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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04//08

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DE RUEHKO #0894/01 0930109
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
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RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7010
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RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2563
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8592
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9135

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 000894

SIPDIS

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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//08


Index:

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

Defense and security affairs:
4) U.S. sailor admits to slaying of taxi driver in Yokosuka; Police
to seek questioning (Yomiuri)
5) Police to seek arrest warrant for U.S. sailor in connection with
slaying of taxi driver in Yokosuka (Mainichi)
6) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to oppose special measures
agreement for host nation support of U.S. forces in Japan that is
now before the Diet (Asahi)

7) Due to government anxieties, Royal Family to skip opening
ceremony of the Beijing Olympics (Sankei)

8) Gloomy Bank of Japan Tankan outlook seems to point to recession
on the way (Mainichi)

9) Government to propose drafting of new ODA strategy for newly
industrializing countries (Nikkei)

Diet in turmoil:
10) DPJ President Ozawa turns to next issue to hit Fukuda
administration with: pension mess, with possible censure motion
against health and labor minister (Nikkei)
11) Ozawa to seek resignation of Minister Masuzoe for "breaching
public pledge" on resolving pension issue (Mainichi)
12) Ozawa denies that he ever hinted at accepting Muto for governor
of the Bank of Japan (Yomiuri)
13) Ruling and opposition camps settle into the second round of the
"gasoline tax war" in the Diet (Tokyo Shimbun)
14) Ruling and opposition camps engage in "war of documents" proving
their points on gasoline-tax issue (Yomiuri)
15) Liberal nonpartisan study group that centers on Koichi Kato and
Taku Yamasaki now has 70 members, including DPJ's Hatoyama (Nikkei)

16) Former Prime Minister Koizumi, former LDP Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa, and former defense chief Koike starting
environmental league in Diet (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri & Tokyo Shimbun:
Kanagawa Prefectural Police to question U.S. serviceman in
connection with murder of taxi driver in response to his deposition
given to U.S. military, in which he admitted murder

Nikkei:
Toyota Motor to invest more money in Fuji Heavy Industries in order
to hold some 17 PERCENT of shares

Sankei:
Japan decides not to ask the Imperial Family to attend the Opening
Ceremony of Beijing Olympics because of a number of unstable
factors

Akahata:

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Cruel spring for long living people with the start of the new
medical care system for elderly aged 75 or above

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Cancellation of screening of movie "Yasukuni" in Tokyo, Osaka:
Freedom of expression threatened
(2) Why has business confidence weakened?

Mainichi:
(1) Cancellation of screening of movie "Yasukuni" must not be
overlooked
(2) Price-hike spring: Japan needs to rebuild its economy to meet
the new price system

Yomiuri:
(1) Tankan shows economy leveling off
(2) Cancellation of screening of movie "Yasukuni": We must protect
freedom of expression

Nikkei:
(1) Tankan indicates Japanese firms on the brink
(2) Proper treatment of part-timers required

Sankei:
(1) Cancellation of screening of movie "Yasukuni": Controversial
movie worth watching
(2) New ROK government has ended appeasement policy toward DPRK

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Scrapping of provisional tax rates: Time to consider using
surplus funds in government's special accounts
(2) Cancellation of screening of movie "Yasukuni" attributable to
excessive self-regulation

Akahata:
(1) Statement on preemptive use of nuclear arms: Those who dwell on
possible use of nuclear arms must be isolated for elimination of
nuclear weapons from the globe

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 1

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

09:03
Attended a cabinet meeting.

10:23
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono at the Kantei, followed by
Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ando. Afterward met Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

11:11
Met Consumer Administration Promotion Council Chairman Takeshi
Sasaki, followed by Special Cabinet Advisor Kurokawa, joined in by
Machimura.

13:04

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Met LDP Secretary General Ibuki, joined in by Machimura.

14:24
Met Foreign Ministry European Affairs Bureau Director-General Harada
and Economic Affairs Bureau Director-General Otabe.

15:46
Met advisor Ito.

16:26
Met Special Advisors to the Cabinet Nishimura and Kusaka and
Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Saka and Ando, followed
by former Finance Minister Omi.

17:05
Met Oman Minister of National Heritage and Culture Haythim.
Afterward attended a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal
Policy.

18:53
Met Japan Business Federation Chairman Mitarai.

19:04
Met Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Shirakawa.

19:27
Returned to his official residence.

20:19
With his wife, Kiyoko, visited the home of their acquaintance in
Nagatacho on foot.

20:40
Returned to his official residence.

4) U.S. sailor admits to cabdriver murder; Kanagawa police asks U.S.
Navy to allow questioning

YOMIUIRI (Top play) (Abridged)
April 2, 2008

Masaaki Takahashi, a 61-year-old taxi driver of Tokyo's
Shinagawa-ku, was recently found slain in his taxi on a street in
the city of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. In connection with this
incident, a Yokosuka-based 22-year-old Nigerian-American U.S. Navy
seaman apprentice (itto suihei), whose credit card was discovered in
Takahashi's taxi, has admitted to killing Takahashi by telling the
U.S. Navy's Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that he had
"stabbed" Takahashi, sources said yesterday. A task force of the
Yokosuka Police Station yesterday asked the U.S. Navy to allow
questioning of the U.S. sailor under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces
Agreement. The task force will question the sailor today and will
seek an arrest warrant for the sailor on a charge of murder as soon
as it receives a statement admitting to the charge.

According to investigative sources, the U.S. sailor called the
Yokosuka base on Mar. 22, three days after the incident, and he is
now under custody of the NCIS. The sailor has been questioned on a
charge of desertion. The sailor earlier denied his involvement by
stating that he was at a bar (inshokuten) near the city's Dobuita
Dori street near the crime scene when the murder took place and that
he had lost his credit card. However, the sailor's statement changed

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again and again. He yesterday owned up to killing Takahashi.

The U.S. sailor called an acquaintance on the evening of Mar. 19
when Takahashi was killed, and he implied his involvement by telling
that acquaintance that he "did it." A man bearing a close
resemblance to the sailor was caught by a security camera near JR
Shinagawa Station in Tokyo's Minato-ku at around 7:30 p.m. that
day.

5) Police to seek arrest warrant for U.S. sailor over murder of taxi
driver

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
April 2, 2008


A 22-year-old U.S. serviceman detained by the U.S. Navy on a charge
of desertion has admitted to killing a taxi driver in the city of
Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, sources revealed yesterday. The
61-year-old taxi driver, Masaaki Takahashi, was recently found
stabbed to death in the driver's seat of his taxi on a road in
Yokosuka. Kanagawa prefectural police will question the U.S. sailor
today, suspecting that he was involved in the incident. This is the
first time for the local police to question the sailor. Kanagawa
police will seek an arrest warrant for the sailor on murder and
other charges as soon as the suspicion is firmed up. Based on an
intergovernmental agreement between Japan and the United States, the
police will ask the U.S. Navy to turn over the sailor prior to
indictment. The U.S. Navy is expected to agree.

According to investigative sources, the U.S. sailor is a seaman
(joto suihei) on the USS Cowpens, an Aegis-equipped cruiser based at
Yokosuka.

The U.S. sailor had earlier insisted on his alibi by stating that he
was at a nearby bar along the city's Dobuita Dori street when the
incident took place.

The sailor has been detained at the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base, where
Kanagawa prefectural police investigators will visit today to
question him.

6) DPJ to oppose sympathy budget

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
April 2, 2008

The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) decided
yesterday to oppose Diet approval for a new special agreement
proposed by the government to extend Japan's burden sharing of costs
for the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan (omoiyari yosan or
literally "sympathy budget"). The DPJ will confirm the decision in a
meeting of its shadow cabinet today. The proposed special agreement
will shortly clear the House of Representatives and is expected to
be sent to the House of Councillors. The DPJ intends to reject the
agreement in the House of Councillors until early May when the
budget will be substantially affected. The agreement will be
approved with the House of Representatives' decision taking
precedence over the House of Councillors'.

The DPJ has approved the last two agreements from its stance of
attaching importance to the Japan-U.S. alliance. This is the first

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time for the DPJ to oppose the agreement. The DPJ has found from
documents obtained from the Defense Ministry that Japanese employees
had been hired for recreational purposes and that there were
something unclear about contracts on offered facilities. There was
strong criticism from within the DPJ, claiming that spending cuts
are insufficient.

7) Government to turn down China's invitation for Imperial Family
members to attend Beijing Olympics opening ceremony due to unstable
factors

SANKEI (Top play) (Excerpts)
April 2, 2008

The government decided yesterday not to accept China's invitation
for Imperial Family members, including the Emperor and Empress, to
attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. The government
has concluded that the invitation was premature, given a number of
unstable factors, such as poisoned dumplings case, deadlocked talks
on the joint development of gas fields in the East China Sea, and
riots in Tibet. There is a move among European countries to refuse
to attend the opening ceremony. The question of who the Japanese
government is going to send to the opening ceremony is a "clean
state," according to a senior Foreign Ministry official.

With the Imperial Household Agency and Foreign Ministry remaining
negative about Royal Family attendance, a government source said:
"Since before the dumpling case in February, we had not planned on
the attendance of Imperial Family members. Given that the riots in
Tibet are now drawing much international attention, we are more
convinced than ever that we should not have them go."

The Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) has not taken a clear-cut
attitude. Meanwhile, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Haruko
Arimura asked about the matter in a House of Councillors Cabinet
Committee meeting on March 27. In response, Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Mitsuhide Iwaki took a cautious attitude, saying: "We will

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study the matter carefully, based on a variety of circumstances."

In January 2007, China informally invited the Crown Prince and Crown
Princess via then Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi (currently
vice foreign minister) and others to attend the opening ceremony.
Premier Wen Jiabao, who had an audience with the Emperor during his
visit to Japan in April 2007, also invited attendance by Imperial
Family members, saying: "We would like the Emperor and other
Imperial Family members to come (to the Olympics) by all means." In
response, the Emperor stated: "My visits to foreign countries must
be considered by the government."

8) BOJ "Tankan" survey: Business confidence drops to lowest level in
four years and three months; Economy on brink of recession; Possible
early interest rate cut; Concern about U.S. economy, yen's
appreciation, falling stock prices, surges in crude oil prices

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Excerpts)
April 2, 2008

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) on April 1 released a "Tankan" or short-term
business survey report for March. The report underscores that
business confidence at leading companies and manufacturers, which
have been a driving force for the economic expansion, has
deteriorated with the diffusion index for their sectors dropping to

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the lowest level in four years and three months. Factors underlying
the deterioration in their business confidence center on the rapidly
worsened business environment since early this year, including a
growing concern about the U.S. economy, which is showing indications
of facing a financial crisis, entering into recession, the sharp
appreciation of the yen, falling stock prices and surges in crude
oil prices. Chances are that companies may increasingly constrain or
put off investments in plant and equipment from now on. A growing
view is that the Japanese economy has been driven to the brink of a
recession.

Among 15 business sectors covered by those leading companies and
manufacturers, only the paper and pulp industry's business
confidence has improved from the previous survey carried out in
December last year. The DI for the steel, non-ferrous metal,
electric machine, shipbuilding and heavy machinery and precision
machinery industries, which have thus far produced positive business
performance, has marked a double-digit decline.

The size of the capital investment plan of leading companies and
manufacturers for fiscal 2008 dropped 3.3 PERCENT , the largest
decline since fiscal 2002, compared with the previous year. The
result indicates that they are becoming cautious about making
capital investment.

The government and the BOJ acknowledged that the Japanese economy
has entered a temporary pause. However, they also noted that the
mechanism of economic recovery in which an increase in corporate
profits led by robust exports boosting personal consumption through
wage increases is still in place. They envisage that the Japanese
economy would remain on an expansionary trend, based on the premise
that even if the U.S. economy enters a temporary recession, it would
pull out of it in late 2008. However, the Tankan survey for March
has revealed that there is a huge gap between this optimistic
scenario of the government and the BOJ, and companies' harsh
perception of the economy.

Some market players have already pointed out that the BOJ's economic
expansion scenario has been derailed, as an analyst at BNP Paribas
put it. There has also appeared an observation that the BOJ would be
forced to lower the interest rate at an early date. How will the BOJ
keep the Japanese economy from entering into recession when its
policy interest rate is only 0.5 PERCENT ? The management of
monetary policy by the BOJ has reached a crucial juncture.

9) Government to call on emerging countries to create ODA norms,
aiming to push for information disclosure, consideration for human
rights

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
April 2, 2008

The government will call on emerging countries to create norms for
official development assistance (ODA), with the aim of urging them
to disclose information on their aid programs and to provide
assistance based on consideration for such issues as human rights
and environmental protection. The government also aims to put
pressure on China and other countries that have become more
influential with developing countries.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura and his South Korean counterpart
Yu Myung-hwan, when Yu visits Japan starting on April 3, are

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expected to meet and agree to jointly host a conference of emerging
aid-providing countries in Bangkok later this month. They aim to
bring together bureau-director-level officers from more than 30
countries, including industrialized countries and emerging nations
in Asia and in Central and Eastern Europe.

Such emerging nations as China have been stepping up assistance to
Africa. One of their aims is to secure natural resources, such as
crude oil and rare metals. In some cases, they assist countries that
have problems in terms of human rights, and in other cases, their
development-aid projects lead to destroying the environment, evoking
criticism from countries in Europe and other regions.

In the conference in Bangkok, Japan will demonstrate how to tabulate
data needed to announce ODA disbursements, as well as how to monitor
the situation after aid is offered. Japan will then announce a plan
to help the emerging countries introduce such means. It will also
urge them to select aid recipients while giving consideration to the
aspect of human rights and the environment. Further, Japan will call
on emerging countries to temporarily suspend additional aid to
developing countries to which industrialized countries forgave their
debts, in order to enhance their fiscal discipline.

Japan will also suggest that Japan and the emerging countries
introduce a system to jointly offer assistance. The government
expects that Japan, which is suffering from tight fiscal
restrictions, will take charge mainly of the transfer of technology,
while emerging countries will be responsible for financial aid.

10) DPJ now turning critical eye on pension issue; To submit censure
motion against health and welfare minister with eye on the
possibility of early dissolution of Lower House

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

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is gearing up
to drive the government and the ruling bloc into a tight corner in
pursuing the pension data fiasco, following the just realized
gasoline price cut. Its President Ichiro Ozawa told a news
conference yesterday that his party would consider submitting a
censure motion against Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW)
Yoichi Masuzoe. As the reason for the submission, Ozawa cited the
government's failure to identify all of the unidentified 50 million
pension premium payment records by the end of March. By grilling the
government relentlessly, the DPJ, which sees April as a month of
decisive battle, intends to further attack the government with an
eye on forcing dissolution of the Lower House election for a snap
election.

April 1 was an "epoch-making day," DPJ Deputy President Naoto Kan
said, for the DPJ was seeing a gasoline price cut being realized,
something that the party had called for since last year. But what
Ozawa read out at the beginning of the press briefing was the
party's statement concerning the pension records mess. The statement
calls on the government to apologize for its failure to implement
its campaign pledge and drastically review the measures now taken.
It concludes that a change of government should be realized swiftly,
and that the job of resolving the pension problem should be
entrusted to the DPJ.

Of the unidentified 50 million pension premium payment records, the

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government has stated that 20,250,000 records or some 40 PERCENT
should be soon identified. But the DPJ argues that more than 90
PERCENT or 46,780,000 records have been left unsettled. This gap is
attributable to an emergence of the possibility that even the
records that the government has said would not lead to benefits may
contain cases that have caused pension losses.

The DPJ also intends to attack the government for the new medical
care system for the elderly aged 75 or above. Under this system,
premiums will be withheld from the elderly's pensions, starting on
April 15, the first payment day of pension since the start of the
new fiscal year. The DPJ calls that day the "4/15 shock." At a
meeting yesterday of the Diet Affairs Committee chiefs from the four
opposition parties, they confirmed the policy of grilling the
government through a joint submission of a bill calling for
scrapping the system.

11) DPJ Ozawa calls for Masuzoe's resignation

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
April 2, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa yesterday
criticized the government's response to the pension record-keeping
issue as violating its campaign pledge and demanded that Health,
Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe step down from his cabinet
post. In a press conference, Ozawa emphasized his readiness to
submit a censor motion against Masuzoe to the House of Councillors
depending on what response he will make, remarking: "This will be an
option if he does not voluntarily take responsibility." Ozawa said:
"Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's responsibility is extremely heavy
(similar to Masuzoe's)," but "the competent minister must clarify
his responsibility first."

On the day when gasoline prices were actually lowered, the main
opposition party expanded its battle line to include the issue of
identified pension accounts. Citing the pension issue and the
expiration of the provisional gasoline tax rate, Ozawa said: "To
seek the judgment of the people, there may be an early dissolution
of the House of Representatives." To counter Fukuda, who has
underscored the government's efforts to the public since late last
week by holding a news conference and other means, Ozawa is
intensifying his offensive against Fukuda, appearing on several news
programs.

In reference to Fukuda's earlier remark that the DPJ's leading
figure had said that his party would agree on the nomination of
(former Administrative Vice Finance Minister Toshiro) Muto, Ozawa
said in the press conference: "I did not talk (about it) to
anybody." (On the possibility of holding party head talks,) he did
not indicate any positive posture.

Following the expiration of the provisional higher gasoline tax
rate, DPJ members are rolling up their sleeves to step up their
attack against the government. Deputy President Naoto Kan declared a
victory, saying: "Today is a historically epoch-making day for the
Diet." Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka articulated in
an executive meeting: "Our next main challenge is the pension
issue."

A senior member of the Diet Affairs Committee, though, stated: "I
have told party members not to get overly excited." This remark

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reflects his concern that the public might become critical of the
DPJ's posture. Behind the party's shift of attention to the pension
issue seems to be its apprehension that a prolongation of the
gasoline issue may negatively work (for the DPJ).

12) DPJ President Ozawa denies giving Prime Minister Fukuda the nod
on nomination of new BOJ governor

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
April 2, 2008

Ichiro Ozawa, president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto), the largest opposition party, told the press yesterday
that he had not given any informal consent to Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda on the nomination of then Bank of Japan Deputy Gov. Toshiro
Muto to be the new BOJ governor. Ozawa stated: "There is no truth to
reports that I talked with someone and certainly with the prime
minister about whether Muto would be appropriate for the helm of the
central bank."

13) Tug-of-war underway between ruling and opposition parties over
second vote on gasoline tax

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

Yesterday, in the wake of the expiration of the provisional gasoline
tax, the ruling parties were busy offering explanations to the
public with an eye on a second vote on a bill amending the Special
Taxation Measures Law. Meanwhile, opposition parties emphasized the
significance of gasoline price cuts with the aim of blocking the
bill from being readopted.

In a press conference, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General
Bunmei Ibuki played up the need to reinstate the provisional tax
rate, saying: "A lack of money (from the scrapped provisional tax
rate) will take a toll on education and public welfare. Although the
gasoline price has dropped by 25 yen (per liter), (problems) far
more serious than that will fall upon the people."

The LDP has begun compiling a set of guidelines for its members to
explain that (1) the party will minimize negative impacts on local
finances by securing tax revenues, (2) the provisional tax rate is
environmentally friendly in that it helps hold down gasoline
consumption, and (3) the government will reduce wasteful spending
but build necessary highways.

As a measure for gasoline-related organizations, such as the
Petroleum Association of Japan, the party is also preparing a
document saying that it will make utmost efforts to prevent
confusion for gas stations and other parties concerned. LDP
executives and others visited concerned organization one after
another to set the stage for a second vote (in the Lower House).

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa stressed
in a press conference, "There is no confusion among the people. They
understand and support this." Ozawa also criticized the prime
minister's comment that the lowered gasoline price would end up
forcing future generations to pick up the tab, saying, "I cannot
understand it at all."

14) Battle between ruling, opposition parties over whether to

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reinstate or abolish gas tax rate

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 2, 2008

Yesterday the ruling parties aiming at an early reinstating of the
expired provisional gasoline tax rate by a revote on tax-related
bills in the House of Representatives, and the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which has called for a
permanent abolition of the gasoline tax, played up their
legitimacies in an effort to secure public support.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) yesterday sent to various
organizations connected to road construction a letter, in which the
LDP expressed its determination to do its best to reinstate the
gasoline tax rate, citing that the revenues from the road-related
taxes are the main features of supporting regional economies in
aspect of creating demand and securing jobs.

In its letter of March 31 sent to all prefectural governors and
assembly chairmen, the LDP emphasized: "It is crystal clear that
local finances will fall into critical situations, including even
the daily lives of the people (if the expiration is protracted)."

The party executives decided yesterday in a liaison meeting to call
on all their party lawmakers to let their supporters in their
electoral districts know this weekend the necessity of reinstating
the gas tax.

15) Nonpartisan study group of 70 lawmakers

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

A study group of suprapartisan Diet members yesterday exchanged
views with philosopher Takeshi Umehara on nationalism. Koichi Kato
and Taku Yamasaki of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and
Yoshiro Sengoku of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ or Minshuto) took part in yesterday's study session. The group
is mainly comprised of legislators who had visited South Korea in
February. The membership of the study group has increased to about
70, including DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama and Kamei
Shizuka, deputy head of the People's New Party. Umehara reportedly
will name the group.

After the session, Kato pointed out: "We share the perception that
narrow-minded nationalism will lead a nation astray." One
participant said: "It will be easier to make contacts with each
other if we have various exchanges." This comment implied a possible
rallying together of liberal forces.

16) Parliamentary league on environment launched

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

The Parliamentary League to Achieve Goals of Kyoto Protocol, the
membership of which includes former Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa, and former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, held its
first meeting yesterday. Although Koizumi, who is the honorary
advisor, did not attend the meeting, about 20 Diet members from the

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ruling parties took part in it. Kuniko Inoguchi and Junichiro Yasui,
members of the so-called "Koizumi's children," joined it.

The league selected Nakagawa as chairman and Koike as secretary
general. The group will look into technical assistance for
developing countries and introduction of an environment tax. One
opposition member commented: "Their aim is to pull Koizumi into the
front stage for political realignment." Another member said: "It is
a move to field Koike as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister
Fukuda."

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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