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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 10/02/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 002747

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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 10/02/08

Index:

Diet interpellations:
1) Prime Minister Aso in Diet interpellations stresses intention to
pass supplementary budget, hints at possible second extra budget
(Tokyo Shimbun)
2) Aso's Diet replies on Indian Ocean refueling mission, North Korea
problem, financial unrest, and comprehensive economic package
(Nikkei)
3) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa in Diet
soliloquy calls the U.S.-Japan alliance the pivot of Japan's
diplomacy, lays out economic plan (Asahi)
4) Ruling camp criticizes Ozawa's economic logic as outlined in his
Diet statement, questioning whether the funding he claims to fund
plan exists (Tokyo Shimbun)

Diet agenda:
5) DPJ seeks confirmation of Diet dissolution while ruling camp
presses for deliberations on bill to extend MSDF operations in the
Indian Ocean (Yomiuri)
6) Talks among Diet steering committee chairs rupture over
scheduling deliberations on supplementary budget bill (Tokyo
Shimbun)
7) Ruling and opposition camps intensifying horse trading over
timing of Lower House dissolution (Mainichi)
8) Aso is searching for a way to dissolve the Diet in Oct. but he is
being stymied by the state of the economy (Nikkei)

9) Prime Minister Aso wants to restudy the tax system to tap more
overseas income of companies (Nikkei)

10) Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura's political support groups
reported 22 million yen in office expenses for an apartment used by
his secretary (Mainichi)

11) Senior Foreign Ministry official on Assistant Secretary of State
Hill's trip to Pyongyang: If progress, Six-Party Talks could resume
this month (Asahi)

12) Japan, South Korea to continue joint surveys of waters around
dispute Takeshima isles (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) Prime minister stresses intention to pass supplementary budget
bill: Hints at additional economic pump-priming measures during
interpellations by party representatives

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Following Prime Minister Taro Aso's policy speech, party
representatives engaged in a question-and-answer session in a
plenary session of the Lower House on the afternoon of October 1.
The prime minister indicated his intention to pass at an early date
the fiscal 2008 supplementary budget bill, saying, "The bill has
specific measures that are directly connected with people's lives,
such as measures to help small to medium-sized businesses manage
their funds." He also told reporters on the evening of the same day
that it is necessary to adopt additional economic stimulus measures.
At the present stage, the prime minister is standing firm on holding
a Lower House election on November 2. However, he took a stance of

TOKYO 00002747 002 OF 010


reaching a final decision after monitoring budget deliberations and
economic conditions.

The prime minister last evening told reporters, "The second budget
is within the range of expectations of the public. Calls for
additional economic stimulus measures may rise." He then said, "The
public's opinion is that the government should take more interest in
economic stimulus measures rather than calling for dissolution of
the Diet once the budget bill is enacted." He indicated that he
would carefully determine the right timing for dissolving the Lower
House and calling a snap election.

Strengthening the confrontational stance against the DPJ, the prime
minister during the interpellations stressed in a reply his
intention to aim for early enactment of the bill amending the New
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to extend Japan's refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean by another year. He also said he
intended to pass a set of bills that would establish a consumer
affairs agency. He called on the DPJ to clarify whether it is for or
against the supplementary budget bill.

Aso apologized for the Abe and Fukuda cabinets having both been
replaced in less than one year. Regarding the resignation of former
Transport Minister Nariaki Nakayama, Aso admitted to his
responsibility for appointing him and said, "I would like to fulfill
my responsibility by achieving results in my job."

2) Main points from Oct. 1 Diet interpellations

NIKKEI (Page 6) (Abridged)
October 2, 2008

Indian Ocean refueling

Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda: Mr.
Ozawa hardly answered the prime minister's questions from the day
before yesterday. It's very regrettable. I wonder if it's really all
right to hand over the reins of government to the Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto). Are you determined to pass the bill extending
the refueling activities in the Indian Ocean?

Prime Minister Taro Aso: The war on terror is still going on. Many
countries are stepping up their efforts in Afghanistan and are
willing to sacrifice valuable lives. Our withdrawing from the
activities of the international community is not an option.

North Korea

Hosoda: How will Japan face the six-party talks?

Aso: There's no change in our basic course of action to push for a
comprehensive solution to the pending issues of the abductions,
nuclear weapons, and missiles. I will go all out to repatriate all
the abductees. In conformity with the agreement reached between
Japan and North Korea in August, we will call on North Korea to
reinvestigate the issue as soon as possible.

Financial crisis

Hosoda: There has been instability in financial and capital markets
for over a year.


TOKYO 00002747 003 OF 010


Aso: We will make efforts to stabilize international markets while
cooperating closely with the United States and other countries. In
international conferences, we will show Japan's experience and will
contribute to the stabilization of international financial markets.

Economic stimulus package

Hosoda: You've advocated tax cuts to reinvigorate the economy.

Aso: The government will implement a fixed-amount tax break within
the current fiscal year as an emergency relief measure for the
people's livelihood. In order for Japan to utilize its potential,
the government will consider new tax plans late this year to promote
investments in energy-saving facilities and reflux overseas
subsidiary profits to Japan.

3) DPJ's Ozawa to base Japan's security on its alliance with U.S.,
go with U.N.-centered diplomacy

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) President Ozawa clarified a set
of three principles for his party's foreign and security policies in
his Diet interpellation yesterday. His advocacy of U.N.-centered
diplomacy tends to be taken as overemphasizing the United Nations,
so Ozawa is believed to have aimed to explain his standpoint again
of balancing the Japan-U.S. alliance with U.N.-centered diplomacy.

The three principles for the DPJ's foreign and security policies are
to maintain and develop Japan's alliance with the United States,
strengthen Japan's relations with China, and develop a diplomacy
centering on the United Nations. This advocacy, in a way, can be
called an answer to the 'counter-interpellation' that Prime Minister
Aso made in his Oct. 29 policy speech, when he had urged the DPJ to
answer how it would balance the Japan-U.S. alliance and United
Nations' centered diplomacy. "I showed our basic principles again
and explained the principles plainly so he can fathom our thinking,"
Ozawa said in a press conference after his Diet interpellation.

In his essay released in October last year, Ozawa set forth his
views over Japan's overseas dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces,
writing that he would like to have the SDF participate in the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan if his
party took office. In that essay, Ozawa also developed his criticism
of the United States, saying: "They are not aware that their
isolationism and excessive pride always disturb the international
community's harmony." This view, however, faced criticism not only
from government leaders but also from some DPJ lawmakers. "It
inevitably gives the impression that he places U.N. resolutions
above anything else," former Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura said.

This time around, with a snap election ahead for a change of
government, Ozawa apparently tried to clear up misunderstandings
about his thinking.

"Japan will base its security on its alliance with the United
States," Ozawa stated, referring to his party's security policy. The
point is his use of the word "base" (TN: kijuku also translated as
"cornerstone"). This phrase has been used by the successive prime
minister in their Diet replies. By using this wording, Ozawa

TOKYO 00002747 004 OF 010


indicated that he would maintain the government's policy of
positioning the United States, the party of Japan's security pact,
as an exception. Based on this standpoint, Ozawa took the position
that Japan will establish an equal partnership with the United
States. With this, he denied that Japan would follow in the
footsteps of the United States. He concluded, "The Japan-U.S.
Security Treaty has been established on the basis of the ideal and
framework of the Charter of the United Nations, and the Japan-U.S.
alliance and U.N.-centered diplomacy are not contradictory to each
other at all."

Ozawa will be called on to shape the three principles, such as how
Japan will take part in the war on terror. The DPJ, if it takes the
reins of government, will face the question of whether Japan should
send SDF troops to Afghanistan. Ozawa says, "There can be a
political judgment for SDF dispatch only if there is a clear-cut
U.N. resolution." In his party, however, there are also objections.

In the end, a fundamental law is deemed imperative. For now,
however, Ozawa has yet to show what to do about it after his party
takes office. He came up with a time schedule for his party's
roadmap to implement policies and to secure the ways and means. It
did not include foreign and security policies.

"Diplomacy and security are on the top of the agenda because they
are very important matters," Ozawa said in a press conference
yesterday. "But," he went on, "public life is in a crisis." He
added, "In our campaign at this point, we will make an appeal on
what the people really need now." With this, Ozawa indicated that
the DPJ would not step into specifics.

4) DPJ Ozawa clarifies necessary amounts, specifics on revenues for
policies, in effort to wipe out criticism of lacking fiscal
resources

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa spelled out
policy pledges for the next House of Representatives election in a
representatives' interpellation session at the Lower House
yesterday. He clarified how much money would be needed to carry out
these policies and from where the fiscal resources would come. He
apparently aimed at quickly warding off criticism in the government
and the ruling camp of the DPJ as being unable to come up with
fiscal resources to implement its policies, not to mention similar
objections in his own party. The main opposition party will draw up
a manifesto that adds more substance to the contents of Ozawa's
"policy speech" and announce it at the time of Lower House
dissolution.

In the interpellation session, Ozawa presented a timeframe in three
stages after assuming political power for carrying out such priority
measures as waiving highway tolls and providing child-rearing
support. He also for the first time clarified the amounts of
revenues necessary to fund these measures.

He said that he would come up with 8.4 trillion yen for fiscal 2009
and 20.5 trillion yen for fiscal 2012 in the third stage to finance
the measures.

His major tactic for squeezing out huge amounts of fiscal resources

TOKYO 00002747 005 OF 010


is to overhaul the national budget. Ozawa categorically said: "We
will determine the order of priorities, based on the standard of
what is needed to create new people's lives. By doing so, it will
become fully possible to secure necessary fiscal resources to fund
our policy measures."

In order to constantly revise the fiscal system, in line with the
budget overhaul, Ozawa proposed measures to: (1) stop amakudari (the
practice of former government officials finding jobs in the private
sector) and wasteful spending; (2) abolish the providing of state
subsidies as tied aid, and provide local governments instead with
aid in a package as fiscal resources they can use as they wish; and
(3) scrap the special account system and independent administrative
corporations in principle.

He also proposed making use of the so-called "hidden funds"
(maizoukin), such as reserves in special accounts and the sales of
government assets as immediate measures.

A number of DPJ lawmakers, including even those who have kept their
distance from Ozawa, praised his speech, with Vice President Katsuya
Okada saying: "It was pretty much a policy speech and a good one at
that. He explained where the fiscal resources would come from in a
straightforward manner." Discord in the party in the run-up to the
House of Representatives election seems to be dissolving.

Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, however, criticized Ozawa's
speech in response to a question by Liberal Democratic Party's
Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda: "Fiscal resources will be
permanently necessary to implement the policy measures proposed by
the DPJ. The DPJ relies on temporary fiscal resources, such as
reserves in special accounts, so it is hard to say that necessary
fiscal resources will be secured." The government and the ruling
camp are likely to intensify their attacks against the DPJ.

5) DPJ seeks assurance of Lower House dissolution; Ruling camp to
call for deliberations on new antiterrorism legislation

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso is considering postponing Lower House
dissolution for a snap general election. Given the situation, the
major opposition Democratic Party of Japan indicated yesterday that
it would not cooperate for the early enactment of a fiscal 2008
supplementary budget bill unless the prime minister gives its
assurance of Lower House dissolution. After the extra budget clears
the Lower House, the ruling camp intends to call on the opposition
parties to begin deliberations on a bill amending the New
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to extend the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, as well
as bills establishing a consumer affairs agency.

The Diet affairs chiefs of the LDP and New Komeito held a meeting in
the Diet building yesterday evening with their counterparts of the
DPJ, Social Democratic Party and People's New Party. In the session,
the coalition Diet affairs chiefs indicated that they would accept
the three opposition parties' proposal to conduct two days of
deliberations in each Diet chamber. At the same time, they refused
to give assurance of Lower House dissolution, saying that only the
prime minister could decide that. DPJ Diet affairs chief Kenji
Yamaoka rebutted, saying: "No assurance, no plan. Let's deliberate

TOKYO 00002747 006 OF 010


on matters thoroughly. A Lower House Budget Committee director
thinks five days (are necessary), and the Upper House has its own
opinion." The meeting broke off.

Meanwhile, the prime minister last night revealed to reporters at
his official residence his intention to consider an additional
economic stimulus package, saying: "The general public think that
the government should have more interest in economic stimulus
measures rather than Lower House dissolution once the supplementary
budget is enacted." He also expressed strong enthusiasm for the
enactment of the bill amending the New Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law, saying: "It is unthinkable for Japan alone to
withdraw." He further underlined the need to enact the consumer
affairs agency-related bills.

The DPJ is set to apply greater pressure on the ruling camp through
Budget Committee deliberations with the aim of forcing it into early
Lower House dissolution. A senior DPJ lawmaker said: "We will take a
severe approach in the DIet. We are planning to take up the issue of
former Komeito Chairman Junya Yano (who has filed a lawsuit against
Soka Gakkai), as well."

6) Diet Affairs Committee chairs' talks on supplementary budget
deliberations timetable rupture: Ruling parties reject call for
making Lower House dissolution precondition

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
October 2, 2008

The LDP, the New Komeito, the DPJ, the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
and the People's New Party (PNP) on the afternoon of Oct. 1 held a
meeting of the chairman of the Diet Affairs Committees of both the
ruling and opposition parties in the Diet building and conferred on
a deliberation timetable for a fiscal 2008 supplementary budget
bill. In response to a proposed time schedule of holding two-day
deliberations both in the Lower and Upper Houses, the opposition
side insisted, "We cannot accept the proposal unless it is premised
on dissolution of the Lower House for a snap election." The talks
ended in rupture.

The ruling parties took a stance of accepting a timetable of holding
two days of deliberations in the Lower and Upper Houses,
respectively, which the opposition camp's side had proposed in the
previous talks. However, it rejected the opposition camp's call for
setting the schedule based on the precondition that a national
election would be held on November 9. The representatives cited that
it is the prime minister's prerogative to dissolve the Lower House.

As a result, no agreement was reached in the talks on starting
deliberations in the Lower House Budget Committee on the 6th because
of the opposition's insistence that a deliberation timetable not
premised on dissolution of the Diet was unacceptable.

7) Political maneuvering between ruling and opposition camps
intensifying over timing of Lower House dissolution

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
October 2, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New
Komeito confirmed yesterday that they would start, even
independently, deliberations on the supplementary budget for fiscal

TOKYO 00002747 007 OF 010


2008 at the Lower House Budget Committee. The ruling camp has not
changed its basic policy of dissolving the House of Representatives
soon after the supplementary budget clears the House of Councillors.
However, a cautious view about early Lower House dissolution is
spreading in the ruling party due to the need for measures to meet
the financial crisis that started in the United States. Prime
Minister Taro Aso also hinted at the need for additional economic
stimulus measures. The political maneuvering between the ruling and
opposition camps is intensifying over the timing of Lower House
dissolution, even though both sides are unable to gauge Aso's real
intention.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
Kenji Yamaoka said yesterday in a meeting of the Diet affairs
committee chairmen from the ruling and opposition parties:

"The Lower House will be dissolved immediately after the end of
deliberations on the budget for two days each in the two chambers of
the Diet. This is our precondition. If you can't promise
dissolution, let's deliberate on it thoroughly (for a long time)."

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima, however,
responded, saying:

"I accept the timetable for deliberations on the budget, but I can't
promise dissolution because the prime minister alone has the right
to dissolve the Lower House."

The talks, therefore, ended in failure.

The ruling coalition and the DPJ have reached an agreement on the
timetable for deliberations on the supplementary budget. The ruling
camp intends to accept the DPJ's request of an early Lower House
dissolution. Even so, the reason for the ruling camp unable to
accept the DPJ's plan is because consensus has yet to be reached in
the DPJ, namely, a senior DPJ Upper House member said: "One week
each in the Lower and Upper Houses is needed for deliberations on
the budget."

The ruling coalition is wary especially about deliberations on the
budget in the opposition-controlled House of Councillors, with a
senior New Komeito member saying: "It is the same as a black hole.
Even if we promise the deliberation schedule, they could extend the
schedule indefinitely." There is the ruling camp's distrust of the
DPJ in the background of its decision to "start deliberations
independently."

LDP Lower House member Yamato Inaba met yesterday with Chief Cabinet
Secretary Takeo Kawamura at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
to hand in a letter addressed to the prime minister opposing Lower
House election before enacting the supplementary budget. He told
Kawamura: "It is stupid to dissolve the Lower House without coming
up with fiscal measures." The letter was signed by 32 junior LDP
lawmakers. A person close to Aso said: "It is uncertain whether the
opposition keeps its promise on the supplementary budget. The
situation is changing from moment to moment."

8) Prime Minister Aso seeking opportunity for Lower House
dissolution in October

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 2, 2008

TOKYO 00002747 008 OF 010

Prime Minister Taro Aso yesterday took a positive stance toward an
additional package of economic stimulus measures, reiterating the
need for helping the economy rather than calling for a House of
Representatives election. His aim is to create an environment that
would favor the ruling coalition going into a Lower House election.
However, if the Aso government prioritizes the enactment of the
supplementary budget for fiscal 2008, it might be trapped by the
opposition's strategy (to set the timeframe for Diet dissolution).
Although calls for forgoing an early general election are becoming
stronger in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito,
the LDP's junior coalition partner, has not budged from its position
of insisting on Lower House dissolution soon. Under such
circumstances, Aso is now looking into the possibility of dissolving
the Lower House in October.

Aso and Ichiro Ozawa, president of the main opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ), faced off in Diet debate yesterday.

Ozawa: "After making clear each party's assertion through sufficient
debate, it is the usual formula then to go to the people to ask for
their vote of confidence."

Aso: "I will decide that on my own."

DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama also urged Aso to dissolve the
Lower House immediately after enacting the supplementary budget,
instead of delaying deliberations to Oct. 6. Aso would not listen,
however. A person close to Aso said: "The prime minister will never
give the political initiative to other side."

Aso trying to put forward his own political identity

The ruling coalition is making preparations for Lower House
dissolution in October and general election in early November, after
the supplementary budget is enacted.

Before going into the general election, Aso without doubt aims to
impress on the public the image that he is adept at dealing with the
economy. He appears to be saying that he favors dissolving the Lower
House while criticizing the opposition if it tries to delay the Diet
debate. He also expects the LDP to include a new economic stimulus
package in its set of campaign pledges for the Lower House
election.

Concerns about falls in stock prices

Many in the LDP are worried about the adverse economic impact on the
regions of plunging stock prices. As a result, there is a growing
view for putting off Lower House dissolution. The LDP also is
concerned about the results of a private survey it took of the Lower
House election situation. The LDP survey found that the ruling camp
would fail to secure 241 seats, a majority of the Lower House, in a
general election. The New Komeito has envisaged Lower House
dissolution in early October, since its support organization has
focused on a general election in early November. Therefore, the
possibility is strong that the New Komeito will frown on a lengthy
delay in a decision to dissolve the Lower House.

9) Policy to recycle corporate profits made overseas: Prime minister
positive toward amending tax code as additional economic stimulus
measure

TOKYO 00002747 009 OF 010

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
October 2, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso during a plenary session of the Lower Housed
announced his plan to consider in the annual tax code revision for
fiscal 2009 establishing a system designed to bring profits Japanese
companies made abroad back home. The idea is to make it easier for
overseas profits to be used for domestic investment so as to bring
about the revitalization of the economy. He stressed the need to
pass a fiscal 2008 supplementary budget at an early date. He also
indicated a proactive stance toward additional pump-priming
measures. Those statements were made in response to questions asked
by LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda and other lawmakers.

The prime minister said, "There is a wide range of challenges
concerning the tax code, including the consolidation of conditions
for bringing profits made by overseas subsidiaries of Japanese
companies back home. We will consider this issue toward the end of
the year." Contrary to the progress in the internationalization of
corporate management, Japanese companies are increasingly showing a
tendency to retain the profits they made abroad, where tax rates are
lower than in Japan. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is
calling for tax exemption for dividends companies received from
their in which they have a more than 25 PERCENT stake.

10) Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura's political groups reported 22
million yen in office expenses for apartment used by former
secretary

MAINICHI (Page 27) (Excerpts)
October 2, 2008

Three political groups of Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura
reported the condominium (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) where his former
official secretary was living as their office and declared a total
of about 22 million yen in office and other expenses over a
three-year period until 2007. The three groups were disbanded in
March 2008. A member of the Kawamura office explained: "The
condominium was being used as office of the three groups, but we
decided to dismantle them because the report might be subject to
misunderstanding."

According to political funds reports submitted to the Tokyo
Metropolitan Electoral Management Committee, the three political
groups are Kenseikai, Kenryukai, and Kokuminseikei Doyukai (People's
Politics and Economics Executives Association). As the combined
amount of their office expenses, they listed 1.1 million yen for
2005, 1.08 million yen for 2006 and 0.96 million yen for 2007. As
the amount of personnel expenses, they declared 5.05 million yen for
2005, 4.38 million yen for 2006 and 2.32 million yen for 2007.

The condominium is owned by a relative of the late former House of
Representatives member who was elected from Yamaguchi, which
Kawamura also represents, and designated him as his successor. The
relative was renting it free to Kawamura, and his former secretary
whose residence is located in Kanagawa Prefecture was living there.
No rent for the about 200 square-meter condo was being paid. The
former official secretary was paying half of the office operating
expenses for the three-year period and the three groups were paying
the remaining half. The reported personnel expenses were for a
female part-timer, according to the office member.

TOKYO 00002747 010 OF 010

11) Foreign Ministry official: Six-party talks may take place before
end of month if there is progress

ASAHI (Page 9) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Regarding a visit to North Korea by U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. delegate to the six-party
talks, a senior Foreign Ministry official indicated yesterday that
if there was any progress between the United States and North Korea,
six-party talks might be restarted later this month. The U.S.
government intends to delist the North as a state sponsor of
terrorism once an agreement is reached on the methods of verifying
the North's nuclear programs. The official also said: "We have
reminded the United States about the need for solid contents based
on international standards."

12) Japan, South Korea to continue joint Takeshima survey possibly
later this month; Eager to use occasion to mend relations

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 2, 2008

Japan and South Korea have launched an effort to conduct possibly
before the end of the month a joint radiation-contamination survey
in waters near Takeshima, a group of disputed islets in the Sea of
Japan, known as Dokdo in South Korea. Japan had temporarily looked
for the possibility of an independent survey but has decided to
maintain the joint survey framework for three years in a row in
consideration of an outcry from South Korea over the reference to
the Takeshima issue in the new curriculum guidelines for middle
schools.

The two countries conducted their joint surveys in 1994 and 1995 to
examine the impact of radioactive materials dumped in the waters by
the former Soviet Union. Since 1996, surveys were conducted
independently by Japan. Joint surveys began in 2006 when the two
countries resumed the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) demarcation
talks after a six-year hiatus.

The government had wanted to conduct the survey independently based
on Tokyo's claim that sovereignty over Takeshima rests with Japan.
But given South Korea's strong reaction to the reference to the
sovereignty issue in the textbook guidelines, the government has
concluded that an independent survey would deteriorate bilateral
relations. Tokyo also wants to use the joint survey to mend
relations with Seoul.

Coordination is underway to conduct the survey before the end of the
month. Several spots, including those in waters claimed by the two
countries as their respective EEZs, will be selected. Under
consideration is an approach allowing experts from the two countries
to board each other's survey boat and exchange analytical data. The
method will be finalized in the days ahead. Apart from the survey,
the government intends to aim at progress on the EEZ demarcation
talks. The talks that have been held a total of nine rounds since
May 1996 have faced difficulties.

SCHIEFFER

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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>>

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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>>

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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>>

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