Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/14/06
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 08/14/06
1) Yomiuri poll: 80% of Japanese fear safety of US beef, 45% don't
want to eat it
2) Koizumi Cabinet support rate slips below 40% line for first time
in a year: Jiji poll
3) 39% of public think Japan should have capability to strike enemy
bases, 80% see need for new law to block financial flows to North
Korea: Yomiuri poll
4) Jiji poll: Half the public affirmative about Japan possessing
capability to strike enemy bases
5) Survey of 47 heads of local LDP chapters finds high support for
Shinzo Abe as presidential candidate but expectation of debate on
Yasukuni Shrine issue
Foreign policy agenda:
6) Under new ODA plan, Philippines, too, will received patrol boats
from Japan, another exception to the ban on weapons exports
7) Then Ambassador to China Anami last summer sent telegram to Prime
Minister Koizumi urging him to halt visits to Yasukuni Shrine
8) When Keidanren business leader Okuda met China's President Hu
last year, he delivered a conciliatory message from Prime Minister
9) Local heads near SDF's Tsuiki base where US forces to train under
realignment pact voice opposition in meeting with LDP's Taku
LDP presidential campaign:
10) LDP presidential candidate Abe trying to distance self from
Koizumi policies in election campaign, stressing local needs
11) Abe wants give voters a fresh image of him in LDP presidential
campaign, focusing for example on educational reform
1) 80% of Japanese have misgivings about US beef; 45% don't want to
eat it, according to Yomiuri poll
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
August 12, 2006
In a nationwide poll that the Yomiuri Shimbun carried out on Aug.
5-6, 80% of the respondents answered that they felt "greatly" or
"somewhat" anxious about the safety of US beef, imports of which
have just been restarted. Only 19% felt no qualms about the safety
of the US product.
Moreover, when the public was asked about whether they wanted to eat
US beef, 45% said they had no desire to eat it, while another 43%
said they would "wait awhile and see the situation before deciding."
Thus, about 90% of Japanese are negative about eating US beef. Only
10% are willing to eat US beef.
US beef is already being sold in a few large-scale mass merchandise
outlets, and the outlook is for expansion of product availability in
the future. However, the polls shows Japanese consumers as a whole
have misgivings about the safety of US beef, and a trend toward
TOKYO 00004565 002 OF 009
constraining their purchases of the product.
Regarding the government decision to restart imports of US beef, 59%
or a majority of the public said they either did not approve of it
or tended not to support it, far more than the 37% who said they
supported the government's decision.
However, even among the 37% who supported the government's decision,
60% felt anxiety about the safety of US beef. In addition, the
question was asked whether it should be obligatory to require
place-of-origin labeling on processed foods and even restaurant
menus so that people would know if they were eating US beef.
Ninety-two% agreed, revealing a strong sense of alarm that US beef
might be mixed into the food Japanese are eating.
2) Jiji poll: Koizumi Cabinet support rate slips below 40% line
TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
August 13, 2006
According to the results of an opinion poll for August compiled by
Jiji Press on August 12, the Koizumi Cabinet support rate slipped
2.2 points to 39.4%, the first time it has fallen below the 40% line
in a year. On the other hand, the non-support rate rose 3.6 points
to 42%, making this the first time in a year and a half for public
disapproval to outweigh the approval rate. With only two months left
until Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi leaves office, it appears
that the public's attention is focused instead on the race to pick
The poll, carried out on August 4-7, surveyed 2,000 adults on
face-to-face interview basis. The effective response rate was 70% .
In terms of party support, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was up
a point to 24.9%, while the main opposition party Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) slipped 0.8% to 10.2%, the second month
in a row for support to recede.
The New Komeito had a support rate of 3.4%, unchanged from last
month. The Japanese Communist Party had a 1.9% support rate (up 0.2%
), while the Social Democratic Party had 1.1% (down 0.1% ). The New
Japan Party had 0.1% (up from zero last time). The People's Party
had no support.
3) Yomiuri poll: 80% agree law restricting financial transactions
with North Korea is "necessary"; 39% feel that Japan "should have"
capability to strike enemy bases
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 13, 2006
In a nationwide opinion survey taken by the Yomiuri Shimbun (August
5-6, face-to-face survey), 79% of Japanese thought that is was
"necessary" to have a law restricting designated financial
transactions with North Korea, as being considered by the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), for the purpose of shutting off illegal
funds flowing to that country. Only 13% thought that such
legislation was unnecessary. The poll showed that most Japanese want
new legislation to strengthen pressure against North Korea.
When asked whether the planned missile-defense system to intercept
incoming enemy missiles should be speeded up, 62% answered
TOKYO 00004565 003 OF 009
affirmatively, while 33% did not think such should be done.
In addition, in answer to the question whether Japan should have the
capability of striking enemy bases that were attacking Japan with
missiles, 55% did not think so, but 39% agreed. Looking at the views
of supporters of the three major contenders in the LDP presidential
election, 43% of the supporters of Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe were
positive about Japan having such a capability, but 52% were
negative. Of those supporting Finance Minister Tanigaki, 38%
approved; 59% disapproved; while Foreign Minister Aso's supporters
were split, 48% for and against.
On the other hand, 86% of the public gave high marks to Japan's
proposed United Nations Security Council resolution critical of
North Korea that passed unanimously. Only 9% did not appreciate it.
Asked about the UNSC resolution and the chairman's statement of the
G-8 Summit that included language calling on North Korea to freeze
its missile program and the like, 77% praised the role that Japan
4) Jiji poll: Over 50% of Japanese affirmative about Japan
possessing enemy-base strike capability
SANKEI (Page 3) (Abridged)
August 13, 2006
A Jiji Press poll compiled on August 12 found that 50% of the public
would give positive consideration to Japan having the capability of
attacking enemy bases that house missiles and the like. On the other
hand, a majority of Japanese said they could not approve of Japan
having a preemptive strike capability, assuming a situation that an
enemy attack on Japan was imminent.
The survey was carried out August 4-7 on a face-to-face basis of
2,000 adults nationwide. The effective response rate was 70% .
Although only 21.8% answered that they thought Japan should possess
the capability of striking enemy bases, if the 29.2% who said Japan
"should consider" such a capability is added, the total of those
responding affirmatively reaches 51.0% . In contrast, 34.8% said
they thought Japan should not possess such a capability, and 53.5%
did not approve of Japan possessing a preemptive strike capability,
even if an enemy attack was judged imminent. Only 26.4% approved.
5) Poll of senior members at LDP prefectural chapters on
presidential race: Many call for debate on Yasukuni issue; Abe far
ahead of other candidates
ASAHI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
August 12, 2006
The Yasukuni Shrine issue is certain to be a central issue of the
campaign for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential
election in September. The Asahi Shimbun interviewed senior members
at the 47 LDP prefectural chapters on the Yasukuni issue, of whom
only seven praised Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe's keeping mum on the
propriety of the prime minister's visits to the shrine. Foreign
Minister Aso recently released his personal proposal, and Finance
Minister Tanigaki has said: "I will refrain from paying homage at
the shrine." Of the 47 representatives, 24 did not express support
for any of the three, and many of them called for a thorough debate
on the Yasukuni issue, the representative of the Toyama prefectural
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branch remarking: "A national debate is necessary."
In the interviews on Aug. 4-11, Abe left Aso and Tanigaki far behind
in terms of party support. However, in response to a question about
the three candidates' views about the Yasukuni issue, 11 supported
Aso's thinking. Even though some expressed doubts about the
feasibility of the Aso proposal, they praised his stance of trying
to prod discussion, as the representative of the Wakayama chapter
said: "His stance of trying to search for a solution is the most
positive among the three candidates."
Tanigaki won support from five representatives on his stance toward
the Yasukuni issue. Many cited this kind of reason: "It is better
for the prime minister to forgo a visit to Yasukuni in order to
maintain relations with neighboring countries," said the
representative from the Yamanashi chapter. Among those favoring
Abe's stance toward Yasukuni, the representative from the Fukui
chapter stated: "Paying homage at the shrine is a personal matter,
and it is up to the individual to decide on whether to visit the
Even among those who stopped short of expressing support any of the
three, many called for debate to be conducted. The representative
from the Iwate chapter said: "This issue cannot be put on the back
burner." The representative from the Yamagata chapter remarked:
"Since Yasukuni Shrine and Class-A war criminals have not been
properly discussed, confusion has been caused." Meanwhile, the
representative of the Okayama chapter stated: "The prime minister
should visit Yasukuni Shrine in a dignified manner."
In the interviews, asked for views about the consumption tax, 21
were in favor of the view proposed by Tanigaki, who said: "I would
raise the tax rate to 10% by the middle of the next decade." The
representative of the Hyogo chapter stated: "That is a brave
statement. A raise in the tax rate will be unavoidable in the
Asked to name the candidate most favored by chapter members, 34
chapters cited Abe. Those who picked Aso were only Fukuoka, his
electoral district, and Iwate, which came up with this reply: "Abe
and Aso are neck-and-neck." No prefectural representative named
6) Government to provide patrol ships to the Philippines as part of
ODA; Exception to three arms export principles
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
August 14, 2006
The government has decided to provide two or three patrol ships to
the Philippines as grant aid from the official development
assistance (ODA) program. It will shortly send a survey mission to
that nation to determine the number and size of ships needed. Once
that process is completed, it will provide vessels by next March.
The Philippines is the second recipient of patrol ships as grant
aid, following Indonesia in June. The government will regard the
provision of vessels to the Philippines as an exception to the three
arms export principles.
The government has refrained from extending large-scale ODA loans to
the Philippines for the past several years due to the unstable
political situation there. However, it has decided to resume ODA
TOKYO 00004565 005 OF 009
judging that conditions for ODA have now been met, following the
lifting of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Philippine
government in March.
The Export Trade Control Ordinance under the Foreign Exchange and
Foreign Trade Control Law defines patrol ships as military vessels.
Providing patrol ships without permission infringes on the three
arms export principles. For this reason, the government will make
the provision of such vessels to the Philippines an and exception to
the three arms export principles, by exchanging a note that calls on
its government to limit the purpose of the use to cracking down on
terrorists and pirates, and not to transfer them to a third party
without a prior consent by the Japanese government.
Maritime terrorism by pirates and Islamic militants is active in
waters off the Philippines. Vessels to be provided to that nation
this time will therefore be used to crack down on pirates. For
funding, the government intends to use a framework for grant aid for
anti-terrorism cooperation, etc., (approximately 7 billion yen),
established under the fiscal 2006 ODA budget.
7) Former Ambassador to China Anami sent cable to prime minister
last summer, asking him to forgo Yasukuni Shrine visit out of
concern about deteriorating relations
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
August 12, 2006
It was learned yesterday that then Ambassador to China Koreshige
Anami sent an official cable to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
last summer before the August 15 anniversary of the end of World War
II asking him to forgo a visit to Yasukuni Shrine. He presumably did
this out of concern over deteriorating relations between Japan and
China. According to a senior official of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MOFA), it is unusual for an ambassador to give advice to
the prime minister in such a manner. The cable was sent to the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) through MOFA. However,
Koizumi made his fifth visit to the shrine on Oct. 17, rejecting
Having served as director general of the MOFA Asian Affairs Bureau
and other posts, Anami is a leading figure in the so-called China
school, which attaches importance to relations with China. He is
also known as the son of late War Minister Korechika Anami, who
committed suicide in opposition to Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam
Declaration. He was enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine. Koreshige is,
therefore, also a member of a bereaved family.
Anami has refrained from making any specific comment on the cable to
the media. Though exactly when he sent the cable is not clear, he
did so presumably around July last year. The cable runs several
pages, asking Koizumi not to Yasukuni, noting: (1) 2005 is a
commemorative year for China, which marks the 60th anniversary of
the victory in the war against Japan; and (2) anti-Japanese
sentiment in China is surging, as can be seen in frequent
demonstrations. Since the telegram was addressed to the prime
minister, MOFA sent it to Kantei as is.
Last July, a fierce battle over a set of postal privatization bills
was going on, and the bills were narrowly adopted at a Lower House
plenary session. Amid the growing prospect of the bills being voted
down in the Upper House, some observers thought that Koizumi might
TOKYO 00004565 006 OF 009
visit Yasukuni on August 15 and bring his tenure as prime minister
to a close by fulfilling his campaign pledge. This is presumably
part of the background that prompted Anami to make that move.
Upon leaving his post this March, Anami sent to related sources a
report that indirectly criticized Koizumi's Yasukuni visits, noting:
"The Yasukuni issue has been politicized. Changing how it is visited
will not resolve the problem. The premier either goes or does not."
In the meantime, Koizumi after visiting the shrine last year
indicated to reporters his displeasure toward China and other
countries: "Others should not interfere in a matter of the heart.
This is not an issue on which foreign governments can tell us what
we cannot do."
8) Keidanren Okuda in secret meeting with Chinese President Hu last
year relayed message from Koizumi: "I am pro-Chinese"
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
August 13, 2006
It has been revealed that Japan Business Federation (Nihon
Keidanren) Chairman (then) Hiroshi Okuda had secretly met with
Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing on Sept. 30 of last year.
According to informed sources, more than half of the meeting was
devoted to the issue of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to
Yasukuni Shrine. Okuda relayed a message from the prime minister to
the president, but President Hu criticized the prime minister's
shrine visits and asked Okuda that business circles urge the prime
minister to forgo a visit to the shrine. Hu also proposed that the
details of the meeting not be released. On Oct. 4, Okuda informed
the prime minister of the details of the meeting, but the prime
minister visited the shrine on Oct. 17, the first day of the great
autumn shrine festival. He had visited the shrine in formal attire
until the previous year, but last year, he was dressed more
Participating in the 40-minute meeting with Hu were Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. Chairman (then) Yoichi Morishita, Nippon
Steel Corporation President Akio Mimura, Sumitomo Corporation
Chairman Kenji Miyahara, and others, in addition to Okuda. Prime
Minister Koizumi had not visited Yasukuni Shrine for 21 months since
the New Year Day in 2004 until then, but in August 2004, he
declared: "I will visit the shrine next year."
Okuda told Hu: "Prime Minister Koizumi won an overwhelming majority
in the House of Representatives election, so he had a free hand. But
he seems to be experiencing inner conflict over a visit to Yasukuni
Shrine. The prime minister told me to relay to you that 'I am
pro-Chinese'." Some were also quoted as saying that Okuda passed
along a personal letter from the prime minister.
President Hu replied, remembering the two meetings he had held with
Koizumi until then:
"I clearly said (to Prime Minister Koizumi) that paying homage at
Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines the souls of Class-A war criminals,
hurts the feelings of the Chinese people. ... I want the prime
minister to refrain from visiting the shrine from the position of
assuming responsibility for the state, the people, and history as
the leader of Japan."
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He then asked Okuda to urge the prime minister to make a political
judgment. Okuda reportedly answered: "I will convey your words to
the prime minister. The business world wants to make utmost efforts
to return (relations between Japan and China) to their former good
The Okuda-Hu meeting was announced on Oct. 22, just after the prime
minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine last fall. In a regular press
held by Keidanren immediately after the meeting, a barrage of
questions about the meeting came from reporters, but Okuda did not
disclose the details of the meeting, just saying: "I went to China
privately, and not as a special envoy." In a press briefing last
December, Okuda said, in reference to the prime minister's Yasukuni
visit in a casual suit: "Mr. Koizumi made the best choice at that
time. But nobody understands it."
9) Municipality heads around Tsuiki Air Base say in meeting with
Yamasaki, Relocation of US military training "unacceptable"
AKAHATA (Page 2) (Full)
August 12, 2006
Taku Yamasaki, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Security
Research Commission and former LDP vice president, met on Aug. 11
the mayor of Yukuhashi City in Fukuoka Prefecture, and the Chikujo
town head to seek their understanding for the relocation of US
military training to the Air Self-Defense Forces' Tsuiki Air Base,
as decided by the government under the USFJ realignment pact.
The mayor said, "I fully recognize the need for the Japan-US
security alliance," he stressed. But he added, "I find it hard to
accept that only residents living around certain bases will be
affected." Yamasaki replied: "I will ask the government to fully
respond and give consideration to the additional burden imposed on
the local residents."
10) 2006 LDP leadership race: Abe finding ways for distancing self
from Koizumi's influence, stressing stance of attaching importance
on voters in regional areas in Upper House election
ASAHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 13, 2006
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe has begun to seek ways to
separate himself from the influence of Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, slightly correcting his position as a successor to
Koizumi's reform drive. He is now focused on an upcoming standoff
with the Ichiro Ozawa led Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) in
next summer's House of Councillors election. Before his supporters
in his home constituency of Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture,
Abe has declared he will run in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
leadership race He expressed consideration for local areas, stating,
"We must give people working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries
areas back their dreams. I want to aim at creating a primary
industry in which income would increase."
In a rally on Aug. 12, Shimonoseki Mayor Shigeru Ejima expressed his
hopes for Abe's policy change from Koizumi's political approach,
saying, "I think an Abe cabinet would support regional areas that
once failed to development. The next cabinet should first praise the
Koizumi reform drive, but Mr. Abe should correct part of the Koizumi
reform that was wrong."
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Some LDP members have criticized Koizumi, saying, "The Koizumi
reform program is focused only on economic growth and it is cool to
Abe underscored in the rally that though he would keep the flame of
reform going, he also pledged that he would do his best to
revitalize regional areas where many people feel income disparity.
Abe's stance of trying to separate himself from Koizumi's policy
influence is also clearly shown in his argument about the need for
more public works projects.
11) LDP presidential race in 2006: Abe to show own policy imprint in
campaign pledges, making clear his differences from Koizumi
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 13, 2006
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe intends to make educational
reform a main campaign pledge in his bid for the September Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) presidential post, aiming at bringing out his
policy differences from the government of Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, which prioritizes such administrative reforms as
postal-privatization and reform of the Japan Highway Public
Corporation. He will show his own policy imprint in his campaign
pledges. He apparently wants to conduct politics by placing
importance on Japanese traditions, culture and virtues.
In a speech delivered on Aug. 12 in the city of Shimonoseki,
Yamaguchi Prefecture, Abe reiterated the need for "nation-building,"
stating, "We, the postwar generation, should put our efforts into
making the nation a better place."
Abe regards education as one of important policy areas in making the
country better. He thinks that the present educational policy should
be changed, citing that the history education in elementary and
junior-high schools is "masochistic" and has a strong tendency of
rejecting Japanese traditional values.
The Central Education Council, an advisory panel to the education
ministry, decides educational policy. The council, comprising mainly
of intellectuals, takes a long time -- from several months to years
-- to arrive at a conclusion. Persons close to Abe are critical of
the panel, citing that speedy educational reform will not be
implemented as long as the council is in charge of the matter. Abe
intends to vow during his campaigning the establishment of an
education reform promotion council under the direct control of the
After the Hashimoto government had promoted educational reform as
one of his six reforms, the Obuchi and Mori governments implemented
educational reforms such as a review of the so-called pressure-free
education system, the introduction of a school-choice system, and
reform of the university system.
However, no educational improvements have been seen under the
Koizumi government. In particular, the LDP and its coalition partner
New Komeito formulated this year a bill revising the Basic Education
Law, but Koizumi was reluctant to run it through the Diet. As a
result, the bill has been carried over to the next Diet session.
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Many in the ruling camp have criticized Koizumi for having no
enthusiasm for educational reform. Therefore, the timing is right
now for Abe to show his differences with Koizumi in the upcoming LDP