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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/30/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 002711

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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 09/30/08

Index:

Aso in action:
1) Prime Minister Aso launches attack against the DPJ in policy
speech opening the extra Diet session (Yomiuri)
2) Aso in Diet speech avoids mentioning "passage" of the bill
extending the MSDF refueling operation in the Indian Ocean (Asahi)


Opposition responses:
3) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) head Ozawa remains silent during
Aso's speech attacking his party, waiting to make his play during
the interpellations (Tokyo Shimbun)
4) In tomorrow's Diet interpellations, DPJ to counter Aso and the
LDP with its own set of policy pledges (Mainichi)
5) DPJ's campaign pledges to answer ruling camp criticism by being
quite specific as to where the fiscal resources will come from to
pay for everything (Asahi)
6) Opposition camp indicates that it is willing to pass the
supplemental budget (Asahi)

7) Former cabinet minister Nakayama, who just resigned due to
gaffes, comes up with another howler: "DPJ administration would go
bankrupt just like Osaka" (Yomiuri)

Global financial crisis:
8) U.S., Japan, Europe cooperate to double supply of dollar funds,
fearing global lost of liquidity (Nikkei)
9) In emergency press briefing, BOJ Governor Shirakawa expresses
deep concern about the global crisis (Yomiuri)
10) Finance Minister Nakagawa: Future of the world economy is
"Increasingly unclear" (Mainichi)

11) Government extends sanctions against North Korea for another
half-year (Mainichi)

12) Foreign Ministry rebuts New York Times article that criticized
Prime Minister Aso (Mainichi)

13) "Working poor" hits local government workers, as well, survey
shows (Tokyo Shimbun)

14) High fuel costs linked to sagging number of foreign tourists in
Japan (Tokyo Shimbun)

Articles:

1) Premier preempts DPJ with cross-question over extra budget,
refueling

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 30, 2008

Prime Minister Aso delivered his inaugural policy speech before the
House of Representatives and the House of Councillors in their
respective plenary sittings yesterday. In the speech, Aso called for
the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) to
clarify whether it is for or against his policy proposals, such as
implementing a supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 and continuing
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean. With a snap election in mind, Aso made clear his showdown
with the DPJ. This drew backlashes from the DPJ and all other

TOKYO 00002711 002 OF 011


opposition parties, however,

In his Diet speech, Aso referred to the Diet's current divided
situation, with the ruling coalition holding a majority of the seats
in its lower chamber and the opposition camp controlling its upper
chamber. In this regard, Aso hit the DPJ, claiming that the DPJ has
made it a primary principle to create a chance for it to upset the
political situation under such circumstances. He called for the DPJ
to come up with its counterproposal and standpoint. As an urgent
task, he insisted on the necessity of turning Japan's economy
around. He said the DPJ, if it is against the fiscal 2008
supplementary budget, should answer why in a session of
representative interpellations starting tomorrow in the Diet. In
addition, Aso also called for the DPJ to come up with its idea of
ways and means for its counterproposal. This is aimed to question
the efficacy of the DPJ's policy proposal to raise funds through
administrative reform.

"His speech made a fool of the people," DPJ Secretary General
Hatoyama told reporters in the Diet yesterday. "We cannot remain
silent since he was so rude like that," he added to criticize Aso.
Concerning Aso's cross-question, Hatoyama noted that the
supplementary budget is a matter that should be discussed in a
question-and-answer session before the Budget Committee. DPJ
President Ozawa and Hatoyama are expected to take the floor to
interpellate Aso tomorrow, representing their party. Basically,
however, Ozawa will not answer Aso's cross-question and is
considering releasing his party's standpoint in its manifesto for
the next House of Representatives election.

"He thinks nothing of the people and minority opposition parties,"
Social Democratic Party President Fukushima rebutted. People's New
Party Secretary General Hisaoki Kamei also told reporters: "I've
never heard of it. It sounded like a campaign speech before an
election for the House of Representatives. I'd like him to come to
his senses a little bit."

2) Aso noncommittal on passing refueling extension bill

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 30, 2008

The government yesterday presented to the Diet a bill amending the
Refueling Assistance Special Measures Law to extend the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean for
another year. Prime Minister Aso has recently addressed the United
Nations General Assembly, where he made his diplomatic debut and
expressed his resolve to fight terrorism. However, he has been only
using careful wording so as not to be taken as committing himself to
continuing the MSDF's refueling activities there. That is because
the legislation cannot be expected to pass the Diet once he
dissolves the House of Representatives.

"We've done this (refueling in the Indian Ocean) for Japan in its
national interests. Japan, which is a member of the international
community, cannot choose to pull the plug on the refueling
activities." Aso so emphasized in his policy speech before the Diet
yesterday. However, he did not go so far as to say he would get the
bill through the Diet. "Does the Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) think that's all right?" With this, he asked a
cross-question.


TOKYO 00002711 003 OF 011


In his Sept. 25 UNGA speech, Aso stated that Japan would continue
its proactive participation in the war on terror together with the
international community. However, he did not directly promise to
continue refueling.

What lies behind such a cautious stance of Aso is apparently his
reflection of the fact that each of his two successive predecessors,
Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Fukuda, put his foot in his
mouth by making international commitments to continue the refueling
mission.

In September last year, Abe vowed to grapple with the issue of
continuing Japan's refueling activities at the risk of his position.
Shortly thereafter, however, Abe resigned due to a health problem.
In November that year, Fukuda met with U.S. President Bush and
declared that he would make his utmost to have the previous
refueling extension bill clear the Diet at an early date. To do so,
however, Fukuda and his ruling coalition had to extend the Diet
session twice into the new year. The legislation somehow passed the
Diet with an overriding second vote in the House of
Representatives.

Japan's second pullout of the Indian Ocean is now becoming more
likely. "Other countries from all over the world are reinforcing
their troops in Afghanistan," a senior Foreign Ministry official
said, adding: "If Japan stops even its refueling activities, our
relationship with the next U.S. administration will start in a
difficult situation."

3) Ozawa takes stance of silence on Aso's policy speech; Plans to
play up own policy vision in Diet interpellations

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 30, 2008

By Yuji Nishikawa

In his policy speech at the Diet yesterday, Prime Minister Taro Aso
tossed many questions at the major opposition Democratic Party of
Japan. The opposition bloc has reacted sharply to the questions
posed in the speech, saying that the prime minister acted as if he
were an opposition leader. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa is scheduled
to take the floor as the first questioner in a Lower House plenary
session on Oct. 1. Ozawa intends to play up his party's ability to
run the government rather than rebutting the questions from the
prime minister.

The DPJ held a Lower House members' meeting yesterday noon to hear
news that the prime minister would deliver a policy speech that
would throw questions at it, as if he were opposition leader. One
lawmaker said cynically, "He is trying to lay the groundwork to
become an opposition party."

After the plenary session, DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama told
reporters: "The prime minister's policy speech was designed chiefly
to criticize the DPJ. It offered no national vision. He simply
ignored the people."

Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii commented: "The
approach of posing questions unilaterally goes against the rules of
the Diet." Social Democratic Party head Mizuho Fukushima noted: "By
looking only at the DPJ, the prime minister ignored the general

TOKYO 00002711 004 OF 011


public and other opposition parties." People's New Party Secretary
General Hisaoki Kamei said: "It sounded like a campaign speech for
the next Lower House election." They all criticized Aso's policy
speech that seems to have in mind a coming showdown with the DPJ in
the next Lower House election.

The prime minister raised many questions about Ozawa's
foreign-policy stance and the fiscal resources that would be needed
if his policies were implemented. Ozawa has chosen not to pay any
attention to the questions, according to an aide. Instead, the DPJ
is calling for thorough deliberations at the Budget Committee.

Ozawa's statements during interpellations are likely to center on
his own political vision and the DPJ's policy manifesto for the next
Lower House election. In other words, Ozawa will play up his own
policy speech-like interpellations in contrast to the prime
minister's question-dotted speech -- an unusual move for an
opposition leader. "The main player has now completely shifted,"
Hatoyama commented.

Asked by a reporter for his impression of the prime minister's
policy speech, the DPJ's top adviser, Kozo Watanabe, said: "I highly
value the speech that questioned the DPJ, thinking that he sees our
party taking the reins of government."

4) DPJ to show its manifesto in representative interpellations

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 30, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso in his policy speech yesterday posed a
series of questions to the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ). As a result, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa has decided to unveil
his party's manifesto (set of campaign pledges), including measures
to secure fiscal resources, during representative interpellations in
the Diet on Oct. 1. He aims to play it up as if it were "an Ozawa
administration's policy speech," using Aso's strategy against him.
However, since Aso's questions include whether the DPJ wants to stop
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean and other ones that are difficult for the largest opposition
party to deal with, Ozawa will likely have a hard time to answering
them.

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama yesterday told reporters in the
Diet building: "There is absolutely no reason for us to answer the
prime minister's questions within time allocated us." He declared
that Ozawa would deliver a policy speech during his questioning
session. It has been the practice for each party's representative to
question the prime minister about his policy speech in
representative interpellations. Hatoyama made critical remarks,
saying: "I think (the LDP) is getting ready to become the opposition
party."

Ozawa plans to show in his questioning session the manifesto that
would specify a policy of implementing -- such measures as removing
highway tolls, supporting farmers, and creating a child allowance
system -- in four years after the DPJ gains control of the
government. Regarding the fiscal resources worth 22 trillion yen,
Ozawa intends to secure it by banning the amakudari practice of
senior bureaucrats retiring early to join government-affiliated
organizations as highly paid executives and by cutting civil
servants' salaries. Aso demanded answers from the DPJ on which --

TOKYO 00002711 005 OF 011


either the United States or the United Nations -- it gives priority
and on whether it wants to stop the MSDF mission in the Indian
Ocean. Regarding the two above issues, the views in the party are
split. Some DPJ members are concerned that if the DPJ does not
answer to the questions, it will be criticized for lacking the
capability of assuming the reins of government.

5) DPJ mentions funding resources to implement its policy proposals:
6.5 trillion yen to be drawn from hidden slush funds; 1.1 trillion
yen through downsizing

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
September 30, 2008

The implementation process (road map) of policies included in the
DPJ's manifesto for the next general election has been revealed. The
package mentions that a total of 20.5 trillion yen in funding
resources will be secured from slush funds (6.5 trillion yen), such
as reserve funds in the special accounts and through a downsizing of
national government employees 20 PERCENT (1.1 trillion yen). This
would be accomplished over four years after the DPJ taking the reins
of government, with funds appropriated for the implementation of key
policy items.

This is the first time for the main opposition party to come up with
a summation of the fiscal resources needed and a target year for
achieving its policies, and incorporate such in its manifesto. By
indicating the fiscal resources it needs, the DPJ intends to stave
off criticism that its policy proposals are not backed by funding
resources. It can now pursue instead the ruling camp's funding
resources issue involving the fixed-amount tax cut and a hike in
state contribution to the basic pension in fiscal 2009. It wants to
question the ruling parties' capability to run the government. The
funding resource issue will likely become a major issue in the
general election campaign.

The implementation process has four principles: (1) implement key
policies pledged to the public with a political will: (2) create new
fiscal resources, correcting the current cycle of wasteful spending
of taxpayers' money being perpetuated; (3) implement policies in the
order of priority; and (4) use the economic effects achieved by the
realization of policies for fiscal reconstruction.

The road map, an annual program for the implementation process
characterizes Lower House members' four-year term as the period for
the implementation of the manifesto. This period is divided into
three stages -- the first stage (fiscal 2009), the second stage
(fiscal 2010-2011) and the third stage (fiscal 2012). Policies that
can be implemented without legal preparations will be carried out in
the initial year. Policies that will take time for the planning of
systems or legislation work will be implemented in stages. For this
reason, a budget needed in each stage will increase gradually -- 8.4
trillion yen for the first stage, 14 trillion yen for the second
stage and 20.5 trillion yen for the third stage.

Resources to fund policy implementation will be squeezed out, mainly
through an overall budgetary revision. In the first stage, a large
portion of the 8.4 trillion yen will be covered with the use of
slush funds. The implementation process notes that reserve funds
(approximately 204 trillion yen) in the special account drawn from
tax revenues and insurance premiums and yield on the investment of
those reserve funds will be used to improve people's lives. To be

TOKYO 00002711 006 OF 011


precise, yield on the investment of special-account fiscal
investment and loans the investment of special-account foreign
exchange funds, and portions of funds with no intended use for the
time being will be allocated for policy expenses.

Reform of subsidies will be implemented in the second stage. Key
policy items to be implemented in this stage are: (1) making the
subsidy system more efficient, by abolishing, in principle,
individual subsidies to local governments and granting subsidies in
a lump sum without fixed usage, while implementing decentralization
reform; (2) and drastically revising independent administrative
agencies, special accounts and public-interest corporations and
significantly cutting subsidies to them. In the third stage, the
total amount of national government employees' personnel expenses
will be cut by 20 PERCENT in the end the idea being financial
resources can be found in cuts in personnel expenditures as the
reform of governing institutions, such as the government's outpost
agencies, is expected to progress.

Major funding resources proposed in DPJ manifesto

(After fiscal 2009)
? Use of slush funds (6.5 trillion yen)
? Government asset disposal plan (0.7 trillion yen)
? Strict budget screening, drastic review of special tax measures
and review of the income tax deduction with the establishment of a
child allowance system (4.8 trillion yen)

(After fiscal 2010)
? Abolish individual subsides to local governments and instead grant
subsidies in a lump sum without specifying usage, drastically reform
independent administrative agencies, special accounts and
public-interest corporations and significantly cut subsidies to them
(4.3 trillion yen)
? Place a ban on the descent from heaven practice, reform the open
public bidding system (1.8 trillion yen)
? 50 PERCENT cut in a budget for projects under direct control of
the government (1.3 trillion yen)

(After fiscal 2011)
? 20 PERCENT cut in the total amount of national government
employee personnel expenditures (1.1 trillion yen)

6) DPJ to accept passage of supplementary budget bill, making it a
condition that budget committee meetings be held

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 30, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) on September 20
decided to accept passage before the end of next week of a fiscal
2008 supplementary budget bill submitted by the government. It
intends to call for deliberations on the bill for two days in the
Lower and Upper Houses respectively starting on October 6 after
interpellations by party representatives are over and dissolution of
the Lower House right after its passage on October 9, instead of
reaching a decision on the bill. However, many ruling party members
are cautious about holding a budget committee meeting, where they
will be exposed to the opposition parties' offensive. The prevailing
view in the ruling camp is in favor of dissolution after the
interpellations ended on the 3rd.


TOKYO 00002711 007 OF 011


Regarding the budget bill, since a priority is given to a decision
reached by the Lower House under the Constitution, even if it is
voted down on the 9th in the opposition party-controlled Upper
House, the bill will be enacted the same day after going through the
consultative councils of both chambers of the Diet. Some members of
the DPJ leadership take the view that they do not necessarily have
to oppose the supplementary budget bill, as Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama noted. Chances are, therefore, that the DPJ might support
the supplementary budget bill. One senior DPJ member said on the
29th, "There is a strong possibility of the bill securing Diet
approval."

7) Former Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Nakayama makes
another gaffe: "A Democratic Party of Japan administration will
bankrupt just like Osaka did"

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 30, 2008

Liberal Democratic Party Lower House member Nariaki Nakayama, who
resigned from his post of land, infrastructure and transport
minister to take responsibility for a series of gaffes, has
continued to blast Nikkyoso, the national teachers' union, which his
pet peeve. Appearing on a TBS television program, Nakayama said: "My
next election is really in danger, but even if it means staking my
political life on it, I have a responsibility to make my appeal to
the people."

Nakayama's verbal offenses also have targeted the Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ). He has made such remarks as: "If a DPJ
administration were launched, all of Japan would become like Osaka
municipality. It is on the verge of bankruptcy being in bed with the
labor unions."

In response to remarks like this from Nakayama, voices of alarm are
coming out of the Machimura faction about the negative effect they
will have on the upcoming Lower House election. As a result, former
Prime Minister Mori, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura, and LDP Secretary General Hosoda stayed behind in the
Diet hall after Prime Minister Aso made his policy speech in order
to discuss a response. They decide to ask Nakayama to constrain his
remarks.

Nakayama was scheduled to appear on a TV-Asahi program Sept. 30, but
he cancelled his appearance on the 29th. The explanation given by
Nakayama's office was that he had gone to a friend's funeral.

8) Major central banks to pump 620 billion dollars (65 trillion yen)
into money markets to contain global financial crisis

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
September 30, 2008

Monetary authorities of Japan, the U.S. and Europe have begun to
redouble their efforts to help ease a global credit crunch. With the
U.S. financial crisis spreading to Europe and elsewhere, banks now
find it more difficult to procure dollars. In response, the central
banks of 10 key countries announced on Sept. 29 that they will
significantly expand dollar supplies. In the U.S., the leading bank
Citigroup Inc. announced a plan to buy troubled Wachovia banking
operations with the support of the U.S. government. The U.S.
government agreed with Congress to enact a bill to stabilize the

TOKYO 00002711 008 OF 011


paralyzed global financial system, but the U.S. and European stock
markets continued to drop on Sept. 29. With risks remaining,
monetary authorities of each country have been on the alert.

The 10 key central banks of Japan, the U.S., and Europe outlined
plans to supply more dollars into their home monetary markets. The
total amount of dollars that each central bank will procure from the
Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and inject into their home markets will
increase from the current 290 billion dollars to 620 billion dollars
(approximately 65.1 trillion yen). Their coordinated operation was
initially to end at the end of January but will be extended to
April. The Bank of Japan has also decided to double the amount
supplied to the domestic market to 120 billion dollars.

On the European monetary markets on the 29th, the 3-month U.S.
dollar LIBOR inter-bank rate rose 0.12 PERCENT over the previous
week to 3.88 PERCENT on growing fears about a funding squeeze among
European financial institutions. The 3-month Euro LIBOR rate also
jumped 0.08 PERCENT to 5.22 PERCENT , marking the highest ever
record since it was introduced. With a financial crisis triggered by
the upheaval on Wall Street spreading to Europe, concerns about
their business operations are growing among financial institutions
in Europe as European governments have decided to nationalize
commercial banks. Under this situation, private-sector financial
institutions face difficulties procuring dollars. To ease a credit
crunch, the central banks of major countries will strengthen their
cooperative setup to stabilize the global financial system.

The 10 central banks include the BOJ, the FRB, the European Central
Bank, the Bank of England, and Sweden's central bank. These 10 banks
issued a joint statement on the 29th reading: "We will continue to
take joint steps and take appropriate measures if necessary." Japan,
the U.S. and other major countries had reached currency swap
agreements with the FRB during a period between Sept. 18 and the
26th to provide a total of 290 billion dollars to their home
markets.

9) Major central banks to supply extra funds in response to global
monetary crisis, which is becoming a reality; BOJ chief: "Dollar
liquidity has become almost stagnant"

YOMIURI (Page 9) (Excerpts)
September 30, 2008

The central banks of 10 key nations, including Japan, the U.S., and
European countries, decided on Sept. 29 to significantly expand
arrangements to boost U.S. dollar liquidity, given that a global
financial crisis is now taking on a touch of reality with a
succession of failures of U.S. and European financial institutions.
But many observers take the view that money supplies alone will have
a limited impact on easing a global credit crunch. The major central
banks' redoubled effort could be just like a drop in a bucket.

No reduction in interest rates

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa expressed a sense of crisis
in a press conference after an emergency monetary policymaking
meeting called urgently at midnight on the 29th: "U.S. dollar
liquidity has become almost stagnant." He meant that foreign
financial institutions have been in a difficult situation with the
flow of money held back in short-term markets.


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The central banks of six countries, including Japan, the U.S., and
European countries, decided on a coordinated effort on Sept. 18 to
help ease a funding squeeze. Based on currency swap accords that the
U.S. Federal Reserve Board (FRB) reached with key other countries'
central banks, they secured up to 247 billion dollars in total to
pump into global monetary markets.

The FRB also signed similar deals with the four central banks of
Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, raising the amount of funds
to 290 billion dollars.

The coordinated efforts, however, have produced no significant
impact. The BOJ pumped 29.6 billion dollars into the short-term
monetary market on Sept. 25, but there are no signs of a reduction
in the interest rates of loans to foreign financial institutions.

The BOJ also released a total of 18.4 trillion yen for nine business
days in a row, but the interest rates of loans to foreign
institutions have been at about 0.7 PERCENT , about 0.3 PERCENT
higher than those for Japanese banks.

10) Finance minister in speech refers to future of world economy as
increasingly uncertain

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 30, 2008

Finance and Fiscal Services Minister Shoichi Nakagawa delivered a
speech in the plenary sessions of the two houses of the Diet
yesterday afternoon. The minister described the future of the world
economy as increasingly uncertain due to effects by slowing down in
growth of emerging economies, tumbling international financial
markets, and soaring prices of resources and food. He also called
for cooperation for the enactment of the fiscal 2008 supplementary
budget, saying that he will make the Japanese economy firmer by
alleviating the pain and anxiety of the general public.

He also indicated that the Japanese economy, being in a weak tone,
is taking its toll on small businesses, which are finding it
difficult to pass along rising costs to customers, and on employees
who are suffering from no wage hikes. He said that the government
will aim at reducing workers' concerns with an economic stimulus
package including the government's continued step to assist the aged
with their medical costs. The minister also vowed to take solid
steps to improve cash flows for small businesses by, for instance,
introducing a new guarantee system dealing with rising material
costs.

(08093004st) Back to Top

11) Government to extend sanctions on North Korea for six months,
given no progress on abduction issue

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
September 30, 2008

The government decided yesterday to extend its own sanctions on
North Korea, scheduled to expire on Oct. 13, for six months. The
government will continue the sanctions because there has been no
progress on the abduction issue despite the fact that an agreement

TOKYO 00002711 010 OF 011


was reached in bilateral working-level talks in August on a
reinvestigation into the fate of Japanese abductees and on partially
lifting Japan's sanctions.

The government still upholds its policy of partially lifting the
sanctions in the event the North begins the reinvestigation. Tokyo
will reconsider its decision if Pyongyang begins the reinvestigation
before Oct. 13. The government imposed the sanctions in October 2006
chiefly banning port calls by North Korean vessels, including the
ferry Man Gyong Bong-92. The sanctions have been extended every six
months. It is going to be the fourth time for the government to
extend them. The government plans to adopt its decision at a cabinet
meeting in early October.

12) Foreign Ministry rebuts New York Times editorial critical of
Aso

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
September 30, 2008

On Sept. 25, the New York Times carried an editorial describing
Prime Minister Taro Aso as a person who had soured relations with
China and South Korea. Vice-Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka, in a
press conference yesterday, indicated that the Foreign Ministry has
rebutted the editorial through the Consulate General in New York.
Yabunaka said that the government has informed the newspaper once
again that the prime minister's basic thinking is to strengthen
relations with neighboring countries, such as China and South Korea,
and to cooperate with them based on strengthening the Japan-U.S.
alliance. In February 2006, the newspaper also carried an editorial
critical of then Foreign Minister Taro Aso, saying that he had drawn
strong protests from the peoples of Asia. In reaction, the Foreign
Ministry also filed a rebuttal.

13) Poll by Jichiro: 67 PERCENT of non-regular local government
employees earns less than 2 million yen annually;
Government-initiated working poor?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Excerpts)
September 30, 2008

The All Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union (Jichiro)
yesterday released the result of a survey on the situation of local
government employees. The survey found that non-regular employees,
including temporary workers and part-timers, accounted for 27.8
PERCENT of the entire local government workers. Jichiro assumes
that at east 67.1 PERCENT of the non-regular employees earn less
than 2 million yen annually, making them essentially a part of the
"working poor."

Jichiro questioned local municipalities about the number of
non-regular employees they hired and their wages as of June 1. It
received answers from 23 prefectural governments and 963
municipalities, which accounts for 53.1 PERCENT of the all. Of a
total of 1,071,496 employees, 297,571 were non-regular workers.
Jichiro presumes that the number of non-regular employees would
exceed 500,000 if the number of non-regular employees of local
governments that have not yet to answer the questions is added.

Regarding wages, 65.5 PERCENT of the non-regular employees were
paid under daily-wage or hourly-way systems. Of them, 71.8 PERCENT
got less than 1,000 yen per hour, which would total 2 million yen

TOKYO 00002711 011 OF 011


annually; and 58.3 PERCENT of the remaining earned less than
160,000 yen per month. Jichiro says that at least 67.1 PERCENT of
all employees earn less than 2 million yen.

14) Foreign tourists drop in August

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
September 30, 2008

It was learned yesterday by a survey conducted by the Japan National
Tourist Organization that the number of foreign travelers to Japan
in August totaled 742,100, a 2.0 PERCENT drop from the number in
August of the previous year, and that the decrease was the first
time in two years and six months since February 2006.

The main reason for the drop was an increase in fuel surcharges due
to the soaring oil prices. The number of foreign tourists in August
this year was 15,400 less than last year's.

By country and region, South Korean tourists dropped by 23,000 or
8.6 PERCENT due to the lower won and the slow economy. Chinese
tourists also decreased by 6,300 or 6.3 PERCENT .

SCHIEFFER

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