Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/30/08

VZCZCXRO4695
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2727/01 2740817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300817Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7595
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 2476
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0119
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3861
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8207
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0694
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5585
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1578
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1860

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 17 TOKYO 002727

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 09/30/08

INDEX:

(1) Kyodo News poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Tokyo
Shimbun)

(2) Spot poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Yomiuri) 4
(3) Government and ruling parties plan to start deliberations on
supplementary budget on Oct. 6, with Lower-House dissolution after
the 9th (Tokyo Shimbun)

(4) US financial crisis: Prime minister orders finance minister to
prevent global financial system from collapsing (Sankei)

(5) Executive Council Chairman Sasagawa: Bailout legislation was
rejected because House speaker is a woman (Asahi)

(6) Prime Minister Aso's residence in prime real estate in Shibuya
Ward, with area of 2,400 m2 and land price 5 billion yen (Tokyo
Shimbun)

(7) Okinawa seminar held for U.S. soldiers (Okinawa Times) 8
(8) JCG prepared to use force to prevent acts of terrorism (Tokyo
Shimbun) 8
(9) Interview with former Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi:
Continuing refueling mission important (Yomiuri)

(10) Minimum access rice creates deficit of 104.4 billion yen over
five years: Tainted rice contaminates those involved in the business
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(11) First Shimoda Conference in 1967 paved way for private-sector
exchanges between Japan and U.S. (Tokyo Shimbun)

(12) TOP HEADLINES

(13) EDITORIALS

(14) Prime Minister's schedule, September 29 (Nikkei)

ARTICLES:

(1) Kyodo News poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 26, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of the
last survey conducted Sept. 2-3.)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

Yes 48.6
No 32.9
Don't know (D/K) + no answer (N/A) 18.5

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the previous question)
What's the primary reason for your approval of the Aso cabinet? Pick
only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is trustworthy 15.4
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and

TOKYO 00002727 002 OF 017


New Komeito 4.9
The prime minister has leadership ability 16.6
Something can be expected of its economic policies 17.6
Something can be expected of its foreign policies 1.9
Something can be expected of its political reforms 4.8
Something can be expected of its tax reforms 1.7
Something can be expected of its administrative reforms 1.7
There's no other appropriate person (for prime minister) 31.9
Other answers (O/A) 1.8
D/K+N/A 1.7


Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the first question) What's
the primary reason for your disapproval of the Aso cabinet? Pick
only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is untrustworthy 11.4
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and
the New Komeito 20.8
The prime minister lacks leadership ability 5.3
Nothing can be expected of its economic policies 14.9
Nothing can be expected of its foreign policies 1.2
Nothing can be expected of its political reforms 13.6
Nothing can be expected of its tax reforms 2.3
Nothing can be expected of its administrative reforms 8.7
Don't like the prime minister's personal character 14.0
O/A 2.2
D/K+N/A 2.6

Q: Can you hold up a hope for Prime Minister Taro Aso's appointees
for his cabinet and his party's executive lineup?

Yes 28.7
No 46.6
Can't say which 14.0
D/K+N/A 10.7

Q: What's your impression of the new cabinet's lineup? Pick only
one.

Faction-free, fresh 6.1
Reform-oriented 8.8
Dignified, stable 8.4
None the better for the change 38.7
Faction-bound with no image of reform 15.7
Quite disappointing 10.4
O/A 2.6
D/K+N/A 9.3

Q: What do you think the new cabinet should pursue first?

Social security, such as pension and healthcare systems 35.2
Economic measures, job security 25.5
Social divide 5.2
Fiscal reconstruction, tax reform 17.3
Education 3.2
Diplomacy, national security 2.0
Politics and money 3.7
Constitutional revision 1.6
Administrative reform 3.7
O/A 0.6
D/K+N/A 2.0

TOKYO 00002727 003 OF 017

Q: Some lawmakers in the ruling parties are saying the House of
Representatives should be dissolved for a general election without
enacting the supplementary budget, including an economic stimulus
package, in the extraordinary Diet session. Do you think it would be
better to dissolve the House of Representatives right away for a
general election without enacting the supplementary budget, or do
you otherwise think it would be better to dissolve the Diet after
grappling with the extra budget including economic stimulus
measures?

Dissolve the Diet right away for a general election 23.5
After tackling economic stimulus measures 69.4
D/K+N/A 7.1

Q: Would you like the present LDP-led coalition government to
continue, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a
DPJ-led coalition government?

LDP-led coalition government 38.1 (43.3)
DPJ-led coalition government 43.8 (41.7)
D/K+N/A 18.1 (15.0)

Q: Which political party are you going to vote for in the next House
of Representatives election in your proportional representation
bloc?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 34.9 (38.4)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 34.8 (34.9)
New Komeito (NK) 5.7 (4.3)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.7 (2.2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.2 (2.0)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.4 (0.5)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.2 (0.5)
Other political parties, groups --- (0.3)
D/K+N/A 20.1 (16.9)

Q: An election for the House of Representatives is said to be a
battle of party leaders. Which one between Prime Minister Aso and
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa do you think is more appropriate for
prime minister?

Taro Aso 53.9
Ichiro Ozawa 29.4
D/K+N/A 16.7

Q: Which political party do you support?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 37.0 (36.8)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 28.3 (27.0)
New Komeito (NK) 4.7 (2.5)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.4 (1.7)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.2 (1.9)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.3 (0.4)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.2 (0.8)
Other political parties, groups --- (---)
None 23.1 (26.8)
D/K+N/A 2.8 (2.1)

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted across the nation by
Kyodo News Service from the evening of Sept. 24 through Sept. 25 on
a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis. Among randomly

TOKYO 00002727 004 OF 017


generated telephone numbers, those actually for household use with
one or more eligible voters totaled 1,455. Answers were obtained
from 1,028 persons.

(2) Spot poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

YOMIURI (Page 9) (Full)
September 26, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

Yes 49.5
No 33.4
Other answers (O/A) 0.4
No answer (N/A) 16.8

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Pick only one from among the following five reasons for your
approval of the Aso cabinet.

Something can be expected of its policy measures 25.5
The prime minister has leadership 33.8
There's something stable about the prime minister 10.6
His cabinet's lineup is good 5.3
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New
Komeito 15.6
O/A 2.0
N/A 7.1

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Pick
only one from among the following five reasons for your disapproval
of the Aso cabinet.

Nothing can be expected of its policy measures 30.1
The prime minister lacks leadership 4.5
There's nothing stable about the prime minister 9.6
His cabinet's lineup is not good 10.6
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New
Komeito 37.7
O/A 3.0
N/A 4.5

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 37.4
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 22.8
New Komeito (NK) 3.1
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3.1
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.8
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.2
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1
Other political parties ---
None 26.4
N/A 5.2

Q: Which one do you think is more appropriate for prime minister
between Prime Minister Aso and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa?

Prime Minister Aso 53.6

TOKYO 00002727 005 OF 017


DPJ President Ozawa 25.9
N/A 20.6

Q: Five candidates, including Prime Minister Aso, ran in the LDP
presidential election. What's your impression of the LDP?

Improved 10.7
Worsened 16.1
Unchanged 70.8
N/A 2.4

Q: In the Aso cabinet, Mr. Kaoru Yosano has been retained as
economic and fiscal policy minister. Do you appreciate this?

Yes 45.6
No 26.8
N/A 27.6

Q: Ms. Yuko Obuchi has been appointed to the post of state minister
for declining birthrate. Do you appreciate this?

Yes 39.5
No 39.8
N/A 20.7

Q: What issues do you want the Aso cabinet to pursue on a priority
basis? Pick as many as you like from among the following six items,
if any.

Economic measures 83.0
Fiscal reconstruction 63.4
Pension issue 79.0
Healthcare for elderly people 72.3
North Korea 59.6
Food safety 78.7
O/A 0.7
Nothing in particular 1.1
N/A 0.7

Q: The LDP and the New Komeito have agreed to review the healthcare
system for the elderly. Do you appreciate this?

Yes 67.5
No 18.8
N/A 13.7

Q: Do you think it would be better to dissolve the House of
Representatives for a general election as early as possible, or do
you otherwise think there's no need to be in a hurry?

As early as possible 39.1
No need to be in a hurry 50.8
N/A 10.1

Q: If an election were to be held now for the House of
Representatives, which political party would you like to vote for in
your proportional representation bloc?

LDP 37.0
DPJ 29.5
NK 3.5
JCP 3.3

TOKYO 00002727 006 OF 017


SDP 2.2
PNP 0.6
NPN ---
Other political parties ---
Undecided 17.0
N/A 6.9

Q: Would you like an LDP-led government after the next election for
the House of Representatives, or would you otherwise like a DPJ-led
government?

LDP-led government 46.9
DPJ-led government 35.6
O/A 2.4
N/A 15.2

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted across the nation from
8 p.m., Sept. 24, through Sept. 25, on a computer-aided random digit
dialing (RDD) basis. Households with one or more eligible voters
totaled 1,847. Valid answers were obtained from 1,080 persons (58.5
PERCENT ).

(Note) In some cases, the total percentage does not become 100
PERCENT due to rounding.

(3) Government and ruling parties plan to start deliberations on
supplementary budget on Oct. 6, with Lower-House dissolution after
the 9th

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Internet edition) (Full)
September 30, 2008

The government and ruling camp today have set a policy course of
entering into deliberations on the fiscal 2008 supplementary budget
bill in the Lower House Budget Committee on Oct. 6 in order to have
it passed early. Accordingly, dissolution of the Lower House would
then most likely take place on or after Oct. 9, when deliberations
on the budget bill apparently would be over.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
Tadamori Oshima this morning met with New Komeito Diet Affairs
Committee Yoshio Urushibara in the Diet, and the two transmitted
their intention to Prime Minister Taro Aso, who would like to have
the budget deliberated on and passed. The two parties now will hold
a meeting of the secretaries general and Diet affairs committee
chairmen to agree on aiming at an early passage of the bill. In
order to respond to the growing fear that a global financial crisis
is spreading, the two parties have decided to put together a ruling
parties' project team for measures to counter the international
financial problem and then present the plan to the government.

The ruling parties having judged that it needed to watch carefully
the response of the opposition camp, at first placed in reserve its
handling of deliberations on the supplementary budget bill. However,
a senior LDP lawmaker, saying, "We have already entered the election
campaign," took the view that the election schedule of holding the
vote on Nov. 2 would not change.

(4) US financial crisis: Prime minister orders finance minister to
prevent global financial system from collapsing

Sankei online (Full)

TOKYO 00002727 007 OF 017


12:08, September 30, 2008

Following turmoil in the markets as a result of a financial crisis
that started in the U.S., Prime Minister Taro Aso this morning told
Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who doubles as state minister for
financial services, "We must prevent the current financial crisis
from affecting Japan's real economy. I would like you to take joint
steps both at home and abroad so as to prevent the collapse of the
financial system."

The prime minister later told reporters at the Kantei, "Everybody
talks about the situation in the U.S. However, the situation in
Europe is also serious. Japan has made good use of its bitter
experience 10 years ago. We must carefully monitor the situation so
that the U.S.-induced financial crisis will not spill over into our
country."

The U.S. House of Representatives voted down a government-sponsored
financial stabilization bill designed to purchase bad loans from
financial institutions, using funds up to 700 billion dollars
(approximately 75 trillion yen). Aso asked Nakagawa to explain this.
Nakagawa replied, "More talks will be held in an effort to pass that
bill. I hope they find a way to reach a breakthrough."

In this connection, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura during a
press briefing this morning underscored, "Japan has already taken
measures to address the possible impact of the current crisis on the
financial sector. Japan's financial institutions have a strong
structure with few flaws. The situation requires us to be on maximum
alert. However, whether the crisis will have an immediate effect on
Japan's real economy is another story."

(5) Executive Council Chairman Sasagawa: Bailout legislation was
rejected because House speaker is a woman

ASAHI Online
September 30, 2008

In response to a proposed financial bailout plan rejected by the
U.S. House of Representatives, Liberal Democratic Party's Executive
Council Chairman Takashi Sasagawa said in reply to questions by
reporters this morning: "The House speaker is a woman. I think her
way of demonstrating leadership is somewhat different from men's.
That might be the reason why the bill was rejected." The remark,
which could be taken as discriminating against women, might set off
sparks.

Sasagawa also told reporters regarding Prime Minister Aso's proposal
for tax breaks on securities investments: "Securities investments by
young people should be made tax-free. It is irrational to make rich
elderly people eligible for tax breaks."

(6) Prime Minister Aso's residence in prime real estate in Shibuya
Ward, with area of 2,400 m2 and land price 5 billion yen

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 11)
Evening, September 29, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso's residence is located in Kamiyama-cho,
Shibuya Ward. Kamiyama-cho is an exclusive residential district in
Tokyo on a par with Shoto, which is adjacent to it. Aso's residence,
located at the top of a hill, is a three-story wooden house in

TOKYO 00002727 008 OF 017


Western style with the ground area of 2,400 square meters.

A real-estate agency in the neighborhood said: "Even though land
prices in Shibuya Ward have dropped, the price of an area of 3.3
square meters in that district would be 8 million yen." The value of
such a site alone would generally be more than 5 billion yen. The
lot area that later was divided by Aso and his younger brother
Yukata was more than 5,000 square meters.

Police officers stand 100 meters apart around Aso's residence. As
soon as I arrived in front of the residence, I was surrounded by
five to six police officers who asked me the name of my company,
contact information, and the purpose of my news gathering.

When I went downhill, I found a traditional shopping district. A
64-year old man running a butcher's shop said: "When Takakichi Aso,
Taro's father, was alive, I used to deliver first-rate meat to the
family." According to the butcher's shop owner, at that time there
were maids and cooks in Aso's residence and at times full-course
French dinners were served.

The shop owner said: "I haven't received any orders from Taro Aso"
after Takakichi died. He said with a laugh: "Since Taro's home
constituency is not Shibuya, I felt nothing even he becomes prime
minister. Even if I delivered meat by bike, the contents would be
checked."

A male barbershop owner said:

"Former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, Aso's grandfather, came to
Aso's residence led by police cars to see his daughter and
grandchildren. The streets were closed to traffic. Those who live on
the hill are strangers to this shopping street. "

On the afternoon of Sept. 29, Aso will deliver a policy speech in
the plenary sessions of the Lower and Upper Houses. With the
resignation of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Nakayama
over his controversial remarks after serving in his post only five
days, the upcoming extraordinary Diet session will tend to be
turbulent. A 54-year old housewife living near Aso's residence
said:

"The minister's resignation over his gaffes is a bad sigh for the
Aso cabinet. The prime minister himself had made a series of
controversial remarks. When the Aso administration ends, it may be
called a cabinet of careless remarks. I want to see an early
election."

A 21-year old male college student living in Shibuya Ward, on the
way to school, said with a smile: "I didn't know that Aso's
residence is located in a rich neighborhood in Shibuya. He can buy
comic books without thinking how much money he has in his wallet. I
envy him."

(7) Okinawa seminar held for U.S. soldiers

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 24) (Full)
September 30, 2008

The Foreign Ministry held a seminar yesterday at Camp Zukeran (Camp
Foster) in the village of Kitanakagusuku to help U.S. military
personnel promote their understanding of Okinawa. The seminar was

TOKYO 00002727 009 OF 017


aimed to eliminate incidents and accidents involving U.S. military
personnel. About 250 U.S. Marines stationed at the base attended the
two-hour seminar and learned about Okinawa's postwar history and
dietary culture.

The seminar started in 2007. The one held this time was a sixth
session and open to the press for the first time.

As one of the guest speakers to the seminar, Kazuhiko Nakamoto, who
studies Okinawa's postwar history, noted that the U.S. military
requisitioned land in Okinawa with "bayonet and bulldozer" to
construct its bases, adding that the local residents are frustrated
at the repeated occurrences of incidents and accidents involving
U.S. military personnel.

Nakamoto cited the Koza uproar of 1970 as an example of what
resulted from local frustration.

Katsumi Kinjo, a court interpreter, explained that Okinawa's climate
is mild and its people have the habit of eating pork. She also
emphasized that cannabis is prohibited in Japan. She also called the
participants' attention to use moderation in drinking.


Marine Foreign Policy Chief Col. Dan Melton suggested the need for
the Okinawa-based Marines and families to have correct understanding
of Okinawa in order to have a "wonderful relationship" with local
communities.

(8) JCG prepared to use force to prevent acts of terrorism

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 28) (Abridged slightly)
September 25, 2008

By nuclear-powered aircraft carrier news coverage team

On September 12, before the arrival of the U.S. nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier George Washington (GW) at Yokosuka, an incident
occurred in which explosives believed to have aimed at the U.S.
naval base in the city were detonated, raising a sense of alarm
against acts of terrorism at a stroke.

How should terrorist attacks on nuclear-powered vessels be
prevented? What damage would be caused by an attack? Security
personnel, including police, are now under heavy pressure to be
prepared for unprecedented events.

On October 12, 2000, a rubber boat loaded with explosives ran into
the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy Aegis-equipped destroyer docked in the
Yemen port of Aden, crippling the vessel and killing 17 sailors.

A senior officer of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), which is
responsible for maritime security, including Tokyo Bay, pensively
said: "Even if a similar attack occurs, would the nuclear reactors
be free from damage? We should be prepared to use even force to
stave off damage."

Finding suspicious boats is essential in preventing maritime
terrorism. With 500 to 700 vessels passing through it daily, the
Uraga Strait, through which the GW also travels, is one of the
world's most congested shipping routes.


TOKYO 00002727 010 OF 017


The JCG has deployed dozens of vessels, including patrol boats
equipped with machine guns, patrol helicopters, and security
personnel armed with automatic rifles. Calling on fishing boats to
stay away from the aircraft carrier, the GCJ is making utmost
efforts to prevent acts of terrorism.

What if terrorists still tried to attack it? The senior JCG officer
noted: "It is difficult to use firearms in the crowded bay, but if
an approaching suspicious boat is certain to throw the area into
turmoil, we have to use them."

There is also concern over terrorist attacks on aircrafts, as was
the case in the United States. Approximately 50 commercial planes
headed for Kansai area from Haneda Airport fly over the Yokosuka
base daily.

With the aim of preventing plane crashes from resulting in secondary
disasters, there are restrictions on flights over nuclear
facilities, such as nuclear power plants. The government has
exempted nuclear-powered vessels from the restrictions. Concerned
local residents have filed a lawsuit against the government, seeking
flight restrictions.

The threat of terrorism is not confined to when the George
Washington is docked in the Yokosuka naval vase. The senior JCG
officer said anxiously: "An act of terrorism occurs when least
expected. We must remain vigilant at all times."

(9) Interview with former Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi:
Continuing refueling mission important

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

-- Some in China and South Korea are wary of Prime Minister Aso's
policy stance, seeing him as hawkish.

Two main characteristics are cited in Prime Minister Aso's foreign
policy. One is a way of strategic thinking. He suggests that while
meeting in the ring with such big powers as the U.S. and Russia,
Japan should also establish close ties with countries with which
Japan has not seriously faced, as shown in his proposed concept of
an Arc of Freedom and Prosperity (policy of helping countries in
areas ranging from northern Europe to Central and Southeast Asia in
having democracy settled down and developing their economies). The
other distinction is a way of pragmatic thinking with a strong sense
of business. He does not have such rigid views like the hawks but
has flexible views.

-- No prospects are still in sight for an extension of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

There was a case in which the coalition force's vessel provided
cover to a Japanese tanker that was about to be attacked. If Japan,
while suspending the refueling service, asks for their help when
Japanese ships are under attack, the nation will never be able to
develop persuasive diplomacy. The U.S. highly evaluates Japan's
refueling operation and has expectations for its continued service.
If Japan suspends the service, it will have to start building a
relationship with the new U.S. president in a negative phase. The
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has insisted that Japan should
discontinue the refueling operation, but the propriety of its view

TOKYO 00002727 011 OF 017


should be discussed.

-- Do you have any memory about Mr. Aso when he was foreign
minister?

He was very cheerful, and I sensed he was broad-minded enough to be
able to be at the senior level of an organization. He loves comics
and knows words used by young people and their feelings more than
bureaucrats. He always carefully listened to young staff members.

-- How do you evaluate the DPJ's foreign policy?

I do not think there is a wide gap in the foreign policies of the
Liberal Democratic Party and the DPJ. DPJ President Ozawa, however,
seems to be inclining toward the policy of centering diplomacy on
the United Nations. Given that a plan will never be implemented if
even one permanent UNSC member raises its opposition, even though
all other nations in the world support it, we must be cautious about
the UN-first principle.

(10) Minimum access rice creates deficit of 104.4 billion yen over
five years: Tainted rice contaminates those involved in the
business

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 28) (Excerpts)
September 28, 2008

As the police investigation into the illegal resale of tainted rice
progresses, a chain of horror stories, involving Japanese-style
confection stores, breweries, and even day-care centers for
children, are being revealed. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries (MAFF), which allowed the illegal resale of
contaminated rice to occur with a sloppy handling of minimum-access
rice, is heavily responsible for the situation. Most of tainted rice
is minimum-access rice, which the government is obliged to import.
Investigation into what happened by this newspaper has revealed a
disconsolate fact.

The government has run up a deficit of 104.4 billion yen in only
five years since imports of minimum-access rice started in fiscal
2002.

Stockpiles on increase, while earnings on decline

Where do deficits of minimum-access rice come from? Tokyo Shimbun
made two charts (omitted by the translator), based on data included
in the fiscal 2005 financial and inspection results compiled by the
Board of Audit, added to the latest figure for fiscal 2006. The
graphs show that as the stockpiles of the government's
minimum-access rice increase, income from the rice has been on the
decline.

The government sells imported minimum-access rice to private
companies for processing. However, if demand is small, the
stockpiles grown. Storage charges also increase. In fiscal 1995,
when the government decided to import minimum-access rice, storage
charges were 600 million yen. However, by fiscal 2005, such charges
had jumped to 17 billion yen. At the time, stockpiles reached 1.82
million tons. One reason for that is a decline in domestic demand
for rice. However, the government is heavily responsible for the
increase in storage charges because of its failure to make a full
effort to boost the use of minimum-access rice.

TOKYO 00002727 012 OF 017

The tainted rice issue can be directly related to the facts that
though the proportion of minimum-access rice stored for more than
three years stood at below 10 PERCENT as of the end of fiscal 2002,
the share as of the end of 2005 jumped to nearly 40 PERCENT .

As rice becomes old, it becomes difficult to find buyers. Chances
are that the proportion of rice damaged by mold or water will
increase. Given the graph of the amount of usage-specific
minimum-access rice, there is a large proportion of rice that can
have other uses. Tainted or moldy rice can be used to make residual
pesticide, such as methamidophos. Such rice was sold for virtually
nothing to such companies as Mikasa Foods, a rice powder processing
company, which illegally resold that rice.

Total of more than 20,000 tons of tainted rice sold

A total of 20,767 tons of tainted rice have been sold since imports
of minimum-access rice started. Only 7 tons of such rice was
released in fiscal 1995. However, in fiscal 2005, 1,781 tons were
sold. Over three years, only about 4,000 tons of such rice were
sold.

One storekeeper, who had bought tainted rice without knowing it and
is now suffering from harmful rumors, complained, "It is impossible
for MAFF to have overlooked the resale of tainted rice, since it had
inspected the company several dozen times. The ministry might have
known that an irregularity was going on." Given the deficits
incurred from minimum-access rice, there is an enough motive for the
ministry to welcome the companies that bought the tainted rice.

Descent-from-heaven practice again, involving Japan Grain Storage
Association, Japan Grain Inspection Association

Minimum-access rice is stored not only in government warehouses but
also private storehouses. The Japan Grain Storage Association signs
storage contracts with the government, entrusted by private
warehouse companies. It is joined by about 560 warehouse companies.

There are 71 executive directors. However, only three are employed
on a full-time basis. Those posts are offered to officials who have
retired from the former Food Agency (now MAFF General Food Policy
Bureau).

"Storage technology needed"

One senior managing director who landed a job there stressed, "It is
necessary to store rice while keeping up its quality. The
association does an important job. Former MAFF officials work for
the association, because the managers are required to have rice
storage technology. Personnel appointments must be approved by the
association."

Another executive director was until March 2006 the head of the
Osaka Agricultural Administration Office, which has jurisdiction
over Mikasa Foods. It was the time when that company resold tainted
rice and a division director, one of the staff members of that
executive director, was treated to wining and dining by the
company.

The Japan Grain Inspection Association is another public-interest
corporation involved in minimum-access rice. It inspects both

TOKYO 00002727 013 OF 017


domestic and foreign rice and analyzes their constituent parts.
According to its business report, it inspected 550,000 tons or 80
PERCENT of minimum-access rice the government imported in fiscal
2007.

Its list of executives includes former MAFF officials. In
particular, the post of chairman has been successively filled by
former vice MAFF ministers, the top official among working-level
officials at MAFF. Among nine permanent executives, three were
former government officials.

Toshio Suzuki (67), a food safety consultant and a former MAFF
career engineering official, explained about the golden parachute
practice: "Incumbent staff members of entities that accept retired
government officials plans (how many former government officials
they can accept) and obtain approval from a top person among retired
officials. Both incumbent officials and retired officials ask for
approval from that top person. If they listen to what that boss
says, the boss will take care of them until they turn 70."

He expressed disapproval of the way MAFF does things: "Former MAFF
officials, having been part of the ministry that caused massive
losses to the industry due to the BSE issue, are enjoying an elegant
lifestyle at companies where they landed positions after retiring
from the ministry. They all should have taken responsibility. This
is breach of trust. The same holds true of the tainted rice
incident. Golden parachute practices involving retired MAFF official
will continue."

Prime Minister Aso said in an inaugural speech delivered on the 24th
said, "My policy will be based on the public. I will fully utilize
bureaucrats. Priority should be given not to ministry interest but
to national interest." The minimum-access rice is the best chance
for him to put those words into practice.

(11) First Shimoda Conference in 1967 paved way for private-sector
exchanges between Japan and U.S.

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 28, 2008

By Yoichi Toyoda

On Sept. 14, 1967, approximately 70 Japanese and American leaders
from all quarters assembled at a hotel in Shimoda City, Shizuoka
Prefecture, at the tip of the Izu Peninsula. The private-sector
conference, commonly known as the Shimoda Conference, allowed
representatives from both countries to engage in four days of
in-depth discussion on the future of the bilateral relationship. The
Shimoda Conference, as the pioneer of private-sector exchanges
between the two countries, was held nine times until the 1990s. The
conference had a major impact on bilateral ties. Looking back on the
series of conferences, a newspaper columnist compared the current
situation of exchanges between Japan and the United States.

On the night of Sept. 15, the second day of the first Shimoda
Conference, then Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of the
Democratic Party gave a special lecture, in which he stated:

"Why don't we consider letting the Soviet Union join the United
States and Japan in studying security issues in the western Pacific
region. Three-party talks might help swiftly resolve the Ryukyu

TOKYO 00002727 014 OF 017


territory issue, and could even accelerate a final settlement of the
dispute with the Soviet Union over the four islands of Kunashiri,
Etorofu, Shikotan, and Habomai."

At that time in the Cold War, the return to Japan of the
administrative authority over Okinawa was a major issue between
Tokyo and Washington. Then Secretary of State Dean Rusk immediately
stated that the remark by Mansfield, a prominent figure in the
Democratic Party, was "his own personal view," revealing how focused
the attention on the conference was.

Shimoda, opened to the West in 1858, when Japan concluded a treaty
of peace and amity with the United States, was the place from which
Japan-U.S. exchanges started. Japan Center for International
Exchange (JCIE) President Tadashi Yamamoto, who together with
Columbia University Professor Herbert Passin, the U.S. side's
director, was the driving force in starting the conference,
commented: "Prof. Passin and I spent three days on the Izu Peninsula
looking for a good place to hold the conference, driving from north
to south. We finally found a hotel that was just the right size."

When the first Shimoda Conference was wrapped up, it released a
summary of the discussions that contained a recommendation of an
early return of Okinawa to Japan.

Set off by this conference, exchange programs for members of the
Congress and the Diet were initiated in 1977. About 160 Japanese
lawmakers have visited the U.S. so far, while about 200 U.S. members
of the Congress have come to Japan. The Shimoda Conference and the
exchange programs for legislators have contributed to nurturing
invaluable assets supporting exchanges between Japan and the United
States.

Then Rep. Ronald Rumsfeld, who attended the first conference and
engaged in the exchange programs for lawmakers from the first round,
served twice as secretary of defense. He put in every effort to
realign U.S. forces in Japan under the Bush administration. After
serving in key congressional posts, Howard Baker and Thomas Folly
each became ambassador to Japan. The two also took part in the
exchange programs. Columbia University Prof. Gerald Curtis, a
well-known Japan expert and political scientist, has been engaged in
the exchange programs from the beginning, achieving enormous results
for mutual understanding.

It is said that Japan-U.S. relations entered their best
honeymoon-like period in recent years, owing to personal
relationship of trust between President George W. Bush and then
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Both took office in 2001.

However, Yamamoto is concerned that although the relationship
between top leaders deepened, average Americans have lost interest
in Japan.

The United Stares is now more interested in China, which is growing
rapidly. The annual number of American lawmakers who visit Japan has
dropped to less than 10. Japanese Diet members tend to visit only
specific U.S. government officials.

Since the collapse of the economic bubble in the early 1990s, both
corporate contributions and government budgets have decreased. The
financial situations of non-governmental organizations, which have
supported the Japan-U.S. exchanges, have become difficult. As it

TOKYO 00002727 015 OF 017


stands, the number of venues for Japan and the U.S. to engage in
discussions has decreased.

Yamamoto said: "For the sake of Japan's national interests, the
government and corporations should continue to contribute money.
Unfortunately, they see only what is now before their eyes. It is
very difficult now to build a bilateral relationship from a
long-range perspective.

(12) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi: Nikkei: Tokyo Shimbun:
Central banks to double amount of dollar injections into money
markets to 65 trillion yen

Mainichi:
Citigroup to buy failing Wachovia Bank brokered by U.S. government

Yomiuri:
Premier preempts DPJ with cross-question over supplementary budget,
continuation of refueling mission

Sankei:
Prime Minister Aso indicates in policy speech strong desire to pass
supplementary budget bill

Akahata:
Prime Minister Aso delivers policy speech: In unusual move, asks
questions to opposition parties

(13) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Aso's policy speech in election mode
(2) Pakistan: Turmoil in nuclear country worrisome

Mainichi:
(1) Prime minister's policy speech was like interpellations by
opposition party representatives
(2) U.S. monetary measures: Flexible application needed to tide over
crisis

Yomiuri:
(1) Prime minister's policy speech: How will DPJ President Ozawa
respond?
(2) U.S. financial stabilization bill: Agreement with Congress is
progress, but...

Nikkei:
(1) We want to hear DPJ President Ozawa's reply to Prime Minister
Aso's unprecedented policy speech
(2) Will purchases of bad loans progress?

Sankei:
(1) Prime minister's policy speech: Deepen battle of words on the
way the state should be
(2) U.S. financial stabilization bill: Effective system urged

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Aso speech: Explain his own policy before challenging opposition
parties
(2) Supplementary budget bill: Revival of influence-peddling budget

TOKYO 00002727 016 OF 017

Akahata:
(1) Prime Minister Aso's policy speech: Full of politics but no
stance that takes the public's perspective in mind

(14) Prime Minister's schedule, September 29

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

09:03
Attended a special cabinet meeting at the Kantei. Issued an official
appointment to Special Advisor Nakayama, with Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kawamura present. Posed for a photo.

09:56
Made an informal representation at the Imperial Palace. Attended a
ceremony to formally appoint Kazuyoshi Kaneko as construction and
transport minister.

10:40
Issued an official appointment to Kaneko at the Kantei, with
Kawamura present. Posed for a photo.

11:31
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsumoto.

12:02
Attended a Lower House plenary session.

12:16
Attended an administrative vice ministerial meeting at the Kantei.

12:58
Attended the opening ceremony of the extraordinary Diet session at
the Upper House Chamber.

14:02
Attended a Lower House plenary session.

15:01
Attended an Upper House plenary session.

15:34
Arrived at the Kantei.

16:26
Made an informal representation at the Imperial Palace. Attended a
ceremony to formally appoint vice ministers.

18:53
Posed for a photo with the vice ministers. Instructed the Cabinet
Office vice minister to take charge, with Kawamura present. Later
attended a vice ministerial meeting.

19:29
Issue official appointments to ministerial aides. Posed for a
photo.

19:44
Met Kawamura. Attended a meeting of ministerial aides.


TOKYO 00002727 017 OF 017


20:45
Returned to his private residence in Kamiyama-cho.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: