Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/08/08
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 05/08/08
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)
4) Profile of Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, first African-American to hold
USFJ command post (Nikkei)
Visit of China's President Hu:
5) Japan's desire for seat on UN Security Council "understood" by
Chinese President Hu Jintao in summit talks with Prime Minister
6) Japan-China summit meeting: Issues of Tibet, poisoned dumplings,
and history avoided (Nikkei)
7) Fukuda, Hu agree to "early resolution" of pending gas-field
development issue (Asahi)
8) DPJ President Ozawa in meeting with China's President Hu talks
about reform (Yomiuri)
9) Tibet issue comes up in Hu's meetings with senior members of each
10) Disgruntlement among LDP lawmakers for lack of toughness on the
issues by Fukuda in meeting with China's President Hu (Mainichi)
11) Hu appeals to Japanese business leaders to promote investment in
China in the environmental-protection area (Nikkei)
12) Difficult for Japan to fulfill promise to China of opening up
rice exports (Tokyo Shimbun)
13) Japan joins other donors to offer emergency aid to
cyclone-devastated Burma (Myanmar) (Asahi)
14) Japan to provide Sudan with 20 billion yen in aid over four
15) Japan's proposal to revise restrictions on food exports runs
into road block as Brazil and other countries react sharply (Asahi)
16) New government farm policy would use rice for bread and feed due
to world prices of feed grain skyrocketing (Mainichi)
17) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will not file a censure motion
in the Upper House against Fukuda over the road-funds issue (Tokyo
18) With Fukuda Cabinet support rates at record lows, ruling parties
favor postponing next Lower House election until next year (Tokyo
19) Lower House to override vote on road bills on the 13th (Tokyo
1) TOP HEADLINES
In exclusive interview with Asahi, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates not
positive about making another offer to Yahoo
Japan-China summit: Agreement reached on resumption of dialogue to
discuss human rights issues; Concessions also made on gas
TOKYO 00001241 002 OF 015
exploration in East China Sea
Japan-China summit confirms joint development of Shirakaba gas field
in East China Sea
METI to label each product's amount of CO2 emissions in cooperation
with major retailers, possibly in next fiscal year
Japanese and Chinese leaders agree to promote mutually beneficial
Japanese and Chinese leaders reach a basic agreement on sea waters
where both sides will explore gas fields
JCP and the Chinese Communist Party confirm strengthening new
relationship during meeting between JCP Chairman Shii and President
(1) Japan-China summit: New bilateral cooperation to be tested
(2) Burma hit by cyclone: Open doors to receive humanitarian aid
from other countries
(1) Japan-China summit: Two countries need to foster mutually
(2) Reform of MOD: Supremacy of civilian control unnecessary now?
(1) Japan-China summit: Question is how best to use joint statement
(2) New political system in Russia: Can Russia restore international
(1) More efforts by Japanese and Chinese leaders needed after adding
momentum to promotion of strategic and mutually beneficial relations
(1) Japan-China summit: Mutually beneficial relations must be proved
(2) Two-headed structure starts in Russia: We must pay attention to
Moscow's energy diplomacy
(1) Japan-China joint statement: Be brave enough to touch on sore
(2) Ongoing U.S. presidential campaign reveals America's hesitation
(1) Japan needs to hurriedly review domestic laws to ratify the UN
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
TOKYO 00001241 003 OF 015
Prime Minister's schedule, May 6
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Spent time at his official residence.
Met Waseda University Professor Koichiro Inahata.
Met Ambassador to China Miyamoto, Deputy Foreign Minister Sasae and
Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Saiki.
Hosted a welcome dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao at a French
restaurant at Hibiya Park.
Returned to his official residence.
Prime Minister's schedule, May 7
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Attended a welcome ceremony for President Hu and his wife at the
Returned to his official residence.
Held a ceremonial photograph session with President Hu at the
Kantei, followed by a summit meeting with him.
Signed a joint statement, followed by a joint press conference.
Inspected the "Touchable Globe" with President Hu.
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura and Assistant Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Saka, followed by LDP Administrative Reform
Headquarters chief Chuma and chief secretary Miyazawa.
Met Columbia University Professor Gerald Curtis, followed by Deputy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi and Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet
Attended a joint meeting of the Food, Agriculture, Farm Village
Policy Promotion Headquarters and the Strategic Council to Paint the
Future of Food.
Returned to his official residence.
TOKYO 00001241 004 OF 015
Attended a welcome banquet for President Hu at the Imperial Palace.
Retuned to his private residence in Nozawa.
Returned to his official residence.
4) Newsmaker: Edward A. Rice, Jr., 1st African-American to command
USFJ; Picked for experience in emergency readiness
NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
Eve., May 7, 2008
Tsuyoshi Sunohara, senior writer
On Feb. 25, a new face showed up at the headquarters of U.S. Forces
Japan (USFJ) in Yokota-the keystone of the alliance between Japan
and the United States. The new face is Lt. Gen. Edward A. Rice, Jr.,
52, who is the 22nd commander of USFJ and the commander of the 5th
Air Force. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer is also sure that Lt.
Gen. Rice is "a man with a promising future in the U.S. military."
Lt. Gen. Rice reminds us of Hollywood actor Denzel Washington. He
exudes the kind of intelligence demonstrated by U.S. Secretary of
State Rice, with whom he shares the same surname. New USFJ Commander
Rice had been an object of public attention in Japan before his
arrival as the first African-American to command USFJ.
The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), headquartered in Hawaii as the
"Pacific guard," sent Lt. Gen. Rice to Japan. Its aim, however, was
on a different plane. In the region, there are such issues as North
Korea's nuclear and missile development and China's high-pitch
modernization of the People's Liberation Army. With an eye on these
developments, PACOM Commander Keating put forward Lt. Gen. Rice, who
is experienced in responding to emergencies, in an aim to buttress
the bilateral alliance.
Lt. Gen. Rice graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1978. After
that, he became an Air Force pilot. The general is a command pilot
with more than 3,800 flying hours. He has flown the B-2, a stealth
strategic bomber. Before his Japan assignment, Lt. Gen. Rice was
commander of the 13th Air Force in Guam and vice commander of the
Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii.
Lt. Gen. Rice's assignment in Hawaii was three and a half years
long. In those days, the general accomplished two heavy
responsibilities. One was to command a new warfighting
headquarters-also known as Kenny Headquarters-established in the
13th Air Force. The other role was to serve as deputy commander for
a joint task force (JTF), which is commanded by the U.S. Pacific
Fleet commander and is in charge of unified control over the four
armed services under PACOM.
In both positions, Lt. Gen. Rice was tasked mainly with studying
scenarios in detail for potential emergencies in the Asia-Pacific
region and working out contingency plans between the U.S. military
One of the USFJ commander's major functions-according to the Foreign
Ministry-was to "oversee U.S. military bases in Japan in ordinary
TOKYO 00001241 005 OF 015
times," such as preventing U.S. military personnel from committing
crimes. However, Lt. Gen. Rice has a unique career. Moreover, the
new USFJ commanding general says he has never been assigned to
Japan. The general's arrival at the USFJ post could have USFJ
headquarters undergo a sea change in its position and nature for
dealing with emergencies.
The new USFJ chief readily answered a question about his goals as
USFJ commander: "One is to carry out the U.S. military realignment
plan completely, and another goal is to improve bilateral joint
training exercises for such tasks as the defense of Japan." He
stressed: "The road to the U.S. military's realignment is long and
difficult. However, I want to have the planned relocation of (the
U.S. Marine Corps') Futenma base (in Okinawa) and all other agreed
plans move forward, based on the agreement between Japan and the
Lt. Gen. Rice envisages having the bilateral alliance used for close
cooperation in this new era, with an eye to the deployment of
missile defense (MD) systems. In a change-of-command ceremony this
February, USFJ Commander Rice stated: "I believe that our bilateral
alliance will be stronger than ever in the years ahead."
5) Japan, China to explore ways on diplomatic and security fronts;
Hu simply expresses "understanding" toward Japan's desire for
permanent UNSC seat without giving assurance for support
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
May 8, 2008
Through their summit meeting yesterday, Japan and China proposed
close cooperation in bringing peace and stability to Asia and the
world on the diplomatic and security fronts. At the same time,
however, rather than over environmental and trade issues, the two
countries' national interests and pride might clash over their
respective responses to the North Korean issue and reform of the
United Nations, on which Japan puts high priority. The two countries
are likely to be forced to explore ways to coordinate their
interests in building a strategic, mutually beneficial
The meeting between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and visiting Chinese
President Hu Jintao lasted slightly less than two hours, exceeding
the original schedule by over 30 minutes. A mood of cooperation
filled the session. When the prime minister said, "Let us contribute
to the development of Asia and the world," President Hu immediately
answered, "I completely agree."
It was significant that the two leaders released a joint statement
after their meeting pledging to address not only bilateral issues
but also global challenges. But gaps in views on specific issues
were also evident.
The North Korean issue was a prime example. Fukuda for instance
said, "I would like to ask for China's continued understanding and
cooperation on the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North
Korea." Hu simply replied, "I believe outstanding issues (between
Japan and North Korea) will be resolved appropriately."
Although Fukuda and Hu also agreed to make efforts for an early
settlement of the nuclear issue, the areas of emphasis do not
TOKYO 00001241 006 OF 015
coincide altogether. Japan's basic policy is to proceed with the
nuclear and abduction issues simultaneously. China, on the other
hand, wants to swiftly push the abduction forward in order to elicit
aid to North Korea from Japan for resolving the nuclear issue,
according to a source connected to Japan-China relations.
There still is a perception gap over Japan's bid for a permanent
seat on the UN Security Council, as well. To Fukuda, Hu expressed a
favorable stance, saying, "I understand that Japan hopes to make
greater contributions to the peace and development of the world,"
adding, "I hope Japanese people will sense China's positive stance
from what I just said."
But Hu did not give assurances, in stark contrast to his meeting
this past January with Indian Prime Minister Singh. That meeting
also produced a joint statement noting that China understands and
supports India's desire to play a greater role in the United
Nations, including the Security Council.
Equating the UNSC permanent membership with major power status,
China does not want to easily allow Japan, its Asian rival, to gain
a permanent seat. According to the same source, coordination lasted
until the last moment on how to mention UN reform in the joint
statement. In the end, the two countries decided not to use a bold
6) Fukuda-Hu talks
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
May 8, 2008
Hu takes hard-line stance on Tibet
In yesterday's summit between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and
visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, attention was focused on
statements on the Tibet issue. The summit immediately followed a
direct dialogue between the Chinese government and an aid to the
14th Dalai Lama. President Hu said to Fukuda, "It is not a human
rights issue. It is a question of a sovereign state and of whether
there will be a breakup of the homeland or unity." Prime Minister
Fukuda also avoided touching on the core part.
Hu criticized the riots in the Tibet Autonomous Region in March by
describing them as a gravely violent criminal act. Hu also said in a
press conference, "I hope the Dalai Lama will stop activities to
break up the homeland, contriving and inciting violence, and
attempts to destroy the Beijing Olympics."
Fukuda simply said without making any requests: "The international
community is becoming increasingly concerned about the situation. I
hope the Beijing Olympics will be a success, and I would like China
to offer a full explanation."
Frozen dumpling food poisoning cases
Fukuda commented in a strong tone about the Chinese-made frozen
dumplings food poisoning issue, "The facts have not been uncovered,
which is not good for Japan or China." Although the two sides
confirmed a plan to step up their investigations, the two leaders
stopped short of mentioning specific measures.
Fukuda said: "Countless lives were placed at risk. We absolutely
TOKYO 00001241 007 OF 015
cannot leave the matter unresolved." In response, Hu said: "We put
high priority on food safety as a matter concerning the interests of
the general public. We have persistently investigated the matter and
notified the relevant departments in Japan of the results."
Future-oriented historical perceptions
In his talks with Fukuda and the joint statement that followed,
President Hu avoided underscoring China's perception on historical
events. The Chinese president apparently wanted to avoid reigniting
anti-Japanese sentiment in China, for that would harm the stability
of the country.
In his speech at a banquet held at the Imperial Palace last night,
Hu refrained from touching on Japan's acts of aggression against
China in the past. In his talks with Fukuda, the president also
simply said: "I would like to address (historical issues)
appropriately." The joint statement, too, simply indicates the two
countries' plans to squarely face history without specifying an
apology from Japan.
Taking the opposite tack of then Chinese President Jiang Zemin's
visit to Japan in 1998, when Jiang repeatedly brought up historical
issues, Hu succeeded in generating a mood of seeking a
7) Japan-China summit: Early settlement of gas field exploration
issue in sight
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Japan and China have confirmed their stance of aiming at an early
settlement of the issue of jointly developing gas fields in the East
China Sea, the greatest pending issue between the two countries.
Following the move, they will enter near final talks in the hope of
reaching a settlement by around the summer. Though specific details
of the talks, such as a method of joint exploration and areas
subject to the project, have yet to be clarified, both leaders have
indicated that the talks are now in the final phase.
Prime Minister Fukuda during a joint press conference after the
summit stressed, "There has been a major development (in discussions
over the gas field issue). We confirmed that a settlement is in
sight." Chinese President Hu Jintao also said, "We have had a vision
of the issue's resolution. We agreed to accelerate the talks so as
to reach an agreement at the earliest possible time."
Fukuda visited China last December and met with Premier Wen Jiabao.
At that time, they shared the view that there had been a positive
development on a concrete measure of setting the issue. This time,
Fukuda and Hu agreed to adopt words that hgo a step further.
Asked about a specific timeframe for reaching an agreement on the
gas field issue, the prime minister yesterday evening told
reporters, "We want to reach an agreement at the earliest possible
date." It is viewed that the Japanese government will aim at
reaching a settlement by the time when the president visits Japan
again in July to take part in the G-8 summit conference in
A government source said, "What remains to be settled is
TOKYO 00001241 008 OF 015
coordination of technical details." It is deemed that Japan and
China will undertake final coordination over how to deal with the
Chunxiao (referred to as Shirakaba by Japan) gas field, which the
Chinese side is developing on its own.
8) DPJ head Ozawa expresses reform expectations of China when
Japanese political party leaders meet with Chinese President Hu
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the major
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the junior coalition
partner New Komeito, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), and the
Social Democratic Party (SDP) yesterday met separately with visiting
Chinese President Hu Jintao at a hotel in Tokyo.
DPJ President Ozawa expressed his expectations of China's efforts to
reform its own systems by noting: "When I was young, I watched a
movie depicting the Italian Revolution. In the movie, a large
landowner supported the revolutionary army and the duke said, 'For
us to remain as we are, we need to change.' Making this thinking my
political philosophy, I have been engaged in politics to date." In
response, President Hu said, "I would like to continue to pursue a
reform and open-door policy. Doing so is the will of the nation and
the basis of our party." Hu did not mention specific issues, such as
Tibet and the poisoned-dumpling incidents.
LDP Secretary General Ibuki touched on the gas exploration in the
East China Sea and the poison dumplings and gave this positive
comment: "It was good to confirm (during the Japan-China summit)
that government offices in charge would actively discuss the
issues." In response, Hu said: "It benefits both sides that Prime
Minister Fukuda and I have reached a basic agreement in this
regard." Hu also suggested exchanges between junior lawmakers of the
In a session between Hu and New Komeito Representative Ota, Ota
asked China to resolve the Tibet issue in a peaceful manner. In
response, Hu explained about the dialogue with Tibet's spiritual
leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, and stressed: "The followers of the
Dalai Lama must end their violence and their moves to destroy the
Beijing Olympics." In a meeting with Hu, SDP President Fukushima
said: "We respect (the way China is tackling the North Korean
nuclear issue)." JCP Chairman Shii and Hu confirmed exchanges
between their parties and expansion of the exchanges.
9) Senior members of political parties meet Chinese president,
shelve Tibet issue to demonstrate friendship
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao met separately with senior
lawmakers of various political parties yesterday. On the outstanding
issue of Tibet, they took a cautious stance, probably aiming at
creating an atmosphere of friendship.
Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki, when he
visited China in mid-April, asked President Hu to disclose
information on the riots in Tibet. In the meeting yesterday, though,
TOKYO 00001241 009 OF 015
he just said: "I hope (China) will grow into a country in which
different races can live together under the lead of President Hu."
New Komeito President Akihiro Ota told Hu: "I would like to see a
peaceful settlement of the issue reached by talks among the parties
concerned." Hu explained to Ota about the talks held between the
Chinese government and a delegation sent by the Dalai Lama. He then
reiterated: "The Dalai Lama group must follow China's efforts to
halt violent activities and moves to splinter the nation and to
undermine the Beijing Olympics." Ota expressed his intention to
visit China in early June.
The Democratic Party of Japan sent a delegation of 400 members last
December. On Tibet, President Ichiro Ozawa made no reference in a
meeting with Hu yesterday, although he had said regarding the Tibet
issue this March: "In order for the Chinese Communist Party to
remain in power, this issue must be resolved."
10) LDP conservatives dissatisfied at prime minister's weak-kneed
stance in meeting with Chinese president on Tibet, tainted dumpling
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
May 8, 2008
Following their meeting yesterday, the leaders of Japan and China
signed a joint statement that pledges to establish a mutually
beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. Senior
members of the government and the ruling coalition have praised the
contents of the meeting, but conservative lawmakers of the Liberal
Democratic Party have voiced their dissatisfaction at Prime Minister
Fukuda's failure to take a stern stance about such pending issues as
Tibet and the poisoning outbreak caused by tainted Chinese
dumplings. One member complained: "The prime minister did not take a
stern attitude toward China." Conservative members have stopped
short of outwardly criticizing Fukuda for the pro-Chinese stance his
cabinet has taken since it was launched last September. However,
depending on future developments in the Tibetan issue and other
pending problems, conservative members may try to undermine the
Fukuda administration, which has been in a quandary over declining
A senior member of the "real conservative policy study group,"
composed of LDP and independent lawmakers and chaired by former
Policy Research Council Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa, expressed his
discontent at the outcome of the Japan-China summit. He said: "The
prime minister put pending issues on the back burner without
touching on them. The only visible fruit of the meeting was China's
pledge to loan a pair of giant pandas to Japan." Another senior
member commented: "The people are also feeling dissatisfied with the
prime minister's weak-kneed stance toward China. Public support for
the Fukuda cabinet is expected to drop further."
The study group was set up last December to continue the slogan
advocated by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of freeing Japan from
the postwar Japan, including constitutional revision. About 80
conservative lawmakers have joined the group. On April 30, the study
group held a symposium in Tokyo to consider the state of human
rights in China, inviting a former member of the refugee Tibetan
government as a lecturer. Abe and former Secretary General Taro Aso,
who is aiming at becoming Fukuda's successor, also participated in
the symposium. Nakagawa there lashed out at China's response to the
TOKYO 00001241 010 OF 015
Tibet issue, remarking: "The world is apprehensive about whether the
Beijing Olympics will be held in a happy atmosphere as a sports
event." A senior member of the study group said: "We held the
symposium prior to the Japan-China summit, with the aim of urging
the prime minister to take a resolute attitude toward China."
11) President Hu reach out to Japanese business leaders for
investment in China's energy-saving area
NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday took part in a
luncheon hosted by Japan's economic organizations to welcome him. Hu
in a speech sought proactive investment in China by Japan regarding
measures to combat global warming greenhouse gasses. He noted,
"Japan has technology that is way ahead of other countries in the
environment and energy-saving areas.
Hu proposed private sector-level cooperation in such areas as
developing local economies, exchanges of high technology and
overseas advance of companies as well as the environmental and
energy-saving areas. In particular, he was keen to characterize the
environmental area as a new key area of bilateral economic and trade
cooperation. Fujio Mitarai, chairman of the Japan Business
Federation (Nippon Keidanren), said, "We can further contribute to
China through the transfers of eco-friendly products, technology and
Japan has called on China to agree on its proposal for adopting a
sector-specific approach of cutting global warming greenhouse
gasses. However, it appears that no in-depth discussions on the
proposal took place. Emerging from the meeting, Mitarai told
reporters, "It is important for major CO2 emitters to take part in
efforts to deal with measures to combat global warming greenhouse
gasses. We hope that China will show willingness."
The luncheon party brought together approximately 180 participants,
including Masamitsu Sakurai, representative director of the Japan
Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), Nobuo
Yamaguchi, honorary chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, and Hiroshi Okuda, former Nippon Keidanren chairman and
special advisor to the cabinet as well as Mitarai.
12) Number of hurdles to full lifting of embargo on rice exports to
China: High prices, special pest management
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 9) (Excerpts)
May 8, 2008
Tokyo and Beijing during the bilateral summit yesterday formally
agreed on the complete lifting of the embargo on Japanese rise
exports to China, which had been carried out on a limited basis. It
has taken about a year for the two countries to reach a formal
agreement since the ministerial agreement in April last year due to
the trouble in the work of boiling down quarantine conditions. The
two countries reached a settlement over the length of a period for
conducting an insect research and a specific fumigating method.
Japan pins high hopes on rice exports to China, as its domestic
consumption is sluggish. However, sales in China of Japanese rice,
which has been exported on a provisional basis, are remaining flat.
TOKYO 00001241 011 OF 015
High prices -- 10-20 times higher than the prices of Chinese rice --
appear to be the reason that Chinese consumers have shunned Japanese
rice. Selling Japanese rice in China is bound to encounter future
difficulties, as well.
Conditions for steady exports of Japanese rice had been expected to
be set by March this year. However, one senior Ministry of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said, "Coordination has
taken an unexpectedly long time." Customs clearance procedures for a
portion exported in January on a provisional basis became stacked up
due to the food poisoning incident involving Chinese-made gyoza
dumplings. The incident has made sources involved acutely feel the
difficulty of exporting rice to China.
China's annual consumption of rice is 130 million tons, which is
approximately 16 times more than the amount consumed in Japan. Japan
intends to sell its rice, which is far more expensive than Chinese
rice, to wealthy customers as a luxury-brand product.
Following the basic agreement, 24 tons of Japanese rice temporarily
put on the market in Beijing and Shanghai in July last year were
sold out immediately.
However, such healthy sales did not last. MAF revealed that though
100 tons of additional rice had been exported between last December
and this January, only 40 tons have been sold."
13) Japan joins other donors to announce aid to cyclone-devastated
ASAHI (Page 9) (Excerpt)
May 8, 2008
The international community is responding country after country with
announcements of assistance for Burma, which has been devastated by
a cyclone. According to Reuters, the total of commodities and money
announced as of yesterday by international organizations and
countries has climbed to approximately $28 million (or approximately
2.9 billion yen).
The Japanese government announced yesterday that it would continue
its emergency aid equivalent to approximately 28 million yen, as
announced on May 5 for Burma, which had been struck with a
devastating cyclone. It announced also that it would add the
equivalent of approximately 36 million yen in the form of blankets,
prefabricated water tanks, and other equipment.
The Japanese government since 2003 has frozen aid in principle to
the military junta in Burma. However, Foreign Ministry spokesperson
Kazuo Hodaka told a press briefing on May 7 that the new aid was
"based on humanitarian considerations."
14) Japan to provide 20 billion yen in aid to Sudan over next four
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Shinya Minamijima, Oslo
At a donors' conference for Sudan held in Oslo yesterday to discuss
how to help the southern part of Sudan to rebuild itself, the
TOKYO 00001241 012 OF 015
Japanese government declared that it would provide some $200 million
(approximately 20.8 billion yen) over next four years from 2008
through 2011. The conference was joined by 33 countries and eight
international institutions. The conference closed yesterday by
promising an offer of a total of some $4.8 billion dollars (499.2
billion yen) in aid to Sudan. Japan will provide Sudan with food aid
via international institutions and help returned Sudanese refugees
to settle down. Japan also will directly help the southern
autonomous government of Sudan and resume bilateral aid, which has
been suspended since 1992.
15) Japan's proposal to revise restrictions on food exports
encountering difficulty, as Brazil also balks
ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
May 8, 2008
Coordination has bogged down regarding Japan's proposal to revise
food-export restrictions, which are regarded as the cause of the
current skyrocketing prices of food supplies. The reason is that
Japan is unable to obtain the understanding of food-exporting
countries. The Japanese government aimed to have its proposal
included in the draft agreement on the agricultural area of the
World Trade Organization (WTO) expected to be announced in mid-May,
but the probability is high that it will not make it on time.
Agriculture Minister Wakabayashi on May 5 met in Brazil's capital
city Brazilia with Foreign Minister Celso Amorim. Although he
brought up Japan's proposal, Foreign Minister Amorim reportedly told
him: "The standpoints of food-exporting countries and importing
countries are different." Brazil is a major exporter of soy beans,
and it has stopped exports of rice that is stored in government
Japan made the proposal to the WTO on April 30. China and India
reportedly made statements seeking to maintain the status quo that
in effect restricts the free flow of exports. Malaysia criticized
Japan by calling it a contradiction for Japan, which protects its
agriculture with tariffs to criticize other countries for
restricting exports. A senior official in the Agriculture Ministry
stated: "Coordination will inevitably take time."
The ministry now is thinking of seeking the approval (of its
proposal) of the United States, Canada, and Australia, in addition
to 40 to 50 other countries in Africa that are directly facing a
16) Guidelines for new agricultural policy proposes using domestic
rice as raw material for bread and animal feed to cope with soaring
grain prices worldwide
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
May 8, 2008
The government's policy promotion task force on food, agriculture,
and farm villages, headed by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, yesterday
finalized a set of guidelines for the nation's future agricultural
policy that includes measures to ensure food security. The
guidelines titled, "New agricultural policy in 2008 for the 21st
century," propose that Japan use rice as raw material for bread and
as animal feed, reflecting soaring grain prices worldwide.
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The guidelines set forth the following measures: (1) provide the
people with more information regarding food supply and demand; (2)
the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) is to
exploit means to predict the supply and demand of food from a
medium- to long-term perspective; and (3) support food development
by strengthening cooperation between the agriculture and forestry
industry and the food service industry.
The guidelines were compiled based on proposals made in a meeting of
the Strategy Council on the Future of Food (chaired by Tokyo
University Professor Shinichi Shogenji), an experts' panel under
MAFF. The meeting was held jointly by MAFF and the task force. The
council proposed increasing the nation's food self-sufficiency rate
by taking such measures as making use of domestic rice and other
farm products and boosting emergency food stocks in order to cope
with the current deteriorating global food situation.
17) DPJ will not submit censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda
over road issue, but will attack over new health care system for
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
May 8, 2008
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) decided
yesterday on a policy of not submitting a censure motion against
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda even if the ruling parties revote on a
bill amending the Road Construction Revenues Special Exemption Law,
intended to reinstate the road-related tax rates for 10 years, on
May 12 or after. The DPJ intends to put off the submission of such a
The DPJ also forwent the submission of a censure motion against the
prime minister when the ruling camp took a second vote on a bill
amending the Special Taxation Measures Law on April 30. The dominant
view in the DPJ was that since the bill amending the special
exemption law went against the government-ruling coalition's policy
of integrating the tax revenues earmarked for road construction into
the general account budget starting fiscal 2009, a censure motion
should be submitted if a revote was taken.
However, if the prime minister were to ignore a censure motion, the
DPJ would have no other choice but to boycott all Diet deliberations
for about one month until June 15 when the ongoing session ends.
Therefore, the largest opposition party has now decided that it is
better for it to go on the offensive over the new medical system for
those 75 and over, in which the public had a strong interest,
through deliberations. A senior DPJ member, after a meeting with
President Ichiro Ozawa and other executives, told the press: "After
thoroughly deliberating on the new medical system for the elderly,
we want to consider the submission of a censure motion against the
18) With plunge in cabinet support rates, strong calls from ruling
camp for putting off Lower House dissolution to next year, some also
urging early replacement of Prime Minister Fukuda
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 8, 2008
In the wake of plummeting support rates for the cabinet of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, there are strong calls from members of the
TOKYO 00001241 014 OF 015
ruling parties for postponing dissolution of the House of
Representatives. The prevailing view in the ruling coalition is that
Lower House dissolution should be put off until immediately before
the end of the terms of the Lower House members in September next
year. However, a view will likely be raised that if the support
ratings for the Fukuda cabinet drop further, Fukuda should be
replaced by someone else, and the Lower House should be dissolved at
an early time.
Encouraged by the fact that the approval rating for the main
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has not gone up, some
officials in the ruling camp in early April made remarks indicating
the possibility of early Lower House dissolution, with Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga
saying: "We should not say there will be Lower House dissolution
before the end of the year; we should only say there will be one
Affected by the start on April 15 of withholding medical insurance
premiums from the pension benefits of those 75 and over and the
reinstatement on May 1 of the provisional tax rates, including the
gasoline tax, an opinion poll conducted on May 1-2 by Kyodo News
found the approval rating for the Fukuda cabinet has reached a new
low of 19.8 PERCENT . The rating in the Kyodo poll fell for the
first time below 20 PERCENT , which is regarded as a danger zone
(for a prime minister). In public opinion polls by other news
organizations, the approval ratings for the cabinet were around 20
Taku Yamasaki, a former LDP vice president, told the press on May 3
in Fukuoka City: "It would not be strange if the Lower House were
dissolved anytime after the fall, but as long as the cabinet support
rates remain low, (Prime Minister Fukuda) cannot carry that out."
New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa also stated at a press
conference yesterday: "We take the figure seriously; now is not the
time for Lower House dissolution."
A senior LDP member remarked: "We will ignore provocative approaches
by the DPJ. The Lower House will be dissolved sometime after next
year's Group of Eight summit." Another senior LDP member also
"The possibility of Lower House dissolution has been slipping away.
Although there will be a view calling for replacing the prime
minister, there are no appropriate candidates."
A former LDP executive member made this comment:
"The Lower House should be dissolved after Prime Minister Fukuda
realizes a policy of shifting the tax revenues earmarked for road
construction and maintenance to the general account. This means that
the Lower House should be dissolved next April or later."
A mid-level LDP lawmaker, however, made this comment opposing the
postponement of Lower House dissolution: "It will be difficult to
for the cabinet support rating, having once plunged below 20 PERCENT
, to make a dramatic recovery. No good will be accomplished by
waiting (for Lower House dissolution)." A veteran lawmaker said:
"I think a view will be raised that the prime minister should be
replaced by someone after the G8 summit in July in Hokkaido, and
that the Lower House should be dissolved to call a snap election."
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19) Upper House to vote down bill amending Construction Revenues
Special Exemption Law on May 12, Lower House to revote on the bill
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
May 8, 2008
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and major opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) held intermittingly a meeting of
their Diet affairs committee chairmen of the House of Councillors.
In the meeting, an agreement was reached that the Upper House will
take a vote on the bill in a plenary session on May 12 after it is
adopted in a meeting on May 9 of the Financial Affairs Committee.
With this agreement between the LDP and DPJ, it has now been decided
that the bill will be voted down in the Upper House before May 13
when 60 days pass after the bill was sent to the upper chamber,
which is allowed by the Constitution. The ruling coalition plans to
take a revote on the bill and enact it with its two-thirds majority