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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05//07

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2053/01 1280758
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080758Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3383
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 3441
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1005
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 4557
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 0265
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1911
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6935
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3000
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4189

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TOKYO 002053

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 05//07


INDEX:

(1) Poll: 51% favor constitutional revision, 19% opposed

(2) Poll on constitutional revision, political parties

(3) Upper House election: LDP, Minshuto aim to win floating votes

(4) New Komeito President Ota: Party aims to hold on to 13 seats in
election by showing achievements

(5) ADP annual meeting: Difficult to balance environment and
development

(Corrected copy of the Index from Morning Highlights dated May 8,
2007)

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll: 51% favor constitutional revision, 19% opposed

MAINICHI (Top play) (Full)
May 3, 2007

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey on April 28-29. In the survey, respondents were asked
if they thought it would be better to revise the Constitution. In
response to this question, 51% answered "yes," with 19% saying "no"
and 22% "don't know." Among those who answered "yes," nearly 80%
cited the passage of 60 years since the Constitution came into
effect when asked why, with less than 10% saying that is because it
was imposed by the United States or noting a gap between the
Self-Defense Forces' existence and Constitution Article 9. Among
those opposed to constitutional revision, a total of 70% said it
could lead to rewriting Article 9 or it has yet to be fully
discussed.

The proportion of those in favor of revising the Constitution topped
50% for the first time in a Mainichi poll. The results of previous
polls and the one taken this time cannot be simply compared due to
different polling methodologies. In a previous survey conducted in
September 2004, however, pro-revision respondents accounted for 46%.
In the breakdown of their reasons, 49% said it no longer meets the
times, with 28% saying it has never been revised. In light of
another question, more than 80% of those in favor of revising the
Constitution say the Constitution has considerably or somewhat
contributed to postwar Japan. They seem to think it would be all
right to renew the Constitution along with the changes of the times,
rather than to say there is something inconvenient in concrete
terms.

Among other reasons given by pro-revision respondents, 9% said that
was because the Constitution was imposed by the United States, with
9% saying there is a gap between what the SDF is doing and Article
9, and 4% saying individual rights are overrespected.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who makes it a goal for his government to
revise the Constitution, has been taking the position that Article 9
is now outdated. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in its draft
of a new constitution, argues that the Constitution was imposed by
the United States. However, both the prime minister and the LDP have
a perception gap with most of those in favor of revising the
Constitution.

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07


In the breakdown of reasons given by those against constitutional
revision, 46% said that was because it could lead to rewriting
Article 9. Among other reasons, 24% said it has yet to be fully
debated, with 16% saying there is no positive reason and 10% citing
the possibility of individual rights being restricted or obligations
being stipulated. There are also opinions that passively affirm the
Constitution as is. The proportion of those who positively defend
the Constitution was only 2%, saying that is because the
Constitution meets the times. Those who answered they "don't know"
accounted for 22% when asked whether they would like the
Constitution to be revised, marking the lowest figure since the
1980s. However, the proportion of anti-revision respondents was
lower than even the proportion of those who could not answer one way
or the other.

(2) Poll on constitutional revision, political parties

ASAHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 2, 2007

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. Bracketed figures denote
proportions to all respondents.)

Q: Which political party do you support now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 31
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 14
New Komeito (NK) 4
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0
Other political parties 0
None 41
No answer (N/A) + don't know (D/K) 5

Q: The Constitution of Japan turns 60 on May 3. Do you usually talk
about the Constitution at your home or workplace? (One choice only)

Often 4
Sometimes 30
Almost never 43
Not at all 23

Q: Constitution Article 9 stipulates that Japan renounces war and
will never maintain war potential. Over the past 60 years, Japan has
been at peace without going to war. Do you think Constitution
Article 9 has contributed to this?

Yes 78
No 15

Q: Then, do you think Constitution Article 9 has contributed to
peace and security in East Asia?

Yes 58
No 27

Q: There is an opinion saying the Self-Defense Forces is
unconstitutional, and there is also an opinion saying the SDF is not
unconstitutional. To which opinion do you agree?

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07


Unconstitutional 23
Not unconstitutional 60

Q: The Constitution describes nothing about the SDF. Do you think
the SDF should be described in the Constitution?

Yes 56
No 31

Q: The LDP announced its draft of a new constitution the year before
last. The LDP draft version of a new constitution clearly describes
that Japan will have "armed forces" for self-defense, and it renames
the SDF accordingly. Aside from whether to describe it in the
Constitution, do you think it appropriate to do so?

Yes 18
No 70

Q: How far do you think the SDF should be allowed to act overseas?
Which opinion is closest to yours? (One choice only)

The SDF should not be allowed to act overseas at all 10
The SDF may be allowed to act overseas if it does not use armed
force 64
The SDF should be allowed to use armed force if necessary 22

Q: Do you think it would be better to rewrite Constitution Article
9?

Yes 33
No 49

Q: There is an opinion saying the Constitution was imposed by
America. Which opinion is closest to yours? (One choice only)

Imposed 21
Not imposed 14
Can't say which 63

Q: Do you think the Constitution should be revised on the whole?

Yes 58
No 27

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes") Why? (One choice only)

Because we want to create a new constitution ourselves
7(4)
Because Article 9 is problematical
6(4)
Because new rights and systems should be incorporated
84(48)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no") Why? (One choice only)

Because it has taken root in the nation and has no problems to
revise
33(9)
Because Article 9 may be rewritten
39(11)
Because it has contributed to freedom and rights guaranteed
25(7)

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07


Q: Do you think it realistic to revise the Constitution, or do you
otherwise think it's still in the way ahead?

Realistic 59
Way ahead 31


Q: Prime Minister Abe has clearly said he would go for
constitutional revision. Would you like the Constitution to be
revised under Prime Minister Abe?

Yes 40
No 42

Q: Do you think constitutional revision matters much to you?

Yes 57
No 35

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted April 14-15 over the
telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
Respondents were chosen from among the nation's voting population on
a three-stage random-sampling basis. Among randomly generated
telephone numbers, those actually for household use with one or more
eligible voters totaled 3,330. Valid answers were obtained from
1,807 persons (54% ).

(3) Upper House election: LDP, Minshuto aim to win floating votes

ASAHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
May 8, 2007

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the leading opposition
party, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) yesterday shifted gears
upward in the campaign for the House of Councillors election. The
LDP decided to give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the go ahead to give
street-corner speeches as early as this month in order to win over
unaffiliated voters. Minshuto as started to discuss ways to look for
campaign issues in addition to the current one on rectifying the
income gap in society. President Ozawa yesterday stumped in election
districts in the urban areas. Competition between the two parties
will likely intensify with an eye on scoring points with nonaligned
voters.

LDP stepping up measures to win votes in regional areas under Abe's
lead

Abe told LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa at noon yesterday:
"In the Upper House election, I want to bring up global warming and
the environment as campaign issues." He intends to play up the
importance of local areas with an eye on single-seat districts in
the prefectures. Abe's aide said, "The prime minister will give a
street corner speech every week in June."

Global warming is one of the issues that Abe plans to discuss at the
2008 G-8 Summit to be in the Lake Toya area, Hokkaido. He will take
a strategy of playing up his own policy agenda in campaigning for
the Upper House election, calling for the need for constitutional
reform.

The approval rating for the Abe cabinet has recently been on the
increase in the polls. Abe's aide said, "The prime minister should

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07

display his own identity rather than taking makeshift measures."
When visiting Qatar on May 1, Abe clearly stated: "I have no
intention to take special measures to win the floating votes. I will
give voters simple and honest explanations about my policies and
implement them." The words "simple and honest" will be his strategy
to score with unaffiliated voters.

Secretary General Nakagawa gave a pep talk at a general meeting on

SIPDIS
April 29 of the LDP Kochi chapter: "We must win in the battle of one
thing in mind, creating a new constitution."

However, the prime minister's aides do not think that they will be
able to overcome the current political situation. Although the
Koizumi cabinet had public support ratings at the 50% level, it
suffered a setback in the 2004 Upper House election. Abe, who was
chief cabinet secretary at that time, is calling for strengthening
the party's organizational strength.

Nakagawa called in three candidates-to-be to LDP headquarters
yesterday. According to one of the three, Nakagawa told them, "I
want you to make efforts to obtain support from female voters."

Minshuto groping for better campaign issues than social divide

Acting President Naoto Kan: "There are such issues as medical,
pension, welfare, a change of government, and waste of tax money. We
should discuss the environment problem, including agriculture."

President Ozawa: "We must delve deeper into the social divide issue,
since it is so abstract."

