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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/18/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 000713

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 03/18/08


Index:

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

Opinion poll:
4) Cabinet support slips 4.8 points to 33.9 PERCENT in Yomiuri
poll, with non-support rate at 54 PERCENT ; Most people critical of
DPJ's handling of BOJ governor issue (Yomiuri)
5) LDP Secretary General Ibuki attributes cabinet's low support
rates to perception of lack of leadership (Tokyo Shimbun)

Diet in chaos:
6) Host nation support budget also being affected by gridlock in the
Diet between ruling and opposition camps (Yomiuri)
7) Chaos reigns in the Diet as Prime Minister Fukuda finds his hands
tied on finding a new candidate for Bank of Japan governor
(Mainichi)
8) Government to delay submission of name of candidate for BOJ
governor's post (Asahi)
9) Likely now that the post of BOJ governor will be vacant for a
while (Mainichi)
10) Shirakawa may become the acting BOJ governor for a while
(Nikkei)
11) Anxiety rises in the Fukuda administration, which is finding it
impossible to steer policy due to Democratic Party of Japan
intransigence on every issue (Yomiuri)
12) LDP finding it difficult to submit revised tax-related bills,
unable to see DPJ's area of compromise (Mainichi)

13) Unlikely that revised tax bills will be passed by end of fiscal
year at end of March (Nikkei)

14) Tibetan riots not likely to affect Chinese President Hu's visit
to Japan (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Financial crisis from U.S. (Part 1): U.S. economy remains tense

Mainichi & Yomiuri
With government unable to name new BOJ governor, BOJ governor post
likely to be left vacant

Nikkei:
Nippon Oil to acquire 7th-ranked wholesaler Kyushu Oil possibly in
October

Sankei & Akahata:
Dollar briefly drops to 95 yen over credit fears; Nikkei index
closes below 12,000

Tokyo Shimbun:
Highway construction projects questioned (Part 1): Isolated villages
put on backburner

2) EDITORIALS


TOKYO 00000713 002 OF 011


Asahi:
(1) 5th anniversary of start of Iraq war: How to overcome total
failure

Mainichi:
(1) Prime minister, DPJ should be humble about nomination of BOJ
governor
(2) Low stock prices and declining dollar urging U.S. government's
decision

Yomiuri:
(1) Vacancy in BOJ governor post unallowable
(2) China's ethnic policies led to Tibet riots

Nikkei:
(1) Vacancy in BOJ governor post during financial emergency
unforgivable

Sankei:
(1) Party heads must break stalemate in appointment of BOJ governor
(2) Under international supervision, shed light on truth about Tibet
riots

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) New BOJ governor should be nominated as quickly as possible
(2) Can feelings of the poor be felt by second-generation leaders in
China?

Akahata:
(1) Shortage of manpower of welfare services: Improvement in labor
conditions urgent

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 17

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 18, 2008

09:40
Wrote his name in the visitors' book at the residence of Prince
Tomohito, who is now in the hospital.

10:01
Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, followed by Assistant
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka.

11:00
Met with Gunma Prefecture Governor Osawa, followed by Vice
Environment Minister Tamura and Resources and Energy Agency Director
General Mochizuki.

12:30
Government and ruling parties liaison council meeting. Then met with
Finance Minister Nukaga.

13:47
Met with Special Advisor to the Cabinet Okuda.

14:37
Met with National Police Agency Director General Yoshimura.


TOKYO 00000713 003 OF 011


15:02
Met with Saka and Comprehensive Maritime Policy Administrative
Office chief Oba. Then met with Defense Ministry Defense Policy
Bureau Director General Takamizawa and Defense Intelligence
Headquarters chief Mukunoki and Cabinet Intelligence Director
Mitani.

16:02
Met with Mitani, followed by State Minister for Economic and Fiscal
Policy Ota, Cabinet Office Policy Officers Fujioka and Matsumoto.
Ota remained.

17:04
LDP executive meeting in the Diet.

18:04
Met with Peruvian President Garcia. Then signed a joint statement
and held press conference.

