Search

 

Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 10/17/07

VZCZCXRO1213
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #4843/01 2900127
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170127Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8623
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 6177
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 3767
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 7431
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 2673
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 4472
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9549
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5601
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6449

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 004843

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 10/17/07

Index:

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

Battle over the anti-terror bill:
4) Ambassador Schieffer denies diversion of MSDF fuel to Iraq,
indicates important data will come soon (Nikkei)
5) In concession to New Komeito, LDP agrees to limit new antiterror
bill to a year, will present it to Diet today (Mainichi)
6) Lawmaker Kenji Eda accuses MSDF of fueling US warship in 2006
engaged in Iraq war (Asahi)
7) MSDF destroyed crucial ship logs for Indian Ocean refueling,
disregarding rule on storage of documents (Mainichi)
8) Lost MSDF ship logs for Indian Ocean refueling create new sparks
in Diet debate (Nikkei)
9) Frustrated Prime Minister Fukuda, badgered by opposition on MSDF
refueling issue, retorts: Whatever I say you won't agree anyway
(Mainichi)
10) Former JDA chief Nakatani scolded by Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Oshima for equating the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to
"terrorists" (Yomiuri)
11) Ruling camp wishes to summon DPJ head Ozawa as witness during
hearings on antiterror bill (Yomiuri)

DPJ on the security move:
12) DPJ starts working on own bill to counter the government's
proposed new antiterror bill (Yomiuri)
13) Ozawa says DPJ bill will call on civilians to assist the ISAF in
Afghanistan, but repeats call for sending SDF, too, to that country
for ISAF service (Mainichi)

Defense and security issues:
14) US, Japan conditionally agree to backburner proposed
military-civilian joint use of Yokota Air Base (Asahi)
15) Night-landing practice (NLP) at Iwoto (Iwojima) open to
spectators for the first time in 10 years (Asahi)
16) Japan wants to slash host-nation support to US forces in Japan,
bogging down bilateral talks for a new special measures agreement
(Sankei)
17) Iwakuni mayor showing signs of flexibility in his opposition to
transfer of Atsugi jets (Nikkei)

18) Japan-DPRK informal talks lack sufficient material to make
progress on the issues (Asahi)

19) Russian foreign minister to visit Japan on Oct. 23 (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Government-affiliated laboratory found to have acquired hazardous
bacteria in violation of internal rules

Mainichi:
Term of validity to be set at one year for new antiterrorism law in
deference to New Komeito

Yomiuri:

TOKYO 00004843 002 OF 011


MIC panel proposes banning unsolicited e-mail

Nikkei:
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shell to use carbon dioxide from power
plants to pump more oil

Sankei:
Mizuho Bank, ANA to tie-up on card business

Tokyo Shimbun:
7-year-old girl stabbed to death in Hyogo

Akahata:
Defense minister admits that MSDF-refueled US vessel bombed
Afghanistan

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) School textbook companies must exhibit fairness regarding mass
suicides
(2) Japan Boxing Commission's punishment of Kameda family
reasonable

Mainichi:
(1) Deep-ocean survey vehicle Chikyu expected to find answers to
questions about major earthquakes
(2) Good sportsmanship essential in the ring

Yomiuri:
(1) DPJ must speak its mind on global security issues
(2) Leakage of arsonist's investigative records and news-gathering
rules

Nikkei:
(1) Aim at FTA with EU from broad perspective
(2) US resolution will harm alliance with Turkey

Sankei:
(1) Leaked investigative records on arsonist does not concern doctor
alone
(2) Japan Boxing Commission's punishment of Kameda family

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Kameda family punished
(2) ROK presidential race and peace and prosperity

Akahata:
(1) Refueling mission must end

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, October 16

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

07:23
Met at Kantei with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwaki.

08:20
Attended cabinet meeting in the Diet building.

TOKYO 00004843 003 OF 011

09:00
Attended Upper House Budget Committee session.

12:00
Met at Kantei with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

13:00
Attended Upper House Budget Committee session.

16:59
Met in his office with former LDP Secretary General Nakagawa.

17:20
Met at Kantei with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, followed by
Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota.

18:10
Met with Namibian President Pohamba. Attended afterwards signing
ceremony to exchange official notes on grant aid for culture.

19:11
Hosted dinner party welcoming the Namibian president and his wife.

21:17
Return to his private residence in Nozawa.

4) US envoy to release statement denying MSDF fuel diversion

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
October 17, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and US Ambassador to
Japan Schieffer met yesterday at the prime minister's office. In the
meeting, Schieffer noted that the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
current refueling mission in the Indian Ocean was "very important"
not only for the United States but also for the international
community. The ambassador expressed the hope that Japan would
continue the MSDF's refueling activities. After the meeting,
Schieffer answered questions from reporters and strongly denied the
US military's suspected diversion of MSDF-supplied fuel for the Iraq
war. He also revealed that the US government would shortly release a
statement regarding this issue.

Reporters asked if the US warships refueled by the MSDF participated
in the Iraq war. "No, they didn't," Schieffer definitely said.
"We've checked the records," he added. The ambassador also said,
"Those refueled warships were used for Operation Enduring Freedom
(in the Indian Ocean)." In addition, Schieffer also said he would
shortly brief Japanese lawmakers on this matter.

In his meeting with Machimura, Schieffer told him that President
Bush was looking forward to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to
the United States. Machimura said the alliance between Japan and the
United States would consistently remain the basis of Japan's foreign
relations for the Fukuda government as well. "We want to make our
bilateral alliance even more rocksolid," Machimura said.

5) Term of validity to be set at one year for new antiterrorism law
in deference to New Komeito; Government to present bill to Diet
today


TOKYO 00004843 004 OF 011


MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
October 17, 2007

The government yesterday unveiled the full text of a new
antiterrorism legislation bill to continue the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The new legislation
limits the MSDF's activities to providing supplies, such as fuel oil
and water. The government has also decided to set a one-year time
limit for the new legislation, changing its earlier plan for two
years, in deference to the New Komeito's call for ensuring civilian
control. The government plans to convene Security Council of Japan
and special cabinet meetings this evening to adopt the bill to
present it to the Diet.

The new antiterrorism legislation is intended to replace the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, slated to expire on Nov. 1. The
legislation is composed of 10 articles, including additional
clauses.

Under the article on purposes, the legislation says that the MSDF's
contribution to the maritime interdiction operations is highly
praised in UN Security Council Resolution 1776. Supply assistance is
defined as contributing to the peace and security of the
international community, including Japan.

The areas of activities are also defined as the Indian Ocean,
including the Persian Gulf, and the skies above it and the
territories of Indian Ocean coastal countries.

Under the law now in force, the areas of activities are specified in
the basic plan. They are all included in the new legislation in
outline. For this reason, the government has decided to make
important matters that are not included in the law, such as the
scale of the unit and equipment, subject to a cabinet decision,
changing the basic plan into the "implementation plan." At the same
time, the government has decided to eliminate the provision
requiring Diet approval, on the grounds that the adoption of the
legislation is tantamount to Diet approval.

The government's draft plan was designed to set a two-year time
limit on the new legislation and to require annual Diet reporting at
the same time. But the New Komeito's strong objection to the
two-year plan for the sake of civilian control has forced the
government and the Liberal Democratic Party to revise the draft
plan.

Now that the term of validity is set at one year, reporting to the
Diet is required only when the implementation plan is adopted or
there are changes to it and when supply assistance is over. The new
legislation can be extended for up to one year.

Given heated Diet debates on the alleged diversion of Japanese oil
for use in the Iraq war, some in the government had argued that the
new legislation clearly mention the exclusion of oilers from the
list of vessels receiving Japanese oil. But the government has opted
not to do so out of consideration for the operations of foreign
forces.

6) Lower House member Eda points out record on MSDF refueling naval
vessel engaged in Iraq war in 2006

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)

TOKYO 00004843 005 OF 011


October 17, 2007

House of Representatives member Kenji Eda (independent) has pursued
the allegation of diversion of fuel supplied by the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) based on the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law to the Iraq war. On this problem, Eda held a press
conference in the Diet building yesterday and disclosed that the
United States Navy mentions on its Web site that the MSDF's supply
vessel Mashu refueled the US Navy's amphibious assault ship Iwojima
in September 2006. The Web site also records that the US assault
ship participated in the Iraq war in the Persian Gulf just after
refueled by the MSDF. Pointing out that there is a suspicion of fuel
diversion, Eda presented the government with questionnaire.

