Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/11/08

VZCZCXRO3451
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3370/01 3460816
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110816Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9360
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 3729
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1372
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5163
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9357
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1939
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6775
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2768
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2880

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 TOKYO 003370

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 12/11/08

INDEX:

(1) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Asahi)

(2) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Mainichi)

(3) Hidenao Nakagawa turning up heat on prime minister by forming
two groups of lawmakers critical of Aso (Asahi)

(4) Symposium "Japan's international security activities:"
Expectations growing for Japan's contributions in war on terror
(Yomiuri)

(5) Deployment of BMD system proceeds rapidly five years after
government's decision to introduce (Asahi)

(6) Japan not to ask for FA-18 flight suspension: Nakasone (Okinawa
Times)

(7) SDP lawmakers call for flight suspension (Okinawa Times)

(8) FA-18 military jet crashes in San Diego: Threats from bases
continue forever (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(9) Future course of farm lobby votes is up to the WTO (Yomiuri)

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 9, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. Bracketed figures denote
proportions to all respondents. Figures in parentheses denote the
results of the last survey conducted Nov. 8-9 unless otherwise
specified.)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

Yes 22 (37)
No 64 (41)

Q: Why? (One reason only. Left column for those marking "yes" on
previous question, and right for those saying "no.")

The prime minister is Mr. Aso 18(4) 9(6)
It's an LDP-led cabinet 41(9) 18(11)
From the aspect of policies 18(4) 63(40)
Cabinet lineup 12(3) 6(4)

Q: Which political party do you support now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 27 (30)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 23 (24)
New Komeito (NK) 2 (4)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2 (2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 (1)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)

TOKYO 00003370 002 OF 013


Other political parties 0 (0)
None 38 (33)
No answer (N/A) + don't know (D/K) 7 (6)

Q: Do you think the House of Representatives should be dissolved as
early as possible for a general election, or do you otherwise think
there is no need to hurry? (Figures in parentheses denote the
results of a survey conducted Oct. 25-26.)

Dissolve as early as possible 51 (33)
No need to hurry 40 (57)

Q: If you were to vote now in a general election for the House of
Representatives, which political party would you vote for in your
proportional representation bloc?

LDP 28 (30)
DPJ 36 (33)
NK 3 (5)
JCP 3 (4)
SDP 2 (1)
PNP 0 (0)
RC 0 (0)
NPN 0 (0)
Other political parties 1 (1)
N/A+D/K 27 (26)

Q: Would you like the current LDP-led coalition government to
continue, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a
DPJ-led coalition government?

LDP-led coalition 29 (29)
DPJ-led coalition 43 (40)

Q: Which one between Prime Minister Aso and DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa do you think is more appropriate for prime minister?

Mr. Aso 30 (49)
Mr. Ozawa 35 (23)

Q: Do you think Prime Minister Aso can deliver?

Yes 21
No 68

Q: What do you think about Prime Minister Aso's job performance so
far? (One choice only)

Beyond expectations 1
Up to expectations 12
Short of expectations 44
No expectations from the start 40

Q: Prime Minister Aso has clarified that he would not present a
supplementary budget for an additional package of economic stimulus
measures, including a plan to hand out cash benefits, until the Diet
opens its ordinary session in January next year. Is this
convincing?

Yes 23
No 60


TOKYO 00003370 003 OF 013


Q: The government has so far curbed the growth of spending on social
security and cut down spending on public investments for fiscal
reconstruction. In the budget for next fiscal year, the government
will give up on this fiscal reconstruction policy and will flexibly
increase spending on economic stimulus measures. Do you appreciate
this policy changeover?

Yes 48
No 35

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Dec. 6-7 over the
telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
Respondents were chosen from among the nation's voting population on
a three-stage random-sampling basis. Valid answers were obtained
from 2,074 persons (58 PERCENT ).

(2) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
December 8, 2008

Questions & Answers
(T = total; P = previous; M = male; F = female)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

T P M F
Yes 21 (36) 21 22
No 58 (41) 62 54
Not interested 19 (21) 16 21

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the above question) Why?

T P M F
Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party 26
(16) 24 27
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
19 (33) 17 21
Because there's something friendly about the prime minister 21 (21)
24 18
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures 15 (22) 14 15

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the above question) Why?

T P M F
Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party 6
(26) 8 4
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
27 (13) 24 30
Because there's something imprudent about the prime minister 20 (16)
22 20
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures 37 (42) 36 37

Q: Which political party do you support?

T P M F
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 23 (24) 27 21
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 24 (27) 28 21
New Komeito (NK) 5 (5) 3 6
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3 (3) 3 4

TOKYO 00003370 004 OF 013


Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 (2) 1 2
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 1 (0) 1 0
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) -- (0) -- --
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0) -- 0
Other political parties 1 (2) 1 2
None 37 (36) 34 39

Q: Who do you think is more appropriate for prime minister between
Prime Minister Aso and DPJ President Ozawa?

T P M F
Prime Minister Aso 19 (40) 19 18
DPJ President Ozawa 21 (18) 27 17
Neither is appropriate 54 (40) 51 56

Q: Which one between the LDP and the DPJ would you like to see win
in the next election for the House of Representatives?

T P M F
LDP 29 (36) 29 28
DPJ 46 (48) 54 39
Other political parties 16 (12) 11 20


Q: If an election were to be held now for the House of
Representatives, which political party will you vote for in your
proportional representation bloc?

T P M F
LDP 22 (25) 26 20
DPJ 36 (38) 44 30
NK 5 (6) 2 7
JCP 4 (4) 3 5
SDP 2 (2) 2 2
PNP 1 (0) 2 0
RC -- (--) -- --
NPN 0 (0) -- 1
Other political parties 2 (1) 2 2
Don't know 22 (23) 15 27

Q: The government has decided to present a supplementary budget for
economic stimulus measures to the ordinary Diet session to be called
in January next year, not to the current Diet session. Do you
support this decision?

T P M F
Yes 24 24 24
No 61 69 54

Q: The government plans to start its cash handout of 12,000 yen to
everyone. Do you appreciate this payout of cash benefits?

T P M F
Yes 21 21 22
No 70 72 67

Q: The House of Representatives' current membership is to expire in
nine months. When do you think the House of Representatives should
be dissolved?

T P M F
Immediately 28 29 27

TOKYO 00003370 005 OF 013


At the beginning of the ordinary Diet session to be called in
January next year 17 17 17
In the spring of next year after the next fiscal year budget's
passage through the Diet 25 29 21
Around the summer of next year 2 3 1
No need to dissolve during the current term of office 15 13 16

Q: Prime Minister Aso is criticized in his ruling party for his
careless remarks or reading errors. What do you think about what he
says and does?

T P M F
Doubt his qualities for prime minister 48 45 50
Not something to get angry about 42 47 38

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "0" indicates that
the figure was below 0.5 PERCENT . "--" denotes that no respondents
answered. "No answer" omitted. Figures in parentheses denote the
results of the last survey conducted Oct. 18-19.

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Dec. 6-7 over the
telephone across the nation on a computer-aided random digit
sampling (RDS) basis. A total of 1,615 households with one or more
eligible voters were sampled. Answers were obtained from 1,031
persons (64 PERCENT ).

(3) Hidenao Nakagawa turning up heat on prime minister by forming
two groups of lawmakers critical of Aso

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 11, 2008

Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa, who feels he has been treated unkindly by Prime Minister
Taro Aso, has now swung into action to counter Aso's administration.
Recently, the prime minister has suddenly lost sway over the junior
and mid-level LDP lawmakers, who are now turning toward Nakagawa.
Some observers believe that Nakagawa's move is aimed at setting the
stage for replacing Aso as prime minister, and even may even involve
the future goal of political realignment.

On Dec. 9, a group of LDP lawmakers defending the goal of postal
privatization met at party headquarters. Nakagawa, who was sitting
in the meeting next to former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, rose
to state strongly: "There will be a new horizon for Japan and the
LDP once we move the Koizumi reform agenda ahead. If we backslide,
there will only be a steep cliff ahead." A junior member of the
Machimura faction who attended the meeting said: "Mr. Nakagawa's
eyes sparkled in the meeting. That means his turn has now come."

Appearing on a television program on Dec. 7, Nakagawa talked about
the possibility of political realignment in even more specific
terms. He indicated he is going to form another group of LDP members
interesting in social security affairs. The group will be joined by
such members as former Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi
Watanabe, who has been highly critical of Aso, and former Defense
Minister Yuriko Koike. A person close to Nakagawa said that the
group's policy would become a basis for debate with the opposition
party Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the future.

Nakagawa fielded Koike as a candidate in the last LDP presidential
race, but his maneuvering ended in failure. In addition, former

TOKYO 00003370 006 OF 013


Prime Minister Koizumi, his backer, has announced that he would
retire from the political world. Since Aso has been advocating a
review of the Koizumi reform initiative, Nakagawa had been forced to
reduce his political activities. The party's National Vision Project
Headquarters, which was regarded as the Nakagawa group's stronghold,
has been in a dormant state at the instruction of Aso. Nakagawa
remains as deputy chair of the headquarters, however.

In the wake of the Aso cabinet's support ratings plummeting, those
junior and mid-level LDP members with close ties to Nakagawa are now
calling on him to regain his footing. One member noted: "The LDP
will suffer a severe setback in the next election. We must block the
anti-reform movement."

Nakagawa intends to meet with the prime minister. On his web,
Nakagawa wrote:

"The sharp decline in support ratings for the cabinet in the polls
mean that the public is urging Prime Minister Aso to carry out
reforms. If I have a chance to meet with Prime Minister Aso, I will
convey that to him."

For Nakagawa, a meeting with Aso would give him an advantage to show
party unity to the LDP and other parties, while promoting the reform
policy drive that junior and mid-level party lawmakers are
expecting. If Aso backpedals on the reform drive, it will be easy
for Nakagawa to find a reason to come up with a candidate to compete
for Aso's post.

A Nakagawa aide said:

"With the cabinet's plummeting approval rates in the polls, there is
a possibility of speeding up the date for next presidential
election. Mr. Nakagawa is waiting for the right timing to take the
lead in carrying out reform policy. His meeting with the prime
minister could become the groundwork for that."

However, persons close to the prime minister, realizing Nakagawa's
intent, are alarmed about setting up such a meeting between Aso and
Nakagawa.

(4) Symposium "Japan's international security activities:"
Expectations growing for Japan's contributions in war on terror

YOMIURI (Page 13) (Full)
December 10, 2008

In the symposium "Japan's international security activities" held
yesterday, many participants called for Japan's contributions to
help reconstruct Afghanistan and to contain piracy in waters off
Somalia, Africa.

Dispatch of troops to Afghanistan

Among the ambassadors and chiefs of missions of eight countries that
have been involved in the war on terror in Afghanistan, U.S.
Ambassador Thomas Schieffer was the most eager to urge Japan to
expand its contributions to fight terrorism.

Schieffer stated: "Under the incoming Obama administration, Japan
bashing will not occur because it understands that strengthening
ties with Japan will serve U.S. interests." He indicated that it

TOKYO 00003370 007 OF 013


would be indispensable for Japan to expand its reconstruction
assistance to Afghanistan in order to establish a solid relationship
with the Obama administration, which will shift priority from Iraq
to Afghanistan. The ambassador also raised this question: "Why is
Japanese civilians' participation in a Provisional Reconstruction
Team (PRT) impossible?"

Japan announced a plan in 2002 to disburse 2 billion dollars in
reconstruction aid and has steadily implemented the plan since then.
Since 2001, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has refueled
naval vessels engaged in the Maritime Interception Operation (MIO)
aimed at rooting out terrorism in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan's
Charge d'Affairs Imtiaz Ahmad commented: "Due to Japan's assistance,
we can carry out activities." But the security situation in
Afghanistan, which is said to be the base of terrorist groups such
as al-Qaeda has been significantly deteriorating. Among the troops
dispatched from 40 countries to that country, almost 1,000 have been
killed. Afghanistan Ambassador to Japan Haron Amin emphasized:
"(Terrorist groups and the anti-government forces) have not been
contained yet."

Some presented opinions focusing on the need for Japan to offer
assistance to Afghanistan in order to maintain relations with the
U.S. Canadian Ambassador Jonathan Fried commented: "Japan must be
aware of the need to cooperate with the rest of the world in
countering current terror threats and ensuring security.

Anti-piracy measures

Japan's lack of anti-piracy measures was also criticized. Waters off
Somalia, including Gulf of Aden, are an important sea route leading
to the Suez Canal. NYK Line Chairman Takao Kusakari distributed to
the participants copes of data showing that 138 attack cases
involving pirates off Somalia were reported from the beginning of
this year through the end of November and that 2,300 Japanese
commercial freighters pass through the route every year, with 13-16
vessels navigating all the time. Kusakari said that it would take
time to have the Japan Coast Guard involved in anti-piracy
operations or to enact new legislation. He then emphasized: "I
understand it is possible to dispatch MSDF troops by issuing an
order for maritime patrol action under the Self-Defense Force Law.

Navy ships from 15 countries, including the U.S., Britain, and
France, have been deployed off Somalia. In Japan, the Comprehensive
Ocean Policy Office in the Cabinet Office is working out anti-piracy
measures, focusing on new legislation. A suprapartisan group of
junior lawmakers is also drawing up a special measures law aimed to
deal with only piracy off Somalia, but no progress has been made.
There was a scene in which Akihiko Tanaka, professor at the
University of Tokyo, was pressed to reply to a question by
Ambassador Schieffer asking why Japan cannot protect vessels. He
answered: "If a certain nation's government or a state-like entity
is behind the ship that launched an attack, the issue of the right
to collective self-defense will arise."

Former Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said that discussion on
anti-piracy measures in Japan has been delayed due to political
problems. Certainly, the management of state affairs is becoming
difficult under the politically divided Diet situation. Even so, the
government, in the face of challenges that must be addressed
promptly, must continue to make efforts to obtain public
understanding. British Ambassador David Warren said in the seminar:

TOKYO 00003370 008 OF 013


"It is imperative to constantly explain that participation in
international contributions will be in both national and
international interests."

(5) Deployment of BMD system proceeds rapidly five years after
government's decision to introduce

ASAHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
December 11, 2008

Hitoshi Kadokura, Fumiaki Sonoyama, Kunikazu Tanita

It has been five years since the government decided to introduce a
ballistic missile defense (BMD) system in 2003. The Self-Defense
Forces and the U.S. military has been making preparations at a fast
pace. Surveillance functions of Japan and the United States are
concentrated in Aomori Prefecture. Five U.S. destroyers are deployed
at Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Despite many challenges, the
deployment of the system in Japan is proceeding rapidly.

Aomori

The question is how to intercept in the air a missile warhead
falling from outside the atmosphere before landing on the earth. The
deployment of the BMD system by the governments of Japan and the
United States started following an incident in 1998 in which the
North Korean ballistic missile Taepodong flew over Japan and fell
into waters off the Sanriku coast.

Japan made a cabinet decision in December 2003 to introduce the BMD
system from the United States. Believing that North Korea has been
developing ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental
United States, Japan has been pushing ahead with the BMD plan by
allowing specialized U.S. troops to station in Japan in close
cooperation with the United States.

A launched North Korean missile reportedly can reach Japan in 10
minutes. It is vital to detect and track a fired missile speedily
while determining where and when it will land.

There are three early-warning and surveillance functions in Aomori.
The prefecture was picked possibly because it sits directly east of
North Korea's test missile launch site.

FPS-5 radar, an integral part of the missile shield, is under
construction at the snow-covered Air Self-Defense Base at the top of
879-meter Mt. Kamabuse overlooking Mutsu Bay on the Shimokita
Peninsula. A 30-meter triangular structure with an 18-meter-diameter
antenna is scheduled to become a permanent fixture in the
quasi-national park in 2010.

The U.S. military's cutting-edge system also exists in Aomori. The
U.S. Army installed X-band radar at the ASDF detachment base in
Tsugaru on the Tsugaru Peninsula in June 2006 and the Joint Tactical
Ground Station (JTAGS) at U.S. Misawa Air Base on the Pacific side
in October 2007.

The trailing-type 12-meter X-band radar can detect the configuration
of a missile warhead 500 to 1,000 kilometers ahead.
Computer-assisted JTAGS projects a missile's trajectory and its
landing spot based on data from U.S. early-warning satellites.


TOKYO 00003370 009 OF 013


JTAGS officially became operational in January 2008. Brig. Gen. John
E. Seward, who is responsible for JTAGS, proudly said: "It shows the
United States' wishes to bring peace to this region."

Speedy developments for the deployment of the system are causing
perplexity among local residents. Former city assemblyman Kiyohiko
Yamada, 51, commented: "Local residents might be targeted by a
ballistic missile or terrorists."

Yokosuka

Japan has the two-layer missile shield with a PAC-3 ground-to-air
missile designed to shoot down an incoming ballistic missile that
escaped an SM-3 missile outside of the earth's atmosphere fired from
an Aegis-vessel. The SDF plans to deploy four Aegis vessels (BMD
vessels) carrying SM-3s and 16 PAC-3 air defense missile units by
the end of fiscal 2011.

Many U.S interceptor units are deployed at Yokosuka Naval Base. The
United States has 18 BMD vessels, of them 16 are on the Pacific
side. Armed with five such vessels, Yokosuka is the largest base
outside of the United States. A senior U.S. Navy officer implied
that the BMD vessels at Yokosuka were prepared for China and other
countries, saying, "They are not just for North Korea." He also
noted: "Even if there are U.S. BMD vessels in the Sea of Japan, they
are not necessarily for the defense of Japan."

Such was proven by U.S. vessels' moves in the wake of the firing of
seven ballistic missiles in succession by North Korea in July 2006.
According to the logbooks obtained by the NPO Peace Depot, at the
time, the U.S. MBD vessels were carrying out activities in the Sea
of Japan and in waters off the Pacific Ocean with the Tsugaru
Straights in between.

Their positions were directly under the course connecting the North
Korea's launching site and Hawaii. It was clear that their objective
was to deal with missiles fired at the United States.

Military expert Shoji Fukuyoshi took this view: "Intercept
technology is incomplete, and Japan and the United States are in the
process of repeating tests to ensure the system works properly.
Japan provides a venue for the United States to train its troops and
conduct technical tests in a tense atmosphere under a real threat.
Japan allows the United States to kill two birds with one stone."

Challenges of effectiveness and budget

The introduction of BMD involves many challenges, such as
cost-effectiveness and securing the budget.

In November, the Maritime Self-Defense Force conducted its second
intercept test in Hawaii using an MS-3. The test failed because the
missile lost sight of the target before intercepting it. The U.S.
Navy has conducted 15 tests, three of which have failed. A senior
Defense Ministry official responsible for the system said about the
certainty of interception: "Theoretically, it's possible to
intercept fired missiles, but in reality, (certainty) is unknown."

Securing the budget is also a major challenge. The government
estimates the cost at 800 billion to 1 trillion yen between fiscal
2004 and 2010. The government has yet to reach a conclusion on how
far Japan will go along with the United States' technical

TOKYO 00003370 010 OF 013


innovation.

How to deal with U.S.-bound missiles also remains undecided. Under
the former Abe administration, a special council was set up to
discuss whether or not intercepting a U.S.-bound missile constituted
the use of right to collective self-defense. In June this year,
under the previous Fukuda administration, the council produced a
report allowing the use of the right, but a decision has yet to be
made.

(6) Japan not to ask for FA-18 flight suspension: Nakasone

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
December 11, 2008

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, attending the House of
Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, indicated that
Japan would not ask the United States to suspend the flights of
FA-18 fighter jets in Japan. Nakasone was replying to a question
asked by Kantoku Teruya, a House of Representatives member of the
Social Democratic Party, regarding the recent crash of a U.S. Marine
Corps FA-18D fighter jet in the suburbs of San Diego, California.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shintaro Ito, also at the committee
meeting, revealed that the Japanese government has asked the U.S.
government to provide information in a timely manner and take all
possible measures to ensure safety in aircraft operations. "They
answered that they will take all possible measures again to ensure
safety in aircraft operations," Ito said.

Teruya noted that FA-18 fighter jets have flown on a flight training
mission to the U.S. Kadena Air Base from the Iwakuni base in
Yamaguchi Prefecture. "People in Okinawa Prefecture are trembling
with fear," Teruya said. "The government should call on the United
States to suspend training at the Kadena base until they find out
the cause of the accident," he stressed.

Nakasone stated: "It's important to ensure the safety of aircraft
operations. The government will (continue to) make a strong request
to take all possible measures to ensure safety in their flight
operations." However, he also stated that the government does not
intend at this point to request flight suspension.

(7) SDP lawmakers call for flight suspension

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
December 11, 2008

TOKYO-In the wake of the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps FA-18D fighter
jet in the suburbs of San Diego, California, Kantoku Teruya, a House
of Representatives member of the Social Democratic Party, and
Tokushin Yamauchi, a House of Councillors member of the party,
called yesterday on Takehiro Funakoshi, director of the Status of
U.S. Forces Agreement Division at the Foreign Ministry. In their
meeting, the two SDP lawmakers requested the government propose to
the United States that it suspend the flights of similar aircraft
(in Okinawa Prefecture) until the cause of the accident is cleared
up.

Funakoshi explained: "If the accident resulted from a structural
problem of that aircraft, we will then propose suspending flights.
At this point, however, they say they have not discovered anything

TOKYO 00003370 011 OF 013


that implies such a structural cause. They have not taken action to
suspend flights." He added that the government has no intention at
this point to propose suspending flights.

After making the request, Teruya said: "At any rate, they have not
yet cleared up the cause of the accident. If they continue to make
flights, local residents living near the base will always have to
fear the possibility of a crash. There is also the problem of
aircraft noise, so the government should take quick action and hold
negotiations with a strong resolve."

(8) FA-18 military jet crashes in San Diego: Threats from bases
continue forever

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
December 11, 2008

The military is tasked with protecting the people in times of
emergency but claims lives during a training exercise in peacetime.
Such a contradictory event occurred in the U.S., not only in
Okinawa.

An FA-18 Hornet military jet crashed in flames in a San Diego
neighborhood on Dec. 8. The crash destroyed three houses, killing or
injuring four people, including children.

While on a training flight, the jet reportedly lost balance just
before landing at U.S. Marine Corps Air Stations Miramar, 3
kilometers away from the accident site.

The accident site is a peaceful residential area and is designated
as a school zone. Learning of the crash, many people of Okinawa must
have remembered the disastrous scene when a U.S. military helicopter
crashed onto the campus of Okinawa International University four
years ago.

The crash in the U.S. is not the sort of incident the people of
Okinawa can just ignore. On the day when the incident occurred,
about 35 fighters, including FA-18 jets, flew over the main island
of Okinawa and its vicinity as part of quick-response training. The
training should have been cancelled.

The Navy inspected its entire fleet of FA-18 Hornets starting in
November after fatigue cracks were found in an aileron hinge of a
FA-18 plane. After the inspections, the Navy had to ground ten
aircraft and impose flight restrictions on 20 others.

The U.S. Navy has allowed the defected model to conduct training
flights before the cause of the incident has been pinned down. The
stance of the governments of the U.S. and Japan giving tacit
approval of the training is impermissible.

Since Okinawa was returned to Japan, 459 incidents involving U.S.
military planes (as of the end of 2007) have been reported. There
were more than 40 crashes. These accidents cost the lives of many
U.S. soldiers, and prefectural people also have had to make
sacrifices.

A senior member of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in suburban San
Diego made this comment about three years ago: "Since training is
fraught with potential risks of accident, our base is located behind
a mountain, seen from the residential areas." He was keeping in mind

TOKYO 00003370 012 OF 013


Futenma Air Station and Kadena Air Base. But the incident in San
Diego took people's lives. Why have the people of Okinawa been
pressed to live across a fence from a dangerous military base?

It is now necessary for the governments of Japan and the U.S. to
give a clear-cut explanation on why training with defective planes
has been approved.

(9) Future course of farm lobby votes is up to the WTO

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Almost full)
December 11, 2008

"We have a very, very important election close at hand. Even though
the cabinet has a bad reputation, please remember that lawmakers
here are fighting at the risk of their political lives."

Koji Futada, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP)
Research Commission on Trade in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Products, on December 9 made that statement at the top of his voice
in front of an audience of about 3,000 farmers. Participants were
all wearing headbands carrying a slogan "Protect Japan's food and
agriculture!!"

It was an emergency national rally of representatives for measures
on the World Trade Organization (WTO) agricultural talks held at an
open air concert hall in Hibiya, Tokyo. Moves to press Japan to open
its agricultural market were mounting at the WTO. Alarmed about the
situation, the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives
(JA-Zenchu) and the National Confederation of Organizations of
Farmers and Agricultural Movement (Noseiren), its political body,
hosted the rally.

The rally was joined by 117 lawmakers of the ruling parties,
including such agricultural policy experts as former Agriculture
Minister Yoshio Yatsu and former Secretary General Koichi Kato, as
well as Futada. They all appeared on the stage, wearing the same
headbands the other participants were brandishing.

Three causes for supporters moving away from LDP

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries-related organizations have
consistently supported the Liberal Democratic Party. Noseiren had
the candidate it supported elected in the Upper House election last
summer, in which the LDP suffered a devastating defeat, by garnering
about 450,000 votes in the proportional representation system.
Though it is losing its organizational power, its vote-collecting
potential in the next Lower House election is still attractive.

The LDP on the morning of the same day held a meeting of the
Research Commission on Trade in Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries
Products, inviting executives of JA-Zenchu to its headquarters.
Sixteen lawmakers who were present at the meeting all asked to make
statements. Former Agriculture Minister Norihiko Akagi categorically
said, "If an agreement disadvantageous to Japan is reached at the
WTO, the LDP would collapse." An official from the agriculture
ministry explained the government policy toward a ministerial
meeting to be held under the Doha Round. Those lawmakers shouted at
him, "Optimistic," and "Lukewarm."

Research Council Executive Director Koya Nishikawa asked speakers to
mention their constituencies and names, saying, "Today we have

TOKYO 00003370 013 OF 013


participants representing various organizations." He made sure to
have them introduce the names of lawmakers who remained in the
meeting until it ended.

There is fear that such efforts might come to nothing, depend on the
future course of the WTO talks. This could become one of the three
causes of supporters bodies moving away from the LDP along with the
confusion of local municipalities over the flat-sum cash benefit
plan and the Japan Medical Association's negative reaction to Prime
Minister's gaffe.

DPJ observing from vantage point

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is agitating ties between the
LDP and agricultural organizations. It on November 25 submitted a
bill amending the Agricultural Cooperative Law, urging that
agricultural cooperatives must not be used for specific political
parties.

The bill was drafted at the initiative of Upper House member Tatsuo
Hirano, former MAFF official. He and his peer lawmakers on the
morning of the 4th engaged in fierce discussion with JA-Zenchu
officials. Hirano told them, "JA-Zenchu should refrain from engaging
in election campaigns, should it?," citing the example that it is
specified by law that coops should remain politically neutral. The
JA-Zenchu rebutted Hirano with one saying, "We are a private
organization. We do not fully understand your view." However, Hirano
did not mind. That is because some agricultural cooperative members
sent a complaint to the DPJ, noting that they are fed up with being
used by the LDP in election campaigns. The DPJ, led by Ozawa, is
giving priority to visiting each farm household, upholding a slogan
-- "income compensation for each farm household."

The LDP is having difficulty regarding how to respond to WTO talks.
One DPJ member said, "We are observing the situation from a vantage
view. If an agreement is reached as it stands, we will aggressively
attack the LDP."

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC