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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/28/08

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 002058

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 07/28/08

Index:

Political agenda:
1) Prime Minister Fukuda increasingly cautious about shuffling his
cabinet, may delay a decision (Nikkei)
2) Fukuda to decide cabinet shuffle date after meeting today with
New Komeito head Ota (Sankei)
3) Key questions in possible cabinet shuffle will be whether former
LDP Secretary General Taro Aso will be offered a position and if so,
whether he will accept it (Tokyo Shimbun)
4) Coalition partner New Komeito aiming at end of year Diet
dissolution (Mainichi)

Defense and security issues:
5) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama reiterates party's opposition to
extending the new antiterrorist law that allows MSDF refueling
service in Indian Ocean (Tokyo Shimbun)
6) Hatoyama conditionally willing to reconsider aid to Afghanistan
(Asahi)
7) Okinawa governor acknowledges that prefecture's proposal to shift
Futenma relocation site into the ocean has deadlocked (Asahi)
8) Defense Ministry admits improper use of money (Tokyo Shimbun)
9) Defense Ministry to seek outlays to upgrade F-15s in next year's
fiscal budget, delaying FX choice (Yomiuri)

10) Government considering placing tax on airplane tickets and use
the revenue as a fund for developing countries (Tokyo Shimbun)

Doha Round:
11) Japan to accept Lamy arbitration proposal in WTO farm trade
talks (Nikkei)
12) WTO's Lamy proposal would be harsh on Japanese farmers
(Nikkei)

Relations with South Korea:
13) Row over Takeshima isles taking its toll on Japan-ROK exchanges
with over 100 events cancelled (Tokyo Shimbun)
14) First Takeshima, now Tsushima being claimed by ROK politicians
as South Korean territory, with proposal now before the national
assembly (Sankei)

Articles:

1) Prime minister slow to make up mind for cabinet shuffle

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 28, 2008

It is high time for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to shuffle his
cabinet. But the prime minister continues to keep mum in defiance of
calls from his aides to launch "his own cabinet" to bolster his
administration in the wake of the G-8 summit. Putting off a cabinet
shuffle to avert risks is certain to raise questions about the prime
minister's decision-making capability. The delay might also fuel the
race to replace Fukuda.

The prime minister stayed at his official residence on July 26 and
27. Over the weekend, he kept his silence, meeting only with an
American political scientist, an old friend.

An LDP executive meeting was held on July 22, the day after the
prime minister's vacation was over. In the session, Fukuda

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underlined the need to consider matters comprehensively, irritating
party executives. But the prime minister soon sealed off any comment
indicative of a cabinet shuffle, saying to the press on July 25,
"It's difficult to tell you when I will make a comprehensive
decision."

The prime minister is extra cautious because his decision is
directly connected with his administration's strategy toward the
next extraordinary Diet session, next year's regular Diet session,
and Lower House dissolution for a snap general election. The
cabinet's support ratings have not markedly increased after the
summit. Once the next extraordinary Diet session is convened, the
ruling coalition is certain to find itself on the defensive with the
Diet divided. With the term of office of the Lower House members
scheduled to expire in September 2009, a cabinet shuffle is one of
the few offensive means. A veteran LDP noted: "A partial cabinet
reshuffle would be tantamount to firing some cabinet ministers. If
the cabinet is to be shuffled, it has to be shuffled as a whole."

What is being questioned is the administration's policy line. On
economic and fiscal policies, how is the prime minister going to
treat Hidenao Nakagawa and others who are advocating a "rising tide
policy" and Kaoru Yosano and others who are calling for fiscal
reconstruction? The prime minister has flip-flopped his view on a
consumption tax hike himself. He has to make up his mind in
selecting new cabinet ministers.

The prime minister thinks the current cabinet is well-balanced. For
this reason, some think the prime minister would replace only a few
of the 15 cabinet ministers he inherited from his successor, Shinzo
Abe, such as Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Hiroko Ota and
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari. But a minor change
would blur the significance of a cabinet shuffle. Some cabinet
ministers even indicated that resorting to a cabinet shuffle for
bolstering support ratings is improper.

Under the current political timetable, shuffling the cabinet before
the end of the month already seems difficult. An informal World
Trade Organization (WTO) cabinet ministerial has been extended, and
MAFF Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi and MITI Minister Amari, who are
attending the meeting, will not return home until July 31.

2) Cabinet shuffle could slip until after LDP, Komeito heads meet
after July 28

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 26, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on July 25 announced that he did not
play to meet with New Komeito Representative Akihiro Ota over the
weekend to discuss a cabinet shuffle and the timing of convening the
extraordinary session of the Diet. Accordingly, the meeting with Ota
will now likely be after July 28, making it unavoidable that there
will be an impact on the timing of the cabinet shuffle, which the
Prime Minister had aimed to be at the end of the month.

The Prime Minister on the evening of the 25th told the press corps
at his official residence, "There is nothing strange about the
representatives of the ruling coalition meeting together," adding,
"There is no particular plan for us to meet this weekend, and it has
not been decided when we will meet." At the same time, he also
stressed: "I have never once uttered the word 'shuffle', for the

TOKYO 00002058 003 OF 011


decision will be made comprehensively based on many factors. I would
be in an awkward position if it were said when that comprehensive
decision will be made."

On the other hand, a government source close to the Prime Minister,
commenting on the cabinet shuffle, indicated that it may have to
slip until after the end of the month, with consideration being
given to the WTO Doha Round ministerial meeting having encountered
rough going, and the need to quickly come up with measures to deal
with agricultural issues.

3) Will Taro Aso be in the shuffled cabinet or will he reject an
appointment?

TOKYO (Page 2) (Abridged)
July 28, 2008

With speculation rampant in the ruling camp that Prime Minister
Fukuda will soon shuffle his cabinet and Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) executive lineup, all eyes are turned with attention to the
moves of former LDP Secretary General Taro Aso, a candidate for
Fukuda's post once he steps down.

Since he ran and lost against Fukuda in the LDP presidential race
last September, Aso has been content not to have an official post,
but he has been actively stumping around the country, making
approximately 150 stops in 10 months, or an average of one stop
every two days.

For Prime Minister Fukuda, whose approval ratings in the polls have
been low, if he appoints the extremely popular Aso to an important
cabinet post or party executive position, he can expect a boost in
his administration's ratings, while displaying party unity. But
there is a possibility he might be shut our over his campaigning to
topple the cabinet.

Actually, when the Prime Minister last September was forming his
cabinet, he sounded out Aso on a cabinet seat, but the view then in
the Machimura faction (Aso's faction) was that he would not accept a
position at that time.

However, for Aso, who wants to sit in the prime minister's seat, in
case the Prime Minister sounds him out for a cabinet post, how he
will respond will be an important issue.

4) New Komeito eyeing Lower House dissolution late this year or
early next year

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 28, 2008

The New Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), is now taking a stance of making specific
requests of the way Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is managing his
administration, having in mind dissolution of the House of
Representatives and general election late this year or early next
year. The party has called for convening the next extraordinary Diet
session in mid-September or later, aiming to put off the issue of
extending the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which allows
Japan to conduct refueling operations in the Indian Ocean. It has
also asked the government to change the policy of curbing
expenditures that has been in place since the government of Prime

TOKYO 00002058 004 OF 011


Minister Junichiro Koizumi. In order to display its own political
presence, the party wants to have spare time between the next Lower
House election and the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly election to be
held next June or July.

New Komeito leader Akihiro Ota in a speech on July 25 in the city of
Tajimi, Gifu Prefecture, stressed: "It is important for us to change
to a policy of helping the socially weak and the people's
livelihoods rather than a policy of advocating the principle of
market mechanisms." In a meeting on the 24th of the party's Policy
Research Council, many participants said that they were unable to
agree to the government's policy of reducing by 220 billion yen per
year the level of social security spending.

Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa, referring to the issue of
extending the new antiterrorism law at a press conference on the
24th, sought to counter a view in the LDP calling for convening the
extra Diet session in late August, expecting resistance from the
opposition camp. He stated: "It is important to secure the
understanding of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the
public."

The reason for the New Komeito calling on the Fukuda administration
to shift its policy is because many supporters of the party have
increasingly become unhappy with the fact that the Komeito's
principle of placing importance on social welfare and peace has been
blindsided under the LDP-New Komeito coalition regime. Since the
term of the Lower House members will expire next September, a senior
New Komeito member expressed concern, saying: "The LDP lacks a sense
of tension toward the election. If nothing is done, the Prime
Minister will be forced to dissolve the Lower House, in which the
possibility is that we will be defeated."

In the New Komeito, some have now questioned that the Lower House
will be carried out the leadership of Fukuda, whose popularity has
been low. As senior party member said: "Since the Prime Minister's
view is similar to that of our party, we cannot openly urge him to
step down. However, we have indirectly warned the LDP to consider
the situation."

5) DPJ to oppose antiterror law extension: Hatoyama

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
July 26, 2008

The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) will
oppose a government-planned bill revising the new Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law for continuing the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, DPJ Secretary
General Hatoyama told a press conference yesterday. "We're basically
unlikely to vote for that bill," Hatoyama said.

The government is planning to present the bill to the Diet at its
forthcoming extraordinary session, which is expected to be convened
in late August. However, Hatoyama criticized the MSDF's refueling
mission. He said: "For the sake of peace and stability in
Afghanistan, it makes no sense at all. We should stop." He also
revealed that he has told his party's foreign affairs and defense
division to work out a plan for Japan's contribution to
Afghanistan's reconstruction.

6-1) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama reveals plan to reconsider

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Afghanistan assistance

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
July 26, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, speaking
to the press on July 25, indicated that his party would reconsider a
set of Afghanistan support measures put together last year by the
party. Hatoyama said: "We will closely examine the package and will
add new measures if necessary. Whatever the situation, it's our
responsibility to crystallize the party's thinking. If necessary, we
will cooperate (with the government). We will not oppose plans
devised by the government simply for the sake of opposition."

Late last year, the DPJ submitted to the Diet an antiterrorism bill
including Afghanistan support measures. The bill is now in the Lower
House for deliberations. The bill is designed to allow SDF personnel
to carry out strictly humanitarian and reconstruction assistance,
such as medical services, in Afghanistan once a ceasefire agreement
is reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

6-2) DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama: If Government presents new
proposal, DPJ would approve that proposal

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 28, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama at
a press conference on July 25 revealed that his party was studying
counterproposals toward the government's plan to extend the New
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which will become a major issue
at the next ordinary Diet session. He stated: "If the government's
plans do not run counter to ours, we have no intention to oppose all
government ideas just because they are proposed by the government."

Hatoyama indicated the possibility that if the government presented
a new proposal to replace the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF)
refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, the DPJ would approve it.


The DPJ submitted to the previous regular Diet session a bill
dispatching Self-Defense Force (SDF) personnel overseas limiting to
reconstruction activities in cease-fire agreed areas. The House of
Representatives has decided to carry it over for further
deliberations. With this bill in mind, Hatoyama stated: "After
examining carefully, if necessary, we will incorporate new policy
measures."

However, the government has judged that it would difficult to
dispatch the SDF to Afghanistan based on the result of a report by a
fact-finding team. The New Komeito, the junior coalition of the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has begun showing reluctance
to extend the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law by taking a
revote in the Lower House. However, a DPJ policy official said: "Our
party has not actually carried out the study of counterproposals."

7) Nakaima points to tacit understanding on moving Futenma
replacement facility offshore

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
July 26, 2008


TOKYO 00002058 006 OF 011


Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima in a regular press conference on
July 25 indicated that the government's plan to relocate Futenma Air
Station to Nago would be revised in response to Okinawa's call for
moving the envisaged replacement facility offshore, saying: "My
understanding it that we have reached a tacit understanding (with
the government)."

Nakaima touched on a Futenma relocation consultative council meeting
held on July 18 between the central and Okinawa governments.
Referring to the decision to set up working teams for eliminating
the danger of Futenma Air Station and for an environmental impact
assessment of the replacement facility, Nakaima explained:
"Working-level talks will start because there is a tacit
understanding on removing the replacement facility."

8) Defense Ministry admits to inappropriate spending

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged)
July 26, 2008

The Defense Ministry yesterday announced a plan to improve its
spending in connection with its practice of pooling money with
fictitious receipts mainly for the purpose of gathering
intelligence. This announcement means that the Defense Ministry has
effectively admitted to its inappropriate control of incentive
money, which used to be separately in the hands of each section's
head. According to the announced plan, the defense minister's
secretariat will handle and control such incentive money. The plan
also says the Defense Ministry will clarify for what purpose the
money is used. When it comes to the pooled money, however, the plan
goes no further than to say the Defense Ministry is "still checking"
such off-the-book money.

The Defense Ministry has now set forth such an improvement measure
without unveiling the facts about its practice of making
off-the-book money and pooling money. This response, however, is
rather unnatural. The Defense Ministry's ability to clean itself up
will likely be called into question again.

9) Defense Ministry to make budget request for F-15 upgrade

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged)
July 28, 2008

The Defense Ministry has decided to make a budget request for next
fiscal year to upgrade the Air Self-Defense Force's F-15 fighter
jets. The amount of expenditures required for more than 10 F-15
fighters would exceed the framework set for improvement outlays
under the government's current midterm defense buildup plan for
fiscal 2005-2009. However, the Defense Ministry deemed it
indispensable to upgrade the F-15s because it has been falling
behind schedule in screening and selecting the follow-on mainstay
fighter (FX) for the ASDF.

The Defense Ministry has plans to modernize the F-15, including
enhancing the performance of its radar and computer systems. This
upgrade is considered for a total of about 40 F-15s or two squadrons
in order to cope with China's growing air power and other
situational changes. The Defense Ministry has already earmarked
improvement costs for 26 F-15s within the current midterm defense
buildup plan's framework, and it had planned to make a budget
request for the remaining more than 10 F-15s under the next midterm

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defense buildup plan.

The Defense Ministry planned to acquire seven FX planes under the
current midterm defense buildup plan, with the F-22 Raptor, a
U.S.-developed state-of-the-art stealth fighter, as a likely
candidate. However, the United States has placed an embargo on
foreign sales of the F-22. This has made it difficult for the
Defense Ministry to select the FX model. The Defense Ministry will
therefore put off its FX selection to the next midterm defense
buildup plan. Instead, the ministry decided to move up the F-15
upgrade plan. It will earmark upgrade costs for more than 10 F-15s
in its next fiscal year budget, and their upgrade is estimated at
around 30 billion yen or so.

10) Japan considering introduction of international solidarity
levies to be imposed on airline tickets, etc.: Financing development
assistance eyed

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Excerpts)
July 28, 2008

The government on July 27 launched discussions on the propriety of
introducing an international solidarity tax for currency trading
activities and airline ticket purchases to help finance assistance
to development countries. It will shortly join an international
organization formally that is promoting the so-called international
solidarity levy.

The aim is to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
aimed at resolving poverty in developing countries and secure funds
to help developing countries promote measures against global
warming. Since funds from the official development assistance (ODA)
program alone do not suffice to finance development assistance, the
establishment of an innovative method of procuring funds, such as
the solidarity levy, has become an international challenge.

Specifically, the government is mulling introducing a currency
transaction development tax of as low as 0.005 PERCENT on foreign
currency trading activities. It also plans to implement an airline
ticket levy, which allows it to collect taxes from relatively
affluent people.

11) Japan set to accept mediation plan in WTO trade talks

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 28, 2008

(Baba, Geneva)

The Japanese government yesterday started discussing the possibility
of accepting a mediation plan presented by WTO Director-General
Pascal Lamy and others in a ministerial meeting of the World Trade
Organization (WTO). Japan, which had complained of a lack of
measures to protect farm products during seven years of
negotiations, judges that making a concession is now unavoidable.
Participants are aiming to reach a general agreement next week,
after ironing out differences in their positions.

The new round of WTO global trade talks (Doha Round) has brought
together 153 countries and regions. The Doha Round is tasked with
setting rules to uniformly cut tariffs on farm and industrial
products in a bid to expand global trade.

TOKYO 00002058 008 OF 011

In an effort to bring about a general agreement, Lamy submitted the
mediation plan on July 25. The plan included specific numerical
targets for about 20 items, such as a measure to set the maximum
ratio of "sensitive" agricultural products for which high tariffs
are exceptionally allowed to the total at 4 PERCENT and at 6
PERCENT with conditions. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister
Toshiaki Amari indicated on July 26 that negotiations were moving
toward a general agreement, remarking: "Argentina alone is raising
opposition. Countries' views are being gradually unified."
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi
acknowledged yesterday that the round has reached a decisive phase.


If countries agree, Lamy intends to present a formal plan for
agreement possibly on the afternoon of the 28th. He plans to conduct
discussions in the ministerial meeting and a plenary session to be
held by all participant countries and seek their agreement.

12) WTO chairman's mediation plan presses Japan to make tough choice
in farm sector

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, July 26, 2008

(Ichimura, Geneva)

In an effort to strike a broad agreement on rules for liberalizing
trade in agricultural and industrial products, World Trade
Organization (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy and others compiled
a mediation plan. This chairman's report urges countries to make a
difficult choice. Specifically, the report requires Japan to set the
maximum ratio of mainstay or "sensitive" farm products, for which
high tariffs are exceptionally allowed, to 6 PERCENT of the total
and change its conventional policy of agricultural protection.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi
has said: "Japan will aim at securing 8 PERCENT ," but Japan may be
pressed for a compromise in the end.

In the farm sector, the Agriculture Ministry is concerned most about
the number of mainstay items. The mediation plan sets the ratio of
such items to the total at 4 PERCENT in principle for
industrialized countries in accordance with a proposal by Western
countries but at 6 PERCENT only for Japan and Switzerland. In the
case of Japan, however, the number of farm products on which a more
than 100 PERCENT tariff has been imposed, such as rice, dairy
products, and sugar, is 125, accounting for 9.4 PERCENT of the
total. Japan is set to continue insisting that the proposed 6
PERCENT is not enough to protect such sensitive items.

In exchange for reducing the margin of tariff cuts for mainstay
items, expanding low-tariff import quotas is required. Japan
requested that the ratio of expansion be at up to 4 PERCENT of
domestic demand. The mediation plan accepted Japan's request. The
report notes that the special safeguard system, under which domestic
farm products will be protected with higher tariff rates introduced
when imports sharply increase, be phased out in seven years,
dismissing Japan's call for maintaining the system.

In the industrial sector, in which Japan is aiming to expand
exports, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is
dissatisfied with the proposed tariff cuts for emerging countries.

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The mediation plan allows emerging countries to choose one of these
upper limits on tariff rates in compliance with the scope of
exceptional tariffs - 20 PERCENT , 22 PERCENT , and 25 PERCENT -
but METI is aiming to have the rates lowered further. Indian
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, however, said that these
rates are acceptable. Stormy negotiations are expected.

The ratio of items under the application of a provision on
minimizing exceptional items from tariff reductions to the total
items in a specific industry is set at 20 PERCENT in terms of
quantity and at 9 PERCENT in terms of value in the mediation plan.
To make this provision stricter and to prevent a loophole, Japan
wants to raise the ratio in terms of import value to over 10 PERCENT
at least.

However, emerging countries that give priority to growing domestic
industries, such as Brazil and India, are complaining about this. In
future negotiations, heated debate is expected on this point.

13) Japanese-South Korean exchanges frozen due to Takeshima issue;
104 events cancelled or put off

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged)
July 28, 2008

Following the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology having included in a teaching guideline for social
studies for junior high schools a claim of sovereignty over the
islets called Takeshima in Japan (Dokdo in South Korea), which the
South Korean government also claims, the Kyodo News Agency learned
on July 27 that 104 exchange events between Japan and South Korea
planned by municipalities in 33 prefectures have been cancelled, put
off or scaled own.

The requests came from the South Korean side. Although Japan-South
Korea relations were previously strained because of the visits to
Yasukuni Shrine by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, ties later
appeared to have got better. Now, the Takeshima issue has had a
negative impact on the grass-root level exchanges. One municipal
official in charge made this comment with annoyance: "It is
regrettable that the political issue has affected children who
looked forward to visiting South Korea in the summer vacation."

Kyodo conducted a survey on the matter in prefectures and
government-designated cities on July 25. Most of the events that
have been cancelled are visits to South Korea by elementary and
junior high school students, and by teachers and school heads, as
well as sports events. Of the 104 events, 63 have been cancelled, 16
have been postponed, and another 16 have been suspended or are under
coordination. The South Korean side has decided not to participate
in five events that were expected to be held in Japan. Four events
that also were planned to be held in Japan have been scaled down. Of
the events that Tottori Prefecture had planned, 12 have been
cancelled and four have been under coordination. A total of 16 that
have been cancelled or under coordination is a largest number among
those of the prefectures, followed by seven events of Gifu
Prefecture, six of Akita, Kanagawa and Fukuoka prefectures.

One of the events cancelled is Fukuoka Municipal Fukuoka Girls
School's plan to visit a sister school in Pusan City from July 25.

14) Fifty South Korean lawmakers propose submitting resolution

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claiming that Tsushima is also their territory

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 28, 2008

Seoul, Katsuhiro Kuroda

Anti-Japanese movements generated by the Takeshima issue are
continuing in South Korea to protest Japan's describing in its
teaching manuals for school curriculums guidelines for social
studies for middle schools confrontation between Japan and South
Korea over the Takeshima Island (known as Dokdo by South Korea).
Meanwhile, fifty South Korea lawmakers of the ruling and opposition
parties have proposed submitting a resolution demanding the return
of Tsushima Islands, claiming that Japan's Tsushima is also South
Korea's territory.

Overheated

Tsushima Islands (Tsushima City, Nagasaki Prefecture with a
population of about 50,000) are islands located north of Kyushu.
They are also only 50 kilometers away from South Korea's
southernmost city of Pusan. The islands have had deep relations with
the Korean Peninsula since early times. South Koreans have recently
come to assert that Tsushima also belongs to South Korea, when they
want to express retaliatory feelings against Japan over Takeshima
Island. The claim has nuisance value and is almost humorous.

The Masan City Assembly established the Tsushima Day several years
ago as retaliation against the Takeshima Island Day Ordinance
enacted by the Shimane Prefectural Assembly. The South Korean press
extensively reported that members of groups calling for defending
Dokdo at all cost visited Tsushima and marched in front of the city
hall, holding up banners carrying a slogan that "Tsushima is South
Korea's territory."

However, this is the first time for such a large number of lawmakers
to seriously propose submitting a resolution to the National
Assembly. When they will formally submit such a resolution is
unclear. Some lawmakers are critical of the move, saying, "If they
do that, some may think our country's justifiable claim may be
groundless."

Grounds

The envisaged resolution notes that South Korea's documents from the
Yi Dynasty so claim, that the genes of Tsushima residents are
identical with those of South Koreans, that South Korea's first
President Rhee Syng Man once stated that Tsushima had been its
territory with a long history of tributary diplomacy to South Korea,
and that a resolution demanding the return of Tsushima was submitted
to the first National Assembly in 1949.

All those claims are sheer nonsense. In South Korea, however, when
it comes to confrontation between Japan and South Korea, the South
Korean public is given only self-centered and unilateral information
as can be seen in the case of the Takeshima (Dokdo) issue. There is
a rumor around that South Korean tourists visiting Tsushima are
already openly claiming that Tsushima is South Korea's territory.

The writer of the relic "Dokdo is our land," a popular song known to
everybody in South Korea, in an interview given recently said that a

TOKYO 00002058 011 OF 011


phrase in the song that "Tsushima is Japan's land" should be changed
to "Tsushima is also our land." The fixed notion that Tsushima is
also South Korea's territory may spread in the South Korea society.

SCHIEFFER

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