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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/15/08

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2244/01 2280631
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150631Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6614
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
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RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9416
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RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9996
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4922
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0912
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1257

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 002244

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 08/15/08

Index:

WWII anniversary:
1) Japan marks 63rd war-end anniversary (Nikkei)
2) Ruling, opposition parties release comments (Nikkei)
3) Yasukuni Shrine visit difficult for Prime Minister Fukuda and his
future successors (Mainichi)

North Korea problem:
4) Gov't to probe abductions from scratch (Nikkei)
5) Abductees' kin express hopes for progress (Asahi)
6) Abductions Minister Nakayama says Tokyo will keep an eye on
Pyongyang's reinvestigation (Tokyo Shimbun)

Political topics:
7) Prime Minister Fukuda in action to boost popularity (Tokyo
Shimbun)
8) Yomiuri poll shows LDP's Aso tops all others in popularity rating
for premiership, Prime Minister Fukuda ranks 4th (Yomiuri)
9) DPJ bloc members, supporters total over 260,000 (Yomiuri)

Japan-China ties:
10) Food poisoning from frozen Chinese-made 'gyoza' dumplings likely
to rekindle in extra Diet session (Mainichi)
11) Foreign Minister Koumura off to China tomorrow (Nikkei)

South Ossetia:
12) Japan welcomes Russia-Georgia peace plan (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) 63rd anniversary of end of WWII today

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
August 15, 2008

The government will hold the annual Memorial Ceremony for the War
Dead at the Nippon Budokan (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) today, the day
marking the 63rd anniversary of the end of WWII. The ceremony will
be attended by about 5,500 people, including the Emperor, the
Empress, and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. The participants will pay
tribute to the memory of about 2.3 million servicemen and civilians
in the military service, as well as about 800,000 civilians who
sacrificed their lives for the country.

At the ceremony, after Fukuda gives an address, all participants
will pay one minute's silent tribute to the war dead at noon,
followed by memorial addresses by the Emperor, the head of both
houses of the Diet, bereaved family members, and others.

2) Ruling, opposition parties issue statements commemorating end of
war

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

Ruling and opposition parties issued the following statements,
commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the end of the war.

Liberal Democratic Party: We are determined to positively advance
discussion on the issue of extending the new Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law. In order also to reward the feelings of the war dead,

TOKYO 00002244 002 OF 007


we aim at building peace in the international community.

Democratic Party of Japan: Squarely facing past history, we will
continue to make steady efforts to make use of the lessons of
history for peace in the future.

New Komeito: Japan as the victim of atomic bombing should
demonstrate strong leadership in the drive to eradicate nuclear
weapons. We aim at abolishing nuclear weapons, based on the idea
that their use is an absolute evil.

Japanese Communist Party: We will make efforts to turn Japan into a
nation that contributes to the world, based on the principles of
peace and democracy in the Constitution.

Social Democratic Party: There are still a lot of problems left even
though the war is over. We will continue to oppose the introduction
of a permanent law pertaining to the dispatch of Self-Defense Force
troops overseas.

People's New Party: We are now resolved that we should never opt for
the path to war again.

New Party Nippon: We will fulfill a mission to bring about a world
without nuclear weapons.

3) 63rd anniversary of end of war today: Prime ministerial visits to
Yasukuni becoming difficult

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Nearly full)
August 15, 2008

Today is the 63rd anniversary of the end of the war. The situation
has significantly changed from the situation under then Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi two years ago, and the issue of Yasukuni
Shrine now has a low profile. Prime Minister Fukuda has said even
from before assuming office that he would not visit Yasukuni Shrine.
Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso, who is aiming
to become Fukuda's successor, also intends to forgo a shrine visit.
The friction caused inside and outside the nation by prime
ministerial visits to the shrine has made it difficult for an
incumbent prime minister to pay official homage at Yasukuni Shrine.
The Japan War-Bereaved Association has long asked for official
Yasukuni visits by the prime minister and cabinet ministers, but it
is also being pressed to make a historic policy switch.

Koizumi and Shinzo Abe, both of whom served as prime minister, are
scheduled to visit Yasukuni Shrine today. Abe had to forgo a visit
during his term of office, saddled with the task of improving
diplomatic relations with China, though he had insisted that the
prime minister should visit the shrine on Aug. 15.

In an effort to resolve the Yasukuni issue, Aso announced his
personal plan in 2006 to change Yasukuni Shrine into a nonreligious
corporation, although he takes a conservative stance.

4) Government briefs abductees' families: Investigation of
abductions will start over with clean slate

NIKKEI (Page 34) (Slightly abridged)
August 15, 2008


TOKYO 00002244 003 OF 007


The government last evening held a briefing for the families of
victims of kidnapped by North Korea on such matters as the method of
the reinvestigation, which had been agreed on in recent
working-level talks between Japan and North Korea. Akitaka Saiki,
director general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian
Affairs Bureau, told them that North Korea would set up an
investigation panel to carry out reinvestigation. He then sought
their understanding, saying: "I would like you to think that the
(result of the past investigation) will be returned to the drawing
board and investigation will start again from scratch."

Kyoko Nakayama, state minister for abduction issue, underscored:

"We would like to bring about a situation under which North Korea
will be able to decide to have the victims return home. We must not
put an end to the investigation (without their return home)."

Shigeo Iizuka, 70, representative of the Association of the Families
of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, voiced hope, saying: "Different
from the situation up until now, we can now see movement toward a
solution."

Regarding the effectiveness of North Korea's reinvestigation, Iizuka
said: "Japan should take a strong position and push the
investigation, and I want Japan not to forget to verify the
outcome."

5) Families of abductees looking forward to North Korea's
investigation of abductions, as agreement includes specific date for
conclusion

ASAHI (Page 26) (Slightly abridged)
August 15, 2008

Following the agreement between Japan and North Korea on Aug. 13 on
the specific method of the North's reinvestigation into its
abductions of Japanese nationals, the Association of the Families of
Victims Kidnapped by North Korea was briefed yesterday by the
Foreign Ministry. Since the accord stipulates that the investigation
will be completed by this fall to the extent possible, Shigeo
Iizuka, 70, representative of the association, expressed hope in a
press conference yesterday.

In the briefing session, Akitaka Saiki, director general of the
Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, explained the
contents of the agreement to 11 association members and other
persons concerned. Saiki told them that people who have not been
recognized by the government as abduction victims will also be
included as subjects of the investigation.

Referring to the fact that Japan will lift sanctions against North
Korea following the establishment of Pyongyang's reinvestigation
panel, Iizuka said: "We will watch the situation." Teuraki Masumoto,
chief of secretariat of the association, expressed his concern,
noting:

"The talks seem to have been conducted at the pace of North Korea,
because Japan is making new concessions in order to get the DPRK to
implement the reinvestigation it promised in 2004."

After the briefing, Kyoko Nakayama, state minister for the abduction
issue, stated: "I wonder whether North Korea will seriously deal

TOKYO 00002244 004 OF 007


with the issue. Tough negotiations will begin."

6) Minister Nakayama: Japan will strictly check North Korea's
investigation into abductions of Japanese nationals

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

Asked by reporters about the recent talks between Japan and North
Korea, in which the two countries agreed that North Korea would
complete the reinvestigation into its abductions of Japanese
nationals by this fall to the extent possible, Kyoko Nakayama, state
minister for the abduction issue, yesterday stated: "The question is
whether North Korea will seriously deal with the matter as it
promised. Tough negotiations will take place. Future negotiations
are important." She then indicated that Japan would strictly check
the progress of the North's investigation so that missing abductees
will be found and can return home.

7) Prime minister calling ministers into his office even during Bon
holidays

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

Since August 13 Prime Minister Fukuda has been spending his days at
the official residence adjacent to the Kantei, where he is usually
at work. He is supposedly taking summer holidays. However, he is
actually working hard, calling in ministers to his office and giving
orders to them in an attempt to put the cabinet's approval ratings,
which have picked up following the cabinet shuffle, on a recovery
track.

The prime minister took a six-day summer vacation starting on July
16. He spent most of the time at a Tokyo hotel.

His second vacation is five days starting from August 17. However,
he will attend the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead on August 15.
He will also attend a cabinet meeting. He also needs to coordinate
views with senior ruling party officials on an economic stimulus
package and the timing of convening the next extraordinary Diet
session. It appears impossible for him to completely rest. Asked by
reporters about how he is going to spend his vacation, the prime
minister on the evening of August 12 stressed, "I will work as
usual."

He separately called in Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito and State
Minister for Financial Services and Administrative Reform Toshimitsu
Motegi to the official residence on the 13th and Economy, Trade and
Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai and State Minister for Consumer
Administration Seiko Noda on the 14th and discussed policy issues in
areas of their responsibility.

Emerging from the meeting with Fukuda at the official residence,
Nikai stressed the prime minister's enthusiasm, "We discussed issues
for two hours without a break."

8) Poll: Aso ranks top in popularity rating for premiership, Fukuda
in 4th place

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

TOKYO 00002244 005 OF 007

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Secretary General Aso ranked
top at 25 PERCENT in popularity rating for premiership, the Yomiuri
Shimbun found from its recent face-to-face nationwide public opinion
survey conducted Aug. 9-10. Prime Minister Fukuda was in fourth
place at 3 PERCENT . Fukuda aimed to maintain his initiative with
his installation of Aso to the post of LDP secretary general when he
shuffled his cabinet and appointed a new lineup of LDP executives.
However, Fukuda fell far behind Aso in the popularity ranking.

Former Prime Minister Koizumi ranked second at 13 PERCENT , and the
leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan's President Ozawa
ranked third at 10 PERCENT . Health, Labor and Welfare Minister
Masuzoe and DPJ Vice President Kan also ranked fourth at 3 PERCENT ,
as well as Fukuda.

A similar question was asked in a survey conducted this March. In
that survey as well, Aso topped all others at 21 PERCENT . This
time, however, Aso rose in popularity with the effect of his LDP
secretary general post. Aso scored 43 PERCENT among LDP supporters,
and he ranked top among those with no particular party affiliation.
Meanwhile, Fukuda further dropped from the 4 PERCENT rating (4th
place) in this March's survey. Among LDP supporters Fukuda ranked
third at 9 PERCENT . Among those unaffiliated, however, Fukuda
ranked seventh at 1.4 PERCENT , as well as former Defense Minister
Yuriko Koike.

Meanwhile, Ozawa markedly rose from the 5 PERCENT rating (3rd
place) in the March survey. In the latest survey, respondents were
further asked which one between Fukuda and Ozawa they would support
when it comes to their efforts to tackle recent political issues. To
this question, however, Fukuda stood at 41 PERCENT , with Ozawa at
34 PERCENT .

9) Number of DPJ members, supporters reaches record high of over
260,000

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 15, 2008

The number of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) members and supporters
in fiscal 2008 reached a record high of 266,747. In the party
presidential election in September (official announcement on the
8th, election on the 21st), 269,124 people, with 224 lawmakers and
2,153 local assembly members who belong to the DPJ added to members
and supporters, will be eligible voters.

The DPJ confirms the number of its members and supporters every
fiscal year, closing registration at the end of May. The numbers of
members and supporters in fiscal 2008 are 44,340 and 222,407,
respectively, 67,489 more than the previous fiscal year and the
highest figure since the current registration system was introduced
in fiscal 2004.

According to prefecture (including lawmakers and local assembly
members), Tokyo is the largest at 22,090, followed by 16,039 in
Hokkaido and 15,706 in Aichi. Iwate, from which President Ozawa
hails, is fifth with 14,668. Shimane has the smallest number at 608.


10) Chinese-made tainted gyoza dumpling incident likely to become
source of contention in extraordinary Diet session; Government

TOKYO 00002244 006 OF 007


defending decision to withhold information provided by China

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
August 15, 2008

It has been found that Chinese who ate tainted gyoza dumplings made
in China also were poisoned. Though the Chinese government informed
the Japanese government of this incident, the Japanese government
did not reveal the information. The government still stands firm
about its having withheld information provided by the Chinese side.
The incident will likely spark controversy in the extraordinary Diet
session to be convened in the fall, intertwined with Agriculture
Minister Seiichi Ota's remark that consumers are "noisy."

The Foreign Ministry noted that the information provided by China
was specific, covering the number of victims, and the time and
locations of poisoning. However, when it for the first time
disclosed the information on August 6, it just revealed that there
were poisoning cases caused by tainted gyoza dumplings in China in
June. It steered clear of revealing the number of victims and the
cause of the poisoning.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura later during a TV program revealed
that the number of victims is four and the cause of the poisoning is
attributable to methamidophos. Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Counsellor Masahiro Kohara on August 12 disclosed further
information that there is a possibility that people connected to
Tianyang Food Plant, the manufacturer of the dumplings in question,
ate those dumplings.

The Foreign Ministry had to disclose information piecemeal, while
monitoring the public response, because criticism of the government
for having stopped short of disclosing the information mounted,
sparked by the agriculture minister's remark. The ministry's move
has nothing to do with the official reason provided by the
government that Japan is cooperating with China because the
investigation is still underway, as Prime Minister Fukuda said.

The DPJ and other opposition parties are strengthening their
criticism of the government, as can be seen in the fact that they
are seeking an investigation into the matter, though the Diet is in
recess. There may be an impact on Diet deliberations on bills
related to the establishment of a consumer agency, which the Fukuda
cabinet plans to submit to the extraordinary Diet session in the
fall, playing up its stance of attaching importance to consumers.

11) Foreign minister to visit China starting tomorrow: To ask
cooperation for investigation into tainted gyoza incident

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura will visit China for three days
starting on August 16. He is expected to meet with key Chinese
officials, including his counterpart Yang Jiechi. He will call on
China to expedite cooperation for an investigation into the tainted
Chinese-made gyoza dumpling incident so that the issue can be
settled at an early date. He will also likely explain to the Chinese
side that Japan and North Korea during the recent bilateral talks
reached an agreement that North Korea will conduct a reinvestigation
into the abductions of Japanese nationals. He will ask for China's
cooperation so that the matter will make progress.

TOKYO 00002244 007 OF 007

Regarding the tainted gyoza incident, it has been found that Chinese
who ate frozen dumplings manufactured by the same plant that caused
poisonings in Japan suffered were also poisoned in June. There is a
strong possibility of dumplings having been tainted with pesticide
in China. Such being the circumstance, Koumura also intends to ask
the Chinese side to provide more information on the matter.

Prime Minister Fukuda, who visited China to attend the opening
ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, on August 8 met with
President Hu Jintao and discussed the matter with him. They agreed
to make efforts for an early settlement of the incident.

12) Foreign Minister Koumura welcomes acceptance of peace plan by
Russia, Georgia

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 15, 2008

Concerning the acceptance of a peace plan by Russia and Georgia to
settle the South Ossetia dispute, Foreign Minister Koumura on August
14 released a statement, which went: "Japan welcomes their
acceptance of the peace plan, taking it as the result of urgings by
the international community. It expects that the agreement will be
steadily implemented on the ground."

SCHIEFFER

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