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Cablegate: Little Goj Response to Massive Fishermen's Strike

VZCZCXRO0610
PP RUEHAST RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHTM
DE RUEHKO #2001 2000835
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180835Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5962
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4458
RUEHML/AMEMBASSY MANILA 1221
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2431
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0448
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8946
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 7156
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1320
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2675
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9529
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 0031
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 7088
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDC/NOAA NMFS WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TOKYO 002001

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES/OMC (BILL GIBBONS-FRY AND DAVID HOGAN),
OEC/OMC (HOLLY KOEHLER), AND EAP/J

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EFIS ETRD SENV JA
SUBJECT: LITTLE GOJ RESPONSE TO MASSIVE FISHERMEN'S STRIKE

1. (SBU) The GOJ has offered little in response to July 15's
nationwide one-day fishermen's strike, in which about 200,000
boats from all Japan's major fishing unions stopped
operations to draw public and government attention to rising
fuel costs. Prime Minister Fukuda was quoted in the July 16
Nikkei Shimbun newspaper saying his administration would take
"further measures" to counteract rising oil prices, but the
GOJ has not proposed anything specifically for the fishing
industry. Officials quoted in the press referred only to the
general 215 billion yen already budgeted for consumer and
business relief against surging fuel costs.

2. (SBU) Emboffs discussed the strike with Yoshiaki
Michishita from the secretariat of the Nationwide Federation
of Japan Fisheries Cooperatives (Zengyoren). Michishita said
after Zengyoren representatives met the METI, Finance and
Agriculture/Fisheries ministers, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Machimura and ruling Liberal Democratic Party officials, the
organization felt the government understood the pain Japanese
fishermen feel as a result of rising fuel costs.
Nevertheless, he agreed the government has not responded with
anything specific. Michishita said rising fuel costs hit the
industry uniquely hard: since Japan,s wholesale fish market
operates in an auction system, it is difficult for fishermen
to pass higher costs to consumers and increasing numbers have
plunged into the red.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: The demands Zengyoren laid out in its
meeting with the GOJ, which were joined by the Japan
Fisheries Association against the background of a rally of
about 3000 fishermen in a park in downtown Tokyo, included
compensation for fuel costs, new taxes to sustain fishing
operations, and ensuring a reliable fuel supply through
controlling speculation in the oil market and other measures.
Realistically, Zengyoren is asking for much more than the
GOJ can do to ameliorate the rising cost of oil -- a global
change with no end in sight -- on one industry. END COMMENT.
ZUMWALT

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