Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 04/09/08
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 04/09/08
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)
4) Assistant Secretary Hill hints at progress in talks with North
Korea on nuclear report (Asahi)
5) Japan extends its own sanctions on North Korea for the third time
6) French premier in interview before trip to Japan expresses
support for Japan's proposal to cut greenhouse gases (Nikkei)
7) Prime Minister Fukuda plans early May visit to Europe despite
uproar in Diet (Mainichi)
8) ODA scandal: PCI, a consultant firm, engaged in shady payoff-deal
in Costa Rica centered on an ODA project (Yomiuri)
9) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) nixes appointment of Watanabe as
deputy Bank of Japan governor (Mainichi)
10) One deputy slot at the Bank of Japan likely to remain vacant due
to DPJ intransigence (Mainichi)
11) In Diet vote on deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, some DPJ
lawmakers may break ranks and vote for Watanabe instead of against
his appointment (Mainichi)
12) Stormy session in Lower House likely to intensify (Asahi)
13) DPJ to toughen attack on the ruling camp in the Diet (Asahi)
14) Mainichi poll: 55 PERCENT of public expect Diet dissolution if
Upper House passes a censure motion against the Fukuda Cabinet
15) Multination poll finds Japanese youths have little sense of
economizing compared to youths in other countries (Sankei)
16) Poll shows great differences in perception between Japanese and
Chinese students (Tokyo Shimbun)
17) JCP delegation files protest at U.S. Embassy on series of crimes
by U.S. military in Japan (Akahata)
1) TOP HEADLINES
Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
DPJ decides to reject nomination of Watanabe for BOJ deputy
governor, heeding Ozawa's wishes; Shirakawa to take top post today
Poll: Those against constitutional revision exceed supporters for
first time in 15 years; 60 PERCENT call for protecting Article 9
(1) Hopes for BOJ Governor Shirakawa
(2) China is being tested over torch relay
(1) Torch relay: Beijing should understand importance of dialogue
(2) Promptly show seriousness about shifting road-related tax
TOKYO 00000967 002 OF 013
revenues to general budget
(1) Dialogue is sole means to resolve torch relay fiasco
(2) NATO: Security environment changing in Europe
(1) Start of lay judge system officially set
(2) DPJ playing with nominations for BOJ top posts
(1) Shirakawa expected to do his best to restore public trust in
(2) DPJ should present practical policies to win public support
(1) Resumption of dialogue imperative to prevent obstructions to
(2) Ingenuity needed to raise awareness about lay judge system
(1) NATO summit: There is no future for military alliance
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, April 8
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 9, 2008
Attended a session of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Gender
Equality in Diet.
Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi at Kantei.10:25
Met with former Finance Minister Omi.
Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura. Afterwards, met with
State Minister in Charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy Ota, Deputy
Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka and others. Ota remained.
Met with Futahashi.
Met with the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of Tunisia.
Met with Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka, House of Representatives
members Takeshi Noda and Hiroyuki Sonoda, and former Foreign
Minister Kawaguchi. Afterwards, met with Special Advisor to Cabinet
Met with Special Advisor to Prime Minister Ito. Afterwards, met with
former LDP Secretary General Nakagawa.
TOKYO 00000967 003 OF 013
Met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sasae. Later, attended a meeting of
the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.
Met with former Prime Minister Mori. Then attended the "Evening of
Africa" with ambassadors to Japan from African countries, joined by
Nippon Keidanren Chairperson Mitarai.
Met with Machimura at Kantei residence.
4) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Hill hints at progress on
nuclear declaration issue after U.S.-DPRK talks
ASAHI (Page 9) (Excerpts)
April 9, 2008
Kei Ukai, Tetsuya Hakota, Singapore
Talks between United States Assistant Secretary of State Christopher
Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan took place
in the United States Embassy in Singapore yesterday. After the
session, Hill indicated that there had been progress on the nuclear
declaration issue, telling reporters: "We've seen a more significant
progress than we had in the talks in Geneva (held last month). We
may make some kind of announcement in this regard shortly." The
working-level officials seem to have reached a basic agreement.
When asked about whether there was any move concerning the nuclear
declaration issue, for instance, an announcement of agreement, Hill
said: "It depends on what response his home country will show by
tomorrow." Hill did not reveal any details of what he and Kim had
discussed, but he was positive about the meeting, noting, "We had
substantive talks." Kim, too, said after the discussion: "The
differences of views have now been narrowed down in many aspects. I
think the discussion went smoothly."
Hill is to arrive in Beijing on this morning and meet separately
with Japan's Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Director-General Akitaka Saiki, the Chinese chief delegate to the
six-party talks, and the South Korean chief delegate to the
six-party talks to brief them on the results of the U.S-North Korea
talks. Kim also is scheduled to arrive in Beijing this morning. If
the U.S. and North Korea agree on a roadmap for the nuclear
declaration in the days ahead, Washington is likely to make a move
to delist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. North Korea
is likely to move to make a nuclear declaration to China, the host
nation of the six-party talks. Also, moves for resuming the
six-party talks are likely to gain momentum.
The U.S. and North Korea have differing opinions regarding the
nuclear issue related to the proliferation of nuclear development
programs by means of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to other
countries, such as Syria. North Korea has denied the existence of
HEU, arguing, "We can't declare it because we don't possess it." In
the talks in Geneva last month, the U.S. suggested inserting these
issues in another document that will be formed separately from the
nuclear declaration, but this proposal was not approved.
According to an informed South Korean government official, after the
Geneva talks, the North Korean officials came out with a
counterproposal to the U.S. proposal by noting that they discussed
TOKYO 00000967 004 OF 013
the matter and organized their thoughts into the counterproposal."
In the counterproposal, the North reportedly insisted that a
document concerning the HEU and other issues should be formed
separately from the nuclear declaration to be submitted to China so
that it will be addressed only to the U.S. In addition, the North's
proposal seemed to call for adding modifications regarding some
phrases. In response, Washington presented a revised proposal to
Pyongyang and waited for its response.
According to a source familiar with the U.S.-North Korea talks,
coordination is underway between the U.S. and North Korea regarding
descriptions about HEU and other items so that wording that can be
interpreted in line with their respective assertions will be used.
Given this, even though both sides reach agreement, the possibility
is not ruled out that the nuclear declaration will not be a complete
and accurate one.
5) Japan to renew sanctions against DPRK with no progress on
abduction and nuclear declaration issues
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 9, 2008
The government yesterday decided to approve at a cabinet meeting on
April 11 extending for a half year the term of the currently-imposed
sanctions against North Korea, including an embargo on such North
Korean ships as the Man Gyong Bong, and a ban on imports from that
country. Behind this move is Japan's judgment that there is no
concrete progress on the abduction issue, and also that North Korea
has yet to come out with a complete and correct declaration of its
nuclear programs regarding the nuclear issue.
Japan approved the current sanctions at a cabinet meeting in
response to Pyongyang's nuclear testing conducted in October 2006.
If they are renewed this time, it will be the third time following
Although there is the possibility that during U.S.-North Korea talks
yesterday, the North Korean side came up with a positive stance, but
a senior Foreign Ministry official said that Tokyo's position is
that in order for Japan to ease the sanctions, "North Korea needs to
take action in concrete terms (to deal with such issues as
abductions)." It is less likely that the North will take some kind
of action for that end before the expiration of the sanctions.
The government has indicated that if some of Japanese nationals
abducted by North Korea return to Japan, Tokyo will take that as
"progress" on the abduction issue, and that it will willingly
consider lifting the sanctions or providing economic assistance in
the way to respond to progress on the nuclear and missile issues.
However, the Japan-North Korea working group on diplomatic
normalization talks under the six-party talks has not been held
since the second such meeting held in last September. There is no
prospect in sight for the third session to take place. "Given the
current situation, it is difficult to obtain the public's
understanding (about lifting the sanctions)," the senior Foreign
Ministry official said.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Committee on the Abduction
Issue (chaired by former LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson
Shoichi Nakagawa) met yesterday and formed a resolution calling for
TOKYO 00000967 005 OF 013
a renewal of the sanctions. Former Prime Minister Abe, supreme
advisor to the committee, noted: "Japan needs to declare its
6) Interview with French Prime Minister: Expresses support for
Japan's proposal for greenhouse gas emissions cuts
NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
April 9, 2008
Prior to his Japan's visit starting on April 10, French Prime
Minister Fillon gave an interview to the Nikkei. He during the
interview highly evaluated the Japanese government's proposal for a
sector-specific approach as a measure to cut greenhouse gas
emissions, saying, "The Japanese proposal is consistent with
Europe's proposal." This is the first announcement of support for
the Japanese proposal by any country participating in the July Lake
Toya G-8 summit in Hokkaido. Demand for the nuclear industry is
growing throughout the world. Fillon indicated his intention to
propose cooperation with Japan on the research and development of a
fast-breeder reactor, when he visits Japan, saying, "France will
step up cooperation with Japan in all consumer-related areas."
Regarding constraining emissions of greenhouse gases, the prime
minister stressed, "We should set an ambitious goal at the G-8."
Concerning the Japanese proposal for cutting emissions by sector,
such as the industrial and household sectors, he noted, "The
proposal will be widely adopted after 2012, the commitment period
under the Kyoto Protocol. The EU might also revise its directive,"
The prime minister indicated concern about violation of human rights
over the Tibet issue. He then said, "France will consider whether to
take part in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games,
after determining the Chinese government's response."
Fillon is responsible for domestic politics in general as President
Sarkozy's right-hand man. During his visit to Japan, which will last
until the 13th, he will meet with Prime Minister Fukuda and various
7) Prime Minister Fukuda plans to visit Europe in Golden Week
holidays; Walking diplomatic tightrope
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
April 9, 2008
With the Group of Eight (G8) summit in July at Lake Toya in Hokkaido
in mind, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda plans to visit European
countries during the Golden Week holiday period (in early May). In
the wake of the so-called "gasoline Diet session, however, Fukuda
has now been forced to walk a precarious tightrope. The reason is
that the political situation may change around April 29 when the
House of Representatives will be able to revote on a bill amending
the Special Taxation Measures Law, including the provisional tax
rate for gasoline and road-related taxes. On May 6 Chinese President
Hu Jintao will visit Japan, which Fukuda considers the apex of his
diplomacy. Overseas travel by prime ministers, which is controlled
by internal politics, is now being even more affected by political
motives than ever.
Fukuda, who will chair the G8 summit, wants to make the trip to
Europe in order to meet with the leaders of the G8 members before
TOKYO 00000967 006 OF 013
the July event. A Foreign Ministry source said: "Building personal
relationships is important before the G8 summit." However, only six
days -- from April 30 through May 5-6 -- are available for Fukuda.
Therefore, there are ideas -- one being he will go to Europe twice
in late April and early May -- and the other being he should visit
only France and Russia where new presidents have been elected.
If the Lower House readopted the legislation on April 29, the main
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) will likely
submit a censure motion against the prime minister (to the House of
Councillors). As such, the political situation will inevitably
become tense and the prime minister's planned trip to Europe would
then be impossible.
Fukuda intends to take advantage of his summit with Hu to boost his
administration's popularity. He considers the summit between the
leaders of Japan and China, which will take place for the first time
in ten years, indispensable for his "resonant diplomacy (for the
Japan-U.S. alliance and Asia). But it will be difficult to expect
such political developments once a censure motion is submitted to
For this reason, some in the government and ruling parties have
called for taking a second vote on a bill to amend the Road
Construction Revenues Special Exemption Law, which would allow part
of the road-related tax revenues to be used for other general
purposes, and the Special Taxation Measures Law revision bill as a
set on May 12 or after. However, it will be difficult to put off
taking a second vote on the tax reform bill because Fukuda offered
an apology for the confusion at a press conference on March 31 when
the provisional rates expired.
8) Japanese tax authorities order PCI to pay additional back taxes
over shady deals tied to ODA in Latin America
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
April 9, 2008
Major consultant firm Pacific Consultants International (PCI) paid
about 25 million yen to influential persons in Costa Rica and other
countries in Latin America during the period between 2000 and 2004
over projects tied to Japan's official development assistance (ODA)
program. The company based in Tama City, Tokyo, was previously found
to have misappropriated public funds for a project to dispose of
chemical weapons left in China by the former Imperial Japanese Army.
In questioning, the company did not reveal the names of the
recipients, so the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau identified the
payments as costs incurred for unrevealed purposes and ordered the
company to pay more than 20 million yen in back taxes, including
Last October, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special
investigative squad searched PCI on suspicion of aggravated breach
of trust for padding bills totaling about 100 million yen for a
project to dispose of chemical weapons. The imposition of back taxes
and penalties on the firm is a separate case from this. The taxation
probe has brought to light the company's kickback maneuverings.
PCI was commissioned by the Japan International Cooperation Agency
(JICA) to conduct surveys in 51 countries for ODA projects from 2000
TOKYO 00000967 007 OF 013
According to persons connected to PCI, the company gave kickbacks to
influential persons and brokers in those countries, with the aim of
smoothly promoting surveys for agricultural development in
northwestern Costa Rica. PCI billed JICA for the payments, listing
the money as expenses paid to its subcontractors.
The taxation bureau demanded PCI disclose the names of the
recipients, pointing out that rebates cannot be regarded as
expenses. But since the company did not respond to the request, the
bureau judged the payments as costs incurred for undisclosed
purposes and applied a 40 PERCENT corporate tax rate, though it
usually is 30 PERCENT .
It has been revealed through an investigation by the Board of Audit
that PCI had sent padded bills to JICA and other institutions for
projects in 16 countries, including Laos and Brazil, besides Costa
Rica. Its padded bills total 140 million yen. The company was
removed from JICA's list of potential commissioned firms in 2004. A
PCI source said in an interview: "We have yet to confirm the
9) BOJ leadership nominees: DPJ decides to reject nomination of
Watanabe with Ozawa having his own way
MAINICHI (Top Play) (Full)
April 9, 2008
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) at its executive
meeting yesterday evening decided how to respond to the government
nomination for the posts of governor and deputy governor of the Bank
of Japan (BOJ). They decided to accept a proposal for promoting
incumbent Deputy Governor Masaaki Shirakawa (58), currently acting
BOJ governor, to governor. However, they will reject the proposed
nomination of Hiroshi Watanabe (58), a Hitotsubashi University
graduate school professor and a former vice finance minister for
international affairs, as a deputy governor succeeding Shirakawa.
The subcommittee to consider personnel appointments requiring Diet
approval had earlier reached a decision that it would be possible to
endorse the government nomination of Watanabe as deputy BOJ
governor. However, President Ichiro Ozawa, who was opposed to the
appointment of Watanabe, has apparently had his own way. As a
result, the likelihood is that only the proposal for appointing
Shirakawa as governor will be adopted by a majority from the ruling
and opposition parties, and one of the two deputy governors'
positions would be left vacant.
Nomination of Shirakawa to be endorsed in today's Diet roll call
Explaining the reasons that the DPJ has decided to reject Watanabe,
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama after the executive meeting
yesterday evening said: "The DPJ has raised the banner of banning
all "amakudari" (golden parachute) appointments. We will follow this
major policy line." He underscored his position of firmly
maintaining the party policy of disapproving the appointment of a
former Finance Ministry official as a BOJ executive.
Regarding his earlier indication of accepting Watanabe's nomination,
Hatoyama explained, "There is a difference between an administrative
vice finance minister and a vice finance minister for international
affairs. The weight of the position of governor and that of deputy
governor also differs. I have in the end reached a decision that I
should say 'no' to amakudari practices."
TOKYO 00000967 008 OF 013
A number of members of the subcommittee to consider personnel
appointments requiring Diet approval supported the nomination of
Watanabe, with one saying, "He is an expert on international
financing. His appointment to the post of deputy governor is
different from being an amakudari." However, others, citing that the
party had earlier opposed the government nominations of Toshiro
Muto, forcer administrative vice finance minister, and Koji Tanami,
also former administrative vice finance minister, for the post of
governor, said, "The people would find it difficult to understand if
we endorse his appointment." The panel in the end left the matter to
executives, including Ozawa, to work out, by attaching an opinion
that many members took the view that the nomination of Shirakawa as
governor is acceptable and it is possible to endorse the nomination
of Watanabe as deputy governor.
Among other opposition parties, the Japanese Communist Party has
already decided to endorse neither nominee. The People's New Party
has endorsed both proposals. The Social Democratic Party intends to
only endorse the selection of Shirakawa as governor.
10) Leaving position of deputy BOJ governor vacant "unavoidable,"
says senior government official
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
April 9, 2008
Following the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto) decision
not to endorse the government nomination of Watanabe as deputy Bank
of Japan (BOJ) governor, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at around 8:30
p.m. yesterday afternoon met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura at the prime minister's official residence. They discussed
how to deal with the situation in the future for about 50 minutes.
Regarding the selection of another candidate in the event of the
nomination of Watanabe being rejected in an Upper House plenary
session today, one senior government official indicated his view
that leaving the position vacant for the time being would be
unavoidable. He noted, "Even if Mr. Watanabe is rejected, it would
be impossible for the government to come up with another candidate
11) Internal discord in DPJ over Watanabe's nomination as DPJ deputy
governor, some may defy party decision in two Diet houses votes
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
April 9, 2008
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
yesterday decided to reject the government's nomination of Hiroshi
Watanabe, professor at Hitotsubashi University graduate school and a
former vice finance minister for international affairs, as one of
the deputy governors of the Bank of Japan, respecting party head
Ichiro Ozawa's remarks opposing the practice of amakudari or placing
retired senior bureaucrats into high-paying posts in public and
private sectors. However since many in the DPJ said yesterday that
their party should approve Watanabe's nomination, internal discord
is now visible in the largest opposition party. Under such
circumstances, some DPJ lawmakers may vote for the nomination of
Watanabe today in the plenary sessions of the two Diet chambers,
defying the party's decision. The internal discord over the
nomination of Watanabe for a BOJ deputy will become a litmus test to
TOKYO 00000967 009 OF 013
gauge Ozawa's grip on the party.
"If we disapprove Watanabe, more than ten members may defy the
party's decision," Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama told his aide,
Sakihito Ozawa, and other members yesterday afternoon near the
entrance of the Lower House plenary hall.
Ozawa has been in silent for three days since he said on a TV talk
show that he couldn't accept the appointment of any former Finance
Ministry bureaucrat (for the top posts of the central bank). Ozawa's
remark has been creating a stir in the DPJ. Prior to the
presentation of the government's nomination of Watanabe, Hatoyama
made this comment: "The prevailing view in the party is that the
party should go along with Watanabe's nomination." But a young
lawmaker said: "Because the party head has decided to disapprove, we
There is concern that if the party binds its members to abide by a
party decision in defiance of the majority view in the party, some
members will defy the party decision. As a result, his party may
split in two, so Hatoyama has tried to find the middle ground
between the two sides.
The views in the DPJ on whether to approve or disapprove Watanabe's
nomination are intricately interwoven with how close or distant from
Ozawa the lawmakers feel, a sense of rivalry with the government and
ruling coalition, and consideration for public opinion.
12) Ruling bloc looks to send all priority bills to Upper House by
April 15 with their re-adoption at end of session in mind
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 9, 2008
Reopened deliberations in the House of Councillors that had been
stalled since late March have begun easing the congestion of bills.
The ruling bloc intends to send bill after bill to the Upper House
with the aim of passing them all in the Lower House by April 15 in
anticipation of stalled Diet deliberations following a second vote
on the provisional gasoline tax rate toward the end of the current
session of the Diet.
The LDP General Council met yesterday, and Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Tadamori Oshima declared: "We would like to send many
important bills to the Upper House from this week through next
week." What Oshima had in mind was a timetable for handling bills
before the June 15 closure of the current Diet session.
In order to restore the provisional tax rates on gasoline and other
products, the ruling bloc plans to hold a second, overriding vote as
early as late April. If that is followed by the Upper House's
adoption of a censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda submitted
by the opposition camp, the ruling bloc intends to counter it with
the lower chamber's approval of a cabinet confidence motion. In
reaction, if the opposition parties boycott deliberations, the Diet
would stall for a long time. This is what the ruling camp is
envisaging. Many LDP lawmakers think that if a second vote is taken,
the Diet will stall until the end of the current session.
As such, the ruling parties are intending to send the remaining
priority bills to the Upper House by April 15 so that they would be
able to re-discuss those bills before the current session ends,
TOKYO 00000967 010 OF 013
while bearing in mind the 60-day rule regarding a delay in voting on
bills in the upper chamber as de facto rejection. In the ongoing
Diet session, the government has presented a total of 75 bills. Of
them, 22, mostly those related to the budget, have cleared the Lower
House, including three yesterday. Without prospects for
deliberations in the Upper House, the remaining bills might be
scrapped. An LDP Diet Affairs Committee member said: "Given the
ruling bloc's minority in the Upper House, we might have to readopt
13) DPJ to intensify offensive in Upper House
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
April 9, 2008
The House of Councillors held yesterday full-fledged deliberations
on roads and pensions.
Also yesterday, the Upper House Financial Affairs Committee began
discussing the government-presented taxation-related bills in tandem
with the Democratic Party of Japan's counterproposals, including one
to abolish the gasoline and other provisional tax rates. Reversing
its rejection of deliberations, the DPJ has now decided to discuss
bills following the expiration of the gasoline and other taxes.
At the same time, the party will remain on alert until late April,
when the ruling bloc will be able to take a two-thirds overriding
vote in the Lower House in accordance with the constitutional 60-day
rule. Until then, the largest opposition party does not intend to
allow votes on bills presented by the government and the DPJ. The
party plans to play up the injustice in a second vote, while
spelling out the positive effects of lowered gasoline prices.
The Upper House Health, Labor and Welfare Committee began discussing
the government-presented pension-related bills ahead of the
DPJ-submitted bills. The DPJ thinks that this will allow the largest
opposition party to grill Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi
Masuzoe over the pension record fiasco before the committee.
The strategy also reflects the DPJ's firm determination to drive the
Fukuda administration to a tight corner. In past deliberations, the
party successfully elicited apologies from both the prime minister
and Masuzoe over the question of unidentified pension record
holders. DPJ Upper House Secretary General Kenji Hirata said,
"Momentum is building in the party to submit a censure motion
(against the health, labor and welfare minister)." In a DPJ
executive meeting yesterday, the party confirmed the policy course
to apply greater pressure on the government with an eye on April 15,
when the government will start withholding medical insurance
premiums from the pension benefits of those 75 and over.
The DPJ is going to reinforce its confrontational stand through the
Finance and Health and Welfare Committees. In the event the
government and ruling parties take a second vote in the Lower House,
the DPJ looks to submit a censure motion against the prime minister
to the upper chamber. The party intends to stir public opinion
through May, according to a senior DPJ Diet Affairs Committee
14) Poll: 55 PERCENT back Diet dissolution if censure motion
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MAINICHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
April 9, 2008
The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey on Apr. 5-6, in which respondents were asked what
they thought Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda should do if a censure
motion against him is passed in the House of Councillors. To this
question, 55 PERCENT answered that Fukuda should dissolve the House
of Representatives for a general election, topping all other
answers. A censure motion has no legal binding force. In the survey,
however, a majority of the public indicated that Fukuda should seek
the people's judgment.
Meanwhile, 21 PERCENT answered that Fukuda "doesn't have to do
anything because a censure motion has no legal force," with 19
PERCENT saying "his cabinet should resign en masse."
The government and ruling parties are going 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 now-expired
provisional rate of taxation on gasoline. The leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) is ready to submit a censure
motion in the House of Councillors if the bill is passed in a second
15) High school kids uninterested in economizing
SANKEI (Page 28) (Abridged)
April 9, 2008
Among Japanese high school students, fewer than half are taught by
their parents about the importance of economizing, and their
proportion is substantially lower than in China, South Korea, and
the United States. This became known from a survey of high school
students conducted by the Japan Youth Research Institute (JYRI) over
their spending attitude. The JYRI analyzes: "In the United States,
children are encouraged to opt for self-reliance. In Japan, however,
people are now well-off. In addition, the ideal of education is weak
in Japan, so parents might have spoiled their children."
The survey was conducted from October through November last year at
a total of 76 urban high schools in Japan, the United States, China,
and South Korea. Answers were obtained from 5,395 persons.
"Do your parents usually tell you about the importance of
economizing?" To this question, "yes" came from about 80 PERCENT in
the United States, China, and South Korea. Japan was substantially
lower than the three countries. Many Japanese high school students
regularly receive allowances from their parents, and their
proportion was highest among the four countries. However, Japan was
lowest in terms of high school students being asked by their parents
how they spend that money.
16) Survey of high school students in Japan, U.S., China, S. Korea:
Perception gap seen over food safety
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Abridged)
April 9, 2008
Japanese high school students do not much care about food safety
when they buy food products. This fact became known from a survey
conducted by the Tokyo-based Japan Youth Research Institute in
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Japan, the United States, China, and South Korea. Chinese high
school students were most aware of food safety. This can be taken as
reflecting China's domestic circumstances, such as the serious
problem of pesticide residue.
The survey was taken from October through November last year with
about 5,400 students at a total of 76 public and private high
schools in the four countries.
"Do you check the safety of the food products you buy?" To this
question, "yes" came from 13 PERCENT in Japan, 42 PERCENT in
China, 20 PERCENT in South Korea, and 18 PERCENT in the United
States. Japan was at the lowest level, and China was more than three
times higher than Japan.
"Have you ever been worried about the safety of food products you
buy?" To this question, 74 PERCENT in China answered "yes," topping
all other countries. South Korea was at 64 PERCENT , followed by
Japan at 60 PERCENT and the United States at 53 PERCENT .
Asked if they would choose to buy pesticide-free and healthy food
products, 76 PERCENT in China answered "yes," followed by South
Korea at 45 PERCENT , the United States at 38 PERCENT , and Japan at
34 PERCENT .
17) Delegation of JCP lawmakers file protest at U.S. Embassy on
series of crimes by U.S. soldiers (Akahata)
AKAHATA (Page 1) (Full)
April 9, 2008
A delegation of Diet members from the Japanese Communist Party (JCP)
yesterday visited the U.S. Embassy in Japan (Minato-ku, Tokyo) to
lodge a protest against the series of crimes committed by U.S.
military personnel, including the incident of the rape of a
schoolgirl in Okinawa Prefecture and the robbery and murder of a
taxi driver in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Four lawmakers delivered the protest: Diet Affairs Chairman Keiji
Kurata, Lower House members Seiken Akamine and Akira Kasai, and
Upper House member Tetsushi Inoue. They were met at the Embassy by
Raymond, F. Greene, the chief of the security affairs unit of the
Political Section. After the protest was made, Kurata met with the
press in the Diet Building.
In addition to the protest against the series of crimes by U.S.
soldiers, the delegation made four points: 1) There should be full
compensation to the families of the victims and information should
be swiftly provided to Japanese authorities about deserters; 2)
there should be a drastic revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of
Forces Agreement (SOFA); 3) there should be a reduction and
consolidation of U.S. bases in Japan and a halting of the
realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and a cancellation of the
deployment of a nuclear-powered carrier to the U.S. Naval Base at
Yokosuka (Kanagawa Prefecture).
Unit chief Greene said he would transmit the contents of the protest
to Ambassador Schieffer, the U.S. government, and the U.S. forces in
Japan. He also expressed "the government's feeling of regret" for
the incidents, adding, "We will make every effort so that (such
incidents) will not occur again."
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Kurata raised the criticism that every time an incident occurs, in
spite of such promises as "no recurrences" and "tighter discipline,"
another incident later occurs. One of the reasons for that, he said,
is that the U.S. military is at war, starting with the Iraq war. He
then sought a drastic revision of the SOFA that would allow the
handing over of U.S. soldiers to Japanese authorities whenever they
commit crimes. He also sought a reduction and consolidation of U.S.
bases in Japan.
Greene stated: "Our views on the SOFA and the U.S. bases differ, but
crimes should not happen. We would like to continue our talks on
what to do so that incidents do not recur."