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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/23/08

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2620/01 2670757
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 230757Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7416
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
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 2338
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9978
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3721
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8082
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0554
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5450
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1446
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1744

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 002620

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 09/23/08

INDEX:

(1) SGI Chairman Ikeda meets U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer
(part 2): Japan should be a bridge between the U.S. and China
(Seikyo Shimbun)

(2) Editorial: Aso vs. Ozawa -- Now it's the people's turn to choose
(Nikkei)

(3) British, Australian newspapers reported that Aso Mining owned by
Takakichi Aso, father of Taro Aso, had used Allied POWs for forced
labor (Shukan Gendai)

(4) TOP HEADLINES

(5) EDITORIALS

(6) Prime Minister's schedule, September 22 (Nikkei)

ARTICLES:

(1) SGI Chairman Ikeda meets U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer
(part 2): Japan should be a bridge between the U.S. and China

SEIKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 20, 2008

Later in the meeting, the topic came up about what was important
when thinking about the future course of Japan-U.S. relations.

The Ambassador stressed that when thinking about the future of Asia
over the next 20 to 30 years, it was inconceivable that there would
be conflict between the interests of America and that of Japan. As
the reason for this assertion, he said, "Japan and the United States
share common values." He gave such examples as democracy, rule by
law, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of
religion.

In addition, he stated: "I believe that our countries together are
seeking world peace through trade, education, and mutual
understanding." He stressed that it was only natural for Japan and
the U.S. to cooperate for the sake of the world.

The SGI Chairman reminisced about his life and the friendships he
had built with such figures as Secretary of State Kissinger in
America and Senator Edward Kennedy, the brother of President
Kennedy. He also mentioned that at the time when he issued in Sept.
1968 a proposal for normalization of relations between Japan and
China, there was a reference to peace and friendship between China
and the U.S. He related his efforts as a private citizen to bring
about friendly ties between Japan and China, as well as between the
U.S. and China.

The SGI Chairman also touched on the relations of the three
countries today. He said that Japan must earnestly maintain a
friendship with China at all times, and that China recognizes the
importance of the U.S. He added that it was essential for the world
in the future that Japan also should play a role as a bridge between
the two countries to deepen the friendly ties between the U.S. and
China.

The Ambassador said that as long as Japan and America have a strong

TOKYO 00002620 002 OF 006


friendship, there would be stable development in Asia.

In addition, when the SGI Chairman asked the Ambassador about his
diplomatic philosophy, he replied as follows: "The best diplomacy is
not just talking to the government; I think diplomacy is talking to
the nation, to the people." When the SGI Chairman brought up the
Kansai region, where he had deep memories of his youth, the
Ambassador expressed his hopes: "The Kansai is a dynamic region, and
it still has a great potential for further development. I think the
appeal of the Kansai region should be broadcast to the world."

The SGI Chairman then brought up something that the Ambassador had
once said in the Kansai, namely, that Japan still has a largely
untapped, splendid human resource: women. The two discussed that
women's power and women's activities will sustain the new age.

Attending the meeting were Gakkai Deputy Chairman Tanigawa and other
dignitaries. Representatives from each department, including the
Youth Department, were there to welcome the Ambassador.

(2) Editorial: Aso vs. Ozawa -- Now it's the people's turn to
choose

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 23, 2008

Now that Secretary General Taro Aso has won a landslide victory in
the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) presidential election, as
generally expected, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by
newly-elected Aso will confront the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ
or Minshuto) led by Ichiro Ozawa in the next general election. It is
now the people's turn to choose either the LDP or the DPJ. Both
parties should seek the judgment of the voters by providing them
with clear manifestos (campaign pledges).

The reasons for Aso's overwhelming victory are clear. He has been
enjoying overwhelming popularity in the polls as a candidate for the
next prime minister. He is also supported by many LDP members as the
key person to lead the party into the next election. No less
important is the fact that with the economy entering a recessionary
phase, hopes are pinned on Aso for economic pump-priming measures.

The presidential election started with a fanfare with five LDP
lawmakers declaring their candidacies. But it lost steam part way.
People's interest in who might win the election weakened when Aso
left the rest of the pack far behind. Policy debate did not draw
much attention, because candidates' policies did not differ much.
The campaign increasingly appeared to be a throwaway match, as
people's interests were drawn toward the financial crisis in the
U.S. and the tainted rice resale issue.

Even so, a rough sketch of president-elect Aso's policy emerged
during the campaign period. He made clear his stance of giving first
consideration to economic stimulus measures, saying that it would
take three years for the Japanese economy to recover its health.
Specifically, he pledged the implementation of a fixed-rate tax cut,
policy tax cuts and measures to help small and medium-size
businesses.

He indicated a stance of not adhering to the government's goal of
moving the primary balance into the black by fiscal 2011. He also
categorically noted that he would not raise the consumption tax for

TOKYO 00002620 003 OF 006


the next three years. He declared his intention to revise the public
health insurance scheme for elderly people aged 75 or older, saying
that the government policy of constraining a natural increase in
social security expenses by 220 billion yen had reached its limit.
He revealed a plan to finance an increase in the portion of state
contribution to the basic pension with surpluses in the special
account.

Aso's taking office as the president of the LDP has made clear that
there has been a shift from the previous Koizumi reform-policy line.
The economy has taken a downward turn, and its future is beginning
to become unclear due to the financial crisis that started in the
U.S. While Aso should properly implement the necessary economic
stimulus measures, he also should place emphasis on policies that
will spur economic structural reform that leads to economic growth.

It is not desirable to depend on the issuance of government bonds
without carefully considering where the funding resources will come
from. The need to implement administrative reform and eliminate
wasteful spending is growing. Aso should come up with a reform
vision that includes the consolidation and reorganization of the
government's local branches.

President Aso will be designated prime minister in the extraordinary
Diet session to be convened on September 24 and then form a new
cabinet. It has been three years since the previous general
election. During this period, three prime ministers have stepped
down. The next prime minister should immediately dissolve the Lower
House and seek the judgment of the people. Given the country's harsh
economic conditions, it is desirable to dissolve the Lower House
after deliberations on the supplementary budget bill in the
extraordinary Diet session.

(3) British, Australian newspapers reported that Aso Mining owned by
Takakichi Aso, father of Taro Aso, had used Allied POWs for forced
labor

SHUKAN GENDAI (Page 20&21) (Full)
October 4, 2008

It is well known that South Korea and China are wary of Taro Aso for
his hawkish words and actions. It is not known, however, that Aso
has some hidden "bombs" in his relations with Australia and Britain,
which are former Allies.

The so-called Aso Company Report is kept at the U.S. National
Archives in Maryland.

After World War II, the company report was submitted by Aso Mining
Co. in Fukuoka Prefecture to Occupation authorities investigating
war crimes against prisoners of war (POWs).

Aso Mining was owned by Takakichi Aso, former Lower House member and
the father of Taro Aso. Taro Aso himself had run Aso Cement Co.
before he entered the political world.

Since Aso Mining employed many Koreans during the war, the South
Korean government in 2005 asked (Aso Cement) to submit detailed
documents. But Koreans were not the only foreigners employed by Aso
Mining. According to the Aso Company Report, Aso Mining employed
also Allied POWs in its Yoshikuma mine in Fukuoka.


TOKYO 00002620 004 OF 006


William Underwood, a former lecturer at Kurume Institute of
Technology, who researches postwar reparations by various countries,
pointed out:

"British and Australian newspapers covered this issue around April
and May 2006 one after the other. I have confirmed that the Aso
Company Report writes that Aso mining used 300 Australian, British
and Dutch POWs as forced labor."

This weekly magazine verified the fact. There are two company
reports. One was a letter, dated on June 22, 1945, to the Japan War
Ministry requesting the use of 300 Allied POWs for forced labor
under a 12-hour shift system.

The other was a report detailing how Aso Mining was treating POWs.
The report dated Jan. 24, 1946, compiled by Aso Mining, was
submitted to the Allied Occupation POW Information Bureau. The
company report claims the Westerners were fed, clothed and housed
better than Aso's Japanese workers. Underwood, however, questions
this report, saying:

"It's hardly possible that POWs were treated well. I interviewed an
Australian POW employed in the Aso Yoshikuma mine. He told me that
he had been forced to work under severe conditions."

Let's examine the specifics. Although the company report writes that
Allied POWs were dressed in military uniforms that were of superior
quality than clothing for ordinary people, the Australian POW said:
"We were down to absolute tatters by the end of the war. I don't
think we had have seen it through another winter." The company
report also claims that, soon after Japan's surrender, prisoners
thanked Aso officials for their kind treatment by giving them gifts.
But the Australian POW said: "There was no such thing. That's
absolute rubbish."

The company report writes that about one yen was paid and the higher
wage was paid to those who had special skills. But the Australian
POW said: "I was not paid at all."

When the British and Australian newspapers covered this problem two
years ago, Aso, then foreign minister, would not talk about his
view, only rejecting the reports. Regarding Aso Mining's use of
Koreans for forced labor, Aso was quoted in a Mainichi Shimbun
article on Nov. 3, 2005, as saying: "I have no intention to explain.
Basically, the issue was resolved under the Treaty on Basic
Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea." He avoided
giving a specific answer.

This magazine inquired about his intention, but he did not respond.
Underwood said:

"Of course, Mr. Aso was not involved in the forced labor. However,
if he plans to take part in the international community as Japan's
prime minister, he should reveal the historical facts about Aso
Mining."

(4) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi & Nikkei:
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to take stake in Morgan Stanley

Mainichi:

TOKYO 00002620 005 OF 006


Aso elected LDP president, garnering 70 PERCENT of votes

Yomiuri:
Aso elected LDP president, collecting 67 PERCENT of votes

Sankei:
Aso elected LDP president; to become new prime minister tomorrow

Tokyo Shimbun & Akahata:
Aso elected LDP president

(5) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Aso elected new LDP president: Can the LDP survive?

Mainichi:
(1) Aso elected new LDP president without principle and policy

Yomiuri:
(1) New LDP President Aso must speak out about what he will do

Nikkei:
(1) Time for people to choose -- Aso or Ozawa -- in Lower House
election
(2) Revolutionary change in Wall Street

Sankei:
(1) New LDP President Aso must exercise leadership by sweeping away
public distrust in politics

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Aso elected new LDP president: Does LDP have strength to face
headwind?

Akahata:
(1) No hopes for Aso to end gridlock

(6) Prime Minister's schedule, September 22

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 23, 2008

10:16
Met at the Kantei with Consumer Administration Minister Noda, Senior
Vice Cabinet Minister Masuhara, and Quality-of-Life Policy Bureau
Director-General Tanaka, followed by Abduction Issue Minister
Nakayama. Afterward met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

13:21
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura and his deputy Shionoya.
Machimura stayed on.

14:00
Attended the LDP presidential election at party headquarters.

15:25
Aso became new LDP president.

15:44
Met Futahashi at the Kantei.


TOKYO 00002620 006 OF 006


17:31
Attended an Education Rebuilding Council meeting.

19:11
Returned to his official residence.

SCHIEFFER

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