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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/13/08

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RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0859
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1218

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TOKYO 002221

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 08/13/08

Index:

Defense issues:
1) Ambassador Schieffer in meeting with Defense Minister Hayashi
urges Japan to continue its Afghan assistance (Nikkei)
2) Schieffer seeks continuation of MSDF oil refueling service in the
Indian Ocean (Tokyo Shimbun)
3) Prime Minister Fukuda stresses Japan's concern for Afghanistan's
situation (Tokyo Shimbun)
4) Pessimism sweeps across LDP about extension of Indian Ocean
refueling mission (Yomiuri)
5) Prof. Kent Calder in Tokyo speech sees reduction of host-nation
support coming in future (Nikkei)

North Korea problem:
6) Japan, North Korea delegates heading toward an agreement on
specifics of North's reinvestigation of abduction issue (Yomiuri)
7) Uncertain whether there will be actual progress resulting from
reinvestigation of abductions by North Korea (Nikkei)

Chinese dumplings:
8) Prime Minister Fukuda was informed July 8 about gyoza dumpling
poisonings in China but did not inform the public (Tokyo Shimbun)
9) Fukuda on not informing public about China's poisoned dumpling
cases: Priority was on clearing up the truth about the matter first
(Tokyo Shimbun)
10) Opposition camp blasts the government for not sharing
information on the China's poisoned dumpling cases with the public
(Yomiuri)

11) Rising tide economic policy faction in the LDP being rolled back
(Nikkei)

12) Prime Minister Fukuda to take second vacation, five days
starting today (Mainichi)

Articles:

1) U.S. hopes Japan will continue Afghan assistance: U.S. envoy

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

Defense Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Schieffer at the Defense Ministry yesterday afternoon for the first
time. Referring to the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean, Schieffer stressed: Many countries
are now participating in assistance to Afghanistan. We hope Japan
will also continue its contribution." Hayashi answered, "All of us
in the ruling and opposition parties think we must do something to
assist the war on terror."

On the issue of relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in
Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, Schieffer referred to the necessity of
relocating the airfield to a coastal area of Camp Schwab in the
island prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago. "It's important
to implement the bilateral agreement in a steady way," Schieffer
said. "We have to push this forward step by step while maintaining
momentum," Hayashi said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has decided forgo its delisting of
North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. In this regard,

TOKYO 00002221 002 OF 008


Schieffer stressed: "The abduction issue is important. The United
States will not forget this issue at all."

2) U.S. Ambassador in meeting with defense minister calls on Japan
to continue refueling mission

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

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer called on Defense Minister
Yoshimasa Hayashi at the Defense Ministry yesterday. In their
meeting the Ambassador urged Japan to continue the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
beyond its expiration in January.

In reference to the MSDF's refueling activities, the Ambassador
stated: "A number of countries in the international community have
joined support operations for Afghanistan. I hope Japan also will
continue its contribution into the future." Hayashi just said: "The
international community as a whole is fighting against terrorism.
All political parties share the view that Japan must also do
something."

On the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, Schieffer said: "It is
important to steadily implement the agreement." He tacitly asked for
an early transfer of the U.S. Maritime Corps' Futenma Air Station
(Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to a coastal area of Camp Schwab
(Nago City). Hayashi replied: "While maintaining momentum, we must
move the plan forward."

3) Fukuda indicates need for continued refueling mission: "We cannot
be indifferent"

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

In the ruling camp, some executives have begun to call for caution
about a bill amending the new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to
extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean. Keeping this situation in mind, Prime Minister Fukuda
indicated the need for Japan to continue its refueling mission.
Fukuda said: "Our nation cannot be indifferent to Afghanistan. Many
countries have been working hard to eradicate terrorism while making
many sacrifices. There is naturally a way our nation should take."

Fukuda stressed: "Afghanistan has exposed the threat of terrorism to
the international community and is a nation that produces narcotics.
We also should take into consideration the need for the safety of
our nation's maritime transportation."

4) LDP pessimistic about extending MSDF mission in Indian Ocean

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

The Maritime Self-Defense Force is currently tasked with refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean under the new Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law to back up antiterror operations in Afghanistan. This
law is set to run out in January next year. The government is now
planning to amend the law to extend the MSDF's refueling mission
there. Meanwhile, lawmakers within the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party are voicing pessimism about extending the MSDF mission. New

TOKYO 00002221 003 OF 008


Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, remains reluctant to take a
second vote in the House of Representatives on a bill revising the
law if the bill is voted down in the opposition-controlled House of
Councillors. The legislation therefore cannot be expected to clear
the Diet during its forthcoming extraordinary session.

"New Komeito is against taking a second vote, so it's difficult (to
extend the MSDF's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean)," former
LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato said on a satellite TV program.
Former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki also said on the same
program: "If New Komeito abstains from taking a vote, the ruling
coalition will fall apart. That's the worst case." With this,
Yamasaki indicated that he was not confident the legislation would
pass.

New Komeito would accept the government's plan to present the bill
to the Diet at its extraordinary session. However, the party takes
the position that the legislation should not be premised on taking a
second vote. The LDP's leadership also deems it difficult to take a
second vote as its executives think New Komeito would not easily
compromise.

LDP Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga insisted: "I
wonder if it's appropriate to schedule the extra Diet session for
the purpose of taking a second vote in the House of Representatives
like before. We should make efforts to talk with the opposition
parties about various options, including Japan's international
contributions other than refueling activities." LDP Secretary
General Aso and LDP General Council Chairman Sasagawa have also
proposed looking into the feasibility of taking such backup measures
as having the MSDF escort Japanese tankers instead of continuing the
MSDF's current refueling activities.

However, some of the LDP's executives fear that the Fukuda cabinet
will sustain a blow if the ruling coalition gives up on extending
the MSDF's Indian Ocean mission. "Prime Minister Fukuda should move
to resolve the situation with an immediate decision on what to do
about the MSDF's refueling activities," one of the LDP's executives
in the House of Councillors said.

5) U.S. scholar constrains move to cut back on sympathy budget

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

Kent Calder, an American political scientist knowledgeable of Japan
and a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced
International Studies, addressed the Foreign Correspondents Club of
Japan in Tokyo yesterday. In his speech, he indicated that a change
of government, should it take place in Japan, could become a
"destabilizing factor" for the continued presence of U.S. forces in
Japan.

In the Diet, the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) has been calling for the government to cut down on
Japan's burden of sharing the costs of stationing U.S. forces in
Japan (omoiyari yosan or literally "sympathy budget"). With this DPJ
standpoint in mind, Calder indicated that Japan's cutback in its
host nation support for U.S. forces could lead to a substantial
reduction of the U.S. military presence in Japan. He said: "Japan
will be unattractive as a base location. With the advancement of
information and telecommunications, there is no need to concentrate

TOKYO 00002221 004 OF 008


bases." He stressed, "Japan should be well aware of the impact of
this on the alliance."

6) Japan, North Korea reaching agreement on reinvestigation into
abductions

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
August 8, 2008

Japan and North Korea held formal working-level talks in Shenyang,
China. The meeting lasted from the morning of August 12 to the early
hours of the 13th. The participants entered near final talks on the
method to be used in conducting a reinvestigation into the abductees
that North Korea had pledged at the previous meeting in June. The
results are expected to be released in a consensus document.
According to a source familiar with the talks, the talks are heading
toward an agreement. Coordination of views appears to be continuing
with the Japanese side seeking the inclusion of the objective of the
reinvestigation, using words "leading to the return of abductees to
Japan."

Participating in the talks are Akitaka Saiki, director general of
the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Song
Il Ho, North Korea's ambassador for normalization talks with Japan.
The talks started at 9:00 a.m. on the 12th (10:00 a.m. the 12th,
Japan time) and went into recess at 2:00 p.m. (3:00 a.m., Japan
time). They then resumed the talks shortly after past midnight on
the 13th (1:00 a.m. Japan time), after coordination of views with
the government of their respective home countries.

Saiki on the afternoon of the 12th told reporters, "We are making
efforts to reach an agreement." He thus revealed his determination
to aim to reach an agreement with North Korea on the reinvestigation
at the ongoing talks.

7) Actual progress uncertain in reinvestigation of abductions, with
wide gap between both sides' views

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

(Takeshi Nagasawa, Hideaki Shimatani, Shenyang)

Japan is calling on North Korea to carry out an effective
reinvestigation of the issue of its past abductions of Japanese
nationals, while the North is insisting that Japan partially lift
its economic sanctions against it. In their first set of talks in
two months, Japan and North Korea found common ground to some extent
after many hours of negotiations that lasted until before dawn of
the 13th. In the coordination process, however, a remaining wide gap
between their views was underscored. It is still uncertain whether
the two countries will be able to set a process to actually move the
abduction issue forward.

In the morning session on the 12th, Japanese and North Korean
government envoys held negotiations for five hours without even
taking lunch. Since North Korea spent plenty of time coordinating
views with its government, the afternoon session opened at little
past 13:00. Asked by reporters prior to the afternoon session about
a prospect for an agreement, Japanese envoy Akitaka Saiki, director
general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau,
replied: "I don't know yet," indicating difficult negotiations was

TOKYO 00002221 005 OF 008


going on over a reinvestigation and the easing of sanctions.

Japan placed emphasis on a plan to set up a mechanism to enable it
to check whether the investigation is being conducted in a proper
way. In the sessions, the Japanese envoy reportedly called for a
system to make it possible for Japanese authorities to enter North
Korea in the course of investigation and receive explanations. In
its past investigations, North Korea ended the process after giving
Japan "the results that were totally unacceptable for Japan,"
according to a Foreign Ministry source. To urge the North to accept
Japan's requests on the reinvestigation, the Japanese side is said
to have discussed in what process Tokyo would agree to partially
remove its sanctions if Pyongyang carries out an investigation.

According to informed sources, North Korea's delegate Song Il Ho,
ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, called for an early
removal of sanctions, repeatedly saying: "Unless you deliver on your
promise, the bilateral relationship will be aggravated."

The North responded to Japan's call for bilateral talks with the aim
of making it certain for the U.S. to delist it as a state sponsor of
terrorism. The U.S. government, though, decided to forgo its
delisting decision beyond the date of effect on Aug. 11. Given this,
some observers had taken the view that the North's motive to
hurriedly improve relations with Japan was fading.

In actuality, North Korea is eyeing the U.S. even while engaging in
the talks with Japan. A government source said: "If U.S.-North Korea
talks do not advance, Japan-North Korea talks will not advance,
either." The U.S. insists that the establishment of a verification
system for the North's nuclear declaration is indispensable for
delisting North Korea. To what extent Pyongyang will seriously
conduct the reinvestigation of the abduction issue will also affect
the future of U.S.-North Korea talks.

8) Prime Minister Fukuda received information from China on gyoza on
July 8

TOKYO SHIMUBN (Page 3) (Full)
August 13, 2008

The Foreign Ministry revealed yesterday that it was told by China on
July 7 that some Chinese people were poisoned by Chinese-made gyoza
dumplings and it then reported it on July 8 to Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda.

According to explanations by the Foreign Ministry's Asian and
Oceanian Affairs Bureau Deputy Director General Masahiro Kohara in a
meeting yesterday of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), four
people in China were poisoned by pesticide-tainted gyoza dumplings.

Kohara explained the reason for disclosing the information:

"Based on the request by the Chinese side, the ministry's bureau in
charge of the gyoza incident made the decision. There was no
problem. We reported it to the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) and the National Police Agency. I think they shared our
judgment."

Kohara stressed that the Kantei, Foreign Ministry, and NPA shared
the information.


TOKYO 00002221 006 OF 008


One DPJ lawmaker stressed: "The Fukuda cabinet prioritized
consideration for the Chinese government over Japanese consumers'
concerns about food safety."

DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman Masayuki Naoshima called on
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Mitsuhide Iwaki at the Kantei to ask
him to open closed-hearing sessions during the Diet recesses. The
DPJ also requested that Fukuda explain the reason for not disclosing
the information.

9) Prime Minister Fukuda on one month delay in information
disclosure: Priority placed on China's investigation into gyoza
poisoning incident

TOKYO SHIMUBN (Page 3) (Full)
August 13, 2008

When asked by reporters about why the government left undisclosed
for one month the information that China had had food poisonings
from domestic gyoza dumplings, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said
yesterday: "I was told that if the information was disclosed, the
truth about the food poisoning incident would not have been learned.
I apologize to the Japanese people."

Asked about criticism that he prioritized consideration for China
over the Japanese public, Fukuda rebutted: "Shedding the light on
the incident is (more important) than giving consideration to China.
I wanted China to uncover the truth about the matter."

10) Opposition stepping up criticism of government for hiding gyoza
poisoning information

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 13, 2008

Following the discovery that the government received on July 7 the
information that China had suffered a food poisoning outbreak from
Chinese-made frozen gyoza dumplings, opposition parties yesterday
further heightened their criticism of the government. The government
intends to seek the understanding of the opposition camp by
explaining that China had asked Japan not to disclose the
information because it might negatively affect its investigation
into the food poisoning incident. However, the government, which
places priority on consumer affairs administration, will have to
continue to be on the defensive for the time being.

In a meeting yesterday of the main opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ), DPJ lawmakers asked Masahiro Kohara, deputy director
general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau,
questions as followed:

Lower House member Kazunori Yamanoi: Did the Prime Minister made a
final decision not to disclose the information to Japanese
consumers?

Kohara: There was no objection to the decision (to disclose the
information) among those involved (including the Prime Minister) and
they shared the perception.

Yamanoi: I do you think the information would have been disclosed if
the Japanese media did not report it?


TOKYO 00002221 007 OF 008


Kohara: Since the Chinese side has been conducting an investigation
into the incident, it is the Chinese side that makes the decision on
how it will disclose the information.

After the meeting, the DPJ sent a letter that wrote: "Even Minister
for Consumer Affairs Seiko Noda did not know about the information.
The Fukuda cabinet's policy of attaching importance to consumers
turned out to be a pie in the sky." The largest opposition party
intends to step up the offensive with the next extraordinary Diet
session in mind, while calling on Fukuda for an explanation.

The government is now desperate to build up its defense argument.

11) Supply-side advocates in LDP aim to take initiative in drafting
manifesto through National Vision Project Headquarters

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 13, 2008

Persons in the LDP who attach importance to spending cuts and
economic growth have begun to move. Former Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa, an advocate of economic growth who was not given a key
ministerial post or party executive post, and others intend to seize
the initiative in the compilation of a manifesto for the next Lower
House election through the National Vision Project Headquarters
(NVPH). Confrontation with the party leadership, which is looking to
revise the structural reform policy of the Koizumi administration,
is bound to occur.

Nakagawa, who took office as acting chairman of the NVPH, chaired by
Prime Minister Fukuda, several days after the cabinet shuffle on
August 1, telephoned former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki and former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, and asked them
to serve as vice chairmen. An aide to Nakagawa said, "We want as
many reform-minded people as possible to join the NVPH."

Nakagawa wrote on his website: "Those who support fiscal
reconstruction and postal rebels were given key posts, while
advocates of economic growth were eliminated in the cabinet shuffle
this time in an attempt to roll back the reform line." He also
wrote: "Advocates of economic growth, who have fallen from power,
will continue to fly the banner of reform, using the NVPH as a
base." He thus characterized the LDP leadership, starting with
Secretary General Tar Aso, who has come up with a proposal for
putting fiscal reconstruction first, as an anti-reformer.

Behind Nakagawa's aggressive comment is the fact that he was given
the go-ahead from the prime minister. The NVPH is an agency
responsible for proposing mid- to long-term strategies and policies
to the prime minister. Its presence has not been felt strongly thus
far. However, the prime minister ordered the NVPH to consider
drafting a manifesto, forsaking the traditional practice of having
the Policy Research Council carry out such a task. If advocates of
economic growth are tasked with drafting a manifesto at a time when
the next Lower House election is imminent, their influence is bound
to increase.

The mounting dissatisfaction felt by junior party members regarding
the leadership's policy switch is also boosting the confidence of
advocates of economic growth. One junior lawmaker said in a
telephone conversation with another lawmaker: "If the government
compiles a pork-barrel budget, we cannot support it. The

TOKYO 00002221 008 OF 008


administration is not consistent."

12) Prime minister to take second summer vacation for five days, but
he will not rest

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
August 13, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will take what is effectively a second
summer vacation for five days starting on August 13. He plans to
stay at the Kantei for most of the time. However, he is scheduled
receive a report on the Japan-North Korea talks on the 13th and
attend the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead on the 15th. He will
thus likely spend his vacation without completely resting. For this
reason, his formal schedule notes that the prime minister will be at
work.

Asked by reporters about how he is going to spend his summer
vacation, the prime minister on the evening of the 12th said, "I
will work as usual."

SCHIEFFER

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