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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/12/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 000665

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: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03/12/08

INDEX:

(1) Scope column: Divided Diet affects process for selection of new
BOJ president; Consensus-building efforts failed with absence of
go-between (Tokyo Shimbun)

(2) Editorial: DPJ's reason for opposing government's nomination of
new BOJ governor incomprehensible (Asahi)

(3) Bill amending AML adopted at cabinet meeting: Priority given to
protection of consumers, small- and medium-businesses;
Administrative surcharge to be imposed on false labeling; Judiciary
system likely to be revised (Nikkei)

(4) Taro Aso preparing to seek LDP presidency, focusing on
presidential race before Lower House election (Asahi)

(5) Future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations: Historical issues
should be managed with both sides taking responsibility (Yomiuri)

(6) Calls growing for criminalizing individual possession of child
pornography; Demand in "major child pornography exporter" must be
cut off (Tokyo Shimbun)

ARTICLES:

(1) Scope column: Divided Diet affects process for selection of new
BOJ president; Consensus-building efforts failed with absence of
go-between

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 7, 2008

Current Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Toshihiko Fukui's tenure of
office is to expire on March 19. Buffeted by the escalated
confrontation particularly over the question of what to do about the
provisional tax rate for gasoline between the ruling and opposition
camps in the divided Diet, the government will today come up with a
successor candidate to Fukui in the Diet. The recent movements of
the ruling and opposition camps over the question of who will
succeed Fukui has made clear the absence of a go-between to bridge
both sides. The Tokyo Shimbun's news gathering team probes into
overtures between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the
major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) regarding the
question of a successor to Fukui.

"I have no idea about dynamics working in the DPJ. That's why I
can't proceed with the personnel selection process." This complaint
was voiced by a high-level government official at the end of
January.

In order to deal with the question of who will succeed Fukui, the
LDP continued efforts since the start of the year to look for the
best person in the DPJ to negotiate with. In mid-January, a senior
LDP officer revealed: "We've asked the Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) to tell us who is responsible in the DPJ for the
decision-making process."

The LDP in the end began overtures with the DPJ with the two
parties' Diet policy chiefs taking the lead. This means that the LDP
failed to find who was directly linked to DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa, and that it had no choice but to use the regular

TOKYO 00000665 002 OF 011


communication channels for negotiations with the DPJ.

On Feb. 7, LDP Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki called on Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda at Kantei and told Fukuda: "The question of
who will succeed Fukui is a matter requiring endorsement from both
houses of the Diet. I think it is better to put the matter in the
hands of the Diet policy chief. I'd like the prime minister to wait
and see how the situation will unfold." LDP Diet Affairs Committee
Chair Tadamori Oshima met with his DPJ counterpart Kenji Yamaoka in
the Diet and the two policy chiefs entered consultations on a
successor issue.

On Feb. 14, Ibuki and Oshima met with Yamaoka at a hotel in Tokyo
and on Feb. 21, the three again met at a restaurant in Yokohama
City. The two LDP officers conveyed to Yamaoka as their favorite
candidate for a successor to Fukui Deputy BOJ Governor Toshiro Muto
and noted that Muto is hard to replace. But Yamaoka did not give the
nod to the candidate shown by them.

On Feb. 26, Ibuki made this comment eventually: "The matter requires
endorsement from both chambers of the Diet. Informal negotiations
are put in the hands of lawmakers, but it is not the Diet's job but
the government's job to name a candidate in the final phase." Ibuki
thus retreated from the frontline of overtures, even though he at
one point declared he would finalize the matter, but he has now left
it to the prime minister's decision. This movement eloquently speaks
of confusion in the government and the ruling camp.

Meanwhile, in the DPJ, one senior member was ready to accept the
government's proposal by saying, "If our president decides to
endorse the selection of Mr. Muto as a new BOJ governor, I will then
persuade reluctant members in the party." But Ozawa's real
intentions were not easily known to every member in the party.

It was March 1, when Ozawa made clear his position toward the
selection of a new BOJ governor at a news conference the day after
the ruling bloc railroaded the fiscal 2008 budget bill in the Lower
House. Ozawa said, "Our relationship with the ruling bloc has
collapsed." Hearing of this remark, a senior DPJ member believed
that Ozawa's remark implied that Mr. Muto was out.

Negotiations between the LDP and the DPJ reached a deadlock. Seeing
that, a Kantei official revealed, "The DPJ is now out of control."
In the meantime, one senior DPJ member grumbled: "(Neither the
government nor the ruling bloc) has the ball." While both sides were
increasingly becoming distrustful of each other, the time limit
expired.

It is an unprecedented situation that the government will suggest a
candidate for a government office post that requires endorsement
from both chambers of the Diet without formally sounding out the
opposition bloc about the candidate.

(2) Editorial: DPJ's reason for opposing government's nomination of
new BOJ governor incomprehensible

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 12, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan has decided to oppose the government's
nomination of Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Toshiro Muto for the
central bank's governorship, which is now drawing much attention.

TOKYO 00000665 003 OF 011

The outlook is that the nomination of Muto will be rejected in
today's plenary session of the House of Councillors because other
opposition parties have decided to side with the DPJ. The term of
current BOJ Governor Toshiro Fukui will expire on March 19. Even
though, the government has yet to decide the successor to Fukui. The
unprecedented situation will occur, anyway.

We urged the DPJ to give special consideration to the selection of a
new BOJ governor from a comprehensive standpoint. It is regrettable
that the largest opposition party made the decision immediately
after Muto (and two candidates for the deputy governor posts) had
given their opinions to lawmakers.

The biggest reason for the DPJ's objection appears that Muto was a
former vice finance minister.

In order to manage Japan's monetary policy, the BOJ governor is
required to have strong independence from financial authorities and
the ruling parties. The DPJ thinks that Muto has an inherent
tendency to hinder the principal of separation of fiscal and
monetary policies.

The DPJ has criticized Muto for supporting the ultra-low interest
rate policy as deputy governor. The DPJ probably wants to say that
the low interest rate policy brought about the heavy burden on
consumers by depriving depositors of interest income, while creating
an environment advantageous to financial institutions then suffering
from nonperforming loans.

It is understandable that an opposition party would be against the
selection of a new BOJ governor who is against its policy.

However, the issue involves the question of who should be chosen as
the chief of Japan's monetary policy. We don't think the DPJ's
reason for rejecting Muto is convincing.

Muto told lawmakers in a clear manner that he would ensure the
independence of the central bank. Muto did not say or do anything
during his tenure as deputy governor for five years that make us
question his credentials. We think that the monetary policy taken
under current Governor Fukui was basically inevitable in order to
stop the deflationary trend.

Moreover, what is incomprehensible is the DPJ's motive to try to box
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda into a corner with its opposition to his
government's nominees.

If the DPJ insists on having its way, it might become spattered by
the blood of its victim. Looking at the unstable economic situation
of a chain of strong yen and low stock prices, the stalemate in the
selection of a new BOJ governor will create a negative impact. If
the governor's post becomes vacant, both the prime minister and the
DPJ would be blamed.

We think many people expect the opposition to come up with a
convincing plan to revise the government-drafted bill to retain the
provisional gasoline tax and revenue sources for road construction.

Many people may think that the DPJ should display its presence in a
debate with the government and ruling coalition in the Upper House,
where the largest opposition party is in control.

TOKYO 00000665 004 OF 011

It is time for the DPJ to reconsider whether it should continue to
just confront the Fukuda government.

(3) Bill amending AML adopted at cabinet meeting: Priority given to
protection of consumers, small- and medium-businesses;
Administrative surcharge to be imposed on false labeling; Judiciary
system likely to be revised

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
March 12, 2008

The government adopted at a cabinet meeting yesterday a bill
amending the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) featuring the incorporation of
new penalties, such as an increase in administrative surcharges
imposed on companies that played a leading role in bid-rigging or
cartels. The amendment focuses on the protection of consumers and
small- and medium-size businesses. As part of such a stance,
misleading representation of commercial goods intended to deceive
consumers with false advertisements and the abuse of dominant
position, meaning leading companies forcing disadvantageous business
transactions on their subcontractors, will also become subject to
antimonopoly surcharges. Some industrial sources are unhappy with
the amendment with one source noting that standards for determining
unfair business practices subject to surcharges are unclear.

When the law was revised in 2006, the level of surcharges was
revised. As a result, a surcharge imposed on major manufacturers was
raised from the 6 PERCENT of sales made from unfair business
practices to 10 PERCENT . A surcharge reduction system applied to
companies that admitted to unfair business practices will also be
introduced. Regulations intended to deter unfair business practices
with the imposition of antimonopoly surcharges will be incorporated
in the amendment.

A surcharge imposed on companies that played a leading role in
bid-rigging or cartels will be raised 50 PERCENT from the current
level. A surcharge imposed on a major manufacturer that played a
leading role in unfair business practices will be 15 PERCENT of
sales made from such practices. The limitation period for the
imposition of surcharges will be extended from the current three
years to five years, starting from the day when the Fair Trade
Commission (FTC) penalized offending companies.

The surcharge reduction system will be improved. At present, the
first three companies that voluntarily admitted to unfair trade
practices before the FTC launches investigation are eligible for the
system. However, under the revised law, the number of such companies
will be increased to five, and it will become possible to apply the
system after the FTC started investigation. Punishment on a company
that coordinated unfair trade practices will be toughened. On the
other hand, more efforts will be made to constrain unfair trade
practices and collect more information by increasing the number of
companies eligible for the surcharge reduction system.

The scope of unfair business practices subject to antimonopoly
surcharges will be extended from bid-rigging and cartels. A
surcharge of 3 PERCENT of sales made from unfair business practices
will be imposed on companies that engaged in unfair labeling.
Manufacturing companies that engaged in exclusion-type private
monopoly of excluding competitors from the market will be subject to
a surcharge of 6 PERCENT of sales made by unfair trade practices. A

TOKYO 00000665 005 OF 011


surcharge of 3 PERCENT of sales from unfair trade practices will be
imposed on companies that repeatedly carried out dumping, and 1
PERCENT of the trading amount among companies will be levied on
leading companies that abused their dominant position.

The Fukuda administration's policy of protecting consumers and
small- and medium-sized businesses is clearly reflected in the
strengthened punishments. The metal mold industry, where 90 PERCENT
of companies are small- or medium-sized enterprises, is welcoming
the amendment. Chairman Katsuhiro Ueda (president of Ogaki
Precision) of the Japan Dies Mold Industry Association said, "Major
companies will become careful in trading with subcontractors. The
toughened punishment could serve as deterrence against their
subcontractor-bullying to some extent."

The FTC has warned the cell-phone industry twice that their
advertisements on cell-phone rates fall under misleading
representation. False labeling will be subject to an antimonopoly
surcharge under the amended law.

Leading companies are unhappy with the strengthened regulations. An
executive of a certain leading general construction company urged
the FTC: "It is difficult to define dumping. It is a matter of first
consideration to set a uniform standard, for instance, a tender
price a certain set PERCENT lower than an estimated price falls
under dumping."

However, whether the bill is passed as proposed by the government is
unclear. The point of dispute is whether or not to scrap the
judiciary system under which the FTC itself decides whether
complaints filed by defending companies that are unhappy with the
administrative punishment handed down by the FTC is appropriate. The
bill notes in a supplementary provision that the propriety of the
system will be considered within fiscal 2008 and necessary measures
will be taken. However, with the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) looking into the possibility of submitting a
counterproposal incorporating a call for the total abolition of the
judiciary system, the amendment could be subject to a revision.

(4) Taro Aso preparing to seek LDP presidency, focusing on
presidential race before Lower House election

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 7, 2008

On the morning of March 6 in a Washington hotel, Taro Aso, a former
foreign minister and former secretary general of the Liberal
Democratic Party, delivered a keynote speech at a symposium on
maritime security and Japan-U.S. alliance. In it, Aso said:

"I was always accompanied by security police from 2001 (until last
October). I expected that I would be able to have a lot of free time
to play golf after I stepped down from a post required SP last
October, but I have now stumped nationwide to support election
candidates."

Aso has run in the three past LDP presidential elections. He showed
off his personal network with U.S. Republicans by visiting
Washington before each election as a cabinet minister. This time
around, he has currently no government position. U.S. Democratic
Party-affiliated experts also joined the symposium. With an eye on
his fourth attempt to capture the LDP presidency, Aso has been

TOKYO 00000665 006 OF 011


trying to strengthen his political footing.

Some LDP lawmakers are concerned about whether their party can fight
the next House of Representatives election under Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda. As the Fukuda cabinet's support rating has remained
low, views calling on Fukuda to step down as prime minister after
the Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido in July are simmering in the
LDP. The strategy is that the next Lower House election should be
held after the party draws attention to its presidential race by
carrying it out before the expiration of presidential term in
September next year.

Aso thinks that the presidential race should take place before the
Lower House is dissolved. In a meeting on Jan. 23 with Tsuneo
Watanabe, the chairman of Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings who tried to
arrange a grand coalition between the LDP and main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), Aso said: "Does DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa still have his grip on the party?" He also
said: "The public wants to see consultations between the ruling and
opposition parties." Persons close to Aso predict that if the
foundation of the Fukuda government is stabilized with an LDP-DPJ
coalition, chances are slim that Aso will become LDP president.

In the 2007 presidential race, Aso got more votes from party members
and supporters than Fukuda. Even though he currently has no
government or party post, he has received a lot of requests to give
speeches. During the past six months, he took the stump more than 80
times. Appearing on a commercial television variety program in
February, when asked whether he had an intention to run for the LDP
presidency, Aso said with a smile: "Yes, I do."

In a speech on March 4 soon before his departure for Washington, Aso
stressed the need for a change, saying:

"The presidential race is now going on in the United States. The
Russian president has been changed to Medvedev. While the global
situation is drastically changing, the position of Japan should be
made clear."

In early 2008, Aso told Yoshihide Suga, a Koga faction member;
Shoichi Nakagawa, an Ibuki faction member; and Akira Amari, a
Yamasaki faction member: "Why don't we form a group called NASA?"
NASA is made up of their initials.

Suga, Nakagawa, and Amari are new leaders in their factions. The
three played a key role in supporting Shinzo Abe in the 2006
presidential election. Against their faction's decision to back
Fukuda in the presidential race as Abe's replacement, they supported
Aso. Therefore, Aso appears to have determined to give them the
three party executive posts if he is elected LDP president.

For Aso, the difficult problem is how to keep his distance from the
Machimura faction, which backs Fukuda. Since early this year, Aso
has been in touch with senior Machimura faction members at their
request. On Jan. 30 in a meeting with former Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa, a cabinet shuffle was their topic of conversation.
Aso evaded Nakagawa's question by saying: "I wonder whether a
cabinet shuffle is aimed at a Lower House dissolution or a grand
alliance?"

To announce his candidacy for the presidential race to pick a
successor to Fukuda, Aso wants to avoid being appointed as a cabinet

TOKYO 00000665 007 OF 011


member thorough a cabinet shuffle. If Aso antagonizes the Machimura
faction, which has produced four prime ministers in a row, he will
repeat the results of the previous presidential elections, in which
he was defeated by the other factions.

However, the Machimura faction, including Nakagawa, wants to hold an
"Aso card," while keeping him from defying the government. Senior
Machimura faction members urged Abe, who is sympathetic to Aso, to
rejoin the faction. Abe then attended a meeting of the Machimura
faction after an 18-month hiatus.

In the issue of Chuo Koron that went on sale on Feb. 9, Aso
advocated a pension reform plan to cover basic pension premiums by
gradually hiking the consumption tax to 10 PERCENT . Advocating his
position of favoring a tax hike, for which the DPJ has called, Aso
would be able to set a policy course of making a clear distinction
with other candidates in the presidential race.

In the first meeting on Feb. 27 of the "NASA" group, a strategy for
the presidential election was taken up as a topic of conversation.
One member told Aso: "You should not accept a cabinet post." Aso
responded: "I understand." Suga said: "At present, you should stay
away from the media so that you can avoid the image that you are
trying to drag Mr. Fukuda down."

(5) Future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations: Historical issues
should be managed with both sides taking responsibility

YOMIURI (Page 15) (Full)
March 12, 2008

By Ichiro Ue, an editorial board member of the Yomiuri Shimbun

The newly inaugurated South Korean government has indicated an
eagerness to rebuild relations with Japan while emphasizing the need
for that relationship to be future-oriented.

In a speech he made at a ceremony marking Korea's 1919 uprising for
independence on March 1, President Lee Myung-bak, who assumed office
in February, said: "South Korea and Japan should build a
future-oriented relationship based on a pragmatic approach."

Under the government of Lee's predecessor Roh Moo-hyun, Japan-South
Korea ties became strained over the issue of Japan's views of its
wartime history. Lee renewed his resolve in the speech to launch an
effort to establish better relations with Japan. On Feb. 25, Lee
held a meeting with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who attended his
inauguration that day. The two leaders confirmed the need to
regularize reciprocal visits - which they called "shuttle diplomacy"
- after a long hiatus. Japanese ruling and opposition party groups
visited South Korea in succession early in the year. The visits
reflect their strong expectations for better relations with South
Korea.

A number of South Korean presidents, just after launching their
administrations, have called for a future-oriented relationship with
Japan. But inevitably, bilateral ties became frayed over time,
affected by the three outstanding issues that stem largely from
Japan's colonial rule of Korea: claims to the Takeshima/Dokdo
islets, Japanese leaders' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, and Japanese
school textbooks.


TOKYO 00000665 008 OF 011


President Lee said in a press conference a month before his
inauguration: "I do not intend to tell Japan to apologize for or
reflect on its past acts." His predecessor Roh launched his
administration after putting historical issues on the back burner,
but he later hardened his stance in reaction to the Shimane
prefectural government's passage of a Takeshima Day ordinance and
Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Reciprocal
high-level visits were suspended as a result.

A succession of South Korean governments at first prioritized
relations with Japan, but once the issue of Japan's military past
surfaced, they altered their stances in response to public emotions.
Some observers worry that the new government might follow in his
predecessors' footsteps. President Lee made this remark after
stressing a future-oriented relationship in his speech on March 1:
"But we should never look away from the truth of history. Even so,
we cannot delay our path toward future relations, bound by the
past." This expression reflects South Korean's complicated feelings
toward Japan.

Japanese, however, perceive there to be a deep-seated "persistent"
resentment among South Koreans at Japan's colonial rule of Korea.
South Koreans say that Japan is "forgetful."

The new president, who used to be a businessman, gives top priority
to economic ties in promoting relations with Japan. The total value
of trade between the two countries now tops 70 billion dollars. For
South Korea, Japan is the second largest trade partner, following
China. For Japan, South Korea is the third largest trade partner,
following China and the U.S.

South Korea, though, has had an excess of imports over exports in
trade with Japan. The amount of its bilateral trade deficit was 24.5
billion dollars in the January - November period last year,
according to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organization
(JETRO). South Korea has a structural problem of importing
intermediate goods from Japan and exporting assembled products to
the rest of Asia. If Japan and South Korea resume talks on
concluding a bilateral economic partnership agreement (EPA), which
have been suspended since November 2004, South Korea will likely to
take a positive approach in an effort to improve its trade structure
and to solicit more investment from Japan.

President Lee hopes to improve economic relations with Japan, rather
than resolving historical issues, and to make South Korea into an
advanced industrialized country, as he pledged in his election
campaign. To that end, he wants to keep relations with Japan in good
shape. This is indisputably the essence of future-oriented relations
between Japan and South Korea.

Between the two countries, major progress has been made in exchanges
and mutual understanding even at the popular level. Japan and South
Korea have promoted exchanges in various areas, based on the action
program concluded between Prime Minister Obuchi and President Kim
Dae Jung in October 1998. The annual flow of visitors to Japan or
South Korea totals 4.5 million. The "Korea boom" in Japan, which was
sparked by South Korean movies and TV dramas, has now taken root.
Japanese popular culture has also drawn attention mainly among young
people in South Korea, with the share of Japanese novels being 30
PERCENT in the South Korean literary works industry and with
Japanese cartoons holding an over 60 PERCENT share of domestic
sales. The exchanges of such cultures have underpinned the bilateral

TOKYO 00000665 009 OF 011


relationship. It is now inconceivable that bilateral relations will
regress.

It is true that unfortunate events occurred in the past between the
two countries, but it will become more and more important to manage
issues of history to prevent such issues from causing unnecessary
friction. Both countries should now manage historical issues on
their responsibility.

(6) Calls growing for criminalizing individual possession of child
pornography; Demand in "major child pornography exporter" must be
cut off

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Pages 26 and 27) (Excerpts)
March 12, 2008

By Makoto Hashimoto, Chikage Iwaoka

In Japan, child pornography is often uploaded to the Internet and
DVDs containing images of small children are easily available on the
market. While individual possession of child pornography is banned
in major industrialized countries, such acts are effectively
uncontrolled in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito
are studying the option of amending the Law for Punishing Acts
Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography to ban
individual possession. They are planning to submit
lawmaker-sponsored legislation criminalizing "simple possession" of
child pornography to the current Diet session. What is "simple
possession"? We looked into challenges associated with the task.

On the afternoon of March 11, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Agnes Chan
held a press conference at the Dietmembers' No. 2 Office Building in
Nagatacho, to publicize the organization's campaign to stamp out
child pornography. In the conference, Chang underlined the need to
take stronger action against exploitation of minors, citing the
dissemination of sexual images on the Internet that would traumatize
victims for the rest of their lives.

The campaign mainly aims at amending the Law for Punishing Acts
Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, established in
1999. The law was amended in 2004 to criminalize the production,
sale, and possession of child pornography for sale and provision via
e-mails.

But the "simple" individual possession of sexual images of small
children not for sale or provision is still not criminalized for
fear of violating privacy and freedom of speech and expanding police
authority.

UNICEF Japan executive director Ken Hayami highlighted the need for
strict controls on the simple possession of child pornography,
saying: "With the widespread of Internet users, cyber porn is a
serious problem. Although regulations have been tightened on the
supply side, the demand side is still uncontrolled."

Of the G8 member countries, only Japan and Russia have not
criminalized the individual possession of child porn. Even though
the United States has launched a child pornography eradication
campaign, sexual images of small children have been "imported" from
Japan, a major child pornography producer and exporter, via the
Internet. Officials from the embassies of the United States and
Sweden also attended the press conference as observers to learn of

TOKYO 00000665 010 OF 011


trends in Japan, the "offender."

On the evening of March 11, U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas
Schieffer called on Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama at the ministry.
Schieffer told Hatoyama: "Most industrialized countries have
criminalized the individual possession of child pornography. We
would like to see Japan join them." In response, Hatoyama stated: "I
personally support your view. I'm hoping that the LDP and New
Komeito will discuss the matter."

The LDP sub-committee to review the child pornography law, chaired
by former Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama, held its inaugural
meeting on March 7. The New Komeito's project team, too, has been
studying amending the law since last December.

Moriyama, who also attended the UNICEF Japan press conference,
categorically said: "Most subcommittee members think the simple
possession of child porn must be banned. We will work hard to amend
the law in that direction." New Komeito Lower House member Kaoru
Maruya commented: "The dominant view in our party is that simple
possession should be criminalized. Given global trends and momentum
in the LDP, the outlook seems bright."

The press conference was also attended by members of the major
opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which is scheduled to launch a
project team soon. Lower House member Yoko Komiyama noted: "People
ascribe the failure to ban simple possession in the previous law
revision to the DPJ's opposition. We failed to reach an agreement
because some voiced that police authority should not be enhanced. I
want to unify views in the party from children's perspective."

People who violated the child porn law are punishable by up to five
years in prison, which is light.

The LDP is going to study specific penalties for simple possession
of child porn. What do experts think?

The campaign's organizer and lawyer Keiji Goto took this view: "In
order to eliminate hideous child abuse, such as child rape and child
molestation, the simple possession of child porn must be
criminalized."

Lawyer Toru Okumura, who is familiar with Net sexual crimes,
commented: "Banning the simple possession of child porn is the last
resort. The current law has many points that must be reviewed before
that."

According to Okumura, the primary problem is that the law's basic
vision is unclear when it comes to whether persons who violated the
rights of children must be punished or the social trends regarding
children as sexual objects must be blamed.

Okumura added: "First of all, it must be made clear that the law
punishes those who violate children's rights."

Child pornography is defined as photographs and images of persons
under 18 years of age fully or partially clothed in a way that
stimulates sexual desires.

Okumura also said: "Child pornography of even babies and infants is
in circulation. Whether or not to stimulate sexual desires is
irrelevant in arresting persons in order to stop the outflow of

TOKYO 00000665 011 OF 011


images of child abuse. But this clause is skipped in court punishing
those who sold images of child abuse."

Unless a tape of moving images is recorded, a person is not punished
for production under the child pornography law. Further, dubbing
taped images is not punishable. These factors often cause confusion
in court.

In amending the law, animation (anime) and computer games are
unlikely to be regulated, as there is the view that these are
fictions and regulating might correspond to a violation of the
freedom of expression.

UNICEF Japan is going to press the government to amend the law to
ban anime and cartoons as "quasi-child pornography" in its drive to
collect signatures to ban the simple possession of child porn.

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities are endeavoring to crack down
on violations by patrolling cyberspace, such as Internet auctions.
The Internet makes it easy for ill-intended adults in remote
locations to abuse naive children by luring them into obscene acts
and taking pictures of them. Sale of DVDs can also criminalize
children in remote locations. Investigations often straddle a number
of prefectures.

Okumura also commented: "Greater investigative power is necessary in
order to reduce Net-based child abuse. Across the country, the
National Police Agency needs to establish specialized departments
that are highly mobile."

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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