Search

 

Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/19/08

VZCZCXRO8695
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0730/01 0790100
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190100Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2656
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9100
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6708
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0381
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5206
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7312
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2269
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8316
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8885

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 12 TOKYO 000730

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 03/19/08


Index:

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

Diet in disarray:
4) Tanami immediately rejected by the opposition parties as the
last-minute candidate for Bank of Japan governor; Shirakawa will be
acting governor now (Nikkei)
5) Senior official on failure to appoint BOJ governor: There's
nothing we can do since the Democratic Party of Japan is only aiming
at Diet dissolution (Mainichi)
6) Ruling parties coordinating compromise plan that would put
road-related taxes into the general coffers (Asahi)
7) Leadership of Prime Minister Fukuda lacking in handling the road
revenue issue (Mainichi)
8) Economic leaders worried that BOJ governor fiasco could damage
confidence in Japan internationally (Asahi)

Defense and security affairs:
9) Host-nation support bill being greatly delayed, creating a gap in
funding (Sankei)
10) DPJ strengthening opposition to the HNS budget as deliberation
starts on a new special measures agreement (Yomiuri)
11) DPJ will take the fight against the HNS budget into the Upper
House, as well (Tokyo Shimbun)

12) Japan Coast Guard to file charges against the Aegis duty officer
for negligence leading to collision with fishing boat (Asahi)
13) MSDF chief to be replaced over the Aegis accident (Asahi)
14) U.S. military housing costs under HNS total 545.0 billion yen
over 30 years or 4.8 million yen per housing unit (Asahi)
15) Joint patrols in Okinawa: Foreign Minister Koumura wants
Japanese police to retain arrest authority (Tokyo Shimbun)
16) Government in Diet reply rules out possibility of allowing
Japanese security guards carrying guns outside of U.S. bases where
they work (Mainichi)
17) Gulf wide between uniformed services and civilians over proposed
Defense Ministry reform (Yomiuri)

18) METI simulation predicts 13 PERCENT reduction in CO2 emissions
at most by fiscal 2020, cost of energy conservation put at 52
trillion yen (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
BOJ governor post to be vacant due to DPJ's rejection of Tanami for
central bank chief

Nikkei:
Upper House to reject Tanami as DPJ governor

Akahata:
JCP Lower House member pursues Kanmon trans-strait road project

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:

TOKYO 00000730 002 OF 012


(1) Selection of BOJ governor: Lament political stalemate
(2) Tibetan riots: China must not refuse dialogue

Mainichi:
(1) Government's nomination of Tanami for new BOJ governor shows
Prime Minister Fukuda lacks leadership
(2) Ocean basic plan: Japan must protect interests while
coordinating views with neighboring countries

Yomiuri:
(1) Appointment of BOJ chief: A failure to fulfill Japan's
responsibility to the global economy
(2) Court decision on "fumiji" case: Forcing confessions by such a
technique unacceptable

Nikkei:
(1) Ridiculous battle between ruling and opposition camps
(2) With Tibetan riots, Chinese government facing test

Sankei:
(1) Selection of BOJ governor: Political malfunction
(2) Basic marine plan: Japan needs strategy to protect own
interests

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) We have doubts about Prime Minister Fukuda's sense of choosing
candidates for BOJ governor
(2) Fifth anniversary of Iraq war: The people are paying the bill
for the mistakes made

Akahata:
(1) Fifth anniversary of start of Iraq war: Stop the unjust war and
end support for it

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 18, 2008

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 17, 2008

08:40
Comprehensive Maritime Policy Headquarters meeting in the Diet.

09:20
Met with Internal Affairs Minister Masuda at the Kantei, followed by
Hungarian Foreign Minister Goncz.

10:52
Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

11:04
Met with Vice Finance Minister for International Financial Affairs
Shinohara.

13:00
Upper House Budget Committee meeting.

17:31
Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy meeting at the Kantei.

19:29

TOKYO 00000730 003 OF 012


Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

19:43
Arrived at the official residence.

4) Upper House to reject nomination of Tanami for BOJ governorship;
Shirakawa to serve as acting BOJ governor for while

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

The Diet will hold today the plenary sessions of the two Diet
chambers to take a vote on the government's candidates to replace
Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui and a deputy BOJ governor, whose
tenures expire today. The government yesterday presented its
nominations of Japan Bank for International Cooperation Gov. Koji
Tanami, a former vice finance minister for international affairs, to
be the new BOJ governor, and BOJ Policy Board member Haruhiko
Nishimura to be a deputy governor, but the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) decided to reject
Tanami's nomination. Therefore, the BOJ governor's post will be
vacant on March 20 as the government's nomination of Tanami is
certain to be rejected.

The DPJ last night discussed measures to counter the government's
new nominees and unanimously decided to disapprove the nomination of
Tanami as governor but to approve Nishimura's nomination as deputy
governor. Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama told the press:

"I wonder whether it is possible for a person without much knowledge
of international monetary affairs to serve in that post. (The BOJ
governorship) is the ultimate post for the Finance Ministry to place
its retired senior officials."

The largest opposition party rejected the government's initial plan
to promote Deputy BOJ Gov. Toshiro Muto to the governor's post on
the grounds that Muto, who was called "Mr. Finance Ministry," would
not be able to separate monetary policy from fiscal policy. Many DPJ
members are reacting negatively toward the government's second
decision to nominate a former vice finance minister for the central
bank post.

The Social Democratic Party and Japanese Communist Party also will
reject the nomination of Tanami. The People's New Party, however,
yesterday decided to approve it, but the government's nomination of
Tanami is expected to be disapproved in the Upper House by a
majority of lawmakers from the opposition parties. The central bank
governorship will fall vacant on the 20th for the first time in the
postwar period. It is highly likely that Masaaki Shirakawa will
serve as acting BOJ governor as both Diet houses approved him as a
deputy governor.

5) Fukuda grumbles over dispute on nomination for BOJ governorship

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 19, 2008

After presenting the government's new plan to nominate Koji Tanami,
former administrative vice finance minister, for the Bank of Japan's
governor post, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters last
night: "I picked him, taking his personal character into
consideration. I appointed the right person for the right job. The

TOKYO 00000730 004 OF 012


current situation is not normal. Who else will assume the post?" But
this plan is also certain to be rejected in the House of
Councillors. The prime minister is grumbling about the situation.

Asked if he did not expect the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ)
rejection, Fukuda replied: "I did not expect it," adding: "It is
strange that the DPJ raises opposition only because he once worked
for the Finance Ministry." He went on to say: "The argument for
separating fiscal policy and monetary policy says that fiscal and
monetary policies should be separated, but it also means that the
two policies should be fully coordinated in smoothly managing the
economy."

Meanwhile, the prime minister seems to have realized through the
turmoil over the selection of the BOJ top posts how influential the
leading party in the Upper House is. He commented: "The DPJ now
holds enormous clout. I am willing to listen to what it says."

A senior government official grumbled last night: "The DPJ is
maneuvering to press the government to dissolve the House of
Representatives. We have no cards. I no longer care about what
happens."

6) Ruling parties start coordination on reallocation of all road
funds to general account

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito yesterday
started final coordination on a revision of their bill related to
special-purpose road construction road funds with the possibility of
reallocating the full amount, including revenues from the
provisional tax, to the general account. They plan to forgo the
implementation of the plan in fiscal 2008, making it a future
target. A revision of the mid-term road construction program
featuring the investment of up to 59 trillion yen over 10 years will
also be incorporated in the revision plan. The ruling bloc will
reach a final decision on the 19th at the earliest. They will then
propose revision talks to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto), by presenting the revision plan.

LDP Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki and his New Komeito
counterpart Tetsuo Saito yesterday evening met in Tokyo. In revising
the bill, they agreed to bear in mind that the reallocation of road
funds would be started from the fiscal 2009 budget at the earliest,
though they decided not to specify when it would be implemented.
They also agreed to review the mid-term program, which is drawing
criticism that grounds for the calculation standards are vague,
based on a new traffic demand estimate. However, any numbers
concerning the project amount of 59 trillion yen would not be
incorporated in the revision plan.

7) Question mark on prime minister's leadership in handling road tax
bill

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

In intensive deliberations on the issue of taxes for highway
construction held at the House of Councillors' Budget Committee
yesterday, even ruling party members called for revamping the

TOKYO 00000730 005 OF 012


government's bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law, which
includes a measure to extend the current provisional gasoline tax
rate, which expires in two weeks. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
expressed his hope that the ruling and opposition camps will agree
on revising the bill in an effort to enact the legislation by the
end of this fiscal year, but he stopped short of mentioning any
specific revisions. If gasoline prices are lowered, it would shake
the political situation. A question mark is being put on the prime
minister's leadership as the expiration of the current higher tax
rates is coming closer.

In a question-and-answer session in the deliberations yesterday,
Shinsuke Suematsu of the Liberal Democratic Party expressed a sense
of crisis over the possible expiration of the provisional tax rate.
He said: "If (gasoline prices) go up and down, the LDP may end up
being seen in a bad light. The current session might be called the
'gasoline Diet session'. Or it could be called an 'explosive
session' that will explode with just a match."

On the tax bill, no prospects are in sight for deliberations to be
started in the Upper House. If the ruling and opposition camps fail
to reach an agreement, it will be hopeless for the bill to become
law by the end of this fiscal year. Despite such a possibility,
little progress has been made in drafting an amendment proposal by
the ruling parties.

The ruling coalition is looking into shortening the period of the
mid-term highway-construction program worth 59 trillion yen over the
next ten years and other measures. But Tatsuo Hirano of the
Democratic Party of Japan emphasized yesterday that the party will
not agree to talks if minor revisions are made, saying: "The
coalition should present a proposal that amazes us."

In the end, the possibility is growing that the government will not
be able to amend the bill by the end of the fiscal year.

8) BOJ governor's post now certain to be vacant: Business circles
wary of losing international confidence; Criticism of government,
DPJ mounting

ASAHI (Page 9) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

It became certain yesterday that the post of Bank of Japan's (BOJ)
governor will become vacant. Regarding this unprecedented situation,
a number of business leaders criticized the political world, which
has failed to appoint a successor to incumbent Governor Toshihiko
Fukui, whose term expires on March 19. The market could become even
more unstable, if the high-yen and low-stock-price trends caused by
the financial crisis originating in the U.S. continues and the post
of the central bank's governor remains vacant.

Uichiro Niwa (chairman of Itochu Corporation), a private-sector
member of the government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy,
noted after a panel meeting: "I want the government to think about
Japan's position in the world. The present situation is shameful."

Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai)
Representative Director Masamitsu Sakurai told a news conference in
the Diet, "The government was forced to choose key personnel amid a
situation where it is difficult to deal with bills due to the
divided Diet. It should have proceeded with the matter accordingly,

TOKYO 00000730 006 OF 012


by making full preparations." He criticized both the government and
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), noting that both
sides are to blame -- the government for resubmitting an appointment
plan immediately before the incumbent governor's tenure expires and
the DPJ for standing firm on its stance of opposing the government
proposal on the basis of separation of fiscal and monetary
administration. He then pointed out, "The period between the refusal
of the nomination of Muto and the expiration of the tenure of the
incumbent governor is far too short."

Both the government and the DPJ are under fire. Japan Chamber of
Commerce and Industry President Tadashi Okamura, chairman of
Toshiba, said at a press conference, "Both sides are to blame. We
want them to take procedures to avoid the post of BOJ governor from
becoming vacant amid an extremely harsh situation, as can be seen in
turmoil in the financial market."

If the post of the central bank's governor becomes vacant amid the
continuing commotion over the financial market stemming from the
subprime loan crisis in the U.S., concern about escalated turmoil
would spread. Japan could also lose international confidence.
Okamura said: "I am most concerned that Japan might lose
international confidence. It is very regrettable that discussions
lacking an international viewpoint are going on."

9) May be a gap in the sympathy budget

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 19, 2008

The House of Representatives called a plenary sitting of its members
yesterday to enter into deliberations on a new special agreement for
a three-year extension of Japan's host nation support for U.S.
Forces Japan ("omoiyari yosan" or literally "sympathy budget") from
April. The new special measures agreement will be approved in the
House of Representatives with its prior decision even if it is
vetoed in the opposition-dominated House of Councillors. However,
the lower chamber's entry into deliberations was substantially
delayed with the standoff between the ruling and opposition parties
over the government's nominations for Bank of Japan posts. As it
stands, if the upper chamber forgoes its approval of the new special
agreement within the current fiscal year, the HNS budget may not go
into effect as planned.

In fiscal 2008, the new agreement sustains Japan's burden-sharing at
140.9 billion yen, which is based on the current agreement. In
fiscal 2009 and 2010, Japan is to cut 400 million yen each in its
HNS budget for electricity, gas, and other utilities used at U.S.
military bases in Japan.

The special measures agreement is a kind of treaty, and the House of
Representatives' decision comes before the House of Councillors'
decision under the Constitution. It will therefore come into effect
if the House of Councillors does not take a vote on it within 30
days after the House of Representatives' decision. In this case,
however, the new agreement will be approved in mid-April or later.
Accordingly, there will be a blank for nearly a half month in the
HNS-related budget with no payments made to the U.S. forces in
Japan.

The House of Councillors needs to take a vote on the new agreement
by the end of March in order for the government to ensure its

TOKYO 00000730 007 OF 012


appropriate execution of the HNS budget. However, the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) has raised questions
about Japan's coverage of personnel costs for employees working at
recreational facilities, such as at bars and golf courses. It is
unclear whether Diet deliberations on the new agreement will go
smoothly.

The current agreement is to expire at the end of March. If the House
of Councillors delays its vote on the new agreement, the government
cannot execute the HNS budget for a while after April 1. In that
case, the Japanese government will likely have to ask the U.S.
government to shoulder Japan's burden for the interim. Some
government officials are therefore voicing concern about the
negative impact on bilateral relations.

10) Diet debate on "sympathy budget" begins but DPJ heightens
opposition to new special measures agreement

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
March 19, 2008

Debate on a bill related to a new special measures agreement on
host-nation support for the costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan
(commonly known as "sympathy budget" allocations) began at a Lower
House plenary session yesterday. Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura
explained the bill this way: "This agreement is important in terms
of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We need to have
take effect swiftly." But the major opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) has heightened its opposition to the bill, with one
member arguing, "The taxpayers' money will be disbursed without any
rational explanation." It is uncertain whether the new special
measures agreement will be approved in the Diet before the end of
the month, when the current one is to expire.

The term of the new agreement is three years. Under the agreement,
the Japanese government will pay 143.8 billion yen (for fiscal 2008)
for salaries of workers working at U.S. bases as well as for utility
charges. The salaries include those of attendants at golf courses
and bartenders. At a meeting yesterday of the DPJ's Foreign Affairs
and Defense Council, one participant criticized the new agreement:
"Much money is planned to be used for the entertainment of U.S.
military personnel."

11) Lower House begins deliberations on sympathy budget; Budgetary
vacuum may arise depending on Upper House's response

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

The House of Representatives at its plenary session yesterday began
discussing a new agreement replacing the special agreement on
Japan's host nation support for stationing U.S. forces in Japan
(sympathy budget) what will expire at the end of March. As with a
treaty, the agreement automatically obtains Diet approval 30 days
after the Lower House's endorsement. However, if the House of
Councillors' deliberations slip to April, the government will not be
able to implement the budget temporarily. The focus is now on the
Democratic Party of Japan, which takes the initiative in the Upper
House.

The new agreement, good for three years from fiscal 2008, is
designed to retain 25.3 billion yen of the utility expenses on U.S.

TOKYO 00000730 008 OF 012


bases to be borne by Japan in fiscal 2008. It is also designed to
reduce the utility expenses in fiscal 2009 and 2010 by 400 million
(1.5 PERCENT ) yen each.

In a question-and-answer session yesterday, Shoichi Kondo of the
Democratic Party of Japan asked, "How long will the government keep
using tax money for expenses that are not clear?"

The DPJ has yet to formally decide on its response to the new
agreement. It has become clear that Japan's host nation support
includes costs of employees working at leisure facilities, such as
bowling alleys and bars. This has drawn objections, with a DPJ
member saying: "The system might be helpful to create jobs, but it
cannot obtain taxpayers' understanding."

In the wake of a series of misconduct by U.S. service members, the
DPJ, along with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New
Party, is drafting a plan to revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces
Agreement. There is a view in the DPJ that approval of the new
agreement must be based on a review of the SOFA.

The government is seeking an early approval of the new agreement so
that the divided Diet will not negatively affect the Japan-U.S.
alliance, with a senior Foreign Ministry official saying: "We would
like to see an early conclusion on the matter, which concerns the
bilateral security setup."

12) JCG to send papers to prosecutors on MSDF officer over Aegis
accident

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
March 19, 2008

The 3rd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters of the Japan Coast Guard
will send papers to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office
next month on a 34-year-old lieutenant commander who is an
antisubmarine warfare officer and was on duty when the Maritime
Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer Atago collided with the fishing
boat Seitoku Maru on Feb. 19 in waters off Chiba Prefecture's Boso
Peninsula, on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in
endangering sea traffic. The JCG attributes the accident mainly to
the Atago. The focus of investigations into the Aegis accident is on
whether other Atago crewmen on duty at that time were negligent in
the performance of their duties. However, the JCG is likely to forgo
indicting the Atago's captain on that suspicion, taking the position
that he had little to do with the accident as he was taking a nap
when the accident took place. In addition, the JCG suspects that the
fishing boat was also negligent in part. In this respect, the JCG is
looking into the possibility of making a case against the fishing
boat.

13) MOD to dismiss MSDF Chief of Staff Yoshikawa to take
responsibility for series of scandals

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
March 19, 2008

In the wake of the recent collision between the Maritime
Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer Atago and the fishing boat
Seitoku Maru, the Ministry of Defense has informally decided to
dismiss MSDF Chief of Staff Eiji Yoshikawa, 60, and replace him with
Deputy Chief of Staff Tamotsu Kato, 58. The government will make a

TOKYO 00000730 009 OF 012


cabinet decision on the matter as early as March 21.

Yoshikawa, who assumed the post in August 2006, will resign from the
post to take responsibility for a series of improprieties, such as a
leak of data on the Aegis system, the underreported Japan's fuel oil
to a U.S. vessel on the Indian Ocean, and a fire on the destroyer
Shirane.

Kato, who graduated from the National Defense Academy in 1973,
served as Maritime Staff Office defense division chief, Maizuru
regional headquarters chief, and Joint Staff deputy chief. He has
been MSDF deputy chief of staff since August 2006. After the Atago
accident, he has also been spearheading the MSDF's investigative
committee.

Defense Minister Ishiba, holding a press conference in the Diet
building yesterday, commented on an interim report on the Atago
incident, "We will release a report as early as March 21 in a scope
that does not hamper the investigation." He is expected to dismiss
Yoshikawa after clarifying his responsibility.

At the same time, Ishiba indicated that he would also take
responsibility in some fashion. He specifically intends to
voluntarily return his salary. Ishiba also intends to punish
Administrative Vic-Defense Minister Kohei Masuda and other MSDF
officials concerned, who created confusion after the Atago
collision, as soon as investigative work is over.

14) Construction of U.S. military housing over last three decades
cost 545.9 billion yen, or 48 million yen per unit; Foreign
minister: "Expenditures were appropriate"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 19, 2008

It became clear in yesterday's Lower House plenary session that
545.9 billion yen in Japan's host-nation support for stationing U.S.
forces in Japan (sympathy budget) has been spent over the last three
decades for constructing 1,295 U.S. military housing units
(including those now under construction). The figure does not
include land rent. By simple calculations, the construction of one
unit costs an average 48 million yen.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura and Defense Minister Shigeru
Ishiba replied to questions from Shoichi Kondo of the Democratic
Party of Japan and Kantoku Teruya of the Social Democratic Party.

According to government data, the construction cost was especially
high at the Ikego housing area and the Navy auxiliary facility in
the city of Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, which cost 66.6 billion yen
to build 854 units between 1979 and 2007. Simply put, it cost 78
million yen a unit. The standard family unit reportedly has a floor
space of 137 to 157 square meters.

Asked about the appropriateness of such luxurious housing, Koumura
said: "The government has taken appropriate measures based on its
own decision while listening to the U.S.' wishes, within the scope
of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement and while taking into
consideration the relationship between the purpose of the bilateral
security treaty and the financial burden. The expenditures were
appropriate."


TOKYO 00000730 010 OF 012


15) Japan to ask for clarification of Japan's right to arrest
suspects in joint patrols with U.S. military

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 19, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura announced yesterday that the
government will make a proposal before long at a Japan-U.S. Joint
Committee meeting to make it clear that Japanese side has the right
to arrest suspects in conducting joint patrols by the U.S. military
and local law enforcement authorities, a step included in a set of
measures to prevent crimes that was mapped out following the recent
alleged sexual assault against a junior high school girl in Okinawa
by a U.S. service member. Koumura revealed the view to senior LDP
Okinawa chapter officials who visited the Foreign Ministry.

The Okinawa Prefectural Police are opposed to joint patrols, saying
that it is not clear which side -- Japan or the United States -- has
the right to arrest suspects in connection with the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement. According to the Foreign Ministry, Japan
can have the right to arrest suspects when patrols are conducted by
regular U.S. service members who are not military police officers.

About the right to arrest suspects, the U.S. consul general for
Okinawa, too, has expressed a desire to deal with the matter by
operating the SOFA flexibly.

16) Government adopts Diet reply that does not allow guards to carry
guns outside U.S. bases

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
March 19, 2008

Nakae Ueno

At a cabinet meeting yesterday, the government approved a written
Diet reply to the question of whether to allow Japanese guards
working for U.S. military bases to carry guns outside bases.
Specifically, the written reply states that it is only natural not
to approve carrying guns in light of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces
Agreement. This written reply was in response to a written question
posed by House of Councillors member (independent) Keiko Itokazu. In
this connection, there was a case last month of Japanese guards
working at a U.S. Marine Corps base in Okinawa going off the base
carrying guns at the order of U.S. military police. The Ministry of
Foreign Affairs filed a protest with the U.S. by noting, "It is
extremely regrettable that the action ordered by the U.S. military
was an act the U.S. military prohibits."

The written reply revealed that a total of 68 Japanese guards went
off the base carrying guns on Feb. 11 and 12, and followed the U.S.
side's explanation that the wrong order was withdrawn immediately.
As to the question of whether carrying guns is in violation of the
Swords and Firearms Control Law, the written reply refrained from
taking a position by simply noting that details are unclear because
the U.S. has yet to answer the Japanese side's inquiries.

17) Discord now evident in MOD over realignment plans, with civilian
officials and uniformed officers wide apart one month after Aegis
vessel's collision

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)

TOKYO 00000730 011 OF 012


March 19, 2008

One month will have passed today since the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's (MSDF) Aegis vessel's collision with a fishing boat. It has
now become clear that civilian officials at internal bureaus of the
Ministry of Defense (MOD), and unformed officers at the Ground,
Maritime, Air Staff Offices are wide apart over how best to handle
the incident. Defense Minister Ishiba is making desperate efforts to
go ahead with his proposed-plans aimed at realigning both civilian
officials and military officers, but his "radical plans" have met
with strong objections inside and outside the organization,
resulting in widening internal discord in MOD, a senior MOD official
noted.

Ishiba's idea is to consolidate the two groups and realign them into
three groups: defense buildup, troop operations, and Diet
affairs/public relations. The purpose is to unify civilian officials
and uniformed officers and to establish a system for them to support
the defense minister as one. Ishiba in this regard has stressed: "It
is not uniformed officers but politicians who should play a leading
part in civilian control. I think it is necessary to reorganize the
ministry in a way that will make it easy for the defense minister to
manage it." Civilian officials have stood at advantage over
uniformed officers for a half century since the Defense Agency and
the Self-Defense Forces were established, but Ishiba has asserted
that this situation should be reconsidered.

His approach, however, has met with strong objections inside and
outside MOD. Civiilan officials are alarmed by Ishiba's plans with
one arguing, "It's wrong for uniformed officers to take leadership
as if to say, 'Civilian officials, who are lay people when it comes
to military affairs, should shut up.'" Meanwhile, uniformed officers
a criticize (Ishiba's plans) with one official arguing, "His plans
will deprive the Ground, Maritime, and Air Staff Offices of their
respective uniqueness. Consideration should be paid not only to 'the
employer' but also 'the employees.'" Even many in the government and
the ruling parties, as well, are cautious about Ishiba's proposal
with one official noting, "Ishiba's plans are too bold."

Ishiba intends to give shape to the realignment plans in the reform
promotion task force established in the ministry and present with
the plans to the Council on Reform of MOD in the Prime Minister's
Official Residence. But even in the council, some have voiced a
cautious view about his reform proposal with one noting, "It is
incorrect to think that the organization would surely go smoothly
once it is realigned." It is unclear whether his realignment
proposal will be accepted without too much resistance.

18) METI estimates introduction of advanced technology to cut CO2
emissions in FY2020 by up to 13 PERCENT , energy-saving costs at 52
trillion yen

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 19, 2008

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in FY2020 and FY2030 that were
calculated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
were released yesterday. According to the calculation, if the
state-of-the-art energy technology spreads across the nation at the
fastest rate, the nation's greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced
by 13 PERCENT in FY2020 and by 22 PERCENT in FY2030 below the
FY2005 level. But METI calculates the amount of energy-saving costs

TOKYO 00000730 012 OF 012


to be paid by companies and households by FY2020 at approximately 52
trillion yen, showing the severity of combating global warming.

The tentative calculation will be included in a draft of the report
"long-term energy supply and demand outlook" to be submitted today
by METI to the Study Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, an
advisory panel to the METI minister. The calculation will be used as
basic data for the government to set mid-term targets for cutting
greenhouse gas emissions.

CO2 emissions through energy consumption account for about 90
PERCENT of the total greenhouse gas emission. The calculation was
made on the assumption that the average real growth rate during the
FY2010-2020 period will be at 1.9 PERCENT and that the government
will not introduce such regulations as mandating companies and
households to replace existing electrical appliances with
energy-saving ones.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO: