Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/17/08

DE RUEHKO #1988/01 1990759
P 170759Z JUL 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Poll on North Korea delisting (Mainichi)

(2) Seiron column: Delisting of North Korea from U.S. list of state
sponsors of terrorism; Realistic military measures should be taken
into consideration (Sankei)

(3) Seiron (Opinion): U.S. delisting decision based on distorted
interpretation of domestic law (Sankei)

(4) LDP members expect cabinet shuffle before extra Diet session;
Prime Minister Fukuda has not unveiled real intention (Tokyo

(5) Editorial: We are concerned about the skewed organizational
logic in Defense Ministry reform (Tokyo Shimbun)

(6) Letters to the editor (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(7) WTO ministerial to start from July 21: What will come after
concessions? (Asahi)


(1) Poll on North Korea delisting

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
June 16, 2008

Questions & Answers
(T = total; P = previous; M = male; F = female)

Q: North Korea has now declared its nuclear programs, and the United
States will delist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. The
Japanese government welcomes this move as helping resolve the North
Korean nuclear issue. Do you support this stance?

Yes 19 22 17
No 66 69 64

Q: Do you think the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North
Korea is nearing a resolution with the U.S. delisting North Korea as
a state sponsor of terrorism?

Nearing resolution 2 3 2
Far off 47 52 43

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "No answer"

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted July 12-13 over the
telephone across the nation on a computer-aided random digit
sampling (RDS) basis. Answers were obtained from 1,060 persons.

(2) Seiron column: Delisting of North Korea from U.S. list of state
sponsors of terrorism; Realistic military measures should be taken
into consideration

SANKEI (Page 13) (Full)

TOKYO 00001988 002 OF 010

July 16, 2008

Former Ambassador to Thailand Hisahiko Okazaki

It may be premature to discuss the results of the latest six-party
talks at this state.

One reason for that is because all observers are in agreement that
North Korea's nuclear report is not complete. There is no consensus
reached on a method of verifying the credibility of the report.
Whether the U.S. will actually remove that country from its list of
state sponsors of terrorism will not be known until August 11.

Another reason is that outsiders cannot tell what will result from a
reinvestigation into the abduction issue, which North Korea has
promised Japan. If the abduction issue makes major progress, it
would change the evaluation of the U.S. decision to remove North
Korea from its terror-sponsoring list.

I have formed my own conclusions about North Korea's foreign policy
by observing the talks between the U.S. and North Korea since 1994.
The DPRK has the capability of negotiating by giving in on terms
piecemeal and then implementing them.

As a result of the talks in 1994, the nation suspended operations at
its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon in return for receiving 500,000
tons of heavy oil annually and having light-water nuclear reactors
built. It has been properly abiding by this pledge for the past six
years. In the 1999 talks, it pledged to put on hold the launching of
Taepodong missiles in return for a resumption of humanitarian aid
and has fulfilled that pledge.

This means that North Korea can make a deal piecemeal in return for
receiving economic aid, assuming the condition is to place a
temporary moratorium on the use of nuclear facilities or the
launching of missiles, instead of abandoning them completely.
However, it is not known whether North Korea is ready to make
permanent deals, instead of just making piecemeal concessions.

Disabling Yongbyong facilities for about a year

The U.S. has been able to accomplish the disabling of Yongbyong
facilities the decisions reached under the Six-Party talks. I hear
that the point of contention at the talks was whether North Korea
would agree to disable its nuclear facilities to a degree that would
require a year for it to resume operations.

The U.S. has explained that the disabling of nuclear facilities by
North Korea is aimed at the future abolition of such. However,
scrapping those facilities is a long way off. The situation will not

If that is the case, the concession made by North Korea would be to
disable its nuclear facilities to a degree that would take about one
year before they could be restarted. If one considers experience of
the Perry negotiations (1994, 1999), assuming that the (latest)
talks were aimed just to achieve just that one goal (disabling to
the extent that it would take a year to restart), I think it could
probably could have been achieved just by the lifting of the freeze
on the DPRK's bank account at Banco Delta Asia.

However, only rescissible economic benefits were in fact provided as

TOKYO 00001988 003 OF 010

a result of the Perry talks. This time, however, the Six-Party Talks
paid a higher price than that in order to make North Korea commit
itself to disabling its nuclear facilities to a certain extent,
while putting on hold various allegations, such as counterfeiting

There is only one way to justify such a seemingly excessive
concession. As the U.S. government has actually conceded, it is
telling North Korea that the concessions it just made are only the
first step toward a total elimination of its nuclear programs.

This is the point where my view differs from that of the U.S. State
Department. I am highly skeptical whether North Korea, which in
effect declared with its nuclear test in 2006 that it is now a
nuclear power, will abandon such weapons. I harbor doubts about
repeatedly making concessions in the hope that North Korea will
eventually scrap all its nuclear weapons.

Insufficient talks among allies

The U.S. and its allies have successively made concessions, just as
North Korea desired, including the unfreezing of its account at
Banco Delta Asia, delisting it from the U.S. list of state sponsors
of terrorism, and no longer applying the Trading with the Enemy Act
to it. What else is left to the U.S. as a bargaining chip that North
Korea might consider valuable enough to convince it to completely
abandon its nuclear program? Will North Korea appreciate paper
concessions without substance, such as a peace treaty or a security

What might be done, if the prospect were obtained that North Korea
would not abandon its nuclear programs? One answer might be to
continue to call that nation a part of the "axis of evil" or
"outpost for tyranny", as did the Bush administration's policy and
wait for its self-destruction.

Or, carrots and sticks could be used to a maximum extent. It appears
that the harsh response of Japan and the U.S. to its nuclear test in
2006 appears to have dealt a significant blow to the DPRK. What
would have happened if the sanctions had continued for a few more
years? Doubt still remains that the U.S. might have prematurely
tried to reap the benefit of the talks without consultations with
its allies.

If that is the case, they only available way would be continuing to
strengthen pressure, while crafting a realistic military response
with an eye on the possibility of North Korea's arming itself with
nuclear weapons.

It is a glaring fact that the six-party talks this time -- in
effect, U.S.-China talks and U.S.-North Korea talks -- lacked
sufficient prior consultations among U.S. allies. If the forum of
the six-party talks is to be continued, this is a serious challenge
to deal with.

North Korea's completely abandoning its nuclear weapons is the
minimum condition for making the six-party talks a permanent forum.
It is simply weird for North Korea, a de facto nuclear nation, to be
a member of the six-party talks.

(3) Seiron (Opinion): U.S. delisting decision based on distorted
interpretation of domestic law

TOKYO 00001988 004 OF 010

SANKEI (Page 13) (Full)
July 17, 2008

By Tsutomu Nishioka, professor at Tokyo Christian University

The United States government notified Congress on June 26 of its
decision to delist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Prime Minister Fukuda said on June 24: "We should welcome it (the
U.S. decision) if it helps resolve the North Korean nuclear issue,"
stopping short of expressing his opposition to the U.S. decision.
Families of abduction victims frequently visited the U.S. starting
in 2001 and succeeded in having the U.S. include the abduction issue
among the reasons for keeping North Korea on its terror list. Given
this, it is natural for the families to express strong
disappointment with Prime Minister Fukuda and the Foreign Ministry.

Some critics, though, say that abductee families and supporters are
overly dependent on the U.S. Such criticism is based on a
misunderstanding. The media played up the news of Washington's
delisting decision this time, but in 2003, when the U.S. government
added the abductions to the reasons, this news was not prominently
taken up. That is why many Japanese people think mistakenly that the
U.S. had already included the abductions among the reasons when the
North was designated as a sponsor of terrorism in 1988 and later
removed the issue from the conditions in response to a request by

The U.S. is required to refrain from offering economic aid,
excluding humanitarian aid, to the countries on its blacklist and to
oppose any aid plans by international financial institutions, its
investment destinations, for the countries.

To take a certain country off the list, the president needs to
submit to Congress a report that can show that the nation: (1) did
not offer support for international terrorist groups over the past
six months; and (2) guarantees that it will not offer support in the
future. The delisting decision goes into effect 45 days after the
submission of the report.

The U.S. designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in
1988 for such reasons as the incident of the bombing of a KAL
airliner the previous year. The first case of an abduction
recognized by the Japanese government occurred in 1977, but the U.S.
State Department never cited the abductions as a reason for
designating North Korea as a sponsor of terrorism in annual reports
on international terrorism submitted by the Department to the
Congress -- at least it did not until 2003, when abductee families
called for the U.S. government's help in resolving the issue.

The idea of delisting North Korea surfaced suddenly in 2000. At that
time, there was a movement for the Asian Development Bank to extend
loans to North Korea under the lead of South Korea. To join the
movement, the U.S. needed to take the North off the list. In a move
to delist that nation, the Clinton administration even issued a
joint antiterrorism declaration with Pyongyang. This move was
suddenly suspended with the launching of the Bush administration.
Seeing that, abductee families and supporters, including this
writer, began efforts in 2001 to persuade the U.S. to include the
abductions among the reasons for listing North Korea as a terrorism

TOKYO 00001988 005 OF 010

The U.S. State Department defines "a terrorist act" as "a violent
act against civilians by a group under a state government or by
agents, based on systematic and political motives and also an
intention to affect ordinary people." Based on the definition, North
Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals are naturally labeled
as "a terrorist act."

The problem is that a series of abductions occurred from the late
1970s through the early 1980s, and no case has been reported
recently that would meet the condition of "within six months" after
the series of abductions. When considering the fact that many
abduction victims have yet to be returned to Japan, however, it can
be even interpreted that the terrorist act is still going on. Based
on this view, Japan has continued to urge the U.S. to properly apply
its relevant law, emphasizing that the abductions are still an
ongoing terrorist act.

In response to Japan's repeated request, Deputy Secretary of State
Armitage clearly said: "The abduction issue should be one of the
reasons for designating North Korea as a state sponsor of
terrorism," during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in February 2003 and when he met in March the
same year with representatives from Association of the Families of
Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, the National Association for the
Rescuing of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, and the group of Diet
members dealing with the abduction issue. He referred to the
abduction issue in the report on international terrorism released in
April 2004. Although some newspapers have insisted that the U.S.
government has made no other pledges than just saying it would
"consider it," their assertion is not correct.

But under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Bush
administration changed its policy and began to say that a solution
of the abduction issue is not a precondition for delisting Pyongyang
under U.S. law. The U.S. notified Congress of its delisting decision
by revising its interpretation of domestic law not for the sake of
Japan, a U.S. ally, but for the sake of North Korea, a sponsor of
terrorism. That is why many Japanese are seriously concerned that
the foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance has been undermined.

(4) LDP members expect cabinet shuffle before extra Diet session;
Prime Minister Fukuda has not unveiled real intention

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
July 17, 2008

With the closing of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Hokkaido, the
primary concern in the capital district of Nagatacho is a shuffle of
the cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP). The prevailing view in the ruling parties is that Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda will shuffle his cabinet in late August before
the opening of an extraordinary Diet session. Fukuda has, however,
reiterated that he has no plans to do so. Since even senior ruling
coalition members cannot predict the timing and the scale of a
shuffle, confusion is spreading across the ruling coalition.

Since the close of the G-8 summit, opinion in the ruling camp has
been that Fukuda will shuffle his cabinet at an early date in a bid
to form one that could be called his own.

It is not realistic to carry out a shuffle after an extra Diet
session is convened. The expectation is that the extra session will

TOKYO 00001988 006 OF 010

run until December. An ordinary session will be convened early next
year. The term of the House of Representatives will expire in
September next year. Given this timeline, the dominant view in the
ruling camp is that this will be the last chance for the prime
minister to shuffle his cabinet.

The Fukuda cabinet's approval ratings increased slightly in recent
opinion polls, with no boost coming from the G-8 summit as Fukuda
had hoped. This has strengthened speculation that Fukuda has no
choice but to shuffle his cabinet in order to boost his
administration's popularity.

Fukuda, however, has not clarified his intention, just saying: "I
will consider what I should consider." He then started his summer
vacation yesterday.

Fukuda has not shared his innermost thoughts even with former Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori, Fukuda's backer. Mori has complained that
Fukuda is noncommittal when receiving Mori's advice. A senior LDP
member sighed as he said: "Nobody has heard from the prime minister
as to whether he will shuffle his cabinet or not."

With nobody able to read Fukuda, talk continues within the LDP on
the timing and extent of a cabinet shuffle.

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima on July 15
advised Fukuda to shuffle the cabinet soon, saying: "If you shuffle
the cabinet, it will be essential for you to ask new cabinet
ministers to be ready for posts." A mid-level LDP lawmaker said: "If
a small number of cabinet members are replaced, it will be possible
to carry out a shuffle immediately before the opening of the extra
Diet session."

However, many LDP members favor a major shuffle. A senior New
Komeito member said: "It should be a major shuffle or none at all. A
minor shuffle would be the worst." An LDP faction chief stressed: "I
will obtain one of the four executive posts."

(5) Editorial: We are concerned about the skewed organizational
logic in Defense Ministry reform

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
July 17, 2008

Organizational logic seems to be overshadowing the starting point of
preventing a recurrence of misconducts by Defense Ministry
officials. A report compiled by the government's Council on Reform
of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) gives us a strong feeling that the
focus of attention in the discussion has shifted before we were even
aware of it. Can this approach really revitalize the ministry?

MOD was hit by a series of scandals last year, including a bribery
case involving former Administrative Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa
Moriya and a cover-up of the underreported amount of fuel Japan
supplied to a U.S. supply vessel. Because serious doubts have
emerged about how civilian control should be carried out, the reform
council was launched to write prescriptions under the lead of the
Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei).

The report consists of two parts: examinations of the scandals and
specific proposals. Condemning the Moriya scandal over defense
equipment procurement as a breach of trust, the report includes

TOKYO 00001988 007 OF 010

measures for increasing transparency in procurement by such means as
producing and disclosing conference minutes.

It also calls for the strict observance of regulations and the
establishment of professionalism to change the mentality of SDF
personnel. The need to specify such basics tells the seriousness of
the matter. There is no denying that the policy to deal with
scandals is designed to please everyone.

The part on organizational reform is superficial.

The report is designed to consolidate the operation of units and
defense capability buildup functions, while generally keeping the
overall framework of the Joint Staff Office and the staff offices of
the three SDF forces intact. To eliminate sectionalism, the council
has also come up with a plan to establish some mixed units of
personnel from both civilian and uniformed staff and to strengthen
the functions of the control tower of the prime minister and the
defense minister.

Aiming at the strict enforcement of civilian control not by civilian
officers but by lawmakers is understandable. But how this would lead
to the elimination of misconduct remains unclear. It also bothers us
that the council's interest has shifted to organizational reform
from around the time when Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba proposed a
large-scale restructuring plan.

Since then, there have been clashes of interests between the
civilian and uniformed groups who desperately want to defend their
authority. As the tug-of-war in the ministry has intensified,
self-reflection of the misconducts seems to have been left behind. A
council member raised a question about the pitched battle for
tampering with the reorganization.

It would be preposterous if reform from the people's perspective
became reform from the MOD's viewpoint.

Although the council has produced its report, the past scandals will
not vanish like smoke. The public's eye on the ministry remains
severe. Defense Minister Ishiba will reportedly set up a team later
this week tasked with crafting concrete plans. Unless MOD presents
convincible reform plans, it will never be able to restore public

(6) Letters to the editor

Maher's remarks ignore Okinawa public

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 5) (Full)
July 17, 2008

By Takatoshi Oshiro, 70, Tomigusuku City

I believe many people in Okinawa found the Ryukyu Shimpo's July 13
editorial critical of Maher's comments quite agreeable. U.S. Consul
General in Okinawa Kevin Maher has made various comments offensive
to the people of Okinawa regarding the reversed positions of the
ruling and opposition blocs in the prefectural assembly, a Futenma
Air Station noise suit and other matters.

Nevertheless, he is a U.S. government spokesperson. His past
statements have simply exposed the facts that there are issues and

TOKYO 00001988 008 OF 010

that he has an unusual personality. The problem here is the U.S.
government's stance.

It is said that U.S. politics is based on popular will. U.S.
senators and representatives value the voices of people of their
constituencies. Their eyes are not directed at their parties or the
president. It is the foundation of democratic politics.

But when it comes to matters of other countries, their minds do not
work the same way. They carry things out in defiance of how the
people of Okinawa think. But they can probably no longer ignore the
Okinawa public's persistent resistance movement.

Consul general's remarks incomprehensible

By Tetsuhiko Minamoto, 61, Tokashiki Village

Making provocative remarks often, Maher has rubbed the feelings of
the Okinawa public the wrong way. It is like fingernails across a
blackboard. U.S. Consul General in Okinawa Kevin Maher is truly an
interesting person. He has a nice face, but what he says is totally
incomprehensible. He is either misunderstanding the times, or his
watch runs backwards.

Aircraft landing at and taking off from Futenma Air Station always
fly over residential areas. Even former Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld described the situation as "too dangerous" in amazement. In
other words, it would be impossible to build a base in such a place
in the United States.

Consul General Maher said: "The question is why the city has allowed
the construction of houses outside the base near its runway."

To us, the big question is why the airfield sits in the middle of

The logic presumably is that it is dangerous to build houses near
the airfield, which was there first. Maher's view is the same as the
approach-to-danger argument, which is illogical. The base needs to
get out of Okinawa.

(By Magiri Yafuso)

Dear Governor Nakaima:

Relocating the residents who live around the base is the best way to
eliminate the danger of Futenma Air Station.


U.S. Consul-General Kevin Maher

(7) WTO ministerial to start from July 21: What will come after

ASAHI (Page 6) (Full)
July 17, 2008

A ministerial of the multilateral trade liberalization talks (Doha
Round) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held in Geneva
starting on July 21. Many observers are of the opinion that there is
a fifty-fifty chance of the meeting reaching an agreement on trade

TOKYO 00001988 009 OF 010

liberalization. In order to wrap up an agreement, it would be
unavoidable for Japan to make concessions to a certain degree. In
the agricultural area, there is a possibility of farm products other
than rice being affected by the outcome of the ministerial.

Increase in imports unavoidable


Former Agriculture Minister Yoshio Yatsu, a key member of the farm
policy clique (norin-zoku) in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
spoke at a gathering in Hirakawa-cho, Tokyo July 16 about how to
handle the WTO ministerial: "I think Japan should walk out of the
WTO, (if the ministerial comes up with a decision disadvantageous to
it)." The audience of about 1,000 people applauded his words. About
1.4 million farm households are a major support base for the ruling
parties. How to treat rice is a major issue at the Doha Round.

As a result of the Uruguay Round, the WTO adopted a tariff formula
for rice. At present a 778 PERCENT tariff is imposed on that
commodity by Japan. Discussions at the Doha Round are focusing on
lowering tariffs on agricultural products. It would be difficult for
Japan to reject tariff cuts, if it wants to see the Doha Round reach
common ground. Since protecting domestic agriculture is a common
issue for WTO member nations, the proposal by the chair of the
agricultural negotiations group provides key items on which high
tariffs can be imposed.

However, even if rice is designated as a key item, Japan would be
urged to increase its imports. The chair's proposal calls for
imports of 3 PERCENT -6 PERCENT of domestic consumption, according
to tariff rates reduced. Japan imports approximately 770,000 tons of
rice from abroad as minimum-access rice (MA rice). Since Japan's
rice consumption is approximately 8.28 million tons, it would have
to increase rice imports by 250,000 tons to 500,000 tons. The MA
rice is used for food processing or as foreign aid. Only about 10
PERCENT is used as a food staple. However, a person in charge at
the JA Zenchu views that if rice imports increase and some portions
are put on the market, pressure would build to lower rice prices.

Concern about being unable to protect key items that can be treated
as exception

Rice is not the only agricultural item that becomes an issue in
negotiations. Regarding key items, which can be treated as
exception, the chairman proposed that 4 PERCENT -6 PERCENT of all
food items be treated as key items, but Japan is insisting on 10
PERCENT -15 PERCENT . If Japan is to give in, sugar and starch will
likely be targeted.

Regarding designated tariff quota items, free or lower tariff rates
can be applied within the designated quota, but higher tariff rates
are applied for imports exceeding this quota. According to the
proposal made by chairman of the agricultural negotiations group,
items that are not designated as such cannot be designated as key
items. Among Japan's main high tariff agricultural products, sugar
and starch can be categorized as such items. A source related to an
agricultural cooperative said, "If Japan cannot give in on rice or
wheat, then it may have to give up maintaining those items as key

President Arizuka (76) of the Kawanishi Agricultural Cooperative in

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Obihiro City noted, "Prime Minister Fukuda has committed himself to
raising Japan's food self-sufficiency ratio. I believe politics will
tackle this issue properly."


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