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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/04/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 000920

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 04/04/08


Index:

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

Fallout from Yokosuka murder:
4) Yokosuka-based sailor arrested over cabdriver's murder, handed
over to local police (Asahi)
5) Yokosuka sailor arrested on robbery, murder charges (Mainichi)
6) Foreign Minister Koumura asks Ambassador Schieffer to prevent
recurrence (Mainichi)
7) Foreign Minister Koumura asks U.S. to enforce stricter discipline
over taxi driver's murder; Ambassador Schieffer expresses regret
(Tokyo Shimbun)
8) Kanagawa Gov. Matsuzawa in meeting with Ambassador Schieffer
proposes local representative attendance at U.S.-Japan Joint
Committee (Nikkei)
9) U.S. sailor arrested over murder of taxi driver: Yokohama mayor
condemns incident, urges U.S. to seriously reflect on incident
(Asahi)
10) Local residents distrustful of U.S. servicemen: "They will do
the same again" (Nikkei)

SOFA:
11) Opposition camp calls for SOFA revisions (Nikkei)
12) Opposition parties demand SOFA revisions (Asahi)
13) Prime Minister Fukuda negative about revising SOFA provisions
(Mainichi)
14) Foreign Minister Koumura, Ambassador Schieffer cautious about
revising SOFA (Nikkei)

HNS budget:
15) Japan's HNS budget plan for USFJ clears lower house, certain to
get Diet's final approval (Nikkei)
16) DPJ's Ozawa skips HNS vote in parliament (Nikkei)

U.S.-Japan ties:
17) Ambassador to the U.S. Kato: "Japan should take initiative"
(Sankei)

North Korea & China ties:
18) Japan to extend N. Korea sanctions (Yomiuri)
19) Ruling coalition leaders to visit China (Nikkei)

BOJ:
20) Gov't to come up with new BOJ chief nominee on Apr. 7 (Yomiuri)


Defense issues:
21) MSDF reform panel holds its 1st meeting (Nikkei)
22) SDF's top brass to visit Russia (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
(1) Sailor arrested over taxi murder: Information about desertion
should have been disclosed
(2) Japan drops to 5th in ODA donor ranking: Brakes must be applied


TOKYO 00000920 002 OF 010


Mainichi:
(1) Arrest of U.S. sailor: Stipulation of Japan's investigation
right urged
(2) Government's plan for public servant system reform favorable for
bureaucrats

Yomiuri:
(1) Risk of exodus after Tokyo quake: Promptly map out
countermeasures
(2) Pre-indictment handover should be norm

Nikkei:
(1) U.S. economy may remain sluggish
(2) Documentary "Yasukuni" should be screened

Sankei:
(1) Arrest of U.S. sailor: Flexible application of SOFA necessary
(2) Simulation of Tokyo quake: Don't rush home

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Thoroughly reform public servant system
(2) Safety of portable battery ignition device must be ensured

Akahata:
(1) Review of daycare system: Policy for children and people needed

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi, Mainichi & Tokyo Shimbun:
U.S. sailor held over taxi driver murder

Yomiuri:
Primary schools to teach English words and expressions in 2011

Nikkei:
Poll: 76 PERCENT of major food makers mulling raising prices

Sankei:
Three NHK employees dismissed over insider trading

Akahata:
JCP Chairman Shii sends Chinese President Hu letter calling for
peaceful settlement of Tibetan riots by talks

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 3

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

09:59
Met with LDP Research Commission on Foreign Affairs Chair Yamasaki
and others at Kantei.

10:43
Met with Parliamentary Defense Secretary Terada and Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yanagisawa.

11:01
Met with National Police Agency Traffic Bureau Director-General
Suei. After him, met with Ambassador to International Organizations

TOKYO 00000920 003 OF 010


in Geneva Kitajima.

12:24
Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

13:34
Met with Cabinet Special Advisor Okuda.

14:27
Met with State Minister in Charge of Science and Technology Policy,
Atomic Energy Committee Chair Kondo and others.

15:25
Met with Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Masuda.

16:03
Met with MOFA Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General
Saiki.

17:00
Met with House of Councilors member Otsuji.

18:04
Attended a session of the People's Livelihood Council.

18:45
Arrived at Kantei residence.

4) U.S. seaman arrested for murdering taxi driver; Suspect
transferred from U.S. military to prefectural police

ASAHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
April 4, 2008

Kanagawa prefectural police arrested yesterday Olatunbosun Ugbogu,
22, a U.S. seaman apprentice (itto suihei) of Nigerian nationality
based at Yokosuka Naval Base, on suspicion of robbing and murdering
a taxi driver in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Ugbogu has
reportedly admitted to the charges against him.

At the same time, according to a lawyer who met Ugbogu last night,
the seaman denied criminal intent, saying: "I didn't mean to kill
him. I didn't mean to bilk him."

The U.S. side agreed to hand Ugbogu over during a Japan-U.S. Joint
Committee meeting held yesterday afternoon. The prefectural police
executed an arrest warrant for Ugbogu after he was transferred from
the base to the Yokosuka Police Station. This is the fifth
pre-indictment case since 1995.

The case will proceed under the Japanese legal system. At the same
time, in the event a U.S. serviceman suspected to have committed a
heinous crime, such as murder, is handed over to Japan before
indictment, the presence of a person representing the U.S. military
command is allowed. For this reason, a U.S. Navy legal officer will
be present at Ugbogu's questioning.

5) Kanagawa police arrest U.S. sailor on suspicion of robbery and
murder, making it fifth pre-indictment case

MAINICHI (Top play) (Lead paragraph)
April 4, 2008

TOKYO 00000920 004 OF 010

Kanagawa prefectural police arrested yesterday Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a
22-year old U.S. seaman apprentice (itto suihei) of Nigerian
nationality, on suspicion of murdering and robbing Masaaki
Takahashi, a 61-year old taxi driver of Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, in
Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Ugbogu, a crew member of the
Aegis-equipped cruiser USS Cowpens, has been detained by the U.S.
Navy. The prefectural police will analyze his motive, suspecting
that the crime might have resulted from a taxi fare conflict from
the fact that his credit card found in the taxicab had been
unusable.

6) Foreign Minister Koumura asks U.S. Ambassador to take thorough
preventive measures

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
April 4, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura yesterday called U.S. Ambassador
to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer to his ministry and requested that the
U.S. take thorough measures to prevent heinous crimes from
occurring. In response, Ambassador Schieffer said: "We are truly
sorry for this tragic incident. We will do everything we can." The
two leaders also agreed on the need to provide information on U.S.
deserters to Japan. The two sides are expected to reach an agreement
soon on a concrete communication system.

Ambassador Schieffer also called on Kanagawa Governor Shigefumi
Matsuzawa yesterday evening to offer an apology. In the session, the
governor asked the Ambassador to establish a special committee so
that base-hosting municipalities can take part in the Japan-U.S.
Joint Committee. In response, Ambassador Schieffer said, "We have an
obligation to seriously consider the governor's proposal."

7) Arrest of U.S. seaman: Foreign Minister Koumura calls on U.S. to
enforce strict discipline; U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer says,
"It's extremely regrettable"

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 4, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura yesterday called U.S. Ambassador
to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer to his ministry in connection with the
murder of a taxi driver in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Speaking of the suspect U.S. serviceman, Koumura asked Schieffer:
"The Japanese police have called for the transfer of the suspect
before his indictment. It is my hope that you will do so
immediately."

Koumura also asked Ambassador Schieffer to enforce strict discipline
among the U.S. military personnel and take measures to prevent a
recurrence.

In response, Ambassador Schieffer apologized, "I deeply regret this
incident and apologize for it. I offer my heartfelt and deep
condolences to the victim and his family." He agreed to hand the
suspect over to the Japanese side. He also promised full cooperation
with the investigation and utmost efforts to enforce strict
discipline and take measures to prevent a recurrence.

The Japanese side also called for the transfer of the suspect at the
Japan-U.S. Joint Committee held to obtain approval from each

TOKYO 00000920 005 OF 010


committee component. The U.S. side accepted the Japanese side's
request.

Emerging from the meeting, Ambassador Schieffer told the press
corps, "The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) process has worked
very well this time," and emphasized that there was no need to
revise SOFA."

Late yesterday Prime Minister Fukuda, speaking of SOFA, told
reporters, "I'll improve the current arrangements step by step in a
steady manner," and reiterated it would be possible to deal with the
situation by improving the operations of (SOFA).

8) Kanagawa Governor Matsuzawa asks for participation of local
government representatives in Japan-U.S. Joint Committee

NIKKEI (Page 35) (Full)
April 4, 2008

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer on April 3 visited the Kanagawa
Prefectural Office to offer an apology for the recent taxi murder
case. Kanagawa Prefectural Governor Matsuzawa during the meeting
noted, "I would like to see a venue for discussing ways to prevent
crimes and accidents caused by U.S. servicemen established." He thus
called for the establishment within the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee
of a special regional committee in which representatives of local
governments that host U.S. military bases can take part.

9) U.S. sailor arrested over murder of taxi driver: Yokohama mayor
condemns incident, urges U.S. to seriously reflect on incident

ASAHI (Page 31) (Excerpts)
April 4, 2008

A U.S. Navy seaman was arrested over the murder of a taxi driver in
Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Yokosuka City's efforts to
create a safe town in cooperation with the U.S. military were dubbed
the "Yokosuka model." The heinous crime this time has disappointed
its citizens. The U.S. Ambassador to Japan visited the city to offer
an apology and repeatedly noted his determination to make efforts to
prevent any recurrence. However, local residents are furious.

The incident has greatly disappointed Yokosuka City, where the
murder took place.

U.S. Ambassador Schieffer, the commander of the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet,
and the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan visited the Yokosuka
municipal office. Ambassador Schieffer offered an apology: "The
incident has caused much trouble to citizens of the local community.
We are going to try to take measures as much as we can in order to
prevent any recurrence." Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya told them, "It is
regrettable that a U.S. service member committed such a brutal
crime. I hope you will seriously reflect on it."

Ambassador Schieffer then returned to Tokyo and met with Foreign
Minister Koumura. During a meeting with Koumura, he offered an
apology to the family and friends of Masaki Takahashi (61), the
victim of the incident. He then again went to Kanagawa Prefecture in
the evening and offered an apology to Kanagawa Prefectural Governor
Matsuzawa.

Responding to a question asked by reporters at the Foreign Ministry,

TOKYO 00000920 006 OF 010


Ambassador Schieffer said, "Japan and the U.S. have fully cooperated
with each other in dealing with the incident this time. I believe
the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) has worked very
well." He thus underscored that investigations by the Japanese side
have suffered no setbacks. He noted, "In my view, there is no need
to revise SOFA at this juncture." Koumura also repeated his previous
view that the government's position is that it wants to deal with
incidents like this by improving the application of SOFA.

Mayor Kabaya during a press conference held after his meeting with
Schieffer was visibly upset by the incident, "Yokosuka City was once
called a model for local governments that host U.S. military bases.
It is extremely regrettable that the incident occurred despite such
efforts."

10) Citizens voice distrust of U.S. service members

NIKKEI (Page 35) (Full)
April 4, 2008

The U.S. military imposed a night curfew following the slaying of a
taxi driver by a U.S. serviceman. Many U.S. military personnel
shoppers visit a shopping district near the U.S. Navy Yokosuka Navy
Base commonly known as Dobuita Dori. Some storekeepers are concerned
about the possible impact of the measure on their business, but
others expressed distrust of U.S. servicemen.

Regarding the incident, a company employee in his thirties who works
near the shopping district said, "The incident drew attention,
because the victim died. However, crimes caused by U.S. servicemen
tend to be swept under the carpet due perhaps to the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement." He said he often witnesses U.S. service
members drawing graffiti on shutters, throwing empty bottles from
cars, and behaving violently in the shopping district.

He lamented, "If the curfew is lifted, they may do the same thing
again."

11) Three opposition party secretaries general propose revising
SOFA

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

The secretaries general of three opposition parties -- the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Social Democratic Party (SDP),
and the People's New Party (PNP) -- met yesterday with Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura

SIPDIS
and presented their proposal for a revision of the Japan-U.S. Status
of Forces Agreement. The opposition's proposal stipulates that the
U.S. side be required to hand over a service member suspected of
committing a crime to the Japanese side before the suspect is
indicted in accordance with the Japanese side's request. The
handover of a suspect before being prosecuted is stipulated in the
improved application of the SOFA, but it is entrusted to the U.S.
side.

12) Opposition parties call for SOFA revision

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


TOKYO 00000920 007 OF 010


The secretaries general of three opposition parties -- Democratic
Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party, and People's New Party --
yesterday presented to Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura a
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement revision plan and sought talks
with the United States. The plan calls for: (1) pre-indictment
handover of all suspects to Japan, (2) application of the Alien
Registration Law to U.S. service members living off base and others,
and (3) presentation of base use plans every eight years. Touching
on the recent Yokosuka taxi driver murder case, DPJ Secretary
General Yukio Hatoyama said, "The SOFA must be revised in order also
to prevent such an incident." In response, Machimura said, "We would
like to consider it."

13) Prime Minister Fukuda negative about revising SOFA

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

Kazuya Haniwa

The opposition parties are calling for revising the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), but Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
indicated his reluctance to do so, noting, "I wonder whether this
kind of incident will disappear if it is revised. We must consider
such a matter." Fukuda went on to say: "I will improve the
(operation) of the current arrangements step by step in a steady
manner."

14) Foreign Minister Koumura, U.S. Ambassador Schieffer cautious
about review of SOFA

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

Referring to calls for a review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA) in the wake of the murder of a taxi driver by a
U.S. military serviceman in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, U.S.
Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer said yesterday: "The SOFA
functioned well since Japan and the United States fully cooperated
in the investigations. So, there is no need to revise it." Foreign
Ministry Masahiko Koumura also took the position of not seeking a
review of the SOFA. They separately spoke to the press in the
Foreign Ministry.

The Ambassador pointed out: "When the Japanese side wanted to
question (the suspect), they could do so." The Foreign Minister
stated: "Among the countries that host U.S. bases, Japan is the only
country where the U.S. side hands over a suspect before indictment.
I want to deal with matters by using the improved SOFA
application."

15) "Sympathy budget" bill approved by Lower House, but cause of
dispute still remains in terms of relations with U.S.

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

A bill for a new special agreement concerning Japan's host nation
support for the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) (the "sympathy budget") was
adopted by a majority of votes from the ruling parties in the Lower
House plenary session yesterday. The new agreement is now certain to
be approved by May 3, for the Lower House's decision surpasses the

TOKYO 00000920 008 OF 010


Upper House's regarding agreements as well as budget bills under the
Constitution. However, with the expiration of the old agreement, a
"vacuum period" has been created. In addition, the opposition
parties are gearing up to grill the government about
entertainment-related outlays once debate on the agreement begins in
the Upper House. All these things are likely to become another cause
of dispute in relations with the United States.

The sympathy budget consists of three items: personnel expenses for
workers at U.S. military facilities, utilities charges for housing,
and transfer expenses regarding carrier-based aircraft and other
items. The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) argues
against the inclusion in the budget of salaries of workers working
at entertainment facilities in military bases.

The new agreement is to replace the old one, which expired at the
end of March. The term of the new agreement is set at three years.
The government intended to get the new agreement approved in the
Diet by the end of March, but primarily because of the delay in
starting debate on the new agreement in the Diet, a "vacuum period,"
a period that will not be covered by the sympathy budget, has been
created.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), if the new
agreement does not take effect by the end of the month, that will be
a hindrance to the payment of personnel expenses for April. The DPJ
is highly likely to oppose the new agreement in the Upper House, as
well, but in order to avoid causing confusion, the party is unlikely
to move to delay discussion on the new agreement in the Upper House.
But there are some items, such as payment of utilities charges for
April, that are likely to be affected; as a result, the U.S.
military may be forced to pay them.

16) DPJ head Ozawa again abstains from vote in Lower House plenary
session

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 4, 2008

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) President
Ichiro Ozawa yesterday abstained from voting on a new special
agreement bill in the Lower House plenary session. The same day,
Ozawa met with reporters in Chiba Prefecture and told them: "I did
not attend because I had another appointment. I have my own priority
order of events." When the MDSF refueling bill was put to a vote in
the Lower House plenary session this past January, Ozawa left the
plenary hall before voting in spite of voting against the bill being
decided as his party's policy. Ozawa was afterwards exposed to
criticism.

17) Outgoing Ambassador to U.S. Kato: Japan should display
independent identity

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

(Takashi Arimoto, Washington)

Ambassador to the United States Ryozo Kato gave a press conference
on the 2nd, prior to resigning from his office, in which he said:
"If Japan continues to carry out appropriate policies in the three
areas of economics, technology and culture, and diplomacy and

TOKYO 00000920 009 OF 010


national defense, the U.S. will continue to respect Japan at the
current level."

Disclosing that he is often asked how Japan-U.S. relations are
expected to change under a new president, Kato said: "No matter who
becomes president, it is basically important for Japan to consider
what it should do," stressing that Japan should display its
independent identity.

Comparing Japan-U.S. relations to a telescope, the ambassador said:
"There was a long period in which the U.S., seen from Japan, looked
big, while Japan, seen from the U.S., looked far smaller than what
it actually is. We are now in an age of both sides seeing each other
as they really are." He indicated that Japan has made its presence
felt more in the U.S., as represented by the friendly relationship
established between former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and
President Bush.

During his term of office, the ambassador was also pressed to play a
difficult role in order to maintain the alliance with the U.S. due
to the temporary suspension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and other issues. Remembering
those days, Kato said: "I was under heavy pressure every day."

18) Extension of sanctions on North Korea to be decided on April 11
in cabinet meeting

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

The government yesterday decided on a policy of extending by six
months Japan's sanctions against North Korea, which will expire
April 13. The reason is that there has been no improvement on the
abduction issue and that the North has not implemented the six-party
agreement to produce a complete and correct declaration of its
nuclear programs. The government, therefore, concluded that the
public would not approve the lifting of sanctions.

In the wake of North Korea's nuclear test, Japan imposed sanctions
for six months in October 2006. The extension this time around is
the third. The main points of the sanctions include a ban on North
Korean ships, including the freighter Man Gyon Bong, from calling at
Japanese ports.

19) LDP, New Komeito secretaries general to depart for China on
April 15

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

LDP Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki and New Komeito Secretary General
Kazuo Kitagawa will visit China for two days from April 15. The two
are expected to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice
President Zeng Qinghong to exchange views on the row over poisoned
China-made dumplings and the dispute over exploration rights in the
East China Sea gas fields. They will also likely ask for China's
cooperation to prevent global warming. They are expected to hand
Prime Minister Fukuda's letter to the Chinese leader.

20) Government to present new nominee for BOJ governorship possibly
on the 7th


TOKYO 00000920 010 OF 010


YOMIURI (Page 5) (Full)
April 4, 2008

Regarding a new nominee for the now vacant post of Bank of Japan
(BOJ) governor, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura told Democratic
Party of Japan Secretary General Hatoyama in the Diet Building
yesterday: "We would like to present our proposal soon. If we can
make it, we want to reach a conclusion by April 11." Machimura
indicated that the government would present a new nominee for the
post to the Diet possibly on the 7th, keeping in mind the Group of
Seven (G-7) finance officials' meeting scheduled for April 11 in
Washington.

Machimura conveyed to House of Representatives Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Takashi Sasagawa his intention to propose a new
nominee on April 7 or 8. In this connection, a senior Liberal
Democratic Party member said: "It is necessary to have (the proposal
adopted) in a (Lower House) plenary session on the 9th. I think the
proposal should be submitted on the 7th at the latest." Prime
Minister Fukuda told reporters at his official residence last night:
"I share (Machimura's view). It is better to decide what it should
be decided at an early date."

21) MSDF reform panel meets for 1st time

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

In the wake of an Aegis-equipped ship's recent fatal collision with
a fishing boat and other incidents, the Maritime Self-Defense Force
yesterday held the first meeting of its committee for major reform.
The MSDF has set up the committee to discuss how to improve its
organization and prevent incidents from recurring. The committee
will work out an improvement plan in around six months.

22) SDF's top brass to visit Russia from Apr. 8

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

Takashi Saito, chief of the Self-Defense Forces' Joint Staff Office,
told a press conference yesterday that he will visit Russia April
8-12. Saito will meet with Chief of the General Staff Baluyevsky and
other Russian military leaders to exchange views on the Far Eastern
and East Asian situations as well as defense exchanges. This is the
first time in three years for the SDF's top brass to visit Russia.
In 2005, the then SDF Joint Staff Council chairman, Hajime Massaki,
visited Russia.

SCHIEFFER

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