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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 02/12/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 12 TOKYO 000354

SIPDIS

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DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 02/12/08

Index:

Okinawa rape incident:
1) Okinawa police arrest 38-year-old U.S. Marine on suspicion of
raping a 14-year old schoolgirl (Asahi)
2) Governor of Okinawa denounces rape incident as "unforgivable"
(Okinawa Times)
3) Local mayor expresses shock and anger at schoolgirl rape incident
by U.S. Marine in Okinawa (Okinawa Times)
4) State Minister for Okinawa Affairs Kishida expresses "strong
anger" at U.S. Marine rape incident (Asahi)
5) Foreign Ministry calls in U.S. Embassy charge to express "extreme
regret" and demand measures to tighten discipline, prevent
recurrence (Asahi)
6) Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Hatoyama denounce
"still another" Okinawa rape incident, calls on government to
"reduce bases" (Yomiuri)

Iwakuni mayoral election:
7) Candidate favoring U.S. jet relocation wins Iwakuni mayoral
election (Asahi)
8) Exit poll shows 54 PERCENT of voters in Iwakuni concurring with
relocation of carrier-based jets from Atsugi to Iwakuni base
(Yomiuri)

Defense and security issues:
9) Solemn ceremony in Uwajima marks anniversary of Ehime Maru
accident, in which U.S. sub off Hawaii sank training ship filled
with students (Tokyo Shimbun)
10) Government plans to provide Nago City with USFJ
realignment-related subsidy, premised on start of assessment of
Futenma relocation site (Asahi)

Foreign relations:
11) Secretary Rice to visit Japan, meet Prime Minister Fukuda on
26th (Mainichi)
12) Prime Minister Fukuda to attend inauguration of ROK
President-elect Lee, hold summit meeting with him on 25th (Asahi)
13) Japan to provide Afghanistan with 130 million yen in aid to fund
PRT projects, such as school construction (Asahi)
14) Government mulling dispatching Japan Coast Guard for PKO in E.
Timor, preparing way for passage of permanent PKO dispatch law
(Nikkei)
15) LDP's Taku Yamasaki: Party considering expanded use of weaponry
for SDF under new permanent PKO dispatch law (Yomiuri)
16) Foreign Minister Koumura in Munich for international symposium
praises U.S.-Japan alliance, expresses concern about China's
military buildup (Yomiuri)
17) Russia denies air-space penetration; Japan demands
re-investigation (Yomiuri)

Domestic affairs:
18) Fukuda Cabinet support rate plummets 5.6 points to 35 PERCENT
in Kyodo poll, with non-support now at 44.5 PERCENT (Tokyo
Shimbun)
19) Hatoyama supports Ozawa to continue as DPJ head in fall party
election (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) U.S. Marine arrested on suspicion of raping junior high girl


TOKYO 00000354 002 OF 012


ASAHI (Online)
February 11, 2008 (11:59)

Police in Okinawa Prefecture today arrested Tyrone Hadnott, 38, an
Okinawa-based U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant, on suspicion of
raping a junior high school girl. The suspect has maintained that he
just hugged the girl in the vehicle, the police said.

According to the investigation, Hadnott is suspected of raping the
14-year-old local schoolgirl inside a car parked on a street in the
Okinawa prefectural town of Chatan around 10:35 p.m., Feb. 10.

Hadnott and the girl met in the city of Okinawa around 8:30 p.m.
that day when she was with two of her friends, and she agreed to
ride on his motorbike because the suspect told her that he would
give her a ride home, the police said. However, the suspect took her
to his house in the village of Kitanakagusuku, according to the
police. After that, the suspect made her go into his car and drove
to Chatan where he raped her in his car parked on a street, the
police said.

After the girl left her friends, they were worried about her and
called her cellphone before 10:00 p.m., the police said. They called
an emergency call to the police after the girl replied "Help me!"
and hung up the phone, according to the police. Around 10:45 p.m.,
the girl called her mother and said she had just run away. The
police discovered the girl in the town of Chatan. The girl
remembered what the car looked like, so the police identified
Hadnott as the suspect.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima told reporters this morning, "I can
never forgive this and feel strong indignation, considering the fact
that it is a serious crime infringing on the human rights of
women-and especially considering the fact that the victim is a
junior high school student." The governor added, "I feel that this
kind of incident must never take place again. It is extremely
regrettable."

The Okinawa prefectural government will lodge a protest this
afternoon with the U.S. consul general in Okinawa and will request
the U.S. forces in Okinawa, the Defense Ministry's Okinawa bureau,
and the Foreign Ministry's Okinawa office to prevent such an
incident from recurring.

2) U.S. serviceman rapes junior high school girl; Suspect arrested
at Okinawa Police Station

OKINAWA TIMES EXTRA (Full)
February 11, 2008

The Okinawa Police Station arrested on the morning of Feb. 11 Tyrone
Hadnott, 38, a staff sergeant belonging to the U.S. Marines' Camp
Courtney in the prefecture on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old
junior high school girl in his car. Hadnott has denied raping the
girl, saying he only forced her down and kissed her, the police
said. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima indignantly said yesterday morning:
"The incident infringing on human rights of women is unforgivable."
Okinawa Mayor Mitsuko Tomon and others also condemned the incident.
The governor's office chief Akira Uehara and prefectural chairman of
the board of education Morikazu Nakamura filed a protest with the
U.S. General in Naha yesterday afternoon.


TOKYO 00000354 003 OF 012


According to investigators, Hadnott is suspected of raping the
schoolgirl inside a car parked on a street near a park in the
central part of the main island of Okinawa around 10:30 p.m. on Feb.
10.

According to the police, Hadnott met the girl and two of her friends
at Koza Music Town in Okinawa City around 8:20 p.m. and he offered
the girl a ride home. But Hadnott instead took her to his house
outside the base. Feeling scared, the girl ran way from his house,
but Hadnott got her into his car after chasing her, drove around the
central part of town and then raped her.

Worried, her friends called the girl's mobile phone and the girl
replied "Help me" and hung up the phone. As a result, the friends,
along with the girl's family members, reported the incident to the
police.

After being raped, the girl was released a little before 11:00 p.m.
Police officers found the girl near the park and took her into
protective custody.

Because the girl remembered the suspect's house, his car and his
looks, police officers asked Hadnott at his house to come
voluntarily to the police station and arrested him on the spot.

Governor: "The incident is unforgivable."

Regarding the rape of a junior high school girl by a U.S. Marine,
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima said yesterday morning: "I feel strong
indignation against the crime and could never forgive it,
considering the fact that the victim is a junior high school
student. It is a serious crime infringing on human rights of woman.
Every time a vicious rape incident involving U.S. serviceman
occurred, we asked (the U.S. military) to take through measures to
prevent a recurrence. It is extremely regrettable that an incident
like this occurred despite that." Nakaima indicated that he would
file a protest with the U.S. military and seek further measures. He
was speaking to the press at the prefectural government office.

Nakaima, who was informed of the incident early yesterday morning,
said: "It should not have happened. Every time an incident occurred,
we pressed the U.S. military to take fundamental measures. It is
extremely regrettable that yet another incident occurred. I would
like to take appropriate measures in consideration of the victim and
her family."

3) Yet another incident rocks Okinawa

OKINAWA TIMES EXTRA (Full)
February 11, 2008

"I feel strong indignation"

Okinawa Mayor Mitsuko Tomon shortly after 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 11
visited the Okinawa Police Station, where the suspect is being
detained, and received a briefing from deputy police chief Tokuori
Shinya and others. Tomon said: "The incident shocked me. I would
like to file protests with U.S. military organs and the Japanese
government. The incident reminded me of the 1995 schoolgirl rape by
U.S. servicemen. It is intolerable that a child with her whole life
before her has become the victim of such an incident, and I feel
strong indignation."

TOKYO 00000354 004 OF 012

U.S. military personnel must be monitored

Mayor Tsuneo Chinen of Uruma City, which hosts Camp Courtney, to
which the suspect belongs, said angrily: "A terrible thing has
occurred. Time and again, we have called for preventive measures,
but the same thing has happened again. A responsible person must
monitor the actions of U.S. servicemen. In order to prevent a
recurrence, the city would like to consider countermeasures, such as
filing a protest."

4) State Minister in Charge of Okinawa Kishida expresses strong
indignation over allegation that U.S. Marine raped girl

ASAHI ONLINE NEWS
February 11, 2008, 18:06 p.m.

In connection with the arrest of a U.S. Marine on suspicion of
raping a junior high school girl in Okinawa, State Minister in
Charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories Kishida told reporters in
Tokyo yesterday: "I feel strong indignation over the incident, which
should never have occurred."

As to whether it is necessary to take a second look at the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Kishida said, "The
first thing to do is to strengthen discipline among the military
personnel and discuss measures to prevent a recurrence of similar
incidents. Then, we must think whether there is need to take other
action." When asked about the impact of the incident on the
relocation plan for the U.S. Futenma Air Station, Kishida went no
further than to say: "While listening fully to views of the Okinawa
people, we want to deal specifically with the base relocation issue
and the issue of reducing Okinawa's military burden."

5) Foreign Ministry asks U.S. side to take action to prevent
recurrence of alleged raping of junior high school girl

ASAHI ONLINE NEWS
February 11, 2008, 15:12 p.m.

A U.S. Marine was arrested on suspicion of raping a junior high
school girl in Okinawa. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs' (MOFA) North American Affairs Bureau Director-General
Shinichi Nishimiya on the morning of Feb. 11 conveyed his regret
over the incident to Joseph Donovan, deputy chief of mission at the
United States Embassy in Tokyo, by saying, "If the incident was
caused by a U.S. solider, it is extremely regrettable." And
Nishimiya asked the U.S. side to strengthen discipline among the
U.S. military personnel and prevent a recurrence of similar
incidents. In response, Donovan was quoted as saying, "The U.S. is
closely watching the investigation into the facts, and is taking
this incident seriously. We will fully cooperate with the
investigation by the Japanese authorities."

Later in the day, Ambassador in Charge of Okinawa Affairs Tadashi
Imai conveyed his regret over the incident to Lt. General Richard
Zilmer, commander of the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan. In response,
Zilmer reportedly said he would cooperate on the investigation and
strengthen discipline among the U.S. military personnel. The
Japanese side made both requests over the phone to the U.S. side.

6) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama on alleged raping of Okinawa girl

TOKYO 00000354 005 OF 012


by U.S. Marine: Government should reduce U.S. bases

YOMIURI ONLINE
20:37, Feb. 11, 2008

Referring at a press conference on Feb. 11 in Mito City to the
arrest of a U.S. Marine on suspicion of raping a junior-high
schoolgirl in the town of Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture, Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
said: "This kind of rape case has repeatedly occurred. I could not
help thinking, not another one!"

Hatoyama added: "I would like the government to take a strong
attitude toward the United States on the realignment of the U.S.
forces in Japan and the reduction of U.S. bases." He continued:
"Even if it takes years, shouldn't we immediately prepare the
environment so that no more U.S. military bases would exist in
Japan. The relationship between Japan and the U.S. should be made
more equal."

7) In Iwakuni mayoral election, new face - backed by groups favoring
U.S. aircraft transfer plan - defeats former mayor

ASAHI (Top Play) (Lead Paragraph)
February 11, 2008

The question of whether to accept the plan of relocating
carrier-based aircraft from the Naval Air Facility Atsugi in
Kanagawa Prefecture to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in
Yamaguchi Prefecture was put to the local voters in the Iwakuni
mayoral election yesterday. Yoshihiko Fukuda, 37, a former Liberal
Democratic Party member, was elected for the first time in a good
tight contest with former Mayor Katsusuke Ihara, 57, who strongly
opposes the relocation plan. Fukuda was asked by pro-relocation
groups to challenge Ihara. The relocation plan - as part of the
realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan - has stalled since the fall in
2005. With Fukuda's election, the plan will certainly move forward
now and is likely to be completed by 2014 as initially planned by
the central government. The number of voters was 121,717, and voter
turnout stood at 76.26 PERCENT (65.09 PERCENT in the previous
mayoral election).

8) Iwakuni exit poll: 54 PERCENT favor relocation

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged)
February 11, 2008

The city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture elected a new mayor
yesterday. According to an exit poll conducted by the Yomiuri
Shimbun, more than half of Iwakuni voters were in favor of
redeploying carrier-borne fighter jets to the U.S. Marine Corps'
Iwakuni base in line with the planned realignment of U.S. forces in
Japan. The poll shows that the stance of opposing the redeployment
of carrier-borne aircraft will only stagnate the city's municipal
administration. This attitude seems to have boosted Yoshihiko
Fukuda, who was a House of Representatives member of the Liberal
Democratic Party and is flexible about the transferal of U.S. jets
to the base.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they supported an agreement
reached between Japan and the United States on the plan to redeploy
U.S. carrier-borne aircraft to Iwakuni. To this question, "yes"

TOKYO 00000354 006 OF 012


accounted for 13 PERCENT , with "conditionally yes" (if the plan is
revised to reflect local views) and "no" accounting for 41 PERCENT
each. "Yes" and "conditionally yes" totaled 54 PERCENT .

Among those who answered "yes," 80 PERCENT voted for Fukuda. Among
those conditionally affirmative, a little over 70 PERCENT voted for
Fukuda. Among those negative, a little less than 90 PERCENT cast
their votes for former Mayor Katsusuke Ihara.

The survey was conducted at polling stations in the city of Iwakuni
with voters. Answers were obtained from 903 persons.

9) Lingering sorrow and pain seven years after Ehime Maru incident

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 21) (Full)
February 12, 2008

It was seven years on Feb. 10 since nine of the 35 crewmembers of
Ehime Prefectural Uwajima Fishery High School's training ship Ehime
Maru died when the ship sunk after being struck by a U.S. nuclear
submarine in February 2001 offshore Hawaii. The high school held a
ceremony commemorating the victims and maritime safety.

About 340 people -- the families of the victims, those who were on
the training ship at the time of the incident and were rescued, all
the school students and teachers -- prayed silently in the school's
gymnasium at 08:43 a.m. (01:43 p.m. on Feb. 9, local time) while
ringing the bell that was recovered from the sunken training ship.

High School Principal Haruki Tamai offered a speech, in which he
said: "Our anger over the incident will never heal. I strongly feel
that we should not ease up in our determination that similar
incidents must be avoided."

Four members of the school council, including Hideaki Suzuki, a 16
year-old, revealed a report on the Ehima Maru incident they
compiled. A local chorus sang the song "Sea of Hope" produced by
composer Shigeaki Saegusa.

Each attendant offered a white chrysanthemum at the monument erected
near the main school gate. Yoshiharu Tanioka, 17, president of the
school council, said: "I want to realize my dream of engaging in the
fisheries industry, continuing the enthusiasm of the nine victims.
Some of the family members of the victims offered silent prayers at
a park in Honolulu.

10) Government to extend U.S. force realignment subsidies to Nago
based on early start of Futenma assessment

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
February 9, 2008

The government decided on Feb. 8 to provide U.S. force realignment
subsidies to the city of Nago, the relocation cite for the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, on the assumption that the
government will start an environmental impact assessment at an early
time. Nago, which has been opposed to the relocation plan, has not
been on the government's list of subsidies. The government has
shifted its policy in an effort to elicit the city's cooperation for
the relocation plan. With the prefectural and Nago municipal
governments expected to show understanding for an early start of the
environmental assessment, the government is likely to provide

TOKYO 00000354 007 OF 012


subsidies within the current fiscal year.

The Defense Ministry's assessment, intended to study the possible
impact on the ecosystem of the base relocation, is an indispensable
process for realizing the relocation.

Under the U.S. Force Realignment Special Measures Law, the
government is allowed to extend subsidies to local governments that
are recognized to be contributing to the smooth and steady
implementation of U.S. force realignment. The government has
earmarked in the current fiscal year a total of 4.6 billion yen to
36 local governments that have announced their acceptance of
additional burdens resulting from U.S. force realignment. In
addition to Nago, Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Zama in
Kanagawa Prefecture, which are opposed to relocation plans, have not
been on the government's list of cities receiving subsidies.

But in Okinawa, there has appeared a mood to search for common
ground with the central government regarding the Futenma relocation
issue, as seen in Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's comment, "I have high
hopes for the Fukuda administration, which places high priority on
dialogue."

For this reason, the government has concluded that the provision of
subsidies will help push the planned assessment forward and obtain
local understanding.

The Defense Ministry has conveyed its desire to start the assessment
within this month to the Okinawa government.

11) U.S. Secretary of State Rice to hold talks in Tokyo with Prime
Minister Fukuda probably on Feb. 26

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
February 9, 2008

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to visit Japan
on the way home from Seoul where she will attend the South Korean
presidential inauguration to take place for Lee Myung Bak on Feb.
25. Coordination is under way for a meeting on the 26th between Rice
and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

According to Japan-U.S. diplomatic sources, the Prime Minister and
U.S. Secretary of State will discuss the war against global warming,
economic issues and Africa development, which are expected to become
main topics at the July Group of Eight summit at Lake Toya in
Hokkaido. They are also expected to exchange views on an early
resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear ambition,
as well as a new framework of cooperation between Japan, the United
States and South Korea, with the aim of stabilizing East Asia.

The expectation is that the state of realignment of U.S. forces in
Japan, including the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station will become a topic of discussion between Fukuda and Rice.
Fukuda will likely explain Japan's resumption of its refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean based on the new antiterrorism measures
law in a bid to play up of the unity of Japan-U.S. alliance.

12) President-elect Lee reveals plan to hold Japan-ROK summit soon

ASAHI Com (Excerpt)
February 11, 2008

TOKYO 00000354 008 OF 012

A suprapartisan group composed of representatives of the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the New
Komeito, and the Social Democratic Party met ROK President-elect Lee
Myung Bak in Seoul on Feb. 11. The delegation includes Koichi Kato
and Taku Yamasaki, both of whom served as LDP secretary general, and
former DPJ Policy Research Council Chairman Yoshito Sengoku. In
reference to the presidential inauguration scheduled for Feb. 25,
Lee said: "World leaders will be attending the ceremony. I am
planning to hold a Japan-South Korea summit first." He thus revealed
he would meet Prime Minister Fukuda around the 25th.

13) Japan provided 130 million yen from its ODA to PRT in
Afghanistan for construction of schools

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
February 10, 2008

Shinya Minamijima

The Japanese government was found to have provided money from its
official development assistance (ODA) budget to projects promoted by
the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), a group that consists of
military personnel and civilians and that engages in reconstruction
of Afghanistan. The projects include construction of schools.
Foreign Minister Koumura, who is to arrive in Munich, Germany, in
Feb. 9, intends to appeal to ministers from the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) members about this assistance by Japan to
the PRT as Japan's contribution to (the reconstruction of
Afghanistan). But there is an indication that this aid may lead to
the danger that Japanese aid organizations that operate in
Afghanistan in the way unrelated to the PRT will be attacked by
anti-government forces.

According to an informed government source, the Japanese government
has installed a liaison official in the NATO's civilian
representative office in Kabul and undertaken coordination with each
country's troops participating in the PRT in order to facilitate
fund cooperation.

When it came to what projects Japan financed, Japan financed
civilian aid projects advanced by the PRT that was under the control
of the Lithuanian troops, which are based in Afghanistan's Ghowr
Province, where reconstruction falls behind, and the Estonian troops
and the U.S. troops. Japan financed the projects on the condition
that aid money be used for education, vocational training, and
medical services only. The amount of money Japan has provided so far
totaled 130 million yen, which covered 13 projects, such as the
construction of elementary and junior high schools for literacy
education.

Each country's military found out necessary projects and asked for
Japan's financial aid through nongovernmental organizations in
Afghanistan and other countries. The Japanese government financed
some projects. Reportedly, each country's military engages in the
job of finding out necessary projects for ODA but they also engage
in the job of inspecting progress on each project. The Japanese and
Afghan governments exchanged notes on this cooperation.

For this aid, Japan used "grass-roots human security grant aid
cooperation" targeted for small projects directly linked to civilian
aid under ODA. ODA is required to be used for nonmilitary

TOKYO 00000354 009 OF 012


assistance. But a government official noted that even in the case of
rendering cooperation to the PRT, Japan can provide aid to it if the
aid is for civilian purposes and said: "Japan's aid has been highly
appreciated by local people and NATO."

Although Japan's cooperation toward the PRT has been limited in the
financial area, some among Japanese NGOs expressed concern that
Japanese NGOs, which operate in the region without receiving any
protection from other countries' troops, may be mistakenly taken as
the groups linked to those troops and become the target of attack by
anti-government forces.

14) Government eyes dispatch of Japan Coast Guard personnel to East
Timor, aiming to underscore Japan's eagerness for PKO cooperation

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
February 9, 2008

The government yesterday started looking into dispatching Japan
Coast Guard (JCG) personnel to East Timor to participate in the
United Nations' ongoing peacekeeping operations (PKO) in East Timor.
If the plan is realized, the JCG will send its personnel to a PKO
for the first time. Under the plan, the dispatched personnel will
engage in providing guidance and advice to enhance the capabilities
of the local maritime police section, based on the PKO Cooperation
Law. The government aims to underscore Japan's eagerness for PKO
cooperation, as advocated by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

The government plans to dispatch several JCG members to have them
join the UN Integrated Mission in Timor (UNMIT) as civilian police
officers. It will soon send a survey team to explore the best timing
for dispatching JCG members. Their main mission will be to help the
local maritime policy section enhance its abilities to stop the
inflow of narcotics and illegal operations by fishing boats.

Japan has dispatched more than 50 personnel to PKOs across the
world. This figure is too small, compared with 1,820 persons being
sent by China (as of last November) and 9,343 by India (the same).
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said: "Japan's presence
is too thin."

The government's decision stems from the judgment that activities in
East Timor will involve little risk. The PKO in Sudan has drawn much
attention in the international community, but the government is
negative about sending personnel, focusing on security and other
problems there. Japan has dispatched personnel to East Timor since
the UN launched a PKO there in 1999. The two civilian police
officers sent last year returned to Japan on Feb. 5.

Some JCG officials suggest that giving training to naval policemen
from East Timor in Japan would produce better results. But the Prime
Minister's Office insists that if activities are outside the
framework of the PKO, Japan will be unable to demonstrate its
eagerness to cooperate on peacekeeping.

East Timor has abundant natural resources. Japanese firms have also
taken part in gas field development projects in the nation. Also
because East Timor is expected to join the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), a senior Foreign Ministry official said: "It
is strategically significant for Japan to strengthen ties with East
Timor through personnel support."


TOKYO 00000354 010 OF 012


By studying the possibility of dispatching JCG personnel, the
government is also aiming to pave the way for enacting new permanent
legislation for dispatching Self-Defense Force troops overseas. The
prime minister has expressed his eagerness for new permanent
legislation. The LDP has also decided to set up a joint study group
to look into permanent legislation on the 13th.

Given that Japan has sent only 50 officials overseas, critics may
pose questions about whether a permanent law is really necessary.
For the government, the planned dispatch of personnel to East Timor
will be a good means to produce results.

15) Expanded use of weapons under permanent law on dispatch of SDF
personnel abroad to be considered, according to Taku Yamasaki of
LDP

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

Seoul, Masakazu Hamasuna

Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Taku
Yamasaki met in Seoul with reporters accompanying him on his visit
to South Korea. Referring to a permanent law stipulating the desired
form of the overseas dispatch of Self-Defense Forces' personnel,
Yamasaki noted that the ruling parties' project team would launch
discussions this month. He then indicated his party's intention to
look into the possibility of easing the standards for the use of
weapons, saying, "Whether it is possible to expand the scope of the
use of weapons within the scope of the possible interpretation of
the Constitution will also become subject to discussion."

16) "China's military buildup is giving rise to regional concern,"
says Foreign Minister Koumura in speech given at International
Security Conference

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

Munich, Hiroo Matsunaga

Foreign Minister Koumura, now visiting Germany, took part in the
Munich Conference on Security Policy, an international symposium,
and gave a speech around noon on Feb. 10. Regarding China's military
modernization, he warned, "It lacks transparency." He also
underscored the rapidly improving bilateral relations to the
international community.

This is the first time for a Japanese cabinet minister to give a
speech at the conference, which brought together members of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), starting with the U.S.,
China, India and Russia. In giving the speech, Koumura gave priority
to explaining matters concerning China in order to respond to
growing interest in that nation in Europe and the U.S.

Koumura stressed that for the stability and prosperity of Asia, it
is necessary to enhance transparency through confidence-building in
the political and military areas and reduce risks that could lead to
destabilization." Concerning China's continuing military buildup, he
pointed out, "There are some aspects that lack transparency. China
needs to provide more detailed accounts. If the situation is left
unattended, it could increase regional concern."

TOKYO 00000354 011 OF 012

Koumura presumably stressed that point in order to call on the
European Union (EU) to continue its weapons embargo against China.

Koumura played up friendly Japan-China relations, noting, "The two
countries now share common responsibility for the stability of Asian
and the world. They are tackling to build a mutually-beneficial
strategic relationship." Part of his aim in giving such a speech was
to wipe away the vivid memory still retained by European countries
that Japan-China relations worsened during the Koizumi
administration, as a senior Foreign Ministry official explained. The
foreign minister also stressed, "If Japan widens its activities in
Asia, the value of the Japan-U.S. alliance will increase, leading to
further strengthening the bilateral alliance.

17) Russia denies alleged intrusion of its aircraft into Japanese
airspace; Japan demands reinvestigation

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
February 12, 2008

Munich, Hiroo Matsunaga

Foreign Minister Koumura on the evening of Feb. 9 (early hours of
Feb. 10, Japan time) met with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister
Ivanov at a Munich hotel. They agreed to launch bilateral
government-level talks to discuss Japan purchasing some of Russia's
greenhouse gas emissions quotas. The first meeting will be held in
Tokyo on Feb. 27. Concerning the issue of the alleged intrusion of a
Russian bomber into Japanese airspace off the southern part of the
Izu Island chain, Ivanov said, "We investigated the matter, and
found that there was no intrusion."

In response, Koumura demanded, "SDF fighter jets, which were
scrambled to deal with the intrusion, confirmed the incident. We
would like you to reinvestigate the matter properly." Ivanov pledged
to do so.

Regarding the Northern Territories issue, Ivanov said that the 1956
Japan-USSR joint statement stipulating the return of the Habomai
islets and Shikotan is the closest to a settlement of the issue
among various attempts. He thus indicated Russia's stance that a
settlement should be reached based on that statement.

Koumura pointed out that it is important to sign a peace treaty, by
settling the ownership of the four Northern Territories, including
the Kunashiri Islands and the Etorofu as well, noting, "It is
necessary to understand that the statement is not a peace treaty."

18) Support for Fukuda cabinet down to 35 PERCENT

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Abridged)
February 11, 2008

The approval rating for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his cabinet
was 35.6 PERCENT in a public opinion survey conducted for the month
by Kyodo News on Feb. 9-10. The figure showed a drop of 5.8
percentage points from January's survey, in which the Fukuda
cabinet's support rate had rebounded. The figure is the second
lowest, following the 35.3 PERCENT rating in December last year,
since his cabinet came into office. The disapproval rating for the
Fukuda cabinet was 44.5 PERCENT , up 1.7 points.

TOKYO 00000354 012 OF 012

Those who do not support the Fukuda cabinet were asked why. In
response, 26.1 PERCENT said "the prime minister lacks leadership
ability," up 6.5 points from the last survey. This topped all other
reasons for the first time. Among other reasons, "nothing can be
expected of his economic policy" accounted for 22.8 PERCENT . In the
breakdown of reasons for supporting the Fukuda cabinet, "there's no
other appropriate person" topped all other reasons at 50.0 PERCENT
.

What lies behind these figures seems to be public concern about the
Fukuda cabinet's response to the economic situation, including lower
stock prices, in addition to the recent occurrence of food-poisoning
incidents involving Chinese-made frozen "gyoza" dumplings. The
survey shows the public's severe eye on the prime minister's
political steering.

19) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama supports idea of President Ozawa
remaining in office

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
February 9, 2008

Speaking at a press conference on Feb. 8 of the party leadership
race in September, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama revealed his position of supporting

SIPDIS
the idea of current DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa staying on in the
post. He said: "I want President Ozawa to run in the race. Under his
leadership, our party should take over the reins of government."

Hatoyama also suggested that an uncontested election be avoided. He
stated: "I wonder whether the election should be a vote of
confidence. Another way of holding an election is that candidates
present their manifesto and conduct the election."

DONOVAN

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