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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/04/06

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 004372

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 08/04/06


Index:

Foreign Minister Aso's surprise visit to Baghdad:

1) Foreign Minister Aso in Baghdad promises that Japan will continue
Iraq assistance, meets premier

2) Aso's surprise Baghdad trip seen as another campaign stop in his
bid for LDP presidency

Yasukuni issue:

3) Prime Minister Koizumi plans to visit Yasukuni Shrine once more
before leaving office, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe will not go
on August 15

4) Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe visited Yasukuni in April in private
capacity, China, ROK likely to erupt

5) Abe, Chinese Ambassador Wang tangle on Yasukuni issue during
meeting

6) North Korea has 1,000 ballistic missiles and new base targeting
Japan: Seoul official

7) With both Koizumi, Abe out on the campaign trail the same day,
crisis management in Tokyo will take a day off

8) Okinawa to receive hefty development package for the northern
part of the main island

Articles:

1) Foreign Minister Aso pledges continued assistance to Iraq during
talks with Prime Minister Maliki

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 4, 2006

Foreign Minister Aso yesterday visited Baghdad, Iraq, and separately
met with Prime Minister Maliki and Foreign Minister Zebari. During
the talks, Aso conveyed to them that following the pullout of Ground
Self-Defense troops from the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, where
they were engaged in reconstruction assistance, Japan would expand
airlift operations by Air Self-Defense (ASDF) units and continue
assistance for the consolidation of social infrastructure using
official development assistance (ODA) funds. Aso is the first
cabinet minister to visit Baghdad since the Iraq war started in
2003.

During each meeting, Aso underscored, "I have come to Baghdad in
order to directly convey that there will be no change in Japan's
stance of assisting Iraqi reconstruction even after the withdrawal
of GSDF troops."

Maliki asked for investment by Japanese companies, saying, "Japan is
Iraq's first friend. We want to develop relations with Japan in a
wide range of areas." Zebari expressed gratitude, "The Iraqi people
will never forget the assistance Japan has provided."

Aso left Japan for Kuwait on the evening of the 2nd on a commercial
flight and moved on to Baghdad via an ASDF C130 transport plane. He

TOKYO 00004372 002 OF 006


stayed there for about five hours and went back to Kuwait on the
same plane. The Foreign Ministry did not announce Aso's visit to
Iraq until he left Baghdad due to the security situation there.
Since the Iraq war started, then Defense Agency Director General Ono
visited Samawah in December 2004 and Defense Agency Director General
Nukaga in December 2005 for a tour of GSDF troops' activities
there.

2) Foreign Minister Aso's visit to Baghdad an attempt to play up his
diplomatic skills with eye on LDP presidential election

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 4, 2006

Foreign Minister Taro Aso made a surprise trip to Baghdad yesterday.
He along with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe took the lead in
imposing sanctions on North Korea in retaliation to the North's
firing of missiles. However, Abe, known for his hard-line stance
toward North Korea, grabbed the spotlight. Aso, therefore, was
looking for an opportunity to play up his diplomatic skills. Since
Abe has maintained his advantage over all other potential candidates
for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election in
September, speculation has been rife that Aso may be aiming to keep
his position as foreign minister under an Abe government.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also was considering a visit to
Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Samawah where Ground
Self-Defense Force troops were deployed, but he abandoned the idea
due to the delay in the inauguration of the Iraqi government and the
security situation there. In December 2004, then Defense Agency
chief Yoshinori Oho visited Samawah and incumbent Defense Agency
Director General Fukushiro Nukaga also visited there last December.
It was, however, the first time for a Japanese cabinet minister to
make a trip to Baghdad.

Now that international interest has shifted to Lebanon and Iran,
there is little diplomatic necessity to visit Iraq now. The reason
for Aso's surprise visit to Baghdad is likely his desire to display
his political identity as the incumbent foreign minister with less
than two months left before the LDP presidential election.

3) Prime Minister Koizumi to visit Yasukuni Shrine while still in
office, centered on August 15; Will not compromise on issue with
China

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpts)
August 4, 2006

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has made up his mind to pay homage
at Yasukuni Shrine before he leaves office in September. He is
considering visiting the shrine on or around Aug. 15, the
anniversary of the end of the war. He has decide that after his
tenure ends, he will continue to visit the shrine once a year, and
that he would avoid being seen as having knuckled under to the
demands of China, which refused to hold summit meetings with him in
reaction to his continued shrine visits. On the other hand, Chief
Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, considered to be the most likely
candidate to succeed Koizumi as premier, has decided to put off any
visit this year to the shrine on Aug. 15.

The Prime Minister when he first took office in 2001 clearly stated
he would pay homage at the shrine on Aug. 15. But although he

TOKYO 00004372 003 OF 006


continued to pay a visit to Yasukuni once a year, he always went on
a different date in apparent deference to external relations.
Meeting the press corps on Aug. 3 at his Official Residence, Koizumi
stressed: "In the midst of the pro and con debate, I am not thinking
that it is wrong for me to pay homage at Yasukuni Shrine. Why is my
judgment not being understood?" Asked specifically about Aug. 15, he
would go no far than to say, "I can only say that I will make an
appropriate decision." Even at the time in July when a memo by the
later Grand Steward Tomita was revealed in which the Showa Emperor
expressed displeasure that Class-A war criminals were enshrined at
Yasukuni, he denied that the words would have any effect on his own
visit to the shrine.

On the other hand, Abe, who annually visits Yasukuni Shrine on Aug.
15, has decided to postpone such a visit this year, wishing to avoid
the Yasukuni issue becoming entangled in the LDP presidential
election in September. However, if the Prime Minister visits on Aug.
15, China and other countries will react sharply, and the propriety
of such visits, as well as the revision of Japan's Asia diplomacy,
will definitely become entangled in the LDP presidential election
campaign.

4) Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe paid homage at Yasukuni in private
capacity this August; Sharp reactions from China, ROK can be
expected; Aso does not intend to visit the shrine, even if he
becomes prime minister

TOKYO (Top play) (Abridged)
August 4, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, it was learned late yesterday,
paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine this year in April. This was revealed
by a government source. Abe's visit to the shrine will inevitably
bring about a sharp reaction from China and the Republic of Korea
(ROK), since Abe is a leading contender to become the successor to
Prime Minister Koizumi.

According to the government source, Abe paid homage at the shrine on
the morning of April 15 in a private capacity. At a press conference
on July 24, Abe stated: "I paid homage to the those who died for
their country by folding my hands, saying a prayer, and paying my
respects."

Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who intends to run in the September
Liberal Democratic Party presidential race, has made up his mind to
present a proposal that if he or any other candidate is elected
prime minister, that person should not pay homage at Yasukuni Shrine
as long as he is in office. He will present this private proposal to
resolve the Yasukuni issue prior to August 15, when Prime Minister
Koizumi is widely expected to visit the shrine. He will call for
self-restraint on paying homage at the shrine, saying, "A proper
judgment should be made, taking into consideration personal beliefs
and one's public position."

In his private proposal, he will state his thinking that it would be
possible for Yasukuni Shrine to separate the souls of Class-A war
criminals if it were made into a non-religious association.
Specifically, the shrine should voluntarily return its legal status
as a religious corporation and come under the government as a
special corporation. At that point, it would de-enshrine the Class-A
war criminals, preparing the environment for the Emperor and prime
minister to visit the shrine.

TOKYO 00004372 004 OF 006

5) Verbal wrangling over Yasukuni: Abe says, "China should correctly
recognize Japan"; Chinese Ambassador Wang says, "Let's built
relationship of mutual trust"

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 4, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and Chinese Ambassador to Japan
Wang Yi attended a "Tokyo-Beijing Forum" held yesterday in
Marunouchi, Tokyo. The two had a battle of words. Sparks flew
between them amid speculation that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
may visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan's
surrender in World War II.

Abe stressed:

"The revival of militarism, which Chinese sources often talk about,
is beyond the Japanese people's imagination and is impossible. We
will be able to start a constructive discussion after China
recognizes Japan correctly."

He also pointed out:

"According to an opinion poll, only 15% of the Chinese people feel
friendship with Japan. One of the reasons for this low figure is
Chinese people's misunderstanding about (Japan)."

He continued:

"In 2002, a view of China's economic development as a threat was
spreading in Japan. Prime Minister Koizumi, however, clearly stated
that China's economic growth is an opportunity, not a threat. We
should prevent individual issues from adversely impacting on overall
Japan-China relations. To that end, we should aim for an accurate
perception of each other through dialogue."

He again criticized China for refusing to hold a summit due to
Koizumi's visits to the Shinto shrine.

He called for resuming dialogue between the two countries, saying,
"Let's build a relationship under which we will be able to carry out
dialogue straightforwardly without worrying about friction,
discarding a weak friendship."

In response, Ambassador Wang obliquely criticized Koizumi's annual
visits to Yasukuni Shrine, stating:

"Japan-China relations have been strained due to a reason known to
everybody. That is something we do not want to see. I hope the
bilateral relationship will return to a normal path and improve,
overcoming the current situation as early as possible."

Wang added:

"By correctly acknowledging history, we can build a stable bilateral
relationship. Let's rebuild mutual confidence between a new
generation of leaders. How to resolve the issue is a matter that
should be determined by the Japanese public. China will respond in
good faith to a wise decision by Japan, leading to a compromise."

Wang's remarks are believed to have been a message to Abe, who is

TOKYO 00004372 005 OF 006


regarded as the front-runner in the September Liberal Democratic
Party presidential election.

6) North Korea has 1,000 missiles: World's fourth-largest missile
power, according to South Korean analysis; Missiles bases under
construction on coastline along Sea of Japan

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
August 4, 2006

Seoul, Tetsuo Nakajima

South Korea's state-run Institute of Foreign Affairs and National
Security, which reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, in late July compiled a report on the development of
ballistic missiles by North Korea. The details of the report were
unveiled yesterday. According to the report, North Korea possess
approximate 1,000 missiles of various types, which makes the nation
the world's fourth-largest missile power, following the US, Russia,
and China. The report read that new underground bases clustered on
the coastline along the Sea of Japan are targeting Japan and US
military bases there. It also pointed out that its relations with
Pakistan and Iran, imports of parts from China, and the use of
Russian engineers have contributed to Pyongyang's success in the
development of missiles.

Professor Yun Dok Min at the institute, who is a well-known expert
on North Korea's nuclear arms and missiles, compiled this report. He
traced the development and deployment of missiles by North Korea
since 1960 and explained that long-range missiles targeting Okinawa
are deployed at 10 underground missile bases. The report pointed out
that a number of underground missile bases, which are now under
construction or have already been completed, are for medium- and
long-range missiles that target Japan and US military bases there.
The report also noted that there is the possibility of Taeopodong-2
missiles being deployed at some of those bases.

7) Both prime minister, chief cabinet secretary leave Tokyo for the
regions leaving no one in charge of Kantei

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 4, 2006

Both Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief Cabinet Secretary
Shinzo Abe will tour regional cities today. It is unusual for the
prime minister and chief cabinet secretary to both leave Tokyo at
the same time. What kind of crisis management system is this?

The prime minister and chief cabinet secretary are responsible for
responding to a state of emergency, including natural disasters, and
to spearhead the entire government during such times. It is the rule
that either the premier or the chief cabinet secretary should be
somewhere nearby the Prime Minister's Official Residence even on
holidays.

However, Koizumi is expected to tour on Aug. 4-5 the historic place
of Yoshida Shoin and other places in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Abe will
attend meetings in Kyoto and Osaka to discuss his second chance
support program. Therefore, neither will be in Tokyo from the
afternoon of Aug. 4 to the afternoon of the 5th.

Abe, at a press conference yesterday, stated, "Deputy chief cabinet

TOKYO 00004372 006 OF 006


secretaries will be in charge of crisis management. So there will be

SIPDIS
no problem." Since Koizumi will visit the city of Shimonoseki,
Yamaguchi Prefecture, Abe's home constituency, some observers think
that the two are leaving Tokyo to stump for the LDP presidential
election campaign.

8) Government decides to allocate 8.5 billion yen for development of
northern Okinawa: Allocation of funds next year not certain

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 4, 2006

The government yesterday decided to allocate 8.5 billion yen for
expenses for a pineapple cultivation research project in the
northern part of the Okinawa mainland for this fiscal year. Futenma
Air Station is set to be relocated to this area.

This year's budget for development of northern Okinawa is 10 billion
yen. A second allocation is scheduled for December.

When it adopted its policy regarding USFJ realignment at a cabinet
meeting, the government decided to abolish the 1999 cabinet decision
that included development projects for northern Okinawa. It is,
therefore, unclear whether the project will be continued into the
next fiscal year and beyond.

SCHIEFFER

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