Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/27/07
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 09/27/07
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
4) 57.8 PERCENT support rate for the Fukuda Cabinet in a Kyodo
poll, but only 28 PERCENT see the new prime minister as a reformist
5) Fukuda Cabinet receives a 59 PERCENT support rate in the Nikkei
poll; 47 PERCENT approve, 37 oppose continuing MSDF refueling
service in Indian Ocean
6) 58 PERCENT support rate for Fukuda Cabinet in Yomiuri poll, with
respondents feeling sense of stability; 47 PERCENT approve
continuing MSDF refueling in Indian Ocean
7) Asahi poll give Fukuda Cabinet a 53 PERCENT support rate, but 56
PERCENT of public worried about the "old LDP returning"
8) Mainichi poll: Fukuda Cabinet support rate at 57 PERCENT
9) Eleven countries' ambassadors, including US, to issue joint
statement calling on Japan to continue MSDF refueling in the Indian
10) Former US Ambassador to Japan in interview to Nikkei gives his
outlook for the Fukuda administration
11) Fukuda, President Bush talk by phone, agree to early visit to US
by the prime minister
12) Foreign Minister Komura off to the US today to give speech at
13) Japan to side with US anti-global warming counterproposal at G-8
Burma in revolt:
14) Burmese demonstrators, military junta clash; US, Europe apply
pressure on Burmese government; Japan calls for "construction
resolution" of current crisis
15) Japan's economic assistance to Burma is of concern to the US,
Foreign aid program:
16) JBIC, Japan's ODA dispenser, to cooperate with Asia Development
Bank in order to enhance Japan's aid image
17) Japanese ODA-built bridge in Vietnam collapses, killing 60
18) Prime Minister Fukuda adding his own policy "color" by revising
approaches to educational reform, collective self-defense review
19) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) hurrying to ready own bills for
Diet presentation, resisting Fukuda's conciliatory stance
20) DPJ is worried about its deteriorating image due its
intransigence on issues, may soften some of its stances
21) Defense Minister Ishiba found to have corrected his political
contribution records to make them conform to the law
1) TOP HEADLINES
Fukuda cabinet support rating stands at 53 PERCENT , but 56 PERCENT
TOKYO 00004474 002 OF 015
think old LDP is returning
Fukuda cabinet support rate at 57 PERCENT , with a sense of
Three monks killed in clashes in Burma
Fukuda cabinet support rate at 59 PERCENT ; 47 PERCENT support
extension of MSDF refueling mission, while 37 PERCENT express
More than 100 killed or injured in anti-junta protests in Burma
Four killed in crackdown in Burma
90 PERCENT call for abolishing benefit principle under the law to
help disabled people become independent
(1) Countries must step up efforts to prevent expansion of
(2) NHK reform: Chairman Hashimoto should reform himself
(1) Fukuda cabinet support rating: Carry out policies to respond to
(2) Doubt cast over Hatoyama's competence as justice minister for
remark on "death sentence without signature"
(1) Postal reform to start in earnest
(2) What impact will French diplomacy have on international
(1) Promotion of decentralization needed to revitalize local
(2) Burmese junta at standstill
(1) Steady progress on both denuclearization and abduction issues
urged for in six-party talks
(2) Don't forget spirit of "Invitation to Cool Earth 50" in efforts
against global warming
(1) Freeze of plan to raise amount paid by elderly patients is mixed
(2) Give priority to public confidence in privatizing postal
(1) Impossible for ruling camp to regain public trust unreliable,
with new cabinet reappointing suspicious ministers
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3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, September 26
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 27, 2007
Attended a ceremony of investiture and an attestation ceremony at
Issued an appointment letter to each cabinet member at Kantei.
Attended the first cabinet meeting. Afterwards, had a photo session
with the cabinet members and then issued an appointment letter to
Special Advisors Nakayama and Yamatani.
Met with Secretary General Ibuki, joined by Chief Cabinet Secretary
Gave an inaugural address to the Crown Prince at Imperial Palace.
Later, signed his name in a book at each house of the prince.
Met with Vice Cabinet Office Minister Uchida at Kantei, and later
Vice Foreign Minister Yachi.
Met with Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Sasae of
the Foreign Ministry.
Met with Minister of Internal Affairs & Communications Masuda.
Afterwards, met with former Prime Minister Mori.
Met with Machimura.
Received a telephone from President Bush.
Arrived at his private residence in Nozawa.
4) Approval rating for Fukuda cabinet at 57.8 PERCENT in nationwide
Tokyo Shimbun poll; 28 PERCENT say, they see no image of it being a
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
September 27, 2007
Following the inauguration of the Fukuda cabinet, Kyodo News Agency
conducted a nationwide spot telephone opinion poll from the evening
of Sept. 25 through the 26th. The survey found that a 57.8 PERCENT
support rate for the new cabinet. This is the fifth highest rate in
initial polls out after the inaugurations of cabinets since
Miyazawa's in 1991, The first four highest were the Koizumi,
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Hosokawa, Abe and Hashimoto cabinets. The non-support rate for the
Fukuda Cabinet was only 25.6 PERCENT . Social security issues, such
as pensions, were found to be an issue with highest popular
interest, commanding 43.3 PERCENT among issues to which respondents
thought priority should be given.
The law that serves as the basis for dispatching MSDF Force vessels
for refueling operation in the Indian Ocean expires on Nov. 1.
Nearly half the respondents or 49.6 PERCENT replied, "The operation
should be extended," while 39.5 PERCENT replied, "It should not be
extended." The number of pollees who support an extension increased
1.7 points, while the rate of those against an extension dropped 3.0
As reasons for supporting the cabinet, the largest rate -- 34.5
PERCENT -- was, "There are no other suitable persons," followed by
28.1 PERCENT , who replied, "The prime minister is trustworthy."
In connection with the selection of many faction leaders for the
posts of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) executives and cabinet
ministers, 39.8 PERCENT replied, "Nothing can be expected," while
39.4 PERCENT said, "Something can be expected of them." On the
lineup of new ministers, 17.9 PERCENT praised it, noting, "The new
lineup is solid and has a sense of stability." However, a larger
portion, 28.9 PERCENT , said, "It has no image of being a
reform-oriented cabinet, because ministers have been picked based on
factional pressure," followed by 27.7 PERCENT , who said, "No real
change has been made." As the cabinet's priority issues, the second
largest ratio of 12.3 PERCENT cited politics and money scandals and
11.0 PERCENT noted social disparities.
5) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support rate at 59 PERCENT ; Approval for
MSDF refueling at 47 PERCENT , tops negative opinions
NIKKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 27, 2007
Following up the inauguration of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's
cabinet, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun conducted a spot public opinion
survey on Sept. 25-26. In the survey, the Fukuda cabinet's inaugural
support rate scored 59 PERCENT , showing a rise of 18 percentage
points from the last survey conducted in late August for the cabinet
of his predecessor, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Fukuda
cabinet marked the fourth highest level of popularity upon its
debut, following the Koizumi cabinet at 80 PERCENT , the Abe cabinet
at 71 PERCENT , and the Hosokawa cabinet at 70 PERCENT . The Fukuda
cabinet's nonsupport rate was 27 PERCENT , down 13 points from the
last survey for the Abe cabinet. With the Diet resuming
deliberations next week, the survey results will likely help Fukuda
and his government to a certain extent.
The Fukuda cabinet's support rate among men was 54 PERCENT and 62
PERCENT among women. Broken down into age brackets, more than 50
PERCENT of all respondents supported the Fukuda cabinet. Among
those aged 70 and over in particular, the Fukuda cabinet's support
rate was as high as 71 PERCENT . Among those who support the ruling
coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, the
cabinet support rate was over 70 PERCENT . Among those who support
the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) as well,
the Fukuda cabinet is comparatively popular, with its support rate
at 42 PERCENT and its nonsupport rate at 47 PERCENT .
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The Diet will now focus on the advisability of continuing the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean beyond the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law's Nov. 1 expiry.
In the survey, respondents were asked if they thought the MSDF's
current refueling mission in the Indian Ocean should be continued.
In response to this question, 47 PERCENT answered "yes," with 37
PERCENT saying "no." In the last survey, "yes" accounted for 30
PERCENT , with "no" at 53 PERCENT .
The survey was taken by Nikkei Research Inc. over the telephone on a
random digit dialing (RDD) basis. For the survey, samples were
chosen from among men and women aged 20 and over across the nation.
A total of 1,260 households with one or more voters were sampled,
and answers were obtained from 660 persons (52.4 PERCENT ).
6) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support rate at 58 PERCENT
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 27, 2007
In the wake of the Fukuda cabinet's inauguration, the Yomiuri
Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide public opinion
survey from the evening of Sept. 25 through yesterday. The new
cabinet's support rate was 57.5 PERCENT , with its nonsupport rate
at 27.3 PERCENT . Among those who support the Fukuda cabinet, the
most common reason was "stability." The new cabinet will now be
faced with the issue of continuing the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
current refueling activities in the Indian Ocean. Respondents were
asked if they would support the MSDF's refueling mission there. In
response to this question, 47 PERCENT answered "yes," with 40
PERCENT saying "no." In the House of Councillors, the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), which is opposed to
extending the MSDF mission, is now the biggest of all political
parties as a result of this summer's election. The survey results
this time will likely affect the ruling and opposition parties in
their parliamentary debate.
The Fukuda cabinet reached the fourth highest level of popularity
upon its inauguration among its predecessors since the Ohira cabinet
that came into office in 1978, following the Koizumi cabinet (at
87.1 PERCENT , telephone-based), the Hosokawa cabinet (71.9 PERCENT
, face-to-face), and the Abe cabinet (70.3 PERCENT ,
In the survey, those affirmative (47 PERCENT ) of
continuing the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
outnumbered those negative. The results of previous polls and the
one taken this time cannot be simply compared due to different
polling methodologies. In a face-to-face nationwide public opinion
survey taken Sept. 8-9, however, negative opinions (39 PERCENT )
outnumbered affirmative ones (29 PERCENT ). The survey results this
time show that an increasing number of people recognize the
necessity of continuing the MSDF's refueling activities.
On this issue, the United Nations Security Council has adopted a
resolution expressing its "appreciation" for cooperation in
antiterror operations. However, the DPJ stands against continuing
the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, saying that the
UNSC resolution cannot justify the MSDF's refueling activities
there. In the survey, respondents were asked if they could
understand the DPJ's stance. To this question, negative answers
accounted for 47 PERCENT , with affirmative ones at 38 PERCENT .
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7) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support rate at 53 PERCENT
ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 27, 2007
In the wake of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's debut with his cabinet,
the Asahi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide public
opinion survey from the evening of Sept. 25 through yesterday
evening. In the survey, the Fukuda cabinet marked 53 PERCENT in
public support, with its nonsupport rate at 27 PERCENT . The Fukuda
cabinet's support rate upon its inauguration was lower than those
for the Koizumi cabinet (78 PERCENT ) and the Abe cabinet (63
PERCENT ). However, the Fukuda cabinet's inaugural approval rating
topped those for the Mori and Obuchi cabinets. Respondents were also
asked if they thought the ruling Liberal Democratic Party would be
returning to its old self as they saw how the Fukuda cabinet was
formed. In this response to this question, 56 PERCENT answered
"yes," with 29 PERCENT saying "no." In the recent LDP race for
party presidency, Fukuda was backed by most of his party's factions.
Fukuda also awarded party and cabinet posts to the leaders of
factions that stood behind him.
The final support rate for the Abe cabinet was 33 PERCENT in a
survey taken Aug. 27-28 right after its shuffle. In the survey this
time, the Fukuda cabinet's inaugural support rate was considerably
boosted. The Fukuda cabinet's approval rating topped its disapproval
rating in all age brackets. Its support rate among women was higher
than that among men, respectively at 57 PERCENT and 49 PERCENT .
In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 33 PERCENT , with the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto) at 25 PERCENT . New Komeito, the LDP's coalition
partner, was at 4 PERCENT . Among other parties, the Japanese
Communist Party was at 3 PERCENT and the Social Democratic Party
(Shaminto) at 1 PERCENT .
8) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support at 57 PERCENT
MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 27, 2007
The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide
public opinion survey on Sept. 25-26 along with the inauguration of
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's cabinet. The approval rating for the
Fukuda cabinet was 57 PERCENT upon its debut, ranking fifth among
its predecessors since the Mainichi Shimbun started a similar survey
in 1949. Among those who support the Fukuda cabinet, the most common
reason was the new premier's stability. Respondents were also asked
about the prime minister's appointments to cabinet and party posts.
In response to this question, affirmative opinions accounted for 49
PERCENT , with negative opinions at 39 PERCENT .
The Fukuda cabinet's disapproval rating was 25 PERCENT . Those "not
interested" accounted for 16 PERCENT . The Fukuda cabinet's support
rate was 59 PERCENT among women and 52 PERCENT among men. The 57
PERCENT rating for Fukuda and his cabinet is substantially higher
than the 27 PERCENT rating for the cabinet of his father, former
Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, in the first survey taken in June 1977
after his father came into office.
In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling
TOKYO 00004474 007 OF 015
Liberal Democratic Party stood at 32 PERCENT , with the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) at 26 PERCENT . The
LDP topped the DPJ for the first time in three months (or five
surveys) since a survey conducted in June this year.
9) 11 countries call on Japan to continue MSDF's refueling mission
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 27, 2007
The ambassadors from 11 countries, including the United States,
which have deployed forces in the Indian Ocean, will meet today to
discuss how to persuade Japan to continue its Maritime Self-Defense
Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. By appealing
to Japan on a sense of international unity, they intend to urge
Japan to continue the refueling mission and release a joint
statement that will express appreciation for Japan's refueling
According to a diplomatic source in Tokyo, the purpose of the
meeting is to emphasize that the war on terror is a common challenge
for the international community. The host of the meeting, which was
proposed by the US and Britain, is the Pakistani ambassador. Besides
those countries, ambassadors or representatives from other
countries, such as Germany, France, and Afghanistan, are to attend
the meeting. After releasing a joint statement, those ambassadors or
representatives will meet the press.
On the question of whether to continue MSDF's refueling mission, the
government is discussing whether to extend the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law, the legal basis for the refueling mission, which is to
expire on Nov. 1, or whether to create a new law. The government
intends to look for ways to resolve the situation though talks with
the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). But the DPJ
has still remained opposed to continuing the refueling mission in
the Indian Ocean, arguing that it cannot allow the MSDF to continue
the mission in the Indian Ocean if there is no United Nations
resolution that clearly backs the mission.
10) Outlook for the Fukuda administration: Former US Ambassador to
Japan Howard Baker says US-Japan alliance centers on foreign policy
NIKKEI (Page 8) (Full)
September 27, 2007
-- How do you see the foreign policy of Mr. Fukuda?
"The basic policy course is likely to be upholding both aspects --
security and economic affairs -- of the special relationship between
the United States and Japan, while making efforts to improve
relations with Asian countries. The prime minister has experience as
a lawmaker and as chief cabinet secretary, and he understands deeply
the political situation in the US. His experience will be useful in
his planning foreign policy.
"For the US and Japan, the cornerstone of our foreign and security
policies is the bilateral alliance. Mr. Fukuda has a strong belief
in that principle. The US-Japan relationship is an important factor
in setting our foreign policies toward other countries. The Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling duties in the Indian Ocean is an
important issue (for the US). We hope that Mr. Fukuda will continue
to make efforts so that the responsibility undertaken by the Koizumi
TOKYO 00004474 008 OF 015
and Abe administrations can continue."
-- It has been said that Mr. Fukuda tilts toward Asia.
"Speaking of diplomacy as a whole, I don't think that Mr. Fukuda
(even if he tilts toward Asia) will downplay the importance of the
US-Japan relationship. I don't see any major change in foreign
policy course from the Abe administration."
-- Has there been a change in policy toward North Korea?
"The previous prime minister, Mr. Abe, made the resolution of the
abduction issue with North Korea the basis for his North Korea
policy. The efforts of Mr. Abe to resolve the abduction issue are
praiseworthy. Mr. Fukuda, too, likely has the same standpoint, but I
think he will be forward looking about improving relations with
North Korea. He probably will shift away from the Abe line toward a
dialogue and negotiation line.
"The improvement of relations between Japan and North Korea is in
line with the basic foreign policy stance of the Bush
administration. In meeting that challenge (of improving relations),
there is the issue of North Korea's nuclear development problems, in
addition to the abduction issue. There is no more dangerous issue in
all of East Asia. Japan, too, should be concerned about a North
Korea that is enhancing its nuclear capability. By continuing to
work on North Korea in various ways, we are reducing the danger of a
nuclear clash. I see no differences in the policies toward North
Korea of the US and Japan."
-- There is a view that the Fukuda administration will be
"Mr. Fukuda is a seasoned leader of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP). I think he will restore support of the LDP. He can be highly
evaluated in many areas: judgment in meeting challenges, decisions
in making policy, and being easily approachable. Since I cannot
predict what is coming up in US politics, I cannot comment any
further on that."
11) Fukuda, Bush agree on Fukuda's early visit to US
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 27, 2007
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held a teleconference with US President
George W. Bush last night, and the two leaders agreed for Fukuda to
visit the United States at an early date. President Bush expressed
expectations for the continuation of the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling operations scheduled to expire on Nov. 1, saying
that Japan's commitment is vital to the war on terror. In response,
Fukuda indicated that he would make utmost efforts for continuing
the MSDF mission, although the environment surrounding the Diet is
severe. Indicating close cooperation on the North Korean issue
through the six-party talks, President Bush is also reportedly said
that he would never forsake the abduction issue.
The telephone call was placed by President Bush to congratulate
Prime Minister Fukuda for his assumption of office.
12) Foreign Minister Komura leaves for US to deliver speech at UN
TOKYO 00004474 009 OF 015
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 27, 2007
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura left last night for the United
Stated from Narita Airport to deliver a speech at the United
Nations. Final coordination is now being carried out on a schedule
for Komura to give a speech on the afternoon of Sept. 28 (on the
morning of Sept. 29, Japan time).
Usually the head of a state or foreign minister gives a speech at
the UN. Last year, however, Japan had the ambassador to the UN
deliver a speech due to the presidential election of the Liberal
Democratic Party. This year, too, there was a possibility that the
Japanese prime minister or foreign minister would forgo a speech.
Komura then determined to deliver a speech at the UN since Japan has
asserted the need for UN reform, aiming at its bid for a permanent
UN Security Council seat.
Before delivering a speech at the UN, Komura will attend a
ministerial on global warming sponsored by the US government on
Sept. 27-28. He will also discuss with the US side a visit to
Washington by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
Komura told reporters yesterday afternoon: "It is better for the
Japanese foreign minister to go rather than not to go. If I can go,
I want to go."
13) Komura to announce at global warming meeting that Fukuda cabinet
will maintain "Cool Earth 50" initiative
ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
September 27, 2007
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura will attend a global warming
meeting of major emitters to be held in Washington on Sept. 27-28 to
announce that the new Fukuda cabinet will maintain the "Cool Earth
50" initiative set forth by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Defining the issue of climate change as a top priority, the
government also intends to announce that Japan will exhibit
leadership toward the 2008 G-8 summit to be held in the Lake Toya
resort area in Hokkaido.
A UN high-level meeting on climate change took place in New York on
Sept. 24, bringing together representatives of some 160 countries.
The meeting exposed differences in standpoints among those countries
over reduction targets and other matters.
The meeting of major emitters will be held for the first time by the
United States, which wants to take the initiative in creating a
post-Kyoto framework. Besides the G-8, including Japan, a dozen or
so major emitters, such as China, India, and Brazil, will discuss
measures to prevent global warming for the period starting in 2013
that will follow the Kyoto Protocol's reduction period (through
In the meeting, Foreign Minister Komura is expected to highlight the
importance of international solidarity in addressing global warming.
He is also expected to announce that the new Japanese cabinet will
continue the "Cool Earth 50" initiative designed to halve the global
emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, by 2050 from present
levels. Additionally, Komura will announce Japan's plan to study
TOKYO 00004474 010 OF 015
ways to extend aid through a new framework to developing countries
aiming to achieve both reduced greenhouse gas emissions and economic
Coordination is underway for Komura to have a meeting with US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and address the UN General
14) World attention now on Japan's aid program to Burma; Tokyo now
in a "delicate situation" amid growing criticism of Burma from US,
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 27, 2007
The military junta of Burma (Myanmar) began a violent crackdown on
antigovernment demonstrators, coming under strong criticism
particularly from the United States and other Western countries as
the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called a special meeting
to discuss this crisis. The international community is also paying
attention to the moves of Japan, which is Burma's largest aid
The Japanese government provided Burma with a 1.717 billion yen
grant in fiscal 2005, up 808 million yen from the previous fiscal
year. Japan's policy toward Burma is not to isolate the military
junta internationally, and to help it to promote a dialogue with
democratic forces. But this approach has been criticized by Western
countries, which have imposed tough economic sanctions on Burma on
the grounds of human-rights violation and other issues.
On the other hand, Japan has come under Burmese criticism, too, for
its tilt toward the US and European countries when it agreed at a
UNSC session in last September to put the Burmese issue on the
official agenda. A diplomatic source in Yangon (Rangoon) is closely
watching how the Japanese government will respond to the current
situation, noting, "Japan is in a delicate situation because it
needs to keep relations with Burma and the international community
According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), 64
Japanese firms made inroads in Burma as of November 2004. Some of
them are said to have withdrawn from that country because of
political uncertainties afterwards, but auto manufacturers and major
trading houses are continuing businesses there even now.
Suzuki Motor Corp. exports its parts from Japan to Burma and
assembles them into the mini car "Wagon R" and two-wheel vehicles at
its assembly factory in Yangon. The factory is managed by a Japanese
president, under whom 30-40 locally-hired personnel are working. The
factory's Public Relations Department official said, "We've
confirmed safety. We've been informed that there is not much danger
for the present," adding that the factory was in operation
yesterday, as well.
Mitsubishi Corp. has stationed two personnel in Burma, and Sumitomo
Corp. also has stationed one personnel there. Reportedly, these
trading houses are exporting construction machinery from Japan to
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15) Demonstrations in Burma: Western countries step up pressure on
Myanmar, seeks cooperation from China
ASAHI (Page 7) (Excerpts)
September 27, 2007
The tense situation in Burma (Myanmar) is drawing world attention.
The United States and European countries, which give priority to
human rights, are intensifying pressure on the military junta of
Burma by hinting at taking more sanction measures. Meanwhile, China,
which has a strong sway over Burma, is delicately shifting its
previous "noninterference in another country's internal affairs" and
giving advice to that country. Japan, distinguishing its approach
from the pressure line, is urging Burma to change into a democracy.
Japan: "Constructive solution desirable"
Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura analyzed the impact of
demonstrations at a press briefing yesterday, saying; "This is a
considerably serious situation. I think demonstrations of monks have
a considerable impact on the society." Machimura continued: "We hope
the situation will be resolved constructively and in a cool-headed
On Sept. 25, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a
statement in the name of a press officer, in which the ministry
said: "We hope the government of Myanmar will make serious efforts,
including holding dialogue, to bring about national reconciliation
and democratization." This statement was conveyed from the Japanese
Embassy in Rangoon to the vice foreign minister of Burma.
Western countries are criticizing the military junta in Burma, but
Machimura drew a line between them and Japan and indicated he would
watch how the situation would develop in the days ahead, noting,
"I've previously wondered whether it is a good foreign policy to
simply join hands with Western countries to bash it." Machimura
added, "(The government of Japan) is ready to work as hard as we can
to help Myanmar to resolve the situation." Japan has strong bonds
with Burma, for instance, in economic cooperation. Japan has not
implemented new projects in Burma since Aung San Suu Kyi was
detained in 2003, but it has implemented some humanitarian projects
that are of high urgency.
16) ODA: Cooperation with Asian Development Bank;
ASAHI (Page 11) (Slightly abridged)
September 27, 2007
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) yesterday signed
an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB, located in
Manila) for extending official development assistance (ODA) in
concert mainly to Central Asian and Oceanian nations. The amount of
the annual provision of ODA by Japan to those two regions on a
bilateral basis totals several percent of its ODA as a whole. The
JBIC's aim is to expand support for Japan in UN discussions on its
entry into the UN Security Council, by focusing on regions that have
been given less attention thus far, in concert with the ADB, which
is rich in experience of giving aid.
Finance Minister Koji Omi at the time during the ADB plenary session
in May announced that Japan would extend yen loans totaling 2
billion dollars over five years in order to help Asia, including
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those regions, combat climate change through the consolidation of
infrastructure, including the construction of roads, ports and
harbors, and energy conservation. Much of the pledged loans will be
extended as concerted loans with the ADB as agreed on this time.
Japan will search for projects eligible for loans using the ADB's
The government will use ODA in order to increase support for Japan
in its bid to secure a permanent seat in the UNSC and in
multilateral trade liberalization talks at the World Trade
Organization (WTO). There are 20 candidate nations eligible for ODA
in the two regions. However, since Japan's economic ties with them
are weak, compared with its ties with Southeast Asia, the Foreign
Ministry and aid implementing organs have no sufficient system due
also to labor shortage. The planned expansion of aid is also
motivated by the desire to secure natural resources, such as uranium
Likewise, the government also plans to boost aid to Africa. The JBIC
signed an agreement with the African Development Bank in 2005. The
plan is to extend yen loans up to 1 billion yen by 2010.
17) Bridge under construction financed with Japan's ODA collapses in
Vietnam, killing 60 people:
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
September 27, 2007
The Can Tho Bridge in Can Tho in southern Vietnam, now under
construction financed with Japan's official development assistance
(ODA), collapsed around 8:00 a.m. on Sept. 26 (Japan time 10:00 a.m.
the same day). According to Reuters, about 60 Vietnamese workers
died, trapped under the debris. Approximately 150 were injured.
According to Taisei Corporation (located in Shinjuku, Tokyo), which
is undertaking the construction, 16 Japanese workers, including the
company's engineers, were at the site, but they were all safe.
The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined. A local TV
station reported that there was the possibility of rains having
loosened the ground. The Kan Tho Bridge is a 2.75-kilometer-long
cable-stayed bridge over Bassac River in the Mekong Delta. The
construction of the bridge, part of a bypass of Route 1, was
expected to contribute to the promotion of goods transportation by
land and economic development. The work was launched in Nov. 2004
financed with 24.8 billion yen in yen loans. It was expected to be
completed in Oct. 2008.
The consortium formed by Taisei Corporation, Kajima Corporation and
Nippon Steel Engineering received the order for its construction.
Nippon Koei Co. was responsible for supervising the execution of the
project. The project involved 800-900 local workers. The planned
bridge with a 550-meter interval between the main towers was said to
be one of the largest bridges of this type in the world.
18) Fukuda government to revise Abe's reform drive, including
education reform council, collective self-defense right
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 27, 2007
The government of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, formally inaugurated
yesterday, has begun revising the showcase policies that former
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had started but did not finish.
An education reform council set directly under Abe planned to come
up with a third report later this year. Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura, however, indicated yesterday at a press
conference the possibility of the third report to be compiled next
year. He stated: "Although the goal we are to strive to come up with
the report is December, I don't think the council has to compile it
The third report may include such suggests as introducing the
principle of competition into education, including an education
voucher system, an issue on which the panel is divided pro and con.
Asked about whether the panel would continue to exist after
compiling the report, Machimura just responded: "There are various
views. I want to discuss it further with all those involved." The
growing view in the government is that the Fukuda cabinet has to
reduce the panel's influence because it overly reflects Abe's
The government's blue-ribbon panel on the legal foundation for
national security, set up at Abe's suggestion to discuss scenarios
on the right of collective self-defense since May, has suspended
discussions. The panel initially intended to compile a set of
recommendations in November calling for reinterpreting the
Constitution that prohibits the exercise of the right of collective
defense. Fukuda, however, took a cautious stance toward this during
the Liberal Democratic Party's presidential campaign, saying, "I
want to consider it, including also the question whether the
scenarios are appropriate or not." Fukuda yesterday stopped short of
telling reporters: "I have neither heard the content of and
schedules for the discussions. I will hear from various persons and
I will decide on what to do."
A government official underscored the government would reduce the
number of advisory panels, noting, "The former government set up too
many panels in which the prime minister and chief cabinet secretary
attended. We would like to slash them."
19) DPJ to hastily make own bills
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
September 27, 2007
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa, in a meeting
yesterday of the "Next Cabinet," the party's policy-making organ,
"I want you to make efforts to draft a bill including three pledges
and seven proposals, which were incorporated in our manifesto for
the July Upper House so that the party will be able to submit the
bill to the Diet. I want you to come up with the bill in
The Next Cabinet confirmed the drafting of a bill on income security
for individual farmers, as well as of a bill to create a "child
allowance" worth 26,000 yen per month. The meeting also approved
submitting to the House of Councillors a bill abolishing the Special
Measures Law on Support for Iraq's Reconstruction designed to
withdraw the Air Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq.
As to the government of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, which has taken
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a conciliatory stance toward the opposition camp in a policy front,
Ozawa commented: "The (prime minister) has said that he will work
with the DPJ, but it is impossible for him to do so. There are
bureaucrats who are negative about reforms and on the other side."
Ozawa intends to highlight an adversarial stance against the Fukuda
government by submitting a bill that the government will not be able
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner
New Komeito have launched discussions on a freeze on medical
co-payments for the elderly and a review of the law on the disable's
self-reliance support, which the opposition block has called for.
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe and LDP Policy
Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki will discuss today how
to obtain financial resources. The government will soon consult on
the issue at the government-ruling coalition liaison conference and
at a working group. DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama criticized
the move, saying, "That's a rip-off cabinet."
20) DPJ softening its stance possibly to rescue its image
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 27, 2007
In reaction to Prime Minister Fukuda's policy of holding talks with
the opposition camp, the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto or DPJ)
has softened its stance, saying it would not refuse such
consultations. Although the DPJ does not intend to invite
unnecessary misunderstanding by responding to the ruling coalition's
call for behind-the-scenes negotiations, the party apparently wanted
to avoid its negative image spreading further by continuing to
reject calls for a dialogue.
Since running in the Liberal Democratic Party presidential race,
Fukuda has repeatedly underlined the need to have talks with the DPJ
in order to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
operations in the Indian Ocean and reform the pension system.
But the DPJ has been reluctant to hold talks outside the Diet, with
one senior DPJ lawmaker saying: "It is not good to generate a public
impression that ruling and opposition parties are discussing matters
behind the scenes."
Although this policy course has not changed, the DPJ has begun
sending out messages expressing its willingness to respond to calls
Touching on a possible request from Fukuda for party heads talks,
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa said in a press conference on Sept. 25:
"We can discuss matters at the Diet any number of times, but if
there is a request for more besides that, I will respond to it at
any time." Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, too, reiterated in a
speech in Tokyo yesterday that the DPJ would not refuse talks.
A certain DPJ lawmaker ascribed the party's softened stance to
former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cited Ozawa's rejection of his
request for party heads talks as his reason for stepping down. Ozawa
denied such happened, and Abe, too, eventually attributed his
resignation to the deterioration of his physical condition. The DPJ
fears that unless it responds positively to calls for talks, it
would be vulnerable to attack by the government and ruling parties.
TOKYO 00004474 015 OF 015
Nevertheless, chances are slim for the DPJ and LDP to actually sit
down at the negotiating table behind the scenes. The prevalent view
is that even if talks are held between Ozawa and Fukuda, they would
only exchange personal greetings and state their respective
21) Defense Minister Ishiba's organization corrects contribution
YOMIURI (Page 38) (Full)
September 27, 2007
It was found yesterday that a funds management organization for
Defense Minister Ishiba in Tottori presided over by Ishiba notified
the Tottori prefectural election administration commission on Sept.
25, when Prime Minister Fukuda formed his cabinet, that he was
correcting a contribution record in its political funds report for
The report had initially recorded that contributions from Ishiba to
the organization totaled 10.5 million yen, exceeding the upper limit
(10 million yen annually) set in the Political Funds Control Law,
but the organization corrected the amount of money from Ishiba into
8.5 million yen, with the remaining 2 million yen specified as
contributions by the Liberal Democratic Party Tottori prefectural
1st electoral district branch office to the said organization
The Political Funds Control Law sets the maximum amount of
individual donations to a political organization at 10 million yen.
But in a case where a politician gives the money provided by the
political party to which the politician belongs to his or her funds
management organization, the law allows the money to be treated
outside the limit.
According to an explanation by the prefectural election
administration commission, the branch office also notified the
commission it was adding a contribution of 2 million yen to Ishiba
and the same amount of party membership fee income in its funds
Replying to questions from the Yomiuri Shimbun last night, Ishiba
commented: "I believe it was a simple clerical mistake, but I will
ask the person who handled the job at that time about why such a
mistake was made and explain the circumstances as soon as