Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/25/08

DE RUEHKO #0491/01 0560804
P 250804Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Prime Minister Fukuda, President Lee in their first summit
likely to agree to restart regular diplomatic exchanges (Tokyo

(2) New Komeito frets over losing clout in divided Diet (Nikkei)

(3) 8 parties agree to revise SOFA (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(4) Keidanren to approve mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions
under industry-specific accumulation method (Nikkei)

(5) Koga takes offensive on selection of Nippon Izokukai vice
chairmen with eye on accelerating debate on removing Class-A
criminals from Yasukuni Shrine (Mainichi)

(6) FTC eyes exclusively clamping down on unscrupulous business
practices (Yomiuri)

(7) NPA says cases of child abuse largest ever in 2007, although
decrease in death toll of abused children (Mainichi)

(8) Poll on public attitude toward politics (Yomiuri)


(1) Prime Minister Fukuda, President Lee in their first summit
likely to agree to restart regular diplomatic exchanges

February 25, 2008, 11:38 a.m.

Seoul, Kyodo News Service, Feb. 25

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda this afternoon is to meet at the Blue
House in Seoul with new South Korean President Lee Myung Bak
immediately after his inauguration as president. Both leaders are
expected to agree to restart what they call a "shuttle diplomacy" or
both leaders visiting each other on a regular basis, with Lee making
a visit to Japan in late April. Fukuda will convey his intention to
travel again to South Korea sometime in the latter half of this
year, and confirm with Lee to open up a future-oriented, new
"Japan-South Korea age," based on a relationship of personal mutual

Both leaders are also expected to speed up the work aimed at
resuming negotiations as quickly as possible for concluding a
bilateral economic partnership agreement (EPA). The negotiations
were interrupted in 2004.

On the North Korean nuclear issue, both leaders will confirm that
Japan, the United States, and South Korea will work in close
cooperation through the six-party talks to bring about a peaceful
solution. Fukuda, based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang
Declaration, will brief Lee on Japan's policy of normalizing
diplomatic ties after resolving the abduction, nuclear, and missile
issue, and seek Lee's understanding.

(2) New Komeito frets over losing clout in divided Diet

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)

TOKYO 00000491 002 OF 010

February 25, 2008

The New Komeito, the Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner,
is visibly frustrated as its say declines in the divided Diet, where
the ruling coalition does not hold a majority in the House of
Councillors. Although the New Komeito leadership, including
Representative Akihiro Ota, advocates closer cooperation with the
LDP, frustration is bubbling up in the party about the party's
inability to demonstrate its own policy identity. The option of
forming a grand alliance between the LDP and the major opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) might come up again, and political
realignment might occur after the next House of Representatives
election. The New Komeito, however, has yet to come up with any game
plan to deal with such an eventuality.

Ota has recently repeatedly played up the party's policy goal of
raising the level of national income to the highest level ever over
the next three years or 2010. On the afternoon of Feb. 15, Ota held
a meeting with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, his first this year, at
the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei). In the 50-minute Fukuda-Ota
meeting, business and economic measures took center stage.

Ota has indicated to his aides that he shares the same awareness of
issues with the prime minister. But there are no signs of the LDP
producing a package of policies in line with the New Komeito's

In terms of numbers, the New Komeito's role has diminished due to
the divided Diet. Even with the New Komeito, the coalition is still
a minority in the Upper House.

The New Komeito is also placed outside the loop of the LDP-DPJ
battle over the selection of new Bank of Japan governor. At a
meeting on Feb. 19 of New Komeito Lower House members, Isamu Ueda
said: "Our party needs a venue to discuss BOJ personnel affairs.
Without it, we won't be able to fulfill our accountability."

The party's image going against reform over road-related tax revenue
is also a matter of concern for the New Komeito. Land,
Infrastructure, and Transport Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, who served
as New Komeito secretary general for eight years, repeatedly made
Diet replies that could be taken as siding with his ministry. Many
New Komeito supporters complained that Fuyushiba has acted like a
lawyer representing MLIT bureaucrats and LDP lawmakers with ties to
road construction interests.

What is more serious is that the party has yet to come up with any
plan to deal with a rekindled grand coalition vision and political
realignment. An alliance between the LDP and DPJ is certain to
reduce the New Komeito's presence. "If this situation persists, our
usual strategy of holding the deciding vote will not work," a New
Komeito member said with alarm.

(3) 8 parties agree to revise SOFA

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Top play) (Full)
February 24, 2008

In the wake of an Okinawa-based U.S. serviceman's rape of a junior
high school girl and other incidents caused by U.S. military
personnel, the Ryukyu Shimpo held an urgent roundtable of
representatives from eight political parties in Okinawa Prefecture

TOKYO 00000491 003 OF 010

yesterday afternoon at its head office in Naha. On Feb. 22, the
government announced a plan to prevent similar incidents. However,
the representatives from the eight political parties unanimously
agreed that the government-announced plan is insufficient. They also
agreed that the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) should
be drastically revised. They stressed that the Okinawa should assume
a strong stance in pressing for a revision of SOFA provisions,
including the need for the Okinawa prefectural assembly to pass
another resolution.

The roundtable participants were Seizen Hokama, deputy chairman of
the Liberal Democratic Party's Okinawa prefectural federation,
Kantoku Teruya, chairman of the Social Democratic Party's Okinawa
prefectural federation, Tomonori Itosu, representative of New
Komeito's Okinawa prefectural headquarters, Masaharu Kina, chairman
of the Okinawa Socialist Masses Party, Seiken Akamine, chairman of
the Japanese Communist Party's Okinawa prefectural committee, Mikio
Shimoji, representative of the Political Group of Okinawa Revolution
(Seito Souzou), Chobin Zukeran, deputy representative of the
Democratic Party of Japan's Okinawa prefectural federation, and
Hiroshi Goya, representative of the People's New Party's Okinawa
prefectural federation.

The SDP, OSMP, JCP, and DPJ called for holding a rally of local
residents at an early date, insisting that all the parties should
demonstrate the anger of Okinawa to Japan and the United States.
However, the LDP, New Komeito, Souzou, and PNP were cautious,
maintaining that they have yet to find out any drastic measures and
that they must first clear up the causes of such incidents. They
were divided over whether to hold a rally.

The roundtable participants severely criticized the recent junior
high school girl rape. "He did not even have the morals common to
human beings," Hokama said. Teruya called the incident "extremely
despicable, a clever trick, and malicious." Itosu also called the
government's plan "insufficient," suggesting the need to register
U.S. military personnel living outside their bases as foreign
residents with local government offices. "The government is taking
just cosmetic steps," Kina said, "so we should watch U.S. military
personnel at the gates."

In addition, all representatives from the eight political parties
consented to a drastic revision of the SOFA. "Including the
propriety of stationing foreign troops in Japan," Akamine insisted,
"we should hold in-depth discussions." Shimoji said his party would
shortly write up SOFA provisions that should be revised. His party
will present its report of recommendations to the government. Goya
said the Okinawa prefectural government should work on the Japanese
government to revise the SOFA, representing the people of Okinawa

The ruling parties gave high marks to the Okinawa prefectural
government's response, saying the prefectural government is making
strenuous efforts to take preventive steps in an earnest manner. The
ruling parties also suggested the need for Okinawa to make a strong
request to the Japanese government for preventive measures.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties criticized voiced criticism. "The
prefectural government remains hesitant before the government," one
of the representatives from the opposition parties said. Another
opposition representative said, "The prefectural government should
have come up with its own request before the government's plan was

TOKYO 00000491 004 OF 010

(4) Keidanren to approve mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions
under industry-specific accumulation method

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
February 25, 2008

Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) has started
coordination to accept Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's proposal for
setting targets by country for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
under a post-Kyoto framework for combating global warming. The
nation's largest business organization will make a policy switch
from its cautious stance and fall in step with the government. But
the group is still dead set against the idea of setting mandatory
caps on each corporation.

To achieve the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol, Keidanren has
worked out an industry-specific voluntary action plan. Under the
plan, however, some industries have not been required to reduce gas
emissions and have been mandated only to improve their energy
efficiency. Keidanren had insisted that setting reduction targets
for industries under a post-Kyoto framework would undermine their

Even if energy efficiency is improved, a rise in output will
inevitably increase emissions. Now that such criticism is growing
even in the government, Keidanren was apparently pressed to change
its strategy.

Keidanren will start a discussion in March on the method of
collecting and aggregating data on possible gas-emissions cuts for
different industries and sectors. Prime Minister Fukuda made this
proposal at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (Davos
Conference) this January. A Keidanren member said: "Industrial
circles' voluntary reduction efforts are likely to be reflected in
it." Keidanren Chairman Fujio Mitarai, chairman of Canon, indicated
in a press conference on Feb. 20 that the organization would approve
a market to trade the right to emit greenhouse gases. Reflecting its
softened stance, Keidanren hopes to come up with a specific
post-Kyoto mechanism by this April.

Still, industries that have emitted huge amounts of greenhouse
gases, like steel and electricity, are putting up strong resistance
to the idea of setting country-specific targets. Hearing the policy
stance announced by the prime minister in his speech at the Davos
Conference, a senior Nippon Steel Corporation critically said: "It
is premature to approve of setting numerical targets before the U.S.
announces its policy." The government may find it difficult to
promote work to unify views.

If the government is able to obtain approval for introducing
numerical targets, the next focus of attention will shift to how to
attain the target set for Japan. If Japan adopts the method of
collecting and aggregating data, as recommended by the government
and Keidanren, industries will estimate the amount of reduced gases
by themselves. In such a case, their estimates tend to be

Keidanren has insisted that nonbinding targets should be introduced,
opposing an introduction of a penalty if and when companies fail to
meet the targets set for them. It therefore is uncertain whether
greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced.

TOKYO 00000491 005 OF 010

The government plans to discuss ways to set a target for Japan and
other details at its Council on Global Warming, which also includes
business leaders as members. Keidanren will determine its policy
stance, reflecting discussions at the council.

(5) Koga takes offensive on selection of Nippon Izokukai vice
chairmen with eye on accelerating debate on removing Class-A
criminals from Yasukuni Shrine

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
February 22, 2008

Makoto Koga, chairman of the Japan Association for the Bereaved
Families of the War Dead (Nippon Izokukai) has begun paving the way
for accelerating debate in the association on the idea of removing
the enshrined Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni Shrine. With an
eye on a meeting on Feb. 28 of the association's directors and
councilors, Koga last month tried to maneuver to appoint an
individual favoring his plan into the vice chairman's post. However,
encountering strong opposition from those who are reluctant to
pursue the idea, he gave up this time around. But he has not budged
from pursuing his goal to remove Class-A war criminals enshrined at
Yasukuni Shrine. Koga's political clout is indispensable for the
association, which is gradually decreasing in numbers because of the
graying of the membership. Koga, who will retain the chairman's
post, is waiting for the next chance.

Koga last May formed a study group of 14 members in the association.
Most of the 14 are in favor of removing Class-A war criminals from
the shrine. However, the three vice chairmen -- Hidehisa Otsuji, who
is chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's caucus in the House of
Councillors, former LDP Upper House member Tsugio Morita, and
Tokushima Prefectural Izokukai Chairman Minoru Masuya -- are
reluctant to do so. Since Masuya chairs the study session, the
argument to remove enshrined Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni has
not moved forward.

Koga attempted to convince Morita and Masuya to quit their posts at
a time when the chairmanship and vice chairmanship elections are
conducted. He also tried to find the chance of picking as the
replacements of Morita and Masuya a standing director who favors
removing the enshrined war criminals, and LDP Upper House member
Toshiei Mizuochi,.

In a meeting on Jan. 31 of the committee on selection of board
members, one committee member, who is close to Koga, suggested: "Why
don't we decide on chairmen as Chairman Koga wishes?" A total of
eight committee members, excluding the chairman and vice chairmen,
opposed the suggestion. On the night of Jan. 30, committee members
reluctant to unenshrine Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni worked
on other committee members to persuade them.

As a result, a rumor appeared that Koga had indicated his intention
to quit his post. Otsuji and two other chairmen met on Feb. 7 with
him at LDP headquarters to ask him to remain in his post. Koga told
them that he would continue in the post. This incident demonstrated
that Koga was still an important player in the Nippon Izokukai.

Koga played up his presence by visiting Iwojima (Iwoto) on Feb. 13
for the first time as chairman of the Nippon Izokukai. He told the
press: "My feelings about the Yasukuni issue have been consistent."

TOKYO 00000491 006 OF 010

(6) FTC eyes exclusively clamping down on unscrupulous business

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
February 24, 2008

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) unveiled a plan yesterday to
integrate the existing consumer administrative bodies into one under
the leadership of the government. The plan is mainly designed to
allow the FTC to solely take charge of regulations on consumer
transactions, including unscrupulous business practices. The FTC
plans to request such powers at a meeting of the Consumer
Administration Promotion Council, but the plan is likely to draw
objections from affected government offices.

The plan is intended to unify administrative bodies offering
consultation services and handling consumer complaints with the
penalty department and to allow the FTC to take charge of
regulations on consumer transactions, including fraudulent business
practices, unscrupulous canvassing, mislabeling, and inappropriate

Under current bureaucratic sectionalism, the Internal Affairs and
Communications Ministry holds jurisdiction over matters related to
mobile phones, and the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport over
problems associated with travel and real estate. Further, because
the Consumer Contracts Law under the competence of the Cabinet
Office does not provide any punitive measures against transgressors,
victims of illegal contracts must file civil lawsuits.

The FTC's current powers focus on cracking down on illegal business
practices, such as bid-rigging and cartels. Its rules governing
consumer transactions are restricted to advertisements and
mislabeling under the Law for Preventing Unjustifiable Extra or
Unexpected Benefit and Misleading Representation.

The plan is designed to extend the FTC's powers to regulate all
consumer transactions, including unscrupulous business practices.
The commission claims that the plan will allow it to apply the law
across the board.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission can crack down on
bogus advertisements, canvassing, and telephone sales. In Australia,
Britain, Canada, and South Korea, competition policy authorities
also handle complaints regarding consumer transactions.

Some government officials are toying with the idea of establishing a
consumer agency to unify consumer administrative bodies, but
relevant ministries and government agencies reluctant to see their
powers divided oppose the plan. They are expected to object to the
FTC's plan as well.

(7) NPA says cases of child abuse largest ever in 2007, although
decrease in death toll of abused children

13:45, February 21, 2008

According to a report compiled by the National Police Agency (NPA),
the cases of child abuse the police arrested suspects or sent papers
to prosecutors last year totaled 300 (one percent increase from the

TOKYO 00000491 007 OF 010

previous year), the largest number since 1999 when the NPA started
tallying statistics about the child abuse. The number of children
who died from physical abuse was 37 (a 37.3 PERCENT drop from
2006). A total of 315 children, including those who died, suffered
from physical abuse, with the number remaining high (down 0.3
PERCENT from 2006).

Regarding the reason for a decrease in the death toll, despite an
increase in the number of arrests, the NPA said:

"The reason may be that the police have responded promptly to the
reports since cooperation with child consultation centers has been
strengthened, although the number of reports on child abuse has
boosted as society has become more aware of child abuse."

The cases of child prostitution and child pornography totaled 1,914
(a 14.1 PERCENT drop from the previous year) last year. The number
of children who were victims of child pornography totaled 304 (a
20.2 PERCENT increase from 2006). The serious situation of children
becoming wrapped up in such criminal acts continues.

According to the NPA, the number of abused children totaled 315,
which include 224 cases of physical abuse, 69 cases of sexual
molestation, and 22 cases of denying children basic care. By age, 47
children were less than one year old; 25 were five-year-olds; and 24
were three year olds.

A total of 97 children were abused by their mothers, 91 were abused
by their fathers, 55 by their adopted fathers or stepfathers, and 46
by their common-law fathers or others.

The cases of child prostitution the police arrested suspects and
sent papers to prosecutors totaled 1,347 (down 16.5 PERCENT from
2006). A total of 984 suspects were sent to public prosecutors
offices (drop of 13.7 PERCENT ). The cases of child pornography were
567 (8.0 PERCENT decrease). The police sent 377 suspects to
prosecutors (up 7.7 PERCENT ). A total of 1,160 children (a 12.5
PERCENT drop) were victimized and forced into child prostitution.
However, the number of children, who were victimized to submit to
child pornography, increased by 20.2 PERCENT , or to 304.

Meanwhile, the number of crimes committed by juveniles has dropped
for four years in a row.

(8) Poll on public attitude toward politics

YOMIURI (Page 11) (Full)
February 24, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage)

Q: Do you trust Japan's political parties or politicians today?

Trust very much 2.7
Trust somewhat 27.2
Don't trust very much 45.0
Don't trust at all 23.0
No answer (N/A) 2.0

Q: Are you interested in state affairs? If any, pick up to three
from among those listed below.

TOKYO 00000491 008 OF 010

The government's economic policy 65.1
The government's foreign policy 34.3
The government's environmental, welfare, educational policies 55.9
Opposition parties' policies 9.6
Elections, results 9.6
Diet debate 16.9
Power struggles among politicians, intraparty factions 8.1
Topics about politicians 4.8
Other answers (O/A) 0.5
Nothing in particular (NIP) + N/A 10.3

Q: What do you think Dietmembers prioritize in their daily
activities? If any, pick as many as you like from among those listed

Interests for the whole nation 27.3
Interests for their home constituencies 43.9
Their political parties' policies 38.3
Requests from their local supporters 26.5
Requests from bureaucrats 24.9
Requests from industries, big businesses 29.6
Requests from labor unions, other organizations 9.7
Requests from consumer groups, other civic organizations 8.3
O/A 3.4
N/A 3.0

Q: What do you think is important in particular when you evaluate
political parties? Pick up to three from those listed below.

Policies 58.9
Party heads' caliber 28.8
Governance 21.8
Reform-oriented efforts 37.2
Long-term perspectives 19.8
Their lawmakers' capabilities 15.9
Political fund clarity 17.4
Policy for the weak 23.6
O/A 0.3
NIP+N/A 6.8

Q: Do you think policies which politicians think are needed for the
nation should be translated into action even if many of the people
are opposed to these policies?

Yes 38.4
No 54.8
N/A 6.7

Q: Do you think it's only natural for the Diet to decide by majority
even if there is an objection?

Yes 49.8
No 44.6
N/A 5.5

Q: Generally speaking, do you think it would be better for the
ruling and opposition parties to change places at times?

Yes 63.3
No 26.9
N/A 9.7

TOKYO 00000491 009 OF 010

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Why? Pick up to three from among those listed below.

Policy will change its course 49.4
Politics will change its structure 34.4
Political corruption will hardly occur 55.4
Political parties will activate policy debate 44.4
Bureaucratic clout will weaken 30.3
O/A 0.4
No particular reason 2.7
N/A 0.3

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Why?
Pick up to three from among those listed below.

Policies will be inconsistent 66.0
Politics will be confused 65.7
Political corruption will not disappear 6.6
Elections will tend to court public favor rather than to be for
policies 25.7
Bureaucratic clout will be stronger 8.4
O/A 1.3
No particular reason 4.1
N/A 0.9

Q: Do you think there will be a change of government from the ruling
parties to the opposition parties in the near future?

Yes 40.8
No 49.8
N/A 9.3

Q: The ruling parties currently hold a majority of the seats in the
House of Representatives, and the opposition parties dominate the
House of Councillors. There are two opinions as below about this
divided balance of the ruling and opposition parties' strengths in
the Diet. Which opinion is closer to yours?

(A) Bills do not pass the Diet or fall behind if the ruling and
opposition parties confront over these bills.
(B) The ruling and opposition parties will hold policy talks and
activate the Diet.

(A) to a certain degree 40.7
(B) to a certain degree 48.9
N/A 10.4

Q: Do you think votes cast by voters in elections are reflected in

Yes 28.8
No 67.1
N/A 4.0

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Why.
Pick up to three from among those listed below.

Political parties and politicians do not keep their public pledges
Policies are not translated into action in spite of public
expectations 54.0

TOKYO 00000491 010 OF 010

Politics will not improve 34.9
Public life will not improve 57.7
The prime minister is replaced in spite of election results 14.9
The election system has a problem 13.0
People will be carried away with a mood in elections 21.6
O/A 0.4
N/A 0.5

Q: Do you feel like taking part in politics? If any, pick as many as
you like from those listed below.

Vote in elections 76.2
Visit or petition a local assembly 9.5
Participate in a civic political watch group 9.5
Attend a political party's or a politician's town meeting 11.6
Volunteer or contribute for a political party or a politician 4.0
Join an association of supporters for a politician 4.4
Act as a political party member 1.9
Act as an assembly member or run in elections 1.0
O/A 0.1
NIP+N/A 19.2

Q: Do you think Japan's politics will go in a good direction, or do
you otherwise think it will go in a bad direction?

Good direction 10.0
Good direction to a certain degree 35.6
Bad direction to a certain degree 34.6
Bad direction 10.3
N/A 9.5

Polling methodology
Date of survey: Feb. 16-17.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random-sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
Number of valid respondents: 1,734 persons (57.8 PERCENT )
Breakdown of respondents: Male-49 PERCENT , female-51 PERCENT ;
persons in their 20s-8 PERCENT , 30s-14 PERCENT , 40s-17 PERCENT ,
50s-19 PERCENT , 60s-24 PERCENT , 70 and over-18 PERCENT ; big
cities (Tokyo's 23 wards and government-designated cities)-23
PERCENT , major cities (with a population of more than 300,000)-17
PERCENT , medium-size cities (with a population of more than
100,000)-25 PERCENT , small cities (with a population of less than
100,000)-24 PERCENT , towns and villages-11 PERCENT .


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