Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/23/06

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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's daily schedule: On vacation.

Political season:
3) Asahi poll: Abe favored by 53% to be next premier; income
disparity picked as top campaign issue by 32%, but 47% want him to
forego Yasukuni visits
4) Survey of LDP shows Abe has garnered over 70% of votes for next
month's LDP presidential election
5) Political contender Shinzo Abe to propose Japan-style NSC if he
is elected prime minister
6) Abe to establish study group in government to look into use of
right of collective self-defense, his pet project
7) Abe campaign pledged centering on constitutional revision,
education reform
8) All five potential candidates for LDP president finally meet in
regional bloc campaign rally
9) New Komeito's executive election on 9/30 but already Ota and
Kitagawa picked informally as representative and secretary general,
10) Minshuto President Ozawa plays (political) golf with key former
LDP postal rebels, with an apparent eye on cooperation in next Upper
House election

Defense and security issues:
11) JDA seeking 22.7 billion yen earmarked for anti-North
Korea-missile measures in next fiscal year's budget
12) JDA's missile defense budget request totals 220 billion yen
13) US senior official expects to see USFJ realignment-related bill
submitted to next regular Diet session

14) LDP Secretary General Takebe journeys to Russia to discuss
recent fishing boat shooting and capturing incident

Iraq assistance:
15) Foreign Minister Aso in meeting with Iraq's national security
adviser Rubaie, promises continued reconstruction assistance
16) Interviewed by Mainichi, Iraq's national security adviser sees
first stage of pullout of multinational forces next spring



Financial Services Agency to inspect Acom again over suspected
improper leading practices

Iran rejects calls to freeze uranium enrichment

Health ministry to set up a third party organ to look into
suspicious medical-related deaths as early as FY2008

Nihon Keizai:
Labor ministry mulling unemployment insurance premiums that can
change with economy

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Mizuho to file suit against TSE for 40.4 billion in compensation for

Tokyo Shimbun:
Poll: Abe may garner more than 70% of votes in LDP presidential

(Not delivered yet)


(1) Increase in number of births: Ordinary life is important
(2) Shortage of physicians: There are many ways to increase medical

(1) Increase in number of births: Steady efforts needed rather than
(2) Koizumi displayed political identity but he is like a dangerous
Maverick (Yoshinori Nakai, editorial committee member)

(1) LDP presidency: Candidates must spell out policies
(2) Return of Yokota airspace: Coordination between military and
private-sector necessary

Nihon Keizai:
In order to heighten the continuity of social security programs,
drastic countermeasures for the falling birthrate is needed

(1) One week after shooting on fishing boat: Japan should not be
swayed by Russia's assertion to return only two of the four northern
(2) Increase in number of births: Let's encourage women to give

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Postal management plan: Top priority should be on fair
(2) Tourist-attracting country: Expansion of exchanges in Asia is a
boost for Japan

(Not delivered yet)

3) Poll: 53% favor Abe as next premier

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
August 23, 2006

With Foreign Minister Aso having announced his candidacy for the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election, there are
now three candidates ready to run in the race, including Chief
Cabinet Secretary Abe and Finance Minister Tanigaki. Meanwhile, the
Asahi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide public
opinion survey from the evening of Aug. 21 through Aug. 22. In the
survey, 53% of respondents favored Abe as the next prime minister,
with 14% preferring Aso and 10% choosing Tanigaki. Prime Minister

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Koizumi visited Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15. Respondents were asked
if they thought his successor should visit the shrine, with 47%
saying "no" and 31% saying "yes."

Respondents were asked to pick one from among four given
choices-Aso, Abe, Tanigaki, and "others" for the next prime
minister. Among LDP and Koizumi cabinet supporters, a total of 70%
supported Abe.

Asked about Koizumi's Aug. 15 visit to Yasukuni Shrine, affirmative
opinions outnumbered negative ones, with 49% saying it was good and
37% saying he should not have visited the shrine. When it comes to
the advisability of his successor visiting Yasukuni Shrine, however,
negative opinions outnumbered affirmative ones.

In a previous survey conducted in July, 60% answered that the next
prime minister should not visit Yasukuni Shrine. In the latest
survey, the proportion of negative opinions was lower than that of
July. However, those opposed to the next prime minister's shrine
visits continued to form a majority. Even among those who said
Koizumi's shrine visit was good, nearly 20% said they were opposed
to the next prime minister doing so. Among those who picked Abe as
the next prime minister, affirmative answers (43% ) outnumbered
negative ones (37% ). Among those who preferred Aso, negative
answers accounted for 49%. Among those who picked Tanigaki, negative
opinions accounted for 75%.

Abe has kept mum about whether he will visit Yasukuni Shrine. Asked
about his stance, affirmative answers accounted for 32%, with
negative answers at 54%. Respondents were further asked if they felt
something wrong with the fact that Class-A war criminals are
enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine. In response to this question, 47%
answered "no," with 41% saying "yes."

4) Poll: Abe may garner over 70% of votes in party election

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Abridged)
August 23, 2006

With the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election
slated for Sept. 20, the Tokyo Shimbun yesterday probed into the
support trends of 403 LDP Dietmembers. As a result, the survey found
that about 290 persons or more than 70% of the LDP lawmakers have
now made up their minds to vote for Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo
Abe. In addition, the Tokyo Shimbun has also found from its recent
survey of political monitors on the Internet that more than 70% of
the party's 300 votes allotted to its nonparliamentary local bloc
members are also expected to be cast for Abe. The LDP's
parliamentary and bloc votes total 703, and the surveys shows that
Abe will likely garner more than 500 votes, far over a majority or
352 votes.

The trends of LDP lawmakers were analyzed on the basis of individual
interviews with them and findings from LDP executives. The Tokyo
Shimbun conducted similar surveys on July 21 and Aug. 5.

When the most recent survey was conducted, Finance Minister Sadakazu
Tanigaki and Foreign Minister Taro Aso had respectively secured
about 20 LDP lawmakers' recommendations they need to run in the
race. However, both Tanigaki and Aso have since been hanging low in
support from LDP lawmakers.

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In the meantime, the Tokyo Shimbun chose 500 monitors for Internet
polling on Aug. 16-21 and obtained answers from 429 persons or

In this Net survey, respondents were asked which political party
they support. Among those who answered they support the LDP, 73.2%
recommended Abe, with 14.3% preferring Aso and 8.9 choosing

Given that the LDP's local bloc members at large also tend to vote
like LDP lawmakers, Abe would garner about 220 votes from his
party's local members, adding up to about 510 votes.

If no candidates garner more than half of the votes in the first
ballot, the top two will run off. However, Abe will likely win the
race in the first ballot.

5) Abe to propose Japan-style national security council

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
August 23, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, appearing in yesterday's joint
convention of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's southern and
northern Kanto blocs, stated that if he comes into office as prime
minister, he would set up a body, which would be like the National
Security Council (NSC) of the US government, in order to consolidate
under one body Japan's foreign and security policies. This is aimed
at strengthening the independent diplomatic and security functions
of the prime minister's office (Kantei).

The new security body, according to Abe's plan, will be made up of
the prime minister, the chief cabinet secretary, the foreign
minister, the defense secretary general, the Self-Defense Forces'
Joint Staff Office chief, and certain other members, and it will
collect and analyze diplomatic and security information. In
addition, it will also have flexible policy planning functions, as
well as readiness for emergencies. The Security Council of Japan
(SCJ), currently set up in the government, has been criticized as a
mere facade, so Abe's advocacy appears to be based on such

"The foundation of Japan's foreign and security policies is based on
the Japan-US alliance, so we will need to make it possible for us to
talk not only between the Foreign Ministry and the State Department
but also between the prime minister's office and the White House,"
Abe stressed in the convention. With this, Abe clarified that he
would like to facilitate direct talks between the prime minister's
office and the White House through the newly planned security

In addition, Abe also said Japan would also have a security
assistant to the prime minister like the national security adviser
to the US president.

6) Abe plans to establish an experts panel in government to study
collective self-defense cases

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
August 23, 2006

Ahead of his victory in the upcoming LDP presidential election,

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Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe decided yesterday to establish an
experts' panel in the government to determine in advance
specifically what cases constitute exercising the right of
collective self-defense with the aim of facilitating the
Self-Defense Forces' overseas missions.

According to the government's interpretation of the Constitution,
Japan is not allowed to exercise the right of collective
self-defense. The Cabinet Legislation Bureau and the New Komeito are
reluctant to change the government's interpretation. Given the
situation, Abe intends to specific determine cases in which Japan
can exercise the individual self-defense right instead of the
collective self-defense right, while keeping the government's
interpretation intact.

Suppose an enemy missile attacked a US vessel during joint action
with the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the MSDF vessel 1 kilometer
away from the attacked US vessel was also within the missile's
range. Under the current interpretation, the MSDF's counterattack in
this case on the enemy country constitutes an exercise of the
collective self-defense. A person close to Abe thinks that in this
case, the MSDF should be allowed to counterattack the enemy by using
the individual self-defense right because the MSDF vessel is within
the range of the enemy missile.

Further, even if a foreign force taking joint action with the SDF on
an overseas mission was attacked, the SDF's counterattack is
regarded as the use of force, which is prohibited under the
Constitution. The panel will study if such a case can constitute the
use of weapons, which is permitted for self-defense.

7) In campaign for LDP presidency, Abe to give priority to
constitutional revision, educational reform

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
August 23, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe has decided to give priority to a
constitutional revision and educational reform in his policy
platform for the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election in
September. He will stress the need to completely rewrite the
Constitution, as well as to introduce an education voucher system
designed to encourage competition among schools and foster a mind
that respect communities. In an effort to strengthen diplomacy led
by Kantei, Abe will pledge to set up a Japanese version of the
National Security Council in the United States under the prime
minister. He will outline these vision policies he will pursue if he
becomes prime minister when he announces his candidacy on Sept. 1.

Delivering a speech in Yokohama yesterday, Abe regarded a
constitutional revision as the next administration's top priority
task, saying:

"To present the picture of a new Japan, I am determined to launch
the process of forming a new constitution. The next leader must
demonstrate leadership and place the task of drafting a new
constitution on the political schedule."

It is a common practice that the Diet proposes revising the
Constitution, but Abe believes that the party leader should take the
initiative. Based on the view that it will take at least five years
or so before the Constitution is rewritten, though, he will not

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present a specific timeframe.

Abe has proposed allowing the Self-Defense Force to exercise the
right to collective self-defense by changing the government's
interpretation of the Constitution, but the campaign platform will
not contain this proposal. He intends to put it forth during policy

In the speech in Yokohama, Abe also stressed the importance of
educational reform, saying: "What we must tackle now is to
revitalize education." He will play up eagerness to enact at an
early date a bill to amend the Fundamental Law of Education, on
which no conclusion was reached in the latest regular Diet session,
and to pursue "education that will contribute to fostering a mind
that loves the family, the homeland, and the nation."

Under the education voucher system, vouchers are distributed to
families with children, and parents choose a school for their child.
Schools that can attract many students will strengthen their
financial strength. The system is aimed to bolster competition among
public schools and improve the quality of education. Abe also has in
mind plans to set up an expert consultative body and to make public
service activities compulsory.

8) LDP presidential candidates take part in convention of the
party's southern and northern Kanto chapters

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 23, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Foreign Minister Taro Aso, and
Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, who will run in the Sept. 20
Liberal Democratic Party presidential election, got together
yesterday for the first time at a convention of members of the LDP's
southern and northern Kanto chapters held in Yokohama. The three
candidates spoke of their own policies for about 10 minutes
individually. There were no clear differences in their social
security policy, including the pension programs, in which the public
has great interest. All their answers were premised on maintaining
the current system.

Regarding the pension issue, Abe said: "We must create as early as
possible a system to let the public know how much subscribers should
pay, how long, and how much they will receive." He stated, "The
rumor that the pension system will soon disappear is mistaken."
Tanigaki underscored: "Burdens and returns should be made clear. In
order to prevent a moral hazard, priority should be given to
maintaining the social security system rather than the tax system."

9) New Komeito has internally picked new party line, with formal
decision on Sept. 30: Ota to be party representative, Kitagawa will
be secretary general

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpt)
August 23, 2006

With New Komeito Representative Takenori Kanzaki (63) resigning in
Sept., the party yesterday set its new lineup of executives, with
Akihiro Ota (60) slated to be Kanzaki's successor. The final
confirmation was reached last weekend at an informal meeting between
party officials and the Soka Gakkai, the party's parent support
body. Tetsuzo Fuyushiba (70) will also resign as party secretary

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general, with his place to be taken by Kazuo Kitagawa (53),
currently national land and transportation minister. The New Komeito
has timed its executive reshuffle to match the Liberal Democratic
Party's presidential election in September.

10) Minshuto President Ozawa enjoys some social golf with former LDP
postal rebels: Is he making an appeal for cooperation in next year's
Upper House election?

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Except)
August 23, 2006

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) yesterday played golf at course
in Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture with a group of former LDP postal
rebels, including People's New Party Watanaku, who bolted the
Liberal Democratic Party in opposition to legislation to privatize
the postal services, former minister of economy, trade and industry
Takeo Hiranuma, now an independent, and former LDP General Council
Chairman Mitsuo Horiuchi, also an independent. The golf session was
called together by Ozawa's close friend, former justice minister
Nakai, under the pretext of a friendly gathering of Keio University

It would appear that the real reason for the golfing event was to
allow Ozawa to make an appeal to the assembly for cooperation in
next summer's Upper House election. It was also a chance for Ozawa
to ask Watanuki for cooperation in such elections as the one in
Ishikawa district.

11) Defense Agency to request 22.7 billion yen in fiscal 2007 to
deal with North Korean ballistic missiles

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
August 23, 2006

In the wake of Pyongyang's ballistic missile launches, the Defense
Agency decided yesterday to incorporate 22.7 billion yen in its
fiscal 2007 budgetary request to deal with North Korean missiles.
The request is mostly for purchasing PAC-3 ground-to-air interceptor
missiles. The agency will also earmark funds for upgrading the
performance of electronic surveillance aircraft. The budgetary
request will be made public on August 31.

The agency will increase its capability to detect signs of launching
ballistic missiles in advance. To that end, it will earmark costs
for upgrading the Maritime Self-Defense Force's EP-3 surveillance
aircraft and for research and development of infrared sensors that
can fit onto drones in the future.

The agency plans to deploy PAC-3 missiles by fiscal 2010 at four
places, beginning with the Air Self-Defense Force's Iruma base in
Saitama Prefecture later this fiscal year.

12) Defense Agency to request 220 billion yen for frontloading MD

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
August 23, 2006

The Defense Agency decided yesterday to request a total of 220
billion yen in fiscal 2007 for an early introduction of a missile
defense (MD) system. The agency originally intended to request 196

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billion yen. But North Korea's missile launches on July 5 prompted
the agency to request additional 23 billion yen for purchasing PAC-3
ground-to-air guided missiles and conducing research on an infrared
sensor to detect ballistic missiles. The agency will purchase
missiles from the United States to increase its number to enhance
the MD system.

Also included in the budgetary request are 170 billion yen for the
introduction of an Aegis vessel carrying sea-based SM-3 interceptor
missiles and 25 billion yen for Japan-US joint research on the MD

The agency plans to deploy in the current fiscal year the PAC-3 as
the first case at the Iruma base in Saitama Prefecture, which houses
the Air Self-Defense Force's 1st Air Defense Missile Group.

The agency has asked the United States to deliver Patriot missiles
to Japan on a priority basis for an early introduction of the MD
system. The US has basically responded positively to Japan.

13) USFJ realignment legislation to be submitted to regular Diet
session next year

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 23, 2006

A government official said yesterday that a set of bills related to
the realignment of US forces in Japan would be submitted to a
regular Diet session next year. The reason is that a bill revising
the law to allow the government to use the International Cooperation
Bank to finance the relocation of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam
will become one of bills related to a budget for next fiscal year,
which will be presented at the next regular Diet session.

14) LDP Secretary General Takebe to leave for Moscow tomorrow to
protest seizure of Japanese fishermen

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 23, 2005

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe
revealed yesterday in an executive meeting that he would leave for
Russia on Aug. 24 to lodge a protest with the Russian government on
the seizure of the Japanese fishing boat Kisshin-maru, seeking an
apology and compensations. He will also ask Moscow to release the
crewmembers who have been detained by Russian authorities. Takebe is
expected to meet with Agriculture Minister Aleksey Gordeyev on Aug.
24. He will then hold talks on Aug. 25 with the director of the
Fisheries Agency.

15) Foreign Minister Aso reveals Japan's continued support for Iraq

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 23, 2006

Foreign Minister Taro Aso met with Iraqi National Security Adviser
al-Rubaie at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. In reference to his
visit to Baghdad on Aug. 3, Aso said: "The visit provided an
important opportunity as the first step for the two countries to
deepen political dialogue and economic relations." He then confirmed
Japan's continued assistance to Iraq. Al-Rubaie expressed his
appreciation for the Ground Self-Defense Force troops that withdrew

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from Iraq after completing their humanitarian and reconstruction
mission in Samawah, saying: "They were like angels, not soldiers."

Later, al-Rubaie met Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro
Nukaga and stated: "I am grateful for continued operations by the
Air Self-Defense Force."

16) Iraq gov't security adviser Rubaie indicates possibility of
coalition forces' withdrawal from Iraq early next year

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
August 23, 2006

In an exclusive interview with the Mainichi Shimbun in Tokyo
yesterday, visiting National Security Adviser al-Rubaie said that
Iraqi security forces would be able to independently take over
security operations almost across the nation by the end of this
year. He also indicated the possibility that the environment would
be arranged early next year for the coalition forces to pull out of
Iraq, saying: "I hope that the stationing of (the US-led) coalition
forces in Iraq will become unnecessary in the near future."

As the precondition for withdrawing the coalition forces, al-Rubaie
cited the strengthening of Iraqi security forces, remarking: "If the
number of Iraqi security troops who completed training increases, it
will become possible to phase out coalition troops." At present,
Iraqi forces take charge of about 60% of the security operations in
the nation, but al-Rubaie hinted at the possibility of Iraqi forces
being able to be responsible for national security duties almost
100% by the end of the year. He added that once this situation is
brought about, "The coalition forces will begin preparations to pull
out of Iraq in stages." Asked about the timing for the withdrawal,
al-Rubaie replied, "Disclosing it will only benefit armed


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