The US Navy's Web site notes that the Iwojima was refueled by the
Mashu on Sept. 4. In another page of the US Navy, there is this
mention: "(The Iwojima) engaged in maritime safety activities and
the Operation Iraqi Freedom." In the Diet, the Democratic Party of
Japan is grilling the government over the charges that the MSDF
supplied fuel directly or indirectly to USS Kitty Hawk and the US
Aegis destroyer Paul Hamilton in 2003.

Japanese Communist Party's House of Councillors member Akira Koike
also said in an Upper House Budget Committee meeting yesterday that
the Mashu refueled the Iwojima on Sept. 4 and 22 in 2006." Defense
Minister Ishiba admitted this fact but denied the diversion
allegations.

7) MSDF discards supply ship's log book

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

In a meeting yesterday of the main opposition Democratic Party of
Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto) Foreign and Defense Affairs Division, the
Defense Ministry revealed that it had disposed of part of the
logbook of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) supply ship
Towada, even though the storage limitation of the log book did not
expire. Since the ministry has been making mistakes, such as the
amount of oil supplied to a US supply vessel, the DPJ intends to
strengthen its offensive in questioning such issues as the alleged
diversion of fuel provided by the MSDF for use in the Iraq war.

According to the ministry's explanations, the log book discarded
covered the period of July to September 2003. Under the ministry's
rule, the storage period is four years. The ministry mistakenly
disposed of the logbook when it was sorting out logbooks this July.
The ministry has taken a position that the disposal is not a
violation of the law, and it will wait for the results of
investigation.

8) Discarding of log of MSDF supply ship providing fuel creates new
sparks in Diet; DPJ to sharpen its attack

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
October 17, 2007

In connection with the refueling operations of the Maritime
Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) in the Indian Ocean, the issue of the
Defense Ministry having discarded the refueling ship's log has
created new sparks in the Diet. Although the government would like
to obtain the understanding of the public by disclosing as much

TOKYO 00004843 006 OF 011


information as possible, the undeniable impression being given is
that whenever it is inconvenient, the results are concealed. While
there has been a rising trend of public approval for continuing the
refueling services in opinion polls, there is deepening concern now
in the ruling camp that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will
attack the "enemy's mistake," and this could make public opinion
suspect there was oil diversion.

9) Prime Minister Fukuda irritated by questions from the opposition;
"Whatever I say, you won't approve, anyway," he says

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
October 17, 2007

When answering a question by an opposition lawmaker about the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
at a House of Councillors Budget Committee session yesterday, Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda said: "Whatever I say, you won't approve
anyway." He seemed irritated. The prime minister has kept a low
posture in responding to questions from the opposition parties in
the current Diet session. In yesterday's session, he was unable to
suppress his anger at the relentless pursuit by the opposition.

The questioner was Japanese Communist Party Policy Chief Akira
Koike. Pointing out that the USS Iwo Jima, which received oil from
the MSDF in September last year, was engaged in air campaign in
Afghanistan and the Iraq operation, Koike questioned Fukuda: "As the
country that has Article 9 in the Constitution, is it possible to
support (an air strike)?"

Fukuda responded: "Why don't you make an effort to understand? I
think there is a difference in our views. Whatever is discussed on
this matter, the (JCP) won't approve (the refueling operation)
anyway." He continued: "Japan does not provide support for the US
force's air strikes on Afghanistan."

Fukuda told reporters last evening with a forced smile: "I think
both the foreign and defense ministers probably each gave three
answers. If they say that we are not taking a low posture stance,
that doesn't make any sense, does it?"

10) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Oshima admonishes Nakatani for
statement equating DPJ to terrorists

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 17, 2007

Former Defense Agency Director General Gen Nakatani, in discussing
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operation in the
Indian Ocean, made a remark that can be taken as calling the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) terrorists. In connection with this
controversial statement, Liberal Democratic Party's Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima met Nakatani in the Diet building
yesterday and scolded him.

