Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/05/07-2
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 04/05/07-2
11) Government to establish food panel to plan long-range
12) Survey shows 95% of Japan's direct foreign investments over 10
billion yen are mergers and acquisitions
13) Science and technology report: Japan is world leader in physics
14) New Komeito protests educational ministry's expunging
high-school textbooks to remove military factor from Okinawa's
end-of-war mass suicides
15) Minshuto readies 10 bills to counter-submit to Diet against
ruling camp's key legislation
16) LDP foot-dragging in closing loopholes in political funds law by
adding new restrictions
17) Okinawa, Fukushima by-elections to be announced today, with
ruling, opposition camps, eyeing Upper House election, going into
overdrive to win
18) Tanigaki faction teams with new YKK political group to form
anti-Abe force in the LDP
19) LDP is now effectively split into two competing power-seeking
11) Government to establish a food council to discuss long-term
YOMIURI (Page 11) (Full)
April 5, 2007
The government's Headquarters on the Promotion of Policies for Food,
Agriculture and Rural Areas (headed by Prime Minister Abe) yesterday
adopted "the 21st century's new agricultural policy 2007 (NAP
2007)," the main elements of which include establishing a "national
food council (tentative name)" to discuss agricultural policy from a
long-term perspective due to changes in the food situation,
including global warming.
The new council will consist mainly of experts. The government has
set the goal of raising Japan's food self-sufficiency ratio to 45%
by fiscal 2015, and in addition to that, the government will discuss
such items as a long-term goal of the food self-sufficiency ratio,
(according to the new agricultural policy 2007). Another item for
discussion is how to prepare a food stockpile system in preparation
for the disruption of transportation due to disputes.
Moreover, the NAP2007 includes a plan to combine 70% or so of the
scattered farm acreage (3,150,000-3,600,000 hectares) operated by
certain level of farmers in 2015. In order to boost the safe
management system for agricultural products, the NAP2007 comes up
with a plan to introduce a good agriculture practice (GAP) so that
fertilizer and agricultural chemicals will be used in line with
standards in 2,000 major growing districts across the country.
12) Over 95% of FDI of more than 10 billion yen aimed at M&A last
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 5) (Full)
April 5, 2007
TOKYO 00001489 002 OF 007
According to the Bank of Japan (BOJ), in 2006, over 95% of
large-scale foreign direct investment (FDI) cases of more than 10
billion yen each were for the purpose of mergers and acquisitions
(M&A). The ratio of FDIs aimed at establishing a new company or
plants -- green-field investments -- to total cases dropped off.
Behind this trend seems to be active moves by foreign investment
funds to merge with or otherwise acquire Japanese firms.
The total value of FDI in 2006 was 5.2661 trillion yen. The BOJ
conducted a survey of large-scale FDI cases worth more than 10
billion yen each (68.2% of the total) to assess their purposes.
The purposes were classified into three types: (1) M&A types aimed
at equity participation in Japanese firms; (2) green-field type
aimed at acquiring fixed assets, such as establishing a new company
or plants; and (3) fiscal-improvement type aimed at discharging
debts held by the investment destination.
The survey found that the ratio of M&A-type cases to the total had
increased nearly 20 percentage points since two years ago to 95.9%.
Green-field type investments were only 0.5% of the total. The ratio
of fiscal improvement-type cases was over 20% two years ago, but the
figure decreased to 1.9% in 2006.
13) Japan leads world in physics, according to Education and Science
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
April 5, 2007
There are many cases in scientific theses by Japanese researchers
take the world's lead in such fields as physics and material
science, but when it comes to the engineering and environment areas,
Japanese researchers' papers are somewhat inconspicuous. The Science
and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology made the above evaluation in its
report released yesterday.
Using the database possessed by an American research company, the
research institute analyzed about 10,000 important theses that were
quoted many times among those issued from the 1999 - 2004 period.
The institute found that of the 10,000 papers, Japanese researchers'
theses accounted for 9% and ranked 4th, following the United States
(61% ), Germany (13% ), and Britain (12% ). France (7% ) and China
(3% ) were fifth and sixth, respectively.
By sector, Japan held more than 9% in the areas of physics,
chemistry, material science, zoology, and botany. In specific
superconductivity, in particular, papers from Japan made up about
60%. In the interdisciplinary field, such as elucidation of the
functions of biologic molecule and developing of new materials, as
well, Japan's shares were at a high level.
14) New Komeito Okinawa chapter to protest to education minister
over textbook screening to change "mass suicide" description
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 5, 2007
The New Komeito Okinawa chapter will present a letter of protest to
Education, Science and Technology Minister Bunmei Ibuki over the
TOKYO 00001489 003 OF 007
ministry 's opinion reached in the process of screening textbooks
for fiscal 2006 that publishers should revise descriptions on the
Imperial Japanese Army's involvement in the mass suicide during the
Battle of Okinawa. It is rare for a branch of the New Komeito, a
ruling party, to present a cabinet minister with a letter of
protest. Criticism is also strong in Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist
organization serving as the party's largest support base. The
decision also reflects the party's concern about the April 22 Upper
House Okinawa by-election that will be officially announced today.
According to a source familiar with the party, Okinawa chapter
representatives and others are scheduled to meet Ibuki shortly. A
senior New Komeito lawmaker said: "Okinawa voters are angry. Unless
we demonstrate that we have protested to the education minister, we
won't be able to fight in the election."
15) Minshuto to submit 10 counterproposals to ruling bloc-presented
important bills, envisioning joint efforts with other opposition
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged)
April 5, 2007
The major opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) is
eager to present counterproposals to the important bills presented
by the ruling coalition in the second half of the ongoing Diet
session. The party intends to submit 10 bills, including one to
establish a revenue agency to counter the ruling coalition's bill to
reform the Social Insurance Agency. Reversing its past
counterproposal strategy of reflecting its standpoints in bills
presented by the government and the ruling coalition through
revision talks with them, Minshuto intends to present bills that
clearly reflect the party's originality. In a bid to make a clear
distinction with the Abe administration with a view to joining
efforts with other opposition parties in the Upper House election in
July, the largest opposition party will go on the offensive on the
Of all Minshuto counterproposals, only the one outlining procedures
for a national referendum for constitutional revision implies the
party's willingness to have revision talks with the ruling bloc.
Starting with a bill to abolish the Iraq Reconstruction Support
Special Measures Law, all other Minshuto counterproposals conflict
with bills presented by the government and the ruling parties.
The party intends to keep its adversarial stand even if it does not
present counterproposals. The party decided yesterday to oppose the
US force realignment special measures bill. Only a few bills,
including the one to establish a basic maritime law, will require
joint efforts with the ruling bloc.
The party intends to draft a plan amending its own national
referendum bill based on its past talks with the ruling coalition.
Given the party's unwillingness to dilute its originality, the
ruling bloc, which aims at Lower House approval on April 13, is
likely to find it difficult to elicit a concession from Minshuto on
the national referendum legislation.
16) Scope column: Stalled talks in ruling camp on reform of status
of office expenses, with LDP insisting "Attaching receipts will only
make the process complicated" and New Komeito asserting "Why don't
they envision the possibility of an uphill battle in elections"
TOKYO 00001489 004 OF 007
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 5, 2007
In order to deal with the problem of huge office expenses posted in
political fund reports formed by cabinet members and senior members
of the ruling and opposition parties, the ruling bloc established a
political fund reform project team (PT) aimed at reviewing the items
now categorized as the office expenses. But discussions in the PT
have been stalled, primarily because of the deep-rooted cautious
view in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of obligating
lawmakers to attach receipts to their political fund reports, an
idea floated in connection with revisions to the Political Fund
Control Law. The junior ruling coalition partner New Komeito, which
does not want to delay the process of revising the law, is growing
irritable at the delay.
"The LDP remains slow to act. The ball is now in the LDP's court,
but the party appears unwilling to throw it back to our court," a
certain senior New Komeito member spewed frustration after the first
PT meeting on March 27.
Following the revelation of the office-expense scandals involving
Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki and Agriculture Minister Toshiaki
Matsuoka, the LDP and the New Komeito began discussing measures
separately to deal with the office-expense problem. Based on the
results of their respective discussions, the ruling parties were
supposed to form a bill revising the Political Fun Control Law at a
In the first PT meeting, the New Komeito outlined its own revision
bill and insisted: "The law must be amended during the current Diet
In contrast, the LDP reported only on how internal discussions were
going on, saying, "We've not drawn together various opinions." The
first PT meeting ended without dealing with specific items. No
timetable for the second PT meeting has been set yet now. This may
be partly because unified local elections started.
Why is the LDP slow to act? One reason is that many in the party are
cautious about revising the law, noting, "Revisions will obstruct
the freedom of political activities." If the executives try to push
hard revisions against objections in the party, the party will be
thrown into confusion. An idea of obligating lawmakers to attach
receipts if the cost of one item exceeds 50,000 yen is particularly
meeting with objections from many lawmakers. A veteran Upper House
member grumbled: "It will only make our administrative work
On the other hand, the New Komeito is becoming increasingly alarmed
by this situation in the LDP, with one senior member saying: "If we
fail to take action now, we will suffer a uphill battle in
elections. Why can't they understand this?" The large opposition
party Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) has already introduced
its own bill revising the law in the Diet. If the New Komeito falls
in step with the LDP, it will be obvious that it will come under
fire from the Minshuto in the upcoming Upper House elections.
"The law must be revised," New Komeito Representative Akihiro Ota
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told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he met with Abe at Kantei on
March 23, and urged Abe to demonstrate his leadership.
17) Proclamation of Okinawa and Fukushima by-elections today:
Ruling, opposition parties ready to fight with concerted efforts,
with eye on Upper House election
YOMIURI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
April 5, 2007
The ruling and opposition parties are ready to fight with concerted
efforts in the Okinawa and Fukushima by-elections, positioning them
as a skirmish for the House of Councillors election this summer. In
the Upper House election, 121 seats (73 seats in constituencies, 48
proportional representation seats) are up for reelection. It order
for the ruling camp, which holds 57 seats that do not come up for
election, to hold a majority, it needs to win 65 seats. Since
opposition members were holding the two seats in Okinawa and
Fukushima, if the ruling camp wins a victory in the two prefectures,
the required number of seats will be reduced to 63.
Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nakagawa said in a
gathering with various groups in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture:
"The by-election is a crucial battle. It will be an election to
select Prime Minister Abe or Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan)
The LDP have stationed several party staff members in both electoral
districts since early March. On the day of announcement today,
Nakagawa, New Komeito Secretary General Kitagawa will go to Okinawa,
while LDP Upper House Secretary General Katayama and New Komeito
Deputy Head Yoshihisa Inoue will visit Fukushima for election
campaigning. Prime Minister Abe and New Komeito President Ota are
also scheduled to visit Okinawa and Fukushima.
Meanwhile, Minshuto Acting President Kan said in a press conference
yesterday: "In order to realize the reversal of the positions of
ruling and opposition parties in the Upper House election, the
outcome of the Okinawa and Fukushima by-elections will become
crucial." Keeping in mind its lowest position among all prefectures
in terms of income per capita, Minshuto intends to reiterate the
need to rectify the existing social disparities in Okinawa. Today,
Ozawa and Kan will visit Okinawa, while Secretary General Hatoyama
will visit Fukushima.
18) LDP's Tanigaki faction hopes to form encircling net of Abe in
cooperation with new YKK trio
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
April 5, 2007
A faction headed by former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, who
ran in the last presidential election in the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), is now gradually taking an anti-Abe stand.
In a meeting on the night of April 3 with former LDP Vice President
Taku Yamasaki, Tanigaki severely criticized the stances of Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, who has pushed forward with his policy line of
"emerging from Japan's postwar regime." Tanigaki hopes to build an
encircling net around Abe in cooperation with Yamasaki, Koichi Kato,
and Makoto Koga, who have now formed the new YKK trio.
Attending the meeting on April 3 were five Tanigaki faction members,
TOKYO 00001489 006 OF 007
including Tanigaki, former welfare minister Jiro Kawasaki, and
former defense chief Gen Nakatani; and four Yamasaki faction
members, including Yamasaki, former home affairs minister Takeshi
Noda, and former justice minister Okiharu Yasuoka. All the more
because the participants were members who had cooperated in the
so-called "Kato rebellion" in 2000 in which Kato called on then
Prime Minister Mori to step down, the gathering warmed up and
Tanigaki was unusually talkative.
Tanigaki: "The present government is leaning too far to the right.
The LDP needs a broader wing that allows inclusion of various
Yamasaki: "In order also not to be defeated in the Upper House
election, we should build an anti-Abe force."
The participants also referred to the notion of creating a grand
Kochi-kai composed of three factions affiliated with the former
Miyazawa faction (Kochi-kai). Kawasaki proposed an idea of a merger
of the Tanigaki and Koga factions before the July Upper House
election. Yamasaki was quoted as saying, "We want you to make
efforts to pave the way for it."
Last November, Foreign Minister Taro Aso proposed to Tanigaki a plan
to merge the Tanigaki and Aso factions. He at one point agreed to
Aso's plan, but since he later revealed he had had a secret meeting
with Aso, his relationship with Aso quickly deteriorated. Since then
Tanigaki has improved ties with Kato and has taken a stronger
anti-Abe stance, criticizing the prime minister's policy line of
always following the United States' policy lead.
In the meeting, an agreement was reached that the Tanigaki and
Yamasaki factions would aim to cooperate with factions, including
the one headed by Yuji Tsushima, which are unhappy with the Abe
19) Split in LDP evident: Tanigaki, Yamasaki factions concerned
about administration's tilt toward right, junior lawmakers back
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 5, 2007
In the Liberal Democratic Party, an "anti-Abe group" who are keeping
their distance from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a "pro-Abe group"
eager to support the prime minister are making active moves in
foreign policy and other affairs. Speculation is afoot that the
split in the party will grow wider after the Upper House election
Tanigaki faction leaders, such as former Finance Minister Sadakazu
Tanigaki and former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Jiro
Kawasaki, and Yamasaki faction executives, such as former LDP vice
president Taku Yamasaki and former Justice Minister Okiharu Yasuoka,
held a meeting at a Tokyo restaurant on the night of April 3. The
Tanigaki faction urged the members to be ready to join hands with
other factions in anticipation of a volatile political situation
after the Upper House election.
Tanigaki also expressed concern about the future course of the
Abe-led LDP, saying: "The LDP used to be a political party that
absorbed diverse views, but it is now leaning toward the right."
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Yamasaki followed suit, saying: "In the past, I was called a hawk.
But now I am labeled a liberal despite the fact that my views have
not changed. That's because the current administration has shifted
toward the right."
Yamasaki, former Secretary General Koichi Kato, and others have
launched a group named the Asia Policy and Security Vision Study
Group. Yamasaki has also repeatedly held "new YKK" meetings with
Kato and Niwa-Koga faction chairman Makoto Koga. "We want to combine
non-Abe forces comparable to the Machimura faction (89 members)," a
senior Yamasaki faction member noted. But in reality, being a
mainstream faction that has produced four cabinet ministers, the
Niwa-Koga faction finds it difficult to make a hostile move toward
the prime minister.
Meanwhile, mid-level and junior members supporting Abe are set to
launch what is called the Group of Lawmakers to Promote
Value-Oriented Diplomacy once the Golden Week holiday period in
early May is over. Former Senior Vice METI Minister Keiji Furuya,
who has actively addressed the abduction issue with the prime
minister, and Policy Research Council Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa are
expected to become the group's chairman and advisor, respectively.