Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/24/06

VZCZCXRO7332
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #6695/01 3280102
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240102Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8584
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1416
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8924
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2342
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8520
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9965
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4984
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1087
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2584

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 006695

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
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 11/24/06

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.


Index:

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

Defense and security issues:
4) Government plans to continue development measures for northern
Okinawa as incentive for acceptance of Futenma relocation plan
5) JDA chief Kyuma: If Itokazu had won the Okinawa governor's race,
Tokyo prepared to restrict that office's base-related powers
6) Government is split on revision of Fukuda statement that MD for
self-defense use only
7) Japan's NSC should be operating by next February after issues of
framework and authority worked out
8) LDP policy chief Shoichi Nakagawa against a fourth no-nuclear
principle: not talking about nuclear weapons
9) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) may conditionally accept the
bill raising JDA to a ministry status
10) Prime Minister Abe eager to bring Japan, US, Australia, and
India together for a strategic dialogue but denies that the goal is
to check China

11) Komeito head Ota in Moscow meets Russian parliamentary speaker,
both agree on need for progress on territorial issue

12) China blasts former Prime Minister Mori for visiting Taiwan

Political agenda:
13) About 80 or half of "town meetings" during Koizumi
administration to discuss policy issues with local communities were
rigged by pre-planned replies
14) Postal rebel Hiranuma's LDP reinstatement put off for a while
15) LDP wavering on issue of reinstating the postal rebels

16) Economy's expansion has overtaken Japan's previous record long
period of growth

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Equal treatment between part-timers, regular workers to be specified
in the bill revising the Part-Timers Law

Mainichi:
Nationwide poll of governors: 22 governors point out "abuses of
multiple election", but 40% of respondents say "no need" for
restrictions on term of office

Yomiuri:
Coordination underway in government, ruling coalition to apply a
pension system for part-timers on the conditions of "one full year
of service" and "a monthly salary of 98,000 yen"

Nihon Keizai:
Mazda to construct factories in Thailand, North America to use them
for strategic production bases for Ford

Sankei:
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to remove regulations on

TOKYO 00006695 002 OF 010


working hours to meet merit-based pay system

Tokyo Shimbun:
Cabinet Office survey: Nearly 80 government-sponsored town-hall
meetings or 50% of the total held with prearranged questions

Akahata:
Prevention against making the Basic Education Law for worse: A
10,000-rally involving teachers and labor unions to take place
tomorrow in Hokkaido

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Robust economy exceeding "Izanagi" boom: Crucial time to expand
consumption
(2) "Three-way mergers": Making a "Black Ship" fuss disgraceful

Mainichi:
(1) Tax system reform: It's unconvincing to implement corporate tax
cuts first
(2) Rights of part-timers: Youth Union of part-timers began
defending its members

Yomiuri:
(1) Corporate interim closing: How long will firms can rely on this
boom?
(2) Nepal situation: Anxieties still remain even after the signing
of a reconciliation pact

Nihon Keizai:
(1) Team effort needed for Japanese version of NSC
(2) Nonlife insurance companies must compete for service targeting
policy holders

Sankei:
(1) Budget compilation: Fiscal reconstruction essential for economic
growth
(2) Crime tendencies: Quick action needed to prevent sex crimes
involving school children

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Crime Victim White Book: Listing measures insufficient
(2) Prevention of global warming: Kyoto Protocol still valid

Akahata:
Budget compilation for FY2007: Put a stop to cutting off needy
people from social security

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, November 22

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

07:48
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Suzuki

08:59
Upper House Basic Education Law Special Committee.


TOKYO 00006695 003 OF 010


12:00
Arrived at the Kantei.

13:01
Upper House Basic Education Law Special Committee.

17:07
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki.

17:12
Met with Election Committee Chief Secretary Yatsu. Then attended a
meeting of cabinet ministers related to monthly economic report.

18:49
Met with Seikei School Executive Director Kishi at Akasaka Prince
Hotel. The attended a meeting to celebrate his assuming office as
prime minister hosted by the alumni association.

20:10
Met with Kishi and President Kurita.

21:00
Met with former fellow students of the archery club of Seikei
University at Top of Akasaka Lounge at the hotel.

22:19
Returned to private residence in Tomigaya.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 23

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)

November 24, 2006

Spend daytime at home in Tomigaya.

17:38
Attended Harvest Festival held at the Imperial Palace.

20:53
Arrived at his private residence.

4) Futenma relocation: Gov't to continue economic development
package for Okinawa's northern localities

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged)
November 24, 2006

The government has entered into coordination to continue its
incentive package of economic development measures for Okinawa
Prefecture's northern municipalities in connection with the issue of
relocating the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in the central
Okinawa city of Ginowan to the island prefecture's northern coastal
city of Nago. The government once set forth its intention to
discontinue the economic development package at the end of the
current fiscal year. However, Hirokazu Nakaima, backed by the ruling
parties, won the recent Okinawa gubernatorial election. In response,
the government judged that its continuation of the economic package
would lead to an environment for local communities to accept the
planned relocation of Futenma airfield. The government is planning
to continue the package as a provisional measure for next fiscal
year and later.

TOKYO 00006695 004 OF 010

The northern economic package is for 12 municipalities in the
northern part of Okinawa's main island. The package is to be
annually budgeted at 10 billion yen under the Cabinet Office's
jurisdiction. The government decided to introduce the package when
it made a cabinet decision in 1999 to build an alternative facility
in waters off Nago City's Henoko district.

In May this year, Japan and the United States agreed on a modified
plan for Futenma relocation to build a V-shaped pair of airstrips in
a coastal area of Camp Schwab. The new cabinet decision superseded
the 1999 decision. The government announced its intention to
discontinue the package at the same time, reasoning that the Futenma
relocation plan made no progress in spite of investing a huge amount
of public money.

The Defense Agency is planning to establish a new system to
subsidize Okinawa's northern localities. The agency has been seeking
to launch a system under which the amount of subsidies to
base-hosting localities in the nation varies according to the degree
of their cooperation on the planned realignment of US forces in
Japan. The agency was poised to present legislative measures to the
Diet in its ordinary session to be convened in January next year.

5) Gov't planned to transfer governor's authority over Futenma if
Itokazu became governor: Kyuma

TOKYO (Page 5) (Full)
November 24, 2006

If Keiko Itokazu had won Okinawa Prefecture's recent gubernatorial
election, the government would have planned special legislation
intended to transfer the authority of local governors to the state
for the use of public waters, Defense Agency Director General Fumio
Kyuma revealed yesterday in a meeting of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party's House of Representatives members in Nagasaki
City. Itokazu was a candidate opposing the planned relocation of the
US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in the central Okinawa city of
Ginowan to a site within the island prefecture.

"I wondered what to do if we lost the Okinawa election," Kyuma said.
He added: "I thought that we must carry it (Futenma relocation) out
even by making a law and even by unilaterally transferring the
governor's authority to the state. I made up my mind to do so even
in a forcible way if we lost the election."

However, Kyuma indicated that the government would not consider
special legislation under Hirokazu Nakaima, Okinawa's
governor-elect, who is in a position to conditionally accept Futenma
relocation within the prefecture.

6) Japan's defense-only policy wavering with a possible pending
review of the Fukuda statement on MD; Government is split on issue

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

Hidehiro Honda

The government is accelerating the efforts to hurriedly deploy the
missile defense (MD) system to deal with North Korea's nuclear
threat, as evidenced by its recent nuclear test. When Japan decided

TOKYO 00006695 005 OF 010


to introduce the MD system in 2003, then Chief Cabinet Secretary
Yasuo Fukuda released a statement noting that the purpose of the
system was exclusively to defend the country, but recently Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe commented that Japan "will study" cases of
intercepting missiles targeting the United States, too. On the other
hand, Defense Agency Director-General Fumio Kyuma has objected to
Abe's statement. Disarray in the government over its national credo
-- defense-only policy -- is coming to the surface.

The incident started with Abe's remark in an interview with a US
newspaper on Nov. 14: "Why can't we intercept missiles that may
target the US by means of the MD system? Is it because doing so
corresponds to exercising the right to collective self-defense? We
must study such cases."

Following Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki on Nov. 20
referred to a review of the Fukuda statement, noting, "We'll discuss
what is the real intention of the statement." Abe's confirmation of
Shiozaki's comments created even more of a stir.

Lying behind the remarks by the prime minister and the chief cabinet
secretary are certainly America's expectations for Japan to exercise

SIPDIS
the right to collective self-defense as US Ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer stated, "It's an important task to be resolved."

But Kyuma has raised an objection to such action.

North Korea's Taepodong 2 missiles, which reportedly could reach the
US, fly at a height of 1,000 or more kilometers, so it would be
"physically impossible" for Aegis-ship -mounted missiles with the
range of 300 or so kilometers to intercept Taepodong 2 missiles,
according to Kyuma.

