Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/12/08

DE RUEHKO #1288/01 1330816
P 120816Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Trucking association-affiliated political organization found to
have donated 33 million yen to lawmakers linked to the road
construction lobby (Tokyo Shimbun)

(2) Okada, Maehara, Noda viewed as potential candidates to succeed
DPJ President Ozawa, bringing forth policies in areas of expertise

(3) Editorial: Protectionist trend in U.S. weighs on our minds

(4) Editorial: Relocation talks remain stalled; Where is the
solution? (Okinawa Times)

(5) Resumed Futenma talks remain deadlocked after six months; Kantei
drawing criticism even from within government (Okinawa Times)

(6) Window on Okinawa column: Unusual change happening on base
issues - Provocation by an unconventional consul general (Sekai)

(7) USFJ found to have purchased equipment in bulk: Measures against
North Korea? (Sentaku)

(8) Old-guard congressman opposes appointment of successor to U.S.
undersecretary of state (Sentaku)

(9) Interview with former Prime Minister Koizumi on "music and
politics" (Asahi)


(1) Trucking association-affiliated political organization found to
have donated 33 million yen to lawmakers linked to the road
construction lobby

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Full)
May 11, 2008

It was learned that the Research Council on Road Transport and
Management, a political organization affiliated with the Japan
Trucking Association (JTA located in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward), of
which truck fleet operations across the country become members, had
donated a total of 33.2 million yen in 2006 to 54 lawmakers
belonging to the Parliamentary Council on Promotion of Trucking
headed by Makoto Koga, who serves as chair of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party's (LDP) Election Strategy Committee, for instance,
in the form of the purchase of fund-raising political party

In the same year, the research council received some 88 million yen
in the form of donations from political organizations of prefectural
trucking associations and voluntary organizations. Prefectural
trucking associations have been given some 18 billion yen in
subsidies for the promotion of trucking from prefectural
governments. This fact has led to the criticism that a portion of
the subsidies might have been in effect flowed back to politicians.

The research council is represented by the JTA's vice chairman.
According to the research council's 2006 income and expenditure
reports on political funds, it donated to 52 LDP lawmakers, one

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major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) member and also one
member of the LDP's coalition partner New Komeito. Former House of
Councilors member Kimitaka Fujino (failed to be re-elected in 2007),
who is a former official of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and
Transport (MLIT), received the largest amount of 5.7 million yen in

Following him, House of Representatives member Tomoyoshi Watanabe
received 1.9 million yen in donation and former House of Councilors
member Shogo Arai, a former MLIT official, 1.82 million yen. Coming
after them was Koga, who received 1.5 million yen.

The research council hosts a get-together party every year.
Political organizations affiliated with each prefectural trucking
association buy party tickets, but in 2006, prefectural trucking
associations, for instance, the Hokkaido Trucking Association and
the Hyogo Trucking Association, directly purchased party tickets
worth 1.47 million yen and 4.5 million yen respectively. The
Political Funds Control Law bans political donations by
organizations receiving subsidies, but the purchase of party tickets
is not subject to the law.

Of some 60,000 truck fleet operators across the country, 90 PERCENT
are members of each prefectural trucking association, and each
trucking association pays 25 PERCENT of the subsidy each receives
to the JTA. The JTA extends low interest loans to trucking fleet
operators and subsidizes their mortgage interest. The post of
director of the JTA has been assumed by a former MLIT official. Four
posts of board directors have been assumed by former government
officials hailing from, for instance, the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and Communications (MIC).

When the provisional tax rates for fuel for trucks and buses were
introduced in 1976, the subsidy system for trucking associations was
adopted as a measure to ease the impact of the introduction of the
provisional tax rates.

Fujino said: "The amount of donations increased since the Upper
House election last year. Heeding the severe situation facing the
industry, I stressed the need to freeze the collection of taxes for
a provisional tax rate portion. This activity might have been well

Donations made to lawmakers who well understand the situation of the

Comments by an accounting officer of the Research Council on Road
Transport and Management:

We donate to lawmakers who understand our views. We have advised
trucking associations not to directly purchase party tickets.

(2) Okada, Maehara, Noda viewed as potential candidates to succeed
DPJ President Ozawa, bringing forth policies in areas of expertise

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 12, 2008

In the Democratic Party of Japan, Vice Presidents Katsuya Okada and
Seiji Maehara, and Public Relations Committee Chairman Yoshihiko
Noda are viewed as potential candidates to succeed Ozawa. The three
are making their presence felt more in the party recently. Many

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define Ozawa as a man who gives priority to dissolving the House of
Representatives for a general election. In contrast, the three have
brought forth policies in their areas of expertise. Many place
expectations on them, but some insist that party members should
devote themselves to toppling the Fukuda administration while
avoiding an intraparty split in the party presidential election in

In a street speech in Kagoshima City on May 10, Okada emphasized: "I
am determined to change politics in this country through a change of
government." In three locations in Kagoshima Prefecture, Okada
delivered speeches in support of DPJ candidates for the next House
of Representatives election. Yesterday he showed up a gathering
sponsored by Rengo (the Japanese Trade Union Confederation) calling
for abolishing the health insurance system for people aged 75 or
older. Okada has visited more than 70 electoral districts on
weekends since the House of Councillors election was held last

Okada chairs the party's Global Warming Countermeasures Taskforce.
He plans to submit the party's bill to the current Diet session.
During a visit to Germany in the Golden Week holidays, he visited
companies there with former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike of the
Liberal Democratic Party and others. In a press conference in
Kagoshima City on the night of the 10th, Okada said: "There are a
few things that we can address (with the government and the ruling

Maehara resumed in April discussions at the nonpartisan
parliamentary group calling itself "the group of junior lawmakers to
establish a security system for the new century," which had been
dormant for three years. He aims at establishing a permanent law
governing the dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel overseas, an
idea that he has long insisted on. DPJ supreme advisor Kozo Watanabe
said of Maehara: "He is a politician of great promise both for the
ruling and opposition parties."

In a meeting of Ryounkai, a policy group of mid-ranking and junior
members of the party, Maehara stressed: "The party presidential race
in September will provide the best opportunity for us to conduct
policy debate." He added: "If Ozawa is elected unopposed, the DPJ
will be finished."

The revised Political Funds Control Law was enacted in the earlier
extraordinary Diet session. Noda acted as a coordinator in
negotiations on the bill amending the law between the ruling and
opposition parties. He also worked hard to coordinate views in the
party to support a bill covering the active use of space, which is
now set to pass the current Diet session. Noda also co-chairs the
suprapartisan parliamentary group Sentaku as part of efforts to have
a lot of contacts in the ruling and opposition parties.

The party leaders cannot ignore the presence of the three. On April
28, the leadership asked for the opinions of Okada and Maehara about
the submission of a censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda. Based on their views, the leadership decided to shelve the
idea. Azuma Koshiishi and other executives who have already
expressed their support for Ozawa in the presidential election
assert that it is outrageous to cause disarray in the party at a
time when joint efforts are needed to drive the Fukuda
administration into a corner.

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Okada and the other two have the experience of taking responsibility
by resigning. Given this, some members take the severe view that
they are not qualified to take a course of action that would lead to
dividing the party. One party member said: "The three lawmakers are
not as good at planning to topple the ruling coalition as Ozawa, who
has been through hell numerous times since he belonged to the LDP.
They lack punch in turbulent times." Their actions in the run-up to
the presidential race in September will serve as a litmus test for a
post-Ozawa DPJ.

(3) Editorial: Protectionist trend in U.S. weighs on our minds

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 10, 2008

Looking at the U.S. presidential campaign, we feel as if "free
trade" has become dirty words in the United States. That is because
two Democratic presidential candidates are escalating criticism of
free trade agreements (FTAs), as if to vie each other.

Some take the view that their bashing the FTA will only be during
the campaign period. However, the words of presidential candidates
in the greatest economic power in the world have a huge impact. The
candidates should fairly explain the benefits of FTAs and
globalization, instead of taking advantage of a domestic
protectionist mood.

Candidates Obama and Clinton are competing head-to-head with each
other in an election to choose the Democratic Party's presidential
candidate. They ended in a one-one draw in the primaries in Indiana
and North Carolina, leaving a final decision for the next set of
primaries. The prolonged election campaign is another factor that
gives cause for the longwinded criticism of FTAs by the two

Behind their critical stance toward FTAs echoes the widespread view
in the U.S. that free trade is causing the stagnation in wage hikes
and undermining employment. In particular, this tendency is
pronounced among members of labor unions, the support base of the
Democratic Party. Both candidates are trying to solidify their
support base by taking a harsh stand toward FTAs.

Both Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton have proposed taking a second
look at the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came
into existence in 1994. Clinton has pledged to temporarily suspend
new FTA talks, if she is voted into office.

On the other hand, John McCain, the Republican Party's presidential
candidate, has announced a stance of firmly maintaining free trade
and promoting FTAs.

Such a move in the election campaign is in tandem with the movements
of U.S. Congress. The Bush administration has sought Congressional
approval of an FTA with Columbia. However, the Democratic Party,
which makes up a majority in Congress, has forgone a roll call.

It is true that progress in globalization, as can be seen in the
growing trend of outsourcing information-communication-related jobs
to India, is connected to anxiety about jobs. However, such an issue
should be settled with strengthened assistance measures, such as
helping people acquire new skills.

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There is concern that if the U.S. inclines toward protectionism, the
wave of support for free trade would disappear. U.S. politicians are
expected to display leadership, by, for instance, explaining the
benefits of expanded trade to the public.

(4) Editorial: Relocation talks remain stalled; Where is the

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 5) (Full)
May 12, 2008

The Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence), reacting to
hard-line policy course led by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), has
switched to a negotiating policy-line. The Okinawa prefectural
government under the Kantei's leadership aims to relocate the
(planned Futenma replacement facility) further into the sea by
forcing changes to the Japan-U.S. agreement (V-shaped plan). The
consultative council on the relocation of Futenma Air Station
resumed talks last November after a lapse of about 10 months because
the Kantei and Okinawa shared the desire to break the gridlock.

But revision talks have not made any progress over the last six
months. Although the Kantei has made flexible statements in the
resumed talks, Okinawa's call for moving the envisaged replacement
facility further into the ocean has not made any headway. The United
States' extremely inflexible attitude was Okinawa's biggest

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in meetings with
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and Defense Minister
Shigeru Ishiba on May 9 drove home the point that there would not be
an easy compromise by saying, "Implementation must be in a timely
fashion, as agreed on (in the relocation plan)."

U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer, too, has applied
pressure on the Kantei by telling Machimura, "Moving the planned
replacement facility further into the ocean is like opening a
Pandora's Box."

Negative statements by senior U.S. officials overlap with a series
of statements made by U.S. Consul General for Okinawa Kevin Maher.

The Okinawa Times' April 30 morning issue carried an interview with
the consul general, who said: "Coordination is over. The plan
entered the implementation phase two years ago. There are only two
options: either to implement or not implement this plan. Altering
the plan is not an option." What made a U.S. diplomat in Okinawa
take such an overbearing attitude? Many readers must have reacted
sharply to his message.

What is clear is that what he said was not of a personal nature but
reflected the view of the U.S. government.

We have repeatedly pointed out the problems associated with the
bilateral agreement incorporated into the plan to realign U.S.
forces in Japan.

First, the governments of Japan and the United States proceeded with
talks without obtaining the concurrence of the prefectural
government and affected municipalities in defiance of then Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's words, "We will not push the matter
forward behind the back of the affected municipalities."

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Second, as the relocation site, the two governments selected an area
that was designated by the prefectural government as the habitat for
dugongs, a protected species, which must be strictly preserved. The
MOD's notice specifying the outline of an environmental impact
assessment was filled with noticeable flaws due to the insufficient
disclosure of information.

Third, the government's assertion that it would reduce the burden on
Okinawa while maintaining adeterrence was played up to serve its
interests, regardless of the incompatible aspect of the statement.
As a result, what the government says often clashes with the U.S.
military's views.

Fourth, we would like to single out the problem with government
subsidies based on the willingness to facilitate the realignment of
US forces in Japan. This carrot-and-stick policy only undermines
local administration.

Further, the two governments have yet to come up with any effective
measures to eliminate the danger of Futenma Air Station.

How is Governor Hirokazu Nakaima going to address the matter? Given
many problems associated with the plan to move the relocation site
into the ocean, he will probably not be able to press Tokyo and
Washington backed by public opinion. There seems to be no other
option but to go back to the starting point to review the issues.
And to do so with haste.

(5) Resumed Futenma talks remain deadlocked after six months; Kantei
drawing criticism even from within government

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
May 11, 2008

In a bid to resolve the hard-going issue of relocating Futenma Air
Station in Ginowan under the leadership of the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei), the government resumed talks with the
prefectural government and affected municipalities last November
after a lapse of 10 months. It has been six months and yet the talks
remain stalled. The reason is because the prefectural side is
calling for moving the envisioned replacement facility further into
the ocean, going against the government's plan to build a V-shaped
pair of runways along the coastline of Camp Schwab in Nago.

In an attempt to soften the stance of affected municipalities, the
government has announced measure after measure, such as lifting the
freeze on the economic package for the northern area, as part of its
"sunshine policy." But they have all failed to produce positive
results. The U.S. government has adamantly refused the offshore
option, and the Kantei's optimistic outlook is drawing fire even
from within the government.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura met U.S. Deputy Secretary
of State John Negroponte at the Kantei on May 9 in which the
government spokesman explained on the stalled relocation talks,
saying: "As long as I am chief cabinet secretary, the government
will never lose its zeal regarding the U.S. force realignment."

Under the then Abe cabinet, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) pressed
Okinawa for concessions by using the carrot-and-stick approach of
implementing the budget for the northern area economic package and

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freezing the subsidies related to the U.S. military realignment.
Machimura and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Masahiro Futahashi have
concluded that resolving the matter would be difficult under MOD's
leadership. To induce concessions, the government lifted earlier
this year the freeze on the base realignment subsidies.

A government official reportedly has come out with a short-cut
scenario of reaching a broad agreement during the visit to Japan of
President George W. Bush for the G-8 Summit in July.

The consultative council has met four times, but it has yet to find
any lead to breaking the gridlock. "There is nothing more we can
do," a Kantei source lamented.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer drove home the point
that the Japanese government should not make an easy compromise when
he told Machimura: "Moving the envisioned facility into the ocean is
like opening a Pandora's Box. The U.S. military will voice its

A senior MOD official commented coldly: "Although the government has
come up with budgetary measures for Okinawa, nothing has moved
forward. I think Mr. Machimura has finally realized the difficulty
he faces in resolving this issue."

(6) Window on Okinawa column: Unusual change happening on base
issues - Provocation by an unconventional consul general

By Tsuyoshi Matsumoto of the Ryukyu Shimpo

SEKAI (Pages 196-7) (Full)
June 2008

Something unusual is happening on the base issues in Okinawa. The
provocative statements on such matters as the realignment of U.S.
forces in Japan by Mr. Kevin Maher, the U.S. consul general to
Okinawa, are frequently rubbing the sentiments of prefectural
residents the wrong way. The presence of the unique consul general,
who is not timid about making assertions about the importance of the
Japan-U.S. alliance and the need for the bases on Okinawa, has
brought out such expressions of alarm from heads of communities
hosting bases and from academics as: "America's approach to Okinawa
has changed"; "He does not listen to Okinawa's explanations, but
only presses it to go along with the bilateral agreement"; and "He
is like a uniformed military person."

Set off by two incidents involving U.S. servicemen, the rape of a
schoolgirl in Okinawa and the robbery and murder of a taxi driver in
Yokosuka City, there have been growing calls for a revision of the
Japan-U.S Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). In response, Consul
General Maher at his regular news conference at the beginning of
April ruled such out by quipping, "Politicians and groups are
turning it into a political football." Revision of the SOFA has
become an all Okinawa request, with the prefecture, towns and
cities, and assemblies all lined up behind it. Okinawa Governor
Masahiro Nakaima has reacted sharply by saying: "He is a person who
has made many incomprehensible remarks that have created friction
between the United States and Okinawa." Foreign Minister Masahiko
Koumura, too, in a Diet reply, created a stir by expressing his
displeasure: "As a Japanese, I am not pleased."

On the relocation of Futenma Air Station, the biggest pending issue,

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Consul General Maher has continued to completely reject the
possibility of revising the location of the site toward the ocean,
as sought by Governor Nakaima. His relations with the conservative
governor who supports the Japan-U.S. security arrangements,
according to a senior official in the Okinawa prefectural
government, "has become thorny to an unprecedented degree."

The United States has consulates in Japan in Sapporo, Nagoya,
Osaka-Kobe, Fukuoka, and Okinawa. These form the core of public
affairs activities to boost the American image. In Okinawa, a
consular section was opened first in 1952 when the prefecture as
still under American rule. It was elevated to consulate general in
1956. When anti-base sentiment was smoldering, since it played a
role in immediately reporting local moves to Washington and the
embassy (in Tokyo), it had a position that was a level higher than
other consulates.

Maher went to the University of Hawaii where he majored in modern
East Asian history. After several positions, including director of
international policy under the deputy assistant secretary of the Air
Force at the Pentagon, and the principal officer at the consulate in
Fukuoka, he became head of the security unit of the U.S. Embassy in
Japan, in which capacity he was involved in the Japan-U.S.
negotiations to realign the U.S. forces in Japan. He became consul
general in Okinawa in July 2006. He is a specialist on Asia and
security affairs. In stark contrast to his predecessors, who as much
as possible avoided political statements that might irritate the
sentiments of prefectural residents, Maher has been noticeable for
his frank remarks, as seen in his establishing a regular press
conference. Let me give some cases in which he aroused controversy:

-- In an interview two years after the crash of a helicopter
attached to MCAS Futenma on the campus of Okinawa International
University, he stated: "Futenma Air Station is not particularly
dangerous" (August 2006)";

-- In his first meeting with Governor Nakaima after his
inauguration, he clearly stated: "Closing Futenma Air Station in
three years (as promised in the campaign by the governor) is
impossible" (Dec. 2006);

-- At the time when two U.S. Navy minesweepers paid port calls at
Yonaguni Island, over the objections of the head of that village, he
was showered with criticism for calling ahead of time for a "welcome
party at the home of the headsman," and for "elementary school
students to join the sailors for a barbeque party," as well as for
pushing the point of "the goodwill and friendship" of the occasion.
(June 2007); and

-- When the Okinawa Prefectural Police reacted sharply to the names
of the four maintenance crewmen not being released after the crash
of a helicopter into an Okinawan university, such being needed in
order to send papers of the suspects forward (to prosecutors), he
stated, "What are the police investigating by asking for their
names?" (August 2007).

In mid-April, this reporter visited the residence of the consul
general in Ginowan City that is directly under the flight path of
aircraft taking off and landing at Futenma Air Station. My interview
was interrupted many times by the roar of air-refueling tankers
overhead. The tall and mustached Maher, speaking in fluent Japanese,

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"The crucial role of the consulate general in Okinawa is to explain
to the prefectural residents how beneficial the U.S.-Japan Security
Treaty is to the peace and stability of Japan and this region, as
well as how important the bases are. China's military power is
increasing, and there is also the North Korea problem. Since I
participated in the USFJ realignment negotiations, there is also the
role of swiftly implementing the plan, as agreed by Japan and the

He continued:

"Although there are many diplomats who think it better to be vague
about the base issues, I can't understand why I should not explain
things directly in order to resolve matters pragmatically, while not
resorting to the form-over-substance approach used before. I do not
think at all about the criticisms leveled at me. The basic principle
of a diplomat is to tell the truth."

I asked, "Haven't you been taken to task by Washington or the
Embassy for remarks that have brought on criticism?" He answered
with a calm face: "Not even once: Ambassador Schieffer has backed my
approach of positively transmitting the U.S.' stance. Even the
remark about the 'political football' was supported."

This was the way that Mr. Seigen Miyazato (former professor at
Dokkyo University and head of the Okinawa Research Institute of
Foreign Affairs) analyzed it: "This type of consulate general did
not exist in the past. As symbolized by the relocation of Futenma
Air Station to a location within the prefecture, it seems that the
capability of the Okinawan society to object has weakened, with the
thrusting on them of various things connected to the base problem.
The Japanese government, similarly, has gone on the offense,
slipping into the U.S.'s policy of giving priority to the military.
It is just like the strong unilateral method used by the U.S.
military when it ruled Okinawa under High Commissioner Paul W.
Carraway, suppressing the will of the people while brandishing the
myth of autonomy. The Okinawa side is again being put to test,
finding it quite difficult to be able to stop the words and action
of such a consul general."

(7) USFJ found to have purchased equipment in bulk: Measures against
North Korea?

SENTAKU (Page 44) (Full)
May, 2008

The Defense Ministry (MOD) in April confirmed that the U.S. forces
stationed in Japan (USFJ) are purchasing such equipment as parts for
small arms and bullet-proof jackets in bulk. Commenting on this, a
senior MOD official said, "The U.S. has presumably obtained
intelligence regarding North Korea's military activities."

It is undeniable that North Korea might take some military action in
an effort to draw attention from the world in the run-up to the Lake
Toya G-8 to be held in Hokkaido in July. An international military
intelligence source has analyzed the move: "Since the inauguration
in South Korea of the Lee Myung Bak administration, which is
prepared to take a hard-line stance toward North Korea, relations
between North and South Koreas are not moving as Pyongyang hopes. It
is within the scope of the assumption that North Korea might trigger

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an exchange of fire."

However, it would seem convenient to the U.S. if North Korea caused
a skirmish, that is to say, caused a moderate amount of trouble.
Regarding the motives of the Bush administration, the same source
conjectured, "The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which
caused a temporary suspension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling operations, is the de facto enemy of the U.S. The U.S.
presumably intends to shake up the DPJ, which lacks a crisis
management function, by turning a blind eye to a moderate skirmish
on the Korean Peninsular." According to this source, the U.S. thinks
that if Japan really faces an emergency situation, its public would
tilt toward the government and the ruling camp.

One former cabinet minister from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
said that DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa at one time intended to form a
grand coalition because he is well aware of the awesomeness of the
U.S. Others in the LDP feel the same way.

(8) Old-guard congressman opposes appointment of successor to U.S.
undersecretary of state

SENTAKU (Page 10) (Full)
May, 2008

The selection of a successor to former U.S. Undersecretary of State
Karen Hughes for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, who resigned
at the end of last year, is in limbo. The President has already
nominated James Glassman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise
Institute, a conservative think-tank, as her successor. However,
congressional deliberations needed for his assumption of office are
being held up.

What are impeding the confirmation of his appointment are concerns
about anti-American bias in the Voice of America's Persian
broadcasts. Glassman is the chairman of the body in charge of the
programs in question. Conservative old-guard congressman Coburn of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is calling on a cabinet
minister in charge and the VOA authorities to give explanations on
that before Glassman's appointment is approved.

(9) Interview with former Prime Minister Koizumi on "music and

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
May 9, 2008

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun will soon publish a book titled, "Musical
travels (Ongaku henreki)," written by former Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi. During his term in office, then Prime Minister
Koizumi went to many operas and was known as a music lover who even
sang Elvis Presley songs. The Asahi Shimbun interviewed him for the
first time in a while.

The book starts with an explanation about how he used to listen to
music when he was a child. He speaks freely about it. "Listen to
music as you please" seems to be his style.

-- When did you become a music lover?

When I was a junior high school student in Yokosuka, a teacher
encouraged me to join the orchestra that had just been formed. "I

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will give you violin lessons," the teacher promised. "The Toy
Symphony" was the first piece I practiced.

But Koizumi gave up the violin. While listening to a record of
"Romance" played by Heifetz, he sensed how unskillful he was. He
realized that he was no match for such genius and thought that he
should be just a listener.

-- But your administration remained in power for five years and a
half, showing that you were a genius in politics.

No, no. A genius is not an appropriate label for a politician.
Genius' views are very different from what ordinary people think.
Persons of common ability usually become politicians.

-- Even so, Mr. Abe was in great trouble, and Mr. Fukuda is having

Even with the same musical score, it is different right from the
first tone when different players perform. Even if different
politicians say the same thing, their capabilities to appeal to the
audiences are different according to sound quality, sound volume,
intonation, and speed.

-- We hear you like concertos. But your politics seems to have been

I acted harmoniously with the people.

Some might have realized that a cold rain was falling after they
left the concert hall after having been fascinated by the Koizumi

-- What do you think about the new health insurance system for
people aged 75 or older?

I think the emotional debate will calm down over time.

-- In your book, you wrote: "Operas are like love. In them, you will
find jealousy, hatred, and death." You also wrote: "Power is empty
when compared to love. You need only listen to Don Carlos, composed
by Verdi." You also wrote: "When you listen to Lohengrin, composed
by Wagner, you will realize there are parts that people should never
hear." What do you mean?

There is a proverb that goes, "The less said the better," but here,
I meant to say the "less heard the better."

-- Did you learn this not from the history of music but from your
history of love affairs?

There is sometimes both merit and truth in a lie. I wonder if it is
desirable to eagerly wave the banner of righteousness."

Should we see the "lies" in Koizumi politics interesting or

Koizumi was encouraged by the musical "La Mancha." When he was
tackling the task of reforming postal services, he was always
humming "The Impossible Dream," the theme song of Don Quixote, the
itinerant knight. "Although a dream hardly ever comes true and
though there are many enemies, I will set off burying my sorrow and

TOKYO 00001288 012 OF 012

in high spirits."

-- How have you been spending your time recently?

I read books, watch television, go to concerts, and sometimes attend
political meetings.

-- Some are calling for you to return to politics as prime minister.

Those who do not know much about me say so. The prime minister
always has to fight many enemies and is always in dire distress."

-- What music do you want for your funeral?

Film music composed by Morricone might be desirable.

The book concludes: "Now that I have been released from the
premier's duties, I would like to set out on a journey in search of
buried or new excellent pieces of music."


© Scoop Media

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