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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/18/07

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CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 09/18/07


Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's schedule: Hospitalized

3) Prime Minister Abe will be in hospital for at least another weak,
his condition unchanged

Opinion polls:
4) Survey of 387 LDP Diet members finds Yasuo Fukuda supported by
213 already
5) Asahi poll on LDP presidential race: 53 PERCENT favor Yasuo
Fukuda, 21 PERCENT pick Taro Aso, with 62 PERCENT of the public
desiring next prime minister to be conciliatory type
6) Yomiuri poll: 58 PERCENT favor Fukuda for LDP president, 22
PERCENT opt for Aso
7) Fuji-Sankei poll: 55.9 PERCENT of public pick Fukuda for LDP
president, almost twice the percentage of those who favor Aso
8) In Kyodo's poll, Fukuda (28 PERCENT ), Aso (18 PERCENT ), and
Koizumi (15.7 PERCENT ) picked as favored top three for next prime
minister
9) Jiji poll: Half of the public agree to extension of the
Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law

10) Japan to join seven-country PSI drill next month on interdicting
spread of weapons of mass destruction by sea

11) Government watching carefully North Korea's moves due to sudden
postponement of six-party talks

LDP presidential race - stands on issues:
12) Fukuda would "resolve the abduction issue with my own hands"
13) Fukuda's stand on North Korea reflects concern of Japan getting
left behind in the six-party talks
14) Fukuda's, Aso's stands on China very different
15) Fukuda ready to respond flexibly to resolving domestic impasse
on extending the MSDF's refueling in the Indian Ocean
16) Aso reiterates supportive stance for extending MSDF mission in
campaign speech
17) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) worried about Fukuda if elected
prime minister since his stands on Asia diplomacy, Yasukuni Shrine
close to its own
18) Koizumi's long-time secretary Iijima suddenly quits after 35
years, upset by his boss' support of sworn enemy Fukuda for LDP
president

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Poll of LDP's local chapters about what they want new president to
do: 31 local chapters call for public works projects to reduce gaps
between rural and urban areas

Mainichi:
National survey of medical facilities about Ritalin: Number of
Retalin abusers who received treatment doubled for two years

Yomiuri:
Japan Post accommodations found to have concluded a free contract

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with a private firm run by a former postal bureaucrat

Nikkei:
Labor force survey by MIC for April-June: Record high 35.3 PERCENT
say "income increase due to career change"

Sankei:
Sankei-FNN poll: 55.9 PERCENT support Fukuda with 28.1 PERCENT
backing Aso

Tokyo Shimbun:
Prosecutor found to have had a deal with a gang boss with the aim of
fabricating a case violating the Swords and Firearms Control Law

Akahata:
Elderly Convention starts: Solidarity needed to remove old people's
anxieties

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Upsurge of postgraduate law schools: Schools must pay for it
(2) Criminal penalty not appropriate for case of disclosure of
school boy's deposition

Mainichi:
(1) Privatization of Japan Post: Reinforcing management base
essential
(2) Amateur baseball teams should become "treasure of the town" and
be backed by town people

Yomiuri:
(1) Reform of agricultural land system: Scale expansion
indispensable for production improvement
(2) Poll on Japanese language finds heavy usage of kanji due to use
of personal computers

Nikkei:
(1) Manufacturers should compete on safety measures of products used
at home
(2) It's questionable to have corporate health insurance societies
and mutual aid societies pay the government's subsidy for the
government-run health insurance societies for small firms

Sankei:
(1) LDP presidential election: In-depth policy debate desirable
(2) New bar exam: Need to examine quality of law schools

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Politics-and-money issue: Important topic for debate in LDP
presidential race
(2) Moon satellite "Kaguya": Future vision of exploration needed

Akahata:
(1) Argument for consumption tax hike reflects business leaders'
selfish desire

3) Abe to remain in hospital this week

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 18, 2007


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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been hospitalized at Keio
University Hospital in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, has decided to postpone
plans to resume his official duties today because his condition has
not changed, a source close to the prime minister revealed
yesterday.

Although he was initially expected to leave the hospital on
September 17, the prime minister has decided to stay away from the
cabinet meeting today in compliance with his doctors' advice to stay
in the hospital this week.

According to the source, the prime minister has been on an
intravenous drip and has rarely read newspapers or watched
television. Since his hospitalization, the prime minister has been
performing his duties, such as making final decision on matters, in
his hospital room without appointing an acting prime minister.
Reportedly he is going to follow this approach this week.

Prime Minister Abe underwent a physical checkup at the hospital on
September 13 and was diagnosed as suffering from a gastrointestinal
disorder that required a minimum three to four days of
hospitalization.

4) Poll: Supported by 213 Lower House lawmakers, Fukuda likely to
achieve overwhelming victory in LDP presidential race

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpt)
September 17, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted an opinion survey of the 387 Liberal
Democratic Party lawmakers regarding the September 23 LDP
presidential election. As a result, 213 LDP lawmakers expressed
support for former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, whereas
only 45 members said they would back Secretary General Taro Aso. In
a telephone-based nationwide survey conducted on September 15-16 as
well, 61 PERCENT of respondents picked Fukuda as suitable for the
LDP presidency. With Fukuda expected to dominate the 114 prefectural
chapter votes, he has the momentum to secure a 265-vote majority
with ease.

5) Poll: Fukuda scores 53 PERCENT in popularity rating for next
premiership, Aso at 21 PERCENT

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 17, 2007

With the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election
having kicked off, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based
spot nationwide public opinion survey from the afternoon of Sept. 15
through yesterday. In the survey, respondents were asked which
candidate between former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and
LDP Secretary General Taro Aso they thought would be appropriate for
the next prime minister. In response to this question, 53 PERCENT
picked Fukuda, with 21 PERCENT opting for Aso. Among LDP
supporters, Fukuda stood at 56 PERCENT , with Aso at 27 PERCENT .
Respondents were also asked what type they thought would be better
for the next prime minister. To this question, a total of 62 PERCENT
chose a "cooperative" type, with 31 PERCENT preferring a
"decisive" type. As seen from these figures, the public wants a
leader differing from former Prime Minister Koizumi, who was a
decisive type, and his successor, Prime Minister Abe. This mindset
seems to back up Fukuda in popularity.

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Respondents were also asked if they were interested in the LDP
presidential race. In response, 69 PERCENT answered "yes." In
September last year, Prime Minister Abe won a landslide victory in
the party race. At that time, "yes" accounted for 63 PERCENT . In
April 2001, when former Prime Minister Koizumi was elected LDP
president for the first time, "yes" totaled 64 PERCENT .

Those who picked Fukuda were further asked to pick one from among
three given reasons. In response, 62 PERCENT picked "he's stable,"
followed by "his policies and principles are good" respectively at
17 PERCENT . Among those who picked Aso, "policies and principles"
accounted for 36 PERCENT , followed by his "friendly" character at
34 PERCENT and "stable" at 22 PERCENT .

6) Poll: Public support for Fukuda at 58 PERCENT

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
September 17, 2007

In a nationwide emergency opinion survey conducted by the Yomiuri
Shimbun ahead of the LDP presidential election, 58 PERCENT of
respondents indicated that former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo
Fukuda was fit for the post, while only 22 PERCENT picked LDP
Secretary General Taro Aso. Additionally, the rate of support for

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Fukuda among LDP supporters stood at 61 PERCENT in contrast to 27
PERCENT for Aso. Although the Aso camp pins hopes on prefectural
chapter votes to turn around the trend, public support for Fukuda
was also higher than for Aso. By gender, support for Fukuda among
male respondents stood at 53 PERCENT in contrast to Aso's 27
PERCENT . Fukuda also won support from 62 PERCENT of female
respondents against Aso's 18 PERCENT , pronouncing Fukuda's high
popularity among female respondents. Fukuda outnumbered Aso in terms
of age and area as well. Even in Aso's home turf of Kyushu, support
for Fukuda marked 50 PERCENT against 28 PERCENT for Aso.

Asked what takes to become the prime minister (multiple answers
acceptable), 89 PERCENT pointed to "leadership" and 86 PERCENT to
"accountability to the public."

As seen in the fact that 80 PERCENT of LDP factions already decided
to back Factional, moves by factions have been particularly
noticeable. However, the faction-centered selection process received
negative assessments from 70 PERCENT of respondents, and positive
assessments from only 15 PERCENT .

In addition, 58 PERCENT said Prime Minister Abe's resignation was
"natural," while 33 PERCENT indicated it was unnecessary.

