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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/30/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 TOKYO 001479

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DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 05/30/08

Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's daily schedule: Attended the TICAD IV African
Development Conference in Yokohama

China quake assistance:
3) Government puts off plan to send ASDF transport planes to deliver
relief goods to earthquake victims in China but may use civilian
charters instead (Yomiuri)
4) Government pulls back on sending SDF to help China due to trouble
in Beijing over the dispatch and rising anti-Japanese sentiment in
China (Tokyo Shimbun)
5) Defense Ministry, readying ASDF planes for China trip, taken
aback by sudden change in plans (Tokyo Shimbun)
6) Only party in the Diet against the dispatch of ASDF planes to
help China quake victims was the Social Democratic Party (Sankei)

Cluster bomb agreement:
7) In switch, Japan agrees to total ban on cluster munitions, as
proposed by Dublin conference (Mainichi)
8) Prime Minister Fukuda issued the order to support the
cluster-bomb ban (Asahi)
9) Decision to support the cluster-bomb ban made after prior
coordination with the U.S. (Mainichi)

10) Opposition camp in Upper House readying resolution that would
revise the U.S.-Japan SOFA (Mainichi)

TICAD IV:
11) Raised expectations at the African Development Conference of
Japan's taking the lead, starting with bringing up food crisis at
the G-8 Summit (Nikkei)
12) Prime Minister Fukuda announces decision to produce commercially
viable biofuel that would not be made from food stocks (Nikkei)
13) Fukuda ends marathon of meetings with African leaders (Nikkei)


Political agenda:
14) Announcement of Okinawa prefectural assembly election in which
key campaign issue seems to be medical care for elderly and not the
U.S. bases (Mainichi)
15) Former postal rebel and now independent lawmaker Hiranuma
expects to form a 30 member party (Sankei)

16) Global warming: 14 research institutes in joint study conclude
that Japan's average temperature will rise 4.8 percent by 2100
(Tokyo Shimbun)

17) Yomiuri poll finds 70 PERCENT of Japanese say they do not
believe in any religion (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Nippon Paper, Rengo mulling management integration to become the top
maker

Mainichi & Akahata:

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At prime minister's order, Japan turns around its previous policy to
agree to total ban on cluster munitions

Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
Japan gives up on plan to send ASDF aircraft to China in aftermath
of Sichuan earthquake, meeting with China's disapproval

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Public servant system reform: We welcome this compromise
(2) Talented personnel for nursing care: Top priority should be on
wage reform

Mainichi:
(1) Recommendations for decentralization: Both prime minister and
local governments need enthusiasm
(2) NHK investigation: Investigations insufficient for regaining
public confidence

Yomiuri:
(1) Government must fully respect decentralization plan
(2) Nepal decides to abolish the kingship

Nikkei:
(1) Political parties should not make the new health insurance
system a tool for political fight
(2) Shareholders' meeting rejected reelection of president

Sankei:
(1) Decision to forgo ASDF aircraft dispatch to China extremely
regrettable
(2) Unreasonable rules for appointments requiring Diet approval
should be scrapped

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) To dispel distrust in Japan, government forgoes dispatch of SDF
planes to China
(2) Internationalization of Haneda airport: Make the best use of
"24-hour airport"

Akahata:
(1) TICAD: Japan must seriously made efforts for poverty alleviation


3) Gov't forgoes ASDF dispatch

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)
May 30, 2008

The government decided yesterday to forgo flying Air Self-Defense
Force aircraft to China on a mission to airlift emergency relief
supplies for those affected in the recent devastating earthquake
that hits Sichuan Province. That is because the Chinese government
showed reluctance based on the possibility of a public backlash in
China. The Japanese government is instead planning to charter
commercial airliners. If ASDF aircraft were actually sent to China,
it would have been the first postwar dispatch of a Self-Defense
Forces unit there. However, the government has now forgone the
decision. The incident sheds light on the Chinese public's mixed
feelings about the historical past.


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China asked Japan for relief supplies. In response, the government
was coordinating with the Chinese government, while preparing to
dispatch the Self-Defense Forces. The Foreign Ministry's Asian and
Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General Akitaka Saiki met with
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei at the Chinese Foreign
Ministry in Beijing. Wu apparently told Saiki in the meeting about
the increasingly severe atmosphere in China against sending SDF
aircraft.

