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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/20/07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 001752

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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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 04/20/07


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

4) Jiji poll shows Abe Cabinet support rate has recovered to 40.6%,
the public being pleased about improved Japan-China relations

Abe diplomacy:
5) Prime Minister Abe will set the location for the G8 summit on
April 23, either Hokkaido or Kyoto, prior to his trip to the US
6) Abe plans to visit US military hospital in Maryland to console US
soldiers wounded in Iraq war
7) Speculation that North Korea may be making Abe's trip to the US
the deadline for it to shut down reactor as promised
8) Foreign Minister Aso to visit the US, Russia, and Egypt, starting
on April 27
9) LDP lawmakers to cancel planned visit to US over resolution on
comfort women

Diet agenda:
10) Bill to toughen sanctions on North Korea will not be submitted
this session
11) May be difficult for the Diet to pass the national referendum
bill to set constitutional amendment procedures by May 3, as planned

12) Diet to pass the EEZ-related basic maritime bill today
13) Standoff in Diet continues between LDP, coalition partner New
Komeito over requiring receipts for lawmakers' office expenses in
revised political funds law
14) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Ozawa rapped by
other opposition parties for dodging responsibilities in Diet, not
even debating Abe
15) Minshuto presents bill to repeal Iraq law

16) National debt rises 11 trillion yen in 3 years to whopping 283
trillion yen: LDP calculation

17) METI planning to independently develop raw material in South
East Asia for CO2 gas-reducing bio-fuel

US beef issue:
18) USMEF tells Washington it is ready and willing to accept plant
inspections, as requested by Japanese government
19) But Agricultural Minister Matsuoka and USDA Secretary Johanns
remain at odds over plant inspections

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi & Mainichi:
Government agency-led bid rigging scheme for construction of forest
road involving Japan Green Resources Agency: Bid prices manipulated

Yomiuri:
Health Ministry, Land Ministry to start linking social welfare
projects to construction and maintenance of apartment buildings
constructed by the Housing Corporation

Nihon Keizai:
National universities moving to be financed by private-sector banks
in response to reduced subsidies

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Sankei:
Rakuten to buy TBS shares up to 20% or more of the total, call for
two outside board member posts

Tokyo Shimbun:
Continued "amakudari" by former Forestry Agency's officials to
public corporations via Japan Green Resources Agency, which was
raided by FTC on suspicion of initiating bid-rigging

Akahata:
Unified local elections: JCP devoting itself to gaining more seats
to work as "lifeline" of residents

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Assassination of Nagasaki mayor: Stricter regulations against
mobsters
(2) Foreign road bid-rigging scheme: Illegal activities involving
agriculture and forestry engineering must be made clear

Mainichi:
(1) Amendment to the Juvenile Law: Is it a good thing to put
elementary school kids in youth prison?
(2) Japan Green Resources Agency-led bid-rigging scheme: Drastic
reform indispensable

Yomiuri:
(1) Bid rigging for forest road: Root cause lies in "Amakudai" by
MAFF officials
(2) 40th anniversary of foundation of ASEAN: Japan should back
"reform"

Nihon Keizai:
(1) Specific steps needed for realization of medical service
centering on home care
(2) Government agency-initiated bid rigging found also in forestry
sector

Sankei:
(1) Violence toward administration: Improper demands should be
rejected
(2) Amendment to the Juvenile Law unavoidable because of a growing
number of crimes by younger children

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Government agency-led bid rigging for forest road: Retired
bureaucrats who landed cushy jobs at public corporations in effect
put both making orders and receiving orders under their control
(2) Revised Equal Employment Law: Job relocation must not be used to
justify treatment disparities

Akahata:
US beef: Stop relaxing rules in way to destroy our peace of mind and
safety

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 19

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00001752 003 OF 011


April 20, 2007

07:57
Met at a Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka restaurant with Japan Business
Federation Chairman Mitarai, University of Tokyo Professor Motoshige
Ito and others.

10:00
Met Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota at Kantei, joined in by
cabinet policy officers Fujioka and Murase. Afterward met Fisheries
Agency Director General Shirasu.

11:20
Met advisor Yamatani, followed by Ambassador to Bahrain Kondo.

12:04
Had lunch with reporters covering the prime minister.

14:28
Met Vice Foreign Minister Yachi, followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary
Shiozaki and his deputy Matoba.

15:40
Met chairman Jiro Ushio and other members of the METI Research
Council on the Innovation and Productivity of the Service Industry.

16:13
Met Vice Defense Minister Moriya.

17:09
Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani, followed by LDP policy chief
Nakagawa.

18:41
Met Deputy Foreign Minister Yabunaka, North American Affairs Bureau
chief Nishimiya, Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau chief
Okuda, Shiozaki, and others.

20:16
Returned to his official residence.

4) Jiji Press poll: Cabinet support rebounds to 40.6%

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

The rate of public support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his
cabinet reached 40.6%, up 5.9 percentage points from last month,
according to findings from a Jiji Press poll conducted April 12-15.
The approval rating for the Abe cabinet rebounded from its downward
trend that had continued since December last year. The Abe cabinet's
disapproval rating was 34.8%, down 4.4 points. The figures can be
seen as reflecting the public's positive response to the prime
minister's efforts to improve Japan-China relations with Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao's recent visit to Japan and reform the
government's public service system with a plan that features
restricting government bureaucrats' practice of moving into public
corporations or private businesses after retirement.


The Abe cabinet's nonsupport rate topped its support rate in
February as the premier was pursued in the Diet by the opposition

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bench over a cabinet minister's murky report on political funds and
another minister's gaffe. In the latest poll, however, the support
rate topped the nonsupport rate again for the first time in three
months.

Among men, however, the Abe cabinet's disapproval rating topped its
approval rating as in last month's poll, with the support rate
reaching 39.8% and the nonsupport rate at 41.4%. Among women, the
support rate was 41.4%, with the nonsupport rate at 28.6%. In the
last poll, the Abe cabinet's approval and disapproval ratings were
close among female respondents.

The survey was conducted on a face-to-face basis with a total of
2,000 persons chosen from among males and females aged 20 and over.
The response rate was 69.6%.

5) Venue of G-8 Summit to be decided on Apr. 23; Summit meeting to
be held in Hokkaido or Kyoto

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 20, 2007

Prime Minister Abe has decided to set a venue for the G-8 Summit to
be held in Japan next year. The plan is to hold summit and
ministerial meetings at several locations. A venue for the summit
will be set first. Candidate places are Lake Toya in Hokkaido and
Kyoto. The prime minister will make a final decision.

The prime minister will announce his decision on Apr. 23, once he
obtains entrustment from the ruling parties at a government-ruling
camp liaison meeting to be held the same day. He told reporters
yesterday at the Kantei, "I must take into account various aspects,
including security, safety and a condition that a venue for the G-8
must be befitting a 'beautiful Japan'."

Yokohama and Niigata -- port cities, Okayama and Kagawa Prefectures
in the Setouchi region, Lake Toya in Hokkaido, Kyoto, Osaka and
Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai region are among candidates. Each
municipality has been campaigning in a bid to host the G-8.

Alert to the possibility of terrorist attacks, it has recently
become a trend to hold the summit at resort areas, where security
can be maintained relatively easily. Though Hokkaido was first not
so enthusiastic about the idea of hosting the G-8 Summit, it has
come forward, urged by aides to the prime minister. As such, some
take the view that Lake Toya would most likely be picked as a venue.
Another deep-seated view is that Kyoto is suitable, because it has a
state guesthouse completed in Apr. 2005. The government is planning
to hold an environmental ministerial meeting as well as summit
talks.

6) Abe to visit US soldiers injured in Iraq war during upcoming US
trip

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

During his visit to the United States starting April 26, Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the Bethesda Navy Hospital in
Maryland where many US servicemen injured in the Iraq war are
hospitalized. His schedule is under coordination between the
governments of Japan and the US. It is unusual for a Japanese prime

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minister to visit injured American servicemen at a hospital. The aim
is to demonstrate close Japan-US cooperation in Iraq policy and
Japan's continued commitment to the reconstruction of Iraq. Abe is
scheduled to hold a summit meeting with President George W. Bush on
April 27 at Camp David in Maryland.

7) Japan-US summit may be deadline for North Korea to shut down
Yongbyon plant; Greater pressure may follow North's failure to take
action

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
April 20, 2007

A view has appeared in the United States that whether or not North
Korea begins shutting down and sealing its Yongbyon nuclear
facilities before or after the April 27 Japan-US summit would affect
the future course of the six-party talks. The outlook is that in the
event the North failed to implement its initial steps by then, Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, a hardliner toward North Korea, would urge
President Bush to apply pressure on Pyongyang and that the president
would have to agree with Abe. Psychological warfare is expected to
take place between North Korea and Japan and the United States in
the remaining one week.

Michael Green, a former National Security Council Asian affairs
director, indicated in a speech on April 18 that whether or not the
North would make moves before Abe's US trip would be a key factor,
saying: "The real deadline would be when Prime Minister Abe visits
the United States."

Following North Korea's failure to meet the February 14 deadline,
Abe is now in a strong position that can urge President Bush to
apply pressure on the North to test Pyongyang's wishes. Bush will
agree with Abe and apply greater pressure on the North in
cooperation with Japan. This is what Green said. His observation is
that Abe's US trip will become an important milestone for the Bush
administration, which has made many concessions to the North, such
as lifting its financial sanctions and a delay in the deadline.

Green's speech suggested that the US government is not monolithic
about the State Department-led dialogue policy course. After
visiting North Korea with a US delegation days ago, NSC Japanese and
North Korean affairs director Victor Cha stopped over in Tokyo to
hold talks with senior Japanese government officials apparently in
order to highlight the need for the North to implement the initial
steps without delay. A relevant source took this view: "The White
House is expecting Cha to serve as a brake for Assistant Secretary
of State Christopher Hill, who is leaning toward dialogue with North
Korea."

The US Department of the Treasury also banned on April 18 all
American banks from dealing with Banco Delta Asia, as scheduled.
Despite its series of compromise, the US has upheld its position
that North Korea is involved in illicit activities, such as the
transaction of weapons of mass destruction. This shows a combination
of different roles, with the State Department responsible for talks
with the North, the Treasury Department assisting it, and the While
House tightening its grip over the two.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also indicated that a
final decision would be made by the While House, saying: "A decision
on the implementation deadline will be made by the president and

TOKYO 00001752 006 OF 011


Secretary of State Rice." With President Bush and Vice President

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Cheney reportedly remaining alarmed at the Kim Jong Il regime, there
is a possibility that the North's possible move before the Abe-Bush
talks will determine the future course of the six-party talks.

8) Foreign Minister to visit US, Russia and Egypt

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 20, 2007

The Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that Foreign Minister Taro
Aso would visit the United States, Russia and Egypt from April 28
through May 6. Aso is expected to meet on April 30 in Washington
with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and to attend a Japan-U.S.
Security Consultative Committee (2-plus-2) meeting on May 1.

In Moscow, Aso will meet with Security Council Secretary Ivanov and
Foreign Minister Lavrov.

In Egypt, he will take part in a foreign ministerial of the G-8 and
surrounding countries supporting Iraq's stabilization. The
conference will take place in Sharm El Sheikh, a resort in eastern
Egypt.

9) LDP lawmakers to cancel planned visit to US over resolution on
comfort women

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 20, 2007

A group of lawmakers to think of Japan's future and history
education, chaired by former Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama,
yesterday began coordination to cancel a visit to Washington by its
members planned for later this moth. The group made up of lawmakers
from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had decided to lobby
against a US congressional resolution on the wartime "comfort
women."

A senior group member made this comment:

"Prime Minister Abe is expected to explain Japan's position on the
comfort women issue when he visits the US in late April. So we are
now determined that our planned US trip will be ineffective."

The group thought that the visit would provoke the US public, so it
appears to have considered not complicating the matter further.

It had planned to send Kyoko Nishikawa and Yasuhide Nakayama to the
US to explain the "comfort women" issue to Foreign Affairs Committee
officials that as there was no proof that the government or the
military coerced women into brothels, and that the facts for the
resolution are not correct. Some in the LDP were concerned about the
group's plan, with former Secretary General Koichi Kato saying, "I'm
worried that the group's planned trip to the US after the prime
minister's visit to Washington might become a torch to set fire on
the dried grass."

10) LDP to defer submission of a sanction bill against DPRK to the
current Diet session, out of consideration for the international
community's tilt toward dialogue line

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00001752 007 OF 011


April 20, 2007

Yu Oyamada

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Sanction Simulation Team
against North Korea, chaired by House of Councilors member Ichita
Yamamoto, yesterday decided to defer a submission of a financial
deal restriction bill intended to prevent moneylaundering by North
Korea, to the current session of the Diet. This decision came in
consideration of the international community's tilt toward the
dialogue line as evidenced by, for instance, the Untied States'
lifting of the freeze on North Korean accounts at Macao's Banco
Delta Asia after an agreement was reached in the February six-party
talks on the first-stage action toward North Korea's dismantlement
of its nuclear programs and facilities.

Focusing on North Korea, the bill is intended to designate banking
institutions suspected of illegal acts, such as moneylaundering
involving foreign governments, and prohibit other banks from trading
with those suspicious banks. Japan has imposed sanctions on North
Korea under such laws as the Law Banning Certain Ships from Calling
at Japanese Ports since Pyongyang test-fired missiles in last July.
This sanction simulation team has engaged in preparations for new
legislation because "under the existing laws, Japan is unable to
take any more sanction measures," a senior official at the Cabinet
Secretariat said. The bill was created last December, but the team

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has now judged it necessary to wait and see how six-party talks will
unfold in the weeks ahead, taking into account the changing
international situation over North Korea.

11) Passage of national referendum bill by May 3 unlikely

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 20, 2007

The ruling camp has decided to give up on passing the national
referendum bill within April. It will instead aim at passage without
confusion in consideration of the opposition camp's call for seeking
cautious deliberations. An agreement was reached on a schedule for
local hearings at an informal meeting of the directors of the Upper
House Special Committee on Constitutional Research yesterday.
However, the ruling parties did not propose holding a central public
hearing, a premise for a roll call. Since the Golden Week holidays
will start before holding a public hearing, the bill is unlikely to
be enacted into law by May 3, the day Prime Minister Abe has aimed
at.

The special committee has held deliberations for three consecutive
days since its start of deliberations on the bill on the 17th.
However, it was decided at the directors meeting that there would be
no deliberations on the 20th, but interpellations on the 23rd and
local public hearings on the 24th in Nagoya and Sendai. Discussions
to decide on a schedule for a central public hearing will be held on
the 23rd or later. However, since it is customary to set up a
weeklong period of time or so to inform the public, it is now
difficult to hold a public hearing within April.

One LDP director on the special committee indicated an outlook that
passage in mid-May would be a sensible procedure."

12) Maritime base bill to be passed into law today


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YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 20, 2007

The House of Councillors Committee on Land, Infrastructure and
Transport yesterday approved by a majority a maritime basic law
stipulating Japan's comprehensive maritime policy, as well as a bill
setting safe water zone for maritime construction aimed at securing
safety for gas drilling within Japan's exclusive economic zone
(EEZ).

The two bills will likely be approved at a plenary session today of
the Upper House and passed into law.

13) LDP, New Komeito fail to resolve conflicting views over
"receipts" concerning revisions to the Political Fund Control Law

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

Yu Takayama, Shinya Oba

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition
New Komeito in a meeting yesterday of their project team (PT) to
deal with a bill amending the Political Fund Control Law discussed
specific revisions. Both parties have agreed to put in the bill an
item banning political fund management organizations from possessing
properties in connection with the major opposition Democratic Party
of Japan's (Minshuto or DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa's fund
management organization's possession of a property worth one billion
or so yen. But they failed to resolve their conflicting views over
the question of whether to make it obligatory to attach receipts of
operating expenses to political fund reports, a focal issue, and
decided to put off a conclusion until after the Golden Week
holidays.

Joining the PT meeting yesterday from the LDP were Acting
Secretary-General Nobuteru Ishihara and other lawmakers and Deputy

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Representative Junji Azuma and other lawmakers from the New Komeito.
The LDP suggested to the New Komeito a ban on political funds
management organizations' possession of properties. The LDP also
suggested subdividing the office operational expenses into five
items: "land rent/rent," "taxes and public dues, and insurance
costs"; "communications costs," and "repair expenses." But the
utility charges, over which Agriculture Minister Toshikatsu
Matsukaki's lack of transparency in his political fund reports has
been called into question, are not covered by the LDP's proposal.

In contrast, the New Komeito came up with a proposal that will make
it obligatory to attach receipts of operational expenses (office
expenses, utility charges, and furniture/fixtures and office
supplies) to political funds reports. Azuma stressed the need for
attaching receipts, noting: "The problem is that a portion of the
political activities expenses, which are essentially required to be
proved by receipts, were mixed in the operational expenses, which do
not require the attachment of receipts as proof." Ishihara refused
to accept the New Komeito's proposal, arguing: "It's difficult to
attach receipts because a variety of opposition views exist in the
LDP. For instance, one member argues, 'Our political activities will
be shackled.'"

Major points of contention over politics and money


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1) Obligation to attach receipts
2) Subdivision of the expenses
3) Ban on political funds management organizations' possession of
properties

LDP
1) Disagree.Political activities should be carried out freely.
2) Agree.The political funds management organizations' office
expenses should be subdivided into five items.
3) Agree.

New Komeito
1) Agree.All the operational expenses of political funds management
organizations, except for the personnel costs, should be required to
attach receipts.
2) Disagree.This is unnecessary if receipts are attached.
3) Agree.

14) JCP, SDP also criticize Minshuto President Ozawa for shying away
from debate with Prime Minister Abe

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
April 20, 2007

Not only the ruling coalition but also opposition parties yesterday
criticized Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Ichiro
Ozawa for holding no one-on-one debate with Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe in the current Diet session while placing priority on his
stumping tour for the summer's House of Councillors election.
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Chairman Kazuo Shii yesterday
criticized Ozawa in a press conference, saying: "I wonder if it's
appropriate for the opposition to abandon its function to ask the
government and ruling camp about their positions." Social Democratic
Party (SDP) Secretary General Seiji Mataichi also stated: "The
ruling parties would just call him a fugitive." Given that Minshuto
Acting President Naoto Kan said at a press conference yesterday:
"Such a view is now being raised from within our party. Secretary
General Yukio Hatoyama has asked the president (to hold a party-head
debate)."

15) Minshuto presents bill to repeal Iraq law

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

The major opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) yesterday
submitted to the Lower House a bill for repealing the Iraq
Reconstruction Support Special Measures Law seeking an early
withdrawal of the Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq. The
government has introduced a bill to extend the Iraq law for two
years, on which deliberations are expected to start as early as next
week. Minshuto intends to make the matter a campaign issue for the
Upper House election in July.

16) State liabilities to reach 283 trillion yen: 11 trillion
increase over past three years, according to LDP estimate

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
April 20, 2007

A research group, asked by the Liberal Democratic Party, estimated
that state liabilities, which could become the burden of future

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generations, would reach 283 trillion yen in fiscal 2007, an
increase of 11 trillion yen in the three fiscal years from 2004.
Though an increase in tax revenues has slowed the pace of the
expansion, the government's fiscal standing is still in a state of
excessive insolvency. The software used for the estimate can be used
for the compilation of a budget. The study group is aiming at
shifting leadership over budget compilation from the hand of the
Finance Ministry (MOF) to the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei).

MOF has already released the amount of state liabilities for fiscal
2007, but this is the first release of the situation of state
liabilities thereafter. The estimate was made by a study group led
by Fumiki Sakurauchi, associate professor at Niigata University,
consigned by the LDP Policy Research Council. The group estimated
the latest situation of state liabilities, using personal computer
software called State Finances Navigation, which is capable of
analyzing state finances using a public accounting system based on a
corporate accounting system.

State liabilities excluding some expenses, such as expenses for law
courts, stood at 272 trillion yen in fiscal 2004. The growth of the
increase has slowed due to the recent increase in tax revenues,
holding down the estimated amount for fiscal 2007 at approximately
283.4 trillion yen, up 0.04% compared with the previous year's
level.

State liabilities are the amount determined by deducting assets from
the state's deficit. Since assets include roads and dams, which are
unsalable, the fiscal burden to be shouldered by future generations
could be even bigger.

17) METI plans to voluntarily develop bioethanol in Southeast Asia
as measure to reduce CO2 emissions

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 20, 2007

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) yesterday
revealed its plan to voluntarily develop bioethanol. In an effort to
reduce greenhouse effect gas emissions, the government has pushed
ahead with plans to use bioethanol for automobiles. Under the plan
announced yesterday, materials to produce bioethanol, such as
sugarcane, will be produced and processed in Southeast Asia, and
then the processed products will be imported to Japan. The
government aims to establish a stable supply system by securing the
rights for the production process.

To attain the goal set under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse
effect gas emissions, the government has set forth a plan to use
800,000 kiloliters of bioethanol fuel annually by around 2010. It
has been reported that the use of bioethanol does not increase
carbon dioxide emissions.

Keeping in mind production in the Philippines, Malaysia, and
Indonesia, METI intends to determine candidate sites by the end of
this year. Trading houses will be involved in the process, starting
with the production of sugarcane and other materials. The ministry
aims to secure stable supply by concluding contracts covering more
than 10 years with local farmers.

18) US meet exporters urge US government to accept Japan's
inspections of US slaughterhouses

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MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

It was learned yesterday that the United States Meat Export
Federation (USMEF, chaired by Philip Seng) had called on the US
government to accept Japan's request to inspect US slaughterhouses.
The US government, however, has disapproved of the USMEF call,
reiterating that Japan should remove its age-limit condition.
Attention is being focused on whether Washington would accept
Japan's request prior to the planned Japan-US summit set for April
27.

Nearly nine months have passed since Japan lifted its second ban on
US beef imports last July. The Japanese government intends to look
into the possibility of easing the condition of importing only beef
from cattle 20 months of age or younger if no problem is found in
its inspections. The US side, however, has continued to demand since
March that the age-limit condition be scrapped, as Agriculture
Secretary Johanns asserted: "Japan should promise first to observe

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the World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) beef-export
standard." The two countries have yet to find common ground.

According to a person in the US beef industry; predominant in the
industry is the view that Japan's inspections should be carried out
first in order to bring about progress (in easing Japan's import
conditions). The volume of US beef exports to Japan remains at about
10% of that recorded before Japan banned imports in 2003, but US
beef exporters expect that if the proposed inspections are
implemented, the current inspections of all packed beef will become
unnecessary and eventually exports might increase.

A USMEF official said: "Even if we pry open the Japanese market,
there will be no meaning if Japanese consumers turn away from US
beef."

19) Matsuoka, Johanns remain at odds over "inspections" in
teleconference

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 20, 2007

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka
held a teleconference with United States Agriculture Secretary Mike
Johanns last night to exchange views on the US beef issue. Matsuoka
said, "In order to facilitate the necessary process, it is necessary
to realize the early implementation of Japan's inspections." Johanns
replied, "We would like to look into it," but he added, "Japan
should accept the international benchmark." In an effort to resolve
the issue by the time of the planned Japan-US summit, the Japanese
government will continue to work on the US to accept Japan's
proposed inspections.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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