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

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FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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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 4658
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2234
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5830
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1296
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3012
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8050
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4110
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5155

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003397

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 07/25/07


Index:

(1) 2007 Upper House election: Iraq and North Korea -- Efforts to
develop closer alliance ties undercut by diplomacy by-passing Japan

(2) 2007 Upper House election campaign issues -- Sense of alarm
against North Korea weak

(3) Editorial: Election 2007 - Diplomacy; "Principles" are
important

(4) 2007 Upper House election; Probe into economic policy; Interview
with Hitoshi Tanaka, senior fellow at Japan International Exchange
Center, on theme of trade policy; Top priority should be given to
EPA with East Asia

ARTICLES:

(1) 2007 Upper House election: Iraq and North Korea -- Efforts to
develop closer alliance ties undercut by diplomacy by-passing Japan

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 24, 2007

There is a strange map showing the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese
Continent above the Japanese Archipelago drawn upside down. This map
is stuck on the wall of the office of a spokesman for the Joint
Staff Office, which controls Air-Self Defense Force (ASDF) personnel
dispatched to Iraq. One MSDF personnel, who was once dispatched to
Iraq, categorically said, "What we are doing in Iraq is for the sake
of the Japan-US alliance and to defend against North Korea."

Lieutenant General Kunio Orita, general commander of the MSDF troops
dispatched to Iraq, reiterated the meaning of dispatching MSDF
personnel to those who have been assigned to the Iraqi mission, "You
will defend the Sea of Japan and our territory in the land of
Mesopotamia."

The major duty of MSDF troops in Iraq is transporting US servicemen.
Colonel Ichiro Ukisu responsible for dispatching MSDF personnel at
Komaki Air Base stressed, "Supporting the US, which is distressed
over its Iraq policy, will lead to developing a closer Japan-US
relationship."

An MSDF source revealed his experience at the US command post in
Qatar about 600 kilometers in the southeast of Iraq: "When we were
taken to US forces' command post before dispatching SDF personnel,
images showing US operations were deleted. US forces revealed the
details of their operations, including attacks on enemy's hide-out a
year later, but they did not let us enter the intelligence office.
However, we had a briefing in that office last fall." The closer
Japan-US relationship of alliance is in a way the fruit of MSDF
personnel's efforts.

MSDF operations are quite a contrast to Ground Self-Defense Force
(GSDF) troops' operations in Samawah, which impressed the Japanese
people. GSDF troops kept their distance from US troops. In a
Japanese way, they carried out water-supply services, reconstructed
and maintained public facilities, and their efforts were highly
appreciated. However, a GSDF source admitted that there was a tacit
agreement on role-sharing between US and GSDF troops. The same
source noted, "The GSDF was for the first time able to accomplish

TOKYO 00003397 002 OF 006


international contribution activities in a tangible manner thanks to
the MSDF assisting the US in the background."

The presence of the ASDF served as a symbol of the bilateral
alliance and as the premise of new international contribution
achieved by the GSDF. The same source said: "The reality is that
Japan must depend on US forces even regarding obtaining intelligence
on the Chinese continent and the Korean Peninsular. Since it is not
possible for the SDF alone to defend Japan, it is meaningful for it
to win the trust of the US military."

President Bush during the bilateral summit with Prime Minister Abe
this April stated, "My strong feeling toward the abduction issue
will never weaken." His words satisfied Abe, who had expressed his
support for the US Iraq policy.

However, the US's handling of North Korea policy after that has made
the Japanese side harbor many doubts about the "solid alliance."
Dissatisfaction is being felt in Japan over the progress of
bilateral talks between the US and North Korea that are bypassing
Japan, which attaches importance to the abduction issue.

Kazuhiro Araki, representative of the Investigation Commission on
Missing Japanese Probably related to N. Korea, warned: "The
abduction of Japanese nationals is after all an affair of another
country for the US. We must not think that the US will take care of
the abduction issue since Japan and the US have a relationship of
alliance. If we totally leave the issue up to the US to work out, it
will in the end wrap up the issue at its convenience."

The North Korean top envoy to the six-party chief delegates' talks
held in Beijing this month harshly lashed out at Japan with a look
that was quite different from the smile he showed to the US, when he
shook hands with the US chief envoy, He quipped, "The problem will
never be settled by pressure alone." He acted as if as if the US and
Japan were walking on different paths, far from being in monolithic
unity.

(2) 2007 Upper House election campaign issues -- Sense of alarm
against North Korea weak

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
July 25, 2007

"Families of Japanese abductees have been desperately fighting. I
want to see heated debates by political parties on what must be done
to drive Kim Jong Il's regime into a tight corner."

This comment came from a visibly disappointed Ryutaro Hirata, chief
secretary of the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese

SIPDIS
Kidnapped by North Korea.

A South Korean ship carrying heavy fuel oil left for North Korea on
July 12, the day the official campaign for the July 29 House of
Councillors election kicked off in Japan. This was followed by
Pyongyang's announcement that it had shut down nuclear facilities in
Yongbyon and the resumption on July 18 of the six-party talks. An
ostensibly weakening sense of crisis has pushed North Korean issues
to a backburner in the ongoing election campaign.

On July 5, 2006, North Korea fired a series of missiles toward the
Sea of Japan, causing a strong sense of alarm in Japan. The North

TOKYO 00003397 003 OF 006


conducted a nuclear test on October 9, as well. This prompted the
Abe administration to set up an abduction issue taskforce that
eventually produced a list of six items to deal severely with the
situation. An acute sense of alarm against the North is visibly
absent today in the final stage of the election campaign.

Prime Minister Abe has always concluded his campaign speech with
this message: "For the sake of national prestige, we will resolutely
deal with the abduction issue until all abductees can set foot on
their motherland."

Meanwhile, Pyongyang is eager to see the hard-edged Abe
administration removed from power. The Nodong Shinmun, the Korean
Workers Party organ paper, carried a commentary on July 23 that
went: "Shinzo Abe and his gang must voluntarily resign from power to
break with corrupt politics."

Although North Korea has adopted a "smile diplomacy" aimed at
improving relations with the United States, there is a long way to
go before it abandons its nuclear programs. A Japan-DPRK working
group, established during the latest round of six-party talks, is
expected to meet in August to discuss ways to normalize bilateral
relations. Japan is urged to come up with innovative ideas to press
the North hard at the meeting in order to find a breakthrough in the
abduction issue.

To that end, it is essential for Japan to align with other six-party
members, especially the United States. But the United States'
priority is to denuclearize North Korea. Pyongyang has urged
Washington to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of
terrorism as a condition for denuclearization. US Assistant
Secretary of State Christopher Hill, US chief delegate to the

SIPDIS
six-party talks, indicated in a press conference on July 23 that the
US-DPRK working group would continue discussing in August the
question of delisting North Korea. Efforts must be made to bridge
the gap with Japan's standpoint that North Korea must not be removed
from the US list until the abduction issue is resolved.

The LDP has fielded Kyoko Nakayama, advisor to the prime minister on
the abduction issue, on the proportional representation segment in
line with Abe's intention to demonstrate to Kim Jong Il Japan's
strong interest in the abduction issue.

With Japan's presence in the six-party talks waning, former LDP
Secretary General Koichi Kato harshly criticized the Abe

SIPDIS
administration's North Korea policy in a speech in Tokyo on July 17:
"There have been major developments between Washington and Pyongyang
over the North Korean nuclear issue. Prime Minister Abe's foreign
policy is too ideological and that has been preventing the
administration from taking flexible steps."

"I want to warmly embrace my daughter, Megumi, but the abduction
issue is a state-level issue. A mother is helpless; I have no other
option but to rely on politics." This message by Sakie Yokota of the
Association of the Families of Victims of Kidnapped by North Korea
is directed to all those running in the Upper House election.

(3) Editorial: Election 2007 - Diplomacy; "Principles" are
important

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
July 25, 2007

TOKYO 00003397 004 OF 006

Pensions, the consumption tax, jobs: While debates in the Upper
House election campaign focus on domestic issues, Japan faces an
increasingly difficult state of affairs on the international scene.
Friction has arisen in relations with the US over the "comfort
women" issue and over the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
And meanwhile, the North Korean threat has not gone away. A certain
doubt festers in people's minds - "Is it enough to rely solely on
the US-Japan alliance?" Discussions about diplomacy remain quiet in
the campaign, but public awareness of international issues is likely
to have an impact, however small, on the upcoming elections.

In short, Japan has no "principles." This assertion was made forty
years ago by Jiro Shirasu, who as then-Prime Minister Shigeru
Yoshida's right-hand man negotiated with GHQ (Supreme Commander for
the Allied Powers). According to Shirasu, there was a need to
clarify Japan's "principles" in order to deal with Europe and the
US, as acquiescence without "principles" was simply "smoke and
mirrors aimed at a temporary fix" (Japan without principles
(Purinshiparu no nai nihon), published by Shincho Bunko).

Swayed by this way of thinking, Japan's response to the "comfort
women" issue may have seemed like a game of "smoke and mirrors."
When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied that the there was any
"coercion in the narrow sense" (on the part of the military), the US
media accused him of "double talk." The ad that Japanese Diet
members placed in a US newspaper backfired, and the US House of
Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution
calling on Japan to apologize. There is a strong chance that the
full House will pass the resolution, as well.

Of course, this does not mean that the US view of history is
correct. For example, US officials have stated that the atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved the lives of millions of
Japanese civilians and US soldiers. This may sound wild, but the US,
too, has its own "postwar regime." If the Abe administration aims to
"break away from the postwar regime," it must exercise patience and
perseverance in obtaining the understanding of the worldwide
community.

The upcoming election seems to be a turning point in US-Japan
relations. Although the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) places
great importance on the US-Japan alliance, it is critical of
providing support for the US in the Iraq War and the "war on
terrorism." The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, under which the
Maritime Self-Defense Force takes part in refueling missions in the
Indian Ocean, is set to expire in the fall. Even if the ruling
coalition is able to win a majority in the Upper House, the conflict
between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties over the
US-Japan alliance, including the Air Self-Defense Force's missions
in Iraq, is sure to increase in intensity.

Meanwhile, some in the Liberal Democratic Party insist that unless
Japan cooperates with the US, it cannot overcome problems with North
Korea. They see China's military expansion also as a threat.
However, they have been using this same logic since before the start
of the Iraq War in 2003. The Japanese government immediately
supported the Iraq War and sent the Self-Defense Forces to southern
Iraq. Yet at a time when Japan's safety is threatened by North
Korea's missile launches and its nuclear test, the US is focusing on
China as its main partner in the six-party talks.


TOKYO 00003397 005 OF 006


We thus find the LDP's use of the same logic to explain the
necessity of the US-Japan alliance unconvincing. In Asia today,
China, Russia, and India among others are developing an active
diplomacy, a pursuit which some call the "great game" of the 21st
century. Solidarity with the US is important, but that alone is not
enough to survive. Both the LDP and the DPJ must respond to citizen
awareness of international issues and more concretely discuss how
Japan should face the future.

(4) 2007 Upper House election; Probe into economic policy; Interview
with Hitoshi Tanaka, senior fellow at Japan International Exchange
Center, on theme of trade policy; Top priority should be given to
EPA with East Asia

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 5) (Full)
July 25, 2007

-- What are Upper House election campaign issues in terms of trade
policy?

"It is important to be able to come up with a trade policy
envisioning the Japanese economy 10 or 20 years from now, and
factoring in global trends in trade and investment. Given Japan's
mature economy, aging population and the decline in the birthrate,
it is difficult for our country to achieve high economic growth
through domestic demand alone. It must have frontrunner status in
terms of economic partnership agreements (EPA), and maintain and
strengthen industrial competitiveness and the labor force. It needs
to press ahead with a drive to promote liberalization, not through
responding to foreign pressure but through the use of political
influence in a proactive manner."

-- Do you think political parties have a blue print for an EPA
strategy?

"In my view, both the ruling and opposition camps need to come up
with a clear determination to build a so-called East Asian Community
through the signing of EPAs with countries that are geographically
close to Japan and expected to achieve high growth in the future. In
particular, EPAs between Japan, China, South Korea, India, New
Zealand and 16 ASEAN member nations are expected to push up Japan's
GDP by approximately 5 trillion yen. Top priority should be given to
EPAs.

Farm households' competitiveness must be boosted

-- South Korea has signed an FTA with the US. What is your view of
this?

"There is criticism that if major powers like Japan, the US and the
EU sign FTA's, trade liberalization talks at the World Trade
Organization would stall. However, domestic industries, which would
suffer disadvantage over auto exports as a result of trade
liberalization under the WTO, have strongly requested the promotion
of FTA's. It would be possible to promote EPA talks with the US and
European countries, after making it clear that business tie-ups with
East Asia are the top-priority issue."

-- In-depth discussion of reform of the agricultural sector, which
is working as a drag on Japan's trade strategy, has yet to occur.
Japan is perhaps the only country that protects specified items with
tariffs as high as several hundred percent. If Japan were to open

TOKYO 00003397 006 OF 006


its market by substantively lowering tariffs, trade talks would go
smoothly. To that end, it would be better to adopt an income subsidy
system to make up for the loss in farmers' income when the prices of
agricultural products drop. In the event of compensating farmers'
income, it would be necessary to concurrently further encourage
joint stock companies' entry into the agricultural sector and
implement measures to expand the scale of farm households. The cost
competitiveness of Japan's agricultural products must be
strengthened through cost reduction."

-- Accepting foreign workers is another point at issue.

"Given the manifestos of the ruling and opposition parties,
liberalization of the labor market does not appear to be major
campaign issue. It is necessary for Japan to use EPAs to secure
needed labor for the workforce, such as computer-related skilled
workers and nurses. Japan's labor market is still rigid, compared
with that of the US and other countries. If the situation is left
unheeded, it will have an adverse impact on the economy."

Urges establishment of interest coordination organ

-- In some areas, trade strategy has made little progress due to the
clash of interests between farmers and industrial interests.

"It is necessary to quickly establish an independent organ
responsible for coordinating domestic interests. The ruling and
opposition camps should cooperate to create a mechanism, under which
an industry-government-academia body composed of private citizens
from the agricultural and manufacturing sectors propose an EPA
strategy with a view to the future of Japan. They would also propose
a set of necessary steps to reform the agricultural sector and the
labor market in order to achieve that end. The body would make sure
that the proposed mechanism would become the government's policy.
The ruling and opposition camps also should show their determination
to make sure that Japan takes the lead in global trade policy."

SCHIEFFER

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