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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/22/07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 12 TOKYO 003870

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 08/22/07


Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule

Abe diplomacy:
4) Prime Minister Abe arrives in India on second leg of tour
5) India to back Japan's plan for reducing global-warming greenhouse
gases by half
6) Abe meets the presidents of India's leading universities

Defense and security affairs:
7) Defense Minister Koike is off to tour Pakistan and India
8) Government to upgrade F-15s and keep them as mainstay fighters
9) Did the 22 billion yen spent for anti-terror activities have
results?
10) Defense ministry plans to unify the military police of the three
Self-Defense Forces to strengthen investigative powers
11) Document discovered in recent SDF intelligence leakage case is a
Beijing order to obtain "special defense secrets" in Japan

DPJ in action:
12) Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto) Maehara and other
party members form study group to discuss anti-terror policy options

13) DPJ unifies around Ozawa to oppose extension of anti-terror
bill, but will enter discussion on expanding humanitarian aid in
Afghanistan
14) Will the DPJ follow an alliance with US line or United Nations
line in the fall battle in the Diet on extending the anti-terror
bill
15) Ozawa to reshuffle internal DPJ lineup on Aug. 31, but Kan,
Hatoyama will stay in place
16) DPJ head Ozawa in a speech calls the Abe administration "brain
dead"

Abe administration on the hot seat:
17) Komeito head Ota calls the Abe administration "slovenly"
18) Anti-Abe group in the LDP meets for the first time
19) Chief Cabinet Secretary under fire to resign for political-fund
issue by disgruntled LDP members

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi & Tokyo Shimbun:
Fuel leak possibly from right engine joining area of China Airlines
jetliner

Yomiuri:
Defense Ministry plans to integrate police units of Ground,
Maritime, Air Self-Defense Forces by March 2009 with aim of strict
observance of laws and ordinances

Nikkei:
LDP tax panel chief indicates difficulties in specifying a
consumption tax hike in a package of tax system revisions to be
decided later this year

Sankei:

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Defense secrets leak: Instructions to acquire special defense
secrets might have come from Chinese government official, according

SIPDIS
to documents seized by police officers

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Shiozaki and money scandal: Reform of Political Fund Control Law
essential
(2) Mitsukoshi and Isetan: Consumers' support necessary

Mainichi:
(1) Drastic measures necessary to combat global warming
(2) Shortage of doctors: Government needs to change its policy of
constraining the number of doctors

Yomiuri:
(1) Elaborate inspections of nuclear reactors essential to restore
trust
(2) ROK presidential election: Will a new president change the
previous policy toward DPRK?

Nikkei:
Way of working: Equal treatment necessary to remove the income gap
between regular and nonregular workers

Sankei:
(1) ROK presidential election: We hope for emergence of a healthy
conservative leader
(2) The responsibility of the sumo world now questioned over
Asashoryu trouble

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Shortage of electricity: Let's cultivate culture of saving
electricity
(2) Thailand's new constitution somehow adopted, but advice and aid
necessary from Japan and other friendly nations for restoration of
democratic government

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, August 21

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Morning
Met at Hotel Nikko Jakarta in Jakarta, Indonesia, with those who had
studied in Japan. Offered flowers at the National Heroic Cemetery in
Karibata. Left Halim Airport.
Afternoon Arrived at Palam Air Force Station in Delhi, India.

Evening
Met with a Japanese mission led by the Japan Business Federation
(Nippon Keidanren) together with Indian Prime Minister Singh at an
international convention hall.

Night
Attended a welcome party hosted by Japan-India friendship
organizations at the India International Center. Afterwards,
attended a meeting with presidents of Japanese and Indian
universities. Later, attended a dinner party hosted by Prime

TOKYO 00003870 003 OF 012


Minister Singh at his official residence.

4) Prime Minister Abe arrives in India

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Yudai Nakazawa, New Delhi

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday afternoon (night of that day,
Japan time) arrived in New Delhi, India, the second leg of his Asian
tour, by a government plane. He attended a welcome party hosted by
Japan-India friendship organizations and emphasized the importance
of promoting exchange between the two countries.

Abe joined Prime Minister Singh receiving a courtesy call from a
Japanese economic mission led by the Japan Business Federation
(Nippon Keidanren). On that occasion, Abe declared, "I will work out
measures that will benefit both Japanese and Indian private-sector
companies in cooperation with the Indian government so as to sign an
economic partnership agreement (EPA) and improve infrastructure."
Welcoming the mission, Singh said: "For further expansion of
relations in the area of trade and investment, I welcome proposals
from Japanese firms." Afterwards, Abe attended a dinner party hosted
by Singh held at the prime minister's official residence.

Today, Abe will attend a welcome ceremony at the presidential
residence and deliver a speech in the Indian parliament.

5) Indian prime minister supports Prime Minister Abe's proposal for
halving emissions of greenhouse gases

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 5) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Yasuo Awai, New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Singh yesterday received a courtesy call from
a Japanese mission led by the Japan Business Federation (Nippon
Keidanren) in New Delhi. Referring to global warming, Singh told the
mission, "I welcome Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's initiative,"
indicating he supports Abe's "Cool Earth 50," a concept aimed at
reducing the greenhouse gases emitted from the entire earth by half
by 2050.

India emits greenhouse gases accounting for 4 PERCENT or so of the
world's total. Singh emphasized his intention to grapple with
cutting the emissions of greenhouse gases by improving, for
instance, energy efficiency, noting, "India shares concerns about
climate change with the rest of the world." At the same time he
indicated that a post-Kyoto Protocol framework should give
consideration to developing countries, saying, "It's important to
keep a balance between development and poverty reduction.

Speaking of Japan-India negotiations on an economic partnership
agreement (EPA), which started in January, Singh underscored his
plan to sign an EPA as quickly as possible, noting, "The economies
of the two countries significantly complement each other, so I
expect an EPA to play a meaningful role." Nippon Keidanren Chairman
Fujio Mitarai revealed a simulation that "The companies that have
sent their representatives to this mission to India have plans to
invest 200 billion yen or more in India over the next five years."

TOKYO 00003870 004 OF 012

Prime Minister Abe, who, along with Singh, received this courtesy
call from the Japanese mission, expressed his enthusiasm to
strengthen economic ties with India, noting, "Japan-India relations
have now moved into a new dimension as the trade value has doubled
and the amount of investments have expanded four times for the past
three years."

6) Conference of presidents of Japanese and Indian universities held
with Prime Minister Abe also in attendance

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Kensuke Nakazawa, New Delhi

Prime Minister Abe, who is now on a tour of Asian countries,
yesterday morning (afternoon of that day, Japan time) departed
Jakarta, Indonesia, aboard a government plane and arrived in India
on the afternoon of the same day (evening of that day, Japan time).

Taking this opportunity of Abe's visit to India, presidents of 12
Japanese universities, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto
University, Waseda University, and Keio University, and 14 Indian
universities, such as the Indian Institute of Technology, yesterday
evening (night of the same day, Japan time) held the first
Japan-India conference of university presidents at the India
International Center in New Delhi. The session was joined by Prime
Minister Abe. He emphasized in a speech given there: "Of some
100,000 foreign students studying in Japan, the number of Indian
students is only 500 or so. We on the part of the government would
like to actively support exchanges of students between Japan and
India."

The conference of presidents this time was aimed at increasing
exchanges of Japanese and Indian students, which have been less
active than those with Japan's neighboring countries like China. The
Japanese government deems it essential to promote personnel
exchanges in order to team up with India, which has been remarkably
growing in the areas of information technology and finance.

7) Defense Minister Koike departs for India, Pakistan

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Defense Minister Yuriko Koike yesterday left Narita by a JAL plane
to visit India and Pakistan.

Today, Koike will meet with President Musharraf and Defense Minister
Iqbal of Pakistan and exchange views with them about the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling services to US, Pakistani and
other countries vessels engaged in the fight against terrorism in
the Indian Ocean.

Koike will explain that the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, the
legal basis for the MSDF's refueling operations, expires on Nov. 1
and indicate that the Japanese government will continue cooperation
on the war on terror. She is expected to confirm the importance of
continuing refueling operations with the Pakistani side.

In India, Koike will meet with Defense Minister Antony and confirm

TOKYO 00003870 005 OF 012


cooperation and promotion in the security area. On Aug. 25, she will
return home.

8) With negotiations on F-22s stalled, MOD to request budget money
for refitting F-15s, current mainstay fighter aircraft, at cost of
100 billion yen

Nikkei (Page 2) (Excerpts)
Eve., August 21, 2007

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) on August 21 has decided to include in
its budget request for fiscal 2008 outlays to greatly refit the
F-15, which is Japan's current mainstay fighter aircraft. The
request is for approximately 100 billion yen, the anticipated cost
of refitting 32 aircraft. The amount is four times the usual budget
allocation for refitting aircraft. With coordination with the United
States over the its providing information on the F22A-Raptor, a new
Stealth-type aircraft that Japan sees as a leading candidate to be
its next generation fighter (FX), the aim is to prevent a
deterioration in Japan's air power.

9) MSDF's refueling mission cost 22 billion yen; Government avoids
explanation, citing military secrecy

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 22, 2007

The Antiterrorism Law was established in October 2001 with the aim
of extending logistical support in the operations against terrorists
in Afghanistan. The Maritime Self-Defense Force has been refueling
naval vessels of the United States and other countries in the Indian
Ocean. It is a symbol of the Japan-US alliance, according to a
senior Defense Ministry official. But the actual situation and the
results of the MSDF's activities of six years remain unclear.

As of July 26, the MSDF provided a total of 480,000 kiloliters of
fuel to vessels of 11 countries, including the United States,
Britain, and Pakistan, on 769 occasions. They also provided 940
kiloliters of fuel for helicopters on 64 occasions, and 6,170 tons
of water on 113 occasions. The total cost came to 22 billion yen.

The vessels that were refueled by the MSDF have been engaged in
operations to block the travel of terrorists and the transport and
proliferation of weapons in the Indian Ocean.

A senior Defense Ministry official explained: "Supporting the war on
terrorism leads to international contributions and an enhanced
Japan-US alliance."

But the government has been ignoring the Democratic Party of Japan's
request for a detailed explanation about the results of Japan's
assistance by citing military secrecy.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama said: "We want to know
specifically what countries and what vessels have been receiving
fuel from the MSDF. Is the MSDF refueling only vessels headed to
Afghanistan? Or are they refueling vessels bound for Iran and Iraq
as well?"

The DPJ has cited a lack of information for its opposition to the
law's extension.


TOKYO 00003870 006 OF 012


10) SDF police commands to be integrated

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)
August 22, 2007

The Defense Ministry plans to integrate the police commands of the
Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces in order to toughen
SDF personnel's discipline and prevent their misconduct, officials
said yesterday. The GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF police commands are in
charge of investigating criminal cases involving SDF personnel. The
police commands of the three SDF services will be reorganized into
one, which will be placed under the defense minister's direct
control. In the past, there were a number of events brought about by
SDF personnel. For instance, MSDF personnel removed data about
Aegis-equipped vessels. Among other incidents, the Defense
Facilities Administration Agency was involved in bid-rigging cases.
The Defense Ministry will therefore strengthen the SDF police
commands in order for SDF personnel to abide by laws and ordinances.
The Defense Ministry will also launch a new body, called the Defense
Inspection Headquarters, in September. In this connection, the
Defense Ministry has informally decided to appoint Masafumi Sakurai,
62, former superintendent public prosecutor of the Nagoya High
Public Prosecutors Office, as the first incumbent for the post of
defense inspector general at the Defense Inspection Headquarters.
The defense inspector general ranks next to the post of vice
minister.

The three SDF police commands are expected to be reorganized by
March 2009. The GSDF Police Command is manned with 800, the MSDF
Police Command with 140, and the ASDF Police Command with 150. The
three police commands remain unable to cooperate in a sufficient way
because of their separate structures, so there is a limit to their
investigative capacity.

The Defense Ministry says it will be possible for the three SDF
branches to share investigative information and know-how as a result
of integrating their police commands. In addition, the Defense
Ministry also deems it possible to conduct intensive investigations
into major events.

11) China possibly involved in defense info leaks

SANKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
August 22, 2007

An engineering official of the Defense Agency, now the Defense
Ministry, took out submarine-related files for internal use only. In
connection with this incident, Tokyo's Metropolitan Police
Department (MPD) searched a former trading company president's home
and other locations where the police seized documents that can be
taken as implying that a Chinese government official told the former
trading house chief executive to get Japan's defense secrets
(tokubetsu boei himitsu), sources revealed yesterday. The former
chief executive has known officials from the Chinese Embassy in
Japan. This former chief executive is suspected of having worked on
the defense engineering official to provide information about the
Self-Defense Forces' weapons and systems that fall under the
category of defense secrets that are restricted under the Law for
Information Security Concerning the Japan-US Mutual Defense
Assistance Agreement and Other Arrangements, or the Japan-US Secret
Protection Law for short. The police authorities are investigating
the case on suspicion of a violation of the law.

TOKYO 00003870 007 OF 012

The ex-defense engineering official was assigned to the 1st Research
Institute of the Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI)
under the Defense Ministry when it was in agency status. In March
2000, the engineering official, asked by the trading company
president, photocopied and took out without permission a research
paper on special steel materials used for submarine hulls, the
police say. In March 2005, the police searched his home and other
locations. In February this year, the MPD sent papers to prosecutors
on the engineering official for theft. However, the prosecutors
dropped the case because of insufficient evidence.

The directive document, which is believed to have been created by
the China side, was seized at the former trading company president's
related location, according to informed sources. The confiscated
document is written in Chinese with a listing of defense equipment
items for information. Those defense equipment items on the list are
separate from the special steel materials for submarines. They are
suspected of including those under the category of defense secrets
that are highly confidential, according to the police authorities.

The MPD has also seized a note handwritten in Japanese by the former
trading company president to rewrite the directive document's
contents. In police questioning, the ex-defense engineering official
stated that he remembers being asked by the former trading company
president about those defense equipment items described that are on
the list and described in the note. The engineering official has
thus implied that the trading company president had worked on the
engineering official to provide information.

In December 2001, the ex-defense engineering official visited
Beijing at the former trading company president's expense and met
several Chinese people at a hotel. The former engineering official
explained that he "thought they were officials from the Chinese
government." The former trading company president is therefore
believed to have arranged the meeting in an aim to have those
Chinese government officials get defense equipment information
directly from the ex-defense engineering official.

12) DPJ launches security panel to discuss antiterrorism measures

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
August 22, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) established
yesterday a panel to discuss ways to make international
contributions composed of such members as Policy Research Committee
Chair Takeaki Matsumoto, former party head Seiji Maehara, and
Financial Committee Chair Kenji Yamaoka.

The purpose is to discuss antiterrorism measures and international
contributions in anticipation that the question of extending the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law will be high on agenda in the
next extraordinary Diet session.

Matsumoto, Maehara, Yamaoka and others held a preparatory meeting at
party headquarters yesterday. As a result, they decided that the
panel should discuss: (1) the contents of the antiterrorism law, (2)
the security situation in Afghanistan and assistance by other
countries, (3) the UN Security Council resolution that serves as the
basis for support activities, and (4) the DPJ's security polity. The
panel will meet once a week.

TOKYO 00003870 008 OF 012

After the July House of Councillors election, Maehara and others
made a proposal to the party leadership and the party's official
security research council to begin discussion on the antiterrorism
law's extension and a permanent law pertaining to the overseas
deployment of the SDF. But given the strong resistance about
establishing a permanent law from the former socialists in the
party, a decision has been made to discuss the matter at the newly
launched panel.

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa yesterday told Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama and Upper House Caucus Chairman Azuma Koshiishi to spend
much time discussing a permanent law.

13) DPJ to unify its view on opposing the extension of the
Anti-Terrorist Special Measures Law, while making a counterproposal
for humanitarian aid its main policy theme

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 22, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) on Aug. 21 decided
to unify party views on opposing the amendment bill to extend the
Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which will be the focus of
attention in the upcoming extraordinary session of the Diet. From
now on, it will actively promote in foreign and defense
affairs-related party council meetings the drafting of a
counterproposal to the anti-terror law. The outlook is the
counterproposal would center on humanitarian assistance and other
measures that members of the party would find difficult to oppose.
The final decision on this approach will be made by November by the
Next Cabinet (shadow cabinet).

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa yesterday in a speech referred to his
meeting with US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer, stressing: "Although
I transmitted my message as if it were a personal view, I was only
explaining our party's basic principle." For the first time, he
stated that the party's policy stance would be to oppose extension
of the anti-terror law.

Although there are views in the party, such as those of former
President Seiji Maehara, that place importance on the alliance with
the US and favor extending the law, Ozawa's unifying force has
stifled such objections in the party. Ozawa in his speech severely
criticized the government's responses, saying: "As always, without
setting down any basic principles, they were driven by the US
request, and went ahead based on a tortured logic."

Within the party, many take the view that "by just opposing the law,
our party's ability to assume the reins of government will be
questioned." With reconstruction assistance toward Afghanistan in
mind, Ozawa told party Secretary General Hatoyama: "It would be nice
if Japan could find some way to provide assistance in some kind of
form that addresses poverty, the root of terrorism." Apparently what
he had in mind included such specific official development
assistance as civilian-led medical and food aid.

14) Extension of Antiterrorism Law expected to rekindle controversy;
Should Japan prioritize its alliance with US or UN-centered
diplomacy?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)

TOKYO 00003870 009 OF 012


August 22, 2007

The question of extending the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law
will be high on agenda in the extraordinary Diet session in the
fall. The Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling services of nearly
six years to naval vessels of the United States and other countries
will be discussed in the Diet, whose upper chamber is now controlled
by the opposition. Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
President Ichiro Ozawa, who advocates UN-centered diplomacy, has
expressed opposition to the government's call for the law's
extension that puts high priority on the alliance with the United
States. Debate is likely to flare up again over the SDF's overseas
missions.

The war in Afghanistan is an operation against terrorist that
followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United
States. Then Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka defined it as the
exercise of the individual self-defense right by the United States.

In the previous regular Diet session, then Defense Minister Fumio
Kyuma described the Antiterrorism Law as the legislation to back up
and support America's war.

To explain his opposition to the law's extension, Ozawa indicated
that America's war in Afghanistan has not been authorized by the
United Nations.

The DPJ, advocating UN-centered diplomacy regarding the SDF's
overseas missions, has been calling for "engagement" in collective
security based on a UN resolution. Ozawa's stock argument is that
Japan is allowed to join activities using force as long as they are
based on a UN request. In his meeting on August 8 with US Ambassador
to Japan Schieffer, Ozawa expressed a positive stance about allowing
the SDF to join the NATO-led ISAF (International Security Assistance
Force) in Afghanistan, saying that the force is on a mission to
carry out activities similar to peacekeeping operations.

In enacting the Antiterrorism Law, the government also cited UN
Security Council Resolution 1368 that recognized 9/11 as a threat to
international peace and security as the basis for sending the SDF.
The resolution also called for an international effort for
eradicating terrorism.

The DPJ argued, however, that the resolution did not authorize the
United States to use force. The government argued that Japan's
assistance did not constitute the use of force. The government
consequently dispatched troops although its interpretation of the UN
resolution was still ambiguous.

Following the enactment of the Antiterrorism Law, the previous
Koizumi administration supported the US decision to launch the Iraq
war, and embarked on the SDF's Iraq mission, playing up the
"Japan-US alliance in a global context" during the 2003 Japan-US
summit. Japan's diplomacy has been centered on its alliance with the
United States.

Ozawa's opposition to the law's extension is intended to create a
stir in such a policy course. The Diet is likely to replay the
debate that took place when the law was established.

Earlier this month, Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi explained to
visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte that the basic

TOKYO 00003870 010 OF 012


diplomatic policy course would not change. But the
opposition-controlled Upper House has begun affecting the
government's diplomatic and security policies.

15) DPJ to reshuffle its party executive lineup on Aug. 31, but Kan,
Hatoyama expected to continue in their posts

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
August 22, 2007

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) President Ichiro Ozawa
yesterday indicated his intention to reshuffle the party executive
lineup on Aug. 31. He wants to establish a unified party
arrangement by strengthening links to the Upper House, where the
ruling and opposition camps have traded places due to the election.
The aim is to compete with the shuffled cabinet and Liberal
Democratic Party executive lineup that Prime Minister Abe is
planning for Aug. 27.

16) DPJ's Ozawa: "Government, probably in a state of brain death,
has become quiet"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 22, 2007

Delivering a speech in Tokyo yesterday, Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) President Ozawa cynically talked about the state of the Abe
administration after its crushing defeat in the July House of
Councillors election: "Probably because the government has lost its
capacity for being a party or because it is in a state of brain
death, it has become quiet about when an extraordinary Diet session
this fall will be convened. But if the Abe cabinet is still in power
next month, it supposedly will convene a session."

In reference to the issue of an extension of the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law, Ozawa emphasized that his opposition is in
line with the party's policy platform released late last year. He
said: "I told Ambassador Schieffer that I cannot support the
government's plan to extend the law. This is not my personal view
but is in accordance with the party's policy decision." He then
explained why he is opposed to the plan: "US President Bush said
that when the US goes to war, there is no need to obtain agreement
from the international community. It is irrational for the US to ask
the international community to offer aid at this stage."

17) New Komeito's Ota criticizes Abe administration as "sloppy"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 22, 2007

"There were many happenings, such as a cabinet minister (former
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Akagi) appearing with
bandages on his face. It might be true that the Abe administration
is sloppy, as everybody says."

New Komeito President Ota criticized the Abe administration in his
street-corner speech for the candidates backed by his party for the
Hinodemachi assembly election, which was officially announced
yesterday.

In his first campaign speech after the July House of Councillors
election, Ota said: "I would like to have the New Komeito make a

TOKYO 00003870 011 OF 012


fresh start." During the Upper House election campaign, Ota hardly
criticized the Abe administration. His comment yesterday might have
expressed his real feeling. In the party, there is dissatisfaction
smoldering at the Abe cabinet, with a senior member grumbling: "The
New Komeito's devastating defeat in the Upper House election is
attributed to a serious of gaffes by some members in the Abe
cabinet." Such an atmosphere may be behind Ota's critical comment.

18) LDP's Anti-Abe lawmakers hold meeting; Group to release policy
proposal in early September

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
August 22, 2007

By Eriko Horii and Tamiko Kobayashi

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers who are critical of Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, on 21 August, held a preparatory meeting in
Tokyo for establishing a policy study group. The lawmakers agreed
to formulate a policy proposal to address regional disparities and
release it in early September. They also plan to seek the
participation of the other lawmakers who approve of the policy
proposal. There is a possibility that the study group will serve as
an organization of lawmakers who call on Prime Minister Abe for a
policy change.

The participants of the preparatory meeting were: from the Tsushima
faction, former education minister Kenji Kosaka, Lower House
lawmakers Asahiko Mihara and Masazumi Gotoda; former home affairs
minister Takeshi Noda of the Yamasaki faction; and Lower House
lawmakers Hiroyuki Sonoda and Koichi Yamamoto of the Tanigaki
faction. Lower House member Kisaburo Tokai (Yamasaki faction),
another member of the meeting, was absent on 21 August.

The participants agreed that they will call for a change to measures
to vitalize provinces, a social security policy, the education
issue, and deregulation. Sonoda told a group of reporters after the
meeting: "There are increasing disparities among the regions and
industries, because market fundamentalism has gone too far. We
would like to present a concrete proposal on how to narrow these
gaps."

Sonoda stressed that the meeting's participants "are not anti-Abe."
However, a critical view on Abe is simmering in the three LDP
factions to which these lawmakers belong. None of the members of
these factions were appointed cabinet ministers except Akira Amari
(Yamasaki faction), minister of economy, trade and industry, who was
selected as a "reward" for supporting Prime Minister Abe in the LDP
presidential election last year. LDP lawmakers are closely watching
how many more lawmakers will join the group.

19) Calls for Shiozaki's resignation growing stronger in ruling
camp, following discovery of embezzlement of political funds by
staffer

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 22, 2007

In reaction to the alleged embezzlement of political funds by a
staff member of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki's office,
critical voices are erupting from ruling party members, with one
member grumbling: "That is enough. I am really disgusted."

TOKYO 00003870 012 OF 012


Politics-and-money scandals involving Abe cabinet members are
cropping up one after another. It was found that even Shiozaki, who
is in the most pivotal post in the cabinet, had also been involved
in a money scandal. Despite this, he issued just a short comment.
Many in the ruling parties are dissatisfied with the Abe cabinet,
which is composed of his friends. They are expected to call on the
prime minister to remove Shiozaki in the upcoming cabinet
reshuffle.

In press conferences held after the media reported office expense
scandals involving former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, who committed suicide, and former
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Norihiko Akagi,
Shiozaki regarded these cases as politicians' individual problems
and stressed the government's stance of offering no comment. But
public criticism of such politics-and-money problems brought a
crushing defeat to the Liberal Democratic Party in the July House of
Councillors election.

After the election, Prime Minister Abe dismissed Akagi when another
political funds scandal involving him came to light. When it was
discovered that Justice Minister Nagase's office had received
donations from a group accepting foreign trainees, Shiozaki also
instructed Nagase to give a necessary explanation to the people. As
it stands, the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) has altered its
response to such scandals in effect.

The LDP also decided on Aug. 7 to require its lawmakers to check
their political groups' account books and financial reports covering
from 2003 through 2006, as part of efforts to reconstruct the party,
with an eye to the cabinet reorganization. But Shiozaki himself
resulted in dampening such efforts.

The staff member of the Shiozaki's office had double-booked 6.26
million yen, attaching copies of the same receipts to different
reports. After such sloppy funds management was brought to public
notice, Shiozaki issued only a short comment on Aug. 20, evoking
criticism that he has not fulfilled his duty to explain.

In the LDP, there is strong criticism of Shiozaki for a lack of
prior consultations with the ruling parties and the Diet. Many party
members have expressed opposition to Shiozaki's staying in office or
assuming another cabinet post in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.

MESERVE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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