insist that the "staff is too small."

At one point putting the Overseas Economic Cooperation Council under
the JNSC was discussed, but the final report brushed that idea aside
on the grounds that "an experts' council will be organized as need
arises."

There is a view that the JNSC's authority will be limited because
the finance minister, who has budgetary discretion, will not take
part in the JNSC.

At the same time, the information-gathering and analytical functions
are spun off from the JNSC. "That is because if the policy-planning
sector and the information sector exist in the same entity, it is
impossible to collect and analyze information in an objective
manner," Kitaoka said.

The final report states, "It is desirable for the JNSC advisor to
the prime minister to take part in a meeting for the cabinet
intelligence director to brief the prime minister." But it is
questionable whether the JNSC can gather necessary information.

Horse-trading on top JNSC post

Following the release of the final report, maneuvering over the post
of chief of the JNSC secretariat, who will manage the JNSC, has
begun.

Among MOFA officials, many are recommending Ambassador to the US
Ryozo Kato for the post, but MOD officials are alarmed by this move,
arguing that the entity would be reduced to a MOFA branch office.
Some MOD officials are expecting the administrative vice defense
minister to assume the post. A tug of war between MOFA and MOD for
leadership over the JNSC is likely to intensify in the days ahead.

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07


(4) Government has to give order of priority for key bills

ASAHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
March 1, 2007

In the current Diet session, now that deliberations on the FY2007
budget bill are in the final stage, the focus of attention has been
shifted to the fate of the key bills on the Diet agenda. Over most
of these bills, since the ruling and opposition camps have been at
loggerheads, it is difficult to enact all of them. The government
and the ruling parties have to set the order of priority for the
bills.

Whether to select SIA reform bills (to slash public servants) or
labor legislation (to rectify social disparity) directly affects
LDP's Upper House election strategy

The Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito held a meeting of
their secretaries general and Diet Affairs Committee chairmen in
Tokyo yesterday. After an agreement was reached to have the budget
bill clear the House of Representatives tomorrow, one participant
broached this in the meeting: "There is not much time for
deliberations after the Golden Week holidays due to the House of
Councillors election (set for July). We need to select bills that we
must enact in the current session without fail."

In the Welfare and Labor Committee, six bills, including ones
related to labor and the others reforming the Social Insurance
Agency (SIA), are on the agenda. It is not easy to have all the
bills enacted within the limited number of days because unified
local elections will be held (in April). The competent minister is
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yanagisawa. Due to his
controversial remark calling women "baby-making machines," the
opposition bloc might continue to grill him, and eventually
deliberations could bog down.

The government and the ruling parties have yet to set the order of
priority, but LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa is particularly
eager about enacting the SIA reform bills. The bills are designed to
dismantle the SIA and to deprive of its members' official status. In
the LDP presidential election campaign last fall, Prime Minister Abe
emphasized: "The current Social Insurance Agency is no longer
functioning properly. I am determined to drastically reform it." As
it stands, the ruling parties appear to be aiming to win broader
support from unaffiliated voters by "slashing the number of public
servants" and to apply pressure to Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan) for being supported by labor unions of central and labor
governments and public corporations.

Meanwhile, Upper House Chairman Mikio Aoki and the New Komeito have
strong aspirations to address the social disparity issue. Behind
such eagerness is their apprehension that "If they sidestep the
social disparity issue, they might be unable to put up a good fight
in the Upper House election" at a time when Minshuto has asserted
that in the current session, priority should be given to tackling
the social disparity problem and has challenged the ruling parties
to a debate on the issue.

Of the labor-related bills, the ruling camp is aiming at quickly
passing three bills, including a bill amending the Part-Time Labor
Law, which is linked to the budget. Regarding the remaining three
bills, including a bill amending the Minimum Wage Law, no prospects

TOKYO 00000876 006 OF 008

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

are in sight for their enactment. But if all these bills are enacted
into law, it will become possible for the ruling camp to dodge an
attack from the opposition camp to some extent in Upper House
election campaigning.

The reason why the ruling parties remain unable to set the order of
priority is because it is extremely difficult to ascertain which
bills will benefit them, with an eye on the Upper House election.

If the focus is placed on the SIA reform bills, the pension issue
will be inevitably highlighted. In the Upper House election three
years ago, Minshuto, which touted pension reform, won a victory. The
ruling camp fears a repetition of this outcome.

On the other hand, if the ruling camp gives priority to the bills
aimed at redressing the social disparity, it means that the ruling
side agreed to step into the ring of Minshuto. Minshuto is ready to
present an emergency measures bill to narrow the existing social
disparity. Setting aside their feasibility, the bill includes
measures generous for workers, such as a bill requiring the minimum
wage to be set at 1,000 yen per hour across the nation.

Abe eager to enact national referendum bill, educational reform
bills

A national referendum bill governing the process of revising the
Constitution has become a major contentious issue.

In his policy speech, the prime minister emphasized, "I strongly
expect the referendum bill to be enacted in the current Diet
session." In an executive meeting on Feb. 26, the prime minister
also referred to the referendum bill, saying, "I hope you will fully
discuss the bill, with the aim of enacting it by Constitution Day on
May 3."

In the ruling bloc, there naturally are some who take cool views
toward the prime minister's eagerness about the referendum bill,
with one member remarking, "The people do not think this is an
imminent issue," based on the view that this is not a bill that
should be prioritized in the current Diet session, ahead of the
Upper House election.

Minshuto has not clarified its response to the national referendum
bill. If the ruling parties try to ram the bill through the Diet,
the Diet might be thrown into an all-out confrontation between the
ruling and opposition parties. In such a case, the possibility might
fizzle out of the establishment of both bills aimed at slapping
public servants and others designed to rectify the social
disparity.

The prime minister has also been sticky on passing three
education-related bills and a bill to create a Japanese version of
the National Security Council (JNSC). These bills also could have
some effect on the fate of other key bills.

(5) Education Minister Ibuki keeps mentioning his stock arguments;
He made controversial remarks last year as well: Japan is a
homogeneous country (Nov. 28); if you gorge yourself with human
rights, you will develop metabolic syndrome (Nov. 30)

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


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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

Bunmei Ibuki, minister of education, culture, sports, science and
technology, has made such controversial remarks as, "Japan is a
homogeneous nation governed by the Yamato (Japanese) race"; and he
has even compared the human rights to butter, "If you eat too much
of it, you will develop metabolic syndrome." However this was not
the first time for Ibuki has made such controversial comments.

Taking the fact that former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone
described Japan as a "homogeneous" nation and came under fire from
inside and outside Japan into consideration, Ibuki said: "I didn't
say a homogeneous race."

During a meeting on Nov. 28 last year of the House of Councillors
Special Committee on the Basic Education Law However, however, Ibuki
categorically stated: "Japan has been kind of a homogeneous and
monocultural country."

Ainu indigenous people and many South and North Korean residents
live in Japan. Ibuki made the above remarks when the committee was
discussing a set of bills revising the Basic Education Law forcing
the public "to love the nation," giving no consideration to
individual's personal freedom or their thinking. Ibuki's recent
comment describing Japan as a homogeneous country seems to be his
stock argument.

Moreover, at a House of Representatives Budget Committee session on
Feb. 27, he stated: "Human rights are important, but if you eat too
much of it, you will develop human rights metabolic syndrome." He
made the remarks based on his pet arguments.

In a session of the Upper House Special Committee on the Basic
Education Law on Nov. 27 last year, Ibuki said:

"It has been said meat, milk, and butter are healthy. But no matter
how healthy they may be, eating too much of them will lead to
metabolic syndrome. It is necessary to change the Basic Education
Law and other laws in accordance with the situations in society."

At a meeting on Nov. 28 last year of the said Upper House special
committee, he compared the rights of individuals to eggs, milk, and
butter, and said, "If you eat too much of them, you will develop
metabolic syndrome." Comparing human rights to milk, butter and
meat, he stated on Nov. 30: "As we are now in an age of plentiful
food, we eat too much food. So we have developed metabolic
syndrome."

Ibuki is well known as the person who called jobless workers "lazy
persons." Grilled at the Feb. 27 Lower House Budget Committee
session, he stressed: "Human rights and individual rights are
important." But everybody knows his real intent.

In the wake of successive offensive outbursts by cabinet ministers,
it is clear that the Abe cabinet lacks awareness of human rights.

(Corrected copy) 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,

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03//07

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 470 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.

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
candidates.

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.

DONOVAN

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