Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/19/08

DE RUEHKO #1357/01 1400105
P 190105Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Aid to Africa and the world:
4) Joint statement on assistance to Afghanistan to be released at
G-8 foreign ministerial (Yomiuri)
5) Prime Minister Fukuda's marathon of meetings with 50 leaders in
17 hours during TICAD (Yomiuri)
6) Fukuda calls for increasing ODA budget in order to meet
international obligations (Mainichi)
7) Fukuda to announce 1 trillion yen in environmental aid to Africa
over five-year period (Tokyo Shimbun)
8) Government's target is to double private investment in Africa
over five years, provide $600 million for fighting infectious
diseases (Nikkei)
9) Japanese aid to focus also on increasing rice production 10 fold
in Africa (Mainichi)

10) Government considering the use of obligatory rice imports as
food aid, with the U.S.' concurrence (Nikkei)

11) Defense Minister Ishiba since last September has been too tied
up in ministry issues to visit Okinawa (Tokyo Shimbun)

Political affairs:
12) Jiji polls shows 49 PERCENT of public favor Diet dissolution is
a censure motion is filed by the opposition camp against Prime
Minister Fukuda (Tokyo Shimbun)
13) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama changes mind and now is inclined
to favor a censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda (Sankei)
14) LDP branches in 22 prefectures want to dump Fukuda before going
into the next Lower House election (Nikkei)

15) Child pornography bill: LDP agrees to tough penalties for those
found possessing child porno (Asahi)

16) Educational ministry will have school teaching guidelines state
that Takeshima, which both Japan and South Korea claim, is Japan's
territory (Mainichi)



Aftershocks continue in China, death toll hits 32,476

4.5 million stay in shelters one week after earthquake in China

10 million affected people are in it for long haul

Consumer goods producers having hard time passing on higher costs

China suspends torch relay for three days of national mourning

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Tokyo Shimbun:
Government to prolong lives of three bridges designated as important
cultural property by 200 years

In TV program, JCP Chairman Shii calls for an orderly economic


(1) Justice Ministry, Welfare Ministry must join hands to help
prisoners with mental retardation return to society after released
from prison
(2) Deregulation of financial services: Banks' reform capabilities
being tested

(1) Quickly resolve legal problems to rescue asbestos-exposure
(2) Merger of factions: Don't stick to old-fashioned groups

(1) Food price rises: Consumers should now review eating habits
(2) Effective restrictions necessary to prevent expansion of soil

(1) Quickly establish system satisfactory to Japanese, foreigners in
accepting foreign workers

(1) Government urged to improve health insurance system for elderly
without changing principles
(2) Agriculture White Paper: Reform needed for agricultural policy

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Agriculture White Paper: Drastic reform necessary for
agricultural policy, eating habits
(2) Avoid entrusting maintenance of aircraft to foreign firms as
much as possible

(1) Drafting treaty banning cluster bombs an imminent task

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, May 16

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 17, 2008

Attended a relevant ministers' meeting on revenues for road projects
in Diet.

Attended a cabinet meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura and
Foreign Minister Koumura remained. Afterwards, issued an appointment
letter to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management Ito,
jointed by Machimura.

TOKYO 00001357 003 OF 010

Attended a meeting of the Council on National Social Welfare at
Kantei. Afterwards, met with Masajuro Shiokawa, manager of the
700-Person Committee for Promotion of Administrative Reform for
Rebuilding Japan. Later, met with LDP Research Commission on Foreign
Affairs Yamasaki.

Attended a session of the Upper House Special Committee on ODA.

Met with members of the Committee on Measures for Rehabilitation of
Genkai Island, joined by House of Representatives member Seiichi

Met with former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano at Kantei.

Met with Ambassador to African Development Conference Odano and MOFA
International Cooperation Bureau Director-General Bessho.
Afterwards, met with Machimura.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Attended a session of the Council on Rebirth of Education at Toshi
Center Building in Hirakawa-co.

Arrived at Kantei residence.

Prime Minister's schedule, May 17

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 18, 2008

Stayed at Kantei residence.

Met with New Komeito Representative Ota.

Met with Junko Edahiro and Takeshiro Suekichi of the Council Climate
Change, joined by Special Advisor to Cabinet Kusaka and member
Jitsuro Terashima.

Prime Minister's schedule, May 18

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 19, 2008

Stayed at Kantei residence all day.

4) Joint statement on assistance to Afghanistan to be released at
G-8 foreign ministerial: Coordination with related countries

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
May 18, 2008

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The government yesterday firmed up a plan to release a joint
statement on assistance for the reconstruction and development of
Afghanistan at a foreign ministerial of the G-8 to be held on June
26-27 in Kyoto. It has started undertaking coordination with
related countries. The envisaged joint statement will be mapped out
separately from the chairman's statement at the foreign

Its judgment is that in view of the present situation in which the
Taliban militants are activating anti-government activities in
Afghanistan, it would be necessary to indicate the G-8's fresh
resolve to fight terrorism and support the reconstruction of

The envisaged joint statement would point out that with Al Qaeda, an
international terrorist group, having established bases in the
southern, south-eastern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, which have
a border with Pakistan, public security in those regions is of
particular concern. Based on that notion, it will incorporate the
G-8's policy of emphatically tackle the economic development and
stabilization of those border regions. To be precise, the joint
statement will likely include as cardinal features the promotion of
the construction of schools and roads, the removal of land mines,
evacuation assistance and food aid.

5) Prime Minister Fukuda to engage in a marathon of meetings at
TICAD4: 50 leaders over three days for a total of 17 hours

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
May 19, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda will meet individually with 50 leaders or
other representatives from African countries attending the African
Development Conference (TICAD4) held in Yokohama City May 28-30. He
is expected to spend a total of 17 hours in such meetings over the
three-day period, which one senior Foreign Ministry official called,
"An unprecedented marathon of meetings at the summit level."

Attending the conference will be representatives of 53 of the 54
countries in Africa. Forty five countries will send summit-level
representatives: 35 heads of state, seven prime ministers, and three
vice presidents.

6) Prime Minister Fukuda calls for increasing ODA budget

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 17, 2008

Ken Uzuka

At a session yesterday of the Upper House Special Committee on
Official Development Assistance (ODA), Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
discussed Japan's ODA to Africa that he plans to announce at the
upcoming fourth Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD) in Yokohama City , which is to open on May 28.
He revealed that the government was making arrangements to increase
ODA to Africa, noting: "We must not let leaders of participating
countries leave Japan disappointed. I would like to deal with the
matter appropriately." Fukuda was replying to questions posed by
Kohei Otsuka of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan

TOKYO 00001357 005 OF 010

The special committee also adopted a resolve to increase the current
level of ODA, which is 0.17 PERCENT to gross national income (GNI)
in 2007 to 0.7 PERCENT to GNI in 2015.

7) Fukuda to announce 1 trillion yen in aid to Africa for
global-warming countermeasures during African Development

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
May 19, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will announce Japan's assistance plan
for Africa in the opening ceremony of the 4th Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (TICAD4), which will start on May
28 in Yokohama. According to a draft revealed yesterday, the
government will donate a total of 10 billion dollars, or
approximately 1.04 trillion yen, to African countries over the next
five years to finance measures to fight global warming, as well as
create a new loan system to promote investment (by Japanese firms)
in Africa.

Over the coming five years, the government is also willing to double
official development assistance (ODA) disbursements to Africa and
the values of trade with and investment in Africa. Japan is willing
to display its leadership in containing global warming and assisting
Africa - major agenda items at the Group of Eight Summit (the Lake
Toya Summit) in July.

Included among the measures to be announced by Prime Minister Fukuda
will promoting infrastructure construction and Japanese companies'
investment in Africa by reducing risks involved. To that end, Fukuda
will propose improving the nation's current trade insurance system
and establishing a new loan system called the "Africa investment

Great attention is being focused on whether an agreement will be
reached on a new international framework following the 2012
expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in the upcoming conference. Japan
intends to respond to African countries' desire to seek economic
growth as well as reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by helping them
develop grain species suitable for arid land with high temperatures
and introduce technological know-how to curb greenhouse gas
emissions and clean energy.

As measures to promote trade, the government plans to promote
Japanese firms' investment, as well as to involve 12 countries in
the "One Village One Product Movement," which originated in Oita

8) Africa aid: Government plans to double private-sector investment
over five years; 600 million dollars for measures to prevent
infectious diseases

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
May 18, 2008

The government has decided to present its goal of doubling
private-sector investment in Africa over the next five years at a
meeting of the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD) to be held in Hamamatsu City, starting on May
28. Since Africa has abundant natural resources, there is a high

TOKYO 00001357 006 OF 010

potential of private companies carrying out projects there. The
government will help them engage in official development
assistance-related projects. It will also release a plan to disburse
another 600 million dollars for measures to deal with infectious
diseases as part of a comprehensive measures to assist Africa.

The government will shortly discuss its plan at a meeting of the
Council on Overseas Economic Cooperation (chaired by Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda) and incorporate it in an action program to be adopted
at TICAD. Its aim is to help Africa become self-reliant, by
accelerating its economic growth through the boosted inflow of
private companies' money.

The average amount of money Japanese companies invested in Africa in
a year in a five-year-period from 2002 to 2006 reached 1.723 billion
dollars. The government wants to raise that amount to 3.446 billion
dollars by 2012.

As government-sponsored aid measures, the government will adopt
projects related to the consolidation of infrastructure, such as
road construction, after taking into account private companies'
needs. It will also improve systems of loans provided by the Japan
Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and trade insurance. It
will also announce a plan to significantly increase ODA to Africa in
order to back its effort to consolidate infrastructure.

9) Japan's aid to Africa: "Aims to double rice production in Africa
in 10 years

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 19, 2008

Ken Uzuka

The government will unveil a plan at the upcoming fourth Tokyo
International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama
City slated for May 28 to double rice production in Africa over the
next 10 years. Given acutely soaring food prices, Japan intends to
make good use of its long experience in rice cultivation. Japan will
work together with the World Food Program (WFP) in this aid and it
will use official development assistance (ODA) and obtain financial
support from Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation organized by Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates.

In Africa, escalating food prices are becoming a serious issue with
riots occurring in the Cameroons and Cote d'Ivoire. Japan has
decided to offer a total of 10 billion yen in emergency aid to
Africa. In addition to that, Japan intends to demonstrate its
attitude of aiming to improve the structural problems related to the
food issue in Africa, for instance, the need to improve the
self-sufficiency ratio in food and farmers' income by showing a
long-term aid framework under which Japan's unique technology will
be better used.

Japan's plans include (1) expanded Africa rice cultivation promotion
initiative, (2) rice varieties improvement; (3) spread of irrigation
technology; and (4) production by adoption of Japan's agricultural
cooperative system and improvement in distribution.

Japan plans to spread the cultivation of New Rice for Africa
(NERICA), which is better adapted to African weather and which
produces a good crop, and double the current rice production of some

TOKYO 00001357 007 OF 010

14 million tons in 2006 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Japan
International Cooperation Agency has already tackled this sort of
effort in Uganda.

10) Food aid: Government considering expanded use of imported rice
in stock; Working-level talks with U.S. to be held shortly

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
May 17, 2008

Asian and African countries are having difficulty procuring rice due
to the sharp rise in international prices. Following the move, the
government will consider expanding rice aid using rice which it
imports under the minimum-access quota system. Tokyo and Washington
are now undergoing coordination with the possibility of holding
working-level talks as early as later in the month. The U.S. will
likely approve the use of such rice for an aid purpose, although it
has strongly called for its domestic consumption. Since the plan
requires coordination with countries that are experiencing a rice
shortage and fiscal measures, the government will consider it, while
monitoring the international situation.

Japan has been importing minimum-access rice since it was urged to
open its market during talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The government annually imports approximately 770,000 tons without
imposing a tariff from the U.S., Thailand and China under such a
quota through trading houses. Of that amount, U.S. rice accounts for
about 40 PERCENT . Japan has sent part of imported rice to
developing countries as aid. It now intends to expand that amount.

Domestically, part of minimum-access rice is sold as staple food as
well as for a processing purpose, such as making miso paste, and
feed grains. The amount of stocks as of the end of October last year
stood at 1.52 million tons. The accumulated total of imports is 8.32
million tons, of which 2.2 million tons have been used for aid. The
sharp rise in rice prices in developing countries is now an
international issue. In a bid to put the problem to rest, the United
States Trade Representative (USTR) recently released a statement
approving exports of minimum-access rice. Working-level talks
between the governments of Japan and the U.S. will likely focus on
the use of minimum-access rice for aid purposes.

11) Ishiba has yet to visit Okinawa due to new refueling
legislation, Aegis accident and other problems

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 19, 2008

It has been almost eight months since Shigeru Ishiba assumed office
as defense minister last September, but he has never visited Okinawa
Prefecture in that capacity. It has been a custom for the defense
minister to visit Okinawa ahead of other prefectures to demonstrate
the government's consideration to the southernmost prefecture, which
hosts the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan and plays an important
security role. Ishiba's response is extremely unusual at a time when
Okinawa is being shaken by the plan to realign U.S. forces.

Over the last 10 years, 11 defense chiefs out of a total of 12 have
visited Okinawa within four months after assuming office. Ishiba
previously became defense chief in 2002 and he visited the
prefecture in two months after assuming office. It is considered
natural in the Defense Ministry for the defense minister to travel

TOKYO 00001357 008 OF 010

to the prefecture soon after assuming the post.

Ishiba's assumption of office was followed by a spate of problems
and scandals, such as heated Diet debates on a new Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law governing the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, an underreport by the MSDF of
the amount of fuel Japan supplied to a U.S. supply ship, a scandal
involving a former vice-defense minister, and an Aegis destroyer's
collision with a fishing boat. Ishiba has been busy dealing with
those events.

The planned relocation of Futenma Air Station to the Henoko district
in Nago, the biggest issue in Okinawa, has been stalled due to the
prefectural government's request to move the replacement facility
into the sea. The focus in on when Ishiba will visit Okinawa to
break the gridlock in the Futenma issue.

12) Jiji poll: 49 PERCENT think prime minister should dissolve the
Lower House if censure motion against him is adopted by the Upper

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
May 18, 2008

In a Jiji Press opinion survey conducted on May 9-12, 49.2 PERCENT
of respondents said that Prime Minister Fukuda should dissolve the
Lower House for a snap general election in the event a censure
motion against him is adopted by the Upper House. In addition, 21.7
PERCENT said the cabinet should resign en masse, while 14.1 PERCENT
indicated that there was no need for a general resignation or Lower
House dissolution.

The survey was conducted face-to-face toward 2,000 men and women
across Japan, with 66.9 PERCENT of them giving valid answers.

By party, 64.5 PERCENT of DPJ supporters and 41.0 PERCENT of LDP
supporters said the prime minister should dissolve the Lower House,
in comparison to 48.1 PERCENT of those with no party affiliation.

Asked for the timing for Lower House dissolution, 60.0 PERCENT
pointed to by the end of the year. Of them, 22.1 PERCENT said it
should be in the summer after the July G-8 Summit, 20.6 PERCENT
pointed to from the fall through the end of the year, and 17.3
PERCENT favored "immediate" dissolution.

Meanwhile, 62.7 PERCENT expressed opposition to the reinstated
provisional tax rates on gasoline and other items, while only 29.2
PERCENT voiced support for it.

13) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama again expressed intention to file
censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpt)
May 19, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
appearing yesterday on the NHK program, Sunday Talk, stated: "The
(Fukuda) Cabinet support rate is now at 20 PERCENT . From the
nation's perspective, they are asking that something be done, that
politics be changed. We have no intention of doing nothing and just
let the current Diet session end."

TOKYO 00001357 009 OF 010

He repeatedly expressed the intention of pursuing the Fukuda Cabinet
on such issues as the controversial medical system for the elderly
and the road tax revenues.

14) Local LDP chapters turning away from Fukuda; 22 prefectures want
a new party president for next election

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
May 17, 2008

Timed with the Lower House's re-adoption of legislation governing
road-related tax revenues, the Asahi Shimbun has conducted an
opinion survey covering the 47 prefectural chapters of the Liberal
Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan. In the survey,
only 12 LDP prefectural chapters said that the party should face the
next Lower House election under Prime Minister Fukuda, who is also
LDP president, while 22 prefectures indicated the need for a new
party president. Local chapters seem to be turning away from Fukuda,
reflecting sagging support ratings for his cabinet.

The survey was conducted on May 12-15, including May 13, the day a
bill amending the Road Construction Revenues Special Measures was
readopted, toward the secretaries general and others of two parties'
prefectural chapters.

In the wake of the party's defeat in the April 27 Lower House
Yamaguchi by-election, the view is gaining ground in the LDP that
Prime Minister Fukuda is not appropriate to serve as the party's
"poster boy" for the next general election. In the survey, many
expressed views writing the prime minister off, with a Saitama
member saying: "Too many bad things have happened since Mr. Fukuda
took office. It's difficult to face the next election under him."
Local calls for an early resignation of the former Mori
administration, which was suffering from flagging support, led to
Mori's resignation as prime minister. Local opinions cannot be
discounted. LDP Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki in a press conference
yesterday defended Fukuda, saying, "The prime minister has been
working hard." Another LDP officer expressed a sense of alarm,
noting: "Local organizations are close to the public and sensitive
to public opinion. Shuffling the cabinet is a must."

Asked about persons fit to become a new party president, prefectural
chapters named only one person: former Secretary General Taro Aso.
Seven prefectures, such as Iwate, Gifu, Osaka, and Hiroshima
explained: "Mr. Aso is a seasoned politician who is good at
speeches. Considered to be the solar opposite of Mr. Fukuda, he will
be well received by the public."

15) Ruling parties team agree on revisions to law that would
penalize by imprisonment even the simple position of child

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Excerpt)
May 17, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito's ruling parties
project team to reconsider the child prostitution and child
pornography law held a meeting on May 16 and reached general
agreement on amending the law. Although the current version of the
law does not ban the simple possession of child porno, such as
photos or film obtained for one's personal hobby, this will be
banned, and violations will be subject to imprisonment.

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16) MEXT intends to specify "Takeshima as Japanese territory" in
teaching guidelines for junior high school curriculum guidance

MAINICHI (Page 26) (Full)
May 19, 2008

Takahiro Kato

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology
(MEXT) decided to specify in teaching guidelines for new junior high
school curriculum guidance (which are to be put into complete
practice in fiscal 2012) Takeshima (Dokdo in Korean), a group of
small islets both Japan and South Korea have claimed, as "Japan's
inherent territory." The teaching guidelines have no legal binding
force like curriculum guidance has, but textbook publishers compile
textbooks based on teaching guidelines. Given this, MEXT's new
policy is likely to significantly affect the way teachers instruct
in classrooms.

In line with modifications to curriculum guidance, MEXT compiles
teaching guidelines for each subject for elementary, junior and
senior high schools. Teaching guidelines for junior high schools are
scheduled to be prepared by July.

In the past, there were cases where curriculum guidance and teaching
guidelines for junior high schools made mention of the Northern
Territories, but there have been no cases until now of referring to
Takeshima in curriculum guidance and teaching guidelines out of
consideration with South Korea.

Regarding the question of whether to specify Takeshima, in 2005,
then Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama said in his Diet reply: "It
should be specified in curriculum guidance." Since then MEXT had
discussed the matter. New curriculum guidance was unveiled this past
February, but MEXT reportedly refrained from announcing this sort of
specification in part because the timing of the announcement
coincided with the timing of the inauguration of Lee Myung Bak as
new president of South Korea.


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