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Cablegate: Japan Economic Scope for November 5, 2008

VZCZCXRO5375
RR RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3101/01 3120825
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070825Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8635
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0842
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8892
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 3203
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 4627
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1414

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 003101

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/J

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN EAGR PREL SENV JA
SUBJECT: Japan Economic Scope for November 5, 2008

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) This cable contains the Japan Economic Scope for
November 5, 2008.

Business
--------

2. (U) U.S.-Japan Seminar Promotes Cross Border Investment

The 2008 Japan-U.S. Investment Initiative's "Invest Japan" seminar
took place October 30 in Shizuoka City. Approximately 250 business
leaders and government officials attended the annual event,
including executives from more than ten U.S. companies, the American
Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), and representatives of eleven
U.S. states with trade and investment offices in Japan.

Shizuoka Governor Yoshinobu Ishikawa opened the event with a speech
highlighting the technological and management strengths of
Shizuoka-based firms, which make the prefecture an excellent place
to invest. Yasuo Hayashi, Chairman of the Japan External Trade
Organization (JETRO), explained Japanese government investment
policies. ACCJ President Allan Smith spoke on a "Vision for a New
Economic Partnership for Trade and Investment." U.S. Ambassador to
APEC, Ambassador Patricia Haslach, and Sadahiro Sugita, METI Deputy
Director General for Trade and Economic Cooperation, delivered
welcoming remarks.

A highlight was the panel discussion, led by Prof. Haruo Shimada,
Dean of the Chiba University of Commerce and chairman of the Cabinet
Office Investment Experts Group, and featuring executives of U.S.
and Japanese companies that have significant cross-border
investment. The panel members talked about the benefits and
challenges when firms operate in a foreign business environment such
as the importance of locating operations close to the final
customer, and the need to be sensitive to cultural differences in
business practices. The U.S. firms represented were New York-based
Corning Corporation, a leading manufacturer of LCD glass substrates
and optical fibers, and Michigan-based Shape Corporation, a
manufacturer of automobile bumpers and other vehicle structural
supports. The Japanese firms were Shizuoka-based Koito
Manufacturing Co., a maker of automotive lighting equipment, and
Yamaha Motor Corporation, the world-famous motorcycle and
recreational vehicle manufacturer.

"Invest Japan" seminars under the auspices of the bilateral
Investment Initiative have been held annually since 2002 to promote
greater cross-border foreign direct investment between Japan and the
U.S.. This year's event was hosted by the Shizuoka Prefectural
Government, with support from JETRO, the Ministry of Economy, Trade
and Industry, and the U.S. Embassy.

3. (SBU) METI & MOE Study Carbon Footprint and Offset Programs

At an October 27 conference on climate change, Dr. Atsushi Inaba,
Chair of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)'s expert
panel on carbon footprints, discussed the increasing popularity of
environmentally-labeled products worldwide and demonstrated several
carbon footprints and offset labels that could potentially be used
in Japan. Inaba, who also serves on the Ministry of Environment's
(MOE) committee on visualization of greenhouse gas emissions,
reiterated that carbon footprint and offset systems should work
together. He did not, however, address how METI and MOE plan to
merge their independent efforts toward the two respective labeling
systems.

Inaba confirmed METI plans to adopt an eventual International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for its domestic
carbon footprint labeling program, suggesting that ISO would
probably finalize its carbon footprint standards by 2011.

Environment and Energy
----------------------

4. (SBU) Energy Forum Off, But IPEEC Proceeding

GOJ officials confirmed the cancellation of the November G8 Energy
Forum, but said the November 14 International Partnership for Energy
Efficiency Cooperation (IPECC) 2nd Preparatory Meeting will proceed
as scheduled. India reportedly has been particularly enthusiastic
about IPEEC, and the Director General of the Bureau of Energy
Efficiency is expected to lead the Indian delegation. However, the

TOKYO 00003101 002 OF 002


Chinese have been reluctant to commit to sending representation
either from Beijing or the embassy in Tokyo, according to METI.

Food and Agriculture
--------------------

5. (U) Hokkaido Re-Examining Public Support for Blanket BSE Testing


The Hokkaido Prefectural Government (HPG) began surveying residents
in mid October to measure public support for continuing mandatory
BSE testing of all local cattle aged twenty months and younger.
Government pollsters have been collecting information in two ways:
directly from attendees at a series of public meetings on food
safety and security, and through an online survey advertised through
the media. Interested parties can view the survey in Japanese at
http://www.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp/hf/she/BSE_enq uete.

In August, Hokkaido joined other Japanese prefectures in assuming
the costs of continuing such testing on local cattle, after Japan's
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare stopped paying for blanket BSE
testing of cattle twenty months and younger. As predicted, paying
for continued testing has been costly for the prefecture ever since.
With Japan's largest cattle herds, blanket BSE testing will cost
Hokkaido an estimated 50 million yen ($510,000) through March 2009.


The HPG will use the results of the survey to determine whether the
public would accept elimination of blanket testing as a cost cutting
measure. Prefectural officials conducted a similar survey in 2007.
At that time, seventy percent of respondents expressed support for
continuing blanket BSE testing. It is not clear that public
sentiment has changed. Consumer groups again called for continuing
the tests at the recent public meetings on food safety.

Technology, Telecom, and IPR
----------------------------

6. (U) Science And Technology Budget Request Flat For JFY 2009

Government wide science and technology-related budget requests for
JFY 2009 (April 2009 - March 2010) were essentially flat compared to
the previous year's request, according to figures released by
Japan's Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP). In fact,
the 1.2 percent increase over last year's budget request did not
keep up with the latest numbers showing a 2.3 percent increase in
core CPI. Following a rank-ordering of the projects in the JPY
4085.8 billion ($40.8 billion) budget request by the CSTP in early
November, the Ministry of Finance will negotiate with the various
S&T - related ministries and agencies to reach agreement of a final
amount. Last year's final S&T budget was 11.5 percent below the
amount requested. New items in this year's S&T budget request
included fund categories for "Technological Innovation" and "Science
Diplomacy." Please see: www.nsftokyo.org/rm08-07.pdf.

SCHIEFFER

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