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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 06/20/06

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RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9440
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RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0085
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 12 TOKYO 003430

SIPDIS

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 06/20/06


INDEX:

(1) Poll on Koizumi cabinet, political parties, LDP race

(2) Poll: Koizumi cabinet's support rate down to 40.6%

(3) Poll on LDP race: Abe stands at 50% in LDP local exec
support, Fukuda at 38%

(4) Bush & Koizumi (Part 3): National interests conflict over
whether to focus on nuclear issue or oil development in Iran
policy

(5) Japan to recall Iraq-based GSDF troops; Over 2 years in Iraq
for Japan-US alliance; GSDF distances itself from US forces,
putting safety first

(6) Japan-US alliance and a Japan-China entente essential for
sailing through wild seas of the 21st century

(7) Regular Diet session closes; Prime minister stresses results
of his management of the economy; Seeks continuation of his
reform initiative

(8) Interview with Heizo Takenaka on achievements of Koizumi
administration over five years (Part 3): Reform policy collapsed
following changing of economic panel into just a meeting place

(9) Editorial: Japan must persistently search for ways to
continue whaling

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Koizumi cabinet, political parties, LDP race

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
June 20, 2006

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of a
survey conducted in May.)

Q: Do you support the Koizumi cabinet?

Yes 52.0 (54.4)
No 38.7 (35.4)
Other answers (O/A) 2.2 (2.7)
No answer (N/A) 7.1 (7.5)

Q: Give up to two reasons for your approval of the Koizumi
cabinet.

I can appreciate its political stance 33.3
I can appreciate its policy measures 15.9
It's stable 18.2
The prime minister is trustworthy 16.5
It's achieved actual results 35.5
It's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 7.2
It's better than its predecessors 39.3
O/A 2.0
N/A 0.6


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Q: Give up to two reasons for your disapproval of the Koizumi
cabinet.

I can't appreciate its political stance 34.4
I can't appreciate its policy measures 41.8
It's unstable 17.1
The prime minister is untrustworthy 25.5
It's failed to achieve noticeable results 23.5
It's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 14.2
It's worse than its predecessors 5.1
O/A 1.8
N/A 2.6

Q: Which political party do you support now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 40.5 (42.3)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 14.8 (15.8)
New Komeito (NK) 2.7 (3.4)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.4 (2.0)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.3 (1.2)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) --- (---)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1 (0.2)
Other political parties --- (0.1)
None 37.4 (34.5)
N/A 0.8 (0.7)

Q: Prime Minister Koizumi has clarified his intention to resign
as prime minister in September this year when his term as LDP
president runs out. This September's LDP presidential election is
a de facto election of the next prime minister. Are you
interested in this LDP presidential election?

Very interested 34.3
Somewhat interested 37.8
Not very interested 18.0
Not interested at all 9.4
N/A 0.5

Q: Who do you think is the most appropriate person for the next
prime minister? Pick only one from among those listed below if
any.

Taro Aso 4.0
Shinzo Abe 43.7
Sadakazu Tanigaki 1.9
Yasuo Fukuda 19.3
Taku Yamasaki 0.4
Others 1.2
None 25.2
N/A 4.2

Q: (Only for those who gave an appropriate person for prime
minister) What's your impression of that person? Pick as many as
you like from among those listed below, if any.

Leadership ability 22.4
Coordinating ability 27.1
Reform-oriented 16.9
A sense of balance 30.1
Accountability 18.1
Political career 21.2
Young 28.3

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Friendly 28.5
O/A+N/A 4.4

Q: What would you like the LDP presidential election to focus on?
Pick as many issues as you like from among those listed below, if
any.

Economic, employment measures
47.0
Fiscal reconstruction
25.1
Consumption tax
30.0
Social security reform, including pension and healthcare systems
53.4
Low birthrate countermeasures, including childcare support
24.5
Educational reform
15.2
Administrative reform, including public service personnel cuts
17.2
Social divide, including income gaps
19.0
Yasukuni Shrine issue
13.9
Asia diplomacy, including China and South Korea
24.5
North Korea issue
26.1
Defense, security
12.8
Constitutional revision
6.4
Public security, crime prevention
16.4
Food safety
10.8
O/A
0.4
Nothing in particular
3.9
N/A
0.9

Polling methodology
Date of survey: June 17-18.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
interviews.
Number of valid respondents: 1,815 persons (60.5% ).
Breakdown of respondents: Male-47%, female-53%.

(2) Poll: Koizumi cabinet's support rate down to 40.6%

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
June 18, 2006

The approval rating for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
cabinet was 40.6% in a recent public opinion survey released by
Jiji Press for June, showing a decrease of 3.9 percentage points
over the preceding month. The disapproval rating for the Koizumi

TOKYO 00003430 004 OF 012


cabinet was 38.6%, an increase of 2.6 points over the previous
poll. The figures can be taken as reflecting the Social Insurance
Agency's unlawful exemption from payments into the National
Pension Plan. The survey was conducted across the nation on June
9-12. A total of 2,000 persons were chosen for face-to-face
polling from among those aged 20 and over. The retrieval rate was
67.4%.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party stood at 24.4%, down 1.5 points
from the preceding month. The leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) was tat 12.1%, up 2.1 points. Among
other parties, the New Komeito party, currently in office as a
coalition partner of the LDP, was at 3.3%, down 0.8 points; the
Japanese Communist Party at 1.3%, down 0.2 points; the Social
Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) at 1.2%, up 0.4 points; and
the People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) at 0.1%, up 0.1
points. No respondents picked the New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto
Nippon).

(3) Poll on LDP race: Abe stands at 50% in LDP local exec
support, Fukuda at 38%

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
June 18, 2006

Kyodo News yesterday released findings from its recent poll of
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's local chapter executives on
the party's presidential election scheduled for September this
year. In the survey, respondents were asked to answer who they
thought would be appropriate for the next prime minister. In
response to this question, a total of 78 persons gave specific
names. Among them, 39 persons or 50.0% specified Chief Cabinet
Secretary Shinzo Abe, with 30 persons or 38.5% recommending Yasuo

SIPDIS
Fukuda, one of Abe's predecessors in the CCS post. As seen from
these figures, the LDP's local organizations are prone to single
out either Abe or Fukuda.

In the survey, the secretaries general, policy board chairmen,
and executive board chairmen of the LDP's prefectural federations
were asked what they thought should be focused on in the
forthcoming LDP presidential election. In response, 55.8%
insisted on the necessity of correcting the nation's social
divide. This answer topped all other answers, showing that they
want the government under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
successor to dissolve economic disparities resulting from the
Koizumi cabinet's structural reforms.

The survey was conducted in early and mid-June. Answers were
obtained from a total of 128 persons in 45 LDP prefectural
federations. The mindset of each LDP prefectural federation's
three top executives is believed to be close to that of about one
million party or fraternity members eligible to vote in the LDP's
presidential election.

Among other issues for the LDP's presidential election campaign,
16.7% wanted the party's presidential election to focus on the
necessity of reforming pension, healthcare, and other social
security systems, with 10.8% preferring economic stimulus
measures, 5.0% for constitutional revision, and 4.2% for Japan's
foreign relations.

Abe gained broad support across the nation. Meanwhile, Fukuda was

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named in Tottori, Shimane, and some other prefectures where the
LDP's support base is comparatively steadfast.

Respondents were also asked if they thought the next prime
minister should pay homage at Yasukuni Shrine. In response to
this question, 41 persons answered "yes," with 34 persons saying
"no." Among Abe supporters, pro-Yasukuni answers outnumbered anti-
Yasukuni answers. Among Fukuda supporters, however, anti-Yasukuni
answers topped pro-Yasukuni answers.

(4) Bush & Koizumi (Part 3): National interests conflict over
whether to focus on nuclear issue or oil development in Iran
policy

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 20, 2006

On the night of May 31, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi talked
on the phone with US President George W Bush.

The teleconference was held at the request of President Bush,
ahead of their planned meeting in Washington on June 29. Taken up
as the main theme was unprecedentedly the issue of Iran's nuclear
development program. After the telephone conversation, Bush told
reporters at the White House that he had asked Koizumi to
cooperate in preventing Iran's developing a nuclear capability.

Since Iran's suspected development of nuclear weapons was
reported in December 2002, Bush and Koizumi have held six summit
meetings, but Iran's nuclear problem was discussed only once.

In the Japan-US summit held on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit in
Sea Island, Georgia, in June 2004, President Bush referred to
Iran's nuclear issue: "I have strong concerns about it." In
response, Prime Minister Koizumi insisted on the need to aim at a
peaceful settlement through an international agency.

The positions of Japan and the US toward Iran are crucially
different. That is why the two leaders have sidestepped the Iran
issue. Both countries apparently did not want the honeymoon-like
bilateral ties established between their leaders to be negatively
affected by the Iran nuclear issue.

Japan imported 14% of oil from Iran (in 2005). The government
succeeded in obtaining concession rights for Iran's largest oil
field Azadegan in 2004. Iran's crude oil is thus extremely
essential for Japan's energy security.

Should oil exports from Iran stop as a result of Japan upsetting
that nation, the Japanese economy will receive a serious blow.

In contrast, Iran is a bitter enemy for the US. The US severed
diplomatic ties with Iran the year after the Iran hostage crisis
at the US embassy in Teheran in 1979.

In his State of the Union address in January 2002, President Bush
branded Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as part of the
"axis of evil."

The US has been alert particularly to Iran's nuclear program,
Vice Chairman Richard Cheney remarking: "The program is intended
to destroy Israel," an ally of the US.


TOKYO 00003430 006 OF 012


The Bush administration has called on Japan to give up on its
Azadegan program since Iran's nuclear development was uncovered.
Then Secretary of State Colin Powell once stated: "There is a
serious problem about Iran's nuclear development plan. I hope
that (Japan) will make a judgment on energy-related investment
while taking it into consideration." In an effort to resolve the
nuclear issue, the Bush administration very recently made a
policy switch from the conventional stance of refusing
negotiations with Iran.

About three hours after the Bush-Koizumi teleconference, US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a package of

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rewards proposing that if Iran halts its uranium enrichment
activities, the US would join multinational negotiations.

There is the possibility that if Iran declines this proposal, the
Bush administration may call on a "coalition of the willing"
including Japan to line up with the US on economic sanctions
against that nation. In the Japan-US summit slated for June 29,
the Iran issue is expected to be high on the agenda for the first
time.

On that occasion, which will Japan choose, the US as its ally or
Iran as an important oil supplier? Japan's response to the
Iranian nuclear issue will be a test case to forecast the essence
of the honeymoon relations between Bush and Koizumi.

(5) Japan to recall Iraq-based GSDF troops; Over 2 years in Iraq
for Japan-US alliance; GSDF distances itself from US forces,
putting safety first

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
June 20, 2006

The government today will order an end to the current deployment
of Ground Self-Defense Force troops in Iraq, two and a half years
after the first dispatch of a GSDF detachment there in January
2004. However, the deployment of GSDF troops in Iraq-apart from
conducting humanitarian reconstruction assistance to that
country-was meant to be a symbolic gesture of the Japan-US
alliance. Including those engaged in logistics, Japan has so far
sent a total of 5,500 GSDF members to Iraq, the largest scale
ever for Japan's overseas dispatch of GSDF troops. One of the
GSDF's initial main tasks in Iraq was to supply water for its
host local communities. In February last year, however, the
GSDF's water supply services ended because water-purifying
facilities installed there with Japan's official development
assistance (ODA) program went into operation. The GSDF's water
supply totaled 53,500 tons.

After its water supply services, the GSDF's engineer corps
oversaw the work of repairing schools, roads, and other local
public facilities. In addition, the GSDF's medical unit provided
local medical institutions with technical guidance. In Iraq, the
GSDF has helped repair 34 schools and 27 roads and carried out
about 260 medical support activities as of June 18. The GSDF has
also hired a total of about 475,000 locals as of June 14.

However, the GSDF's presence itself in Iraq is the purpose of its
deployment there. Japan complied with a request from the United
States for "boots on the ground." A number of countries have
pulled their troops out of Iraq, so the United States reportedly
asked Japan to stay on. "It's OK if you're just there," a US

TOKYO 00003430 007 OF 012


official was quoted as saying. So the GSDF deployment in Iraq
cannot be evaluated from the perspective of its performance
alone.

The Iraq-based detachment of GSDF troops is the Reconstruction
Assistance Group (RAG), which is an on-site unit conducting
humanitarian reconstruction assistance. The RAG has rotated its
personnel every three months and is now made up of those
dispatched on a tenth batch. When the local security situation
went bad from worse, those GSDF troops stayed inside their
Samawah camp for their own security. The GSDF's oversight and
guidance were intended to help with Iraqi people's self-
sustainability. In fact, however, that was because the GSDF, if
and when it is in imminent danger, can give advice from the camp.

In June last year, a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of GSDF
vehicles as they were running through the city of Samawah. The
explosion damaged one of the GSDF vehicles. The GSDF has
therefore had no choice but to be careful in its activities.

Many of the multinational force's members, including US troops,
wear desert-color uniforms. The Samawah-based GSDF members,
however, are in green, which is said to be the color of peace in
Iraq. At the political level, the GSDF has played up the Japan-US
alliance. At the level of local deployment, however, the GSDF has
secured its members by distancing itself from the US military
engaged in security operations.

(6) Japan-US alliance and a Japan-China entente essential for
sailing through wild seas of the 21st century

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
June 18, 2006

By Makoto Iokibe, Professor, Kobe University

The 21st century has rolled in when the world was, and still is,
mired in confusion with no signs of a new world order in sight.
Many countries are extremely inward looking, gripped by
nationalism, and there seems to be no end to terrorism, nuclear
proliferation, and other global issues. The deteriorating natural
environment evidenced by a lack of energy and water may add to
the moral decay of the global community.

Can Japan navigate safely through the rough seas of the 21st
century?

For its survival, Japan must have a clear set of priorities. One
of its top priorities, I believe, is to maintain good relations
with major powers -- specifically with the United States and
China. Failed relations with them would leave Japan half dead
internationally. Conversely, building good relations with them
would allow Japan to conduct activities vigorously as an
international leader.

Some insist that Japan should enhance itself in the areas of
economy, technology, military, and information instead of
struggling to forge friendly ties with other countries. The
argument has its point. But Japan can never put the world under
its control, however powerful it becomes.

A stable international system and good relations are essential
for Japan as a trade-oriented nation with limited resources.

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Relations with the US and China are particularly important,
though in different ways. To weather the wild seas of the 21st
century, Japan's diplomacy must have two key elements: the Japan-
US alliance and a Japan-China entente.

As was proven by World War II and the period thereafter, Japan
was not able to survive and pursue its national interests without
the cooperation of the United States. Both Japan and the US are
in need of an order embracing freedom. The US is expected to take
the trouble to maintain the world order over the next five
decades, which would allow Japan to engage in activities as a
trade and maritime state. Japan needs to give serious thought to
how it can assist the US in maintaining that order instead of
relying on US efforts entirely.

Entente is a diplomatic approach to settle a specific bilateral
issue to reach an accord to move forward in cooperation with each
other. Although it is a single issue that is settled, an entente
carries an important implication for overall bilateral relations.
For instance, if Japan and China reached an agreement on the
joint development of a gas field in the East China Sea, that
would go beyond drawing a line between the interests of the two
countries in the East China Sea. A combination of a gas field
accord and a depoliticized Yasukuni issue would provide Japan and
China with a clear view for the joint management of East Asia.

Concerned about poor relations with countries in Asia, some are
urging Japan to shift its diplomatic weight from the US to Asia.
I do not subscribe to that argument for Japan might end up losing
Asia and the US at the same time. Instead, Japan must enhance its
relations with the US so that they can survive beyond the Koizumi-
Bush era and foster stronger ties with Asian neighbors, centering
on China. Japan must pave the way for a combination of the Japan-
US alliance and a Japan-China entente for its people of the 21st
century.

(7) Regular Diet session closes; Prime minister stresses results
of his management of the economy; Seeks continuation of his
reform initiative

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
June 20, 2006

Following the adjournment of the regular Diet session, the last
for the Koizumi administration, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
visibly boasted of the results of his management of the economy
during his five years in office. The dominant view in the
government and the ruling camp is that the prime minister would
bow out in triumph after declaring the end of deflation. However,
a dilemma that has developed in this scenario is that if he does
so, it would make easier for the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to lift its
zero interest policy, the timing for which it is now searching.
This move would shackle the successor administration in managing
the economy. During the final stage of the Koizumi
administration, a war of nerves on financial policy will likely
take place between the government and the ruling camp.

Focus on declaration of end of deflation; War of nerves against
government, ruling parties, BOJ

The prime minister during the press conference praised his own
managing of the economy, saying, "During the economic slowdown, I
constrained the issuance of government bonds. I also kept general-

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account expenditures from rising over the previous year's level.
As a result, the economy is now back on track." He called for
balancing economic revitalization and fiscal reconstruction,
based on this trend.

He was not just boasting. With the Upper House election close at
hand next year, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Upper House
Leadership is negative about the idea of extensively cutting
public works, because it wants to repair damaged relations with
support organizations. Out of concern that his reform policy
might be derailed by the next administration, the prime minister
cautioned, "We must be prepared for opposition from within the
ruling parties." As a condition for his successor, he stressed:
"It is extremely important for my successor to have enthusiasm to
tenaciously achieve targets he has set himself."

All economic indicators have turned upward during the Koizumi
administration. The real economic growth rate stood at a negative
0.8% in fiscal 2001, but in fiscal 2005, it jumped to 3.2%. The
Nikkei Stock Average temporarily surged from the 11,000 yen mark
to the 17,000 yen mark.

In fiscal 2005, the consumer price index, which serves as a
benchmark for the Bank of Japan to judge its financial policy,
took an upward turn from the preceding year for the first time in
eight years.

Koizumi, though, did not adopt a demand policy, which had been
the pillar for the distribution of profits in the postwar period
when the economy expanded every year. In managing the economy,
too, Koizumi changed the LDP's traditional methods Declaring the
end to deflation would be effective in order not to reverse that
trend, too.

The problem is the presence of Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo
Abe, who is viewed as being cautious about lifting the zero
interest policy at an early date, according to a government
source. Since Abe is viewed as a candidate close to the prime
minister's heart, he has to taken into consideration Abe's
intention to some extent.

The declaration on the end to deflation will not necessarily lead
to the removal of the zero interest policy. Stock prices are now
on a mild downtrend. The issue of Bank of Japan Governor
Toshihiko Fukui's investment in the Murakami Fund could affect
the bargaining between the government and the ruling camp on one
hand and the BOJ on the other.

LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Hidenao Nakagawa, who
supports Abe, has called for giving priority to cutting
expenditures with the aim of constraining the margin of an
increase in the consumption tax at a low level in the fiscal
reconstruction process.

In a speech given in Yokohama on June 19, Nakagawa underscored,
"It is necessary to properly discuss a spending cut policy during
the presidential race and make most of this effort in the
compilation of the next fiscal year's budget. We will make
spending cuts an Upper House election campaign issue and drive
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ = Minshuto) into disbandment."

(8) Interview with Heizo Takenaka on achievements of Koizumi
administration over five years (Part 3): Reform policy collapsed

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following changing of economic panel into just a meeting place

ASAHI (Page 15) (Full)
June 16, 2006

Yamada: What will become of the ongoing battle with bureaucrats
after the prime minister changes?

Takenaka: There is no choice but to hold in place for a while.

Yamada: Do you mean that the government will take a break from
the ongoing reform drive until a favorable wind blows?

Takenaka: Taking a break is not desirable, so I expect the next
prime minister will hang in there.

Hoshi: Some see the upcoming Liberal Democratic Party
presidential election as the dividing line that will determine
whether the politics-led trend will accelerate or decelerate.

Takenaka: You are right. The prime minister has always taken the
initiative under the Koizumi cabinet. To take the initiative, the
administration first used the Council of Economic and Fiscal
Policy (CEFP) but he is skillfully making use of the LDP Policy
Research Council now. I think that the next prime minister should
copy this style.

Yamada: The Koizumi reform initiative has been gradually
undermined over the past year. Where was the turning point?

Takenaka: The CEFP used to be the engine for the Koizumi reform
drive, but the council has been turned into just a forum (meeting
place). The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is now
responsible for drawing up a strategy of growth, while the Policy
Research Council under chairman Hidenao Nakagawa is in charge of
simultaneously reforming revenues and spending. The CEFP has not
fulfilled its initial role recently.

Yamada: Bureaucracy-led politics is reviving recently.

Takenaka: Ridiculously speaking, elite bureaucrats draw up plans
that are interesting. But they remain unable to come up with
effective policy measures for their offices. The Finance Ministry
slashed public works, but it is still maneuvering to maintain its
influence in reforming government-affiliated financial
institutes. Policies will affect each government agency's
interests.

Yamada: It is necessary to set up a system to apply the brakes to
each other, isn't it?

Takenaka: Of importance is to apply the brakes. How to apply the
brakes differs in each case. For instance, junior and mid-ranking
lawmakers well versed in the government's official development
assistance (ODA) policy, as remarkably splendid powers, worked
hard to prevent the Japan Bank for International Cooperation from
surviving.

Yamada: An end of the Bank of Japan's zero-rate policy will be a
major theme for future economic policy, won't it?

Takenaka: If the policy is removed, I think that the Japanese
economy will be seriously damaged. On fiscal issues, only I,

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playing a bad-guy role, have made complaints in CEFP meetings.
Fiscal issues have been left in the hands of the LDP, but if the
council had been responsible for such issues, the panel would
have come up with a plan for significantly raising taxes. It is
necessary to minimize the margin of tax increase, and I think it
is possible to do so.

Yamada: Depending on who will become next prime minister, the
situation will change, won't it?

Takenaka: You are probably right. The major point is to what
extent the next prime minister will be able to bring bureaucrats
under his or her control.

Yamada: Will potential candidates have the capability to do so?

Takenaka: The political world is interesting, but there were
cases in which persons whose leadership had not been expected
much unexpectedly displayed remarkable leadership after assuming
office as prime minister.

(9) Editorial: Japan must persistently search for ways to
continue whaling

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
June 20, 2006

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) adopted in its annual
meeting on June 19 a nonbinding declaration supporting a
resumption of commercial whaling proposed by Japan and other
whaling countries by a margin of one vote. This was the first
time for the IWC to approve a resolution calling for the approval
and promotion of whaling since it imposed a moratorium on
commercial whaling in 1982.

However, it does not mean an end to the moratorium because
lifting it requires a three-quarters majority. It can be
predicted that the fact that the number of pro-whaling nations
exceeded that of the anti-whaling countries is a sign that the
tide is changing.

The nonbinding declaration, which was adopted in the Federation
of St. Christopher and Nevis, an island nation with the
population of less than 50,000 in the Caribbean, the venue of the
IWC's annual meeting, may become a turning point to put an end to
the international commission's history or a factor to deepen the
uproar, instead.

With many anti-whaling nations' entry in the IWC, the moratorium
on commercial whaling was approved in 1982. Since then Japan had
persistently argued against a radical environmental organization
that insists with insufficient scientific evidence that whaling
is evil. The maintenance of the marine ecosystem and use of
marine products are a matter concerning the future of human
being.

As a result, the IWC's Scientific Committee decided unanimously
on the Revised Management Plan (RMP), a scientific method of
setting hunting permits for continued use of whaling without
decreasing whales stocks. If the Revised Management Scheme to
monitor and implement the RMP is created, the moratorium will not
be necessary.


TOKYO 00003430 012 OF 012


It has been learned by scientific research that the number of
minke, fin, sei and sperm whale have increased sufficiently. It
is estimated that whales consume every year huge quantities of
fish that are equal to the world's annual gross fish catches. At
present, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) now goes along with
whaling under the strict control.

When the scientific data and scheme for resuming commercial
whaling were presented, the anti-whaling nations started saying,
"Even if whales have increased, we will not allow whales to be
caught." In a meeting in February on the RMS, they said, "We will
not respond to talks on the scheme promoting commercial whaling."

Realizing that meetings in the IWC will go nowhere, the Japanese
government seems to be heading toward holding an international
conference of pro-whaling nations outside the IWC. It is obvious
that such anti-whaling countries as Britain, the United States,
and New Zealand, which have strong backlashes against the
adoption of the declaration, will further toughen their stance.

The IWC talks over the past quarter century should not have been
in vain. Japan needs to search for ways to keep and take
advantage of that international forum, eliminating cultural
intolerance.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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