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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/11/07-1

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3163/01 1920826
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110826Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5387
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 4413
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1993
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5582
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1085
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 2790
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7827
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3887
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4970

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 003163

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 07/11/07-1


Index:

(1) Defense Minister Koike asks for US cooperation on provision of
data on next-generation fighter planes during talks with US
Ambassador to Japan

(2) Japan-US drill under ballistic missile defense premised on a
joint strategy

(3) Poll: 10 % switch from LDP to DPJ for voting in proportional
representation

(4) Poll: LDP faced with public backlashes

(5) Upper House Election - 2400 participated in national opinion
poll; Strong signs of "performance evaluation"

(6) LDP desperate to put end to Agriculture Minister Akagi's office
expenses problem

(7) Editorial: Agriculture Minister Akagi must not underestimate the
public

ARTICLES:

(1) Defense Minister Koike asks for US cooperation on provision of
data on next-generation fighter planes during talks with US
Ambassador to Japan

Sankei On-Line
July 11, 2007

Defense Minister Yuriko Koike on the morning of July 11 met with US
Ambassador to Japan Schieffer at the Defense Ministry. During the
meeting she sought US cooperation regarding provision of data on
follow-on mainstay fighter planes, which Japan plans to choose by
next summer. She also indicated her intention to uncover the overall
picture of the incident of the leaking of key data on Aegis-equipped
destroyers and stressed her determination to prevent a recurrence of
such an incident.

In response, Schieffer pointed out that the US took the incident
very seriously. Regarding the selection of next-generation mainstay
fighter aircraft, the ambassador noted that Japan should consider
the issue not only from a microscopic view of the world, namely,
what airplane should we choose, but also from a perspective of what
is important for Japan's peace and security.

Koike conveyed to Schieffer her intention to visit the US after the
Upper House election and meet with Secretary of Defense Gates.

(2) Japan-US drill under ballistic missile defense premised on a
joint strategy

ASAHI (Page 16) (Excerpt)
Eve., July 11, 2007

It has been learned that in the joint drill under ballistic missile
defense (BMD) carried out on July 6 between the US armed forces and
the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) that intelligence, such as the
expected impact point that was picked up by Aegis vessels on both
sides was transmitted to an intercept squadron at the US forces'

TOKYO 00003163 002 OF 007


Kadena Air Base (Okinawa Prefecture), where Patriot-3 guided
missiles (PAC3) are operating to intercept ballistic missiles, and
to SDF headquarters. This is the first time for such a type of
training exercise to be carried out.

With content of the drill premised on adopting a joint strategy
between Japan and the US in order to respond to North Korean
ballistic missiles, the training exercise can be said to have
entered the actual combat stage.

According to an informed source, the US forces deployed the Aegis
destroyer, John S. McCain, from Yokosuka Naval Base, and the SDF,
the Aegis vessel, Myoukou, to the Sea of Japan. The SDF flew AWACS
over the Sea of Japan to play a relay role for data communications.
Additionally, the US forces transmitted the data gathered the by the
Aegis destroyer to the intercept squadron at Kadena Air Base.

(3) Poll: 10 % switch from LDP to DPJ for voting in proportional
representation

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
July 10, 2007

Ahead of July 29's election for the House of Councillors, the Nihon
Keizai Shimbun conducted an online poll on July 6-9 to probe changes
in public attitudes. Among those who chose the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party for proportional representation in the first online
poll conducted two weeks ago, 10 % changed their mind and chose the
leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) in the poll
this time. Meanwhile, the proportion of those who switched from the
DPJ to the LDP was only 2 % . The voter is turning a more severe eye
toward the governing party against the backdrop of the government's
failure to keep the records of payments into public pension plans
and the public criticism of politics-and-money scandals.

The poll was conducted by Nikkei Research Inc. on the Internet
throughout the country with a total of 3,000 persons chosen from
among men and women aged 20 and over. The first in the online
polling series was conducted June 22-25, with valid answers obtained
from 35.3 % . In the second poll this time, the rate of valid
respondents was 34.9 % .

In the choice of political parties for proportional representation,
the DPJ rose 6 percentage points to 39 % , with the LDP up only 1
point to 20 % .

Respondents were also asked which political party's candidate they
would vote for in their electoral districts. To this question, 41 %
said they would vote for a DPJ candidate, up 4 points from the last
survey. However, the proportion of those who said they would vote
for an LDP candidate leveled off at 22 % . Among those who answered
in the last survey that they would vote for an LDP candidate, 8 %
answered this time that they would vote for a DPJ candidate, with 8
% saying they "don't know."

In the survey this time, a total of 40 % have now chosen a
political party for proportional representation, up 7 points from
the last survey. For electoral districts as well, the proportion of
determined voters rose 6 points to 35 % . Among DPJ supporters, the
proportion of those determined for proportional representation rose
8 points to 51 % , with the proportion of those determined for
electoral districts also up 11 points to 46 % . Among LDP

TOKYO 00003163 003 OF 007


supporters, however, the proportion of those determined for
proportional representation rose 4 points to 42 % , with the
proportion of those determined for electoral districts up only 2
points to 38 % .

Among floating voters with no particular party affiliation, 84 %
remain undecided for electoral districts, with 77 % wavering for
proportional representation. It is a big challenge for the ruling
and opposition blocs in their campaigns to win over these undecided
voters.

Voter trends grasped in serial polling

In the online polling of voters on the upcoming election for the
House of Councillors, a total of 3,000 persons are randomly sampled
out of about 140,000 cooperative monitors on Nikkei Research Inc.'s
nationwide roster. They are asked via email for cooperation and
answer on the screen of a designated website. The same monitors will
be asked for answers until the election.

For this serial online polling, samples are balanced with gender,
age strata, and localities factored in. However, online sampling is
prone to be biased to those highly interested in politics or
Internet access. In the breakdown of respondents, 57 % are male.
The average age of respondents is 49, about five years younger than
those chosen for ordinary telephone-based public opinion surveys.
However, online polling, in a way, can better grasp public interest
in the House of Councillors election and changes in public voting
behavior.

(4) Poll: LDP faced with public backlashes

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Abridged)
July 10, 2007

A recent online poll conducted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on the
upcoming election for the House of Councillors discovered the
deep-seated criticism of the government's pension fiasco. In
addition, there is another issue involving Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries Minister Norihiko Akagi over his shady office operating
expenses. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is in a whirlwind of
public backlashes. The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) is playing the role of an alternative to a certain extent
for those critical of the Abe government. With the House of
Councillors election just around the corner, voters are highly
concerned about the government's failure to keep the records of
people's payments into public pension plans and politics-and-money
scandals.

"Are you interested in the House of Councillors election?" In
response to this question, the total proportion of those "very
interested" and those "somewhat interested" reached 87 % , up 4
percentage points from the last survey. With the election to be
announced July 12, public interest is growing.

The ruling and opposition camps are both aiming to secure a majority
of the seats in the House of Councillors, including those not up for
reelection. In the survey, respondents were asked if they would like
the ruling coalition to sustain its current majority of the seats in
the House of Councillors. To this question, "yes" accounted for 23 %
, down 1 point. Meanwhile, the proportion of those who would like
the ruling coalition to lose its majority rose 3 points to 63 % .

TOKYO 00003163 004 OF 007

In addition, respondents were also asked what if the ruling
coalition failed to secure a majority of the seats in the House of
Councillors. To this question, 33 % answered that Prime Minister
Abe should dissolve the House of Representatives for a general
election. This answer topped all other answers. Among other answers,
24 % said Prime Minister Abe should step down, with 20 % saying
the prime minister should shuffle his cabinet. Respondents were
further asked to pick one or more policy issues they would consider
when voting in the House of Councillors election. In response, a
total of 63 % picked "pensions," which ranked first and topped 50 %
in all age brackets. Among other answers, "healthcare, nursing
care, welfare" accounted for 52 % , with "politics and money" at 47
% .

(5) Upper House Election - 2400 participated in national opinion
poll; Strong signs of "performance evaluation"

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 11) (Full)
July 11, 2007

Yoshiaki Kobayashi, Professor at Keio University

If the election were held tomorrow, the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) would probably face a much harsher result than the previous
Upper House election in 2004.

Looking at the breakdown of party support rates, at present, the LDP
(at 40 % ) enjoys almost double the support of the Democratic Party
of Japan, or Minshuto, (at 21 % ). At first glance, it appears that
the LDP can win all the single-seat constituencies, but the election
is not so simple.

This is because the unaffiliated voters (22 % ) could throw their
support behind the Minshuto candidates, or the crucial percentage
of LDP supporters who actually vote for LDP candidates (the yield
rate) could decline.

Taking a look at the attitude of the unaffiliated voters, unlike the
2004 election, which served as a referendum on the issue of postal
privatization, the upcoming election shows signs of becoming a
"performance evaluation" of the current government.

For example, 79 % of unaffiliated voters (in analyzing the most
recent Tokyo Shimbun nationwide poll) responded that they "cannot
rely" on "the government's response to the pension problem," and
among these voters, 33 % would vote for Minshuto in the
proportional representation bloc as compared to 6 % who would vote
for the LDP. Regarding the issue of "transparency in politics and
expenses," 83 % of unaffiliated voters said they "did not
appreciate" the government's efforts, and among these, 33 % would
vote for Minshuto compared to 7 % who would vote for the LDP.

In other words, many unaffiliated voters do not appreciate the
government's handling of the pension fiasco or political funds
issues, and they are starting to lean towards Minshuto.

Meanwhile, among LDP supporters, the percentage saying they would
vote for the LDP in the proportional representation bloc has
remained at 58 % . Compared to the 74 % shown in polls taken at a
similar point in time during the 2004 election, this is a 16 point
drop in the yield rate.

TOKYO 00003163 005 OF 007

Furthermore, 44 % of LDP supporters do not appreciate the
government's response to the pension fiasco, and 38 % do not
appreciate the government's approach to political fund regulation.
Among these LDP supporters who do not support the current Cabinet,
the percentage that would vote for the LDP in the proportional
representation bloc (27 % ) far trails the percentage that would
vote for Minshuto (40 % ).

Some say that these political attitudes of LDP supporters are a
replay of the political environment surrounding the 1989 Upper House
elections, however I would point out one difference - the fact that
Prime Minister Abe has not run away from the pension fiasco is the
ruling coalition's saving grace.

In 1989, the opposition camp attacked the LDP with the "daily life
issue" of the consumption tax (TN: the consumption tax had just been
introduced that year). The LDP, foreseeing the fall of the Berlin
Wall that was to happen at the end of the year, focused on broader
"ideological issues," asking voters to choose between the economic
systems of capitalism and socialism. This approach, however, failed
to attract voters and in the battle of election issues, the LDP
suffered a humiliating loss.

If in this election the LDP had decided to skirt the "daily life
issue" of pensions and introduced a broader "ideological issue,"
they may have faced similar results. Yet, because they took up the
handling of the pension issue as the main focus of the election,
there remains the possibility this time around that in the time
remaining, the LDP can turn things around.

In closing, the factor we must worry about most is low voter
turnout. This is because the winners of the upcoming Upper House
election will remain in office until 2013, and depending on the
situation, they may be in a position to vote on issues such as
constitutional revision or a move to the regional system - a once in
a lifetime opportunity to make a decision regarding the most
important issues of the postwar period.

It is imperative that the public will to select these important
politicians be strong. If voter turnout is less than 50 % , the will
of 25 % of the population will decide the future of the country.

"One second of voting equals a hundred years in a country's
history." This entry in a 1928 catchphrase contest, the year of
Japan's first regular elections, can be applied to the upcoming
Upper House election. If democracy is "deciding one's matters by
oneself," it is meaningless unless voters go to the polls.

(6) LDP desperate to put end to Agriculture Minister Akagi's office
expenses problem

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
July 11, 2007

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is now desperately trying
to put an end to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister
Norihiko Akagi's money scandal in an attempt to avoid negative
impact on the outcome of the July 29 House of Councillors election.
However, the LDP's move could backfire, prompting voters to lash out
at the government and LDP.


TOKYO 00003163 006 OF 007


The LDP executives shared in a meeting yesterday the view that Akagi
did not violate the law and the public would understand if he gave
them a full explanation.

Should the LDP enter the campaign for the Upper House race without
ending the issue, it will inevitably have an uphill battle in the
election. The LDP leadership has a choice to urge Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe to sack Akagi.

However, if Akagi becomes the fourth minister in the Abe cabinet to
be dismissed, Abe's responsibility for appointing him will be
severely called into question. As a result, the support rating for
the Abe cabinet will decline further, inflicting a mortal wound on
the cabinet. Therefore, the LDP executive has determined that it
would better for the party to wait for the Akagi scandal to die
down, rather than to sack him.

A senior member of the LDP caucus in the Upper House said: "This
issue is over now. The candidates have no other choice but do their
best to win the election, facing adverse wind."

Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa instructed Acting Secretary

SIPDIS
General Nobuteru Ishihara to review the internal regulations so that
the flow of funds of the Diet members' political organizations will
become clearer. The move was apparently aimed to play up the party's
stance of making efforts for dealing with the matter.

Akihiro Ota, leader of the New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner,
stated yesterday in interviews to the Tokyo Shimbun and other
newspapers: "I would like him to fulfill his responsibility as
agriculture minister to make a full explanation." He indicated in
his remarks that the New Komeito might call on Abe to dismiss
Akagi.

Meanwhile, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Yukio
Hatoyama told reporters in Nagoya City in a strong tone: "The
(agriculture minister) has not at all fulfilled his accountability.
The prime minister should sack him." Since the opposition intends to
step up its attack, there is no guarantee that the LDP's plan will
work out as is its intention.

(7) Editorial: Agriculture Minister Akagi must not underestimate the
public

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
July 11, 2007

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Norihiko Akagi
re-explained the question of his shady offices expenses yesterday.
He repeatedly denied any transfer of expenses or fictitious
expenses, while refusing to produce receipts. His explanation was
simply insufficient to convince the public.

Akagi said: "There has been no mixture of private matters and public
ones, like funding my parents' living expenses with my support
association's expenses." Seeing his parent's large estate on
television, nobody thought of such a thing. Akagi might have used
his office to conceal dubious expenses -- this is the point of the
suspicion. He seems unaware of the severity of the situation.

The "Norihiko Akagi support organization," which is the farm
minister's political organization, registered his parent's house as

TOKYO 00003163 007 OF 007


its main office and declared about 90 million yen as office expenses
over 10 years up to 2005. The public wants to know whether or not
the 90 million yen was really used as office expenses, and if not,
how it was actually used.

In yesterday's press conference, Akagi explained his office expenses
this way: "My parent's house has been serving as the base in my home
constituency. About 90 million yen was the sum total of the expenses
incurred for my offices in Mito, Shimotsuma, and my parent's house."
He did not give any new information. Such an explanation is
meaningless.

Days earlier, Akagi's parents and a representative of his supporters
association indicated that the parent's house has not been used as
an office. But they later retracted their words as if to align
themselves with Akagi's explanation yesterday. Their about-face has
left an awkward impression rather than dispelled suspicion. Some
even suspect that those individuals made certain they would tell the
same story.

We have urged the agriculture minister to produce receipts in
explaining his office expenses, believing that was the only way to
wipe out strong public distrust.

"I have reported on office expenses properly based on the law,"
Akagi said, expressing his unwillingness to produce receipts. Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, too, indicated that there was no need to
disclose receipts, saying, "A set of rules have been established
from a viewpoint of freedom of political activities. Following those
rules is essential."

Under the revised Political Funds Control Law, fund management
organizations are required to attach receipts to their fund reports
for every item costing 50,000 yen or more. The law does not apply to
political organizations, like the one run by Akagi, however.

Refusing to disclose receipts on the strength of the loophole-filled
law runs counter to the spirit of the very law that is intended to
increase the transparency of political funds. It also conflicts with
the political ethics guidelines that a lawmaker under suspicion must
make every effort to clear his name.

After the press conference, the farm minister left for Europe for
talks with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal
Lamy and others. If he does not want to be criticized for getting
away from the scandal, the minister must hold a press conference
immediately after returning home to fulfill his accountability.

SCHIEFFER

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