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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/01/06

DE RUEHKO #6795/01 3350047
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E.O. 12958: N/A


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1) Prime Minister's daily schedule

North Korea problem:
2) Government-wide view is that restarting six-party talks on North
Korea will be difficult this year
3) US, Japan agree that concrete results needed once six-party talks
are resumed
4) US, Japan, ROK to seek during six-party talks North Korea's
closing of nuclear testing facility
5) Foreign Minister Aso expects IAEA to play important role in
denuclearizing North Korea

6) Foreign Minister Aso in JIIA speech outlines new diplomatic
strategy centered on universal concepts of "freedom and prosperity"

Defense and security agenda:
7) Bill raising JDA to ministry status clears the Lower House
8) Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) breaks with the opposition
pack to vote in favor of bill creating defense ministry
9) V-shaped runway to be built on shores of Camp Schwab will be
capable of emergency landings in either direction, with aircraft
flying over local housing

Political agenda:
10) National referendum on constitutional reform procedures will let
18 year olds vote
11) Minshuto engaged in intensive discussion now on whether to
approve draft basic policies
12) Criticism erupts in Minshuto about some of the key parts of
draft set of basic policies
13) Scandal over misuse of funds results in resignations of New
Komeito members of Tokyo assembly


1) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, Nov. 30

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
December 1, 2006

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Suzuki at Kantei.

Attended a meeting of the Upper House Special Committee on the Basic
Education Law.

Arrived at Kantei.

Met with the government's Tax Research Council Chairman Honma,
joined by Cabinet Office Vice Minister Uchida and others.

Attended the Lower House plenary session.

TOKYO 00006795 002 OF 009

Met with OK Wave President Kaneto Kanemoto and Chiiki Ishin Group
Representative Noriko Kondo at LDP headquarters. Afterwards, joined
a round-table discussion with them for the New Year issue of the
LDP organ paper "Liberal & Democratic."

Met with Nihon Keizai Shimbun Operating Officer Teruto Akiyama.

Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani at Kantei. Later, met
with Shiseido Honorary Chairman Yoshiharu Fukuhara, a member of the
Japan-France Club.

Met with State Minister in Charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy
Hiroko Ota, and then attended a meeting of the Council on Economic
and Fiscal Policy.

Met with Special Advisor Seko.

Returned to residence in Kantei.

2) Many government officials now believe resumption of six-party
talks within this year is difficult

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 1, 2006

United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and
Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill met his counterpart, Kenichiro
Sasae, at Narita Airport. Hill briefed Sasae on his recent talks in
Beijing with the chief delegates of North Korea and China. Hill
quoted the North Korean representative as saying in response to his
call on North Korea to scrap its nuclear ambitions, "I will bring
the proposal back to my home country and look into it." Focusing on
the fact that no date has been set for the next round, though
mid-December was eyed for the talks, a number of government
officials have begun to take the view that it might be difficult to
resume the six-party talks by the end of the year.

3) Japan, US confirm need to produce "concrete results in resumed
six-party talks"

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
December 1, 2006

The Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Director-General Kenichiro Sasae, the chief delegate to the
six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, yesterday met at
Narita Airport with his US counterpart in the six-party talks,
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who stopped over here
in Japan on his way back to the United States from Beijing, where he
had had trilateral talks with China and North Korea. According to
Hill, the US demanded that North Korea come up with a concrete
program for the dismantlement of its nuclear programs, and in
response, the North Korean negotiators said, "We will take home your
request and discuss it."

Both Sasae and Hill confirmed the need to produce concrete results,

TOKYO 00006795 003 OF 009

such as Pyongyang's freezing its nuclear-weapons-related facilities
and accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) once the six-party talks are resumed. Later in the day, a
Japanese government official commented, "America has made quite a
tough demand," and revealed that the US and North Korea in their
recent dialogues had not set a deadline for Pyongyang to come up
with a reply.

After the meeting with Hill, Sasae told reporters: "I hear the North
Koreans have now deepened their understanding toward the common
position taken by the US and Japan. We hope to see a constructive
response from the North Koreans." When asked about whether the
six-party talks will be restarted before the end of the year," Sasae
stressed: "That possibility has not been ruled out."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe, when asked yesterday about some media
reporting that North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan
remarked, "Japan is not qualified to join (the six-party talks),
made this comment in a firm tone: "It's useless to react to each
remark. We must use the six-party talks as the first step to push
North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons programs."

4) US requests include the closing of DPRK's nuclear testing ground

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
December 1, 2006

Tadahisa Takatsuki, Seoul

The details of America's requests made to North Korea during the
recent trilateral talks in Beijing among the chief delegates from
the United States, North Korea, and China were revealed. The talks
were held in Beijing until Nov. 29 with the aim of reopening the now
stalled six-party talks. According to several sources familiar with
the talks, the US called on the North to freeze or close its nuclear
development-related facilities, such as the graphite reactor at
Yongbyon and to close the testing ground in Hamgyongbuk-do's
Punggyeri, where the recent nuclear test was conducted. These are a
part of a priority list of requests indicated by the US to the

The priority list consists of four items. One is that the North
return to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and again
accept IAEA inspections. The other is that the North report on all
of its nuclear development plans and its nuclear facilities.

Ahead of the resumption of the six-party talks, the US took the lead
in forming this list, insisting that the talks cannot go ahead under
the same conditions that were applied before the nuclear test.
Reportedly, the list was approved during such meetings as the one
held in Hanoi among the chief delegates from Japan, the US, and
South Korea, members of the six-party talks. According to US
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, North Korean Vice
Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan said, "I will take it home and discuss

Meanwhile, in the US-South Korea summit talks held in Hanoi on Nov.
18, President Bush conveyed to the South Korean president that the
United States is ready to sign a document declaring an end to the
Korean War, where there is currently only a cease-fire, according to
a South Korean government official.

TOKYO 00006795 004 OF 009

5) Foreign Minister Aso meets with IAEA director-general, expresses
hope for IAEA role in leading DPRK to drop its nuclear programs

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
December 1, 2006

Foreign Minister Taro Aso late yesterday met with International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei at
his ministry's Iikura Guest House and on the issue of how to
dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, he stated: "I hope
to see the IAEA play a vital role in this context at an appropriate
time in the future." ElBaradei, analyzing the reason why the North
is intent to possess nuclear weapons, stated: "Presumably, that
country is trying to go nuclear simply for the survival of the
nation, not to exercise influence in the region."

6) Aso unveils "arc of freedom and prosperity" initiative to support
development of Asia, East Europe

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
December 1, 2006

In a lecture meeting held yesterday at a Tokyo hotel by the Japan
Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Foreign Minister Taro Aso
unveiled a new foreign policy called "an arc of freedom and
prosperity" to support the efforts of Southeast Asia, Central Asia,
and East Europe for democracy and economic development. The aim is
to clarify Japan's global contributions and realize national
interests by, for instance, securing natural resources. The
government intends to define it as the Abe administration's key
diplomatic strategy along with the Japan-US alliance and neighboring

In his speech, Aso said: "We are going to add a new key element to
the country's foreign policy of enhancing the Japan-US alliance and
relations with neighboring countries, such as China, South Korea,
and Russia." He then explained that Japan will: (1) develop
"diplomacy of values" putting high priority on such universal values
as democracy, freedom, human rights, and rule of law; and (2) play
an active role in creating an "arc of freedom and prosperity"
connecting emerging democracies around the Eurasian Continent.

Specifically, Japan's support to that region would include continued
support for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; assistance to the
independent development of Central Asia and the stability of
Afghanistan; and the stability of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and
Moldova. Japan intends to establish a framework of dialogues with
various countries, while pursuing cooperation with the EU and NATO.
The government also plans to work closely with firms and NGOs
actively conducting activities in those areas.

7) Defense ministry bill clears Lower House

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
December 1, 2006

A set of bills to upgrade the Defense Agency (JDA) to a ministry
were adopted at yesterday's Lower House plenary session getting the
approval of the ruling parties - the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
and the New Komeito - the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto), and the People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto), and
was sent to the Upper House. The Japanese Communist Party and the

TOKYO 00006795 005 OF 009

Social Democratic Party voted against the bills. The bills will be
enacted in mid-December. A defense ministry is expected to come into
existence next January.

The set of bills is intended to upgrade the JDA, currently the
Cabinet Office's external organ, to an independent ministry and turn
the JDA director general into a defense minister. The Self-Defense
Forces' duties, such as international peacekeeping operations,
transportation of Japanese nationals abroad in the event of
emergency and providing logistical support in situations in areas
surrounding Japan, will also be upgraded from additional duties to
mainstay duties. Integration of the Defense Facilities
Administration Agency (DFAA) into the defense ministry in fiscal
2007 has also been incorporated.

If the JDA becomes a defense ministry, the defense minister will be
empowered to directly make proposals at cabinet meetings or file
budgetary requests with the finance minister, over which the prime
minister, the head of the Cabinet Office, currently has authority.

The DPJ approved the bills, but Takahiro Yokomichi, Lower House vice
speaker (temporarily left the party to serve in the post), opposed

The Lower House Security Committee met prior to the plenary session
and adopted an additional resolution calling on the government to
exercise civilian control in a far-reaching manner and investigate
wrongdoings involving government officials, such as the bid-rigging
incident involving the DFAA.

8) Minshuto, keeping in mind "ability to take power," approves
defense ministry legislation, causing cracks in joint opposition

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
December 1, 2006

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) yesterday approved bills to
upgrade the Defense Agency (JDA) to ministry status, changing its
conventional confrontational stance against the government and the
ruling camp. The policy switch reflects growing concern among
conservative members that unless the party makes a realistic
response regarding security issues, its ability to hold the reins of
government might be questioned. Now that the coalition among
Minshuto, the Japanese Communist Party, and the Social Democratic
Party has collapsed, some effects are likely to appear in the
management of the final stage of the current Diet session.

In Minshuto, many members reportedly have favored the bills. Party
head Ichiro Ozawa was also calling for elevating the JDA before his
Liberal Party merged with Minshuto. Prior to the Okinawa
gubernatorial election on Nov. 19, though, the main opposition party
expressed opposition to taking a vote on the bills. The party wanted
to avert a fissure in the opposition coalition, as well as a
negative impact from appearing on the election outcome as a result
of taking time in unifying views.

Following Minshuto's defeat in the election, criticism erupted
against Ozawa's confrontational stance against the ruling camp. In
response, the executive finally launched an effort to unify views.
Some voiced opposition to a measure to upgrade peacekeeping
operations overseas to a main duty, one assailing: "The initial role

TOKYO 00006795 006 OF 009

of the SDF is to engage in operations based on the exclusively
defense-oriented policy. No public agreement has been obtained for
its overseas activities." But such voices were pushed out by views
in favor of the bills held mainly by conservative members.

9) Government to allow US aircraft to pass over residential areas to
land at Nago V-shaped runways in both directions in emergency

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
December 1, 2006

The government decided yesterday to allow US military aircraft to
use the V-shaped pair of runways to be constructed on the coastline
of Camp Schwab in Nago - the controversial relocation site for
Futenma Air Station - in both directions strictly in emergency
situations in compliance with a US request. The government intends
to formally convey its decision to the US side at a meeting of
senior foreign and defense officials of the two countries on Dec.

If two-way traffic is allowed, US aircraft would fly over
residential areas. The government's decision is bound to draw fire
from affected local municipalities that have accepted the V-shaped
plan, believing flight paths would avoid residential zones.

An agreement was reached in April this year between the government
and affected municipalities, including Nago, to allow US aircraft to
use the northern runway for landings and the southern runway for
takeoffs in the event of north wind and vice versa in south wind.

They decided not to allow two-way traffic in order to reduce
accidents and noise by limiting flight paths to areas over the
ocean. This agreement was designed to allow US aircraft to land only
from the south in the event of north wind and from the north in a
south wind.

But in bilateral talks in October, the US asked Japan to allow
two-way traffic in emergency situations regardless of wind
direction. Japan has been studying the US request.

As a result, the Defense Agency has concluded that the runways
should be used in two directions strictly in emergency situations,
such as a life-or-death situation concerning crewmembers or a lack
of fuel.

10) LDP to accept idea of lowering age of eligible voters for
national referendum to 18 years

SANKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
December 1, 2006

Concerning the national referendum bill needed for procedures to
revise the Constitution, Hajime Funada, director of the Liberal
Democratic Party Constitutional Research Special Committee,
yesterday proposed at the Committee's examination task force meeting
a plan to lower the age of voters eligible for a national referendum
to 18 after a period of about three years. The Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) is welcoming the proposal. With this
proposal, the bill has taken a big step forward to passage during
next year's regular Diet session, setting aside passage during the
current session, which will come to a close soon. If civil law and
other laws are revised in conjunction with this, the age of majority

TOKYO 00006795 007 OF 009

in Japan will become 18 in the near future. This will likely have a
major impact on various aspects of the social system.

Citing reasons for lowering the voting age, Funada noted during
deliberations at the examination panel: "Many young people aged 18
or 19 are active and discuss the issue very well. People aged 18 and
over have the right to vote in many foreign countries. Main rules
under the national referendum law should set the voting age at 18
and over." He then said: "A supplementary provision will stipulate a
three-year-or-so provisional measure and set that civil law and the
Public Office Election Law, which stipulate the age of majority, and
criminal law and procedures, which separates minors and adults,
should be revised. During the period of the adoption of the
provisional measure, the voting age will remain 20 and over."

The ruling camp's original plan set the age of voters eligible for a
national referendum at 20, the same as the age set under the Public
Office Election Law. The proposal this time is apparently a
compromise with the DPJ proposal. The DPJ has insisted that the
voting age should be 18 and over.

Yukio Edano, chairman of the DPJ Constitutional Research Council,
during the panel meeting gave high marks to the proposal: "If the
cabinet secures revisions to civil law and other related laws, we
will take the proposal positively."

11) Minshuto beefing up efforts to unify views on basic policies

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 1, 2006

In a meeting of its Policy Research Council joined by all members at
party headquarters yesterday, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan)
launched an effort to unify views on its basic policies, which the
party aims to finalize by year's end. Their draft includes measures
to: (1) approve limited use of collective self-defense; and (2) keep
the consumption tax at 5% and use all revenues to finance pension

In the meeting, former head Seiji Maehara criticized the party's
decision of limiting the use of collective self-defense only to a
case in which (Japan) is attacked suddenly and illegally. He
claimed: "There will be no case that meets the condition. This is an
ambiguous and ideological concept." Maehara also denounced the call
for keeping the current consumption tax rate, saying, "The measure
might be taken as an election ploy."

By accelerating the process of formulating the party's basic
policies, Minshuto aims to erase the criticism that the party is not
united on policy and to be ready to devote itself to campaigning for
the House of Councillors election next summer. On the defense
ministry legislation and other security issues, however, the party
is still divided. Things are unlikely to proceed as anticipated by
the executive.

12) Minshuto's "administrative policies" draw criticisms

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
December 1, 2006

The major opposition Munshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) yesterday
kicked off full-scale discussions on its draft set of basic policies

TOKYO 00006795 008 OF 009

for running the government. The plan to finance the pension programs
totally with consumption tax revenues while keeping the rate at 5%
drew fierce objections.

Attended by some 100 Minshuto lawmakers of the two houses of the
Diet, the meeting pointed out problems associated with the plans
drafted by President Ichiro Ozawa.

Former President Katsuya Okada and others urged the party to
continue upholding the plan to raise the consumption tax by 3
points, as was mentioned in the party's campaign pledges for the
Lower House election last year.

Maehara also criticized the draft plan partially allowing the
country to exercise the right to collective self-defense without
dwelling on the history of discussions on whether it is individual
or collective self-defense as ambiguous and ideological.

The party plans to produce a final plan before the end of the year
after holding several meetings.

13) Meguro Ward Assembly: Six New Komeito members, assembly chairman

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 29) (Excerpts)
December 1, 2006

The Tokyo Meguro Ward Assembly at yesterday's plenary session
formally accepted letters of resignation submitted by all six
Assembly members who belong to the New Komeito to take
responsibility for the improper use of administrative affairs
investigation expenses. Chairman Nobuo Miyazawa of the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) also resigned to take responsibility for the
unusual situation in which all members of the second largest group

The six New Komeito members whose resignation was accepted are
Takayoshi Shimazaki, Ichiro Tawara, Kunio Kobayashi, Yoshio
Terashima, Eriko Kawasaki and Yoji Nakajima.

The 36-seat Assembly will have eight vacancies, but there will be no
by-elections. Nearly one-fourth of the seats will remain vacant
until next spring's unified local elections.

The six New Komeito members who submitted letters of resignation did
not attend the plenary session.

Miyazawa also allegedly spent funds in an inappropriate manner, as
the financial audit carried out in response to a filed by ward
residents unveiled his purchase of a cushion with the fund. However,
when he announced his resignation as chairman at the plenary
session, he did not touch on that at all.

The ruling party at the plenary session adopted a censure motion
against opposition party members who have pursued the series of
improper uses of the funds. The opposition camp submitted a
resolution urging Miyazawa, who stepped down as chairman, to resign.
The uproar during the plenary session continued into the night.

Checks by chairman did not function at all

The Meguro Ward Assembly has an agreement on the criteria of usage

TOKYO 00006795 009 OF 009

of funds for administrative affairs investigation. Under the
agreement, Assembly members submit spending reports to the chairman,
and the assembly secretariat checks the propriety of the reports at
the request of the chairman. However, the agreement is a so-called
gentleman's agreement with no legal power. The chairman himself was
found to have spent funds in an improper way, revealing that the
checking function did not work at all.


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