A government source said yesterday evening: "They said it's also all
right if we fly SDF aircraft there, but this opinion was not the
Chinese government's consensus. That's a matter of their
bureaucratic sectionalism." A Foreign Ministry official also said:
"News media reported SDF dispatch, so there have been side effects
in China. It cannot go together with our original purpose that is to
deliver relief supplies."

There was a meeting of a defense attach to the Japanese embassy in
Beijing and officials from the Chinese Defense Ministry in Beijing
on May 27, during which Chinese officials asked Japan to provide
relief supplies.

In that meeting, China asked Japan to provide tents and blankets.
Japanese officials there were concerned about a possible backlash
against the SDF, so they asked about how to deliver these relief
goods. Chinese officials agreed there to accept SDF airlifts to
airports in Beijing, Chengdu, or elsewhere.

There has been a strong public backlash in China against Japan
sending the SDF, with opinions appearing on Internet discussion
boards linking the SDF to the now-defunct Japanese Imperial Army.
Following the quake this time, the United States, Russia, and
Pakistan have already flown their air force planes to airlift relief
supplies for disaster-stricken areas. However, the Chinese
government is believed to have deemed it difficult to accept Japan's
SDF aircraft after weighing the public reaction in China.

4) SDF aircraft dispatch shelved as Tokyo, Beijing give
consideration to growing anti-Japanese sentiments in China

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
May 30, 2008

The planned dispatch of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) aircraft
to China to deliver emergency supplies to victims of the Sichuan
earthquake was forgone yesterday. Before arriving at this
conclusion, the governments of Japan and China gave thoughts to
public opinion in China, where there is stubborn resistance against
the SDF because of such historical experiences as the Sino-Japanese
War. In an attempt to avoid the Chinese public opinion against Japan
from worsening, the two governments have decided to forgo the SDF
aircraft dispatch.

The prevailing view in the Japanese government, centering on the
Defense Ministry, was that the dispatch of SDF planes would make
sense, one official calling it, "Epoch-making."

Such response in Japan appears to have stoked anti-Japanese
sentiments on the Internet. A high government official expressed
concern, saying: "China might have been surprised at a great
reaction in Japan such as that Japanese newspapers were reported the
matter as a top news item."

TOKYO 00001479 004 OF 013

In the Japan-China summit held earlier this month, the two top
leaders exchanged the joint statement vowing their efforts to move
forward with "a strategic reciprocal relationship." Therefore,
behind the decision this time around, there was the determination by
Tokyo and Beijing to prevent the trend of improved relations from
retreating.

5) Government forgoes planned dispatch of SDF aircraft; Senior
Defense Ministry official stunned

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 27) (Abridged slightly)
May 30, 2008

Reversing its previous policy course, the government has now decided
to forgo its plan to dispatch Self-Defense Force aircraft to
quake-hit areas in Sichuan, China. The decision created a stir in
the Defense Ministry, which was making preparations until late last
night for sending C-130 transport planes to Sichuan's capital of
Chengdu.

Learning of the government's decision to forgo the dispatch before
dawn today, a senior Defense Ministry official said with a stunned
look, "We haven't heard of anything about it." Yesterday morning,
the planned first ever dispatch of SDF aircraft to China made
front-page headlines. Feeling anxious, the official said yesterday
morning, "I hope this will not irritate China."

Following the decision, the SDF will cease its preparatory work.
Nevertheless, quake-hit areas still need relief supplies, such as
blankets and tents. The official commented, "Will the relief
supplies be transported by commercial planes?"

The dispatch of SDF aircraft was decided in response to a request
from China. But the development prompted Chinese people to post all
sorts of messages on the Internet, including one that said, "This is
worse than the earthquake."

Military commentator Tetsuo Maeda took this view:

"The only conceivable explanation for the eleventh-hour cancellation
of the SDF dispatch is that China harbors unexpectedly strong
aversion toward the SDF. The Imperial Japanese Army indiscriminately
bombed Sichuan Province between 1938 and 1941. People in Chengdu,
which was also harshly bombed, have strong anti-Japanese sentiment.
I thought it was significant for Japanese military planes, which
used to carry bombs, to transport relief supplies. Still, I think
Japan should continue providing assistance by using commercial
planes of high transport capability."

6) SDP alone opposed ASDF dispatch

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
May 30, 2008

Opposition parties reacted in their respective ways to the
government's consideration to send Air Self-Defense Force planes to
transport relief supplies to quake-hit areas in response to a
request from China.

The Social Democratic Party's reaction particularly stood out. SDP
head Mizuho Fukushima said in a press conference on May 28, "In

TOKYO 00001479 005 OF 013


consideration of China's national sentiment, we are opposed to
(sending the SDF)," despite the fact that the SDF conducted relief
activities in the wake of the earthquake off Sumatra in 2005.

In contrast, Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii made the
following comment in a press conference on May 29: "At the time of
the Sumatra earthquake, we made it clear that we do not reject the
idea of the SDF engaging in relief and rescue operations (overseas)
in the wake of extremely massive natural disasters. There is no
change in our stance this time around."

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan Upper House Caucus Chairman
Azuma Koshiishi said: "Because the matter concerns human lives, the
decision was made to extend cooperation." DPJ shadow cabinet foreign
minister Yoshio Hachiro commented, "There is no problem in actively
transporting relief supplies in response to a request from a foreign
country." The DPJ exhibited a stance to promote the dispatch from a
humanitarian viewpoint.

7) At prime minister's order, Japan turns around its previous policy
and now will agree to total ban on cluster munitions

MAINICHI (Top play) (Full)
May 30, 2008

Keiichi Shirado

The Japanese government yesterday adopted a policy line to agree to
a draft treaty immediately banning cluster munitions except for a
portion of "newer smart cluster bombs." The agreement gives
consideration to the serious human harm caused by unexploded duds.
The draft treaty is expected to be adopted today in the Dublin
Conference of the international disarmament talks called the Oslo
Process. Japan will declare on the scene that it will accept the
draft treaty. Until recently Japan had been unwilling to endorse the
draft treaty in consideration of its alliance with the United
States, which has not taken part in the Oslo Process, but at the
request by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the government has decided
to accept the draft treaty.

In this connection, a government source late yesterday noted, "We've
completed the process of coordinating views with the U.S.," and
revealed that Tokyo told Japan's chief delegate to the Dublin
Conference, Takeshi Nakane, ambassador and director-general of the
Disarmament, Nonproliferation and Science Department of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), that Japan would accept the draft treaty.
The U.S. government appeared to show its understanding toward the
Japanese government's policy of accepting the draft treaty because a
provision stipulating that the draft treaty will not stand in the
way of joint military operations with "non-members states of the
Oslo Process," such as the U.S., is now included in the draft
treaty.

As for the question of a ban on cluster munitions, the government
had noted, "We will decide our policy, keeping a balance between the
humanitarian issues and Japan's security." The government's initial
plan was not to make its attitude clear at the time of taking a vote
on a total ban on May 30 and instead to reveal its attitude at the
time of the signing of the treaty in December.

However, when the junior coalition partner New Komeito's Deputy
Representative Toshiko Hamayotsu visited Prime Minister Fukuda at

TOKYO 00001479 006 OF 013


his official residence on May 23 and insisted on the need for Japan
to agree to a total ban on cluster bombs, Fukuda told Hamayotsu: "I
deem it necessary for Japan to deal with the matter in a much
clearer way. Leave it to me." Fukuda then implied the possibility of
giving the nod to the draft treaty at his own judgment. He also
instructed relevant ministries and agencies to deal with the matter
positively.

At a news conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura also noted, "The government needs to determine its
attitude," indicating that discussion in the government on the draft
treaty reached a final stage just before vote-taking on the draft
treaty in the Dublin Conference.

Fukuda was affected significantly by the moves by leaders of such
major countries as Britain, France, and Germany who decided to
accept the draft treaty based on political decisions. By following
them, Fukuda apparently wanted to avoid the case of Japan being
isolated internationally and also highlight his leadership as the
host nation of the upcoming Group of Eight Hokkaido Toyako Summit in
July.

8) Government to endorse cluster bomb treaty

ASAHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
May 30, 2008

An agreement has been reached on a draft treaty banning cluster
bombs. Unexploded cluster bombs continue to kill and wound civilians
even after conflicts are over. Although Japan, too, has decided to
support the draft treaty, reversing its previous stance, there are
no signs that major cluster-bomb producers and holders, such as the
United States, will make moves. The envisioned treaty will soon be
tested.

Japan shifts stance under prime minister's initiative

The government had long exhibited a cautious stance. A person
familiar with the government explained the government's about-face
this way: "It reflects Prime Minister Fukuda's thinking. He has
concluded that it is necessary to align with the international
community from a humanitarian perspective."

On May 23, New Komeito deputy representative Toshiko Hamayotsu
called for a total ban on cluster bombs. In response, the prime
minister said, "I will bring the matter to a soft landing. Please
leave it to me."

Upper House lawmakers who were also present in the meeting had the
same impression as the government's policy shift over the landmine
ban treaty. Although Tokyo had been reluctant to sign the treaty,
the government inked the pact in 1997 under the initiative of then
Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi in response to growing public calls
for the elimination of landmines. They saw Obuchi in Prime Minister
Fukuda.

The government considers cluster bombs to be indispensable in
blocking an enemy landing. The government was also concerned about a
possible impediment to joint operations with the United States,
which uses cluster bombs. Japan's concerns weakened with the
drafting of the treaty that made it possible for member countries
and nonmember countries to carry out military cooperation and

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operations. A supra-partisan parliamentary league calling for a ban
on cluster bombs was launched in April. The league chaired by Lower
House Speaker Yohei Kono includes many influential members from both
the ruling and opposition camps. This seems to have given a boost to
the prime minister.

Once the treaty goes into effect, the use of all cluster bombs
possessed by the SDF will be banned. Although the government has not
revealed the number of bombs as a defense secret, the Air
Self-Defense Force has since 1987 equipped its fighters with cluster
bombs holding 202 bomblets. The Ground Self-Defense Force, too,
possesses cluster rockets holding 644 bomblets and howitzers holding
dozens of bomblets.

9) Japan agrees to draft treaty on total ban on cluster munitions,
with eye on provision on joint operations; Attention paid to
relations with U.S.

MAINICHI (Page 7) (Excerpts)
May 30, 2008

Katsumi Sawada, Yoshinori Fukushima, Dublin

Japan yesterday decided to join the draft treaty prepared by the
Dublin Conference of the Oslo Process," international disarmament
talks aimed at concluding a treaty banning cluster munitions. Before
doing so, Japan apparently continued coordinating views with the
United States. America's other allies, such as Britain, France, and
Germany, also attach importance to their ties with the U.S., but
apparently they decided to accept the draft treaty because a
provision allowing joint military operations with the U.S., which is
a non-member state of the Oslo Process, has now been incorporated in
the draft treaty. This provision seems to serve as a dividing line
to decide the fate of the draft treaty.

Japan has attached importance to three points in the Dublin
Conference: (1) "Improved" cluster bombs whose failure rates are
high and which the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have currently
possessed should be included in exceptions not subject to a ban; (2)
a provision allowing joint military operations with the U.S. forces
should be included in the draft treaty; and (3) a moratorium should
be set before a total ban is implemented. Japan's calls for
including improved cluster bombs as exceptions and setting a
moratorium have not been realized, but regarding joint operations, a
provision stipulating that "military personnel and the peoples of
signatory states are allowed to be engaged in military cooperation
and operations with non-signatory states" has been included in the
draft treaty. This provision met with criticism from
non-governmental organizations, but Japan and Britain
uncompromisingly insisted on the need to add the provision to the
draft treaty, even hinting that they would walk out of the Oslo
Process. As a result, the provision was decided to be added to the
draft treaty.

10) DPJ mulling submission to Upper House of resolution seeking
revision to SOFA jointly with other opposition parties

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
May 30, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) yesterday started
looking into submitting to the Upper House a resolution seeking a

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drastic revision to the Japan-U.S. Status-of-Forces Agreement (SOFA)
jointly with other opposition parties. It will start undertaking
coordination with other parties, based on the draft of a resolution
adopted by "the Next Cabinet" on May 28. It wants to submit the
resolution within next week. A resolution seeking a revision to SOFA
will be submitted to the Upper House for the first time.

Calls for a drastic revision to SOFA are deep-rooted in Okinawa due
to a series of accidents and incidents involving U.S. servicemen.
The submission of the resolution is aimed at clarifying differences
from the stance of the ruling camp, which is calling for improved
management of SOFA, with an eye on the upcoming Okinawa Prefectural
Assembly elections.

11) Issue of soaring food prices likely high on agenda at G-8
Summit, reflecting calls from African countries for Japan's
cooperation

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
May 30, 2008

The issue of skyrocketing food prices is likely to be high on the
agenda at the Group of Eight Summit (Lake Toya Summit) in July. In
the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD4), which opened yesterday in Yokohama, African countries
called for Japan's cooperation in dealing with the issue. In
response, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda intends to announce Japan's
proactive aid plans in the upcoming Food Summit in early June. He is
likely to be put to the test in assuming leadership as the chair of
the G-8 Summit.

Fukuda said in discussions on the food issue held yesterday: "I am
determined to make utmost efforts to send a powerful message in the
G-8 Summit." In a meeting with World Bank President Zoellick, Fukuda
also pledged to cooperate on the food issue.

In the discussions, Fukuda stated: "I am ready to offer more
contributions" to resolve the food problem. Japan has already
announced plans to provide developing countries with emergency food
aid worth 100 million dollars. In the Food Summit starting on June
3, Japan will propose an additional 50 million dollars in financial
aid to help developing countries boost the output of agricultural
products.

Behind the prime minister's eagerness toward the food problem is the
development of the issue into an international problem.

"We must not allow foods to be reduced as a result of the use of
agricultural products as biofuel." "We hope Japan will import more
agricultural products." In a subcommittee at TICAD yesterday,
discussion was conducted on the effect of soaring food prices on
Africa and other matters. Participants presented severe requests in
succession, keeping in mind the U.S., which has promoted producing
biofuel with corn, and Japan, which has imposed high tariffs on farm
products.

Four international organizations, including the World Bank and the
United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), issued a
statement yesterday calling on industrialized countries to take the
lead in expanding short-term, as well medium- to long-term
assistance to Africa. The statement noted: "We must prevent a
situation in which skyrocketing food prices undermine Africa's

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long-lasting economic growth." Specifically, it urges them to extend
financial support to small-scale farmers to improve their
productivity.

12) Fukuda in Food Summit to express resolve to speed up practical
use of nonfood biofuel

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 30, 2008

The main points of the speech Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will
deliver in the upcoming Food Summit were revealed yesterday. The
speech emphasizes the determination of Japan, the world's largest
net food importer, to make possible contributions to ensure global
food security. Specifically, the speech stresses a resolve to
hurriedly put second generation biofuel to practical use. The speech
also stresses Japan's determination to send a powerful message with
other participant countries in the July Group of Eight Summit (Lake
Toya Summit).

Further, the speech points out the need for the international
community to take joint and coordinated actions in dealing with the
problem of global food shortage. It underlines Japan's willingness
to make contributions to stabilizing global food supply-demand
balance by improving its self-sufficiency in food.

13) Fukuda completes marathon talks with leaders of African
countries, but receives ambiguous replies on Japan's bid for UNSC
permanent seat

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
May 30, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda completed marathon talks unprecedentedly
held separately with the leaders of 40 African countries who visited
Japan to attend the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African
Development. Through the talks, Fukuda aimed to solicit their
support for Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC), but many of them made an ambiguous
response.

The 53 African countries account for about one-fourth of UN members,
so they are able to play a key role in reforming the UN. But in the
talks, only several countries expressed support for Japan's bid for
a permanent seat on the Security Council, including Ghana and
Central African Republic. Madagascar's President Marc Ravalomanana
made this reply: "I support Japan's position."

14) Medical service system for elderly people over 75 a campaign
issue for Okinawa Prefectural Assembly

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
May 30, 2008

The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly elections slated for June 8 will be
officially announced on May 30. Both ruling and opposition camps are
staging an all-out battle, airing TV commercials and sending in
senior party officials. That is because since both camps are equally
matched in strength, if the opposition parties win, the government
of Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who supports the relocation of the
U.S. Marine Corpse' Futenma Air Station within the prefecture, would
become a minority government, which is bound to affect the

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relocation issue. In addition, the key campaign issue is the new
medical service system for elderly people over 75, the focus of
attention in the final phase of the ongoing Diet session.

The fixed number of seats in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly is 48,
of which 27 are held by the ruling parties -- the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP), the New Komeito, etc., and 20 are held by opposition
parties. One seat remains vacant. There are many closely-contested
constituencies due to mergers of municipalities. One LDP lawmaker
elected from the prefecture expressed his sense of alarm, "The
ruling and opposition are equally matched in strength. If the
opposition camp wins, the Nakaima-controlled prefectural
administration would be rejected by the public."

Okinawa Assembly election results will influence national
administration of the Futenma relocation issue. This can be seen in
a past prefectural referendum held to ask residents about the
propriety of consolidating and realigning U.S. military bases.
Because of such a background, both camps are tackling the election
in an exceptionally serious manner.

The LDP has made TV commercial on the medical service system for the
elderly, featuring former LDP lawmaker Koichi Hamada (79), about
making efforts to revise the system. It will be aired in Okinawa
from the 30th. New Komeito head Akihiro Ota visited Okinawa from the
23rd through the 26th and delivered speeches, pledging a revision to
the medical service system. Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa also
visited Okinawa to support the election campaign.

Among opposition parties, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) Deputy President Naoto Kan, Japanese Communist Party
Executive Committee Chair Kazuo Shii, Social Democratic Party
President Mizuho Fukushima and People's New Party President Tamisuke
Watanuki will visit Okinawa on June 1 to give sidewalk speeches. Kan
during a press conference yesterday said, "Elderly people are all
strongly opposing the system. I want to make a public appeal on this
issue as a key campaign issue."

15) Takeo Hiranuma: Prime Minister Fukuda always stays on sidelines;
Plans to form 30-member new party before next Lower House election

SANKEI (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
May 30, 2008

Takeo Hiranuma, 68, an independent member of the House of
Representatives, gave an interview to the Evening Fuji, in which he
criticized Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who has been suffering the
low public support ratings, saying: "He has stayed on the sidelines,
and he does not understand the feelings of the people."

His interview is as followed:

-- The drop in the support rated for the Fukuda cabinet is
striking.

Hiranuma: Prime Minister Fukuda has not carried out the kind of
politics that the public expects. A number of thorny issues have
been left unresolved. His replies to the press seem as if they are
someone else's problems. He does not understand the feelings of the
public. The public has become unhappier.

-- There is strong criticism of the new health insurance system for

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those aged 75 and older.

Hiranuma: It is unbelievable. I can say that's mismanagement. Taking
care of the elderly by younger people should continue to be Japan's
proud tradition and virtue. It is outrageous that medical pension
premiums are deducted from the small pension benefits of people aged
75 and over, who contributed to Japan's economic reconstruction
since the end of the war.

-- Prime Minister Fukuda has stated that the basis of the system is
correct.

Hiranuma: That's a bureaucratic statement. He does not stand with
the public.

-- How do you view the present Liberal Democratic Party?

Hiranuma: I belonged to the LDP for 25 years. I am disappointed with
the present LDP. A third force is necessary.

-- Do you mean you will form a new party?

Hiranuma: It is good for Japan to have a third political force. What
I am working on is to nurture robust conservative politicians. I
have supported 13 people -- five former Diet members, who lost their
seats in opposition to postal privatization, and eight regional
lawmakers.

There are talented persons in the LDP such as abut 90 members of the
policy group led former policy chief Shoichi Nakagawa. I as a
supreme advisor have close exchanges with them. Since Nagata-cho is
a pragmatic world, if I asked them to join a new party, though no
one is saying "yes." But who can tell what will happen immediately
before the next Lower House election. I have communications also
with some members of the Democratic Party of Japan and the People's
New Party."

-- How about the timing for forming a new party and the party's
scale?

Hiranuma: If I form a new party, I will do so before the Lower House
election. I'm considering fielding about 30 candidates for the
single-seat constituencies. I have been steadily carrying out my
activities, thinking that forming a new party is one of the
choices.

-- On April 28, you dined with DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa.

Hiranuma: Upper House member Yoshihiro Kawakami invited us as his
benefactors. He won his Diet seat as a DPJ member in last year's
Upper House election, after having lost his Lower House seat in
opposition to postal privatization. We did not talk about the
election. However, Mr. Ozawa urged me to form a new party.

16) Japan's temperature estimated to rise 4.8 degrees centigrade by
2100: Rice production to increase and then decline; Beach forests in
Shirakami Mountain to disappear; 1.37 million people along coasts to
be buffeted by high tides

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
May 30, 2008


TOKYO 00001479 012 OF 013


A project team consisting of 14 research institutes looking into
global warming on May 29 mapped out a projection of the impact of
global warming on Japan by 2100. According to the projection, the
temperature will have risen 4.8 degrees centigrade by the end of the
century, compared with the 1990 level. The ocean will have risen 36
centimeters. As a result, 1.37 million people will be affected by
high tides. Rice yield will have increased in such areas as
Hokkaido. However, beach forests in the Shirakami Mountain, a World
Heritage site, will have disappeared.

Projection by 14 research bodies

Global warming will likely hit hardest those areas affected by
water. In 2030, when the temperature is estimated to have risen 2
degrees centigrade, the Pacific coasts and mountainous areas will be
frequently subject to localized torrential rains. The amount of
damage caused by such floods would cost 1 trillion yen a year.
Damage caused by high tides in bays of Tokyo, Osaka, Ise and western
Japan will also increase, causing 50,000 people to suffer.

The rise on the surface of the ocean will destroy resort areas along
coastal areas. Economic losses of 1.4 trillion yen due to the loss
of beaches and 5 trillion yen due to the loss of tidelands are
projected.

Rice yield from 2040 through 2060 is projected to increase. For
instance, Hokkaido will see a 26 PERCENT increase in such yield.
However, rice yield will become unstable after that due to frequent
crop failures.

The cultivation of rice with increased heat tolerance will increase.
However, if cold weather causes damage, the impact would be
immense.

Professor Nobuo Mimura of Ibaraki University, who has led the
research, noted, "Japan is subject to the effects of climate change,
because it rains a lot in Japan and 70 PERCENT of the country is
mountainous. It must consider measures to adapt itself to climate
change as well as to make efforts to cut global warming greenhouse
gas emissions."

The research, which used the largest computer in the world, was
conducted, assuming the most feasible type of society that is
achieving a good balance between the use of fossil fuels, such as
oil, and the use of recyclable energy, such as solar energy
generation.

17) Poll: 70 PERCENT don't believe in any religion

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
May 30, 2008

An estimated 72 PERCENT of the Japanese public do not believe in
any religion while only 26 PERCENT believe in some religion, the
Yomiuri Shimbun found from its yearlong serial public opinion survey
conducted May 17-18. However, public opinion was widely split when
asked about their religious mentality in a broad sense unrelated to
specific religious sects, with 45 PERCENT saying they think the
Japanese people are less religious and 49 PERCENT saying they do
not think so. In addition, a total of 94 PERCENT answered "yes"
when asked if they had feelings of respect for their ancestors.
Respondents were also asked if they feel there is something in

TOKYO 00001479 013 OF 013


nature that transcends human capabilities. To this question, "yes"
accounted for 56 PERCENT .

Many Japanese distance themselves from specific religious sects but
seem to be strongly prone to regard with pious respect the
possibility of something that goes beyond human intelligence.

The survey was conducted on a face-to-face basis about religious
beliefs.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they thought the souls of
people who died would be reincarnated. To this question, 30 PERCENT
answered "yes," topping all other answers. Among other answers, 24
PERCENT answered that they would go to another world, with 18
PERCENT saying they would be extinguished.

SCHIEFFER

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