Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 06/03/08
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 06/03/08
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)
Fukuda's European diplomacy:
4) Prime Minister Fukuda, German Chancellor Merkel agree on need to
set medium-term target before G-8 Summit for reducing greenhouse
5) Fukuda, British Prime Minister Brown issue strong statement on
soaring food prices (Asahi)
6) Texts of exchanges between Fukuda-Merkel, Fukuda- Brown
7) Prime Minister Fukuda in European diplomacy focusing on stopping
global warming but gaps in other areas remain (Tokyo Shimbun)
8) Interview with LDP's Taku Yamasaki on North Korea: Breakthrough
can be found through Diet members carrying out separate diplomacy
9) Ruling parties agree to make changes in controversial medical
system for the elderly over 75 that has hurt the Prime Minister's
ratings in the polls (Mainichi)
10) - Fukuda's strategy to restore popularity by demonstrating
leadership included decision on cluster bombs and clearing away the
issue of civil service reform (Yomiuri)
11) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura's comments on revising the
crop acreage reduction program and sending GSDF to Afghanistan
creates stir in LDP (Tokyo Shimbun)
12) Farm ministry's vice minister says the acreage reduction program
will continue (Tokyo Shimbun)
13) Coordination of opening of the extraordinary Diet session now
centering on late August, with focus to be on passing a law creating
a consumer agency (Asahi)
14) DPJ split over filing a censure motion against Fukuda during
final days of the current Diet session (Mainichi)
15) Censure motion fever rising in the DPJ (Asahi)
1) TOP HEADLINES
MOF, MIC eye rules to curb recreational expenses of government
Ruling parties agree on revised health insurance plan for elderly
Ruling parties agree to reduce health insurance premiums for elderly
with relatively high pension incomes
Auto exports in FY2008 to hit record high for first time in 23
TOKYO 00001513 002 OF 012
No mention of "Japan's ownership" of Northern Territories by
Shinginko Tokyo to reduce capital by 100 billion yen
Don't destroy humans and the earth
(1) Restrictions on amakudari: Focus on system rather than personnel
(2) Bill reforming independent administrative agencies: Ruling,
opposition parties should find common ground
(1) 10th anniversary of European Central Bank: Japan should learn
from ECB's independence from politics
(2) Revision of Traffic Law: Time to reconsider safety
(1) Hike in steel prices may raise prices of automobiles and home
(2) Debate on using foreign workers should be deepened
(1) Lawmakers should promote deliberations on Antimonopoly Law
revision bill and bill to revitalize local economies
(2) ROK government fails to respond quickly to the public
(1) Lead achievements of food summit to successful G8 summit in
(2) Revision of Traffic Law: Improvement in bicycle riders' manners
(1) Gasoline at 170 yen a liter: Oil producing countries, consumers
should cooperate to confront speculators
(2) Recommendation for decentralization: How far will bureaucratic
resistance be allowed?
(1) Food summit: International cooperation effective to overcome the
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, June 3
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 2, 2008
Left Tegel Airport in Berlin by government plane. Arrived at
Heathrow Airport outside London. Met with British Prime Minister
Brown at 10 Downing Street.
Joint press conference at InterContinental Hotel.
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Met witch Lord Mayor of the City of London Lewis
4) Prime Minister demonstrates his positive attitude toward
environment, plans to come up with mid-term greenhouse gas reduction
targets ahead of G-8 Summit
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
June 3, 2008
During a joint news conference with the German chancellor, Prime
Minister Fukuda announced his policy line of presenting ideas on
midterm targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts ahead of the
upcoming Group of Eight (G-8) Toyako Summit in Hokkaido. This
announcement is apparently aimed at highlighting his positive
attitude toward the environment. Meanwhile, bureaucrats in Japan
call on the prime minister to be prudent, for mid-term targets will
be closely linked to international negotiations about post-Kyoto
Protocol (targets) from now on.
The joint press conference took place on the evening of June 1
(before dawn of June 2, Japan time). In it, Fukuda was bold enough
to say: "Ahead of the G-8 Summit, Japan will come up with a clear
plan. The plan will include long- and mid-term goals."
Speaking of this announcement at a news conference yesterday, Vice
Environment Minister Yoshio Tamura indicated a cautious position by
noting: "Declaring (mid-term targets) in itself is tantamount to
international negotiations. I'd like to refrain from mentioning what
targets will be shown and whether it is appropriate to indicate them
(ahead of the G-8 Summit)."
Because negotiations about post-Kyoto Protocol targets are expected
to continue into next year and also because if mid-term targets are
set, Japan will be legally obligated to achieve them, a government
official said that the dominant view in the government was that at
this point in time, there would be no need for Japan to hammer out
any specific goals."
Discussions of mid-term goals as greenhouse gas emission targets to
be applied to a timeframe ranging from 2020 through 2030 are
continuing. Those goals are viewed as international targets that
will follow the Kyoto Protocol. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that the industrialized
countries should reduce their emissions by 25-40 PERCENT in 2020.
5) Japanese, British prime ministers agree on need to send strong
message regarding food price rise
ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
June 3, 2008
Prime Minister Fukuda, now visiting Europe, arrived in London on the
morning of June 2 (night of the 2nd, Japan time) and met with Prime
Minister Brown at 10 Downing Street. Both leaders shared the
perception that it is important for the G-8 (Lake Toya Summit) to be
held in Hokkaido in July to send a strong message regarding the
global warming issue and worldwide food price rise.
Fukuda during the meeting proposed, "I want to the G-8 to send a
joint message on main items on the G-8 agenda, such as the global
TOKYO 00001513 004 OF 012
economy, the environment, climate change and the sharp rise in food
prices." Brown supported Fukuda's proposal, noting, "The
international community expects the G-8 to come up with a strong
Regarding climate change, both leaders agreed on the importance of
the Lake Toya Summit sending a proactive message, following the
agreement reached at the Heiligendamm Summit last year that halving
global warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 should be considered
seriously. Brown urged Japan to introduce an emissions trading
system, saying, "I want to see an expanded carbon market, based on
the emissions trading system. I hope Japan will join the system."
Fukuda simply replied, "We are now considering the matter, taking
broad-based points at issue into consideration."
6) Main points from Japan-Britain, Japan-Germany summit talks
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
June 3, 2008
Food, oil crisis
British Prime Minister Brown: The international community is paying
attention to what kind of message the Group of Eight (G-8) nations
will send at the Hokkaido Toyako summit. It's important that
oil-producing countries and oil-consuming countries hold substantial
meetings to talk about oil prices.
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda: It's also important to reduce demand
(for oil) through technological innovation.
Brown: We should expand the carbon market through emissions trading
in order to reduce emissions. We hope Japan will also participate.
Fukuda: It's important to draw proactive responses from newly
emerging countries like China and India. We'd like to send a strong
message at the G-8 summit. We're studying emissions trading from a
Brown: Based on the outcome of the 4th Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), we should focus on
education and public health at the G-8 summit.
Fukuda: We, too, would like to send a message focusing on public
health, water, and education.
Brown: There is something that needs to be reformed in the trend of
Fukuda: International organizations will have to be reformed at all
times so that they will meet the present situation. I'd like to ask
Britain to cooperate for a reform of the United Nations.
Brown: We will continue to cooperate.
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Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda: It's important to draw responses from
newly emerging countries like China and India. I'd like to announce
Japan's policy while watching discussions on global warming.
German Chancellor Merkel: It's important to move the Heiligendamm
summit agreement forward (to earnestly consider halving greenhouse
gas emissions in the whole world by 2050).
Fukuda: I want to have the results of TICAD IV reflected in the
Hokkaido Toyako summit. We'd like to send a message focusing on
public health, water, and education.
Merkel: I agree
Fukuda: The G-8 nations will have to work together to analyze the
cause of the problem and to take urgent and short-term measures as
well as medium- to long-term measures.
Merkel: Biofuel and food production must not scramble for land. We
will have to consider something for both to get along with each
Fukuda: We'd like to send a message to enhance the nuclear
nonproliferation regime. As a peace-cooperating nation, we want to
do all we can to build peace.
Merkel: I agree.
7) Fukuda on European tour: Differences in enthusiasm between Japan,
Germany and Britain on global warming
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 3, 2008
(Hiroshi Hoshi, London)
Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, on the second leg of his three-nation
European tour, held a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown in London on June 2. The two leaders agreed on the view that
they should cooperate in dealing with global warming. In the run-up
to the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit (Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido) in
July, it is significant for Fukuda to have been able to share the
necessity of cooperation in dealing with the climate change issue
with the leaders of Germany and Britain, both of which lead the
European Union (EU) in tackling this issue. When it comes to
specific measures, though, there are still differences in interest
and enthusiasm among the three countries.
Japanese, British leaders agree on support for food production
expansion in developing countries
TOKYO 00001513 006 OF 012
In their meeting, Fukuda and Brown agreed that the G-8 leaders
should work out specific measures to tackle the rising prices of oil
and food around the world.
Speaking at a joint press conference at 10 Downing Street following
the meeting, Fukuda stated: "I hope that a powerful message will be
sent out (at the G-8 Summit) on measures to increase farm products
and improve productivity from a medium- to long-term viewpoint,"
adding: "The G-8 leaders should announce such measures in a way that
creates an impact."
On April 10, Brown sent a letter to Fukuda suggesting that the food
issue be taken up at the upcoming G-8 Summit. In the meeting with
Fukuda, Brown praised Fukuda's response to his request. Brown then
stressed: "It is becoming more difficult to obtain basic foodstuffs.
Over the past several years, harvests have declined. It is necessary
to raise subsidies to farmers."
On the issue of climate change, the two leaders shared the
importance of sending out a positive message at the G-8 Summit. But
Brown emphasized the need to expand trading in greenhouse gas
credits and said: "I expect Japan to join the trading system." But
Fukuda indicated a cautious view, just saying: "The government is
looking into the possibility from a broader point of view."
Britain, Germany urge Japan to join emissions-trading mechanism
Although the day Fukuda arrived in Berlin was Sunday, the German
government held a welcome ceremony for him. In the meeting held
following the ceremony, Fukuda and Merkel agreed that "it is
imperative to send out a G-8 message at the Summit" on global
warming. British Prime Minister Brown also shares this view.
The three leaders are looking to a new international climate regime
following the 2012 expiration of the Kyoto Protocol. They are
interested in how they should bring into the new regime the U.S.,
which has broken away from the protocol, as well as China and India,
which have been placed outside the reduction obligation. In the
Japan-Germany summit, Fukuda succeeded in having Merkel agree to
take a strategy at the upcoming G-8 Summit to lure China and India
into a new regime.
Nonetheless, there are differences in motives in dealing with the
climate issue between Japan and Britain and Germany.
For instance, both Merkel and Brown expressed their hopes for
Japan's participation in an emissions-trading system. Fukuda,
though, remained unable to make a definite reply in the face of
objections from industrial circles, just saying: "Discussion is now
On global warming, Britain and Germany, which look upon themselves
as the world's leaders, think that politics should take the lead, as
shown by their mid-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, which a senior Japanese Environment Ministry officer
calls "ambitious," despite their manufacturing-based industrial
In the joint press conference with Merkel, Fukuda revealed that
Japan would announce its vision on mid-term targets covering the
2020-2030 timeframe by the upcoming G-8 Summit. The British and
TOKYO 00001513 007 OF 012
German leaders must harbor dissatisfaction with Japan's half-hearted
stance about presenting numerical targets.
Attention is focused on whether the G-8 leaders, despite such
differences, will be able to come up with a substantial agreement at
the G-8 Summit.
8) Interview with Taku Yamasaki of Parliamentary League to Normalize
Relations between Japan and DPRK: Parliamentary diplomacy could
break impasse in stalled talks on abduction issue
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 3, 2008
Question: Why did you launch the group at this point in time?
Yamasaki: That is because our previous pressure policy has not been
successful at all. I think it is time to make a big political
decision to end the stalemate in negotiations. The ultimate measure
would be to arrange a Japan-North Korea summit meeting. I organized
a parliamentary group for that end. All the parties should be
politically responsible for the public.
I think it necessary to have all abductees, missing citizens
recognized by the government, Japanese wives living in that country,
and other Japanese survivors return home. Efforts are essential to
have dialogue with that country. I am determined to serve as a
steppingstone to realize Japan-North Korea summit talks.
Q: Do you have any information about the abduction issue?
Yamasaki: I have the feeling from accounts given by foreign
governments' officials and people inside North Korea whom I
contacted that there are some Japanese survivors. I've obtained such
a feeling because those people did not deny my questions.
Communication networks with the Workers' Party of Korea are
indispensable to jump-start the stalled talks. I so felt when I had
talks in Dalian, China (in April 2004).
Q: Do you think you can unify views in the party before the next
Lower House election?
Yamasaki: I may come under criticism. But it is not a good idea to
indefinitely continue the six-party talks in vain. The United States
will see its president replaced shortly. Once the representatives
(to the six-party talks) from the U.S. and China are replaced, their
negotiating attitudes may change. It is my belief that a crucial
stage will come in the fall.
Q: Is Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda eager to visit North Korea?
Yamasaki: That would be a theme he would like to address before the
next Lower House election. He has had a strong interest (in
resolving the North Korean issues) since he served as chief cabinet
secretary. I was asked in detail in person by him about what I
discussed (with the North Korean side) in Dalian. Former Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi also told me "Only the incumbent prime
minister is capable of dealing with the matter. Prime Minister
Fukuda should go." Yet, Prime Minister Fukuda does not have an
9) New medical service system for elderly: Ruling parties agree on
TOKYO 00001513 008 OF 012
revision plan; Premiums imposed in accordance with income levels to
MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
June 3, 2008
Regarding a part of premiums imposed in accordance with income
levels of those covered by the scheme under the new medical service
system for people aged 75 and older, the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) and the New Komeito on June 2 agreed in principle to reduce by
25 PERCENT to 100 PERCENT the premiums imposed on those whose
income from public pension is under 2.08 million yen a year. The
plan is to have associations attached to each prefecture, which
manage the system, cut premiums and make up for the shortfalls with
special government subsidies. The revision plan now covers almost
all key points proposed by the ruling parties. Both parties will
finalize the overall revision plan before the end of this week and
formally adopt it as a proposal by the government and the ruling
parties prior to the 13th, when the second deduction of premiums
Major revisions proposed by ruling parties
? 90 PERCENT cut in relation to the per-capita part of the premiums
for those whose income from pubic pensions is less than the basic
pension (85 PERCENT cut in the initial year)
? 25 PERCENT to 100 PERCENT cut for those whose income from public
pensions is under 2.08 million yen a year
? Allowing premiums be deducted from the bank accounts of kin living
in the same household
? Ask the Central Social Insurance Medical Council to revise the
consultation fees for the terminal care of patients aged 75 and
older, including abolishing such
10) Fukuda looking to regain public support
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
June 3, 2008
Prime Minister Fukuda has recently settled a number of difficult
policy challenges at his own decision, including a legislative
measure to reform the national public service personnel system. What
lies behind this move is the downturn of public approval ratings for
his cabinet. The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party
apparently want to boost Fukuda's popularity.
The legislation to reform the national public service personnel
system encountered opposition from government bureaucrats and ruling
party lawmakers. "They didn't really think it would clear the Diet,"
a mid-ranking LDP lawmaker said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura
and LDP Secretary General Ibuki were reluctant to get the bill
through the Diet during its current session. Meanwhile, the current
Diet is now about to end. Fukuda told Machimura and Ibuki that he
wanted to have the reform bill clear the Diet during the current
session. Fukuda's resolve was firm, as he thought to himself that
forgoing the legislation would look like backpedaling on his reform
TOKYO 00001513 009 OF 012
Another policy challenge was how to respond to a treaty banning
cluster bombs. In late May, Fukuda met Toshiko Hamayotsu, deputy
president of New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, and other New
Komeito party executives. On that occasion, Fukuda told them that he
was willing to make his own political decision. According to one of
Fukuda's aides, however, it was long before that when he actually
made up his mind to do so. The Defense Ministry and the Foreign
Ministry were reluctant to consent, insisting on a partial
prohibition. Fukuda was apparently irritated at them.
These days, Fukuda has displayed his leadership. In a way, what had
been on his mind has now been brought to fruition at last. "The
prime minister does not want to make an appeal to the media on what
has been settled at his own instructions," one government official
said. "Such a personal character is a minus," this official added.
The Fukuda cabinet is now in the doldrums. "So he's trying to do
what he wants to," says an executive of the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto).
However, few people think that those policy issues have been settled
at Fukuda's leadership only. For example, Fukuda decided to
incorporate gasoline and other road-specific tax revenues into the
state's general account. One LDP executive from the road-related
policy clique said: "We will have to go through an election someday
for the House of Representatives, but Prime Minister Fukuda's
popularity is now low, so we cannot do anything that could work
against the Fukuda government." In fact, those opposed to Fukuda's
policy in the LDP abstained from crying out against him. This LDP
executive added, "If the prime minister's lack of leadership is
highlighted, that will only benefit the opposition parties." This
feeling is common to all in the ruling parties.
11) Machimura's comments on reviewing rice acreage reduction policy
and ground-based activities in Afghanistan create stir in ruling
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
June 3, 2008
Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura's reference to a possible
review of the rice acreage reduction policy and to ground-based
reconstruction support for Afghanistan has created a stir in the
Former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato appearing on a commercial
television program on June 1 criticized a review of the rice acreage
reduction policy, saying: "Rice prices would decline and terrible
things would happen. Fallow farmland (from the rice paddy reduction
policy) must be used to grow soybeans and wheat. (Mr. Machimura)
does not know much about agriculture." An LDP executive sided with
Kato, saying, "If the rice acreage reduction policy is ceased, all
farmers would quit (agriculture). A New Komeito executive, too,
described Machimura's statement as inappropriate.
A young LDP lawmaker said: "Farmers would react strongly to it. Mr.
Machimura does not seem to be aware of the impact of his
statements." Meanwhile, a mid-level member welcomed Machimura's
comment, saying, "The rice acreage reduction policy is absurd. What
Mr. Machimura said is correct." A member who previously served in
one of the three LDP executive posts also defended Machimura.
TOKYO 00001513 010 OF 012
About ground-based activities in Afghanistan, a veteran lawmaker
said, "In order to dispatch SDF troops, a new law is required. The
Democratic Party of Japan would probably not cooperate." A young
member raised a question, noting, "Will dangerous activities be able
to obtain public understanding?"
A senior LDP lawmaker took this view about the purpose of
Machimura's series of statements, "He probably wants to boost his
political presence." A senior New Komeito member said: "He seems to
want to achieve results as chief cabinet secretary, but what he said
12) Vice MAFF minister emphasizes continuation of rice acreage
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 3, 2008
Vice Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshiro Shirasu in
a press conference yesterday indicated that the rice acreage
reduction policy will continue, saying: "The rice production
adjustment program (rice acreage reduction program) is produced
annually based on the consumption of rice, a staple food. There is a
need to maintain it in the future as well."
As the reason, Shirasu said: "If the adjustment program is ceased
and rice is allowed to be produced (arbitrarily), rice prices would
naturally nosedive. That would deal a blow to growers (farmers). We
have no intention of increasing the production of rice, the staple
13) Coordination underway to open extra Diet session in late August;
Government, ruling camp plan to submit a Consumer Agency
establishment bill to Diet
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
June 3, 2008
The government and ruling parties have started looking into
convening an extraordinary Diet session in late August. The aim is
to secure sufficient time for the session so that the House of
Representatives will be able to hold a revote on a bill amending the
refueling-assistance special measures law, intended to extend the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, even if the bill is voted
down in the House of Councillors. They intend to submit to the extra
session also a bill designed to establish a Consumer Agency. Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda is eager to enact the legislation during the
session. The government and ruling coalition are carrying out
coordination to have the session run for about 100 days. Last year,
expecting that deliberations would encounter difficulties with the
Diet divided between the ruling and opposition camps, an extra
session was convened on Sept. 10, earlier than usual. Despite that,
the session had to be extended twice. Therefore, the government and
ruling coalition are now focusing on making Aug. 25-29 the opening
day. They are envisioning ending the session during the period
between late November and the middle of December.
In the upcoming extra Diet session, the major focus will be on the
handling of the refueling-support special measures law revision
bill. In January this year, since the Upper House rejected a bill
extending the special measures law, the Lower House held a revote on
TOKYO 00001513 011 OF 012
the law for the first time in 57 years. As a result, the law was
then enacted. The ruling parties have discussed also on a permanent
law that would enable the government to dispatch the Self-Defense
Forces (SDF) as needed. However, since many New Komeito lawmakers
are cautious about such an idea, it is unlikely that the ruling camp
will be able to come up with a final draft. The government and
ruling coalition, therefore, have now decided to deal with SDF
overseas dispatches by applying the special measures law.
A bill designed to have major companies shoulder state contributions
to the government health insurance scheme will be carried over to
the next session. The government and ruling parties will not
hesitate to take a revote on the bill in the upcoming extra session
on the grounds that the enactment of the bill is indispensable to
curb the increase of social security expenditures by 220 billion
In the ruling camp, there is a growing view calling for a cabinet
shuffle after the Group of Eight summit in July in Hokkaido.
Depending on a time when the prime minister decides to shuffle his
cabinet, the opening of the extra session would be delayed.
14) DPJ leadership fretting over submitting censure motion against
prime minister; Young members eager to submit motion
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
June 3, 2008
The Democratic Party of Japan is fretting over the question of
submitting a censure motion against the prime minister ahead of a
full fledged battle between the ruling and opposition camps over a
bill abolishing the newly introduced medical system for people aged
75 and older. The party leadership is tilted toward forgoing
submitting a motion in the current Diet session, thinking that even
if a motion is submitted, forcing Prime Minister Fukuda into Lower
House dissolution for a snap general election would be difficult. At
the same time, young members are still strongly calling for
submitting a motion based on public support.
DPJ Lower House members serving their first to third terms, who had
conducted activities at the Diet and on street corners over the
deadline of the provisional gasoline tax rate, received a notice
yesterday about a gasoline party to be held on the evening of June
12, days before the close of the current Diet session. The notice
was issued in the name of Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka. Reading the notice, many members said, "Is this a
declaration that the party will not submit a censure motion?"
About the timing for submitting a censure motion, DPJ President
Ichiro Ozawa told an aide around May 20, shortly before submitting
the bill abolishing the medical system for the elderly, "We should
do so when the other side will put up opposition." At that point,
Ozawa's plan was to get the Upper House to adopt the bill in
mid-May, grill Prime Minister Fukuda over the medical system in a
Diet party-head debate on June 4, and then submit a motion against
Ozawa's plan did not materialize partly because the planned
party-head debate has been postponed to June 11 due to the prime
minister's foreign trip. Since then, Ozawa has not clarified his
attitude about submitting a motion.
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Most of the DPJ leaders, including Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama,
are cautious about submitting a motion. They think in order to
ensure Ozawa's reelection in the party presidential race in
September, the party should not submit a censure motion.
15) Submission of censure motion against prime minister flares up
again in DPJ: Four top officers to hold talks in response to
deep-rooted cautious stance
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
June 3, 2008
As the close of the Diet session draws near, moves to submit a
censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda have reemerged in the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto). That is because an
increasing number of party members are of the view that the DPJ
should speak for public opinion trends, by submitting a censure
motion against the prime minister to purse his responsibility for
such issues as roads, pensions, and the new medical service system
for elderly people.
As a specific timeframe for the submission of a censure motion, the
DPJ leadership is assuming a time when the opposition parties oppose
the adoption of a bill scrapping the medical service system for
elderly people in the Upper House or a time when it is sent to the
Lower House. It is also looking into simultaneously submitting a
no-confidence motion against the cabinet to the Lower House.
If the censure motion is adopted, the next extraordinary Diet is
bound to fall into confusion right from the beginning. However, one
senior party member said, "We should submit it in order to show
where we stand in pursuing those three issues."
The DPJ leadership on the 2nd reaffirmed its policy of seeking an
early roll call on the abolition bill and the summoning of Naoki
Akiyama, full-time executive board member of the Japan-U.S. Center
for Peace and Cultural Exchange, as a sworn witness regarding
bribery involving the Defense Ministry. Party executives will
discuss the party's approach toward the final phase of the Diet
session today. Four top officers, including President Ozawa and
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, will then reach a final judgment.
However, since there is no possibility of Prime Minister Fukuda
dissolving the Lower House or cabinet resignation en masse even if
the censure motion is adopted, a view cautious about submitting the
censure motion is deep-rooted.