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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 03/28/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 000849

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 03/28/08


Index:

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

Diet gridlock continues:
4) Budget to pass today, with probability that all tax-related laws
but the gasoline tax could be extended a month (Yomiuri)
5) Prime Minister Fukuda presents compromise proposal to opposition
camp to make road tax revenues into general revenues by fiscal 2009
(Nikkei)
6) One month extension proposed for tax-related laws by ruling
parties (Asahi)
7) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has no intention of compromising
on tax bills with ruling camp, based on party hear Ozawa's three
principles (Nikkei)
8) Some in the DPJ are worried that its intransigent positions in
the Diet are turning away public support (Tokyo Shimbun)
9) DPJ supported appointment of National Personal Authority head in
order not to give public the impression it opposes everything in the
Diet (Yomiuri)

10) TICAD conference now discussing proposal to boost inward
investment in Africa (Yomiuri)

11) U.S., North Korea studying compromise plan to produce secret
document specifying separation of uranium program (Tokyo Shimbun)

Defense and security issues:
12) Gap inevitable in host-nation support due to Diet impasse, but a
short vacuum period would do little harm (Asahi)
13) Defense Ministry picking up the cost of extensive search for
missing fishermen after boat collided with Aegis ship (Nikkei)
14) Three opposition parties reach agreement on the revisions they
will seek in SOFA (Nikkei)
15) Vice defense minister to visit China on March 30 (Nikkei)
16) Private sector tapped for post of cabinet intelligence analyst
(Mainichi)

17) Education ministry's new guidelines to seek to inculcate
patriotism in the schools, including singing of the national anthem
(Tokyo Shimbun)

18) In list of carbon emitters, the highest amounts come from the
electric power and steel industries (Asahi)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
Prime Minister Fukuda proposes incorporating tax revenues for road
projects into general revenues in fiscal 2009 but does not budge on
provisional tax rates; With opposition bloc's opposition to the
proposal, gasoline prices certain to be lowered

Akahata:
JCP group of metropolitan assembly members to submit a noconfidence
motion against Gov. Ishihara over his decision to inject funds into
ShinGinko Tokyo despite objections


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2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) DPJ head Ozawa needs to respond to Prime Minister Fukuda's new
proposal
(2) Central and local governments responsible for destruction caused
by rainstorm

Mainichi:
(1) Prime Minister Fukuda's new proposal: DPJ needs to concede
(2) The case involving a colonel sent to prosecutors: Is this a
warning to other officers as MOD aims to strengthen information
management?

Yomiuri:
(1) In response to Fukuda's new proposal, DPJ, too, should make a
bold concession
(2) Predicted flood damage to the metropolitan area requires
relevant prefectures to take measures

Nikkei:
(1) Ruling and opposition parties need to have full debate in
response to Fukuda's new proposal
(2) The case involving a colonel sent to prosecutors leaves us with
the concern about news source

Sankei:
(1) Fukuda's emergency press briefing on his new proposal: DPJ
should respond to policy talks
(2) Bailout for ShinGinko Tokyo tantamount to additional investment
without agreement from Tokyoites

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Fukuda's new proposal should be discussed openly in detail
(2) New curriculum guidelines: Reinforcing moral education
questionable

Akahata:
(1) Campaign needed against promoting merger and abolition of
schools one-sidedly

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, March 27

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

10:22
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura at the Kantei, followed by LDP
Diet Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Kosaka.

11:05
Met Cabinet intelligence Director Mitani, followed by Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

12:48
Met Machimura.

13:16
Met Machimura.


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14:04
Met Lower House Steering Committee Chairman Sasagawa, followed by
Lower House member Masaaki Taira and others. Afterward, met LDP
Policy Research Council Chairman Tanigaki and Deputy Secretary
General Hosoda.

16:00
Held a press conference. Afterward, met Futahashi and Assistant
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka.

17:10
Held a teleconference with Italian Prime Minister Prodi.

17:54
Met Prime Minister Sevele of Tonga.

18:32
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono.

19:02
Held at his official residence a foreign policy study meeting with
National Defense Academy President Iokibe and others, joined in by
Machimura.

4) State budget to be enacted today; Provisional measures for items
other than gasoline may be maintained

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

In the event an agreement is reached between the ruling and
opposition camps on a bill (stopgap bill) to extend the expiration
of special taxation measures, except for the gasoline tax, for one
month, the stopgap legislation would be enacted before March 31,
thus allowing the government to maintain the special measures that
have a significant impact on the people's livelihood.

If the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan accepts the ruling
bloc's proposal, the Lower House Financial Affairs Committee and
General Affairs Committee would present the stopgap bill to their
respective chairmen. In that event, of the tax-related
counterproposals presented to the Upper House, the DPJ is expected
to withdraw a bill separately handling seven items except for the
gasoline tax.

Because there is not much time for deliberations before March 31,
the DPJ is also expected to reverse its rejection and allow
deliberations to take place on days other than the regular timetable
in the Upper House, where it holds the leadership.

At the same time, the DPJ is set to call for thorough Upper House
deliberations on the tax-related bills. "Gasoline prices should be
lowered as long as possible," a senior DPJ lawmaker said. There is a
possibility that the Upper House will not discuss the bills and a
second vote at the Lower House will slip to April 29 or later.

Many observers think that if talks between the ruling and opposition
blocs break off, the DPJ would continue resisting deliberations on
the bills, including the counterproposals. In such an event, special
measures on items other than gasoline are certain to lose validity.

Meanwhile, the fiscal 2008 state budget bill is expected to be

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adopted in an Upper House plenary session today. It would be voted
down by a majority of the DPJ and other parties, but because the
Lower House's decision takes precedence over the Upper House's under
the Constitution, the budget will be enacted tonight through talks
between the two champers of the Diet.

5) Fukuda proposes shifting highway tax revenues to general budget
starting in FY2009, but DPJ balks

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

In a news conference at his official residence yesterday afternoon,
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda proposed shifting the full amount of
special tax revenues for highway construction to the general budget
starting in fiscal 2009. He also revealed that he would reject an
immediate end to the provisional gasoline and other tax rates. The
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), in reaction, has expressed its
disapproval of the prime minister's new compromise plan, so the
provisional tax measures are now certain to lapse at the end of
March. Meanwhile, the ruling coalition has sounded out the
opposition bloc on a plan to submit a stopgap bill designed to
extend the provisional rates up until the end of April, with the aim
of avoiding other special measures, including the exemption of
taxation on foreign capital on the Tokyo Offshore market, from also
expiring, together with the provisional highway tax rates.
Last-minute coordination is going on between the ruling and
opposition camps.

The separate framework for highway-related taxes will be "abolished
in this year's tax reform proposal and incorporate the tax revenues
into the general account," Fukuda said at the news conference. He
also called for shorting the timeframe for the mid-term highway
construction program worth 59 trillion yen over a decade from 10
years to five years.

Such road-related tax revenues as gasoline and automotive weight tax
revenues are used exclusively for highway construction in principle.
Prime Minister Fukuda instructed the ruling parties on March 19 to
also discuss the possibility of opening the full amount of highway
tax revenues for general use. Fukuda has now come up with more
details about this idea.

Fukuda said that the tax rates on gasoline and other areas should be
"reviewed, with such elements taken into account as international
trends in addressing global warming, the need for highway
construction in local areas, and the austere finances of the
national and local governments." He thus indicated that the
government would review the provisional tax rates in or after
FY2009.

But Fukuda rejected the DPJ's call for an end to the provisional tax
rates starting in April, saying: "We will lose 2.6 trillion yen in
tax revenues, leaving no money for local governments. That is an
unreasonable argument." He clarified his opposition to the DPJ's
call that would require revising the FY2008 budget bill. Fukuda
proposed to meet DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa to break the impasse,
saying: "I would like to hold party head talks, if possible." He
also suggested forming a joint panel with the DPJ to discuss highway
issues.

The DPJ, however, distributed copies of a brochure titled "Ozawa's

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three principles" that includes the immediate abolishment of the
provisional tax rates to all party members prior to the prime
minister's new conference, underscoring its stance of refusing the
prime minister's compromise plan. Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
told reporters: "The proposed shift of road tax revenues to the
general budget in a year merits appreciation, but we cannot concede
our position on the provisional tax rates. We cannot necessarily
make a positive response."

6) Ruling bloc proposes extending by one month provisional tax
rates, excluding road-related taxes

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

The ruling parties proposed yesterday to the opposition camp that
provisional tax rates excluding the provisional gasoline tax and
other road-related taxes, be extended for one month until the end of
April. The provisional tax rates will expire on March 31. The aim is
to avoid a negative effect on the daily lives of the people by
enacting a so-called "stopgap bill" that would be sponsored by
lawmakers. Although the ruling coalition plans to deal with this
bill separately from a government bill amending the Special Taxation
Measures Law, there remains leeway for them to readopt the
government legislation by a two-thirds majority vote at the end of
April in the House of Representatives.

The ruling bloc presented yesterday afternoon the proposals to the
opposition side in a meeting of secretaries general. The ruling
parties had taken a stance of taking a second vote on the government
tax reform bill, considering that the government bill would be
rejected if a bill drafted by the main opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) was adopted in the House of Councillors.
The DPJ bill stipulates that the road-related taxes and other
provisional tax rates should be separated.

In regard to this point, the ruling camp's proposal stipulates that
the Lower House speaker and Upper House president would confirm that
the purpose of the proposal differs from the cabinet law. This means
that adoption of the stopgap bill would not be a rejection of the
government's legislation.

The ruling and opposition camps will hold a meeting today of their
policy chiefs and Diet affairs committee chairmen to discuss the
ruling bloc's proposals. If the two sides agree to the
lawmakers-sponsored bill, the chairmen of the Lower House committees
on financial affairs and internal affairs and communications will
present it to the plenary sessions of the two Diet chambers, and it
will be adopted by the two Diet houses by March 31.

The ruling camp's proposal stipulates that of the provisional tax
rates, such provisional taxes that may negatively affect the
people's lives as the reduced tax rate for the registration and
license tax, which is imposed on the purchase and sale of land, and
the taxes on tobacco and whiskeys that tourists bring into Japan,
should be extended by one month.

7) DPJ unlikely to accept Prime Minister's new proposals; Formulates
"Ozawa three principles"

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

TOKYO 00000849 006 OF 011

The main opposition Democratic Party (DPJ or Minshuto) is going to
stick to its policy of reducing gasoline prices 25 yen per liter
through an immediate scrapping of the provisional tax rates, even
though it appreciates Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's just proposed
plan to shift tax revenues earmarked for road construction and
maintenance to the general account. The largest opposition party has
no intention to compromise since it thinks that this is a battle
that it now can win.

Yesterday afternoon, when the news came around that Fukuda would
reveal a new proposal, DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka sent two notes to his party lawmakers. One was the party's
own set of proposals, including an extension of provisional tax
rates in seven areas such a tax exemption linked to offshore
markets. The other was "Ozawa's three principles," which were
drafted with yesterday's proposal in mind. The "three principles"
are: 1) revenues from road-related taxes should be freed up for
purposes other than road projects from fiscal 2008 and most of the
revenues and subsidies should be distributed to local governments;
2) the provisional tax rates should be immediately scrapped; and 3)
the practice of amakudari under which elite bureaucrats get plum
positions in the private sector or public bodies after their
retirements should be completely abolished. The DPJ's plan is meant
to reject Fukuda's proposal that the revenues from road-related
taxes be used for other purposes but the provisional rates be
retained.

The largest opposition party refuses to budge on its stance that
gasoline prices should be cut by scrapping the provisional tax rate.
After Fukuda's press conference, the DPJ held an executive meeting
last evening, but Ozawa did not take part in it. So, one executive
called up Ozawa, who said, "The proposals include nothing new." The
executive member told Ozawa: "Do you want me to fax (the
proposals)." Ozawa replied, however: "No, you don't have to."

However, the DPJ does not want to see the expiration of some of the
provisional tax rates since it has presented its own bill.

8) DPJ severely criticizes prime minister for maintaining tax rate
in compromise proposal, but some in the party are worried that the
public will turn away from it

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

Speaking to the press corps yesterday, Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) Vice President Naoto Kan said this about the new proposal by
the prime minister, "I would like to express my direct appreciation
in the sense that turning (gasoline tax) into general revenues is a
great step forward," However, regarding the prime minister's
rejection of scrapping the provisional tax rates, he snapped, "The
gap between our two views, I must say, is just too great."

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, too, severely criticized the
prime minister's proposal by saying: "I can't fathom at all what the
prime minister is thinking of doing about the provision tax portion.
The prime minister's (proposal) seems to have been written by the
bureaucrats."

However, is the party aware of trends in public thinking? If the DPJ
continues to reject every new proposal that the prime minister

TOKYO 00000849 007 OF 011


presents, one mid-level DPJ lawmaker worried, "We will not be able
to fully get the understanding of the public," admitting that there
was that possibility.

9) DPJ decides to endorse Tani's reappointment in consideration of
public reaction

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
March 28, 2008

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan decided at its Diet
officers meeting yesterday to agree to the government's plan to
reappoint Masahito Tani as National Personnel Authority president.
Tani's reappointment is likely to win official approval in plenary
sessions of the two houses of the Diet today.

Although the DPJ opposed Tani's appointment in 2004, it has decided
to endorse his reappointment in view of the widespread concern in
the party that its rejection of yet another personnel appointment
would draw fire from the public.

After the Diet officers meeting yesterday, Diet affairs chief Kenji
Yamaoko said to reporters: "Mr. Tani, in his hearings on his policy
stance, indicated that the government system has problems in
connection with golden parachuting. We have given a positive
assessment to what he has accomplished, which is close to our
views."

Diet Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Jun Azumi also indicated that
the DPJ has decided to endorse the government's nomination for the
sake of the political situation now that two nominees for the top
Bank of Japan post have already been voted down in the Upper House.

10) Draft "Yokohama Declaration" of upcoming TICAD mentions need for
promotion of investment in Africa

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

A full text of a draft "Yokohama Declaration," which is to be
adopted at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD), a forum for leaders of African countries and
representatives from international institutions to discuss the issue
of how to develop Africa, was unveiled yesterday. The draft stresses
the need for private-sector firms from Japan and other countries to
make investments in Africa and promote trade with it so as to bring
sustainable economic growth to Africa and exploit natural resources
in African countries. The draft also emphasizes the importance of
reforming the United Nations Security Council swiftly and it
includes a policy guideline aimed at promoting "Cool Earth
Partnership" as advocated by Japan to deal with climate change.

The draft says it is essential to boost the industrial foundation of
Africa in order for it to attain sustainable economic growth and
comes up with the policy line of promoting private-sector investment
in Africa by Japan and other countries. The draft also specifies the
need for African countries to improve their business environment.

As steps to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
aimed at eradicating poverty and famine, the draft says, "Creating a
community that will base itself in a local society will be of help,"
and points out the importance of agricultural development as well as

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the necessity of finding talented personnel through a campaign for
one feature product produced by one village, and job creation.

On climate change and environmental issues, the draft notes, "Africa
lacks the ability to adapt to the impact of abnormal climate (such
as desertification and floods)." The draft refers to the "Cool Earth
Partnership," a financial assistance mechanism for Japan to help
developing countries to deal with climate change. Under the scheme,
Japan plans to finance a total of 10 billion dollars over the next
five years. The draft notes that African countries appreciate the
mechanism and will promote it.

As for the reform of the UNSC, the draft says that "all the UN
members need to make efforts to reform the UNSC" by upcoming
September, when the current UN General Assembly closes. This item is
included in the draft at the strong request by Japan as it learned a
lesson from its failure to obtain support from all African countries
for its bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC in 2005.

11) Nuclear declaration: U.S., North Korea studying compromise plan
to produce secret document specifying separation of uranium program

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

Regarding a declaration of nuclear program by North Korea, it was
revealed yesterday that a compromise plan is under study for the
United States to specify in a secret document the separation of
enriched uranium programs and nuclear proliferation activities from
the planned declaration for endorsement by North Korea. It is a
compromise plan designed to produce a secret document specifying the
assertions of both the United States and North Korea, as was
proposed by China. Six-party talks sources revealed the plan.

Although it is a desperate measure to bring progress to the
deadlocked talks, North Korea is reportedly dismissive of the plan.
The sources said: "North Korea seems to hate admitting suspicions
for such would make verification work unavoidable."

According to the sources, the compromise plan is designed for North
Korea to declare a plutonium program to China, the chair of the
six-party talks, and also to declare a suspected enriched uranium
program and nuclear proliferation activities to the United States in
the form of a secret document.

The United States presented the plan at U.S.-DPRK chief delegates
talks held on March 13 in Geneva.

The United States have continued talks with North Korea through such
channels as its mission to the United Nations in New York. As seen
in its innovative expressions in the secret document, the United
States is trying to elicit a positive stance from North Korea by
giving consideration to that country.

12) Temporary blank in the sympathy budget certain

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
March 28, 2008

The Japanese government's "sympathy budget" (omoiyari yosan) or host
nation support for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan will soon
lose its legal grounds, leaving a blank period in the continued

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execution of the budget, since the current budget is to expire at
the end of March. The government has asked the Diet for its approval
of Japan's entry into a new special measures agreement with the
United States to extend the sympathy budget for three years.
However, Diet approval will likely be in April or later. The Foreign
Ministry is concerned about a negative impact on Japan-U.S.
relations. However, the government will have no substantial problem
in its continued execution of the sympathy budget if the new special
agreement is approved by early May. The opposition parties will call
for further deliberations on questionable outlays from the sympathy
budget.

"The confidence of the United States in Japan will be hurt (if the
Diet delays its approval of the proposal to renew the current
special agreement). At the same time, that is not good from the
perspective of deterrence." With this, Foreign Minister Koumura
stressed his view before the House of Representatives Foreign
Affairs Committee in its meeting yesterday and strongly asked for
the Diet's early approval.

The sympathy budget has never had a blank period since it started in
fiscal 1978. The newly proposed agreement is for Japan to take on an
annual appropriation of about 140 billion yen for three years. In
the Diet, however, the ruling and opposition parties are squaring
off over road-related tax revenues. As it stands, the Diet has been
falling behind in deliberating on the sympathy budget. "The Diet is
now divided," a Foreign Ministry official said, "so I can't tell
anything." The government therefore cannot predict how long the
sympathy budget will go blank.

In the Diet, the House of Representatives' decision takes precedence
over the House of Councillors' decision as provided by the
Constitution. The proposed agreement will therefore get Diet
approval as is if the House of Councillors does not take a vote on
it within 30 days after its passage through the House of
Representatives.

The sympathy budget is mostly for labor costs (wages) for base
workers and costs for utilities, such as heating and lighting. Even
if the Diet delays its approval, the U.S. government will make
payments for the time being. In that case, the Japanese government
will refund later, so the sympathy budget will not be substantially
affected. A source connected to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said: "If
we pay temporarily for a while, they will pay back later, so there's
no problem."

However, training relocation, which transfers some of U.S. military
aircraft's training flight missions to Air Self-Defense Force bases,
is expected to be postponed during the blank period because the
government needs to hold consultations with local governments
hosting ASDF bases after the new agreement is approved.

13) Defense Ministry to pay for trawler search in Aegis accident

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
March 28, 2008

Following up the recent collision of a Maritime Self-Defense Force
Aegis destroyer with a fishing boat off Chiba Prefecture's southern
coast, the Defense Ministry decided yesterday to pay fuel and other
costs to the Shinkatsuurashi Fishery Cooperative Association of
Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture, which cooperated in searching for a

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fisherman and his son who went missing in the accident. "I will
immediately study this so that we can hear the local fishery people
say we did it with our whole hearts," Defense Minister Shigeru
Ishiba stated before the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee in its meeting yesterday.

14) 3 opposition parties agree on SOFA revisions

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

In the wake of a recent junior high school girl rape in Okinawa
Prefecture, the secretaries general of the Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto), the Social Democratic Party, and the People's New Party
reached a formal agreement yesterday on their proposal to revise the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that provides the legal
status of personnel with U.S. Forces Japan. In their proposal, the
three opposition parties will call for suspects belonging to U.S.
forces to be turned over to Japanese investigative authorities
before they are indicted. In addition, their proposal features
requiring USFJ to create and release a base use plan.

15) Vice defense minister to leave Mar. 30 for China

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

Administrative Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda, meeting the press
yesterday afternoon, said he would visit China on a Mar. 30-31
schedule. Masuda is going to meet with Chinese Defense Minister
(sic) Liang Guanglie, Vice Chief of the General Staff of the
People's Liberation Army of China Ma Xiaotian, and others. Masuda
will exchange views with them on various matters, such as the
security environment of East Asia and China's defense spending from
the perspective of increasing its transparency.

16) Government picks Radiopress' Suzuki cabinet intelligence
analyst

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 28, 2008

The government yesterday decided to appoint Noriyuki Suzuki,
director of the Radiopress news agency, as a cabinet intelligence
analyst, the post, which will be established in April in the Cabinet
Intelligence and Research Office. It is the first time for a
private-sector person to be picked to a senior official-level post
of the Cabinet Office.

The new intelligence analyst post will be set up based on the policy
to strengthen intelligence function at the Prime Minister's Official
Residence, which was compiled in February by the council to study
how to strengthen the government's intelligence function forum
(chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura).

Government is going to appoint four more analysts from the public
and private sectors. Suzuki will be in charge of Korean Peninsular
affairs.

17) New curriculum guidelines say "Give children guidance about
national anthem Kimigayo so that they can sing it


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TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT) yesterday announced the new curriculum guidelines that would
be used in elementary schools and junior high schools starting in
fiscal 2011 and 2012 respectively. The new guidelines, which were
formed with some modifications added to the proposed revisions
released in February, include in their general policy about
educational activities at schools this phrase "Love our country and
hometown." Regarding the national anthem Kimigayo, the proposed
revisions said that in elementary school music classes, teachers
"should give children guidance" about it, but the new guidelines say
that teachers "should give children guidance about it so that they
can sing it." These modifications, which are controversial, were
apparently made at the last minute, when there was no time to have
other opinions reflected in them. They are certain to draw
criticism.

MEXT explained: "Based on our comprehensive judgment upon taking
into consideration opinions obtained from the ruling bloc after the
proposed revisions were released, as well as opinions obtained from
the public, we have clearly reflected in the new guidelines the
revised Basic Law of Education (that mentions patriotism)."

Regarding patriotism, the new guidelines already use such
descriptions as "love our country" in their moral education
guideline and "the feeling of loving our country" in their social
studies education guideline. But the wording related to patriotism
is used for the first time in the general rules of the new
guidelines.

18) Electric, steel companies dominate top ranks of list of major
greenhouse gas emitter companies

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
March 28, 2008

The names of companies that discharged a large amount of greenhouse
gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), are being made public. The
Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economic, Trade, and
Industry will announce for the first time today how much gas such
companies have emitted, based on an emission-reporting system as
stipulated in the law to promote global warming countermeasures. In
fiscal 2006, Tokyo Electric Power Co. topped the list, followed by
JFE Steel and Nippon Steel Corporation. As it stands, companies in
the electricity, steel, and cement industries dominated top ranks of
the list. By announcing the list every year, the ministries aim to
urge companies to make efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and use the list as basic data in creating a domestic cap-and-trade
system, on which full-scale discussion has already begun.

SCHIEFFER

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