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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/07/07

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DE RUEHKO #3612/01 2190724
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070724Z AUG 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6227
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 4862
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2435
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 6037
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1474
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3205
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8249
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4313
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5316

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TOKYO 003612

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 08/07/07
Part-1
Index:
1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties


2) Asahi-Todai joint poll: Constitutional revisionists below two
thirds in Diet upper chamber; Barrier to initiating amendments in 3
years

Articles:
1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
June 19, 2007

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of a
survey conducted in June.)

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

Yes 27.2 (38.3)
No 63.7 (50.6)
Other answers (O/A) 3.1 (2.8)
No answer (N/A) 5.9 (8.3)

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Give up to two reasons for your approval of the Abe cabinet.

I can appreciate its political stance 27.6 (30.8)
It's stable 8.8 (11.8)
The prime minister is trustworthy 22.0 (23.2)
There's a fresh image of the prime minister 29.4 (34.8)
I can appreciate its economic policy 7.4 (4.8)
I can appreciate its foreign policy 11.3 (15.2)
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 19.8 (14.8)
It's better than its predecessors 8.6 (11.9)
O/A+N/A 11.1 (7.2)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Give
up to two reasons for your disapproval of the Abe cabinet.

I can't appreciate its political stance 47.1 (45.9)
It's unstable 34.1 (34.4)
The prime minister is untrustworthy 26.3 (25.3)
The prime minister lacks political experience 18.2 (14.4)
I can't appreciate its economic policy 18.8 (22.9)
I can't appreciate its foreign policy 3.4 (6.8)
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 8.7 (11.3)
It's worse than its predecessors 12.8 (10.0)
O/A+N/A 4.5 (3.9)

Q: What issues do you want the Abe cabinet to pursue on a priority
basis? Pick as many as you like from among those listed below, if
any.

Economic, employment measures 51.7
Fiscal reconstruction 22.1
Tax reform, consumption tax 33.9
Social security reform, including pension and healthcare systems
65.1
Low birthrate countermeasures, including childcare support

TOKYO 00003612 002 OF 004


24.9
Educational reform 20.9
Administrative reform, including public service personnel cuts
20.8
Social divide, including income gaps 32.7
Yasukuni Shrine 4.3
Asia diplomacy, including China and South Korea 11.4
North Korea 20.6
Defense, security 9.8
Constitutional revision 7.4
Crisis management, including disaster prevention 11.2
Public security, crime prevention 15.1
Environmental protection 18.6
Food safety 23.7
O/A + nothing in particular + N/A 4.0

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 25.8 (32.9)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 26.9 (14.3)
New Komeito (NK) 3.6 (4.0)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.2 (2.4)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.0 (1.2)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.2 (0.2)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.4 (---)
Other political parties 0.1 (---)
None 38.7 (44.4)
N/A 1.1 (0.7)

Q: Do you appreciate the job performance of Prime Minister Abe and
his cabinet so far on the whole?

Appreciate very much 3.7
Appreciate somewhat 25.8
Don't appreciate very much 41.3
Don't appreciate at all 25.3
N/A 3.9

Q: Prime Minister Abe will now remain in office, saying he will push
ahead with reforms and wants to fulfill his responsibility as prime
minister. Do you think Prime Minister Abe will be able to obtain
actual results?

Yes 17.8
No 54.4
Can't say which 25.2
N/A 2.6

Q: Prime Minister Abe is expected to shuffle his cabinet shortly. Do
you look forward to seeing his cabinet's new lineup?

Yes 21.9
Yes to a certain degree 20.0
No to a certain degree 24.4
No 30.8
N/A 3.0

Q: How long would you like the Abe cabinet to continue from now on?
Pick only one from among those listed below.

TOKYO 00003612 003 OF 004

As long as possible 13.8
2 years or so 11.9
1 year or so 21.0
6 months or so 9.0
Resign as soon as possible 37.2
O/A 0.9
N/A 6.3

Polling methodology
Date of survey: Aug. 4-5.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
interviews.
Number of valid respondents: 1,784 persons (59.5 percent).