19:17
Banquet hosted by Prime Minister Fukuda.

20:44
Arrived at the official residence.

4) Poll: Cabinet support down to 34 PERCENT

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
March 18, 2008

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fukuda and his cabinet fell
4.8 percentage points from February to 33.9 PERCENT in a
face-to-face nationwide public opinion survey conducted by the
Yomiuri Shimbun on Mar. 15-16. The disapproval rating for the Fukuda
cabinet was 54.0 PERCENT , up 3.2 points. The Fukuda cabinet's
nonsupport rate hit an all-time high since it came into office.

Those who do not support the Fukuda cabinet were asked to pick up to
two reasons. In response, 48 PERCENT answered that they cannot
appreciate its political stance, topping all other answers. Among
other answers, "nothing can be expected of its economic policy"
accounted for 38 PERCENT , followed by "'it's unstable" at 27
PERCENT .

Respondents were also asked if they thought the government dealt
appropriately with the recent collision of a Maritime Self-Defense
Force Aegis destroyer with a fishing boat that has left its two
crewmen missing. To this question, 74 PERCENT answered "no."

The current additional rate of provisional taxation on gasoline is
to expire at the end of March. In the survey, respondents were asked
if they thought it would be better to continue this additional gas
taxation after that. To this question, "yes" accounted for 27
PERCENT , down 2 points from February, with "no" at 64 PERCENT , up
2 points.

Meanwhile, the government has asked the Diet to approve its proposal
to promote Bank of Japan Vice Governor Toshiro Muto to the post of
BOJ governor. However, the leading opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (Minshuto) disagreed. In this regard, respondents were asked
if they supported the DPJ's decision. To this question, "very much"
and "somewhat" totaled no more than 25 PERCENT , with "not very

TOKYO 00000713 004 OF 011


much" and "not at all" adding up to 59 PERCENT .

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party leveled off at 33.1 PERCENT , up 0.5
points. However, the DPJ dropped 2.4 points to 17.6 PERCENT .

5) LDP Secretary General Ibuki: "Plummeting support rates due to
lack of leadership"

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
March 18, 2008

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Ibuki yesterday at
a press conference made this comment about the trend of falling
support rates for the Fukuda Cabinet in every opinion poll: "The
major reason for the lack of support is probably because the
perception of a lack of leadership." In his view, the public are
harboring doubts about the Prime Minister's leadership.

Ibuki, having in mind such factors as the lopsided Diet where the
opposition camp controls the Upper House making it difficult to
select the governor of the Bank of Japan, pointed out: "Since our
camp does not have a majority in the Upper House, we cannot smoothly
steer the government. Looking at it from the eyes of the public, the
situation is a mess. Under the current situation in the Upper House,
it would be the same no matter who was in charge."

6) Sympathy budget to expire shortly

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
March 18, 2008

The standoff between the ruling and opposition parties in the
divided Diet, where the ruling camp controls the lower chamber and
the opposition camp dominates the upper chamber, is casting a shadow
on Japan's foreign relations.

On the morning of Mar. 13, the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto) held a meeting of its foreign affairs and
defense division. In the meeting, DPJ lawmakers focused their
discussion on the propriety of a special agreement for a three-year
extension of Japan's host nation support for the stationing of U.S.
forces in Japan ("omoiyari yosan" or literally "sympathy budget").

"Why do we have to take care of such a thing," one DPJ member said.
"This is even more terrible than the road-related tax revenues,"
another participant said.

In the meeting, a senior official of the Defense Ministry explained
the breakdown of personnel costs for Japanese employees who are
working at U.S. military bases on the Japanese government's sympathy
budget payroll. DPJ lawmakers voiced their criticism.

The Defense Ministry revealed spending related to recreational
facilities for the U.S. military, including 76 bartenders (annual
average income at 4.31 million), 47 golf course maintenance workers
(4.25 million yen), and 14 recreation specialists (4.51 million
yen).

In the sympathy budget's past two extensions, the DPJ called for
eliminating wasteful spending. Even so, the DPJ agreed to extend it,
taking the position that the Japan-U.S. relationship is the most

TOKYO 00000713 005 OF 011


important bilateral relationship. This time, however, Keiichiro
Asao, the defense minister in the DPJ's shadow cabinet, implied the
DPJ's intention to raise an objection. "I'm not saying Japan will do
anything just because there is a request from the U.S.," Asao said.

The special agreement is a kind of treaty, and the House of
Representatives' decision comes before the House of Councillors'
decision under the Constitution. It will come into effect within 30
days after the House of Representatives' approval. However, the Diet
has yet to enter into deliberations in the aftermath of
confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties.

The special agreement, as well as the current rate of provisional
taxation on gasoline, is to expire at the end of the current fiscal
year. After that, the Japanese government's spending, such as
personnel costs and utilities charges, will lose its legal grounds.
One senior Defense Ministry official said, "We would have to ask the
United States to pay for the time being."

7) Prime Minister Fukuda faces stalemate over appointment of new BOJ
governor

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 18, 2008

Yoshiaki Nakagawa, Katsumi Kawakami

With the incumbent Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor's term of office set
to expire on March 19, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday sounded
out the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) about the
idea of keeping incumbent Governor Toshihiko Fukui and Deputy
Governor Toshiro Muto in their posts instead of promoting Muto to
the governor's post. But the DPJ refused to accept this proposal.
Despite turmoil in the market over the yen appreciation and falling
stock prices, Fukuda allowed one day to go to waste without being
able to formally present any breakthrough measure. It is becoming
more likely that the governor's post will be left vacant.

"It is not that I did so to create a vacuum." Making this comment
to the press yesterday evening, Fukuda revealed his frustration as
the term of the incumbent BOJ governor is to expire shortly.

The idea Fukuda showed to the DPJ was to not appoint someone new to
the BOJ's top position. According to an informed source, Fukuda's
proposal to the DPJ was a two-step concept. Specifically, the
government would (1) formally reappoint incumbent BOJ Governor Fukui
as governor for another five years and (2) keeping Fukui in the post
on a provisional basis by extending his term of office as BOJ
governor by amending the BOJ Law.

According to some in the government and the ruling parties, this
proposal implied that Fukuda still dwelled on the idea of appointing
Muto as BOJ governor, given that he had openly stated that the
proposal would be "the best of all." The proposal would leave room
to appoint Muto as BOJ chief in the future as long as he remains in
the post of deputy governor, even if Fukui were to stay on as BOJ
chief because his remaining in the post is seen as a provisional
measure.

Because of the DPJ's opposition to the proposal, the government and
the ruling camp decided not to formally present it to the Diet
yesterday. If the proposal to reappoint Fukui as BOJ governor is

TOKYO 00000713 006 OF 011


rejected in the Upper House, the post of BOJ governor will be left
vacant on March 19. In the Upper House, the DPJ and other opposition
parties are certain to oppose the idea of revising the BOJ Law so as
to provisionally extend Fukui's term of office. In order to revise
the BOJ Law, the ruling bloc needs to take a re-vote on the idea in
the Lower House, but given that the deliberations on tax revenues
for road projects are coming to a climax in the Diet, this situation
will likely force Fukuda to have a full showdown with the opposition
bloc with his course of action at stake.

If the post of BOJ governor is left vacant, Masaaki Shirakawa, whose
appointment as deputy BOJ governor has been confirmed, will act as
governor, but if that happens, Fukuda will be certain to see his
grip on power weaken.

In the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei), the staff is
looking for a "third candidate," but this effort seems to have hit a
snag. According to a senior ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
member, the staff for Fukuda informally sounded out Masayuki Oku,
president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and chairman of the
Japanese Bankers Association, about the idea of assuming the post of
BOJ governor, but Oku refused.

