Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/12/07-1

VZCZCXRO0263
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3191/01 1930808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120808Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5449
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 4454
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2034
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5623
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1115
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 2831
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7868
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3927
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5003

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003191

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 07/12/07-1


Index:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, pension fiasco, money-and-politics issue,
constitutional revision, House of Councillors election

(2) Low support rate ends up with substantial loss of seats in past
elections; Troubled premier faced with difficult situation

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, pension fiasco, money-and-politics issue,
constitutional revision, House of Councillors election

TOKYO (Page 10) (Full)
July 10, 2007

Questions & Answers

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

Yes 12.4
Yes to a certain degree 31.8
No to a certain degree 29.9
No 23.5
Don't know (D/K) 2.4

Q: On the issue of the government's pension record-keeping flaws,
Prime Minister Abe says his government and ruling coalition will
enact special legislative measures into law and will recover public
confidence in the pension system. Do you trust their efforts?

Yes, very much 4.2
Yes, somewhat 26.6
No, not very much 39.3
Almost no 28.5
D/K 1.4

Q: What do you think should be done about the pension system?

If the government pays pension benefits without fail, it's all right
to maintain the current system 31.5
Pensions for those self-employed and salaried workers should be
unified, and premiums and benefits should be determined according to
income 38.2
I can't trust government-managed pensions, so we should save money
ourselves or rely on a private-sector insurance company's pensions
18.5
Other answers (O/A) 5.8
D/K 6.5

Q: In the Abe cabinet, three ministers-Genichiro Sata, Toshikatsu
Matsuoka, and Fumio Kyuma-have been replaced due to their
resignation or suicide over the past nine months. What do you think
about Prime Minister Abe's responsibility for his appointment of the
three?

The prime minister should have made more efforts to defend them so
they would not have to resign or commit suicide 6.0
They had their own problems, so there was nothing the prime minister
could do 24.6
The prime minister is also to blame for his appointment of persons
who are suspicious or make inappropriate remarks 62.5

TOKYO 00003191 002 OF 006


O/A 3.6
D/K 3.3

Q: What do you think about Prime Minister Abe's efforts for
politics-and-money issues?

Appreciate very much 1.5
Appreciate somewhat 22.2
Don't appreciate very much 46.0
Don't appreciate at all 27.6
D/K 2.7

Q: The National Referendum Law came into effect. What do you think
about revising the Constitution?

The Constitution should be revised within five years while Prime
Minister Abe is president of the Liberal Democratic Party 6.8
They should hold discussions regardless of the prime minister's term
of office, and the Constitution should be revised 58.1
It's all right to hold discussions, but the Constitution should not
be revised 23.1
The Constitution should never be revised, so I'm against holding
discussions 6.4
D/K 5.7

Q: If the Constitution is to be revised, what do you think should be
subject to its revision? (Multiple answer)

Preamble should be amended 35.1
Article 9 should be amended 47.1
Environmental rights should be added 42.7
The right to know and privacy rights should be added 36.7
Constitutional provisions should be altered to allow financial aid
to private educational institutions 24.3
Respect for life ethics should be added 34.4
O/A 3.9
D/K 11.6

Q: If Article 9 of the Constitution is to be revised, how do you
think it should be revised? (Multiple answer)

It should expressly stipulate Japan's maintenance of armed forces
for self-defense 45.7
It should expressly stipulate international contributions 50.0
It should expressly stipulate Japan's right of collective
self-defense 48.0
O/A 3.7
D/K 15.0

Q: What do you think about decentralization, including the regional
system?

The government should push for decentralization to reduce its jobs
and leave them to local governments 54.4
I'm worried about the government's weakened authority, so it's all
right to maintain the current system 24.2
The government's authority should be strengthened, so the government
should not do anything like decentralization 11.5
D/K 9.9


Q: What do you consider to be important in the upcoming election for

TOKYO 00003191 003 OF 006


the House of Councillors?

Economic, employment measures 15.0
Pension system reform 14.1
Social security like healthcare and nursing care 29.9
Constitutional revision 3.5
Education reform 7.7
Politics-and-money transparency 6.4
Social divide correction 7.1
Civil service reform 9.4
Better relations with China, South Korea, North Korea, and other
Asian countries 4.0
D/K 2.8

Q: Will you go to the polls in the House of Councillors election
this time?

Yes for sure 70.3
Probably yes 22.8
Maybe no 4.7
Absolutely no 1.4
D/K 0.9

Q: If you go to the polls, which political party's candidate are you
going to vote for in your electoral district?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 27.3
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 31.4
New Komeito (NK) 5.5
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.9
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.6
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.5
Other political parties 2.3
Independent 6.9
Abstain from voting 0.7
D/K 21.0

Q: If you go to the polls, which political party's candidate or
which political party are you going to vote for in your proportional
representation bloc?

LDP 26.8
DPJ 32.4
NK 6.8
JCP 3.4
SDP 2.5
PNP 0.9
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.6
Other political parties 5.5
Abstain from voting 0.9
D/K 20.3

Q: Which political party did you vote for in your proportional
representation bloc at the time of the 2005 election for the House
of Representatives?

LDP 42.1
DPJ 27.3
NK 6.4
JCP 3.5
SDP 2.8
PNP 0.5

TOKYO 00003191 004 OF 006


NPN 0.2
Other political parties 0.4
Abstained from voting 7.5
Yet to reach voting age 2.0
D/K 7.4

Q: Which political party do you support?

LDP 39.9
DPJ 21.2
NK 5.2
JCP 2.7
SDP 2.1
PNP 0.4
NPN 0.2
Other political parties 0.5
None 21.8
D/K 6.0

Polling methodology: For the survey, a total of 200 model locations
were sampled out of municipalities across the nation. The survey was
conducted July 6-8 over the telephone on a computer-aided random
digit dialing (RDD) basis, with the aim of calling up to 2,400
voters.

(Note) The total % age does not necessarily become 100 % due to
rounding.

(2) Low support rate ends up with substantial loss of seats in past
elections; Troubled premier faced with difficult situation

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
July 9, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in a fix with his government's pension
fiasco, Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma's resignation over his A-bomb
remarks, and Agriculture Minister Norihiko Akagi's murky office
operating expenses. The Tokyo Shimbun looked into cabinet approval
ratings in public opinion surveys taken before the past three
elections for the House of Councillors, and then looked into the
number of seats garnered in those elections. Their correlations
reveal a certain "rule of thumb" that come down severe on the
premier.

1998

The 1998 election for the House of Councillors took place at the
time of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. The approval rating for
the Hashimoto cabinet was 35 % in a survey conducted about a month
before the election. That figure reset the Hashimoto cabinet's worst
public-rating record. The nation's economy at the time had lost its
momentum with a sharp increase in the public burden as a result of
the raising of the consumption tax rate. Hashimoto was accused of
"economic mismanagement." The ruling Liberal Democratic Party
suffered a crushing defeat, winning only 44 seats. Hashimoto stepped
down to take responsibility for failing to secure a majority of the
seats in the House of Councillors.

2001

The 2001 election for the House of Councillors was a national
election soon after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi took office.

TOKYO 00003191 005 OF 006


Backed by his overwhelming popularity, the approval rating for the
Koizumi cabinet scored a record-breaking high of 72 % in a survey
taken on the day before the election. The LDP won an overwhelming
victory with 64 seats-more than half the number of seats up for
election. The outcome of the election tracked with the high support
rate, and the Koizumi cabinet was off to a stable start.

2004

The 2004 election for the House of Councillors was the second
national election for Prime Minister Koizumi. At the time, the
Koizumi cabinet was under fire from the public, particularly since
some of the ministers were found to have failed to pay into public
pension plans. In addition, Koizumi had just dispatched the
Self-Defense Forces to Iraq (despite public disapproval of this
move). His cabinet's support rate was 44.4 % in a survey taken two
days before the election. At that time, the Koizumi cabinet was in
the doldrums of public support. The LDP garnered only 49 seats,
failing to sustain its pre-election number of seats up for
reelection. The LDP was defeated by the opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which won 50 seats. The ruling
coalition, however, managed to secure a majority of seats. In
September that year, however, Prime Minister Abe, who was LDP
secretary general at the time, was demoted to "deputy secretary

SIPDIS
general" as a way of taking responsibility (for the poor election).

2007

The current Abe cabinet's support rate, which was 65 % at its
inauguration, has steadily plummeted to 33.5 % in the most recent
survey. The figure is lower than the Koizumi cabinet's support rate
three years ago (prior to the Upper House race) and is on the same
plane as that of the Hashimoto cabinet. The LDP will inevitably have
to fight an uphill battle in the upcoming July 29 House of
Councillors election. The prime minister has been stumping the
nation for more than a month trying to regain public confidence. He
has been on the move to explain his government's measures to counter
the pension mess. Will the tide change for the better in time?


Cabinet support ratings and seats won in past House of Councillors
elections

Most recent support rate No. of seats garnered
Hashimoto cabinet 18th election
(July 12, 1998) 35.0 % LDP = 44
NK = 9
DPJ = 27
Koizumi cabinet 19th election
(July 29, 2001) 72.0 % LDP = 64
NK = 13
DPJ = 26
20th election
(July 11, 2004) 44.4 % LDP = 49
NK = 11
DPJ = 50
Abe cabinet 21st election
(July 29, 2007) 33.5 %
(June 23-24) LDP = ?
NK = ?
DPJ = ?
(LDP = Liberal Democratic Party; NK = New Komeito; DPJ = Democratic

TOKYO 00003191 006 OF 006


Party of Japan or Minshuto)

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO: