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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/09/07-2

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3639/01 2210216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090216Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6272
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 4888
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2463
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 6064
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1497
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3232
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8277
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4340
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5339

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TOKYO 003639

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 08/09/07-2


Index:

Defense and security affairs:
11) Defense Minister Koike in Washington meeting with Defense
Secretary Gates transmits Japan's intention to continue MSDF service

SIPDIS
in the Indian Ocean
12) Government to beef up counterintelligence functions to protect
against spy activities targeting Japan
13) New Komeito pressure forces LDP to shelve efforts to change
constitutional interpretation banning use of right of collective
self-defense
14) Collective self-defense will not be on the Diet docket this fall


Announcement of South-North Korea summit:
15) With surprise announcement of South-North Korea summit,
government alarmed that Japan's issue with the North will be even
more pushed into background
16) South Korea joins conciliatory trend with North Korea, leaving
Japan farther behind the six-party pack and Prime Minister Abe
facing policy dilemma

Political agenda:
17) Anti-Abe forces forming a group in the LDP
18) Some in ruling camp pushing for a delay in Diet opening, now set
for Aug. 31

Articless:

11) Japan-US defense summit: Japanese defense minister conveys
intention to continue MSDF refueling operations in Indian Ocean

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 9, 2007

Takashi Arimoto, Washington

Visiting Japanese Defense Minister Yuriko Koike yesterday met with
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Defense Department. In the

SIPDIS
session, Koike conveyed to Gates Japan's plan to extend the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law in order to continue the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operations in the Indian
Ocean, saying: "We'd like to fulfill a role expected from Japan in
the war on terror." In response, Gates told Koike: "We've highly
appreciated Japan's active contributions in the war on terror.

Koike also referred to the selection of the next-generation fighter
plane (FX) and said: "Given the drastically changing situation in
East Asia, I think it is necessary to secure quality over
quantity."

After the meeting, Koike criticized the main opposition Democratic
Party of Japan's (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa for his opposition to
extending the law this way: "Mr. Ozawa's way of thinking is the same
as at the time of the Gulf War. He has failed to catch up with the
times."

12) Gov't to step up counterintelligence

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
August 9, 2007


TOKYO 00003639 002 OF 005


The government has worked out a plan to step up its
counterintelligence against foreign spies. The plan is intended to
protect classified information about national security mainly in the
area of diplomacy and defense. Such confidential information will be
placed under the government's special control. For that purpose, the
government plans to launch a new section under the Cabinet
Secretariat next fiscal year. In addition, the government is also

SIPDIS
planning to introduce a system that will examine and confirm
qualifications for access to classified information. The newly
planned body is to control the government's classified information
to prevent its leakage.

The government will hold a meeting of its counterintelligence
promotion panel today to approve, with Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Junzo Matoba presiding. In the meeting, the panel is

SIPDIS
expected to approve the government's planned basic course of action
for counterintelligence.

The government is going to flesh out the plan with specific
measures. After that, the government will implement these measures
in stages, with the first stage scheduled for April next year and
the second stage for April 2009. The Cabinet Intelligence and
Research Office (CIRO) will set up a "counterintelligence center" to
control classified information.

13) New Komeito clearly opposed to modifying constitutional
interpretation to allow collective defense

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
August 9, 2007

It has now become difficult to make changes to the government's
interpretation of the Constitution to allow the country to exercise
the right to collective self-defense, a priority for Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe. The blue-ribbon panel established by Abe to study the
collective defense right still plans to produce a set of proposals
this fall urging the government to open the door to collective
defense. Meanwhile, New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa
yesterday voiced his party's opposition to altering the government's
constitutional interpretation. In addition, with the reversal of the
positions of the ruling and opposition parties in the House of
Councillors, even amending laws, such as the Self-Defense Force Law,
has now become difficult.

Kitagawa said in a press conference: "We are against altering the
interpretation in the first place. Besides, the Upper House is now
controlled by the opposition camp, so modifying the interpretation
is not possible." He thus voiced opposition and pointed to
difficulty in improving laws, as well.

Abe has ordered the panel to study whether Japan can exercise the
collective defense right in several scenarios, including a US naval
vessel being attacked on the high seas. In responding to a question
at the Diet in May, Abe said: "In the event the SDF take action
based on (the government's new interpretation of the Constitution),
a law would naturally be necessary."

According to debate in the Liberal Democratic Party and the Cabinet
Legislation Bureau, opening the door to collective defense would
require an additional clause to the SDF Law allowing the SDF to
intercept US-bound missiles, in addition to a new law specifying a
set of conditions and procedures for exercising the collective

TOKYO 00003639 003 OF 005


defense right.

But the New Komeito is opposing it and chances are slim for the
Democratic Party of Japan to cooperate in improving the law for
collective defense. Although some government officials think that
the prime minister's Diet reply is sufficient for changing the
constitutional interpretation, this approach is certain to draw fire
from within the ruling bloc as rough and hasty.

14) Extraordinary Diet session likely to be postponed until
September

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
August 9, 2007

The government and ruling parties decided yesterday to give up on
the idea of convening the fall extraordinary Diet session before the
end of the month. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe originally considered
shuffling his cabinet on August 27 and opening the extraordinary
Diet session on August 31. But he has decided to postpone the plan
in consideration of the ruling bloc's opinion that cabinet ministers
would need more time for making preparations. Coordination is
underway to convene the session in mid-September in part to secure
enough time for deliberations on the Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law scheduled to expire on November 1 -- a highlight in the next
Diet session.

Some government officials revealed this yesterday. Abe plans to
shuffle his cabinet on August 27, as planned.

15) Government worried Japan may be isolated in six-party talks,
with two Koreas summit

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 9, 2007

The announcement by South Korea of a planned meeting between the
leaders of South and North Korea has sparked concern in the Japanese
government that if the two Koreas placed priority on their bilateral
dialogue over the six-party talks, Japan might be removed from the
(six-party) framework of addressing issues related to Pyongyang.

It will be the second summit between the two Koreas, following the
one in June 2000. Officials in the government and the ruling camp
outwardly welcome the news of the Koreas summit, with Liberal
Democratic Party Secretary General Nakagawa saying: "I hope the
summit will help accelerate the process of resolving the issue of
Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals and denuclearizing
North Korea." In their hearts, though, they fear the summit will
have an adverse effect on ongoing international efforts to bring
about the North's denuclearization, with one government source
remarking: "In an attempt to achieve some 'results,' prior to the
presidential election in December by meeting with the North Korean
leader, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun might make excessive
concessions, such as promising to offer large-scale economic
assistance to Pyongyang, while downplaying North Korea's
nuclear-development issue."

Concerning the abduction issue, Prime Minister Abe said last night:
"The issue is extremely important for Japan, so we must resolve it
without fail. I will convey Japan's strong intention and view to the
South Korean government and seek its understanding."

TOKYO 00003639 004 OF 005

16) Other countries taking conciliatory approach to North Korea
while leaving Japan out of loop; Prime minister also being tested
over abduction issue

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 9, 2007

Prime Minister Abe outwardly welcomed the announcement of a planned
North-South Korea summit yesterday, saying: "I hope (the meeting)
will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula." But recent moves
by the United States and South Korea eager to hold talks with the
North show their willingness to take a conciliatory approach toward
Pyongyang while leaving Japan out of the loop. In addition to the
Liberal Democratic Party's crushing defeat in the July House of
Councillors election, the issue of Pyongyang's abductions of
Japanese nationals is now facing the prime minister as a major
challenge.

In June, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, top US
negotiator for the six-party talks, made a surprise visit to North
Korea. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also visited Pyongyang
last month and met North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. This time, North
and South Korea agreed to hold a summit.

As it stands, North Korea has actively made a diplomatic approach
separately to countries involved in the six-party talks. This
strategy is apparently aimed at isolating Japan in the six-party
talks, displeasing the Japanese government. In response to Hill's
visit to North Korea, Foreign Minister Taro Aso commented: "We don't
want the US to easily make a concession."

Japan and North Korea have agreed to hold a bilateral working group
meeting under the framework of the six-party talks later this month.
Now that the US aims to implement the "next stage" by the end of
this year, following North Korea's denuclearization, Japan wants to
find a way to settle the issue of Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese
nationals. The Foreign Ministry has expectations of the next
working-group meeting, a senior official saying: "I do not think
that North Korea will insist the abduction issue has already
resolved." But nobody knows what move North Korea will make in the
meeting."

17) Cross-factional anti-Abe group to be launched within month

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
August 9, 2007

LDP lawmakers belonging to the Tsushima, Yamasaki and Tanigaki
factions yesterday held a meeting in Tokyo and decided to launch a
cross-factional study group from a standpoint critical of the Abe
administration's policy. The members of the envisaged group will
include former Education Minister Kenji Kosaka, who openly
criticized Abe for remaining in office despite the crushing defeat
suffered by the ruling camp in the Upper House election. There is a
possibility of this group attracting LDP members critical of the
prime minister.

The meeting brought together Kosaka, Lower House members Asahiko
Mihara and Masazumi Gotoda from the Tsushima faction, Lower House
member Kisaburo Tokai from the Yamasaki faction, and Lower House
members Hiroyuki Sonoda and Koichi Yamamoto from the Tanigaki

TOKYO 00003639 005 OF 005


faction. Former Home Affairs Minister Takeshi Noda is also expected
to join from the Yamasaki faction. Participants of the meeting
sounded out former State Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Kaoru Yosano, who does not belong to any faction, about the
possibility of his joining the group. However, in response to an
interview by the Mainichi Shimbun, Yosano noted, "I will not join
any move that has anything to do with a Lower House dissolution and
snap election." The seven will hold a preparatory meeting for the
establishment of the envisaged group within the month and launch it,
after naming it. They said they will widely recruit participants
from within the party.

Many participants in the meeting yesterday criticized Abe, with one
noting, "The prime minister has rejected changing the basic policy,
insisting that the basic policy is supported, but he has pursued no
policy discussion." A consensus was reached that the group would
propose revising the excessive market principles adopted under the
Koizumi reform policy, as Sonoda put it.

No cabinet ministers have been picked from these three factions with
the exception of Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Policy
Akira Amari, who was given the post in reward for supporting Abe in
the LDP presidential election last year. These factions are
maintaining their distance from the administration. Kosaka called on
the prime minister to step down during the LDP lawmakers' meeting on
the 7th.

18) Arguments calling for putting off convening extraordinary Diet
session on Aug. 31 spreading in ruling parties

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 9, 2007

Opinions calling for putting off convening the full-fledged fall
extraordinary Diet session on Aug. 31 are gaining ground. The
coordination of the schedule with Aug. 31 in mind is already
underway at the wishes of the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei).
However, some have pointed out that there would not be enough time
to prepare Diet replies since a Cabinet reshuffle is to take place
on Aug. 27. An increasing number of LDP and New Komeito members are
also insisting that since the opposition camp has gained control the
Upper House, the ruling camp must carefully prepare Diet replies.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to convene the next extraordinary
Diet session as soon as possible in order to ensure passage of an
amendment bill intended to extend the Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law.

One senior member of the LDP Diet Policy Committee yesterday said,
"Nothing has been decided about the date of convening the
extraordinary Diet session." Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki will today confer on the Diet schedule with Tetsuro Yano,
chairman of the LDP Upper House Diet Policy Committee.

A plan to put off the date of convening the extraordinary Diet
session until mid-September, when the prime minister will have been
back from his trip to Australia to attend the APEC summit to be held
in Sydney, has also been floated.

SCHIEFFER

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