Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/11/08

DE RUEHKO #0648/01 0712304
P 112304Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Government may again put Muto's name up for consideration even
if DPJ disagrees (Mainichi)

(2) Close-up 2008 column: DPJ stiffens its stance in response to
government's nomination of Muto for BOJ top post (Mainichi)

(3) Prefectural department chief points to possible reassessment if
(Futenma replacement facility) is moved further offshore (Okinawa

(4) USFK F-16 jets dispatched to Kadena for readiness training
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(5) U.S. warships hit largest number of port calls in 2007


(1) Government may again put Muto's name up for consideration even
if DPJ disagrees

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 8, 2008

Masahiro Kawaguchi

What will happen if the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) refuses to endorse Deputy Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Muto's
promotion to the top BOJ post?

The selection of the BOJ governor and deputy governors requires
endorsement from both houses of the Diet. This means that if the
DPJ, the first party in the Upper House, opposes the government's
proposed candidate, that candidate will not be appointed for the
post. In such a case, one possibility is that the government will
come up with another candidate, but more likely is that the
government will again put Muto's name. The reason is because the
government, concluding Muto as being most qualified for the post,
proposed Muto, so "If the government puts another's name for the
post, there would be no sense in what it previously said," one
official at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) noted.

Should the DPJ again refuse to accept the government's proposal, it
would become difficult in terms of schedule to select a new BOJ
governor by March 19, when current BOJ Governor Fukui's term of
office expires. The BOJ governorship will then be vacant for a
while. If that happens, an assistant BOJ governor will act as
governor, but there would be a managerial problem: How to manage the
Monetary Policy Meeting, which is chaired by the governor. In
addition, how to explain the reason for the absence of the governor
to the rest of the world will surface as an international
credibility problem.

A view heard in the DPJ is that the party can save its face once it
refused to endorse the government's proposal. One scenario being
floated at present is that if the government again puts Muto's name,
the DPJ will abstain from voting in the Upper House plenary session,
but the government's proposal will be adopted by a majority of votes
from the attending lawmakers.

TOKYO 00000648 002 OF 007

(2) Close-up 2008 column: DPJ stiffens its stance in response to
government's nomination of Muto for BOJ top post

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
March 8, 2008

In order to deal with the question of who will succeed current Bank
of Japan (BOJ) Governor Toshihiko Fukui, the government proposed
promoting Deputy BOJ Governor Toshiro Muto (64) for the BOJ
governorship in spite of opposition to the nomination of Muto from
the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). This proposal
made the DPJ harden its stance. In the divided Diet, the DPJ holds
the key to personnel selection for government posts. If the DPJ
refuses to give the nod to the government's candidate to be BOJ
governor, it would create a "vacuum" at the BOJ. The DPJ in this
sense has put itself in a tight situation. Meanwhile, Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda, with no prospect to obtain DPJ approval for the
government's candidate, given the track record so far of overtures
to the DPJ, is taking a gamble on DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa making
his own decision.

Flexible Ozawa torn between his party and the prime minister

Takashi Sudo

"Why?" This question came from the mouth of Ozawa on March 7, when
he was told by DPJ Diet Policy Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka by
phone about the government's nomination of Muto for the top BOJ
post. Ozawa was apparently disgruntled when informed of the move.

Following the government's action, the DPJ held a meeting of its
sub-committee on personnel selection for government posts that
require approval from both houses of the Diet. After the session,
Chairman Yoshito Sengoku reiterated his disapproval of promoting
Muto to the governor's post, saying, "Doing so is very risky and
problematic." At the meeting, objections were voiced in succession
by participants with one member arguing that Muto "comes from the
Budget Bureau and lacks experience in monetary affairs." No one
supported his nomination. DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama noted
at a news conference afterwards: "The tide of opinion in the DPJ is
that fiscal and monetary affairs must be separated."

Despite a strong objection to the selection of Muto for the
governor's post, Prime Minister Fukuda presented his nomination
anyway. This is taken by the DPJ as "an act of the LDP picking a
quarrel" with it, a senior DPJ lawmaker said. But the current
situation is not so simple that the DPJ can just refuse the
government's proposal. If a vacuum for the BOJ governorship is
created, the DPJ may be exposed to public criticism. Ozawa from the
beginning has been viewed as being flexible about the nomination of

Ozawa was initially trying to informally unify the party's views,
but the ruling bloc forced the passage of the fiscal 2008 budget
bill in the Lower House. Since then the DPJ has hardened its
attitude sharply. Those who have previously advocated the need for
separation between fiscal and monetary affairs have now gained steam
in the DPJ. Some in the DPJ are wary of Ozawa's possible softening
of his attitude toward the ruling camp, while watching the right
timing to do so.

It is, however, true that given the mood in the party, it is

TOKYO 00000648 003 OF 007

difficult for Ozawa to shift toward endorsing the government's
proposal. Those in the DPJ, including Sengoku, who are opposed to
the government's nomination of Muto, overlap with those who can be
categorized as opposing Ozawa, a trend that started last fall with
the idea of forming a grand coalition between the LDP and the DPJ.
If the DPJ moves to endorse the government's proposal led by Ozawa,
it could change the party's mood toward a more cautious course.
Prime Minister Fukuda is looking for ways to make a breakthrough
through a one-on-one meeting between him and Ozawa, but on March 7,
Yamaoka again denied the possibility of holding such a meeting,
noting: "We don't want to be misunderstood as trying to form a grand

On March 3, Ozawa reportedly snapped at his aides during a meeting
with them: "Sengoku is standing in the way." On the other hand,
however, Ozawa revealed to them: "I won't act in a way that will
split the party over the selection of the BOJ governor.

Prime Minister Fukuda, who is adamant in his idea of nominating Muto
for BOJ governorship, started action before obtaining consent

Yoshiaki Nakagawa

Prime Minister Fukuda presented the nomination of his favorite
candidate Muto at a time when only two weeks are left before the
expiration of the current governor's term of office. Fukuda had not
previously revealed his true feelings even to senior officials in
the government and the ruling camp as to the three candidates for
the governor and deputy governors until March 7, when the government
presented the three candidates for those posts. Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, the right-hand man of the prime

minister, sensed in advance that Muto would be nominated as
governor. But it was in the morning of March 7 after a cabinet
meeting when Machimura was told that candidates for deputy governors
were Masaaki Shirakawa and Takatoshi Ito.

Senior members in the BOJ as well as the Ministry of Finance were
beset with doubts and fears over the question of whom Fukuda had in
mind as a candidate for governorship. Former Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa, who serves as the representative manager of the
Machimura faction, also noted: "The prime minister is not the person
who arm twists." However, some in the ruling bloc suspected that
Fukuda might nominate another candidate because he is still
enthusiastic about creating a grand coalition with the DPJ.

In actuality, Fukuda felt he had no choice but to pick Muto. The
staff for the prime minister, in anticipation of objections from the
DPJ, at one point considered nominating Taizo Nishimura, chairman of
the Tokyo Stock Exchange or Shigemitsu Miki, chairman of the Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. But they later removed the two from the list
of candidates, thinking it would not do to choose the top official
of the stock market that fluctuates with monetary policy and the top
leader of the bank repeatedly punished by the Financial Services
Agency. Former Deputy BOJ Governor Yutaka Yamaguchi was also removed
from the list at an early stage on the grounds that he made a
mistake in determining when to end the zero-interest-rate policy in
the days of former BOJ Governor Masaru Hayami.

The government's concern was that if it had presented someone as
candidate for BOJ governorship other than Muto, even if the DPJ
accepted that nomination, it could be taken as a precedent that the
right to nominate the head of the central bank was to be left to the

TOKYO 00000648 004 OF 007

opposition bloc. This was the bottleneck for putting someone's name
other than Muto's

In the end, the ruling bloc hoped that Ozawa might accept the
nomination of Muto. According to a senior ruling camp member, former
Administrative Vice Finance Minister Jiro Saito began to work to
persuade Ozawa from a considerably early stage. In the days of the
Hosokawa administration, Ozawa and Saito worked together to
introduce a national welfare tax, an effort which ultimately failed.
Since then their relationship has been inseparable.

Senior ruling camp members, as well, tried to persuade the DPJ. On
the night of March 21, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP)
Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki, LDP General Council Chairman

Toshihiro Nikai, and LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori
Oshima met with DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yamaoka.

Bearing in mind Muto, Ibuki told Yamaoka: "He is hard to replace."
In response, Yamaoka asked, "Will Japan and the BOJ collapse if Muto
does not assume the post?" He avoided responding to Ibuki's
proposal. On the night of March 3, Oshima, along with junior
coalition partner New Komeito Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshio
Urushibara, met with Yamaoka at a restaurant in Tokyo, but Yamaoka
was noncommittal. Fukuda eventually had no choice but to decide to
put Muto's name in a way to start action before obtaining consent.

BOJ Governor Fukui: "I believe firmly an optimum person will be

Takayuki Sakai

When asked at a news conference on March 7 about the government's
proposal to promote Deputy BOJ Governor Toshiro Muto to the top
post, BOJ Governor Toshihiko Fukui said: "I believe firmly that the
optimum person will be chosen in the current political situation.
Things are moving in that direction." He thus expressed hopes that
the selection of his successor would go smoothly, with his
retirement scheduled for March 19.

(3) Prefectural department chief points to possible reassessment if
(Futenma replacement facility) is moved further offshore

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
March 11, 2008

Before the Okinawa prefectural assembly special budget committee
(chaired by Seizen Hokama), Okinawa Cultural and Environmental
Affairs Department Director General Kenji Chinen yesterday made the
following comment in the event the site for a Futenma replacement
facility is moved 90 meters further offshore: "If (the facility) is
moved, (the government) might have to consider redoing the
environmental impact assessment procedures." Regarding the fact that
in his views on the outline of the planned environmental impact
assessment, the governor is seeking a multiple-year survey of
dugons, Chinen said: "Depending on the conditions of the assessment,
we will express our views as necessary." The comment was apparently
intended to apply pressure on the Okinawa Defense Bureau, which has
suggested shortening the assessment.

Chinen was responding to a question from Yonekichi Shinzato (Goken

TOKYO 00000648 005 OF 007

The department also announced that the number of port calls at White
Beach by nuclear-powered vessels in fiscal 2007 (from April 2007
through early March 2008) has significantly increased to 30 from 20
in the previous fiscal year. The number was 18 in fiscal 2004 and 15
in fiscal 2005. The government monitors radiation levels when
(nuclear-powered vessels) are docked there. According to the
prefectural government, levels have never exceeded the environmental
standards. The information was revealed in response to a question
from Masaharu Kina (Okinawa Social Mass Party).

Chinen also expressed a negative view about establishing a drunk
driving eradication ordinance, saying: "Although we have undertaken
coordination for establishing an ordinance, which was proposed by
the prefectural police, we have yet to find common ground on the
need, effectiveness, and modality of the ordinance. We would like to
study it carefully."

He was responding to a question from Hiroko Tsujino (Liberal
Democratic Party).

(4) USFK F-16 jets dispatched to Kadena for readiness training

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Abridged)
March 11, 2008

KADENA-A flight of 12 F-16 fighter jets belonging to U.S. Forces
Korea's Kunsan Air Base will participate in the U.S. Kadena Air
Base's readiness training, sources revealed yesterday. The arrival
of 10 F-16 fighters at Kadena has already been confirmed, and they
are expected to start flight training today or later. The F-16
fighters will stay at Kadena for about two weeks, and they will also
carry out dogfight training with Kadena-based F-15 fighters.

In December last year, FA-18 fighter jets from the U.S. Marine
Corps' Iwakuni Air Station conducted joint readiness training with
Kadena-based F-15 fighters. Kadena Air Base has been conducting
joint training with U.S. forces stationed in other areas. USFK has
never dispatched more than 10 fighter jets to Kadena in recent
years, and jet noise is feared to intensify.

According to eyewitnesses, a total of 10 F-16 fighter jets arrived
separately at Kadena Air Base yesterday. The first five F-16
fighters touched down a little past 1 p.m., and the other five jets
after 3 p.m. Some of them were loaded with air-to-air missiles for
training use. According to the Defense Ministry's Okinawa Defense
Bureau, the F-16s will participate in an operational readiness
inspection to be conducted Mar. 9-14 as part of the readiness
training and will stay for about two weeks at Kadena Air Base after
that to participate in dogfight training.

The operational readiness inspection, based on a scenario
anticipating an emergency, is intended to evaluate an air wing's
overall readiness capability, including troop mobilization for
deployment, fighter jets' readiness for flight operations, and base

Kadena Air Base will also use siren and alarm systems as well as a
ground bombing simulator from tomorrow. F-15 flights have been
suspended since last year. However, almost all of the Kadena-based
F-15 fighter jets were back to normal operations in February. Jet
noise will likely to intensify with the arrival of F-16s.

TOKYO 00000648 006 OF 007

In the past as well, F-16 fighter jets from Kunsan Air Base were
confirmed at Kadena Air Base. The Mehyan'ni range has now been
closed, and it is also clear that they have been conducting
live-fire training at a range on the island of Torishima, which is
situated west of Okinawa's main island.

(5) U.S. warships hit largest number of port calls in 2007

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Full)
March 7, 2008

U.S. military warships made a total of 28 port calls in Japanese
commercial ports in 2007, the Foreign Ministry has revealed in its
documentation submitted to the House of Representatives Budget
Committee. In 2006 as well, U.S. warships made a total of 28 port
calls in Japan, hitting an all-time high since the Soviet Union's
collapse in 1991. The recent collision of a Maritime Self-Defense
Force Aegis destroyer and a fishing boat unveiled the MSDF's
military-first stance. The U.S. military also shows such a stance,
as is evident from its port calls on the strength of the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

The Foreign Ministry came up with such data at the Japanese
Communist Party's request.

One of the major features of port calls made in Japan by U.S.
warships in 2007 is that the USS Guardian and Patriot, which are
both minesweepers, entered the port of Sonai in the Okinawa
prefectural town of Yonaguni-machi in June. This was the first case
of U.S. warships' entry into a civilian port in Okinawa Prefecture
since its reversion to Japan in 1972.

The island town of Yonaguni-machi had clarified its opposition to
U.S. warships' entry into the port of Sonai. In addition, the
Okinawa prefectural government had also asked the U.S. military not
to make a port call in that island's port. Nevertheless, the two
U.S. warships entered port on the strength of a SOFA provision
allowing U.S. warships to access Japanese seaports. The U.S. Navy
had conducted a detailed fact-finding survey of the port of Sonai
and the island's restaurants and recreational facilities before the
two U.S. warships' port call.

In October 2005, the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed to realign
U.S. forces in Japan, specifying the U.S. military's use of Japanese
seaports to enhance bilateral military cooperation. The agreement
incorporates a plan to conduct a detailed fact-finding survey of
civilian seaports and other relevant facilities and carry out joint
training exercises for bilateral defense planning to back up U.S.
military interventions in neighboring contingencies in the
Asia-Pacific region.

In early November 2007, Japan and the United States conducted joint
field drills in anticipation of neighboring contingencies, with the
participation of U.S. naval vessels. In late October that year,
shortly before the joint drills, four of those U.S. warships used
civilian seaports in Japan. The four U.S. warships were the aircraft
carrier USS Kitty Hawk, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald, the destroyer
USS Mustin, and the cruiser USS Shiloh. The Kitty Hawk was the first
U.S. flattop to enter the port of Muroran in Hokkaido. These also
can be taken as shaping the agreement to realign the U.S. military
presence in Japan.

TOKYO 00000648 007 OF 007

In February, the USS Ronald Reagan, a state-of-the-art
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the U.S. Navy, called at the
U.S. Navy's Sasebo base. One of her escorts, the destroyer USS
Russell, called at the port of Shimizu in Shizuoka Prefecture, and
another escort, the destroyer USS Paul Hamilton, called at the port
of Wakayama in Wakayama Prefecture.

In December, the frigate USS Ingraham, which escorted the amphibious
assault ship USS Tarawa heading for the Middle East to support
military operations in Iraq, called at the port of Takamatsu (in
Kagawa Prefecture). It was the first port call of a U.S. warship at
Takamatsu in about eight and a half years.

Commercial ports in Japan are also logistical, transit, and attack
bases for U.S. warships homeported in the United States.

U.S. warship calls at Japan's civilian seaports in 2007
(Source: Foreign Ministry statistics)
Ship name Port Date
1 USS Frank cable (submarine tender) Wakkanai Jul. 8
2 USS Stethem (destroyer) Ishikari Feb. 5-9
3 USS Gary (frigate) Otaru Aug. 17-20
4 USS Observation Island (missile tracking platform) Muroran Mar.
5 USS Kitty Hawk (aircraft carrier) Muroran Oct. 26-30
6 USS Fitzgerald (destroyer) Muroran Oct. 26-30
7 USS Mustin (destroyer) Hakodate Oct. 26-30
8 USS Curtis Wilbur (destroyer) Hachinohe Jan. 25-29
9 USS John S. McCain (destroyer) Sendai Nov. 1-5
10 USS Tortuga (dock landing craft) Tokyo Aug. 29-31
11 USS John S. McCain (destroyer) Niigata Jun. 30-Jul. 4
12 USS Russell (destroyer) Shimizu Feb. 24-28
13 USS Curtis Wilbur (destroyer) Shimoda May 17-21
14 USS Paul Hamilton (destroyer) Nagoya May 19-23
15 USS Paul Hamilton (destroyer) Maizuru April 19-23
16 USS Shiloh (cruiser) Maizuru Oct. 26-30
17 USS Stethem (destroyer) Osaka Mar. 1-5
18 USS Paul Hamilton (destroyer) Wakayama Feb. 25-27
19 USS Ingraham (frigate) Takamatsu Dec. 1-5
20 USS Guardian (minesweeper) Kure Feb. 13-15
21 USS Patriot (minesweeper) Kure Feb. 13-15
22 USS John S. McCain (destroyer) Kure Jun. 19-22
23 USS Guardian (minesweeper) Shimonoseki Feb. 8-12
24 USS Lassen (destroyer) Oita Jun. 18-21
25 USS Mustin (destroyer) Nagasaki Mar. 1-5
26 USS Safeguard (salvage ship) Kagoshima Feb. 9-13
27 USS Guardian (minesweeper) Yonagunijima Jun. 24-26
28 USS Patriot (minesweeper) Yonagunijima Jun. 24-26


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