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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11//08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 003070

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 11//08

INDEX:

(1) Opinion poll shows unaffiliated voters fleeing LDP, but not
flowing into the DPJ; Sense of impasse regarding both parties
(Yomiuri)

(2) Ruling coalition concerned about plunge in public approval rate
for Aso cabinet in Yomiuri poll (Yomiuri)

(3) When will Lower House be dissolved? Four possibilities afoot:
around Christmas, at beginning of next regular Diet session, in
tandem with Tokyo assembly election, or Lower House members serve
out their term (Yomiuri)

(4) DPJ to adopt economic stimulus measures on Nov. 5: Stressing
differences from government plan in giving priority to public good
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(5) Main statements by former ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami in
press conference; Country not allowing rebuttal is same as North
Korea (Sankei)

(6) Government eyes yen loans in fiscal 2009 to Vietnam to assist
space-development project (Nikkei)

(7) METI to streamline procedures for goods traded with EPA nations
(Nikkei)

(8) TOP HEADLINES

(9) EDITORIALS

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, November 3 (Nikkei)

ARTICLES:

(1) Opinion poll shows unaffiliated voters fleeing LDP, but not
flowing into the DPJ; Sense of impasse regarding both parties

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 4, 2008

In the Yomiuri Shimbun poll carried out Nov. 1-3, together with the
decline in the support rate for the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro
Aso, a sudden drop in those who support the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) also was striking. However, it appears that those who are
deserting the LDP are not going over to the Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ). Instead, they seem to be joining the ranks of the
unaffiliated voters. In addition, those who called for a "new
framework by political realignment" and "a grand coalition between
the LDP and DPJ" have now reached a majority of eligible voters.
Much of the electorate seems to be beginning to feel frustrated with
the lack of choice between the two major parties, the LDP and the
DPJ.

Looking at the changes in support to political parties since the
inauguration of the Aso government, the rates in Sept. and Oct. put
the LDP on top (with 37.4 PERCENT and then 38.7 PERCENT ). Those
with no party preference (mutouhasou) were in second place (with
26.3 PERCENT and then 26.5 PERCENT ). In third place (with 22.8
PERCENT and then 24.3) was the DPJ. In the latest election, the LDP
dropped sharply to 32.4 PERCENT , while the unaffiliated voters

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

jumped to 33.O PERCENT , the top of the list. The DPJ stayed more of
less the same at 23.4 PERCENT .

Similarly, when asked about who they would vote for in the upcoming
Lower House election's proportionate slate, the LDP was preferred by
32 PERCENT (down 7 points from the Oct. survey), while the DPJ was
chosen by 31 PERCENT (down 1 point), and another 24 PERCENT were
undecided (an increase of 9 points). On the question of who was more
appropriate to be prime minister, Prime Minister Aso or DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa, Aso received 50 PERCENT (down 6 points) and
Ozawa's support was 22 PERCENT (down a point). There seems to be as
sense of blockage or impasse here, with voters feeling that although
they had tired of politics centered on the LDP, they did not have
the desire to directly support the DPJ either.

On what would be the desirable administration following a Lower
House election, the latest survey found 27 PERCENT of the
electorate, the highest choice, favoring a grand coalition between
the LDP and the DPJ. Another 25 PERCENT wanted "a new framework
through political realignment." The third choice with 20 PERCENT
was a DPJ-centered government, followed by 19 PERCENT , who wanted
an LDP-centered government. In the October poll, as well, the
political realignment choice garnered 28 PERCENT , while the grand
coalition took 25 PERCENT as the first and second choices,
respectively. The results can be read as showing the expectations of
voters for a new politics that exceeded the existing framework.

(2) Ruling coalition concerned about plunge in public approval rate
for Aso cabinet in Yomiuri poll

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 4, 2008

The government and ruling coalition are increasingly alarmed about
the fact that the approval rate for the cabinet of Prime Minister
Taro Aso slipped below its disapproval rate for the first time, as
well as about a plunge in the support rate for the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP). Since Aso put off a general election for the
House of Representatives, he was able to avoid going to the
electorate to receive their judgment for the time being. However,
there is no prospect as to whether his public support rate can
improve.

Many in the ruling camp are lamenting over the fact that the new
economic stimulus package Aso announced on Oct. 30 did not lead to
boosting the public approval rate for the cabinet.

LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda said yesterday:

"Since the government has come up with a bold economic package, it
will gradually become well-known to the public. However, since the
individual measures are difficult to understand, the package has yet
to lead to raising the support rate."

Akihiro Ota, chief representative of the New Komeito, the LDP's
coalition partner, suggested that the prime minister's exertion of
all possible efforts to implement the economic package would lead to
better approval ratings for the Aso cabinet. He stated: "The
public's worried about the economy. They are watching whether the
government can implement the measures."

Some have contended that Aso's mentioning of a consumption tax hike

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

affected the results of the poll. A high government official said:

"The public might have taken the prime minister's reference to the
consumption tax as a tax hike. Unless the prime minister explains
that the consumption tax will be increased after fully considering
the economic situation, the approval rates for his cabinet will not
go up."

The government and ruling parties are strongly shocked by the fact
that the approval rating for the Aso cabinet slipped below its
disapproval rating barely a month after it was inaugurated. The
approval rates for the governments of Prime Ministers Abe and
Fukuda, who resigned in about one year after taking office, slipped
below their disapproval rates in six months and five months
respectively after they formed their cabinets.

Some LDP lawmakers feel relieved at the postponement of Lower House
dissolution, with one saying: "If we held an election now, it would
be awful. Some other members predicted that it would be more
difficult to seize the right timing for an election. A mid-level
party member pointed out:

"Under the situation in which the cabinet's disapproval rate tops
the approval rate, the prime minister has no choice but to be
cautious about dissolving the Lower House. The focus will be on
whether the disapproval ratings for the cabinet will exceed 50
PERCENT . If it exceeds that number, it will be difficult for the
ruling coalition to win the election."

Meanwhile, the opposition camp now feels like it is riding high.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
yesterday told reporters in Gifu Prefecture in a strong tone: "The
public see that the ruling coalition's economic-boosting package
will not be able to resolve the financial crisis." Deputy President
Naoto Kan took a view that Aso would avoid dissolving the Lower
House for a while, saying: "Prime Minister Aso has now been unable
to dissolve the lower chamber. He probably will not call an
election."

The ruling camp intends to boost the Aso cabinet's popularity by
improving the economic situation by implementing the economic
stimulus package. Meanwhile, Aso intends to promote his presence in
the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. In order to
force a dissolution of the Lower House, however, the opposition bloc
plans to shake the government and ruling coalition over the
dismissal of Air-Self Defense Force Chie of Staff Toshio Tamogami
and other issues.

(3) When will Lower House be dissolved? Four possibilities afoot:
around Christmas, at beginning of next regular Diet session, in
tandem with Tokyo assembly election, or Lower House members serve
out their term

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Abridged)
October 31, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso, giving policy priority to measures to deal
with the global recession, has decided not to dissolve the Lower
House anytime soon. When is he going to decide the right timing to
dissolve the Diet and call a general election? The prime minister is
likely to continue to face a critical juncture.

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08


Livelihood over Lower House dissolution

"At some point, we will have to fight, but we must first prioritize
the people's livelihoods over Lower House dissolution," Aso told an
LDP executive meeting yesterday afternoon.

The New Komeito has eventually accepted the prime minister's
decision to forgo a plan to officially kick off the campaign on Nov.
18 for an election on Nov. 30. But the party still wants to have a
long interval between the next Lower House election and next
summer's Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election.

What are some of the possible dates for Diet dissolution before the
Lower House members' terms end next September? The nearest date
being mentioned in the LDP is around Christmas, after a second
supplementary budget is enacted and a fiscal 2009 budget is
compiled. This could be followed by an official announcement on Jan.
13 for an election on Jan, 25.

This scenario, however, would make it difficult for the fiscal 2009
budget to clear the Diet before the end of the current fiscal year,
forcing the government to produce a provisional budget. Many LDP
lawmakers are dismissive of this scenario. The reason is because if
the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan prolongs Diet
deliberations on the second supplementary budget, the prime minister
might be forced to dissolve the chamber before a set of additional
stimulus measures takes shape.

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Vice Chairman Yoshihide Suga, who is
close to Aso, appeared in a BS11 program last night in which he
expressed a negative view about dissolving the Lower House before
year's end, citing the prime minister's tight diplomatic timetable.

It is also possible to dissolve the chamber at the beginning of the
next regular Diet session in January. This would require the
compilation of an interim budget, however.

A consumption tax hike out of desperation

A combination of April 14 and 26, after enacting the fiscal 2009
budget by March 31, is another option. This scenario is compatible
with the New Komeito's time limit set at April.

But unlike a budget bill, budget-related bills can clear the Diet
with a two-third override vote after the Upper House refuses action,
but the Lower House must wait 60 days before after passing the
legislation. The enactment of such bills in May might be followed by
Lower House dissolution in May for an election in June. Some in the
LDP think that if the timeline was delayed to that extent, the Lower
House election should be held in tandem with the Tokyo Metropolitan
Assembly election -- the last thing the New Komeito wants. Aware of
such concern of the New Komeito, Suga flatly rejected the idea of
double elections on an Oct. 30 BS 11 program.

Some have begun whispering that the Lower House members would serve
out their term, with an LDP source saying, "Once the long regular
Diet session convenes, the DPJ's relentless attack would deprive the
prime minister of the energy to dissolve the Lower House." There is
even talk that Prime Minister Aso would be replaced.

Some think that Aso referred in yesterday's press conference to a

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

consumption tax hike in three years' time out of desperation. That
is because in order to raise the consumption tax in three years, the
LDP will have to get through at least one Lower House election and
the Upper House election in 2010 while pledging to raise taxes.

If Lower House dissolved now, difficult for LDP-New Komeito
coalition to secure majority

Prime Minister Aso seems to have decided to put off the envisioned
dissolution based on his judgment that the environment surrounding
the LDP was too harsh to call a general election at this point.

The LDP conducted in late September an opinion survey to find out
voting patterns in the 300 single-seat constituencies. As a result,
the LDP and the DPJ were neck-and-neck with the former projected to
win 215 seats and the latter 214 seats, according to a person
concerned. The New Komeito was expected to garner 25. In other
words, the results showed slight difficulty for the ruling coalition
to secure a majority (241 seats). The LDP later conducted a
follow-up survey in selected constituencies. The results indicated a
decline for the LDP and a gain for the DPJ. "If an election is
called now, we will lose the reins of government," an LDP leader
said.

Meanwhile, the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted an opinion poll on Oct.
10-12 in which 70 PERCENT of respondents said that priority should
be given to propping up the economy. This trend seems to have gained
momentum as the global economy has since worsened.

Aso is reportedly told former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on the
phone on Oct. 29: "Many LDP and New Komeito supporters think
economic stimulus measures should be prioritized over the
dissolution. Can I dissolve the Lower House at a time like this?"

The DPJ also surveyed 194 districts from late August through
September. It was intended to analyze the trends of close-race
districts excluding 52 single-seat constituencies where DPJ
candidates won in the previous "postal election" that worked against
the party, and constituencies where the DPJ has yet to determine its
candidates. The results showed that the DPJ had the edge over the
LDP in some 80 constituencies and that the two parties were
neck-and-neck in about 60 districts.

(4) DPJ to adopt economic stimulus measures on Nov. 5: Stressing
differences from government plan in giving priority to public good

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

The DPJ will adopt an economic pump-priming package designed for the
"Next Cabinet" to deal with the financial turmoil. The main feature
of the package is, of course, giving top priority to the public
good. Because the party is alarmed about Prime Minister Aso's strong
intent to map out additional economic stimulus measures, the party
wants to impress the public that it was the DPJ that first advocated
giving top priority to the public good, by putting together every
possible policy in the run-up to the envisaged next Lower House
election.

The DPJ and the LDP have many points in common regarding economic
stimulus measures. Shifting from the economy that is dependent on
external demand to the domestic demand-led economy, by stimulating

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

consumption with direct refunding of tax money to people is the
scenario both parties envisage.

Concerning specific measures, too, while the DPJ is calling for a
child allowance and toll-free expressways, the government has come
up with a benefit payment plan targeting all households in place of
the flat-sum tax cut, and a significant cut in expressway tolls.
They have thus proposed policies with similar concepts and
specifics.

The DPJ criticized the government's additional package as
poorly-compiled fake economic pump-priming measures, as one Upper
House member put it. In particular, the DPJ takes pride in being the
first party that called for toll-free expressways five years ago
during the 2003 Lower House election.

If the government implements these policies, the DPJ's policy would
fade away. The DPJ is, therefore, frantic about stressing the
differences from the government's plan. Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama underscored: "The government plan is stop-gap pork-barrel
largesse. The DPJ will build a safety net and reach out to those who
really need our help."

The child allowance is a permanent system targeting the
child-rearing generation. The DPJ says that its child allowance
system will also serve as a measure to address the declining birth
rate with Deputy President Naoto Kan saying, "This policy will help
those who want to have a child or those who want another one.

The government has criticized the DPJ's policy as lacking fiscal
backing. In response, the DPJ has come up with a four-year road map.
The party is now counterattacking the government and the ruling
parties as failing to indicate a road map and fiscal resources. The
DPJ does not rule out the possibility of a future raise in the sales
tax. However, it has not touched on a time schedule to realize that.
Some party members are opposing the party's stance with one noting,
"Is it all right to keep mum about a fiscal plan?" There is a strong
possibility of the ruling camp stepping up their offensive over
fiscal resources to finance its proposal.

The DPJ is determined that if the government submit the second
supplementary budget bill that incorporates the additional economic
stimulus package to the Diet, it would thoroughly pursue Diet
deliberations with focus on differences in the policies of the two
parties.

The shortcut to realize the DPJ's policy is a change of
administration. President Ichiro Ozawa is calling for an early
dissolution of the Lower House, saying, "Only the administration
that secured public support through election can implement really
drastic measures."

(5) Main statements by former ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami in
press conference; Country not allowing rebuttal is same as North
Korea

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 4, 2008

Former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami held a
press conference at the Jiji Press head office last night in which
he explained the true intention of his essay. The following are the

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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

main statements he made.

(Opening statement)

I wrote the essay based on my belief for the nation and its people,
and I have not tendered my resignation. The dismissal is
heartbreaking for me, having been with the Self-Defense Forces for a
long period of time. I am worried more than anything about the stain
on the honor of the Air Self-Defense Force and the entire
Self-Defense Forces.

Japan is a magnificent country with an old history and excellent
traditions. Japan was never an aggressor. A spell placed on the
country by the postwar education system has ruined our national
confidence, the morale of the SDF personnel, and the national
security system. There is no national army in the world where
civilian control is more ensured than the SDF.

I hope my dismissal will spark honest and active debates on how the
nation and national defense should be rather than making it more
difficult for SDF personnel to express their views and engage in
debate.

(Questions and answers)

-- What was the reason for you to write the essay at this time point
in time?

"In order for Japan to develop as a state in the 21st century, I
thought it would be difficult for our country to implement policies
based on its own volition unless it is freed from a masochistic view
of history. I never thought that my essay would cause such a huge
commotion. My judgment that the time has come for people to express
their views freely in Japan might have been wrong."

-- What about the contents?

"I do not think they were wrong."

-- Will you respond to calls for Diet testimony?

"I want to respond them actively."

-- Do you think the government's view of history is wrong?

"I think it should be examined."

-- China and South Korea have expressed displeasure.

"That reflects differences in views. We have no control on how other
countries think. We should understand and deal with each other as
grownups."

-- As the top uniformed officer, your statement is weighty.

"A country where people are not allowed to say things like this
cannot be called a democracy. If one is not allowed to rebut the
government's view, it is the same as being in North Korea."

-- Doesn't opposing the government's view mean opposing the
government's decision?"


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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

"It is questionable whether what is called the Murayama Statement
was really verified, and whether it is convincing to all Japanese
people."

DPJ head Ozawa criticizes government for appointing Tamogami as ASDF
chief

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa visited on Nov. 3
Toyo University in Bunkyo Ward to answer questions from young voters
on what was dubbed the first-time-ever live Internet conference on
the Nico Nico Douga site. Asked about the timing of dissolving the
Lower House for a snap general election, Ozawa criticized the prime
minister, saying: "Prime Minister Taro Aso has been passing up
opportunities. The opening of the current extraordinary Diet session
in late September was the best timing for him. But he passed that
up; he has been indecisive."

Ozawa later held a press conference in Tokyo. Touching on former
ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami's release of an essay
contradictory to the government's view, Ozawa denounced the
government, saying: "The government's responsibility for appointing
him (to the ASDF chief of staff) knowing that he had written a
similar essay before is grave."

(6) Government eyes yen loans in fiscal 2009 to Vietnam to assist
space-development project

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
November 1, 2008

The government has decided to help Vietnam in promoting its space
development project. It plans to continue a preliminary survey by a
joint team with the private sector until the end of this fiscal
year. If requested, the government will look into providing that
nation with several tens of billions of yen in yen loans in fiscal
2009. This aid, if realized, would be the nation's first full-scale
assistance for a foreign country's space-development project.
Through assistance for foreign countries' projects, the government
aims to assist the Japanese space industry in exploring overseas
markets.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAEA), NEC, Mitsubishi
Corp., and other firms will participate in the survey. The aim of
the survey is to select areas for cooperation, such as image
processing and equipment procurement. The government also eyes aid
for infrastructure construction plans by Vietnam, for instance, a
plan to construct a Hoa Lac space center (tentative name). JAXA is
also considering the possibility of offering comprehensive
cooperation with the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology
(VAST), which has engaged in space business.

Vietnam has launched space development activities as a national
strategy. Its government is planning to launch a compact earth
observation satellite that it developed on its own. Vietnam's first
telecommunications satellite was successfully launched this April.
An American company developed the satellite and provided operability
technology. The Japanese government, through assistance, aims to
create an environment to facilitate the aid recipients to adopt the
Japanese technology.

(7) METI to streamline procedures for goods traded with EPA nations


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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 4, 2008

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will introduce a
new system next fiscal year to simplify import and export procedures
for goods traded with countries that have signed economic
partnership agreements (EPA) with Tokyo. METI intends to
automatically apply low tariff rates set under EPAs, even without
certificates of origin, on goods imported by companies certified as
handling products made in countries with which Japan has EPAs.
Similarly, firms certified by Japan as exporting Japanese-made
products will be taxed at lower rates by governments that have
signed EPAs with Tokyo. By removing the requirement of submitting
point-of-origin certification under the current system, the ministry
aims to streamline expenses and time needed for the application of
certification. As the first case, the new system will be applied to
trade between Japan and Switzerland.

Point-of-origin certification is now required for goods imported
even from countries with which Japan has EPAs to be eligible for
lower tariffs. In exporting goods from Japan, exporters are required
to submit point-of-origin certification issued by the Japan Chamber
of Commerce and Industry. Fees are needed for such certification to
be issued, and about two days reportedly are needed for the
application procedure.

Under the new system, companies deemed to have accurately assessed
the places of origin of goods to handle will be designated as
special exporters. The designated special exporters will then be
eligible for trade partners' favorable duties under EPAs by merely
listing their certification numbers and the goods' places of origin
on invoices. To create the exporter-certification system as early as
fiscal 2009, the government will revise legislation governing the
issuance of point-of-origin certification for traded goods.

In response, the Finance Ministry will apply favorable tax rates
under EPAs to goods exported from exporters certified as handling
products by their respective governments, even without submitting
point-of-origin certification.

If necessary, Japanese customs authorities will contact other
governments to confirm the origin of exported goods.

(8) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi & Yomiuri:
Music producer Komuro to be arrested for fraud

Nikkei:
Japanese manufacturers consider plans for emerging nations

Sankei:
Cloned mouse produced from frozen cell

Tokyo Shimbun:
Government to sound out countries concerned about holding second
G-20 emergency financial summit

Akahata:
551 municipalities do not confiscate national health insurance cards
from households which cannot pay premiums


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(9) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Young people and marijuana: Keio University students pay high
price for buying and selling marijuana
(2) Confiscation of national health insurance cards: Appropriate
reduction and exemption of premiums necessary

Mainichi:
(1) Whitepaper on crime victims: Need for carefully-crafted
measures
(2) Japan should nurture young researchers

Yomiuri:
(1) Finely-tuned responses necessary for medical services for
children
(2) Japan should be more active in peacekeeping

Nikkei:
(1) Path to low-carbon society: Measures against global warming
needed even during financial crisis

Sankei:
(1) Additional sanctions should be applied on North Korea
(2) Carry out thorough influenza vaccination

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Delinquency in health insurance premiums: Children have no
responsibility
(2) Japan should prepare for more foreign workers

Akahata:
(1) Red Purge: The state and corporations should provide relief for
victims

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, November 3

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 4, 2008

07:31
Took a walk around private residence in Kamiyama-cho.

10:08
Decoration ceremony for the 2008 Order of Culture at the Imperial
Palace.

11:21
Returned to the private residence.

18:58
Dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Nishi-Azabu with his wife Chikako
and other family members to celebrate the silver wedding
anniversary.

Reporter: "Congratulations on your silver wedding anniversary. We
also hope your administration will last long." Prime Minister: "Ha,
ha! 25 years? That's too long."

21:00
Arrived at his private residence.


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SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 11//08

SCHIEFFER

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