Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 01/30/08

DE RUEHKO #0247/01 0302254
P 302254Z JAN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) U.S. President's State of Union address: Leadership marred by
Iraq issue (Nikkei)

(2) President Bush's State of the Union address: His diplomacy
appears stalemated, lacks enthusiasm to resolve North Korean issue

(3) Editorial - U.S. State of the Union address: Be aware of
self-righteous risk (Mainichi)

(4) Editorial: President Bush expected to display leadership to pass
achievements onto next generation (Sankei)

(5) Stopgap gas tax bill set to clear Lower House, following passage
at Diet committees in turmoil due to resistance by opposition
parties (Asahi)

(6) Ruling parties submit stopgap bill to ward off "March crisis";
Option studied behind scenes to play up psychological distance to
government (Yomiuri)

(7) DPJ puts up do-or-die resistance against stopgap bill; Lower
House speaker fails to coordinate views between ruling and
opposition camps (Yomiuri)

(8) Government's written answer on Kadena noise prevention accord
notes introducing new restrictions difficult (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(9) Okinawa Defense Policy Bureau informs prefectural government of
plan to collect sea sand from areas outside of Okinawa (Ryukyu


(1) U.S. President's State of Union address: Leadership marred by
Iraq issue

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
January 30, 2008

Commentary by Washington bureau chief Tetsuya Minoru

Looking back on the days since he took office, U.S. President Bush
in his last State of the Union address yesterday noted, "Seven years
have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that
time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could ever have

The 9-11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. shocked the entire nation.
There also seems to be no end to the Iraq war. The U.S. economy,
which has survived many crises following the terrorist attacks, is
now facing yet another crisis. Some are beginning to take the view
that the U.S. is losing its economy clout.

The testing time the U.S. has experienced overlaps with the trial
the President himself has undergone. Approval ratings for his
administration have further declined to around 30 PERCENT .
According to a poll carried out in mid-January, respondents who
consider the administration's management of the economy as good
stood at 16 PERCENT . Only 26 PERCENT supported the Bush

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administration's Iraq policy.

President Bush has one more year to serve. However, given the
reality that the Democratic Party controls both the Senate and the
House of Representatives and that confrontation between the
Democratic and Republican parties has heated up to a high degree due
to the presidential election campaign, it would be impossible to
expect major achievements from him

This does not mean that the President has not taken the initiative.
He has come up with forward-looking measures to expand U.S.
vitality, including reform of the public pension system, promotion
of free trade agreements (FTA), and comprehensive measures to deal
with illegal immigrants.

However, many of those measures have been derailed. The reason is
because he has been deprived of his leadership by the Iraq War,
which has split public opinion in two. President Bush was elected by
playing up that he has leadership to bring people together.
However, he ironically split the people and generated fierce
anti-Bush feelings among them. The President has lost a great deal
due to the Iraq issue.

However, it would be wrong to blame the President's
misadministration for all problems. Behind the stalled FTA promotion
drive and reform of the immigration system is the fact that people
are becoming inward-looking. Any leader would find it difficult to
deal with terrorist threats and the nuclear nonproliferation
process. The likelihood is that the next president would face
similar challenges to those President Bush experienced. Americans
are now examining the presidential candidates, who are staging
fierce campaigns, in terms of how sharp their perception of the
reality is and whether they can display powerful leadership.

(2) President Bush's State of the Union address: His diplomacy
appears stalemated, lacks enthusiasm to resolve North Korean issue

ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
November 30, 2008

Kei Ukai, Toshiya Umehara

There was no mention of North Korea in the State of the Union
address delivered by U.S. President Bush yesterday. Also, Bush was
mum on policy toward East Asia. When it comes to Iraq, the president
repeatedly sang his own praises regarding his strategy of sending
more troops to Iraq, but he failed to come out with any fresh
tactics. With less than one year for him to serve, Bush appears
stalemated on the diplomatic front.

Bush called for freedom in countries from Cuba and Zimbabwe to Burma
(Myanmar), but North Korea was not named as it had been last year.
This is a total sea change from six years ago, when in his first
State of the Union address after taking office as president, Bush
named North Korea as a member of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq
and Iran.

Why didn't he make any mention of that country? There is a good
possibility that the President, perhaps out of consideration for a
possible impact on the six-party talks, might have intentionally
avoided irritating North Korea.

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Behind this consideration is a clash of opinions in the Bush
administration over policy toward North Korea. Last year, the U.S.
government changed course to adopt a dialogue line toward the North.
But because the North failed to meet the end-of-the-year deadline
for it to make a declaration of its nuclear programs, hard-liners in
the Bush administration are gaining momentum now.

In mid-January, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights
Lefkowitz suggested a review of the six-party talks by noting, "The
Bush administration will be unable to denuclearize (North Korea)
before its tenure of office runs out." The State Department, which
has been promoting dialogue, strongly denied any possible review of
the six-party talks, exposing the existence of conflicting views in
the administration. That's why concerned officials yesterday focused
their attention on what the President would say about the matter.

Michael Green, former senior director for Asian affairs at the
National Security Council, made this comment: "The State Department
pushed the White House to keep quiet about North Korea." Asian
Foundation Senior Associate Snyder, an expert on the Korean
Peninsula, analyzed the speech this way: "It indicated that the
White House is still hopeful of denuclearizing the Korean

Meanwhile, one State Department official explained: "That's because
there is no change in North Korea policy." In other words, Secretary
of State Rice is strongly supportive of resolving North
Korea-related issues through the six-party talks. So the president
assumed a stance of watching how the situation will develop. That
was why he did not name that country.

In addition, obviously, the speech gave no glimpse of the
president's enthusiasm to address the issue as part of the effort to
create a legacy his administration will leave. Neither East Asia nor
China or India, economic rivals of Japan, was mentioned by Bush,

In contrast, Bush expressed his strong eagerness to bring peace to
the Middle East. He promised to "do all he can" to realize a peace
accord between Israel and the Palestinians.

During his visit to the Palestinian territories, Bush did not refer
to the radical Islamic group Hamas, an element likely to stand in
the way of the effort to bring about a peace accord, and he failed
to chart a concrete roadmap leading to a peace accord. When it comes
to the issue of Iraq, Bush gave a warning to those who call for
immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. The question of pulling out
U.S. troops from Iraq seems likely to be inherited by the next
administration as a "negative legacy."

(3) Editorial - U.S. State of the Union address: Be aware of
self-righteous risk

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
January 30, 2008

The U.S. leader who led the superpower by using big slogans now
seems lacking in vitality and losing energy in his waning days.
President Bush's State of the Union address might have given some of
the Americans under this impression.

In his last State of the Union speech in office, with his two terms

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or eight years of tenure almost up, President Bush place emphasis on
economic measures and the war in Iraq. But it is regrettable that he
failed to come up with fresh policy proposals or a landmark vision.
With less than one year left before he leaves office, the President
supposedly is aware of how he will be rated in history. Whether he
can achieve good results he can be proud to show to an international
audience as his legacy remains to be seen.

The rest of the world is calling on the United States to display its
leadership to resolve the subprime mortgage crisis. Bush has asked
Congress to give approval swiftly a stimulus package he had recently
announced. But regrettably, Bush did not explain what drastic policy
steps he would take to settle the crucial question of the subprime
problem or how he would restore confidence in the market. We are
left unsatisfied. Additional measures, including the use of public
money, must be quickly pulled together.

On the war in Iraq, the President was proud of his strategy carried
out last year of sending additional troops to Iraq, for it has been
producing positive results. But he could not set any agenda for
reducing or pulling out U.S. troops. Five years will have passed in
March since the U.S. launched the Iraq war under the President's own
strong initiative, so much so, that it was called "Bush's war." The
question why the war was started remains unanswered. As the leader
who launched that war, President Bush is responsible to chart a
course for ending it before his tenure expires.

