Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/07/08
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 07/07/08
1) Top headlines
Bush-Fukuda summit meeting:
3) President Bush, Prime Minister Fukuda in Hokkaido summit meeting
agree to closely cooperate on North Korea nuclear and abduction
4) Gist of Bush-Fukuda exchange in bilateral meeting (Nikkei)
5) President Bush eager to persuade Japan of U.S. sincerity on
abduction issue, but dilemma on policy toward North Korea remains
6) Perception gap exists between U.S., Japan over cooperation on
North Korea policy (Nikkei)
7) After eight years of the Bush administration, the golden age of
U.S.-Japan alliance may be over (Mainichi)
8) Time to rethink the practice of dickering over the price of the
U.S-Japan alliance: Asahi bureau chief Yoichi Kato (Asahi)
9) Prime Minister Fukuda surprises President Bush with a cake on his
62nd birthday (Tokyo Shimbun)
10) On Olympics controversy, Bush, Fukuda stress sports and politics
should be kept separate (Mainichi)
11) Fukuda formally announces that he will attend the Olympics
opening ceremony (Tokyo Shimbun)
12) President Bush remains reluctant to go along with Japan-promoted
goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half (Mainichi)
13) Japan, Russia agree to cooperate on measures to protect the
environment threat to the Sea of Okhotsk (Sankei)
14) Government to provide India with 30 billion yen in ODA loans to
introduce energy conserving machinery (Sankei)
15) Ruling and opposition camps both split into hardliners and
softliners on dealing with North Korea issues (Nikkei) 11
1) TOP HEADLINES
Japan, U.S. confirm cooperation on abduction issue, remain split
over global warming
Mainichi, Yomiuri & Nikkei:
Japan, U.S. leaders assure close cooperation on nuke, abduction
Fukuda, Bush both favoring nuclear issue over abductions
President Bush: "I will not abandon Japan"
Toyota Motor pays 190 billion yen in tax
(1) Japan-U.S. relations: Twilight of Bush era
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(2) New National Theatre, Tokyo: Constructive debate on arts urged
(1) G-8 Toyako Summit: Intrinsic value of Japan-U.S. alliance to be
(2) Primary LDP presidential election extremely effective to select
(1) Japan-U.S. summit: North Korea must act on nukes, abductees
(2) Middle East peace efforts: What should be done to make most of
(1) Toyako talks have eased Japan-U.S. relations, but
(2) Banning dispatch of day workers good?
(1) Japan-U.S. summit: How will Japan and U.S. cooperate over
(2) Re-restriction on taxes: Reform of tax service industry should
be done first
(1) Fukuda-Bush talks: Abduction issue should be resolved as two
leaders assured cooperation
(2) Recovery of farm land: Japan must increase self-supply ratio
(1) Ban on dispatch of day workers: Worker Dispatch Law should be
3) Japan, U.S. to closely cooperate on nuclear, abduction issues
MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
July 7, 2008
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda met with U.S. President Bush yesterday
for about one and a half hours at the Windsor Hotel Toya in the town
of Toyako in Hokkaido, where this year's Group of Eight (G-8) summit
will be held. The two leaders agreed that the Japan-U.S. alliance
has greatly deepened in the 21st century, and they also confirmed
that Japan and the United States will further strengthen the
alliance. Concerning North Korea's nuclear and abduction issues,
Fukuda and Bush agreed that Japan and the United States will
continue to cooperate closely. When it comes to global warming, they
went no further than to clarify their stance of cooperating in an
aim to reach an agreement at the G-8 summit.
"The alliance between Japan and the United States has greatly
deepened in the security and economic areas and also in human
exchanges and various other areas since January 2001 (when Bush came
into office)," Fukuda said, stressing that the bilateral alliance is
now wide-ranging from a security standpoint. "That's welcome," Bush
said. He also said, "The Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation for
the United States' diplomacy in East Asia."
Touching on North Korea, Bush said the United States "will not
forget" the abduction issue. "There is no change at all in the
United States' position clearly supporting Japan's position
concerning the abduction issue," he added. Fukuda noted: "The
important thing is what to do now. We must sufficiently verify North
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Korea's declaration of its nuclear programs." The two leaders agreed
to verify the declaration in a thoroughgoing way in order for North
Korea to abandon its nuclear programs completely.
4) Main points from Japan-U.S. summit talks
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 7, 2008
The following is a gist of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting between
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and U.S. President Bush:
Fukuda, Bush: The alliance between Japan and the United States is
the foundation of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Fukuda: Since 2001 when President Bush came into office, the
Japan-U.S. alliance has greatly deepened with enhanced cooperation
in the security and economic areas.
Bush: I agree. We will continue to strengthen our cooperation.
Fukuda, Bush: Japan and the United States will need to sufficiently
verify North Korea's nuclear declaration in order for North Korea to
abandon all its nuclear weapons and nuclear programs as the ultimate
Fukuda: In the recent talks with Japan, North Korea agreed to
reinvestigate the abduction issue. However, they have gone no
further than follow words with more words; they should immediately
proceed to the stage of action for action (on the abduction issue,
Bush: The United States has not changed at all its stance of clearly
supporting Japan's position on the abduction issue.
Fukuda: Relations between Japan and various countries in Asia are in
good shape. This is the fruit of cooperation between Japan and the
United States. Japan and China have improved relations through such
steps as reaching an agreement on the issue of gas field development
in the East China Sea.
Bush: I welcome it.
Fukuda: Japan wishes to promote cooperation with the United States
on African development.
Bush: We will cooperate.
Fukuda, Bush: Japan and the United States agree to continue to
cooperate in the Group of Eight (G-8) summit meeting (on July 8) and
the major emitters meeting (MEM) (on July 9).
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5) U.S. President trying hard to dispel distrust of U.S. growing in
Japan over abduction issue
SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
July 7, 2008
U.S. President Bush in a meeting with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
held after arriving in Japan yesterday reiterated his
administration's basic policy of never allowing the issue of North
Korea's past abductions of Japanese citizens to be forgotten. Bush
focused attention on the issue in the meeting in an effort to
mitigate growing distrust of the U.S. within Japan for its decision
to delist Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism. In a joint
press conference, although the President spoke from the heart
repeatedly about the emphasis his administration placed on Japan, he
is eager to pave the way for resolving the North Korea nuclear
problem as a crowning diplomatic achievement. With only less than
200 days left until the President leaves office, the question is
which issue will the Bush administration give priority to.
"The U.S. stance of supporting Japan's position remains unchanged."
President Bush has repeated this remark since he notified Congress
late last month of his decision to delist the North, keeping in mind
Japan and the Congress, where distrust of North Korea runs deep.
Prior to the Japan-U.S. summit, National Security Council Asian
Director Dennis Wilder, who is accompanying the President on his
visit to Japan, told U.S. reporters: "The Japanese people have an
extremely distinct feeling about positive progress (on the abduction
issue)." He added: "The Japanese prime minister is also hopeful of
hearing the President's words promising (to help resolve the
Wilder's statement indicates the U.S. government's bewilderment at
the fact that Japanese public's reactions to the U.S. delisting
decision are fiercer than it had anticipated.
President Bush has had strong confidence in his relationships with
Britain and Japan. Wilder pointed out: "Japan-U.S. relations under
the Bush administration entered a golden age." But Bush still cites
only former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi as a friend who helped
create that golden age. The President had not anticipated that he
had to use such caution in making remarks intended for Japan.
It is also true that Washington's removal of obstacles in succession
in promoting relations with North Korea, starting with lifting
financial sanctions, apparently represents the Bush administration's
policy being at an impasse. But its anxiety to produce positive
results on issues with North Korea could lead to undermining the
foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance. If his commitment to help
Japan resolve the abduction issue proved to be just lip service, the
next U.S. president may be pressed with the task of repairing
relations with Japan.
6) President Bush puts high priority on North Korea's
denuclearization, while Prime Minister Fukuda stresses need to
resolve abduction issue at same time; Gap in motives for cooperation
over North Korean evident
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 7 2008
TOKYO 00001844 005 OF 011
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and President George W. Bush confirmed
in their meeting yesterday a policy course to aim at settling the
issue of denuclearizing North Korea in tandem with the question of
Japanese nationals abducted by the North. In the joint press
conference that followed the bilateral meeting, President Bush first
touched upon the abduction issue out of concern over growing
anti-U.S. sentiment in Japan in reaction to the President's
notification to Congress of his decision to delist North Korea as a
state sponsor of terrorism. At the same time, the President
indicated that he would push the nuclear issue forward based on the
principle of action for action. A gulf with Japan, which puts top
priority on the abduction issue, is clear.
Referring to his meeting (in 2006) with Sakie Yokota, the mother of
abductee Megumi Yokota, President Bush said: "As a father of little
girls, I can't imagine what it would be like to have my daughter
just disappear." President Bush, a father of two daughters, also
repeatedly indicated that the United States will not ignore the
abandon issue or abandon Japan.
At the same time, the President announced that the North's
declaration of its nuclear programs and actions and the detonation
of a cooling tower have been "verified," describing them as "a
positive step." In connection with Washington's decision of take the
North off its list of terrorist blacklist, President Bush also said:
"North Korea is the most sanctioned nation in the world," adding,
"We have other concerns, and one such concern, of course, is the
abduction issue." There is visibly a difference in views between the
United States and Japan, which puts high priority on the abduction
Meanwhile, touching on progress on the nuclear issue, Prime Minister
Fukuda showed a degree of understanding toward America's policy,
saying, "As far as the nuclear issue is concerned, we have moved on
to a new phase," adding, "I think we need to make sure this will be
successful. At the same time, in parallel, we need to bring the
abduction issue to successful conclusion, as well."
On the diplomatic front, President Bush, who will leave office in
six months, cannot expect substantial results on any challenges
other than the North Korean issue. In line with an agreement to
handle the North's highly enriched uranium (HEU) program separately,
Pyongyang's declaration did not include information on nuclear
weapons that directly affect the security of Japan. The Bush
administration still hailed Pyongyang's declaration as a "positive
step" based on the principle of action for action, though with a
tinge of wariness.
The six-party talks are now approaching the end of the second phase
consisting of disabling the North's nuclear facilities and the
declaration of its nuclear programs. The focus is on whether Japan
will join the program to provide 950,000 tons of heavy oil to the
North. In the third phase, full-fledged energy aid to the North in
return for dismantling nuclear facilities and abolishing nuclear
weapons will be a subject of discussion. The gulf between the United
States and Japan is likely to expand in this phase.
A high-ranking U.S. official recently underlined the need to move
the stalled plan to realign U.S. force in Japan forward. President
Bush, too, called for Japan's cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan,
as well as on Iran's nuclear program. Security issues cover
wide-ranging areas, including multilateral cooperation. If the
TOKYO 00001844 006 OF 011
fissure between Washington and Tokyo deepens over the North Korean
nuclear and the abduction issues, it might have a negative impact on
the overall Japan-U.S. alliance.
7) "Golden age" of Japan-U.S. relations under Bush administration
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
July 7, 2008
After his meeting with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, U.S. President
George W. Bush yesterday expressed his appreciation for Japan's
contributions to Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to the Japan-U.S.
summit yesterday, National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director
for Asian Affairs Dennis Wilder told the press in a strong tone:
"The Bush administration has built a golden age of the U.S.-Japan
The more the significance of the Japan-U.S. alliance was
underscored, the more the sense of exhilaration of the golden age
The terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001,
greatly changed the course of U.S. foreign policy. Then Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi immediately supported the U.S.-led war on
terrorism. Along with Britain, Koizumi even supported the Bush
administration's unilateral attack on Iraq in March 2003. Bush
called Koizumi "his best friend." The Japan-U.S. golden era was
strongly backed by the good relationship between Bush and Koizumi.
Fukuda said yesterday that the cooperative relations between Japan
and the United States have taken shape further and stabilized and
that various types of cooperation have been carried out. To that
end, the Japanese government has enacted security-related laws one
after another. Japan dispatched its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to a
battlefield for the first time in the postwar period.
The meaning of the alliance has changed to the "Japan-U.S. alliance
in the world."
Pro-U.S. governments have been inaugurated in Germany and France,
which opposed the United States when the Bush administration started
the Iraq war, but the Koizumi government and the British government
of Prime Minister Tony Blair have gone. Since Washington has now
taken a policy of placing emphasis on international cooperation, the
presence of Japan and Britain has generally weakened.
Late last year, President Bush instructed Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice to produce some diplomatic achievements on North
Korea. The President must be caught now between his desire for a
historical legacy and his effort to place importance on the
8) The Bush administration and Japan: Time to rethink the practice
of dickering over the price of the alliance; After 9/11, U.S. lost
its room for maneuvering on security issues (Asahi)
ASAHI (Page 9) (Full)
July 4, 2008
By American Bureau Chief Yoichi Kato
TOKYO 00001844 007 OF 011
President Bush's roundtable with the Japanese press on July 2 was
probably the last such press conference he will do in office. That
is because until next January, when he leaves the Oval Office, there
are no plans for him to revisit Japan. Although it is still early,
one can say that the Japan-U.S. alliance has reached a turning point
with the ending of the Bush administration.
Mr. Bush summed it up: "While I have been in office, the U.S.-Japan
bilateral relationship has become extremely good." He used the word
"cornerstone" three times, in the sense that the U.S.' alliance
relationship with Japan has been most important to America's Asia
diplomacy. He even affirmed: "We no longer have to negotiate base
issues. That is because our bilateral relationship has made it
possible to manage such issues."
However, the seven-year period since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on
the U.S. can be said to have been a severe time for Japan, in that
the meaning of having an alliance with the United States has been
put to the test. After 9/11, the U.S. lost any room for maneuvering
in its alliance relationships, having turned its eyes away from
anything except its own national security.
After 9/11, when the government was presenting anti-terrorist
special measures legislation to the Diet to make it possible (for
the Self-Defense Forces) to carry out operations on the high seas in
the Indian Ocean, a government official told a certain Diet member,
"It is vital to Japan that the U.S. come to our aid should something
happen on the Korean Peninsula." For Japan to have misgivings at the
time about the U.S. possibly abandoning it on North Korea issues is
indeed ironic. However, what seems to be the basis for such fear was
the perceived limits of the alliance-management policy, namely, the
practice of looking at the haggling or dickering over the price of
the alliance while watching the reactions of the American side.
It would be fine if the U.S. had the leeway to carefully watch out
for Japanese interests, but after 9/11, everything changed. Instead,
allies of the U.S. were faced with a difficult choice, undergoing a
test of loyalty in which the U.S., no longer able to be content with
the current state of old allies, evaluated them on whether they
would join a new "coalition of the willing."
As a result, when North Korea successfully carried out a nuclear
test, it led to a diminution of the feeling that Japan was safe from
nuclear attack, which had been the foundation of Japan's security.
The Washington Post reported on July 2 that the number of U.S.
soldiers killed in Afghanistan in June was the highest there ever.
Just when public security in Iraq has been recovering to a certain
degree, the focal point of the U.S.' war on terror has shifted to
Afghanistan. For Japan, this brings up the issue of whether to
extend the Indian Ocean refueling law that expires next January.
Why is it necessary to assist Afghanistan? In answering my question,
the President replied: "It is because Al Qaeda is using (that
country) as a safe haven from which it could even attack Japan."
Expectations of Japan are high in the Obama camp, as well. It is
doubtful that Japan really shares the threat consciousness that
accompanies going beyond the risk until now of assisting the U.S.
On global warming, the top item on the agenda of the Toyako Summit
in Hokkaido, the President took a stance of avoiding a simple
TOKYO 00001844 008 OF 011
compromise on setting a target for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, which the Fukuda administration is aiming to achieve.
The practice until now of niggling over the price of the alliance is
a method by Japan that no longer passes U.S. muster. From now on,
Japan, while carefully keeping an eye on its own national interests,
must clearly be seen as doing what it must do in running its
diplomacy. The seven and a half years of the Bush administration
have taught Japan that reality.
9) Bush celebrates 62nd birthday with ballpark-shaped cake from
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
July 7, 2008
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda threw a dinner party last night for U.S.
President George W. Bush who turned 62 yesterday. The event was
highlighted by a birthday cake for Bush from Fukuda that was in the
shape of the ballpark of the Texas Rangers, a Major League Baseball
team Bush co-owned.
Bush said in appreciation: "When I was young, I thought 62 was old.
I'm 62 now, and I don't feel that way at all. I am looking forward
to riding a mountain bike during my stay in Japan."
10) Fukuda, Bush to attend Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony;
"Sports and politics are two separate matters," two leaders say
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
July 7, 2008
In a joint press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
and U.S. President George W. Bush expressed the significance of
attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games on
August 8. The two leaders appear to have given consideration to
China, which has come under criticism for cracking down on the riots
Emphasizing that the Olympics are sports events, President Bush
stated: "If we did not attend the opening ceremony, such would mean
to insult the Chinese people. If not taking part, it would be
difficult for us to hold frank discussions with Chinese leaders."
The President indicated that he would urge Chinese President Hu
Jintao in a meeting on July 9 to improve human rights and freedom of
religion. Fukuda revealed for the first time his intention to attend
the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. He then said: "I would
like to attend the opening ceremony with the hope that our
neighboring country will become a healthy, bright country."
11) Fukuda officially announces his decision to attend Beijing
Olympics opening ceremony
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Abridged)
July 7, 2008
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda officially announced in a joint press
conference after the Japan-U.S. summit yesterday that he will attend
the August 5 opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. As the reason
of his decision to addend the event, the prime minister said: "The
Olympics is a sporting event, and we want people to really live up
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to the spirit of the sports, sportsmanship. And I certainly
12) U.S. cautious about long-term goal of halving greenhouse gas
emissions by 2050
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 7, 2008
U.S. President Bush remained cautious in a press conference held
after a meeting with Prime Minister Fukuda yesterday about the goal
of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This long-term
goal will be a key theme of discussions on global warming at the
Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido. Fukuda said: "We will continue to work
together at the Group of Eight (G-8) Summit." But the two leaders
stopped short of any specific reference to the goal. The G-8 leaders
are expected to endeavor to coordinate views on the long-term goal
until the last minute of the summit.
Bush emphasized: "I am a pragmatist. It will be impossible to
resolve the problem unless China and India share our view,"
indicating his unwillingness to agree (on the long-term goal) at the
G-8 Summit if China and India, whose greenhouse gas emissions are
sharply increasing recently, do not agree on it.
Japan, which chairs the G-8 Summit this year, is aiming at bringing
about agreements on common goals among the G-8 nations and other
matters in an effort to gain more results than at the G-8 Summit in
Germany last year, in which the joint statement used this abstract
expression: "The goal of halving gas emissions will be studied in a
serious manner." Bush's remark yesterday in one sense indicates his
disapproval of such an expectation by Japan.
Meanwhile, Bush stated that the U.S. is also studying the
possibility of issuing a constructive statement. This remark can be
taken as indicating the President's eagerness to produce some
results at the major economies' meeting (MEM) to be held under the
lead of the U.S. on the last day of the G-8 Summit. The U.S. stance
will inevitably incur criticism from European countries.
A Foreign Ministry official said: "Various views were presented, but
we would like to refrain from giving an explanation since
negotiations on the contents of a joint document are now underway."
13) Japan, Russia to agree to cooperate in protecting environment in
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
July 7, 2008
The leaders of Japan and Russia will agree in a bilateral meeting
tomorrow to cooperate in protecting the environment in the Sea of
Okhotsk, according to informed sources yesterday. Japan and Russia
remain unable to resolve the pending Northern Territories issue, but
they aim to build a cooperative relationship by jointly protecting
the environment in the waters near the territories.
The two governments have decided to cooperate in working out
measures to protect the environment, including the protection of the
ecosystem, in the waters between the two countries. China has
contaminated the waters around Japan as a result of its rapid
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Observers expect that Japan and Russia will agree to examine the
state of marine pollution and then to work out measures to protect
the ecosystem. Strengthened measures by Japan and Russia to protect
the environment in the waters near the two countries will lead to
the security of marine resources such fishes and crabs. As a Chinese
diplomatic source called Russia as "a great power from China's
perspective," strengthened ties between Russia and Japan will work
to apply political pressure to China.
Climate and environment issues are high on the agenda at the Lake
Toya Summit in Hokkaido. The government, while also placing emphasis
on bilateral approaches, intends to make use of the Summit as an
opportunity to "give specificity to what it should do with its
neighbors," a government source said. By expanding cooperative ties
with Russia in the environment sector, Japan aims to build a
relationship of trust with that nation, with an eye on a settlement
of the Northern Territories issue.
14) Government to provide India with yen loans of 30 billion yen as
assistance to introduce energy-conserving machinery
SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
July 6, 2008
It was learned yesterday that the government has firmed up its
intention to provide India with yen loans worth 30 billion yen to
assist that country in introducing energy-conserving machinery. The
aim is to pressure India to adopt measures to counter global
warming. At the Hokkaido Toyako Summit that opens on July 7, the
focus will be on debating a post-Kyoto Protocol international
framework for the period beyond 2013 aimed at reducing
greenhouse-gas emissions. In that context, by strengthening
energy-conservation assistance to India, a major gas emitter, Japan
will urge that country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
15) North Korea Policy: Sense of frustration in both hard-line and
dialogue favoring groups
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 7, 2008
A series of statements yesterday coming out of the ruling and
opposition camps on the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korean
agents revealed that there still is a lot of skepticism among
lawmakers about the Bush administration's stance of cooperating on
the abduction issue. A sense of impasse has emerged in both those
favoring a hard-line approach toward Pyongyang and others who place
priority on a dialogue with that country.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Committee on Abduction Issue Chairman
Shoichi Nakagawa made this comment on yesterday's Japan-U.S. summit:
"I felt a sense of aloofness (about the abduction issue). I don't
expect much to happen at the Summit." In a national gathering on the
abduction issue held in Matsuyama City, Takeo Hiranuma, chairman of
the Parliamentary League for Early Repatriation of Japanese Citizens
Kidnapped by North Korea, stressed: "There should be economic
sanctions rather than a dialogue." Now rudderless since the U.S.
decided to delist North Korea as a country sponsoring terrorism,
many hard-liners find their level of frustration to be growing.
On the other hand, Tetsundo Iwakuni, vice chairman of the
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Parliamentary Group to Promote Normalization of Diplomatic Ties
between Japan and North Korea, stated: "We should consider lifting
sanctions only on humanitarian exchanges." Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama criticized the Japan-U.S.
summit, saying: "The two leaders did not underscore the abductions.
They held a perfunctory discussion."