Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 02/19/08

DE RUEHKO #0423/01 0500138
P 190138Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



Secretary of State's visit:

1) Secretary Rice to arrive in Japan Feb. 27, discuss Okinawa, North
Korea with Prime Minister Fukuda (Asahi) 3
2) Secretary Rice will express regret for the Okinawa incident
during her visit to Japan (Yomiuri) 3
3) Fukuda to speak to Rice about the Okinawa problem (Sankei) 3

Okinawa incidents:
4) Even though USFJ imposed strict official discipline following
rape incident, another U.S. Marine arrested in Okinawa for drunk
driving (Asahi)
5) Drunken Marine arrested in Okinawa for breaking into a private
home, where he was discovered asleep (Mainichi)
6) Prime Minister Fukuda upset by the series of Marine incidents in
Okinawa: "What's happening down there?" (Mainichi)
7) Fukuda wants U.S. to enforce strict discipline effectively on
military personnel after more incidents occur (Yomiuri)
8) Angry Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura calls U.S. forces in
Okinawa "lax" (Yomiuri)
9) Embassy's deputy chief of mission called in by Foreign Ministry
after another Marine incident in Okinawa occurs (Yomiuri)
10) Still another protest by Foreign Ministry as incidents mount in
Okinawa (Nikkei)
11) Okinawa deputy governor meets Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura
to ask government to seek ways to prevent more incidents in Okinawa

12) Government trying to come up with effective countermeasures
after series of Okinawa incidents (Tokyo Shimbun)
13) Anger spreads across Okinawa as series of Marine incidents occur
14) Local residents express concern over incidents caused by U.S.
Marines in Okinawa (Mainichi)
15) Okinawa police reluctant to do joint patrols with U.S. military
police (Mainichi)
16) Pentagon is revising rules of personal conduct after the latest
rape incident in Okinawa (Sankei)
17) Okinawa rape incident: Stricter requirements for off-the-base
residency: Measures to prevent recurrence to be mapped out next week

Defense and security issues:
18) The freeze is off: with the election of a pro-base mayor,
Iwakuni City will now start to receive government subsidies
19) SDF may be sent to Middle East area for peace-keeping
operations: senior official (Yomiuri)
20) Government considering PKO to Sudan's southern part (Yomiuri)

North Korea problem:
21) Former senior U.S. official to visit North Korea to seek
cooperation on the nuclear issue (Sankei)
22) Democratic Party of Japan organizing Diet league to promote
exchanges with North Korea (Sankei)

23) Jiji poll finds Fukuda Cabinet's popularity continuing to
dwindle, with non-support rate at 43.2 PERCENT , up 3.4 points, and
support rate at 32.5 PERCENT , down 2 points (Tokyo Shimbun)
24) Nikkei poll: Cabinet non-support rate at 48 PERCENT , up 2

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points, support drops 2 points to 40 PERCENT (Nikkei)
25) Yomiuri poll reveals a majority of the public, 51 PERCENT , do
not support the Fukuda Cabinet, with support falling to 39 PERCENT


1) U.S. Secretary of State Rice to arrive in Japan on Feb. 27 for
talks on North Korea, Marine incident

ASAHI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
Eve., February 16, 2008


The U.S. State Department announced on Feb. 15 that Secretary Rice
will the Republic of Korea, China, and Japan between Feb. 23-28,
timed to attend the inauguration of Lee Myung Bak as the new
president of South Korea. Though there had been speculation that she
would possibly visit Pyongyang to accompany a famous American
symphony orchestra, the State Department spokesperson on the 15th
ruled that out.

Rice will first visit South Korea on the 25th and after the
inauguration depart for Beijing on the 26th. She will stay in Japan
on the 27th and 28th, meeting Foreign Minister Koumura and other
senior officials. She will exchange views how to deal with the
Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear issue. The issue of the
rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by a U.S. Marine is likely to come
up, as well.

2) State Secretary Rice to express "regret" over alleged U.S. Marine
rape incident during visit to Japan

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, February 18, 2008

Miyazaki, Washington

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Christopher Hill said
yesterday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would express
sincere regret over the alleged rape of a junior high school girl by
a U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant in Okinawa during her meetings
with Foreign Minister Koumura and other Japanese officials when she
visits Japan starting on Feb. 27. Hill made the remark in response
to questions by reporters at an airport in the suburbs of

Hill said: "Secretary Rice is perplexed over the incident and is
taking it with profound regret."

3) Fukuda reveals plan to discuss with Secretary Rice measures to
prevent incidents by U.S. Marines

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 19, 2008

Speaking before reporters at his official residence (Kantei) last
night, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda indicated that he would discuss
measures to prevent a recurrence of crimes by U.S. Marines, in
reaction to a series of recent incidents by U.S. Marines in Okinawa,
with U.S. Secretary of State Rice when she visits Japan on Feb. 27.

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Fukuda said: "What has happened to the U.S. military? I must ask the
U.S. to take thorough measures to prevent such incidents." Okinawa
Vice Governor Katsuko Asato and others met Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura at the Kantei last evening and called for more
preventive measures.

4) Another U.S. Marine arrested in Okinawa, charged with drunk
driving at a time when policy of strict official discipline in

ASAHI (Page 34) (Full)
February 18, 2008

Okinawa Prefectural police on Feb. 17 arrested Tony Alexander Garcia
(22), a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa, on the charge of violating
the Highway Transportation Law (drunk driving). The suspect
reportedly has admitted the charge. The U.S. forces in Japan have
promised to enforce strict discipline among military personnel
following the incident of a Marine having raped a junior-high school
girl. The Marines in Okinawa have stiffened moral leadership
training among personnel.

According to the police investigation, Garcia, a little after 7:00
am on Feb. 17, was charged with driving under the influence of
alcohol at Chuo 1-Chome in Okinawa City. Reportedly, a police
officer spotted his car weaving along the highway after it left Gate
1 of Kadena Air Base. It was moving in the direction of Okinawa City
Hall along what is known as Koza Gate Street. Along that road is
the place where the Marine who allegedly raped a school girl first
spoke to her.

5) U.S. Marine arrested on suspicion of trespassing in Nago despite
tightened military discipline

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, February 18, 2008

Around 4:25 a.m., February 18, a police station received a call form
a 54-year-old woman of Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture,
saying, "An unknown foreigner is sleeping in my house." Nago Police
Station officers rushed to her house and found Shawn Jake, a
21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps corporal based at Camp Schwab,
sleeping there. He was arrested on the spot on suspicion of for
trespassing. In the wake of an alleged sexual assault of a middle
school girl by a U.S. Marine on Feb. 10, U.S. forces in Japan are
endeavoring to tighten military discipline and prevent a recurrence
of similar incidents. Earlier on Feb. 17, a 22-year-old Marine was
arrested in Okinawa City on suspicion of drunk driving. The series
of incidents involving U.S. servicemen is likely to draw greater
fire from people in Okinawa.

Jake has denied the charge to investigators, saying he did not
remember why he entered the house because he was intoxicated at the
time. No damage, such as vandalism to the house, has been

Camp Schwab sits on the east side of the residential Henoko
district. The Defense Ministry is pushing ahead with procedures for
conducting an environmental impact assessment at around Camp Schwab,
the relocation site for Futenma Air Station. The residential area
including the house in question is only some 600 meters away from
the Camp Schwab No. 1 gate.

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Suzuyo Takasato, co-representative of the Okinawa Women Act against
Military Violence commented: "Although (the U.S. military) says that
it is enforcing tighter discipline, the incident showed that service
members lack discipline. The situation is intolerable."

6) Fukuda expresses displeasure about series of arrests of U.S.

MAINICHI (Page 31) (Full)
February 19, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda last night expressed displeasure
regarding the fact that U.S. Marines in Okinawa have been arrested
one after another even after the alleged rape of a middle school
girl by a U.S. Marine (on Feb. 10). The prime minister said: "What
has happened? (The arrests) occurred right after the U.S. military
pledged to enforce tighter discipline." He also indicated that he
would file a protest with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
when she visits Japan later this month, saying: "We must strongly
call on (the United States) to take measures so that such incidents
will not occur again."

7) Prime minister to call for stricter discipline from U.S. forces

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

Commenting on a series of crimes committed by U.S. Marines in
Okinawa, Prime Minister Fukuda on the evening of Feb. 18 expressed
his intention to strongly call on the U.S. to prevent a recurrence.
He noted, "What has happened to the U.S. military? There must be
some reason. We must make a strict request to the U.S., by
determining the reasons." Concerning U.S. Secretary of State Rice's
visit to Japan on Feb. 27, he indicated his intention to bring up
this issue during a meeting with her, noting, "I must consult with
her on the matter so that such incidents will not happen again."

Okinawa Prefecture Vice Governor Katsuko Asato and a group of
members of the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly on Feb. 18 visited Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura and urged him to reveal a stricter
education plan for U.S. servicemen and effective measures for
preventing a recurrence. Machimura replied, "The government has
asked the U.S. Embassy, dedicating all its strength." Regarding a
revision to requirements for off-base residency by U.S. service
members, he said, "We must consider a realistic approach, by
checking every single requirement."

8) Chief cabinet secretary on series of crimes by Marines: "U.S.
military in Okinawa is slackening"

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
February 18, 2008

Following an alleged schoolgirl rape incident in Okinawa a week ago,
two more U.S. Marine Corps corporals were arrested on Feb. 17 and 18
on suspicion of drunken driving and breaking into a house,
respectively. Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura expressed anger over
the series of crimes by U.S. Marine Corps members in a press
conference this morning. He said:

"When (the rape incident) is eliciting much criticism, more members

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violated the law. 'Slackening off' is the only word for what I feel.
I urge (the U.S. military) to deeply reflect on its approach. I feel
it was truly regrettable and I am enraged by the incidents."

Machimura then indicated that he would seek strict enforcement of
discipline by the U.S. military of its personnel, saying: "We must
urge the U.S. government to carry out serious reflection."

9) Foreign Ministry asks U.S. for measures to stop crimes by

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, February 18, 2008

Two more U.S. Marine Corps members were arrested on suspicion of
drunken driving and breaking into a house, following an alleged rape
by a Marine of a schoolgirl in Okinawa. Foreign Ministry North
American Affairs Bureau Director General Shinichi Nishimiya made a
phone call to DCM Donovan this morning and strongly sought that the
U.S. government take more perfect measures to prevent a recurrence
of incidents, saying: "We have asked the U.S. for strict enforcement
of discipline and more preventive measures following the rape case.
Despite our request, more Marines were arrested. It is truly

Donovan replied: "The incidents are indeed regrettable. The U.S.
will fully cooperate with the Japanese investigations, as well as
review our preventive measures."

10) Government files protest with U.S. over series of incidents
involving Marines

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 19, 2008

Foreign Ministry Vice Minister Misoji Yabunaka made a phone call to
U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer yesterday and filed a protest
against a series of recent crimes committed by U.S. Marines in
Okinawa. The Ambassador replied: "The incidents are indeed
regrettable. The U.S. will earnestly step up measures to prevent a

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters yesterday: "What has
happened to the U.S. military? Investigations must be fully
conducted, and we must ask the U.S. to take full measures to prevent
a recurrence of similar incidents."

11) Rape of schoolgirl by U.S. serviceman in Okinawa: Vice governor
calls on Kantei to ask for measures to prevent recurrence

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
February 19, 2008

Following the alleged rape of a middle school girl by a U.S. Marine
in Okinawa, Vice Okinawa Governor Katsuko Asato of the Council for
Promotion of Dezoning and Reutilization of Military Land in Okinawa,
established by local governments hosting U.S. military bases in
Okinawa, and others on Feb. 18 visited Chief Cabinet Secretary
Machimura at the Kantei and called on the government to take steps
to prevent a recurrence. Machimura indicated the government's plan
to consider measures on U.S. service members living off base.

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Concerning arrests of U.S. service members on suspicion of violating
the traffic law (driving under the influence of alcohol) and
trespassing, Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka on the 18th
expressed his dismay to U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer. The
Ambassador indicated his intention to speed up efforts to take
measures to prevent a recurrence.

12) Tokyo, Washington to expedite review of preventive measures in
wake of series of crimes by U.S. service members

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
February 19, 2008

A series of scandals involving U.S. Marines in Okinawa has continued
even after the alleged sexual assault against a middle school girl
by a U.S. Marine (on Feb. 10). Given the situation, the government
plans to strongly protest the matter to the United States, with
Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura saying, "The United States must
enforce tight military discipline." The government also wants to
speedily come up with preventive measures in cooperation with the
United States.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at his official residence last night
said to the press: "What has happened to the U.S. military? In the
wake of a serious incident, the U.S. military just recently declared
that it would enforce tighter discipline. We must strongly call on
the United States to find out the cause and make efforts to prevent
a recurrence."

Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka yesterday afternoon called
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer and filed a protest
against the string of incidents and called for a speedy review of
preventive measures at the same time. In response, Ambassador
Schieffer pledged to expedite the review work, expressing his

Meanwhile, a group of Okinawa municipal leaders, including Deputy
Governor Katsuko Asato and Kin Mayor Tsuyoshi Gibu, yesterday called
on Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Defense Minister
Shigeru Ishiba. They requested: (1) apologies and compensation to
victims and their families by the U.S. military, (2) enforcement of
tighter military discipline and human rights education and a
decision on effective preventive measures, (3) reduction in U.S.
troop strength, and (4) fundamental review of the Japan-U.S. Status
of Forces Agreement.

Machimura indicated the government would study such steps as
enhancing patrols in entertainment districts and surveying the
situation of U.S. service members living off base.

13) In wake of alleged rape, anger is spreading among U.S. service
members in Okinawa

MAINICHI (Page 31) (Abridged slightly)
Pak Chon Ju, February 18, 2008

This is the first weekend since the alleged rape occurred on
February 10. I walked around the entertainment district in Okinawa
City where Tyron Hadnott, a 34-year-old U.S. Marine staff sergeant,
had offered a ride home to the victim, a 14-year-old middle school
girl. U.S. service members I met in the district all expressed
anger, saying that he did a terrible thing and made them angry.

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Shortly after 10:00 p.m., Feb. 15, I came to the so-called gate
street connecting a Kadena Air Base gate to the entertainment
district lined with bars and clubs crowded with U.S. service
members. At one bar, I approached a group of two U.S. servicemen and
two Japanese women. One of them, a 22-year-old airman, started to
talk to me. "The Air Force and the Marines are separate forces. The
Air Force is more gentlemanly than the Army, Navy, and Marines. The
Air Force is the hardest one to get into," he said as if to tell me
that no one in the Air Force would do such a thing. He went on
angrily: "What is most important to USFJ is friendship with Japan.
(Tyron Hadnott) did a stupid thing."

As I returned to the street, I found a group of U.S. service
members. One of them, a 23-year-old Marine, said: "After the
incident, I was told by my commanding officer not to do anything
that would attract attention in town. All my colleagues are now

A 32-year-old Marine walking down the street with a woman also said:
"Because he assaulted a girl much younger than him, he should
appropriately pay for what he did. No one on the base has any
sympathy toward him."

14) Local residents express concern over incidents caused by U.S.
Marines in Okinawa

MAINICHI (Page 10) (Full)
Eve., February 18, 2008

Junichiro Nagasawa, Seiichi Ota

Shawn Jake (21), a U.S. Marine Corps corporal belonging to the U.S.
Marine Corps' Camp Schwab, broke into a house in Nago City's Henoko
district, to which the U.S. military's Futenma Air Station is
planned to be relocated. The Henoko district is a village lying next
to Camp Schwab. The residents in the area are divided over the
Futenma relocation plan, but with the occurrence of this illegal
entry, residents began expressing concern about the relocation, with
one resident saying, "More problems are likely to occur if the base
is relocated." Critical views are being voiced among Okinawa
residents about the succession of incidents committed by U.S.
military personnel.

When six hours had passed after the incident, the Henoko district
was quiet as usual.

A 75-year-old man living near a restaurant that is patronized by
U.S. Marines said with disgust: "It's outrageous. It was just
recently that an alleged rape of a junior high schoolgirl by a U.S.
Marine occurred." The man continued: "If the base is relocated here,
we will face more problems. I am opposed to the relocation plan."

A man in his sixties who claimed that drunk U.S. Marines once broke
into his friend's house said: "Such a thing is impermissible.
Strengthened discipline is of no use once military personnel drink.
. . . We tell each other we need to lock our doors because
non-residents are coming here because of the base relocation

A housewife in her sixties said: "Some residents say that if the
base is relocated, the economy will thrive, but we may face more

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problems if the number of foreigners living in this district

15) Okinawa prefectural police chief negative about joint Japan-U.S.

MAINICHI (Page 31) (Full)
February 19, 2008

The Japanese government is considering Japan-U.S. joint patrols as a
means to prevent crimes by U.S. service members. Okinawa Prefectural
Police chief Hachiro Tokutsu yesterday took a negative view about
such a plan, saying: "It would pose problems from the viewpoint of
taking custody of suspects." Tokutsu pointed out the possibility of
the U.S. side seizing suspects ahead of Japan and the country not
being able to conduct investigations independently as a result of
joint patrols by the prefectural police and U.S. military police.

16) U.S. to strengthen discipline among military personnel in
response to recent alleged rape case

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2008

Yoshihisa Komori, Washington

The U.S. Department of Defense's spokesperson Upton on Feb. 14
expressed regrets over the recent alleged rape of a junior high
schoolgirl by a U.S. Marine in Okinawa and revealed that orders were
given to strengthen ethical rules and discipline among the entire
U.S. military personnel in Japan.

Upton noted that the U.S. military authorities firmly retain the
policy of not being tolerant of any sexual assault by officers and
soldiers, and that they have taken the recent incident seriously.
The spokesperson also stated, "It is highly regrettable that this
kind of incident occurred. We sincerely sympathize with the victim,
her family, and other persons concerned." Meanwhile, Upton noted,
"The Marine in question is considered to be innocent until proved
guilty. So, it is inappropriate to conjecture at this point in time
the results of the ongoing investigations."

Upton went on to say, "We are fully cooperating with the Japanese
authorities so that a fair judgment will be given after the
investigations are completed. As a set of measures to prevent a
recurrence of similar incidents, Upton declared that: (1) the
commander of the U.S. Forces Japan established a special team to
verify whether training and educational programs are implemented
toward all U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan, and (2) the
commander of the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan gave orders for ethical
rules, discipline and education intended for all officers and
soldiers under his command to be reviewed on Feb. 13-15.

At a meeting on Feb. 15 of the Lower House Budget Committee, Foreign
Minister Masahiko Koumura noted, "I think it is necessary for both
sides to discuss at such fora as the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee how
many and what kinds of military personnel live off- base." The
Marine who has been arrested resided outside the base. The Japanese
government did not know how many military personnel live off-base,
but in response to the recent incident, it has asked the U.S. side
to survey how many live off-base.

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17) Okinawa rape incident: Stricter requirements for off-the-base
residency: Measures to prevent recurrence to be mapped out next

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
February 16, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura on Feb. 15 revealed a plan to
outline within next week measures to prevent a recurrence of the
incident of a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa raping a middle
schoolgirl. Since the incident was caused by a staff sergeant living
off the base, the planned set of measures will likely focus on the
adoption of stricter requirements for allowing U.S. servicemen to
live off the base.

Koumura told reporters at the Foreign Ministry, "The incident this
time was caused by a relatively elder person who lives off the
base." As possible measures, Koumura cited the adoption of stricter
requirements for allowing off-the-base residency and the
installation of security cameras.

According to the Foreign Ministry, 5,107 U.S. servicemen have
entered into contracts for rental housing for U.S. soldiers in
Okinawa. The number is more than 20 PERCENT of the entire U.S.
servicemen living in Okinawa. However, the members of those
households have not been revealed. Requirements for allowing
off-the-base residency have not been revealed, either.

18) Government decides to end freeze on subsidy to Iwakuni,
following election of candidate approving relocation of U.S. fighter
jets as mayor

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2008

The government on Feb. 15 decided to offer to Iwakuni City,
Yamaguchi Prefecture, about 3.5 billion yen in a subsidy by raising
the grant rate set under the existing law in place of the now frozen
subsidy for the construction of a new town hall. Regarding the
reason for raising the grant rate, the Defense Ministry explained,
"Iwakuni's own circumstances have been taken into account." Offering
a subsidy in this manner is apparently the establishment of a new
subsidy system. This is a measure in response to the replacement of
the previous mayor, who was against the relocation of a U.S. Navy
air wing to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (MCAS), by a new mayor
who is in favor of the transfer.

New Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda on Feb. 15 visited Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura at the Prime Minister's Official

Residence (Kantei). He made a request to Machimura, "We would like
to receive a subsidy for the construction of a new town hall
promptly." Machimura replied, "We will facilitate the procedures
without delay." The government will approve the offering of the
subsidy as soon as the city officially announces its approval for
the jet relocation plan.

The subsidy for the construction of an Iwakuni city hall is the
return for the city accepting the transfer of air-refueling aircraft
from U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa,
which was decided in the final report issued in 1996 by the
Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO). The offering
of the subsidy has been put on hold with former Mayor Katsusuke

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Ihara opposing the partial change made to the air-refueling aircraft
relocation plan following the 2006 USFJ realignment talks and the
decision on the transfer of a carrier-borne jet unit after the city
decided to accept the air-refueling aircraft transfer plan.

19) High-level government official hints at possible dispatch of SDF
to PKO in Middle East

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
February 17, 2008

A high-level government official on Feb. 16 referred to the
government's move to study a dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces
(SDF) to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), a UN
peacekeeping operation (PKO), and in this connection, the official
indicated that Japan is also mulling a dispatch of the SDF to the UN
Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) deployed in the Middle East.
This official continued: "Participation in UNMIS is among plans we
are considering. We also are considering dispatching the Japan Coast
Guard to East Timor. Likewise, we may dispatch personnel to the
Sinai Peninsula."

UNTSO is a long-running PKO that began in 1948. It is deployed in
Egypt and Israel on the Sinai Peninsula. As of the end of last
September, 151 military monitoring personnel were taking part in

According to the Foreign Ministry, UNTSO is highly likely to meet
the five principles for the SDF's participation in a PKO as
stipulated in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Law.

20) Japan mulling dispatching SDF to Sudan for PKO

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
February 16, 2008

The government yesterday started to consider dispatching the
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the United Nations Mission in Sudan
(UNMIS) deployed in the southern part of that country. This group is
operating separately from the other peacekeeping operation going on
in Darfur in the west of that country. The duties of the SDF
personnel Japan assumes includes confirming whether the peace
agreement is implemented and helping to remove land mines.

In the south of Sudan, a fierce civil war continued between the
government backed mainly by Muslims living in the northern region
and the anti-government group based in the southern region, most of
the population of which were Christians, since 1983 through 2005,
when a peace agreement was reached.

As of last August, the Group of Eight industrialized nations
excluding Japan, China, and South Korea sent troops to UNMIS. UNMIS
now consists of 660 civilian police officers and 607 military
monitoring personnel. As a result of discussion held so far, Japan
has now concluded that the SDF's participation in UNMIS meets the
five principles stipulated under the UN Peacekeeping Operations

21) Former high-level U.S. official to visit Pyongyang on nuclear

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00000423 011 OF 014

February 17, 2008

Takashi Arimoto, Washington

Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Gregg on Feb. 15 revealed to
the Sankei Shimbun that he, along with former Secretary of Defense
Perry, will travel to Pyongyang accompanying the New York
Philharmonic, and that on that occasion, he will meet with North
Korean officials and prod them to swiftly declare their nuclear
programs, an action that has fallen behind schedule.

According to Gregg, he plans to meet with Vice Foreign Minister Kim
Gye Gwan, the North Korean chief negotiator in the six-party talks,
but this plan has not been officially confirmed. Gregg explained: "I
intend to urge the North Korean officials I will meet to move the
Korean Peninsula denuclearization process forward."

Gregg will convey the results of the meeting with North Korean
officials to Assistant Secretary of State Hill, America's chief
delegate to the six-party talks.

The New York Philharmonic will give its first performance in
Pyongyang on Feb. 26 at the request of North Korea. A/S Hill
actively worked to realize this performance in the belief that it
would help improve relations between the United States and North
Korea. The six-party talks have been suspended because of a conflict
between Washington and Pyongyang over the specifics of a nuclear
declaration by North Korea. The U.S. has high hopes that the New
York Philharmonic's performance will serve as a breakthrough in the
stalled multilateral talks.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman McCormack told a press
briefing on Feb. 15 that Secretary of State Rice will travel to
three Asian countries, including Japan, starting on Feb. 23.
Specifically, Rice will travel to China and Japan to discuss a
resumption of the six-party talks after attending South Korean
President-elect Lee Myung Bak's inauguration in Seoul on Feb. 25.

Rice will stay in Japan on Feb. 27-28 and meet with Foreign Minister
Masahiko Koumura and other Japanese officials. They are likely to
confer on the North Korean issue and the recent alleged rape of a
junior high school girl by a U.S. Marine in Okinawa. Ahead of Rice's
visit to Japan and China, A/S Hill will travel to Japan, China, and
South Korea starting on Feb. 18.

22) Parliamentary league for promoting exchange with North Korea
with involvement of DPJ lawmakers to be launched possibly on Feb.

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 19, 2008

A Korean Peninsula Issues Study Council (tentative name), a
parliamentary league consisting of lawmakers from the Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) and others, will be launched
possibly on Feb. 22. The council will advocate settling the
abduction, nuclear, and missile issues and normalizing ties with
that nation through the promotion of broad-based exchange. Founders
of the organization are 14 DPJ Upper House members, including
Yoshihiro Kawakami, Keiko Chiba, Yasuo Yamashita and Yoshiro
Yokomine, and Upper House member Shozaburo Jimi of the People's New
Party (PNP).

TOKYO 00000423 012 OF 014

The charter of the council notes that it would go against the
national interest to normalize ties with North Korea based on the
Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, and that it is not
desirable to leave unattended the present situation in which there
is no direct dialogue between the two countries. It makes a clear
distinction from the suprapartisan Parliamentary Group on the
Abduction Issue, chaired by Takeo Hiranuma, which intends to press
North Korea to settle the abduction issue in a hard-line manner. For
this reason, some DPJ members are alert to the move, with one
noting, "Mr. Kawakami has a channel with North Korea, as he visited
that nation before he was elected as a lawmaker. The council might
tilt toward a stance of reconciling with North Korea."

23) Poll: Fukuda cabinet' nonsupport rate tops 40 PERCENT for 1st

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2008

According to a Jiji Press opinion poll conducted for the month on
Feb. 8-11, the rate of public support for Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda's cabinet was 32.5 PERCENT , down 2.0 percentage points from
last month. The Fukuda cabinet's support rate dropped for the fourth
month in a row. The nonsupport rate was 43.2 PERCENT , up 3.4 points
from last month. The nonsupport rate topped the support rate for the
first time since the Fukuda cabinet came into office in September
last year.

Fukuda has launched advisory panels to discuss social security
measures and push for consumer-oriented policy measures but could
not stop his cabinet's support rate from falling.

Those who do not support the Fukuda cabinet were asked to pick one
or more reasons. In response to this question, "nothing can be
expected" accounted for nearly 30 PERCENT , followed by "no
leadership" at 17.4 PERCENT and "poor policies" at 10.4 PERCENT .

Among those in their 50s, the Fukuda cabinet's nonsupport rate
showed a substantial increase of 8.5 points from last month and
topped 50 PERCENT for the first time. Among those in their 30s and
40s as well, the nonsupport rate topped 40 PERCENT . Meanwhile,
among those in their 20s, the support rate was only over 10 PERCENT
. Among those aged 70 and over, the support rate was over 50 PERCENT
. Among those in their 60s as well, the support rate was over 40
PERCENT . As seen from these figures, the support rate varied with

24) Poll: Cabinet support down to 40 PERCENT

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 18, 2008

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun conducted a public opinion survey on Feb.
15-17, in which the rate of public support for Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda and his cabinet was 40 PERCENT , down 2 percentage points
from the last survey conducted in January. The nonsupport rate for
the Fukuda cabinet was 48 PERCENT , up 2 points. The Fukuda
cabinet's disapproval rating topped its approval rating for the
third straight month. Fukuda is now seen as lacking in leadership.
Moreover, the public gives low ratings for his cabinet's way of
handling road-related tax revenues and its policy measures to

TOKYO 00000423 013 OF 014

revitalize the nation's economy.

Those who do not support the Fukuda cabinet were asked to pick one
or more reasons. To this question, "no leadership" accounted for 57
PERCENT , topping all other answers. This answer marked the highest
percentage for Fukuda since his cabinet came into office, even
higher than 54 PERCENT for the former Abe cabinet at its last stage
in August last year. Among other answers, "poor policies" accounted
for 31 PERCENT , followed by "unstable" at 25 PERCENT . Among those
who support the Fukuda cabinet, "trustworthy" accounted for 43
PERCENT . Affirmative answers for the Fukuda cabinet's job
performance totaled 31 PERCENT , down 3 points from last month,
hitting a low for the Fukuda cabinet since its inauguration.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party stood at 39 PERCENT , up 3 points from the
last survey. The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) was at 31 PERCENT , up 1 point. The gap between the two
parties' support rates have widened to 8 points from 6 points in the
last survey.

The survey was taken by Nikkei Research Inc. over the telephone on a
random digit dialing (RDD) basis. For the survey, samples were
chosen from among men and women aged 20 and over across the nation.
A total of 1,530 households with one or more eligible voters were
sampled, and answers were obtained from 919 persons (60.1 PERCENT

25) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's nonsupport rate reaches 51 PERCENT ;
Support down to 39 PERCENT

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
February 19, 2008

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fukuda and his cabinet fell
6.9 percentage points from January to 38.7 PERCENT in a
face-to-face nationwide public opinion survey conducted by the
Yomiuri Shimbun on Feb. 16-17. The disapproval rating for the Fukuda
cabinet was 50.8 PERCENT , up 9.2 points. The Fukuda cabinet's
nonsupport rate topped its support rate for the first time since it
came into office.

In the survey, those who answered that they did not support the
Fukuda cabinet were asked to pick up to two reasons. In response, 48
PERCENT answered that they could not appreciate its political
stance, topping all other answers, with 37 PERCENT saying nothing
can be expected of its economic policy and 28 PERCENT each saying
the prime minister is untrustworthy or his cabinet is unstable.

Respondents were also asked what they would like the Fukuda cabinet
to pursue on a priority basis. In response to this question for
multiple answers, "food safety" scored 40 PERCENT , up 16 points
from the January survey. Respondents were further asked if they
thought the Fukuda cabinet has appropriately met recent changes in
the economic situation. To this question, a total of 75 PERCENT
answered "no." Public frustration is growing stronger over issues
related to their daily lives, such as poisoning from frozen
Chinese-made "gyoza" dumplings and price increases for various goods
and services. This seems to have brought about the drop in the
support rate.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling

TOKYO 00000423 014 OF 014

Liberal Democratic Party stood at 32.6 PERCENT , down 2.9 points
from the January survey. The leading opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (Minshuto) was at 20.0 PERCENT , up 3.1 points.


© Scoop Media

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