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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 01/25/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 TOKYO 000193

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 01/25/08


Index:

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

4) Yomiuri poll on national attitudes: 93 PERCENT have "pride in
our country"; 73 PERCENT want to "be of use to the country"
(Yomiuri)

Defense and security affairs:
5) MSDF destroyer sets sail from Yokosuka for the Indian Ocean to
resume refueling mission (Tokyo Shimbun)
6) Government to require record of ship name for even indirect MSDF
refueling in the Indian Ocean (Mainichi)
7) Foreign Minister Koumura has placed the enacting of a permanent
overseas dispatch law as next on the political agenda (Mainichi)
8) After considerable delay, U.S., Japan agree on return of Kadena
RAPCON to be carried out in March 2010 (Mainichi)
9) Government preparing for possible terrorist aircraft attack as
one of contingencies that might hit G8 Summit at Lake Toya, Hokkaido
(Mainichi)

10) View in U.S. government clash over North Korea policy, centering
on whether to remove DPRK from list of terrorism sponsoring states
(Sankei)

11) Government considering scrapping the current system of foreign
registration with more modern one (Mainichi)

Diet agenda:
12) DPJ's Naoto Kan wants any DPJ lawmakers who rebel and vote
approval for the gasoline tax bill to resign their Diet seats
(Tokyo Shimbun)
13) DPJ concerned about what to do about the party rebels who joined
an LDP rally to support maintaining gasoline tax rate (Mainichi)
14) As the tax row heats up in the Diet, LDP leaders are
coordinating a possible three-month extension of the gasoline-tax
measure to avoid its expiration (Yomiuri)
15) With no complete resolution of the pension debacle in sight,
work on the issue is falling farther behind schedule (Tokyo
Shimbun)
16) Urgent measures being sought to stop falling stock market
(Asahi)
17) Government simulation shows that switch to a clean-burning coal
technology could cut 45 billion tons in carbon dioxide emissions
world wide (Tokyo Shimbun)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Justice Ministry to review government's plan to have 3,000 pass bar
examination annually

Mainichi:
Government to abolish registration system for foreign nationals
living in Japan

Yomiuri:
Poll: Cases of damage to cultural assets by arson, looting,

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graffiti, and other vicious acts hits 45 in past five years

Nikkei:
FTC to scrap "umpire system" on bid-rigging and antitrust cases

Sankei:
Social Insurance Agency finds it difficult to track 3 million
unidentified pension accounts

Tokyo Shimbun:
Tokyo opposes Minato Ward's decision to promote part-timers

Akahata:
EU to obligate member countries to attain numerical targets for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Managers should give consideration to economic conditions in
spring wage negotiations
(2) Guidelines on interrogations: Police should think about
recording

Mainichi:
(1) Night cram schools expected to produce positive results
(2) Police's reflection: Emerge from policy of focusing only on
confession

Yomiuri:
(1) MSDF destroyer leaves for Indian Ocean: Consider "next step" for
resumption of refueling mission
(2) NHK new system: Priority must be given to recovery of public
trust

Nikkei:
(1) Containment of inflation, environmental protection major
challenges for Chinese economy
(2) Steel firms don't seriously reflect on illegalities

Sankei:
(1) Find clue to selecting new BOJ governor at party head talks
(2) MSDF departure for Indian Ocean: Restore confidence with
international cooperation

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) With GDP growth, China urged to play responsible role for global
economy
(2) Toyota ranking second in international market: There are many
tasks to address

Akahata:
(1) Permanent legislation for dispatch of SDF overseas illegal to
enable government to decide on participation in war

3)Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, Jan. 24

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 25, 2008


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10:17
Met with Finance Minister Nukaga at Kantei.

11:43
Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura and Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Futahashi. Machimura remained.

SIPDIS

13:57
Met with House of Representatives member Okiharu Yasuoka.
Afterwards, met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwaki, MOFA
Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau Director-General Otabe,
Its International Cooperation Bureau Director-General Bessho and
others, joined by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka and MOF
International Bureau Director-General Tamaki.

