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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/10/08

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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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 03/10/08

Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's weekend, daily schedules (Nikkei)

Whaling:
4) IWC condemns Sea Shepherd for "dangerous actions" (Mainichi)
5) IWC raps Sea Shepherd's actions (Sankei)
6) LDP's Nakagawa suggests need for JCG to use weapons for warning,
even with option of sinking activists' boats in self-defense
(Mainichi)

Diet agenda:
7) Ruling coalition eyes punishment for child porn possession
(Yomiuri)
8) Stalled Diet session expected to normalize today (Tokyo Shimbun)

9) Ruling parties want to hold exec meeting with opposition parties
over nominations for BOJ posts (Yomiuri) 7
10) Opposition bloc opposed to "BOJ Vice Gov. Ito" nomination
(Nikkei)
11) BOJ mulls "acting governor" (Sankei)
12) Diet dissolution, general election "September or later": New
Komeito head (Sankei)

Defense topics:
13) Defense Ministry revamps emergency reporting system (Asahi)
14) Defense Minister Ishiba encourages MSDF brass staff to speak out
to politics (Sankei)
15) Okinawa forms executive committee to rally against U.S. military
incidents (Akahata)
16) 20 PERCENT of U.S. military's on-base housing in Okinawa left
unoccupied (Mainichi)

Polls:
17) Mainichi industrial poll finds 70 PERCENT of surveyed business
corporations give high marks to Kyoto Protocol, but only 25 PERCENT
deem it possible for Japan to attain its target for emissions cuts
(Mainichi)
18) 78 PERCENT in another poll sees domestic economic slump as
worsening (Tokyo Shimbun)

G-8 events:
19) Japan to host expanded G-8 summit meetings on climate change,
African development, with 23 countries participating (Mainichi)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Collision between MSDF Aegis destroyer and fishing boat exposes
malfunction of civilian control

Mainichi:
More than 2,000 A-bomb victims expected to apply for government
recognition under new standard

Yomiuri:
Over 90 PERCENT of highway-construction projects by transport
ministry found to be discretionary contracts

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Nikkei:
Sony to stop supplying cellular phones to NTT DoCoMo

Sankei:
Shinginko Tokyo reports only one-fourth of unrecoverable loans in
response to suggestion by ex-executives

Tokyo Shimbun:
Today marks 63rd anniversary of firebombing of Tokyo

Akahata:
Farewell to neo-liberalism: Social disparities expanding

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Proposals for a society of hope: Get over the myth of racially
homogenous society

Mainichi:
(1) Social security budget: Take a second look at target of
constraining medical expenses for people aged 75 and over
(2) Ban dispatch of day workers by amending relevant law

Yomiuri:
(1) Government's local agencies: Transfer most operations to local
areas
(2) Use amendment to financial products trading law to strength
market

Nikkei:
(1) Accelerating reorganization of electronic industry leading
companies to specialize
(2) Eliminate unscrupulous sales tactics

Sankei:
(1) Medical services for elderly: Squarely look at problems and fix
them
(2) Unlawful transactions among certified public accountants:
Forgotten work ethics

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Launch of "Kibo" research module: Show nation's presence with
unique technology
(2) Cell-phones: Advance into foreign markets

Akahata:
(1) Shed light on cause of Aegis destroyer's collision with fishing
boat; Do not seek refuge in discussions on reforming Defense
Ministry

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 7

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 8, 2008

08:30
Attended cabinet meeting in the Diet building. Health Minister
Masuzoe stayed behind. Followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary

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Machimura.

09:20
Met at the Kantei with LDP Reform Implementation Taskforce Head
Takebe.

09:37
Arrived at his official residence.

10:00
Attended the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the fire
fighting system in local governments held at Nippon Budokan Hall.

11:56
Met Lower House member Ryu Shionoya.

13:15
Met Machimura. Followed by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
Futahashi.

14:12
Met Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe. Followed by Vice
Foreign Minister Yabunaka.

15:50
Met Futahashi. Later, met Vice Health Minister Edogawa, Social
Insurance Agency Director General Banno, and Internal Affairs
Ministry Administrative Evaluation Bureau Director General Seki.

16:38
Met National Police Agency Deputy Director General Ando. Followed by
Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Bureau Director General Saiki.

17:19
Met Secretary General Ibuki. Joined by Machimura.

18:04
Met METI Minister Amari, Vice METI Minister Kitabata, Small and
Medium Enterprise Agency Director General Fukumizu.

19:13
Met Sudan Presidential Assistant Nafi, with LDP International
Affairs Bureau Head Mihara and others.

19:32
Dined with editorial board members from press companies at a
Japanese restaurant in Shiba-Koen

21:27
Returned to his official residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, March 8

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 9, 2008

Spent all day at his official residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, March 9

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2008

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10:04
Arrived at his private residence in Nozawa.

15:23
Returned to his official residence.

4) IWC issues statement condemning Sea Shepherd for dangerous
actions

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 8, 2008

Chiaki Ikeda, London

The interim meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC),
which was held in London to dissolve confrontation between
pro-whaling and anti-whaling countries, on March 8 released a
statement condemning the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an
environmental protection organization that has taken actions to
hinder Japan's research whaling. The meeting ended on the 8th.

According to the Fisheries Ministry, Japan suddenly proposed taking
up the issue at the outset of the meeting on the 6th.

The statement stressed: "Any actions that are a risk to human life
and property in relation to the activities of vessels at sea cannot
be allowed." The statement calls on Sea Shepherd to discontinue its
dangerous actions, such as chasing the whaler and hurling bottles of
chemicals at it. The commission also calls on it to cooperate with
the IWC member countries.

5) IWC statement condemns Sea Shepherd

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 10, 2008

Masato Kimura, London

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) ended its three-day
midterm conference in London on March 8, unanimously adopting a
statement strongly calling on its members, including the
Netherlands, which has allowed America's environmental group Sea
Shepherd to carry the Dutch flag, and Australia, which has allowed
the group's vessel to homeport there, to take action to deal with
the group's activities. IWC Chairman William Hogarth, in his effort
to normalize IWC activities, announced his intent to make
recommendations in the name of the chairman at the upcoming IWC
annual meeting in Santiago, Chile, on a schedule from late May to
late June.

Of the 78 member nations, 54 took part in the midterm conference.
Japanese delegate Akira Nakamae, deputy director-general of Japan's
Fisheries Agency, strongly condemned Sea Shepherd's activities.
Following him, the IWC meeting adopted a statement saying that any
acts that endanger lives and assets at sea are never acceptable. No
objection was voiced against the use of warning shots by a research
whaling ship.

Similar resolutions were adopted in 2006 and 2007, but unlike them,
the statement this time denounced Sea Shepherd by name for the first
time. The statement calls on IWC members to work together to deter

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Sea Shepherd's dangerous acts by domestic and international laws.
According to a Japanese official involved in discussion, Australia
proposed reconsidering research whaling, but this proposal was not
put on the agenda for discussion.

6) LDP's Shoichi Nakagawa: Vessel could be sunk in self-defense

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 10, 2008

There has occurred an incident in which U.S. environmental activists
aboard a vessel threw bottles containing chemicals and other objects
at a Japanese whaler in the Southern Ocean. Appearing on a
commercial television program yesterday, Shoichi Nakagawa, a former
Policy Research Council chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party,
said regarding the incident:

"It was an act of piracy. Japanese nationals have been injured.
(Maritime security officials) should not have just fired warning
shots but also have threatened or sunk the vessel using weapons in
self-defense."

He also underlined the need to study revising related laws to allow
vessels to take necessary steps to secure security at sea, saying,
"Legislation not allowing any action is insufficient. Laws must be
revised."

7) Ruling camp to revise law to criminalize possession of child
pornography

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 9, 2008

In an effort to prevent the dissemination of child pornography over
the Internet, the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito have
decided to revise the Child Protection Law against Child
Prostitution and Child Pornography in order to ban and punish
"simple possession" of child pornography. The ruling coalition
intends to submit a lawmaker-initiated bill in the current Diet
session. The decision reflects a sharp rise in the number of victims
in child pornography cases and a delay in Japan's response
internationally.

Simple possession points to such cases as individuals collecting
images or pictures for purposes other than selling or offering them,
or individuals recording such images on CD or DVD. It has become a
problem that a number of images around the world have been sent from
Japan.

On this issue, U.S. Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer will meet Justice
Minister Hatoyama, possibly on March 11, to ask the Japanese
government to take measures to ban simple possession of child
pornography. According to the Justice Ministry, only Japan and
Russia, among the Group of Eight (G-8) countries, do not prohibit
simple possession.

The LDP held the first meeting of the newly established subcommittee
on reviewing the anti-child-pornography law, chaired by Mayumi
Moriyama, on March 7. In it, participants decided to promote
discussion on banning and punishing simple possession. The New
Komeito also set up a similar project team last December and has
discussed a review of the said law.

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8) Diet to return to normal today with agreement reached between
Diet policy chiefs from LDP, DPJ

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 8, 2008

In a meeting held in the Diet on the afternoon of March 7, the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Seiji Suzuki and the major opposition Democratic Party of
Japan's (DPJ) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Susumu Yanase agreed
to hold today the Upper House Budget Committee's board of directors
meeting, which has not been held since March 4.

The Diet, which has been stalled since Feb. 29, when the ruling bloc
forced a budget bill for 2008 through the Lower House, will likely
be normalized. The budget bill is expected to be discussed in the
Upper House Budget Committee possibly tomorrow.

In the dialogue with Suzuki, Yanase asked him to make clear the
responsibility of Upper House Budget Committee Chairman Yoshitada
Konoike (LDP), because he continued to exercise his authority to set
committee meetings. Yanase also filed a protest with Suzuki against
Konoike for his describing the DPJ's strategy of refusing
deliberations on bills as stemming from the DPJ's deep inferiority
complex.

The opposition bloc will likely enter discussions on a deliberation
schedule in the Diet once the stage is set for the Diet to return to
normal with Konoike making an apology.

9) Nomination of new BOJ governor: Government, ruling parties want
to reach settlement at secretaries general meeting; Roll call on the
12th likely to be put off

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
March 10, 2008

Regarding the selection of a new Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor, the
government intends to promote Deputy Governor Toshiro Muto to the
post. In this regard, a proposal was floated on March 9 in the
government and the ruling parties for settling the matter at a
meeting of the secretaries general of both the ruling and opposition
parties prior to a roll call in the Lower and Upper Houses. That is
because some members of ruling and opposition parties are wary of
Prime Minister Fukuda and DPJ President Ozawa reaching a decision
between themselves. Though the DPJ is determined to reject the
proposal for picking Muto as governor, the government and the ruling
parties have no intention of replacing him with another candidate.
In order to secure time for talks between both camps before a roll
call, some are calling for postponing a roll call slated for the
12th.

LDP Secretary General Ibuki appearing on NHK and TV Asahi talk shows
expressed his hope to see talks between the ruling and opposition
parties before a roll call on the selection of a new BOJ governor.
Commenting on the DPJ's stance, Ibuki noted, "If there appear
differences in the views of both parties, we must hold talks." In
connection with Ibuki's remark, one senior LDP member said on the
9th, "It would be possible to hold a meeting of secretaries general
or a consultative council of both chambers of the Diet."


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Ibuki during the same TV talk shows noted that the LDP has no
intention of replacing Muto with another candidate. He said, "Prime
Minister Fukuda believes that the DPJ will accept Muto as BOJ
governor, using good judgment." DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama said
that he would consider whether to agree to hold party head talks,
making it a condition that the LDP come up with another candidate.
However, Ibuki brushed aside this proposal, saying, "The prime
minister would not accept such a condition." The DPJ has decided to
put the issue to a vote on the 12th after hearing the policies of
candidates for a governor and deputy governors. Ibuki countered this
plan, saying: "It would be possible to hold a roll call on the 12th
if there is a foregone conclusion. However, the decision must be
reached after seeing the candidates' qualification and caliber."

10) DPJ negatively reacts to government's nomination of Ito as
deputy BOJ governor; Ruling camp hopes for Fukuda-Ozawa meeting to
break impasse

NKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 8, 2008

Coordination between the ruling and opposition parties is expected
to stall over the government's nomination of a new governor and
deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, which was presented to the
Diet on March 7. The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) has stepped up its criticism of the government's plan to
promote Deputy Governor Toshiro Muto, a former administrative vice
finance minister, to the post of BOJ governor. The DPJ has
negatively reacted also to the government's nominee, Tokyo
University Prof. Takatoshi Ito, as deputy governor, citing that Ito
is a member of the government's Economic and Fiscal Policy Council
and thus favors the ruling camp. Some members in the ruling
coalition have called for a meeting between Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa to break the impasse.

11) BOJ to consider appointing acting governor out of concern that
governor's post could become vacant due to confrontation over
nomination

SANKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
March 9, 2008

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) will start considering how to deal with a
possible delay in the selection of a new governor, starting on Mar.
10. If a successor to incumbent Governor Fukui, whose term expires
on the 19th, is not appointed in time, the next deputy governors and
directors would be responsible for immediate operations. However,
the BOJ governor's post has never been unfilled in the postwar
period. Should that occur, it is bound to disturb the market and
erode international trust in Japan. There is also concern that the
situation could affect the economy, which is now at a delicate
stage.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Council Chairman
Sadakazu Tanigaki on the 8th made a speech in Kochi Prefecture.
Referring to the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto)
opposition to a proposal for promoting incumbent Deputy Governor
Toshiro Muto to governor, he sought approval from the DPJ to prevent
the governor's post from becoming vacant. He noted, "It is
absolutely unacceptable for the BOJ governor's post to become vacant
when the economy is in a slump. I want the DPJ to use its good
judgment." Former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa in a speech

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given in the evening of the same day stressed, "I want the DPJ to
consider the matter from a policy-oriented approach, by bearing in
mind the weight of its veto power."

The BOJ Law stipulates that if the post of governor becomes vacant,
a deputy governor serves as acting governor. In the event the deputy
governors' posts also become vacant, one of the six directors is to
perform the governor's task.

However, opposition parties are opposing the idea of a director
serving as an acting governor, because the selection of BOJ
directors does not require Diet approval.

12) Diet dissolution, general election "September or later": New
Komeito head

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2008

Shunsuke Shigeta, Seoul

New Komeito President Akihiro Ota indicated a negative view to
accompanying reporters about the possibility of Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda shuffling his cabinet around this July's Group of Eight (G-8)
summit to be held at Lake Toya in Hokkaido. "I think Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda has no specific schedule in mind," Ota said.

Ota also noted that diplomatic events scheduled to take place from
April through June are "extremely important" when he was asked when
Fukuda will dissolve the House of Representatives for a general
election. "September or afterward is desirable," Ota said.

13) MOD adopts revised emergency communication system, presenting
specific quick reporting cases

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 8, 2008

In the wake of the recent collision between the Maritime
Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer Atago and a small fishing boat,
the Ministry of Defense (MOD) significantly delayed reporting the
accident to Prime Minister Fukuda and Defense Minister Ishiba.
Learning lessons from this, MOD has comprehensively reviewed
internal regulations on the emergency communication system. Under
the revised regulations, it is mandatory to speedily report to the
prime minister's office (Kantei) and the defense minister not only
on incidents and accidents but also on disasters and missile
launches.

The revised rules were released on March 7 in the name of the
administrative vice-defense minister.

Situations requiring quick reporting are grouped into four
categories: (1) major natural disasters (such as earthquakes), (2)
major accidents (such as collisions of vessels), (3) grave incidents
(such as terrorist attacks and ballistic missile launches), and (4)
other situations (such as misconduct by SDF personnel). Specific
cases are discussed under each category.

14) Defense minister requires senior MSDF officers to "be frank
toward politicians"


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SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
March 9, 2008

In order to deal with a series of misconduct, including the recent
collision of the Aegis destroyer Atago and a fishing boat, the
Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) on March 8 held a special session
of commanders at the Ministry of Defense (MOD). The meeting was
joined by Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, Administrative Vice
Defense Minister Kohei Masuda, and some 40 senior officers from the
Maritime Staff Office and units across the country. They exchanged
views to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.

Emerging from the meeting, Eiji Yoshikawa, the MSDF chief of staff,
said: "Many problems were raised. We need to improve the nature of
the organization in addition to handling cases in a systematic
manner."

The MSDF has suffered a spate of deplorable events before the recent
collision, for instance, the leakage of information on the Aegis
system, the fire aboard the destroyer Shirane, a cover-up of the
amount of fuel oil provided by the MSDF to other countries' vessels
in the Indian Ocean, and the destruction of a log book.

Yoshikawa said that from the viewpoint that "there may be something
behind those cases," participants exchanged views at the session
regarding such issues as (1) command and control, (2) personnel
education, (3) response to the IT society, (4) the balance of the
level of troops and duties; and (5) the question of whether the MSDF
can win praise from the public. Ishiba said in his speech: "I can't
help wondering why (deplorable events occurred in succession). While
troop strength will not be increased, more duties and
responsibilities are imposed on each personnel. What should we do? I
don't think it is correct to keep silent." Ishiba continued, "SDF
officers in uniform have the right to speak to politicians as to
what should be done or what should be desirable to be done. Doing so
is obligatory in terms of civilian control. I hope the organization
will band together to work well both in peacetime and during
emergencies." Ishiba thus strongly called on the staff to prevent a
recurrence of similar incidents.

Yoshikawa told reporters: "After discussion, I want to begin
implementing measures, starting with what we can do."

15) Okinawa prefectural rally executive committee launched to
demonstrate prefecture's wishes

AKAHATA (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
March 9, 2008

In the run-up to the Okinawa prefectural rally protesting incidents
and accidents by U.S. service members to be held on March 23, an
executive committee was launched on March 8. Assembled together in
Naha on the same day, some 60 organizations decided on the purpose,
slogans, and the venue for the rally.

The rally's purpose is to press Tokyo and Washington for a
fundamental revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement
and for consolidation and reduction of U.S. bases in the prefecture
by the Okinawa public demonstrating their protest.

As slogans, the executive committee adopted: (1) human rights, (2)
enforcing military discipline and education, (3) a sweeping reform

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of the SOFA, and (4) consolidation and reduction of U.S. bases in a
visible way.

At the outset of the meeting, Tetsuei Tamayose, chairman of a child
welfare organization, made a speech, in which he said: "This
(incidents and accidents by U.S. service members) is a human rights
issue. Human rights are guaranteed under the Constitution. Despite
that, an incident (in which a U.S. Marine allegedly sexually
assaulted a junior high school girl) occurred. If we do not speak
up, we will lose the stable human rights environment."

The executive committee will hold the rally at the Chatan baseball
ground starting at 2:00 p.m.

Many organizational representatives fervently voiced their resolves,
one saying, "We must clearly protest the incidents and accidents by
U.S. servicemen." Another said: "We must speak up for the girl who
had to withdraw charges against (the U.S. Marine)."

16) 20 PERCENT of U.S. on-base military housing in Okinawa vacant

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 8, 2008

In connection with an incident in which a U.S. Marine was arrested
for allegedly sexually assaulting a middle school girl in Okinawa,
the government has revealed that the occupancy rate at military
housing at U.S. bases in the prefecture is 80 PERCENT . The
government released the information in line with its position paper,
adopted in a cabinet meeting on March 7, in response to a set of
written questions from House of Representatives member Kantoku
Teruya of the Social Democratic Party. The answer made it clear that
20 PERCENT of U.S. base military housing is vacant despite reports
of an increasing number of U.S. service members living off-base.

According to a report to the government from U.S. Forces, the number
of U.S. military housing units on bases in Okinawa was 8,139 as of
January 31. Of them, 6,484 units, or 80 PERCENT , were occupied by
U.S. military personnel. The remaining 1,655 units, including those
under refurbishment, were vacant.

17) Poll of 108 companies: 70 PERCENT appreciate Kyoto Protocol;
only 25 PERCENT expect Japan to meet its goal

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
March 9, 2008

About 70F PERCENT of the major companies polled by the Mainichi
Shimbun appreciated the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges industrialized
nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, citing that
various countries have taken measures to cut emissions. About 70
PERCENT of the companies answered that measures for emissions cuts
had not prevented their growth, taking the fight against global
warming a positive manner. However, only 25 PERCENT said that Japan
would achieve its goal. Many companies pointed to a lack of
political leadership.

The Mainichi conducted the questionnaire of 120 companies between
late January and mid-February, receiving answers from 108 companies,
or 90 PERCENT .

Under the protocol, Japan is required to curb its greenhouse gas

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emissions by an average of six percent from the 1990 level over the
next five years from April. But Japan instead increased them in 2006
by 6.4 percent from the 1990 level. Although some companies
criticized the goals set by the accord as being too tough, 66
PERCENT of the companies answered that they appreciated the accord
or appreciated it more or less.

A total of 68 PERCENT of the companies replied that
anti-global-warming measures did not prevent their efforts for
growth or that they did not prevent their growth by much. As
reasons, they said they were confident of their energy-saving
technologies and that the fight against global warming would provide
them with new business chances.

Meanwhile, 33 PERCENT of the major companies said that Japan would
fail to achieve its goal, citing a lack of political leadership and
the low level of public awareness as the reasons. About 39 PERCENT
said that they did not know.

The government announced on Feb. 20 its plan to consider the
introduction of emissions trading in the country. In the
questionnaires conducted prior to the government's announcement, 43
PERCENT of the companies said that they completely or somewhat
opposed emissions trading. Only 26 PERCENT said that they approved
of it. Many companies refrained from answering the question on the
grounds that the contents of the emission trading system were
unclear.

18) Nationwide poll: 78 PERCENT believe economy worsening;
Consumption remains stagnant due to income drop

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 9, 2008

The Japan Association for Public Opinion Research (JAPOR), of which
the Tokyo Shimbun is a member, carried out a nationwide
interview-based opinion poll on March 1-2. Regarding the present
condition of the economy, a total of 78 PERCENT replied either "The
economy is deteriorating" or "It is deteriorating somewhat." The
number of pollees who gave these replies substantively increased (up
32 points) from the previous poll (46 PERCENT ) conducted in March
last year.

The poll found that the outlook for the domestic economy has
extensively worsened over the past year due to concern about the
slowdown of the global economy, following the subprime mortgage
crisis and rising crude oil, cereal, and feed grain prices.

As reasons for that (more than one answer was allowed), the largest
number of 48 PERCENT replied, "Consumption has not recovered,"
followed by 40 PERCENT , who replied, "Income, such as salaries and
bonuses, is decreasing," 30 PERCENT , who said, "Sales and profits
are deteriorating," and 22 PERCENT , who replied, "The number of
jobless people has not decreased."

Pollees who replied, "The economy is picking up" or "It is getting
somewhat better" reached 20 PERCENT in total, down 29 points from
49 PERCENT recorded in the previous poll.

To a question of whether life has gotten harder due to rising
consumer prices, including the prices of gasoline and food, 38
PERCENT replied, "Life has gotten somewhat hard," followed by 34

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PERCENT who said, "Life has gotten hard." As reasons for that
(multiple replies allowed), 91 PERCENT cited the rise in gasoline
and kerosene prices, followed by 82 PERCENT who cited the rise in
food prices. The outcome suggests that high prices of oil and raw
materials are directly affecting households.

Regarding what respondents want most from Japanese administration in
connection with a question on the tainted Chinese-made gyoza
dumplings, 45 PERCENT of respondents said, "An increase in domestic
ingredients." Regarding Japan's food self-sufficiency, 83 PERCENT
said, "It should be raised." The largest 30 PERCENT of respondents
said, "In order to raise the food self-sufficiency rate, the
production volume of agricultural products should be boosted."

19) Government to hold expanded summit meetings on climate change
and African development, joined by 23 countries

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 10, 2008

The government has decided to hold expanded meetings on climate
change and African development, inviting China, Australia and other
13 countries, besides the Group of Eight (G-8) countries, during the
Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido in July. With a total of 23
participants, it will be the largest-ever summit. The government
will also invite such international organizations as the United
Nations, the World Bank, and the African Union (AU).

A former administrative vice foreign minister emphasized the
significance of the upcoming summit, saying: "For Japan, it will be
a chance that comes only once in 40 years." A G-8 member hosts the
summit every eight years. In addition, this is the year of TICAD,
which is held in Japan every five years.

The government wants to play up its political presence in dealing
with the issues of climate change and African development. Japan has
addressed the climate-change issue since the Kyoto conference on
preventing global warming in 1997 and has also poured its efforts in
developing Africa by holding the TICAD since 1993. Given this, the
government has decided to hold two expanded meetings, inviting eight
countries for each, besides the G-8 nations.

For the meeting on climate change, the government will invite
industrialized countries, including Australia and South Korea, as
well as emerging countries, such as China, Brazil, and South Africa.
Discussion will be conducted on a post-Kyoto framework beyond 2012.

For the meeting on African development, the government plans to
invite Tanzania and Ghana, with the aim of deepening discussion
following TICAD 4, which will be held in Yokohama in May. Such
issues as poverty reduction and health care will also be discussed,
with representatives from the AU in attendance.

Holding expanded summit meetings has been a custom since the Kyushu
/ Okinawa Summit in 2000. Eleven countries were invited to an
expansion meeting in Gleneagles in 2005; seven in the St. Petersburg
Summit in 2006; and 10 in the Heiligendamm Summit in 2007.

SCHIEFFER

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