Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/25/07

DE RUEHKO #2361/01 1490048
P 290048Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

(1) Interviews with political leaders on the right to collective

(2) Follow-up on Abe cabinet-Collective defense (Part 3): Rushing to
the rescue of allied troops; Weapons-use guidelines need urgent

(3) 2007 Upper House election: LDP, Minshuto compete for measures to
revitalize regional economies

(4) Matsuya welcomes OIE designation of US as controlled-risk
country for BSE but Yoshinoya remains cool

(5) Imperial couple arrive in Estonia

(6) Editorial: Will post-Kyoto framework bring in the US, China?

(7) Abe unveils climate initiative, with aim of playing up Japan's
environmental contributions

-- There will be no Daily Summary on May 28 - an American holiday.

(1) Interviews with political leaders on the right to collective

NIHON KEIZI (Page 2) (Full)
May 25, 2007

Japanese Community Party Policy Commission Chair Akira Koike

-- What is your view of the four scenarios now under study by the
government's blue-ribbon panel?

Koike: They have all been asked by the United States. As far as the
question of missile defense (MD) is concerned, when the government
deiced to introduce it, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda
resealed a statement saying that it would not be used to defend a
third country and that it would not cause any problem. The Cabinet
Legislation Bureau was not the only one that did not allow it.

-- The prime minister thinks Japan must be able to respond to a new
age and new circumstances.

Koike: Any matters connected with the peace and stability of Japan
fall under the right to individual self-defense, so there is no need
to change the traditional interpretation. In all four scenarios,
Japan is not under armed attack, and that leaves no room for a
study. Japan is naturally not allowed to (exercise its right to
collective defense) under the current Constitution.

-- Are you saying that the constitutional interpretation should
follow the Cabinet Legislation Bureau's view?

Koike: Altering the constitutional interpretation concerns the
authority of the Constitution. The Cabinet Legislation Bureau (CLB)
exists so as not to allow (the government) to change its
interpretation at will. Past prime ministers presented the (CLB's
view) as their own without rejecting it. A country that revises its
constitutional interpretation every time the prime minister changes
cannot win international trust.

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Social Democratic Party Policy Research Council Chair Tomoko Abe

-- Do you think the expert panel's discussion will have an impact on
Diet debate?

Abe: Diet deliberations are most important. A private panel does not
have validity. The panel's discussion will be shallow unless it
returns to the starting point of civilian control.

-- The national security environment has changed.

Abe: Driven by changes, the discussion centers on reality. For
instance, no information has been disclosed on what the Self-Defense
Forces in Iraq have transported. Discussing the collective defense
right under such circumstances is pointless.

-- The prime minister has ordered the panel to study four

Abe: Japan is not allowed to exercise its right to collective
defense in any of the four cases. Article 9 sets an exclusively
defense-oriented policy. The Constitution, the United Nations, and
the nonnuclear principles have been Japan's axis throughout the
postwar period. The government's judgment of the three values is
always put to the test.

People's New Party Secretary General Hisaoki Kamei

-- Do you think the constitutional interpretation must be reviewed?

Kamei: The question of altering the government's interpretation,
which reflects a long period of Diet discussions, must be settled
with constitutional revision. In my view, Article 9 must not be
altered. Japan should focus on how to protect peace in carrying out
international cooperation.

-- You think even a discussion must not be conducted?

Kamei: Studying the extent of what Japan can do with the individual
defense right is not bad. I strongly fear that the government will
allow the country to exercise collective defense in a piecemeal
manner. Japan will end up taking part in America's military

-- What is your impression of the blue-ribbon panel?

Kamei: (The prime minister) has arbitrarily selected members who
have no responsibility to the public. Party politics has turned into
a mere shell.

(2) Follow-up on Abe cabinet-Collective defense (Part 3): Rushing to
the rescue of allied troops; Weapons-use guidelines need urgent

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 22, 2007

In Iraq, the heat was sticky. The temperature rose to 50 degrees
Centigrade, and tensions ran high with the fear of shells. Under
such severe conditions, Ground Self-Defense Force members worked in
the southern Iraqi city of Samawah. One of them struggled with
another difficult problem that would never encounter troops there

TOKYO 00002361 003 OF 009

from foreign countries.

It was a question from foreign troops. They wondered why GSDF
personnel sent overseas are not allowed to protect troops from
friendly countries. Dutch soldiers working with those GSDF members
looked doubtful. The GSDF members were at a loss for an answer.

Self-Defense Forces personnel are allowed to use weapons when they
are on duty overseas. However, their use of weapons overseas is
allowed in a limited number of cases, such as protecting themselves
in justified self-defense, evacuating in emergencies, and protecting
their weapons. SDF personnel are not allowed to use weapons for the
purpose of protecting or guarding foreign troops that come under
attack during their activities in international cooperation for

"Troops from a foreign country work together with those from other
countries for international peace. If and when they come under
attack, those who are there from the armed forces of foreign
countries will try to help their friends out. Only our country's
personnel cannot do so. I wonder if that's acceptable."

With this, Prime Minister Abe raised a question when the Council for
Rebuilding the Legal Foundation of National Security, a government
advisory panel of experts, met on May 18 for the first time.

Masahisa Sato, a retired GSDF colonel, commanded an advance team in
Iraq. "The Dutch military officers were aware of Japan's
constraints," Sato said. "But," he recalled, "I felt they were
expecting us to help them out in a pinch."

Sato cudgeled his brains, and what came across his mind was to get
involved in an attack. "We have only to say we will go scouting in
order to gather intelligence or otherwise in order to rescue someone
injured," Sato said. "And," he added, "we go to a place near the
Dutch troops, and if we happened to get involved in an attack there,
then we can fight back." His idea was to induce an attack and fight
back in the form of justified self-defense.

"As a matter of fact," Sato said, "they would hesitate to do so." He
also said, "That's a fatal risk there." One former SDF staff officer
noted that they could be charged later with a violation of the
weapons use standards-or the rules of engagement (ROE).

In 1992, Japan sent SDF members to Cambodia to engage in United
Nations peacekeeping operations. Since then, the SDF has constrained
its personnel's use of weapons overseas while playing it by ear.

According to the government's view, firing back on duty
overseas-when attacked by foreign military troops-could be
categorized as the constitutionally prohibited use of armed force.
However, the SDF is allowed to fight back when attacked by a
criminal group of unknown nationality. It is very difficult for SDF
members to tell military troops from criminal or insurgent groups in
an instant. The government's view has now reached its limit.

Those in the government and many of those concerned take it that the
question of whether or not to rush to guard friendly troops, as
noted by an SDF veteran, is not a matter pertaining to the
advisability of exercising the right to collective self-defense but
one that intrinsically has something to do with the government's
guidelines for the use of weapons. That is because they think that
this matter is for SDF personnel on duty overseas to decide,

TOKYO 00002361 004 OF 009

anticipating that SDF members on duty over there may have to use
weapons to deal with an emerging situation and cannot wait until the
government goes through procedures, such as making a cabinet

The government's current set of regulations for SDF personnel to use
weapons overseas was shaped under the PKO Cooperation Law of 1992.
The regulations were later stipulated in various laws, such as the
Antiterror Special Measures Law, which was enacted in the wake of
the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, and the Iraq
Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures Law of 2003.

"We didn't know if the situation over there was safe. If they were
allowed to use weapons under such circumstances, they could have
eventually been involved in combat. That's why their use of weapons
was constrained." With this, a senior official of the Cabinet
Legislation Bureau familiar with the past situation recalled how the
weapons-use standards were created.

What does Prime Minister Abe have in mind for now? Abe, according to
one of his aides, is thinking about the SDF's future international
contributions overseas and is laying emphasis on legislative
measures to that end.

The question is whether rushing to guard friends is an act of
exercising the right of collective self-defense. The advisory panel
is expected to discuss this matter. In addition, the panel is also
expected to discuss what reason could justify SDF members doing so.

One of the advisory panel's members asserts that using weapons
within the framework of United Nations activities is not an act of
using armed force as a sovereign right of the nation. This is the
idea of collective security.

Meanwhile, in October last year, Abe was asked in the Diet about a
case where foreign troops acting together with SDF members came
under attack and those SDF members rush to guard those attacked
foreign troops. In his reply, Abe categorized this case as "an act
of policing." This indicated that the SDF, based on police
authority, would be allowed to use weapons to guard foreign troops
acting in concert with SDF members.

"Restricting the use of weapons is based on a policy-based
judgment," says Shigeru Ishiba, former director general of the
Defense Agency, now the Defense Ministry. "The government should
ease the standards on guarding friendly troops," Ishiba asserts.

Another member of the advisory panel maintains that the government
should ease its weapons-use standards, insisting on the necessity of
creating a permanent law for the Self-Defense Forces' overseas

Sato, who has experienced on-site assignments overseas, stressed in
earnest: "The SDF is working in the national interests of Japan.
However, the government's guidelines allowing the use of weapons is
a far cry from the international rules of engagement. I want the
advisory panel to discuss this matter so that the SDF will be able
to carry out their missions and ensure safety."

(3) 2007 Upper House election: LDP, Minshuto compete for measures to
revitalize regional economies

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Almost full)

TOKYO 00002361 005 OF 009

May 23, 2007

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided on May 22 to
propose establishing a "community basic law" (tentative name) as one
of the measures to stimulate regional economies to be included in
campaign pledges for the House of Councillors election in July. The
LDP is considering creating a system to financially support such
organizations as community associations (jichikai) and fire brigades
(shobodan), aiming at solidifying the weakening regional support
base. The largest opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan) is gearing up to win more votes from farmers. Some may
criticize the two parties for "wasting public funds."

The LDP Research Commission, chaired by Seiichi Ota, will come up
with measures for revitalizing regional economies with the Upper
House election in mind. Besides the establishment of a community
basic law, the commission will propose 1) introducing a "hometown
tax system," under which a taxpayer will pay a certain percentage of
local tax to his or her hometown, 2) promoting a program supporting
local governments that have made efforts to improve their economies
on their own by increasing tax allocations, and 3) improving on-site
education in rural communities for children in urban areas.

A special feature of the planned community basic law is supporting
regional leaders. The legislation will include plans for the
government to subsidize activity expenses for neighborhood
associations through municipalities. Those organizations would be
given tax breaks. The LDP intends to enact the bill during an
extraordinary session of the Diet in the fall. "We will get the bill
through the Diet in the extra Diet session in the fall," said
Commission Chief Secretariat Yasuhiro Hanashi.

The LDP's moves reflect a sense of alarm toward its weakening
regional chapters. In the April unified local elections, the LDP
lost a large number of municipal assembly seats. Local tax grants
were decreased due to the "trinity reform" of taxation and fiscal
relations between the central and local governments promoted by the
former government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. As a result,
many think that the trinity reform accelerated the trend of voters
abandoning the LDP in provincial areas.

Of the nine bills related to revitalizing regional economies, the
government submitted to the current Diet session, eight, including a
bill revising the Regional Revitalization Law, have been enacted. A
senior Cabinet Office official pointed out: "We will do everything
that we can do, although some say that's wasting public funds."

The New Komeito has focused on improving regional medical services.
Local residents are in need of a medical system that will enable
them to live with peace of mind even in depopulated regions by
resolving the shortage of medical doctors in rural areas, and by
promoting the so-called Doctor-Heli system to transport emergency

Under the leadership of Ichiro Ozawa, Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan) is intent on expanding its strength in local regions. Its
manifesto (campaign pledges) proposes the establishment of a system
to provide farmers with approximately 1 trillion yen in income
support. In a meeting on May 23 of the Next Cabinet, the largest
opposition party will decide on measures to support revitalization
of the forestry industry. It will also include in its manifesto the
goal of creating 1 million jobs in the wood treating industry and in
mountainous areas.

TOKYO 00002361 006 OF 009

The Japanese Communist Party will suggest that tax subsidies
allocated to local governments not be reduced and that loans to
agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries be expanded. The
Social Democratic Party will propose establishing a "regional
reinvestment law" aimed at creating jobs in provincial areas and
developing local industries. The People's New Party will propose
changing the local tax grant system in order to allocate local tax
grants based on the percentage of elderly population and

(4) Matsuya welcomes OIE designation of US as controlled-risk
country for BSE but Yoshinoya remains cool

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
May 24, 2007

The World Organization for Animal Health's (OIE) decision to
classify the United States as a controlled-risk country for BSE has
solicited mixed reaction from beef bowl (gyudon) restaurant chains
and large-scale retail stores, with some voicing expectations for an
expansion of consumption and others calling for caution.

Matsuya Foods Co., a gyudon chain, put gyudon using US beef on its
menu again in January. It has welcomed the OIE's decision, with an
executive saying: "The authorization will help dissolve consumers'
concerns about the safety of US beef," adding: "We are considering
using even beef from cattle aged over 20 months, whose import is now

Meanwhile, Yoshinoya D&C., the nation's largest gyudon chain,
remains cool, an executive saying: "We have long desired to see US
beef imports normalized, but we cannot make too much of the OIE
authorization." Zensho Co., which operates the Sukiya chain, has
used Australian beef instead of US beef since September 2004. Its
spokesman said: "We found in our independent inspections of
meatpacking plants in the US that the slaughtering process was quite
lax. No blanket testing has been conducted, either. Until such
points are rectified, we will never use US beef."

A spokesman of Seven & i Holdings, said: "If the authorization
serves to dissolve consumers' concerns, it could be a standard."
Seiyu, which resumed the sale of US beef on March 31, takes the view
that it remains to be seen if the OIE decision will work to expand
consumption. A spokesman for Aeon, which has continued to suspend
the sale of US beef, said: "We have no plans to resume sales in the
near future."

Consumers' reactions also vary. A male company employee, 20, who
bought US beef at Seiyu Akabane yesterday, said: "I recognize no
major differences among beef exported from various countries, so I
do not care much. If the age-limit restriction is removed, more US
beef will be placed on the market and its prices will eventually be
lowered, so I welcome (the OIE's authorization of the safety of the
US beef)."

A housewife, 57, who bought domestic beef, said: "I have not eaten
American beef over the past several years because I am worried about
its safety. I feel that matters have gone as told by the US. I want
the government to make a cautious response."

(5) Imperial couple arrive in Estonia

TOKYO 00002361 007 OF 009

SANKEI (Page 30) (Full)
May 25, 2007

Mao Oshima, Tallinn

The Emperor and Empress, now on a tour of five European countries,
arrived on April 24 at Tallinn airport in Estonia from Sweden. It is
the first visit to a former Soviet-bloc state for the Imperial

The Imperial couple visited Song Square in the suburbs of Tallinn.
The chorus festival held once in five years in Song Square is called
"Singing Revolution" because it became great power for national
independence. The chorus festival is registered as an intangible
cultural asset of UNESCO.

The Emperor and Empress watched a chorus practice at the square,
which can accommodate up to 300,000 people. The couple applauded

(6) Editorial: Will post-Kyoto framework bring in the US, China?

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
May 25, 2007

It should serve as the starting point for creating an international
framework to fight against climate change.

Prime Minister Abe announced his basic policy for the "post-Kyoto"
era, because the Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in 2008,
will not cover beyond 2012. Abe's proposal indicated Japan's
approach of how to build an international framework to replace the
Kyoto Protocol. Abe is expected to present it to the upcoming Group
of Eight (G-8) major industrialized nations summit in Germany in

The Kyoto Protocol set country-specific numerical targets for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, Abe's proposal would
have every country in the world confirm that they will aim for the
same goal and then discuss how to attain that goal.

One major feature in Abe's proposal is to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), to half the current levels
by 2050. Making that target the common world goal, Abe suggests the
need for technological development to bring about emissions
reduction and economic growth together.

The United States, the largest emitter in the world, remains outside
the Kyoto Protocol. And though it is a matter of time until China
outpaces the US in greenhouse gas emissions, it is not obligated by
the protocol to reduce emissions. Taking these things into
consideration, we think Abe's proposal is reasonable and
appropriate. In order to make a new framework effective, it is
absolutely required to have the US and China take part.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has set its own numerical target
of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 PERCENT or more from
1990 levels.

Abe is reportedly determined to aim for "a flexible and diversified
framework that considers each country's situation." In the process
of creating the framework, whether to set numerical targets country
by country must be discussed. In doing so, Japan will likely be

TOKYO 00002361 008 OF 009

forced to make a difficult decision, sandwiched among the US, China,
and the EU.

The three working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) under the United Nations Environment Programme
released their reports in succession. The reports say that global
warming has steadily advanced for the past century and predict that
if society continues relying on fossil fuels, the average
temperature could rise as much as 6.4 degrees.

The reports also note that global warming could be stopped if
appropriate measures were taken, urging every country to address
climate change.

Abe in his proposal mentioned financial and technical assistance to
developing countries willing to take measures to combat climate
change. Japan is a world leader in terms of energy-conservation, and
this technology will serve as an effective tool to combat climate

Japan is mandated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 PERCENT
from 1990 levels. But Japan saw its emissions increase by 8.1
PERCENT in 2005. A rise in emissions from office buildings and
households is noticeable. It is important to continue steady
efforts, such as turning up the thermostat on air conditioners.

Japan, without making its utmost effort, will find its proposal

(7) Abe unveils climate initiative, with aim of playing up Japan's
environmental contributions

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
May 25, 2007

Prime Minister Abe unveiled a global-warming initiative yesterday.
The proposal is apparently aimed at underscoring, ahead of the G-8
Summit in Heiligendamm starting on June 6, Japan's eagerness to
address environmental issues. Japan cannot ignore recent
environmental deterioration in developing countries, such as loess
from the Gobi Desert blown by wind through China and then to Japan.
Given this, Japan is willing to make greater contributions in the
environment area by making use of its cutting-edge technologies.

The prime minister plans to place environmental issues high on the
agenda for the Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido next year. The climate
proposal reflects Japan's desire to take the lead in debate on the

Strong appeal to US, China


Prime Minister Abe proposed setting a global goal of halving
greenhouse gas emissions across the world by 2050. The
emission-reduction targets set in the Kyoto Protocol are to end in
2012. Abe's proposal reflects his desire to convey a strong message
that if such major greenhouse gas emitters as the US and China are
left outside a post-Kyoto framework, the framework will be

The total volume of greenhouse gases emitted by industrialized
countries mandated to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol

TOKYO 00002361 009 OF 009

accounts for only 30 PERCENT of total emissions worldwide. The US,
China, and India - large greenhouse gas emitters - are not mandated
to cut emissions. Listing these three countries, Abe stressed the
need for a post-Kyoto framework that involves the entire global

According to a report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC), it is possible to absorb about 3.1 billion
tons of greenhouse gases, but 7.2 billion tons have been emitted
across the world. This means that unless emissions are halved,
global warming will not be contained.

Abe proposed that the global community should strive to halve
greenhouse gas emissions from current levels by 2050. The report is
based on this proposal. Based on the judgment that even if
country-specific goals are presented the US and China may not accept
them, Japan aims to have the global community adopt a common goal
first and then discuss such details as methods to cut greenhouse gas
emissions and numerical targets.

The prime minister also stressed the need to create a diverse
framework that takes into account each country's abilities and
circumstances. Such a view had never been presented before. Abe
keeps in mind that China, which will be the largest emitter in the
near future, should bear a heavier burden than other minor
developing countries.

A senior official of the Environment Ministry confidently said:
"This is Japan's unique proposal. The US, Europe, and China are
paying attention to it." However, some observers pose questions,
wondering if Japan will be able to persuade other countries without
showing its own long-term goal. Will this proposal be included in
the G-8 joint statement in Heiligendamm? This will be the first test
for Japan over whether it will be able to take the lead in future
talks on global warming.


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