Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/20/08

VZCZCXRO2198
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0444/01 0510808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200808Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1857
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 8574
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6182
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 9847
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4759
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 6785
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1758
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7826
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8424

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TOKYO 000444

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02/20/08


INDEX:

AMERICAN EMBASSY, TOKYO
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
OFFICE OF TRANSLATION AND MEDIA ANALYSIS
INQUIRIES: 03-3224-5360
INTERNET E-MAIL ADDRESS: otmatokyo@state.gov
DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS
February 20, 2008

INDEX:

(1) Editorial: Defense Minister Ishiba's MOD reform plan raises
questions (Nikkei)

(2) China indicates no willingness to concede on gas field
development despite plan for president's visit to Japan (Sankei)

(3) LDP research commission approves in general outline bill
amending AML: Administrative surcharge to target false labeling;
Government stance of protecting consumers becomes clear (Nikkei)

(4) Parliamentary league "Sentaku" to have 60 participants: Founders
to meet today (Sankei)

ARTICLES:

(1) Editorial: Defense Minister Ishiba's MOD reform plan raises
questions

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

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba explained his plan to reorganize the
Ministry of Defense (MOD) to the ministry's blue-ribbon reform
panel, chaired by Tokyo Electric Power Co. advisor Nobuya Minami.
His plan raised questions and concerns.

Ishiba's plan is basically designed to reorganize the ministry into
an organization of three functions -- (1) building up defense
capabilities, (2) employment, and (3) accountability to the Diet and
the public -- by integrating the MOD internal bureaus (non-uniform
group) and the four staff offices (uniformed group) in order to
establish a system in which the two groups cooperate in assisting
the minister.

The first question concerns the plan's weak connection to measures
to prevent a recurrence of the bribery scandal involving former
Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya.

Moriya's dictatorial power coming from his ties to lawmakers was the
primary cause of the scandal. Mr. Ishiba, as the person who
appointed Moriya vice minister, must know it the best. There is no
guarantee that another Moriya will not emerge if MOD is reorganized
based on his plan.

Second, can an organization reorganized by function by integrating
the MOD bureaucrats and the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense
Forces in uniform actually function? Cultural differences exist not
only between the non-uniform and uniform groups but also between the
Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces. Although the Joint
Staff was established two years ago for integrated operations of the

TOKYO 00000444 002 OF 005


three forces, it has yet to produce any visible effects.

Third is the possible effect on the SDF's international cooperation
activities. An integration of the non-uniformed group and the three
forces would increase the influence of the Ground Self-Defense
Force, the largest of the three forces. Precedents tell that control
of the reorganized by the GSDF, which is the least international
among the three forces, will result in hesitance to conduct
international cooperation activities.

Fourth, the plan runs the risk of "GSDF bureaucrats" wielding
significant influence by taking advantage of their numerical
strength. Internal bureau civilian officers, the MSDF, and the ASDF
would bow to them. If they forge ties to lawmakers, like Moriya did,
it would be difficult to restrain them.

The emergence of an elite group in Tokyo putting a slight on field
troops might result in a second coming of the Imperial Headquarters
that does not know the front line. That is apparently why the U.S.
Defense Department, the world's largest bureaucratic organization,
has two separate bodies: the organ to support the defense chief and
the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What is necessary now is not tinkering with the organization but
bold personnel exchanges, including high-level officials of the
internal bureaus and the four staff offices. That, too, never came
to fruition, however. Organizational restructuring must not take
place by capitalizing on the Moriya scandal.

(2) China indicates no willingness to concede on gas field
development despite plan for president's visit to Japan

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

The Chinese government has indicated that it has no intention of
making a concession on the issue of gas exploration rights in the
East China Sea simply for the reason that President Hu Jintao is
planning to visit Japan, an informed source revealed yesterday. A
Chinese representative said in working-level talks held late last
year: "We don't want to link a settlement of the issue to the
presidential visit to Japan." The governments of Japan and China are
engaged in final coordination in a bid to bring about a settlement
in vice-minister-level talks to be held on Feb. 20, but it remains
to be seen whether both sides will be able to find common ground.

Observers speculate that the Chinese government might be afraid that
if it quickly reached an agreement for the reason of the planned
presidential visit to Japan, its people could criticize the
administration, claiming that the government had compromised with
Japan.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Premier Wen Jiabao agreed in their
meeting late last year to grope for a solution at an early date over
the gas field development row. The Japanese government has expressed
its desire to reach a settlement by the time of the Chinese
presidential visit to Japan in April.

On the boundary line between Japan and China, Japan and China remain
divided. Japan regards a line equidistant from the land territory of
Japan and China as the boundary line, but China insists that the
Okinawa Trough should be the boundary line.

TOKYO 00000444 003 OF 005

In the working-level talks prior the Japan-China summit late last
year, China sounded out Japan on a plan to jointly develop gas
fields in the waters near the Japan-claimed median line and on the
Japanese side, showing its willingness to compromise for the first
time. Japan, however, did not agree to this proposal, asserting that
China should promise the development of gas fields in the oceanic
areas on the Chinese side and near the median line. But China, which
has deemed the Okinawa Trough as the boundary line, reportedly
assailed that its people might lash out at even the joint
development proposal in waters on the Japanese side, complaining
that the government made a compromise.

In the Japan-China talks, a Japanese representative proposed that
the issue be brought into the International Court of Justice or the
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, but China has refused
this proposal. A Foreign Ministry source explained: "In recent
precedent cases, the median line has been adopted in demarcating a
border, so if the case is put on the trial, China's assertion might
be denied."

Foreign Ministry Vice Minister Mitoji Yabunaka is scheduled to visit
China on Feb. 20 to discuss the issue with Chinese Foreign Ministry
Vice Minister Wang Yi. But a final decision is now likely to be made
in the planned between Prime Minister Fukuda and President Hu.

(3) LDP research commission approves in general outline bill
amending AML: Administrative surcharge to target false labeling;
Government stance of protecting consumers becomes clear

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
February 15, 2008

A bill amending the Antimonopoly Law, which the government will
present to the regular Diet session, has been confirmed in general
outline. The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Feb. 14 submitted it to
the Research Commission on Antimonopoly Laws of the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) and obtained its approval. As a feature, the
bill is aimed at strengthening measures against an increase in
bid-rigging activities in construction works. Administrative
surcharges will be imposed on false labeling with the aim of
thoroughly protecting consumers and small and medium-size
businesses. Some in business circles are alarmed about the move. The
challenge to the FTC will be how to secure transparency in imposing
administrative surcharges and improve the system of filing a
complaint against a ruling.

According to the amendment bill, the amount of administrative
surcharge imposed on companies that played a leading role in
bid-rigging activities and cartels will be raised 50 PERCENT ,
compared with the present level. The FTC intends to curb the number
of violations of the AML, by imposing heavy punishments on companies
that play a leading role in unfair trade practices. One executive of
a leading general construction contractor said, "An increase in
antimonopoly surcharge rates would be unavoidable. However, a
question remains on how to distinguish offending companies that
played a leading role in unfair trade practices remains."

In the meantime, the FTC also plans to improve a system of reducing
administrative surcharges imposed on companies that voluntarily
admit to unfair trade practices. The FTC hopes to toughen watchful
eyes by increasing companies subject to the surcharge system so that

TOKYO 00000444 004 OF 005


it can secure more information on unfair trade practices.

Unfair trade practices subject to surcharges are currently limited
to bid-rigging activities and cartels. The coverage of the amendment
bill, which attaches importance to the protection of consumers, will
be expanded to include false labeling intended to deceive consumers
with incorrect information. The rate of the surcharge will be 3
PERCENT of sales of the goods subject to the punishment.

The abuse of preferred position, in which major companies force
unfavorable trading on their subcontractors, will become subject to
surcharges. The auto industry, where there are many sub-contractors,
consists of primary parts manufacturers that directly trade with
finished car-manufacturers, second-tier and third-tier parts
manufactures. The auto industry's stance is that it would be
necessary for group companies as a whole to tackle preventing unfair
trade practices.

Concerning unfair trade practices that will become subject to
administrative surcharges in the revised law, Attorney Ishida, who
is versed in the AML, expressed concern, "Unlike bid-rigging
activities or cartels, the scope of unfair trade practices is
unclear."

Chances are that if administrative surcharges as well as orders to
end unfair trade practices are imposed on offending companies, more
complaints would be filed against FTC rulings. At present, the FTC
is responsible for determining whether protests are justifiable or
not. Industrial circles are unhappy with the situation with one
source saying, "The present judge system, in which the FTC serves
both as a public prosecutor and a judge should be done away with."
Since a plan to reform the judge system cannot be prepared in time
for inclusion in the amendment bill, the bill will be attached with
an additional clause stipulating that the system is to be fully
reviewed. The system will be reviewed within fiscal 2008.

Many DPJ members are calling for the total abolition of the judge
system. The dominant view in the LDP is to change the system into
one under which complaints regarding unfair trade practices, such as
bid-rigging activities, cartels and dumping, can be filed with a law
court. Ishida said, "If the possibility of legal disputes increases,
the FTC would be urged to be careful in determining facts. Should
that occur, the overall number of investigations might decrease."

(4) Parliamentary league "Sentaku" to have 60 participants: Founders
to meet today

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 20, 2008

Founders of a non-partisan parliamentarian league to support
"Sentaku" (double meaning of "choice" and "cleaning up"), which is
short for the "National Congress for Cleaning up (and making choices
for) Japan from the Local Community and Working People's View
(established by former Mie Prefectural Governor Masayasu Kitagawa
and Miyazaki Prefectural Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru) will meet
today at a hotel in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo. The league is expected to
be launched formally on March 2. The founders want to gather around
60 members from both the ruling and opposition camps. They are
aiming at such efforts as completing a manifesto in cooperation with
Sentaku. However, the prevalent view in political circles is that
the move is connected with political reorganization.

TOKYO 00000444 005 OF 005

The founders include eight Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members,
such as former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology Takeo Kawamura, Deputy Policy Research Council Chairman
Hiroyuki Sonoda and Vice Election Committee Chairman Yoshihide Suga,
eight Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) members, such as
former Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshihiko Noda and former
Secretary General Yukio Edano, and two lawmakers from the New

SIPDIS
Komeito. Kawamura and Noda will likely be appointed joint
representatives when the group is launched formally.

One of the founders said, "It is a policy-oriented parliamentary
league to reflect the views of local areas in the manifesto."
However, many participants from the DPJ are lawmakers who have
distanced themselves from President Ozawa.

Sentaku is a private policy group launched on Jan. 20 by Kitagawa.
Its aim is to bring about regional decentralization and policies
that reflect the views of average citizens.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC