Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/07/06

DE RUEHKO #5091/01 2502325
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E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule

4) President Bush may meet new Japanese premier in November at APEC

Defense and security issues:
5) ASDF carries out initial cargo transport run from Kuwait to Iraq
under new arrangement
6) Newly declassified Pentagon document reveal nuclear-armed US Navy
ships regularly made port calls in Japan
7) Rear Adm. James Kelly, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan: New
Navy carrier not likely to be homeported in Guam
8) US, Japan military officers reviewing response to DPRK's July 5
missile launches
9) USFK's transfer of military authority to ROK forces could impact
on USFJ realignment process, as well
10) Minshuto, SDP to pursue Shinzo Abe in Diet for his remark on
using collective self-defense right

Foreign affairs:
11) Japan, ROK vice foreign ministers carry out strategic dialogue

12) National Defense Academy President Iokibe criticizes Koizumi's
"paralysis in Asia policy" on prime minister's own e-mail magazine

13) JCP Chairman Shii meets National Assembly speaker and other
dignitaries in Seoul
14) Minshuto President Ozawa participates in grass-roots exchange
program in Colorado
15) Foreign Ministry to loosen up way ODA grant money can be spent

LDP presidential race:
16) 80% of LDP lawmakers now back Abe for president
17) Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe in campaign interview
comments on Murayama statement on Japan's wartime acts
18) Abe if elected will launch another reorganization of central
government offices

19) With birth of boy into royal house, Diet shelves until next
regular session revision of Imperial Household Law that would have
allowed female on throne



Participation by crime victims in criminal trials now considered

Poll: 80% of LDP lawmakers support Abe in presidential race; Abe
leads in 31 prefectures ahead of the announcement of LDP
presidential election tomorrow

Yomiuri & Sankei:
Prince Akishino and his family meet newborn prince at hospital

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Nihon Keizai:
Automakers to make China, India their bases for exports to Europe

Tokyo Shimbun:
Fabrication of earthquake-resistance data: Aneha admits to charges

JCP Chairman Shii exchanges views with South Korean National
Assembly Chairman Im Chae Jung on peace in East Asia


(1) Newborn prince: A blessed event
(2) Control of money lending business: Who will benefit from
revisions to the Money Lending Control Law?

(1) Newborn prince: Birth truly a blessed event
(2) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) and New Komeito: Choice of
party head without vote is no good

Princess Kiko's delivery: Imperial birth truly a blessed event

Nihon Keizai:
(1) Newborn prince is a blessed event
(2) "Exceptions" to interest rate control should be minimum

Princess Kiko's delivery: We'd like to warmly watch over the growth
of newborn prince

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Newborn prince: A blessed event
(2) MSDF ship's misfiring: Organizational problem?

Put an end to "disposable" labor force!

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, September 6

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Saluted by ceremonial troops at the Defense Agency. Met with Defense
Agency chief Nukaga, followed by high-level SDF officers.

Met at Kantei with Environment Minister Koike.

Met with Administrative Vice Finance Minister Fujii and Vice
Minister for Finance for International Affairs Watanabe.

Attended award ceremony for contributors to disaster prevention.


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Signed at the Imperial Palace his name on the book cerebrating
Princess Kiko's giving birth to a boy.

Singed at Prince Akishino's residence his name on the book.

Attended at Kantei government-ruling party meeting.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

Met with Ambassador to Israel Maeda, followed by National Police
Agency Commissioner General Uruma.

Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani, followed by Japan
Business Federation Chairman Mitarai.

Held informal meeting with high-level SDF officers.

Returned to his official residence.

4) The first summit between US president and new prime minister may
occur in November

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Masaya Oikawa, Washington

A US State Department official yesterday said that though it is
undecided when the first Japan-US summit between Japan's new prime
and President Bush will take place, he added, "There is various
speculations but if you look the political calendar, the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum would be about the
closest." The official hinted that one option would be to hold a
bilateral summit on the sidelines of the APEC conference in Vietnam
slated for Nov. 18-19.

Referring to the current mood in Japan that Chief Cabinet Secretary
Shinzo Abe is seen as the most likely contender to succeed Koizumi,
who has built a personal relationship with Bush, the official
emphasized: "No matter who is elected, there will be no major
change. Japan will not change its policy toward the United States."
He also pointed out that "the President is certainly looking forward
to the first summit meeting with the new prime minister." In
addition, referring to calls by Abe and others for constitutional
revisions, he said, "That is a matter for Japan to decide."
"Expansion of the two countries' relations will benefit both greatly
and potential for joint operations will expand," he added, revealing
expectations for revision of Article 9 of the Constitution.

5) ASDF planes make first flight to Iraq to transport UN supplies

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Kuwait-based Air Self-Defense Force C-130 transport planes, which

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have been on an airlift mission for the US-led coalition forces in
Iraq, flew into Baghdad and Arbil in northern Iraq for the first
time on Sept. 6 to transport UN personnel and supplies, the Defense
Agency announced yesterday. After the Ground Self-Defense Force
troops pulled out of Iraq, the ASDF has decided to provide transport
assistance to the UN besides the coalition forces, given declined
demand for transport to Tallil near Samawah.

6) Nuclear-armed US warships regularly entered Japanese ports,
proved by newly declassified US government document

AKAHATA (Page 1) (Excerpts)
September 7, 2006

The existence of a US government internal document has been revealed
that prove US military vessels armed with nuclear weapons regularly
paid port calls in Japan. The vessels included US military supply
ships and fell under a secret agreement between Japan and the United
States that allowed the carrying into Japan of nuclear weapons.

On the existence of a secret compact that allowed the carrying into
Japan of nuclear weapons by ships and other means, then Japanese
Communist Party Chairman Tetsuzo Fuwa pursued the issue in the Diet
repeatedly in 2000, citing several classified US government
documents. This time, the newly declassified document clearly proves
what Fuwa had pursued.

The document is a list of agreements on nuclear weapons with 22
countries related to US military being allowed to enter while
carrying such arms. It was drafted by the office of the assistant
secretary of the Defense Department on October 8, 1968. The

declassified document was made public by the National Security
Archives (NSA), a private research organization in the United
States. About half of the document has been excised, and the names
of the countries, as well, have been blotted out. But NSA's William
Barr (TN: phonetic) pointed out that about five pages clearly refer
to Japan. In the Japan portion, there is reference many times to a
record of discussion that is the full text of the Japan-US secret
pact that was signed in January 1960. It reconfirms the contents of
the secret agreement that prior consultation did not apply to cases
in which US warships armed with nuclear weapons entered Japanese
waters or entered Japanese ports, and that there "exists a common
understanding of this."

7) US Naval Forces Japan commander: Navy not likely to deploy a new
carrier to Guam

SANKEI (Page 9) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Meeting the press yesterday, Rear Admiral Kelly, commander of US
Naval Forces Japan, indicated that a new carrier the US Navy plans
to deploy in the Pacific in the spring of next year -- the sixth for
the region -- would not likely be deployed to Guam.

As candidate locations for the deployment, Kelly confirmed that
Bremerton in the State of Washington, San Diego in the State of
California, Pearl Harbor in the State of Hawaii, and Guam are under
consideration. Referring to the possibility of the choice of Guam,
Kelly stated: "(In order to use it as the home port), the
construction of infrastructure and some other construction works
would be required so that it can maintain its current capabilities.

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We hope to make it maintain such capabilities as required for the
carrier to stop there) and stay for a certain period of time there,
but (Guam) will not be chosen as the home port."

8) Japan-US to examine responses to North Korean missiles

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

The Japanese and US governments will hold the first Japan-US review
meeting of foreign and defense officials of the two countries today
in Tokyo to examine measures taken following North Korea's firing of
ballistic missiles on July 5. The meeting will be joined by Foreign
Ministry North American Affairs Bureau chief Chikao Kawai from the
Japanese side and officials of US State Department, Pentagon, and US
forces in Japan from the US side.

9) South Korea wants operational command be shifted speedily from US
military; Symbol of independence for Roh administration; US points
to 2009

ASAHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 7, 2006

Talks are underway between Washington and Seoul to transfer wartime
operational command from the US military to the South Korean
military. The United States has announced its intention to transfer
command in 2009, three years ahead of the South Korean plan,
reversing its reluctance to South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's
call for "independent defense." The focus is now on exactly when the
transfer will occur. A view has emerged that given the North Korean
missile and nuclear threats, a transfer of command would inevitably
affect Japan, as well.

USFJ realignment may be affected

Once operational command is transferred, will there be a smooth
transition to a defense system led by the South Korean military?
Will it result in a major reduction in US forces in South Korea? The
answers to these questions are unclear at present. Depending on how
the talks unfold, the plan may have an impact on the realignment of
US forces in Japan, as well.

Once command is transferred, South Korean forces may have to fight
on the frontline with US forces only providing support with less
responsibility and more flexibility. This would coincide with
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's plan to review and realign US troops
worldwide to increase efficiency. Former Ground Self-Defense Force
Chief of Staff Hikaru Tomizawa, who is familiar with USFK, noted:
"This represents Washington's strong desire to avoid being dragged
into a ground war at Asia at a time when the Middle East is in

The Bush administration has decided to reduce the size of US forces
in South Korea by one-third, mostly ground troops, as part of the
ongoing global transformation of US forces. The administration is
shifting the weight of deterrence against North Korea to the Navy
and Air Force, while increasing the capability of US Navy vessels
deployed in Japan and strengthening cooperation between the US Air
Force and Japan's Air Self-Defense Force.

How to reform the functions of ground force commands in Japan and

TOKYO 00005091 006 OF 012

South Korea have been a major challenge in US force realignment, but
the US has not presented any specific plan to Japan.

If US forces in South Korea are scaled down deeply after command is
transferred, US Army 1st Corps headquarters may become the hub
command to control US forces in Northeast Asia once it is shifted to
Japan. If so, Japan might be integrated deeply into the US military
strategy, in addition to bearing an increased burden for training
and supplies.

10) Minshuto, SDP to pursue Abe's comment on right of collective
self-defense in upcoming Diet session

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

In reaction to Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe's eagerness to
study the option of changing the government's view on the right of
collective self-defense, the largest opposition party Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) and the Social Democratic Party
indicated yesterday that they would pursue Abe's intention in the
upcoming extraordinary Diet session.

Minshuto Policy Research Council Chairman Takeaki Matsumoto told a
press conference yesterday:

"Whether or not to allow the government to alter its current view is
controversial. But changes cannot be made beyond the country's
exclusively defense-oriented policy under the Constitution. Japan is
not allowed to exercise the right of collective self-defense beyond

SDP head Mizuho Fukushima also said in a press conference:

"Under the Constitution, Japan cannot exercise the right of
collective self-defense. Any comments trampling on the government's
view are not acceptable. We are going to point that out in the
upcoming session."

11) Japan-ROK strategic dialogue kicks off; Views exchanged on EEZ

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Kiyoshi Nakamura, Seoul

The Japan-South Korea vice ministerial strategic dialogue between
Japanese Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and
South Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung
Hwan began yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in
Seoul on a two-day schedule.

The two officials exchanged views on talks on the demarcation of the
exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of the two countries, which had
continued until the previous day in Seoul. After the meeting, Yachi
spoke of Japan's planned radiation survey in waters around
Takeshima/Dokdo and stated: "On the premise that Japan will conduct
the survey, we are discussing what will be the best way. Our
discussions are continuing."

12) National Defense Academy President Iokibe criticizes Prime
Minister Koizumi in Kantei email magazine for paralyzing Asia

TOKYO 00005091 007 OF 012


ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

In the Koizumi cabinet's email magazine to be distributed today,
National Defense Academy President Makoto Iokibe criticizes Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi, writing, "I wonder how much (the prime
minister) has through the Yasukuni issue alone paralyzed Asia
diplomacy and worsened the constructive relations with other
countries Japan has built." It is an unusual for a message critical
of Koizumi to be included in the magazine.

In his contribution titled "My view of the five years of the Koizumi
government," Iokibe said, "Confidence, which I call an external
asset, was significantly damaged by the prime minister's persistence
in visiting Yasukuni Shrine." He also wrote: "Prime Minister
Koizumi's strong attraction and popularity among the public have
prevented criticism of his Asia diplomacy." While praising his
efforts for relations with the United States and his visits to North
Korea, he wrote: "He made a big mistake in Asia diplomacy, but his
successors have an opportunity to deal with it." Iokibe expressed
his hopes for the next government's effort to repair soured
relations with China and South Korea.

13) JCP Chairman Shii meets with South Korean National Assembly
chairman; Trying to wipe out image of being too close to North

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Takeshi Nakagawa, Seoul

Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Chairman Kazuo Shii, who is now
visiting South Korea, met yesterday in Seoul with the National
Assembly chairman and two opposition party leaders separately. At
Yonse University, he had exchanges with students. He was desperately
trying to clear up his party's image of having close ties with North

In his meeting with National Assembly Chairman Im Chae Jong, Shi
explained his party's position toward the prime minister's visits to
Yasukuni Shrine, saying: "Whoever become the next prime minister, we
will oppose the visits. The problem is not only that the shrine
honors Class-A war criminals but also the views of history that
glorify the war." Im then responded, "If Japan takes such a
position, tension between the two countries will be eased."

During his meeting with the Democratic Party, one member said with
humor, "This is the visit to our party by the Japanese Communist
Party, which reminds us of North Korea." Another lawmaker said, "I
thought that you have had exchanges with North Korea." Shii is
expected to call on five political parties.

14) Minshuto head Ozawa hosts grassroots gathering in Colorado

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Hisayuki Hayashi, Denver, Colorado

TOKYO 00005091 008 OF 012

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) President Ichiro Ozawa, now
visiting the United States, met on Sept. 5 (Sept. 6, Japan time) in
Colorado Springs with about 200 Japanese and American citizens, who
will take part in a grassroots gathering that Ozawa will host.

This exchange program has been conducted since 1991. Participants
are recruited from each country, and the members visit each other's
country, alternating between Japan and the US every year, to
strengthen friendship. They engaged in sightseeing and dialogues. So
far, more than 20,000 have taken part in the program.

Ozawa said:

"Relations between Japan and the United States on the face of it
have been doing well, but that is far from the case in reality.
Since Japan-US relations are most important for Japan, we are
conducting activities to strengthen bilateral ties."

Ozawa will announce on Sept. 11 his candidacy for the party's
presidential election. His US visit at this juncture is aimed to
play up the promotion of private exchanges, in contrast to the
official exchanges by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief
Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, according to a person close to Ozawa.

Ozawa will return home today.

15) Unrestricted framework for grant-aid ODA

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 3) (Full)
September 7, 2006

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) plans to provide grant aid
that can be, in principle, used at the discretion of recipient
countries, starting fiscal 2007. Projects to help resolve poverty
will become eligible for this scheme. MOFA has African nations in
mind as chief recipients. Funds from this framework will be provided
to between three and five countries, including Tanzania and Ghana,
next fiscal year. The government intends to make this official
development assistance (ODA) for measures to deal with poverty lead
to strengthened relations with African nations.

Under the grant aid assistance strategy for reducing poverty to be
established anew, recipients will map out three-to-five-year
development programs designed to reduce poverty in cooperation with
the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Japan's
funds will be used for such projects. MOFA expects that Japan will
strengthen relations with African nations and that an increasing
number of those countries will support Japan's bid for a permanent
seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

16) Poll: Abe lines up support from 80% of LDP lawmakers, on top in
31 prefectures

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Full)
September 7, 2006

The Liberal Democratic Party presidential race will kick off
following the official announcement tomorrow of the Sept. 20
election. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, Finance Minister
Sadakazu Tanigaki, and Foreign Minister Taro Aso have declared their
candidacy, and from them the next prime minister will be elected.
According to an opinion poll by the Mainichi Shimbun, 321, or about

TOKYO 00005091 009 OF 012

80%, of the 403 LDP lawmakers have decided to vote for Abe. A survey
of secretaries general and other senior members of LDP local
chapters also showed that Abe is on top in 31 prefectures, nearly
70% of all the prefectures. An Abe landslide is now certain.

In the LDP presidential election, the three contenders will contest
703 votes: 403 held by lawmakers and 300 allocated to prefectural

At present, Abe is likely to win 500 votes, or about 70%. It is
certain that he will be elected on the first ballot.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun survey, all members of both the
Mori faction (86 members) to which Abe belongs and the Nikai faction
(15) have decided to vote for Abe. Almost all members of the Komura
faction (15) and the Ibuki faction (32) have also decided to support
Abe. In the Tsushima faction (74) and the Niwa/Koga faction (48),
about 80% favor Abe. Even in the Yamasaki faction (36), chaired by
former Vice President Taku Yamasaki, who has been critical of Abe,
about 60% are willing to vote for Abe. Among LDP lawmakers who do
not belong to a faction (71), 57, or about 80%, have decided to
support Abe.

Those who have decided to vote for Tanigaki total 28: 15 Tanigaki
faction members, 8 from the Yamasaki faction, including Yamasaki,
several members from the Tsushima and Niwa/Koga factions, and LDP
lawmakers of no faction.

Aso has secured 22 votes: 11 members of the Kono faction, some
members from the Tsushima, Niwa/Koga, Yamasaki, and Ibuki factions,
and members of no faction. About 30 lawmakers have yet to decide on
whom they will vote for.

The survey of senior members of the prefectural LDP chapters was
conducted from Aug. 29 through Sept. 4. Votes will be distributed to
each chapter under the d'Hondt formula based on the number of party
members. The survey found Abe in the lead in 31 prefectures,
including Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Aichi. Tanigaki has a lead in
Yamagata and Kyoto, while Aso is the top contender in his home
district of Fukuoka and Ibaraki, according to the survey. In Iwate,
Abe and Aso are neck-and-neck, and 11 prefectures refused to respond
or remained undecided.

17) Abe avoids clear comment on whether he would adhere to Murayama
statement, suggests entrusting assessment of WWI to historians

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 7, 2006

In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun and other news companies
yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe avoided giving a clear
response to a question asking whether he, if elected prime minister,
would follow the 1995 Murayama statement. In the statement, Prime
Minister Murayama expressed remorse and an apology for Japan's
colonial rule and past military aggression. Saying, "That is a
historical statement," Abe added: "Once the next cabinet is formed,
the cabinet should express its views about Japan's past acts." Abe
has stopped short of giving his assessment of World War II since
assuming his current post last October. This remark indicates that
even if he assumes the premiership, Abe will maintain his current
stance of entrusting the assessment of the war to historians.

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The Murayama statement referred to the nation's colonial rule and
war acts, noting: "Japan inflicted tremendous damage and suffering
on people in Asian countries," and expressing "deep remorse" and "a
sincere apology." Prime Minister Koizumi also clearly said in a Diet
reply: "I share the same perception."

Abe, though, was overheard expressing to his aides a sense of
discomfort about the Murayama statement and the repeated apologies
made by successive prime ministers based on the Murayama statement.

In a press conference held just after the interview yesterday, when
asked in what form he is going to issue a new historical view, Abe
indicated he had no intention of issuing a statement expressing his
own historical views, saying:

"The Murayama statement is now a historical statement. I think there
is no need to issue another statement and that historians should
take charge of assessing the nation's past conduct."

Asked if he would adhere to the Murayama statement, Abe only said:
"The government announced (the statement) at home and abroad on the
day marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the war."

Regarding the neighboring countries provision mandating the
government to give consideration to its neighboring countries in
authorizing school textbooks, Abe commented: "We will take into
consideration what feelings neighboring countries have. I have no
intention of immediately scrapping the provision."

18) Shinzo Abe considering further reorganization of government
agencies to promote small government: Room to constrain public

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, who declared his candidacy for
the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election, revealed
during an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun and other dailies
a plan to consider further reorganization of central government
agencies, provided that he becomes prime minister. He also expressed
his desire to introduce a doshu system of reorganizing the current
prefectural system into regional blocs.

The aim is to create a small and efficient government by
strengthening the functions of the Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) and downsizing administrative organizations.

Commenting on the organization of the current government agencies,
which were reorganized into one office and 12 agencies in 2001, Abe
noted, "It is necessary to discuss their functions and organizations
from the perspective of whether their organizations are all right as
is, taking into account the possibility of carrying out further
reorganization." He indicated plans to inspect the current
government agency system, while taking into account the possibility
of strengthening the functions of the Kantei.

Regarding the doshu system, Abe revealed a policy of discussing the
issue concurrently with the envisaged further reorganization of
government agencies. He played up his idea of dividing government
services into those to be provided by central government agencies
and those to be carried out by local governments. He noted: "I will

TOKYO 00005091 011 OF 012

consider the doshu system from a perspective of assisting local
regions. I will change the grand design (of the government)."

Concerning public works projects, Abe stressed, "There still is room
for a reduction. . . . Projects that must be carried out can be
realized at lower costs by sorting out proposed projects or carrying
out adopted projects in an efficient way."

As to his views of wartime history, he noted that he intends to
follow the 1995 statement of then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
He then indicated his intention to reveal his own views on the issue
once he comes into office as prime minister, noting, "A new prime
minister should reveal his own view on this issue." Regarding the
Bank of Japan's (BOJ) monetary policy, Abe pushed against another
hike in interest rates soon, saying, "I would like the BOJ to
undergird the Japanese economy on the monetary front."

The LDP presidential election will be formally announced on Sept. 8
and voting and vote counting will take place on the 20th. The
presidential race will likely be contested among Abe, Foreign
Minister Taro Aso, and Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki. The
government and the ruling camp plan to convene an extraordinary Diet
session to elect a new prime minister on the 26th.

19) Revision of Imperial House Law not to be discussed during next
year's regular Diet session, government decides

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
September 7, 2006

Following the birth of a boy into the household of Prince Akishino
yesterday, the government has decided to put on the backburner a
revision of the Imperial House Law to allow females and males of
matrilineal descent to assume the throne. Responding to reporters
yesterday evening, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ruled out the
possibility of revising the law at an early date. He said: "I think
it is better for us to calmly observe the birth of a boy this time
and spend ample time contemplating what the imperial family means.
Revising the Imperial House Law is not an issue that should be
debated in next year's regular Diet session."

The prime minister also indicated his position that in view of the
future, it will be necessary to allow females and males of
matrilineal descent to assume the throne, noting: "Nowadays, it is
not possible to have boys without fail. It would become difficult to
maintain imperial succession unless males of matrilineal descent are
allowed to assume the throne." The Experts Council on the Imperial
House Law, an advisory organ reporting to the prime minister, last
November formulated a final report on a revision of the Imperial
House Law, including the assumption of the imperial throne by the
emperor's firstborn child, allowing for females and males of
matrilineal descent to assume the throne. In response, the prime
minister categorically stated his intention in his policy speech
delivered at the outset of the regular Diet session in January this
year to submit a bill amending the Imperial House Law in accordance
with the report during that session. With public opinion divided on
the revision, it was found in February that Princess Kiko was
pregnant. The prime minister then changed his policy and decided not
to submit the bill to that Diet session.

A view cautious about quickly amending the law commanded a majority
yesterday in the ruling camp, as well.

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