Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/29/06
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 11/29/06
1) Top headlines
North Korea problem:
3) Dates for the restarting of six-party talks on North Korea still
not set but US, DPRK delegates are still talking directly
4) US, North Korea gap remains wide over issues of DPRK scrapping
nuclear weapons, US removing financial sanctions
Defense and security affairs:
5) Bill upgrading JDA to a ministry expected to pass the Lower House
6) Okinawa's northern part to receive economic package conditioned
on relocation of Futenma to Camp Schwab under USFJ realignment plan
7) As part of compensation for USFJ realignment, local communities
housing US bases will received grants to sponsor local events and
8) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) sets policy platform that
would allow limited use of collective self-defense, make high school
9) Minshuto finally has a full set of foreign and security policies
10) Text of Minshuto policy platform
11) Japan, Indonesia reach general agreement on EPA
12) Education reform bill slated to pass the Diet this session after
13) Postal rebels reinstated in the LDP are satisfied, but party
itself is in disarray over the move
14) In money terms, the postal rebels bring in a lot more money to
the LDP than do the freshmen lawmakers known as "Koizumi's children"
1) TOP HEADLINES
Bills amending basic education law likely to pass Diet
NHK to use summary court to collect viewer fees from 33 households
Three Japanese firms to tie up on LPG wholesale business
NTT DoCoMo, four other broadcasters to jointly develop TV content
for mobile phones
Mutual aid pension to be abolished in 2010
Welfare Ministry mull reduction in insurance rate for unemployment
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benefits to 1.2%
Tokyo Governor Ishihara come under heavy fire for deluxe official
overseas trips, etc.
(1) Minshuto must come up with concrete policies to fight ruling
(2) Ruling in tuition fees refund case leaves something to be
(1) Abolishment of Japan Finance Corporation for Municipal
Enterprises: Reserves should be returned to government
(2) Continue to appeal for sustainable tuna fishing
(1) Minshuto policy platform insufficient to deal with realities
(2) Illegalities by pro-Pyongyang group come to light again
(1) Agreement on EPA between Japan, Indonesia leaves tasks
(2) Patience also needed until recovery of tuna resources
(1) Unification of pension systems: Cut into favorable treatment to
(2) Judgment in tuition fees refund case merits appreciation
(1) Railway companies urged to strengthen safety measures
(2) China's views of Japan should be improved through exchanges in
(1) Deployment nuclear aircraft carriers: Decision should be made
3) US, DPRK hold direct dialogue, but when to resume six-party talks
not yet fixed
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 29, 2006
Seiji Nishioka, Beijing
Of the member nations of the six-party talks to discuss the North
Korean nuclear issue, the United States, China, and North Korea
yesterday afternoon held an informal meeting at the Diaoyutai in
Beijing and exchanged views on how to promote discussions once the
six-party talks are resumed as well as specific goals. A bilateral
dialogue between the US and the North was also held. The six-party
talks, which have been suspended since November of last year, are
likely to be restarted possibly in mid-December, but Chinese Foreign
Ministry Deputy Press Officer Jiang revealed the timetable for the
six-party talks to be restarted has yet to be set, telling the
press: "The concerned nations are now engaged in consultations." The
trilateral meeting among the US, China, and North Korea, and a
bilateral one between the US and North Korea will continue today.
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The ongoing three-way talks of the chief delegates from the US,
China, and North Korea followed the ones in which the three nations
had agreed to resume the six-party talks.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan arrived at Beijing
Airport yesterday morning. There, he stated he would attend talks as
a nuclear power standing on an equal footing with the US.
Afterwards Kim headed for the Diaoyutai and there, he exchanged
views with US Chief Delegate Christopher Hill, assistant secretary
of state, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister4 Wu Dawei, who chairs
the six-party talks, while having lunch. Later, the US and North
Ko24Qlement, the lifting of America's financial sanctions against
North Korea, and a timetable for resuming the six-party talks and
After the bilateral dialogue with the North, Hill referred to when
to restart the six-party talks and stated it is planned to resume
them in December, but that for that, progress is necessary. Japan's
chief delegate, Kenichiro Sasae, director-general of the Japanese
Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Bureau late yesterday implied
that consultations on when to resume the six-party talks ran into
difficulties, noting: "At this point, I can't say anything."
Earlier in the day, Sasae met with South Korean Chief Delegate Chun
Young Woo, director of the Diplomatic Policy of South Korea's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and reportedly he confirmed
bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Sasae initially
planned to return home on Nov. 28, but he extended his stay in order
to look for a way-out of the abduction issue. He intends to try to
make contact with his North Korean counterpart.
4) US-DPRK dialogue: Major gap over scrapping nuclear programs;
North Korea seeks removal of US financial sanctions
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
November 29, 2006
By Shozo Nishioka in Beijing
Informal talks started in Beijing yesterday between the United
States and North Korean delegates to the six-party talks, with
discussions apparently focused on how to make actual progress in the
talks, once they are restarted. However, North Korea, which has
carried out a nuclear weapons test, seemed to have stressed a stance
of it now being a "nuclear power," and at the same time, its
delegate pressed the US for removal of financial sanctions. The gap
between the DPRK and the US, which unconditionally demands the
scrapping of the North's nuclear weapons programs, remained as wide
Although the contents of the meeting were not revealed, the US
delegation sought to confirm the DPRK's intention regarding
scrapping its nuclear programs, and apparently asked the North to
carry out the following steps leading to such: 1) halting and
dismantling the nuclear facility at Yongbyon; 2) accepting IAEA
The US side has been showing signs of a flexible position following
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the Republican Party's defeat in the midterm elections, with such
statements by President Bush as, "If North Korea abolishes its
nuclear programs, we can officially declare the Korean War is over."
The US side has also pointed out that in order to restart the
six-party talks this year, "We sense an urgency that we cannot let
any more time be wasted" (source related to the talks).
In response, North Korea, having carried out a nuclear test, has
been calling itself a "nuclear power" and taking a stance of seeking
disarmament talks with the US.
5) Enactment of bills elevating JDA status likely in current Diet
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
November 29, 2006
Bills upgrading the Defense Agency (JDA) to ministry status are
likely to pass the House of Representatives tomorrow and be enacted
in the current Diet session. The ruling coalition plans to take a
vote on the bills in a meeting of the Lower House Security Council
and a plenary session both to be held tomorrow. If the bills are
enacted, the JDA will be transformed into a defense ministry
possibly next January.
Senior Lower House Security Council members from the Liberal
Democratic Party and Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) decided
yesterday to take a vote on the bills after intensive deliberations
on the three nonnuclear principles tomorrow morning and send the
bills to a plenary session to be held in the afternoon. Foreign
Minister Taro Aso and others will attend the deliberations.
The JDA is an external agency of the Cabinet Office, but the agency
is elevated to a ministry, it will become possible to present bills
independently. Overseas operations by the Self-Defense Force (SDF)
will be upgraded from an ancillary mission to a main one.
6) Gov't to repackage economic incentives for Okinawa's northern
districts; Progress in Futenma talks a precondition
ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
November 29, 2006
The government decided yesterday to resume its package of economic
development measures-which was once abolished in this May's cabinet
decision-for Okinawa Prefecture's northern districts in connection
with the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station in the central Okinawa city of Ginowan to Cape Henoko in the
island prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago, a focus of the
realignment of US forces in Japan. The government plans to repackage
abolished projects for the remaining three years, making it a
precondition to see smooth progress in its Futenma relocation talks
with Okinawa's base-hosting localities. To begin with, the
government will earmark 10 billion yen to budget projects for next
fiscal year. Minister of State for Okinawa Takaichi met with Okinawa
Governor-elect Hirokazu Nakaima yesterday at the Cabinet Office and
told him that the government would make positive efforts to
repackage economic development measures. Okinawa Governor Keiichi
Inamine also attended the meeting, in which they confirmed that the
government would resume its consultative body's suspended talks with
Okinawa's prefectural and municipal governments.
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However, the Defense Agency, which took the initiative to call off
the economic package, is still strongly dissatisfied with Okinawa's
local governments because there was no progress in the relocation of
Futenma airfield despite its budgetary spending of 70 billion yen
from fiscal 2000. A senior official of the agency admitted that the
government would continue to budget the package in fiscal 2007.
However, the official added, "There's no guarantee of implementation
for fiscal 2007 and 2008 if there's no progress in the relocation
In addition to the package of economic development measures for
Okinawa's northern districts, the Defense Agency is planning a new
subsidization system for next fiscal year to allocate incentive
subsidies for Okinawa's base-hosting localities according to
progress in the Futenma relocation.
7) DFAA mulls subsidizing local events to proceed with US military
ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
November 29, 2006
The Defense Facilities Administration Agency is planning to
subsidize base-hosting municipalities in the process of realigning
US forces in Japan, officials said yesterday. The newly planned
subsidization system is intended not only for hardware projects like
constructing facilities but also for local events and other software
projects, according to the officials. The DFAA will subsidize
base-hosting localities according to progress in the planned
realignment of US forces in Japan. In addition, the DFAA will also
consider other local-requested software projects, thereby urging
base-hosting localities to cooperate in the US military
8) DPJ okays collective self-defense in part
SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
November 29, 2006
The leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto)
yesterday released its governing policy plan ahead of next summer's
election for the House of Councillors. In the area of foreign and
security policies, the DPJ policy paper, referring to Japan's right
to self-defense, says the DPJ will not stick to past arguments about
the concepts of individual self-defense and collective self-defense.
"Japan will only exercise its right to self-defense if and when
there is an imminent incursion directly threatening Japan's peace
and security," it says. With this, the DPJ came to approve an act
that has been taken as exercising the constitutionally prohibited
right of collective self-defense.
9) Minshuto drafts unified diplomatic and security policies; Ability
to implement them remains unknown
SANKEI (Page 3) (Abridged)
November 29, 2006
The major opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan)
unveiled yesterday draft "administrative policy," which was compiled
based on the so-called "Ozawa vision" presented by President Ichiro
Ozawa during the September party presidential campaign. "Producing
the party's basic policy has been our goal since the party was
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established," a senior Minshuto lawmaker said. It was significant
that the party was able to reach a certain conclusion to its
diplomatic and security policies, which have long lacked
consistency. But to what extent the party, which aims for a change
in government in collaboration with other parties, can implement
this policy remains to be seen.
What is particularly noteworthy about the draft policy is that the
party eyes allowing the country to partially exercise the right to
collective self-defense. Minshuto, long dubbed a hotchpotch party,
can be said to have made a pragmatic policy decision at long last.
Behind that decision lay the need for the party to overcome its
weakness with the Upper House election coming up next summer. For
next year's election, Ozawa's strategy has been to make a clear
distinction between his party and the government and the ruling
coalition. But there is no denying that the party has been slighting
its own unique policy because of such a strategy.
The draft plan is intended to make clear the party's policies, which
have been left unaddressed to some extent. On the domestic front,
the plan lists such steps as keeping the same consumption tax rate
and creating child and multi-occupancy allowances that are likely to
strike a chord with the public. But the plan stops short of
mentioning specific means to raise funds for such measures.
The draft plan will serve as the basis for the party's manifesto
(campaign pledges) for the next Upper House election as well as the
foundation for its policy course in the event it grabs power.
10) Gist of Minshuto policy platform
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 29, 2006
7 Abolish the current system, in which educational administration is
conducted by boards of education, and create a system, in which
local heads will pursue educational administration in a responsible
7 The state will guarantee the status, respect, and treatment of
7 Raise the educational spending to a level above the average of
advanced counties (5% of GNP).
7 Raise compulsory education to include high school.
7 Create "multi-occupancy allowances" for households with parents.
7 Create "child allowances."
7 Keep the consumption tax rate at 5% and spend all the tax income
for pensions (basic portion).
7 Unify all the pension programs to into a single program.
7 Build a relationship of trust between Japan and the United States
to make Japan America's equal partner.
7 Make every effort to forge relations of trust with Asian
neighbors, including China and South Korea. The country will
exercise the right of self-defense in limited situations, in which
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an imminent transgression directly threatens the peace and security
of our country, in conformity with Article 9 of the Constitution on
the basis of the principle of exclusively defense-oriented policy,
without dwelling on the history of discussions on whether it is
individual or collective self-defense.
7 The country will actively join UN peacekeeping activities.
7 Establish an income compensation system to pay the difference
between the production cost and the market price to growers.
7 Abolish individual subsidies in principle and provide local
governments with subsidies including tax grants, in a package, as a
Politics, administrative reform
7 Correct the disparity in the value of vote. Lower the voting age
to 18. Promote Internet use.
7 Prohibit bureaucrats from attending Diet deliberations.
7 Review the special corporations, independent administrative
organizations, and related special accounts with the aim of
abolishing them all.
11) Japan, Indonesia agree in principle on EPA
ASAHI (Page 11) (Excerpts)
November 29, 2006
Prime Minister Abe yesterday met with visiting Indonesian President
Yudoyono at the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei). Both leaders
agreed in principle to sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA)
on imports and exports of agricultural products and acceptance of
Indonesian nurses. Abe stressed, "I will extend further cooperation
for an early enforcement of the pact." Yudoyono responded, "We must
make efforts for a final agreement next year." He also expressed a
positive stance toward a possible extension of the contract for
Indonesia to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan, which is
to expire in 2011. Indonesia is Japan's 7th EPA partner.
Stable securing of natural resources aimed for
The EPA, on which the governments of the two countries agreed in
principle, incorporated an arrangement on energy for the first time.
The aim is for Japan to secure a stable supply of energy through the
establishment of a regulation that values a long-term import
contract. In response to intensifying competition to secure natural
resources, the Japanese government is accelerating its resources
diplomacy using EPAs. The agreement with Indonesia will likely set a
model course for this strategy.
Indonesia is the largest LNG suppler to Japan, commanding one-fourth
of its total LNG imports in fiscal 2005. However, the nation now
finds it difficult to secure sufficient amounts for exports due to
an increased domestic demand and outmoded production facilities. At
present, six Japanese companies, including Kansai Electric Power and
Osaka Gas, are under long-term contract with Indonesia's state-run
company. However, the company has fall short of supplying the
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contracted amounts. It has even suggested the possibility of cutting
supply by 50% with the renewal of the contracts close at hand in
2010 and 2011.
For this reason, in reaching the agreement this time, the two
leaders confirmed that if the Indonesia government puts a restraint
on exports of LNG in the future, it will notify the Japanese
government of its decision and make sure it will give consideration
so that the decision will have no impact on the existing contracts.
The two leaders also agreed to press ahead with efforts to create an
environment in which Japanese companies finds it easier to invest in
natural resources-related facilities. Such efforts will include
enhancing the transparency of a foreign capital regulation.
12) Bill amending Basic Education Law to secure Diet passage; Ruling
camp gearing up voting on bill next week
ASAHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
November 29, 2006
It is now certain that a bill amending the Basic Education Law, the
top-priority issue for the Abe administration, will go through the
current special Diet session. Firming up a policy of aiming for a
roll call on the legislation at the Upper House Special Committee on
the Basic Education Law next week, the ruling camp yesterday
proposed to the opposition parties holding local public hearings.
The opposition camp is calling for continuing deliberations on the
legislation. However, since the ruling camp is determined to extend
the Diet session if the deliberations on the bill are not over in
time, the bill is now certain to secure Diet approval. The revision
of the law is the first since 1947. Education will take on a
stronger flavor of being controlled by the government with emphasis
being shifted from individuality to public nature.
Government involvement will likely be strengthened
The amendment incorporates as goals of education items that attach
importance to its public nature, such as "cultivating an attitude of
loving the nation and one's hometown," "nurturing rich sentiment and
moral," and "cultivating an attitude of contributing to the
development of society, based on public spirit." Education Minister
Ibuki during yesterday's Upper House Special Committee meeting said,
"We want to change local communities, teachers and homes, based on
The Special Committee is deliberating the bill almost every day for
six hours a day on average. It will hold intensive deliberations
tomorrow on such issues as the prearranged questions for
government-hosted town meetings, omissions of required subjects at
high schools and school bullying. Deliberations are expected to
exceed 70 hours, which the ruling camp regards as the target needed
before taking a vote.
For this reason, senior Diet policy officials of both chambers of
the Houses, including LDP Diet Policy Committee Chairman Toshihiro
Nikai, yesterday confirmed a policy of voting on the bill after
general deliberations at the Upper House Special Committee with the
presence of Prime Minister Abe on Dec. 7 so that it can be enacted
at the Upper House plenary session on Dec. 8. The directors of the
Upper House Special Committee of the ruling camp yesterday sounded
out the opposition camp about the possibility of holding public
hearings in four cities, such as Niigata and Tokushima, on Dec. 4.
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13) LDP now in stormy internal situation with postal rebels' return
to the party
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
November 29, 2006
Of the 11 postal rebels who defected from the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) in opposition to the postal privatization bill last
year, became independents, and have now been allowed to return to
the party, six lawmakers, including Kosuke Hori, yesterday met the
press apparently at the request of the party leadership. At the
press conference, they explained that they had "not been opposed to
privatization per se." Keiji Furuya stated that he had turned around
to support the bill after the Lower House election, noting, "I've
thus registered my accountability with the voters." Most of them
commented that they would be able to obtain public understanding
about their return to the LDP. On the other hand, during an LDP
General Council session, criticism erupted of the conditions set by
Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa for postal rebels to return to
the party. The party is still in a stormy situation caused by the
return issue. In fact, a group was officially formed by junior
lawmakers opposed to their return to the party.
Those postal rebels insist that the problem of their opposition to
the postal privatization bill was settled at a time when they turned
around to favor the bill during the special Diet session in the fall
of last year.
Instead of attending the press conference, Seiko Noda, one of the
postal rebels, responded to questions from reporters while making
her way through the Diet. She said: "During the special Diet session
last year, I judged I must engage in political activities in a way
to be flexible enough to accept public opinions. It was not a high
hurdle for me to (vote for the privatization bill)." Hori, too,
commented: "I think I passed a 'test of loyalty to the party,' for
after the (Lower House) election, I said in an interview, 'I'll vote
for the bill.'"
One condition set by Nakagawa was for postal rebels to "obtain
public understanding about their return to the LDP" through press
conferences or on other occasions. Shunichi Yamaguchi, who attended
the press conference, stated: "There was little resistance in (my
electoral district) about my declaration of favoring the
privatization. Voters have understood my position." Hiroshi
Moriyama, as well, indicated that he obtained public understanding
in his constituency, noting, "I've strived to obtain understanding
from voters by holding mini-meetings in my electoral district."
Both sides critical of the party executives
At an LDP General Council meeting, criticism was centered on
Secretary General Nakagawa, who had set the strict conditions for
postal rebels to return to the party. One participant argued: "I had
thought trouble could occur if much time was taken."
House of Councilors member Mahito Nakajima, elected in the Yamanashi
Constituency where two lawmakers have defected from the LDP,
snapped: "The secretary general did such a thing simply out of
consideration for the media." Another attendee, as well, leveled a
harsh criticism at Nakagawa over the case of Takeo Hiranuma, who did
not submit a written pledge and is not being allowed to return to
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the LDP: "I can't understand the secretary general's attitude.
Because of his dictatorship, Mr. Hiranuma was forced to leave the
At a press conference after the meeting, General Council Chairman
Yuya Niwa emphasized, "The important thing is to manage the party
without leaving any ill feelings among the party members." But
another attendee who has served in the three top party posts made
this comment: "The prime minister, too, tarnished his image. Should
his approval ratings drop, the party's unity would become loose."
In contrast to the General Council, one-term lawmakers directed
their criticism at the party executives' decision to allow postal
rebels to return to the party.
The inaugural meeting of the Forum to Think about Postal Rebels'
Return to the LDP was attended by 17 freshmen lawmakers. The
criticism voiced in the meeting was that: "There is the gap in
sensibility between the party executives and us. If we leave this
situation unattended, we'll be given up by the public."
The return of 11 postal rebels to the party in a way was in a way an
established conclusion. One attendee grumbled: "I'm afraid that the
inaugural meeting may end up as the last meeting...."
14) Postal rebels collect far more political funds than "Koizumi
children" candidates in 2005
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 29, 2006
The average income of the 82 "Koizumi children" candidates in the
general elections last year was 40,04 million yen, far lower than
the 62.32 million yen in average income earned by all the
In the House of Representatives election last year, former Posts and
Telecommunications Minister Seiko Noda engaged in a fierce battle
with Yukari Sato, who was sent in the Gifu No. 1 District by the LDP
as an "assassin" candidate to take on Noda, who had voted against
the postal bill. Noda won the election but was forced out of the
party. Following this, the LDP Gifu Prefecture First District Branch
Office was dissolved, so its income decreased by more than 8 million
yen below the previous year to 38.37 million yen. But Noda collected
59.4 million yen owing to significantly increased donations from
individuals to the fund management organization. This figure is four
times more than the previous year.
Meanwhile, in the case of Sato, who won a seat through the
proportional representation segment, her fund-management
organization reported no income for 2005. At the LDP branch office,
33.02 million yen was collected, but 20 million yen came from the
party as subsidies and 10 million yen from the Yamasaki faction and
others as donations.