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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/25/08

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2330/01 2380744
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250744Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6787
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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 1887
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9525
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3265
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 7670
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0105
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5028
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1018
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1351

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 002330

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: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 08/25/08

INDEX:

(1) Okinawa City sends letters of protest to Japanese, U.S.
governments on radiation leak by nuclear-powered submarine (Ryukyu
Shimpo)

(2) Delay in announcement of USS Houston's radiation leak; Is it all
right to entrust safety of nuclear aircraft carrier to U.S.? (Tokyo
Shimbun)

(3) SDF dispatch (Part 3): Constitutional interpretation-Backspin
with new prime minister coming in (Mainichi)

(4) Lower House Speaker Kono's persistence to bear fruit (Mainichi)


(5) Science and Technology Ministry to earmark 16 billion yen for GX
rocket project (Tokyo Shimbun)

ARTICLES:

(1) Okinawa City sends letters of protest to Japanese, U.S.
governments on radiation leak by nuclear-powered submarine

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
August 23, 2008

Okinawa

In the wake of the leak of cooling water by the USS Houston, a U.S.
Navy nuclear-powered submarine, Okinawa City (Mayor Mitsuko Tomon)
sent on Aug. 22 letters of protest and petitions to the governments
of Japan and the United States, calling for the two governments to
clarify the cause of the accident, disclose the test results of all
nuclear-powered submarines that visited the city in the past, and
stop port calls by nuclear-powered submarines.

The city also sent letters of protest against the illegal parking of
U.S. military vehicles at civilian parking lots in the city and the
theft of civilian vehicles by U.S. Marines in Okinawa.

The city sought the prompt disclosure of results of examinations of
all nuclear-powered submarines that visited the city in the past,
with the letter reading: "The leak of radiation occurred in
fisheries waters straddling both Uruma City and Okinawa City. This
radiation leak undeniably made residents of the city and the
prefecture gravely anxious. Such an accident must not take place."
Also pointing out the central government's failure to report the
accident to local governments, the letters criticize it as "the
state's lack of crisis awareness."

The letters also call for prevention of illegal parking of U.S.
military vehicles, strict discipline, and the thorough education of
U.S. service members, saying: "The actual conditions in which
military vehicles can easily be stolen expose the U.S. military's
poor management. We cannot rule out the possibility that such an act
might result in serious cases, including the theft of civilian
vehicles."

The letter protesting the radiation leak is addressed to the U.S.
secretary of defense, U.S. Forces Japan commander, Okinawa area
coordinator, and others. The petition is addressed to the heads of

TOKYO 00002330 002 OF 006


the two Diet chambers, prime minister, foreign minister, defense
minister, and others. The letter of protest against the illegal
parking of U.S. military vehicles is addressed to the Okinawa area
coordinator, Camp Hansen commander, Okinawa Defense Bureau director
general, and others.

(2) Delay in announcement of USS Houston's radiation leak; Is it all
right to entrust safety of nuclear aircraft carrier to U.S.?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 26) (Full)
August 20, 2008

The Kashiwazki-Kariwa nuclear power plant was hit by an earthquake
in July, 2007. Following this, the leakage of radiation from the
nuclear-powered USS Houston was discovered this month. Since nuclear
reactors have become something familiar to us, we are at risk of
being exposed to radiation. Iodine preparations are effective to
prevent thyroid gland disorder from radiation, but they have yet to
be stockpiled. Why?

"It was too sloppy to unveil the radiation leak of a U.S.
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier nearly two years after it occurred.
Yokosuka residents were deceived," said Masahiko Goto, a lawyer who
opposes the deployment of the USS George Washington to Yokosuka
Naval Base. Goto is co-leader of a civic group opposing Yokosuka
becoming the home port of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The USS Houston released cooling water containing less than 3.5 kilo
becquerel of radiation when it made a call at Yokosuka for five days
in January, 2007. In 2006 and afterward, the Houston discharged
radiation when it called at the Sasebo base in Nagasaki Prefecture,
and at U.S. White Beach military facility in Okinawa Prefecture. It
is said that since the amount of the radiation leaked at the three
Japanese ports was minute, it has no effect on the human body.

The USS George Washington is expected to be deployed to Yokosuka in
late September to replace the USS Kitty Hawk, which has become
obsolete.

USS George Washington Commander John Haley has stressed the safety
of the nuclear aircraft carrier, saying: "I will not jeopardize my
family." However, the nuclear aircraft carrier is expected to be
permanently deployed to Yokosuka, which is located near Tokyo. Goto
underscored:

"Since the nuclear aircraft carrier moves around in war zones, it is
more dangerous than any nuclear power plant. The George Washington's
deployment without being able to check whether it leaks radiation is
impermissible."

Goto and his civic group members called for a public referendum on
the deployment of the George Washington, but Yokosuka City Mayor
Ryoichi Kabaya turned down the idea, judging that the handling of an
issue that relates to foreign policy and security is the state's job
and unsuitable for a referendum. The city assembly also rejected it
by an overwhelming majority.

Fire on George Washington

A fire broke out onboard the George Washington while it was
traveling in the Pacific Ocean. Although the U.S. Navy has insisted
that there was no radiation leak, residents living around the base

TOKYO 00002330 003 OF 006


are increasingly concerned. A city safety division official said:

"If a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier has an accident, we can get
information in the same way we do when there is an accident at a
Japanese nuclear power plant. Radiation leaks spread with time, so
we will absolutely be able to take safety measures."

Based on its regional disaster prevention plan, Yokosuka City has
stockpiled iodine tablets and powder in a total of 32 public health
centers and elementary schools -- 294,000 tablets and about 1
kilogram of powder, which is easy for children to take, in each
place. Iodine tables or power will be provided to residents at each
evacuation center should radiation exposure be predicted to exceed
standards set by the Nuclear Safety Commission. Goto tilted his head
in doubt about the fact that the city has conducted emergency drills
to transport iodine preparations by public health center vehicle led
by a prefectural police car. He said:

"Is it all right to leave the safety of a warship ported in Yokosuka
to the U.S. military? If Japan makes efforts to get information in
advance on whether there is a radiation leak, it would be too late
to use iodine tablets in case of an emergency."

(3) SDF dispatch (Part 3): Constitutional interpretation-Backspin
with new prime minister coming in

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

Press: "Are you going to alter the government's constitutional
interpretation so Japan can exercise the right to collective
self-defense?"

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda: "I've never said I would change it. The
Constitution is the Constitution."

Fukuda's predecessor, Shinzo Abe, launched a private advisory panel
at the prime minister's office when he was still in office as prime
minister. On June 24, the advisory panel-or the Council for
Rebuilding the Legal Foundation of National Security (chaired by
former Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai)-came up
with its final report of its discussions. Abe insisted that Japan
should be constitutionally allowed to participate in collective
self-defense. Fukuda, however, was too cold on the Abe panel's final
report that incorporated Abe's standpoint in favor of collective
self-defense. Fukuda's attitude told that the Abe panel's discussion
over constitutional interpretation had been mothballed.

Abe became prime minister in the fall of the year before last.
Shortly thereafter, Abe announced he would consider altering the
government's conventional way of reading and interpreting the
Constitution. His advisory panel, which started its discussion in
May last year, made four case studies, focusing particularly on two
options for Japan: 1) Japan's missile defense (MD) system intercepts
ballistic missiles targeted at the United States; and 2) the
Self-Defense Forces strikes back if and when U.S. naval vessels come
under attack in international waters.

Both cases allow Japan to exercise the right to collective
self-defense, which-according to the government's constitutional
interpretation-is prohibited under the Constitution. In 2003, the
then chief cabinet secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, stated that MD is for

TOKYO 00002330 004 OF 006


Japan's defense only. Abe also implied that he would think twice
about this Fukuda statement. His advisory panel was made up of his
brain trusters. The panel was therefore certain to reach a
conclusion as Abe likes.

However, Abe stepped down because his ruling Liberal Democratic
Party suffered a crushing defeat in an election for the House of
Councillors. His policy line, which was seen as hasty, was halted as
Fukuda-who is cautious about allowing Japan to participate in
collective self-defense-became prime minister. Even so, Prime
Minister Fukuda was believed to be positive to consider the other
two points at issue discussed by the Abe panel: 3) the SDF on
overseas missions goes to the rescue of foreign troops engaged in
international cooperation when they came under attack; and 4) the
SDF conducts rear-echelon support for foreign troops in a combat
area.

"Abe's imprint is too strong." "That would have a negative impact on
Japan's relations with China." So saying, Fukuda's aides showed
their reluctance to study the other two options. Taking their
advice, Fukuda gave up on these two case studies. The advisory panel
was amenable to Abe in its report and showed no consideration for
Fukuda. This also had the opposite effect.

However, LDP Secretary General Taro Aso, who is the most likely
post-Fukuda candidate, declared in his battle last year with Fukuda
for LDP presidency that he would respect the Abe panel's report if
he becomes prime minister. One surmises that Aso, if he becomes
prime minister, could name Abe as foreign minister. Aso and Abe are
'sworn friends' who advocated an "arc of freedom and prosperity"-or
a China encircling net ranging from East Europe to democratic
nations in Asia.

With the advent of Aso, the Abe panel's mothballed report could be
put back on the table. However, the argument over constitutional
interpretation is given backspin each time the prime minister is
replaced. Such politics is really precarious.

(4) Lower House Speaker Kono's persistence to bear fruit

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
August 16, 2008

"It will be a compilation of what I have been working over the last
five years as Lower House speaker. I want to make it a historic
event. It will be a message to the world as well," Lower House
Speaker Yohei Kono said enthusiastically at his official residence.

The G-8 Summit of Lower House Speakers will take place on Sept. 2.
It will be the first time for Japan to host such a summit. The
nation that hosted the G-8 summit has also hosted a speakers'
meeting every year since 2002. The Hiroshima summit will be the
seventh.

Kono made his summit debut in the third meeting that took place in
Chicago. At the time, he reportedly said to himself: "When Japan's
turn comes, there is no other place but Hiroshima, the city that was
attacked with an atomic bomb, to host the event. I will make efforts
to host the event if I am still in the post (in 2008)." He has been
making preparations for the event since.

The key was held by the United States. Over the last 63 years after

TOKYO 00002330 005 OF 006


the end of WWII, no incumbent U.S. political leader has visited
Hiroshima. Under the U.S. Constitution, the House speaker is third
in line for succession to the presidency; should the President and
Vice President unable to serve, the speaker shall serve as
President.

If the United States shunned the venue, the Hiroshima plan would
have to be given up, Kono thought. Without the United States, the
event might end up resulting in negative effects.

When he held a meeting with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the
sidelines of the sixth speakers' meeting held last September in
Berlin, Kono said to her: "Mankind is faced with the issues of the
global environment and peace. Environmental issues will be taken up
at the Hokkaido G-8 summit. Given the situation, I want to take up
peace and disarmament at next year's speakers' summit. I think
Hiroshima fits the topics as the venue to host the event."

Pelosi readily agreed to Kono's plan, saying, "I think your plans
are terrific. Weapons of mass destruction and nuclear disarmament
are extremely important matters, and no place is more suitable than
Hiroshima. If I can attend it, it will be a great honor."

Pelosi, 68, a Democrat from San Francisco, is the first woman to
become House speaker. Actively addressing such matters as the
democratization of China and the Tibetan issue, Pelosi is also
internationally popular as a liberal legislator. Pelosi also said:
"There are many Japanese-Americans in San Francisco. There are all
sorts of things relating to Hiroshima, as well. We must fully
understand what happened at that time."

There was a problem in terms of Pelosi's timetable. She was
scheduled to chair the Democratic National Convention and name the
party's official presidential nominee on Aug. 29. The presidential
race would then move into full swing, and congressional races would
also kick off that day. Pelosi still promised to attend the event,
saying: "There will be no problems in my race. It is really
important for all the speakers to attend the event. If I depart on
Aug. 30, I will be able to arrive in Japan on the 31st."

The other six G-8 members did not raise any objections in the
subsequent coordination of timetables, and the epoch-making
speakers' meeting in Hiroshima in September was nailed down.

Visibly overjoyed, Kono said: "I was surprised that Speaker Pelosi
unexpectedly supported the plan. It is significant that the Italian
speaker is the only person who has visited Hiroshima and that others
have never visited the city."

The G-8 speakers are scheduled to attend a dinner party to be hosted
by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on Aug. 31. They are slated to arrive
at Hiroshima on a government plane after attending a luncheon party
to be hosted by Kono and having an audience with the Emperor at the
Imperial Palace on Sept. 1.

On Sept. 2, they are scheduled to lay a wreath at the cenotaph for
A-bomb victims and tour the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This
will be followed by discussions in the museum's conference room on
the role of the speakers' meeting for peace and disarmament among
nine speakers: the G-8 speakers and the European Union speaker as a
guest.


TOKYO 00002330 006 OF 006


As gifts, the members will be presented with memo pads produced by a
son of the late Lower House Speaker Hyosuke Kujiraoka, who was chair
of the Parliamentarian League to Promote International Disarmament.
The cases are made of a Hiroshima fabric depicting the Hiroshima
Peace Memorial.

Kono pays careful attention to details.

(5) Science and Technology Ministry to earmark 16 billion yen for GX
rocket project

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
August 23, 2008

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT) decided yesterday to earmark 16 billion yen for a project to
develop the GX rocket in its budget estimate for fiscal 2009.

For the GX rocket project, MEXT's budget request of 15 billion yen
for fiscal 2008 was slashed to 5.6 billion yen. Questions are now
being posed on the propriety of continuing the GX rocket development
project, given a delay in the project and additional costs. No
conclusion has been reached yet. But MEXT intends to make the
budgetary request so that it will be able to respond if a decision
is made to continue the project in a meeting of the Space
Development Strategy Office on Aug. 27.

The GX is a medium-size rocket that is somewhat smaller than the
H-2A rocket, Japan's mainstay launching vehicle. The project is
being promoted by MEXT and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry (METI) and by IHI Corporation (IHI) from the private
sector. The GX rocket project was started in full swing in 2001, but
its liftoff set for 2005 has been postponed to 2011 due to a delay
in the government's development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG)
engine.

ZUMWALT

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