Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 04/14/08

VZCZCXRO6742
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1020/01 1050826
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140826Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3423
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 9636
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7258
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0929
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5676
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7852
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2804
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8826
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9347

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 001020

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 04/14/08


INDEX:

(1) April 27 Lower House Yamaguchi by-election may dictate fates of
LDP and DPJ presidents; DPJ to pursue roads, pension and medical
care, while LDP to focus on local revitalization (Mainichi)

(2) Many in ruling coalition call for "Lower House supremacy" on
appointment requiring Diet approval such as BOJ governor (Tokyo
Shimbun)

(3) Ginowan concerned about delay in Futenma site use (Okinawa
Times)

(4) Ginowan mayor strongly calls for Futenma airfield's overseas
relocation (Okinawa Times)

(5) SDF trained as often as 81 times in 2005-2007 at U.S. military
bases in Okinawa (Asahi)

ARTICLES:

(1) April 27 Lower House Yamaguchi by-election may dictate fates of
LDP and DPJ presidents; DPJ to pursue roads, pension and medical
care, while LDP to focus on local revitalization

MAINICHI (Top play and Page 2) (Abridged)
April 13, 2008

The official campaign for the by-election of the House of
Representatives Yamaguchi No. 2 constituency will kick off on April
15 for the voting on April 27. It is the first national election
since the Fukuda administration was launched. On April 29, just two
days after the by-election, the ruling coalition will be able to
take an override vote on a bill amending the Special Taxation
Measures Law to revive the provisional tax rates on gasoline and
other items. The outcome of the election is likely to have a major
impact on the ongoing battle between the ruling and opposition camps
over gasoline prices and could also affect the fates of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro
Ozawa.

Despite his poor physical condition, Ozawa visited vote-rich Iwakuni
City on April 11. Taking a firsthand look at the severe situation
for the DPJ candidate, Ozawa reprimanded some campaign officials. He
did not offer a smile either when he met with executives of the
Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) Yamaguchi chapter, which
supports the DPJ.

In the 2005 Lower House election, the DPJ's Hideo Hiraoka was
defeated in the Yamaguchi No. 2 constituency but was salvaged by the
proportional representation segment. Hiraoka has higher name
recognition than the Liberal Democratic Party's prospective
candidate, Shigetaro Yamamoto. Ozawa is irritated with the situation
where Yamamoto's footsteps are being heard just behind Hiraoka, who
should be running far ahead of his LDP rival.

In the campaign, the DPJ is determined to focus on roads, pension,
and medical services for the aged, while the LDP is set to pledge
local revitalization. The differences in the approaches of the two
parties are reflected in the campaign posters of the two candidates.
The DPJ's poster shows Yamaoka standing besides Ozawa, while the
LDP's poster features Yamamoto flanked by nine local heads of the

TOKYO 00001020 002 OF 006


ten municipalities comprising the Yamaguchi No. 2 constituency.

Hiraoka showed up at an annual cherry blossom festival, held on
April 6 in Tabuse Town. Tabuse is the hometown of former Prime
Ministers Nobusuke Kishi and Eisaku Sato and is the LDP's
stronghold. Finding a spot in the festival venue, Hiraoka played up
his view to the cherry blossom viewers, saying: "Roads are not
unimportant, but pension and medical services cost money. The blood
money of tax payers must be spent effectively."

In an effort to gain support, Hiraoka also strolled around the
festival venue where LDP House of Councilors member Nobuo Kishi was
delivering a speech as a guest on the special stage in the
distance.

Meanwhile, the LDP conducted earlier this month an opinion poll in
the Yamaguchi No. 2 constituency to find out policies of interest to
voters. In the survey, 22 PERCENT of respondents pointed out
pension, followed by local revitalization at 15 PERCENT . Only 8
PERCENT of respondents pointed to the gasoline issue. The LDP found
the results encouraging.

Until his announcement of his candidacy on March 5, Yamamoto served
as Cabinet Secretariat local revitalization chief secretary. Seeing
the results of the survey, the LDP immediately decided to play up
local revitalization in the campaign.

On the night of April 8, Yamamoto held a small town meeting in
Iwakuni's Oze district. Before some 30 people, Yamamoto made an
impassioned speech for about 30 minutes, saying, "Local
revitalization centers on creation of jobs." Yamamoto did not touch
on the gasoline issue that night.

Defeat means slim chance for overriding vote for Fukuda and pall on
September presidential election for Ozawa

National Highway Route 2 running through Iwakuni is lined with
posters of the DPJ's Hiraoka shaking hands with Ozawa and of
Yamamoto flanked by LDP Upper House members Yoshimasa Hayashi and
Nobuo Kishi from Yamaguchi and Yoshihiko Fukuda, who won the Iwakuni
mayoral race on February 10. Posters with Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda, who should serve as the "poster boy," are no where in
sight.

An LDP headquarters worker in charge of the Yamamoto camp complained
by citing the 2005 "postal election," saying: "Back then, we simply
needed to tell people that we were the LDP, and votes followed
automatically. Today, the cabinet's support ratings are plummeting,
and we find it difficult to play up the LDP led by Prime Minister
Fukuda."

LDP Election Strategy Council Deputy Chairman Yoshihide Suga visited
Yamaguchi on March 5, the day Yamamoto announced his candidacy, and
met with LDP prefectural chapter secretary general Tadao Hasegawa.
Suga said to Hasegawa, "Posters of Mr. Yamamoto with local heads
would be better than with the prime minister." Responding positively
to Suga's suggestion, Hasegawa had his chapter prepare Yamamoto's
posters with nine local leaders via prefectural assembly members.

Will the prime minister still visit Yamaguchi to stump for Yamamoto
once the campaign kicks off on April 15?


TOKYO 00001020 003 OF 006


Even if the LDP does not make the question of the provisional
gasoline tax a campaign issue, the appropriateness of reviving the
provisional taxes is expected to take on a national referendum-like
imprint in the upcoming Yamaguchi race, which is a national
election.

The LDP's defeat in the Yamaguchi race would make it difficult for
the ruling coalition to take an overriding vote on the bill amending
the Special Taxation Measures Law to maintain the provisional tax
rates.

Re-adoption of the legislation in the face of objections from the
opposition camp is likely to prompt the opposition bloc to submit a
censure motion against the prime minister, thereby raising tensions
in the Diet. A failure to readopt the legislation would further
reduce the prime minister's grip on the government and might even
result in a dump Fukuda move.

At the same time, the DPJ's defeat would take a toll on its
offensive at the Diet, spelling trouble for Ozawa's foothold in the
party, which is already weak due to a failed attempt last year to
form a grand coalition, his abrupt announcement to resign as party
president, the party's defeat in the latest Osaka gubernatorial
race, and the approval of candidates for the Bank of Japan's top
posts that has left hard feelings in the party.

A senior DPJ lawmaker said, "In order for Mr. Ozawa to maintain his
grip on power within the party, a landslide victory is necessary."
The upcoming Yamaguchi race would be a test for the
"Ozawa-is-strong-in-elections myth" and would also affect the
September DPJ presidential race.

JCP votes now in focus

The Japanese Communist Party has given up fielding its own candidate
for the Yamaguchi by-election.

The step is in line with the party's policy course to narrow down
its number of candidates to less than 300 for the next Lower House
general election.

In the 2005 Lower House election, the LDP's Yoshihiko Fukuda, who is
currently Iwakuni mayor, defeated the DPJ's Hiraoka by a margin of
600 votes, while the DPJ candidate garnered 13,499 votes.

In the upcoming race, attention is focused on where the JCP votes
will go.

(2) Many in ruling coalition call for "Lower House supremacy" on
appointment requiring Diet approval such as BOJ governor

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 13, 2008

The view is gaining ground in the ruling parties that a new rule
should be installed that would give legal supremacy to decisions of
the House of Representatives regarding personnel appointments now
requiring approval of the two Diet chambers, such as the appointment
of governor of the Bank of Japan.

Even if the House of Councillors rejects a bill that the Lower House
once adopted, the Lower House can override the Upper House by a

TOKYO 00001020 004 OF 006


two-thirds majority vote. When the Lower and Upper House make
different decisions on a state budget, the Lower House decision has
priority.

However, the appointment of BOJ governor and other personnel
appointments require approval of both chambers of the Diet.

Recently the government's four nominations for the BOJ governor and
deputy governors were all rejected by the Upper House. As such, one
of the deputy governor slots remains vacant.

Masashi Waki, chief vice chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party
Diet Affairs Committee in the Upper House said: "It is abnormal that
the Upper House has excessive appointment authority. Since there is
no way to stop it, the current system must be changed."

LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki, in a speech
on April 12 in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, referred to the
political turmoil over the appointment of BOJ governor:

"I wonder whether it is all right to leave the Bank of Japan Law as
is. The cabinet has the final authority to appoint. If the supremacy
of the Lower House on which the cabinet is based in not taken into
consideration, the same thing will happen over and over again."

On April 9, the ruling camp, according to a source connected with
Diet affairs, set up "a study council on what to do about obtaining
agreements on personnel appointments. The ruling camp launched a
study on whether it is possible to add a provision giving the Lower
House supremacy in the same way that it has in passing the budget
and bills.

However, it is certain that the opposition bloc will strongly react
if the ruling coalition submits to the Diet a bill revising the BOJ
Law that includes a provision giving supremacy to the Lower House.
There is no possibility of such a bill passing the Diet. The
submission of such a bill is difficult, however.

Despite that the ruling camp has launched the study. The aim appears
to be seeking to constrain the main opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) so that the DPJ will not use its veto
repeatedly.

(3) Ginowan concerned about delay in Futenma site use

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
April 12, 2008

Ginowan City is in a hurry to prospect buried cultural properties at
Futenma airfield because of a 'lesson' in the past. The
archaeological study of cultural properties has greatly affected
plans to utilize the sites of U.S. military bases after their return
into local hands. Ginowan City has yet to study 70 PERCENT of the
airfield's area to be studied, and important cultural properties
could be discovered there. The city is therefore concerned about a
substantial delay in its plan to utilize the airfield. It has now
been 12 years since the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on
Okinawa (SACO) agreed on Futenma reversion. However, the government
has never shown even a schedule for Futenma reversion. As it stands,
Ginowan can do nothing.

The use of a military base site after its reversion has three major

TOKYO 00001020 005 OF 006


problems: 1) landowners' consensus building; 2) cultural properties;
and 3) soil pollution. In the past, archaeological studies at the
sites of U.S. military bases could be carried only after their
reversion. If a cultural property was discovered at the site of a
vacated base, a local government had to work out its land use plan
from scratch.

For example, Makiminato Housing Area, now returned into local hands,
is in a new downtown area of Naha City. After its reversion,
large-scale ancient burial mounds were discovered there. In Chatan
Town, a northern area of Camp Kuwae (Camp Lester) has been returned
from the U.S. military. In that area, a historic site was
discovered. Both Naha and Chatan made alterations in their
respective land use plans.

Based on the examples of sites returned in other municipalities,
Ginowan City is planning to carry out a study of Futenma airfield
before its reversion in anticipation of a delay in its land
utilization. The Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties does
not allow any on-site survey of cultural properties without land
development. However, Futenma airfield, which will be returned to
Ginowan City, is as large as 482 hectares. The Cultural Affairs
Agency has exceptionally approved Ginowan City's plan to carry out
an archaeological survey at Futenma airfield.

The U.S. military has given permission to Ginowan City for an
on-site survey of Futenma airfield. However, the runway and other
portions currently in use cannot be surveyed until its reversion.
"If we don't know when the airfield will be returned, it's difficult
to work out a plan to reuse the land," a municipal official for land
use said. The Japanese and U.S. governments are therefore being
called to immediately specify when they will return the airfield.

(4) Ginowan mayor strongly calls for Futenma airfield's overseas
relocation

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Abridged)
April 12, 2008

GINOWAN-It has now been 12 years since the Japan-U.S. Special Action
Committee on Okinawa (SACO) agreed on the reversion of Futenma
airfield. Ginowan City's Mayor Yoichi Iha, meeting the press
yesterday, released a statement calling strongly for the Japanese
and U.S. governments to move Futenma airfield to an overseas
location. Iha said. "The city's people are scared of aircraft roars
and are afraid of aircraft crashes. In order to resolve such a
situation, I will do my utmost to have Futenma airfield closed down
and returned."

Concerning traffic patterns studied for helicopters to avoid flights
over urban areas, Iha pointed to U.S. military choppers' repeated
training flights over urban areas even after an agreement was
reached between Japan and the United States in 2007. Iha added:
"According to the U.S. military's masterplan, there must not be any
obstacles within the clear zone. However, there are public
facilities and houses, such as Futenma Second Elementary School.
This situation cannot be left as is."

(5) SDF trained as often as 81 times in 2005-2007 at U.S. military
bases in Okinawa

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Abridged)

TOKYO 00001020 006 OF 006


April 11, 2008

The Self-Defense Forces carried out 81 training programs at U.S.
military bases in Okinawa during the three fiscal years, 2005
through 2007. Such "training programs" are de facto Japan-U.S. joint
bilateral training exercises. It shows that Japan and the United
States have been integrating their military forces in Okinawa, as
well.

This is the first time that such training has been revealed in terms
of their frequency. This was discovered from documented data
submitted by the Defense Ministry to Seiken Akamine, a House of
Representatives member of the Japanese Communist Party.

According to the data, the SDF conducted such training 31 times in
fiscal 2005, 18 times in fiscal 2006, and 32 times in fiscal 2007.
In their breakdown, the Ground Self-Defense Force conducted a total
of 28 training programs during the three fiscal years, the Maritime
Self-Defense Force at 5, and the Air Self-Defense Force at 48.

Those SDF training programs were mostly carried out at the U.S.
Marine Corps' Camp Hansen and the U.S. Air Force's Kadena Air Base.
The two bases are to be shared with the SDF, based on an
intergovernmental agreement between Japan and the United States on
the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

GSDF participants were trained to get a knowledge of "the U.S.
Marine Corps' organizations and functionalities." In addition, they
were also trained to fight in actual warfare through such training
programs as "landing operations," "martial arts," and "frontline
medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) for casualties." On Nov. 14, 2006, they
were also trained for how to deal with improvised explosive devices
(IED).

The SDF's participation in those training programs was reported in
the Asagumo, a newspaper published mainly for the Defense Ministry.
According to its Nov. 30, 2006 issue, 42 participants from the GSDF
1st Combined Brigade, which is based at the GSDF's Naha garrison,
received training from U.S. Marines who are back from Iraq, using
IED's actually brought from Iraq.

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:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC