Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/07/08

DE RUEHKO #0933/01 0980116
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E.O. 12958: N/A



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

G8 development ministerial:
4) G8 development ministers agree to boost aid to developing
countries, express concern about soaring cost of food (Tokyo
5) Development ministers agree to seek dialogue with emerging aid
donors, increase ODA to Africa (Nikkei)
6) Japan's foreign minister pledges increase in official development
assistance (Tokyo Shimbun)

Opinion polls:
7) Mainichi poll: Fukuda Cabinet support rate plummets 6 points to
new low of 24 PERCENT , with non-support rate rising to 57 PERCENT
8) Fuji-Sankei poll: Cabinet support rate sinks to 23.8 PERCENT ,
non-support rate jumps to 59 PERCENT (Sankei)
9) Kyodo poll finds only 26 PERCENT of public support the Fukuda
Cabinet, and 64 PERCENT are against a revote to reinstate gasoline
tax (Tokyo Shimbun)

Military incidents:
10) Admiral Kelly apologizes for cab-driver slaying incident for
which a Yokosuka sailor has been charged; Suspect had previously
fled the base (Tokyo Shimbun)
11) Murder suspect after incident reportedly entered Yokosuka base
to draw cash from ATM machine, even though he was on the
deserter-watch list (Yomiuri)
12) Yokosuka murder suspect was a "green-card warrior" - a foreign
national who joined the U.S. Navy with ultimate goal of becoming an
American citizen (Mainichi)
13) Priority of U.S. military in quickly resolving Yokosuka murder
case was to avoid impact on scheduled replacement of aircraft
carrier with nuclear-powered one (Tokyo Shimbun)
14) Two youths, U.S. military dependents, arrested in Okinawa for
taxi robbery (Tokyo Shimbun)
15) Missile defense system: Deployed missiles were never "live-fire"
tested (Tokyo Shimbun)

Visit of ROK foreign minister:
16) Prime Minister Fukuda meets with visiting South Korean foreign
minister, discusses cooperation on North Korea policy (Yomiuri)
17) Japanese, ROK foreign ministers in Tokyo meeting vow cooperation
on aid to newly developing countries (Asahi)

Diet affairs:
18) Diet finally to get back to normal deliberations this week on
road financing, pension issue (Nikkei)
19) Bank of Japan will at last have a governor, with Democratic
Party of Japan's agreement to promotion of Deputy Governor Shirakawa
20) DPJ head Ozawa comes out against Watanabe as BOJ deputy governor
(Tokyo Shimbun)



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Doctors, nurses engaged in emergency care pressed with harsh working

Support rate for Fukuda cabinet drops 6 points to 24 PERCENT

Poll: 30 PERCENT of merged cities, towns, villages fail to unify
utility charges

Far more Japanese firms adopting takeover defenses seeking
shareholders' judgment

Guidelines for e-government call for paperless administrative

Tokyo Shimbun:
Transport Ministry increases usage frequency of smart interchanges
by using tax money based on ambiguous construction standards

Welfare Ministry issues crooked user manual on medical system for
very old patients


(1) Proposal for creating hopeful society (Part 24 - completion):
Redefine Article 25 of Constitution:

(1) Drop in public support for Fukuda cabinet reflects looming end
(2) Large-scale floods: Quick evacuation critical

(1) Ministries urged to adopt public-private competitive bidding
(2) Enhance convenience and confidence about settlement of disputes
outside court

(1) Don't be swayed by North Korea's provocative acts
(2) National control over metabolic syndrome questionable

(1) Bill to reform public servant system must be discussed with
sense of alarm
(2) Introduction of system to record police questioning: Study of
effect on security also necessary

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) First meeting on global warming: Political power imperative to
display leadership
(2) Reflecting on serious shortage of fire brigade members: Foster
spirit of helping each other

(1) Argument that Japan-U.S. alliance is absolutely necessary no
longer acceptable

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3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, April 4

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

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwaki at Kantei. Afterwards,
attended a ministerial meeting on economic measures. Later, met with
LDP Secretary General Ibuki.

Attended a cabinet meeting.

09:09 Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

Attended an Upper House plenary session.

Visited an exhibition "Sakura, Sakura, Sakura, 2008" at Yamatane
Museum of Art at Sanbancho, Tokyo.

Met with Vice Health and Labor Minister Erikawa, Social Insurance
Agency Director-General Sakano, and Special Advisor to Prime
Minister Ito. Ito remained. Afterwards, met with House of
Representatives member Kenichi Mizuno and others of the Forum to
Support the Fukuda Proposal and Realize the Incorporation of Tax
Revenues for Road Projects into General Account.

Recorded a by-election campaign for broadcast for Yamaguchi 2nd
District for the Lower House at LDP headquarters. Afterwards, met

Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani at Kantei. After him,
met Machimura. Later, met with MOFA's Disarmament, Non-Proliferation
and Science Department Director-General Nakane.

Met with South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung

Met with Machimura.

Left Haneda Airport by JAL541.

Arrived at New Chitose Airport.

Arrived at The Windsor Hotel International Toya in Hokkaido's Toya
Town and stayed there.

Prime Minister's schedule, April 5

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NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 6, 2008

Inspected The Windsor Hotel International where he was staying,
joined by Hokkaido Gov. Takahashi and Mayor of Toya Town Nagasaki.

Inspected the construction of "International Media Center," a major
media base for the G-8 summit, at "Rusutu Resort" in Rusutsu

Inspected the French restaurant "Maccarina" in Makari Village,
joined by Mayor of Makari Village Sasaki and others.

Attended a discussion meeting on climate change at The Windsor Hotel
with Environment Minister Kamoshita, Minister of Economy, Trade and
Industry Amari and others also present.

Had a luncheon with participants of the discussion meeting.
Afterwards, met with Hokkaido Gov. Takahashi.

Attended a town meeting with local residents at the Toyako Culture
Center in Toyako Town.

Arrived New Chitose Airport.

Left the airport by JAL528.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Dined with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwaki and others at the
Italian restaurant "Antonio's" in Minami Aoyama.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, April 6

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 7, 2008

Stayed at Kantei residence all the day.

4) G-8 development ministers vow to boost assistance to developing
countries: Chairman's summary released: Participants expressed
concern over rising food prices as well

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 7, 2008

In the run-up to the July Lake Toya G-8 summit in Hokkaido,
development ministers from the Group of Eight (G-8) nations on April
6 wound up their meetings that focused on the issues of developing

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countries with the issuance of a chairman's summary.

The chairman's summary reaffirms that aid for development should be
strengthened in terms of both quality and quantity, noting "We
reaffirm our resolve to reinforce our efforts to assist development
and to extend aid in a more effective manner, acknowledging the
unparalleled challenges facing the world."

The summary points out the need to deal with climate change and
development in a comprehensive manner. It gives high marks to
various countries' efforts, including Japan's Cool Earth
Partnership, a framework for assistance for measures to combat
global warming.

The summary also notes the importance of promoting cooperation with
new aid donors, such as emerging countries and private foundations,
and economic growth in development of developing countries.

Participating countries during a series of meetings expressed
concern over sharp rises on food prices.

5) G-8 development ministerial meeting ends after issuing chairman's
summary calling for dialogue with emerging aid donors, aid to

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
April 7, 2008

A development ministerial meeting of the Group of Eight (G-8) major
countries to discuss assistance to developing countries wrapped up
yesterday after issuing a chairman's summary calling for cooperation
between emerging aid donors and the G-8 countries. Utilizing its
past longtime performance, Japan is eager to take the initiative in
discussions in preparation for the Lake Toya Summit in July.
However, it remains uncertain to what extent Japan will be able to
display its leadership, given the sharp decline in its official
development assistance (ODA) disbursements.

In the chairman's summary, Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura made a
commitment to expanding assistance to Africa. It also identified aid
to developing countries addressing the issue of countering global
warming as an imminent task. In a discussion held yesterday
afternoon, a number of participants voiced concern about soaring
food prices. The G-8 countries agreed to cooperate in hammering out

A major focus in the two-day ministerial meeting was on the issue of
establishing a cooperative system between the G-8 countries and such
emerging aid donors as China, South Korea, and India. A commitment
to expanding policy dialogue and information-sharing was included in
the chairman's summary.

China, in particular, increased overseas assistance by more than 40
PERCENT over the two years from 2003. The G-8 countries want to
produce positive results through assistance to Africa by making use
of the funds provided by the emerging countries. They are also
worried about China and other countries for their stance of actively
providing aid to even autocratic regimes.

Keeping such concerns in mind, Foreign Minister Koumura emphasized
in a press conference after the meeting: "We must provide assistance
based on our common values." The chairman's statement, in a bid to

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prevent the emerging donors from offering aid that disregards human
rights, noted: "Good governance should be the precondition for
helping Africa development."

Japan's ODA, though, is in a weakened state. Japan slipped two ranks
to fifth place in the list of official foreign aid donors in 2007 on
calculations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD). Koumura expressed his determination to halt and
reverse the steep slide in Japan's ODA in a speech at the outset of
the meeting on the 5th and in the press conference yesterday. But it
will not be easy to do so.

6) Foreign minister vows to increase ODA: Strong concern over
declining Japan's diplomatic presence

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
April 7, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura expressed his strong resolve to
boost Japan's ODA at a meeting of Group of Eight (G-8) major
nations' ministerial meeting on development, which ended yesterday.
Japan has slipped from third to fifth place in the 2007 ODA donor
list. The government is struggling to show its presence as the
nation hosting the Lake Toya G-8 to be held in Hokkaido in July.

The development issue is one of Japan's major diplomatic challenges,
as the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)
will take place in May in Yokohama.

However, according to the 2007 ODA results released by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),
Japan's ODA fell 30.1 PERCENT , from the preceding year. Though it
was the top donor in the 1990s, Japan has been overtaken by the
U.S., Britain, Germany and France since 2000. China is also
positively moving ahead with aid diplomacy. There is concern about a
further decline in Japan's diplomatic influence.

Foreign Minister Koumura during a joint press conference held after
the ministerial meeting stressed: "Japan, as the nation hosting the
G-8, is ready to make a positive contribution for a success of the
meeting. We want to make efforts to boost our ODA."

However, the basic policy guidelines on economic and fiscal
management and structural reforms adopted at a cabinet meeting
include further cuts in ODA loans. Whether it is possible to
increase ODA alone as a sacred area amid the nation's continuing
fiscal difficulties is unclear. The new international pledge is
bearing down on the government.

7) Poll: Cabinet support drops 6 points to 24 PERCENT , nonsupport
rises to 57 PERCENT

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
April 7, 2008

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a nationwide public opinion survey on
April 5-6. The approval rating for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's
cabinet was 24 PERCENT , down 6 points from the last survey taken in
March, reaching a new low (in the Mainichi series) since its
inauguration last September. The disapproval rating, which topped 50
PERCENT in the last survey for the first time, also further
increased, this time 6 points to 57 PERCENT . Meanwhile, provisional

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extra taxation added to gasoline and other road-related taxes
expired in March. The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic
Party and New Komeito is planning to take a second vote in the House
of Representatives on a bill to revise the Special Taxation Measures
Law in an aim to restore the provisional tax rates. In the survey,
64 PERCENT answered "no" when respondents were asked if they
supported the plan, with 32 PERCENT saying "yes."

The results of the latest survey will make it extremely difficult
for Fukuda to politically manage his administration.

The Fukuda cabinet's support rate was 57 PERCENT upon its
inauguration last September but slipped to 33 PERCENT last
December, then leveled off in the following surveys. The Fukuda
cabinet's nonsupport rate has increased in every survey starting
with 25 PERCENT upon its inauguration. The survey this time shows
that the approval and disapproval ratings have now changed places.

Meanwhile, Fukuda has now advocated incorporating road-related tax
revenues into the state's general account budget to use the tax
revenues for other purposes as well in addition to road construction
and other road-related infrastructure projects. Asked about this
advocacy, 45 PERCENT answered that the road-related tax revenues
should be incorporated into the general account from the current
fiscal year, topping all other answers, with 30 PERCENT approving
Fukuda's advocacy, and 19 PERCENT saying the road-related tax
revenues should be upheld for road-related infrastructure projects

8) Poll: Cabinet support further slips to 23.8 PERCENT

SANKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
April 5, 2008

The Sankei Shimbun and Fuji News Network conducted a joint public
opinion survey on April 2-3, in which the rate of public support for
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and his cabinet was 23.6 PERCENT ,
showing a further drop of 4.9 percentage points from its previous
lowest rating in the last survey taken Feb. 23-24. The opposition
camp is now poised to pass a censure motion in the House of
Councillors, and nearly half of those who responded to the survey
answered "yes" when asked if they supported the move. People are
distancing themselves from Fukuda.

By gender, the Fukuda cabinet's support rate was 24.6 PERCENT among
women and 23 PERCENT among men. Among women, the support rate
decreased 6.5 points. Among men as well, the support rate dropped
3.1 points. Among women, the Fukuda cabinet's nonsupport rate was
51.6 PERCENT , exceeding 50 PERCENT for the first time. The figure
shows that women in particular have distanced themselves from

Meanwhile, Fukuda has proposed incorporating road-related tax
revenues into the state's general account budget from fiscal 2009 to
use the tax revenues for other purposes as well as for road
construction and other road-related infrastructure purposes. Asked
about the advisability of this, "yes" came from 63.9 PERCENT , with
"no" at only 21.9 PERCENT . As seen from these figures, the general
public supports using the road-related tax revenues for general
purposes in addition to road-related projects.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the ruling

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Liberal Democratic Party stood at 27.4 PERCENT , with the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) at 24.9 PERCENT .
Both the LDP and the DPJ dropped from the last survey. These figures
show that the public criticism of the government and ruling parties
has not necessarily led to support for the DPJ.

9) Poll: 64 PERCENT opposed to revoting on gasoline tax; Fukuda
cabinet's support rate nosedives to 26 PERCENT

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged)
April 6, 2008

According to a public opinion survey conducted by Kyodo News for the
month on April 4-5, the rate of public support for Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda and his cabinet was 26.6 PERCENT , down 6.8 percentage
points from its lowest rating scored in the last survey taken in
March. The Fukuda cabinet's support rate fell below 30 PERCENT for
the first time (in the Kyodo poll series). Among Fukuda's
predecessors, the support rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
cabinet fell to 25.3 PERCENT in September last year shortly after
Abe revealed his intention to step down. The Fukuda cabinet's
support rate is now close to this figure; it seems to have hit the
'danger zone.' The nonsupport rate for the Fukuda cabinet rose to
59.6 PERCENT . In the last survey, the Fukuda cabinet's nonsupport
rate topped 50 PERCENT for the first time, but this time, it soared
an additional 9.0 points.

Meanwhile, the provisional tax rate added to the price of gasoline
and other road-related taxes have now lost their legal grounds as
the law expired. On this issue, the ruling coalition of the Liberal
Democratic Party and New Komeito is going to take a second vote in
the House of Representatives on a tax reform bill in an aim to
restore the provisional tax rates. In the survey, when respondents
were asked if they supported the ruling coalition's plan to take a
second vote in the lower chamber on the bill, 64.4 PERCENT answered
"no," with 26.2 PERCENT saying "yes." Fukuda will be under pressure
to make a difficult decision on whether to take a second vote and
prepare for a public backlash.

Fukuda has now proposed his idea of incorporating road-related tax
revenues into the state's general account budget to use the tax
revenues for general purposes as well as for road construction and
other road-related infrastructure projects. The survey asked people
if they supported the idea. To this question, 59.5 PERCENT
approved. When asked about provisional extra taxation, however, 52.2
PERCENT answered that there was no need to add such extra taxation.
The figure shows the public supports the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) when it comes to its stance of
incorporating road-related tax revenues into the general account
budget and abolishing the extra tax rates.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 27.6 PERCENT , down 4.0 points from the last survey. The
DPJ rose 3.0 points to 25.7 PERCENT . Among other political parties,
New Komeito was at 2.5 PERCENT , with the Japanese Communist Party
at 4.1 PERCENT , the Social Democratic Party (Shaminto) at 1.4
PERCENT , the People's New Party at 0.3 PERCENT , and the New Party
Nippon at 0 PERCENT . "None," or those who have no party to support,
was at 36.8 PERCENT , up 1.5 points.

10) Japan, U.S. aimed to resolve taxi driver murder case swiftly in
order to avoid any negative impact on planned replacement of

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aircraft carrier, but they failed to do so owing to lack of material

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 27) (Full)
April 5, 2008

Olatunboson Ugbogu (22), a seaman assigned at the U.S. Navy's
Yokosuka Base, was arrested on charges of robbing and murdering taxi
driver Masaaki Takahashi (61) in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The unusual way that the U.S. worked closely with Japanese police
prior to the suspect's arrest is noteworthy. Lying behind this
"exceptional" cooperation by the U.S. side is presumably its desire
to settle the case swiftly in order to avoid any negative impact on
the planned deployment of a nuclear-powered carrier in August. The
lack of physical evidence, however, was a miscalculation that
resulted in the arrest taking one month.

The U.S. Navy in Japan was quick to take action after a U.S. sailor
was found to have been involved in the murder. The day after the
incident, the Navy contacted Yokosuka City and promised cooperation
with the Japanese police investigation. On March 22, when the U.S.
military took the seaman into custody on a charge of desertion, Rear
Admiral James Kelly, commander of the U.S. Navy in Japan, met the
press and reiterated full cooperation.

The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service also provided Japanese
authorities with the deposition and fingerprints of the seaman. On
April 3, when an arrest warrant was issued, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
J. Thomas Schieffer offered an apology to Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya at
the city office ahead of the handover of the suspect to the Japanese

Behind this cordial response by the U.S. side is apparently the
planned deployment of the nuclear carrier USS George Washington in
the Yokosuka base in August. The carrier is to leave its homeport
Norfolk Base in Virginia on April 7 for Yokosuka.

If the U.S. military had been unwilling to cooperate with the police
investigation despite the deployment nearing and had moved to hold
on to custody of the suspect, it could have aggravated Yokosuka
citizens' feelings. And if the police investigation had been
prolonged, criticism of the U.S. military could have increased and
calls for a review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA) would have gained momentum. Both the Japanese and U.S. sides
needed to settle the incident as quickly as possible.

However, the lack of material evidence, such as fingerprints and
information from witnesses, linking the seaman to the case made
police investigators cautious, with one senior prefectural police
officer saying: "All that was available to us was circumstantial
evidence." Contrary to the U.S. side's expectations, the arrest of
the suspect did not come early. SOFA does not assume a case that
involves both desertion and murder. So, in order to deal with two
different crimes, Japan and the U.S. were in effect forced to
compete with their respective rights of jurisdiction, but the U.S.
side simply abandoned its jurisdiction over the case this time and
gave importance to an early settlement of the case.

11) U.S. sailor charged in taxi-driver slaying entered base
immediately after incident to withdraw cash (from ATM machine)

YOMIURI (Page 34) (Full)

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April 6, 2008

In the case of the murder of a taxi driver in Yokosuka City,
Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokosuka police investigators have learned in
their investigation that the suspect, Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year
old seaman's apprentice of Nigerian nationality stationed at
Yokusuka Naval Base, immediately after the incident, returned to the
base and withdrew money (from an ATM machine) with his cash card.
The U.S. forces never notice that Ugbogu, who was being sought as a
deserter, had entered and left the base. This has raised questions
about the system of controls on the base.

Ugbogu deserted from the base on March 8. He is now under arrest for
the murder of a taxi drive, Masaaki Takahashi (then 61). According
to investigators, they have confirmed that immediately after the
incident, he returned to the base, which was about 500 meters from
the scene of the crime, and withdrew cash from an ATM machine
located in a health facility. After that, he exited the base and
seems to have returned to Tokyo.

12) Ugbogu, arrested on suspicion of murdering taxi driver, a
green-card holder, may have joined military to gain citizenship

MAINICHI (Page 27) (Abridged slightly)
April 5, 2008

Olatunbosun Ugbogu of Nigerian nationality, a 22-year-old U.S. Navy
seaman arrested on suspicion of murdering and robbing Masaaki
Takahashi, 61, a taxi driver of Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, in Yokosuka,
Kanagawa Prefecture, was a non-U.S. citizen serving in the U.S.
military with only a green card, permanent residency status. Those
with foreign nationality who have served in the U.S. military can
obtain U.S. citizenship on a priority basis. Some experts have
raised questions about the quality of those who join the U.S.
military for that purpose.

Changing the system in July 2002, the U.S. government eased the
procedures so that "green-card service members" can apply for
citizenship upon joining the U.S. military and smoothly obtain
citizenship after undergoing screening by immigration officials. The
U.S. government also reportedly amended the immigration law in
January 2007 to solicit applications (for the U.S. military) widely
by allowing even illegal immigrants with no visas to begin
procedures for citizenship in exchange for joining the U.S.

Such steps are attributable to a chronic shortage of U.S. service
members due to the large number of troops on foreign missions, such
as the Iraq war, in the wake of 9/11. According to a book titled
Report on Hinkon Taikoku America (Impoverished Superpower America)
by reporter Mika Tsutsumi, who is well versed in U.S. issues, there
were 37,401 green-card service members as of the end of 2003. Their
country of origin is topped by Latin American countries, such as
Mexico, followed by Southeast Asian and African countries.

Military commentator Tetsuo Maeda said: "The number of young, poor
foreign nationals trying to obtain citizenship by joining the U.S.
military is increasing. The quality of those service members who
joined the U.S. military just to obtain citizenship seems low."

13) CNFJ Commander Kelly in press conference apologizes for alleged
murder of taxi driver by U.S. sailor; Suspect also left base without

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authorization earlier

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 27) (Full)
April 6, 2008

U.S. Naval Forces Japan Commander Rear Adm. James Kelly held his
first press conference on April 5 following the arrest of a U.S.
sailor on suspicion of murdering and robbing a taxi driver, Masaaki
Takahashi, 61, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. In the press
conference, the commander offered an apology, saying: "It is
extremely sad that the suspect was a U.S. sailor, and I offer my
deepest apology."

Commander Kelly also revealed that the suspect, Olatunbosun Ugbogu,
22, had previously left the base without authorization after causing
trouble on the Aegis cruiser he was based at. Ugbogu left the base
on March 8, and the U.S. Navy declared him a deserter based on the
captain's decision two days later instead of the regular 30 days.

Although Kelly also revealed that he had met with family members of
Takahashi on March 5, he stopped short of discussing the details,
saying, "It concerns the privacy (of the family members.)" He also
simply said of the reason Ugbogu deserted and his work attitude:
"They will become clear through investigations by Japanese

14) Okinawa police question U.S. military policeman on voluntary
basis over taxi robbery; Arrest warrants issued to two sons of U.S.

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 27) (Full)
April 5, 2008

A taxi driver was assaulted and robbed of 8,000 yen in cash in
Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture. On April 4, Okinawa police
arrested a 16-year-old senior high school boy and a 15-year-old boy,
both of whom are sons of U.S. solders, on charges of robbery
resulting in bodily injury. The police are questioning a corporal
(21) assigned to the U.S. military's Kadena Air Base on suspicion
that he might have been involved in the incident. The police intend
to continue investigations on a voluntary basis and send papers on
the corporal to prosecutors, as they have been able to interview him
sufficiently in cooperation with U.S. military authorities, who have
taken him into custody.

In addition to them, the police, which have already obtained arrest
warrants for two boys of U.S. soldiers, both of whom are 19 years
old, on the same charge, have asked the U.S. military to hand them
over to Japanese authorities, but it is unknown when they will be
turned over.

According to the police, they interviewed the corporal at another
police station in the prefecture in cooperation with the U.S.
military. U.S. military authorities have placed him under their
surveillance. The police have questioned him several times since
late March with U.S. military officers also present at the
interviews. Reportedly, two 19-year-old boys, for whom the police
have obtained arrest warrants, live on the base.

According to police investigations, the allegations are that those
boys, including a senior high school student, conspired to stop a
taxi on a street in Okinawa City on March 16 around 0:20 a.m., had

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the male taxi driver (55) get out of the car, struck him in the back
of the head inuring him, and robbed him of his change box containing
some 8,000 yen in cash.

15) Defense ministry skipping costly MD live-fire missile drills

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Excerpts)
April 6, 2008

It was learned yesterday that the Ministry of Defense (MOD) will not
conduct live-fire drills using two types of interceptor missiles it
has introduced as part of a missile defense system -- the Air
Self-Defense Force's PAC-3 and the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
SM-3 due to projected enormous costs. Their performance will be
confirmed in tests before deployment. Possessing weapons that have
not been used in live-fire drills is extremely rare. The
difficulties associated with the introduction of a high-ticket
weapons system have become exposed.

A PAC-3 performance test is scheduled to take place in September
this year in the United States to intercept two mock missiles. The
costs, including services fees to be paid to the United States, are
estimated at 2.3 billion yen.

A test for the SM-3 will be conducted by four Aegis-equipped vessels
that will be converted into MD vessels.

In December last year, the JS Kongo successfully intercepted a mock
ballistic missile in a test near Hawaii. Japan paid 6 billion yen to
the United States for it.

Such tests, designed to confirm the performance explained by the
United States, differ different from pre-operation drills. Firing a
PAC-3 in a drill is estimated at approximately 500 million yen and a
SM-3 at 2 billon yen. In addition, Japan has to pay costs of decoy
missiles to the United States. For this reason, both the ASDF and
MSDF have decided not to conduct live-fire drills beyond
computer-aided simulations.

16) Prime minister meets with South Korean Foreign Minister:
Cooperation in dealing with Pyongyang affirmed

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

South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung-hwan on
April 4 met with Prime Minister Fukuda at the Kantei. They discussed
North Korea's nuclear development issue and agreed on a policy of
Japan and South Korea working on Pyongyang to declare its nuclear
development program in a complete and accurate way. They also
confirmed their stance of closely cooperating with the U.S. and
China as well.

Yu has come to Japan in order to prepare for President Lee
Myung-bak's Japan visit slated for April 20. The prime minister
stated, "I am looking forward to exchanging views with President Lee
for a new Japan-South Korea age."

Yu then met with Foreign Minister Komura at the Foreign Ministry's
Iikura State Guest House in Azabudai, Tokyo. Concerning Japan-North
Korea relations, Koumura explained the government's stance of aiming
at normalizing ties with North Korea after settling pending issues,

TOKYO 00000933 013 OF 015

including the abduction issue. During a joint press briefing after
the meeting, he noted, "Foreign Minister Yu expressed his
understanding and support. He has kindly noted that he would
cooperate as much as he can."

Regarding the abduction issue, to which Japan is attaching
importance, Yu said, "I would like to pursue joint efforts between
Japan and South Korea so that the issue can be settled at an early

Koumura and Yu during the meeting agreed that Japan and South Korea
co-host an international conference in Bangkok on April 23 to
discuss how to improve the quality of aid, inviting emerging donors,
such as China and India.

17) Japanese, ROK foreign ministers agree to jointly host meeting on
cooperation between industrialized and newly industrialized
countries for aid to developing countries

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 5, 2008

Visiting South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung
Hwan met on the night of April 4 with Foreign Minister Masahiko
Koumura at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo. The two agreed to
jointly host a meeting on cooperation between newly industrializing
countries like China and India, which have rapidly increased their
assistance for developing countries, and industrialized nations. The
two also agreed to hold the first meeting on April 23 in Bangkok.

Koumura and Yu held talks for the first time since the inauguration
of the government of President Lee Myung Bak in February. Prior to
his meeting with Koumura, Yu exchanged views with Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda. Referring to North Korea in the meeting, Yu told

"The nuclear issue is now reaching a critical stage. We will closely
cooperate (with other members of the six-party talks) so that North
Korea will complete the declaration of its nuclear programs as early
as possible and the six-party talks will resume. We will also
cooperate to have the North enter the next stage."

Fukuda and Yu reportedly confirmed bilateral cooperation on the
abduction issue. They reportedly also exchanged views on President
Lee's planed visit to Japan on April 20-21 when the mutual summit
visits by top leaders of Japan and South Korea are resumed.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Japan and South Korea
will ask about 15 newly industrializing countries, including Russia
and Mexico in addition to China and India, to take part in the
planned April 23 meeting. The two countries also expected to invite
seven aid-recipient countries, including Cambodia and Indonesia. The
participants are expected to discuss such issues as cooperation
between industrialized and newly industrialized countries.

18) Diet finally to return to full-scale deliberations on
road-related resources and the pension issue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
April 7, 2008

The lopsided Diet, which has been completely stalled due to the

TOKYO 00000933 014 OF 015

upper and lower houses being controlled by different parties, will
return at the beginning of the week to full-fledged debates between
the ruling and opposition camps centering on the issues of what to
do about tax revenues designated for road building and the missing
pension accounts. With the Democratic Party of Japan taking a clear
confrontational stance, how will the government and ruling parties
pursue the argument of restoring the provisional tax rates related
to gasoline and other commodities? With expectations of an April
clash on this issue, all eyes for the present will be on the party
head debate that will take place on April 9 between Prime Minister
Fukuda and Democratic Party of Japan President Ozawa.

19) Shirakawa to be appointed as new BOJ governor

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
April 7, 2008

It has now become certain that Bank of Japan (BOJ) Deputy Gov.
Masaaki Shirakawa, 58, will be promoted to the top post of the
central back, which has been left vacant for the first time in the
postwar era. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest
opposition force, has decided to accept the government's nomination
of Shirakawa as the next BOJ governor. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
said yesterday: "There is no obstacle." The DPJ, meanwhile, will
make a decision on whether to accept the government's nomination of
Hiroshi Watanabe, a professor at Hitotsubashi University graduate
school and former vice finance minister for international affairs,
as the successor to Shirakawa after the government presents its
nominations to the Diet because there are pros and cons in the

The government plans to present its nominations to a meeting this
afternoon of representatives from the two houses of the Diet.
Although it remains unclear whether the DPJ will accept or not the
nomination of Watanabe as deputy BOJ chief, the government intends
to present its nominations of Shirakawa as the new governor and
Watanabe as one of the two deputy governors. It informally has told
the DPJ and will seek the DPJ's approval of the two nominations as a

Following the government's presentation of its nomination plan, the
two Diet chambers will hear the opinions of Shirakawa and Watanabe
on April 8 and take a vote on the appointments bill at their plenary
sessions as early as April 9. The DPJ will discuss in a meeting of
four executive members this afternoon how it should respond to the
matter and make a final decision on the 8th.

20) DPJ President Ozawa to oppose government's nomination of Hiroshi
Watanabe to be deputy BOJ governor

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
April 7, 2008

When asked on a Fuji TV and NHK talk shows yesterday about a
possible government nominee Hiroshi Watanabe, a professor at
Hitotsubashi University's graduate school and former vice finance
minister for international affairs, as a deputy governor of the Bank
of Japan, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa

"The DPJ has been seeking to terminate the practice of amakudari or
placing retired senior bureaucrats into high-paying posts at private

TOKYO 00000933 015 OF 015

and public entities. If the government nominates (Watanabe), many in
my party will not accept it."

The largest opposition party will make a formal decision after the
government presents its nomination plan to the Diet today, but it is
expected to oppose the nomination of Watanabe. If that happens, the
vacancy of one of the two deputy BOJ chief posts will continue.

Ozawa, meanwhile, showed his acceptance to promoting Deputy Gov.
Masaaki Shirakawa as the next BOJ governor because his party had
agree to the nomination of Shirakawa as deputy chief, saying: "There
is no obstacle."

Asked about whether he would run in the party's leadership race in
September, Ozawa expressed a positive stance, saying: "If party
members ask me to do so, I will (run in the election)."


© Scoop Media

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