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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/22/06

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 12 TOKYO 006661

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WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
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SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 11/22/06


Index:

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

Defense and security issues:
4) Panel on setting up Japan's National Security Council to be
launched today
5) Prime Minister Abe indicates "possibility" of considering Japan
intercepting missiles flying over headed toward the United States
6) JDA chief Kyuma disagrees, says "impossible" for Japan to
intercept US-bound missiles

7) Abe meets Danish premier, makes pitch for EU not selling weapons
to China

Diet agenda:
8) Education reform bills should pass Upper House today as Diet
returns to normal following opposition's extended boycott
9) Ruling camp recovers confidence in managing Diet as session
returns to normal
10) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) in compromising mood as it
ends Diet boycott, but deep internal turmoil, dissatisfaction with
leader Ozawa are evident

Postal rebel issue:
11) Postal rebel representative Hiranuma will not take loyalty test
in order to get back into the LDP
12) Deep reluctance in the LDP toward letting back former LDP
lawmakers who bitterly opposed Koizumi's postal privatization reform

13) Will Abe give in to party pressure, popular opinion and back
away from reinstating postal rebels into the LDP?

14) WEF report: Japan ranks a dismal 79th among countries in the
world in terms the social and economic gap between men and women

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare considers withholding national
pension premiums from part-timers' salaries

Mainichi:
Tax revenue expected to recover to 50 trillion yen for the first
time in six years, likely to help cut government bonds by 2 trillion
yen

Yomiuri:
With business opportunity brought by "metabolic syndrome," Life
insurance firms eye corporate health insurance societies

Nihon Keizai:
Government's tax panel to suggest a review of the depreciation
system so that depreciation will be entered under losses

Sankei:
Fiscal System Council to suggest abolishing addition to social aid
for single-mother households under the policy of no sacred area for

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expenditures cuts

Tokyo Shimbun:
Shibuya Ward to amend ordinance for providing information on the
elderly without agreement

Akahata:
Reorganization of government-managed health insurance systems for
small firms likely to raise premiums, cause gaps between prefectures
with different premium rates

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Realignment of private universities: Benefits essential
(2) Social security needs to ease requirements and help foster
self-reliance

Mainichi:
(1) Minshuto: Unreasonable "confrontation" is not good
(2) Age of university mergers: Substance of highest educational
institutions now questioned

Yomiuri:
(1) Does merger of Keio University, Kyoritsu University of Pharmacy
herald era of realignment?
(2) Family Day: Municipalities' reservoir of ideas needs to be
employed

Nihon Keizai:
(1) Thorough discussions on bill amending the Basic Education Law
necessary in Upper House, as well
(2) Objection to payment of 7 yen per month

Sankei:
(1) Japanese version NSC: Creating an agile control mechanism
(2) Keio University, Kyoritsu University of Pharmacy should enhance
international competitive edge with merger

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Unification of pension systems: Not beneficial for public
servants?
(2) Interim results: Investment in human resources now necessary

Akahata:
Succession of bureaucrat-led collusion cases: Politics led by "all
ruling parties" must be changed

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, November 21

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
November 22, 2006

09:01
Attended a cabinet meeting. Foreign Minister Aso stayed on.
Afterward met with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Amari,
followed by Finance Minister Omi.

09:58
Signed in at the Imperial Palace to report his return.

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10:36
Met at Kantei with LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nakagawa.

11:40
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki and his deputy Nemoto.

14:02
Met Nemoto, followed by Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota and
others, joined in by Nemoto.

15:33
Met with Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark.

16:45
Met Science and Technology Minister Takaichi, Council for Science
and Technology Policy member Hiroyuki Abe, and others.

17:17
Attended a meeting of the Council for Science and Technology
Policy.

18:13
Met Shiozaki, followed by Administrative Reform Minister Sata,
Cabinet Office Senior Vice Minister Hayashi, and others, joined in
by administrative streamlining council chairman Iida.

19:40
Returned to his residence in Tomigaya.

4) Abe-planned Japanese-version of NSC to be take first step toward
launching today

ASAHI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
November 22, 2006

A council chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to strengthen the
functions of Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence) on
national security will be launched today with the aim of
establishing a Japanese-version of the US' National Security Council
(NSC). The council, consisting of opinion leaders who have handled
Japanese security crises, will discuss how to erect a national
control tower to handle foreign and security policy affairs. A study
on the right to collective self-defense - a challenge set forth by
Abe -- is also expected to become a "hidden theme."

In a press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki described the council as a group of professionals.

Many members have engaged in crisis management. For instance, Nobuo
Ishihara handled as a deputy chief cabinet secretary the crisis
situation in the wake of the firing of a Rodong missile by North
Korea, as well as the Great Osaka-Kobe Earthquake. Shunji Yanai was
the first secretary general of the International Peace Cooperation
Headquarters launched under the UN Peacekeeping Operations
Cooperation Law, and when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on
the US occurred, Ken Sato was serving as vice defense minister.

The lineup of such members reflects Abe's intention to pursue
pragmatic discussion. Abe also expects the former bureaucrats on the
team to rein back their respective government ministries and
agencies. Once the NSC is launched, it might infringe on the vested

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interests of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Agency, and other
agencies.

A Foreign Ministry official took this view: "We will welcome the
step if it can enhance diplomatic functions in general. It would be
meaningless if the new body takes too much time in processing
issues, and its functions might become paralyzed as a result."

Atsuyuki Sassa, a former National Police Agency official, has
already learned of complaints from the agency that the council is
short on terrorism and natural disaster experts. Sassa expressed his
eagerness for realizing the plan, saying, "We have been conducting
the debate over the last three decades. We will do our best to live
up to Prime Minister Abe's expectations."

What Abe has in his mind is the US' 200-member National Security
Council that is placed directly under the president. Abe has been
developing the plan from before becoming prime minister by
exchanging views with former American NSC staffers. In his policy
speech, Abe unveiled a plan to build a format to allow the Kantei to
keep close communication channels with the White House.

But the prime minister's power over the cabinet ministers and the
council members is not as strong as that held by the US president,
who has full command of his administration.

Advisor Yuriko Koike toured Britain in early November to take a
firsthand look at the situation there. In Britain, which also has a
parliamentary system, the Cabinet Secretariat has the power to
undertake coordination with relevant agencies in emergency
situations. The council intends to study matters by using the
British model as a reference, which is regarded as relatively easy
to introduce.

The council's themes might expand once the NSC is launched.

One of the members, military analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa noted: "People
eager to launch the NSC are all aware of the need to discuss the
question of the right to collective self-defense. Once we start
discussing it, we might be able to reach a conclusion early."

His view is that the NSC will conduct fundamental debate on Japan's
security policy.

On Sept. 29, Abe delivered a policy speech that said: "We will
thoroughly study individual, specific cases to identify what kind of
case falls under the exercise of the right of collective
self-defense."

Another council member said eagerly: "I would like to see the
council reach a consensus in line with the prime minister's plan to
study specific cases."

The right to collective defense has surfaced as a "hidden theme"
reflecting the difficulty openly discussing it in the government.

In the government, there is a hopeful voice that the prime minister
will allow the country to partially exercise the right to collective
self-defense in order to increase the bilateral nature of the
Japan-US alliance. The Cabinet Legislation Bureau is highly alert
against such development. A failure to launch a government-wide
study panel might throw the government into confusion.

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5) Premier to study possibility of intercepting missiles targeted at
US

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 22, 2006

Prime Minister Abe indicated last evening that he would consider
reviewing a government statement that was released in 2003 by Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda at the time and that limited the
scope of missile defense (MD) to Japan's self-defense only. "It
showed a policy judgment regarding the introduction of an MD
system," Abe told reporters at his office. In this regard, the
premier noted that the question is whether an act of intercepting
missiles headed for the United States falls under the category of
collective self-defense. "We need to study its interaction with MD,"
he added.

Asked about collective self-defense, Abe stressed his view, saying,
"We need to study it in order to fulfill the responsibility of
protecting the Japanese people's lives and property."

The Fukuda statement was released along with the government's
decision to introduce an MD system. It says: "MD is intended to
defend Japan, so it will not be used to defend third countries.
Accordingly, the issue of collective self-defense will not arise."
The government will presumably study whether an act of intercepting
ballistic missiles headed for the United States constitutes the
defense of a third country or whether it is within the bounds of
individual self-defense.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer, when he met the press
in October, called on Japan to reinterpret the Constitution so Japan
will be allowed to intercept US-bound missiles with its MD systems.

6) Kyuma stands off with Abe, Shiozaki over MD case studies

SANKEI (Page 3) (Abridged)
November 22, 2006

Is it possible to shoot down ballistic missiles targeted at the
United States? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now suggested the need
for the government to study whether an act of cutting off US-bound
missiles with Japan's missile defense (MD) system falls under the
category of collective self-defense. Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki has echoed Abe's advocacy of case

SIPDIS
studies. Defense Agency Director General Fumio Kyuma, however,
negated Shiozaki's view yesterday. "We can't shoot them down," Kyuma
said. "I don't know what situation he has in mind," the defense
chief added. With this, Kyuma criticized Shiozaki, distancing
himself from Abe and his top government spokesman.

Abe yesterday evening implied the likelihood of reviewing the
so-called CCS Fukuda statement, in which the government took the
position that Japan would not use its MD system for third countries.
"The statement showed a policy judgment when the government decided
to introduce an MD system," Abe said. "It's a judgment as to
specific cases, and that's the government's stance," the premier
added. Referring to Japan's self-imposed prohibition against
collective self-defense, Abe said the question is whether specific
cases (such as intercepting missiles) are within the bounds of
collective self-defense. "I mentioned that we would need to study

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interactions with MD in the government's constitutional
interpretation," he said.

US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer recently touched on the United
States' defense role, saying, "The United States is obligated to
shoot down missiles even if they are targeted at Japan, but Japan is
not obligated to do the reverse." Bearing this remark in mind, Abe
has suggested the necessity of studying whether Japan is allowed to
cut off missiles targeted at the United States.

Meanwhile, Kyuma, meeting the press yesterday, negated the
feasibility of intercepting outbound missiles. "As a matter of fact,
Japan's MD system cannot shoot down missiles launched at other
countries," Kyuma said. "It's possible to defend Japan against
inbound projectiles, but it's physically impossible to catch up with
outbound missiles from behind," he added.

7) Japan opposed to EU's calling off of arms embargo to China: Abe

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 22, 2006

Prime Minister Abe met with visiting Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen
yesterday afternoon at his office. In the meeting, the premier
voiced his concern about China's military buildup, saying: "We need
to pay close attention to China's arms expansion and its
nontransparency. Japan is opposed to the European Union's lifting of
its ban on arms exports to China."

8) Basic education law revision bill to clear Diet during current
session; Defense Agency upgrade bill to be passed through Lower
House before end of this month

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
November 22, 2006

It has now been certain that a bill amending the Basic Education
Law, which the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has positioned
as top priority, will be passed by the Diet during the current
session. As a result of intermittent discussions of the Diet Affairs
Committee chiefs of the ruling and opposition parties, the
opposition, which had boycotted Diet debate, agreed yesterday to
return to deliberations today. A House of Councillors special
committee will begin deliberations today on the education
legislation. A bill upgrading the Defense Agency to a ministry
statue will likely clear the House of Representatives before the end
of this month. The ruling coalition hopes to push the two bills
through the Diet by Dec. 15, when the ongoing session ends, while
looking into the possibility of a minor extension of the current
session.

9) Governing parties confident about steering Diet after it returns
to normal, aim to handle bills on priority basis

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 22, 2006

The Diet will return to normalcy after a lapse of seven days. The
opposition parties, which had been refusing to attend Diet
deliberations, are now forced to turn around their stance after
having met public criticism. The ruling parties are deepening their
confidence in better steering the Diet in the days ahead. They

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intend to handle bills on a priority basis during the limited
remaining days of the session of the Diet.

During talks late yesterday of the Diet Affairs Committee chairmen
from both the ruling and opposition parties, the opposition members
called for intensive deliberations on such problems as school
bullying at the Lower House Budget Committee.

This request was, however, rejected by the ruling bloc; both sides
eventually agreed to hold an intensive question-and-answer session
at the Special Committee on the Basic Education Law. But only three
hours will be devoted to this session. In addition, when to hold the
session has yet to be determined, thereby suggesting that the
opposition bloc was forced to concede more than the ruling bloc in
order to put an end to the stalemate in the Diet.

At a press conference after the talks, Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto or DPJ) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshiaki Takagi
revealed his resentment: "It would be good if more time were devoted
to deliberations, but that was the best choice we were able to make
then. It was unavoidable."

The major reasons why the opposition camp has become weak-kneed were
first of all because "Our refusal of deliberations encountered much
severer criticism than expected," according to a Minshuto source,
and second, because of the opposition candidate's defeat in the
Okinawa gubernatorial election, in which the ruling and opposition
camps faced off. There also is discord in the party over the
boycotting strategy led by its House of Representatives members as
its House of Councilors members were critical of the strategy.

Minshuto's Upper House Caucus Secretary General Imaizumi yesterday
afternoon met with his ruling parties' counterparts Katayama of the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Koba of the New Komeito and
reached a basic agreement with them to bring the Diet to normalcy.
At that point, Minshuto's Lower House group was still continuing
negotiations with the ruling camp; as a result, it allowed the
ruling parties to take advantage of its discord.

However, the Diet calendar is very tight for the ruling parties,
given that there are only three weeks left before the end of the
Diet session.

10) Minshuto back to Diet, affected by defeat in Okinawa election,
plunging deeper into internal confusion; Lack of unity exposed
between Lower, Upper House members

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
November 22, 2006

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) decided yesterday to return to
Diet deliberations, two days after the defeat of the candidate
backed jointly by opposition parties in the Okinawa gubernatorial
election. In the deliberations between the ruling and opposition
parties yesterday, a lack of unity was exposed between House of
Representatives and House of Councillors members in Minshuto. Party
head Ichiro Ozawa, with an eye to the Upper House election next
summer, stressed that the party will uphold its confrontational
stance against the ruling camp. But discontent is erupting within
the party. On bills to elevate the Defense Agency (JDA) to ministry
status, as well, the main opposition party will be pressed to make a
hard decision, given the divided views in the party.

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Opposition parties had boycotted deliberations on bills amending the
Fundamental Law of Education since Nov. 15, when the ruling camp
forcibly took a vote in a meeting of the Lower House Basic Education
Law Special Committee. But they agreed in a meeting of the Diet
Affairs Committee chairmen from the ruling and opposition parties
yesterday to return Diet proceedings to normalcy. In a press
conference after the meeting, Minshuto Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Yoshiaki Takagi said with a bitter look, "It could not be
helped."

Encouraged by the victory of its-backed candidate, the ruling bloc
assumed leadership in the meeting yesterday, even showing a
willingness to push ahead with deliberations in the absence of the
opposition parties. A senior ruling party member of the Diet Affairs
Committee said, "We can now take a bullish stance. That was an
influential election."

In Minshuto, a lack of unity between Lower and Upper House members
has also come to the surface. Although the Diet Affairs Committee
chairmen of ruling and opposition parties were still engaged in
deliberations in the Lower House, the secretaries general of the
Liberal Democratic Party, Minshuto and the New Komeito agreed to
normalize Diet proceedings yesterday.

In the Upper House, Takeo Nishioka, who drafted Minshuto's proposal,
and other opposition members called for deliberations, even while
stressing the need to block a passage of the government-drafted
education bills. Such independent actions, though, upset senior Diet
Affairs Committee members of the Lower House, leaving dissension in
the party.

In a press conference at party headquarters yesterday, Ozawa said in
a strong tone: "It is idiotic to say that we will change our
confrontational stance because of our loss in the Okinawa election.
Are party members in a state of gloomy depression? I don't think
so."

Some observers point out that since Minshuto joined hands with the
Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party in the
Okinawa election, its conservative supporters have began to distant
themselves from the party. In response, Ozawa flatly said, "We must
consider what we should do in order to win support from a large
number of people. Is it possible for Minshuto alone to garner that
number of votes?"

Stung by the defeat in the Okinawa gubernatorial election, some
Minshuto members now are expressing dissatisfaction with Ozawa for
leading the boycott strategy.

Ozawa seems to have had no choice but to agree to normalize Diet
proceedings, giving consideration to such an atmosphere within the
party.

The next question for the opposition party is how to respond to the
legislation to upgrade the JDA to a ministry. The ruling bloc aims
to have the bills clear the Lower House next week. Many Minshuto
members indicate understanding of the elevation of the JDA status,
but the dominant view is that shedding light on the truth of the
scandal involving the Defense Facilities Administration Agency
should be made a condition for us to support the bills.


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In reference to Foreign Minister Taro Aso's remarks calling for a
debate on a nuclear options for Japan, Ozawa categorically said, "It
is unacceptable to dwell on his assertion, while setting important
issues aside. It is natural to place restrictions on party debate."

As one party member said, "The joint opposition struggling line has
collapsed. We must return from a left-leaning policy course to what
it used to be in the party." Monolithic unity in Minshuto seems to
be slipping away.

11) Postal rebels' letter asking LDP to reinstate them does not
state whether they support postal privatization; Hiranuma says, "We
will reject a litmus test"

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
November 22, 2006

The full text of a draft letter written by the so-called postal
rebels calling on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to allow them
to rejoin the party was revealed yesterday. The postal rebels, who
bolted the LDP after voting against the government's sponsored
postal-privatization bills at last year's regular Diet session, are
now considering submitting the letter to the LDP. They pledge in the
letter that they will cooperate with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in
pushing forward his reform drive. However since the letter does not
stipulate whether they support postal privatization, it appears to
be difficult to convince some LDP lawmakers who are cautious about
readmitting them to the party.

The letter addressed to Prime Minister Abe states: "We would like to
push ahead with your reform drive and contribute to the LDP's
prosperity. We therefore ask you to let us rejoin the party."

The letter does not refer to whether they support postal
privatization, or whether they reflected on their conduct of
violating the party rules, which party Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa has called for.

Takeo Hiranuma, the former trade minister who represents the group,
demands that all former LDP lawmakers, including those who were
defeated in the House of Representatives election last year, be
readmitted. Therefore, he is mulling a submission of the letter
under the names of postal rebels and those defeated in last year's
Lower House election.

Hiranuma told reporters last night in Tokyo, "We will not take a
litmus test (on whether to support postal privatization)." In his
meeting with Nakagawa planned for today, Hiranuma seems to be
opposing making their support for postal privatization as a
precondition for reinstating them.

12) Hesitancy about readmitting postal rebels strong in LDP

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2)
November 22, 2006

Although the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership is now
working seriously on coordination to reinstate the postal rebels,
there is growing hesitancy within the party about doing so. If the
party leadership defiantly reinstates them, the group favoring the
readmission and the other group cautious about the idea might be at
odds.

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A group of freshman Lower House members held a meeting yesterday and
decided to ask the party leadership to continue internal discussions
on the matter.

Last night a group of Lower House members not affiliated with any
faction exchanged views with Secretary General Nakagawa. After the
meeting, Yukari Sato told reporters, "We don't want to let voters
down." She called for the party to exercise caution.

Toranosuke Katayama, secretary general of the LDP caucus in the
Upper House who has pushed for their reinstatement, told reporters:
"Those who were defeated in the election should be allowed to rejoin
the party after the incumbent lawmakers are readmitted."

In an informal meeting of the Party Ethics Committee, a majority of
16 members attending the session agreed to reinstate the postal
rebels on the condition that they clarify their support for postal
privatization.

13) Return of postal rebels to LDP: Prime minister wavering between
management of administration and friendship? Some lawmakers share
political ideals with Abe; Aware of public opinion Abe unable to
yield on sorting out issue finally

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
November 22, 2006

The issue of whether to allow the return to the party of the
so-called "postal rebels," lawmakers who seceded from the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) to protest the privatization of postal
services, is drawing much attention. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who
is also president of the LDP, has been calmly watching how the
matter develops. His approach is to relegate the issue to the party
executive and then make a final decision, once he determines the
direction of the party. What is his real intention though?

Abe on Nov. 19 told reporters during his recent visit to Vietnam, "I
need to have them agree with the government's policy and basic
approach before they can be allowed to return to the LDP. Otherwise,
the public would find it difficult to understand. I have made it
clear that postal privatization is a done deal." Abe thus for the
first time said categorically that approving postal privatization is
a precondition for their return to the party.

Many postal rebels otherwise share the prime minister's conservative
political ideals.

An example of one such lawmaker is former Economy, Trade and
Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma. Before he left the LDP, he worked
together with Abe in their effort to block the submission of the
human rights protection legislation to the Diet. Many view that the
prime minister must be eager for the return of Hiranuma, as one LDP
source put it. In fact, many postal rebels might have assumed key
posts under the Abe administration, if they had not left the party.

Presumably out of such feelings, the prime minister in late October
took a positive stance toward the return of postal rebels, noting,
"I would like party leaders, starting with the secretary general, to
consider what response the party should make to those who share our
views." With this comment, the issue of allowing the return of
postal rebels has taken on a realistic touch in one sweep.

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However, the matter is not as simple as that. Hiranuma is still
against postal liberalization. Postal privatization is the symbol of
reform, which Abe inherited from the Koizumi administration. If Abe
forces his will on the party, allowing postal rebels to return to
the LDP without wiping the slate clean on the main issue, the act
would give the country the image of being contrary to reform. The
public would then be bound to react negatively.

In November, Abe added another precondition, saying, "I want to
reach a judgment, while taking into consideration the voices of
party members and the Japanese people." On the 19th, he added
another precondition that they need to approve postal privatization.
It is clear that aware of views against their return to the party
seen in public opinion and among party members, Abe is gradually
adding stricter conditions.

Many aides to Abe rather take the position that the issue must be
dealt with in a cautious manner, but they are unable to fathom what
the prime minister, who is pondering the issue on his own, really
thinks. Though his aides say that the prime minister's mind is
divided on the matter, he appears to be agonizing over it,
sandwiched between the need to manage his administration and his
friendships.

Compared with former Prime Minister Koizumi, who carried through his
policy with iron-heartedness, Abe is said to have tender feelings.
What decision will he reach in the end?

14) Japan ranks 79th in terms of gender disparities in survey of 115
nations on economy, education, health, politics: Scandinavian
countries occupy upper echelon

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
November 22, 2006

The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Geneva, on Nov. 21 released
a report on a survey of 115 countries on gender disparities.
Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden, occupied the upper echelon
of the list of countries with fewer disparities. Japan ranked 79th.

The WEF conducted the survey by creating indices for data in four
fields - the economy (income and professional positions), education
(employment and higher education rates), health (life expectancy),
and politics (ratio of women to men in cabinets and legislative
bodies) - based on the statistics of the surveyed governments and
international organizations, and results of hearings it conducted
independently, and compared them. It adopted a ranking system for
the second time following last year. However, since a different
method was taken in the previous survey, which targeted only 60
countries, no comparison was made with the results of the previous
survey.

Scandinavian countries - Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland -
occupied the top four slots, because gender disparities in the
political and economic fields were smaller in those countries. Japan
ranked first in the health area but came in 83rd in the economic
area, 59th in the education area, and 83rd in the political area.

The WEF has created indices for gender disparities of each of the
115 countries in terms of economic opportunities and advancement
into society in their own countries. It says that the level of

TOKYO 00006661 012 OF 012


economic development of the surveyed countries has not been taken
into account. For this reason, the Philippines ranked sixth, as its
gender disparities in the economic, educational, and health fields
were small, pushing up its total points.

Ranking of countries with fewer gender disparities

1.Sweden; 2. Norway; 3. Finland; 4. Iceland; 5. Germany; 6. The
Philippines; 7. New Zealand; 8. Denmark; 9. Britain; 10. Ireland;
22. US; 49. Russia; 63. China; 70. France; 79. Japan; 92. South
Korea; 98. India; 115. Yemen.

SCHIEFFER

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