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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/23/07-1

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DE RUEHKO #1779/01 1130208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230208Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
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RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
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RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 4336
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4029

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 001779

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 04/23/07-1


National election news:
1) In two Upper House by-elections, ruling camp takes Okinawa,
opposition lands Fukushima, paving way for major conflict in July's
Upper House election
2) Upper House election win-lose line: Ruling camp will need to win
64 seats to keep majority; opposition camp needs to 59
3) Turnout in Okinawa by-election was at a record low
4) Exit poll in by-election: Though 60% of unaffiliated votes went
to opposition candidate, the ruling camp candidate won, thanks to
LDP- Komeito cooperation
5) Mayoral races: 55% of candidates were unaffiliated with any party

6) In mayoral races where ruling, opposition camps directly clashed,
five wins for the ruling parties and three for the opposition
7) Turnout in mayoral races across the country averaged the lowest
on record

Okinawa factor:
8) Ruling party-backed conservative candidate's win in Okinawa
by-election for Upper House seat at tailwind for the Futenma
9) Futenma marine survey will start soon

Articles:

1) ukushima; Ruling coalition-backed Shimajiri wins by-election in
Okinawa

MINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
April 23, 2007

House of Councillors by-elections in Fukushima and Okinawa, a
prelude to the summer's Upper House election, were held Sunday. As a
result, a candidate backed by the main opposition party, Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan), won in Fukushima, while the ruling
coalition-backed candidate won in Okinawa. Since the outcomes of the
by-elections will lead to the setting of a low threshold for victory
in the Upper House election, both ruling and opposition blocs
devoted all their energies to win the Okinawa race, sending their
leaders to the island prefecture to support their own candidates. As
the opposition had held the two Upper House seats, the ruling won
one and lost one in the by-elections.

7 Okinawa

In the by-election in Okinawa to fill an Upper House seat fell
vacant after former Upper House member Keiko Kakazu ran for the
Okinawa gubernatorial race, Aiko Shimajiri, 54, received generous
support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, defeated Yoshimasa
Karimata, 57, backed by Minshuto, the Japanese Communist Party, and
the People's New Party, securing the seat held by the opposition
before the election. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Okinawa twice
to support Shimajiri. The voter turnout was 47%, lower than the
54.24% in the 2004 Upper House election, the lowest ever in a
national election held in Okinawa.

7 Fukushima

In Fukushima, the by-election to fill the vacated seat after former
Upper House member Yuhei Sato ran in the Fukushima gubernatorial
race, Minshuto-backed candidate Teruhiko Mashiko, 59, was elected
for the first time, defeating the LDP- backed Isamu Yamaguchi, 69,
and the JCP-backed Shizue Miyamoto, 54. Taking advantage of his

TOKYO 00001779 002 OF 006


popularity as a former House of Representatives member serving for
three terms, Mashiko retained the seat held by Minshuto. The voter
turnout was 56.72%, a drop from the 60.34 % in the 2004 Upper House
election.

2) Upper House election win-loss line: Ruling camp needs 64 seats to
reach a majority; Opposition camp needs 59

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
April 23, 2007

With the ruling and opposition camps each winning one and losing one
seat in the by-elections for Fukushima and Okinawa, the ruling
parties needs to win 64 seats in the summer House of Councilors'
election in order to secure a majority -- set as the win-lose line
for the election. On the other hand, the opposition parties have
added one seat with their Fukushima win to the 63 seats that were
not up for election. The opposition camp needs to win 59 seats in
the Upper House race in order to break the ruling camp's majority
hold.

3) Turnout lowest in Okinawa by-election

TOKYO (Page 3) (Full)
April 23, 2007

The finalized turnout of voters in yesterday's by-election in
Okinawa Prefecture for the House of Councillors was 47.81%, which
was below the all-time low marked in the last House of Councillors
election held in 2004. This is apparently because there was no hot
campaign issue in the election.

In campaigning for the by-election, the ruling camp laid emphasis on
local livelihoods, while the opposition camp made an appeal on the
necessity of correcting the income disparity, an executive of the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party noted yesterday. "Voters couldn't
see the campaign issues, so we couldn't raise their awareness," he
said.

Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), also said, "I think there were
a considerable number of people who didn't go to the polls because
they didn't know whom to vote for."

4) Exit poll in Diet by-elections: Opposition camp loses in Okinawa
despite support from 60% of floating voters; Ruling coalition
strong

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
April 23, 2007

In yesterday's two by-elections for the House of Councillors, the
outcome of the one in Okinawa Prefecture resulted in heavy damage to
the opposition camp. The by-election in Okinawa Prefecture was held
for the seat vacated by Keiko Itokazu, who won an overwhelming
victory in the 2004 election for the House of Councillors as a
candidate jointly backed by opposition parties, such as the DPJ, the
Japanese Communist Party, and the Social Democratic Party
(Shaminto). In the Okinawa by-election this time, however, a
candidate affiliated with the ruling coalition defeated her.

In Okinawa, the proportion of floating voters with no particular

TOKYO 00001779 003 OF 006


party affiliation often tops the nationwide average of unaffiliated
voters. They accounted for 61% of all respondents in a survey
conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in Okinawa Prefecture about a week
before the by-election this time. Among them, however, the number of
those actually going to the polls is small. Their proportion was
therefore no more than 23% among those who responded to the exit
poll. Even so, it topped 18% for the DPJ.

In Okinawa elections, floating voters actually going to the polls
hold the key. The Asahi Shimbun looked into the voting behavior of
Okinawa Prefecture's unaffiliated voters in the 2001 House of
Councillors election and in other elections held thereafter
throughout Okinawa.

In those elections held in Okinawa Prefecture, opposition-affiliated
candidates used to have the advantage over ruling-affiliated
candidates among floating voters. However, they were all defeated in
those elections, with the exception of Itokazu who garnered 80% of
floating votes in the 2004 House of Councillors election.

What lies behind that is strong cooperation between the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and its coalition partner New
Komeito. The proportion of those who voted for a ruling-affiliated
candidate among New Komeito supporters in Okinawa Prefecture was 83%
in the 2001 election for the House of Councillors, 83% in the 2004
election for the House of Councillors, 93% in the election for
governorship in 2006, and 94% in the by-election this time. In
Okinawa, an opposition-affiliated candidate therefore needs an
overwhelmingly large number of votes from the prefecture's
unaffiliated voting population to defeat a ruling-affiliated
candidate backed by the LDP and New Komeito.

In the Okinawa by-election this time, 61% of the prefecture's
floating votes went to Yoshimasa Karimata, who was an
opposition-affiliated candidate, with 37% to Aiko Shimajiri, a
ruling-affiliated candidate. This margin is not enough for an
opposition-affiliated candidate to best the ruling coalition.
Karimata, who ran with the opposition camp's backing in the
by-election, lost almost like an opposition-affiliated candidate in
the gubernatorial race held six months ago.

5) Successful candidates for mayoral elections backed by no party
account for 55.2%

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 23, 2007

Mayoral elections, including 19 uncontested races, were held Sunday
in 96 cities. According to the results of the mayoral races, 53
candidates backed by no party were elected, the 53 "unaffiliated
mayors" account for 55.2% of all the elected mayors. The percentage
of "unaffiliated mayors" has been on the increase: 28.0% in 1991;
33.3% in 1995; and 54.5% in 2003.

The percentage of candidates affiliated with any party ran for city
and ward mayoral elections topped 60% in the 2003 and yesterday's
races, increasing the 45% in the 1995 and 1999 elections. The number
of candidates uncommitted to any party and successful unaffiliated
candidates has grown.

In Sunday's unified local elections, the largest opposition party,
Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), increased prefectural assembly

TOKYO 00001779 004 OF 006


seats, which indicated the progress on the two-party system. Since
candidates for city mayoral elections need wide-ranging support, the
tendency of candidates distancing themselves from parties has become
clearer. The number of successful candidates supported and
recommended by the ruling coalition totals 21, four larger than that
of those backed by the opposition. The ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) and Minshuto faced off in Takigawa City, Hokkaido,
Narashino City in Chiba Prefecture, and Ginowan City in Okinawa. The
LDP won mayoral races in Takigawa and Narashino, while Minshuto won
in Ginowan.

A total of 18 supported by the ruling and opposition camps were
elected. The number decreased from 52 in 1999 and 26 in 2003.

The Japanese Communist Party filed four its own candidates in
mayoral elections and recommended 13 candidates, but only one
candidate was elected.

6) Ruling coalition wins five mayoral races, opposition wins three

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 23, 2007

The ruling and opposition camps faced off in mayoral elections in
eight cities, in which the ruling coalition won five and the
opposition won three.

In Takigawa City, Hokkaido, the incumbent mayor backed by the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) defeated a candidate supported by the
main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan). In Narashino
City, Chiba Prefecture, a candidate backed by the LDP and New
Komeito defeated a candidate recommended by Minshuto. In the cities
of Koganei, Higashi-Murayama, and Kiyose, the LDP-New Komeito
candidates defeated the Japanese Communist Party-supported
candidates.

However, in Ginowan City, which hosts the US Marine Corps' Futenma
Air Station, the incumbent mayor recommended by Minshuto, the JCP,
the Social Democratic Party, and a local Okinawa party defeated a
new-face candidate backed by the LDP and New Komeito.

In Yao City, Osaka, a former Osaka City Assembly member recommended
by Minshuto defeated the incumbent mayor, who sought a third term.

In Kunitachi City, Tokyo, in which new-face candidates competed, the
candidate recommended by the LDP and New Komeito was defeated by a
candidate backed by the JCP and SDP.

7) Voter turnout for mayoral elections lowest ever at 53.57%

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 23, 2007

The average voter turnout for mayoral elections carried out in the
latter part of the unified local elections marked a new low of
53.57%, sinking below the previous 57.01%. Even in Nagasaki and
Yubari, both of which drew much public attention during the
campaigning for their mayoral elections, voter turnout was down.

Specifically, turnout for the Nagasaki mayoral race was a record-low
55.14%, falling below the previous 57.63%. The Nagasaki mayoral race
was bitterly fought among five new candidates, including two who

TOKYO 00001779 005 OF 006


filed papers to run in the wake of the assassination of Mayor Itcho
Ito. The Nagasaki mayoral election thus drew much attention across
the country, but voter turnout was still down.

The Yubari mayoral election, the first since the city was put in the
hands of a financial reconstruction organization, saw voter turnout
fall by 3.19 points from the previous 84.91% to 81.72%. How to
rebuild the city's finances was a campaign issue among seven new
candidates, but the race ended with voter turnout the third-lowest
ever.

In contrast, Okinawa Prefecture's Ginowan City, which houses the US
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, saw its voter turnout hit 60.39%,
up from the previous 55.54%.

In the mayoral election for Kochi Prefecture's Toyo Town, a major
campaign issue was whether to apply as a candidate location for a
final high-level nuclear waste disposal site, and voter turnout was
89.26% (no voting in the previous election).

8) Shimajiri wins Upper House by-election in Okinawa, drawing strong
expectations for her push for relocation of Futenma base

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 23, 2007

Aiko Shimajiri, recommended by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) and its junior coalition partner New Komeito, won the Upper
House by-election. The central government and the ruling camp hope
her election will give momentum to relocation of the US Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture),
one major plan in the realignment of the US Forces Japan (USFJ).

Defense Minister Kyuma late yesterday told reporters in Tokyo: "The
results of the election this time have boosted our
already-established policy of relocating the base. I want to
facilitate (talks) with local residents without causing trouble."
The LDP's Secretary General Nakagawa also said: "We may be given the
go-ahead for advancing (the relocation)."

The consultative council between the central government and local
municipalities to discuss the relocation of Futenma has been stalled
over such problems as whether to alter the central government's
proposal to construct a V-shaped pair of runways in a coastal area
of Camp Schwab in Nago City and how to eliminate the danger of the
current airfield. No prospects for the resumption of talks at the
council have come into sight.

Prime Minister Abe, who is to travel to the United States from April
26, intends to confirm during the summit talks with President Bush
that the realignment of the USFJ will be carried out at a steady
pace. So, the central government and the ruling parties had
expressed this desire, according to a government official: "By
seating Shimajiri, who supports the base being relocated within the
prefecture, we want to demonstrate that the relocation issue will
not go away."

Shimajiri's victory is raising expectations. One senior Defense
Ministry official said, "Consultations with local people may make
remarkable headway." Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima as well has
indicated that consultations need to be held swiftly. However, the
central government has insisted that it is difficult to modify the

TOKYO 00001779 006 OF 006


current plan, while Gov. Nakaima said to his aides: "We can't accept
(the central government's plan) if no modifications are made." Some
observers believe that it will not be easy to find a compromise.

9) Gov't to probe sea shortly for Futenma relocation

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
April 23, 2007

The Naha bureau of the Defense Facilities Administration Agency will
shortly look into the current state of waters near Camp Schwab, a US
military base in Okinawa Prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago,
for the government's planned relocation of the US Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station to a coastal area of the camp. Okinawa Gov.
Hirokazu Nakaima and Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro have asked the
government to revise the coastal plan to install an alternative
facility in waters off the camp. Okinawa has been holding
consultations with the government. The DFAA, once its survey sets
in, will go ahead with Futenma relocation without local consent.

The DFAA will look into egg-laying corals and other circumstances
before going through procedures for a law-required environmental
assessment.

SCHIEFFER

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