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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/24/08

VZCZCXRO4136
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3500/01 3590403
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240403Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9679
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 3951
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1594
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5385
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9533
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 2160
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6961
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2980
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3050

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TOKYO 003500

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 12/24/08

INDEX:

AMERICAN EMBASSY, TOKYO
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SECTION
OFFICE OF TRANSLATION AND MEDIA ANALYSIS
INQUIRIES: 03-3224-5360
INTERNET E-MAIL ADDRESS: otmatokyo@state.gov
DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS
December 24, 2008

INDEX:
(1) Verification of SDF Iraq dispatch: Japan urged to make visible
personnel contributions (Asahi) 2
(2) Government to enable MSDF refueling ship in Indian Ocean to
protect Japanese vessels from pirates off Somalia when necessary
(Sankei) 2
(3) Finance Ministry to extend support to Japanese firms doing
business in developing countries, by expanding JBIC loan framework
(Nikkei) 3
(4) TOP HEADLINES 4
(5) EDITORIALS 4
(6) Prime Minister's schedule, December 23, 2008 (Nikkei) 5

ARTICLES:

(1) Verification of SDF Iraq dispatch: Japan urged to make visible
personnel contributions

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
December 19, 2008

By Michael Green, Japan chair at the Center for Strategic an
International Studies

Needless to say, Japan's dispatch of Air Self-Defense Force's C-130
cargo planes to Iraq was significant in operational terms, but it
was more important from the symbolic, political and strategic
aspects. The dispatch of C-130 planes was unprecedented for Japan,
in the same way as the dispatches of Ground Self-Defense Force
troops to Samawah and Maritime Self-Defense troops to the Indian
Ocean. In this sense, the C-130 mission had a major impact, and
Japan was able to show its willingness to assume a risk with other
countries by not only providing money but also dispatching personnel
to help reconstruct and stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan.

As time passed, however, its symbolic meaning has waned, and it has
become necessary for Japan to consider what role it should play
next.

Japanese people might believe that Japan will be able to gain a high
reputation once it plays an international role, but the
international community takes a different view. The international
view is that since Japan took a step forward, it should play a more
significant role next. Japan has not fully responded to the growing
expectation of the international community.

With the withdrawal of C-130 cargo planes from Iraq has widened the
gap between Japan and the international community further. Only
about 30 SDF troops have been sent overseas to join UN peacekeeping
operations (PKO). It is still uncertain what mission the SDF will
perform in Afghanistan in the future. It was only Japan that has not
offered personnel contributions, that is, "boots on the ground,"

TOKYO 00003500 002 OF 005


among the Group of Seven (G-7) nations, which participated in the
Hokkaido Toya Lake Summit.

There should be various options, like mobilizing transport
helicopters or supporting the Provisional Reconstruction Team (PRT).
Anyhow, Japan should make visible contributions. Continuing the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean alone is not enough. Japan's
expanded strategic importance might shrink again.

(2) Government to enable MSDF refueling ship in Indian Ocean to
protect Japanese vessels from pirates off Somalia when necessary

SANKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
December 24, 2008

The government yesterday decided to issue a patrol-action order to a
Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) ship on the refueling mission
in the Indian Ocean to escort a Japanese vessel when the vessel is
likely to be attacked by pirates in waters off Somalia, Africa. This
will be a transitional measure to be implemented until an
anti-piracy bill, now being drafted by the government's
Comprehensive Maritime Policy Office, is enacted into law. An
increasing number of attacks on freighters and other ships by
pirates off Somalia have been reported. A government source
commented: "In the case of an attack, which is highly possible, the
government will issue an order for maritime patrol action without
hesitation.

Maritime patrol action based on Article 82 of the Self-Defense Force
(SDF) Law allows the SDF to take necessary action to protect
Japanese lives and property and to maintain public order in the
place of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) when an emergency unable to be
handled by the JCG occurs. The government judges it is possible
under this law for MSDF vessels to escort: (1) foreign ships whose
operations are managed by Japanese firms; and (2) ships carrying
Japanese nationals, besides Japanese-registered ships. Even so,
there are more than 2,300 ships that meet these conditions, so Japan
plans to escort only Japanese-registered ships for the time being.

The defense minister is authorized to issue a patrol-action order
upon obtaining approval form the prime minister. But since it will
take about month if an escort ship is dispatched from Japan, the
government intends to have an escort ship deployed in the Indian
Ocean based on the revised New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law
engaged in the anti-piracy mission for the time being. In the case
of the MSDF ship attacked by pirates, it will be allowed to make a
counterattack with weapons based on the Policemen's Duty Performance
Law. The government will also consider the possibility of
dispatching from Japan an escort ships to tighten security off
Somalia. In this case, a ship will be dispatched next spring or
later due to MSDF personnel training.

The patrol-action decision stems from the judgment that it would
take considerable time to enact legislation on anti-piracy measures.
Some in the government and the ruling camp are hoping to enact a
general law pertaining to anti-piracy measures, but the Democratic
Party of Japan has indicated that it would not respond to the
government's call for talks on the issue before the next House of
Representatives election.

(3) Finance Ministry to extend support to Japanese firms doing
business in developing countries, by expanding JBIC loan framework

TOKYO 00003500 003 OF 005

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
December 24, 2008

The Finance Ministry will expand support to Japanese companies doing
business in or with developing countries. To be precise, it will
expand the range of business areas of the Japan Bank for
International Cooperation (JBIC), the international arm of Japan
Finance Corporation, to allow it to finance as an exceptional
measure Japanese exporters and large firms with operations in
developing countries until the end of fiscal 2009. Its aim is to
prevent Japanese companies' business with developing countries from
becoming stagnant due to financial problems stemming from the global
financial crisis.

The Finance Ministry intends to release the decision on December 25.
An exceptional measure will then be put into motion. It will include
approximately 300 billion yen in loans to the JBIC drawn from the
fiscal investment and loans program in the fiscal 2008 second
supplementary budget, which it will submit to the regular Diet
session to be convened early next year.

Following the spreading financial crisis, trade financing is
contracting throughout the world. According to an estimate made by
the World Trade Organization (WTO), there is a shortage of funds
worth 25 billion (approximately 2.25 trillion yen) throughout the
world. An official of the Foreign Ministry Economic Affairs Bureau
said, "Some developing countries are unable to procure dollars for
import payment."

An increasing number of companies in developing countries are asking
Japanese exporters for progressive payments. As such, the JBIC will
make payments on such companies' accounts until Japanese companies
can collect payment from them in order to help them smoothen their
cash management so that exports to developing countries will not
become stagnant.

Developing-country units of domestic firms, meanwhile, are having
difficulty raising capital locally, forcing them to turn to their
parent companies for funding in such forms as making investment in
or extending loans to them. A Finance Ministry official said, "In
some cases, Japanese companies are having to increase their
investments in venture firms overseas to keep them afloat because
their local partners have pulled out, citing financial distress."
With such circumstances into consideration, the JBIC will extend
low-interest loans to parent companies in Japan to supply capital to
Japanese companies operating in developing countries and venture
firms so that they can keep their operations.

For assistance to developing countries, the Japanese government and
the World Bank in November agreed to establish a bank to reinforce
capital of developing countries' banks. Japan announced that it
would disburse capital worth approximately 2 billion dollars though
the JBIC and inject funds when local banks in Africa and Asia suffer
a capital shortage. It will thus provide assistance to local
financial institutions. It will also shore up local economies, by
boosting the injection of private-sector funds through low-interest
loans to Japanese companies.

(4) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:

TOKYO 00003500 004 OF 005


Ancient coin "wado kaichin" may have been mass-produced

Mainichi:
Transplant society to introduce registration system in January to
track organ transplants

Yomiuri:
Workers of U.S. Big Three distressed

Nikkei:
Finance Ministry to expand support for Japanese firms doing business
in developing countries

Sankei:
Government to enable MSDF refueling ship in Indian Ocean to protect
Japanese vessels from pirates off Somalia when necessary

Tokyo Shimbun:
16 leading firms hold enormous reserves while cutting 40,000 jobs

Akahata:
Group offers consultation services for distressed workers

(5) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Former Prime Minister Sato's statement: Politicians must
seriously discuss nuclear issue
(2) New NHK Committee chairman must keep responsibility of public
broadcasting in mind

Mainichi:
(1) Citizens should be interested in protecting seas
(2) Abandonment of administration in row represents collapse of
system to raise leaders

Yomiuri:
(1) Japan to greet New Year with politics and economics in turmoil

Nikkei:
(1) Review current job-offer system giving priority to new
graduates
(2) Quickly dispatch SDF vessels to waters off Somalia

Sankei:
(1) Sato's nuclear statement: Abandoning nuclear option unnecessary
(2) Influenza: Thorough prevention is the best countermeasure

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Scrap of Hamaoka Nuclear Plants: Caution needed for new plants
(2) Will U.S. Big Three be able to create a new automobile society?

Akahata:
(1) Road tax revenues: Where have financial sources for ordinary
citizens gone?

(6) Prime Minister's schedule, December 23, 2008

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 24, 2008

09:59

TOKYO 00003500 005 OF 005


Took a walk around the private residence in Kamiyama-cho.

12:22
Attended a ceremony to celebrate the Emperor's birthday held in the
Imperial Palace with his wife Chikako.

15:14
Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsumoto at his personal
office.

16:08
2008 News Photo Exhibition held at Mitsukoshi Department Store in
Murocho, Nihonbashi, with his wife.

17:09
Arrived at the private residence.

ZUMWALT

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