Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 01/11/08

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

Japan rejoins war on terror:
4) Lower House to enact antiterrorism bill today, overriding
rejection by opposition-controlled Upper House; MSDF mission
restarts in February (Mainichi)
5) It took three months and 90 hours of debate but the antiterrorism
bill will finally be enacted today (Sankei)
6) Despite months of Diet debate, why the MSDF's refueling mission
had to be resumed is still unclear (Nikkei)
7) Overshadowed by discussions on MOD scandals and permanent
legislation, justification for resuming refueling operation remains
unclear (Tokyo Shimbun)
8) Prime Minister Fukuda: Aspects of the ISAF mission would not be
unconstitutional for Japan to carry out (Yomiuri)

Good vibrations in South Korea:
9) Former Prime Minister Mori, now visiting Seoul, meets
president-elect Lee and the two agree that Japan, U.S., and ROK must
cooperate on DPRK nuclear issue (Nikkei)
10) Prime Minister Fukuda considering visiting South Korea next
month, Mori tells Lee (Sankei)
11) ROK President Lee to visit Japan in May with discussion
including FTA, North Korea (Nikkei)

12) Experts panel calls for comprehensive discussion at Lake Toya G8
Summit on the nuclear issue (Yomiuri)

Political agenda:
13) Prime Minister Fukuda to appoint a minister in charge of
consumer affairs, forgoing establishment of a consumer agency for
the time being (Mainichi)
14) Fukuda cautious about regulation forbidding close contacts
between politicians and bureaucrats, leaving administrative reform
minister high and dry (Mainichi)
15) Democratic Party of Japan finally readies its action plan,
calling 2008 the year the party will take the helm of government

16) Prime minister to announce plan to provide $10 billion over five
years to developing countries to help them combat global-warming
effects (Yomiuri)



Corporations that received government subsidies found to have
contributed to 16 cabinet members in 2006

Mainichi & Tokyo Shimbun:
New antiterrorism legislation to be enacted today after re-approval
in Lower House; MSDF will resume refueling mission in February

Survey of schools: 1,100 public elementary and junior high schools
likely to vanish due to low birth rate and fiscal pinch

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JFE, IHI to merge their shipbuilding sectors to become the top maker
at home with 20 PERCENT market share

Olympic year in China -- Dramatically changing society: Beijing's
criteria for clear skies do not meet international criteria

New antiterrorism bill voted down by Upper House, the first case of
rejection of bills relating to overseas dispatch of SDF


(1) LDP to put new antiterrorism bill to second vote in Lower House
(2) Police intervention must be restricted in investigating medical

(1) Low birth rate and strengthening international competitiveness
included in national land development plan: Japan breaks free of
focus on development
(2) Handball: Do not create deep fissure in Asia

(1) Toward new order: Consumption tax should be shifted into social
welfare-purpose tax

(1) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. to be reborn as Panasonic
(2) DPJ's attitude in Diet incomprehensible

(1) Gakken publisher should be more sensitive to sovereignty issue
(2) Annual spring wage negotiations: Show way to raising the

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Bush's tour of Middle East: Need to work out the way for Israel
and Palestine to co-exist
(2) Tokyo Olympic bid: Olympics for the future

(1) Permanent relief measures for all drug-caused hepatitis C
patients need to be established

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime minister's schedule, January 10

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

Met with Toyota Motors Chairman Fujio Cho and Acting Secretary
General Hosoda at a restaurant at Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

Met with Cabinet Affairs Office Director General Chishiro.

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Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

Met with Deputy Foreign Minister Yachi, followed by Foreign Ministry
Foreign Policy Bureau Director General Kawai, Defense Ministry
Operational Policy Bureau Takamizawa and Assistant Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yanagisawa.

Met with Machimura.

Returned his private residence in Nozawa.

4) New antiterrorism bill to be passed by two-thirds vote today;
Resumption of refueling mission expected in February

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

The government's new antiterrorism bill to resume the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean was voted
down yesterday in the House of Councillors' Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee by an opposition-bloc majority. A counterproposal
submitted by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was also rejected
by a majority from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New
Komeito, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), and the Social
Democratic Party (SDP). The new antiterror bill is expected to be
voted down at an Upper House plenary session this morning, but the
ruling camp will override and pass the bill at a plenary session of
the House of Representatives this afternoon on the strength of its
two-thirds majority. Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba instructed the
MSDF to start preparations to resume the refueling mission. The
government will hold a cabinet meeting next week to approve it, with
the aim of resuming the operation in mid-February.

In a question-and-answer session held in winding up the committee
meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda emphasized: "If other
countries see the suspension of Japan's refueling mission was caused
by the nation's political situation, they may change the way they
look at Japan. Japan must resolutely resume the mission." The new
antiterror bill is valid for only one year, so the government is
considering the introduction of a permanent law to dispatch
Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops overseas. Asked about permanent
legislation, Fukuda responded to LDP member Ichita Yamamoto: "Such
legislation will be important for the future. The issue will be
discussed in the ruling camp. If there is an opportunity, we want to
discuss it with the DPJ, too."

The DPJ continued to express its opposition to the new antiterror
bill, with one lawmaker remarking: "The government has yet to
fulfill its accountability for the past six years of the refueling
mission." The JCP and the SDP take the view that the new
antiterrorism bill is against the Constitution and should be
scrapped. The two opposition parties also opposed the DPJ
counterproposal, arguing that the bill would result in expanding the
scope of the use of weapons by the SDF.

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5) Despite 90 hours of deliberations on new antiterrorism
legislation over past three months, no in-depth discussion held

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

Hiroyuki Kano

The Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense yesterday
turned down the government-sponsored new antiterrorism special
measures bill by a majority of votes from the major opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and other opposition parties.

Discussion on the new antiterrorism bill aimed at allowing the
Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to resume the refueling mission
in the Indian Ocean began in last October, and nearly three months
were devoted to debate on the bill. During that time, the old
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law expired on Nov. 2. The old law
was enacted after a total of 11 hours or so of deliberations in both
chambers of the Diet during its extraordinary session in the fall of
2006, but the time spent for the debate on the new antiterrorism
bill totaled some 90 hours. Despite that, no in-depth discussion

The correction of the amounts of fuel supplied by the MSDF to other
countries' vessels and the bribery scandal involving suspect
Takemasa Moriya (former Administrative Vice Defense Minister) are
problems of great importance in terms of civilian control, an
essential element for the mobilization of the Self-Defense Forces
(SDF). Those problems in a way were related to the new antiterrorism
bill. But at one point the DPJ put aside any discussion of the bill
and instead stuck to the question of whether politicians joined a
dinner with Moriya.

Meanwhile, the DPJ somehow cobbled together a counterproposal - a
"special measures bill aimed at preventing international terrorism"
-- and submitted it to the Diet. This was a good move because the
relaxation of the weapons use standards included in the DPJ's bill
could be an important point of an agreement (between the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the DPJ) in future debate on the
creation of a permanent law aimed at dispatching the SDF abroad as
needed. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in his Diet replies yesterday
referred to the question of such a permanent law: "Many of the DPJ
seem to be in favor of such legislation. I want to discuss it fully
and enact it."

The DPJ's counterproposal, however, according to Ichita Yamamoto, a
House of Councilors member of the LDP, "Has a couple of
bottleneck-like requirements that will prevent dispatching the SDF
abroad," such as a cease-fire agreement between the Afghan
government and the Taliban and a United Nations resolution,. At this
point in time, the ruling and opposition parties remain wide apart.

6) Gov't to ready MSDF for refueling mission

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
January 11, 2008

A newly introduced refueling bill is now certain to get through the
Diet today, and the government will ready the Maritime Self-Defense
Force for an order to resume refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean as soon as possible. The government had initially expected to

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send an MSDF supply ship in late February. However, the government
now deems it possible to send it out in mid-February. Meanwhile, the
bill is temporary legislation with a one-year time limit. The MSDF,
depending on political developments, may pull out again around this
time next year. The Middle East is seen to be gradually recovering
its public security. However, there is no way to gauge how long the
MSDF will have to remain on its mission there.

"If this mission does not continue, foreign countries would
considerably change their view of Japan." With this, Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda reiterated his resolve before the House of Councillors
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in its meeting yesterday to
resume MSDF refueling activities.

The government will likely call an ad hoc cabinet meeting on Jan. 16
to adopt an MSDF mission masterplan. The prime minister will confirm
the masterplan, and then Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba will issue
orders through the commander-in-chief of the Self-Defense Fleet to
dispatch a supply ship and a destroyer.

The MSDF will send two liaison officers to U.S. Naval Central
Command Headquarters in Bahrain, where the United States, Britain,
and other countries command their naval forces operating in the
Indian Ocean, to coordinate refueling schedules.

The MSDF squadron will head for the Indian Ocean with a total crew
of 300 to 400 onboard. Its mission there is expected to continue for
a period of six months up until the end of July. A supply ship needs
about two weeks to prepare to set sail. It will take about three
weeks to arrive in the Indian Ocean from Japan. Accordingly, the
MSDF's refueling will be in mid-February at the earliest.

In the meantime, the Foreign Ministry will exchange new official
notes with Pakistan, the United States, Britain, France, Germany,
and New Zealand to specify the MSDF's refueling mission for maritime
interdiction operations.

7) Overshadowed by discussions on MOD scandals and permanent
legislation, justification for resuming refueling operation remains

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

Substantive deliberations on the government-sponsored new
antiterrorism legislation to resume the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling operation in the Indian Ocean ended with the House
of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee session
yesterday. Overshadowed by a series of scandals, including one
involving a former administrative vice-defense minister, even
questions appeared about the option of enacting a permanent law
enabling the country to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces on overseas
missions as necessary, going beyond the realm of the new
antiterrorism legislation. Did the deliberations on the legislation
that started in both houses of the Diet in late October last year
find the answer to the question of why Japan needs to resume the
refueling operation?

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, touching on deliberation time on the
antiterrorism bill that was voted down by the Upper House Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee earlier yesterday, made the following
comment to the press at the Prime Minister's Official Residence

TOKYO 00000086 006 OF 011

(Kantei) last night: "Sufficient time was devoted for asking
questions and answering them. I think (the people) are now convinced
that Japan must extend international cooperation."

As was indicated by the prime minister, total deliberation time
exceeded 80 hours since the first discussion in the House of

But in reality, with such matters as the scandal involving the
former administrative vice-defense minister and reform of the
Ministry of Defense (MOD) taking center stage, there was hardly any
time for penetrating question-and-answer sessions.

In yesterday's wrap-up interpellation session, two Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ) lawmakers asked the prime minister and others the
significance of joining the war on terror and other matters. Their
exchange of views on the refueling operation lasted only several

Although DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa insisted that the refueling
mission not based on a UN resolution was unconstitutional, views
remained wide apart.

There were heated debates over allegations that MSDF oil had been
diverted for use in the Iraq war. The government, however, did not
offer a clear-cut answer.

At the same time, public trust in MOD and the SDF has declined due
to a series of improprieties, including the scandal involving the
former vice-defense minister and the cover-up of the underreported
fuel Japan supplied to a US supply ship.

In contrast to the low-keyed debate on the new refueling
legislation, the subject of enacting a permanent law is gaining

In yesterday's committee session, the prime minister called for the
DPJ's cooperation for enacting a permanent law, saying: "Many DPJ
members seem to be in favor of (permanent legislation), so I want to
see thorough discussion with (the party) to move the matter forward,
if there is a chance."

Finding it difficult to manage the divided Diet, the prime minister
is trying to use (the permanent legislation) for obtaining
cooperation from the DPJ and for making it easier to dispatch the
SDF on overseas missions in the future.

The government seems to be trying to push the overseas dispatch of
the SDF further forward without offering a convincing explanation
about the significance of the refueling operation. Such a stance
would raise concern that the government might expand overseas
dispatches gradually without conducting sufficient Diet debate.

8) Prime Minister Fukuda: There may be conditions under which SDF
participation in ISAF dose not violate the Constitution

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

When asked about the Self-Defense Forces' (SDF) participation in the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in a
the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

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session, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda responded yesterday: "There may
be situations under which the SDF's participation is not

Fukuda pointed out: "In case (expected attacks are) sporadic
terrorism, the SDF participation will not violate the Constitution."
He was, however, negative about the participation at present,
saying, "It is very difficult."

9) Japan, U.S., S. Korea should team up over North Korea's nukes:

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

SEOUL-Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori from the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party met with President-elect Lee Myung Bak yesterday in
Seoul. In the meeting, Lee touched on North Korea's nuclear issues,
saying: "Japan, the United States, and South Korea will need to
cooperate in a steady way. We would like to cooperate with China,
too." With this, Lee indicated that major countries should step up
their cooperation. Mori said it would be significant to step up
cooperation. Mori handed a letter from Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
seeking to strengthen future-oriented relations and asking Lee to
visit Japan at an early date.

Referring to the nuclear issue of North Korea, Lee took the position
that this is "very difficult" problem. Lee also indicated that he
would endeavor to resolve it. In addition, he referred to Fukuda's
visit to China in December last year and expressed his expectations
for Japan's role in multilateral cooperation involving China. He
also stressed that it would be important for Japan, China, and South
Korea to cooperate in Asia.

10) Premier mulling South Korea visit next month: Mori meets
President-elect Lee

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
January 11, 2008

Seoul, Jiro Otani

Visiting South Korea as Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's special envoy,
former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori yesterday evening met with
President-elect Lee Myung Bak at a Seoul hotel. They reached an
agreement on an early resumption of reciprocal visits by their
leaders and have talks. Coordination for Fukuda's visit to that
nation to attend Lee's presidential inauguration in February will
likely move ahead, following the agreement. They also agreed to
promote cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and South Korea over North
Korea's abduction and nuclear issues.

Mori handed over to Lee Fukuda's personal letter calling for
future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations, Lee's early visit to
Japan, and cooperation for regional peace and stability. He also
told Lee: "South Korea is Japan's important neighbor, which shares
such values as freedom, democracy and the market economy with it.
Japan wants to create new bilateral relations with South Korea by
all means."

Lee replied, "I want to strengthen a cooperative relationship with
Japan on various issues." He also noted, "I would like Prime

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Minister Fukuda to visit South Korea at an early date. I want to
show through mutual visits that our bilateral relations are in a
good state." Lee is considering visiting Japan coinciding with the
Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido in July in order to resume reciprocal
visits, which have been suspended since June 2005.

Regarding North Korea's abduction issue, Mori sought strengthened
cooperation with South Korea. Lee underscored, "It is necessary for
Japan, the U.S. and South Korea to closely cooperate with one
another on this issue. Since gaps surfaced during the Roh Moo Hyun
administration over an approach to the six-party talks to discuss
North Korea's nuclear issue, the government wants to give a boost to
efforts to settle the abduction issue with the launch of new
administration in South Korea as the occasion.

11) Government to invite South Korean president-elect to Japan in

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

The government is looking into offering South Korean president-elect
Lee Myung Bak an invitation to Japan in May. The visit, if realized,
will be the first Japan visit by a South Korean president since the
one of Roh Moo Hyun in December 2004.

During his meeting with former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori
yesterday, Lee indicated his eagerness to resume annual reciprocal
visits between the Japanese and South Korean leaders. Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda is considering attending Lee's inauguration on Feb. 25.
If both leaders visit each other's country in the three months after
Lee assumes presidency, they will be able to underscore improvement
in their bilateral ties.

The prime minister already invited Lee to visit Japan on the phone
when he was elected in December.

At a summit, both leaders are expected to discuss such issues as
resumption of negotiations on concluding a free trade agreement
(FTA), which suspended in 2004, and North Korea's nuclear

Reciprocal visits were initiated by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
and President Roh Moo Hyun, but the South Korean government ceased
presidential visits to Japan in reaction to Koizumi's visits to
Yasukuni Shrine

12) Experts propose comprehensive discussion on nuclear weapons at
G-8 summit

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

A group of experts on nuclear weapons, energy and the environment
has submitted to Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura a proposal that a
declaration to be produced at the July Group of Eight summit in Toya
Lake, Hokkaido, include comprehensive efforts on nuclear weapons and
nuclear power, including promotion of the use of nuclear energy and
multinational control of nuclear fuel supplies.

The proposal was produced by a working panel, chaired by Tetsuya
Endo, former ambassador to the International Organization in Vienna,

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of the Foreign Ministry-affiliated organization Japan Institute for
International Affairs. Nonproliferation is expected to be a main
topic of discussion at the upcoming G-8 summit. The panel insists
that an in-depth discussion is necessary.

13) Prime minister to announce plan to set up ministerial post for
consumer affairs, put off establishment of consumer agency

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 11, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will announce in a policy speech at the
outset of the ordinary Diet session to start on Jan. 18 that the
government will establish a ministerial post responsible for
consumer affairs in the Cabinet Office. Currently, various
government agencies are in charge of consumer affairs
administration. By setting up the new post, the prime minister aims
to unify the administration. He will set forth the policy of placing
emphasis on consumers, with an eye to the next House of
Representatives election, taking into consideration public concern
about the safety of food following a series of food-mislabeling
scandals. The government intends to revise the Cabinet Office
Establishment Law and define the authority of the minister for
consumer affairs in the revised law during the ordinary Diet
session, at the earliest. Some lawmakers were suggesting
establishing a consumer agency, but the government has decided to
put it off, based on the judgment that the government will be

Even taking up only food labeling, there are a number of competent
authorities, including the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry (food
sanitation), the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry (JAS),
and Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry (illegal competition

When he visited Ise City, Mie Prefecture on Jan. 4, the prime
minister, in reference to the mislabeling scandal involving
"Akafuku," indicated eagerness for the idea of unifying the
administration of consumer affairs, saying: "I am considering the
introduction of a system to enable food problems to be resolved in a
single responsible entity."

The envisioned minister for consumer affairs will take the lead in
resolving in cooperation with government agencies such issues as
food mislabeling, door-to-door sales, illegalities over standards
for housing, and accidents caused by inferior goods.

On the idea of establishing a consumer agency, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura expressed his negative view, saying:

"Even if the authorities concerned are unified, all problems will
not necessarily be settled." Government agencies involved were also
putting up resistance, fearing their authority might be reduced.

14) Another arbitrary act by the administrative reform minister on
civil service reform, finds prime minister cautious about banning
direct contacts between politicians and bureaucrats

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

The government's panel established by former Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe to look into comprehensive reform of the civil servant system

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(chaired by Toshiba Chairman Tadashi Okamura) is readying a draft
report to be submitted to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. The draft
report includes an unusual proposal to prohibit national civil
servants from making direct contacts with Diet members. Fukuda,
however, took a cautious stance about such a recommendation. He told
reporters yesterday: "I wonder whether right decisions on policies
can be made without discussions with those officials in charge of
such policy-making." Attention is now on how Administrative Reform
Minister Yoshimi Watanabe will deal with the "homework left by the
Abe government," following reform of the independent administrative
institutions, which ended up as a half-baked plan.

Taichi Sakaiya, a panel member and former economic planning agency
chief, drew up the recommendations. The draft report notes that only
"parliamentary affairs specialists" would be allowed to make direct
contact with lawmakers. The aim is to eliminate collusive ties
between legislators and government officials. After the discovery of
Lower House member Muneo Suzuki's pressure on the Foreign Ministry,
the Koizumi government studied this idea in 2002, but it was not
realized due to a fierce backlash from the Liberal Democratic Party

A senior LDP Diet affairs committee member, who was briefed of it on
Jan. 9, became enraged and said: "I cannot accept it." Some
bureaucrats are suspicious about the aim and effects of the
recommendations, with one government official saying, "The Diet's
control over government offices might weaken instead." According to
an individual connected with drafting the report, the panel notified
on Watanabe and his aides of the contents of the draft report, but
the secretariat of the administrative reform promotion headquarters
was not informed. Watanabe proudly stated in a meeting yesterday: "A
report is usually written by bureaucrats but the report this time
around was not. It was a historic accomplishment." However, conflict
will inevitably occur between Watanabe and the Prime Minister's
Official Residence and the ruling camp as in the case of reform of
the independent administrative institutions.

15) "Year for realizing change of government," notes DPJ's final
draft of action policy

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

The final draft of the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto)
action policy for fiscal 2008 was revealed yesterday. The draft
characterizes 2008 as a year to realize a change of government by
forcing the Fukuda administration to dissolve the Lower House for a
snap election. The DPJ will adopt this policy at a regular party
convention to be held in Yokohama on Jan. 16.

Regarding the next election, the draft notes that the party will
hurry to field candidates who can win, establish an intensive
assistance system by selecting target constituencies, and promote
cooperation among opposition parties.

The draft also indicates the party's determination to further expand
support in rural areas, which it gained in the Upper House election
last year. The package also includes a policy of strengthening
support in urban areas, noting that the overall outcome of the Lower
House election intensively reflects results in urban areas.

16) Prime Minister Fukuda to announce during Diet policy speech plan

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to provide 1 trillion yen in assistance to developing countries for
anti-global warming measures (Asahi)

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
January 11, 2008

The government has firmed up its intention to make as the main
pillar of its policy to deal with global warming, a major agenda
item at the July G8 Summit at Lake Toya in Hokkaido, financial
assistance totaling approximately $10 billion dollars over five
years to aid those developing countries that will back Japan's
efforts. Such countries as Indonesia, Tanzania, and Tuvalu will be
picked as initial subject countries, and focused policy discussions
will start this February.

Prime Minister Fukuda is thinking of announcing the plan in his Diet
policy speech on Jan. 18 and at the annual Davos Conference late
this month, which he is planning to attend. Consideration is being
given to cooperating with England and other countries that have
announced the formation of an environmental change fund in order to
lessen the adverse impact on developing countries from global
warming, and a new fund might be created.

The program would be separated into three parts: 1) measures leading
to reducing greenhouse gases; 2) measures for developing countries
to ease the adverse effects from global warming; and 3) measures to
make energy use easier for people in the poorest countries.


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