Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/03/08

DE RUEHKO #0550/01 0630124
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E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Okinawa incidents:
4) Marine accused of school girl rape in Okinawa released by police
when victim decides to drop charges (Asahi)
5) Ambassador Schieffer tells Prime Minister Fukuda USFJ will
continue to investigate case of Marine accused of school girl rape
6) U.S. Embassy spokesperson: USFJ not dropping the case of the
Marine accused of rape (Asahi)
7) Fukuda stresses need for U.S.-Japan cooperation to prevent
recurrence of incidents by U.S. military personnel (Asahi)
8) Drunken airman, breaking total curfew and sneaking off base,
arrested for breaking and entering Japanese office in Okinawa
(Tokyo Shimbun)
9) Gov. Ishihara, angry at Okinawa rape and lack of progress on his
Yokota scheme, calls for brief rupture of U.S-Japan treaty,
restructuring of alliance (Sankei)

Aegis collision:
10) Prime Minister Fukuda visits family of fishermen lost at sea and
apologizes for Aegis collision (Yomiuri)
11) Defense Minister Ishiba admits inept explanations about Aegis
collision and aftermath (Tokyo Shimbun)

Political agenda:
12) Mainichi poll: Fukuda Cabinet's non-support rate reaches high of
51 PERCENT , with support rate dropping three points to 30 PERCENT
13) Ruling parties ram national budget and tax bills through the
Lower House, setting up renewed confrontation with opposition in the
Upper House (Tokyo Shimbun)
14) Diet this week to be stalled, as Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
decides to boycott deliberations over the ruling camp's forcing vote
on the budget (Yomiuri)
15) DPJ head Ozawa, angry at passing of budget by Lower House, vows
to shoot down ruling camp's candidate for governor of Bank of Japan
16) DPJ favors former BOJ Vice Governor Yamaguchi to replace Fukui
as governor (Yomiuri)
17) Diet boycott by opposition could last a week or longer

18) Government seeking ways to expand PKO dispatches to more
countries (Nikkei)

19) Government readying big increase in ODA to Africa, centered on
ways to prevent global warming (Nikkei)

20) Chinese President Hu coordinating Japan visit for April 17, with
ROK President Lee arriving on April 21 (Nikkei)

21) 36 prefectures to continue blanket testing for BSE in cattle,
even those under 20 months, despite government's admission that
prions undetectable at early age (Mainichi)

22) Japan's minimum access rice imports have dropped 20 PERCENT ,
creating problems with the WTO (Sankei)

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Tsuruga City in Fukui demands 60 municipal governments pay 1.4

billion yen to dispose of illegally dumped waste

Disapproval rate for Fukuda cabinet exceeds 50 PERCENT

Mitsubishi Electric to withdraw from cellular phone production

Japanese optical disc firms contracting operations, pressed by Asian
firms' low-price strategy

In Russian presidential election, Medvedev certain to win landslide

Tokyo Shimbun:
Bureaucrats waste taxpayers' money, spending 100 billion yen to
build empty parking lot

Japan Council against A&H Bombs meets, calls for nuclear abolition
in 2010


(1) Special tax revenues for children necessary

(1) Nonsupport rate for Fukuda cabinet: Prime minister's leadership
being questioned
(2) Japan should contribute to forming treaty to ban cluster bombs

(1) Japan must not slow increase in lawyers to improve legal
(2) How will dairy, livestock industry overcome rising feed prices?

(1)"200-year housing" program should lead to change in quality
(2) Relations between Israel and Japan are changing

(1) Designing fair system should be premise for emissions trading
(2) Thorough discussion needed for restrictions on foreign ownership
of airport operators

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Aftermath of collapse of empires in Eurasian Continent

(1) Public consensus is that forcible measures on national anthem
and flag are strange

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3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, Feb. 29

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 1, 2008

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono in Diet.

Attended a session of the Climate Change Measures promotion
Headquarters. Afterwards, attended a cabinet meeting. After that,
issued a letter of appointment to State Minister in Charge of
Archive Management Kamikawa with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura

Attended a Lower House Budget Committee session.

Arrived at Kantei.

Attended a Lower House Budget Committee session.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi at Kantei.

ttended a Lower House plenary session. Afterwards, visited Lower
House Speaker Kono, Lower House Steering Committee Chairman
Sasagawa, and leaders of the ruling bloc and thanked them.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, March 1

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 2, 2008

Stayed at Kantei residence.

Met with State Minister in Charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy

Met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer at Imperial Hotel.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, March 2

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 3, 2008


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Left Kantei aboard a JCG helicopter

Arrived at the municipal ballpark in Chiba Prefecure's Katsuura

Met with family members of Haruo Kichisei and his son Tetsuhiro,
both of whom are missing after the collision of the Aegis destroyer
and their fishing boat, at their house.

Left the ballpark aboard a JCG helicopter.

Arrived at Kantei.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Met with Prime Ministerial Advisor Ito.

4) Naha prosecutors release U.S. soldier as schoolgirl drops charges
over sexual assault

ASAHI (Top Play) (excerpts)
March 1, 2008

The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office yesterday released
Tyrone Hadnott, 38, a staff sergeant in Okinawa, who had been
arrested on suspicion of raping a junior high school student, since
the girl had dropped her charges the same day. The schoolgirl
reportedly told a prosecutor in questioning: "I do not want to
remain involved in this anymore. Please leave me alone." Following
this, the U.S. Marine was released around 20:40 and was handed over
to the U.S. military.

Under the criminal code, such sexual crimes as rape and morals
crimes are classified as an offense indictable only on complaint of
the victims, from the viewpoint of protecting their privacy.

The Okinawa Prefectural Police Headquarters arrested the Marine in
early morning of Feb. 11 on suspicion of raping a junior high school
student in a car in Chatan-cho on the night of Feb. 10. The suspect
was denying the charge in questioning: "I sought sex, but she
rejected my offer. I did not sexually assault her." Keeping the
possibility of an attempted rape crime in mind, the prosecutors were
carefully carrying out the investigation.

5) Ambassador Schieffer tells prime minister that U.S. military will
continue investigation into staff sergeant, while stressing measures
to prevent misconducts

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

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held a meeting on March 1 at a Tokyo
hotel with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer to discuss the
alleged sexual assault (on Feb. 11) against a junior high school
girl in Okinawa by a U.S. Marine.

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Ambassador Schieffer made it clear that the United States will
continue its investigation into the allegation although the Japanese
prosecutors' office has dropped the case against the staff sergeant.
He stated: "Although he has been released, he is still under the
custody of the U.S. Marine Corps. (The United States) will continue
its investigation into the case."

The Ambassador also underscored the U.S. stance of making utmost
efforts to prevent a recurrence of misconduct by U.S. service
members, stating: "We will continue our activities so that an
incident like this will never occur again. We will continue our
efforts to improve the relationship between people in Okinawa and
the U.S. military."

In response, the prime minister indicated that Japan will work
together with the United States in addressing the issue, saying:
"Japan and the United States must continue to work closely."

To prevent incidents by U.S. servicemen, an outline of preventive
measures was released on Feb. 22 requiring the U.S. military to
notify the Japanese government once a year of the number of U.S.
service members living off-base and the Japanese government in turn
conveying the information to local governments.

6) U.S. embassy spokesman: "U.S. military will continue

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 1, 2008

With regard to the release of the U.S. Marine who had been arrested
on suspicion of raping a schoolgirl in Okinawa, U.S. Embassy
Spokesman Marks told an Asahi Shimbun reporter last night:

"Despite the release, this is an extremely regrettable case. If
Japan decides to waive its primary jurisdiction in this case, U.S.
military authorities will review the evidence and continue their own
investigation. They then will determine their future response."

The U.S. spokesman thus indicated that the U.S. military will
continue its investigation, keeping a court-martial or other action
in mind.

On preventive measures, Marks said: "We will continue" efforts by
the U.S. military's taskforce and the working team (with the
central, prefectural, and municipal governments), the reflection
day, and the review of the education program.

7) Prime Minister Fukuda: "Japan-U.S. cooperation is necessary to
prevent recurrence of similar cases to schoolgirl rape by U.S.
Marine in Okinawa

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 1, 2008

Speaking before reporters in the Diet Building last night, Prime
Minister Fukuda said regarding the release of the U.S. Marine who
had been arrested on suspicion of raping a schoolgirl in Okinawa:

"I think it is imperative for Japan and the U.S. to closely
cooperate in preventing such a case. The government will continue to
make utmost efforts to that end."

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8) Another Okinawa-based U.S. serviceman arrested

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 23) (Full)
March 3, 2008

Police in Okinawa Prefecture yesterday arrested Wesley Taft, a
21-year-old airman second class belonging to the U.S. Air Force's
Kadena base, on suspicion of trespassing in a private office. Taft
has admitted the allegation, the police said.

In the wake of a recent junior high school girl rape incident, the
U.S. forces in Okinawa have locked down their bases since Feb. 20 to
bar all U.S. military personnel and civilian employees indefinitely
in principle from going out. However, Taft left Camp Shields by
climbing a fence at Kadena base, the police said. In Okinawa, a
civilian employee living on the Kadena base was arrested only on
Mar. 1 on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law.

According to investigations, Taft allegedly broke the glass door of
an office of the Okinawa Contractors Association in the city of
Okinawa and entered the office at around 6:40 a.m. yesterday. Taft's
breath smelled of alcohol, and he is believed to have been drunk. A
security guard, who arrived at the office after its alarm was set
off, called the police. About an hour later, police officers from
the Okinawa Police Station discovered the suspect when he was about
200 meters away from the office with a steel pipe in his hand.

9) Governor Ishihara proposes temporarily dissolving U.S.-Japan
Security Treaty to rebuild relations

SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
March 1, 2008

Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara in a regular press conference on
Feb. 29 referred to the need to fundamentally review Japan-U.S.
relations in connection with the stalled talks on joint
military-civilian use of U.S. Yokota Air Base (straddling Tokyo's
Fussa and other municipalities). He said: "The U.S.-Japan Security
Treaty should be dissolved temporarily in order to help the United
States come to its senses."

Ishihara explained a plan to hold a seminar on dual use of Yokota
Air Base. In it, he criticized the current situation in which the
U.S. military regards monopolistic use of the base as a vested
interest, as seen in a U.S. military source's comment that Yokota
Air Base is a WWII a legacy. Ishihara said: "The recent deplorable
incident in Okinawa (in which a junior high school girl was
allegedly assaulted by a U.S. Marine) is not something that can be
settled with a handshake between Prime Minister (Fukuda) and (the
U.S.) Secretary of State."

Ishihara then proposed dissolving the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty for
about one year in order to rebuild bilateral relations. He added:
"The Status of Forces Agreement must be reviewed first in order to
build a true Japan-U.S. security system."

Ishihara has come up with the idea of dual use as a temporary step
before Yokota's reversion to Japan. In the May 2003 Japan-U.S.
summit, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reached an agreement
with President George W. Bush to study dual use. Tokyo and
Washington began talks on the matter in October 2006 with the aim of

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reaching a conclusion in one year. The deadline was not met.

10) Fukuda apologies to family of 2 missing fishermen

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
March 3, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda yesterday afternoon visited the house of Haruo
Kichisei, 58, and his son Tetsuhiro, 23, in the city of Katsuura,
Chiba Prefecture, and apologized in person to their family.

"They still had their lives ahead of them, and I feel sorry," Fukuda
said. "I don't want such an accident to take place again...never
again," Haruo's cousin, Yoshitaka Nakanoya said to Fukuda. "I will
strive so anything like this will never happen again." With this,
Fukuda promised to prevent a recurrence. "Let me ask you to stop
searching for the two now. As long as we see the search going on, we
will be filled with sorrow again," Nakanoya said. "And," he added,
"we want Katsuura's fishermen to go fishing like before." However,
Fukuda indicated that the MSDF and others would continue their
search for the time being.

11) Defense minister admits inept explanation about Aegis destroyer
Atago collision

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 3, 2008

Appearing on a commercial TV talk show yesterday, Defense Minister
Shigeru Ishiba admitted to the Ministry of Defense's (MOD) inept
handling of the aftermath of the collision of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) Aegis destroyer Atago and a fishing boat
and said: "The MOD's explanation to the public kept changing."
Indicating his intent to improve the internal systems in reforming
the organization in the months ahead, Ishiba noted: "Differing
accounts should not be given."

MOD exposed its clumsiness in giving accounts of the questioning
conducted separately by the Maritime Staff Office (MSO) staff and
Ishiba. For instance, MOD initially said it had obtained approval
from the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) for the questioning, but the fact
was that the questioning had been conducted without permission.
Additionally, MOD initially explained it had no notes (of the
questioning), but it was found later that records had been kept.
Furthermore, MOD did not give any account of the fact for nearly one
week that Ishiba and other leaders also had conducted questioning.

12) Poll: Cabinet nonsupport tops 50 PERCENT , support rate down 3
points to 30 PERCENT

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
March 3, 2008

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey on Mar. 1-2. In the survey, the rate of public
support for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his cabinet was 30
PERCENT , down 3 percentage points from the last survey taken in
January, setting a new low (in the Mainichi poll) since Fukuda came
into office in September last year. The nonsupport rate for the
Fukuda cabinet rose to 51 PERCENT , topping 50 PERCENT for the
first time (in the Mainichi survey). Respondents were asked about
the government's response to the recent collision of the Maritime

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Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyer Atago with a fishing boat. To
this question, a total of 74 PERCENT were critical of the
government, with 41 PERCENT answering that they "don't appreciate"
and 33 PERCENT saying they "don't appreciate very much."

The Fukuda cabinet's approval rating, which scored 57 PERCENT after
its inauguration, dropped to 33 PERCENT in December last year and
has not rebounded since them. Meanwhile, its disapproval rating has
consistently risen.

On a gender basis, the Fukuda cabinet's support rate was 28 PERCENT
among men, failing to reach 30 PERCENT , and the nonsupport rate was
58 PERCENT . In the breakdown of reasons for not supporting the
Fukuda cabinet, 40 PERCENT picked "because nothing can be expected
of the prime minister's leadership," up 11 points from the last
survey. The figure shows that the prime minister's response to the
Aegis accident and other events was a factor that caused the
nonsupport rate to rise.

When asked about Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba's responsibility, a
total of 49 PERCENT called for his resignation. In their breakdown,
45 PERCENT answered that he should resign after taking appropriate
measures to deal with the accident, topping all other answers, and 4
PERCENT insisted on his immediate resignation. Meanwhile, 39
PERCENT insisted that he should make efforts to prevent such an
accident from recurring, instead of resigning, and 8 PERCENT said
it is strange to call for his resignation. As seen from these
figures, public opinion was split over Ishiba's responsibility.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party stood at 26 PERCENT , down 2 points from
the last survey. The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) was at 23 PERCENT , down 1 point from the last survey.

13) New fiscal year budget bill passes Lower House, as well as
special bills related to taxes; Opposition camp to fight them in the
Upper House

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Excerpt)
March 1, 2008

The fiscal 2008 budget bill and related legislation, such as the
special measures bills amending taxes, including one maintaining the
temporary tax rate on gasoline were voted on by the House of
Representatives on the evening of Feb. 29 and adopted by a majority
of votes of members of the ruling parties and other lawmakers. The
bills were then sent on the House of Councillors. The Japanese
Communist Party was present and voted against the bills, while the
Democratic Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party, and Peoples New
Party lawmakers absented themselves from the floor vote.

14) DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yamaoka: DPJ will boycott
deliberations for at least one week

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
March 3, 2008

When asked by the press about deliberations on the fiscal 2008 state
budget bill, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) Diet
Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka said yesterday:

"The ruling parties took a forced vote (in the House of

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Representatives) even though there was no agreement between the
ruling and opposition camps. They completely ignored the mediation
effort (by the Lower House speaker and the Upper House president).
This has enraged my party members. Given the situation, we can't
deliberate on the bill for at least one week."

The DPJ plans to boycott deliberations in the two Diet chambers for
the time being.

In regard to tax reform-related bills, including one to revise the
Special Taxation Measures Law, which would retain the provisional
tax for gasoline and other road-related taxes, Yamaoka said: "We
will take a vote on bills that are necessary for the daily lives of
the people before end of the current fiscal year." He indicated that
the largest opposition party would boycott deliberations on the
government-sponsored tax reform bills and on its counterproposals,
giving priority to deliberations on its own bill.

Appearing on an NHK program yesterday, however, ruling Liberal
Democratic Party Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima

"We want to have a chance to discuss fiscal resources and road
projects between the parties. In the Upper House, as well,
committees should debate both (government and DPJ) bills. We will
have to take a flexible stance (toward revising the
government-sponsored bills) when we come to a certain point."

New Komeito Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshio Urushibara,
appearing on the same NHK program, emphasized that a consultative
organ should be set up between the ruling and opposition camps. He
said: "It is important to create a consultative organ to discuss the
matters between political parties, as well as local government

15) DPJ head Ozawa: "Trust has been destroyed"; DPJ senior lawmaker
"100 PERCENT chance" of party not agreeing now to appointment of
Muto as Bank of Japan governor

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Eve., March 1, 2008

In a press conference around noon in Morioka City, Democratic Party
of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa stated his view that if the
government proposes the name of former Vice Finance Minister Toshiro
Muto to be appointed the new Bank of Japan governor, it was
inconceivable now that the party would agree. Ozawa stated: "Things
like last night (i.e., the ruling camp's forced adoption of the
national budget) and the accident and improprieties involving the
Defense Ministry, all of these have led to a situation in which the
trust in the government and ruling parties has been completely

In connection with the move, a senior DPJ lawmaker on Mar. 1 took
the view that there was "100 PERCENT chance of our not approving
the promotion of Muto."

16) DPJ hardens stance on selection of BOJ governor

YOMIURI (Top Play) (Lead Paragraph)
March 2, 2008

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The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has hardened its stance over the
selection of a successor to Bank of Japan (BOJ)) Governor Toshihiko
Fukui, whose term of office expires on March 19. The government and
the ruling camp have decided to promote former Vice Finance Minister
Toshiro Muto, 64, to the governorship, but DPJ President Ozawa
emphasized: "The relationship of trust between the ruling and
opposition parties has completely collapsed." Another senior DPJ
lawmaker also said that if the government recommends former Vice BOJ
Governor Yutaka Yamaguchi, 67, the party would accept the plan.
Should the main opposition party continue to take a stiff attitude,
the situation will become uncertain.

17) Diet may stall as DPJ plans to boycott deliberations in Upper

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 2, 2008

A fierce battle is expected between the ruling and opposition
parties over when to start deliberations in the House of Councillors
on the fiscal 2008 state budget bill and tax reform-related bills,
including one to revise the Special Taxation Measures Law, which is
aimed at retaining the current provisional tax for gasoline.
Although the ruling coalition, which aims to enact the tax-reform
bills before the end of the current fiscal year, the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which has the
initiative in the Upper House, has strongly reacted to the ruling
camp's ramming the bills through the House of Representatives last
week, is determined to boycott deliberations in the Upper House for
the time being. As such, the Diet may stall this week.

On the night of Feb. 29 when the FY2008 state budget and tax
reform-related bills approved by the Lower House, DPJ Secretary
General Yukio Hatoyama stressed at a press conference:

"The ruling parties forced through a vote on the bills at the Lower
House. We are not in a situation for the time being to deliberate
the budget and tax reform bills in the Upper House."

In a meeting on Feb. 29 of the Diet affairs committee chairmen of
the DPJ and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the LDP proposed
holding a question-and-answer session on the FY2008 budget bill on
March 4 at the Budget Committee, but the DPJ rejected the proposal.
Therefore, the planned consultation was put off to March 3.

If the DPJ's boycott of deliberations is prolonged and if taking a
vote on the Special Taxation Measures Law revision bill becomes
impossible, the provisional tax rates would become null and void at
the end of March.

If the DPJ prolongs its boycott, it will not be able to carry out
deliberations on its own bill to reform the tax revenue system for
road construction, which it previously submitted to the Upper House.
Since boycotting deliberations may strengthen public criticism of
the DPJ, Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii made a comment
critical of the DPJ's strategy, saying: "Following the mediation by
the leaders of the two Diet chambers, thorough deliberations should
be conducted in the Upper House."

The Lower House Committee on Land, Infrastructure, and Transport
postponed a vote on a bill to revise the Road Construction Revenues
Special Exemption Law. The committee has then set a meeting of its

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directors on March 3. A senior LDP member commented: "The DPJ may
return to deliberations in the middle of the week." However, it is
unclear how things will develop in the future.

18) Japan mulling sending SDF to various PKOs

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 3, 2008

Nakahiro Iwata

The government has begun a full-scale discussion about dispatching
the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) abroad on new missions, including
participation in United Nations-led peacekeeping operations (PKOs).
This move reflects Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's recent Diet policy
speech, in which he declared that Japan will play a responsible role
in the international community. With peace-building expected to be
high on the agenda for the upcoming Group of Eight (G-8) Toyako
Summit in July, which Fukuda will host, Japan also wants to appeal
to the international audience about the results of human
contributions by deploying more SDF personnel abroad.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the UN
presently has peacekeeping and peace-building missions in 28
locations across the world. Some 119 countries are participating in
those missions, with a combined total of 90,000 personnel. Japan has
sent a total of 51 SDF personnel to the UN Disengagement Observer
Force (UNDOF) and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to help elections
with 45 personnel for the former and six for the latter.

According to UN statistics (as of the end of January), the number of
the SDF personnel dispatched by Japan is far less than that of India
(9,400) and China (2,000). In terms of human contributions, Japan
ranks 82nd among the 119 countries and is at the bottom of the G-8.

Because of this ranking, MOFA and the Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) are concerned that Japan's international status
will decline, with Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura noting,
"Japan's human contributions are too few, although in terms of
monetary contributions to the UN, Japan takes second place after the
United States, and in terms of economic strength, Japan ranks second
in the world." Out of this concern, Japan has begun looking for ways
to send SDF personnel abroad more often for UN missions.

As candidate UN missions for Japan to send SDF personnel, Japan is
considering the UN Missions in Sudan (UNMIS), the UN Truce
Supervision Organization (UNTSO), and the UN Integrated Mission in

The Ministry of Defense (MOD), to which the SDF belongs, is
cautious, in terms of safety, about sending abroad a large unit that
would engage in removing land mines and building infrastructure.

There is also a cautious view at home about increasing occasions for
the SDF to be dispatched abroad. In order to send SDF personnel to
engage in the major duties of a peacekeeping force of the UN PKOs,
the government needs to obtain prior approval from the Diet. But
given that the opposition bloc dominates the Upper House, it will be
tough for the government to obtain pre-approval.

Furthermore, criticism of MOD and the SDF is mounting at present

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over the recent collision of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
(MSDF) Aegis destroyer Atago and the fishing boat Seitoku-maru. Even
in the ruling bloc, the junior coalition partner New Komeito's
Representative Akihiro Ota noted: "The premise for a dispatch of SDF
personnel for many more PKO missions is that the SDF and MOD have
the public's confidence." All these things considered, new plans to
dispatch SDF personnel abroad are unlikely to be accepted so

19) Japan's action plan for assistance to Africa to be featured by
measures to deal with climate change

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Eve., March 1, 2008

An action plan to help Africa, which is to be adopted at the
upcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD) in Yokohama City in May, was revealed today. Features of the
plan include helping Africa to grow economically and giving aid in
the area of human security, such as health and education. Japan will
also consider declaring a plan to triple at a maximum its official
development assistance (ODA) to Africa over the next five year.

Aid to Africa is likely to be put on a major agenda item for the
upcoming Group of Eight (G-5) Toyako Summit in July. Through the
action plan, Japan intends to appeal to the rest of the world about
its efforts in this regard.

In the environmental area, the action plan defines Africa as a most
fragile continent in terms of climate change and specifies that
Japan will actively offer its funds and technology to Africa in
three areas: (1) reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; (2)
adaptation to natural disasters caused by climate change; and (3)
introduction of alternate energies, such as geothermal energy. Japan
has already announced a scheme of providing a 10-billion-yen-scale
fund to developing countries. Under this scheme, Japan will provide
more money to Africa on a priority basis.

20) Coordination underway for visit to Japan by Chinese president on
April 17, visit by South Korean president on April 21

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
March 1, 2008

It was learned on Feb. 29 that the Japanese government had proposed
to the Chinese government that President Hu Jintao will visit Japan
on April 17-20. It will be the first time for a Chinese president to
visit Japan in ten years since Jiang Zemin came in 1998. The
government is also coordinating a visit to Japan by South Korea
President Lee Myung Bak on April 21-22.

The government sounded out the schedule for President Hu's visit
through Chinese Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, who had visited Tokyo
recently. Hu is expected during his stay in Tokyo on April 17-18 to
meet with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and the Emperor. The Chinese
leader will likely visit Horyuji Temple and other places in Nara
Prefecture on April 19-20. However, there is a possibility that the
planned presidential visit will be put off due to the negative
impact of the row over poisoned imported dumplings. South Korea
President Lee is expected to stop in Japan on his way home from the
United States.

TOKYO 00000550 013 OF 014

Fukuda and Hu are expected to affirm bilateral cooperation on the
environment and energy fields with an eye on the creation of
strategic and reciprocal relationship. The two leaders will also
discuss the dispute over gas exploration in the East China Sea and
North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

21) Blanket cattle inspection in place in 36 prefectures: MHLW
notice to end inspection of cattle aged up to 20 months ignored

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 2, 2008

A Mainichi Shimbun survey has found that none of the nation's
prefectures have decided to end blanket cattle inspection as a
measure to prevent BSE infection after August this year, when the
government will stop providing subsidies for the inspection of
cattle aged up to 20 months. Thirty-six prefectures have earmarked
voluntary cattle inspection expenses in their fiscal 2008 budget.
The remaining prefectures will also most likely take BSE preventive
measures, with one prefecture noting that they would wait and see
what action other local governments would take. It was thus found
that the notification of the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare
(MHLW) seeking the end of the blanket cattle inspection throughout
the nation has been ignored, underscoring the difference in safety
awareness between the central and local governments.

Since it is difficult to detect BSE in calves, the MHLW decided to
limit cattle subject to BSE inspection to those aged 21 months or
older starting August 2005, following the Food Safety Commission's
report, which noted that (the abolition of inspection of cattle aged
up to 20 months) would not raise the BSE infection risk. However,
since many local governments opposed the decision, the government
has introduced the measure of fully subsidizing local governments,
if they continue to inspect cattle aged up to 20 months, for three
years until the end of July this year.

The survey asked all prefectures except for Fukui, where there are
no slaughterhouses, whether they would continue the inspection of
cattle aged to 20 months. Thirty-six prefectures replied that they
compiled a budget on the assumption that they would continue such an
inspection. Hokkaido, which accounts for one-third of the shipment
of cattle aged up to 20 months, earmarked the largest amount of 35
million yen. Akita, Tokyo, Yamanashi, Nagano, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka,
Hiroshima, Kochi and Kumamoto replied that it is not necessary for
them to prepare such a budget, because they only have a small number
of cattle, though they did not rule out the possibility of
continuing blanket cattle inspection. As reasons for continuing
blanket inspection, the largest number of respondents cited securing
safety and peace of mind for consumers, and preventing the value of
the brand name of their beef products from declining as a result of
a curtailed inspection. The outcome of the survey showed the
respondents' lockstep mentality. Chiba prefecture replied that it
conducted an Internet questionnaire on citizens and asked the
propriety of ending blanket cattle inspection at opinion exchange
meetings, and found that approximately 80 PERCENT of respondents
hoped for the continuation of the inspection.

The MHLW last August sent a notice to all prefectures seeking the
end of the blanket inspection with the end of subsidies as the
occasion, noting that if each local government adopts a different
approach to cattle inspection, consumers would feel uneasy and that
it would also create a confused situation in the production and

TOKYO 00000550 014 OF 014

distribution fields

22) Stockpiles of minimum access rice fall 20 PERCENT ; Negative
impact on WTO talks likely

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 3, 2008

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries (MAFF) revealed
the estimate that the inventories of rice imported under the
so-called minimum access deal as of the end of fiscal 2007 dropped
more than 20 PERCENT to 1.37 million tons, compared with the level
of the preceding year. The margin of the drop is more than 30
PERCENT compared with the peak level of 2.03 million tons recorded
at the end of fiscal 2005. The reason is that the sales of MA rice
for animal feed are brisk, because the prices of feed grains, such
as corn, are skyrocketing on the international market.

The minimum access rice deal was introduced as a measure to open the
rice market. A reduction in the stockpiles at the end of each fiscal
year leads to a reduced fiscal burden, such as storage fees, for the
government. In the meantime, food exporting countries are pressing
Japan to expand its imports of rice under the minimum access deal at
the World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural talks. They could
take advantage of the sharp drop in the stockpiles of MA rice in

The volume of sales of MA rice for animal feed stood at 400,000 tons
in fiscal 2006, but it went up 50 PERCENT to 600,000 tons in fiscal
2007. The import quota for MA rice has been fixed at 767,000 tons a
year since fiscal 2000. If sales of MA rice continue to increase,
the entire amount of imported MA rice would be consumed for animal
feed alone from next fiscal year on.

MA rice is sold for the following uses -- 100,000 tons for special
demand from ethnic restaurants, 200,000-250,000 tons for processing,
such as rice crackers, and 150,000-250,000 tons for food aid. In
addition to those fixed demands, sales for animal feed were approved
in July 2006.


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