Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/13/08

DE RUEHKO #1308/01 1340811
P 130811Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) LDP's Koga, Tanigaki factions to merge today (Mainichi)

(2) Goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT
by 2050 takes on life on its own (Sankei)

(3) Editorial: Political decision needed to ban cluster bombs

(4) Relationship between Japan-U.S. alliance and China uncertain

(5) Editorial: Japan should urge Burmese junta to accept help
following the deadly cyclone (Asahi)


(1) LDP's Koga, Tanigaki factions to merge today

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 13, 2008

Two factions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) -- one
headed by Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga and the other one
chaired by Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki --
will today hold a party to formally announce their merger. The two
factions were derived from the Kochikai (a faction formed by Prime
Minister Hayato Ikeda in 1957). They will reunite for the first time
in eight years, having broken apart over the so-called Kato
rebellion in the fall of 2000, in which former LDP Secretary General
Koichi Kato called on then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to step down.
The merged faction will have 61 members, bringing it close to the
second largest Tsushima faction. Although the faction will aim to
regain the power once held by the prestigious Kochikai, known for
its liberal policies, it has yet to reach a consensus as to whom it
will file as a candidate for the party's next presidential election.
There is an icy view in the faction that it is anachronism to show
political presence using the numbers of faction members.

Koga, who will head the new faction, told senior members on the
night of May 7 at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo: "It is good that
we will be able to return to the place where we once were. Let us
make united efforts to overcome our difficult situation!"

Kochikai has produced four prime ministers since it was formed in
1957. Although it has led Japan's postwar politics, along with the
former Tanaka faction (currently the Tsushima faction), its
political presence weakened due to its breakups. The merger notion
was once before floated but then disappeared. The notion was
propelled forward with one stroke because Koga and Tanigaki jointly
backed Yasuo Fukuda in the party leadership race last September.

The merger of the 15 membership of the Tanigaki faction and the 46
membership of the Koga faction involves the risk that the Tanigaki
faction may lose its political momentum. Despite that, the merger
will still give Tanigaki an assurance he can secure at least 20
supporters, the number required to run in a presidential election.
Tanigaki could not run for the 2006 election because he had failed
to obtain 20 recommendees. A senior Tanigaki faction member said:
"The merger is a preparatory step for Mr. Tanigaki to run in the
next presidential race."

TOKYO 00001308 002 OF 008

Meanwhile, Koga appears to be aiming to gain the political
initiative built on numbers. Support for Tanigaki to run for the
presidential election cannot be found in the Koga faction. The Koga
faction, however, has not found a presidential candidate of its own.
Koga has indicated the possibility of cooperating with (the Aso
faction), telling persons close him: "Former Secretary General Taro
Aso is a person whom I can entrust matters at ease."

A junior Machimura faction member made this critical comment on the
merger of the two factions: "Now is the time when politics is
decided mainly by policies. I am concerned that such a merger will
give the public the impression that the LDP remains unchanged." A
mid-level Koga faction member also said: "When the party itself is
about to go down to ruin, it is no good for a faction to pick a
party president."

(2) Goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT
by 2050 takes on life on its own

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 13, 2008

It was learned on May 12 that the government is undergoing
coordination with the possibility of incorporating a goal of cutting
global warming greenhouse gases by 60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT by 2050
as part of the "Fukuda Vision," which is to be released in mid-June.
Given the fact that measures to combat greenhouse gases will become
a main item of the G-8 Toyako Summit agenda, Japan, as the host
nation, wants to take the lead in discussion, by indicating its own
policy in advance.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will call in Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, Economy, Trade
and Industry Policy Minister Akira Amari possibly before the end of
this week and order them to launch a full-fledged effort to set
Japan's own goal and undertake the necessary coordination.

Machimura during a press conference on the afternoon of the 12th
stressed the meaning of setting a long-term goal: "It is necessary
for Japan to clarify its stand in the run-up to the G-8. It is
meaningful for Japan to come up with its goal to be achieved by 2050
as part of such efforts."

It is imperative for Prime Minister Fukuda to come up with tangible
results at the G-8, since he failed to use Chinese President Hu
Jintao's Japan visit to buoy up his administration. It appears that
in order to make his presence felt, as well, he decided to come up
with a similar policy to that of European countries regarding
setting a goal of cutting greenhouse gases, an issue that is viewed
as the key to a successful G-8 meeting. However, since a reduction
goal was revealed before full coordination was carried out with
industrial circles, the percentage alone has taken on life on its
own, making it difficult to carry out the actual work.

Is the goal attainable?

Concerning a long-term goal of cutting greenhouse gases, then Prime
Minister Abe at the Heiligendamm Summit held in Germany last year
proposed the Cool Earth 50 aimed at halving carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions throughout the world from the present level. Prime
Minister Fukuda during the plenary session of the World Economic

TOKYO 00001308 003 OF 008

Forum (Davos Conference) in February this year noted that the
government would tackle global warming by setting country-specific
reduction goals.

The European Union (EU) has already come up with a goal of cutting
greenhouse gases emitted by industrialized countries as a whole by
60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT from the 1990 level. Japan's National
Institute for Environmental Studies has released a report noting
that there is a technical potential of achieving a 70 PERCENT cut,
compared with the 1990 level. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
takes the position, "70 PERCENT could become one guideline," as one
official source said.

Japan as the host nation of the G-8 is in a position of urging
developing countries, such as China and India, whose economy is
notably growing, to cut their CO2 emissions. As such, if Japan does
not display leadership, it will not be able to exercise its
authority regarding global warming greenhouse gas emissions cuts,
according to the same source.


In the meantime, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
is alarmed about the move, because it means further energy-saving
investment for industry circles with one connected source saying,
"We have had trouble since Japan accepted a 6 PERCENT CO2 reduction
obligation under the Kyoto Protocol without any way to meet such a
goal. There is a possibility of Japan experiencing the same trouble
this time."

For this reason, some are of the opinion that Japan should ease the
reduction goal, using the present emissions level, which is higher
than the 1990 level, the base year. One senior government official
has indicated his perception that Japan should adopt a legally
non-binding target.

Another task is to set a mid-term goal. The EU has set a goal of
cutting emissions by more than 20 PERCENT by 2050, compared with
the 1990 level. The U.S. has also come up with a mid-term goal of
halting the increase in CO2 emissions by 2025, and then turning
emissions volume downward. Japan alone has yet to come up with a
mid-term goal.

However, METI is reluctant to set such a goal with a ministry source
saying, "Unless a mid-term goal is attached with a condition that it
should be adopted after energy-saving technology is developed,
efforts to cut emissions would not make steady progress." The
ministry insists that fiscal measures are necessary. Machimura also
stressed during a press conference on the 12th: "Japan will hold
final talks on a specific percentage late next year. It is premature
to come up with a mid-term goal now."

Discord at Kantei

Machimura in a speech given on the 10th for the first time revealed
the government's policy of mapping out the Fukuda Vision.

Machimura said, "The government is preparing to release the Fukuda
Vision including measures to combat global warming greenhouse gases.
If possible, we would like Prime Minister Fukuda to release Japan's
reduction goal."

TOKYO 00001308 004 OF 008

The announcement was a bolt from the blue for the Kantei. One aide
to the prime minister has already expressed dissatisfaction with
Machimura, complaining who was this Fukuda in the Fukuda Vision.
This is because the Kantei had intended to show the prime minister's
leadership, revealing its future approach to related cabinet
ministers before the end of the week. However, Machimura exposed the
plan first, as one government source noted. The episode has
underscored the distance between the prime minister and Machimura.

METI, which is expected to be urged to undergo coordination with
business circles, is perplexed at the move with a source related to
it saying, "We have yet to map out a menu for cutting CO2 emissions
by 60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT . Percentage alone is going ahead of
itself. We do not know whether it is possible to really pile up

(3) Editorial: Political decision needed to ban cluster bombs

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
May 13, 2008

International negotiations to ban cluster munitions, which kill and
wound civilians indiscriminately, will now enter the final stage.
The Oslo Process, where the states that agreed to ban cluster bombs
are addressing the work of producing a treaty to prohibit such
munitions, is to hold its last international conference in Dublin,
Ireland, on May 19. The conference is to adopt a draft treaty, which
is expected to be signed by the member states in December.

Warfare occurred in Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, and Lebanon
in 2006. Cluster bombs were used in these wars, and as a result, the
number of civilian casualties has been increasing. Civilians need to
be protected from such harmful weapons. Weapons that give the
victims unnecessary pain must be prohibited. This principle by
international law needs to be applied to cluster munitions. We must
not miss an opportunity to end the absurdity that innocent children
and adults are being killed by cluster munitions. The draft treaty
still has some points at issue to be further discussed, for
instance, whether to completely ban cluster bombs or to allow
exceptions. We urge participating states to resolve to create a
powerful treaty as an international standard.

The Mainichi Shimbun has repeatedly called on the Japanese
government to agree to a ban on cluster munitions under the Oslo
Process. This past February, Japan finally signed the Political
Declaration stipulating that a treaty banning cluster bombs be
established by the end of this year. Regrettably, however, Japan is
not in a position to lead negotiations on such a treaty.

Japan officially gave its approval in an international conference to
a ban on cluster munitions. So it is strange for Japan to contend
that possessing such bombs is justifiable.

For example, Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said that Japan "will
possess as a deterrent" cluster bombs and explained: "In the case of
using them, we will evacuate civilians first, and then, after
perfectly verifying that no unexploded bombs are left, we will allow
residents to come back." But is it possible to evacuate civilians in
the midst of combat? Is it possible to completely remove unexploded

The U.S. forces dropped cluster bombs in the Vietnam War. Unexploded

TOKYO 00001308 005 OF 008

cluster bombs that are still there cause casualties even now.
Countries possessing cluster bombs have never dropped them in the
soil of their own countries but used them to attack their enemies.
The reason is because they did not desire to put their soldiers and
people in a dangerous situation. Japan contends that possessing such
bombs is for "defensive purposes". But is this logic persuasive?

The Convention on the Prohibiting of Anti-Personnel Mines was
adopted in 1997. Japan was initially cautious about signing the
convention, but it later turned around its policy under (then)
Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi's decision and signed it. Japan
scrapped some one million land mines it had possessed until then,
and since then has addressed the work of removing land mines in
other countries. For this, Japan has won other countries'

Cluster bombs, as well as land mines, are inhumane weapons that kill
and wound ordinary people. It is contradictory to say that Japan may
possess cluster bombs, even though it has scrapped all land mines. A
supraparty parliamentary council to promote a ban on cluster bombs
was established. The council is headed by Lower House Speaker Yohei
Kono. It's high time for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to make a
political decision to declare Japan's endorsement of a ban on
cluster munitions. It is also a good opportunity for Japan, a
country pursuing the ideal of disarmament, to earn international

(4) Relationship between Japan-U.S. alliance and China uncertain

SANKEI (Page 15) (Abridged)
May 13, 2008

By Tadae Takubo, visiting professor at Kyorin University

I have no objection to regarding the Anglo-Japanese alliance as a
masterpiece in Japanese diplomatic history. With the aim of
countering the Russian Empire that began reaching out for the Korean
Peninsula after effectively putting Manchuria under its control,
Aritomo Yamagata, Taro Katsura, Takaaki Kato, Jutaro Komura and
others decided that there was no other option but to join hands with
Britain. They were farsighted. Although the Russian Empire was a
common enemy, did Britain opt for teaming up with Japan because it
had special feelings toward the Asian nation?

With no allies or countries on its side, Britain was suffering from
isolation before the Russo-Japanese war.

From an anti-British standpoint, German Emperor William II launched
an effort to enhance its naval force to counter the British Navy.
Neither France nor Russia had any sympathy toward Britain. In order
to defend its interests in China from Russia's southward policy,
Britain perhaps did not have any other option but to align itself
with Japan. Needless to say, the Anglo-Japanese alliance was not a
marriage of love but a marriage of convenience.

Such frameworks as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and
the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty were launched with the aim of
countering Russian military threats during the Cold War era. NATO's
membership has been expanding to the east in the post-Cold War
period. Without any common enemies, discussion is underway on the
body's objectives.

TOKYO 00001308 006 OF 008

Kissinger's analysis

NATO's coverage area has expanded to include Afghanistan. There has
been conflict between countries that have sent troops to relatively
safe areas in Afghanistan and counties that are responsible for
dangerous regions.

In contrast to NATO, there have been no major questions about the
Japan-U.S. alliance in the post-Cold War era.

I recently read an interesting international analysis by former U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He predicts that the new U.S.
administration to be launched next January will face the question of
how to distill a new international order from three simultaneous
revolutions occurring around the globe. The three revolutions are:
(1) the transformation of the traditional state system of Europe;
(2) the radical Islamist challenge to historic notions of
sovereignty; and (3) the drift of the center of gravity of
international affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian
Oceans. He also notes that Asia will take the central political
stage in the 21st century and that four Asian countries -- China,
Japan, India, and in time, possibly Indonesia -- will become major

Kissinger, without presenting any ethical standards, also writes
that maintaining the balance of power depends on how the United
States and China act under such circumstances. We should also bear
in mind the grim fact that Japan's fate depends on whether
U.S.-China relations improve, deteriorate, or remain ambiguous.

In other words, the United States has the power of life and death of
the international order in Asia of this century.

Despite the recent visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao,
settling the question of developing gas fields in the East China Sea
has been put off. An expansion of the development area would
increase China's military presence to defend the territory. The
announced figure for China's defense spending far exceeds that of
Japan. Conventional wisdom has it that China's actual spending is
twice to three times larger than what is announced. The balance of
military power between Japan and China is now tilted in China's

U.S. administration moving closer to China

I wonder how many Japanese lawmakers are alarmed at such a fact.
Lamentably, many lawmakers readily decide to withdraw the Maritime
Self-Defense Force troops from the Indian Ocean, though temporarily,
possibly in view of the immediate political situation or in their
own interests. Some other legislators are also saying, "Beijing has
proposed improving relations with Tokyo, so we must not annoy

Although I do not think the Japan-U.S. alliance will collapse
easily, the composition of the Japan-U.S. alliance vs. China is less
than infallible. I think the Bush administration has moved closer to
China, especially in its second term. In December 2005, then Deputy
Secretary of State Robert Zoellick encouraged China to become a
responsible stakeholder. Since then, this phrase has often been used
in official U.S. documents. On May 10, 2006, Zoellick before the
U.S. House also opposed Taiwan's independence, saying: "Independence
means war, and that means American soldiers."

TOKYO 00001308 007 OF 008

This can be taken as the President's statement and it overlaps with
China's assertion, as well. An alliance is not a love affair.

(5) Editorial: Japan should urge Burmese junta to accept help
following the deadly cyclone

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
May 13, 2008

The extent of the damage caused by a giant cyclone that hit Burma
(Myanmar) has finally begun to be reported to the outside of the
nation. The situation there is far more catastrophic than anyone
imagined. If no relief measures are taken, an increasing number of
people will inevitably die from diarrhea or contagious diseases.
Emergency assistance is urgently needed.

The ruling military junta announced that at least 32,000 people were
dead and that up to 30,000 are still missing. But the United Nations
(UN) estimates that the disaster caused 100,000 deaths at most and
that 2 million people were affected by losing their homes and the

Reporters dispatched by foreign news companies, including the Asahi
Shimbun, have begun to report on the situation in the ravaged areas.
There, the average temperature during the daytime is nearly 40
degrees, and clean drinking water and decent food are not available.
The lives of the evacuees are totally miserable.

The military authorities were initially reluctant to receive
international aid, but some of the aid materials have finally
arrived in affected areas 10 days after the cyclone slammed into the
nation. The U.S. military's aid-carrying first plane, which had been
on standby, finally arrived in Yangon on May 12.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) has begun transporting relief
supplies through the border with Thailand by truck. Humanitarian aid
must be speedily delivered to the devastated areas.

But the relief goods being provided, the volunteers and equipment to
distribute the goods, and those providing medical care are all
insufficient. According to news reports, in seriously damaged areas,
since people are scrambling for distributed rice and bread, relief
goods have not reached the weak, including the elderly.

Despite such a situation, the military junta has continued to
restrict UN and NGO staff from entering the nation, insisting that
it will take care of distributing goods to affected areas by itself.
Meanwhile, the junta forcibly carried out a referendum on a new
constitution for the country.

The Burmese military government has found itself isolated
internationally as a result of using force to suppress pro-democracy
protests last year and has made only limited contacts with foreign
countries. It is outrageous for the junta to remain inflexible
despite this large scale humanitarian crisis. The international
community must continue to press the junta to receive international

Neighboring Thailand has already dispatched a special envoy to
Burma. The European Union (EU) also plans to send European Committee
members in charge of development and humanitarian aid. The

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Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will call an
emergency foreign ministerial to confer on ways to persuade the
junta to accept foreign aid and how to help with the aftermath.

The Japanese government should also take flexible action. In
response to a request from the UN, the government has decided to
announce plans to provide the nation with 1.1 billion yen worth of
aid. Prime Minister Fukuda sent a letter to Head of State of Burma
Than Shwe calling on his government to receive trained aid
personnel. It might be desirable that the government, taking one
step forward, will dispatch Foreign Minister Koumura and others to
Burma and ASEAN countries to have them cooperate in convincing the
junta to accept international help.

The government also should work on China, which has strong influence
over Burma, to persuade that nation. Prime Minister Fukuda agreed
with President Hu Jintao when he visited Japan recently on the view
that Japan and China should assume a major responsibility to promote
world peace and development. The two countries should make use of
their strategic, mutually-beneficial relationship in dealing with
the aftermath of cyclone-hit Burma.

This is a huge disaster for Asia. While cooperating with
international agencies, Japan should play a more leading role.


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