Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 06/13/08

DE RUEHKO #1613/01 1650124
P 130124Z JUN 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Diet turmoil:
4) Lower chamber passes motion backing Prime Minister Fukuda and his
cabinet (Yomiuri)
5) Prime Minister Fukuda determined to stay on (Yomiuri)

North Korea problem:
6) North Korea possibly makes new proposal over abduction issue
7) Japan, North Korea hold in-depth talks over pending issues
8) Japan asks G-8 members for cooperation on abduction issue
9) Ex-PM Abe calls for tough policy toward North Korea (Asahi)

Rice, Koumura meet in Paris:
10) Secretary of State Rice, Foreign Minister Koumura vow close
cooperation over abduction issues (Tokyo Shimbun)
11) Foreign Minister Koumura hints at easing sanctions if there is
progress on abduction issue (Nikkei)

In the run-up to G-8 Toyako summit:
12) G-8 finance ministerial to open today in Osaka (Mainichi)
13) Justice Minister Hatoyama in meeting with Attorney General
Mukasey vows to prohibit child porn (Asahi)

SDF missions:
14) Prime Minister Fukuda eyes extending MSDF mission in Indian
Ocean (Yomiuri)
15) ASDF pullout from Iraq likely within this year: LDP executive

Japan-Australia ties:
16) Prime Minister Fukuda, Australian Prime Minister Rudd reaffirm
trilateral security cooperation setup including U.S. (Nikkei)

Afghan reconstruction:
17) Japan pledges 62.2 billion yen in additional aid to Afghanistan

Political & economic topics:
18) Ex-LDP Secretary General Nakagawa, his colleagues propose
raising the ratio of immigrants in Japan to 10 PERCENT over the
next 50 years (Tokyo Shimbun)
19) Tokyo downbeat on economy (Mainichi)
20) Action program for low-carbon society: Government clarifies in
draft basic policy guidelines for 2008 (Mainichi)

Fallout from fishing boat sinking:
21) Senkakus issue rekindled in Taiwan, President Ma claims
territorial rights (Tokyo Shimbun)




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Government panel advises government to modify constrained social
security, implies need to increase government's burden

DPRK comes up with new proposal on abduction issue?

Yomiuri, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
NHK "comfort women" ruling rejected by Supreme Court

Abu Dhabi's SWF to invest in Japan's special zone for medical

Debate on bill intended to scrap new healthcare plan for the elderly
will not begin in Lower House with DPJ and other parties boycotting
Diet debate; JCP making efforts to scrap the plan


(1) NHK's self-discipline required with Supreme Court's rejection of
damages suit against NHK
(2) Medical services for the elderly: Need to relieve the elderly

(1) Supreme Court ruling favoring NHK places emphasis on freedom of
(2) Proposals by LDP's panel: What to do about burden increase in
basic pension?

(1) Supreme Court's ruling favoring NHK appropriate
(2) DNA analysis may be useful to deal with stateless children

(1) Revision plan for the medical services for the elderly lacks
financial support
(2) Supreme Court attaches importance to freedom of editing

(1) Comfort women lawsuit: NHK and Asahi need to reconsider their
articles and programs
(2) Large disasters: Self-help efforts, cooperation, public help

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) NHK should be free from politics
(2) Medical accident caused by drip infusion: Quicker action

(1) Revision plan for medical services for the elderly still treats
the elderly as a burden

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, June 12

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

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Met at the Kantei with LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Tanigaki
and Fiscal Reform Council Chairman Yosano and others. Tanigaki
stayed on, joined in by Special Committee to Revitalize Japan
Chairman Nemoto and others.

Met Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cui Tiankai, Hyogo Earthquake
Memorial 21st Century Research Organization Chief Director Kaihara
and others.

Attended the inaugural meeting of the parliamentary league to
promote cereals, held at LDP headquarters.

Held talks with Prime Minister Rudd of Australia.

Held a joint press conference.

Hosted a luncheon meeting.

Attended a Lower House plenary session.

Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura at the Kantei.

Attended a government, ruling party council meeting on a review of
the medical insurance system for people 75 and older. Afterward, met
Regulatory Reform Ministry of Consumer Affairs Kishida in the
presence of Machimura and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

Met former Prime Minister Mori, LDP Committee to Strengthen
Diplomatic Power Secretary General Motegi and others.

Attended a National Council on Social Security meeting.

Dined at a Chinese restaurant in Kudankita with LDP Secretary
General Ibuki, General Council Chairman Nikai, Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Oshima, Machimura, and others.

Returned to his official residence.

4) Lower House passes confidence motion for Fukuda

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

The Lower House in its plenary session yesterday approved a
confidence motion for the Fukuda cabinet, jointly submitted by the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition
partner New Komeito under Article 69 of the Constitution, by a
majority of votes from those two parties and others. Three
opposition parties - the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Social

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Democratic Party (SDP), and the People's New Party (PNP) - abstained
from voting, but the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) attended the
session and voted against the motion.

This was the second time for a confidence motion in the cabinet to
be approved, following the one for the Miyazawa cabinet in 1992.

The ruling parties plan to decide at a Lower House plenary session
today to extend the current session of the Diet for six days through
June 21 in order to secure the time necessary for automatic approval
of an economic partnership agreement with ASEAN.

The DPJ and some opposition parties plan to boycott deliberations
during the current Diet session as a censure motion against the
prime minister was approved in the Upper House on June 11. The
current Diet session has in effect closed.

5) Prime Minister Fukuda determined to continue steering

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
June 13, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda dined last night with Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki and some LDP General
Council members in a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. According to
participants, Fukuda showed his determination to continue steering
his administration, saying: "I will do my best so that my
administration will not run into turbulence."

6) Saiki hints that North Korea offered new proposal on abduction

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Slightly abridged)
June 13, 2008

(Takashi Sudo, Beijing)

Speaking before reporters after the end of the second day of
working-level talks between Japan and North Korea in Beijing on June
12, Akitaka Saiki, director general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian
and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, indicated that North Korea made a new
proposal to move forward the dispute over the past abductions of
Japanese nationals by North Korean agents. The talks were held with
the aim of resuming negotiations to normalize bilateral diplomatic
ties under the six-party framework. Saiki said: "We had in-depth
exchanges on very important issues, including the abduction issue,
in a constructive atmosphere. Both sides agreed on how to promote
relations between Japan and North Korea and engaged in productive

Saiki is scheduled to return home this afternoon. He did not
disclose the specific contents of the proposal from North Korea,
saying: "I will report on the details of the proposal to Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda and other senior government officials and seek
their judgments, evaluations, and instructions." After the
Japan-North Korea talks, Saiki also met with Vice Foreign Minister
Wu Dawei of China, the chair of the six-party talks.

In some previous negotiations, North Korea had said that the
abduction issue has already been settled. But Saiki said that North
Korea refrained from using that phrase. A source engaged in the

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negotiations said: "Although the next round of talks has yet to be
determined, both sides will inevitably have to meet again,"
indicating that Japan and North Korea will hold another round of
talks to express their respective views on North Korea's new

The source also said: "The two countries share the view that they
should promote bilateral ties under the six-party framework, based
on the Pyongyang Declaration."

Japan requested in the first day of the meeting that North Korea
hand over the Japanese radicals who hijacked a JAL plane and took it
to North Korea. This issue was also discussed in the second day of
the meeting. It is conceivable that the North made some proposal.

On the morning of the 12th, North Korea explained its position on
the abduction issue. In the afternoon, both sides discussed such
issues as Japan's wartime acts, including its colonization of the
Korean Peninsula, Japan's economic cooperation after the two
countries normalize their diplomatic ties, and the return of
cultural assets.

7) In-depth discussion held on pending issues in Japan-DPRK talks

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
June 13, 2008

Toru Tamagawa, Beijing, and Yoshihiro Makino

The two-day formal talks in Beijing of working-level foreign affairs
officials from Japan and North Korea wrapped up yesterday. The North
Korean side appeared to make some kind of proposal to the Japanese
side regarding outstanding issues, including the abductions of
Japanese citizens. Details of the talks have yet to be disclosed.
The Japanese negotiator is to return home today and seek a political
decision from Prime Minister Fukuda.

Joining the talks from Japan was Akitaka Saiki, director-general of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
and from North Korea was Song Il Ho, ambassador for diplomatic
normalization talks between Japan and North Korea. After the
session, Saiki told reporters: "We had in-depth discussions about
important pending issues between the two countries in a serious and
constructive mood." When asked about the abduction issue, Saiki
revealed that the North Korean side did not refer to it as its being
already settled and implied that there were in-depth exchanges of

Speaking of the talks, Saiki said, "I will report on the results of
the talks to the prime minister, the foreign minister, and the chief
cabinet secretary and ask for their instructions." According to a
Japanese official concerned with the talks, Saiki will visit the
Kantei today and report to the prime minister about the details of
the talks. Reportedly, Saiki is to brief the family members of
abductees on the talks later in the day. The official indicated that
the talks this time have produced a certain degree of results,
noting, "The talks were tough, but we think we were able to catch a
small fish but not a big one, though."

In the session yesterday, the North Korean side explained its
position on the abduction issue and the issue of how to settle the
past. According to an informed source, North Korea, which earnestly

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wants the United States to delist it as a state sponsor of
terrorism, sounded out Japan about a plan to hand JAL hijackers over
to Japan, with the presence of the hijackers in North Korea being
one of the factors that led the U.S. to list North Korea as a state
sponsor of terrorism. Also, the North Korean side urged Japan to
lift its independent sanctions. Both sides apparently discussed the
possibility of resuming the investigation into abductees.

Tokyo's stance is that even if those hijackers are sent back to
Japan, that will not constitute progress on the abduction issue.
Even if both sides reach agreement to restart the investigation into
the abductees, there is a possibility that North Korea may use the
resumption of the investigation to confirm its assertion that the
abduction issue has been already settled.

8) Japan seeks cooperation from G-8 on abduction issue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

The first day of the G-8 justice and internal affairs ministerial
took place on June 12 at a Tokyo hotel. Justice Minister Kunio
Hatoyama and National Safety Commission Chairman Shinya Izumi, who
co-chaired the meeting, sought cooperation from the G-8 on the
abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea. Participants made no
special statements.

9) Former Prime Minister Abe: Japan should continue hard-line stance
toward North Korea

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
June 13, 2008

Referring in a talk with Naigai News to the launch of a
parliamentary group to place important on dialogue with North Korea,
former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday argued that Japan should
continue to take a hard-line stance against North Korea, noting: "If
many Diet members, including influential legislators, take a lax
response (to Pyongyang), negotiations will not work well. (Lax
responses) do Japan absolutely no good."

Asked about the U.S. government's plan to delist North Korea as
state sponsoring terrorism, Abe pointed out:

"If the United States were to delist the North as a state sponsor of
terrorism, there is a possibility of a negative impact on the
credibility of Japan-U.S. alliance. I want the U.S. to make a policy
decision after considering the matter carefully."

Commenting on the abduction issue, Abe said: "Our perception is that
until the abductees are repatriated, (North Korea is) a state of
sponsor of terrorism."

10) Japan, U.S. to closely cooperate to resolve abduction issue

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

Shinichiro Maki, Paris

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura met with U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice on June 12 in Paris. Both Koumura and Rice are now

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visiting France to attend an Afghanistan donor conference. The two
agreed that since the six-party talks are coming to a crucial
moment, Japan and the United States will continue to cooperate on
the abduction issue.

Koumura said: "Japan would like to have the Afghan issue on the main
agenda for the Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido." He indicated that
Japan as chair of the G-8 would attach importance to the Afghan

11) Foreign Minister Koumura suggests a willingness to relax
sanctions against North Korea following progress on abduction issue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, holding a meeting with U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Paris on June 12, said about
Japan-DPRK talks: "If North Korea takes a step forward, Japan, too,
will take a step forward." Koumura's statement reflects the
government's willingness to consider easing sanctions and other
steps if the North responds to Japan's calls for progress on the
abduction issue.

12) G-8 finance ministerial to start today

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
June 13, 2008

The two-day Group of Eight nations finance ministerial, joined by
Japan, the U.S. European countries and Russia, will start in Osaka
on June 13. The focus of the meeting will be to what extent
participants can agree to cooperate over measures on a growing
concern about global inflation due to the rise in crude oil prices
linked to the weak yen, the steep rise in grain prices, and the
global warming issue.

The G-8 finance ministerial will start on the evening of the 13th at
a dinner meeting joined by finance ministers and officials from
Australia, Thailand, China, South Korea Brazil and South Africa as
well as the G-8 member nations. Japan, the host nation, will aim at
strengthening cooperation with Brazil and China for the prevention
of global warming in the run-up to the G-8 Summit to be held in
Hokkaido in July.

Discussions at the plenary meeting on the 14th will focus on the
movements of the global economy and the turmoil in the financial
market following the subprime mortgage crisis. The meeting will
close on the 14th, after releasing a joint statement on the

Talks between Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and U.S. Treasury
Secretary Paulson will take place on the afternoon of the 13th prior
to the G-8 finance ministerial. The stance of the U.S., which has
recently repeatedly issued statements checking the weak-yen trend,
will be watched with attention.

13) Justice Minister Hatoyama eager for legislation to restrict
child pornography

ASAHI (Page 38) (Full)
June 13, 2008

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Justice Minister Hatoyama met with U.S. Attorney General Mukasey
yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing Group of Eight (G-8)
justice ministers and internal affairs ministers meeting in Tokyo
prior to the Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido. Hatoyama emphasized that
he would make utmost efforts to enact a bill banning "simple
possession" of child pornography. "Fighting the sexual exploitation
of children" is high on the agenda at the G-8 meeting. Hatoyama
said: "I would like to commit myself to enacting the legislation in
a positive manner." Mukasey stated: "Every single pornographic
picture of child is a crime against children. No one wants to live
in a society that allows (people to possess) pornography."

14) Fukuda plans to submit to extra Diet a bill extending MSDF
refueling operation

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
June 13, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda decided yesterday to submit to the next
extraordinary Diet session a bill extending the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law, the legal basis for the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, for one year beyond
its January 2009 expiry. The prime minister concluded it would be
necessary to continue the refueling activities in order for Japan to
cooperate with other countries in the war on terrorism. The
legislation is defined as the top priority in the next Diet session.
If the bill is voted down in the House of Councillors, where the
main opposition Democratic Party of Japan dominates, the ruling
coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner New
Komeito plan to pass the bill by approving it for a second time at
the House of Representatives, where they hold a two-thirds majority,
to enact it before the end of the year.

Although there have been growing calls to establish a permanent law
on the overseas dispatch of the SDF, opinion on the issue in the
ruling parties is still divided. As such, the prime minister,
concluding that enacting a permanent law within this year is
difficult, has decided to give priority to amending the existing
special measures law.

15) LDP executive suggests possible ASDF withdrawal from Iraq

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
June 13, 2008

An Liberal Democratic Party executive said yesterday about the Air
Self-Defense Force, which has been dispatched to Iraq: "In view of
the Constitution and Japan's political situation, it would be
extremely difficult (to continue the deployment) after a U.N.
resolution expires." He thus indicated that there could be an ASDF
withdrawal before the end of the year, citing the fact that the U.N.
resolution, the legal basis for the multinational forces in Iraq, is
to expire at the end of December. This is the first case that any
government or ruling party member has referred to the possibility of
an ASDF withdrawal within the year.

Touching on the legal grounds after the U.N. resolution expires, the
LDP executive indicated that a continued deployment would be
difficult, saying: "Concluding a status of forces agreement with
Iraq would be one idea, but things are not going well for the United
States, either."

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16) Fukuda, Rudd reconfirm Japan, U.S., Australia cooperation;
Concerns eased for time being

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

In their meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and visiting
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reconfirmed trilateral security
cooperation among Japan, Australia and the United States. Japan and
Australia appear to have eased concerns that Rudd, who advocates the
need for strengthening bilateral relations between Australia and
China, may have been more cautious than former Australian Prime
Minister John Howard about trilateral security cooperation.

It is the first time for Rudd to visit Japan since taking office
last December. In the summit, Fukuda told Rudd: "Both countries are
allies of the United States and we are indispensable partners for
peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region." He then proposed
strengthening security cooperation among Japan, the U.S., and
Australia. Rudd responded: "I absolutely agree with you." However, a
government source said: "Rudd has taken a cautious stance toward a
dialogue among Japan, the U.S., Australia, and India, to which China
is opposed."

17) Japan formally announces additional aid totaling 62.2 billion
yen to Afghanistan over several years

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
June 13, 2008

The 4th round of the International Conference on Reconstruction
Assistance to Afghanistan started at a convention hall in Paris on
the morning of June 12. Foreign Minister Koumura in a speech
formally announced Japan's policy of extending additional aid
totaling 550 million dollars (approximately 62.2 billion yen) to the
Afghanistan government and international agencies.

18) LDP Diet members' group advocates Japan accept 10 million
immigrants 50 years from now

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

A group of Liberal Democratic Party Diet members to promote foreign
personnel exchanges, led by former LDP Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa, has put together policy proposals for a national
immigration policy. The report released yesterday proposes that
Japan should be prepared to see immigrants account for 10 PERCENT
of its population 50 years from now.

The report stresses that Japan should aim to become an
immigration-oriented nation in order to maintain its vitality in an
aging society with a declining birthrate. It proposes introducing a
Japanese-style immigration policy to help foreigners to be able to
settle down in local communities. The report also suggests the goal
of setting up an immigration agency responsible for immigration
administration within three years.

19) Economic outlook in monthly report to be revised downward

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)

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June 13, 2008

The government has started coordination with the possibility of
revising downward the economic outlook in the monthly economic
report for June. The move is in response to the economy increasingly
slowing due to the rise in prices of raw materials. Such phrases as
"weakness is observable in some areas" will be added to the overall
economic assessment, which notes that the recovery of the economy
has been at a standstill.

The previous reports noted that production was leveling off and the
pace of the growth of exports was slowing. However, the government
has decided to revise downward the economic outlook, taking into
consideration the facts that the industrial production index has
declined for two months in a row and that robust Asia-bound exports
have begun showing signs of slowing.

The government revised downward the overall economic assessment in
the monthly report for March to say that "the economy is at a
standstill," indicating that the economy entered a temporary slump.

It has since maintained the overall outlook in the following three
months. If it further revises downward the overall outlook in the
June monthly report, concern about a recession will likely grow

20) Action program for low-carbon society: Government clarifies in
draft basic policy guidelines for 2008

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 13, 2008

The draft of basic policy guidelines on economic and fiscal
management and structural reforms for the fiscal 2008 national
budget, which the government is expected to compile in late June,
was revealed yesterday, June 12. Regarding global warming measures,
which will become a main item on the G-8 agenda, the draft
incorporates a government plan to formulate an action program for
the creation of a low-carbon society before the end of this fiscal

For the drastic reform of the tax code, the report mentions that the
inheritance tax will be reviewed in a comprehensive way to ensure
fairness among generations. It also notes that stable fiscal
resources that will support social security should be secured.
However, it does not mention any concrete measures to be taken to
achieve that end, such as a consumption tax hike. The report
includes tax benefits for the dissemination of "200 year housing,"
one of the policy themes into which the prime minister is putting a
lot of work. The draft will be presented at a meeting of the Council
on Economic and Fiscal Policy to be held on the 17th. The prime
minister earlier revealed his policy of reallocating special-purpose
road construction revenues for other uses, but the draft does not
mention specifics.

21) Senkaku issue rekindles in Taiwan; Presidential Office plays up
Taiwan's claim to islands

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 7) (Abridged)
June 13, 2008

The question of sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyu

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in China and Tiaoyu in Taiwan, has flared up again in Taiwan in the
wake of an accident in which a Taiwanese fishing boat sank after
colliding with a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat near the islands on
June 10. The Taiwanese Presidential Office released a statement on
the evening of June 12 renewing its claim that (the Senkaku Islands)
are part of the territory of the Republic of China.

The statement says: "Harshly protesting the fact that the Japanese
marine vessel has sunk the Taiwanese fishing boat in our territorial
waters and has taken the boat's captain into Japanese custody, we
demand the captain's release and compensation."

A Taiwanese foreign affairs department official, holding a press
conference yesterday, indicated that Taiwan would uphold its claim
over the islands. The department chief also yesterday called
representative Ikeda of the Interchange Association, Japan (IAJ),
Taipei office -- Japan's point of contact with Taiwan -- to his
department and expressed Taiwan's "harshest standpoint" once again.
On the day the accident occurred, the department had issued a
statement that stopped short of mentioning the sovereignty issue.
This prompted on June 11 Kuomintang lawmakers and others to
criticize the government as week-kneed.

The Kuomintang-affiliated Taipei governor, visiting the IAJ office
yesterday, demanded an apology and compensation. Around the office,
Taiwanese fishermen also staged a protest rally against Japan.


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