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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/13/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 003139

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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 11/13/08

Index:

Financial summit:
1) Japan to propose at financial summit a 10-trillion yen fund drawn
from foreign reserves to strengthen IMF (Nikkei)
2) At financial summit that starts tomorrow, Prime Minister Aso to
propose surveillance of credit rating agencies (Mainichi)

3) Aso's meeting with U.S. President Bush is off (Mainichi)

North Korea problem:
4) North Korea refuses to provide nuclear samples as means of
verification (Tokyo Shimbun)
5) North Korea hints at new information about abductees, but won't
tell unless Japan removes its sanctions (Tokyo Shimbun)
6) Pyongyang's promise to reinvestigate abduction issue has not
progressed, possibly influenced by changeover of U.S.
administrations (Tokyo Shimbun)

Diet agenda:
7) Bill to extend the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean expected
now to pass the Diet as early as Nov. 18 (Sankei)
8) Bill to extend the MSDF refueling mission to pass the Diet on
Nov. 20 (Mainichi)

9) Second supplementary budget likely to be delayed in submission,
possibly until the next regular Diet session (Nikkei, Yomiuri)
10) Commotion in Diet over resources to pay for the government's
planned cash handouts to families (Mainichi)
11) Opposition parties are planning to blast ruling parties for free
cash handouts to nation (Tokyo Shimbun, Yomiuri)

12) Japan scaling back research whaling this year (Asahi)

Articles:

1) Financial summit: Japan to propose up to 10 trillion yen
contribution from foreign currency reserves to IMF to aid emerging
countries

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
November 13, 2008

The upcoming emergency financial summit is to be held in Washington
starting on November 14 in order for industrialized countries and
emerging countries to confer on measures to address the financial
crisis. The draft of proposals Japan will make at the meeting was
revealed on the 12th. According to the plan, Japan will back the IMF
expanding its emergency financial assistance to emerging countries
with a proposal for making up to a 10 trillion yen contribution to
the organization, using portions of its foreign currency reserves.
It will also reveal a public and private-sector joint fund
assistance initiative to help Asian countries, where the influx of
private funds is deteriorating due to due to the financial crisis,
procure funds. It will also underscore the need to strengthen the
IMF's market monitoring function and substantially increase its
capital base in the future.

Fund contribution to the IMF using foreign currency reserves is one
of the showcase measures to deal with the financial crisis that
Prime Minister Taro Aso will reveal at the financial summit. The aim
is to contribute to stabilizing the global economy by urging the IMF

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to actively extend loans to emerging countries.

The prime minister will reveal a plan to lend portions of Japan's
foreign currency reserves, which exceed 980 billion dollars
(approximately 98 trillion yen), to the IMF so that the organization
can smoothly procure funds for emergency loans in the event it runs
short of funs. Though the amount of disbursement has yet to be set,
the likelihood is strong that the contribution will be around 10
trillion, about 10 PERCENT of Japan's foreign reserves. The prime
minister plans to call on China and Middle Eastern oil-producing
countries, flush with foreign reserves, to also contribute funds.

Specific methods of lending foreign reserves to the IMF will be
devised later. Since approximately 10 trillion yen in foreign
reserves is comprised of bank deposits, the government will use this
money for the time being. Since there is concern that if it sells
long-term U.S. government bonds, it could have an adverse effect on
the long-term interest rates of the U.S., the government will
consider lending U.S. bonds to the IMF and having the IMF procure
funds secured using those bonds.

Gist of Japanese government's proposals to be made at financial
summit

1. International cooperation to overcome financial crisis
? Various countries properly implement macroeconomic policies,
including fiscal disbursement (Japan has compiled a package of
additional economic pump-priming measures worth approximately 27
trillion yen)

2. Mid- to long-term international economic and financial system
? Correction of international imbalance (Ask countries like the U.S.
to constrain consumption and countries like China to expand domestic
demand)
? Strengthen the functions of the IMF (Propose strengthening market
monitoring and early warning functions and expanding emerging
countries' right to speak)
? Step up assistance to smaller and medium-size emerging countries'
efforts to deal with the financial crisis (Urge the IMF to
substantially increase its capital base for active assistance in the
future. Japan's fund disbursements using its foreign reserves)


3. Financial supervision and regulations
? International cooperation among financial authorities on financial
regulations and oversight (Propose taking a second look at
mark-to-market accounting and regulating credit-rating agencies)

2) Financial G-20 summit to open tomorrow; Aso to propose
supervising credit rating agencies

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

The first emergency financial summit of the leaders of 20 countries
and regions, including Japan, the United States, Europe and newly
developing countries, will be held in Washington on Nov. 14-15 to
discuss measures to deal with the global financial crisis. According
to the Japanese government's basic policy for the financial summit
revealed yesterday, Prime Minister Taro Aso is expected to propose
such measures to overcome the financial crisis as strengthening the
functions and funding ability of the International Monetary Fund

TOKYO 00003139 003 OF 011


(IMF), as well as introducing a system to supervise credit rating
agencies.

The G-20 summit will be attended by the leaders of Group of Seven
(G-7) economies, including U.S. President George W. Bush, host of
the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Chinese
President Hu Jintao and other leaders of emerging countries.

Through the planned dinner party on Nov. 14 and full session on the
15th, the G-20 leaders are expected to discuss such measures as (1)
policy coordination on a fiscal and financial area for supporting
the global economy, (2) ways to supervise and control the financial
market and financial institutions in order to prevent the financial
crisis from expanding and recurring; and (3) reform of the
IMF-centered international financial system.

President Bush will announce a joint statement on the afternoon of
Nov. 15 and the summit will end.

According to the Japanese government's basic policy, Prime Minister
Aso will assert that the financial summit should identify themes up
for consideration in a second summit, after displaying a clear
direction for cooperation among financial authorities of the
participating countries in supervising financial affairs, as well as
for how international financial institutions (including the IMF)
should be. Aso intends to propose boosting capital strength,
including an increase in reserves of the IMF.

3) Prime Minister Aso has no plan to meet with U.S. President Bush

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso will leave tonight for the United States on
a government airplane. He is expected to meet on the 14th with
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Indonesian President
Yudhoyono. The government failed to arrange a meeting between Prime
Minister Aso and U.S. President George W. Bush.

4) N. Korea refuses sampling

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
November 13, 2008

SEOUL-A spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry yesterday
released a statement regarding how to verify its nuclear programs,
in which North Korea clarified its position to refuse sampling,
according to Korean Central News Agency. As it stands, the next
round of six-party talks over North Korea's denuclearization, which
is to focus on the documentation of how to verify North Korea's
nuclear programs, will likely be delayed further.

In addition, the spokesman has also revealed that North Korea's
Yongbyon nuclear facility has halved the speed of extracting spent
fuel rods from its experimental graphite-moderated nuclear reactors,
citing as a reason a delay in economic and energy aid that is to be
provided to North Korea in return for disabling its nuclear
facilities.

The spokesman said there was an agreement in written form when U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Hill visited North Korea in October,
maintaining that the subjects of verification are to be limited to

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the nuclear facility at Yongbyon and that the methods of
verification are to be limited to visiting the site there,
confirming documentation, and interviewing engineers.

In the statement, Pyongyang took the position that any demands
beyond the written agreement infringe on the sovereignty of North
Korea, thereby constraining calls for strict verification.

The spokesman warned that a further delay in North Korea's receiving
of aid would result in delaying the process of disabling its nuclear
facilities, adding that it would be difficult to forecast an outlook
for the six-party talks. Pyongyang called for the aid to be
implemented without fail.

5) N. Korea implied new info on abductions

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
November 13, 2008

North Korea promised to reinvestigate the cases of Japanese
nationals abducted to North Korea when Japan and North Korea
negotiated in the run-up to their working-level talks held in June
this year. On that occasion, North Korea officials clarified that
Pyongyang was ready to provide information about Japanese abductees
other than the 17 acknowledged by the GOJ and to provide new
information about the fate of those government-acknowledged
abductees, sources revealed yesterday.

This means that there are more Japanese nationals abducted to North
Korea, or it otherwise means corrections to what North Korea has
said so far about the Japanese abductees. This will lead to a
complete changeover of North Korea's usual standpoint, in which
Pyongyang has taken the position that the abductions issue has
already been settled. It will also raise questions about the
authenticity of Pyongyang-provided information about the fate of
Japanese abductees, including Megumi Yokota, who Pyongyang has said
is dead.

6) N. Korean reinvestigation delayed for 3 months

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

It has now been three months since North Korea agreed in its
working-level consultations with Japan to look again into the fate
of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea. North Korea was to
have released its findings by this fall. However, Pyongyang's moves
have stopped since the Fukuda cabinet stepped down. North Korea will
likely not even set up an investigative committee, with winter just
around the corner.

In the working-level consultations held this August, North Korea
agreed to set up a committee to reinvestigate the fate of Japanese
abductees and release findings by this fall as far as possible. "At
that point," a government official recalls, "North Korea was really
willing to do so." The stalemated abduction issue appeared to move
again. However, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced his
resignation. Pyongyang then said it would postpone its planned
setting up of an investigative committee, taking the position that
it would wait and see the new prime minister's policy. Since the Aso
cabinet came into office, the Japanese government has been urging
North Korea through diplomatic and other channels to start

TOKYO 00003139 005 OF 011


reinvestigations into the pending issue of Japanese abductees.
However, there has been no response from North Korea, according to
the sources.

Japan recently extended its economic sanctions against North Korea.
Then, North Korea blamed Japan, saying Prime Minister Aso broke the
agreement between Japan and North Korea. There is no mood for
starting reinvestigations.

Furthermore, the United States has now delisted North Korea as a
state sponsor of terrorism. This means the loss of leverage for
Japan against North Korea.

Ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Obama and his
administration, Pyongyang is reportedly watching how the United
States' policy toward North Korea will change. North Korea, now
taking a wait-and-see attitude, can hardly be expected to move on
the abductions issue.

7) New antiterrorism legislation to be put to vote on Nov. 18; DPJ
elusive about Aso-Ozawa debate

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
November 13, 2008

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,
which has been deliberating on a bill amending the New Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, decided at its directors
meeting yesterday to carry out a wrap-up interpellation session and
take a vote on Nov. 18. The new antiterrorism legislation is now
expected to be voted down in an Upper House plenary session as early
as Nov. 19 and get enacted on Nov. 20 following a Lower House
override vote based on Article 59 of the Constitution.

The directors meeting also agreed to conduct a question-and-answer
session attended by Prime Minister Taro Aso.

The meeting also confirmed a policy course to make arrangements to
hold before the end of the current Diet session intensive
deliberations on civilian control in the presence of the prime
minister and the four SDF chiefs of staff, as was requested by the
Democratic Party of Japan in connection with the dismissal of Toshio
Tamogami from the post of ASDF chief of staff.

With an eye on the end of the current extraordinary Diet session
(Nov. 30), the DPJ agreed yesterday with the LDP to enact a variety
of bills in the current session, including taking a vote on the new
antiterrorism legislation and a bill amending the Nationality Law in
the Upper House. At the same time, the DPJ remains elusive about the
ruling coalition's strong request to conduct a party-head debate
between Prime Minister Aso and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa.

The DPJ began making moves yesterday to dispose of many bills. That
is because the DPJ thinks that chances are high that the Aso cabinet
will give up on submitting to the current Diet session a second
supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 to realize a fixed-sum cash
handout plan and related bills and that the Diet will close on Nov.
30 as planned.

Excluding weekdays and holidays, there are only 11 days left for
regular Diet deliberations. An Aso-Ozawa party-head debate has not

TOKYO 00003139 006 OF 011


occurred since Aso took office in September.

The reason is that Aso has not been able to grasp Ozawa's wishes.
Ozawa has repeatedly indicated that he is not good at discussing
matters in public. A DPJ source also ascribed the absence of an
Aso-Ozawa debate to the latter's reluctance to attend such a
session.

DPJ Deputy Secretary General Hirofumi Hirano, who has become the
DPJ's principal director of the Basic National Policy Committee to
manage party discussions in place of Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama, met with Ozawa last evening. The reason is that the ruling
bloc proposed earlier in the day a party-head debate conditioned on
holding intensive deliberations at the Lower House Budget Committee
on Nov. 17 attended by the prime minister.

If Ozawa accepts the proposal, the first one-on-one debate with
Prime Minister Aso would take place. But reportedly, Ozawa simply
said, "It that so?" in response to Hirano's report on having become
the principal director.

A DPJ executive said: "A party-head debate would help Mr. Ozawa
demonstrate to the public that he is a person of large caliber. It
would also be a good opportunity to win support greater than that
for Prime Minister Aso." A DPJ Diet affairs executive simply said to
reporters that the matter was under consideration.

8) Refueling bill to clear Diet as early as Nov. 20

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

The Upper House Diet affairs committee chiefs of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) and the main opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) agreed yesterday to allow the upper chamber's Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee to take a vote on Nov. 18 on a bill
amending the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to extend
Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

The legislation will be voted down at the committee by a majority of
opposition members and it will also be voted down the next day in a
plenary session of the opposition-controlled Upper House. However,
the bill is expected to be approved as early as Nov. 20 in a plenary
session of the Lower House by two-thirds of lawmakers from the
ruling parties.

Although the ruling coalition had called for holding a vote on Nov.
13 at the committee, the DPJ demanded that intensive deliberations
be held on civilian control of the Self-Defense Forces with the
attendance of Prime Minister Taro Aso, following the Diet testimony
of former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami. As
a result, the ruling coalition and the DPJ have agreed to hold
deliberations on civilian control on Nov. 13. The two sides have
also agreed to launch coordination on the holding of intensive
deliberations on civilian control at the Upper House's Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, because the committee will discuss
the Tamogami issue after it takes a vote on the refueling
legislation.

Last year it took about three months for the current refueling law
to be enacted and 87 hours were spent for deliberations under the
Fukuda administration due to the divided Diet. The refueling bill

TOKYO 00003139 007 OF 011


this time will likely clear the Diet in one month and a half, with
less than 40 hours for deliberations.

9-1) Calls for delaying submission of second supplementary budget
bill to Diet gaining ground: Ruling camp becoming cautious about
extending Diet session; Plan to frontloading regular session
surfaces

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

Now that the outline of the flat-sum cash benefit plan totaling
approximately 2 trillion yen was adopted, the government and the
ruling parties will go into full coordination of views in the run-up
to the submission of a fiscal 2009 second supplementary budget bill
and related bills. With an increasing number of ruling party members
becoming cautious about extending the current extraordinary Diet
session, a plan to convene the regular Diet session early January by
frontloading the timetable and deal with the bills at the outset of
the session has surfaced. Prime Minister Taro Aso will reach a final
decision possibly next week, after determining the political
situation.

Prime Minister to reach decision, after determining economic
situation

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura at a press conference on
November 12 stopped short of saying whether the government will
submit the second supplementary budget bill during the current Diet
session. He simply said, "The government is now carefully mulling
the matter, while taking into the steering of the Diet in the next
couple of months into consideration."

A bill extending oil refueling operations in the Indian Ocean by the
Maritime Self-Defense Force is now likely to be enacted, possibly on
the 20th. A bill amending the Financial Functions Early
Strengthening Law is also expected to be passed into law by the end
of the current session on the 30th. Now that the two major bills are
expected to be enacted, the prevailing view in the ruling parties is
that the government should close the Diet session on the 30th as
scheduled and solely focus on the work of the compilation of the
fiscal 2009 budget and the annual tax code amendment in December
They are concerned about the administration being corned by the
opposition camp.

A plan to convene the next regular Diet session as early as January
5 has surfaced in the ruling camp. The idea is that if opposition
parties, which holds a majority in the Upper House, do not agree to
take a vote on a special exemption bill designed to use reserves in
the special fiscal investment loans program to finance the second
supplementary budget, the ruling parties can take a second vote on
it in the Lower House before year's end, based on the 60-day rule
stipulated under the Constitution (a legislation measure that if the
House of Councillors fails to take final action within 60 days after
receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, it may be
determined by the House of Representatives that it has rejected the
said bill).

It is viewed that the prime minister will not reveal his plan for
the steering of the Diet till the last moment. Delaying the
submission of the second supplementary budget bill means that the
government will lose its card to dissolve the Lower House before

TOKYO 00003139 008 OF 011


year's end. This would make the propriety of its economic stimulus
package a campaign issue. Given the fact that the government, when
it released a package of additional economic stimulus measures,
stressed its determination to speedily adopt it, there still remains
a scenario of its dealing with the second supplementary budget, by
extending the current Diet session.

Asked about whether the government will submit the second
supplementary budget bill to the current Diet session or not, the
prime minister on the evening of the 12th made an unclear response,
saying, "The matter is now under consideration. The possibility is
not zero."

9-2) Second extra budget likely to be dealt with in ordinary Diet
session that will start in January

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

The government and the ruling parties began coordination yesterday
to forgo a plan to submit a second supplementary budget bill for
fiscal 2008 that includes additional economic measures, including a
fixed-sum cash-benefit program, to the current Diet session. They
now intend to pass the bill in the ordinary Diet session to be
convened in January. Upon ascertaining moves by the Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ) and other opposition parties, the government will
make a final decision later this month.

The DPJ has indicated its opposition to the second extra budget. If
the bill is submitted to the current session, the government will
unavoidably have to consider a lengthy extension of the session that
is due to end Nov. 30. Given this situation, government and ruling
party members are increasingly taking the view that it would be
better to deal with the bill in the next ordinary session in order
to avoid any effect on the budget-compilation work and the
diplomatic timetable in December.

A senior government official said last night: "A supplementary
budget bill is usually dealt with in an ordinary Diet session." A
Liberal Democratic Party source also remarked: "The Diet should be
closed in December, and we should devote ourselves to dealing with
domestic and foreign affairs."

10) Cash handouts: Bill for resources creating commotion, with
timing of submission to Diet unknown; Entangled in strategy for Diet
dissolution

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
November 13, 2008

In order to pay out the cash handouts to the public that the
government and ruling parties agreed on yesterday, it is necessary
to pass the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 and related
bills. The government and ruling parties late last month agreed on
disbursing the cash payments within the fiscal year, but the timing
for submission of the essential pieces of legislation has yet to be
determined. Each opposition party is clearly taking a stance against
the cash-payment system, and Diet deliberation on the money package
is expected to develop into a stormy situation, entangled in the
Lower-House dissolution strategy on Prime Minister Aso.

Extension of the current Diet session

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As a revenue source for the 2-trillion yen package of cash handouts,
the government plans to use reserves for interest rate fluctuations
found in the fiscal policy and investment special account. To tap
such reserves, it is necessary to amend the special account law, but
there have been objections for using hidden reserves, originally
intended to be used for repaying the national debt, as cash
handouts. For that reason, the government and ruling parties are
considering presenting a bill to protect fiscal revenues as a new
law in order to emphasize that the current handout measure is
special treatment.

The current session ends on Nov. 30. If the opposition camp is
against holding deliberations, it will be necessary to have the
legislation adopted by the Lower House, using the 60-day rule that
regards the passage of such time without action a rejection of the
legislation by the Upper House. If the government and ruling parties
aim at passing the bills at all cost during the current Diet
session, they must have the Lower House pass them by the end of this
month and then extend the session significantly until the end of
January. But the outlook for this action is pessimistic, with a
senior member of the New Komeito saying, "Scheduling that would be
difficult."

However, since the Prime Minister has decided to put off a Lower
House election, giving priority to the economy, "if we don't do the
second supplementary budget, the argument for delaying the election
makes no sense," said a senior Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker.
Speaking about presenting the second supplementary budget to the
current session, the Prime Minister last evening told the press at
his official residence: "We are now considering options. That is the
only answer I can give you. (The possibility of presenting the
bills) is not zero."

11-1) Opposition parties set to block government's cash handout
plan, calling it "blunder of the century"

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
November 13, 2008

Opposition parties yesterday harshly criticized the flat-sum handout
plan that was finally put together by the Aso Administration after
tremendous difficulty. They have raised questions about the efficacy
of the handout plan as part of an economic stimulus package. In the
event the ruling bloc submits to the Diet a second supplementary
budget to implement the plan and related bills, the opposition camp
is set to put up do-or-die resistance.

Before reporters, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama cynically commented on the government: "It has flip-flopped
several times. It's not functioning as a government."

About the fact the government has decided to let each municipality
decide on whether to set an income cap on eligibility for cash
benefits, Hatoyama said in a critical tone: "The municipalities do
not want to spend a lot of effort on the high-income earners who
account for only 1 PERCENT of the total, so they would probably not
set income caps. The government and the ruling parties have forced
their responsibility onto the municipalities."

Policy Research Committee Chairman Masayuki Naoshima had this to say
about the handout plan's efficacy to shore up the economy: "The

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DPJ's proposals of a child allowance system and the elimination of
the provisional gasoline tax rate are far more effective." In the
event a second supplementary budget and related bills are submitted
to the Diet to implement the handout plan, the DPJ is set to block
them in the opposition-controlled Upper House, with Hatoyama saying:
"We cannot support anything with which the people are angry. We
cannot let the related bills clear the Diet easily."

Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii said: "The pork-barrel
action that comes with a huge tax hike will not help revitalize the
economy. We will demand the withdrawal of the plan."

Social Democratic Party head Mizuho Fukushima described the step as
a stopgap measure and the blunder of the century. People's New Party
deputy representative Shizuka Kamei, too, criticized it as the
abandonment of the government's responsibility.

11-2) Opposition camp set to oppose cash benefit program, making
distribution within this fiscal year difficult

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2008

The government and the ruling parties yesterday finalize a draft
plan to distribute a fixed-amount cash benefit per person. They
intend to provide the benefits within this fiscal year, but Diet
deliberations are expected to run into difficulties.

To implement the cash benefit program, the government needs to enact
a second extra budget bill for fiscal 2008 and bills related to
fiscal resources for the program in the current Diet session, but
the opposition has decided to vote down these bills. Democratic
Party of Japan Secretary General Hatoyama told reporters in the Diet
Building yesterday: "It is unknown where the necessary revenues (to
fund the benefits) will come from. This issue naturally must be
discussed. We cannot support a plan about which the people are
angry, claming that the government has insulted them."

If the opposition parties, which have a majority in the House of
Councillors, try to delay a vote on the supplementary budget bill,
the bill will automatically receive Diet approval 30 days after the
bill is sent from the House of Representatives to the Upper House.
On the related bills, however, it will become necessary for the
government to take an override vote in the Lower House. The
government and the ruling camp yesterday started coordination
yesterday to enact the extra budget bill and the related bills in
the regular Diet session in January. But even if the bills clear the
Lower House at the outset of the ordinary session, it may become
impossible to pass the related bills before mid-March. A government
source said: "We would like to push the bills through the Diet at an
early date and deliver an approximate price of money to each
municipal government in mid-February." As it stands, it is now
uncertain whether the government will be able to distribute the
benefits within this fiscal year.

If the bills are enacted by the end of this fiscal year, the
government will hand over the benefits to municipal governments by
the end of March, but the local government will be required to draw
up guidelines and vote on supplementary budget bills related to
benefits at their assemblies. They also need to do preparatory work,
including education of staff members responsible for the benefit
plan and the formation of measures to prevent bank-transfer frauds.

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In this respect, many observers think it would be difficult to
distribute the benefits within this fiscal year.

12) Japan to cut target for catch in research whaling for first
time

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 13, 2008

The government will cut its target for its catch in its research
whaling program for the first time, according to informed sources
yesterday. The government will reduce the targeted number of whales
to be caught in the Southern Ocean this season by about 20 PERCENT
to about 750. This figure is about 10 PERCENT less than the total
number of whales caught throughout the year. The capture number has
been on the decrease recently, but Japan has decided to cut its
target for the first time since the research program was introduced
in 1987. The government's decision reflects radical activities by
anti-whaling groups and declining demand for whale meat.

Based on the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling,
Japanese research vessels have carried out whaling operations in the
Southern Ocean and the Northwest Pacific Ocean. The current annual
targeted number of whales is about 1,300. Whaling operations have
been carried out mainly in the Southern Ocean from the fall through
the spring, with the target of seizing 850 minke whales and 50 fin
whales. The government will reduce the target for minke whales to
700.

Japan's research whaling, which has expanded in scale every year,
will face a turning point. Intensifying activities by anti-whaling
groups lie behind the policy switch. An anti-whaling organization of
the U.S. obstructed the whaling operations of Japanese whalers by
throwing bottles of liquid. Due to the effects of such protests, the
number of whales caught in the Southern Ocean in the last season
dropped to 551, 60 PERCENT less than the target. Australia and
European countries have criticized the Japanese government for its
stance on whaling.

Declining demand for whale meat also prompted the government to make
the decision. The sales proceeds (amounting to 5 to 7 billion yen
annually) have funded the necessary costs for research whaling, but
the government took declining demand into consideration.

SCHIEFFER

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