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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/27/06

DE RUEHKO #4204/01 2080815
P 270815Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

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(1) US beef imports to resume; Anxiety, distrust likely to put dent
in distribution

(2) Enemy base strike argument lacks substance

(3) Japanese, Chinese foreign ministers agree to cooperate on early
restart of 6-party talks with North Korea; China touches on Yasukuni
Shrine issue

(4) Taku Yamasaki's opinion on Yasukuni issue: Secular national war
memorial should be built

(5) GSDF pullout from Iraq after completing important mission (Part
2): Tension

(6) Profile of Makoto Iokibe, 8th National Defense Academy


(1) US beef imports to resume; Anxiety, distrust likely to put dent
in distribution

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
July 27, 2006

The government will today decide to resume US beef imports for the
second time about six months after a second ban was imposed,
following the discovery of vertebral columns in shipment early this
year. Beef trade will make a quiet start without fanfare, unlike the
case last December. Instead, due to growing doubts about the safety
of US beef, imports will resume amid small expectations and great

Importers remain cautious for fear of incurring losses; Meat that
has not cleared customs continues to be held in storage


Officials from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and
the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) yesterday
reported at the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Headquarters at
Nagata-cho, Tokyo, on prior inspections of US meatpackers authorized
to export products to Japan they carried out in June and July.
Participants from an LDP subcommittee raised their voices every now
and then, "If there is another blunder regarding the imports of US
beef, the Japanese market will be closed completely."

The inspections conducted by MAFF and the MHLW found that one
meatpacker had exported beef from cattle processed before it
obtained authorization from the US government last December when
beef trade was reinstated. However, both ministries conveyed their
decision to allow this company to resume exports to Japan subject to
a condition.

Disagreeing with this policy, the LDP's side suspended a conclusion
by its subcommittee for the time being.

The panel met again in the evening. Officials from both ministries
explained in detail such circumstances as that one meatpacker
exported beef it processed before obtaining Japan-bound export

TOKYO 00004204 002 OF 008

authorization and the product has already been shipped to the
domestic market. LDP members then laid aside their objections and
approved beef exports by 34 facilities.

The beef import resumption issue this time has evoked the impression
that US members of Congress from the ruling and opposition parties
have wrench-opened the Japanese market with the off-year election
just ahead in November. Japanese consumer distrust in the safety of
US beef, however, is growing even more, compared to last year, when
imports were resumed.


Mindful of the wishes of consumers, the LDP made another request to
both ministries regarding about 830 tons of beef worth 800 million
yen which arrived in Japan after the second ban was placed last
December and since then, have been held in storage at warehouses at
domestic ports.

The government intended to start inspections of those products soon
after beef trade was reinstated and ship them to domestic markets.
However, the LDP called on the government to reassure the beef
import resumption issue will go smoothly before authorizing imports
of beef that have not cleared customs. Since the LDP wants the
government to test the water for about three months after the
resumption of imports, this meat will not be allowed in until

An official of the Japan Association of Beef Importers and Exporters
consisting of domestic trading companies complained about the
measure proposed by the LDP. The price of the beef that has not
cleared customs will be beaten down. In addition to that, if imports
are delayed three months, its freshness date will expire, causing
further losses. The association has requested the US government buy
back the products, but it turned down the requests straight away.

Wrapping themselves up in suspicion, many retailers and restaurant
chains are cautious about selling US beef even after the ban was
removed. As a result, more retailers will refrain from importing US
beef, putting a dent in the amount of beef shipped to the domestic


Yoshinoya D&C, a beef-bowl restaurant chain, will put beef bowls
back on its menu a month and a half to two months after the
resumption of US beef imports. However, since the type of meat used
for beef bowls is now rather expensive and the volume of import is
small, it will sell beef bowls for only a limited time or over a
certain period. Previously Yoshinoya directly purchased beef from a
US meat company. US meat companies will not sell such beef
separately, because special specifications will be adopted for
Japan-bound exports. Yoshinoya will have to purchase beef through
importers. If only a few retailers handle US beef, the amount
available will be limited and therefore affect the period of sales
of beef bowls.

The barbecue industry had expected the price of tongues, which has
been static at a high level, to drop. However, it is inconceivable
that the price will decline if the shipment volume is small.

(2) Enemy base strike argument lacks substance

TOKYO 00004204 003 OF 008

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
July 27, 2006

In the wake of the missile launches by North Korea on July 5, many
cabinet ministers and opposition party executives suggested the
option of Japan having the capability of striking enemy bases. The
government indicated that attacking enemy bases was legally
possible. But in reality, such is next to impossible because Japan
does not have the proper equipment. Based on another misconception,
Japan was also accused of mulling a preemptive strike. Some also
questioned the appropriateness of the enemy base strike argument
that emerged at a time when China and other countries are trying to
convince North Korea to return to the six-party talks.

At what point should Japan make a decision?

"People should read reports correctly about what I said in a press
conference. It is clear that discussion is being conducted in line
with the nation's exclusively defense-oriented policy."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe in a press conference yesterday
exhibited displeasure with former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki,
who had expressed in a speech concern over enemy strike statements
by Abe and others.

Shortly after the North test-launched its missiles, Abe and Defense
Agency Director-General Fukushiro Nukaga cited the government's view
about possessing an enemy strike capability. Abe and Nukaga's
comments drew criticism from home and abroad. South Korean President
Roh Moo Hyun accused them of being supportive of a preemptive

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi declared in a press conference on
July 17 after the G8 summit in Russia: "Japan has no intention of
launching a preemptive strike against any country." Koizumi
apparently intended to dispel any suspicions about Japan.

The government's position is that attacking an enemy base and
launching a preemptive strike are two different concepts.

Based on former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama's 1956 statement, the
government's view has been that: (1) it is an act of self-defense to
strike an enemy base once that country began making preparations for
attacking Japan with the use of missiles or other weapons; and (2)
it is unconstitutional to launch a preemptive strike against a
country that is feared might attack Japan.

But in 1999, then defense chief Hosei Norota replied that in some
cases, it was lawful to strike an enemy base as soon as that country
began making preparations for an armed attack before Japan actually
suffers any damage. Determining exactly at what point an enemy
country had begun making preparations for an attack is a tough
question. The Defense Agency holds that it will determine such on a
case-by-case basis, based on the international situation and the
motives of an enemy country. But the option of pounding an enemy
base before Japan suffers damage is not ruled out altogether. Abe
explained: "In reality, it is extremely difficult to determine at
what point an enemy began making preparations (for an attack).
Chances are that a decision will be made only after a missile lands
in Japan and causes damage." It seems difficult for Japan to launch
a strike before suffering damage.

Necessary equipment

TOKYO 00004204 004 OF 008

Is Japan capable of attacking enemy bases?

In line with its strictly defense-oriented policy, Japan has
regarded it unconstitutional to possess attack weapons, such as
intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bombers, and attack
aircraft carriers. Japan does not have the capability to strike
enemy missile bases or other facilities.

As necessary equipment, Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya cited:
(1) long-range aircraft; (2) a capability to attack an enemy base
from outside the tracking range of the enemy country; and (3) a
capability to jam and destroy other countries' aircraft detection
radar systems.

The agency is scheduled to deploy an aerial refueling plane at the
end of the current fiscal year, which will help prolong the
endurance of F-2 and F-15 fighters.

But a defense official took this view: "It will take time for Japan
to acquire all equipment independently. We will have to rely on the
US military when it comes to gathering intelligence on enemy

Why at this point?

In the wake of North Korea's missile launches on July 5, Nukaga
mentioned the enemy attack argument ahead of other cabinet
ministers. He was also serving as defense chief when Pyongyang
launched a Taepodong-1 in 1998. Behind Nukaga's controversial
statement lies a growing threat from the North, which has succeeded
in test-launching Rodong and Scud missiles to a certain extent.
Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Abe followed suit and made similar

President Ichiro Ozawa of the largest opposition party Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) criticized their argument as absurd. But
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama insisted that Japan's exclusively

defense-oriented policy allowed the country to target enemy bases.

The argument also drew strong backlashes from South Korea and

Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, one of the post-Koizumi
contenders, called for cautious discussion from a broad perspective
for the sake of confidence building with neighboring countries.

Former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato said in a speech: "Japan, a
mature international power, must have the sense to conduct
wide-ranging diplomatic activities after taking punitive action
instead of just making fuss over the North's audacious action."

(3) Japanese, Chinese foreign ministers agree to cooperate on early
restart of 6-party talks with North Korea; China touches on Yasukuni
Shrine issue

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Evening, July 27, 2006

By Toyofumi Amano in Kuala Lumpur

Foreign Minister Taro Aso, now visiting Malaysia, met this morning
with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, and the two agreed to

TOKYO 00004204 005 OF 008

work closely together toward an early resumption of six-party talks
on the North Korean nuclear issue. Foreign Minister Li also brought
up the issue of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paying homage at
Yasukuni Shrine.

Prior to their meeting, Aso also met with South Korea's Trade and
Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon, and the two affirmed their cooperation
to carry out the resolution against North Korea adopted by the
United Nations Security Council.

In his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Li, Aso proposed anew
that a foreign ministerial meeting be held at the ARF in Malaysia by
the participants of the six-party talks, including North Korea. But
afterward, Aso told the press corps that he could not get
confirmation from the Chinese foreign minister for such a meeting at
the ARF.

(4) Taku Yamasaki's opinion on Yasukuni issue: Secular national war
memorial should be built

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
July 26, 2006

Questioner: What is your basic view about Yasukuni Shrine?

Yamasaki: I recognize Yasukuni Shrine as one of the facilities
commemorating the war dead. However, the Emperor does not visit the
shrine, and there are objections to the prime minister's paying
homage there. The victims of war, excluding the spirits of the war
dead, are not enshrined. I would like to build a facility at which
all the Japanese people and the leaders of foreign countries will be
able to express their condolences to those who died in national

Questioner: Do you mean that there are limits to Yasukuni Shrine?

Yamasaki: One of Yasukuni Shrine's limits is that it is a religious
facility for worshiping Shinto gods. It is desirable to build a
secular war memorial facility.

Questioner: What do you think about a view calling for expanding
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery?

Yamasaki: Making that cemetery into a war memorial is one option.
But a council should be formed so that a suitable place for a war
memorial would be picked. There is one view for building a war
memorial at the Kitanomaru Park and another for building it at

Questioner: What about the call for removing the Class-A war
criminals from Yasukuni Shrine?

Yamasaki: I think the Class-A war criminals should be un-enshrined
from Yasukuni Shrine. It is abnormal that the Emperor cannot visit
the shrine. If the Class-A war criminals were separated from the
shrine, the barrier preventing the prime minister and foreign
dignitaries from visiting there would be lowered. There is an
argument about whether Yasukuni visits by the prime minister violate
the constitutional rule of separation of state and religion, but the
external problems would disappear.

Questioner: What do you think about criticism of the International
Military Tribunal for the Far East?

TOKYO 00004204 006 OF 008

Yamasaki: Japan's postwar period started at a time when Japan
accepted the Tokyo Tribunal and the San Francisco Treaty. If we now
deny those two events, the soul of Japan would be cut adrift. Doing
so, the country may again go down a wrong path. If the Pacific War
is no longer seen as a mistaken war, Japan's colonial rule and war
of aggression would be denied.

Questioner: In December 2004 when your served as prime ministerial
assistant, you sounded Yasukuni Shrine Chief Priest Toshiaki Nanbu
out on the disenshrinement of Class-A war criminals from the shrine,
didn't you? Do you have an intention to ask him again?

Yamasaki: I have no such an intention. I learned a lesson from that.
He showed me that his determination not to do so was as hard as a
rock. Former LDP Secretary General Makoto Koga, chairman of the
Japan War-Bereaved Association, has advocated separate enshrinement.
I cannot do what Mr. Koga himself cannot do.

Questioner: How about making Yasukuni a non-religious organization
and then separating the Class-A war criminals from the facility?

Yamasaki: I think Yasukuni would not accept such an idea. More than
30 years ago, there was a suggestion that Yasukuni should be
maintained by the state, but that notion soon disappeared. The
spirits of war dead did not go to battlefields thinking that they
would be enshrined in Yasukuni unconnected with any religious

Questioner: Do you think the Yasukuni issue will become a campaign
issue for the LDP presidential election?

Yamasaki: I think so. Presidential candidates must tell truth about
whether they will visit the shrine as prime minister. Glossing over
( their positions) would lower their value as a politician

Questioner: Do you think the next prime minister should visit
Yasukuni Shrine?

Yamasaki: I think the next prime minister should not pay homage at
the shrine.

(5) GSDF pullout from Iraq after completing important mission (Part
2): Tension

SANKEI (Page 30) (Full)
July 25, 2006

On Aug. 10, 2004, at 1:45 a.m. Iraq time, three roaring sounds were
heard at the Ground Self-Defense Force's camp in the southern Iraqi
city of Samawah. Col. Yuki Imaura, 47, who commanded the second
contingent of GSDF troops deployed there to assist with Iraq's
reconstruction, was still awake on his bed in a bulletproof
container at the camp. Imaura did not know why, though. And now, he
thinks that it might be his "instinct" as a commanding officer.

There were three shells, all launched from trench mortars, Imaura
judged from their flying sounds. Imaura put on his bulletproof
jacket and helmet right away, then dashed to the command post 300
meters away from his barracks. He was the first to arrive.

Waiting for his staff to arrive, Imaura first confirmed that there
was no damage. After that, he relieved the sentries on the watch at

TOKYO 00004204 007 OF 008

four posts on the camp. At the command post, he received reports on
the situation.

One of the relieved sentries said he heard five shells. Another said
he could hear only two. They differed in what they said. However,
Imaura thought that they confused firing sounds, flying sounds, and
landing sounds. His ears heard the roaring sounds of three shells.
Imaura believed his ears.

Imaura was cool-headed at all times. On Aug. 4, there was a bomb
attack in the northern Iraqi city of Najaf. Imaura then felt that
the GSDF camp might come under attack in the near future. He
therefore conducted antimortar training on Aug. 9.

Meanwhile, Imaura felt that the men in charge of security were
becoming tense. One of them wondered, "We're working for Iraq, so I
don't know why we have to come under attack."

It was about a half year after Imaura and his contingent arrived in
Iraq, where they worked to assist with Iraq's reconstruction,
representing Japan. During that time, their Samawah camp came under
mortar attack on April 7 and 29.

On the night of July 14, there was a report from local residents
about a potential attack on the GSDF's Samawah camp's Gate 1. The
GSDF tightened the camp's security with more barriers set up at all
gates. Imaura ordered his staff officers on the watch at each gate
to fire in the event their gates were broken through. He stayed
awake through the night at the command post.

Nothing happened that night. "I had prepared myself (that night) to
become the first commander to use weapons overseas," Imaura said,
"and I was thinking about what to say to the press the following

On the morning of Aug. 10, after the GSDF camp was attacked, Imaura
took the platform in a morning assembly with his men. He was then
thinking to himself that he must relieve their tension.

Imaura began with an anecdote of Japan's one-time fleet admiral.
"Combined Fleet Commander in Chief Heihachiro Togo in the Battle of
the Sea of Japan was lucky," Imaura said to the lined-up GSDF
members. He went on: "The good or bad luck of troops is up to their
commander. I'm a lucky guy. You all came along with a man of good
luck, so I will take you all back home safely."

So saying, Imaura looked around from the platform to see the faces
of his men. In his eyes, Imaura saw some of the GSDF members there
shedding tears. And then, Imaura became speechless, forgetting
himself. "At that moment," he recalled, "I felt we were all one, and
I also felt tears welling up."

Japan sent the first batch of GSDF troops to Iraq in January 2004.
The GSDF's deployment there continued for two years and a half,
during which there were 14 attacks on its Samawah camp and in its
environs. However, the GSDF and its members have accomplished their
mission, with no one killed or wounded at all. That owes much to the
cool-headed judgments of Imaura and all other on-site GSDF
commanding officers.

(6) Profile of Makoto Iokibe, 8th National Defense Academy

TOKYO 00004204 008 OF 008

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006

Makoto Iokibe, 62, specializes in the history of Japanese politics
and diplomacy. He is well known in the press for being outspoken on
security issues. He will take over leadership on Aug. 1 of an
institution that cultivates and trains Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
officers, who will work for Japan's security.

He is regarded as liberal, but some call him a realist. Although he
praises SDF operations in Iraq, he has been a critic of the US
government's decision to launch the Iraq war. His ability to call a
spade a spade has probably increased a feeling of confidence in him.
In 2004, he served as a member of the Council for Security and
Defense Capability, an advisory panel for Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi. It was Koizumi who selected him as president of the
National Defense Academy.

Iokibe describes the SDF as the "equipment ready to use to ensure
the survival of the Japanese people." In the background, there is
his experience in the Osaka-Kobe Earthquake. Although his home was
spared, houses surrounding his place were turned into rubble. He
also received sad news about some of his students. He felt then that
the SDF was the last resort for such disaster help.

In the wake of North Korea's missile launches, the range of security
arguments has widened, including calls for possessing the capability
of attacking enemy bases. Iokibe said, "Brave views were raised, but
that is the precise time when it is essential we approach issues
from a broad perspective." He believes that his mission is to
inculcate in the students a historical perspective and to make the
SDF into an organization that the public can identify with.


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