Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/16/08

DE RUEHKO #1032/01 1070126
P 160126Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Diet agenda:
4) Prime Minister Fukuda determined to take a second vote in lower
chamber as early as Apr. 30 on gas tax bill, forgo Europe trip
5) Prime Minister Fukuda's Europe tour in early May difficult
6) LDP Secretary General Ibuki negative about cabinet shuffle during
current Diet session (Yomiuri)
7) Supraparty group eyes banning cluster bombs (Yomiuri)

Economic topics:
8) Gov't panel to warn British hedge fund against its J-Power bid
9) High yen affects Japan's forex funds special account (Yomiuri)

Japan-China ties:
10) Prime Minister Fukuda in meeting with Chinese President Hu
Jintao to work on China for dialogue with Dalai Lama (Nikkei)
11) Ruling coalition leaders in Beijing ask China for peaceful
solution to Tibet issue (Mainichi)
12) Prime Minister Fukuda to ask G-8 leaders for cooperation on
Beijing Olympics (Asahi)

13) E. China Sea gas development issue unlikely to be settled at
this May's Japan-China summit (Yomiuri)

Science & technology topics:
14) Japan to invite 7 countries to this June's G-8 science and
technology ministerial in Okinawa (Mainichi)
15) U.S., Japan institutions to start joint research to tailor gene
therapies for individuals (Asahi)

Defense & security issues:
16) U.S. military police take Okinawa-based servicemen's boys back
to base in alleged shoplifting case before local policemen's arrival
17) Okinawa police send papers to prosecutors on cab robbery
involving Kadena airman (Sankei)
18) Okinawa rally committee petitions Defense Ministry, Foreign
Ministry for drastic revisions to SOFA (Akahata)

19) Whaler captain back from Southern Ocean says Sea Shepherd boat
within a close range of 3-4 meters, jeopardized human lives



Asahi: Mainichi
Unofficial school websites hotbeds of bullying, with half carrying
abusive messages, according to survey by Education Ministry

Yomiuri Shimbun compiles proposal for establishing minimum

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guaranteed pension system, allowing families raising children to be
exempt from paying premiums

JVC to withdraw from domestic TV market to focus on Europe, U.S.

Government panel to express opposition to TCI's purchase of J-Power
stocks; First guideline for regulating foreign investors

Tokyo Shimbun:
Man arrested in connection with stabbing of woman in Fukuoka

New medical service system for very old people; Deduction of
premiums from pension starts


(1) General election in Italy: Politics needs renewal
(2) Returning home after quake: Provide facilities for those who
wait and watch situation

(1) Spreading anger over new medical service system for very old
people: Elderly people should not be abandoned
(2) Announcement of by-election: Good opportunity for political
parties to compete in explaining their policies to public

(1) Yomiuri Shimbun proposal for pension reform: Take medical
services and nursing-care into account

(1) Do not allow options for young people's job seeking to be
(2) New administration in Italy must carry out structural reforms

(1) New medical service system for very old people: We should
understand the system in a coolheaded manner
(2) Renewing teaching licenses: More resourcefulness needed to
improve quality

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) New medical service system for very old people: Use confusion to
improve system
(2) Sharp rise in food prices: Risk of buying food abroad

(1) Global food crisis: There are many things Japan should do

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 15

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2008

Attended a meeting of the decentralization promotion office in the

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Diet Building. Attended a cabinet meeting. Consumer Affairs Minister
Kishida stayed behind.

Attended an annual meeting of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum at
the Tokyo Prince Hotel.

Met the Japan cherry blossom festival princess and others at the
Kantei, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura and Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Ono. Later met Cabinet Intelligence Director
Mitani, Defense Ministry Defense Policy Bureau Director General
Takamizawa, and Intelligence Headquarters chief Hokazono.

Met Kyoto Formative Arts University Professor Shinichi Takemura and
Gaea Initiative President Tomoyo Nonaka, with Assistant Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Ando. Followed by Special Assistant Ito.

Met Machimura.

Met Special Advisor Yamatani.

Met Vice Justice Minister Ozu and Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Saka.


Met Lower House member Taro Nakayama.

Met Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Fuyushiba, Senior
Vice Minister Hirai, and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.
Attended a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

Met Environment Minister Kamoshita.

Returned to his official residence.

4) Provisional gas tax rate bill to be adopted again in Lower House,
possibly on April 30; Prime minister to forgo visiting European

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
April 16, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on April 15 decided to adopt as early as
the 30th a bill amending the Special Tax Measures Law aimed at
extending the provisional gas tax rate once again in the Lower
House. He had been looking into visiting Britain, France and Germany
during the Golden Week holidays in early May. However, he has
decided to give up the idea. He will give priority to cutting the
period of revenue shortfalls, because it will become possible to
readopt the bill in the Lower House on the 29th in compliance with
the Constitution.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) is determined to
submit a censure motion against the prime minister to the Upper

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House in the event the bill is reapproved in the Lower House.
Should that occur, the political situation would inevitably become
strained. The gas tax has been a campaign issue in the Lower House
by-election in the Yamaguchi No. 2 Constituency on April 27.
However, in order to stabilize tax resources, the prime minister
intends to have the bill readopted in the Lower House regardless of
the election result.

In the meantime, he will visit Russia from the 25th through the 27th
as planned. He is expected to meet with President Putin and
President-elect Medvedev.

5) Prime Minister Fukuda's trip to Europe now difficult

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 16, 2008

It has now become difficult for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to visit
Britain, France and Germany in early May. Assuming that the House of
Representative will revote on April 30 on a bill to restore the
once-expired provisional gasoline tax rate, Fukuda judged that it
would be difficult for him to secure a schedule for a trip to the
three European countries in consideration of managing Diet affairs
after the enactment of the bill.

Fukuda was considering a visit to Russia in late April to meet with
President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, who will assume the
presidency in June, as well as a trip to Britain, France and
Germany, after the passage of the gasoline bill, to ask the leaders
of the three countries for cooperation for the G-8 Hokkaido summit
in July. However, the view gained ground that it would be difficult
to arrange schedules with these European countries because of the
internal political situation, with opposition parties planning to
submit a censure motion against the prime minister (to the House of

6) LDP Secretary General Ibuki negative about possibility of
shuffling cabinet during current Diet session

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 16, 2008

Ichigo Kosaka, Beijing

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Secretary General Ibuki
late yesterday held talks with reporters accompanying him at a hotel
in Beijing. When asked about the possibility that the cabinet would
be shuffled during the current session of the Diet, which is to
close on June 15, Ibuki indicated a negative view by noting: "From a
common sense viewpoint, it is hard to shuffle the cabinet while the
Diet is in session, given the need for us to respond to questions in
the Diet. Shuffling the cabinet with the aim of recovering the
(cabinet) approval ratings is a case of putting the cart before the

7) Lawmakers call for ban on cluster bombs

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 16, 2008

A group of cross-party lawmakers held a study meeting in the Diet
building yesterday on cluster bombs, which release large numbers of

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bomblets that may remain unexploded and cause tremendous damage
later on. Branislav Kapetanovic of Serbia, who lost both hands and
feet when was trying to destroy a bomblet, spoke before the

8) Government to advise British hedge fund today to stop bid to
increase stake in J-Power

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
April 16, 2008

The government has decided to advise London-based Children's
Investment Master Fund (TCI) to stop acquiring additional shares in
domestic electricity wholesaler Electric Power Development Co.,
known as J-Power. The special subcommittee on foreign capital of the
Finance Ministry's Council on Customs, Tariffs, Foreign Exchange and
other Transactions submitted to the government a report suggesting
that TCI's purchase of additional shares would disrupt the
maintenance of public order. The government will issue an order
based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law for the first

TCI planned to buy more shares to increase its current stake of
about 9.9 PERCENT in J-Power to 20 PERCENT . In response to the
application it filed, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
and the Finance Ministry asked the subcommittee to discuss the
propriety of the TCI bid. The report noted: "The bid would bring
about an unexpected effect on (J-Power's) plan, operation, and
maintenance related to such fundamental facilities as electric power
lines, as well as the nation's nuclear power policy." Under the said
law, a foreign firm is required to give prior notice to relevant
authorities when it plans to purchase a stake of 10 PERCENT or
more. It is the first time for the government to recommend or order
a company to change or cancel its plan after the current applicable
business types were set in 1992.

9) Foreign currency reserve funds in special account reduced to
almost zero due to stronger yen

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2008

The Finance Ministry yesterday revealed that reserve funds in the
special foreign currency funds account had been reduced to almost
zero as a result of an increase in appraisal losses of foreign
reserves due to the strong yen. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ
or Minshuto) is insisting that since the reserve funds are buried
funds, they can be used to make up for revenue falls following the
abolition of the provisional tax rates. Finance Minister Nukaga
during a meeting of the Upper House Financial Affairs Committee
yesterday noted, "The reserve funds have been reduced to almost
zero. We have no intention of using those funds."

The foreign currency reserve funds are mainly invested in U.S.
government bonds. The current amount stands at approximately 17.5
trillion yen. However, according to the Finance Ministry, that
amount could be offset with the value of the yen reaching 101
against the dollar, when appraisal losses of U.S. government bonds
amounts to about 17.5 trillion yen. If the yen remains strong, the
special foreign currency funds account would register excessive
liabilities in terms of private companies, as the Finance Ministry
put it. Should that occur, the ministry would find it necessary to

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make up for losses in the reserve funds by reducing surpluses from
investment profits to be transferred to the general account.

10) Prime Minister Fukuda intends to press Chinese leader to have
dialogue with Tibet

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda intends to discuss the riots that
occurred in the Tibet Autonomous Region when he meets with Chinese
President Hu Jintao when the latter visits Japan in early May. The
prime minister will urge the Chinese government to have a dialogue
with the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, in order to
resolve the problem.

At a news conference yesterday afternoon, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura noted: "It is important to resolve the Tibet
issue through talks and in a peaceful manner. I think the prime
minister will tell (the Chinese government) to make even more

11) LDP, New Komeito leaders ask China for peaceful settlement of
Tibet issue

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2008

Eriko Horii, Beijing

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Secretary General Bunmei
Ibuki and the junior coalition partner New Komeito's Secretary
General Kazuo Kitagawa arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. They
met with Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the
Communist Party of China, and urged the Chinese side to resolve the
riots in the Tibet Autonomous Region in a peaceful manner. Ibuki
conveyed to the Chinese side that during the upcoming Group of Eight
(G-8) Toyako Summit in Hokkaido, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda would
ask for the G-8 leaders' cooperation for the success of the Beijing
Olympics. Speaking of the Tibet issue, Ibuki noted: "We hope to see
the matter settled through dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama and in
a peaceful manner." In response, Wang said: "The Tibet problem is
one thing and our hosting of the Beijing Olympics is another. Those
who schemed to link them caused the riots."

As for the planned visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao in
May, Ibuki said, "We'd like to make it a success as an occasion for
the leaders of the two countries to discuss important matters for
Asia and the world." Ibuki pointed out the need for both countries
to make efforts to resolve such issues as the joint development of
gas fields in the East Chine Sea and poisonous Chinese dumplings.
Kitagawa asked Wang about chartered flights between Beijing Nanyuan
Airport and Haneda Airport. Wang told Kitagawa: "We want to discuss
the proposal fully."

12) LDP Secretary General Ibuki conveys Prime Minister Fukuda's plan
to Chinese side to ask G-8 summit members for cooperation for
Beijing Olympics

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 16, 2008

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Hirotoshi Yamaguchi, Beijing

Bunmei Ibuki and Kazuo Kitagawa, secretaries general of the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner New
Komeito, who are now visiting Beijing, met yesterday with Wang
Jiaduan, head of the International Department of the Chinese
Communist Party's Central Committee. Ibuki told Wang: "Prime
Minister Fukuda hopes to see a successful Beijing Olympics. He plans
to seek at the G8 summit in Hokkaido in July the participants'
cooperation for the Olympics."

On the Beijing Olympics, the view has emerged in some European
countries and the United States that their leaders should forgo
attendance at the opening ceremony in response to the Chinese
government's response to the riots in Tibet. However, Fukuda has
made his position clear that he will ask G-8 members to cooperate
with China for the Beijing Olympics, giving priority to Japan-China

Ibuki also told Wang: "We hope that China will resolve the issue
through dialogue in a peaceful manner by disclosing information
further and securing transparency." He asked the Chinese side to
hold a dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual
leader. Wang then reportedly responded: "I would like to hear your

In the meeting: Wan welcomed the visit to China by the two
secretaries general, saying: "It is extremely important for

development of the China-Japan relations."

13) Japan-China gas field development talks: Reaching settlement at
summit difficult

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2008

Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka met with his Chinese
counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on April 14-15. They exchanged views
on the issue of developing gas fields in the East China Sea.
According to an informed source, they remained at odds over the
setting of an area for joint development. The issue is one of the
top agenda items at a summit between Prime Minister Fukuda and
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is scheduled to visit Japan
starting on May 6.

Prior to the summit, Tokyo and Beijing will undertake final
coordination during a foreign ministerial to be held when Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi comes to Japan on April 17. However, according
to a source involved in bilateral gas field talks, it has been
impossible for the two countries to hold talks on gas fields with
both pressed to deal with the riots in Tibet and the tainted gyoza
dumpling incident. As such, there is almost no chance for both
countries to reach a settlement at the upcoming summit. Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura during a press conference yesterday
said: "Unfortunately, we have not reached an agreement as of today.
Chances are that talks might continue until immediately before
President Hu comes to Japan."

14) Science and Technology Policy Minister Kishida: Seven countries
will be invited to G-8 science and technology ministerial

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)

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April 16, 2008

Fumio Kishida, state minister in charge of science and technology
policy, yesterday announced that Japan would invite seven countries,
including Brazil, China, South Korea, and South Africa, to the G-8
science and technology ministerial to take place in Okinawa in June
before the G-8 summit is held in Hokkaido in July. A total of 16
countries and organizations will participate in the June
international conference. The G-8 will hold a science and technology
ministerial for the first time. The main topic of discussion in the
meeting will be how developing countries and G-8 members should
promote multinational cooperation in a bid to resolve such global
issues as how to build a low-carbon society and measures against
infectious diseases. Therefore, the Japanese government reportedly
judged that the G-8 members would need to discuss the matters with
countries concerned.

15) Japanese, U.S. research institutes to launch joint research on
customized medical treatment

ASAHI (Page 33) (Excerpts)
April 16, 2008

Japanese and U.S. research institutes will launch joint research on
customized medical treatments to treat patients based on their
respective genes. The Center for Genomic Medicine of RIKEN (Wako
City, Saitama Prefecture) and research bodies under the National
Institute of Health (NIH) signed a written agreement yesterday. The
joint team will first engage in research on five cases, including
treatment of breast cancer and prevention of strokes.

This will be the first case for major research institutes of Japan
and the U.S. to carry out joint research. They have judged that by
making use of their capabilities and resources in an effective way,
they will be able to eliminate wasteful research and create
standards for treatments. Three research bodies under the NIH,
including the National Cancer Center will take part in the joint
research. Additionally, the Pharmacogenetics Research Network will
also take part.

16) U.S. military police officers took two shoplifters, sons of U.S.
Marines, to base; Okinawa Police Station: "Investigations have been

SANKEI (Page 30) (Full)
April 16, 2008

A salesclerk of a clothing store in Chatan, Okinawa Prefecture,
caught two sons of U.S. Marines for allegedly shoplifting clothing,
but U.S. military police officers who arrived at the scene ahead of
Okinawa police officers took them into custody and took them to a
U.S. base in defiance of the Okinawa police officers' request to
question the two, it was learned yesterday.

The Okinawa Police Station yesterday sent a letter to the U.S.
Marine police seeking an explanation, noting, "Investigations have
been hampered."

According to the Okinawa Police Station, at around 3:25 p.m. April
13, the salesclerk caught a 16-year-old and 17 year-old boy for
shoplifting T-shirts and other items in a clothing store in Mihama,
Chatan. Another minor who was with them fled from the scene.

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Although Okinawa police officers arrived at the scene some 20
minutes later, U.S. military police officers who had arrived there
earlier handcuffed the two minors and took them in custody. Although
the Okinawa police officers were allowed to identify the minors, the
U.S. side rejected their request to question the two and took them
to a U.S. base.

Since April 14, Okinawa police officers have been questioning the
minors on a voluntary basis in close cooperation with the U.S.

17) Papers on U.S. military police officer sent to prosecutors over
taxi holdup

SANKEI (Page 30) (Full)
April 16, 2008

The Okinawa Police Station yesterday sent to prosecutors papers on
Darius Antoine Branson (TN: phonetic), 21, a military police officer
based at Kadena Air Base, on charges of robbery resulting in bodily
injury in connection with a case in which four sons of U.S. Marines
had been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a taxi driver and
robbing him of about 8,000 yen ion Okinawa City on March 16. Branson
has denied the charges, saying, "Although I drove to a place close
to the scene, I did not instruct the boys to do anything."

According to the investigation, Branson, in conspiracy with the four
minors, is suspected of having brought the taxi to a halt on a
street in Okinawa City at around 0:20 a.m. March 16, hit the driver
in the head, and walked away with a box containing approximately
8,000 yen. From statements by the four, Okinawa police believe
Branson ordered them to attack the taxi driver.

Branson has known the four from before. He was allegedly with the
boys at his home on the base on the night of the incident and went
out with them in his car.

The four minors were arrested by April 5 by Okinawa police on
charges of robbery resulting in bodily injury. Okinawa police have
been questioning Branson on a voluntary basis in cooperation with
the U.S. military. He has reportedly been detained in a facility on
the base.

On the day the incident occurred, U.S. forces in Okinawa were under
a curfew in the wake of an alleged sexual assault against a local

18) Okinawa rally committee petitions Defense Ministry, Foreign
Ministry for drastic revisions to SOFA

AKAHATA (Page 3) (Abridged)
April 16, 2008

The Okinawa Prefectural Rally Executive Committee against Incidents
and Accidents Caused by U.S. Military Personnel visited the Defense
Ministry and the Foreign Ministry yesterday to propose revising the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) drastically and
carrying out a realignment and reduction of U.S. military bases in

Later in the day, the committee's members held a press conference,
during which they revealed that they would ask lawmakers elected

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from Okinawa to check how the SOFA will be revised and how the U.S.
military presence in Okinawa will be realigned and reduced.

One of the committee's members quoted Parliamentary Defense
Secretary Minoru Terada as telling them that the Defense Ministry

will work on the Foreign Ministry to revise the SOFA if its improved
implementation is not enough.

19) Captain of whaler comments on protesters: Protest boat came
within a few meters

NIKKEI (Page 43) (Slightly abridged)
April 16, 2008

The Nisshin Maru, the lead ship of a Japanese whaling fleet,
returned to Tokyo Port yesterday after wrapping up its mission in
the Southern Ocean. The ship was harassed by the antiwhaling group
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society during whaling operations. Captain
Tomoyuki Ogawa and crewmembers of the whaler held a press conference
at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries yesterday.
Captain Ogawa said: "The protest boat came only three or four meters
away from our ship. If the ships had collided, it would have
threatened human lives." He added: "I want them not to forget

According to Ogawa, when protesters threw bottles containing a
chemical, the protest boat came so close to the whaling ship that
the two ships were about to collide. Ogawa criticized Sea Shepherd:
"(Protesters) should stop any acts that could inflict damage to
ships or threaten people's lives. (Violent acts) should be taken up
at an international arena."


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