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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/21/08

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2301/01 2340043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210043Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1843
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9481
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3221
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 7630
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0061
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4986
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0976
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1314

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 002301

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 08/21/08

Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Schieffer-Aso meeting:
4) Ambassador Schieffer in meeting with LDP SecGen Aso expresses
hopes Japan continue MSDF refueling mission in Indian Ocean (Asahi)

5) Ambassador Schieffer tells LDP SecGen that Aso U.S. hopes for
other contributions in addition to refueling activities (Yomiuri)
6) LDP SecGen Aso in meeting with Ambassador Schieffer agrees it is
important to continue MSDF's refueling mission in Indian Ocean
(Nikkei)
7) Ambassador Schieffer meets with LDP SecGen Aso (Akahata)

Defense & security issues:
8) U.K. bargaining with Japan over Eurofighter Typhoon jets:
Financial Times report (Yomiuri)
9) - MCAS Iwakuni's offshore extension falling behind schedule
(Nikkei)
10) In Iraq, SDF bought fuel from U.S. (Tokyo Shimbun)
11) Defense Minister Hayashi visits Okinawa, underscores
dialogue-oriented stance over Futenma relocation (Yomiuri)

Political issues:
12) New Komeito President Ota certain to be reelected (Mainichi)
13) GOJ to finalize economic package on Aug. 29 (Mainichi)
14) Georgia's Tokyo envoy asks Japan to act (Nikkei)

North Korea problem:
15) LDP's Yamasaki meets with N. Korean officials in Beijing; CCS
Machimura: "That's news to me." (Asahi)
16) N. Korea raps U.S. over nuclear verification (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei, Tokyo Shimbun, & Akahata:
Bolt wins two gold metals with new world records

Nikkei:
Tokyo Gas, 2 others to jointly buy Sendai's public gas operations

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Reform medical services, with judgment of obstetrician's
acquittal
(2) Diplomatic ties between Syria and Lebanon expected to serve to
stabilize Middle East

Mainichi:
(1) Establish fair, neutral medical safety screening system
(2) Bush administration should assume responsibility to resolve
subprime loan crisis

Yomiuri:
(1) Medical safety panel needed
(2) Russia must not be allowed to keep troops in Georgia

TOKYO 00002301 002 OF 007

Nikkei:
(1) U.S. financial institutions pressed to buy back securities
(2) Measures needed to deal with drop in number of obstetrician
incidents

Sankei:
(1) Obstetrician acquitted: Thorough investigation in medical
mishaps needed so as not to shrink medical care
(2) Arrest of sumo wrester: Break down conventions and reform sumo
society

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Tasks being left in medical system
(2) Key to raising food self-sufficiency rate now at 40 PERCENT
lies in rice

Akahata:
(1) Info security legislation aimed at covering people's eyes

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, August 20

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008

11:27
Met Finance Minister Ibuki, METI Minister Nikai, and Economic,
Fiscal Policy Minister Yosano, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura
at the Kantei. Machimura stayed on.

12:52
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

14:30
Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitsuya.

17:02
Met Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka, followed by Naigai News Chairman
Kiyomiya.

18:58
Met former Finance Minister Nukaga, former MLIT Minister Fuyushiba,
former METI Minister Amari and others at his official residence, in
the presence of Machimura.

4) U.S. Ambassador Schieffer urges Japan to continue refueling
operation

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 21, 2008

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer yesterday called on
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Taro Aso. The
Ambassador, referring in the meeting to the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, said: "It is very
important not only for the U.S.-Japan alliance but also for Japan's
relations with the International community." Aso then replied: "We
understand the importance of the refueling mission."

Aso indicated that his party was considering different support

TOKYO 00002301 003 OF 007


measures instead of simply extending the operation. According the
Ambassador, Aso did not mention any specific measures in the
meeting.

5) Ambassador Schieffer in meeting with Aso expresses hope for
Japan's contributions in addition to refueling mission

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Aso met U.S. Ambassador
to Japan Thomas Schieffer at party headquarters yesterday to
exchange views on an extension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean beyond the expiration of the
relevant law. In the meeting, in response to the Ambassador's call
on Japan to continue its refueling mission, Aso said: "I have
acknowledged the importance of the operation from before."

Speaking before reporters after the meeting, the Ambassador
expressed hope for new contributions from Japan aside from
refueling, saying: "I hope Japan will also extend contributions in
Afghanistan in different forms in addition to the refueling
operation." Schieffer said that he would also meet Democratic Party
of Japan President Ozawa next month to seek his understanding of
Japan's continued mission.

6) Schieffer, Aso share importance of Japan's continued refueling
mission in Indian Ocean

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso met with U.S.
Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer at LDP headquarters yesterday.
They agreed on the importance of Japan's extension of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's ongoing refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
beyond the expiration of the relevant law on Jan. 15. Schieffer
said: "I hope Japan will continue to provide the service." Aso
replied: "I have acknowledged the importance of the operation,"
indicating that he will make efforts to have a bill amending the new
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law enacted in the next Diet
session.

The ambassador told reporters after the meeting: "The refueling
issue is very important from the viewpoint of not only the
Japan-U.S. alliance but also Japan's relations with the
international community." He added: "I hope Japan will make
contributions in a different way in Afghanistan," calling on Japan
to boost its support, keeping in mind reconstruction assistance on
the ground of Afghanistan.

Asked about the Democratic Party of Japan, which is opposed to an
extension of the refueling operation, the ambassador indicated he
would continue to seek its understanding, saying: "I would like to
meet DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa. I really hope to meet (the new DPJ
president) after the party presidential election is over."

7) Aso meets with U.S. envoy

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008


TOKYO 00002301 004 OF 007


Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Taro Aso yesterday met
with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer at LDP headquarters. In the
meeting, Schieffer said the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean is important not only for the Japan-U.S.
alliance but also for relations between Japan and the international
community. With this, the U.S. envoy expressed strong hopes that the
Diet will extend the new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law in its
forthcoming extraordinary session. Aso answered, "I understand the
importance of this (refueling) operation."

After the meeting, Schieffer clarified to reporters that he wants to
meet before long with Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) President
Ichiro Ozawa as well.

8) Financial Times reports that UK in talks with Japan on purchasing
Eurofighter

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008

Chiharu Mori, London

The British Defense Ministry, finding it difficult to implement its
contract to purchase the Eurofighter Typhoon, jointly developed by
four European countries, due to the nation's tight financial
situation, is in talks with Japan and other countries to procure the
fighter in place of the UK, the Financial Times reported on August
20.

The Eurofighter has been jointly developed by Britain, Germany,
Italy and Spain. The UK has promised to purchase 88 Eurofighter
Typhoon jets, in addition to its orders for 144 aircrafts. In
response to the UK's informal request, such countries as Japan,
Saudi Arabia and India have reportedly shown interests. The talks
are still at an early stage. A conclusion would not be reached until
next year.

The Eurofighter is classified as an intelligence-gathering aircraft
in the selection of the next-generation mainstay combat aircraft for
the Air Self-Defense Force. Although the United States'
state-of-the-art fighter F-22 Raptor is the leading candidate, there
is no prospect for its introduction because the U.S. Congress
effectively bans its exports for fear of information leak.

9) Relocation of Iwakuni runway to be postponed

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 21, 2008

The Defense Ministry announced yesterday that it would postpone
completion of the project to relocate the Iwakuni base's runway with
the aim of reducing noise and accidents from the end of fiscal 2008
to the end of fiscal 2010. As the reason, the ministry cited the
possible delay in the relocation of the Iwakuni human-waste
treatment plant in the area in which the runway is to be built.

10) MSDF has been providing fuel free of charge in Indian Ocean;
Fuel for Iraq airlift mission purchased from U.S.

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
August 21, 2008


TOKYO 00002301 005 OF 007


The Self-Defense Forces, which have been providing fuel to naval
vessels of the United States and other countries in the Indian Ocean
free of charge, have purchased fuel from the U.S. military for the
ASDF airlift mission in Iraq, it was learned yesterday. The
generosity of Japan in providing fuel free of charge stands out in
the face of its people's suffering from soaring gas prices.

The ASDF, which has dispatched three C-130 transport planes to
Kuwait for airlifting supplies to Iraq, has been receiving paid
support based on the Japan-U.S. Acquisition and Cross-Servicing
Agreement (ACSA). In fiscal 2006, the ASDF paid 126 million yen to
the U.S. military for 1,840 kiloliters of aircraft fuel.

Meanwhile, the MSDF, which has been dispatched to the Indian Ocean,
provided helicopter and naval vessel fuel on 989 occasions at sea
between 2001 and November 2007 in accordance with the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law. The fuel cost totaling 22.4 billion yen was
borne by the Japanese government.

Since January 2008, the MSDF has provided fuel worth more than 800
million yen to vessels of seven countries, including Pakistan and
France, under the new antiterrorism law (refueling law). This, too,
was paid for by the Japanese government.

11) Defense Minister Hayashi plays up Okinawa dialogue policy line

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 21, 2008

Defense Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi had a meeting with Mayor
Yoshikazu Shimabukuro of Nago, the relocation site for Futenma Air
Station, in Okinawa yesterday. In the session, the defense chief
played up his intention to put high priority on dialogue with local
residents, saying: "I want to carry things out while meeting with
local residents and realizing the local atmosphere firsthand."

Visiting Okinawa ahead of other places since assuming office,
Defense Minister Hayashi repeatedly expressed his desire to build
good relations with Okinawa during his stay in the prefecture, which
began Aug. 19. Partly because his predecessor Shigeru Ishiba did not
set foot in Okinawa during his tenure, Hayashi's stance seems to
have been received favorably as an indication that he will place
emphasis on Okinawa.

12) Ota certain to be reelected as New Komeito leader

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpt)
August 21, 2008

The New Komeito decided yesterday in a meeting of its Central
Secretary Committee to hold a convention on Sept. 23 for a party
leadership election. It is certain that incumbent Chief
Representative Akihiro Ota will be reelected as party head
uncontested, since no one else will run.

The term of New Komeito presidency is two years. Ota took office
from Takenori Kanzaki in September 2006.

13) Government to finalize economic package possibly on Aug. 29

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 21, 2008

TOKYO 00002301 006 OF 007

The government decided yesterday to hold a meeting of economic
ministers at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in preparation
for compiling a comprehensive economic package to deal with the
recent steep rise in oil and food prices. With the aim of finalizing
the package on Aug. 29, the government plans to prepare a draft this
week and start coordination with the ruling camp. But the ruling
side is seeking a large supplementary budget on the scale of a
trillion yen with an eye to a dissolution of the House of
Representatives, while Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda remains cautious
about a large extra budget, with the stance of placing importance on
both (economic growth and) fiscal discipline. Difficult negotiations
are expected on the size of the package.

Included in the package as announced by the government on Aug. 11
are measures to: (1) mitigate people's uneasiness in the face of
soaring commodity prices; (2) realize a low-carbon society and
promote energy conservation and new energy; and (3) enable smooth
adoption of a new pricing system, given rising oil prices. Economy,
Trade and Industry Minister Yosano is now engaged in sorting out the
proposals made by government ministries and agencies, including a
reduction in expressway tolls, assistance for introduction of solar
energy generation, and strengthened support for small businesses.

14) Georgian ambassador calls for active involvement of Japan in
international efforts

NIKKEI (Page 6) (Full)
August 21, 2008

Georgian Ambassador to Japan Ivane Matchavariani held a press
conference yesterday, in which he said: "Japan should be involved
more actively in international efforts to bring peace and stability
in Georgia." The ambassador then pointed out: "It is necessary to
prevent Russia from becoming a threatening force again."

15) LDP's Yamasaki meets North Korean officials

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 21, 2008

It has been revealed that Taku Yamasaki, former secretary general of
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), met on Aug. 19 in Beijing
with North Korean officials. Yamasaki visited the North Korean
Embassy, although it is not known with whom he met there. He seems
to have exchanged views with them on how the latest working-level
talks between Japan and North Korea had been conducted, as well as
on the method of the DPRK's reinvestigations of its abductions of
Japanese nationals.

Yamasaki arrived in Beijing on Aug. 19 to see softball games of the
Olympics. He visited the North Korean Embassy in Beijing in July, as
well. Asked by reporters about Yamsaki's action, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said yesterday: "I (as a government
member) have not heard about it."

16) North Korea criticizes U.S. for "improper demand on nuclear
verification"

NIKKEI (Page 6) (Full)
August 21, 2008


TOKYO 00002301 007 OF 007


(Seoul, Masanori Yamaguchi)

A spokesman of the North Korean Foreign Ministry lashed out at the
U.S.-presented nuclear verification plan on Aug. 20: "We have to
reinforce a sense of alarm about the improper demand made by the
U.S. for a verification regime that meets the international
standard." Korean News Agency (Tokyo) reported the remark the
spokesman made in response to a question from the Korean Central
News Agency.

SCHIEFFER

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