Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/23/08

DE RUEHKO #1434/01 1440807
P 230807Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Prime Minister Fukuda positive about endorsing a treaty banning
cluster bombs (Mainichi)

(2) Stop cluster bombs - Voices of world and Japan: Interview with
Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of major opposition Democratic
Party of Japan; Stop giving consideration to U.S. (Mainichi)

(3) U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Arvizu: No delisting of
North Korea prior to scrapping nuclear programs (Nikkei)

(4) Former Prime Minister Koizumi: "The LDP is buffeted by a
headwind" (Asahi)

(5) Scope column: DPJ likely to disapprove again of government's
appointments of members of surveillance committee on new human
resource agency (Tokyo Shimbun)

(6) Asia-Pacific region: Prime minister plays up region-opening
vision in "new Fukuda Doctrine"; Rise of China, India also taken
into account (Nikkei)

(7) Ma Ying-jeou has just taken office as president, but have
Japan-Taiwan relations already become strained? (Sankei)

(8) Africa aid: Government firms up action program, including
investment agreement with South Africa (Nikkei)

(9) Facing Africa (Part 3): Japan greatly falling behind other G8
members in tackling sharp rise in food prices (Mainichi)

(10) Government use anti-desertification measures as trump card to
lure Africa into negotiations on new mechanism to fight global
warming (Mainichi)


(1) Prime Minister Fukuda positive about endorsing a treaty banning
cluster bombs

May 23, 2008, 13:19

Ken Uzuka

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, speaking this morning of placing
restrictions on the use of cluster munitions that kill and wound
civilians with the delayed explosion of some of their sub-munitions,
took a positive stance toward endorsing a treaty banning cluster
bombs, by noting: "The Japanese government needs to respond by
taking another step forward."

Fukuda was replying to calls from the junior coalition partner New
Komeito's Deputy Representative Toshiko Hamayotsu and others for
Japan to play a leading role to realize a total ban on the use of
cluster munitions. While the prime minister mentioned the need to
deal with the matter, he also said, "A number of issues still remain
to be discussed." But he implied that a political decision might be
made, by noting, "I'd like you to give me time so that I can mange a
soft-landing (of this issue). I'll handle it properly."

TOKYO 00001434 002 OF 009

Debate is continuing in the Dublin Conference of the Oslo Process
that opened in Dublin, Ireland, on May 19, with the aim of laying
down a convention restricting cluster munitions. Germany and France
have been calling for an almost total ban on cluster bombs,
excepting only the latest models whose submunitions can identify the
targets and then explode, while Japan has sought to except only
cluster bombs whose dud rates are high.

Britain was initially viewed as being close to Japan's position, but
on May 21, it hinted at a policy-switch to come close to the views
of Germany and France. With the tendency to formulate a treaty in
the way close to totally ban cluster munitions gaining momentum,
Japan, too, now apparently judges it necessary to shift its previous

Japan is in favor of the idea of restricting the use of cluster
bombs in line with a convention, but it had not so far declared
which sort of specific draft treaty it would side with.

(2) Stop cluster bombs - Voices of world and Japan: Interview with
Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of major opposition Democratic
Party of Japan; Stop giving consideration to U.S.

MAINICHI (Page 7) (Full)
May 23, 2008

Interviewer: Kenjiro Sato

The government is always overly conscious of the United States in
dealing with foreign affairs and security issues. Japan deployed
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel to the Indian Ocean and Iraq in
the context of its relations with the U.S. On the issue of cluster
munitions, as well, the government out of consideration for the U.S.
remains unable to decide whether to favor a total ban on those
weapons. It is my wish that the government would swiftly turn around
its previous policy and endorse a total ban, taking the lead among
the countries of the world.

In taking part in the Oslo Process, Japan has said it gives
importance to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
While taking the position that as the sole atomic-bombed country, it
wishes to convey its feelings to the rest of the world, Japan tries
to justify its possession of cluster bombs. I think it is really
regrettable that Japan has yet to determine its stance in a
clear-cut fashion. If Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda keenly believes in
the importance of peace, he should send a clear message to the
international audience.

Regarding the Oslo Process, I would like to see Japan clearly
express its position and in that way, contribute to bringing peace
to the world. Japan's half-baked attitude reflects its reluctance to
reject America's use of cluster munitions as offensive weapons.
Japan's ambiguous stance is apparently fettered by the Japan-U.S.
Security Treaty, and it is not appreciated internationally.

I have the experience in observing first hand the way land mines
were removed in Afghanistan. Those land mines were very destructive.
I also met with children who had lost their legs in the accidental
explosion of land mines. We must eliminate from the globe any
weapons (including cluster munitions) that kill and wound civilians

TOKYO 00001434 003 OF 009

There is an argument allowing the use of cluster munitions that
explode accurately while placing under restriction those cluster
munitions with high rates of unexploded bomblets. But a certain
Foreign Ministry official told me: "There are no standards to
distinguish between good and bad bombs." (Cluster bombs) are
originally offensive weapons to kill and wound people. There are no
good cluster bombs.

The Parliamentary Council to Promote a Ban on Cluster Munitions is
working hard, but the number of legislators participating in the
group is less than 10 PERCENT of the whole. I think it is necessary
to give it a boost. It should send some kind of message, such as a
Diet resolution.

(3) U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Arvizu: No delisting of
North Korea prior to scrapping nuclear programs

NIKKEI (Page 6) (Full)
May 23, 2008

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Arvizu, referring to
the issue of removing North Korea from the list of states sponsoring
terrorism, stated: "We will not take North Korea off the list of
states that sponsor terrorism prior to its abandoning its nuclear
programs." On the question of its abandoning the nuclear programs
this year, a target set by the State Department, Arvizu said: "If
one considers the rapid progress of the past several weeks (such as
increased contacts with North Korea), it is fully possible that the
goal will be attained."

On the timing of the resumption of Six-Party Talks on the North
Korea nuclear problem, Deputy Assistant Secretary Arvizu said that
it would depend on the results of analyzing the records presented by
North Korea. He gave this outlook: "I hope it will be in the very
near future."

(4) Former Prime Minister Koizumi: "The LDP is buffeted by a

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
May 23, 2008

Former Prime Minister Koizumi yesterday gave a speech at a meeting
in Tokyo of junior Lower House members of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) and revealed his outlook that in the next
Lower House election, "The LDP will have to fight an uphill battle,
buffeted by a headwind." Koizumi analyzed the current political
situation this way: "The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) will not so easily concede, for it believes it can win victory
in the next Lower House. Perhaps for this, that party raises
objections to everything." But Koizumi added that after the
election, "Even if the DPJ comes to power, it will without fail seek
cooperation from the LDP. When the LDP, along with its junior
coalition partner New Komeito, hold a majority of seats, the LDP
will ask for the DPJ's cooperation." Koizumi thus indicated that
forming a grand coalition or political realignment would be an
unavoidable choice.

(5) Scope column: DPJ likely to disapprove again of government's
appointments of members of surveillance committee on new human
resource agency

TOKYO 00001434 004 OF 009

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 23, 2008

In the final stage of the current regular session of the Diet, the
appointments of officials to staff government-affiliated
institutions that require approval by both Diet chambers are again
cropping up as the main focus of attention. The government is
expected to submit probably next week the names of 25 candidates to
full posts in nine organizations. However, there is stubborn
resistance in the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to
accepting any of the government's appointees. The DPJ's concurrence
is key to getting the government's candidates approved by the Diet.
It seems likely that the same kind of turmoil that welled up during
the selection of the governor of the Bank of Japan will occur

The main focus of attention will be the appointment of a deputy BOJ
governor, which has been vacant, as well as the selection of
chairman and members of a Surveillance Committee on Reemployment of
Retired Bureaucrats, which will be set up soon.

In April, the government's proposal of appointing Hitotsubashi
University Prof. Hiroshi Watanabe as a deputy BOJ governor was
rejected by the DPJ on the grounds that Watanabe had been vice
finance minister for international affairs.

There is a strong mood in the largest opposition party that if the
government presents its appointment of again a former Finance
Ministry official, the party should immediately oppose it, according
to a mid-level DPJ member.

In order to avoid the DPJ's rejection, there is a view in the
government calling for forgoing the submission of the candidate for
deputy BOJ governor. However, if the government forgoes submitting a
name, it might come under fire for leaving the post vacant. Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda will likely find the decision difficult to

All eyes will be focused more on the appointments of chairman and
members of the Surveillance Committee on Reemployment of Retired
Bureaucrats. The committee will be set up in October, along with a
center to promote personnel changes between the public and private
sectors, a new human resource agency, which will undertake
single-handedly reemployment of civil service personnel. All the
more because the DPJ, which advocates the scrapping of the amakudari
(golden parachute) practice, has opposed the establishment of a new
human resource agency, many DPJ members have taken the view that
they can't approve even the establishment of the surveillance

During a transitional period until the new human resource agency
starts its business, job offers by ministries and agencies will be
possible only when the surveillance committee approves. Therefore,
the DPJ's view is that if the appointments of members of the
surveillance committee are undecided, the amakudari practice will
not work. Whoever the government recommends as members of the
committee, there is a possibility that the DPJ will disapprove of
the appointments.

However, since the DPJ came under criticism for its repeated
disapproval of the government's proposals for the appointments of
BOJ governor and deputy governors, some in the largest opposition

TOKYO 00001434 005 OF 009

party would like a cautious response.

Yoshito Sengoku, chairman of the DPJ panel in charge of the
appointments requiring Diet approval, said that the DPJ would
consider the selection of committee members from such viewpoints as
"whether the committee would become the reserve seats for retired
senior bureaucrats" or how the DPJ would handle it when it held the
reins of government. The appointments of the committee members will
likely become a new trump card for the DPJ to shake up the Fukuda

(6) Asia-Pacific region: Prime minister plays up region-opening
vision in "new Fukuda Doctrine"; Rise of China, India also taken
into account

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 23, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, during a banquet of the international
exchange conference "The Future of Asia" yesterday, announced
foreign-policy principles for opening up the Asia-Pacific region. He
asked: "What if the Pacific Ocean were to become an inland sea like
the Mediterranean?"

It has been about 30 years since former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda
announced his Fukuda Doctrine in Manila in 1977. Since then,
distances in the Asia-Pacific region have dramatically shrunken due
to the development of transport and communications means.

Looking ahead the next 30 years, the prime minister noted that
leading economies will be lined up along the Pacific Ocean with
newly emerging countries, such as China and India, becoming more
powerful. Such a change in perspective reflecting the situation in
the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for 60 PERCENT of the
global economy, has brought about the prime minister's "vision,"
which might be called the "New Fukuda Doctrine."

In creating an Asian community, leadership struggles can be been
seen almost every year during the series of conferences that
includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit,
which is held at the end of the year. China, India and Russia all
aim to increase their regional influence on the strength of their
high growth, while ASEAN continue to hold those countries in
balance. One diplomatic source expressed this concern: "Unless the
various countries give in when it comes to national interest,
cooperation within the region will reach a deadlock."

The prime minister in his speech stressed: "Why don't we wipe away
our mental barrier"; and "The key word is opening (the region)." His
statement indicated his sense of crisis that cooperation in the
Asia-Pacific would be hindered by a growing sense of alarm,
confrontation and inward-looking mind-set within the region.

(7) Ma Ying-jeou has just taken office as president, but have
Japan-Taiwan relations already become strained?

SANKEI (Page 6) (Full)
May 23, 2008

(Tanaka, Taiwan)

Unforeseen strains have already appeared between Japan-Taiwan

TOKYO 00001434 006 OF 009

relations over the speech made by new President of Taiwan Ma
Ying-jeou in his inaugural ceremony on May 20. Behind this
unexpected development is a perception gap involving Japan's concern
about Ma's image of being pro-mainland China and anti-Japanese, and
Taiwan's irritation at Japan's policy stance. The strains could lead
to a deterioration of bilateral ties.

"Japan will make efforts so that the word 'Japan' will be inserted
in the next inaugural speech four years from now," said Japan-Taiwan
Parliamentary League Chairman Takeo Hiranuma in a luncheon at the
Presidential Office in Taiwan on the afternoon of the 20th. He was
indirectly complaining of the fact that the new president did not
refer to Japan in his speech.

In Japan, there is strong concern that Ma might downplay relations
with Japan. This is because Ma has emphasized his willingness to
enhance ties with Beijing and Washington, and in the past, he has
expressed severe views about Japan's past military aggression. The
Hiranuma remark reflects such apprehension. But his complaint was
not conveyed to the Chinese side as the interpreter on the Taiwanese
side mistranslated what Hiranuma said in this way: "I want you to
deliver a speech in Japanese four years from now."

In a press conference on the 21st, Ma refuted Japan's complaint: "It
is impossible to cite the names of all the countries in a speech. I
had lunch with the Japanese delegation, and that was meant to show
my emphasis on Japan-Taiwan relations." A senior member of the
Nationalist Party grumbled: "It is Japan that should be aware of Mr.
Ma's consideration and have the courage to establish a new
Japan-Taiwan relationship, taking advantage of the change of

The Taiwanese government asserts: "President Ma, just after being
elected, often referred to 'giving priority to relations with Japan'
in an effort to erase his anti-Japanese image." He has softened his
stance slightly to establish a future-oriented relationship with
Japan, while keeping his severe views about Japan's past Imperial
rule over Taiwan. On May 8, Ma attended a memorial service for
Japanese engineer Yoichi Hatta. President Ma, who has expressed his
desire to be knowledgeable about Japan, said during the luncheon;
"The Taiwan High Speed Railway is based on Japan's technology."

In response, Japanese participants just used diplomatic language.
All the Japanese lawmakers of the delegate returned to Japan
immediately after the luncheon. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and
other participants also set out on an inspection tour. None of the
prominent Japanese figures who attended the ceremony showed up at a
celebration party held in Kaohsiung that evening.

The United States also sent a delegate to Taiwan. Former Special
Assistant to the President Card handed a personal letter from
President Bush to the new Taiwan president. The U.S. highly praised
the contents of the inaugural speech and the change of government.

Five successive chairmen of the Board of the American Institute in
Taiwan (corresponding to the U.S. ambassadorship) accompanied
President Ma on his trip to Kaohsiung and held talks with Ma in the
train. They discussed a variety of topics ranging from the security
issue in the Taiwan Straits to relations among the U.S., China, and
Taiwan, in an apparent attempt to restore the bilateral relations
that became strained under the government of President Chen

TOKYO 00001434 007 OF 009

A senior Nationalist Party member said: "There is an obvious
difference in responses made by Japan and the U.S. In forecasting
the future of Japan-Taiwan relations, the ball is in Japan's court.
We want Japan to be aware that it is a country involved in a new era
for East Asia."

(8) Africa aid: Government firms up action program, including
investment agreement with South Africa

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
May 23, 2008

The government has outlined an Africa Action Program, an aid policy
to be released at the Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD) starting from May 28. The package focuses on the
promotion of trade and investment, focusing mainly on resource-rich
countries, as well as the provision of direct support to be extended
by the government, including a doubling of official development
assistance to African nations. As a first step, the government is
expected to agree to hold a preparatory meeting to sign an
investment agreement with the Republic of South Africa.

TICAD is an international conference launched in response to a
proposal made by Japan. It is held every five years. The upcoming
three-day meeting to be held in Yokohama is the fourth round. The
meeting will bring together 52 African nations that have diplomatic
ties with Japan, of which more than 40 will dispatch their heads of

The action program will include doubling ODA to Africa from the
current 100 billion yen over five years, doubling rice production in
Africa over the next 10 years, and extending food aid totaling 100
million dollars and mainly to Africa.

Paving the way for promoting trade and investment is characterized
as a showcase item to meet a request from African nations, which aim
at becoming economically independent. The plan is to help their
efforts with an investment agreement and the use of trade insurance,
by setting goals to double investment in and trade with Africa.

A preparatory meeting to sign an investment agreement with South
Africa will take the form of a joint trade committee between the
governments and private sectors of both sides. The first meeting
will be held as early as this fall with the aim of signing a pact in
about three years. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry (METI), such an agreement, if realized, will be the first
with any sub-Saharan country. The government will call on other
countries to agree to sign such an accord, by setting a model with
an agreement with South Africa.

In the trade area, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI)
will exchange a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Islamic
Corporation for Insurance Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC)
with the aim of forming cooperative relationship. Trade amount
between Japan and Africa in 2007 stood at approximately 3.1 trillion
yen, combining both imports and exports. In order to expand trade,
Japan plans to boost energy imports through resource exploration
cooperation. It also wants to find 40 product items that can be sold
to about 20 African nations. Another plan is to launch a project of
disseminating new energy resources, such as solar energy generation,
in areas without electric power supply.

TOKYO 00001434 008 OF 009

(9) Facing Africa (Part 3): Japan greatly falling behind other G8
members in tackling sharp rise in food prices

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 22, 2008

A meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) development ministers was held
in April in Tokyo. At a press conference after the meeting, most
participants expressed concern about the worsening food situation
among African countries. The German minister stated: "A one percent
increase in the prices of staple foods would have a drastic impact."
The representative from France said: "Since my country will chair
the European Union, I would like to take this issue up as a main
agenda item."

However, there was no word "food" in the chairman's statement
drafted by Japan. Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura would only say:
"(The food issue) is important, but we could not sacrifice other
issues." So, there was a significant gap in views on the food issue
between Japan and Europe.

Earlier, in March, United Nations World Food Plan (WFP) asked the
Japanese government to provide additional food aid, and the deputy
secretary general even traveled from Rome to Tokyo, but the
government did not give a clear answer. While slashing the
government official development assistance (ODA) budget, Japan's
contributions in 2008 to the WFP decreased to approximately 6.8
million dollars, one-tenth of what Japan had extended in 1997.
Compared with its bilateral assistance, the effects of which are
easily seen, Japan has been putting off responses to global issues.

Discussion of the sharp rise in global food prices is absolutely
necessary in the G8 summit in July in Hokkaido and in the Tokyo
International Conference on African Development. Japan, however, had
been reluctant to take up this issue as a main topic of discussion
until it received on April 9 a letter from British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown urging it to fulfill its leadership as chair of the G8

Japan finally decided on April 25 to provide approximately 100
million yen in aid. Although the government underscored that 50
million yen of this would go to Africa, it is difficult to say that
Tokyo is fulfilling its leadership.

(10) Government use anti-desertification measures as trump card to
lure Africa into negotiations on new mechanism to fight global

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 23, 2008

In a preparatory meeting for the 4th Tokyo International Conference
on African Development (TICAD4) held in Gabon, central Africa, in
late March, Foreign Minister Koumura said: "Africa is the continent
that is the most vulnerable to climate change."

One of the obstacles in forming a new international mechanism to
fight global warming in the run-up to the Lake Toya Summit in
Hokkaido is the negative stance of developing countries in Africa
and other regions. They think restrictions on greenhouse gas
emissions will hinder their economic growth.

TOKYO 00001434 009 OF 009

Given this, Japan has launched a strategy to use preventive measures
against desertification - a headache for Africa - as a bargaining
chip to lure Africa into negotiations. The government will establish
the "Cool Earth Partnership," a fund worth approximately 1 trillion
yen. Money in the fund will be used to finance measures to restrict
excessive pasturage, cultivation, and deforestation, as well as to
offer assistance in the wake of disasters, such as droughts. In
return for such financial aid, recipient countries will hold policy
talks with Japan on global warming countermeasures and will take
part in forming a new international climate regime.

Rapidly growing China is now the world's second largest greenhouse
gas emitter, but it has formed a "developing countries group" with
African countries that has brushed aside the existing global warming
countermeasures. Their assertion is that they cannot assume the same
responsibility as industrialized countries. They are members of the
expanded summit conference. They will be tough negotiators in
forming a new climate framework.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said: "The Cool Earth will be
financial sources to bring in Africa." Japan has so far agreed with
Senegal and other two countries that have been tormented by
desertification to disburse funds and start talks.

The total amount of carbon dioxide gas given off by Africa accounts
only about 3 PERCENT of the total emission across the world, but
Africa will play a key role in determining the outcome of the
negotiations on global warming.


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