Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/28/08

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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's daily schedule: Met individually with 16 African

3) Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, Senator Lieberman in
joint paper to Yomiuri stress giving priority to such U.S. allies as
Japan (Yomiuri)

4) Interview with outgoing Ambassador to U.S. Ryozo Kato: Need to
give constant attention to managing the alliance (Yomiuri)

5) African development conference - TICAD IV - opens today with
focus on soaring food prices (Mainichi)
6) Prime Minister Fukuda meets 16 African leaders in a day on
sidelines of TICAD IV conference (Nikkei)
7) Fukuda received African Union (AU) support for Japan's bid for
permanent UNSC seat (Mainichi)
8) Food summit: Government to pledge additional $50 million, urge
more food production (Nikkei)

North Korea problem:
9) U.S., North Korea delegates to Six-Party Talks exchange views in
Beijing on Japan's abduction issue (Mainichi)
10) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura denies Mainichi report that
North Korea had informed U.S. of existence of more abductees
11) Diet league headed by former LDP lawmaker Hiranuma urges U.S.
not to remove North Korea from terror-sponsor list without progress
on abduction issue (Mainichi)

Cluster munitions issue:
12) Talks in Dublin on cluster-munitions ban likely to except latest
designed bombs, leaving Japan isolated in stance favoring retention
of "improved type" (Mainichi)
13) Military expert Ebina: New type of cluster bombs quite are
different from past models for there are almost no duds (Mainichi)

Political agenda:
14) Ruling and opposition camps reach surprise agreement on
controversial civil-service reform bill, which should now pass the
Diet in current session (Asahi)
15) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ozawa has made up his
mind to seek reelection in party convention in September (Asahi)
16) Ozawa: If there is an election and we win, I will be prime
minister (Mainichi)
17) Hiranuma's new non-partisan policy forum could become the
nucleus of a new party (Sankei)



Ruling, opposition camps reach agreement on civil service reform:
Revised bill to be enacted during current Diet session

Restriction on contact between lawmakers and civil servants to be

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removed from civil service reform bill

81 NHK employees engaged in stock trading while on duty, according
to third-party committee

Oki to sell semiconductor business to Rohm

Man who murdered and dismembered sister sentenced to seven years

Tokyo Shimbun:
Civil service reform bill: Expansion of labor rights approved to
cover right to collective bargaining; Government agencies
responsible for unifying personnel affairs

Emissions cuts: Lawmaker Ichida urges government to set mid-term


(1) Cyclone in Burma: Did the military junta fully agree to accept
(2) Establishment of consumer affairs agency: Prime minister should
persuade government agencies

(1) Personnel appointments requiring Diet approval: It is outrageous
for the Diet to block the right to know
(2) Doping among baseball players: Complete inspection needed to
crack down on offenders

(1) Personnel appointments requiring Diet approval: Regulation on
prior press reports should be removed
(2) Cyclone damage in Burma: Make sure aid is delivered to disaster

(1) Give government's public servant system reform drive added
momentum, based on agreement reached between ruling and opposition
(2) Media reporting restriction on personnel appointments requiring
Diet approval should be scrapped

(1) Civil service reform bill: We welcome agreement reached between
ruling and opposition camps
(2) Tokyo International Conference on African Development: Aim at
synergetic effect of aid and self-help

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Personnel appointments requiring Diet approval: Restricting
media reports is dishonorable
(2) English education: Is it all right just to lower age of children
who start learning it?

(1) Military interest scandal: It is indispensable to summon former

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Defense Minister Kyuma

3) McCain contributes article to Yomiuri, vowing to give top
priority to U.S. allies, such as Japan

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
May 28, 2008

Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, 71,
contributed an article to the Yomiuri Shimbun on May 26. The
article, coauthored by Senator Joseph Lieberman, 66, spells out his
Asia strategy, including policy toward Japan. Making clear the
policy to give top priority to U.S. allies, such as Japan, McCain
makes a clear distinction with the Democratic Party, which attaches
importance to China.

The paper defines the U.S.-Japan alliance as the indispensable
pillar for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
Urging Japan to play an international role fitting its political,
economic and defense power, the paper also calls on the country to
shoulder a greater burden. At the same time, McCain announced his
support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security

This is the first time for McCain to unveil his Asia policy since
his Republican presidential nomination became certain in March.
Lieberman was a Republican vice presidential candidate in the 2000
presidential race. Rumor has it that if McCain wins the presidency,
he will make Lieberman his secretary of State.