Kyuma also stated that even if intercepting them is possible, the
government shouldn't do so by revising the interpretations of the
Constitution but it should do so by amending the Constitution. Kyuma
on Nov. 21 emphasized that there was no need to review the (Fukuda)
statement, saying, "I don't understand what situation (Mr. Shiozaki)
had assumed."

In 2003, the government repeatedly stressed that "the MD system is
to be used for defense-only purpose," as then JDA Director-General
Shigeru Ishiba stated.

In the background is Japan's exclusively defense-oriented posture,
namely, "defending our country and nearby areas."

If Japan were to adopt a policy of intercepting missiles that target
the US, it would mean a huge departure from the basic principle of
self-defense only.

At a press briefing on Nov. 21, Shiozaki challenged Kyuma by noting,
"Discussion will be held on the assumption that it is possible for
Japan to intercept them." The gulf in the government is widening.

7) Experts' council holds first meeting on Japanese version of NSC;
Conclusion to be drawn by next February on framework and authority;


YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 23, 2006


TOKYO 00006695 006 OF 010


The Council to Strengthen the Kantei's (prime minister's official
residence) Functions on National Security (chaired by Prime Minister
Abe), a panel tasked with looking into the possibility of
introducing a Japan-style National Security Council (NSC) with the
aim of strengthening the Kantei's foreign and security policy
making, yesterday met for the first time. Participants focused their
discussion on the framework and authority that the NSC would have.
They decided to reach a conclusion by next February.

Based on the panel's conclusion, the government will then submit the
legislation necessary to create a Japanese version of the NSC to
next year's regular Diet session. The members of the panel chose
Nobuo Ishihara, the former deputy chief cabinet secretary, as
chairman. In exchanging opinions on functions the envisaged NSC
should be equipped with, participants agreed it should (1) consider
foreign and security policies from a comprehensive perspective; (2)
compile a long-term strategy for the nation; and (3) gather and
analyze intelligence. They also decided not to discuss case studies
on the right to collective self-defense, as Abe has wished.

8) '4 nonnuclear principles' unacceptable: Nakagawa

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
November 24, 2006

Shoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's
policy board, delivered a speech yesterday in the city of Gifu. In
the speech, Nakagawa voiced his view of arguments in Japan over the
recent uproar over the pros and cons of nuclear weapons. "I hear
that these days there are the four principles of not producing, not
possessing, not allowing nuclear weapons into the country, and not
allowing anyone to say anything about nuclear weapons, but I won't
accept such four nonnuclear principles," he said. With this,
Nakagawa implied that it was strange to suppress talk about the
subject. At the same time, however, he stressed that he "accepts the
three principles."

Nakagawa has recently refrained from speaking about the nuclear
issue. In the speech, Nakagawa joked about the issue, indicating
that he did not want to go into "round two." He continued, "This
time around, I'm afraid, they may forge a fifth principle and start
out to say they won't allow anyone even to think (about nukes)."

9) Defense ministry legislation; DPJ undertaking coordination of
views on conditioned approval

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 24, 2006

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) has started
coordinating views on the pending Diet bill upgrading the Defense
Agency (JDA) to a ministry with the possibility of approving it. The
condition for approval would be a guaranteed in a supplementary
resolution and in a committee statement in the Diet of civilian
control and prevention of any recurrence of official wrongdoings.
The aim is to obtain understanding from those party members cautious
about the legislation by attaching conditions.

The opposition camp has taken part in intensive deliberations in the
current session on such subjects as the bid-rigging incidents
involving the Defense Facilities Administration Agency, but it then
boycotted deliberations on the bill itself. The DPJ will reach a

TOKYO 00006695 007 OF 010


final judgment, after determining whether it has convinced cautious
members that the issues of civilian control, prevention of a
recurrence of wrongdoings, and nuclear possession arguments made by
cabinet ministers have been dealt with.

10) Japan to push for concept of forming strategic dialogue among
Japan, US, Australia, India

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
November 24, 2006

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to reach an agreement with Indian
Prime Minister Singh when he visits to Japan on Dec. 13 on forming a
strategic dialogue among Japan, the United States, Australia, and
India. Japan has already launched working-level talks with the
countries concerned in a bid to establish first a "loosely knit
body," as expressed by a senior Foreign Ministry official. In the
government, though, there is concern that "the proposed body might
be taken as a coalition against China." In addition, the US has not
revealed a response yet. Difficult negotiations are expected.

In a meeting with US State of Secretary Rice in Hanoi, Vietnam, on
Nov. 16, Foreign Minister Taro Aso indicated eagerness to aim at
bringing about a four-way strategic dialogue, saying, "It is
significant to promote talks among Japan, the US, Australia, and
India in the Asia-Pacific region."

Prime Minister Abe has stressed the need to deepen cooperation with
the countries that share such common basic values as freedom and
democracy. Even from since assuming office, he has advocated the
concept of strategic dialogue with India. Japan has already set up a
framework for cabinet minister-level strategic dialogue on security
and other issues. But the government is also eager to strengthen
ties with India. Japanese officials discussed with visiting Indian
National Security Advisor Narayanan late last month on the concept
of forming a four-way strategic dialogue.

11) New Komeito head, Russian Federation Council chairman agree to
push ahead with territorial talks

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

Takeshi Kumon, Moscow

New Komeito leader Akihiro Ota met on Nov. 22 in Moscow with Sergey
Mironov, chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly
of Russia. In the meeting, Ota told Mironov: "It is important for
Russia and Japan to use our ingenuity to resolve" the northern
territories issue. Mironov responded: "Coming up with a compromise
plan is the only way to resolve (the territorial dispute), with both
sides meeting halfway." The two officials then agreed on the need to
push ahead with territorial negotiations. They also reached an
accord to promote exchanges between the New Komeito and Russia's
second-largest party, headed by Mironov.

Prior to his meeting with Mironov, Ota met with Federation Council
Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Mikhail Margelov and asked him
Russia' cooperation for North Korea's abductions of Japanese
nationals in the six-party talks. Margelov stated: "The abduction
issue, which is a humanitarian problem, should be placed the center
of political dialogue. Russia will speak up also regarding the

TOKYO 00006695 008 OF 010


abduction issue."

12) China decries Mori's Taiwan visit

TOKYO (Page 5) (Full)
November 24, 2006

BEIJING-The Chinese Foreign Ministry severely decried former Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori for his recent visit to Taiwan and his meeting
with Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and others during his Taiwan
visit. "He did not think of China's grave concern and marred China's
national interests," the ministry's deputy press chief said in a
regular press conference, adding, "China expresses strong
dissatisfaction and regret."

13) Cabinet Office survey on "staged questions": Requests for
questions made for 80 town meetings

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Excerpts)
November 24, 2006

For nearly half or about 80 of the 174 town meetings held in the
days of the Koizumi cabinet, prearrangements were made for questions
to be made, according to survey results revealed by the Cabinet
Office yesterday.

The survey found that in five out of the eight meetings focusing on
educational reform, the Cabinet Office had hand-picked questioners
and asked them to present views in line with its scenario.

In 25 gatherings on themes other than educational reform, 5,000 yen
were paid each to the prearranged questioners, according to the
survey.

In many other meetings, as well, even if questions were not
"staged," the government allegedly asked certain citizens to serve
as ringers to pose questions on behalf of the government.

14) Prime Minister Abe implies punishments of those involved in
issue of the government's pre-selecting questioners for town
meetings; Minshuto to pursue large amount of rewards

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
November 23, 2006

At a session of the Upper House Special Committee on the Basic
Education Law on Nov. 22, when opposition parties returned to Diet
deliberations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced questions about the
Cabinet Office's pre-selecting questioners for town meetings on the
government's education reform bills. In reply, Abe implied that
officials involved in the issue would be punished: "We will clarify
where responsibility lies and who were responsible for the staged
town meetings."

Abe also referred to his own accountability for the matter, noting,
"As the chief cabinet secretary at the time I find it regrettable.
We will have to find ways to prevent a recurrence."

At the Upper House special committee session on Wednesday, Ren Ho, a
lawmaker of the main opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan), pursued the issue as a questioner, presented the copy of an
expense analysis sheet, which included: 15,000 yen paid each for

TOKYO 00006695 009 OF 010


airport transfer of the cabinet minister as well as for a person who
pushed the elevator button at a town meeting hall; 40,000 yen for
meeting the minister and other officials and leading them at a hall.
She also presented the copy of an advertising agency's invoice.

According to the government's inquiries, a total of about 1.99
billion yen was spent for town meetings held from fiscal 2001
through 2006, costing about 10 million yen per town meeting. Ren Ho
questioned: "Is it appropriate to pay 15,000 yen for just pushing
the elevator button twice in two hours?"

15-1) Lawmaker Hiranuma delays rejoining LDP this year

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpt)
November 23, 2006

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is now mulling the readmission of
12 independent lawmakers, the so-called "postal rebels," who bolted
the LDP last year in opposition to the government's
postal-privatization bills. In that context, Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa met on the evening of Nov. 22 with Takeo Hiranuma,
the former trade minister, who represents the postal rebels. In the
meeting, Nakagawa told Hiranuma to submit a written pledge before
noon of the Nov. 27 that he would support the party's campaign
pledges (Manifesto), including the privatization of the postal
services. After the meeting, Hiranuma revealed his intention to
postpone returning to the party this year. He said: "For me, it is
difficult to accept Mr. Nakagawa's demand."

15-2) LDP split over issue of whether to reinstate postal rebels

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
November 24, 2006

The Liberal Democratic Party is split over a plan to reinstate
"postal rebels" in the party. Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa
yesterday presented tough conditions for those who were expelled
after voting against postal privatization bills to be allowed to
rejoin the party. His stand, though, is evoking negative reactions
even in the party executive. The LDP prefectural chapters to which
the postal rebels belong are closely watching with a mixed feeling
how the negotiations will develop. A final settlement is unlikely to
be reached easily.

In a meeting of his supporters' association in Higashi Hiroshima
yesterday, Nakagawa said emphatically:

"The LDP will never bend on its principles. Mr. (Takeo) Hiranuma
(former minister of economy, trade and industry) is a person who
follows his beliefs. Being faithful to their beliefs might be what
politicians should do."

On the issue of whether to reinstate the 12 lawmakers who do not
belong to any party since being expelled, Nakagawa held negotiations
with Takeo Hiranuma, who represents the rebels, on Nov. 22. But no
agreement was reached on a plan for their reentry this year, with
Hiranuma's rejection to the conditions attached by Nakagawa. The
conditions include: (1) Observe the party's manifesto (policy
pledges), including the privatization of postal services; and (2)
support Prime Minister Abe's policies.

In the supporters' meeting yesterday, Nakagawa also said, "The

TOKYO 00006695 010 OF 010


confrontation of beliefs might be resolved in the course of
discussing a constitutional revision and a regional bloc system
(doshusei)," thus indicating a possibility of Hiranuma's return to
the LDP. But Nakagawa, in a sense, "declared" that he would not
lower the hurdle he set on the issue of postal rebels' reentry.

Policy Research Council Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa snapped at
Secretary General Nakagawa for his hard-line stance. In a party held

SIPDIS
by the LDP Gifu Prefectural Chapter yesterday, the policy chief
assailed, "Hearing, 'summarize' or "reflect', I remember the
Tiananmen Incident (in China). In politics, there should be some
compassion."

16) Monthly economic report; Longest economic expansion in post-war
years - four years and 10 months -- surpasses Izanagi business boom;
Consumption remains weak

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Full)
November 24, 2006

State Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Hiroko Ota on Nov. 22
presented a monthly economic report for November at a meeting of
related cabinet ministers. Following sluggish personal consumption,
the report's overall assessment of the economy has been revised
downward for the first time in a year and 11 months, with the
remark, "Consumption is weak." The report, however, maintained the
view that the economy is continuing its uptrend. It in effect
included the judgment that the current economic expansion, which
began in February 2002, has surpassed the Izanagi business boom from
Nov. 1965 through July 1970, the longest in the postwar period until
now. However, compared with improved business performances, the
economic expansion has not fully reached the household economy. One
such example is that wages are staying flat.

Ota told a news conference, "The overall judgment in the monthly
economic report is that the current economic expansion has surpassed
the Izanagi business boom." However, since the judgment of the
business peak and bottom is made later by the Cabinet Office, based
on coincident economic indicators, which show general movements of
the economy, and views of experts, formal recognition that the
current economic expansion is the longest in the postwar period will
not come for a while.

The average growth rate of the current economic expansion is 2.4% in
real terms and 1.0% in nominal terms, which more correctly indicate
consumer feeling that the economy is favorable, showing a big gap
with 11.5% in real terms and 18.4% in nominal terms marked in the
Izanagi business boom occurred in the high-growth period. The lack
of feeling that the economy is booming is largely due to the facts
that the rate of the growth has been low and that companies have
been constraining wages.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.