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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Putin/Medvedev

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1034 1070230
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160230Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS TOKYO 001034

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - PUTIN/MEDVEDEV
TRANSITION AND ITALIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION


1. LEAD STORIES: Top stories on Wednesday morning
include an informal decision by the GOJ to reject a bid
by a British investment fund to increase its stake in a
Japanese electricity company on the grounds that the
plan runs the risk of "undermining the maintenance of
public order."

2. "President-Elect to Be Hamstrung" The liberal Tokyo
Shimbun's Moscow correspondent wrote (4/16): "The fact
that President Putin has become the head of the ruling
United Russia party means that he will effectively be
the nation's supreme leader, exceeding the president in
authority.... Given the party's control of more than 70
percent of the seats in the Duma, this political power
will allow Putin to name the nation's prime minister
and impeach the president. President-elect Medvedev
will thus find it hard to play the 'trump card' of
threatening to dismiss the prime minister."

3. "Putin Controls Legislature to Prevent 'Betrayal'"
The conservative Sankei reported from Moscow (4/16):
"Upon the inauguration of new Russian President
Medvedev on May 7, Putin will become the prime
minister, and his control over both the government and
the Duma will allow him to prevent any 'betrayal' by
the new president. Putin appears to be becoming the
'father of the nation' who embodies Russia's
rejuvenation."

4. "New Italian Government Tasked with Undertaking
Structural Reform" The business-oriented Nikkei
editorialized (4/16): "Two paramount tasks await the
new Italian government to be led by former Prime
Minister Berlusconi.... A new administration must first
undertake structural reform to bolster the country's
economic growth. Berlusconi has a record of pork-barrel
spending that exacerbated Italy's fiscal situation. In
the recent election campaign, he also made much of a
pledge to carry out tax cuts that may not be feasible.
If he fails to rebuild the economy, the political
situation in Italy is likely to slide back into
instability."

SCHIEFFER

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