Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/14/08

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

4) Final news conference in Washington finds outgoing U.S.
Ambassador to Japan Ryozo Kato upbeat about U.S.-Japan relations

5) Korea Desk Director Sung Kim in press briefing says U.S., Japan
and ROK will consult on restarting the Six-Party Talks (Yomiuri)

6) Prime Minister Fukuda planning trip to Italy in early June

China quake:
7) Scale of energy expended in the devastating earthquake in Sichuan
China was 32 times that of the Osaka-Kobe earthquake (Mainichi)
8) Government to provide China quake victims with relief aid
equivalent to 500 million yen (Tokyo Shimbun)
9) Team of Japanese doctors and specialists ready to go help quake
victims but the Chinese government has yet to ask for such help

Africa aid:
10) Japan to assist Africa in improving rice cultivation (Yomiuri)

11) Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka calls for increase in Japan's ODA
budget, especially for African aid program (Sankei)

Political agenda:
12) Road tax legislation finally passed by the Lower House revote
13) Next focus of attack against Fukuda Cabinet by Ozawa's
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will be the issue of tapping
pensions of elderly for medical care (Yomiuri)
14) Weary LDP feels a deep sense of impasse in the lopsided Diet
15) Space bill clears the Lower House (Mainichi)
16) New Koga faction in the LDP launched after merger with Tanigaki
faction (Asahi)

Defense issues:
17) Court martial on the 16th of Marine in Okinawa accused of raping
a schoolgirl (Nikkei)
18) Lawmaker Inoue pursues in Diet the issue of the private vehicles
of U.S. military personnel not being garaged, as required by law



Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei, Tokyo Shimbun and Akahata:
More than 20,000 buried alive in China quake, death toll exceeds

Finance Ministry presents three tentative plans for care insurance
reform, including one to increase payments by those requiring
nursing care to 20 PERCENT

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(1) China earthquake: Speedy rescue operation imperative
(2) Stalled politics must end after road bill passed

(1) Road revenue legislation readopted
(2) Sichuan quake: Survivors must be rescued

(1) Prime minister must move to free up use of road-related taxes
(2) Powerful Sichuan quake a disaster before Beijing Olympics

(1) Road-related taxes must be freed up completely
(2) China quake requires international aid

(1) All highway-related tax revenues must be moved into the general
account through talks between ruling and opposition parties
(2) Sichuan temblor: Japan must prepare itself against quakes
through aid

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Road revenue legislation readopted: Time to listen to people's
(2) Quake in China: Disaster relief requires cooperation

(1) Readopted road legislation symbolizes inflexible administration

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, May 13

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Attended a cabinet meeting in Diet.

Met with Finance Minister Nukaga at Kantei. Afterwards, met with
Space Shuttle Endeavour Capitan Dominic Gorie, astronaut Takao Doi
and others.

Met with Ambassador to Botswana. Afterwards, met with
Director-General for Policy Planning and Evaluation of MHLW Usui and
Deputy Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka.

Met with Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Yamatani, followed by
Japan Coast Guard Director-General Iwasaki.

Attended a Lower House plenary session.

Met with former Prime Minister Kaifu, joined by Land Minister

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Fuyushiba. Kaifu remained.

Met with LDP Secretary General Ibuki.

Met with former Prime Minister Abe at the First Members' Office
Building of the Lower House.

Met at Kantei with representatives of labor unions from the G-8,
including Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo) Chairman
Tsuyoshi Takagi, joined by Health and Labor Minister Masuzoe and
Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura. Masuzoe remained.

Reporters: "Do you have a plan to report to former Prime Minister
Koizumi about the (current state of diplomacy)?"
Prime minister: "Possibly tomorrow by phone."

Arrived at Kantei residence.

4) Ambassador to U.S. Kato holds last press conference

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Kazuhiko Kusano, Washington

Ambassador to U. S. Ryozo Kato, who will resign at the end of May,
held his last press conference on May 12 in Washington. Kato, who
will have served in his current post for six and a half years,
becoming the longest-serving Japanese ambassador to the U.S. in the
postwar period, stressed that Tokyo should continue to make
Japan-U.S. relations the bedrock of its diplomacy. He stated: "There
is no other country than the United States that has the capabilities
to resolve problems."

Kato pointed out changes in the U.S. side, saying: "I have seen many
cases where the U.S. made decisions after hearing the views of

Kato, who loves baseball, is expected to become the new commissioner
of the Japan Professional Baseball League Organization. Yesterday,
he revealed the utility of talks about baseball with U.S. government
officials, noting: "It helped me when carrying out diplomacy."

5) Japan, U.S., ROK to meet to discuss resumption of six-party

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Takeo Miyazaki, Washington

U.S. State Department's Office of Korean Affairs Director Sung Kim
yesterday met with the press and revealed that Assistant Secretary
of State Christopher Hill, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs'
Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Akitaka Saiki,
and the South Korean chief delegate to the six-party talks would
meet possibly early next week to discuss restarting the six-party
talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. The meeting will be held in

TOKYO 00001311 004 OF 012

response to North Korea's recent submission of the operation records
of its nuclear facility. The venue for the trilateral meeting has
yet to be decided, but the meeting is expected to discuss the
resumption of the six-party talks, which have been stalled since
last September, as Hill has previously indicated an intention to
hold a trilateral session as a run-up to the six-party talks.

Director Kim stayed in North Korea until May 10. During that time he
received some 18,000 pages of documents related to North Korea's
plutonium program from the North Korean side and returned home on
May 12. Kim appreciated the submission of the documents by noting,
"This is an important step, as it serves as a basis for (North
Korea's planned submission of) a nuclear declaration. Seemingly, the
documents contain every aspect." But when asked about an outlook as
to when to resume the six-party talks, Kim simply said: "It's too
early to say anything about the timing of the resumption of the

6) Fukuda eyes visit to Italy in early June

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda is considering attending the Food Summit to be
held by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United
Nations in Rome on June 3-5, according to informed sources

The leaders of Italy, France, and other countries are expected to
participate in the said conference. Fukuda hopes to meet with the
leaders on the sidelines of the conference prior to the Lake Toya
Summit in July. He will make a judgment while ascertaining the Diet

7) Energy expended in Sichuan quake 32 times the scale of the
Hanshin quake

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
May 14, 2008

The size of the Sichuan earthquake's energy was about 32 times the
Hanshin (Osaka-Kobe) earthquake, Professor Kazuki Koketsu and his
group at the University of Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute have
found from their analysis.

Koketsu and his team analyzed seismic waves that were observed
around the world, and they found out that the fault that caused the
earthquake was about 120 kilometers long and about 40 kilometers
wide and had moved about 15 meters.

The seismic center was north of an earthquake-prone region called
the "north-south earthquake zone." A part of an earthquake fault
longer than 300 kilometers-running from northeast to southwest
through the Longmenshan mountains-is believed to have moved. The
moment magnitude (Mw), which can be derived from the fault plane and
other seismic factors to indicate the size of a massive quake more
accurately, was 7.9 and overscaled the Hanshin earthquake's Mw6.9.
An Mw increase of 1.0 equals a 32-fold increase of earthquake

The tremor that hit Sichuan this time was an earthquake of the
so-called "reverse fault type." In this type of a quake, two faults

TOKYO 00001311 005 OF 012

are pushed from east and west, with one fault plane riding over the
other fault surface. Koketsu says the Sichuan earthquake was the
world's largest inland quake of the reverse fault type.

8) Government to provide China with aid worth 500 million yen; 220
Japanese nationals confirmed safe

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 14, 2008

The government decided yesterday to offer 500 million yen worth of
emergency grants and supplies to earthquake-hit China. Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda made the decision in response to a request
from China. The government is making utmost efforts to confirm
whereabouts of the Japanese nationals staying in Sichuan Province
devastated by the quake and is also preparing to provide additional
assistance such as dispatch of international rescue team members if

The Foreign Ministry announced last night that about 200 of the
about 300 Japanese nationals who had submitted papers to stay in
Sichuan Province for more than three months have been confirmed
safe. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said in a press
conference yesterday afternoon: "We have confirmed as of now that no
Japanese national has been affected by the quake."

The government has emphasized that it is making arrangements to
dispatch rescue team members from the Fire and Disaster Management
Agency and other organizations, based on the International Rescue
Team Dispatch Law. Machimura said: "We have already made
preparations to send rescue teams and helicopters," besides funds
and goods.

In a joint meeting of the national defense-related departments in
the Liberal Democratic Party, views calling for dispatching
Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops to China were presented in
succession. A lawmaker responsible for national defense policy urged
the government to offer to China a plan to dispatch SDF troops,
saying: "This will provide a good chance to make the real mission of
the SDF understood."

China, though, has been critical of Japan sending SDF personnel
overseas. SDF members have never been dispatched to China since
dispatching troops overseas became possible in 1992.

The government is ready and willing to provide additional
assistance, with Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura saying: "Japan is
ready to send trained aid personnel if China makes a request." But
as Machimura noted, "(China) is a self-sufficient country that wants
to do everything by itself," the government sees it unlikely that
Japan will be asked to dispatch a large-scale rescue team.

9) China quake: Japanese doctors unable to start assistance
activities without request from China

YOMIURI (Page 34) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Japanese groups are getting ready to provide human assistance to
China's quake-hit area, but so far, no formal request for such have
come from the Chinese government as of May 13, the second day after
the disaster. Concerned sources are increasingly becoming

TOKYO 00001311 006 OF 012


A person in charge of the Japan Rescue Association, a nonprofit
organization located in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture, was
disappointed, as an official in charge at the Chinese Consulate
General in Osaka told him that China does not accept any assistance
from foreign countries.

This organization, established after the Hanshin-Awaji Great
Earthquake, is prepared to dispatch four members and four or five
rescue dogs to China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry on the afternoon
of the 13th said that China extends its gratitude for and welcomes
assistance offers made by various countries. On hearing that
statement, the body once again offered assistance to the Consulate
General. However, its offer was turned down again. Hiroaki Ishii
(27) at the Rescue Department regretfully said, "Many people are
buried alive. We want to go to the quake site as soon as possible."

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and Communications is preparing about 20 firefighters to
leave for China as the first step of activities by the International
Fire-Fighting and Rescue Team. However, under the Japan Disaster
Relief Team Dispatch Law they cannot dispatch them unless there is a
request from China. Japanese Red Cross in Minato Ward, Tokyo, which
is preparing to send doctors and nurses, has yet to decide what to

A person in charge at MDDA, an international medical assistance
organization that dispatches doctors to disaster-stricken areas
abroad, said, "The disaster site is in a mountainous area. It is
cold during the night. Relief activities must be carried out

10) Government to help Africa double rice production

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 14, 2008

The government decided yesterday to help Africa double rice
production over the next decade. The government aim to have Africa
boost productivity and deal with the increasingly serious food
crisis from a long-term perspective. The assistance in the
agricultural sector will be incorporated in an action plan to be
announced at the African Development Conference later this month.

Specifically, the government, making use of its know-how on rice
cultivation, will take measures to (1) improve species suitable for
the region; (2) foster experts; (3) teach production methods; and
(4) improve the goods-distribution system.

11) Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka stresses need to increase ODA
budget and offer more assistance to Africa

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka yesterday gave
a speech at Yokohama City University's Kanazawa Hakkei Campus in
Yokohama City. In the speech, Yabunaka referred to the significance
of the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD) that would take place in the city from May 28, as well as
the current state of African countries. Some 320 students and

TOKYO 00001311 007 OF 012

citizens gathered in the hall to hear the speech.

TICAD is called the "Japan-Africa summit," and Yabunaka emphasized:
"Major topics for discussion in the TICAD include the environment
and development issues, both of which are Japan's forte. TICAD has
drawn international attention. With the Group of Eight Hokkaido
Toyako Summit nearing, Japan's leadership will be put to the test."

Development of Africa has become a task for the international
community to address in order to prevent, for instance, poverty in
Africa from turning into uncertainties for the international
community. In this context, Yabunaka noted that Japan ranks in the
fifth in terms of aid to Africa in 2006 after the United States,
Britain, France, and Germany, and that in recent years, Japan's ODA
to Africa had sharply decreased.

Speaking of the features of Japan's aid, Yabunaka said: "Experts
give technical guidance themselves to local people." He asserted
that in order to increase the ODA budget, it is essential for the
Japanese public to understand the need to increase ODA and support
the increase.

12) Road revenue legislation enacted with revote, the third time
under Fukuda administration

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
May 14, 2008

A bill to keep road-related tax revenues earmarked for building and
improving highways for 10 years cleared the Diet yesterday with a
two-third House of Representatives override vote of the ruling
parties. Now that the government and ruling bloc have weathered the
storm regarding the road issue, they do not intend to extend the
current Diet session, due to close on June 15. The political focus
will now shift to such matters as a cabinet shuffle, expected to
occur after the July G-8 Lake Toya Summit, and the Democratic Party
of Japan's presidential race in September.

The legislation was readopted with 336 lawmakers voting for it and
133 against it. The DPJ, Japanese Communist Party, and Social
Democratic Party voted against it, while the People's New Party did
not attend the session. Under the Fukuda administration, this is the
third time that the ruling camp has taken a revote on legislation,
following one on antiterrorism special measures legislation in
January and tax-related bills in April that reinstated the
provisional gasoline tax rate.

Ahead of the revote, the government adopted a cabinet policy of
freeing up road-related revenues for general spending starting in
fiscal 2009. Prime Minister last night played up his determination
to free up road revenued, telling reporters, "The ruling parties,
including myself, will pursue it in a responsible manner."

Concluding that bills of profound importance no longer wait passage,
now that the road legislation has cleared the Diet, the government
and ruling bloc have decided not to extend the current Diet session.
They also apparently want to reduce opportunities for the opposition
bloc to grill them on the road issue and the highly controversial
health insurance system for the elderly.

In the wake of the settlement of the road issue, the prime minister
plans to boost public support for his cabinet, which has dropped to

TOKYO 00001311 008 OF 012

20 PERCENT , by earnestly addressing his policy challenges, such as
consumer affairs, social security, and the global environment. In
particular, he intends to pave the way by June for establishing a
consumer affairs agency next fiscal year. The National Council on
Social Security is also scheduled to produce in June an interim
report spelling out how the pension, medical, and nursing care
systems should be revised. The prime minister also intends to come
up with the government's comprehensive measures against global
warming to make the upcoming G-8 Summit a success.

Some ruling party members are calling for a cabinet shuffle, saying,
"The prime minister should launch a new cabinet composed of cabinet
ministers handpicked by himself in order to buoy up his
administration." The prime minister is likely to look for the right
timing to shuffle his cabinet after the summit and into the fall.

Following his party's victory in the latest Lower House by-lection,
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa indicated that his party would not submit
a censure motion against the prime minister in the current session
of the Diet, saying, "He has been censured by the general public."
His strategy to face the September presidential race while
maintaining party unity to be prepared for Lower House dissolution
and a snap general election.

13) Final phase of Diet session: Medical service system for elderly
people to come into focus: President Ozawa gives priority to verbal
confrontation, forgoes submission of censure motion

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
May 14, 2008

Now that the bill amending the Road Construction Revenues Special
Exemption Law was enacted in a second vote in the Lower House, the
focus of the final-phase of the Diet session will move to a battle
between the ruling and opposition parties over a new medical service
system for very old people. The opposition camp intends to steadily
take part in deliberations on bills other than contentious ones, by
putting off decision-making on the submission of a censure motion
against Prime Minister Fukuda until the end of the session on June
15. As such, the possibility is strong that the Diet session will
not be extended.

Diet session unlikely to be extended

Concerning a censure motion against the prime minister, Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) President Ozawa at a press
conference noted, "The DPJ will consider how to pursue the
responsibility of the Fukuda cabinet, while revealing through Diet
debate issues directly related to people's life, such as the new
medical service system for very old people and the issue of pension
premium contribution record errors." He thus indicated his policy of
giving priority to Diet debate, forgoing decision-making on the
submission of a censure motion until the end of the Diet session.

Four opposition parties held a meeting of policy affairs chiefs in
the Diet. Participants confirmed a policy of submitting before the
end of the month a bill aimed at abolishing the said system. DPJ
Policy Research Committee Chair Naoshima underscored, "It is
discriminatory to establish a separate medical service system for
those aged 75 or older."

The DPJ is also mulling drafting a basic law for reforming the

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national government employee system as another element in
confronting the government and the ruling camp. Some LDP members are
opposing the idea of limiting contact between politicians and
bureaucrats. The DPJ hopes it can shake up the ruling parties in
revision talks.

In response, the government is trying to find a breakthrough in its
effort to buoy the administration, by piling up achievements both on
the domestic affairs and diplomatic fronts.

14) LDP, DPJ at impasse; new elderly healthcare system to become
major political issue

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 14, 2008

With the re-approval of a bill amending the Road Construction
Revenues Special Exemption Law by the House of Representatives, the
main focus of attention in the Diet has now shifted to maneuvering
between the ruling and opposition parties over the new healthcare
system for those 75 and over, with an eye on June 15 when the
ongoing session ends. Four opposition parties have agreed in general
to submit a bill abolishing the new medical service system for the
elderly at the end of next March to the House of Councillors before
the end of this month. However, their decision to forgo submitting a
censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda indicates the
difficulty of forcing Fukuda to dissolve the Lower House to call a
snap election. Despite the low support rates for his cabinet, Fukuda
intends to play up his determination to manage his administration,
with the upcoming Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido in mind. The
impasse between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and main
opposition Democratic Party (DPJ) will likely continue.

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa clarified a stance of attacking the
Fukuda administration over the healthcare system for the elderly by
pointing out problematical points. He stated in press conference:
"The government has not take any sincere response to the medical
care system for the elderly and the pension-record mess."

The four opposition parties yesterday held a first meeting of their
officers in charge of the healthcare system issue. They generally
agreed to reinstate the old medical service system on April 1 next
year. The opposition parties also agreed to hold a meeting on May 16
to boil down such details as when the government should suspend the
withholding of medical insurance premiums from the pension

The DPJ, however, remains unable to come up with good material to
hit the government and ruling coalition with during the remaining
one month of the current session, because it has forgone a plan to
submit to the Upper House a censure motion against the prime
minister. Asked about whether his party would submit a censure
motion against Fukuda, Ozawa just said: "While deliberating on
issues in which the public have a strong interest, at the Diet, we
will consider measures to pursue the responsibility of the Fukuda

One senior member in charge of Diet affairs made this comment: "If a
censure motion is submitted after deliberations on the medical
system bill, the submission of the motion would become just a

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15) Lower House passes space bill

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 14, 2008

A lawmaker-sponsored basic bill on outer space, authorizing the use
of outer space for defense and industrial purposes, was approved
yesterday in a House of Representatives plenary session by a
majority of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP), its coalition partner New Komeito, and the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The outlook is that the bill will
be sent to the House of Councillors and it there will be enacted
during the current Diet session. The Social Democratic Party and
Japanese Communist Party have rejected the legislation. The bill,
which would allow the government to expand its space policy to
security areas, will likely spark controversy.

The government has translated the Diet resolution adopted in 1969
that the use of space is limited to "non-military purposes." The
bill, however, stipulates Japan should promote its own aerospace
industry that contributes to its security. This means Japan would
remove a ban on the use of space for defense purposes for
non-encroachment that is allowed by the Outer Space Treaty.

In the wake of the launch of a Taepodong ballistic missile by North
Korea in 1998, the government now operates three
intelligence-gathering satellites. Since intelligence the satellites
get has been provided to the Defense Ministry, some have contended
that the satellites are spy satellites.

However, the Defense Ministry is not allowed to develop satellites
on its own and it has limited the use of its technology to "private
level." The bill aimed to remove those regulations and it would make
it possible for the ministry to introduce
technologically-sophisticated reconnaissance satellites and possess
early-warning satellites for missile defense.

In this regard, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) explains
that the use of outer space for defense purposes is in line with the
pacifist spirit of the Constitution and falls within the scope of
being exclusively for defense purpose only, not violating the 1969
Diet resolution. The Japanese Communist Party, however, disagrees:
"The law will null the Diet resolution and promote a
military-centered space policy."

16) LDP faction Chukochi-kai gets underway without fanfare, launched
as the new Koga faction; Tanigaki assumes honorary position

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
May 14, 2008

The Koga and Tanigaki factions, both affiliated with the former
Miyazawa faction (Kochi-kai) of the Liberal Democratic Party, have
merged, forming the third largest faction in the party with its 61
members. Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga will serve as
chairman. However, with Sadakazu Tanigaki, a putative party
presidential candidate, assuming the honorary position of
representative organizer, the new faction made a start without

Koga at a fund-raising and coming-out party held in Tokyo yesterday
emphatically said, "We want to go hand-in-hand in order to realize a

TOKYO 00001311 011 OF 012

Kochi-kai-led administration, when the time comes."

Tanigaki was beside Koga. They swore unity after a hiatus of seven
and a half years. However, no senior members, including Koga, talked
about who would assume the premiership if their faction ran the

Tanigaki, who ran in the presidential race in 2006, had difficulty
securing 20 sponsors. One senior member of the former Tanigaki
faction said he had expected that he would be closer to the
presidency if the two factions merged. However, he is viewed as
lacking punch as policy research council chairman, as former Mori
faction member commented. There is an atmosphere of hesitating to
recommend Tanigaki as a candidate for the premiership.

Even so, there is no other "standard-bearer" in the former Koga
faction who can replace Tanigaki. Regarding the role Tanigaki is
expected to play, a person from the former Koga faction who once
served as a cabinet minister noted, "Having a presidential candidate
serves as a negotiation card for a new faction. If Mr. Tanigaki
behaves as such, that will do."

17) U.S. Marine to be court-martialed tomorrow over schoolgirl rape

AKAHATA (Page 15) (Abridged)
May 14, 2008

The U.S. Marine Corps in Japan announced yesterday that the U.S.
military would court-martial Tyrone Luther Hadnott, a 38-year-old
staff sergeant, tomorrow at Camp Zukeran (Camp Foster) in Ginowan,
Okinawa Prefecture, over an alleged rape. Hadnott was arrested in
February this year in the Okinawa prefectural town of Chatan for
allegedly raping a junior high school girl. The court-martial will
be opened to the Japanese media.

18) No discussion for 4 years on U.S. military personnel's private

AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
May 14, 2008

Anyone buying an automobile is legally required to submit a
certification of parking space to local police. Meanwhile, this
certification is said to be unnecessary in the case of U.S. military
personnel. On this issue, Japan and the United States held a meeting
of their intergovernmental joint committee in July 2004 and agreed
to reach a conclusion at the earliest possible date. Notwithstanding
this agreement, the Japanese and U.S. governments have not discussed
this matter for about four years. This fact was revealed by Shinichi
Nishimiya, director general of the North American Affairs Bureau at
the Foreign Ministry, in his Diet reply to a question asked by
Satoshi Inoue, a House of Councillors member of the Japanese
Communist Party, in a meeting yesterday of the House of Councillors
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The Parking Space Law requires all automobile owners to submit a
certification of parking space in order to eliminate illegal
parking. In the case of cars privately owned by U.S. military
personnel, however, they have been illegal with no parking space
certification submitted. In July 2004, the joint committee agreed to
submit a certification of off-base parking space. In the case of
on-base parking space, a special committee was to meet every two

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weeks for intensive discussions.

Inoue asked about the progress of discussions. Nishimiya stated:
"The special committee last met August 31, 2004. The Japanese and
U.S. governments differed on this matter and have yet to reach an

In Okinawa Prefecture, a total of 3,039 vehicles owned by U.S.
military personnel were newly registered in the January-March period
of 2008. According to Inoue, However, parking space was certified
for only four cars.

"The agreement itself has not been observed," Inoue stated. "Also,"
he went on, "there have been no discussions." With this, Inoue
criticized the Japanese and U.S. governments. He quoted the governor
of Okinawa Prefecture as criticizing the agreement for being failed
as a "dead letter." He stressed that the situation should be
improved at once. Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura stated: "There
is a question as indicated, so we will make efforts to work it out
so the agreement will be observed."


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