Ozawa, Kan, and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama held a meeting on
May 7 at party headquarters. The three agreed that the party would
hasten to come up with new campaign issues that would be easy to
convey to voters, while assessing the will of the voters. After the
meeting, Hatoyama stressed: "We have to come up with campaign themes
that are easy to be understood by the public and will have an impact
on them."

On May 7 Policy Research Committee Chairman Takeaki Matsumoto and
other committee members met at party headquarters and conducted
intensive debate for about seven hours on a plan to draft a
manifesto (set of campaign pledges) for the Upper House election.
The party reportedly wants a manifesto of 10 to 15 items, including
the pension issue, Iraq, bid-rigging and amakudari (golden parachute
system), employment, medical service, education and agriculture.

Minshuto has determined that it cannot defeat the LDP with only
measures to narrow the income gap. Ozawa, who toured the prefectures
where single seats are up for reelection, made his position clear
that his party would place priority on scoring with unaffiliated
voters. He visited Chukyo Women's University, whose president will
run in the Upper House race on Minshuto ticket for the Aichi
constituency. Minshuto apparently will be filing two candidates each
in Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Aichi prefectures. It will be
difficult for the party to win two seats in each constituency with
the conventional support layer, including labor union votes.
Therefore, it plans to focus on the floating votes and measures to
capture some of the multiple seat districts up for election.

(4) New Komeito President Ota: Party aims to hold on to 13 seats in
election by showing achievements


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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 8, 2007

-- How many seats is the party aiming at (in the upcoming House of
Councillors election)?

We aim to secure our current 13 seats, with eight proportional
representation seats and five in prefectural constituencies. With
this number, the coalition will be able to maintain its majority.

-- A fierce battle is expected in constituencies, isn't it?

Our party has fielded candidates in five constituencies. In four of
the five electoral districts, excluding Tokyo, the number of seats
is three. In Saitama, Kanagawa, and Aichi of the four, Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) has put up two candidates. But we aim to
desperately defend one seat in each constituency.

-- What if the coalition fails to keep its majority?

A volatile political situation will unavoidably have a negative
impact on the nation's economy, although it has recovered to this
far. In such a case, Japan probably will be thrown into confusion.

-- What issues will the party focus on in the Upper House election
campaign?

Our party's attention-grabbing message is "politics that takes
responsibility for the future." Eight years have passed since the
New Komeito became a member of the Liberal Democratic Party-led
coalition government. During this period, the economy returned to a
recovery path, and it became possible to envision the future of
Japan. Our capability to map out a future vision for Japan will be
tested.

-- What theme are you going to give priority to?

We give priority to the capability to translate policy plans into
reality. We will show our past achievements and a course of action
for the future. During the seven months after I assumed office as
party head, the government implemented such specific measures as
expanding the scope of those eligible for child allowance and
increasing budgetary allocations for small businesses. Opposition
parties did nothing."

-- The LDP plans to bring up a revision of the Constitution as the
central issue in the campaign, doesn't it?

I do not think it will be focused on in the campaign. It is more
important to present future options and a specific vision for this
nation, rather than discussing constitutional clauses. Focusing on
essential points in the challenges facing this nation, such as
social security, environmental protection, security and safety,
politicians should forge ahead with political agenda items.

-- You seem to have a different view from the prime minister on a
review of the government's interpretation of the right to collective
self-defense.

The prime minister has clearly said (to me): "I have no intention of
reinterpreting the Constitution." Regarding national basic issues,
It is important to take the stance of aiming at hitting the ball to
center, instead of aiming at doubling to right field. The New

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07

Komeito, as the party of peace, might be expected to apply the
brakes when (the prime minister) is about to go too far.

-- Minshuto is grilling the ruling coalition over social
disparities.

It is imperative to take specific measures to prevent the existing
gaps from expanding and being fixed. The New Komeito has most
contributed to implementing specific measures.

-- Isn't there any possibility of the New Komeito buried between the
two big political parties, the LDP and Minshuto?

Adopting a two-party system is no longer a global trend. Many have
begun to regard the third and fourth parties as important. It is
essential to have a variety of people's intentions reflected in
politics. Since the New Komeito, which understands the feelings of
the common people, small- to medium-sized companies, and people in a
difficulty, is a member of the ruling camp, the ruling coalition has
been able to take well-balanced policies.

(5) ADP annual meeting: Difficult to balance environment and
development

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 9) (Full)
May 8, 2007

The 40th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADV), which
was held in Kyoto, ended yesterday, completing a two-day session.
President Haruhiko Kuroda made a closing speech on the evening of
the same day. In the speech he indicated the bank's policy of aiming
at economic growth in Asia and a reduction of poverty, while giving
consideration to the environment.

Kuroda explained, "Member nations have agreed that growth in Asia
must be sustainable." To be precise, they confirmed the need for
mutual cooperation for the promotion of the use of clean and
efficient energy.

Member nations have also confirmed that the ADB should make efforts
to improve the environment, noting that such efforts are beneficial
to the education and health of developing countries.

The next annual meeting will be held in Madrid, Spain, next May.

Progress made for establishment of ADV fund

The meeting took place at the venue where the Kyoto Protocol was
adopted 10 years ago. Some progress has been made, as can be seen in
that Japan has come up with a proposal for establishing a fund to
spread energy-conservation as a measure to prevent global warming, a
key agenda item. An environmental protection group criticized the
ADV for continuing providing loans for development of energy using
fossil fuels, arguing that such loans will accelerate global
warming.

ADB President Kuroda during the meeting made a speech, noting, "We
should think that we are responsible for protecting the environment
not for the sake of cost but for the sake of investment in the
future." Finance Minister Koji Omi explained to participants from
various countries that cutting carbon emissions is unavoidable,
indicating the outlook that energy consumption in Asia will double
from the present level in 2030.

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07


The ADB at present extends loans worth 1 billion yen a year for
environment-related projects, including the introduction of
energy-conserving technology and the promotion of hydroelectric
generation and wind-power generation. It plans to continue providing
loans worth more than 1 billion yen a year. It will also focus on
providing knowledge and technology for protection of the environment
as a hub of expert knowledge.

In the meantime, the ADB will continue to depend on fossil fuels, as
can be seen in its decision to finance the construction of a coal
thermal power station in India. According to Greenpeace, an
environmental protection group, the total amount of loans the ADB
has provided for the construction of coal thermal power stations
over the past five years is six times larger than the amount it
provided for the use of clean energy, such as wind-power
generation.

The person in charge of an environment-related section at the ADB,
said, "We respect the views of nongovernmental organizations as well
as those of developing countries." There are still 600 million
persons in Asia who live on less than one dollar a day.
Infrastructure has yet to be consolidated there. He explained the
reality of Asia: "Poverty must be eliminated through power
generation. If a country has rich oil reserves and the cost of using
such resources is cheap, it is bound to depend on coal."

(Corrected copy of the Index from Morning Highlights dated May 8,
2007)

Prime Minister Abe offered gift to Yasukuni Shrine during spring
festival in April in lieu of paying homage at the shrine

Abe first prime minister to make offering to Yasukuni during
shrine's spring festival since Nakasone

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
May 8, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an offering to Yasukuni Shrine using
his title as "prime minister" on the occasion of the shrine's spring
festival from April 21-23. Abe has become the first Japanese prime
minister to make an offering to the shrine since Yasuhiro Nakasone
did so about 20 years ago. Abe has been elusive about visiting
Yasukuni Shrine, telling people, "I have no intention of saying
whether or not I will visit or have visited the shrine." Abe
apparently showed some consideration to the shrine by making an
offering instead of visiting.

According to a shrine source, Abe offered a potted masakaki plant 2
meters tall. The pot is now lined with other masakaki plants
alongside the wooden steps leading to the inner shrine. The pot
carries a wooden label that says "prime minister."

Such persons as the Lower House speaker and the chairmen of the
Japan War-Bereaved Association and the Association to Acknowledge
the Divine Spirits of the Dead have offered masakaki plants to the
shrine annually. But no prime minister has made an offering since
Nakasone. When former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited
Yasukuni, he offered flower wreaths.

The shrine sent a letter to Abe asking for his attendance at its
spring festival and an offering, and in response Abe paid 50,000 yen

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05//07

for the plant.

Yasukuni Shrive invites guests to its April and October festivals,
which carry greater importance than the August 15 end-of-the-war
anniversary. The spring festival this year occurred just after
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan.

The shrine source welcomed Abe's offering, saying: "I think Mr. Abe,
who has been abstaining from visiting the shrine since becoming
prime minister, showed his feelings. We appreciate it."


DONOVAN

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