Further, 51 PERCENT said that the Lower House should be dissolved
"as soon as possible" for a snap general election, whereas 41
PERCENT indicated that "there was no need to hurry." In a survey
conducted on July 30-31 shortly after the July Upper House lection
and another one on August 27-28 immediately after the cabinet
reshuffle, the answer "as soon as possible" marked only about 40
PERCENT . In the latest survey, "as soon as possible" outnumbered
the answer "there is no need to hurry."

7) Poll: 55.9 PERCENT support Fukuda

SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 18, 2007

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Following up Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his
resignation, the Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN)
conducted a joint public opinion survey from the afternoon of Sept.
15 through Sept. 16, focusing on the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party's presidential election. In the survey, respondents were asked
which candidate between former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda,
71, and LDP Secretary General Taro Aso, 66, they supported. In
response to this question, Fukuda stood at 55.9 PERCENT , with Aso
at 28.1 PERCENT . In the party race, many of the LDP's lawmakers
support Fukuda. The survey also shows a similar trend.

In popularity rating for the next premiership as well, Fukuda topped
all others at 27.7 PERCENT , followed by former Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi at 15.0 PERCENT , Health, Labor and Welfare
Minister Yoichi Masuzoe at 13.2 PERCENT , and Ichoro Ozawa,
president of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) at 12.2 PERCENT . Aso was in fifth place with 10.3
PERCENT .

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 30.5 PERCENT , up 2.3 percentage points from the last
survey conducted Aug. 27-28 after the Abe cabinet was shuffled. The
DPJ was at 25.9 PERCENT , down 5 points from the last survey. The
LDP was lower than the DPJ in two surveys taken after this summer's
election for the House of Councillors. In the survey this time,
however, the LDP outpaced the DPJ. This is presumably because all
eyes are now on the LDP's presidential election.

8) Poll: Fukuda marks 28 PERCENT for next premiership, Aso at 18
PERCENT

TOKYO (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 15, 2007

Along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his
resignation, Kyodo News conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide
public opinion survey on Sept. 13-14. In the survey, respondents
were asked who they thought would be appropriate as the next prime
minister. In response to this question, 28.1 PERCENT picked former
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, who topped all others. Liberal
Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso was in second place with
18.7 PERCENT . Fukuda is now gaining an advantage over Aso with
widening support from factions in the LDP.

Respondents were also asked if they thought the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean under
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law should be extended. In
response, 47.9 PERCENT answered "yes," with 42.5 PERCENT saying
"no." In the last survey taken Aug. 27-28, negative answers
outnumbered affirmative ones.

9) Poll: Half support antiterror law extension

TOKYO (Page 3) (Full)
September 17, 2007

According to a Jiji Press poll released yesterday, opinions for
extending the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, under which Japan
has sent a Maritime Self-Defense Force squadron to the Indian Ocean
for refueling activities there, totaled nearly 50 PERCENT , broken
down into 13.0 PERCENT saying the law should be extended and 36.1

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PERCENT saying it would be unavoidable to extend the law.
Meanwhile, opinions against extending the antiterror law totaled
35.3 PERCENT . Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed the need for
Japan to continue the MSDF's refueling mission, and the public now
seems to show understanding to a certain extent on the prime
minister's standpoint.

Among those who are for extending the antiterror law, 36.8 PERCENT
said that was because Japan-US relations could worsen if the law was
not extended, topping all other reasons. Among other answers, 35.7
PERCENT said that was because there was a request from the
international community, with only 4.8 PERCENT saying that was
because they supported the MSDF's activities.

Among those who are against extending the law, 27.8 PERCENT said
the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean is not based on a
United Nations resolution. Among other reasons, 26.1 PERCENT said
the MSDF's mission there is questionable under the Constitution,
with 18.8 PERCENT saying the government has not disclosed
information about the MSDF's activities there and its costs.

10) PSI training set to take place among seven countries in Japanese
waters in October

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 18, 2007

The government will host a three-day Proliferation Security
Initiative (PSI) maritime interdiction drill aimed at the
nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that will
take place from October 13 in the Pacific Ocean, including waters
off the Izu Peninsula and the Yokosuka base.

Following the one in 2004 which was also hosted by Japan, the
upcoming PSI training will be joined by seven countries, including
the United States, Britain, France, and Australia.

Japan plans to dispatch Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers, P3C
patrol planes, AWACS early warning aircraft, and a Ground
Self-Defense Force chemical defense unit to take part in the drill
to search, pursue, and inspect suspicious vessels.

A senior Defense Ministry official said: "Although the training is
not against any specific countries, we naturally have North Korea in
mind."

11) Government carefully watching North Korea's moves, with
postponement of six-party talks

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
September 18, 2007

It has become difficult to hold the next round of the six-party
talks on North Korea's denuclearization set for Sept. 19. The
Japanese government speculates that North Korea might be trying to
shake the United States and other countries involved in the
six-party talks. The government intends to carefully watch what
moves the North will make, focusing on whether it will respond to an
early resumption of the talks.

A Japanese government source said yesterday regarding the
postponement of the talks: "This proves that the agreement reached

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between the US and North Korea has not been pushed ahead smoothly as
envisioned by US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill."
After the meeting of the US-North working group held in Geneva in
early September, Hill announced: "North Korea agreed to declare all
of its nuclear programs and disable all of its existing nuclear
facilities within the year," but there is still a wide gap in both
sides' views on how to implement specific steps. The government
official takes the view that this gap led to delaying the talks.

A former cabinet minister of the Liberal Democratic Party said:
"North Korea's refusal might be aimed to prevent the process of
disabling its nuclear facilities from being forged ahead under the
lead of the US without commitment to oil aid to it."

Meanwhile, some government officials view the postponement of the
talks favorably, because if the talks were held tomorrow as
scheduled, Japan would have to face the talks in the absence of
leadership, following Prime Minister Abe's sudden announcement of
his resignation and hospitalization.

12) In LDP presidential race, Fukuda expresses resolve to take lead
in settling abduction issue, while Aso insists on need for
pressure-oriented approach

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
September 18, 2007

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and Secretary General
Taro Aso kicked off their campaign for the Liberal Democratic Party
presidential election in streets of Osaka and Takamatsu yesterday.
In reference to the issue of North Korea's past abductions of
Japanese nationals, Fukuda expressed his strong will to resolve the
issue, saying: "I would like to take the lead in resolving the
issue. I want you to trust and support me." In contrast, Aso
emphasized the need for the current pressure-oriented approach
toward the North.

Referring in a speech in Osaka to the fact that five years have
passed since the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration was signed
on Sept. 17 2002, Fukuda said: "There are still (the abductees) left
behind in North Korea. We must take some measures for them." He thus
reiterated his determination to take the initiative in resolving the
issue. He also spoke of his eagerness to normalize diplomatic
relations with Pyongyang, saying: "We will be able to normalize
relations (with North Korea) if the abduction issue is resolve and
if North Korea abandons its nuclear and missile programs."

Meanwhile, Aso said: "Although we hear the need for a dialogue all
the time, we have never seen negotiations realized without pressure.
We must learn from our past experience."

13) Fukuda's emphasis on determination to resolve abduction issue
reflects desire to shake off concerns of abduction issue being left
behind if he is elected

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 18, 2007

In a street-corner speech yesterday for the Liberal Democratic Party
presidential election, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda
emphasized his strong will to take the lead in resolving the issue
of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals. Some

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observers see behind this stance his desire to erase concerns held
by some people that Fukuda might leave the abduction issue behind if
elected prime minister, because he has shown a readiness to seek
dialogue with North Korea. Fukuda, though, has already indicated
that he would take a flexible approach in the six-party talks, but
Secretary General Aso, his rival in the race, cast doubt on the

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effectiveness of Fukuda's approach.

Fukuda took the initiative as chief cabinet secretary in paving the
way for then Prime Minister Koizumi's first visit to North Korea in
September 2002. But Fukuda, who prioritized dialogue, often came
into conflict with then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe,
now prime minister, who insisted on the need for applying pressure
on Pyongyang. In a meeting in Tokyo on Sept. 16, members of the
Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea called
on the next cabinet to continue with the current policy on the
abduction issue.

In a press conference on Sept. 15, Fukuda indicated a willingness to
switch the current hard-line policy to a flexible approach to
dialogue, remarking: "We must find out if there are ways to relay
(to North Korea) Japan's intentions and desire for talks." Aso, who
served as foreign minister in the Abe administration, has maintained
that negotiations will never be held without pressure. It remains to
be seen to what extent Fukuda would take a strong approach in
dealing with the abduction issue.

14) Fukuda, Aso in sharp contrast in their attitudes toward China

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 15, 2007

Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso have declared their candidacies for the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election, but they
have yet to announce any specific policy goals they aim for as the
top leader of the nation. Nikkei probed into what their policy
stances are like, based on their past remarks and behaviors.

Fukuda and Aso are in sharp contrast on the diplomatic front,
particularly in relations with China. Fukuda is the eldest son of
former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, who signed the Japan-China
Friendship Treaty. Fukuda's pet argument is: "There would be nothing
good Japan can earn from disputes with South Korea and China." In
the Koizumi administration days, when Japan-China relations were
strained, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Dawei frequently called on
Fukuda at his chief cabinet secretary's office and relied on him as
a liaison officer with the Koizumi administration.

Aso basically tries to be "impartial" to China. When he served as
foreign minister, Aso promoted his concept "Arc of Freedom and
Prosperity" as a diplomatic strategy aimed at strengthening
relations with rising countries along Eurasia. Many take this
concept as aimed at tightening the noose around China.

Yasukuni issue may reignite

In terms of relations with China, which of the two candidates
becomes prime minister, the dispute over Yasukuni Shrine is likely
to flare again.

When he served as chief cabinet secretary in the Koizumi
administration, Fukuda established a panel of experts to discuss

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whether to construct a memorial facility to replace Yasukuni Shrine
and the panel put together a report in 2002, in which it said, "The
government needs to construct a secular facility it will manage." On
the other hand, Aso proposed during last year's presidential
election, in which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won, that the religious
corporation Yasukuni Shrine be reorganized into a special public
organization that will come under the government's rule.

Fukuda and Aso are both eager to resolve the current situation,
namely that if the prime minister visits Yasukuni Shrine, which
enshrines the Class-A war criminals, the visit will lead to a
diplomatic issue, but there are a number of barriers for them to
clear in order to realize their ideas. Whoever will win the race, a
prime minister is likely to cause a controversy over the question of
whether to earmark a necessary investigative expense in budget
compilation slated for the year's end.

15) Fukuda nearly certain to be elected LDP president: Flexible
approach to refueling operation; Indicates readiness to make
extensive concessions to DPJ

SANKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
September 15, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) officially announced its
presidential election, following Prime Minister Abe's announcement
of his decision to step down. Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo
Fukuda (71) and Secretary General Taro Aso (66) have announced their
candidacies. Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga, who had been
indicating his intention to seek presidency, gave up running in the
race. All factions, such as the Machimura faction, to which Fukuda
belongs, the Tsushima, Koga, Yamasaki, Tanigaki, Nikai and Ibuki
factions, with the exception of the Aso faction, announced their
support for Fukuda. Fukuda is likely to be elected as the 22nd LDP
president in the plenary meeting of LDP members of both chambers of
the Diet on Sept. 23. After announcing his candidacy, Fukuda
indicated a stance of dealing with the issue of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operation in the Indian Ocean
in a flexible manner in cooperation with the Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which is opposing it.

Appearing on commercial TV programs from the evening of Sept. 14 to
early hours of Sept. 15, Fukuda noted that regarding MSDF operation
in the Indian Ocean, the key is what talks the party can have with
the DPJ. Since options are limited in terms of schedule due to the
LDP presidential election, new antiterrorism legislation would be
one way of finding a breakthrough.

He also said, "We have no choice but to work with the DPJ in a
cooperative manner. . . . I would like to consider the issue in a
little more flexible manner." He thus indicated his approach of
making extensive concessions, depending on the case, by prioritizing
talks with the DPJ, without insisting on the passage of a new law in
the current Diet session. This is because the DPJ remains opposed to
the continuation of the refueling operation.

Concerning structural reform policy, Fukuda during a meeting with
concerned LDP members said, "We must not give up on the reform
policy." However, he also pointed out: "Various problems have
appeared, casting a pall over the future. Measures to deal with this
problem are being questioned." He indicated his perception that a
full commitment to the reform policy needs correction.

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16) Outline of speech meeting for LDP presidential election

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
September 17, 2007

Taro Aso on MSDF refueling operation

Now I would like to talk about foreign policy. I would like to make
three points. First is the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
operation in the Indian Ocean. Second is that Japan's diplomacy is
now at a historical turning point. Third is a settlement of the
abduction issue.

Japan is carrying out the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean
for its own sake, in its national interest. We must not forget that
24 Japanese citizens were among the victims of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks six years ago.

The Indian Ocean is the starting place for the sea-lanes used to
transport oil to Japan. We must not allow terrorists to be at large
there. It is not too much to say that Japan's interest is centered
on that area. In my view, it is a significant factual error to say
that Japan's refueling operation is for the sake of the US.

SDF personnel showed in Iraq that they are superbly disciplined.
Japan is making contributions befitting its economic clout. Many
countries have understood that. Our country has opened up the
horizon for diplomacy. This is the second point.

Japan has become able to implement a policy of helping East European
and Balkan nations develop their freedom and prosperity along with
European countries. This is due to its activities in the Indian
Ocean. It will be possible to further strengthen the Japan-US
alliance from this perspective.

17) DPJ alert to Fukuda taking lead in LDP presidential election, as
his Yasukuni Shrine policy, Asia diplomacy close to theirs

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
September 18, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) is increasingly
becoming alert to former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda
holding a commanding lead in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
presidential election. Since Fukuda's stance toward Asia diplomacy,
starting with the Yasukuni Shrine issue, and security policy, are
close to those of the DPJ, some take the view that it would be
difficult to attack him, because differences between the DPJ and
Fukuda are difficult to see. DPJ Chairman Ozawa's confrontation
against Fukuda would simply give the impression that Fukuda is a
veteran politician with a sense of stability, the image Ozawa also
has. The DPJ will likely find it necessary to consider adopting an
approach that would show differences from Fukuda's.

Describing his impression on Fukuda, DPJ Secretary Yukio Hatoyama
during a press conference on Sept. 14 used equivocal words, which
sounded as if he was encouraging his colleague. He said, "He has
once indicated that his thinking was similar to the DPJ's. If he
becomes a prime minister, it would be more desirable for the people
that a person with a totally different thinking becoming a prime
minister." As a matter of fact, many DPJ lawmakers are perplexed by

TOKYO 00004330 011 OF 011


Fukuda's candidacy.

Fukuda was critical of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
visits to Yasukuni Shrine. When he was chief cabinet secretary, his
private advisory body proposed constructing a national memorial
facility. The DPJ is also critical of the prime minister and cabinet
ministers visiting Yasukuni Shrine in their official capacity and
has proposed the construction of a national memorial facility.
Fukuda formed the bipartisan Group to Consider a National Memorial
Facility. Hatoyama served as the vice chairman.

Regarding Asia diplomacy, Fukuda attaches importance to policy
toward China. He also has strong personnel ties with Chinese
Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi (next vice foreign minister). His stance
is almost the same as that of the DPJ, which has criticized the Abe
administration's diplomatic policy as slighting Asia and blindly
following the US. One mid-ranking official lamented, "It would be
much easier to deal with Secretary General Taro Aso, whose
diplomatic stance is close to that of Prime Minister Abe."

18) Former secretary Iijima tenders his resignation to former Prime
Minister Koizumi apparently in protest to Koizumi's support for
Fukuda

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
September 15, 2007

It was learned yesterday that former secretary to former Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi had tendered his resignation as of Sept.
13 to the Koizumi office. According to the office, Iijima said of
the reason for his resignation: "I've burned myself out." The office
has received his resignation, but it has not officially accepted
it.

Iijima and others called on Koizumi to run in a presidential
election of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to choose a successor
to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but Koizumi did not accept their call.
In addition, Koizumi indicated he would support former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, with whom Iijima reportedly was on bad

SIPDIS
terms. Some cited these circumstances as the reason for Iijima's
submission of his resignation.

In the past, as well, Iijima indicated his intention to resign on
such occasions as Koizumi breaking his public pledge to "visit
Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15." Iijima's move this time spurs all sorts
of speculation.

Iijima was the right-hand man of Koizumi serving as his secretary
for more than 30 years. He has a broad network of contacts within
the political and economic worlds and the mass media. Iijima has
received due respect in the political world as "a bigwig secretary,
like a cabinet member," an LDP House of Councillors member said.

SCHIEFFER

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