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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/28/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 TOKYO 001159

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 04/28/08


Index:

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

Yamaguchi-2 Lower House by-election:
4) Democratic Party of Japan-backed candidate Hiraoka wins by a big
majority in Lower House by-election in Yamaguchi 2 (Asahi)
5) DPJ after Yamaguchi win: We've now got the people's will behind
us (Asahi)
6) Shock of losing Yamaguchi Lower House seat rocks Liberal
Democratic Party' (Sankei)
7) Nikkei exit poll in Yamaguchi election: 70 PERCENT of
unaffiliated voters went for DPJ candidate (Nikkei)
8) Exit poll by Yomiuri shows key issues were pensions and medical
care service; Japanese Communist Party supporters also a factor
(Yomiuri)
9) Asahi exit poll found 70 PERCENT of Yamaguchi voters against
reinstating the gasoline tax (Asahi)
10) Kyodo exit poll in Yamaguchi election found even LDP supporters
going over to the opposition candidate (Tokyo Shimbun)

11) Prime Minister Fukuda rules out an early cabinet shuffle
(Nikkei)

North Korea-Syria nuclear cooperation:
12) Ambassador Schieffer meets foreign minister, chief cabinet
secretary on North Korea-Syria nuclear cooperation issue, which

SIPDIS
"still continues today" (Yomiuri)
13) Government insists that North Korea-Syria nuclear cooperation
will not damage Six-Party Talks (Mainichi)

Tibet issue:
14) Olympic torch relay in Nagoya results in six protesters arrested
(Tokyo Shimbun)
15) Tokyo feels its efforts to persuade Beijing to open dialogue
with the Dalai Lama are paying off (Yomiuri)

Prime Minister Fukuda in Moscow:
16) Japan and Russia in summit meeting agree to Siberian development
survey, press forward with talks on northern territories issue
(Yomiuri)
17) Text of Fukuda-Putin exchange in their summit meeting (Nikkei)

18) President Putin promises cooperation in resolving Japan's
abduction issue with the DPRK (Sankei)

Host-nation support agreement:
19) U.S. base workers' labor union calls the DPJ's rejection of
host-nation support agreement, which contains their pay, "truly
regrettable" (Asahi)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
DPJ-backed candidate wins in by-election for Lower House seat in
Yamaguchi 2nd District

Akahata:

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Two JCP-backed candidates win in two single-seat constituencies -
one for by-election in Saitama prefectural assembly and one in the
Joetsu City Assembly election

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) LDP loses by-election in Yamaguchi 2nd District amid public
criticism of "revote"
(2) 3 years after derailment accident: JR must keep the accident in
mind

Mainichi:
(1) DPJ wins by-election: Prime minister needs to be fully aware of
public's anger
(2) Japan-Russia summit: Expansion of cooperative ties must be used
as leverage to promote Northern Territories talks

Yomiuri:
(1) By-election in Yamaguchi 2nd District affected by the eldery's
concern
(2) Japan-Russia summit: What is necessary to upgrade bilateral
relations to higher level ones?

Nikkei:
(1) LDP's defeat in by-election may herald political turmoil
(2) Don't put aside Northern Territories talks

Sankei:
(1) Lower House by-election: A detailed account of revote should
have been given
(2) Japan-Russia summit: Territory issue must be put high on agenda
at G-8 Toyako Summit

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Public's will reflected in DPJ's victory in by-election
(2) Chinese patriotic fever a double-edged sword

Akahata:
(1) Permanent legislation for overseas dispatch of SDF is nothing
more than for Japan to participate in warfare automatically

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 25

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 26, 2008

08:31
Attended a cabinet meeting in Diet.

08:54
Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani at Kantei.

10:15
Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

10:33
Arrived at Kantei residence.

12:24

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Left Haneda Airport aboard a government plane to visit Russia.

Local time

Evening
Arrived at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, Russia. Stayed at Hotel
Metropole

Prime Minister's schedule, April 26

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 27, 2008

Morning
Visited the Japanese Language Education Festival held at 1535 School
in a suburb of Moscow. Responded to interviews with Russian press
companies, including Itar-Tass.

Noon
Met with reporters accompanying him at Hotel Metropole.

Afternoon
Met with President Putin at the president's residence. Attended a
working lunch with Putin. Met with president-elect Medvedev at the
President's Guest House.

Evening
Arrived at Hotel Metropole.

Prime Minister's schedule, April 26 & 27

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

Night
Left Vnukovo Airport in Moscow aboard a government plane.
April 27

12:10
Arrived at Haneda Airport.

12:42
Made a return home report at Imperial Palace.

12:56
Met with Machimura at Kantei residence.

21:54
Met with LDP Secretary General Ibuki.

4) DPJ overwhelmingly wins Lower House by-election in Yamaguchi
Prefecture

ASAHI (Top Play) (Lead excerpts)
April 28, 2008

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) yesterday
overwhelmingly won a House of Representative seat in the Yamaguchi
No. 2 district by-election, recapturing the seat from the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) During the election campaign, issues
that mainly attracted attention were the newly introduced health
insurance system for people aged 75 and over and the government's

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road policy. The government and ruling parties will reinstate on
April 30 provisional gasoline tax rates in the Lower House by
resorting an overriding vote. The DPJ, however, intends to put up
do-or-die resistance and it has now launch coordination on the
timing for submitting a censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda with an eye also on the political situation in May.

In Sunday's Lower House by-election, DPJ candidate Hideo Hiraoka,
54, a former Lower House member elected under the proportional
representation electoral system, who was recommended by the small
opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), defeated LDP
candidate Shigetaro Yamamoto, 59, a former official of the Land,
Infrastructure and Transport Ministry, who was recommended by the
New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner. Hiraoka received about
20,000 more votes than Yamamoto. Voter turnout was 69 PERCENT
(72.45 PERCENT in the previous general election), with 308,017
voters going to the polling stations. The by-election took place to
fill a seat that had fallen vacant after Yoshihiko Fukuda of the
LDP, who had defeated Hiraoka in the 2005 general election, ran for
the Iwakuni mayoral election, after quitting his Lower House seat.
The Japanese Communist Party did not field its own candidate,
leaving the LDP and DPJ candidates to battle it out.

Hiraoka attacked the government and ruling coalition over their
road-construction policy, the pension-records mess, and the
controversial health care system for the elderly. The government
began withholding medical insurance premiums from the pension
benefits of those 75 and over on April 15, when the official
campaign for the Lower House by-election kicked off. This became
driving force for Hiraoka's campaign. The fact that the government
and ruling camp decided on a policy of reinstating the provisional
tax rates immediately before the election day appears to have
invited a backlash from voters.

5) LDP candidate's loss in Lower House by-election to deal blow to
Prime Minister Fukuda, with DPJ stepping up offensive

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

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (president of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party) has suffered a blow with the LDP candidate losing
the House of Representatives by-election in Yamaguchi Prefecture,
the first national election since Fukuda took office. Since his grip
on the party will now unavoidably be weakened, the prime minister
will find it more difficult to manage his administration. The
government and ruling parties will likely be forced to review their
political scenario as to when the next general election should be
held and under whose leadership.

Many in the ruling coalition believe that the new health care system
for the elderly was the main reason for the loss. As the government
started withholding medical insurance premiums from the pension
benefits of those 75 and over on April 15, when the official
campaign for the Lower House by-election kicked off, voters became
increasingly distrustful of the government and ruling camp. LDP
Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki has said that it
is impossible to change drastically the policy direction, but a
former party executive said: "Unless we revise the system, we will
not be able to win future elections." The opposition camp intends to
gear up to go on the offensive, calling for scrapping the system.


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LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima said: "There is
no change in our policy of taking an overriding vote on April 30 in
the Lower House" on a tax system-related bill regardless of what the
election outcome was. The government and ruling camp plan to readopt
on May 12 also a bill amending the Road Construction Revenues
Special Exemption Law in the Lower House. However, some junior and
mid-level lawmakers may criticize it, saying that taking an
overriding vote on the bill amending the special exemption law
contradicts the prime minister's policy.

Fukuda and Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura confirmed on
April 27 that they would decide in a cabinet meeting on the policy
of integrating the special account from road-related tax revenues
into the general account budget starting in fiscal 2009. Fukuda will
meet today with New Komeito leader Akihiro Ota. He will then explain
to the public specific measures for the shifting the special
road-related revenues to the general account in a press conference
after the overriding vote is taken on April 30.

6) DPJ gains momentum with victory in Yamaguchi by-election: "We
have the will of the people"

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 28, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) candidate won a House of
Representatives seat in the Yamaguchi Constituency No.2 by-election
yesterday, which marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of
the DPJ. The victory is likely to boost President Ichiro Ozawa's
strong hold on the party. Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka said: "We won a one-on-one fight. An overwhelming number of
people now rest their hopes on our party. The election result shows
that this is the beginning of the end of the Liberal Democratic
Party's reign." The main opposition party is now poised to
underscore a confrontational stance toward the Fukuda
administration, interpreting the victory in the by-election as the
voters' support for its views in debates with the LDP over the
provisional gasoline tax rate and the use of road-related tax
revenues for general spending, as well as its call for abolishing
the new health insurance system for people aged 75 or older.

In a party executive meeting this afternoon, the DPJ will decide not
to submit a censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
immediately after the LDP takes an override vote in the House of
Representatives scheduled for April 30 to revive the provisional tax
rates. Although the DPJ won the by-election, the party has yet to
determine the best timing for submitting a censure motion. The main
opposition intends to pour its energy into attacking the government
and the ruling coalition in the Diet session for the time being.

The DPJ is now very self-confident. Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
Yamaoka told reporters last night: "The government and the ruling
coalition should take the election result seriously and immediately
drop the health insurance system for people aged 75 or older. They
also should withdraw their plan to take an override vote in the
Lower House on the 30th to raise gasoline prices, because they
expressed their opposition to it."

Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama proudly said in a press conference

SIPDIS
last night: "We have come closer to launching an Ozawa government."
He added: "We now have more options in hand (to corner the Fukuda
administration). We will pursue the government and the ruling camp

TOKYO 00001159 006 OF 013


in the Diet over the health insurance system for very old patients,
the pension record-keeping fiasco, and the issue of road-related
taxes. While keeping in mind the possibility of submitting a censure
motion at the best timing, we will take action."

6-2) LDP suffers blow from defeat in Yamauchi by-election but still
intends to hold override revote on tax revenues-related bills

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 28, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidate was crushingly defeated
in the by-election in Yamaguchi 2nd District for a House of
Representatives seat yesterday, dealing a fresh blow to the LDP. But
the party still intends to hold a revote at the Lower House on April
30 over bills related to tax revenues. The LDP, however, is likely
to fail to present a united front. The party leadership may be
pressured to make a difficult response.

Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga and other LDP executives
arrived at party headquarters one after another a little past 19:30,
when the defeat of the LDP candidate became almost certain through
exit polls by news companies. Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki showed
up few minutes after 20:00. NHK had just reported the LDP
candidate's defeat.

Ibuki grumbled with a serious look: "The responsibility does not lie
only with Mr. Koga," and he then entered his office with Koga and
others. Appearing before reporters again before 22:00, Ibuki said
that the main reason for the defeat was "a lack of sufficient,
appropriate explanation about the new health insurance system for
people aged 75 or older."

All senior members of the LDP and the New Komeito attributed the
defeat to the new health insurance system in an apparent attempt to
throw the blame on former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who had
decided to introduce the new system.

Some LDP members attributed responsibility to the media. Ibuki
emphasized: "(The media) reported on the system in a distorted way.
That was the main cause of our defeat." Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura also commented: "Biased reporting also was one of
the key factors." Koga said: "The margin is within what we had
expected. I think there will no be effect on national politics."

Even under such circumstances, it is impossible for the LDP to put
off a revote on the tax revenues-related bill. A mid-ranking
official was overheard saying in a tone of self-mockery: "Let's
leave a matter to chance."

7) Exit poll: 70 PERCENT of unaffiliated voters cast for Hiraoka

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

According to an exit poll conducted by Kyodo News of voters in
yesterday's by-election for the House of Representatives in
Yamaguchi Prefecture's District 2, Hideo Hiraoka, who won the
by-election as a candidate from the leading opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (Minshuto), won over 84.6 PERCENT of votes from
those who support the Japanese Communist Party, which gave up on
running its own candidate, with only 15.4 PERCENT of them voting

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for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Shigetaro Yamamoto.

The JCP is expected to field candidates in about 140 of the nation's
300 single-seat constituencies in the next general election for the
House of Representatives. As far as the outcome of the exit poll is
concerned, the JCP's election strategy of narrowing down its
candidates is highly likely to work to the DPJ's advantage. However,
many of the JCP's supporters are also expected to abstain from
voting.

In the last election for the lower chamber, ruling ticket candidates
and DPJ candidates faced off in 288 electoral districts. To simply
add votes won by JCP candidates to those obtained by DPJ candidates,
the DPJ outstrips the ruling parties in 44 districts. The JCP has
yet to field its own candidates in 16 of these districts.

Hiraoka won over 94.4 PERCENT of votes from DPJ supporters and 70.5
PERCENT of votes from the electorate's voting population with no
particular party affiliation. Among LDP supporters, 23.5 PERCENT
also cast their votes for Hiraoka.

Meanwhile, Yamamoto got 76.5 PERCENT of votes from LDP supporters
and only 29.5 PERCENT of votes from the unaffiliated voters.

8) Exit poll: Voters concerned about pension, medical care vote for
Hiraoka

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged)
April 28, 2008

The Yomiuri Shimbun carried out an exit poll of voters in
yesterday's by-election for the House of Representatives in
Yamaguchi Prefecture's District 2, in which 38 PERCENT of the
electorate were concerned about "pension and medical care" as a
campaign issue. Among them, 67 PERCENT voted fro Hideo Hiraoka, who
won the by-election as the candidate of the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), with only 29 PERCENT voting
for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Shigetaro Yamamoto.
Voters' dissatisfaction with the government's newly introduced
medical care system for the elderely seems to have led to support
for Hiraoka.

The LDP and its coalition partner, New Komeito, are going to restore
the now-expired provisional gasoline tax rate. The exit poll asked
voters if they supported this course of action. In response to this
question, 31 PERCENT answered "yes," with 62 PERCENT saying "no."
Among those who answered "no," 79 PERCENT voted for Hiraoka. As
seen from these figures, a majority of the electorate's voting
population were negative about the idea of restoring the provisional
gas surcharge. This resulted in boosting votes for Hiraoka.

Among LDP supporters, 72 PERCENT voted for Yamamoto but 25 PERCENT
voted for Hiraoka. Among New Komeito supporters, nearly 80 PERCENT
voted for Yamamoto, with 21 PERCENT casting their votes for
Hiraoka.

Among DPJ supporters, 95 PERCENT voted for Hiraoka.

Among those unaffiliated with any political party, 73 PERCENT voted
for Hiraoka, with 21 PERCENT for Yamamoto.

In the by-election this time, the Japanese Communist Party did not

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field its own candidate. More than 90 PERCENT of JCP supporters
voted for Hiraoka.

9) Exit poll: 70 PERCENT opposed to gas tax restoration

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
April 28, 2008

The Asahi Shimbun conducted an exit poll of voters in yesterday's
by-election for the House of Representatives in Yamaguchi
Prefecture's District 2 to ask if they supported the idea of
restoring the now-expired provisional rate of taxation on gasoline
for road-related tax revenues, 70 PERCENT of all those polled
answered "no," with 25 PERCENT saying "yes." Among those who
support the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New
Komeito as well, more than 50 PERCENT answered "no." Among those
who support the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto), about 90 PERCENT answered "no."

10) Exit poll: 65 PERCENT opposed to restoring provisional gas tax
rate

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

According to an exit poll conducted by Kyodo News of voters in
yesterday's by-election for House of Representatives in Yamaguchi
Prefecture's District 2, 65.8 PERCENT were against restoring the
now-expired rate of provisional taxation on gasoline, with only 34.2
PERCENT supporting it. The government and the ruling coalition are
going to take a vote again on a tax reform bill in the House of
Representatives on Apr. 30 to restore the provisional gas tax rate.
However, the results of the by-elections show that many of the
voters have rejected the plan to take a second vote to restore the
provisional gas tax rate.

The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) has been
insisting on abolishing the provisional gas tax rate. Among its
supporters, 84.3 PERCENT answered "no" when asked if they supported
the idea of restoring the provisional gas tax rate, with 15.7
PERCENT saying "yes." Among the supporters of other parties, "no"
came from 83.3 PERCENT of those who support the Japanese Communist
Party and from 62.5 PERCENT from those who support the Social
Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and
New Komeito is insisting on restoring the provisional gas tax rate.
Among LDP supporters, 53.0 PERCENT answered "yes," with 47.0
PERCENT saying "no." Among New Komeito supporters, "no" came from
61.0 PERCENT .

Among those with no particular party affiliation, 76.1 PERCENT
answered "no," with 23.9 PERCENT saying "yes." According to the
exit poll, 70.5 PERCENT of the unaffiliated voters cast their votes
for the DPJ's Hideo Hiraoka, who won the by-election. Their
opposition to restoring the provisional gas tax rate backed him.

11) Prime Minister Fukuda says there will be no cabinet reshuffle at
an early date

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 27, 2008

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Shin Nakayama, Moscow

Visiting Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda met with reporters accompanying
him in a Moscow hotel at noon of April 26 (evening of the same day,
Japan time). When asked about a cabinet reshuffle, which some in the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are calling for, Fukuda
expressly rejected it, noting, "I am not thinking about it." Asked
how he would deal with a case where a censure motion against the
prime minister is adopted in the Upper House by a majority of votes
from the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and other
opposition parties, Fukuda said: "I'll make a decision at the time.
It will depend on a political situation at the time." At the same
time he noted: "Given that the ruling bloc fails to hold a majority
in the Upper House, there will be great meaning in (the censure
motion)."

Some in the ruling parties are voicing the need to reshuffle the
cabinet even before the Group of Eight (G-8) Toyako Summit in July
in order to boost his cabinet as its approval ratings have been
hovering at low levels. When asked about his views of a cabinet
reshuffle, Fukuda said, "I can't answer a hypothetical question,"
making it clear that he has no intention of reshuffling the cabinet
for the present.

A bill amending the Special Taxation Measures Law is now expected to
be readopted in the Lower House on April 30. Speaking of this
outlook, Fukuda emphasized: "For what purpose does the Upper House
exist?" Its' raison d'etre will be questioned. Isn't it that it
exists to come out with a conclusion?" Fukuda rapped the DPJ, which
is trying to delay taking a vote on the bill in the Upper House. DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa has been calling for an early dissolution of
the Lower House for a snap election. Referring to this call, Fukuda
noted: "I hear a variety of views exist in the DPJ."

12) U.S. Ambassador to Japan in meetings with foreign minister,
chief cabinet secretary says North Korea, Syria nuclear "still
continue nuclear cooperation"

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
April 26, 2008

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer on April 25 met with Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura and Foreign Minister Koumura in
succession to brief them on the U.S. government's announcement on
April 24 that North Korea and Syria are engaging in nuclear
cooperation. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Koumura revealed
the contents of the briefing from the Ambassador, who had said,
"(Nuclear cooperation between North Korea and Syria) continues
today." In addition, the foreign minister told the press corps:
"North Korea has no choice but to admit the truth (with evidence of
nuclear cooperation), and we will press the North to report on this
issue."

In the two meetings, Japan and the United States reconfirmed their
intention to cooperate in pressing the North "for a full and
accurate report of its nuclear programs."

A senior Foreign Ministry official, commenting on the U.S.
statement, gave this assessment: "With this, it has become
impossible for the U.S. to easily remove North Korea from the list
of states sponsoring terrorism." On the other hand, regarding the

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impact on Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear problem, the
official expressed concern: "There also is fear that North Korea now
will harden even more its stand, that the stalemate will get even
worse."

The government plans to bring up the North Korea-Syria
nuclear-cooperation issue at the G-8 Summit at Toyako in July.

13) North Korea's nuclear assistance to Syria: Government insists
issue will not harm the Six-Party Talks

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpt)
April 26, 2008

In response to the U.S. government's announcement that North Korea
is suspected of providing nuclear technological cooperation to
Syria, the government has stressed the enormity of the issue, one
senior Foreign Ministry official stating, "This is not a thing of
the past; it is serious because it is going on now." However, at the
same time, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura at a press conference
on April 25 said: "It is critical that the (suspected cooperation)
be made clear through (the North's) report to the Six-Party Talks."
He expressed his view that the issue would not damage the Six-Party
Talks.

14) Torch relay in Nagano: Six protesters arrested

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged)
April 27, 2008

A number of clashes between Chinese supporters and pro-Tibet
demonstrators occurred during the Olympics torch relay in Nagano
City yesterday, injuring four. Six men were arrested for trying to
obstruct the event. Eighty runners ran the 18.7-kilometer course
under tight security. The torch arrived at the terminus of the
Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay four hours later, about 15
minutes behind the original schedule.

The last runner, Athens Olympics marathon gold-medalist Mizuki
Noguchi, arrived at the Wakasato Park a little past 12:00 and lit
the large flame. Noguchi said: "I ran as I wished for peace,"
adding: "The Olympics is a big event held once every four years. It
is regrettable to see the Olympics intertwined with political
motives."

Police arrested four on suspicion of forcible obstruction of
business and one for violent acts during the relay. Further a
33-year-old company employee from Yokohama was arrested for riotous
conduct and violating the Traffic Control Law, while an Asian man
was apprehended after trying to charge the torch. Eggs and tomatoes
were also thrown.

(Kaname Fukuda, Seoul)

The Olympic torch arrived in Seoul by air in the early morning of
April 27. The about 24-kilometer relay will start in the downtown of
Seoul in the afternoon of the same day.

15) China adopts pose of accepting dialogue with the Dalai Lama,
setting conditions: Japanese government welcomes it as "fruit of
Japan's persuasive efforts"


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YOMIURI (Page 3) (Abridged)
April 26, 2008

The Japanese government has welcomed "as a fruit of Japan's
persuasive efforts" the Chinese government's indication that it
intends to engage the 14th generation Dalai Lama in dialogue.
Foreign Minister Koumura on the evening of April 24 told the press
corps: "We hope the dialogue will have substantive meaning and will
be successful. Above all, it is a first step (toward progress on the
Tibetan problem)."

The government was informed about the dialogue decision around 4:00
pm on April 24 by the Chinese government before the official Xinhua
press carried the story. Japan and the United States were informed
before European countries were. The predominant view in the
government is that the Chinese government gave consideration to the
Beijing Olympics' torch being carried through Japan on April 26. If
severe protest movements and turmoil occurred, it would cast a dark
cloud on the visit to Japan by President Hu Jin Tao, only 10 days
later.

Prime Minister Fukuda entrusted a letter to Liberal Democratic Party
Secretary General Ibuki addressed to President Hu when Ibuki visited

SIPDIS
Beijing in mid-April. In it, Fukuda urged a dialogue be started with
the Dalai Lama. A Japanese government source stressed: "The Prime
Minister's message was heard by China's leaders. A good trend has
started prior to the Japan visit of President Hu.

16) Japan, Russia agree to explore oil and gas fields in Siberia,
advance Northern Territories talks

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpts)
April 27, 2008

Tatsuya Fukumoto, Moscow

Prime Minister Fukuda on the afternoon of April 26 (night of the
same day, Japan time) met with Russian President Putin at the
presidential residence in the outskirts of Moscow. The two leaders
agreed to move talks on the Northern Territories issue forward. They
also decided to implement bilateral cooperation in the areas of
energy, transportation, and the environment. As part of energy
cooperation, the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation
(JOGMEG) is scheduled to embark on an exploration of oil and gas
fields in Siberia in cooperation with Irkutsk Oil Company, a Russian
private-sector firm.

The first summit meeting between Fukuda and Putin lasted for some
two hours including a lunch. Japan and Russia last summit was
between Prime Minister Abe and Putin in Sydney last September.

On the Northern Territories issue, Fukuda noted: "In order to
upgrade Japan-Russia relations to a higher level, I think it is
essential to have concrete progress bilateral negotiations." In
response, Putin said: "Based on the result of the past negotiations,
I want to promote talks. In order to advance the talks, I want to
expand bilateral ties overall. Whatever may occur in internal
affairs, I will continue the talks." The two leaders decided that
the two countries would continue talks with the aim of seeking to
reach a resolution, and that they would instruct their respective
foreign affairs officials to promote negotiations.


TOKYO 00001159 012 OF 013


17) Japan-Russia summit

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 27, 2008

The following are major views exchanged between Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda and President Putin.

Northern Territories issue

Fukuda: I think it is essential to move negotiations forward in
concrete terms in order to upgrade Japan-Russia relations to a
higher level.

Putin: I am aware of the difficulties the two countries are facing.
Based on the results of the past talks, I will continue talks from
now on as well. In order to make progress on the talks, I want to
advance bilateral ties overall.

Japan-Russia cooperation

Both leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in the Asia-Pacific
region while promoting reciprocal cooperation in a broad range of
areas.

Climate change

Both leaders agreed to work together to create a new framework to
prevent global warming.

Putin: It is important for China, India, and the United States to
take part in (a post-Kyoto framework). Russia is willing to work
together in this regard.

North Korea issue

Fukuda: (The nuclear issue) has reached a difficult phase. I think
it is necessary for the six-party talks to pressure North Korea to
come out with the whole truth about its nuclear programs.

Putin: Let's work together in the six-party talks from now on as
well. I will cooperate on dealing with the abduction issue.

Exchanges of leaders

Fukuda: I hope you will visit Japan even after you step down from
your post.

Putin: I love Japan. It would be a pleasure to visit your country.

18) Russian president indicates cooperation to move the abduction
issue forward

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
April 27, 2008

Keiichi Takagi, Moscow

Visiting Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on the afternoon of April 26
(night of the same day, Japan time) met with President Putin, who is
to retire from the post on May 7, at the president's residence in a
suburb of Moscow. The two leaders agreed to pressure North Korea

TOKYO 00001159 013 OF 013


through the six-party talks and other fora to come out with a
complete and accurate declaration of its nuclear programs, including
its cooperation on nuclear development toward Syria. On the
abduction issue, Fukuda told Putin, "I'd like you to exercise your
influence on North Korea." In response, Putin said, "I will
cooperate."

On talks on a peace treaty, Fukuda said firmly, "It is indispensable
to advance the talks," But Putin simply noted, "I will go ahead with
the talks from now on as well based on the results of the past
negotiations." The two leaders went no further than confirming that
the two countries would continue talks.

19) With Upper House rejection of the sympathy budget, workers'
union at U.S. bases react sharply

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 26, 2008

Although the special measures agreement extending for three years
Japan's host-nation support (sympathy budget) for U.S. forces
stationed in Japan was adopted in the afternoon by the Lower House
under a constitutional provision regarding treaties, that morning,
the full session of the Upper House rejected the agreement. This was
the first time for both houses not to have approved an international
treaty. This was because the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which
until now had approved the special measures agreement, to switch to
an opposing vote.

However, in response to the DPJ's opposing stance, Zenchuro, the
labor union to which approximately 16,000 Japanese employees of U.S.
bases belong, reacted sharply. As a result, Upper House committee
chairman Koshiishi of the DPJ visited the labor union's branch in
Yamaguchi, prior to the by-election, and handed over a letter from
DPJ head Ozawa addressed to the labor union members. The letter
apologized for causing "worry and concern" to the union during Diet
debate.

SCHIEFFER

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