8) Vacancy in BOJ governor post highly likely as government puts off
presenting new candidate to Diet

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 18, 2008

The government yesterday postponed presenting to the Diet its new
candidate to replace Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui, whose
term in office will expire tomorrow. The government yesterday
sounded out the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) about altering its initial candidate, Deputy Governor
Toshiro Muto, for the BOJ governor post, which had been rejected by
the House of Councillors, while retaining Muto in his current post.
However, the government failed to obtain consent on its proposal
from the DPJ. The possibility has now become stronger that the top
job at the central bank will be vacant. If that is the case, Masaaki
Shirakawa, a professor at Kyoto University graduate school, the
nomination of who was approved by the two Diet chambers as a new
deputy governor, will serve as the BOJ governor (until the new
governor is appointed).

From Sunday night to Monday, on the behalf of Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki and
Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima telephoned DPJ
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama to sound out the opposition party

SIPDIS
about reappointing Fukui or Muto. Yesterday afternoon, Ibuki called
Hatoyama and told him: "If Muto is retained in his present post, the
new governor might be chosen from business leaders." However, the
ruling camp never mentioned the name of a business leader.
Therefore, this nomination idea came to nothing.

The reason why the LDP proposed keeping Muto in his current post is
that Fukuda has not changed his view that Muto is the best choice.

Fukuda's pet opinion is that cooperation between fiscal and monetary
sectors is indispensable for suitable economic management. He is
concerned that whether the central bank can be managed well only by
BOJ officials and academics, excluding Muto, a former administrative
vice finance minister, who is well versed in financial affairs.

TOKYO 00000713 007 OF 011

If the government's nominations are again rejected, the political
base of the Fukuda government will be greatly shaken. Fukuda wants
the DPJ's guarantee if he completely excludes Muto from his
nomination list of the BOJ governor and a deputy governor. However,
since he cannot see thorough how the DPJ will act, he becomes
increasingly doubtful and suspicious about the largest opposition
party.

9) Government unable to present new nomination for BOJ governor to
Diet before March 17; BOJ governorship likely to be left unfilled

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
March 18, 2008

The government and ruling camp gave up yesterday on a plan to submit
to the Diet that same day a nomination for the successor to Bank of
Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui, whose term expires on March 19. In
the wake of the disapproval by the Upper House of a plan to promote
Deputy BOJ Governor Toshiro Muto, a former vice-finance minister, to
the top BOJ post, the government and ruling bloc began coordination
with the Democratic Party of Japan before presenting another plan to
the Diet. But they eventually decided that obtaining the party's
understanding that day was difficult. A senior official admitted
last night that the government might not be able to present a
nomination to the Diet before March 19. The view is gaining ground
in the government and ruling bloc that creating a vacuum in the BOJ
governorship will be inevitable.

Following the DPJ's rejection of a plan to keep Fukui as BOJ
governor and Muto as deputy governor, Lower House steering committee
chairman Takashi Sasagawa and his Upper House counterpart Takeo
Nishioka discussed yesterday a response to a possible presentation
of a new list of nominees by the government. With the expiration of
Fukui's tenure near at hand, they requested the government to make a
final decision by 6:00 p.m. In response, the government replied
last evening that presenting a new plan within the day was
difficult.

Last-ditch negotiations are likely to continue today between the
ruling and opposition camps. The focus is whether or not the
government and ruling bloc can coordinate views with the DPJ before
a start of formal procedures for Diet approval on the matter. The
government seems to have difficulty finding Muto's replacement.

If the presentation of a new plan slips to March 18 or later, a
failure to obtain approval of the both houses of the Diet by March
19 would end up creating a vacancy in the BOJ governorship. In such
a case, Kyoto University Professor Masaaki Shirakawa, who has been
endorsed by the two Diet chambers to become a new BOJ deputy
governor, will serve as acting BOJ governor.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama yesterday criticized the
government's response, saying: "Determining the new BOJ governor by
March 19 has now effectively become impossible. What is the
government doing?" Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda commented
to reporters at his office last night: "The matter cannot be decided
by the ruling camp and the government alone. Any nomination could be
voted down in the Diet. We have to handle the matter carefully." The
prime minister admitted that the government is unable to read the
DPJ's moves.


TOKYO 00000713 008 OF 011


10) Scenario of "Acting governor Shirakawa" taking on realistic
touch ahead of expiration of incumbent's term tomorrow; Government
to be pressed with tight schedule

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 18, 2008

The government yesterday postponed presenting to the Diet a plan for
nominating new candidates for the posts of governor and deputy
governor at the Bank of Japan (BOJ). If it wants to appoint a new
governor by March 19, when the term of office of incumbent governor
and vice governor expires, the government will be pressed with an
extremely tight schedule.

In appointing a new governor and deputy governors, the following
process is taken: The government first presents candidates' names to
the ruling and opposition parties; the steering committees of the
two houses of the Diet hold hearings with the candidates regarding
their policy stances and then question-and-answer sessions; and then
both Diet chambers take votes in their plenary sessions. If the
government submits a new plan today, there will be these only two
options, in order to obtain Diet approval before the incumbents'
term of office runs out: (1) Holding hearings on the 18th and
plenary sessions on the 19th; or (2) holding hearings and plenary
sessions on the 19th. Either way, the government will be pressed
with a tight schedule.

11) Appointment of new BOJ governor: Concerns mounting about
difficulty in managing administration and prime minister's declining
grip on administration

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
March 18, 2008

The government has decided to postpone the presentation of its
nomination for the successor to Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko
Fukui until March 18 or later. Given the situation, a sense of alarm
is growing in the government, with one person saying, "Prime
Minister Fukuda will find it even more difficult to run his
administration." Support rates for the Fukuda cabinet are tumbling
due to the pension record mess and the recent collision of an Aegis
destroyer. If the "control tower" of the nation's monetary policy
remains vacant due to the government's failure to determine the new
BOJ governor by March 19, the Fukuda administration will suffer a
serious blow.

In a recent Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll, the rate of support for
the Fukuda cabinet dropped below 35 PERCENT .

Asked by reporters for any means to boost his support rate, Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda said last night: "I am not aiming at such a
thing. I will just do things steadily as necessary."

LDP Secretary General Ibuki took the following view last evening on
the plummeting support rate: "(The prime minister) has not been able
to run the administration smoothly because the ruling coalition does
not hold a majority in the Upper House. The public thinks that his
administration is slow to take action and that (the prime minister)
lacks leadership. The question of determining the new Bank of Japan
governor must be settled early."

In addition to the subject of the BOJ governorship, the provisional

TOKYO 00000713 009 OF 011


gasoline tax rate expires on March 31. Despite that, there is no
prospect for talks between the ruling and opposition camps on
revising tax-related bills. The provisionally high gasoline tax rate
declining to a lower level on April 1 is now becoming a real
possibility.

A midlevel LDP lawmaker said: "I'm concerned that voters will regard
the prime minister as a person who cannot decide on anything and he
will lose his grip on the administration." Some in the government
and ruling bloc have again begun speaking of a "March crisis" for
the Fukuda administration.

12) Provisional gas tax rate: LDP having difficulty drafting
revision plan, unable to find common settlement line with DPJ

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
March 13, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is having difficulty revising the
bill amending the Special Tax Measures Law, which incorporates an
extension of the provisional rate applied to the gasoline tax.
Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Taniguchi, who is acting
as a point of contact with the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto), yesterday met with Election Committee Chairman Makoto
Koga, a key member of the road policy clique in the Diet, and
General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai to vet the situation. They
found that it would be extremely difficult to respond to the DPJ's
call to abolish the provisional rate. While a cut in gasoline prices
looking like it may become reality in April, the LDP leadership is
forced to undergo cliff-hanger coordination.

Emerging from the talks with Koga, Tanigaki indicated hopes to see
this issue make a soft-landing, noting, "We shared the sense of
crisis that we must survive March 31." Tanigaki also met with former
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and former Chairman Mikio Aoki of the
LDP Caucus in the Upper House Mikio Aoki. They agreed on the need to
throw a pitch of some compromise to the DPJ, but failed to work out
specifics.

If the Upper House refuses to put the amendment bill to a vote, the
Lower House cannot revote on it. Should that occur, the price of
gasoline will be lowered by approximately 25 yen per liter - the
portion of the provisional rate, starting on April 1. In the event
of the Upper House refuses to take a roll call on the bill, the
government and the ruling parties, out of the need to secure fiscal
resources, plan to extend the provisional rate, by voting on the
bill once again in late April, based on the article of the
Constitution stipulating that if the Upper House makes a decision
different from that of the Lower House, the bill becomes a law when
passed a second time by the Lower House. However, railroading a bill
that is directly related to the household budget would deal a major
blow to the LDP in terms of public opinion, according to a person
who served as cabinet minister.

The LDP is discussing the possibility of shortening the scope of the
extension of the provisional rate from 10 years to five years and
reducing the amount of investment secured in the mid-term road
consolidation plan from the currently proposed 59 trillion yen. No
views supporting a cut in the provisional tax rate, which will lead
to a change to the fiscal 2008 budget, have been floated.

Tanigaki yesterday evening conferred on the revision issue with New

TOKYO 00000713 010 OF 011


Komeito Policy Research Council Chairman Tetsuo Saito. Saito told
reporters, "The DPJ would not respond, unless we come up with a
proposal drastic enough to win high scores from the public." He thus
indicated his view that it would be absolutely necessary to make a
drastic compromise in order to have the bill enacted before the end
of the current fiscal year. Tanigaki and Saito agreed on the
possibility of the ruling party drafting a revision plan and
submitting it to the DPJ. However, no prospect for a revision plan
has yet to come into view.

13) DPJ refuses deliberations on highway-related bill, making it
difficult to secure Diet approval within fiscal year

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 18, 2008

It now seems difficult for the government and the ruling camp to
enact a bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law, which
includes a measure to extend the current provisional
highway-construction tax rates, by the end of this fiscal year as
they had planned. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is apparently
aiming to press the government to dissolve the House of
Representatives for a snap election, taking advantage of the
expiration of the provisional tax rates at the end of March.

In a meeting of the House of Councillors Diet Affairs Committee
chairmen of the Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ held in the
Diet Building yesterday, the LDP suggested holding hearings with the
relevant cabinet ministers regarding their policy stances on the
18th, a premise for starting deliberations on the tax legislation,
but the DPJ turned it down. Deliberations were essentially postponed
to next week or later.

The DPJ yesterday distributed to all members copies of a written
request, under the name of Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka, urging them to make thoroughgoing preparations for a
possible Lower House election.

Meanwhile, LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki
yesterday started work to coordinate views in the party on a draft
amendment that the ruling camp plans to complete within this week.
As part of efforts to find common ground with the DPJ, Tanigaki held
a meeting with senior members of the road-policy clique in the Diet,
such as Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga and Executive
Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai, as well as with the DPJ with
former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and former Upper House Chairman
Mikio Aoki. The meeting, however, ended up with the four just
expressing cautious views about drastically amending the bill, with
no substantive discussion conducted on specifics.

14) Japan concerned about impact of riots on Chinese president's
planned visit to Japan

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 18, 2008

Protests against China set off by riots in Lhasa of the Tibet
Autonomous Region are spreading around the world. The Japanese
government is concerned about the possible impact of the protests on
the planned visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

At a news conference yesterday, Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji

TOKYO 00000713 011 OF 011


Yabunaka, speaking of the possible impact of the riots on the
planned visit to Japan by the Chinese president, emphasized:
"Basically, the riots have nothing to do with the visit." The
Japanese and Chinese governments plan to formally announce President
Hu's visit to Japan possibly by the end of the week. The two
governments are making arrangements to set the visit at May 6 or 7.
An official familiar with Japan-China negotiations noted: "We don't
want to make waves at this point in time in connection with
relations with China."

SCHIEFFER

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Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

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Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

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