Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/05/08

DE RUEHKO #0576/01 0650102
P 050102Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Defense issues:
4) USFJ Commander Rice in meeting with Defense Minister Ishiba vows
prevention of recurrence of incidents by military personnel (Asahi)

5) Host-nation support budget also being held up by stalled Diet
6) MSDF top brass on Aegis accident sees problem linked to MSDF's
organization itself (Nikkei)
7) Defense Ministry to streamline lines of communication with Prime
Minister's Official Residence in case of emergency, terrorism, and
the like (Sankei)
8) Diet league formed to restrict cluster bombs (Mainichi)

China connection:
9) Japan informally asks China to postpone President Hu's trip to
Japan until early May (Mainichi)
10) Government protests to China about preventing imports of
Japanese books with reference to the Senkaku isles in them

11) Government to make its case to the IWC against violent
anti-whaling groups who are attacking Japanese crewmembers on
whaling ships (Mainichi)

12) LDP considering amending child pornography law to toughen
penalties, make possession of such pornography illegal (Asahi)

Political agenda:
13) Ozawa posits dissolution of the Lower House during this regular
session of the Diet (Nikkei)
14) Battle in the Diet being ratcheted up as issues mount (Asahi)



Toyota to enter Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' aircraft development

Mainichi & Tokyo Shimbun:
Supreme Court to uphold guilty ruling for ex-Health Ministry
official over outbreak of HIV

70 Shinginko debtors go under

Management of public pension premiums for FY2007 likely to see minus
yields for first time in five years

China sends 50 copies of book about Deng Xiaoping back to Japan,
labeling it as taboo literature


TOKYO 00000576 002 OF 009

Constitution study group gets executives from LDP, DPJ


(1) Hurriedly work out anti-spam measures, focusing also on e-mails
from overseas
(2) Prosecutors should admit false charges in case of shooting Osaka
District Court head

(1) Resume Diet deliberations
(2) Attack on whaler: Violence is against protection of nature

(1) New constitution study group launched
(2) Attack on whaler tantamount to piracy

(1) FTC to impose surcharges on improper labeling
(2) Trust in accountants undermined again

(1) Political strife just leads to accelerate economic
(2) Vicious sabotage on whaling must be prosecuted

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Guilty judgment for ex-Health Ministry official over outbreak of
HIV: Take it as blame for irresponsible administration
(2) Nonpartisan group "Sentaku" must make efforts to erase public
doubts about its moves

(1) Okinawa rally: Express resolve not to forgive crimes by U.S.

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 4

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 5, 2008

Attended a cabinet meeting in Diet. After that, met with Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura and Land Minister Fuyushiba. Machimura

Met with MOFA's International Cooperation Bureau Director-General
Bessho at Kantei.

Met with Machimura.

Attended the Tokyo forum of the Institute of Developing Economies
held at ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo.

Met with LDP Administrative Reform Headquarters Head Chuma and

TOKYO 00000576 003 OF 009

National Strategy Headquarters Head Sugiura at Kantei.

Met with State Minister in Charge of Administrative Reform Watanabe.
After him, met with Prime Ministerial Advisor Ito. Afterwards, met
with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi. Afterwards, met
with Vice Education Minister Zeniya and MEXT Research and
Development Bureau Director-General Fujita. After them, met with
MOFA Foreign Policy Bureau Director-General Kawai.

Met with Portuguese National Assembly Speaker Gama and others.

Met with Fuyushiba. Afterwards, attended a meeting for Gender

Arrived at Kantei residence.

4) New USFJ chief vows to prevent recurrence

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 5, 2008

U.S. Forces Japan Commander Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, who arrived at his
post on Feb. 25, paid a courtesy call on Defense Minister Ishiba
yesterday at the Defense Ministry, during which Rice referred to the
recent arrest of an Okinawa-based U.S. Marine over his alleged rape
of a local junior high school girl. In this case, the Marine has now
been released as prosecutors have decided not to indict him. The
U.S. military is investigating the incident. In this regard, Rice
told Ishiba that USFJ would carry out educational and training
programs for all U.S. military bases in Japan to prevent such an
incident from recurring.

"This is a serious problem that could undermine the alliance. We
will cooperate." With this, Ishiba indicated that the Japanese
government will work together with the U.S. government to prevent a

5) Ruling bloc frustrated with effectively out-of-session Diet;
Sympathy budget also in limbo

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
March 5, 2008

In the wake of the House of Representatives' approval of the fiscal
2008 budget bill, the Diet was effectively out of session yesterday.
Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui's term of office will expire
on March 19. Further, such crucial issues as road construction
revenues special measures legislation stipulating the use of the
provisional gasoline tax rate and a new Japan-U.S. Special Measures
Agreement to extend Japan's host-nation support (commonly called the
sympathy budget) for U.S. forces in Japan for three years are left
in limbo. Although the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic
Party and New Komeito is increasingly frustrated, there is no
prospect that the Diet will return to normal anytime soon.

TOKYO 00000576 004 OF 009

House of Councillors Budget Committee Chairman Yoshitada Konoike of
the LDP decided yesterday morning in his capacity to open a
question-and-answer session. But the session was later called off
because it was boycotted by four opposition parties: the Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ), Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic
Party and People's New Party. All cabinet ministers from Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda on down waited for the session to start for
about one hour at the Upper House No. 1 committee room.

DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Susumu Yanase reacted strongly
to Committee Chairman Konoike's decision to open a session, saying,
"It is an outrageous act, using the Diet for political
grandstanding." Yanase also indicated that his party would boycott
all deliberations.

Meanwhile, Lower House Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Committee
directors met last evening, in which Chairman Naokazu Takemoto
proposed the committee's approval on March 5 of the road
construction revenues special measures legislation. Opposition
parties rejected his proposal. The legislation is inseparable from
the revenue-related bills that cleared the Lower House in late
February. The LDP and New Komeito want to get this legislation
approved by the Lower House within this week. Lower House Speaker
Yohei Kono, though, is reportedly unwilling to do so, saying, "I
will not allow the ruling camp to unilaterally adopt a bill in a
plenary session for two weeks in a row."

The ruling bloc also intended to have the government explain the
envisaged new Japan-U.S. special measures agreement on the sympathy
budget and take questions at a Lower House plenary session on March
6. But that, too, remains up in the air. In the event the Upper
House does not take a vote on a new special measures agreement
within 30 days, it is automatically enacted, like budget bills,
because the Lower House vote takes precedence. A failure to obtain
Diet approval for the agreement within the current fiscal year might
hinder the implementation of the budget and that could rock the
foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

6) MSDF has organizational problems, says chief of staff in wake of
Aegis accident

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 5, 2008

Maritime Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Eiji Yoshikawa in a press
conference yesterday announced a plan to review the organization,
including personnel composition and education, in the wake of a
flurry of accidents and incidents, including the recent collision
between an MSDF Aegis destroyer and a fishing boat. Yoshikawa said,
"The organization has some (problems) that caused accidents over the
last several years." He also revealed a plan to hold an MSDF senior
officers' meeting on March 8 to discuss efforts to determine the
causes of accidents and reform the organization.

Another MSDF destroyer also had minor collisions with freighters in
Vietnam on March 3 and 4. Yoshikawa said: "We would like to find out
whether there are any sections lagging behind other segments and
moral hazards among personnel." Yoshikawa also revealed in the press
conference that the defense minister and the MSDF chief of staff had
questioned the Aegis destroyer (Atago's) chief navigator without
realizing that he had been a duty officer until minutes before the

TOKYO 00000576 005 OF 009

7) Defense Ministry mulls hotline to prime minister's office

SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
March 5, 2008

In the wake of the recent collision of a Maritime Self-Defense Force
Aegis destroyer with a fishing boat that has left its two fishermen
missing, the Defense Ministry yesterday revealed a plan to revamp
its communication system. The accident this time was belatedly
reported to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Defense Minister Shigeru
Ishiba. This sort of accident will be categorized as a "crisis," and
the staff offices of the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense
Forces will be required to report such an eventuality directly to
the Cabinet Information Center. The SDF is currently required to
report its own incidents and accidents to the center. From now on,
the SDF will also report to the center all kinds of contingencies,
such as armed suspicious vessels' intrusion and terrorism using
nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weaponry. The Defense
Ministry plans to utilize the SDF's intelligence-gathering
capability to the fullest.

Ishiba has ordered the Defense Ministry to study how to improve its
reporting system. The Defense Ministry is expected to issue a
notification this week in the name of its administrative vice
minister and implement it immediately.

In the accident this time, the MSDF Maritime Staff Office and the
Defense Agency's internal bureau in charge thought that they had
already reported it to the defense minister. The initial information
on the accident therefore took about one and a half hours to reach
Ishiba after its occurrence and about two hours to Fukuda. The
Defense Ministry was called into question over its insufficient
crisis management. The Defense Ministry, in its in-house
notification, will require the SDF's staff offices and organizations
to report serious incidents and accidents to the center as soon as
they recognized their occurrence. The SDF is currently required to
report such eventualities "within one hour" through the Defense
Ministry's internal bureau but will now be required to do so

8) Parliamentary league eyed against cluster bombs

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
March 5, 2008

A supraparty group of 22 lawmakers from both houses of the Diet met
yesterday in the Diet and decided to launch a parliamentary league
this month with the aim of restricting cluster bombs. More than 50
lawmakers are expected to participate in the new parliamentary
league. There are moves in the international community for creating
an international convention by the end of this year to ban cluster
bombs. The league is aimed at backing the government for its
proactive role.

Kuniko Inoguchi, a House of Representatives member, took the
initiative to launch the league. The league will be made up of
lawmakers who have worked for disarmament and landmine prohibition.
It will look into the facts about cluster bomb victims and will also
study how to restrict cluster munitions. The league is expected to
launch with more than 50 lawmakers.

TOKYO 00000576 006 OF 009

9) Japan informally asks China to delay presidential visit to early

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 5, 2008

The Japanese government has unofficially asked the Chinese
government to delay the visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu
Jintao planned for April to early May, according to informed sources
yesterday. Both countries' investigative and public security
authorities have been at odds over the poisoning outbreak caused by
tainted Chinese frozen dumplings. This situation is seen as the
major cause for Japan's proposal. China, however, would like to
bring about the presidential visit sometime during the
cherry-blossom season in mid-April. Coordination is still underway
between the two governments.

Upon explaining that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is looking to visit
Europe and Russia during the Golden Week holidays, Ambassador to
China Yuji Miyamoto yesterday unofficially asked his counterpart to
delay the presidential visit to sometime after the Golden Week
holidays, diplomatic sources said. China reportedly did not give an
immediate answer.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan sounded out the Japanese
government on a visit to Japan by President Hu for about four days
from April 20 when he visited Japan on Feb. 20. But the Chinese
dumpling scare has developed into confrontation between Japan and
China over the outcome of scientific tests of the pesticide in
question. For arrangements for Hu's visit to Japan, Foreign Minister
Yang Jiechi is scheduled to Japan in late March, but a final
decision on the visit has yet to be made.

The Japanese government is likely to invite President Hu to attend
an expanded meeting of the Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido in July.
Keeping this in mind, one Chinese government official said: "The two
schedules are too close," indicating disapproval of Japan's
proposal. Some government officials are worried that the Chinese
presidential visit in the spring itself might be postponed.

10) Tokyo files protest with Beijing over seizure of Japanese books
related to Senkaku Islands

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 5, 2008

Ken Uzuka

The government revealed in a written reply adopted at a cabinet
meeting yesterday that Japan lodged a protest with the Chinese
Foreign Ministry and Shanghai against the seizure by Shanghai
Customs of books the Shanghai Japanese School had imported from
Japan. The books describe the Senkaku Islands as Japanese territory.
This written reply was created to answer a question posed by House
of Representatives member Muneo Suzuki. The written reply says that
of the 892 books the school imported from Japan, eight have yet to
be cleared for entry into China. The government asked the Chinese
side about the reason for the seizure of the books and the
applicable rules and regulations. No official explanation has been
given by China so far through diplomatic channels.

11) Japan to insist on need for measures to prevent obstruction at

TOKYO 00000576 007 OF 009

upcoming IWC meeting

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 5, 2008

Ichiro Ikawa, Ken Uzuka

The antiwhaling group Sea Shepherd obstructed Japan's research
whaling in the Southern Ocean and injured Japanese crew members. To
deal with this incident, the government filed a protest with the
Netherlands, which was the flag state of the group's ship, and
Australia, where the ship's home port is located, and urged them to
take measures to prevent a recurrence. Japan has now decided to
bring up the issue of obstructing research whaling at the upcoming
conference of the International Whaling Committee (IWC) in London
starting on March 6 and emphasize the need to take preventive

Heeding international opinion, Japan has so far refrained from
taking severe action in response to the obstruction of research
whaling. But the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's General Council
Chairman Toshihiro Nikai pointed out, "Their obstructive behavior
was too much to tolerate. Japan should have taken a more resolute
attitude." Considering domestic responses like this, the government
has decided to bring up the matter at the upcoming IWC meeting.
Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura said at a press conference
yesterday: "It's outrageous to use violence as a means of
persuasion. Their activities are too much to tolerate." At a whaling
seminar on March 3, Senior Vice Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera
said that such behavior was regrettable. The Foreign Ministry's
Economic Affairs Bureau Director-General Yoichi Otabe lodged
protests with both the Dutch ambassador to Japan and the Australian
ambassador to Japan. A senior Foreign Ministry official said that at
the upcoming IWC midterm session, Japan plans to "shed light on the
truth of the heinous acts of obstruction."

12) LDP mulling imposing ban on simple possession of child porno

ASAHI (Page 14) (Full)
Eve., March 4, 2008

Birei Tsukue

In an effort to prevent the proliferation of child pornography via
the Internet, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has begun
discussion to amend the Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child
Prostitution and Child Pornography in order to impose stricter
punishment. The current law prohibits only the sale or offer of
child pornography to third parties, but the LDP is considering
banning in principle even a simple possession of child porno
regardless of purposes. Police authorities have been strengthening
controls over child pornography, but child pornography collected by
individuals through websites is available here and there via the
Internet. Given this, the LDP has concluded that banning even a
simple possession of child pornography will lead to cutting off one
source of child pornography.

A number of images and animation of child porno copied via the
Internet are available on the Internet. Those images and animation
are often posted on websites through overseas servers. That is why
it is difficult to detect their owners who posted them on websites.

TOKYO 00000576 008 OF 009

This past February, the LDP established a subcommittee headed by
former Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama in its Judicial Affairs
Division. The panel intends to form and submit a bipartisan bill to
the current session of the Diet.

The National Police Agency said that of cases violating the law
during the past year, 567 cases (provisional value) were prosecuted
in terms of child pornography, the figure being tripled from five
years ago.

Because of this situation, there is a deep-rooted criticism at home
and abroad that Japan is a "child pornography power." Most of the
Group of Eight (G-8) countries have already banned a simple
possession of child pornography.

When it comes to imposing a ban on a simple possession of child
porno, at the time of amending the law in 2004, the ruling bloc
discussed inserting a provision prohibiting such a possession. But
some pointed out the possibility that individuals who happened to
download child pornography or who received child pornography sent
unilaterally to them would be also prosecuted. Some others
criticized that the right to investigate might be abused and that
the freedom of expression might be violated. As a result, such a
provision was dropped.

13) DPJ's Ozawa: I envision Lower House dissolution will occur
during current Diet session

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 5, 2008

At a press conference in Hamamatsu City, Democratic Party of Japan
President Ichiro Ozawa stated: "Assuming the House of
Representatives might be dissolved during the current Diet session,
I have worked on choosing candidates" for the next Lower House
election. Referring to the collision of a Maritime Self-Defense
Force Aegis destroyer and fishing boat, he stressed the need for an
early change in government, saying: "Under the long-term government,
the bureaucratic organization has become completely corrupted." He
also pointed out: "Following the Abe government, the Fukuda
administration has yet to receive the judgment of the people." In
regard to campaign issues for the next Lower House election, he
said: "It involves the daily lives of the people. We have learned
that the policy of relying on a market-oriented economy is a mistake
due to the expansion of economic disparities in society."

14) DPJ again taking confrontational stance toward ruling parties,
now having good materials to attack them with

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 5, 2008

Previously, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto), headed by Ichiro Ozawa, was forced to review its strategy
of forcing Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to dissolve the House of
Representative in April and shifted its strategy toward bringing
about a Lower House dissolution in the fall or later. That strategy
has changed again, however, and the DPJ is now toughening its
confrontational stance toward the ruling parties. The reason for the
largest opposition party's on again and off again policy shift is
that many DPJ members have called on the party to assume the
original policy due to such issues as the road-related tax revenue,

TOKYO 00000576 009 OF 009

the appointment of a new Bank of Japan governor, the collision
between the Aegis destroyer Atago and a small fishing boat, and the
ruling camp's unilateral vote on the fiscal 2008 budget and
budget-related bills in the Lower House. However, that does not
necessarily mean that the DPJ has yet developed a full picture of
its strategy, since there are members calling for "a March battle."

Ozawa referred to the possibility of an early dissolution of the
Lower House at a press conference yesterday in Hamamatsu City, in
which he announced the name of a person, the DPJ-endorsed 246th
candidate, for the next Lower House election. The aim of his
reference to a Lower House dissolution was to erase the party's mood
of targeting (the next Lower House election) in the fall or later.

Ozawa, Deputy President Naoto Kan, Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
and Azuma Koshiishi, chairman of the DPJ caucus in the House of
Councillors, held a meeting on Feb. 26. Ozawa there said:

"If the ruling camp rams the bills through the Lower House, both the
government's nomination of a new BOJ governor and the mediation
effort by the leaders of the two Diet houses will come to nothing."

After that, Ozawa held consultations with senior party members,
including Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka, almost
every day. He then told them: "I want you to tell all party members
that we are now working toward the goal of Lower House dissolution."
On the night of Feb. 29 when the ruling coalition unilaterally
passed the budget bill in the Lower House, Ozawa cancelled his
schedule and attended a meeting of the party's Lower House members.

Ozawa took the initiative in the previous extraordinary Diet
session. But he has often entrusted Diet affairs to Hatoyama and
Yamaoka, as when he skipped a second vote on the bill to resume
Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in the Lower House
plenary session. He did not assume leadership in dealing with the
stop-gap bills. When asked about the agreement between the ruling
and opposition camps, he even said: "I am not involved in the

Siding with Ozawa and his now changed stance, Hatoyama said in a
meeting on March 3 of the secretaries general of the opposition
parties: "Let's agree that the mediation effort by the Lower House
speaker and Upper House president has been ignored." One mid-level
DPJ lawmaker, who has distanced himself from Ozawa, even commented:
"Since we have many tools to fight with, Mr. Ozawa should fight.
Even if we are defeated, everyone would still be convinced (it was
the best course)."


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