Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/30/08

DE RUEHKO #1177/01 1210706
P 300706Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's schedule: Stayed at home during the holiday

Defense affairs:
3) US Navy in Japan to carry out personal surveys of military
personnel following string of crimes and incidents (Tokyo Shimbun)
4) Major gap exists between Defense Minister Ishiba and LDP over
reform of the defense ministry (Tokyo Shimbun)

China connection:
5) Prime Minister Fukuda being forced to reconsider whether he will
attend the Olympic Games' opening ceremony in Beijing (Tokyo
6) In meeting with former Prime Minister Nakasone in Beijing,
China's President Hu thanks Japan for hosting the Olympic Torch
relay (Mainichi)
7) Hu, Nakasone discuss trilateral Japanese, Chinese, South Korean
cooperation to promote Asian prosperity (Nikkei)
8) Decision at summit level on joint Japan-China gas-field
development to be put off due to lack of agreement on sea areas
subject to such an effort (Nikkei)
9) Wiseman's group proposes early signing of a Japan, China, ROK
free trade agreement (Nikkei)

10) Japan to propose new framework for halting financial unease in
Asia (Tokyo Shimbun)

Political scene:
11) Lower House to carry out override vote on tax-related bills,
reinstating the gasoline tax of 25 yen a liter (Tokyo Shimbun)
12) DPJ, reinvigorated by Yamaguchi by-election win, carrying out
street corner speech campaigns attacking the ruling camp on
gasoline, other issues (Mainichi)
13) Ruling camp revising its strategy following defeat in Yamaguchi
2 election (Yomiuri)
14) Medical associations in 20 prefectures come out against the
elderly over 75 being charged extra for medical care (Mainichi)

15) DPJ asks government to ban all U.S. beef imports following
recent shipping error (Mainichi)

16) Japan to use yen loans to developing countries to fund their
removal of landmines (Yomiuri)



2,000-km sites purchased for constructing highways not being used

Mainichi & Akahata:
U.S. Ambassador MacArthur held secret talks with Japanese Supreme
Court chief justice before Sunagawa ruling in 1959

600 million yen of high school fees unpaid

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Softbank to acquire 40 PERCENT stake in major Chinese Internet

Japan-China summit scheduled for May 7

Tokyo Shimbun:
Override vote in Lower House to be taken today to revive provisional
tax rates


(1) Global environment now in danger

(1) Work out measures to stabilize commodity prices
(2) Personal information protection law should be revised to prevent
cover-up of scandals

(1) Express goals numerically in basic education plan
(2) Efforts needed to prevent accidents involving elderly persons
using lift chair

(1) Business vision from long-term perspective now necessary

(1) Case of risk material found in beef shipment from U.S.
regrettable but must be dealt cool-headedly
(2) Use Beijing Olympics as chance to demonstrate Japan judo's
presence to world audience

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Japan urged to review policy over rice
(2) Give consideration to enabling households to use unused radio

(1) 79th May Day: Eliminate poverty to keep peaceful daily lives

3) U.S. Navy in Japan to conduct fact-finding survey of its
personnel's daily lives

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
April 30, 2008

In the wake of a cabdriver murder in Kanagawa Prefecture's Yokosuka
City and other incidents involving U.S. military personnel, U.S.
Naval Forces Japan will carry out a fact-finding survey of all Navy
personnel in Japan to look into their daily lives and signs
indicating questionable conducts that could lead to crimes as a step
to prevent U.S. military personnel from committing crimes, sources
said yesterday. USNJ will provide educational and counseling
programs to those who are judged to have a problem.

The fact-finding survey is a crime prevention measure to check U.S.
naval personnel's violent conducts or characters in an aim to
prevent them from committing crimes. The survey will start in May on
all U.S. Navy personnel and civilian employees in Japan totaling

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about 20,000, including those assigned to the 7th Fleet.

U.S. Navy officers will carry out a questionnaire survey of their
personnel's off-duty life and mental state. They will also keep tabs
on their personnel to check their troublesome or violent conduct. In
addition, the U.S. Navy will try to find out whether they have used
illegal drugs.

In addition to the fact-finding survey, the U.S. Navy will also
include anti-violence education in its daily training programs to
step up its crime prevention measures. Those who are judged to have
a problem in the survey will be reeducated in a thoroughgoing way.
Those who are found incorrigible will be confined to base and
possibly sent back to the United States.

In Yokosuka, a drunken U.S. serviceman committed a robbery and a
murder two years ago. After the recent incident, USNJ was urged by
the city to take thoroughgoing crime prevention measures. In August,
the USS George Washington, a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,
is scheduled to arrive at Yokosuka. Ahead of its deployment to
Yokosuka, the U.S. Navy has decided to conduct the fact-finding
survey in consideration of local sentiment.

4) Ishiba, LDP differ on Defense Ministry reform

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
April 30, 2008

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party are now working out their respective plans to reform the
Defense Ministry. Ishiba has set forth his initiative to overhaul
the Defense Ministry's organization involving the Self-Defense
Forces in trying to bring his ideal to fruition. Meanwhile, the LDP
has weighed the feasibility and plans its own partial reform of the
Defense Ministry. Ishiba and the LDP are looking at the ministry
with different reform plans, so their coordination is likely to face
rough going.

Ishiba is aiming for an organization with emphasis on civilian
control. His concept is that the defense minister and senior vice
ministers as political appointees will make adequate judgments and
that their directives can be easily handed down to the rank and
file. The Ishiba initiative is aimed at simplifying the Defense
Ministry's complicated organization, including the SDF's chain of

Specifically, Ishiba plans to separate the Ground, Maritime, and Air
Self-Defense Forces' respective chiefs of staff and the SDF Joint
Staff Office's chief from the SDF's chain of command and
substantially reduce their roles and scales so that the defense
minister can directly command the GSDF, MSDF, and ASDF. The Defense
Ministry currently has six internal bureaus. Ishiba wants to
reorganize them into three functions for defense buildup,
operational planning, and Diet affairs and public relations. The SDF
Joint Staff Office will be tasked with operational planning

The Defense Ministry and the LDP, however, are largely negative
about the Ishiba plan. "There is no need for the Defense Ministry to
go through such a big change in its organization," Gen Nakatani, one
of Ishiba's predecessors, said. Bearing this in mind, the LDP is
creating its own plan to reform the Defense Ministry.

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The LDP wants to minimize the Defense Ministry's reorganization,
with its plan to abolish the Defense Ministry's Operations and
Planning Bureau and place the SDF Joint Staff Office above the GSDF,
MSDF, and ASDF staff offices.

Ishiba and the LDP are likewise planning to harmonize the Defense
Ministry's bureaucracy and the SDF's uniformed staff. The Defense
Ministry and the SDF currently have their own sections for SDF
operations. Both Ishiba and the LDP want to unify these sections in
order for the SDF to better deal with emergencies. "I don't think
there is a gap between in our general courses of action," Ishiba

However, Ishiba wants to weaken the functionality of the three SDF
branches' staff offices. The LDP is aiming to revamp the SDF Joint
Staff Office. As seen from their goals, their reform plans are quite
different from each other in substance.

5) Will prime minister attend Beijing Olympic Games opening
ceremony? There being no formal invitation, whether to attend or not
is left for him to decide

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 30, 2008

Leaders of various European countries have either announced that
they would not be attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing
Olympic Games or are considering such because of the Chinese
government's handling of the Tibetan issue. Prime Minister Fukuda
said that he had not yet decided whether to go or not. What criteria
are the world's leaders considering when deciding whether or not to
attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games?

According to the Exchange Program Division of the Foreign Ministry
(MOFA), the host country of the Olympics does not send out formal
invitations to heads of states. The International Olympic Committee
(IOC) instead asks host countries based on past custom to avoid
state or official visits during the Olympic Games and not to send
invitations in the name of the head of the host country. The reason
apparently is to avoid having the Olympics being used for political
purposes as much as possible.

For this reason, even if a host country at a summit meeting or the
like invites heads of government to the opening ceremony, it is no
more than diplomatic protocol, according to the MOFA source.

Whether to attend the opening ceremony is left to the head of each
country to decide. If representatives of the royal family of each
country, the head of a state, or government leaders wish to attend
the Olympic Games, then the IOC traditionally treats them as
international guests.

If Japan's prime minister or members of the imperial family wish to
attend the opening or closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games
or watch the games, they would do so in a royal box in a stadium as
international guests.

However, according to MOF, former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita is
the only Japanese prime minister who ever attended an opening
ceremony of an Olympic Games held overseas. He attended the Seoul
Olympic Games in September 1988.

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Takeshita after the opening ceremony met with then South Korean
President Noh Tae Woo, their second summit that year, to
strengthened the relationship of trust taking advantage of the

Although Japan-China relations had been strained, Prime Minister
Fukuda visited China late last year. President Hu Jintao is expected
to visit Japan in early May. Hu is also expected to come to Japan
for the Lake Toya G-8 Summit Meeting in Hokkaido in July.

6) Chinese President Hu in meeting with Nakasone expresses gratitude
over torch relay

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 30, 2008

(Uramatsu, Beijing)

Chinese President Hu Jintao met on April 29 with former Prime
Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who was visiting China to attend a
symposium. Hu made this remark about the Olympic torch relay in
Nagano City on the 26th: "The relay was carried out smoothly and
without any hitch. I highly praise and thank Japanese persons
concerned for their cooperation." This was the first time for Hu to
refer to the torch relay in Nagano after the event. He made the
above remark in response to Nakasone's remark: "I hope the Beijing
Olympics will be a success." On his planned visit to Japan starting
on May 6, Hu stated: "I am looking forward to visiting Japan and
meeting with Japanese people. I hope that China and Japan will
cooperate in making efforts to establish a strategic
mutually-beneficial relationship."

7) President Hu to Nakasone: "Japan, China, South Korea should
promote" prosperity in Asia

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 30, 2008

Tetsuya Fujita, Beijing

Visiting former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone yesterday met with
Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in
Beijing. Nakasone has proposed that Japan, China, South Korea hold a
summit meeting. Nakasone sought Hu's understanding for his proposal,
noting, "If realized, it would serve as a forum to help bring peace
and stability to the world, as well as to give a message to the

Hu said: "If the three countries stand together, it would have a
good effect on ASEAN and create momentum for East Asian countries to
prosper together. " He added, "I want to strengthen economic and
trade cooperation with Japan, China, South Korea, as well as other
Asian countries." In the remarks, Hu apparently had in mind the
concept of creating an East Asia community.

Nakasone expressed the expectation for the success of the Beijing
Olympics. Hu, speaking of how the recent riots in Tibet will affect
the Olympics, said firmly: "A variety of views exist, but we are
firmly united to strictly observe our way of thinking and strive to
make the Olympics a success."

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8) Japan, China likely to forgo settlement of issue of joint
development of gas fields with both sides still wide apart over
subject sea areas for such cooperation

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 30, 2008

The Japanese and Chinese governments are expected to forgo an
agreement they had planned to reach before President Hu Jintao's
visit to Japan on May 6 on the pending issue of jointly developing
gas fields in the East China Sea. One major reason is because both
sides are wide apart over what will be the subject sea areas for
such development. The Japanese government wants to prevent
negotiations with China on this matter from backsliding and hopes to
reach an accord on basic principles of the joint development, as
well as on the timing for settling the issue during the Japan-China
summit meeting on May 7. Whether the Chinese government will respond
to Japanese overtures, however, remains to be seen. This was
revealed by several informed sources.

Although neither Japan nor China has officially linked the joint
development issue to Hu's visit to Japan, both countries in fact
wanted to reach a settlement before Hu's visit.

In 2003, China embarked on exploring the gas fields in waters near
the median line, incurring objections from Japan. Both countries
have been looking for ways to settle the issue through the joint
development of the fields.

According to officials concerned, the Japanese government has
determined that sea areas across the median line should be subject
to joint development and has offered a plan for such cooperation in
more than one location in both sea areas. The Chinese government has
responded to discussion of this plan, but it has not accepted it
completely. Bilateral talks on what to do about the gas fields China
has singly pursued, such as the Chunxiao gas field (whose Japanese
name is Shirakaba), have been stalled.

In the meantime, both sides have agreed to follow a two-stage
formula to promote joint development: (1) Both countries will
exchange a letter of agreement at a time when a general framework
for the joint development, such as sea areas for the joint
development, is determined; and (2) afterwards, they will launch
working-level talks in order to sign a bilateral treaty that would
stipulate details of the joint development. Japan and China are also
discussing ways to distribute profits from the joint development in
proportion to their respective investment shares. Chinese Foreign
Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu told a news conference yesterday:
"We'd like to swiftly reach a settlement that will be acceptable to
both sides."

9) Eminent persons' meeting suggests creating a trilateral FTA among
Japan, China, ROK as swiftly as possible

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
April 29, 2008

Tetsuya Fujita, Beijing

The meeting of the Japan-China-South Korea eminent persons
(sponsored by Nikkei, New China News Agency, and Joong-an Ilbo), a
forum for experts in political, economic, and academic circles to

TOKYO 00001177 007 OF 011

discuss cooperative ties among the three countries, yesterday ended
by issuing a set of proposals. The proposals stressed the need for
Japan, China, and South Korea to sign a free trade agreement (FTA)
as quickly as possible. The report also suggested that financial and
monetary cabinet members and central bank governors from the three
countries gather on a regular basis.

The meeting since its first session in 2006 has proposed that Japan,
China, and South Korea hold a summit meeting on a regular basis. The
three countries are expected to hold the first round of regular
summit meeting possibly this fall. Referring to this outlook, some
participants in the eminent persons' meeting noted that that was the
result of the discussions at the eminent persons' meeting.

China and ASEAN have signed an FTA, but negotiations on an FTA among
Japan, China, and South Korea have stalled, and trade liberalization
among the three countries have been delayed. Once Japan, China, and
South Korea, which are neighbors in Northeast Asia, conclude an FTA,
a significant level of economic effect would emerge. The eminent
person's meeting in its proposals called for a breakthrough in the
current stalemate.

The proposals suggested having a regular meeting of economic
ministers and central bank governors from Japan, China, and South
Korea, stressing the need for officials concerned in the three
countries to work in close cooperation amid growing concerns about
economic slowdown worldwide due mainly to the subprime mortgage

10) Japan proposes monitoring framework as measure to prevent
financial instability from occurring in Asia

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
April 30, 2008

It was learned on April 29 that the Japanese government had proposed
establishing a new framework for Asian countries' financial
authorities to monitor their financial systems in concert with the
aim of preventing major financial instability from occurring in the

The idea is an Asian equivalent of the Financial Stability Forum
(FSF) consisting of financial authorities and central banks of
Japan, the U.S. and European countries. The feasibility of the
proposal will be looked into at a series of international
conferences, including a foreign ministerial among Japan, China and
South Korea to be held in Spain in May.

Turmoil in the international financial market triggered by the
subprime loan crisis in the U.S. is becoming protracted. Under the
proposed framework, member countries would aim at dealing with the
issue in cooperation in order to prevent a similar problem from
occurring in Asia, including China, where the economy is continuing
to grow rapidly.

If Japan, China and South Korea reach an agreement, they would call
on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),
such as Singapore, to join. This Asian equivalent of the FSF will be
joined by financial authorities of Asian countries. The Finance
Ministry, the Financial Services Agency and the Bank of Japan are
expected to join from Japan. Members would regularly hold a meeting,
exchange information and promote international cooperation regarding

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supervising and monitoring the financial market.

To be specific, participants would determine the present state of
complicated securitized commodities that incorporate non-performing
loans and subprime loans held by banks in the region.

11) Provisional gas tax rate bill to be readopted in Lower House
today: Gas price to be increased 25 yen per liter

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Lead para.)
April 30, 2008

The Upper House has failed to take final action within 60 days after
receipt of the bill amending the Special Tax Measures Law aimed at
reinstating the provisional rates imposed on such tax items as the
gasoline tax. As a result, the Lower House at a plenary session on
the afternoon of April 30 will readopt and enact the bill by a more
than two-thirds majority vote by the ruling parties, after
considering the bill as having been rejected in the Upper House in
compliance with Article 59 of the Constitution. Following passage of
the bill, the government will adopt at a cabinet meeting a
government ordinance stipulating May 1 as the date of
implementation. The provisional gas tax rate of 25.1 yen per liter
will then be reinstated after a month's hiatus.

The gasoline tax is a tax imposed when products are shipped from
primary distributors. Since the provisional tax rate is not imposed
on in-stock items gas stations purchased in April, exactly when gas
stations will raise prices of the products they sell will vary.

12) DPJ in high spirits engages in outdoor speech-making prior to
revote on provisional tax rates; Party may block opening of Lower
House plenary session

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
April 30, 2008

Yesterday the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) blasted the government's and ruling parties' policy of
taking today a revote on a bill amending the Special Taxation
Measures Law, which would reinstate the provisional tax rates,
including the gasoline tax. Party executives gave outdoor speeches
and held emergency meetings of its Diet members. Backed by its
victory in Sunday's Lower House by-election in the Yamaguchi No. 2
constituency, the DPJ intends to draw a clear line in its position
against the government and ruling coalition. The party is
considering do-or-die resistance measures, possibly blocking the
opening of a Lower House plenary session today.

Holding up a sign board saying, "Gasoline prices will rise 25 yen,"
DPJ Diet members handed flyers to passersby in Yurakucho, Tokyo
yesterday. Nine lawmakers, including Deputy President Naoto Kan,
delivered outdoor speeches there.

Before an audience of approximately 300, Kan stressed:

"In the Lower House by-election, the public's will was shown. The
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which has continued
wasting money, is like a spoiled kid. What should be done tomorrow
is not a revote, but dissolution of the Lower House."

Kan's speech was met by an explosion of applause.

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The largest opposition party also held an emergency meeting on the
evening of the 29th of its special action team to prevent a gasoline
price hike. About 90 Upper and Lower House members, mainly young
legislators, attended the meeting. In the session, Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka underscored: "The revote is against
the interests and will of the people. It should never be allowed."

The DPJ will hold this morning a general meeting of all its Diet
members to confirm the unity to prevent the revote.

Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, along with the Japanese Communist

Party, Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the People's New Party,
will call on the ruling camp not to take the revote. If the request
is rejected, the DPJ intends to put up a do-or-die resistance, even
preventing Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono from entering the plenary

13) Ruling parties to review election strategy; Some members calling
for Prime Minister Fukuda to improve policy image

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 29, 2008

In the wake of the defeat of the candidate of the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) in the Lower House by-election in the Yamaguchi No. 2
constituency, the ruling parties are now being forced to review
their strategy for the next House of Representatives election. Some
in the ruling coalition have called for making clear the policy
imprint of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. In a meeting last evening of
the LDP executives, Fukuda stated: "The result of the by-election
was regrettable. I want you to analyze the result and prepare for
the upcoming election."

The LDP leadership has analyzed the by-election, in which the LDP
candidate was defeated by a margin of 20,000 votes, and concluded
that its candidate had secured the basic votes of the ruling
parties, since the number of votes obtained topped those secured by
Shinji Sato, who was defeated by Hideo Hiraoka of the Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) in the 2003 Lower House election.
However, the party leadership has growing concerns that the reason
for the failure to increase the number of votes obtained by its
candidate was an insufficient explanation of policies and poor
public relations.

The DPJ has expressed from early on its concerns to voters about the
newly introduced health care system for those 75 and over in local
newspapers and its policy flyers. The ruling coalition, however,
distributed its own policy flyers rebutting the DPJ's assertions in
the middle of campaigning for its candidate.

LDP Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga said in a meeting of his
faction on April 28: "We failed to come up with the strategy of
sending our messages to all voters."

14) Medical associations in 20 prefectures against new medical
treatment fees for elderly patients (over 75)

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 30, 2008

About one month has passed since the health insurance system for

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people aged 75 or older was introduced. Medical associations in more
than 20 prefectures are against new medical treatment fees for
elderly patients received by medical institutions form health
insurance societies, a key measure in the new system. The Ministry
of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) are desperately trying to calm
down such moves, while the Japan Medical Association, which approved
the introduction of the new remuneration system, is also stepping up
an effort to convince the opponents. The local rebellions, however,
are unlikely to subside.

The Ibaraki Medical Association (chaired by Katsuyuki Haranaka), an
active leader in expressing opposition to the new treatment fees, is
also calling for abolishing the new system itself, one member
arguing: "It is a contracted medical treatment system that limits
medical services for elderly patients." In a meeting of the medical
associations in the Kanto-Koshinetsu District on April 15, Haranaka
called on participants for their cooperation in the opposition

Under the new system, MHLW requires persons aged 75 or older who
have a chronic illness, like diabetes, to receive medical treatment
from their regular doctors. If a doctor formulates an annual
treatment plan for a patient aged 75 or older and continues to
examine the patient, the doctor will ask for a medical treatment fee
once a month (6,000 yen, of which the patient pays 600 yen in
principle). However, even if the patient receives certain
examinations or treatments several times, the health insurance
association concerned will pay only 6,000 yen. The introduction of
the fixed-amount system is aimed to curb medical expenses for
elderly patients, which have swelled to a total 12 trillion yen, by
having doctors stop excessive medical treatment.

Even so, prefectural medical associations express concern about the
possibility that some doctors might not give necessary treatment,
giving priority to their profits. Aichi, Osaka, Hyogo and other
prefectures have issued to their members notice calling for exerting
self-restraint or taking cautious action. Even municipal medical
associations are also raising opposition to the new remuneration

15) DPJ demands suspension of U.S. beef imports

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
April 29, 2008

In the wake of the discovery of specified risk materials from U.S.
beef, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) on April 28
called on the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to
completely suspend the imports of beef from the United States, as
well as to conduct on-site inspections of U.S. meat-packing

16) Government to provide yen loans to developing countries under
reconstruction to assist removal of landmines

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
April 29, 2008

The government on April 28 firmed up its policy course of actively
using yen loans to developing countries for the removal of
landmines. Yen loans have primarily targeted social infrastructure
projects, such as power generators, dams, and highways. Assistance

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for the removal of landmines has been carried out with small grants
and technical cooperation. However, bearing in mind the situation
that landmines have impeded the reconstruction of countries
following disputes, the government has positioned the disposal of
landmines as indispensable to the construction of social
infrastructure, making it possible to provide assistance with yen
loans. Consideration is being given to provide Angola in South
Africa with the first tranche since approximately 8 million
landmines are buried in that country.


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