Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/05/07-1
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 04/05/07-1
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
4) Weighed down by the comfort-women issue, North Korea policy,
Prime Minister Abe will visit the US April 26-27 for an
5) Abe is trying to calm the waters over the comfort-women issue
before his summit meeting with President Bush
6) Group of rightwing LDP lawmakers will visit Washington to explain
Japan's position on the comfort-women issue
7) Russia to accept nuclear inspectors as precondition for Japan
entrusting it to enrich its uranium for power plant use
8) US, Japan to sign GSOMIA next month to protect defense secrets
and widen scope of materials subject to classification
Beef about US beef:
9) Survey shows Japanese consumers still leery about eating US beef
10) US-Japan debate over expanding beef shipments going nowhere,
with US insisting on international standard and Japan sticking to
20-month age limit
1) TOP HEADLINES
Asahi, Yomiuri, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
Seibu Lions paid 62 million yen to five amateur players for 27
Health Ministry's survey: 128 Tamiflu users showed abnormal behavior
Companies see opportunities in hospital, nursing care funds for
improving medical quality
JCP talking to voters through election campaigning
(1) Reform of special post offices is first test for new Japan Post
(2) Landscape ordinance would be trump card for revitalizing Kyoto
(1) Kansai Telecasting has yet to completely take responsibility for
(2) Japan ranks third in ODA disbursement: Need to expand
(1) Article 722 of the Civil Law: DNA analysis can be used to
determine biological parent and child
(2) Japan-Thailand EPA should be Japan's economic strategy in Asia
TOKYO 00001482 002 OF 007
(1) Japan should overcome restriction on ODA budget from strategic
(2) Why was Japan-Thailand EPA delayed?
(1) MSDF intelligence leakage: Securing secrets is indispensable for
(2) Kansai telecasting's fabrication scandal: Restore pride as
(1) Japan ranks third in ODA contribution: Japan should debate
whether it is good for it to continue decreasing ODA budget
(2) Yellow sand from China: End the problem using combined wisdom of
Japan, China and South Korea
Illegal use of political affairs fund: JCP making efforts to
increase transparency of use of political affairs fund so that tax
money will not be wasted
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, April 4
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
April 5, 2007
Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shimomura at the Prime
Minister's Office (Kantei), followed by Deputy Chief Cabinet
Opening ceremony for joint training session for new-comer national
government employees at the National Youth Center Commemorating the
Tokyo Olympic Games at Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi.
Arrived at the Kantei.
Met with female NHK and commercial TV casters who are serving as
ambassadors to promote terrestrial digital media broadcasting
Absentee voting for Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly member election
at Chiyoda Municipal Office in Kudan-Minami.
Met with Yasuo Hayashi and Osamu Watanabe, the incoming and outgoing
directors of JETRO at the Kantei.
Food, Agriculture and Agricultural Village Promotion Headquarters.
Then met with Finance Minister Omi.
Met with LDP Policy Affairs Research Council Chairman Nakagawa and
Acting Chairman Kawamura and Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki.
TOKYO 00001482 003 OF 007
4) Abe to make 1st US visit; Comfort women, North Korea on agenda
TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
April 5, 2007
Prime Minister Abe is set to make his first visit to the United
States as premier on April 26-27. Abe has been in the "run-up" for a
half year to wait until the time is ripe to make the visit,
according to one of his aides. The US side will welcome Abe's visit,
with President Bush and his wife planning to host a dinner for the
prime minister and his wife Akie.
"The Japan-US alliance is the basis for our country's national
security," Abe told reporters yesterday. "I'd like to talk with the
president about strengthening the alliance," Abe added. With this,
the prime minister stressed the importance of the bilateral
In October last year, when North Korea announced its nuclear test,
Abe was visiting South Korea and talked immediately with Bush over
the telephone. In November, Abe met with Bush for the first time in
Vietnam on the occasion of an international conference. Abe and Bush
then held talks over lunch for about one and a half hours.
Abe has said since before becoming premier that Japan's relationship
with the United States is "the axis of Japan's foreign policy." Abe
was therefore believed to choose the United States for his first
foreign trip, excluding international events. However, he visited
China and South Korea first. He next made a round of trips to
European countries. He will now visit the United States as a third
stop. This shows his confidence in the Japan-US relationship.
In the United States, however, Abe has been criticized for his
remarks over wartime comfort women. On April 3, Abe called Bush to
explain what he really meant to say.
On the issue of North Korea's nuclear programs, the United States
has shifted to a flexible policy as seen from its lifting of
financial sanctions on North Korea. The gap with Abe's hard-line
stance toward North Korea is widening. How far can Japan and the
United States keep up their bilateral cooperation? Challenges are in
store for the premier.
5) In telephone conversation with President Bush, Prime Minister Abe
prior to visit to US trying to calm waters of criticism of him on
"comfort women" issue
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 5, 2007
With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's first visit to the United States as
prime minister approaching, the government is frantically trying to
calm down criticism in the US of him over the so-called wartime
"comfort women" issue. In a telephone conversation on April 3 with
President Bush, Abe conveyed his attitude of standing by a statement
issued in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono
acknowledging the former Imperial Japanese Army's involvement in the
comfort-women issue, with the president expressing his understanding
of Abe's stance, but it is still unclear whether the source of
TOKYO 00001482 004 OF 007
trouble has been removed.
"Out of concern that my remarks might not have been reported
correctly by the media, I explained my true feelings to the
president just in case," Abe told reporters yesterday to explain why
he had mentioned the "comfort women" issue (during the telephone
talks). Abe reiterated the expression "just in case" twice in order
to emphasize he has obtained America's understanding or for other
Faced with strong reaction to the "comfort women" issue, many
officials were initially optimistic, believing that an end would be
put to the issue on March 11, when Abe gave the same explanation on
an NHK TV program. But the issue was later reignited by remarks by
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura denying the
Japanese army's direct involvement in the issue. One US diplomatic
source expressed disappointment: "We've strengthened the opinion
that the 'Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)' is a group
Alarmed by the possibility that the "comfort women" issue may be
taken up in the upcoming Japan-US summit meeting, the government
began preparations for a telephone conference late last week. At a
press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki indicated the issue would not be on agenda for the upcoming
bilateral summit talks, noting: "I believe the president has now
fully understood the prime minister's intentions."
In fact, Bush did indicate his understanding during the telephone
call, saying, "Present-day Japan is different from what it was
during World War II." But a resolution calling on the prime minister
to apologize for the former "comfort women" issue now being debated
in the US House of Representatives is likely to be adopted after the
prime minister's visit to the US. The issue is viewed as a
"sensitive human rights issue," according to a source connected with
Japan-US relations, and it also raises the question of how to face
up to the "past" or WWII.
6) Junior LDP lawmakers to visit US on comfort-women issue
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
April 5, 2007
Final coordination is now underway for a visit to the United States
in late April by junior members of the Liberal Democratic Party's
(LDP) "Council of Diet members concerned with the future of Japan
and historical education," it was learned yesterday. The purpose of
their US trip is to explain the Abe government's stance on the issue
of wartime comfort women, which has come under fire in the US, in
the hopes of preventing the House of Representatives from adopting a
resolution calling on the Japanese government to issue a formal
apology to the former comfort women. The group's position on the
comfort women issue is that there was no proof that the government
or Imperial forces coerced women into brothels.
The lawmakers planning to make a trip to the US include Yasuhide
Nakayama, chairman of the sub-committee on the comfort women issue.
They plan to arrive in Washington immediately after Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe visits the US on April 26-27.
7) Russia to accept nuclear inspections; A step forward for Japan's
uranium enrichment in Russia
TOKYO 00001482 005 OF 007
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Abridged)
April 5, 2007
MOSCOW-Russia will accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
inspectors for its uranium enrichment facilities, Russian Atomic
Energy Agency Director Kirienko told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun
yesterday. Meanwhile, Japan has entered into negotiations with
Russia, asking Russia to enrich uranium for use as fuel at atomic
power plants. This, however, is premised on Russia's establishment
of a nonproliferation regime. Russia's acceptance of IAEA inspectors
will likely push ahead the uranium enrichment deal with Japan.
Kirienko will visit Japan shortly from April 10. Russia does not
have to accept IAEA inspections under the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT). However, Kirienko clarified that Russia would accept
IAEA inspectors for its uranium enrichment facilities at Angarsk in
eastern Siberia. He also stressed that there was no obstacle to
accepting IAEA inspections.
Russia calls the Angarsk facilities an international nuclear fuel
center. Russia plans to do business, collecting spent uranium from
foreign countries and reenriching residual uranium to extract fuel
for atomic power plants. Russia will advertise late this year for
countries that want to enrich uranium, Kirienko said.
Tokyo and Moscow agreed in late February to enter into negotiations
for an atomic energy treaty premised on asking Russia to enrich
uranium. The Japanese and Russian governments will talk about this
matter during Kirienko's visit to Japan. "We may complete the work
of concluding the treaty within the year," he said.
8) Japan, US to enter into defense info security agreement
TOKYO (Page 1) (Full)
April 5, 2007
Japan and the United States will enter into a general security of
military information agreement (GSOMIA) in a two-plus-two foreign
and defense ministerial meeting of their intergovernmental security
consultative committee to be held in Washington on May 1, officials
said yesterday. GSOMIA is intended to prevent defense secrets from
The Japanese and US governments finalized a report last year,
incorporating an agreement to realign US forces in Japan. The report
stressed the need for the Self-Defense Forces and US forces to
improve their interoperability in missile defense shielding,
security planning, and other areas. Japan and the United States are
expected to share higher-level military intelligence from now on.
The two governments therefore deemed it indispensable to consolidate
Japan and the United States will now gearing up for military
integration. Meanwhile, their defense policies are also likely to
become unclear with the widening scope of confidentiality.
Concerning the protection of defense secrets, between Japan and the
United States have concluded a bilateral mutual defense assistance
agreement. Based on this arrangement, Japan created a
confidentiality protection law. Under this law, the Japanese
government has taken steps to protect technologies and information
TOKYO 00001482 006 OF 007
regarding equipment like vessels, aircrafts, and weapons. The
government has punished those who violated the law.
Police authorities are now investigating a Maritime Self-Defense
Force member over his taking out of unauthorized data on Aegis
ships. In this case as well, the MSDF member is alleged to have
violated the law.
The newly planned agreement is to widen the scope of
confidentiality, classifying information not only about hardware but
also about software, such as: 1) documentation and imagery received
from the United States about operations and training exercises; and
2) technical data regarding joint research and development between
Japan and the United States.
9) Survey on imported food products targeting housewives: "Problem
about safety" is image of North American food
MAINICHI (Page 11) (Full)
April 5, 2007
A poll conducted by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Finance
Corp. found that about 85% of housewives take into account whether
products are domestically-produced or imported, when they buy food.
The survey also revealed that due to the BSE issue, they still have
a strong image that food products from North America have problems
in terms of safety.
The poll was conducted online in February targeting 2,078 housewives
in the 20-60 age bracket.
To a question about the image of food by country of origin (multiple
replies were allowed), East Asia and North America topped the list
of areas on which pollees have the image of having problems in terms
of safety. As the image of Southeast Asian and Oceanian food, the
largest number of respondents cited that they are cheap. The number
of those who replied that food products from Oceania are safe came
to 36.8% because of no occurrence of BSE there. The survey also
found that respondents prefer domestically-produced food when they
buy beef (21.4% ), chicken (19.5% ) and Chinese mushrooms (19.0% ),
even if their prices are more than 30% higher than imported ones.
10) Arguments on US beef imports at impasse: Japan remains unable to
start inspections: US urges Japan to totally open its beef market on
strength of OIE standards: Japan calls for observation of
20-months-or-younger age criterion
MAINICHI (Page 11) (Full)
April 5, 2007
Washington is strengthening its request to Japan to completely
liberalize US beef imports. At present, only beef from cattle aged
20 months or younger is eligible for exports to Japan. However,
calls for the scrapping of this age criterion are intensifying. The
Japanese government has asked the US government to allow it to
inspect meat-processing facilities, taking the position that whether
US meatpackers are abiding by the current import conditions must be
confirmed first. However, the US has declined this request.
Discussions on a possible revision of the import conditions in such
a way as the US wants to see remain deadlocked.
The six-month examination period, established in order to monitor
TOKYO 00001482 007 OF 007
whether US meatpackers are observing the import conditions set by
Japan following the decision last July to once again resume US beef
imports, passed on Jan. 27. If matters had gone smoothly, there
would have been the possibility of the two countries entering talks
to discuss whether to ease the import condition and adopt the
30-months-or-younger age criterion, after the Japanese side
confirming that its inspection of US facilities found no problems.
However, the scenario Tokyo and Washington had envisaged began to
derail with a shipment of products without age certificates in early
February. The US did not submit an investigation report until Mar.
21, more than a month since the incident. During this period, Japan
was unable to start inspection of meat processing facilities, the
premise for proceeding to the next step, as a senior Agriculture
Ministry official said.
Concerning BSE risk in the US, Washington on Mar. 9 announced an
outlook that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) will
recognize that US beef is on the level that requires no age
criterion for exports.
This has triggered the US offensive against Japan.
President Bush in a speech given on Mar. 28 called on Japan to scrap
the age criterion, saying, "If overseas markets are more open,
livestock farmers' lives will become better off. He also indicated
his intention to place the issue on the agenda of the bilateral
summit meeting slated for later in the month.
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Mar. 29 made a negative remark
on the acceptance of inspection by Japan, saying, "Japan should
first pledge to follow the OIE standards." On Apr. 3, United States
Trade Representative Susan Schwab during a phone conversation with
Agriculture Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka formally called for the
total opening of Japan's beef market.
The US livestock industry has strong political influence. The Bush
administration, which is suffering from sluggish support ratings,
has no other choice but to give consideration to the industry in
view of the presidential election next year. Amid the Democratic
Party, which makes up a majority in the US Congress, criticizing the
expansion of trade deficit with Japan, the administration appears to
be motivated by the desire to regain its power base.
Japan is maintaining the position that the examination period will
not end unless inspection is completed. Whatever requests the US
makes, Japan's stance will remain unchanged, as the same senior
Agriculture Ministry official put it. Since the US going straight to
making such a request as to ease the age criterion could break the
agreement reached last summer, some are perplexed at its move
saying, "I do not understand why the US is adamantly rejecting
Japan's request for inspection."