Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 01/29/08

DE RUEHKO #0222/01 0290120
P 290120Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Diet uproar:
4) Ruling camp submits bridging bill extending gasoline tax for two
months to avoid disruption (Nikkei)
5) But opposition camp, bitterly opposed to bridging bill, vows to
boycott all deliberations on it (Nikkei)
6) Sharp exchanges in Lower House between DPJ's Naoto Kan and
cabinet ministers over the gas tax issue (Nikkei)
7) Gas tax issue is affecting Diet agenda and threatens to stall all
activity (Nikkei)
8) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), aware now that gas tax will not
be lowered in April as planned, forced to rethink Diet strategy

G8 summitry:
9) Idea of placing China, India membership on the agenda for
discussion being floated (Nikkei)
10) Japan, U.S., Britain come up with joint proposal for G7 meeting
of an environmental fund to assist developing countries lower green
gas emissions (Nikkei)
11) Prime Minister Fukuda announces Japan's target to halve its
greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (Nikkei)

12) African development conference to be held in Yokohama attracts
record 90 countries (Nikkei)

13) Senior member of Chinese Communist Party to visit Pyongyang,
possibly meeting Kim Jong Il, in attempt to break stalemate in
Six-Party Talks (Nikkei)

14) Japan Coast Guard to station officer on whaling ships after
recent boarding incident (Nikkei)

Defense affairs:
15) Defense Minister Ishiba prepares private proposal for permanent
system of SDF overseas dispatch, but government, ruling camp are
cool toward it (Nikkei)
16) Scandal ridden Japan-U.S. Cultural Exchange Association raided
by investigators (Nikkei)



Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei, Tokyo Shimbun:
Ruling camp to submit stopgap tax rate bill for two-month extension;
Opposition parties determined to boycott Diet deliberations

Victor Co., Funai Electric Co. to join hands on supply of
flat-screen TVs; Corporate reorganization spreads to mid-tier firms

Discriminatory medical services for elderly patients: Lawmaker
Takahashi calls for suspension at Lower House Budget Committee


TOKYO 00000222 002 OF 011

(1) Gas tax rate: Ruling camp makes surprise move
(2) Osaka Governor Hashimoto's responsibility heavy

(1) Stopgap gas tax rate bill: Surprise measure will not settle
(2) Gaza Strip: End "concentration camp"-like state

(1) Administrative surcharges should be increased to enhance
efficacy of measures to constrain irregularities on securities
(2) Court rules managers of McDonald's outlets not in managerial

(1) Toughen penal rules against abuse of information disclosure, an
act that violates people's trust
(2) Warning for McDonald's

(1) Stopgap gas tax rate bill: Just intensifying Diet confrontation
will not settle issue
(2) Increase in patients on dialysis

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Stopgap gasoline tax rate bill: Ruling parties should improve
Diet deliberations instead of using parliamentary tricks
(2) Prime Minister Fukuda's vague speech in Davos fails to inspire

(1) Stopgap gas tax bill: Ruling camp unaware that their move
destroying democracy

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, January 28

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono at the Kantei.

Attended a Lower House Budget Committee meeting.

Met former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano at the Kantei.

Attended the Lower House Budget Committee meeting.

Met new NHK Chairman Shigeo Fukuchi at the Kantei.

Returned to his official residence.

4) Expiration of provisional gas tax rate to be avoided: Ruling camp

TOKYO 00000222 003 OF 011

to submit stop-gap bill allowing two-month extension

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Lead para.)
January 29, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito yesterday
agreed on a plan to submit a stopgap bill to extend by two months
the provisional tax rate imposed on the gasoline tax, which is due
to expire at the end of March. The ruling parties will submit it to
the Diet today to have it obtain its approval before the end of
January. Even if the opposition camp-controlled Upper House votes it
down, it will hold a second vote in the Lower House to have it
enacted. The provisional gasoline tax rate, the central issue of the
current Diet session, will now likely be maintained for some time
after April. The opposition bloc, such as the Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ), is fiercely opposing the ruling camp's move. They are
determined to boycott Diet deliberations.

5) Opposition camp determined to boycott Diet deliberations

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
January 29, 2008

After talks with the ruling parties, leaders of the Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), including President Ichiro Ozawa,
conferred on the gas tax issue. As a party policy, participants
confirmed that it cannot give assurance for holding a vote on tax
reform-related bills and opposes the ruling camp-sponsored stopgap
gas tax bill. Regarding Diet deliberations on the fiscal 2007
supplementary budget bill at the Lower House Budget Committee today,
one DPJ leader said, "As soon as the ruling parties submit the
stopgap bill to the Diet, we will abstain from deliberations."

6) Verbal jabs between DPJ's Kan and cabinet ministers over use of
revenues for road construction

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
January 29, 2008

The House of Representatives Budget Committee held interpellations
yesterday when tensions rose between the ruling and opposition
parties over a stopgap bill to maintain the current provisional
rates for gasoline and other road-related taxes (for two months). In
a bid to gain the upper hand, Naoto Kan, deputy president of the
main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto),
relentlessly pursued the issue of tax revenues for road projects. In
place of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who has called on the
opposition camp for cooperation, veteran cabinet ministers from the
government's side launched counterattacks.

Kan stressed:

"Revenues earmarked for road construction are huge vested interests
for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and they
have been split by certain lawmakers with vested interests in road

He made Oboro Bridge the target of his criticism. The bridge is
located in the city of Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture, from which Makoto
Koga, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Election
Committee, was elected to the House of Representatives.

TOKYO 00000222 004 OF 011

Kan visited the city on Jan. 26 to see the bridge. Kan pointed out
that although as much as 6.1 billion yen in tax money was spent for
the construction of the bridge, which is called by local residents
"Makoto Bridge" in tribute to Makoto Koga, just a few vehicles per
hour use it. He put pressure on Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, saying: "It seems to me that places from
which influential Diet members hail are given preferential
treatment. Why don't you stop things that invite suspicions?"

Fuyushiba then reacted strongly:

"City roads, including bridges, are used by regional residents for
commuting. The bridge assumes a key role as a 'lifeline road' to
Kurume City, where there is an emergency hospital. I have received
letters handwritten by heads of municipalities calling for maintain
the tax revenues for road projects."

Kan responded:

"The ministry's approach of enlisting the heads of local governments
as proxies is against the spirit of decentralization of power. All
the heads of municipalities have approved the government's policy
because they believe that if they are placed on a ministry
blacklist, they won't be able to get subsidies from the

Representing the government, Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Hiroya Masuda replied
to questions by Kan. However, they made replies that gave the
impression that they were just making excuses. Therefore, Kan
appeared to have won the battle through his provocative questions.

The opposition camp negatively reacted to the ruling coalition's
idea of submitting the stopgap bill. Prime Minister Fukuda, however,
remained on the sidelines.

7) DPJ determined to put up do-or-die resistance, including boycott,
to make public appeal; But lowering gasoline price in April almost
impossible, and DPJ needs to reformulate its strategy

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
January 29, 2008

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
reacted fiercely yesterday to the ruling bloc's notification that it
would submit to the Diet a stopgap bill extending the provisional
tax rate on gasoline until the end of May. The DPJ plans to make a
public appeal by playing up the ruling bloc's highhandedness, while
putting up do-or-die resistance, including physical resistance.
Given the difficulty to lower gasoline prices starting in April, the
DPJ needs to revamp its strategy.

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama and
other party executives discussed future measures at party
headquarters. As a result, they agreed to continue demanding the
abolition of the provisional tax rates to the last, saying that
(submitting a stopgap bill) is an act of ignoring the Diet by
suppressing deliberations.

Hatoyama said to reporters: "(Once a stopgap bill is presented), the
situation would not allow us to respond to a call for deliberations
so easily." He even pointed to the party's readiness to resort to

TOKYO 00000222 005 OF 011

boycotting deliberations, a strategy sealed off until recently.

At the same time, the DPJ is planning to make a public appeal by
contending that the ruling camp has blocked the gasoline price from
dropping by taking such a makeshift step. There is public
expectation that the gasoline price will decline 25 yen per liter
starting in April after the provisional tax rate expires. The DPJ
thinks public anger toward the ruling bloc can be amplified with the
right approach.

In order to play up the party's commitment to reducing the gasoline
price, the DPJ is also studying such steps as allowing the House of
Councillors to revise the Special Taxation Measures Law to exclude
the provisional tax rate portion from it and submitting a

Some DPJ executives are hopeful that a stopgap bill will turn into a
favorable wind for the largest opposition party.

At the same time, blocking the enactment in the current fiscal year
of a bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law would also end
up sealing off the strategy of lowering the gasoline price.

8) Provisional tax rate extension bill certain to affect Diet
timetable; Some committee sessions might stall

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
January 29, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito will submit today to
the House of Representatives a bill to maintain the current
provisional tax rate on gasoline and other taxes for two months
beyond their expiration. Dark clouds are hanging over the planned
stopgap bill in the Diet, which has just begun deliberating on the
fiscal 2007 supplementary budget.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda attended yesterday's Lower House Budget
Committee session, in which he highlighted the need to maintain the
provisional tax rates by introducing the fact that the gasoline tax
rates in European countries are higher than that in Japan out of
consideration for the environment. Fukuda said: "The situation is
such that European countries cannot help but ask, 'What is Japan's
measure for the environment?'"

In response, Democratic Party of Japan Deputy President Kan said,
"Priority is given only to areas with influential road-policy
specialists," while showing pictures of a bridge constructed in LDP
Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga's constituency. He also
explained the DPJ's call for abolishing the provisional tax rates.

The fierce battle between the ruling and opposition camp, both
focused on public opinion, made it clear that the question of
provisional tax rates is the biggest bone of contention in the
current Diet session.

Regarding the supplementary budget bill, the ruling and opposition
camps reached an agreement last weekend on: (1) taking a vote on it
in a Jan. 29 Lower House plenary session and sending it to the Upper
House, (2) an explanation on it at a Jan. 29 Upper House Budget
Committee session and holding question-and-answer sessions starting
on Jan. 30. The DPJ plans to oppose the supplementary budget.
However, regarding other budget-related bills, such as a bill

TOKYO 00000222 006 OF 011

amending the local tax grants law, the DPJ held talks with the
ruling bloc and reached a broad agreement on Jan. 28 out of
consideration for possible ramifications on local governments. Such
a reconciliatory mood is certain to change with the presentation to
the Diet of a bill extending the expirations of three tax-related

Against the ruling bloc's move to submit a bill extending the
expirations, the DPJ seems determined to even boycott deliberations
on other bills. In the DPJ-controlled Upper House, no specific date
might be determined for starting deliberations on the supplementary
budget bill. Such a development is certain to take a toll on the
fiscal 2008 budget deliberation timetable as well. Some ruling and
opposition camp members have also begun speculating that the matter
would spill over and cause confusion in the appointment of the new
Bank of Japan governor, to be presented to the Diet by the
government in early February.

9) Membership of China, India in G8 likely to be on agenda, but
Japan worried about losing its presence

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

The question of whether to admit China and India into the Group of
Eight (G8) has now cropped up as a matter for discussion in the
upcoming G8 Summit (G8 Toyako Summit). France has indicated its
intention to suggest granting them admission to the G8, and Britain
is showing signs of coming around to France's proposal. If their
accession to the G8 is allowed, Japan will lose its status as the
only Asian country in the G8. As the host nation of the summit,
Japan is likely to face difficulties in steering it well.

The proponent of expanding the G8 is French President Sarkozy. He
visited India late this month and adopted a joint statement saying
that the membership of the current G8 should be expanded into a
group of 13, including India. British Prime Minister Brown, as well,
conveyed his backing to the expansion of the G8 when he visited
India during this month.

The Japanese government is watching how France and Britain will
move, but it is worried. An official from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MOFA) pointed out: "Assuming that China and India are
admitted to the G8 sometime in the future, France and Britain may
calculate that it would be a wise policy for them to lead this
change." This official expressed concern that France and Britain,
motivated by their desire to do China and India a favor, may be
trying to spark debate about their membership of the G8 at the
upcoming Toyako Summit.

The Japanese government, which wants to produce tangible results in
dealing with climate change, basically has no objection to inviting
two major emitter nations, China and India, to the upcoming Toyako
Summit for discussion. But this is one thing, and whether to admit
those two countries into the G8 as formal members is another.

One Japanese government official expressed this concern about
Sarkozy's proposal: "If China and other countries are admitted into
the G8 before Japan obtains a permanent seat on the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC), Japan's voice will be further weakened."
Japan apparently would not oppose admitting some countries into the
G8, but would like to delay this expansion until it becomes a UNSC

TOKYO 00000222 007 OF 011

permanent member.

The battle between Japan and France over the matter is already
picking up momentum behind the scenes.

The "Sherpa" meeting for the G8 Toyako Summit was held in
mid-January in Tokyo. Sarkozy's Sherpa emphasized in the session:
"Last year, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa were
invited to the G8 Summit, but the time devoted for discussion with
them was only about an hour. In this year's G8 Summit, we need to
have a framework for in-depth discussion with them." An implicit
message from this French Sherpa was that new members, such as China
and India, were indispensable.

As the host nation of the G8 Toyako Summit, Japan is basically
authorized to decide which subjects should be placed on agenda. The
way Japan will take the proposal made by France and Britain for
admitting China and India into the G8 is likely to affect whether
the environmental issue, a centerpiece of this year's G8 Summit,
will produce results.

10) Japan, U.S., Britain to jointly propose at G-7 meeting plan to
create environment fund for developing countries

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Japan, the United States, and Britain have started coordination to
jointly propose at a meeting of Group of Seven (G-7) finance
ministers and central bank governors in Tokyo on Feb. 9 a plan to
establish an environment fund designed to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, according to informed sources yesterday. The move is
aimed at proliferating energy-conservation technology in developing
countries. The concept on an environment fund mechanism, which was
advocated by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in the annual meeting of
the World Economic Forum (Davos Conference), is now likely to move

The prime minister earlier expressed his willingness to create a
fund to support measures to be taken by developing countries to
protect the environment. At the upcoming G-7 meeting, Finance
Minister Fukushiro Nukaga, who will serve as chair, is expected to
propose setting up an environment fund into which other
industrialized countries than the G-7 member countries will also
contribute funds, besides Japan, the U.S., and Britain, all of whom
have promoted their own plans. The three countries will ask the
other members of the G-7 to offer cooperation for their joint
concept. They hope the concept will be included in the joint
statement to be issued in winding up the G-7 meeting.

The three countries aim at disseminating energy-conservation
technology in emerging powerhouses, like China and India. They also
plan to support developing countries' measures to deal with problems
caused by climate change, such as sea-level rise. The proposed fund
is likely to be managed by the World Bank.

The G-7 countries share the fear that climate change could stand in
the way of an expansion of the global economy. In its previous
session held last October, the joint statement inserted this
wording: "The G-7 will explore the possibility of creating a fund
designed to have technologies to generate clean energy come into
wide use in developing countries."

TOKYO 00000222 008 OF 011

11) Fukuda reveals Japan's target of halving greenhouse gas
emissions by 2050

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

In a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee
yesterday, Prime Minister Fukuda said: "Our nation will halve
emissions by 2050. Emissions will peak out (and start to decline) in
20 years or 30 years." The prime minister revealed Japan's long-term
target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions for the first time. The
"Cool Earth" initiative, announced by the government last May as its
basic policy to fight global warming, proposed a long-term goal of
halving the total amount of greenhouse gases worldwide by 2050, but
the government had stopped short of mentioning any specific target
for Japan.

The prime minister said: "If other countries fail to attain the goal
of halving emissions, Japan may have to make more efforts." He thus
referred to the possibility that a higher target may be set for
Japan. Environment Minister Kamoshita also said: "I think that 50
PERCENT is the minimum requirement."

Discussions have been conducted on a new international framework to
contain global warming beyond the 2012 timeframe set under the Kyoto
Protocol at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change and on other occasions.

Prior to the July Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido, which Fukuda will
chair, he apparently is aiming to play up his eagerness to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and display his leadership in international

12) Record high of 90 countries to participate in TICAD

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

A record high of 90 countries, 77 international organizations and 12
individuals are expected to attend the fourth Tokyo International
Conference on Africa Development (TICAD-4), which will be held in
May in Yokohama. The government, having already sent out
invitations, plans to ask leaders of African countries and
international institutions to take part in the conference.

The countries invited are 52 African nations, excluding Somalia, the
Group of Eight countries, Scandinavian countries, and China, which
have provided aid to Africa. Cambodia, which has experience in
rebuilding after conflict, and Vietnam, which is enthusiastic about
cooperating with developing countries, are also expected to join the
conference. The government is also asking former UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Nobel Peace
Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Grameen Bank, which extends
loans to poor people in Bangladesh, to participate in the
conference. A total of 89 countries and 47 international
organizations took part in the TICAD-3 in 2003. The number of
participants is expected to top those of the 2003 conference.

13) Chinese Communist Party leader to visit DPRK shortly to
jump-start stalled six-party talks, may meet with Kim Jong Il

TOKYO 00000222 009 OF 011

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Yasunobu Kiuchi, Beijing

Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist
Party of China, will shortly travel to North Korea, sources
well-versed in China-DPRK relations revealed yesterday. The official
purpose seems to be talks with the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), but
both sides are likely to have discussions on ending the stalemate in
the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue at a time when
the talks have been stalled owing to North Korea's delay in
declaring its nuclear programs.

This will be Wang's first visit to the DPRJ since he went there in
October 2005 accompanying President Hu Jintao. Wang is expected to
meet with the KWP leadership. As a special envoy of Hu Jintao, Wang
may convey a message to Kim Jong Il.

On the North Korean nuclear issue, the United States and other
countries insist that (North Korea) has not provided an accurate
declaration of its nuclear programs, while the North Koreans insist
they have already provided a declaration to the U.S. Both sides'
assertions have gotten nowhere.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who serves as the chair of
the six-party talks, met with his North Korean counterpart in the
six-party talks, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, in Pyongyang in
mid-December. No particular results were produced.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, America's chief
negotiator in the six-party talks, met with Wu and Wang in Beijing
on Jan. 11. After the session, Hill implied to the reporters that
their discussion focused on the issue of North Korea's declaration,
which has been delayed.

In February 2007, Wang visited North Korea immediately after the
North declared it possessed nuclear weapons and that it would
indefinitely suspend its participation in the six-party talks. After
meeting with Kim Jong Il, Wang elicited from Kim a positive attitude
of returning to the six-party talks. That is why Wang's visit to
North Korea this time is drawing attention as to whether it will
move the now stalled nuclear issue forward.

14) Japan Coast Guard official onboard whaler

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

A Japan Coast Guard (JCG) official is onboard the Nisshinmaru,
Japan's lead ship in its research whaling fleet operating in the
Southern Ocean. This is the second time for the JCG to place an
official on a ship other than a JCG patrol ship outside Japan's
territorial waters. The first case was in 1992. At that time, a JCG
official was on the Akatsukimaru when it carried plutonium.
Antiwhaling groups are boosting their protest activities, so the
JCG's action this time is unusual.

The research whaling fleet left the port of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi
Prefecture on Nov. 18 last year. The JCG official embarked on a
whaler that left port after the Nisshinmaru, and the official joined
the lead ship in December.

TOKYO 00000222 010 OF 011

In February 2006, a foreign antiwhaling group carried out protest
activities, with its members throwing bottles that contained
chemicals at a Japanese whaler. Last fall, the Fisheries Agency,
concerned about the escalation of protest activities, asked the JCG
to place an official onboard.

The JCG official is tasked with videotaping protest activities and
evacuating crewmen. The official is also authorized to arrest
antiwhaling activists if and when they illegally board a Japanese

On Jan. 15, two members of Sea Shepherd, an antiwhaling group,
boarded a Japanese research whaling ship. They were detained there.
At that time, the JCG official was on another ship operating in a
different area.

When the Akatsukimaru was on the plutonium sealift mission, a JCG
special task force was onboard the ship. However, this fact was not
revealed at the time.

15) Ishiba pushing own plan for permanent SDF dispatch law

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba is eager to create a permanent law
allowing Japan to send the Self-Defense Forces for overseas missions
whenever necessary. Ishiba is now pushing his own plan as a basis
for discussions on the permanent legislation. His plan, however,
steps into the area of reinterpreting the Constitution. Government
officials and ruling party lawmakers are therefore showing a cool

In August 2006, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's defense policy
review subcommittee worked out a legislative measure for Japan's
international peace cooperation as a draft bill for the permanent
legislation. In those days, Ishiba presided over the subcommittee.
This plan failed to get the LDP's approval and is now handled as a
private plan of Ishiba and other subcommittee members.

Later on, the Diet debated on a now-enacted new antiterrorism
special measures law. The Diet debate prompted calls for creating a
permanent law. Ishiba then brought up his draft plan for the
permanent legislation. "I have presented a basis for a permanent
law," Ishiba said. "To begin with," he added, "the permanent law's
system needs to obtain understanding." He also said: "This proposal
has yet to be brought to fruition. That's attributable to my lack of
effort." With this, he has begun working on the government and the

However, Ishiba's draft plan proposes easing the government's
current guidelines for SDF personnel's use of weapons on overseas
missions, suggesting the need for SDF troops to go to the help of
foreign troops under attack and use weapons to defend them. In
addition, the Ishiba plan also proposes allowing Japan to send SDF
troops to a foreign country at its request, even if there is no
resolution passed at the United Nations. To translate these
proposals into action, the government will need to reinterpret the
Constitution, which prohibits Japan from participating in collective

TOKYO 00000222 011 OF 011

New Komeito-the LDP's coalition partner-was cautious about the idea
of creating a permanent law for SDF activities overseas, and the
party has now begun to discuss the permanent legislation. However,
New Komeito is strongly opposed to constitutional reinterpretation.
The Ishiba plan's hurdle is too high for New Komeito to clear. "We
should discuss the permanent legislation from scratch," one of New
Komeito's lawmakers said. Ishiba calls himself an expert in the
security realm. However, his 'self-confident work' is a far cry from
being acceptable to the government and ruling parties.

16) MOFA probes affiliate over defense corruption

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 29, 2008

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday conducted an on-the-spot
inspection of the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange,
an incorporated body under the Foreign Ministry's jurisdiction. On
the center's board of directors is Naoki Akiyama, who was summoned
to the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in
connection with Vice Defense Minister Moriya's bribery case. The
inspection was intended to check and see if the center was operated
in an appropriate manner. The inspection was conducted in the
presence of Akiyama. Officials from the Foreign Ministry's Public
Diplomacy Department checked accounting and property management
books and other files while interviewing Akiyama. The Foreign
Ministry will scrutinize the inspection and will inform the center
of points to be improved, if any.


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