Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/20/08

DE RUEHKO #1379/01 1410826
P 200826Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Ambassador Schieffer hopes for increased defense spending

(2) Yokosuka rape incident involving U.S. service member; MOD to pay
3 million yen solatium to Australian women as consolatory measure
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(3) Stop cluster bombs (Series 1) - Voices of world and Japan (Part
1): Interview with Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono: Expects Prime
Minister Fukuda's leadership (Mainichi)

(4) Stop cluster bombs (Series 1) - Voices of world and Japan (Part
4): Dublin Conference begins; Will an accord be reached on excepting
latest bombs; Japan may be isolated (Mainichi)

(5) Defense Ministry eyes senior posts for SDF brass (Sankei)

(6) Finance Ministry points out at Fiscal Policy Council high cost
of Japan's ODA: Seeking to check pressure for budgetary increase, it
also says education budget is by no means inferior (Tokyo Shimbun)

(7) Look to Africa - ahead of TICAD: China has taken African
countries' "votes for Japan" needed for its bid for permanent UNSC
seat (Mainichi)

(8) LDP has no quick fix to boost cabinet support rate (Tokyo

(9) My point of view: Lease of pandas questionable: Using wild
animal as souvenir improper (Asahi)


(1) Ambassador Schieffer hopes for increased defense spending

14:03, May 20, 2008

U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer earlier today delivered
a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo. In
it, the ambassador expressed his hope that Japan would boost its
defense spending, saying, "Japan should consider the advantage of
increasing its defense spending." The ambassador emphasized that
while neighboring countries, such as China, South Korea, and Russia,
have considerably increased their military budgets, Japan's alone
has not changed its defense spending for the past decade.

The ambassador also said: "It is troubling that the ratio of Japan's
defense spending to its GDP has been dropping gradually." Regarding
the selection of the next-generation combat aircraft for the Air
Self-Defense Force, the ambassador noted: "It is important for the
United States and Japan to consider jointly, rather than separately,
a procurement strategy for the aircraft."

(2) Yokosuka rape incident involving U.S. service member; MOD to pay
3 million yen solatium to Australian women as consolatory measure

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 23) (Full)
May 20, 2008

TOKYO 00001379 002 OF 009


In 2002, an Australian woman named Jane (not real name) was sexually
assaulted by a U.S. serviceman attached to the Yokosuka Naval Base
in Kanagawa Prefecture. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against
him, and the court ordered him to pay 3 million to her in
compensation for his act. But she has not been able to collect the
money because he fled to the United States. The Ministry of Defense
decided yesterday to pay a 3 million yen solatium to the woman as a
consolatory measure. This is the first case for the Japanese
government to pay a solatium to a victim of sexual violence by a
U.S. service member.

Government's decision first case in Japan; Woman criticizes fled
U.S. sailor

The U.S. sailor who allegedly raped the woman has since returned to
the United States and left the U.S. Navy. The government's rare step
is said to be based on a 1964 cabinet decision that says: "The
Japanese government is allowed to provide relief to victims who were
not provided such by the U.S. government."

Jane attended the Okinawa prefectural rally against incidents and
accidents caused by U.S. military personnel, held in the town of
Chatan on March 23, and spoke on the stage about her suffering from
being raped by the U.S. sailor.

Jane was raped in April 2002 by a crewmember of the USS Kitty Hawk.
In July 2002, the Yokosuka District Court dismissed the case without
clarifying the reason. A preliminary examination held in October
also decided that a court-martial was not needed. Jane then filed
criminal charges against the U.S. sailor, and the Tokyo District
Court in November 2004 ordered him to pay 3 million yen in

But during the trial, the U.S. sailor retired from the Navy and
returned to the United States. He has not paid the compensation.

To deal with such a situation, Article 18-6 of the Japan-U.S. Status
of Forces Agreement stipulates that in the event a member of the
United States armed forces is unable to pay for an incident or
accident committed outside the performance of official duty, "the
U.S. government shall pay compensation in place of the U.S. service

This time around, the U.S. government rejected the payment on the
grounds of the statute of limitations, saying, "Under U.S. law
(Foreign Claims Act), compensation can be paid within two years of
the date of loss." The compensation to Jane has been in limbo.

The MOD explained its decision to pay the solatium this way: "Based
on conventional wisdom, we have decided that people who are not
protected by the law need relief measures." It is also the first
case to pay a solatium regarding a case for which the two-year
statute of limitations has expired.

Jane said: "Looking back at my six years of struggle, I am delighted
with (the Japanese government's decision). It is strange that the
perpetrator, who should pay (the compensation), has been leading a
free life without being punished. The U.S. government has done
nothing during this period. If they really want to stop sexual
crimes, the United States should apologize to all victims. I will

TOKYO 00001379 003 OF 009

not give up until the perpetrator is found."

(3) Stop cluster bombs (Series 1) - Voices of world and Japan (Part
1): Interview with Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono: Expects Prime
Minister Fukuda's leadership

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
May 20, 2008

Interviewer Ken Uzuka

There is a growing interest at home and abroad in banning cluster
bombs. The Mainichi Shimbun will report in five installments on
expectations pinned by Japanese and other countries' leaders on the
Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions. Lower House
Speaker Yohei Kono, representative of the Parliamentary Council to
Promote a Ban on Cluster Bombs, was the first leading figure to be

Cluster bombs became an issue because of the human harm they cause,
but that did not lead to the movements to prohibit their use. With
the start of the Oslo Process, however, discussion on cluster
munitions began, and desperate efforts have been continuing to
totally ban such weapons. Japan has participated in the existing
Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), as well as the
Oslo Process. Given this, Japan appears somewhat torn between these
two systems.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) thinking is that based on
the joint defense of Japan with the United States, it is
questionable whether such could function well if Japan alone
participated in a ban on cluster bombs. The Ministry of Defense
(MOD) insists that Japan must possess a comparable number of cluster
bombs, insisting that there is nothing to worry about because Japan
would use them in a prudent manner. But I wonder if doing so is
really possible.

Humanitarian issues form a process leading to world peace. I think
Japan should be more sensitive and brave to address this issue.
Aside from a very limited number of exceptions, it is my belief that
the correct course to follow is to head toward a total ban on
cluster bombs.

Recalling the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines,
I think then Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi's decision (to join the
convention) was highly significant. Even after he became prime
minister, Mr. Obuchi enhanced Japan's international credibility for
he was viewed as the leader who "decided to prohibit anti-personnel

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has shown his diplomatic colors by
attaching importance to neighboring countries and the rest of Asia,
but should he decide to address the cluster munitions issue, Japan
would be seen by other countries in the world as having changed. I
also believe that Mr. Fukuda's diplomatic imprint would be further
recognized internationally. I pins my hopes on Prime Minister
Fukuda. As the only nation that was the victim of atomic bombs,
Japan should take the lead in resolving the cluster munitions issue.
I hope to see Japanese diplomacy play a role. I also hope to see
MOFA show its mettle that Japan can work to maintain peace through

TOKYO 00001379 004 OF 009

Since the (2001) terrorist attacks on the U.S., the use of force to
put down resistance has spread across the world, but this has served
only to heighten feelings of nationalism. This is my worry. When I
was a child, I fled from bombs being dropped by American planes. Now
that there no longer are lawmakers in the Diet who served at the
front, those in my generation who know war must grapple with
disarmament. In September, the Group of Eight House Speakers'
Conference is to take place in Hiroshima City. Climate Change, as
well as peace and disarmament are no doubt on the agenda for
discussion at the conference. I believe the cluster bombs issue will
also be a subject for discussion there.

(4) Stop cluster bombs (Series 1) - Voices of world and Japan (Part
4): Dublin Conference begins; Will an accord be reached on excepting
latest bombs; Japan may be isolated

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
May 20, 2008

Katsumi Sawada, Dublin

The final-phase of the Oslo Process, disarmament negotiations aimed
at concluding a ban on cluster bombs, whose unexploded bombs cause
tremendous damage to citizens, opened in Dublin, Ireland, yesterday.
Until recently the countries participating in the Oslo Process had
been at odds over the question of a total ban on cluster bombs or a
partial ban that allows the possession and use of some cluster bombs
as exceptions. But there is now a growing possibility that agreement
will be reached on excepting the latest cluster bombs, whose number
is very limited and whose ratio of unexploded bombs is very low.
This sort of agreement is viewed as being close to a total ban on
cluster munitions. If this were realized, Japan, which insists on
firmly keeping the cluster bombs it has held at present in spite of
their high ratio of unexploded bombs, may be isolated

Joining the Dublin Conference are some 110 countries, including
Japan, Britain, Germany, France, and Norway. The participating
countries aim to agree to a draft agreement by May 30, when the
conference is to close.

According to a diplomatic source, most participants have indicated
that they will make concessions on a proposal close to a total ban.
And most countries favoring a partial ban on cluster bombs have
begun allowing latest bombs to be treated as exceptions. Those
countries in favor of a total ban are also beginning to accept a
proposal to except latest bombs.

Norway, a leading country calling for a total ban on cluster bombs,
declared: "Should (latest bombs) not cause damage to civilians, it
will be all right not to list them as bombs subject to a total ban."
Participating countries are looking for common ground by excepting
the latest bombs.

John Borrie, a researcher at the United Nations Institute for
Disarmament Research who is well versed on the Oslo Process, noted:
"Most countries supportive of a partial ban are of the opinion that
latest bombs will be treated as exceptions."

If differing views were not removed in the final stage of
negotiations, it is expected that settlement will be reached by
taking a vote in line with a two-third majority. Chances are strong

TOKYO 00001379 005 OF 009

that settlement will be reached by excepting the latest cluster
bombs in line with a majority of votes.

Japan, however, insists on firmly keeping the modified model of
cluster bombs, which Japan has currently posses and whose ratio of
unexploded bombs is reportedly to be 10 PERCENT or more in actual
combat. A UN official in charge of disarmament made this comment:
"Countries that may side with Japan's proposal would be only Finland
or so. But the group favoring a partial ban and the group favoring a
total ban are narrowing their gaps."

The possibility is not ruled out, however, that Japan may face a
similar scene as it faced in the Oslo Conference in February 2007,
when the Oslo Declaration aimed at creating a treaty was adopted
without Japan making clear its attitude.

(5) Defense Ministry eyes senior posts for SDF brass

SANKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
May 16, 2008

The Defense Ministry is studying an institutional change so it can
appoint uniformed officers in the Self-Defense Forces to bureau
director general, division director, and other managerial posts in
connection with the restructuring of its organization, sources said
yesterday. This is aimed at readying the Defense Ministry's
bureaucrats and the SDF's uniformed staff officers to advise the
defense minister. An advisory panel for the government is expected
to meet next week at the prime minister's office to discuss a reform
of the Defense Ministry. On that occasion, Defense Minister Shigeru
Ishiba will propose that institutional change as one of his
ministry's multiple ideas. If it is approved at the panel meeting,
the Defense Ministry will push ahead with its restructuring plan to
establish an "operations bureau," which will be headed by an SDF
officer, in an aim to unify SDF operations.

A reform promotion team, set up by Ishiba in the Defense Ministry,
is studying the idea, which is aimed at changing the Defense
Ministry and the SDF into an efficient organization. The Defense
Ministry is currently divided into internal bureaus and four SDF
staff offices. Ishiba has advocated reorganizing them into three
functions for SDF operations planning, defense buildup, and Diet
affairs and public relations. The reform team fleshed out this

What remains a barrier to an overhaul of the Defense Ministry and
the SDF is the government's current interpretation that precludes
SDF personnel from the Defense Ministry's appointments to its posts
above division director. This restriction to SDF personnel's
appointments was established under the National Safety Agency Law.
It was abolished after the National Safety Agency was changed to the
Defense Agency. After that, however, the government took a similar
view in its Diet replies. The government therefore will likely have
to alter its interpretation and revise the Defense Ministry
Establishment and relevant laws in order to appoint SDF personnel to
managerial posts at the Defense Ministry.

As it stands, there is also an idea being floated for the case where
an SDF officer cannot be appointed to a bureau director general
post. In this case, an operations bureau is planned to be set up in
the SDF Joint Staff Office, not as an internal bureau of the Defense
Ministry, for unified SDF operations.

TOKYO 00001379 006 OF 009

(6) Finance Ministry points out at Fiscal Policy Council high cost
of Japan's ODA: Seeking to check pressure for budgetary increase, it
also says education budget is by no means inferior

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 9) (Full)
May 20, 2008

The Finance Ministry on May 19 presented the results of a survey of
the implementation of the official development assistance (ODA)
budget to the Fiscal System Council reporting to the finance
minister. The survey report pointed out the high cost of Japanese
ODA's construction projects, citing that the cost of Japan's project
to construct one classroom in an elementary school in Tanzania was
eight to 11 times higher than that of Britain.

According to data provided by the Finance Ministry, in a
construction projects carried out in Tanzania from fiscal 2001
through fiscal 2002, Japan built 272 classrooms at the cost of
approximately 1.24 billion yen -- approximately 5.57 million yen per
classroom. In a similar project, Britain spent only 500,000 yen to
700,000 yen per classroom.

In a project to repair roads in Cambodia, the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) spent 28 million yen to repair one kilometer of a two-lane
road, while Japan spent 68 million yen, about 2.4 times the amount
the ADB spent. An official in charge even pointed out that it might
have been better off if they had built a road twice as longer as the
existing one.

Regarding the education budget, the Finance Ministry submitted data
to stress that Japan's budget level is by no means inferior to the
levels of other leading countries. The Finance Ministry made that
comment for a rebuttal to Liberal Democratic Party's education
policy expert, who seeking an increase in the education budget
citing that the ratio of Japan's education expenses to GDP is
smaller than other leading countries' ratios. The Finance Ministry
is seeking to check forces aiming at boosting the education budget
availing themselves of the formulation of a basic education

Education policy experts in the Diet have demanded that the
education expenses in GDP terms be raised from the current 3.5
PERCENT to 5.0 PERCENT , the average percentage of member nations
of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

However, the data provided by the Finance Ministry indicate that
looking at education expenses per student, the level of Japan, where
the number of students are small, is almost on a par with that of
five leading countries.

Concerning the ODA budget, Fiscal Policy Council Chairman Taizo
Nishimura during a press conference after the meeting on May 19
said, "Given the present fiscal condition, it is not possible to say
that we will increase the budget uniformly." Regarding the education
budget, too, he said, "I must say that the situation does not allow
for us to boost the budget."

(7) Look to Africa - ahead of TICAD: China has taken African
countries' "votes for Japan" needed for its bid for permanent UNSC

TOKYO 00001379 007 OF 009

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 20, 2008

Angola, located in the southern part of Africa, has proudly
sustained an annual double-digit economic growth rate thanks to its
oil and diamond production. The Japan Business Federation's (Nippon
Keidanren) mission visited the country's capital of Ruanda for the
first time in last October. When an economic minister of the country
was expressing his hopes of Japan's expanding into Angola, a
Japanese diplomat who was also present in the meeting gasped in
surprise to hear the minister mistaking Japan for China. This
episode made the diplomat keenly realize China's growing influence
in Africa.

China loaned a total of some 400 billion yen to Angola through its
Export-Import Bank from 2004 through 2007. Meanwhile, Japan was
asked by Angola in 2002 for economic cooperation in the form of a
personal letter addressed to then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi,
but Japan decided not to offer such cooperation because of its "bad
fiscal situation" at the time. In establishing an embassy in that
country, Japan was also behind China. It was not until 2005 when
Japan opened an embassy in that country.

Around that time, Japanese diplomacy suffered a symbolic failure.
Japan failed in its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) in 2005 despite the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs' (MOFA) all-out efforts. Japan anticipated receiving support
for its bid for a permanent UNSC seat from 53 African countries to
which Japan had provided official development assistance (ODA) for
many years. However, no African country was willing to join hands
with Japan to co-sponsor a resolution (aimed at reforming the UNSC).
Behind this failure was reportedly China's open obstruction of
Japan's efforts by sending its emissaries to African countries
around March of the same year and even casting doubts on Japan's
reputation by circulating a booklet that referred to the Nanking

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao often visited
Africa with the former visiting that continent in April 2006 and
February 2006 and the latter in June 2006. In November 2006, China
hosted the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing, which had the
participation of leaders from 41 African countries. Japan's rival
India, in terms of aiming for a permanent UNSC in Asia, also hosted
an Africa summit in New Delhi this past April, in which leaders and
cabinet members from 14 African countries took part.

These moves are not necessarily a simple contest for getting support
from African countries. This past April, a Chinese cargo ship, which
was trying to carry weapons into Zimbabwe, became an issue
internationally. The ultimate destination of the Chinese cargo ship
was Angola. Meanwhile, on May 16 Japan finally decided to offer some
4 billion yen in grant aid to Angola.

Africa has now become a major "battlefield" for international
politics where the big powers in Asia are competing hard.


The fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development
Mainichi Shimbun will look into behind-the-scenes stories and
challenges facing Japan.

TOKYO 00001379 008 OF 009

(08052003ku) Back to Top

(8) LDP has no quick fix to boost cabinet support rate

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 20, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership has made it
clear it will make efforts to boost the approval rate for the
cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, which has dropped below to
20 PERCENT . However, the situation is that it is difficult to find
a quick fix solution to boost the cabinet support rate. Therefore,
Fukuda will be forced to continue steering his administration under
difficult conditions.

The ruling parties have overcome a major hurdle of enacting a bill
amending the Road Construction Revenues Special Exemption Law by
resorting to an overriding vote on the bill in the House of
Representatives on May 13.

On the night of May 14, Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki, Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima and Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura dined together at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.
The two LDP leaders agreed to urge the Fukuda cabinet to map out a
policy of providing older people with a sense of security, working
people with hope, and young people with dreams.

The LDP intends to stage a counterattack, since the Diet has now
returned to normalcy after the provisional tax rates, including the
gasoline tax, were reinstated.

A senior party member revealed the view that the LDP would set a
goal for the time being of raising the cabinet approval rate to 25
PERCENT . Another senior member said enthusiastically: "We would
like to increase it by 5 points before the Group of Eight summit in

However, the outlook is that a revision of the new medical service
system for those aged 75 and over, will not be unable to boost the
support rate since improving the system's operation alone will not
become a positive message to the public. The prime minister's plan
to free up revenues from road-related taxes for use in general
expenditures is certain to encounter difficulties as a competition
has already begun between ministries, which want to grab a larger
share of the budget, and LDP lawmakers with ties to road
construction interests, who will try to prevent such a move.

Ibuki took a position that the LDP should show the public the full
picture of tax-system reform, including the consumption tax rate. It
is certain that voters will sharply react to a hike in the
consumption tax rate.

(9) My point of view: Lease of pandas questionable: Using wild
animal as souvenir improper

ASAHI (Page 14) (Full)
May 20, 2008

By Seiki Takatsuki, professor at Azabu University (specialized in
animal ecology)

TOKYO 00001379 009 OF 009

Chinese President Hu Jintao reportedly promised to Prime Minister
Fukuda during his visit to Japan in early May that China would lease
a pair of pandas to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. As a person who took part in
an international project to protect pandas about 20 years ago, I
question such a lease.

Coincidentally, Ling Ling, the male panda at Ueno Zoo, died at the
end of April, just before Hu visited Japan. Japanese people mourned
for him as if he were a popular actor. The giant panda is certainly
an adorable animal but it is indisputably a wild animal. We must not
forget this.

Pandas once lived in a wide range of areas covering from areas near
Beijing to Himalaya. Now, however, a decreased number of pandas live
only in the depths of the mountains in Sichuan province.

The number of pandas significantly decreased during the Cultural
Revolution in China from the 1960s through the 1970s. During this
period, forests were actively logged as population increased. As a
result, bamboo, food for pandas, died off, and many pandas starved
to death. When this sad news was reported, countries across the
world extended assistance, and a fine facility to protection pandas
was built in Sichuan province.

In celebration of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan
and China in 1972, China presented two giant pandas, Kang Kang and
Lan Lan, to Japan.

It is the Chinese government's traditional practice to bring some
souvenirs when it enters into diplomatic relations or when it
patches up a quarrel. Giving generous souvenirs, such as gorgeous
handicraft products or food, show its sincerity. But I wonder if it
is acceptable to place the wild animal panda on the same level as
such luxurious goods.

Gorillas and orangutans are now in danger of extinction. The
countries with areas providing habitats for these animals are
carrying activities to protect them. But that is not all. Such
activities have been supported by our awareness that all human
beings must preserve them with concerted efforts as the earth's

The albatross in Japan was once in danger of extinction, but
activities to protect the species brought about a successful result,
evoking praise from other countries. If the Iriomote cat became
extinct, Japan would come under fire in the international society.
Protecting wild animals is now a cross-border challenge.

From the viewpoint of protecting wild animals on a global scale,
leasing pandas seems out of fashion. Pandas do not belong to the
Chinese government.

If pandas are brought into Japan, Japanese children will be glad to
view them. But if an adult says: "Pandas are categorized as a wild
animal, and their number is on the decrease. Pandas, therefore,
should live in the mountains, and not at a zoo," children will
surely have a correct understanding about the panda. I have no
intention to throw cold water on China's kindness, but it is about
time (for China) to graduate from panda diplomacy.


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