15:59
Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani. Afterwards, met with
House of Representatives members Nariaki Nakayama and Seiken
Sugiura.

16:45
Met with Machimura and Prime Ministerial Advisor Yamatani.
Afterwards, met with MIC Minister Masuda, Headquarters for Regional
Revitalization Secretariat Chief Yamamoto, and Saka.

17:29
Attended a ministerial meeting related to the pension issue.
Afterwards, met with LDP Upper House Caucus Chairman Otsuji.

19:23
Arrived at residential quarters in Kantei.

4) 93 PERCENT proud of being Japanese

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Lead paragraph)
January 25, 2008

An estimated 93 PERCENT of the Japanese public are proud to be
Japanese, the Yomiuri Shimbun found from its annual serial polling.
In addition, a total of 73 PERCENT want to work on behalf of the
nation. Both figures topped those in the past surveys and show the
Japanese public's growing national awareness today, more than 60
years after the war. The Yomiuri Shimbun started its monthly public
opinion survey in March 1978. On this occasion, the serial survey
will explore changes in comparison with the results of past surveys.
This is the first serial survey, which was conducted Jan. 12-13 on a
face-to-face basis to probe public mindsets over Japan.

5) MSDF ship sets off for refueling mission; Fuel diversion will be
hard to stop

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
January 25, 2008

The Murasame, a destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, set
off yesterday from the MSDF's Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture
to resume refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, where the MSDF
will provide fuel to foreign naval vessels. Meanwhile, there are
challenges in store for the government and ruling parties, including
how to prevent fuel diversion and ensure civilian control. Another
challenge is for the governing parties to debate in the Diet
permanent legislation allowing Japan to send the Self-Defense Forces

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on overseas missions whenever necessary.

The Yokosuka base held a ceremony for the Murasame and its crew.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and former Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe were there to see the destroyer off with families and
others. Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba told the departing crew to
remain attentive to what was noted in Diet deliberations. "I would
like to ask you all to accomplish your mission perfectly," Ishiba
added. With this, Ishiba drew the crew's attention to their tasks,
such as preventing fuel diversion and keeping in touch.

Japan is going to exchange notes with countries receiving MSDF fuel
in order to prevent fuel diversion. The government proposed
specifying its request in its exchanges of note with these countries
to strictly adhere to the intended use of the fuel. However, the
United States rejected the proposal.

If the planned exchanges of note are equivocal in their wording, the
MSDF's on-site crew and their commanding officer will have to judge
whether MSDF-provided fuel has been used for other purposes. If they
cannot decide, Ishiba is to do so. Ishiba has clarified that he
would make a "final" judgment. In the future, if fuel diversion is
brought to light, Ishiba will inevitably have to take
responsibility. The MSDF's mission crew will be on edge.

In an earlier extraordinary session of the Diet, the government was
pursued over the MSDF's cover-up of corrections to the amount of
fuel supplied by an MSDF ship to a foreign naval vessel. This
problem was attributed to a lack of communication between the
Defense Ministry's bureaucrats and the Maritime Staff Office's
uniformed officers.

Meanwhile, the government has asked its advisory panel to discuss
steps to overhaul the Defense Ministry. The panel plans to propose
restructuring the Defense Ministry from the bottom up, involving
some bureaucrats and SDF staff members. In addition, the government
will also have to reach an immediate conclusion on information
disclosure, political engagement, and other critical issues relating
to the SDF's civilian control.

Furthermore, there is another challenge facing the governing
parties. That is what to do about the MSDF's refueling mission after
one year. Japan will now resume refueling activities under a new
antiterrorism special measures law that was enacted in the earlier
extraordinary session of the Diet. The law, however, is temporary
legislation with a one-year time limit. Accordingly, it would be
extremely difficult to extend the law for the MSDF's continued
refueling activities as long as the Diet remains lopsided, with the
ruling coalition holding a majority of the seats in its lower
chamber and the opposition bench dominating its upper chamber.

The government is therefore in a hurry to create a permanent law.
The LDP and New Komeito will set up a project team in early February
to kick off full-fledged discussions. The ruling coalition is
calling on the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) to join in.

However, the ruling and opposition parties are currently squaring
off over the issue of keeping the provisional rate of taxation on
gasoline. Concerning the LDP's initiative to create a permanent law
for SDF activities overseas, New Komeito is cautious about expanding
the allowable scope of SDF personnel's use of weapons on overseas

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missions.

Most LDP lawmakers deem it difficult to create a permanent law
within one year. "It will take considerable time to work out a plan
of the ruling parties," says one of the LDP's defense policy
clique.

6) MSDF supply ship required to record names of foreign vessels
indirectly receiving fuel in order to prevent Japanese oil from
being used for other purposes

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 25, 2008

Administrative Vice-Defense Minister Kohei Masuda held a press
briefing yesterday regarding the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling operation in the Indian Ocean under the new Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law. In the session, the vice-minister announced a
set of measures designed to prevent countries receiving MSDF oil
from using it for purposes other than the original objectives.

In providing fuel, the dispatched supply ship is required to check
through a field liaison officer such information as the time,
amount, the name of the vessel to be refueled, and its activities,
and record them. In refueling a supply ship, the MSDF vessel is also
required to record the name and activities of a ship that will
receive Japanese fuel from the supply ship. Masuda indicated that in
the event a receiving country does not disclose information, "the
defense minister will make a decision."

7) Foreign minister: Government will aim for enactment of permanent
SDF dispatch law

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
January 25, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura made a speech at a symposium held
at a Tokyo hotel yesterday, in which he indicated that (the
government) would like to study ways to enact a permanent law
specifying conditions for the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces on
overseas missions. In yesterday's meeting of the faction led by
former LDP Vice-President Taku Yamasaki, Yamasaki also announced a
plan to establish a ruling party project team on the legislation
early next month. Momentum is building in the government and ruling
camp for enacting a permanent law.

In his policy speech on Jan. 18, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
revealed his intention to study a permanent law in order to carry
out international peace cooperation activities swiftly and
effectively.

Taking another step forward, Koumura defined this year in which
Japan hosts the G8 Lake Toya Summit as the year in which Japan will
determine that peace-building is its national policy. Koumura added:
"It is vital for Japan to make better use of manpower, including the
SDF."

The view is prevalent in the government and ruling bloc that the
question of a permanent law will become a key policy theme requiring
talks with the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto). Koumura's and Yamasaki's statements showed a positive
stance about studying permanent legislation based on the position of

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the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei).

Whether the ruling bloc can begin discussing the matter depends on
the New Komeito's response. The party kicked off working-level
discussions on Jan. 22 on a permanent law. Cautious discussion is
underway on the condition: (1) a law will be established within the
constitutional framework, (2) civilian control will be ensured by
the involvement of the Diet, and (3) the use of weapons will be
limited. The party is expected to come up with its unified view
before the end of the month.

8) Return of Kadena RAPCON to be delayed to March 2010

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 25, 2008

The Japan-U.S. Joint Committee met yesterday, in which the two
governments reached an agreement to complete the return of the
Kadena Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) -- the air traffic control
covering the airspace over the main island of Okinawa -- from the
U.S. military to Japan by march 2010. Although the initial target
was the end of 2007, it will be postponed substantially due to a
delay in training of Japanese air traffic controllers.

Kadena RAPCON is the air traffic control toward aircraft flying in
the airspace with a radius of 90 km from Kadena Air Base and an
altitude of less than 6 km over the Okinawa mainland. Commercial
planes landing at and taking off from Naha Airport and Kumejima
Airport are also subject to it. Many radar troubles and near-misses
with U.S. military aircraft have occurred in the airspace.

An agreement was reached in 2000 between the foreign ministers of
the two countries to transfer RAPCON to Japan. When training of
Japanese air traffic controllers started in late 2004, the two
countries were in accord to realize it in about three years.

9) Toyako Summit: Defense Minister Ishiba assuming possible
terrorist attack; Studying measures to deal with plane flying toward
venue

MAINICHI (Page 28) (Excerpts)
January 25, 2008

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba on Jan. 24 revealed that his
ministry is studying how to deal with a possible terrorist attack at
the Lake Toya Summit to be held in July in Hokkaido, such as a
hijacked commercial plane being flown into the venue.

Regarding the possibility of an SDF aircraft shooting down a
hijacked plane flown toward the venue ignoring a warning, Ishiba
said, "It is only natural to consider such a possibility, by
assuming every possible situation," though he noted, "I cannot
reveal specifics."

Ishiba made a similar proposal at a meeting of the Lower House
National Emergency Legislation Committee in 2002. He also said at a
press conference in November last year, "It is not appropriate for a
law-abiding country to assume a stance of making an emergency
evacuation in such an event."

10) Views in U.S. government clash over policy toward North Korea,
centered on removing DPRK from list of states sponsoring terrorism

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SANKEI (Page 6) (Full)
January 25, 2008

Takashi Arimoto in Washington

With senior U.S. government officials one after the other making
conflicting remarks on policy toward North Korea, the White House
and the State Department are being pressed to provide a clear
explanation. The reason seems to be differences in opinion in the
U.S. government on finding a breakthrough in the deadlocked
situation in the Six-Party Talks caused by North Korea's delay in
reporting its nuclear plans.

White House spokesperson Perino in a press briefing on the 23rd
denied that a delisting of North Korea from the list of states
sponsoring terrorism was close at hand, saying, "It is definitely
not imminent." It was a respond to a statement made on the 22nd by
U.S. State Department Anti-Terrorism Coordinator Daley, who had
said: "North Korea seems to have fulfilled the criteria (for
delisting)." Perino made the stance clear that a complete report on
the nuclear programs was the premise for delisting the DPRK.

There is a strong possibility that Daley's statement underscores
that there exists in the U.S. government a view that some kind of
steps must be sought to respond to North Korea's demand (for
delisting) in order to find a breakthrough in the deadlock in the
negotiations. However, Perino's strong denial may have been made in
order not to give the impression that the U.S. is prepared to
compromise as long as North Korea has not carried out its report.

On the other hand, Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea
Lefkowitz at the same time, stating that North Korean human rights
issues had not been fully taken up in the Six-Party Talks, proposed
a review of the talks themselves. In response, Secretary Rice
rebutted him with statements like, "He has no connection with the
Six-Party Talks." The Lefkowitz statement was removed from the State
Department's website, and Secretary Rice was unable to hide her
displeasure at him when she said, "I doubt that the countries
participating in the talks) know his name, so I don't think there is
any confusion among participating countries."

However, at the present juncture, it does not look like the issue
has developed to the level that the special envoy's position is in
danger. That is because within the U.S. administration there are
those who are skeptical of the current situation in the Six-Party
Talks and echo the special envoy's thoughts about the talks being
promoted almost solely by Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary
Hill.

For that reason, if the DPRK's report is further delayed and the
deadlocked situation drags on, it is likely that views calling for a
strong stance against North Korea will probably grow even stronger
in the U.S. government.

11) Government to abolish the alien registration system so as to
consolidate it into basic resident register

MAINICHI (Top play) (Slightly abridged)
January 25, 2008

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the

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Ministry of Justice (MOJ) decided to abolish the alien registration
system established under the Alien Registration Act and instead
consolidate the system into a new basic resident register, which
will be similar to that of the Basic Resident Register applied to
the Japanese nationals. Both the ministries will compile an outline
of a new system by the end of March and submit relevant bills to the
ordinary session of the Diet for next year.

According to MIC and MOJ, foreigners are currently obligated to
carry at all times alien registration cards issued by each
municipality, but this alien registration card system will be
scrapped. Instead, immigration authorities will issue to mid-term-
or long-term-stay foreigners a "resident status card" on which their
names, addresses, and photos are shown. As for new immigrants,
immigration authorities will hand them this card at airports, and
foreigners who already reside in Japan will receive the card at a
local immigration office. New immigrants and foreign residents will
indicate their resident status cards to each municipality office so
that their status will be entered in a new basic resident register.

Under the current alien registration system, the records of
foreigners are registered on an individual basis, so it is difficult
to know whether foreigners are single or have family members. Also,
foreigners are not obligated to make a report of a change of address
to each municipality, so it is difficult to confirm whether
foreigners move out to anywhere else in Japan or abroad. Because of
these circumstances, in order to deal with the school attendance
problem involving foreign children of Japanese ancestry, for
instance, the concerned municipalities have complained that it is
difficult to inform foreign residents about school attendance even
if they have school-age children. The government already decided at
a cabinet meeting to submit a bill intended to review the current
alien registration system to next year's regular Diet session.

Discussion on a new system of basic resident register is underway so
that under the new system, municipalities can grasp the state of
each foreign family by having them report such matters as a change
of address, a birth of child, a death of a family member, and a
marriage. Reportedly, under the new system, it is possible to
prevent cases where registered foreigners will not be covered by
national health insurance, care insurance, and child allowances.

It is highly likely at present that a new basic resident register
for foreigners will be created separately from that for the
Japanese. As for special permanent residents, including South
Koreans and North Koreans both living in Japan, they will be entered
in a new basic resident register, but they will not be subject to
the system of alien registration card. Given this, discussion is
underway on the question of whether it is necessary to issue some
kind of card or certificate to them.

12) DPJ's Kan: If Oe votes for gasoline bill, he should resign from
Upper House

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
January 25, 2008

Naoto Kan, deputy president of the largest opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), revealed in a press meeting
yesterday that if the party's House of Councillors member Yasuhiro
Oe votes for the government-sponsored bill revising the special
taxation measures law, which is aimed at extending the provisional

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tax on gasoline, he should give up his Upper House seat.

Pointing out that the votes obtained by Oe in the Upper House
proportional representation segment of the last election was much
lower than the average of 1.1 million votes won by the DPJ-backed
candidates, Kan said: "If he intends to take such action, he should
return his seat to the DPJ."

13) DPJ fretting over treatment of three lawmakers who defied party
policy of abolishing temporary tax rate

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
January 25, 2008

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
leadership is perplexed about the participation of three party
lawmakers in a rally calling for maintaining the temporary
(gasoline) tax rate for fiscal resources that are exclusively set
aside for road construction. The move by the three members has
exposed that the DPJ is not united on the issue. Deputy President
Naoto Kan expressed unhappiness with their actions in a press
conference yesterday. The party executives, however, are fretting
over how to treat them, because hard-line measures may worsen the
situation.

The three legislators who took part in the rally organized by local
assembly members on Jan. 23 include Yasuhiro Oe, Hideo Watanabe and
Yasuo Yamashita. During the rally, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki told Oe: "I don't want to believe

SIPDIS
that thinking DPJ members pursue only party interests, taking
advantage of populism." Oe then replied: "I want (the DPJ lawmakers
who participated in the rally) to convey to the party leadership the
atmosphere and enthusiasm of the rally."

Some in the DPJ have pointed out the relationship between Oe and LDP
General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai, who also hails from
Wakayama, Oe's home constituency. Kan, at yesterday's press
conference, strongly criticized Oe: "If he attended the rally
because he had been supported by Nikai in the election, his act
would mean a betrayal of the voters." Watanabe, who was regarded as
an aide to Ozawa, has recently distanced himself from him, and he
voted last year for the government-sponsored national referendum
bill.

All the more so because many DPJ local assembly members favor
maintaining of the temporary tax rate, if the party tolerates their
actions, it would give tacit approval to "rebels." Kan, however,
indicated that the party would forgo for the time being punishing
the three members, noting, "We're not saying that attending meetings
is wrong." Since the DPJ does not hold a majority (122 seats) of the
House of Councillors even though it has formed a parliamentary group
(119 members) with the People's New Party, even one Upper House
member is significant. If the party punishes Oe, he may leave the
parliamentary group. Therefore, the DPJ leadership is concerned
about the possible ramifications. The PNP has opposed the DPJ's idea
of abolishing the temporary tax rate. Should some Upper House DPJ
members vote for the government's bill to maintain the rate or
abstain from voting, the vote in the Upper House may be close.

14) LDP leadership carrying out coordination on plan to extend
provisional tax rates by three months


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YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
January 25, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership yesterday began
coordination on a plan to submit to the House of Representatives a
bill extending the provisional tax rates by three months in a bid to
avoid the expiration of the temporary tax imposed on gasoline. The
LDP intends to pass the legislation through the Lower House within
January and enact it before the end of March.

Amid heightening confrontation between the ruling and opposition
parties, the ruling coalition is concerned that the temporary tax
rate will expire on March 31 if it does nothing and that such will
cause confusion in the daily lives of people. A senior LDP member
made this comment yesterday:

"An extension of the measures by three months by a bill sponsored by
lawmakers will give more time for us to deliberate the contents of
the government-sponsored bill. We will be able to look for common
ground with the opposition camp."

The LDP is also considering setting up a consultative panel of the
ruling and opposition camps to discuss the handling of the bill to
revise the special taxation measures law.

The bill sponsored by lawmakers is aimed to extend the terms of the
temporary gasoline tax and other preferential taxation measures. If
the legislation clears the Lower House before the end of January, it
will be enacted by the two-thirds majority in the Lower House even
if it is not put to a revote in the Upper House by resorting to
Article 59 of the Constitution, which allows for a bill to be sent
back to the Lower House if it has not been voted within 60 days
after being presented to the upper chamber. The LDP has determined
that it will submit the legislation to the Lower House immediately
after the FY 2007 supplementary budget bill clears the lower
chamber. It intends to seek understanding from the Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) and other opposition parties. If it fails
to secure their understanding, it plans to take a vote by the ruling
parties alone.

However, there remains a cautious view in the LDP and its coalition
partner New Komeito that by taking a forced vote, Diet deliberations
would be stalled due to the strong reaction of the opposition camp.

15) Complete resolution of pension problem unlikely

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
January 25, 2008

In a meeting of relevant cabinet ministers on the pension
record-keeping fiasco held yesterday, it was apparent how difficult
it is for the government to meet its pledge to complete the
identification process "down to the last person and last yen." The
government and the ruling camp have so far presented
countermeasures, but they have not produced satisfactory results.
The people are becoming more distrustful of the government.

Only 4 PERCENT of unidentified accounts tracked

To untangle the pension mess, the government and the ruling camp
have sent special notices in an attempt to identify the legitimate
holders of some 50 million pension accounts.

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However, about 20,000 of the about 480,000 people to whom the Social
Insurance Agency (SIA) had sent notices last year -- only 4 PERCENT
-- responded and claimed to be legitimate holders of unidentified
pension accounts. The reason many recipients did not respond is that
the notices did not provide a detailed explanation to help people
recall their past pension premium payments.

The SIA plans to mail second notices to about 1.03 million people to
whom notices have already been sent to make them confirm whether any
other past premium payments had been overlooked. But it remains to
be seen how effective this approach will be. In addition, it will
cost more than 170 million yen to send second notices, so this
approach may come under heavy fire as a waste of money.

It has also been found that about 140,000 people responded that
their pension records do not need to be corrected, probably because
they cannot remember their detailed work history.

In six months, 1,000 cases screened

Another pillar in resolving the pension mess is the third-party
committee to confirm pension records set up under the Ministry of
Internal Affairs and Communications. The panel planned to speedily
judge, from the standpoint of the people, whether pension benefits
should be paid to those who have no records to prove they had paid
pension premiums. But the screening process has been delayed due to
a lack of manpower. Since the start of the process last July, the
panel has recognized only 1,004 cases as allowed to receive pension
benefits.

The SIA have received 37,735 applications for screening, but it has
completed the screening of only 1,900 cases, just 5 PERCENT .

60,000 cases remained unaccounted for

Of the unidentified 50 million pension accounts, 5.24 million
records included no names or other details. Of them, the SIA has
failed to identify the legitimate holders of about 60,000 pension
accounts. The agency intends to continue its efforts, but a
resolution of the pension fiasco is not in sight. The government now
finds it impossible to fulfill its pledge to complete the
identification process by the end of March.

16) Emergency measures on falling stock prices

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
January 25, 2008

Opposition parties unanimous in call for stimulating consumption

Following falling stock prices and soaring crude oil prices,
opposition parties are rushing to discuss emergency economic
measures. They are determined to criticize the Fukuda cabinet as
having no economic measures during Diet debates, which will move
into full swing with intensive deliberations on economic and
financial issues on Jan. 25. All opposition parties are in lock-step
agreement that consumption should be stimulated with fiscal
resources secured from reformed special budget accounts and an
amendment to the tax code.

Azuma Okikishi of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto),

TOKYO 00000193 012 OF 013


chairman of the DPJ caucus in the Upper House, expressed concern, "I
am worried that a Heisei depression could occur. Should that occur,
Japan would sink." The DPJ has already released a measure to deal
with high crude oil prices. It also intends to demonstrate
discretionary income-boosting effects of child allowances to be
included in a budget function change bill, which the DPJ will
shortly submit as a proposal countering the government's budget
bill, and the party will push for compensation for farmers'
household income and abolition of the provisional tax rate imposed
on the gas tax.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii during a press conference on
Jan. 24 stressed, "The main problem is sluggish personal
consumption. Measures to directly deal with this issue are needed."
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's New Party (PNP)
are expected to release their proposals on Jan. 25. The SDP will
call for reinstating the fixed-rate tax break on a 5-billion yen
scale. The PNP is considering reducing people's share of medical
services expenses worth 20 trillion yen. It has also drafted a bill
to directly compensate people for a rise in gasoline prices. They
sought cooperation both from the ruling and opposition blocs on the
24th.

LDP parliamentarian league calls for cut in capital gains tax

The Parliamentarian League to Make People Affluent with Asset
Effects, chaired by former State Minister for Financial Policy
Yamamoto, yesterday compiled a set of emergency proposals aimed at
finding a breakthrough in the current economic and financial
situation, which is increasingly becoming unclear due to sharp
equity falls, and handed their requests to Chief Cabinet Secretary
Machimura.

The package calls for tax breaks on capital gains and stock
dividends until the Nikkei Stock Average rebounds to the 18,000 yen
level in order to boost personal consumption. It also notes
expectations that the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will further ease the
monetary supply. For the revitalization of the economic and
financial markets, the panel also called for reviewing foreign
capital investment regulations under the Foreign Exchange Law.

Machimura reportedly responded to Yamamoto, saying, "I want to see
courageous intra-party discussions calling for even abolition of
taxation on capital gains." After the meeting, Yamamoto told
reporters, "The government's external message is weak. It must
properly deal with falling stock prices, using more than one measure
to boost stock prices."

17) Highly efficient coal-fired power generation could cut global
CO2 emissions by 45 billion tons, government estimates

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
January 25, 2008

The government plans the use of high-efficient coal-fired power
generation system as a measure to combat climate change. It was
learned yesterday that realization of this system would cut global
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 45 billion tons in 2050. As a
result, CO2 emissions that year would drop to 13 billion tons, half
the level of 2005, enabling the long-term goal of cutting greenhouse
gas emissions by 50 PERCENT by 2050.


TOKYO 00000193 013 OF 013


The new coal-fired power generation system and solar energy
generation are incorporated in the Innovative Technical Development
Program, which the government is now mapping out as a main pillar of
its measures to combat climate change. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
in a speech to be delivered at the World Economic Forum Annual
Meeting on Jan. 26 will announce Japan's technical development
program and call for cooperation.

Realizing the plan will require long-term research and development
and huge amounts of expenses. The government will outlay 10 billion
dollars over 10 years starting in fiscal 2008. According to the
plan, it will set up an international research center and invite
engineers from many countries. It will also strengthen ties with
domestic manufacturers that have state-of-the-art energy-conserving
technology for development and dissemination of innovative
technology.

SCHIEFFER

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