In one U.S. opinion poll, the question was asked, "Which do you
think outnumber the other: the administration's failures or
achievements?" In response, 59 PERCENT of those polled said, "the
failures," with only 28 PERCENT choosing "achievements." This year
is the last year for President Bush to be exposed to such cold

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States,
President Bush has forced the rest of the world to choose between
the U.S. and terrorists. He also worked out hard-line slogans in
succession, such as preemptive strikes, regime change,
unilateralism, the axis of evil, democratization of the Middle East,
and release from tyranny. His strong sense of mission that it is
America's duty to spread freedom and democracy across the world
astonished the world.

That sense of mission still exists even now, and Afghanistan and
Iraq have yet to rise from their internal turmoil. What's worse,
storm clouds are gathering over the U.S. economy, which until
recently appeared in good shape. Will President Bush leave office
with most of the policy measures he started left unfinished?

The Bush administration has been inspired to reshape the world
single-handedly. We hope that before the curtain goes down,
President Bush will realize the trap of self-righteousness stemming
from that notion.

(4) Editorial: President Bush expected to display leadership to pass
achievements onto next generation

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 30, 2008

United States President George W. Bush delivered his last State of
the Union address on Jan. 29. He stressed in the speech the need for

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cooperation by Congress and the people in his domestic and
diplomatic policies, saying: "We must finish unaccomplished tasks."

The President naturally focused on the economy. The shadow of
recession has fallen on the U.S. economy, triggered by the subprime
loan fiasco, and is now beginning to spread to the global economy.

The President said: "The U.S. economy is undergoing a period of
uncertainty." He then urged Congress to approve as early as possible
a bill that includes 150 billion dollars worth of emergency economic
measures, stressing his priority to bring about a recovery of the
economy and thus dissolve public concerns.

A leader usually becomes a lame duck toward the end of his tenure in
office when he becomes unable to work out new bold policies.
President Bush is no exception. In his speech, he devoted most time
to domestic and economic issues, stopping short of referring to
issues in East Asian and with North Korea.

Even so, there were some parts deserving special mention. The first
point is that the recent surge in U.S. troops in Iraq, despite
strong opposition from Congress and many Americans, has been
gradually achieving results, bringing about tangible improvement in
the security and administrative areas. President Bush said: "Without
becoming relaxed, we will continue to make efforts to lead these
results to the next step," including the fight against terrorism in

The second point is that the President touched on international
cooperation on the environmental issue, although he reportedly was
once unwilling to address the issue. He proposed setting up an
international fund to help disseminate clean technology to India,
China and other emerging countries. He then emphasized the need for
creating a post-Kyoto international framework that would include
developing countries.

On the problem of Iran's nuclear development, the President stressed
the need for a dialogue, remarking: "Holding negotiations will be
possible if Iran stops its uranium enrichment program." He also
emphasized the importance of fulfilling the pledge he made during
his visit to the Middle East late last year to reach an agreement to
establish a Palestinian state by the end of this year. This also
merits appreciation.

In the U.S., potential candidates of both the Republican Party and
the Democratic Party are now engaged in campaigning for the
presidential nomination. But President Bush said that such
candidates "should put up a good fight, and once they see the
result, cooperation is necessary." There are still a host of tasks
left unaccomplished, and these tasks will surely be key themes for
the next administration.

In particular, the fight against terrorism, the global environment,
and the Middle East peace process are challenges that the next U.S.
administration will have to tackle, no matter who will assume the
presidency. We expect President Bush will demonstrate his leadership
until the end of his term in office so that the results of his
efforts will be passed to the next generation.

(5) Stopgap gas tax bill set to clear Lower House, following passage
at Diet committees in turmoil due to resistance by opposition

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Asahi online news (Full)
13:22, January 30, 2008

A lawmaker-sponsored stopgap bill aimed at extending the provisional
tax rates imposed on the gas tax and other related taxes, which
expire at the end of March, until the end of May was adopted at the
Lower House Financial Affairs and General Affairs Committees by a
majority vote of members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and
the New Komeito. Prior to this, secretaries general and Diet Affairs
Committee chairmen of the ruling and opposition camps held talks in
the Diet, but the meeting ended in failure. Lower House Speaker
Yohei Kono and Upper House President Satsuki Eda met on the
afternoon of the same day. However, with the gap in the views of
both camps remaining wide apart, the ruling parties are now
determined to have the stopgap bill clear the Lower House at a
plenary session to be held the same day. The ruling camp is bound to
put up resistance. A total confrontation will likely occur.

Deliberations at those committees of the Lower House, to which the
bill was committed, were held in a turbulent atmosphere with some
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) members shouting
angrily. At the Financial Affairs Committee, the DPJ brought 30
mid-level and junior members together in the hallway connecting the
directors' office to the committee office in order to prevent
deliberations from being held. Those lawmakers expressed their
opposition to deliberations on the bill holding up signs carrying
such words as "Do not permit a practical tax increase for 10 years"
or "Road interests vs. people's lives." The Financial Affairs
Committee session was scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., but it
actually started an hour and 20 minutes late. The General Affairs
Committee session started about 20 minutes late.

The DPJ did not boycott deliberations, because if they do not enter
the chamber, their attendance would not be recorded in the minutes
book, as one senior member of the Diet Affairs Committee said.
However, they did not ask any questions, because the opposition
camp's censure motion against Chairman Yoshiaki Harada of the LDP
was rejected. At the General Affairs Committee session, DPJ members
took part in the question-and-answer session, following ruling party

In the meantime, secretaries general and Diet Affairs Committee
chairmen of the ruling and opposition camps, including Bunmei Ibuki
of the LDP and Yukio Hatoyama of the DPJ, held talks for about 40
minutes in the Diet. The ruling parties indicated their intention to
respond to revision talks with the opposition parties with a role
call on the bill in the Upper House before the end of the current
fiscal year as the premise. The ruling parties called for ensuring
the holding of a vote on the budget-related bills by the end of
March. The opposition camp responded, showing a compromise proposal,
noting that they would make efforts. However, the ruling camp
called for further concessions.

Following the move, the opposition camp asked for mediation by
Speaker Kono. Speaker Kono and President Eda met at the Upper House
President's Official Residence and conferred on the compromise

Ibuki on the morning of the same day visited Prime Minister Fukuda
at the prime minister's official residence and reported on the
process on the submission of the bill. Ibuki told the prime

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minister, "This bill is not intended to decide on something but to
secure time for discussions." The prime minister replied, "Please
discuss the matter thoroughly and reach a good conclusion from the
people's perspective." The prime minister also reportedly said, "I
want you to go through fair procedures on the issue."

President Ozawa during a plenary session of DPJ members of both the
Lower and Upper Houses on the morning of Jan. 30 underscored, "The
government and the ruling parties are forcing a method ignoring
Japan's parliamentary democracy on the strength of the power of
numbers. We agreed on the stance that we should stoutly put up a
fight and prevent the bill from being enacted."

Following the planned passage of the bill by the Lower House, the
ruling parties, even if the Upper House, where the opposition
parties hold a majority, fails to take final action, intend to hold
a second vote on the bill in the Lower House to pass it before the
end of the current fiscal year, based on the 60-day rule stipulated
in Article 59 of the Constitution, which provides that such a
failure by the Upper House constitutes a rejection of the said

(6) Ruling parties submit stopgap bill to ward off "March crisis";
Option studied behind scenes to play up psychological distance to

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
January 30, 2008

As an emergency measure to avert a "March crisis," the ruling
parties have submitted to the Diet a bill (stopgap bill) to extend
the provisional gasoline tax rate by two months. How is the ruling
coalition going to fend off the major opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which, defining the current session as the
"gasoline Diet," is endeavoring to force Prime Minister Fukuda into
dissolving the House of Representatives? Behind work to craft the
bridging bill, there were clashes of motives among Prime Minister
Fukuda and Liberal Democratic Party executives.

"Budgets have always cleared the Diet by March 31. Never once has a
tax-related bill underpinning the budget failed to pass through the
Diet by March 31. Although we are considering a variety of measures,
I cannot discuss them now."

LDP Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki implied in a speech in Utsunomiya
on Jan. 19 that the party had a secret plan to avert the expiration
of the provisional tax rates.

Ibuki and Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima initially
declared, "We will not take any outlandish means. We will take the
right approach."

The ruling coalition planned to submit a bill revising the Special
Taxation Measures Law, including the maintenance of the provisional
tax rates, to the Diet some 10 days earlier than usual with the aim
of getting it clear the Lower House in mid-February. That was
because they thought that a month and a half before the end of March
would be enough for the House of Councillors to reach a conclusion.

The DPJ, however, did not respond to the ruling bloc's call and
showed signs of delaying a vote on the tax-related bills.

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Ibuki told his associates: "The Lower House must not be dissolved
until after the Lake Toya Summit in July. Once gasoline prices drop
in April, it's difficult to raise them again."

Ibuki and Oshima secretly contacted Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura and began discussing a stopgap bill.

The view of Ibuki and others was that they would not tamper with the
Special Taxation Measures Law revision bill and that they would
explain that there would be sufficient time for deliberating on the
revision bill so as not to throw the Diet into turmoil over the
stopgap bill.

They also decided to submit a lawmaker-sponsored bill and let the
prime minister and cabinet ministers explain that they know nothing
about it so as not to make the government responsible for it.

The prime minister shared their strong desire to avoid confusion.
Fukuda said to his aides: "We can't afford to throw not only
gasoline but also the financial markets into turmoil. The deadline
cannot be delayed even by one day." Fukuda effectively gave a nod to
the plan worked out by Ibuki and others.

There was initially a plan to submit both the stopgap bill and the
Special Taxation Measures Law revision bill to the Diet on Jan. 25.
The plan was eventually given up.

Because timetable was set for the fiscal 2007 supplementary budget
bill to pass through the Lower House on Jan. 29 and also because the
DPJ was poised to boycott deliberations, the ruling bloc decided to
submit the bridging legislation "after the supplementary budget."

When Ibuki met with Upper House Caucus Chairman Otsuji on Jan. 25,
the former simply said: "Although a decision has already been made,
all sorts of methods are also under consideration." In a speech on
Jan. 27, Ibuki publicly announced the submission of the stopgap
legislation for the first time. He said: "We will find a means
before the end of the month."

Fukuda: "I am not involved in it."

In yesterday's Lower House Budget Committee session, Prime Minster
Fukuda declined to specify the bill (stopgap bill) to extend the
expiration of the provisional tax rates on gasoline and other items
by two months on the reason that it is lawmaker-sponsored
legislation. He said: "I am not aware of the contents (of the
stopgap bill). The ruling camp asked me to leave the matter to them,
so I am trying not to interfere in it."

The cabinet apparently plans to keep its distance from the stopgap
legislation that is designed to maintain the provisional tax rates
and block gasoline prices from falling, because it might come under
intense fire from the public.

In response to questions from opposition lawmakers, the prime
minister repeatedly said: "We can thoroughly discuss what to do with
the gasoline tax. There will be sufficient time before the bill is
enacted, so we should discuss the propriety of the legislation
during that period."

"People's livelihood" in bill's name with aim of averting criticism
as forcible

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The legislation (stopgap legislation) to extend by two months the
expiration of the provisional tax rates on gasoline and other items,
submitted by the ruling bloc to the Lower House yesterday, is
composed of bills to amend three laws: the Special Taxation Measures
Law, the Tariff Provisional Measures Law, and the Local Tax Law. The
name of each bill includes the phrase, "to avoid causing confusion
for the people's livelihood and to contribute to the smooth
implementation of the budget."

Such wording is rare for the name of a bill. The ruling camp
apparently intends to prevent the opposition camp from criticizing
it as forcible legislation by playing up people-oriented overtones.

The legislation is designed to extend the provisional tax rates and
other matters until May 31 beyond the March 31 expiration. It is
specifically intended to maintain the gasoline tax system to add 25
yen per liter to the original tax rate.

Ruling camp's compromise plan not realized

With the aim of breaking the standoff over the maintenance of the
provisional gasoline tax rate, the ruling coalition presented the
opposition bloc with a compromise plan that it would accept the
opposition camp's demand on the condition that the opposition
parties accede to the ruling parties' request to enact the
tax-related bills before March 31.

The opposition bloc had demanded that the part pertaining to the
maintenance of the provisional gasoline tax rate be separated from
the tax-related bills and make it an independent bill. In response
to this demand, the compromise plan noted that the part mentioned by
the opposition bloc would be separated from the three bills and
urged the opposition parties to endorse the enactment of the
legislation in the current fiscal year, with the wording, "the
legislative branch will complete discussing the fiscal 2008 budget
bill and the lawmaker-sponsored legislation at the same time."

The compromise plan also noted that if an agreement is reached
between the two camps, the ruling parties would respond to a call
for revising the bills, including the provisional gasoline tax rate.
The plan said if those conditions were met, the ruling bloc would
forgo its plan to submit the stopgap bill. The ruling camp was not
able to cut a deal with the opposition camp, however.

The following is a gist of the ruling bloc's compromise plan:

1. Submit an independent, lawmaker-sponsored bill on matters
pertaining to national and local tax revenues for road projects.
2. The legislative branch will finish thoroughly discussing the
fiscal 2008 budget bill, the government-sponsored tax bills, and the
lawmaker-sponsored bill at the same time.
3. Once an agreement is reached on the tax and lawmaker-sponsored
bills, the ruling camp will accede to a request for revising them.
4. In the event an agreement is reached between the ruling and
opposition camps, the ruling bloc will not submit the safety net
(stopgap) bill.

(7) DPJ puts up do-or-die resistance against stopgap bill; Lower
House speaker fails to coordinate views between ruling and
opposition camps

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YOMIURI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
January 30, 2008

On Jan 29 when the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New
Komeito submitted to the House of Representatives a
lawmaker-sponsored stopgap bill to extend by two months the
deadlines of the current provisional rates for gasoline and other
road-related taxes, Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono worked vigorously
to break the deadlock, but consultations ended in failure between
the ruling and opposition parties.

In an attempt to halt committee sessions, more than 30 Lower House
members from the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) thronged into the Lower House Steering Committee Office
after about one hour after the ruling coalition submitted the
stopgap bill to the Lower House. They confined the ruling camp's
committee directors in their office.

Yesterday's committee session was held to discuss how to deal with
the stopgap bill in the Lower House plenary session today.

Lower House Speaker Kono issued an order to eliminate the DPJ
interrupters late at last night. Diet guards pushed and shoved the
lawmakers, who tried to open the door of the committee office. Diet
Steering Committee Chairman Takashi Sasagawa then held a committee
meeting in the office next to the committee office after moving to
the office walking from roof to roof. The committee members from the
ruling camp alone decided to refer the stopgap bill to the committee
and Sasagawa declared a plenary session on the 30th, creating a

Last at night, ahead of these moves, DPJ Deputy President Naoto Kan
severely criticized the ruling camp in a meeting of the party's
Lower House members, saying, "The LDP's way of dealing the issue is
an act of violence forcing the Diet to commit suicide."

The DPJ showed a stance of not hesitating to take physical
resistance from the morning. Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka brought about 50 junior DPJ Lower House members together in
the Diet and gave a pep talk to them: "We will deal with the matter
with an indomitable resolve. The DPJ's fate rests on your
shoulders." They started preparations for bringing in padded
mattresses and sleeping bags.

The DPJ decided in an executive board meeting to set up a taskforce
on provisional tax rates for revenues for road construction headed
by Deputy President Kan to carry out fact-finding surveys on
unnecessary road projects and campaigns opposing wasting of tax
money across the country. The DPJ executive board thinks that public
support is absolutely necessary based on the lesson learned from the
New Frontier Party's strategy of picketing outside to protest the
government's measures to deal with the loan mortgage company mess in
1996. The NFP gave up on its picketing strategy after meeting
criticism from the public. In the end, the NFP was dissolved.

Yamaoka declared in the executive board meeting: "The DPJ will not
respond to any committee deliberations in both Diet chambers and to
torpedo them.

Seeing the strained situation in the Diet, Speaker Kono held
meetings with the secretaries general and Diet committee chief of
the ruling and opposition parties and asked them to resolve the

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matter through discussions. Following this, the Diet committee
chiefs of the LDP and DPJ held six meetings.

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima told his DPJ
counterpart Yamaoka that the ruling camp would agree to a DPJ
request that they separate deliberations on the revenues for road
construction from talks on the bill on provisional tax rates on the
condition that the DPJ would agree to take a vote on the bill before
the end of this fiscal year, but the DPJ executives, including
President Ichiro Ozawa, decided to reject the LDP's proposal.

"I want the DPJ to respond in a sincere manner" Kono told New
Komeito Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshio Urushibara, who
called on Kono to report that the discussion had ended in failure.

(8) Government's written answer on Kadena noise prevention accord
notes introducing new restrictions difficult

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
January 30, 2008


In a cabinet meeting yesterday, the government finalized a written
answer to a written question presented by Keiko Itokazu, an
independent lawmaker in the House of Councillors. Upon noting that
"it will be difficult to introduce new restrictions" by drastically
revising the agreement on the prevention of noise from Kadena Air
Base, the written answer said: "The government will continue to
press the United States government to do its best to minimize the
impact on the residents near the air station by abiding by
regulatory measures."

The written answer defined the package of regulatory measures
against airplane noise from Kadena Air Base (noise prevention
accord) adopted at a meeting of the Joint U.S.-Japan Committee on
March 28 in 1996 as "the result of the great efforts made by the
governments of Japan and the U.S."

On the problem of takeoffs of F-15 fighters early in the morning,
the answer said: "The government has repeatedly called on the U.S.
government to minimize the impact on residents living in the
vicinity of the air station by avoiding takeoffs early in the
morning as much as possible." In reply to a question suggesting that
"quick-response training by the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps
should be immediately cancelled," the answer said: "The government
has no intention to ask the U.S. to stop the training for the
purpose of maintaining its quick-response setup."

(9) Okinawa Defense Policy Bureau informs prefectural government of
plan to collect sea sand from areas outside of Okinawa

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
January 30, 2008

The Okinawa Bureau of Defense Policy informed the Okinawa
prefectural government yesterday of its plan to collect even from
areas outside of the prefecture about 17 million cubic meters of sea
sand needed for reclaiming the planned construction site for a new
facility to take over the heliport functions of the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station. The bureau initially planned to collect
sand from sea areas around the main island of Okinawa, but members

TOKYO 00000247 012 OF 012

of the prefecture government's screening council on the
environmental impact assessment and many other people had expressed
concerns about the negative impact of the initial plan on the
environment, as well as the disappearance of sandy beaches around
the main island. The prefectural government intends to hold a panel
meeting as early as next week to confer on what to do.

The Okinawa Government, based on the governor's request, asked the
Bureau of Defense Policy to rewrite a document concerning procedures
for conducting the environmental impact assessment. In response, the
bureau submitted nearly 200 pages of data to the prefectural
government and is now carrying out coordination on the contents of
the document with the prefecture. But a revised version has yet to
be formally presented. The bureau also plans to submit data on the
assessment of the air station, which is not included in the

The prefectural government has called on the Defense Policy Bureau
to voluntarily publish the contents of the revised document on the
Internet. The bureau reportedly has indicated its willingness to
study the possibility in a positive manner.


© Scoop Media

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