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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 06/28/07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 002944

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 06/28/07


INDEX:

(1) Upper House election: Will Abe step down from the prime
minister's post if LDP fails to win more than 44 seats? Uno resigned
with 36 seats, Hashimoto with 44

(2) 2007 Upper House election: Abe's "friends" groping in the dark

(3) Editorial: Comfort-women resolution - There is also a problem
with Abe's diplomatic stance

(4) Editorial: Prime Minister should perceive the seriousness of US
House comfort-women resolution

(5) Ex-Prime Minister Miyazawa dies: senior LDP member

ARTICLES:

(1) Upper House election: Will Abe step down from the prime
minister's post if LDP fails to win more than 44 seats? Uno resigned
with 36 seats, Hashimoto with 44

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 28, 2007

A tug-of-war has been intensifying in the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) over the number of Upper House seats won by the LDP that
will force Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to resign from his post to take
responsibility for the result. LDP members, who are critical of Abe,
have asserted that if the party suffers a crashing defeat, he should
naturally step down, with an eye on the 44 seats that the LDP
obtained in the 1998 Upper House election, forcing then Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to resign after accepting responsibility
for the loss. Lawmakers close to Abe have taken precautions against
the above assertion, noting, "There would no need for Prime Minister
Abe to resign even if the ruling coalition is defeated." Criticism
of Abe will inevitably grow as long as he does not make any headway
due to the pension record mismanagement fiasco.

After the current regular Diet session was extended under the
initiative of Abe, who aims to enact bills amending the National
Civil Service Law to clamp down on the practice of amakudari or
placing retired bureaucrats into high-paying posts at private firms
in the industries they oversaw, calls for Abe to assume
responsibility for the results of the July Upper House election have
been raised, with Taku Yamasaki, former LDP vice president, saying,
"He should take due responsibility if the ruling coalition suffers a
major defeat."

In contrast to Yamasaki's view, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori,
Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, members of the Machimura

SIPDIS
faction, to which Abe used to belong, and former Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi, former member of the faction, have insisted:
"There would be no need for Abe to resign as prime minister in case
the ruling camp is defeated.

Mori stressed in a speech on June 25: "The Upper House election is
like a midterm test (for the administration). It will not be an
election to risk the reins of government."

However, Sosuke Uno was forced to quit the prime minister's post to
assume responsibility for the result of the 1989 Upper house
election, in which the LDP won only 36 seats; and Prime Minister

TOKYO 00002944 002 OF 007


Hashimoto had to resign to take responsibility for the result of the
1998 election.

Regarding the results of the upcoming election, the dominant view in
the LDP is that if the party suffers a crushing defeat, it is
impossible for Abe to remain in office. Observers see the view in
the Machimura faction as a "pickoff throw" to decrease the number of
seats that would force Abe to quit the prime minister's post.

In order for the ruling coalition to keep its majority in the Upper
House, they must win 64 seats. Even if the New Komeito keeps its 13
seats, which it won in the 2001 election, the LDP will have to
secure 51 seats.

Should the LDP fall short of a majority, it still has an option to
uphold the rains of government by allying with the People's New
Party (two seats up for grabs and two seats not up for reelection),
which has implied a possibility of corporation with the LDP, as well
as with independent lawmakers. Since the LDP has not found any
candidates to replace Abe, chances are that the view calling for Abe
to assume responsibility will not become stronger.

However, should the LDP end up with many seats short of a majority,
calls for Abe to assume responsibility will inevitably become
stronger.

Referring to the results of the Upper House election in 1998, when
he was serving as secretary general of the LDP, Koichi Kato stated
at a press conference on June 26: "Both Prime Minister Hashimoto and
I submitted resignations as a matter of course." He indicated in his
remarks that the 44-seat line that put an end to the Hashimoto
government is the dividing line for Abe. An LDP source also pointed
out: "Chances are that if the LDP ended up with less than 45 seats,
the prime minister will be replaced."

Abe has not mentioned his responsibility, emphasizing that the LDP
will win in all electoral districts. There seems to be no doubt that
winning only 44 seats would determine the fate of the Abe
administration.

(2) 2007 Upper House election: Abe's "friends" groping in the dark

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
June 28, 2007

Seiichi Eto and other "friends" of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who are
running in the upcoming House of Councillors election as Liberal
Democratic Party-sponsored proportional representation candidates
have been pushing against all odds Abe's priorities, such as
educational reform and the abduction issue. Whether or not their
efforts result in votes remains to be seen.

Seiichi Eto prioritizes Constitution over pension

"We have been working hard, believing that rescuing the victims
kidnapped by North Korea is the state's responsibility. I want to
make Japan into a beautiful country which everyone can be proud
of."

This video message by Seiichi Eto was shown to some 300 supporters
at his fund-raising party held in a Fukuoka hotel yesterday.

Eto lost his House of Representatives seat in the general election

TOKYO 00002944 003 OF 007


in 2005 when he ran as an independent after having being expelled
from the LDP as a result of his opposing the postal privatization
plan. Eto was allowed to rejoin the LDP this March owing to Abe's
strong push. Changing hats, he is going to seek an Upper House seat
in the upcoming election. Abe once described Eto as a close friend
basically sharing the same views. Eto was introduced in the
videotape shown at the party as Abe's comrade who has fought with
him for constitutional revision and other matters essential to the
country. "Prime Minister Abe has handpicked Mr. Eto under a
difficult situation," a support group executive said in a speech.

Eto's campaign style is clearly distinct from that of other LDP
candidates.

He neither focuses on the pension issue nor works closely with the
New Komeito. The Since the New Komeito feared Eto's candidacy would
cause disarray in campaign cooperation with its coalition partner,
the LDP, it reacted negatively. This forced the LDP leadership to
warn Eto not to conduct campaign activities in Oita, though this is
his home turf. The LDP leadership even urged Eto not to attend
yesterday's party.

This can explain why Eto has focused on Abe's original policy
agenda. Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference) Chairman Toru Miyoshi and
other conservative group executives showed up at Eto's party held in
Tokyo on June 11. Eto's supporters consist mainly of social welfare
organizations, political groups comprised of academics close to Abe,
and religious organizations.

Eto declared at the June 11 party: "Our goal is to review the
education system as soon as possibly, begin nation-rebuilding to
make Japan into an ideal country, and establish a new constitution.
To that end, I will risk everything in the upcoming election."

Ex-delinquent now charismatic educator Hiroyuki Yoshiie prepared to
face uphill battle

Hiroyuki Yoshiie, known as "bad boy teacher" and a high-ranking
member of the Education Rebuilding Council, has also decided to run
in the proportional representation bloc.

In response to Abe's request on June 25 to run in the race to
display his charismatic leadership in the political scene, Yoshiie
said: "A headwind is blowing. The Abe cabinet is also facing a
headwind. I will do my best to protect the children."

Votes for Kyoko Nakayama as positive assessments of Abe's abduction
policy

Kyoko Nakayama, advisor to the prime minister on the abduction
issue, told a pep rally held for her in Tokyo yesterday: "North
Korea is closely watching how the upcoming election turns out. I
will run in the race in which the public will make a decision on the
prime minister's top priority issue."

Nakayama was also the responsible official for the abduction issue
when Abe served as chief cabinet secretary under the Koizumi
cabinet. As prime minister, Abe appointed Nakayama as one of his
five advisors and asked her to run in the race on the LDP ticket.
Votes for Nakayama would be taken as positive assessments of Abe's
North Korea policy.

On June 11, Nakayama explained the reason for her candidacy this

TOKYO 00002944 004 OF 007


way: "I hope a lot of people will express their support for the
abduction issue by voting for me. It will be a strong message to
North Korea." Abe also delivered the following video message in
Kainan City, Wakayama Prefecture, on June 16: "Resolving the
abduction issue is my cabinet's top priority. I will aim at rescuing
all abductees with the help of advisor Nakayama."

Focusing merely on the abduction issue might not put Nakayama at an
advantage. Talks on the abduction issue between Japan and North
Korea remain stalled, while the international community's move for
resolving the nuclear issue is gaining momentum.

"Her candidacy can be a double-edged sword. If she can collect a
large number of votes, it would be seen as pressure on North Korea.
But it could end up the other way around," warned Nariaki Nakayama,
Kyoko Nakayama's husband and a former education and science
minister, on June 4 in response to his request. Not discouraged, Abe
successfully convinced Nakayama, saying, "I'm aware of that, but
education and the abduction issue are my top priorities."

The LDP has not assigned any support groups to Nakayama. Flyers
prepared by her supporters association carry a picture of Nakayama
descending the plane in 2002 along with five repatriated abductees
from North Korea. On the list of her supporters are families of
victims of kidnapped by North Korea. "Her failure to win a large
number of votes might embolden North Korea," a former cabinet
minister said.

(3) Editorial: Comfort-women resolution - There is also a problem
with Abe's diplomatic stance

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
June 28, 2007

The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has
adopted a resolution demanding an apology from the Japanese
government in connection with the wartime comfort-women issue. The
resolution says: "The Japanese government should officially
apologize for its Imperial Armed Forces' coercion of young women
into sexual slavery."

On the comfort-women issue, this is the second resolution adopted by
the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, following
the one in September of last year. This time, with House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi throwing her weight behind it, the resolution is likely
to be adopted by the full House next month for the first time.

In the 1993 statement by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono,
the Japanese government admitted the Japanese Imperial Army's
coercion of young women into sexual slavery, saying: "Japan extends
its sympathy and regrets (to the comfort women)."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upholds the Kono statement. He offered an
apology when he met President Bush and congressional members during
his visit to the US this April. In the US, there are some who defend
Japan, like Senator Daniel Inoue saying: "Seeing the recent moves in
the US in connection with the comfort-women issue, I feel it is
regrettable. Despite repeated apologies by Japanese prime ministers,
I wonder why an affair of this sort happens constantly. "

Nonetheless, Japan's position was not understood, and the resolution
was adopted. It is extremely regrettable.


TOKYO 00002944 005 OF 007


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said: "We should not make
any comments on a resolution adopted by another country's
parliament."

Although it is certainly a resolution of another country's
parliament, we must seriously take what the lawmakers representing
the American people expressed in their vote. Under the current
situation, the relationship between Japan and the US might be
adversely affected. Japan is required to make a proper response so
that bilateral relations will not be damaged.

Prime Minister Abe's remarks were also one factor that led to the
current situation. In Diet replies in March, Abe denied the
government's "coercion in a narrow sense," saying: "There was no
evidence (in the data) to prove coercive recruitment by military
personnel or constituted authorities."

The prime minister had expressed a view critical of the Kono
Statement before assuming office. Given this, the prime minister's
remarks were taken as expressing his support for reviewing the Kono
Statement, and Abe eventually came under heavy fire mainly from the
US media. When he visited the US this April, the prime minister
expressed his feelings of apology, but the words did not work
effectively to persuade the Congress to drop the resolution.

In addition, lawmakers, including former Minister of Economy, Trade
and Industry Takeo Hiranuma, and commentators posted an
advertisement in the June 14 issue of an American newspaper in which
they denied the allegation of government's coercion in the
recruitment of comfort women. This move resulted in prompting the
Congress to adopt the resolution, with committee Chairman Tom Lantos
refuting: "These are ridiculous assertions that counter the facts."

Hiranuma released a statement yesterday stating: "The resolution
based on an erroneous perception of the facts could create a major
fissure in the bilateral relationship." But it is also true that
their assertions denying coercive recruitment were not understood by
the US Congress.

The Asia Women's Fund, which was disbanded at the end of March,
continued to send compensation money and prime ministers' letters of
apology to comfort women. The Japanese government, however, has not
made similar efforts to solicit understanding from the global
audience. It is now necessary for the prime minister, without
dismissing the comfort-women issue as "another country's matter," to
take the lead in explaining in a sincere manner Japan's position,
based on the Kono Statement.

(4) Editorial: Prime Minister should perceive the seriousness of US
House comfort-women resolution

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
June 28, 2007

The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has
adopted a resolution on the comfort-women issue by 39-2 calling on
the Japanese government to officially acknowledge and take full
responsibility, and apologize. The resolution is likely to be
approved by the full House in July.

The US Congress has denounced before the international community
that Japan has not reflected on its past conduct. This criticism
carries a heavy meaning.

TOKYO 00002944 006 OF 007

The Asahi Shimbun has asserted that politicians should squarely
tackle issues connected with historical views, such as the prime
minister's visits to Yasukuni Shrine and the comfort-women issue.
Our assertion is based on the judgment that words and actions that
could be interpreted as intended to justify Japan's prewar deeds and
values may affect international trust in Japan.

It is truly regrettable that things have come to this serious pass.
We feel ashamed and vexing that Japan has been viewed as such a
country (as described in the resolution).

Even so, the resolution does not refer to the fact that successive
prime ministers have sent letters of apologies to the former comfort
women. It does not clarify how it has interpreted the Kono
Statement, in which the government admitted the government's
coercion and apologized, either. In this sense, there are some
doubts about the resolution.

As said in the resolution, it is true that there were moves to
criticize the Kono Statement and deliberations on proposed changes
in wording. Japan must seriously take a message from the resolution
criticizing the inhumanity of the comfort-women issue.

Some observers point out a failure in Japan's strategic move. An
advertisement refuting the comfort-women resolution was posted in
the Washington Post this month. This move reignited the receded
dispute on the issue.

The advertisement criticized the resolution as "intentionally
distorting the facts," with the names of about 40 lawmakers
belonging to ruling or opposition parties, as well as diplomatic
commentators who are advisors to the prime minister attached to it.
The full-page ad was certainly strange. It might be true that the ad
spoiled the apology offered by the prime minister when he visited
the US in April.

Japanese politics has skirted its wartime history properly. This is
indisputably the essence of the problem.

Prime Minister Abe said: "This is one of the many resolutions that
the US Congress has passed," and "I do not intend to make any
comment." This stance is outrageous. Japan has been under fire and
has been dogged by doubts. Detailing the Kono Statement and the
efforts made by the Asia Women Fund, the government should speak of
its historical views.

The prime minister has stressed "common values" as the foundation of
the Japan-US alliance. But Abe does not understand that the adoption
of the resolution by the US House is a problem that concerns its
values.

After the end of WWII, Japan made efforts and grew itself into a
democratic country respecting freedom and human rights. It also
deeply self-reflected on its acts of aggression and colonial rule.
But if Japan gives an impress that its self-reflection is swaying,
(the international community) may harbor doubts about its values.

The international community has stern eyes toward Japan's effort to
address its past deeds since former Prime Minister Koizumi visited
Yasukuni Shrine. We wonder if Japan's democracy is remaining steady.
The US resolution should be taken as a warning to Japan.


TOKYO 00002944 007 OF 007


(5) Ex-Prime Minister Miyazawa dies: senior LDP member

TOKYO, June 28 KYODO
Former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa has died, a senior
member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Thursday.
He was 87.

SCHIEFFER

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