2) Asahi-Todai joint poll: Constitutional revisionists below two
thirds in Diet upper chamber; Barrier to initiating amendments in 3
years

ASAHI (Top play) (Full)
August 7, 2007

Today, the Diet will convene an extraordinary session. Those
recently elected to its House of Councillors will now be seated to
attend the upper chamber. Among them, the proportion of those who
support revising the Constitution is 48 percent, failing to reach 50
percent, the Asahi Shimbun found from its joint survey with the
University of Tokyo (or Todai for short). Among all upper house
members including those not up for reelection, the proportion of
constitutional revisionists was 53 percent. The Asahi Shimbun has
conducted such a survey to probe the attitudes of politicians on the
occasion of every national election since the 2003 election for the
House of Representatives. Amendments to the Constitution, however,
must be initiated by at least two thirds of all the members of each
chamber. Meanwhile, the proportion of those favoring constitutional
revision fell below that level in the upper chamber for the first
time. Also, when it comes to Article 9, which is the biggest focus
of constitutional revision, 26 percent of those elected to the upper
house supported revising the article's provisions, with 54 percent
opposed to revising its provisions. On the whole, 31 percent of all
upper house lawmakers supported revising Article 9, with 50 percent
against it.

The Constitution stipulates that its amendments shall be initiated
by the Diet through a concurring vote of two thirds or more of all
the members of each chamber. In May, the Diet enacted the National
Referendum Law. According to its provisions, the Diet is not allowed
to present or discuss any draft amendments to the Constitution for
three years until the law comes into effect. However, those elected
to the upper chamber this time may have something to do with the
Diet initiation of constitutional revision for the first time under
constitutional government during their six-year term of office.

In the July 29 election for the House of Councillors, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat. Even so, Prime
Minister Abe voiced his sustained willingness in his press remarks

TOKYO 00003612 004 OF 004


to amend the Constitution. However, one of the LDP's former top
three executives is critical of Abe. "He's mistaken the order of
priority," this former LDP executive said. "The people say this is
no time for that," he added. There is such a view within the LDP
over public opinion. In addition, those elected to the upper chamber
stand in Abe's way. As far as their political mindset is concerned,
Abe will likely face difficulties while he is aiming to initiate
constitutional revision in 2010.

In the Asahi-Todai joint survey, those elected this time were asked
if they thought that the Constitution should be amended. To this
question, "yes" and "yes to a certain degree" totaled 48 percent,
with "no" and "no to a certain degree" adding up to 31 percent.

Broken down into political parties, pro-amendment opinions accounted
for 91 percent among the LDP's upper house members elected this time
and 67 percent in the case of New Komeito, the LDP's coalition
partner. The People's New Party (Kokumin Shinto) was at 100 percent
for constitutional revision. These three parties accounted for a
majority of opinions in favor of constitutional revision. In the
case of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto),
however, 29 percent were in favor of constitutional revision while
41 percent were opposed to it. As seen from these figures,
anti-revision opinions outnumbered pro-revision opinions among the
DPJ's upper house members elected this time. In the case of the
Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party (Shaminto),
all of their respective upper house members elected this time were
opposed to constitutional revision. The New Party Nippon (Shinto
Nippon) also won a seat in the election, and its newly elected upper
house member was against it as well.

The House of Councillors last elected its members in 2004. At that
time, 71 percent of all upper house members were in favor of
constitutional revision. This time around, however, the proportion
of those in favor of constitutional revision in the upper chamber
decreased more than 20 percent as a result of the LDP's rout in the
election this time. Among the LDP's pre-election upper house
members, those in favor of constitutional revision accounted for 90
percent or so.

In the meantime, some of the DPJ's pre-election upper house members,
who were in favor of constitutional revision when surveyed in 2004,
stood against it or were neutral in the survey this time. In the
past surveys, 60 percent to 70 percent of both houses were in favor
of constitutional revision. This time, however, the proportion of
pro-revision lawmakers fell below 40 percent for the first time.
This can be taken as reflecting public backlash against the LDP that
steamrollered the national referendum legislation through the Diet.

The survey was conducted from late May through July with prospective
candidates for this July's upper house election as well as with
those not up for reelection and those expected to retire.

SCHIEFFER

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