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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/03/08

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 003288

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/03/08

Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Political topics:
4) LDP lawmakers distancing themselves from Prime Minister Aso
(Nikkei)
5) LDP nervous about DPJ's Ozawa over grand coalition initiative
(Tokyo Shimbun)
6) Gov't adopts masterplan for Japan's space activities (Yomiuri)

ASEAN talks:
7) ASEAN summit put off (Nikkei)

Agricultural topics:
8) Japan eyes raising food self-sufficiency to 50 PERCENT in 10
years (Tokyo Shimbun)

North Korea problem:
9) U.S., Japan concur on sampling from nuclear facilities in North
Korea (Nikkei)
10) Gov't wants abduction issue to be handed over to new U.S.
administration (Yomiuri)

Global warming:
11) Japan to propose halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
(Nikkei)

Defense & security issues:
12) MSDF bill to clear upper chamber (Nikkei)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi & Tokyo Shimbun:
Government eyes 10 trillion yen budget not subject to budgetary
ceiling over next three years to deal with employment issues

Mainichi & Yomiuri:
Government to consider freeze of policy of cutting 220 billion yen
in social security spending

Nikkei:
As demand slumps, steelmakers poised to shut down furnaces

Sankei:
Aso plans to raise cigarette tax to cover cuts in social security
and public works begets

Akahata:
JCP lawmaker Koike pursues Isuzu's violation of employment contract

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) People concerned about economic setback
(2) Thai government urged to end turmoil

Mainichi:

TOKYO 00003288 002 OF 007


(1) Hopes for Obama's security team to bring about bright era to the
world
(2) World must end use of cluster bombs

Yomiuri:
(1) Speed up providing funds to corporations
(2) How Hillary Clinton will carry out foreign policy

Nikkei:
(1) Government, BOJ urged to come up with appropriate financial
measures
(2) Meaning of Clinton becoming secretary of state

Sankei:
(1) Japan focus on Asia policy of new U.S. security team
(2) Government, BOJ must cooperate to prevent the economy from
worsening

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Obama administration gets started
(2) Economy is deteriorating

Akahata:
(1) Clear up responsibility for appointing Tamogami as ASDF chief of
staff

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, December 2

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 3, 2008

09:01
Cabinet meeting in the Diet building. Space Development Strategy
Headquarters meeting. National Government Employee System Reform
Promotion Headquarters meeting.

10:12
Met with Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kaneko,
followed by METI Minister Mikado.

10:23
Arrived at his private office in Nagata-cho.

10:36
Wrote his name along with his wife Chikako in the visitors' book at
Prince Mikasa's palace at Motoakasaka to celebrate his birthday.

10:49
Visited his father's grave at Aoyama Cemetery along with his wife.

12:03
Met members of supporters' group "Asa no Mi" at the Kantei.

13:36
National conference on the promotion of forests and the forest
industry held at the annex of the Sabo Kaikan Hall in Hirakawa-cho.

13:54
Met with Nomura Holdings Chairman Junich Ujiie, Japanese chairman of
the Japan-U.S. Business Conference. Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet

TOKYO 00003288 003 OF 007


Secretary Hayashi and Foreign Ministry Economic Affairs Bureau
Director General Otabe were present.

14:32
Met with Ambassador to the UN Takasu, followed by former agriculture
ministers Yatsu and Wakabayashi.

15:38
Met with Upper House member Takao Fujii.

15:55
Met with Chairman Tanigaki of the Project Team for Reallocation of
Tax Revenues for Road Construction, Policy Research Council Chairman
Hori and Acting Policy Research Council Chairman Sonoda. Chief
Cabinet Secretary Kawamura and State Minister for Economic and
Fiscal Policy Yosano joined. Yosano remained.

17:23
Met with General Council Chairman Sasagawa. Kawamura was present.
Kawamura remained. Then met with Special Advisor to the president
Shimamura, followed by Upper House member Otsuji.

18:31
Dined with TEPCO advisor Araki and Chairman Katsumata at Hotel New
Ohtani.

20:42
Met with Sankei Shimbun President Sumita at a bar in the same
hotel.

22:49
Arrived at the private residence in Kamiyamacho.

4) With sharp plunge in cabinet support ratings, many in LDP moving
away from Aso out of fear of impact on Lower House election

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
December 3, 2008

In the wake of the sharp drop in public support for the Prime
Minister Taro Aso's cabinet, many lawmakers in the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) are now trying to move away from the prime
minister. LDP members who have distanced themselves from Aso and the
party leadership are forming groups one after the other. Lawmakers
aiming at political realignment are trying to seize every
opportunity. Behind these moves, concern has spread that with an eye
on the next House of Representatives election, if they do nothing,
they will be driven to ruin. Therefore, they have begun to look for
ways to win the next Lower House election.

The group to drastically promote the freeing up of revenues for road
maintenance and construction held its first meeting yesterday. The
meeting was attended by 16 junior and mid-level lawmakers. In the
meeting, the group sought to constrain a policy by the party's road
research council and project team, with one member saying: "(The
government's plan) will become toothless."

Another group of junior and mid-level lawmakers has called on the
prime minister to submit a second supplementary budget for fiscal
2008 to the current Diet session. Asked about the possibility of
leaving the LDP or forming a new group on a TV Asahi program
yesterday, former Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe,

TOKYO 00003288 004 OF 007


one of the group's main members, said: "I am told (to leave the
LDP). If I am forced to do so, there will be a possibility that I
will bolt the party."

The support rate for the Aso cabinet plunged in a poll the Nihon
Keizai Shimbun released. However, rather than the plunge in the
support rate for the cabinet, LDP lawmakers were more shocked by the
fact that the support rate for Aso over Ichiro Ozawa with regard to
who should be prime minister fell from 36 PERCENT to 17 PERCENT .
This means that LDP members have now been freed from the constraints
of criticizing the Aso administration, since they no longer have
hopes for Aso to lead the LDP in the next Lower House election.

Attention is now being paid to a move by former Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa. He will soon form a parliamentary group in
cooperation with junior and mid-level members regarded as anti-Aso
forces, including former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, who
contested the last LDP presidential race, and Watanabe, who has
continued to criticize the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei).

Around Nakagawa, who attaches importance to spending cuts and
economic growth, there are junior lawmakers supporting the Koizumi
structural reform program.

Koichi Kato, the former chief cabinet secretary who aims at rallying
together liberals, said yesterday: "It is unavoidable that the LDP
will split or political realignment will occur in some form."

However, the consensus is that there is no one to succeed Aso in the
LDP.

5) Ozawa's super-grand coalition vision to launch caretaker
administration upsets LDP; Early Lower House dissolution eyed

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
December 3, 2008

Yuji Nishikawa

The revelation of a vision by Democratic Party of Japan President
Ichiro Ozawa to form a super-grand coalition to launch a caretaker
government by the ruling and opposition camps after the resignation
of Prime Minister Taro Aso is creating a stir. The aim is to force
Prime Minister Aso into an early Lower House dissolution for a snap
general election. In the wake of his failed grand coalition attempt
in November last year, some think Ozawa's plan aims at political
realignment.

It all started with a meeting between Ozawa and DPJ leaders on the
night of Nov. 28 in which Ozawa said: "This cabinet will not last
until the next regular Diet session. The question is when he will
walk off the job. After that comes a caretaker cabinet. That might
be formed by all parties."

A person who attended the meeting said: "When one attendant asked,
'Is it going to be a grand coalition?' Mr. Ozawa replied, 'No. It's
going to be a super-grand coalition.'"

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Aso simply said to the press corps
yesterday: "I don't understand his intent, so I cannot say
anything."


TOKYO 00003288 005 OF 007


LDP Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda criticized Ozawa by describing
his approach as a pressure tactic, while referring to the fact that
his grand coalition plan a little over year ago did not materialize
due to strong objections from within the DPJ. Hosoda said: "If it
had been implemented, all sorts of things could have happened. He is
doing it again."

At the same time, there is strong alarm in the ruling camp, with one
saying, "(Ozawa) has begun tapping into the LDP." Saddled with
plummeting support rates and conflicts in the LDP, the
administration is foundering.

Meanwhile, the DPJ this time around is not showing any strong
reaction to the super-grand coalition vision.

The reason is that party members think Ozawa's real aim is an early
Lower House dissolution. Most members are supporting the vision,
with one senior member saying: "Three prime ministers might end up
walking off their jobs before the current Lower House term ends. In
such a case, a caretaker administration should be launched."

Ozawa yesterday discussed Diet strategy and other matters with
Deputy President Naoto Kan, Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama and
other leaders. After the meeting, Hatoyama told the press corps:
"Such a subject (forming a super-grand coalition) did not crop up."

6) Outline of basic space plan approved

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 3, 2008

The government at a meeting yesterday of the Strategic Headquarters
for Space Development, headed by Prime Minister Taro Aso, approved
an outline of a basic space plan. The plan specifies the policy of
shifting the stance of prioritizing the technical development of
rockets and satellites to a position aiming to contribute to
security, diplomacy and people's livelihoods.

7) ASEAN summit reset for March

NIKKEI (Page 8) (Full)
December 3, 2008

BANGKOK-A Thai government spokesman announced yesterday that the
Thai government would postpone a summit of Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders, a summit of the ASEAN Plus Three
(Japan, China, and South Korea), and the East Asia Summit (EAS) due
to political unrest. The series of meetings has been rescheduled for
March next year.

In response, the Singaporean foreign ministry released a statement
last evening expressing strong dissatisfaction with the Thai
government's announcement of its decision to put off these regional
summit meetings. "ASEAN has been affected as well by the global
financial crisis, so we hope the meetings will be held at the
earliest possible time in January," the ministry said.

8) Food self-sufficiency to be raised to 50 PERCENT in 10 years,
according to roadmap released by MAFF

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Excerpts)
December 3, 2008

TOKYO 00003288 006 OF 007

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on
December 2 released a roadmap designed to raise the nation's food
self-sufficiency from the current 40 PERCENT to 50 PERCENT in 10
years. Main pillars of the plan include boosting production
capacity, by stopping the decrease in farming land, increasing flour
production, using paddy fields off-season and expanding rice
consumption. In order to address the tight food supply-demand
situation throughout the world and consumers' increasing inclination
toward domestically produced foods, MAFF will also revise the Basic
Program for Food, Agriculture and Farming Villages, which sets
future agricultural policy, starting in the new year.

MAFF has estimated that the achievements of goals included in the
road map would increase food sufficiency 2.5 points with the
increased production of flour, 1.4 points with the boosted
production of rice powder and 1.3 points with expanded rice
consumption.

Regarding the roadmap, Agriculture Minister Shigeru Ishiba during a
press conference held after a cabinet meeting the same day said,
"The roadmap stipulates raising food self-sufficiency to 50 PERCENT
. It is a model."

MAFF will this month start soliciting opinions on the Basic Program
for Food, Agriculture and Farming Villages. It will sort out items
that should be revised after holding direct talks with producers and
consumers and consult an advisory council to be held in late
January. The new basic program will be formulated in 2010.

9) Measures to verify North Korea's nuclear declaration: U.S. and
Japan agree on six-party document that includes sampling

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 3, 2008

Akitaka Saiki, director general of the Foreign Ministry Asian and
Oceanian Affairs Bureau, who serves as Japan's chief delegate to the
six-party talks, on December 2 met with Assistant Secretary of State
Christopher Hill, the top U.S. envoy, at the Foreign Ministry. They
conferred on the six-party talks, which are to be resumed as early
as the 8th. They agreed to clearly mention in an agreement to be
reached at the six-party talks verification measures, including
sampling from nuclear-related facilities, so that North Korea's
nuclear declaration can be strictly verified. Pyongyang has rejected
sampling of nuclear materials.

10) Government expects new U.S. administration to continue to tackle
abduction issue

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
December 3, 2008

Commenting on President-elect Obama's announcement of his cabinet
appointees for foreign relations and security affairs in the new
U.S. administration, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura noted, "The
appointments reflect President-elect Obama's stance of aiming for a
seamless transition." The Japanese government sees that there will
be no change in the basic U.S. stance toward Japan, including
attaching importance to the Japan-U.S. alliance and cooperation for
the abduction issue. However, since there is a possibility of the
new administration seeking further contributions from Japan over

TOKYO 00003288 007 OF 007


assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the government
wants to exchange views with the new administration at such venues
as a summit and foreign ministerial meeting at an early stage after
its inauguration.

Prime Minister Aso during a press conference yesterday at the Kantei
welcomed the appointment of Senator Hillary Clinton to the post of
secretary of state, saying, "Clinton said that the Japan-U.S.
alliance is the foundation for U.S. strategy toward Asia."

11) Japan at COP14 proposes halving greenhouse gas emissions in 50
years

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
December 3, 2008

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP14, on December 2 entered an
intensive debate on a long-term goal of constraining greenhouse gas
emissions. Japan called for a 50 PERCENT cut in global emissions by
2050, a goal agreed upon at the G-8 Summit (Lake Toya Summit) in
July. A study meeting tasked with discussing a long-term goal was
held on the afternoon of the 2nd (midnight, the same day Japan
time). Talks on specifics have thus gotten underway at the COP14.

Japan, which hosted the Lake Toya Summit, proposed adopting a
long-term goal of cutting global emissions to 50 PERCENT of the
current level. It called on participating countries to strengthen
measures, noting that in order to achieve a 50 PERCENT cut by 2050,
it is necessary to begin to bring down global emissions over the
next 10-20 years.

12) DPJ decides to vote on refueling extension bill in Upper House

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 3, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on December 2 decided to take a
vote on a bill extending Japan's refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean, now under deliberation in the Upper House, by the 20th during
the current Diet session. Its judgment is that it would be
advantageous to clarify its stance by voting down the bill before it
is put to a revote in the Lower House, based on the 60-day rule.

SCHIEFFER

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