Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/19/08

DE RUEHKO #0748/01 0790815
P 190815Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Interview with U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer:
Simple possession of child pornography contributes to victimizing
more children; Current law tantamount to allowing child abuse

(2) Interview with Under Secretary Dobriansky: U.S. ready to fulfill
binding obligation (Hokkaido Shimbun)

(3) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, gas tax, Aegis
accident, BOJ nomination (Yomiuri)

(4) Prime minister suffering setback in steering his administration,
finding both hands tied on appointing BOJ governor, setting road
funds: Criticism also coming from ruling camp (Nikkei)

(5) CEFP affirms acceleration of EPA talks; Negotiations with EU
also called for (Nikkei)

(6) U.S. has failed to pay noise compensation for four years;
Government's weak-kneed response clear (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(7) Okinawa police arrest two American minors on suspicion of
stealing 5,400 yen from taxi (Okinawa Times)

(8) Japan decides basic plan on marine surveys within EEZ (Asahi)

(9) Where is nonpartisan league Sentaku going? (Mainichi)


(1) Interview with U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer:
Simple possession of child pornography contributes to victimizing
more children; Current law tantamount to allowing child abuse

YOMIURI (Page 16) (Full)
March 19, 2008

United States Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer, who met with
Justice Minister Hatoyama on March 11 in order to urge Japan to ban
the simple possession of child pornography, has given an interview
to the Yomiuri. In it, Schieffer stressed: "I'd like you to face up
to the tragedies that are happening to children."

Q: What is your view about child pornography?

A: "Child pornography is a serious problem common to the entire
world. Japan has no statute banning the simple possession of child
pornography. This is tantamount to allowing the people who sexually
abuse children a license to abuse."

Q: What effect do you think it has on children?

A: "Unlike adults, children are not able to give their consent to
sexual activities. Children who were photographed for child
pornography not only suffer the physical damage of sexual abuse but
they also suffer psychological damage stemming from their
self-respect being hurt, something that will continue with them into
the future. Fears that their images may be repeatedly watched by
someone could change children's lives."

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Q: Do you think there are any connections with the broad use of the

A: "What is obvious is the fact that child pornography is
circulating like an epidemic disease. It is an international issue.
Speaking about paranoid ideas like sexually abusing children to
others may be a shameful act, but doing so on the Internet without
showing one's appearance and doing so in anonymity is a different
story. The problem is that when abusers communicate with each other,
they may start to feel they are part of a community, and that what
they do is normal."

Q: What is your message to the Japanese public?

A: "Once images related to the sexual exploitation of children are
released, there is no end to it. This leads to further crimes and
has an incalculable effect on the next generation of children. I'd
like the people of Japan to think about what can be done to save the

Nara Prefecture establishes prefectural rules on child porno, with
two cases subject to them so far

Of the cases of alleged violations of the Law for Punishing Acts
Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, the number of
arrests related to child porno has been on the rise from 177 in 2004
to 470 in 2005 and 616 in 2006, the National Police Agency say.

Nara Prefecture established prefectural regulations on protection of
children from criminal damage in response to the case of kidnapping
and murder of a young girl in November 2004 and put them into force
in 2005. The regulations have the provisions on prohibiting and
punishing the simple possession of child pornography involving
children aged below 13 for the first time across the country. Two
cases so far have been made subject to the regulations.

According to the Nara Prefectural Police, the first of the two cases
came up in the process of investigating a charge of violation of the
law. The second case was uncovered when the police were
investigating a man who had been following a young girl around. The
police found the man in question possessed child pornography.

The prefectural police's Livelihood and Safety Department's
investigator Ryoji Nitaki said: "If we are informed or get
information that there is someone who possesses child pornography,
it is the prefectural police's responsibility to prove that that
person's possession of such is in violation of the regulations. The
police can't blindly search for the material or arrest that

When asked about what effects there would be by a provision banning
and punishing the simple possession of child pornography once the
law is amended, the investigator emphasized: "The provision would
force someone who already possesses child porno to discard it."

(2) Interview with Under Secretary Dobriansky: U.S. ready to fulfill
binding obligation

Hokkaido Shimbun (Page 3) (Full)
March 17, 2008

A key point in coping with climate change is how to reduce

TOKYO 00000748 003 OF 011

greenhouse gas emissions. The Hokkaido Shimbun interviewed U.S.
Under Secretary Paula J. Dobriansky, who represented the U.S.
government in the latest G-20 ministerial dialogue held in Chiba.

The U.S. is ready to fulfill a binding international obligation set
under a global agreement signed by major economies. Requirements
will naturally be different according to country, depending on each
nation's circumstance and capability, but the pledges made by major
economic powers should be common in principle.

In the Heiligendamm Summit last year, Japan, the European Union
(EU), and Canada promised to halve global greenhouse gas emissions
by 2050. Keeping this commitment in mind, President Bush stated: "I
am interested in what kind of long-term targets will be worked

The idea of setting mid-term targets was taken up in the latest
Major Emitter Meeting (MEM) and has also been eagerly discussed in
the U.S. Targets for countries will be set probably with
consideration given to such factors as each nation's energy
security, economic development, and environment management.

Over Japan's proposal for a sector-specific approach, different
countries have different views. We welcome that proactive
discussions have been conducted on the issue. In the next round of
MEM in April, the full session on the first day will be devoted to
discussing this issue.

We would like to hold a MEM summit meeting around when the Lake Toya
is held in Hokkaido and produce a summit declaration.

(3) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, gas tax, Aegis
accident, BOJ nomination

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

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of a
survey taken in February.)

Q: Do you support the Fukuda cabinet?

Yes 33.9 (38.7)
No 54.0 (50.8)
Other answers (O/A) 2.6 (2.8)
No answer (N/A) 9.5 (7.7)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Pick
up to two reasons for your disapproval of the Fukuda cabinet.

I can't appreciate its political stance 47.8 (47.9)
It's unstable 26.8 (27.6)
The prime minister is untrustworthy 23.4 (27.8)
Nothing can be expected of its economic policy 37.9 (37.0)
Nothing can be expected of its foreign policy 8.6 (7.8)
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New
Komeito 8.8 (10.6)
Because the prime minister is from the LDP 4.9 (5.4)
It's worse than its predecessors 8.1 (6.6)
O/A+N/A 3.0 (2.4)

TOKYO 00000748 004 OF 011

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 33.1 (32.6)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 17.6 (20.0)
New Komeito (NK) 2.7 (3.2)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.5 (2.1)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.1 (0.9)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.3 (0.1)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1 (0.1)
Other political parties --- (---)
None 41.9 (40.4)
N/A 0.7 (0.8)

Q: Do you think it would be better to continue the current
provisional rate of taxation on gasoline for roads after the Special
Taxation Measures Law expires at the end of March?

Yes 27.0
No 64.2
N/A 8.8

Q: The ruling coalition is going to pass a bill to continue the
current rate of provisional taxation on gasoline while the
opposition camp is opposed to that. Do you think the ruling and
opposition parties should compromise and agree to revise the bill?

Yes 63.3
No 28.5
N/A 8.2

Q: Do you think the government dealt appropriately with the recent
collision of a Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer with a
fishing boat that has left the fishing boat's two crewmen missing?

Yes 18.9
No 74.1
N/A 7.0

Q: Do you appreciate the DPJ's response over a nominee for the post
of Bank of Japan governor?

Appreciate very much 4.4
Appreciate somewhat 21.0
Don't appreciate very much 37.7
Don't appreciate at all 21.7
N/A 15.2

Q: What kind of government would you like to see now? Pick only

The current LDP-Komeito coalition government 22.1
A DPJ-led coalition government of opposition parties 16.1
The LDP's single-party government 7.2
The DPJ's single-party government 4.9
A coalition government centering on the LDP and the DPJ 20.7
A government under a new framework of political parties after
realigning the ruling and opposition parties 15.3
O/A 0.4
N/A 13.2

Polling methodology
Date of survey: Mar. 15-16.

TOKYO 00000748 005 OF 011

Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
Number of valid respondents: 1,786 persons (59.5 PERCENT ).

(4) Prime minister suffering setback in steering his administration,
finding both hands tied on appointing BOJ governor, setting road
funds: Criticism also coming from ruling camp

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 19, 2008

The vacancy in the post of Bank of Japan (BOJ) governor following
tortuous debate that went down to the wire is a major defeat for
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. He nominated a person who had served as
vice finance minister, while being fully aware of the deep-seated
opposition coming from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto). His proposal once again failed to secure Diet approval,
as expected. With his efforts to revise the bill related to the
provisional rate on the gasoline tax also going nowhere, voices of
concern about his weakening political base are growing stronger.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki at the
party's Executive Council meeting held on March 18 right after the
government resubmitted its selection of a candidate for governor of
the central bank indicated his determination to do his utmost to
avoid the post from becoming vacant. He noted, "I would like you to
deal with the situation properly in order to prevent a vacuum from
occurring." However, one member of the LDP leadership after the
meeting expressed his disgruntlement with Ibuki, saying, "Many
participants complained about Ibuki, wondering what the secretary
general is doing about the problem."

There are indications that the prime minister once considered a
business leader instead of a former bureaucrat as a candidate for
BOJ governor to replace the candidacy of former Deputy Governor
Toshiro Muto. But in the end, Fukuda selected a former vice finance
minister. Since he reached that decision by extending the March 17
deadline that the ruling camp had set in order to avoid the post
from becoming vacant, his disappointment is obvious. One senior
Upper House member even said, "If the post becomes vacant with the
Upper House voting down the prime minister's (second) proposal, it
will be the end of the Fukuda cabinet."

There are many pressing issues for the administration to deal with
by the end of March. In particular, there is the need to pass bills
related to special-purpose road construction revenues, including the
maintaining of the provisional gas tax.

The prime minister once again called on the DPJ to respond to talks
to revise the road construction revenue bills at an Upper House
Budget Committee meeting, saying: "I would like to revise the bills
wherever necessary. I want the opposition camp to consider our
intention, even if only slightly." DPJ member Tatsuo Hirano
responded in a cool-headed manner: "The matter cannot be settled in
exchange for shortening the period of the application of the
provisional rate from the 10 years as originally proposed. What is
at issue is not that."

Road policy-related LDP members remain cautious about a drastic

TOKYO 00000748 006 OF 011

revision of the bills. General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai
checked the move: "Just obtaining understanding from the opposition
camp will not settle the issue. The decision must not be made

The opposition camp is determined to confront the government in the
Diet. They have pursued the responsibility of Welfare Minister
Yoichi Masuzoe, following the revelation that it is now impossible
to identify approximately 20.25 million pension premium contribution
records. They are also strengthening criticism of the administration
over the Aegis destroyer's collision with a trawler. Ruling party
members are increasingly alarmed about the move with former
Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa noting, "The DPJ is trying to

bring about a dissolution of the Lower House and a snap election, by
causing a panic."

With the prime minister's lack of leadership in mind, some ruling
party members said, "There are no special measures we can take." One
official who has served in one of the three executive posts
yesterday evening openly said, "Those who do not want to be part of
this administration will presumably increase."

(5) CEFP affirms acceleration of EPA talks; Negotiations with EU
also called for

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

The government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) in a
meeting yesterday affirmed a policy course to accelerate economic
partnership agreement (EPA) talks with other countries. To be
prepared for such negotiations, the panel underlined the need to
improve the structure of the agricultural sector that would be
exposed to products from other countries. In the session,
private-sector members also called for negotiations with the
European Union (EU), while the foreign minister and agriculture
minister voiced cautious views. A roadmap for talks will be
discussed in future talks.

The EPA is intended to forge comprehensive cooperative relations
regarding investment rules and intellectual property protection
after eliminating tariffs in principle.

With the deadlock in the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks
under the World Trade Organization (WTO) aiming at multilateral
trade liberalization, Japan has decided to push ahead with bilateral
EPA negotiations.

Japan has signed agreements with eight countries already, including
Thailand and the Philippines, where Japanese automakers have
invested. In yesterday's meeting, private-sector members proposed
promoting talks with Australia and aiming to enter into negotiations
with the EU. They also highlighted the need to enhance
competitiveness in exports of automobiles and other products where
Japanese makers excel in.

In response, Agriculture Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi said: "In
the ongoing talks, we are urging Australia to keep tariffs on wheat,
beef and other products in place. The talks are at a difficult
stage." In response to a private-sector member's proposal for
crafting an EPA roadmap up to the year 2010, Foreign Minister
Koumura said, "It might affect the talks with Australia." Given

TOKYO 00000748 007 OF 011

Japan's defensive stand in agriculture, the foreign minister
indicated that the government should proceed with negotiations

Japan's progress on EPAs

Countries whose EPAs with Japan have gone into effect Singapore,
Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Thailand
Countries that have signed EPAs with Japan Philippines, Brunei,
Countries that have reached broad agreements with Japan Association
of Southeast Asian Nations
Countries negotiating with Japan Vietnam, Gulf Cooperation Council
(Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other countries), South Korea, India,
Australia, Switzerland

(6) U.S. has failed to pay noise compensation for four years;
Government's weak-kneed response clear

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 3) (Full)
March 19, 2008


Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura indicated in a House of
Representatives plenary session yesterday that the United States has
yet to pay its share of compensation determined in noise lawsuits
filed against U.S. bases across Japan, including Kadena Air Base.
Koumura said: "The governments of Japan and the United States hold
different positions, and the matter has yet to reach a settlement."
The compensation totals 22.2 billion yen. Koumura was responding to
a question from Kantoku Teruya of the Social Democratic Party.

It came to light in May 2004 that the United States had not paid the
compensation. Since then, the government has been grilled many times
at the Diet. The United States' failure to pay the compensation over
the last four years has again exposed the weak-kneed response of the
Japanese government.

To a question asking how much the United States should pay, Koumura
said, "Answering that question at this point in time is difficult,"
indicating that the two countries have yet to reach an agreement.
The United States' share is set at 75 PERCENT of the total under
the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. Based on this figure, the
United States is required to pay 16.65 billion yen.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba also revealed that 545.9 billion yen
in Japan's host nation support for stationing U.S. forces in Japan
(sympathy budget) was spent on building 11,295 housing units
(including those under construction) on U.S. bases across Japan
between fiscal 1979 and 2007. This comes to 42.79 million yen per

(7) Okinawa police arrest two American minors on suspicion of
stealing 5,400 yen from taxi

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 25) (Full)
March 19, 2008

Okinawa police arrested by March 18 two American minors on suspicion
of robbing a box containing cash of the taxi they were in.

TOKYO 00000748 008 OF 011

The arrested are a 16-year-old male high school student of Yaeshima,
Okinawa City, and a 15-year-old unemployed boy with no fixed

According to investigators, the two boys brought the taxi they were
in to a halt on a road at Tobaru in the city at around 10:45 p.m.
March 16 and stole a box (worth approximately 1,000 yen) containing
5,400 yen from the vehicle.

Upon receiving a report from the taxi driver, police officers rushed
to the scene and questioned the high school student near the spot
and arrested him an hour later. Although the other boy was on the
run, police determined his whereabouts based on information obtained
from his friends and arrested him at around 10:40 p.m. March 18.

(8) Japan decides basic plan on marine surveys within EEZ

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

At a cabinet meeting yesterday, the government adopted a basic plan
on ocean surveys, the purpose of which is for all relevant
government ministries and agencies to work on measures in a
cross-sectional manner. The plan includes a suggestion to place
restrictions on scientific surveys by foreign countries within
Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This plan was created in
accordance with the Basic Act on Ocean Policy, which took effect in
last April. The plan will be reviewed in five years.

In connection with oceanographic activities within the EEZ, the plan
points out: "Japan has a problem with other countries because both
sides insist certain sea areas are within their territories." The
plan notes: "In order to secure our country's interests, Japan needs
to strengthen the monitoring and controlling systems in order to
exercise its jurisdiction over exploration and development in an
appropriate manner."

In addition, the plan includes (1) bringing into commercial use
within 10 years methane hydrate, from which natural gas is
produced,; (2) doubling the number of vessels carrying the Japanese
flag in five years; and (3) centralizing marine information
collected from independent administrative agencies at one place.

(9) Where is nonpartisan league Sentaku going?

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, March 17, 2008

Former Mie prefectural governor Masayasu Kitagawa and other
like-minded knowledgeable persons established the National League to
Clean up (or Set Choices for) Japan in View of Local Communities and
Consumers," which calls itself "Sentaku." It is said that the group
aims to evolve and develop politics based on policy manifestos in
cooperation with another suprapartisan group called "Parliamentary
League Sentaku, but ...

Interview with Kenji Eda, Lower House member: Change policy course
toward new party movement

When I heard about the plan of creating a new nonpartisan league
called "Sentaku" late last year, I placed my hopes on the new group.
I share the group's policy goal of decentralizing the government's

TOKYO 00000748 009 OF 011

authority and its stance of giving consideration to ordinary
citizens. If like-minded local government heads and lawmakers
jointly make efforts to implement specific measures, it would grow
into a significantly large movement.

But looking at the group's lineup, I felt disappointed. The group
has too many members, including both proponents of decentralization
and forces resisting it. The group is indisputably a mixture of all
kinds of people, as if reflecting the current state of political
parties. I guess it will be difficult to unify views, and I wonder
if satisfactory results will ever be produced there. Some of the
lawmakers who have joined the group also say what I have just said.

For instance, public opinion is divided over the
highway-construction taxes. I wonder why the group, which has put
forth the policy of giving priority to the interests of regions and
ordinary citizens, does not issue an emergency statement stressing
something like this: "The government should decide to open tax
revenues for general use, reallocate the revenues to local
governments, and then enable the local governments to construct
highways on their own judgment." Mr. Kitagawa suggests ending
"democracy that entrusts everything (to the central government)." He
stresses the need to "hand the government's authority over to local
governments" and to "eliminate the centralized administrative
system." But he remains unable to do so, because he has gathered too
many people with quite different views. For instance, the group
includes as an executive Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru,
who insists that the provisional highway-related tax rates should be

The current political turmoil has been caused not by the state of
the reversal of strengths between the ruling and opposition camps in
the Diet but by a lack of unity in political parties. In the Liberal
Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan, there are too
many members who have diverging views about security,
decentralization, and other issues. That's why I am calling for a
reorganization of the political world.

If the Sentaku group served to touch off such a reorganization, I
would join it. But the group has fallen into a trap set by itself,
saying that "the group does not intend to carry out a new party
movement or to reorganize the political world," indicating that it
premises its activities to the end on the existing framework of
political parties.

I understand why the group drew in Higashikokubaru, who has been
attracting great media attention. That is because his membership
will make people interested in the group. But I think Mr. Kitagawa
may be now bewildered because the public is now looking in an
unexpected direction.

The public harbors great dissatisfaction with the situation in the
Diet, where deliberations remain stalled as the ruling and
opposition camps struggle for power. At such a time, if a group like
Sentaku were to work out policies divorced from the political center
in Nagata-cho and then spring into action with the support of a
lawmakers from all parties who agree with them, the impact would be
enormous. Pro-reform local government heads and intellectuals also
should support their moves. I hear, though, that the parliamentary
group will first address the task of reforming the Diet and the
bureaucracy, probably stemming from the judgment that such would be
most acceptable. But the panel would be digressing from its main

TOKYO 00000748 010 OF 011

raison d'etre.

Although forming a sumo ring is necessary, what the political
community needs now are wrestlers. Mr. Kitagawa, with his knowledge
and experience, should take the risk and become a wrestler, since he
was the one who established Sentaku. It would be difficult to reform
the current two-party system and party politics using only such
means as campaigning with manifestos. That is because existing
political parties are hodge-podges of different views. I hope the
group will make a policy switch to reorganize the political world
under the slogan of giving priority to the interests of local
communities and consumers

Interview with Yasushi Kudo, president of Genron NPO: Send a clearer

Many people seem to be feeling that the Sentaku group's policy
stance is not easy to understand, probably because the group has yet
to reveal its clear stance.

Mr. Kitagawa proposes reorganizing the political world from the
viewpoint of ordinary citizens or consumers, as well as promoting an
election campaign based on policy manifestos. Mr. Kitagawa is a
leader whom I respect. But he has shifted his standing location to
the government and has formed the Sentaku, keeping in mind the
possibility that it will serve as an absorber after political
reorganization, but Mr. Kitagawa has yet to present to the people
the principles of his group as a political one and its goals to
attain. He has said that the group, without aiming to become a new
party or pursing political reorganization, will become a pressure
group for manifestos.

I agree to his aim of having Japanese political parties draw up
proper manifestos. Since we have evaluated each party's manifesto
and have announced our evaluations over the past five years, we
welcome his move. But all participants from political circles in the
Parliamentary League Sentaku belong to any of the existing political
parties. I wonder why they need to join the group. They should
improve their parties' manifestos through intraparty reform.

Since the existing political parties are not very good, it is
understandable for them to want to form a third political trend,
that is, a new political party, in the near future. But they remain
unable to reveal this true intention and so move to just collect
other politicians who belong to any of the existing political
parties. Seeing this, I feel there is a limit to the group that
draws in only politicians. Many lawmakers have sensed that the
political world might soon be reorganized, so some joined the group
that includes a famous governor, but they are not serious about the
tasks on the agenda. Since the people can see through such a
smokescreen, the group is finding it difficult to send a clear
message to the voters.

I fully understand why such a move has started on the political
stage. In a questionnaire conducted by the Genron NPO to gauge
public views of the first 100 days of the Fukuda administration,
45.4 PERCENT replied that they did not have high hopes for the
existing political parties, more than 10 points higher than those
with positive replies. The British magazine Economist reported that
the responsibility of the current stagnation in Japan rests with
politicians. But a number of people have already begun to realize,
too, that the ongoing political paralysis is harming the future of

TOKYO 00000748 011 OF 011

Japan. People are concerned about their future, but the ruling and
opposition blocs are merely engaged in a struggle for power in the
Diet, including the current dispute over naming new candidates for
the top seats at the Bank of Japan. They cannot sense how the public
are feeling. The reason why an environment for a change of
government has not been created is probably because both camps have
devoted themselves to a self-righteous struggle, instead of
competing with each other for the sake of the nation's future.

In past political reform, a change of government under the two-party
system was ideal. Although the stage for that ideal drama has
already been set, why is there no obvious point of contention and
why is the Diet left in a state of disorder? The answer might be
that politicians do not move toward the voters and that the voters
are also hardly aware of the system of democratic governing.

We should not easily pin our hopes on political moves or criticize
them. Unless voters are aware that they have created such politics
and are therefore responsible for the way politicians and the
government function, Japan's politics will never change, and
political innovation will never occur.


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