Oshima told Nakatani: "We must assume a posture showing eagerness to
obtain understanding from the DPJ (to continue the MSDF mission)."
In response, Nakatani apologized to him, remarking: "I am sorry for
causing trouble. I wasn't calling the DPJ a terrorist group."

11) LDP indicates possibility of summoning Ozawa as witness if DPJ
submits own antiterrorism bill

TOKYO 00004843 007 OF 011

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 17, 2007

Liberal Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori
Oshima indicated yesterday that if the Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) submits its own antiterrorism bill to the Diet, the LDP might
summon its head Ozawa as an unsworn witness to the House of
Representatives Antiterrorism Special Committee.

12) DPJ starts discussion to work out own bill to counter new
antiterrorism legislation

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 17, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) started discussion at an
executive meeting yesterday to work on its own bill to counter the
new antiterrorism special measures bill which the government will
adopt in a cabinet meeting today.

In the meeting, President Ozawa said: "Japan should not join the
main duty of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Afghanistan. I will not dispatch the Self-Defense Force (SDF) as a
combat force. I would like to have the SDF participate in
provisional reconstruction teams (PRT) composed of military
personnel and civilians. The SDF should engage in stabilizing and
promoting public welfare, such as training police officers and
administrative officials. I would like to submit a counterproposal
containing these measures." But some participants raised objections
to submitting a counter bill to the Diet, with one pointing out:
"Will the preparations for our replies in the House of Councillors
be completed if we submit a counter bill now?" Reflecting such
views, the meeting decided to have Ozawa and other executives make a
judgment, while watching the situation in the Diet.

As ISAF-related activities, the main opposition party has decided to
incorporate in its own bill aid measures for public welfare,
including education and medical services, as well as for
reconstruction. The party will start a discussion on specifics at a
meeting of the foreign and defense committees tomorrow.

Speaking before reporters yesterday, Liberal Democratic Party Diet
Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima welcomed such moves by
the DPJ, saying: "I think the DPJ is also making efforts out of
recognition that fighting terrorism is necessary. It may be possible
for both sides to discuss and come up with a definite plan based on
a common perception."

Speaking to reporters at the Prime Minister's Office last evening,
Prime Minister Fukuda also indicated his expectation, saying: "I am
closely watching what the opposition camp will do."

LDP Secretary General Ibuki, however, raised questions in a press
conference about the DPJ's stance, saying: "Secretary General
Hatoyama and other members (once) supported the action plan (Diet
approval for SDF dispatch under the Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law) based on a law that President Ozawa says violates the
Constitution. I wonder what logic the party intends to use to
compile its own counterproposal."

A senior New Komeito member also quipped: "The DPJ should have had a

TOKYO 00004843 008 OF 011


good knowledge of the outline of the government's new antiterrorism
legislation. The party should have submitted its own bill earlier."
Some members in the ruling camp suspect that the main opposition
party might be trying to delay the start of deliberations on the new
legislation by submitting its bill.

13) DPJ President Ozawa: SDF could participate in ISAF civilian
assistance

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa indicated his
view in a party executive meeting yesterday that Self-Defense Forces
(SDF) members, except for combat troops, could take part in the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan to
provide civilian assistance. He envisages having SDF medical
officers and a water supply unit participate in ISAF. Until now, he
had not clarified his position on SDF participation.

14) Japan, US shelve conditional agreement on Yokota base dual use

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
October 17, 2007

In connection with the realignment of US forces in Japan, the
Japanese and US governments were expected to agree this month on
preconditions for the planned joint military-civilian use of the US
Air Force's Yokota Base in Tokyo. However, the two governments are
highly likely to forgo their concurrence, sources revealed
yesterday. That is because the United States is opposed to
commercial airline access to Yokota Base, according to Japanese
government officials. The Japanese government has envisioned the
dual use of the Yokota base as a 'showcase' of US military
realignment. However, the dual use plan hit snags from its outset.
The US government remains firm, the officials said. The dual use
plan may even be shelved.

It is now difficult to expect Japan and the United States to reach
an agreement within the month, government officials revealed.

In May 2006, Japan and the United States held a meeting of their
intergovernmental security consultative committee and agreed on a
roadmap for the realignment of US forces in Japan. The roadmap
specifies a timetable regarding the proposed access of commercial
airliners to the Yokota Base, noting that the Japanese and US
governments will wind up their studies within 12 months.

In October last year, the Japanese and US governments set up a study
group on the issue of Yokota Base dual use. The two governments have
held consultations since then, involving working-level officials
from the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and the Land,
Infrastructure and Transport Ministry on the Japanese side. The
Japanese government had been aiming to conclude the bilateral study
within this month, as specified in the roadmap, on what is needed
for Yokota Base's dual use as well as how to manage the base in its
dual use.

According to government officials, commercial airline flights are
now becoming nearly saturated in the metropolitan area. Citing this,
the Japanese government proposed translating Yokota's dual use into
action at an early date. However, the United States noted that

TOKYO 00004843 009 OF 011


civilian aircraft access to the Yokota Base would cause problems not
only from the perspective of capacity as a strategic hub but also
from the perspective of security. The US government also asserted
that commercial airlines can manage to fly without using Yokota AB
for the time being.

Japan and the United States finalized their agreement last year on
US military realignment. After that, however, the United States
stiffened its attitude. "There's no Koizumi-Bush relationship," a
government official said. The official added: "Tokyo Governor
Shintaro Ishihara has indicated that he would call for Yokota's
reversion in the end, beginning with shared use. The US side is
strongly concerned about this. That's why."

Ishihara was elected Tokyo governor in 1999 for the first time. In
his campaign at that time, Ishihara pledged dual use of Yokota Base.
In the gubernatorial race for a third term as well, Ishihara gave
top priority to the issue.

15) US military's night landing practice opened to spectators for
1st time in 10 years

ASAHI (Page 31) (Full)
October 17, 2007

US Forces Japan yesterday opened its naval carrier-borne fighter
jets' night landing practice (NLP) to the Japanese media for the
first time in about 10 years. The NLP is currently conducted on the
island of Iwoto (formerly called Iwojima) in the southern outlying
island village of Ogasawara, Tokyo. FA-18 Super Hornet fighter
attackers repeatedly carried out touch-and-go training at the
island's airstrip as a flattop deck.

The touch-and-go training began at 11:30 a.m., and it was conducted
through the night with the participation of 16 Kitty Hawk-based
fighter jets from the US Navy's Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture.
NLP has been mostly conducted on Iwoto since 1993 partly for the
purpose of abating noise in the vicinity of the Atsugi base.
Meanwhile, Japan and the United States reached an intergovernmental
agreement in their talks over the realignment of US forces in Japan
to move Atsugi-based carrier-borne fighters to the US Marine Corps'
Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture. In addition, the Japanese and
US governments have also agreed to select a permanent facility in
2009.

16) Government to cut "sympathy budget": Talks with US could run
into difficulty

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 2, 2007

Concerning talks with the US to sign a new special agreement for US
forces host-nation-support outlays (the so-called sympathy budget),
the Japanese government yesterday decided to request a substantial
cut in outlays for utility and water expenses. However, the US side
has already requested a significant increase in outlays for such
expenses, citing the need to counter threats from China and the
DPRK. Talks between the two countries in the run-up to budget
compilation are expected to be hard-going. Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda and US President George Bush will meet in mid-November. This
issue as well as continuation of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling operations in the Indian Ocean will likely top the agenda

TOKYO 00004843 010 OF 011


of the summit.

According to a source familiar with Japan-US relations, Japan
disbursed 217.3 billion yen as host-nation-support outlays in fiscal
2007. In this connection, the government has indicated its intention
to discuss with the US the need for 140.9 billion yen stipulated in
the special agreement covering salaries for US base employees (115
billion yen) and utility and water expenses (25.3 billion yen) from
scratch for further rationalization.

The present special agreement came into effect last April with its
term shortened from five years to two years from the perspective of
allowing a drastic review at an early date. It will expire at the
end of next March.

The Japanese government wants to obtain Diet approval for the new
agreement proposal during next year's regular session in order to
extend the agreement by 1-5 years. Since it is necessary to
incorporate necessary expenses into the fiscal 2008 budget, it wants
to reach an agreement with the US by the end of November.

The underlying trend regarding Japan's host nation support outlays
is that it is necessary to constrain such, based on a report issued
by the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy seeking rationalization
on the grounds of the nation's harsh fiscal situation. In addition,
in view of the fact that Japan's host nation support outlays --
approximately 75 PERCENT -- are higher than the ratios of other
countries, a view calling for reduction the outlays is deep-rooted
in the Finance and Defense Ministries, as one senior Defense
Ministry official said, "The idea of treating US bases as a sacred
cow will not obtain understanding from the people and opposition
parties."

The Council on the Fiscal System, an advisory organ reporting to the
finance minister, in June this year pointed out, "Amid local
governments and independent administration corporations making
efforts to promote rationalization and boost efficiency, including
cuts in personnel expenses, it would be necessary to properly review
personnel expenses for US base workers." The panel also noted that
the detailed use of utility and water expenses has not been
disclosed.

However, the US side has already requested a substantial increase in
utility and water expenses, citing an increase in military expenses
stemming from the situation in Northeast Asia, such as China and the
DPRK. A Defense Ministry source said, "The issue could shake the
Japan-US alliance, intertwined with the issue of extending the
dispatch of Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel."

17) Iwakuni mayor softens opposition to transfer of carrier-borne
jets

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

Katsusuke Ihara, mayor of Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, who
has been opposing the transfer of carrier-borne jets to US forces'
Iwakuni Base, yesterday visited the Defense Ministry. He conveyed
his intention to respond to talks on the issue to Parliamentary
Secretary Minoru Terada, saying, "Opposition is not a premise for

SIPDIS
talks." He appears to have softened his stance, since the government
suspended subsidies for the construction of a city government

TOKYO 00004843 011 OF 011


office.

18) Materials that can bring progress to Japan-DPRK normalization
talks lacking; Representatives of both countries hold informal
talks

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
October 17, 2007

The Fukuda administration's DPRK diplomacy aimed at settling the
abduction issue has gotten underway with informal talks by
working-level officials responsible for bilateral normalization
talks held in Shenyang, China. Talks are expected to be held more
frequently under Prime Minister Fukuda's policy of attaching
importance to dialogue. With a view to improving relations with the
US and South Korea, the DPRK is determined to wait and see what move
Japan will make.

The informal talks brought together Shigeo Yamada, director of the
Northeast Asian Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry and Song Il
Ho, DPRK's ambassador in charge of normalization talks with Japan. A
senior Foreign Ministry official said, "The meeting was held to make
adjustment and preparations for the next round of meetings of the
bilateral working group. However, no schedule was set." This
official hinted at the possibility of holding more informal talks
before the next working group meeting is held.

Fukuda has taken a stance of attaching importance to dialogue,
saying at an Upper House Budget Committee meeting yesterday, "This
is a problem that cannot be settled unless there are talks."
However, there are few materials that can bring progress in carrying
out such talks. Japan does not intend to take part in providing
heavy oil to the DPRK for the time being due to the abduction
issue.

"For the DPRK, which is enjoying favorable developments in its
relations with the US and South Korea, there is no reason for the
time being why it must come face-to-face with Japan," a senior
Foreign Ministry official said. As General Secretary Kim Jong Il
said during the recent South-North Korean summit, "I want to
determine first what moves the Fukuda administration will make,"
there is the possibility of a situation in which both Japan and the
DPRK will closely watch how the other party will move.

19) Russian foreign minister to visit Japan on Oct. 23

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

The Foreign Ministry yesterday announced that Russian Foreign
Minister Lavrov's visit to Japan is set for Oct. 23-24. He will meet
with Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and confer on such issues as
the Northern Territories and economic cooperation in Eastern
Siberia.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>

ALSO:

Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>

ALSO:

MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>

ALSO:

Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>

ALSO:

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC