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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/15/06

DE RUEHKO #4629/01 2270825
P 150825Z AUG 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

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(1) Gist of prime minister's statement on his visit to Yasukuni
Shrine: "It makes no difference which day I go;" "I did not go to
Yasukuni to pray for Class-A war criminals"

(2) Yasukuni Shrine - where next? (Part 6): Official visits by the
prime minister may wane; Emperor's absence not missed

(3) Yasukuni Shrine - Where to go now (Part 7): Japan-China economic
relations and summit meetings; Gulf between political and business
circles over Shinkansen project

(4) Abe to place junior and midlevel lawmakers in key posts in
positive way if he becomes prime minister, while eliminating
factional influence

(5) This summer marks 61st year of post-war politics part 1: Japan,
China jolted between friendship and confrontation over view of


(1) Gist of prime minister's statement on his visit to Yasukuni
Shrine: "It makes no difference which day I go;" "I did not go to
Yasukuni to pray for Class-A war criminals"

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, August 15, 2006

The following are the main parts of Prime Minister Koizumi's
statement on his visit to Yasukuni Shrine

(Motives for his Yasukuni visits)

Japan has reflected on the past war. We should never wage war again.
The peace and prosperity of the Japan of today are not wholly
ascribable to those people who are alive today. The Japan of today
is also built on those who sacrificed their precious lives during
the war. I visit Yasukuni Shrine with heartfelt respects for and
gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives during the war for the
sake of their fatherland and families. There is no change in my
feelings this year either.

Shortly after I became prime minister, many people told me not to
visit Yasukuni Shrine on August 15. I therefore have avoided August
15, because I thought I must listen to such advice, but still I was
always criticized. So if it makes no difference which day I go, I
thought it was appropriate to visit the shrine today. I will visit
the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery and a national memorial service
for the war dead at the Budokan Hall, as well.

(Form of visit)

"I will go to both the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery and a
national memorial service for the war dead dressed in this attire
(formal tailcoat). It is better if pay my respects at the main hall
of the shrine. Otherwise, security would be put to much trouble
because there are many visitors.

I visited Yasukuni Shrine as Junichiro Koizumi, a person who happens
to be prime minister. I did not go there in my official capacity.

TOKYO 00004629 002 OF 008


Arguments critical of my Yasukuni visits can be boiled down to
three. One is that I should not visit the shrine, because China and
South Korea are opposing it. I am an advocate of a view calling for
maintaining friendly relations with China and with South Korea. I
have been friendly toward both countries since coming into office as
prime minister. It is not good not to hold a summit just because
there is a difference in views only over one issue or to hold a
summit if I do not visit Yasukuni Shrine. I do not necessarily agree
with the view that if I listen to China and South Korea, Asia
diplomacy will go smoothly. Even if US President Bush told me not to
visit Yasukuni, I would still go. However, President Bush would
never say such a childish thing.

The other argument is on the issue of the enshrinement of Class-A
war criminals. I do not go Yasukuni to pay my respects to specific
people. There are soldiers who suffered during the war and there are
those who did not go to war but still died. We should offer sincere
condolences to those victims. This is our country's culture. I do
not go to Yasukuni Shrine to pay my respects to Class-A war

Class-A war criminals were punished, taking responsibility for the
war. There are two different issues here.

Third, some say that I should not visit Yasukuni, because it
infringes on the Constitution. I would like those people to read
Article 19 and 20 of the Constitution. I do not pay my visit to
Yasukuni in order to encourage Shinto religion, glorify or justify
past wars. It is a matter of the heart.

(2) Yasukuni Shrine - where next? (Part 6): Official visits by the
prime minister may wane; Emperor's absence not missed

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
August 11, 2006

On July 29, 2001, when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi won a huge
win in the House of Councillors election, then Foreign Minister
Makiko Tanaka called on him at the Prime Minister's Official

Tanaka briefed Koizumi on her meeting five days before with Chinese
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. She told Koizumi: "Do you visit
Yasukuni Shrine because you promised the Japan War-Bereaved Families
Association you would do so? I want you to reconsider it so as not
to damage Japan's national interests." Koizumi, who was sitting on
the couch in a relaxed manner, made an unexpected reply: "I am not
going because I had pledged to go. I am going because I'm a public
figure. I don't take orders from anyone."

Koizumi then went to Yasukuni on Aug. 13 two weeks later. Asked by
reporters about whether he visited the shrine as prime minister or
as a private citizen, he responded, "I am not particular about it.
Junichiro Koizumi, who is prime minister, visited the shrine." He
copied the way the late Takeo Fukuda used to reply when he was prime
minister. Koizumi looks up to Fukuda as his mentor.

Former Prime Minister Takeo Miki, the first postwar prime minister
to have paid homage at Yasukuni, said that he had visited there as a
private citizen. Since then, the controversy has been over whether
the prime minister is visiting the shrine as an official figure or

TOKYO 00004629 003 OF 008

as a private citizen. Fukuda, Miki's successor, said, "I don't pay
it any mind. I am going as the prime minister." Breaking three of
the "four principles" for private visits to Yasukuni that Miki had
proposed, Fukuda made the constraints of the Constitution ambiguous
by taking an official government view. Fukuda's Yasukuni visit was
an official one in effect, even though he called it an unofficial
visit. Koizumi took on Fukuda's style.

Those groups promoting official visits to Yasukuni by the prime
minister greatly praised Koizumi's Yasukuni visit in 2001 as being
the first one in 16 years. Since then, Koizumi went to the shrine
wearing in a morning suit in 2001, 2002, and 2003. In 2004, he
visited the shrine in formal Japanese attire (haori and hakama). In
2005, though, he went to the shrine in a gray suit, offering his own
pocket money.

Over his five years in office, Koizumi changed the way he paid
homage at the shrine. Surprisingly, however, no criticism against
Koizumi ever came from the groups advocating the prime minister's
visits to Yasukuni. The term "official visit" was erased from the
2006 leaflet issued by one group that had sought the prime
minister's Yasukuni visits to be done on Aug. 15. The groups shifted
their stance.

The group in question had a bitter experience. In the first half of
the 1980s, it made a direct appeal to the Imperial court calling on
the Emperor to visit Yasukuni because the Showa Emperor had
discontinued his Yasukuni trip after 1975. Commemorative ceremonies
were still being conducted until the fall of 1979, the 110th
anniversary of the shrine, when no memorial was carried out. There
were growing anxiety and displeasure among those who had pressed for
visits by the emperor. Three senior group members called at the
Imperial Household Agency, but they were turned aside. An agency
official said, "The Emperor cannot visit the shrine, where even the
prime minister is unable to go peacefully."

The Yasukuni supporters positioned prime ministerial visits as the
way for bringing about visits by the Emperor, but prime ministerial
visits have now become their only significant objective. One of the
significant turning points was when then Prime Minister Yasuhiro
Nakasone gave up on future visits to the shrine after making an
official visit in 1985. The sole objective of the group responding
to the souls of the war dead has become visits by the prime minister
and cabinet ministers. The view now heard is that the prime minister
has supreme command in the postwar period and his visit will suffice
in consoling the souls of the war dead.

Yasukuni Shrine seems to be getting used to the 31-year vacuum of
visits by the Emperor. The Emperor is special for the Shinto shrine,
which enshrines those who died for the Showa Emperor.

The links between the Emperor and Yasukuni occur when an imperial
envoy is sent to attend the spring and fall festivals. After the
revelation of a former Imperial Household Agency chief memo
expressing the Emperor Showa's displeasure with the enshrinement of
Class-A war criminals in Yasukuni, the Shinto shrine has underscored
more than ever the existence of such an Imperial envoy. An Imperial
court source said, "What are they going to do if the agency can't
even send the envoy to the shrine due to the fuss?"

Koizumi made a comment on the memo: "People have different views.
Whether (the Emperor) visits or not visits the shrine is up to him,
because that's his choice." The Emperor's absence from Yasukuni

TOKYO 00004629 004 OF 008

Shrine, which has been forgotten due to the controversial visits to
the shrine by the prime minister, is now lying heavily upon those
who promote official visits to Yasukuni.

(3) Yasukuni Shrine - Where to go now (Part 7): Japan-China economic
relations and summit meetings; Gulf between political and business
circles over Shinkansen project

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
August 12, 2006

Influential business leaders held a round-table meeting with Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Hotel Okura on the night of Aug.
31, 2004, the day after the media reported that the Japanese
consortium had won a bid for constructing high-speed railway cars.
Prime Minister Koizumi told the group: "It was good that Japan was
able to win the contract."

Mitsubishi Corporation advisor Minoru Makihara promptly replied:
"But if the situation is left unchanged, Japan will fail to take
part in the Shinkansen or bullet train project."

(Then) Fuji Xerox Chairman Yotaro Kobayashi chimed it: "China hopes
that the prime minister would refrain from visiting Yasukuni
Shrine." Kobayashi headed the Japanese representatives for the New
Japan-China Friendship Committee for the 21st Century, an advisory
panel set up by the governments of Japan and China a year earlier.

Other participants echoed Kobayashi's sentiments, with one
remarking: "I want you to create an atmosphere to enable the leaders
of Japan and China to hold a summit meeting." China has cut off
summit meetings with Japan since Prime Minister Koizumi paid homage
at Yasukuni Shrine on New Year's Day of 2004.

Encircled by business leaders, Prime Minister Koizumi said in a
somewhat excited voicet: "Since I visit the shrine based on my own
political conviction, I will never change my mind. Visiting Yasukuni
is a matter quite separate from economic relations."

The Shinkansen project referred to by Makihara is a plan to
construct high-speed railways between Beijing and Shanghai. China
has made preparations for the plan in a full-scale way since 1994.
Japan, Germany, and France are vying to receive the contract, their
national prestige at stake.

In January 2004, when Jiang Zemin left office and was replaced by Hu
Jintao as president, the railway project was upgraded to a mid-term
railway network project. The railway net will stretch across China,
covering an area of 12,000 kilometers, including the distance
between Beijing and Shanghai (1,318 kilometers). This giant project
is estimated to be worth over 10 trillion yen. China plans to
complete by 2020 the project to build railways exclusively for
passenger trains with a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour,
the same as that of Japan's Shinkansen bullet trains. But the
project pointed to by Prime Minister Koizumi in the meeting was
another project to upgrade the existing trains operated in an area
of 20,000 kilometers across China to those capable of speeding up to
200 kilometers per hour.

The Japanese government had initially regarded receiving the
contract as "the symbol of friendly relations between Japan and
China." Seeing the scale of the project expanding further, however,
the prime minister, concerned cabinet ministers, and business

TOKYO 00004629 005 OF 008

circles began to cooperate in an effort to turn Japan into the
successful bidder. Many business leaders were worried about the
impact of Koizumi's Yasukuni visits.

On Sept. 13, 2004, just after the round-table meeting around Prime
Minister Koizumi, (then) Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)
Chairman Hiroshi Okuda met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in
Beijing as the head of the Japan-China Economic Association. That
was the 30th visit to China by the association.

Premier Wen broached in the meeting: "We must bring the bilateral
relationship to a mature phase." Apparently keeping in mind Prime
Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, the premier added:

"On the political front, there are several problems pending between
the two countries. China did not cause such problems. A few Japanese
politicians remain unable to deal with historical issues on their
own responsibility, without seeing matters from a broad standpoint.
In an attempt to dispose of serious problems pending between Japan
and China, an undesirable situation has frequently been caused."

In the Japan-China summit in Bangkok in October 2003, President Hu
expressed concerns about the Japanese prime minister's Yasukuni
visits for the first time. Prime Minister Koizumi replied: "Learning
the lessons from history, I will offer cooperation, thinking ahead
to the future." But only two months later, he paid homage at the
shrine on New Year's Day in 2004. China directed its anger at
Japan's business leaders.

The Japan Business Federation has sent a delegation to China every
year since 1994. In meetings with Chinese senior officials, the
delegation expressed Japan's willingness to extend cooperation for
the Shinkansen project. Since 2004, however, the Shinkansen issue
has not been taken up. The Japanese business community set up in
Keidanren a "council on cooperation in the project to construct a
Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway" in April 2003, but the panel
has suspended activities since May 2004.

In the Japan-China summit meeting in Santiago, Chile, in November
2004, as well, President Hu asked Prime Minister Koizumi to stop
visiting the shrine, but Koizumi, while stressing that his visits
were "a matter of the heart," has continued to pay homage at
Yasukuni Shrine.

(4) Abe to place junior and midlevel lawmakers in key posts in
positive way if he becomes prime minister, while eliminating
factional influence

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 15, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe decided not to accept in
principle recommendations from factions in the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) in selecting the three top LDP executives and cabinet
ministers, should he win the LDP presidential election and then
assume the prime minister's post, according to several sources. When
he runs for the presidency, he will leave the faction headed by
former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. By making the appointments
without giving consideration to factional balance, Abe intends to
follow the method adopted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Koizumi carried out surprise personnel changes. Abe, too, intends to
be proactive and appoint junior and mid-level lawmakers.

TOKYO 00004629 006 OF 008

Abe is concerned that if he gives consideration to factional balance
in choosing persons to key posts, his popularity will decline. Amid
the prediction that the LDP would face an uphill battle in the House
of Councillors election next summer, Abe also apparently aims to
stress the differences with the main opposition party Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan), which has formulated a tripartite
system of party management by President Ichiro Ozawa, Acting
President Naoto Kan, and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama.

Since former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and Defense Agency
Director General Fukushiro Nukaga gave up on running in the race,
various LDP factions have announced their support for Abe. With an
eye on the next Upper House election, many party members have called
on him to take into account an all-party arrangement. Abe's aide
said, "Mr. Abe did not ask each faction for support. He will decide
on the lineups of LDP executives and cabinet members on his own

Regarding cabinet posts for Upper House members and posts to the New
Komeito, the expectation is that he will respect the wishes of both.
The idea is being considered that cabinet ministers will pick their
own senior vice ministers and state secretaries.

(5) This summer marks 61st year of post-war politics part 1: Japan,
China jolted between friendship and confrontation over view of

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
August 12, 2006

This summer marks the 61st anniversary of Japan's defeat in the war.
What are disputes over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Yasukuni
Shrine visits questioning Japan's post-war politics? The Nihon
Keizai Shimbun probed into this question, based on accounts given by
eye witnesses.

Former Ambassador to China Sakutaro Tanino (70) was ordered to learn
Chinese in Taiwan when he was 24 years old, though the area of his
interest was the USSR. As a diplomat, he continued to watch
Japan-China relations, but he started his diplomatic career in a
manner against his will.

In 1973, shortly after the normalization of diplomatic ties between
Japan and China, he was assigned to the newly-opened Japanese
Embassy in Beijing. At that time, the town was flooded with
friendship slogans, such as "China-Japan friendship forever." His
eldest son went to a local school. He grades were all A's. His
teacher seriously said, "This is a proof of China-Japan

Leadership of top personnel

China launched efforts to normalize its ties with Japan in 1972,
when the Great Cultural Revolution was at the peak and anti-Japanese
sentiment was deep-rooted. At work behind China's move was
confrontation with the USSR, which escalated into an armed conflict
in 1968. Improving relations with the US and building friendship
with Japan became China's national policy. The Chinese government
contained anti-Japanese sentiment with the influence of Chairman Mao
Tsetung and Premier Zhou Enlai. In Japan, then Prime Minister Kakuei

Tanaka persuaded pro-Taiwan forces, saying, "I will prevail on the
party on my own responsibility."

TOKYO 00004629 007 OF 008

Before China started talks with Japan, the President Nixon made a
surprise visit to China in 1972. Tanino still remembers Zhou Enlai
at that time. Zhou had Chinese government officials in charge of
Japan affairs attend his talks with the US without fail, encouraging
them: "Listen very carefully to our talks with the US. What you
heard in talks now is bound to be of help in talks with Japan in

In China, Deng Xiaoping steered his policy from Mao's principle of
self-reliance to a reform and liberation policy shortly after the
late 1970s - early 1980s period. In 1978, Yasukuni Shrine enshrined
Class-A war criminals there. Tanino served as secretary to prime
minister in the timeframe between the revelation of the enshrinement
of Class-A war criminals and the spring of 1985. During this
timeframe, a total of 10 prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni,
including that by Zenko Suzuki, took place.

China never fully protested about prime ministerial visits to
Yasukuni until Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone visited the shrine
on the August 15 anniversary of the end of World War II. At that
time, China's priority was to sort out the confusion brought about
by the Great Cultural Revolution. Economic development was essential
in stabilizing the domestic situation. It had high hopes for Japan's
economic assistance. Such circumstances were observable in China's

However, dark clouds began to hang over Japan-China relations. Then
General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who had a personal relationship of
trust with Nakasone, fell from power. One reason for his downfall is
said to be that his pro-Japanese stance incurred opposition from
conservative forces. The end of the Cold War also affected China's
policy toward Japan. Its patriotic education, started in the mid
1990's, spread anti-Japanese sentiment.

China-being-a-threat argument gaining ground

Japan's view of China also changed in a delicate way. Commenting on
the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989, Tanino, who was then director
general of the Asian Affairs Bureau, said, "It was shocking." Though
all European countries imposed stern sanctions on China, Japan
insisted on its position, "Japan should not isolate China." However,
an argument regarding a fast-growing China as a threat has gained
ground in Japan.

In 1995, which marked the 50th anniversary of the end of the war,
Tanino, then chief Cabinet Councilor for External Affairs, worked
hard to draft the Prime Minister Murayama statement, which expressed
severe self-criticism and a heartfelt apology. It was then Minister
of International Trade and Industry Ryutaro Hashimoto, who decided
to include in the statement the word "the defeat in the war" instead
of "the end of the war."

China highly praised Japan's stance. However, Hashimoto visited the
shrine in 1996 (on his birthday, July 29). China heightened its
criticism of visits to Yasukuni Shrine by the Japanese prime
minister. China was supposed to have sorted out its stance toward
(its view of history) as: "Some militarists in Japan caused the war.
The Japanese people were the victims of the war as were the Chinese
people." However, allowing Yasukuni visits by key Japanese
politicians conflicts with the account China has hitherto given to
the people. Due to the dissemination of the Internet, the Chinese
government is now unable to control anti-Japanese sentiment as in

TOKYO 00004629 008 OF 008

the past.

Tanino stepped down as ambassador to China in 2001, when Junichiro
Koizumi became prime minister. Looking back on his career, he noted,
"I am glad I have been involved in China affairs." But he also
noted, "Both Japan and China tend to wrap themselves up in
suspicion. It is most important for top leaders to exchange views.
China's way of doing things is childish." When the ties of bilateral
relations were normalized, Japan contained its anti-Chinese
sentiment and China contained its anti-Japanese sentiment. Tanino
hopes that two countries will return to that starting point."


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