Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 01/29/08

DE RUEHKO #0229/01 0290828
P 290828Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



INQUIRIES: 03-3224-5360
January 29, 2008

(1) Four stopgap bills submitted to Diet in past following Lower
House dissolutions (Mainichi)

(2) Ruling parties to submit stopgap gasoline rate bill; Rates'
expiration in April feared (Mainichi)

(3) Editorial: Stopgap gas tax rate bill; Ruling parties should
improve Diet deliberations instead of using clever parliamentary
tricks (Tokyo Shimbun)

(4) Editorial: Stopgap bill cannot resolve issue (Mainichi)

(5) Otaru City says it will be difficult to accept USS Blue Ridge's
port call next month (Asahi)

(6) Otaru City turns down U.S. Navy's request on its ship's port
call (Akahata)

(7) Editorial: Prime Minister Fukuda's speech in Davos fails to
inspire (Tokyo Shimbun)

(8) Outlook for 2008-Cutting the world (Sankei)

(9) Japan on defensive over whaling (Asahi)


(1) Four stopgap bills submitted to Diet in past following Lower
House dissolutions

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
January 29, 2008

With the aim of temporarily extending the terms of tax-related
legislation, the government submitted stopgap bills four times in
the past: 1953, 1955, 1967 and 1970. In all cases, the House of
Representatives was dissolved either between December and January or
in late March, thereby forcing the government to submit stopgap
bills as the last resort to secure sufficient time for deliberating
on legislation beyond their March 31 expiration. This time, the
Lower House was not dissolved. Concerned that the situation might
result in a censure motion against the prime minister, (the ruling
coalition) has decided to submit a stopgap bill in the form of
lawmaker-initiated legislation. It can said to be a rare case under
the divided Diet in which the ruling bloc has a majority in the
Lower House and the opposition camp controls the House of

In 1953, then Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida dissolved the Lower
House on March 14 following the chamber's adoption of a
no-confidence motion against him. The government submitted a stopgap

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bill to an Upper House emergency meeting on March 18. The bill was
then enacted by the Upper House alone and was later approved by the
Lower House after the election in accordance with a constitutional

In 1955, the Lower House was dissolved on Jan. 24. The Diet convened
on March 18, and a stopgap bill was submitted to the Diet on March
24 and was adopted on 31.

This time around, there still remain two months before the current
fiscal year ends on March 31. This reflects the ruling bloc's aim to
secure 60 days for the bill's re-adoption by the Lower House in case
Upper House deliberations are prolonged by the opposition camp.

(2) Ruling parties to submit stopgap gasoline rate bill; Rates'
expiration in April feared

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
January 29, 2008

The ruling bloc has decided to submit to the Diet a stopgap bill
extending the term of validity of the provisional tax rate on
gasoline for two months without waiting for the full-fledged
"gasoline Diet." Once the term expires, gasoline prices will drop 25
yen per liter. Alarmed by the prospect that the public will welcome
the rate's expiration, the ruling camp has decided to delay the
timeframe to lower prices. The decision also reflects the ruling
bloc's intention to buy time with the aim of softening the stance of
the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto),
which is opposed to maintaining the provisional tax rate. The DPJ,
which envisages a decisive battle in April following the rate's
expiration, is visibly upset.

Afraid of Lower House dissolution

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki attended a
government-ruling bloc meeting yesterday, in which he underlined the
need to submit a stopgap bill, saying, "It is safety net legislation
to prevent the economy and people's lives from falling into
turmoil." Guiding discussions in the party, Ibuki brushed aside
strong reluctance in the party.

The LDP leadership had initially planned to have a bill amending the
Special Taxation Measures Law, including a step to extend the
provisional tax rates for 10 years, clear the Lower House in
mid-February and press the DPJ for the enactment of the bill within
the current fiscal year. The provisional tax rates expire on March
31. They figured that even if the legislation was voted down in the
Upper House, the rates' expiration can be avoided with the Lower
House's re-adoption of the legislation.

But if the DPJ protracts deliberations and the revision bill fails
to clear the Diet before March 31, gasoline prices will drop 25 yen
per liter starting in April. Even if the Lower House managed to
readopt it afterwards, raising the gasoline prices that are closely
associated with people's lives back to the previous level would draw
a strong public outcry. Also alarmed by possible political turmoil
forcing Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda for Lower House dissolution,
Ibuki and others have come up with the rare approach of submitting a
stopgap bill to get it clear the Lower House before the end of

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They opted for the stopgap bill instead of a revision bill, thinking
that would help soften the opposition camp's reaction. Before long,
the government and ruling parties are scheduled to present the DPJ
with the appointment of the new Bank of Japan governor, which
requires the Upper House's concurrence. They are also considering
settling the matter through talks between Prime Minister Fukuda and
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa. They also have decided that it would be
wise to submit the stopgap bill in order to search for common ground
with the DPJ regarding the provisional rates' term of validity and
their use.

Nevertheless, the makeshift approach just for averting gasoline
price cuts might add fuel to public criticism and affect the budget
deliberation timetable depending on how the opposition bloc reacts.
An LDP executive also complained about double work to enact the
stopgap bill and the Special Taxation Measures Law revision bill.

Submitting censure motion difficult

DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka indicated to
reporters that his party would put up do-or-die resistance, saying:
"The law's term of validity will soon expire, so (the ruling bloc)
is trying to take a deceptive step." Before reporters, DPJ Deputy
President Naoto Kan also criticized the ruling parties: "It means
the ruling bloc, armed with a two-thirds majority, has ruled out
discussions. It has denied the Diet itself." The stopgap bill,
however, might derail the DPJ's plan to force the prime minister
into dissolving the Lower House for a general election.

The DPJ plans to drive the government and ruling coalition to a
tight corner in April when gasoline prices might actually drop. The
largest opposition party is eager to link the issue of gasoline
prices, which is closely associated with people's lives, to the
government's budget bill with the aim of enlisting public support.
Gasoline prices will not fall if the stopgap legislation clears the
Diet. Additionally, the ruling bloc's decision to submit the
makeshift legislation based on its re-adoption in the Lower House
indicates the prime minister's intention not to dissolve the Lower
House for the time being. In yesterday morning's meeting of
opposition party Diet affairs committee chiefs, many pointed out the
absence of intention to dissolve the Lower House from the prime
minister who does not want to lose a two-thirds majority in the
Lower House.

The DPJ can still resort to submitting a censure motion against the
prime minister in the Upper House. In the event the stopgap
legislation passes through the Diet, the next deadline would be May
31. If the bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law to extend
the provisional tax rates for 10 years is enacted around that time
when the July G8 Summit is just around the corner, to what extent
the DPJ can put up resistance is unknown. Even if the stopgap
legislation is readopted in the Lower House, submitting a censure
motion in the Upper House does not seem appropriate.

Blocking the ruling camp's plan to get the stopgap legislation clear
the Lower House before the end of this month also seems difficult.
The reason is because the DPJ's strategy of boycotting Diet
deliberations amid financial woes resulting from plummeting stock
prices is expected to draw heavy fire from the public. Diet affairs
chief Yamaoka briefed Ozawa on the outlook around yesterday noon, in
which the opposition president reportedly said, "I'm tired." Some
DPJ members have begun voicing hopes for the Diet chairs and others

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to step in to settle the matter in some fashion.

(3) Editorial: Stopgap gas tax rate bill; Ruling parties should
improve Diet deliberations instead of using clever parliamentary

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Isn't it outrageous for the ruling parties to try to submit to the
Diet today a stopgap bill extending the provisional gas tax rate as
an emergency measure and then have it pass the Lower House? What
the people want to see is not a clever parliamentary trick but
substantive Diet deliberations.

The ruling camp's submitting a stopgap bill is probably like a
writer asking for extension on the deadline for his work. However,
no writers would ask for extension even before picking up their pen.
It is strange for the ruling parties to try to extend the expiration
of the provisional tax rate from the end of March to the end of May,
without even deliberating on the details of the tax rate.

In a bid to score points by obtaining a reduction in gasoline
prices, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), the
dominant party in the Upper House, is bound to put up resistance to
the gasoline tax bill's passage within the current fiscal year or
the stopgap bill amending the Special Tax Measures Law in order to
keep the provisional tax rate beyond April. Delay in the passage of
the bill could disrupt people's lives with the central and local
governments suffering tax-revenue shortfalls.

Provided the revised bill passes the Lower House this month, it
would be possible for the ruling camp, using a 60-day rule if the
DPJ stalls on the roll call in the Upper House, to pass it by a
second vote in the Lower House and put it into effect before the end
of the current fiscal year. However, since it is impossible for the
bill to clear the Lower House by the end of January, there not being
enough time, the ruling camp aims at passing the original bill
without fail, after securing Diet approval for the stopgap bill
extending the expiration of the provisional tax rate.

With the victory of a ruling-camp-backed candidate in the much
spotlighted Osaka gubernatorial election, the ruling parties
immediately moved ahead and submitted the stopgap bill in one sweep.
In actuality, however, the Osaka candidate's name recognition
greatly contributed to his victory. The ruling camp should be aware
that the election outcome does not mean that they have regained
popular support.

The opposition parties are fiercely resisting the ruling parties'
move, arguing that they are using their numbers to control the Diet,
and are acting without regard to the public. A planned meeting among
secretaries general of the ruling and opposition parties fell

through. The DPJ is determined to resort to even physical resistance
if the ruling camp rams the bill through the Lower House. There are
indications of major turmoil coming.

We do not want to see stormy sessions in the Diet, given that the
opposition now controls the Upper House and the ruling camp controls
the Lower House. We want Diet members to focus on problems so far
overlooked, using the current situation as a good opportunity for
discussions that take the public's perspective in mind. The

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special-purpose road construction revenue issue is indeed symbolic
in that sense.

Is it really necessary to spend 59 trillion yen for projects under a
10-year road building plan? Why do the ruling parties want to extend
the provisional tax rate for another 10 years? Both the ruling and
opposition parties are responsible for coming up with convincing
answers to such questions. The New Komeito has proposed setting up
an advisory body on the road issue. If panel members openly
deliberate issues in the Diet, it would be worth listening to the

As Tokyo Shimbun pointed out when the ruling camp adopted the new
refueling legislation, they should be cautious about exercising
their right to put a bill to a second vote in the Lower House. This
is especially true this time, because they will likely have to
exercise the right twice. The DPJ would not be able to gain the
public's understanding either, if it delays Diet deliberations on
the bill in a manner that makes resorting to such a resolution a
foregone conclusion. There are two months to go until the end of
March. It is too soon for them to opt for clever tricks.

(4) Editorial: Stopgap bill cannot resolve issue

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Are the government and ruling parties trying to seriously enact an
ad hoc bill? There are serious questions about their approach.

The law that stipulates the current provisional rates for gasoline
and other road-related taxes will expire at the end of March. The
government has already submitted to the Diet a bill extending by 10
years the provisional tax rates. However, there is no hope that the
legislation will clear the Diet before the end of March due to
opposition by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto).

Therefore, the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito ruling coalition
plans to present a stopgap bill initiated by lawmakers to put off
the deadlines for the provisional tax rates for two months, and get
the bill through the House of Representatives before the end of
January. Even if the DPJ drags out taking a vote on after the bill
is sent to the House of Councillors, the ruling coalition will be
able to enact it before the end of March by resorting to the
so-called 60-day rule, which allows for a bill to be sent back to
the Lower House if the bill has not been voted on within 60 days
after being presented to the upper chamber.

The ruling camp's plan is that if this approach is taken, it will be
possible to prevent the provisional tax rates from becoming
temporarily null and void even if the enactment of the 10-year
extension bill is delayed to April or later.

It was known that when the law would expire and the DPJ would
strongly oppose the law's extension. That's why Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda said in his policy speech that the ruling and opposition
camps should discuss well based on the relationship of trust.

The ruling coalition's way of submitting a stopgap bill at the time
when deliberations on the bill to maintain the provisional tax rates
for ten years have yet to start, ignoring Fukuda's suggestion, can
be called "an outlandish scheme." The outlandish measure can be

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effective temporarily, but it creates a problem without fail. What
came to light from a series of moves is the persistence of the
government and ruling parties that they never give up on the
revenues for road construction coming from the provisional tax

In contrast to its slogan that unnecessary roads would not be built,
the Koizumi cabinet's reform of Japan Highway Public Corp. ended as
a half-baked reform. Even though, the Koizumi government's policy
goal of shifting the revenues for road construction to the general
budget was taken over by the Abe cabinet.

However, the road maintenance and improvement plan compiled last
December by the Fukuda cabinet incorporated a policy of putting the
revenues into road projects for 10 years from fiscal 2008. It is
obvious that the Fukuda government has retreated from the reform
stance assumed by the two former cabinets.

Based on a deep repentance for its crushing defeat in the Upper
House election last summer, the LDP's real intention is probably to
support construction firms in rural areas through road projects.
Since the party cannot speak about it boldly, Prime Minister Fukuda
and other officials have stated that the provisional tax rates
constrain gasoline consumption and that it is an environmentally
friendly tax system.

If the LDP asserts that abolition of the provisional tax rates goes
against anti-global warming efforts, it should ask the opposition
camp to hold policy consultations on a plan to set up an environment
tax. It should not switch and justify its argument.

The DPJ is also responsible for creating circumstances to allow the
ruling coalition to come up with the stopgap bill. The reason is
that it is crystal clear that the DPJ is trying to force the Prime
Minister to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election by setting
a cut in gasoline prices as its goal.

Gasoline sales and distribution should not be disrupted for the sake
of Lower House dissolution. The government and ruling coalition
should find tenaciously some common ground between the ruling and
opposition camps, and not rely on a clever tricks.

(5) Otaru City says it will be difficult to accept USS Blue Ridge's
port call next month

ASAHI (Hokkaido edition) (Page 27) (Full)
January 29, 2008

The United States Navy has requested a port call Feb. 7-11 by the
Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Seventh Fleet home-ported at
Yokosuka Naval Base. In response to the request, the port manager of
Otaru City yesterday revealed that he had just told the harbor
master of Otaru (director general of the Otaru Regional Coast Guard
Department) to avoid having the vessel pay a port call on the
grounds that it would be difficult to prepare a quay because every
quay the USS would come alongside is scheduled to be used by
commercial vessels for loading or unloading. Reportedly, the city
for the first time has answered that it would be difficult to meet
the U.S. Navy's request for the port call.

According to the U.S. Forces Japan's (USFJ) port-call request made
to the Japan Coast Guard, it was hoped that the ship could berth in

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a quay from Feb. 7, 10:00 a.m. through Feb. 11, 10:00 a.m. The
purpose of the port call reportedly is to make a goodwill and
friendship visit.

Norio Yamazaki, director of the city government's General Affairs
Department, explained at a press conference that the port would be
crowded by commercial vessels. The city official said: "The places
for USS (Blue Ridge) to berth in the port are limited to four
because of water depth. Large vessels are scheduled to arrive around
then. So, there is no available space. The proposed port call would
cause trouble."

(6) Otaru City turns down U.S. Navy's request on its ship's port

AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Hokkaido's Otaru City (headed by Mayor Katsumaro Yamada) yesterday
declared that it would turn down a request made by the United States
Navy to have the Seventh Fleet's command ship, USS Blue Ridge, make
a port call at the city.

The city government said that it would be difficult to prepare a
quay for the Blue Ridge because any quay the ship would come
alongside is scheduled to be in use by commercial vessels or for
loading and unloading. Otaru Port has four quays that the Blue Ridge
can come alongside, but those quays are solely for cargo or
container vessels.

According to a classified document that the Ryukyu Shimpo obtained
regarding the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) related to the
Japan-U.S. military alliance, Otaru Port and Muroran Port (in
Muroran City, Hokkaido) are named as preferred ports for the U.S.
Navy. Every year, U.S. Navy ships call at those ports.

Blue Ridge is scheduled to make a port call on Feb. 7-11, while
Seventh Fleets' Aegis ship John S. McCain is planned to arrive at
Ishikari Bay New Port around the same time.

Yutaka Saito, chief of the Secretariat of the Otaru Federation of
Workers Unions, said: "I think the city government, apparently
influenced by our continued refusal to let warships' port calls at a
commercial and peace port,' as well as our continued protests, would
have made such a decision. I'll let this be known to the public."

Otaru City Assembly member Yoshinori Kitano, who belongs to the
Japanese Communist Party, commented: "Commercial use is cited as the
reason to turn down the request, but I think this decision could be
essentially taken as rejecting U.S. warships' port calls. We will
urge the city government, which has described itself as a peace city
aiming to eliminate nuclear weapons across the world, to definitely
reject a port call by any warship."

(7) Editorial: Prime Minister Fukuda's speech in Davos fails to

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
January 29, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at an annual meeting of the World
Economic Forum (Davos Conference) released a greenhouse gas

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emissions reduction initiative, including the setting up of
country-by-country aggregate emissions goals. The statement was well
prepared and polished. However, the point is to whom his speech gave

He said, "In order to turn Japan into a low-carbon-consuming
society, I have decided to fundamentally revise all of our systems,
including the production mechanism, lifestyle and the desired forms
of cities and the traffic system." We want to give high marks to his

He also categorically declared, "Japan along with other major
greenhouse gas emitters will address a reduction in such gases, by
setting country-by-country aggregate reduction goals."

However, the specifics of his proposal are vague.

The prime minister said that such goals should be set, based on a
sector-by-sector buildup method.

This is a method of each country settling a goal, by estimating the
amounts of reductions each sector, such as household, industry,
electric power or steel, can achieve, while taking into account
progress of energy-conserving technologies, and setting the
aggregate amount as its target.

It is certainly a realistic proposal which each country would find
it easy to take part. However, would it be possible to attain the
absolute goal of rescuing human beings from the crisis of global
warming with a "do-as-much-as-we-can" stance? As the prime minister
himself stressed in his speech, there is now an urgent need to deal
with climate change.

The prime minister also stated that the base year for greenhouse gas
emissions cuts as stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol should be
revised. His statement indicates his consideration to domestic
business circles, which claim that setting 1990 as a target year, by
which time Japan had fully developed energy-conserving measures, is
disadvantageous for it.

The world would not be inspired by such a proposal that reflects a
stance of giving priority to his own country's interests.

To begin with, the agreement reached by the Ad Hoc Working Group on
Further Commitments for Annex 1 Parties late last year at the
COP13/CMP3 in Bali categorically mentions that the point the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made that it is
necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 PERCENT -40 PERCENT
by 2020, compared with the 1990 levels.

This figure is now the basic assumption in the world. The U.S. is
opposing the proposal just for the sake of securing its own
benefits, knowing that it goes against the trend. The world would
not like the statement, which stepped back from the Kyoto Protocol
with the prime minister himself denying the pact.

In order for the prime minister to display leadership at the Lake
Toya Summit in Hokkaido, he should go further and clarify a specific
goal to be achieved by Japan in compliance with the IPCC's

Business circles should also regain the spirit that they had

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displayed when they tided over the oil crises 35 years ago.
Otherwise, their distance from the world and the "earth" will become
even widen.

(8) Outlook for 2008-Cutting the world

SANKEI (Page 12&13) (Full)
January 24, 2008

Okamoto: Japan must see the historical turning point
Sato: Is "Japan passing" acceptable?

The year 2008 has set in with crude oil prices soaring and stock
markets plunging worldwide. The world in 2008 looks stormy from the
very outset. The Sankei Shimbun presents the first round of
dialogues between Yukio Okamoto, a consultant on international
affairs and former Foreign Ministry official, and Masaru Sato, a
writer and a Foreign Ministry official currently suspended and under
indictment. How will this year turn out for the world and Japan?
Okamoto underscores the "historical turning point" of this year,
while Sato points to "the importance of ideas." Both Okamoto and
Sato stressed the need for Japan to ready itself for global changes.
(Moderator: Akio Takahata, a senior editorial writer for the Sankei

-- Last year, there were major events in Japan and in the world.
This year as well, we will see big changes, such as the U.S. and
Russian presidential elections. How do you think this year will turn
out in the world?

Sato: This is rough thinking, but there's something I can say about
both 2007 and 2008. I think that there is a growing fear of a third
world war, unlike past years. I don't mean at all to fan the flames
of war, but there is already a war on terror going on following the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. This war is
asymmetrical. This kind of war is one trend. Another trend is the
outbreak of regional conflicts, as we have seen in the past years. I
don't know what would happen if these two trends somehow linked
together. The Middle East especially is like a big volcano ready to
blow. However, I think we can expect to see incidents of Islamic
terrorism in Pakistan, as well as in the Balkans, including Kosovo,
Albania, and Bosnia. So we must change our way of thinking, or we
will not be able to see the threat coming. This is the situation I
see developing. This is my first point. Secondly, I feel that
thought is very important. Islamic fundamentalism is a kind of
thought. So is China's view of scientific growth. Putin is exploring
ethnicity as a principle in order to rebuild Eurasiasm. Neocon
(neoconservatism or neoconservatives) in America is also represent a
kind of thought or set of ideas.

Okamoto: You said thought has become very important. That's
interesting. I agree. Neo-conservatism today stems from Podhoretz,
Kristol, and other socialists close to being Trotskyites. They all
turned rightists. Converts turn radical. However, the role of the
American neo-conservatism is over.

Sato: But the neoconservatives have settled down and are now taking
interesting positions. They are stressing their sense of values in
their respective positions. They are melding together their
neo-conservatism with a kind of realism to reshape it.

At any rate, ideas remain important. North Korea has strongly set

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forth its military-first thinking. Japan is the only country without
thought. What's more, Japan cannot seem to tell what's wrong, so it
cannot see a crisis even if it arises before its eyes. That's
strange, I think. Although America is thinking of global stability
and peace in its global strategy, it only serves to make other
countries become increasingly irritated at it. They would like to
express their irritation with the U.S. in words, but they just
cannot. The United States also cannot seem to grasp well how
irritated other countries are with it. I don't see a bright picture.
I think this year will be very difficult.

Okamoto: In 1993, after the Soviet Union collapsed, I attended a
seminar in the United States. There were many prominent people at
that meeting. I remember that everyone at the forum was saying we
were at the biggest turning point in 300 years. They said something
like this. Humanism was established with the Renaissance. After
that, industrial society came into being. And then, a bourgeois
revolution took place. Over the next 300 years, an international
system was established, mainly composed of nation states. Now, we're
again at the beginning of another 300 year timespan. This is what
they said. In the next 300 years, sovereign states would not be the
only players in international politics, including individuals,
international organizations, regional communities, and business
entities. This is what they had in mind.

-- 300 years is a long time, isn't it?

Okamoto: I don't know if everyone there was thinking like that.
However, what they said was proved by the terrorist attacks on 9-11.
It was ironic, though. They said that non-state players might shock
the world like this. Of course, I don't think the war on terror will
continue as long as 300 years. They forecasted that individuals
would become major players during the next 300 years. This does not
necessarily mean that the war on terror will continue over the next
300 years. However, the frameworks and groupings of sovereign states
now regulate international politics. But we will probably have to
change this system to a considerable extent, I think. That's one
point. One other point is the emergence of the BRICs (short for
Brazil, Russia, India, and China as newly emerging countries).
However, Russia must not be put on the same plane as the other newly
emerging countries. Russia is advanced both in its civilization and
its science and technology. That's why. However, the BRICs
countries, including Russia, have made a huge economic impact.

Sato: You're right.

Okamoto: China's per capita GDP is now at the same level as Japan's
per capita GDP in 1970. The Tokyo that I knew in 1970 is not so
different from now, with some exceptions. In those days, Japan was
well off. This means that China today is already 11 times larger
than Japan was in those days. It is huge. Japan's GDP is about 61
times larger in nominal terms from 50 years ago as of 2006. When we
factor in yen appreciation and inflation, it's 11 times larger in
real terms. So China is outpacing Japan in those days. What will it
be like in the future? For example, China's GDP in real terms will
be five times Japan's some day, I think. The population of 1.3
billion times five-this at least means that there will be an
economic population of 6.5 billion suddenly. How many people can
live on the earth? When we say it's 10 billion or 12 billion at the
most, China alone accounts for more than 6 billion in terms of
economic population or the potentiality of consuming natural

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-- What a day...

Okamoto: Currently, India's population is 1.1 billion. The
population of that country will increase to 1.8 billion by 2050. The
earth cannot provide for that many people. Then, the question is
what we should do. That's already clear, I think. It's to make
serious progress in solving our environmental problems. The third
point is that America has now stumbled to a considerable extent.
When we see opinion polls, the number of countries that dislike
America is overwhelming (as compared with the number of pro-U.S.

Sato: The United States has become something like the Roman Empire.

Okamoto: That's right. In Europe, Italy is the only country that
likes America much better, when compared with China. In Asia, Japan
is the only country that says things like that. If the United States
keeps losing its credibility, then we may well wonder what Japan
will do.

-- Japan is saddled with heavy homework, isn't it?

Okamoto: Japan has been pulling back. Though it was just for a
while, Japan pulled out of the Indian Ocean (i.e., the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission). Today, Japan's staffing for
the United Nations' peacekeeping operations (PKO) numbers only 51
persons-centering on the Golan Heights. However, China has 1,810
persons carrying out PKO. China already has 35 times more people
than Japan carrying out PKO contributions. The way things are going,
the world will say, "Goodbye, Japan. Hello, China."

Sato: Moreover, Japan has its own logic that only makes sense to us
Japanese. In the international community, Japan tries to develop its
own logic. The world is even simpler in its logic: Japan is no
longer in the Indian Ocean. In Afghanistan, Taliban is coming back.
Osama bin Laden also keeps showing up. Syria is being increasingly
suspected of developing nuclear weapons. The world asks, "Japan
pulled out when things got dangerous, but why?" The world is asking
Japan to give an easy-to-understand explanation. However, Japan is
only saying, "Well, it was for domestic reasons; it was because of
confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties." The world
would then say, "All right. Japan has no sense of crisis." They
would also ask, "Will things always become a political issue in
Japan?" But the former prime minister said he would stake his
political life. "What the hell! What do Japanese politicians mean
when they say something?" Such questions would come out. One of the
cabinet ministers even went so far as to say, "A friend of my friend
is an Al Qaeda member." That sounds like a great mystery of the

Okamoto: Ha ha ha! People overseas may think that a friend of an Al
Qaeda member's friend is Japan's justice minister. That's

Sato: But he is not being blamed for his words by the international
community. There's such a reality. That's scary, isn't it?

Okamoto: He's not blamed because he's become a laughingstock.

Sato: That means they don't think Japan is an international player.
Two foreign friends told me that they are reading Ruth Benedict's

TOKYO 00000229 012 OF 014

work, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. They said, "Japan is a great
mystery of the Orient. That's why." I got mad. So I asked, "What's
so exotic about Japan?" They said, "It's Japan's wholehearted
devotion to something." The Japanese people's devotion to something
is like an exponential power in math. Whatever the base figure is,
they don't care about it. Japan will work hard on a task given.
Japan does not have fundamental values or ethics, and Japanese think
they have only to work harder and harder. That's the only process
Japan has. That's why they say, "Japanese work harder and harder
until they succeed, and that's scary."

-- Do they mean we have no philosophy or values and we have only a

Sato: Yes. I hate to admit it. But Ruth Benedict is again walking
tall. That's a book that analyzed Japan as an enemy, so we have to
argue back in an effective way. It all overlaps with Okinawa issues,
the abductions, and the northern territories. Japan develops a logic
that is incomprehensible to the international community. Even so,
Japan will get angry when Japan thinks it was insulted. At the
personal level, "monster parents" will unreasonably pressure their
children's schools to let their kids get full marks. They are only
thinking about themselves. This country's national identity is now
shrinking. That's the way Japan is, and the question is how to turn
Japan around.

Okamoto: A half century before The Chrysanthemum and the Sword was
out, Edward Morse wrote Japan Day by Day. In that book, Morse
praised the Japanese people. That's basically because of their
sincerity. But Morse was overwhelmed by the Japanese public's noble
sense of values. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This is the first of a two-section article.

9) Japan on defensive over whaling

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

Japan' research whaling operations in the Southern Sea are
attracting world media attention. Environmental-protection groups
have shown actual footage of their protest activities against
Japan's whaling ships in media reports and on the Internet, as a
strategy to expand public opinion against whaling in the
international community. Meanwhile, the Japanese government is
stepping up efforts to counter acts of sabotage with explanations in
English, but it remains at odds with anti-whaling countries that
specify the whale is a mammal that must be protected.

Protest ships send message to international community

"We saved 1200 whales." On Jan. 27, a senior member of the
environment-protection group Greenpeace, which had been chasing by
boat the Japanese research whaling ship Nisshin Maru, claimed
victory to a New Zealand media company. Although the Greenpeace gave
up the pursuit because the boat was running out of fuel, the group
judged that their activity produced positive results.

Two members of Sea Shepherd (SS) briefly boarded the research
whaling ship Yushin Maru No.2 from its protest boat. The boat is
still chasing the Japanese ship. SS Captain Paul Watson proudly said
in a telephone interview with the Asahi Shimbun: "Not even one whale

TOKYO 00000229 013 OF 014

was killed over the past several days owing to our activities. This
fact can be cited as our most significant success." Sea Shepherd,
which was founded in 1977, is known for its radical activities.

But its media campaign has produced more achievements than those
from acts of sabotage. A cameraman and a TV program production
member have also been on board the SS boat. Video footage taken
there gets sent around the world in an instant via Internet and
satellite. Watson said: "We had an interview with a news company of
a Latin American nation. We also received e-mails from Japanese
citizens saying that they did not know that they (Japanese) have
been killing whales."

A senior officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries grumbled: "Radical anti-whaling groups and Western media
companies have criticized Japan in chorus, but such cannot be called
international public opinion." The argument that Japan is a bad guy
is about to gain influence in the international community. In such a
situation, the Fisheries Agency has begun to report on acts of
sabotage since the last time and has made it possible to show the
footage of scenes of sabotage. In addition, several officers from
the Japan Coast Guard have unprecedentedly been on board the
research ship, though this has not been publicized.

The Institute of Cetacean Research, which has been engaged in
research whaling, has shown on its website pictures of the detained
protesters relaxing and enjoying themselves on the ship with
explanations both in Japanese and English. The institute was
particularly careful so that the two were not referred to as
hostages. It has poured more energy into a defensive battle by
hiring a foreigner who speaks four languages in preparation for
interviews with foreign media companies.

Radical acts criticized even in Australia

Why is the Japanese whaling expedition drawing so much attention?
British BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher, who was on a Greenpeace
ship, replied by e-mail to the above question by the Asahi Shimbun:
"Japan's decision to also catch the humpback whale, the most popular
whale specie, made its whaling operations an international political

Australia, which has taken the lead in opposing whaling, used to
hunt whales for their oil and bones since the late 18th century. But
the whaling industry declined due to the proliferation of
alternative products and a decrease in the number of whales as a
result of overhunting. In 1979, the Australian government stopped
whaling, and instead whale watching tours and cruises have been
planned. Such tours are now chief attractions in tourism in
Australia. According to the government's tourism bureau, whale
watching tours attract 1.6 million tourists every year, with the
scale of the market swelling to 300 million Australian dollars, or
about 28 billion yen. Among various species of whales, many tourists
particularly love the humpback whale, so they fiercely react to
Japan (for its whaling operations).

But even in Australia, there are many critics of the radical acts of
sabotage by such groups as Sea Shepherd. The Australian newspaper
Sydney Morning Herald carried a contributed letter saying: "It is
unfortunate to bash Japan over the whaling issue." Charlotte
Epstein, professor at the University of Sydney, commented: "(The
activities by Sea Shepherd) have aversely affected moves by other

TOKYO 00000229 014 OF 014

environment-protection groups that are legally calling for
suspending whaling. Such activities are incurring reactions from
Japanese people, resulting in complicating the issue."

Dialogues between pro-whalers and anti-whalers have also been
launched. The Pew Charitable Trusts, a research institute of the
U.S., will hold a Tokyo whaling symposium on Jan. 30-31 at United
Nations University in Tokyo. About 90 representatives from the
governments, NGO, and research institutes of 28 countries, including
Japan, will exchange personal views. A senior policy advisor of the
institute said: "It is necessary to construct a relationship of
trust and deepen mutual understanding."


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