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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/28/08

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0858/01 0880821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280821Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2971
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
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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 9321
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6938
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0606
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5399
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7534
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2482
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8521
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9070

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 000858

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03/28/08

INDEX:

(1) Two female victims of U.S. soldier-caused stabbing incident in
Yokosuka still suffer damage physically and mentally (Tokyo
Shimbun)

(2) Wall of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement impedes
investigation of slaying of cab driver (Shukan Shincho)

(3) Prime Minister Fukuda proposes integrating road tax revenues to
general account; no future in his policy switch; DPJ compiles "three
principles" (Mainichi)

(4) Prime minister's surprise road-revenue proposal causes stir in
LDP (Yomiuri)

ARTICLES:

(1) Two female victims of U.S. soldier-caused stabbing incident in
Yokosuka still suffer damage physically and mentally

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 11) (Full)
Eve., March 26, 2008

Takuya Kishimoto

It was painful to see several scars still left on her right hand.
"Even now I see him in a dream," a 27-year-old woman said. She still
has a clear memory of her dreadful experience. On July 5, 2007, she
and her 17-year-old female friend were stabbed randomly by a
20-year-old man, who was 19 at the time, with a steak knife in an
apartment in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The two women
narrowly escaped death, but they have suffered a number of
difficulties since then because he was a U.S. serviceman.

The woman happened to be in that apartment room rented by another
U.S. serviceman, who was a friend of the girl. The girl was a
frequent visitor to that room. The woman, just before graduating
from a hair styling and make-up college, which she was attending
while working, was involved in the incident. She happened to drop in
at the apartment in preparation for her graduation work that needed
the girl as a model.

The assailant was a seaman recruit, whom the girl had met before. He
dropped in at the apartment but he was told by the girl to go home.
Losing his temper over her remark, he attacked the girl and the
woman.

The woman was stabbed all over her body and at one point lingered on
the verge of death. With a division of a tendon found on her right
hand, she underwent an operation and rehabilitation. This forced her
to quit her job as a receptionist at a hotel.

Her medical expenses amounted to some one million yen, which she
paid by herself. It was her dream to be a hair stylist since she was
a teenager. She planned to study hair styling in the United States,
but she had to spend the money she had saved for that purpose to pay
the medical costs.

The woman filed an application for loans from the government's
financing system, which is available to victims of crimes committed
by U.S. military personnel. Three months later, however, she has yet

TOKYO 00000858 002 OF 006


to receive any money. She initially planned to go to the U.S. to
study hair styling, but she gave up on the plan. Her dream is
unlikely to come true.

Practically, it is difficult to file a claim for compensation
against the U.S. serviceman lacking the ability to pay. In the case
of using a compensation system provided by the government, it takes
her several years to simply go through the proceedings because
screening involves the United States. She consulted with a lawyer
about the matter, but she was unable to find anyone who is well
versed on procedures in the U.S.

She also suffers psychological damage. After the incident, she heard
someone without paying any attention to her feelings saying, "It's
wrong to be with the U.S. serviceman." She said that at the thought
that women, only because of being women, "tend to be misunderstood,
"I cannot tell anyone about the damage I am suffering." In recent
years, groups in support of victims of crimes committed by U.S.
military personnel have emerged, but she is hesitant to ask such an
organization for help because of the pain she would suffer when she
has to explain every aspect of her damage.

She thought she might be able to express her feelings in a blog on
the Internet and wrote the incident she was involved in. In a little
while, she received an e-mail of encouragement from her friend as
well as an e-mail from a similar victim of a crime committed by U.S.
military personnel. The victim was a 20-year-old woman who was
gang-raped by four U.S. servicemen assigned to Marine Corps Air
Station Iwakuni (in Yamaguchi Prefecture). She realized through
exchanges of e-mails with that Yamaguchi woman that she, too, has
terribly suffered like her.

There seems to be no end to crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in
towns hosting U.S. bases like those in Okinawa and Kanagawa. Given
belated financial assistance, such as medical expenses, lack of
consultation service, prejudiced views..., the support system for
victims provided by the government is insufficient.

The woman said: "As long as U.S. bases exist, incidents caused by
their members would unavoidably occur. If the government allows the
bases to exist in Japan, I think the government should at least have
a system to take care of the victims of incidents."

The assailant seaman recruit was arrested on the spot on charge of
attempted murder. As a result of juvenile trial, he was later sent
to prosecutors. His first trial is set to take place at the Yokohama
District Court's Yokosuka Branch on the afternoon of March 27.

(2) Wall of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement impedes
investigation of slaying of cab driver

SHUKAN SHINCHO (Page 42) (Full)
April 3, 2008

There exists a major obstacle impeding progress in the investigation
into a brutal crime. The crime occurred on a residential street
close to Keikyu Shioiri Station in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa
Prefecture. On the night of March 19, screams rang out on the narrow
street, as if to drown out the sound of the pouring rain. "I heard
someone scream out three times," said a housewife living near the
scene. She continued: "Surprised, I went out, and there was a taxi
at the side of the road with its engine running. The meter on the

TOKYO 00000858 003 OF 006


passenger side read "payment," but there was no visible in the
driver's seat. When I peered into the vehicle, the driver was
slumped over on the passenger side."

The window on the driver's side was open, as if he were making a
desperate effort for help. Another local resident noted: "Even
though the lamp was on in the cab, I could not see any signs of
bloodstains inside. Because it was raining so hard at the time, no
one seems to have seen the killer."

The victim was Mr. Masaaki Takahashi (61), a taxi driver from
Shinagawa Ward. He had been stabbed in back of the neck on the left
side by a thrust of a 20 centimeter kitchen knife. A source
connected to the investigation said: "He had died from loss of blood
by the time the ambulance arrived. The wound was so deep, it
penetrated the lungs. It was plunged in to the end of the blade.
Since there was a protective acrylic panel behind the driver, it was
avoided apparently by thrusting the knife at the driver from the
left side."

The investigation would seem to be difficult due to the lack of
eyewitness testimony, but there was left behind in haste something
that is clearly an important clue. The source said: "We discovered a
credit card on the floor near the driver's seat. The name on it was
a crewmember of the USS Cowpens, an Aegis ship belonging to the U.S.
Navy."

The scene of the crime was about a one-kilometer distance from the
U.S. Navy base. The seaman was a Nigerian (22), who had been missing
from the base since March 8. He was declared a deserter on March 10.
Considering the circumstances, there was a high probability of
learning the details about this murder. A reporter attached to city
desk said: "Information came in early on the 22nd, three days after
the incident, that the U.S. Navy Criminal Investigation Center
(NCIS) had taken the sailor into custody near Gotanda Station. After
that, the situation quickly changed."

"I lost my card"

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in case a
U.S. serviceman suspected of a crime is in the custody of the U.S.
forces, even if the Japanese police has an arrest warrant, until the
suspect is indicted, that person could be kept in custody at the
base. Takeshi Tsuchimoto, a professor at Hakuo University Law School
stated: "Under military law, desertion is a very serious crime. One
cannot say that it is a violation of the law for the military with
investigative authority to have brought the sailor back to the
base."

On the other hand, based on the 1995 agreement to improve the SOFA
operation, for heinous crimes, the handing over of the suspect can
be done prior to indictment. However, unless the charges are firmed
up, it would no doubt be difficult to hand the individual over to
the Japanese police. Although the prefectural police have continued
to investigate the things left in the cab, a source connected to the
investigation revealed: "No fingerprints could be taken from the
knife used in the killing or from the credit card, so it was
conceivable that gloves were worn. In addition, the sailor says he
lost his credit card and denies any involvement. Without anything to
back up his being in the vehicle, even if he is indicted, it would
not stand up in court."


TOKYO 00000858 004 OF 006


On the other hand, the U.S. forces have been unusually cooperative
in its response with Navy Commander Adm. Kelly stating to the press
that if there were a request, the Navy would respond to voluntary
questioning.

A reporter from the city desk said: "Next year in August, the
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington is scheduled to
be deployed to the Yokosuka base. There is concern that a negative
reaction to it will spring up in Japan due to this incident."

Although the prefectural police's investigative unit asked for
investigative cooperation on the 23rd, one has to say that there is
a high hurdle to the resolution of this case. Professor Tsuchimoto
noted: "With each country investigating different cases, the two
investigations have complicated the matter." He went on: "However,
considering the seriousness of the case, the U.S. forces should
cooperate with the murder investigation. Even if investigators are
sent into the base, the can only go so far in questioning the
individual. There needs to be carried out a handing over of the
individual as quickly as possible."

Although a Japanese person has been murdered in our own country, the
investigation is being obstructed. Shouldn't there be a way to
overcome this impossible situation.

(3) Prime Minister Fukuda proposes integrating road tax revenues to
general account; no future in his policy switch; DPJ compiles "three
principles"

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 28, 2008

With the expiration of the provisional tax rates, including the
gasoline tax, on March 31 in mind, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
yesterday pledged to integrate the special account from road-related
taxes into the general account budget starting in fiscal 2009.
Loosing his patience with the deadlock in deliberations between the
ruling and opposition camps, Fukuda made a historic policy switch by
using a press conference to make the announcement. However since
there still remain gaps between his view and that of the main
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), it can be
said that there is no future in his decision. With an eye on a
future battle with the government and ruling parties after gasoline
prices drop, the DPJ is now alert to Fukuda's policy change,
thinking that he launched the effort in order to gain support from
the public.

At a press conference yesterday, Fukuda underscored his view of
aiming to avoid the expiration of the provisional rates, saying: "It
is easy to run away for the reason that there is little time left.
But I will never give up."

In regard to a bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law aimed
at retaining the current provisional tax rates, the government and
ruling coalition have been coordinating to minimize the gap in the
provisional taxes for just about one month by enacting the
legislation in late April when the Lower House can take a second
vote once the tax reform bill expires in the Upper House at the end
of March. However, the outlook is that the public will react sharply
toward a revision of the special revision law that would lead to a
hike in the reduced gasoline prices.


TOKYO 00000858 005 OF 006


Therefore, Fukuda appears to have decided to show the public his
"fragile compromise" prior to his announcement of a policy to
readopt the legislation (in the Lower House). The reason is that he
predicted that even if confusion was created, criticism will go also
to the DPJ.

Meanwhile, being alarmed by Fukuda's such moves, the largest
opposition party yesterday revealed a set of three principles from
President Ichiro Ozawa, who has advocated scrapping the provisional
tax rates. An easygoing compromise with the ruling bloc will prove
fatal to the DPJ, which aims at the toppling of the Fukuda
administration. If the party continues boycotting deliberations, it
may be criticized by the public. Deputy President Naoto Kan said:
"It is a great progress and I highly value" (Fukuda's decision) to
allow revenues from road-related taxes to be freed up for purposes.
But he emphasized: "Integrating the special account from
road-related taxes into the general account and scrapping the
provisional tax rates are inseparable." Some in the LDP are reacting
coolly toward Fukuda's top-down approach of directly appealing to
the public, which former Prime Minister Junichiro often took. Fukuda
said: "I told party members (about my decision). (My decision) is
understood by most of them." But a senior LDP member commented: "I
heard about it from the prime minister in advance. But I did not
give my approval." He indicated in his remark that Fukuda had failed
to complete the groundwork in his party. Fukuda met on the night of
March 26 with Koizumi and former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa,
who have taken a flexible stance toward revision talks with the
opposition camp. If Fukuda fails to reach an agreement with the DPJ,
he will push ahead with his plan to shift tax revenues for road
projects to the general account. Given that, the prime minister's
decision might create a dispute within the LDP.

(4) Prime minister's surprise road-revenue proposal causes stir in
LDP

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

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced yesterday a set of new
proposals centering on a plan to incorporate the road-related tax
revenues into the general account starting in fiscal 2009 by
abolishing the road-use revenue system. His announcement that the
government and ruling coalition would implement the plan without
consent of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan has
created a sensation in the Liberal Democratic Party. Some have
reacted positively, saying that the outstanding issue since the
Koizumi administration would finally move forward, while some others
insisted that an agreement with the DPJ is a precondition for
implementing the proposals. The prime minister's plan is likely to
continue stirring up controversy.

An hour and a half before the prime minister held the press
conference yesterday afternoon, some 30 junior LDP members,
including House of Representatives member Masaaki Taira, held a
meeting with Fukuda at his official residence. In the session, the
group presented a set of proposals calling for such steps as
allocating the highway tax revenues for general expenditures
starting in fiscal 2009 and shortening the 10-year midterm road
improvement program to a five-year plan.

The group's proposals that were similar to Fukuda's pleased the
prime minister immensely.

TOKYO 00000858 006 OF 006

Meanwhile, a Machimura faction member, who has supported the reform
policy line advocated by former Prime Minister Abe and his
predecessor Koizumi, noted yesterday: "In order to boost his public
support, Prime Minister Fukuda must implement reforms regardless of
a backlash within the party." A junior member advocating the general
account approach also commented, "If the prime minister had not made
bold proposals, I intended to revolt against the party decision
during a second Lower House vote."

LDP Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga, the "don" of the
road policy clique in the LDP, also told reporters: "The proposals
were so audacious that I was really surprised. The prime minister
has vowed to protect local fiscal resources. Can he still deliver on
his promise after placing the road-use revenues into the general
account?" Highway Research Commission Chairman Yuji Yamamoto
indicated that an agreement with the DPJ would be a prerequisite for
the Fukuda proposals, noting, "Without the DPJ's consent, the
proposals would go down the drain." An influential road policy
specialist commented, "Reaching an accord with the DPJ is not
possible. Revision talks are over now," apparently with little
respect for the prime minister's new policy course.

The proposals also drew fire from a lawmaker from a local district,
complaining: "The prime minister's proposals have not undergone any
party procedures. I have repeatedly told people in my home
constituency that the road revenues are essential for building and
repairing roads. Is he going to force me to throw what I promised
into the wastebasket?" Local heads also expressed concerns, with
Miyazaki Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru saying, "The trend of
incorporating the road-use revenues into the general account seems
unavoidable. We would like to know exactly how the central
government is going to allocate revenues to local regions."

SCHIEFFER

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