4) Interview with outgoing Ambassador to the U.S. Ryozo Kato -
Managing the alliance takes ceaseless efforts

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Ryozo Kato, 66, returned to Japan yesterday upon completing an
assignment as ambassador to the United States that lasted a record
six and a half years. He has informally been picked to serve as
Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner. The Yomiuri Shimbun asked
about changes to Japan-U.S. relations during his tenure and his
future outlook.

"(In terms of baseball, I am) not the fourth batter who makes the
big hits, but the second batter who defends well. As the manager, I
have tried to make things easier for players to exhibit their
talents in crucial plays. (Japan-U.S. relations) have been
strengthened, and Japan's position has risen. Japan has made moves
independently in the war on terror, and that was significant."

"Being a person who thinks of my country first is the principle in
forging personnel networks. Serving as a hired cop for the United
States cannot win respect."

"Management of an alliance takes ceaseless efforts. For instance, it
is good to have many meetings and dinners between U.S. military and
SDF personnel in charge. However, such would be meaningless unless
they are fleshed out by means of a system to keep secrets secure the
means of maintaining a deterrence, operational plans, and so on."

"I am optimistic (and not concerned that the good bilateral
relationship under the Bush administration might deteriorate under a

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Democratic administration). Senator Barack Obama (who is likely to
win the Democratic presidential nomination) is the only person who
delivered a substantial speech on Japan on the eve of Prime Minister
Fukuda's visit to the United States. He is pragmatic. Whoever
becomes the new president, it is important for Japan to remain as a
country that cannot be ignored."

5) African Development Conference to open today, with soaring food
prices high on agenda

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
May 28, 2008

The 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD4) starts in Yokohama today. In the Yokohama Declaration to be
adopted at the end of the conference, the following wording was
suddenly added: "It is strongly concerning that soaring food prices
could undermine efforts to reduce poverty in Africa." The food-price
issue is now expected to be high on the agenda in the conference.

The Yokohama Action Program, which will also be adopted in the
conference, also added the wording that "escalating food, feed, and
fuel prices are becoming a threat to food security." A fund-raising
plan for irrigation works in villages has also been added to the

Initially, Japan had no intention to take up the food issue as an
independent major theme in the conference, but it made a policy
switch given that the steep hike in food prices is becoming an
international problem. In the Food Summit to be held in Rome on June
3, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will stress Japan's eagerness to
tackle this issue.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura reiterated in a ministerial
preliminary meeting yesterday: "We decided to emphasize the
emergency and the importance of addressing the food crisis in the
Yokohama Declaration." About one-third of the representatives from
28 countries who voiced opinions reportedly expressed concern about
the food problem, with one participant remarking: "Soaring food
prices will bring a serious crisis, undermining our efforts to
reduce poverty in Africa."

Key points in the Yokohama Action Program

(Infrastructure) To build vast road systems, energy transmission and
distribution cables.

(Investment) To double private-sector direct investment by
establishing a financial support fund worth 2.5 billion yen.

(Agriculture) To double rice output in the next decade.

(Food) Soaring food, feed, and fuel prices pose a threat to food

(Education) To construct 1,000 elementary schools (with 5,500

(Security) To dispatch training personnel and others to the PKO

(Global warming) To utilize the Cool Earth Partnership for

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developing countries

6) Japan, Africa to set up new consultative body; Prime Minister
Fukuda starts marathon talks with African top leaders; TICAD opens

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which
discusses comprehensive aid measures for Africa, will start today in
Yokohama. Yesterday, a preparatory meeting of cabinet-level members
including Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura was held. In the
meeting, a basic agreement was reached on the establishing of a new
framework for dialogue between Japan and Africa. The result of the
preparatory meeting will be reported in a top-level full session,
which will begin today.

In the planned framework of dialogue, Japan's aid measures for
Africa will be regularly checked by working-level officials.

In the preparatory meeting, an action plan for Africa was compiled.
The features of the action plan include doubling Japan's official
development assistance (ODA, approximately 100 billion yen per year)
and investment amounts (1.7 billion dollars a year) over the next
five years until 2012.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda started marathon meetings with the top
leaders of African countries in Yokohama from yesterday morning.
Yesterday, he met with 16 African leaders, holding a 20-minute
meeting with each one. He will hold talks with totaling 40 African
leaders for three days.

7) President of Tanzania, AU chair, expresses support for Japan's
bid for permanent seat on UNSC

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda held a bilateral meeting with President
Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, the chair of the African Union (AU, with
53 countries and organizations as members) in Yokohama yesterday and
sought support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC). The president indicated his
support, saying: "I think Japan is apparently qualified to become a
permanent member." He also said: "African countries are also
stepping up effort to obtain permanent seats. It is desirable for
both sides to understand the other side's position and support each
other." Fukuda stressed: "I would like to produce some specific
results during the UN general assembly this year."

8) Food summit: Government to announce additional 50 million dollars
in aid to developing countries to increase production

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
May 28, 2008

In the food summit, to be held in Rome on June 3-5 by the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), the focus will be on measures for
soaring grain prices. The government has decided to extend an
additional 50 million dollars in an emergency aid to developing
countries. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will announce Japan's

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assistance in his speech.

The government already announced in April that it would extend 100
million dollars in aid. As the first step, the government plans to
extend rice and the like mostly to Africa. The government plans to
spur greater production in developing countries by additionally
providing fertilizer and seeds to them. In the speech, the prime
minister also intends to highlight the need for countries to refrain
from export controls on agricultural products, a trend that is

9) U.S., DPRK exchange views over abduction, explore ways for

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Kenichi Komatsu, Seiji Nishioka, Beijing

Following yesterday's talks, the chief delegates from the United
States and North Korea to the six-party talks on the North Korean
nuclear issue will today hold in-depth discussions on Japan's
abduction issue, the final barrier for the U.S. to delist North
Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. With the U.S. and North Korea
both motivated by the same desire to bring Japan into the framework
for assistance to North Korea, the question is how the U.S. and
North Korea can look for ways to move the abduction issue forward.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the U.S. chief
delegate, yesterday met with his North Korean counterpart, Vice
Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, for about an hour. Afterwards, Hill
told reporters: "I emphasized the importance of a good relationship
between Japan and North Korea in the six-party talks process."

On the abduction issue, the U.S. has so far assumed the stance that
the question of removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors
of terrorism will not be affected by the abduction issue, with a
State Department official in charge noting, "The U.S. will provide
assistance to Japan, but we hope to see Japan and North Korea tackle
the question of how to resolve the issue."

Now, however, the six-party process has begun moving into the third
phase with North Korea highly likely to submit a declaration of its
nuclear activities, which will surely lead to Washington's delisting
the North as a state sponsor of terrorism. If the North moves ahead
with the procedures for abandoning its nuclear programs, it will
inevitably demand in return for its abandonment of nuclear plans aid
on a grand scale, including the construction of a light-water
nuclear reactor power plant. According to an informed source,
attention is now focused in the U.S. on how to get Japan, which is
unwilling to offer aid to the North on the grounds of the abduction
issue, actively engaged in providing assistance to the North.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang is motivated by its desire to create a mood for
the abduction issue to be seen as progressing so that bilateral
talks (with Japan) will advance. The North also wants to obtain
assistance from Japan in the economic and energy areas and then have
Japan lift its own sanction measures now imposed on that country.
There is a report that North Korea had told the U.S. that there are
several Japanese living in North Korea who appeared to have been
abducted, and that Pyongyang is ready to send them back to Japan.
This report is apparently in line with the above desire by

TOKYO 00001451 007 OF 011


Except for the Russian chief negotiator in the six-party talks, the
five other chief negotiators will gather together today. Bilateral
talks among them are planned from this morning with the aim of
resuming the six-party talks by coordinating views among them.

10) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura denies Mainichi Shimbun's news

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Meeting the press yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura referred to a Mainichi Shimbun news report that North
Korea had conveyed to the United States that Pyongyang is ready to
send Japanese abductees back to Japan and noted: "There are no such
facts. We have not received any report mentioned in the daily's
reports from the U.S. government. It's most regrettable that such a
report appeared."

11) Parliamentary council seeks to continue listing DPRK as state
sponsor of terrorism

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Yoso Furumoto

The Parliamentary Council to Take Action Swiftly to Rescue Japanese
Citizens Abducted by North Korea, a supraparty group of lawmakers
headed by former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Takeo
Hiranuma, yesterday held its executives' meeting in the Diet and
adopted a resolution calling on the United States not to remove
North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The resolution states: "If the U.S. delists North Korea as a state
sponsor of terrorism, it would bring about a serious crisis in the
Japan-U.S. alliance." At the beginning of the session, Hiranuma
noted: "Now that the U.S. is highly likely to delist North Korea, we
urgently needed to adopt a resolution." Hiranuma will shortly meet
with U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer and hand the
resolution to the Ambassador, and he also will send it to relevant
members of the U.S. Congress.

12) Dublin Conference on Cluster Munitions: Newest types likely to
be exempted; Japan isolated with its "improved type"

MAINICHI (Page 6) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Katsumi Sawada

DUBLIN-A conference for the Cluster Munitions process, also known as
the Oslo process for disarmament talks for a treaty to ban cluster
bombs, is likely to exempt the newest generation of so-called
"smart" cluster munitions. Unexploded (old-type) bombs (UXB) have
caused harm to civilians. The exemption is because approximately 40
African countries, which have so far insisted on total prohibition
with no exceptions, agreed on restrictive exceptions, sources said
yesterday. Japan is losing its influence at the conference since it
is sticking to its policy of upholding an (exception for) its

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"improved type" cluster bombs, a strategy that now seems likely to

Only a dozen countries, including the United States and Russia, have
smart cluster bombs, and only a small number of them at that. The
U.S. Air Force used 68 smart bombs in the Iraq war as the only case
of using such bombs in actual warfare. Smart bombs differ somewhat
with those developed by other countries. Basically, however, they
have similar structures.

For example, the U.S. military's most advanced type is called a
sensor-fused weapon (SFW). Each of its 10 cylinder-shaped cluster
bomblets-79 centimeters long and 13.3 centimeters in
diameter-contains four warheads.

A cluster bomblet is a submunition that releases warheads in four
directions when falling. Each of these released bomblets is fused
with a sensor to identify targets. It is designed to target vehicle
or vessel engines, and it disperses lead balls from the sky when it
discovers targets. According to Textron, a U.S. multi-industry
company that developed this SFW munition, each warhead is designed
to blow up itself in the sky if it cannot discover a target. Its
fuse-activating battery runs out in several minutes, so it will not
go off even if it fails to blow up, according to Textron. However,
the Oslo process is likely to define a cluster bomb as a munition
with less than 10 submunitions and will not approve the SFW as an

13) Smart munitions based on different concept, almost no duds:

MAINICHI (Page 6) (Abridged)
May 28, 2008

The Oslo process is likely to exempt the newest generation of
cluster bombs. The Mainichi Shimbun interviewed Kensuke Ebata, a
commentator on military affairs, on this weaponry. He pointed out
qualitative differences between conventional bombs and smart
munitions. "Their manufacturing concepts are different from the
start," he said.

Ebata explained differences between the conventional or improved
type of bombs and the newest generation of so-called smart cluster
bombs. "They are as different as the first production Model T Ford
and the newest domestic luxury car," he said. The conventional and
improved types of bombs use iron instead of stainless steel to hold
down their costs. In addition, their electrical systems are simple.
They are premised for heavy use with a simple structure of
explosives and a detonating fuze.

Meanwhile, the newest type is called a sensor-fuzed weapon or SWF
for short. Its built-in infrared sensor identifies targets. It
senses tank or other vehicle engines to hit and destroy. It also
identifies the shape of a target with radar waves. Its accuracy rate
is high, according to Ebata.

In the case of conventional- and improved-type munitions, many of
them could be left unexploded, and this became a problem. In the
case of newest-type munitions, however, they have a built-in delayed
fuze. Even if they fall to the ground after failing to discover a
target, they can be set to blow themselves up after a certain period
of time.

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14) Ruling, opposition camps reach agreement on public servant
reform: Revised bill to be enacted during current Diet session

ASAHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
May 28, 2008

It had been viewed that it would be difficult for a basic bill
reforming the national public servant system to secure Diet approval
during the current session. However, it now appears likely that the
bill will be legislated before the session closes. The ruling camp
-- the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito, and the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) reached an accord to
pass the bill as lawmaker-initiated legislation after revising the
government-sponsored bill. They will aim at getting it through the
Lower House Cabinet Committee as early as May 28 and clear the Lower
House on the 29th.

Cabinet to be solely responsible for appointments of senior

Working-level officials of the LDP, the New Komeito and the DPJ
yesterday conferred on the issue in the Diet building and basically
reached an agreement on revisions made. The secretaries general and
Diet Policy Committee chairmen of the three parties will meet today
to reach a final accord and confirm their stance of securing Diet
approval during the current session.

Both camps reached a basic agreement with the ruling parties giving
in to the DPJ regarding the issue of setting up a cabinet personnel
affairs agency for the purpose of unifying entities responsible for
personnel affairs and the desired form of contact between
politicians and bureaucrats. Under the government proposal, each
government agency was to be responsible for drafting personnel
affairs for senior officials and the envisaged cabinet personnel
affairs agency was to be in charge of screening the propriety of
nominees, leaving the possibility of government agencies displaying
leadership. However, according to the revised plan, a cabinet
personnel affairs bureau would be established as the DPJ has sought,
and the chief cabinet secretary would be responsible for making
personnel proposals.

Concerning contact between politicians and bureaucrats, the
government proposal had limited contact between public servants,
excluding state affairs experts, a position to be created anew, and
lawmakers to cases in which cabinet minister ordered such. However,
this restriction clause was removed with consideration given to the
DPJ, which had insisted that such a restriction clause could be used
as an excuse for withholding disclosure to the opposition camp of
information inconvenient (to the ruling camp). Instead, they agreed
to secure transparency by thoroughly disclosing information, by
recording details of contacts between public servants and lawmakers
to ensure strict enforcement of disclosure of information on their

The DPJ had intended to oppose the government proposal unless their
revision requests -- a ban on an amakudari or golden parachute
practice and expansion of the basic labor right -- are met.

However, it agreed not to include a ban on the amakudari practice in
the basic bill with one senior member saying, "Such a ban can be
placed, when a change of administration is realized." Regarding the

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basic labor right, central government workers engaged in clerical
work are not given the right to sign agreements. The government
proposal noted that this issue should be considered. However, both
sides reached a compromise on a new proposal for adopting "taking
measures" instead of "should be considered."

15) DPJ President Ozawa to run in upcoming party leadership race

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
May 28, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa has decided
to run in the party leadership race, seeking a third term. His
present term in the presidency will end in September. He has already
started such preparations for the next Lower House election as a
nationwide stumping tour and making posters. So, he intends to lead
the party as "key person in the election" even if the Lower House
election is held after the DPJ presidential race.

When asked about his determination to become prime minister after
the next Lower House election, Ozawa said in a press conference

"My term will run until September. If the Lower House election is
held during that period and if our party wins a majority, I will
have to take responsibility for the majority vote given to our

Ozawa's aim to express his willingness for the prime minister's post
at this time is to maintain his grip on the party by making clear
his intention to remain in his current post. However, since he aims
for an early dissolution of the Lower House and general elections,
he will likely to announce his candidacy immediately before the
official campaign for the party leadership race kicks off. The focus
will now be on whether the anti-Ozawa force will file its own
candidate or not.

16) DPJ head Ozawa: If our party wins next Lower House election, I
will become prime minister

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

At a press conference yesterday, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
President Ichiro Ozawa expressed his intention to assume the prime
minister's post if his party garners a majority of the House of
Representatives seats on its own in the next Lower House election.
He stated: "If such happens while I am serving as party head, I will
have to bear the responsibility."

The common belief has been that Ozawa has little interest in taking
the prime minister's post, although he advocates the DPJ capturing
the reins of government in the next Lower House election. It is
unusual for Ozawa to refer to the possibility of his assuming the
prime minister's post.

17) Suprapartisan group of conservative local legislators to be
launched, with Hiranuma as supreme advisor

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
May 28, 2008

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The Japan People's Forum (Nihon Kokumin Forum), a suprapartisan
group of conservative local legislators, will be soon launched,
according to informed sources yesterday. Former Economy, Trade and
Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma (independent) will serve as supreme

The group will be composed of about 100 local politicians,
knowledgeable persons, and citizens, with Teikyo Heisei University
Professor Kenzo Yoneda (former House of Representatives member) as
president. About 20 mid-ranking or junior members of the Liberal
Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will act as
advisor. The forum will hold a charter meeting in Tokyo tomorrow, in
which Hiranuma will deliver a commemorative speech.

The forum aims to protect Japan's sovereignty and national
interests, from the standpoint of localities, and resolve national
problems, including regional rehabilitation, with the view that the
existing political parties have not made full efforts to implement
policies based on conservative principles. The forum also intends to
grapple with such issues as Japan's territorial integrity and
opposition to a plan to grant local suffrage for foreign residents.

The forum will offer support for the local assembly members, its
members, and the lawmakers, its advisors, as well as field new faces
for local elections, in an effort to expand a "network for
conservative ordinary citizens."

Moves by the forum are likely to draw attention, as a DPJ source
commented: "Since the group is composed of mainly local politicians,
if Mr. Hiranuma forms a new political party, the group might be one
of its parent bodies."


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