Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 06/21/07

DE RUEHKO #2799/01 1720151
P 210151Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


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

4) Coordination going on for visit to Japan by President Bush in

Diet action:
5) Bill extending the Iraq Special Measures Law allowing ASDF
dispatches is passed by the Diet
6) By passing the amended Iraq Special Measures Law, Government
desires to maintain the status quo with the US until the
presidential election next fall
7) Abe administration's desire to stress policy emphasis on US by
passing extension of Iraq dispatch bill
8) Three labor bills stalled with gap wide between two chambers of
the Diet; NSC bill put on hold
9) After six-year hiatus, a vote of no-confidence launched against
Lower House speaker Yohei Kono

North Korea problem:
10) Assistant Hill reiterates likelihood of six-party talks
restarting early July
11) Japan concerned that is priority abduction issue will get short
shrift in the restarted six-party talks

12) China's Hu government clams up on "anti-Japanese rhetoric" as it
roles out the red carpet for visiting Nakasone delegation

13) With no progress in sight, Farm Minister Akagi breaks short his
first trip abroad on WTO matters



Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri & Tokyo Shimbun
Diet enacts legislation to extend Iraq mission for two years, to
reform education system

Social insurance Agency to check all 270 million pension records

Tokyo District Court questions Chongryon vice chairman over purchase

SDF monitors JCP gatherings in nasty manner


(1) Extension of Diet session: Forcible attitude too much to
(2) Spa blast: Danger hidden in "nature" in cities

(1) Spa blast: Government urged to map out natural gas safety
(2) Three education laws must be applied properly

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(1) Substance should be given to three education laws
(2) Spa blast: Urgently establish guidance, surveillance system

(1) Split of Palestine: Reconstruction of peace process urged
(2) Revised education laws should be applied flexibly

(1) Spa blast: Safety indispensable for healing
(2) Revised education laws: Meaning of education boards' existence

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Extension of Diet session: Risky gamble of anxious prime
(2) Three education laws: Don't weaken the classroom

(1) Three education laws: We won't tolerate state intervention on
strength of Constitution

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, June 20

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
June 21

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Suzuki at the Kantei.

Met with Lower House member Taro Nakayama.

Handed over official recommendation certificates to prospective
candidate for Upper House proportional- representation
constituencies. Aoki, head of the LDP caucus in the Upper House, and
Katayama, secretary general of LDP members in the Upper House.

Arrived at the Kantei.

Lower House plenary session.

A meeting to honor memory of former Lower House member Motoo Shiina
at ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matoba at the Kantei.

Met with National Police Agency Uruma.

Met with Seiken Sugiura, chairman of the LDP Doshu or Regional Bloc


TOKYO 00002799 003 OF 010

Met with Finance Minister Omi, Vice Finance Minister Fujii, followed
by Internal Affairs Minister Suga. Then met with Lower House member
Tsutomu Takebe.


Local Treasure Discovery Contest hosted by the Cabinet Office.

Meeting held at Urban Center Hotel to report on the Heiligendamm
Summit on the global warming issue.

18:38 Returned to the official residence.

4) Bush visit eyed for September

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
June 21, 2007

The Japanese and US governments yesterday entered into coordination
for US President Bush to visit Japan in early September, a Japan-US
diplomatic source revealed. Bush last visited Japan in November 2005
and will make his first visit to Japan since Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe came into office. In their scheduled meeting, Abe and Bush are
expected to talk about global warming, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran,
North Korea, and the Durfur strife in the Sudan.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is to meet in
Sydney on Sept. 8-9, and Bush is to stop over in Japan around the
time of a summit meeting of APEC leaders. Bush will make be making
his fourth visit to Japan.

The United States agreed in the recent summit of Group of Eight
(G-8) leaders in Heiligendamm to create a new framework to cut
greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 and afterward for the post-Kyoto
Protocol setup. However, the United States has frowned on setting up
a definite numerical benchmark.

In July next year, Japan will host the G-8 summit to be held at Lake
Toya in Hokkaido. "On that occasion," a senior official of the
Foreign Ministry says, "the United States' cooperation is
indispensable for an agreement." Abe therefore wants to exchange
in-depth views with Bush.

Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly is to meet in New
York in mid-and late September, and the United Nations will host a
high-level meeting to discuss climate change. Abe will attend both
events, thinking to make an appeal again on his positive stance over
environmental issues.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is expected to fight an uphill
battle in this summer's election for the House of Councillors. Abe
wants ride out the election and would like to meet Bush in a
stabilized political situation.

5-1) Bill extending Iraq mission for two years and three education
reform bills clear Diet

MAINICHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
June 21, 2007

The bill amending the Iraq Special Measures Law and three education
reform bills were endorsed at the Upper House plenary session

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yesterday and enacted with a majority vote by the Liberal Democratic
Party and the New Komeito. The government and the ruling camp intend
to take a vote next week on Social Insurance Agency (SIA) reform
bills and the bill lifting the statute of limitations on pension
claims in line with its plan to extend the current Diet session for
12 days. The opposition camp, determined to continue pursuing the
government's responsibility for the question of "lost pension
payments," plans to submit a no-confidence motion against the
cabinet timed with a vote on the SIA bill.

LDP President Shinzo Abe, who is also prime minister, held a meeting
yesterday with his New Komeito counterpart, Akihiro Ota, and reached
an agreement to extend the Diet session for 12 days. The planned
extension is likely to clear a Lower House plenary session on June
22. As a result, the House of Councillors election, initially
planned for July 22, will take place a week later, on July 29.
Meanwhile, the Diet affairs chiefs of three opposition parties --
the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto or DPJ), the Social
Democratic Party, and the People's New Party -- confirmed yesterday
a line of opposing the Diet extension.

In addition, the Upper House Diet affairs chiefs of the three
opposition parties and the Japanese Communist Party met yesterday
ahead of the Upper House plenary session and confirmed a plan to
submit a motion demanding Education, Culture and Science Committee
Chairman Yasu Kano and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
Chairman Tadashi Taura, who had taken votes on the Iraq bill and the
three education reform bills without obtaining the opposition camp's
concurrence, be dismissed from the posts. The DPJ consequently
submitted the motion but it was voted down by the ruling bloc. This
was followed by the Upper House endorsement of the Iraq and
education reform legislations.

The Iraq legislation was necessary to extend the law, which is to
expire July 31, for two years. The law has been the legal basis for
the Air Self-Defense Force's airlift mission, which has been in
place even after the Ground Self-Defense Force left southern Iraqi
city of Samawah last July.

5-2) ASDF's activities to be extended for one year

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
June 21, 2007

Following the enactment of the revised Iraq Special Measures Law,
the government intends to make a cabinet decision in July on
extending for one year the basic plan specifying the specific
activities of the Air Self-Defense Force. Although the government
had also considered extending the plan for six months in view of the
deteriorating security situation in Iraq, it has decided on a
one-year extension so as not to hamper the ASDF's support mission.

The government, however, has yet to come up with any specific
timeline for withdrawal. Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma told reporters
yesterday: "We cannot make a decision unless we review the whole
situation, such as the international community, the security
situation, and the effect of the US troop increase." Given the
situation, the Lower House has passed an additional resolution
requiring: (1) a study of an exit strategy, and (2) disclosing
information on civilian control.

With the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law governing the Maritime

TOKYO 00002799 005 OF 010

Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean
scheduled to expire in November, the propriety of extending the law
is likely to be discussed in the fall extra Diet session. There are
objections in the Liberal Democratic Party about enacting a special
measures law each time for deploying the SDF's overseas. The debate
on establishing a permanent law on the SDF's overseas missions might
gain momentum.

6) Iraq aid: Focus on ASDF's exit strategy

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged)
June 21, 2007

A bill to revise the Iraq Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures
Law cleared the House of Councillors in its plenary sitting
yesterday. Under the now-revised law, the Air Self-Defense Force's
current airlift activities in Iraq will be continued over the next
two years. In Iraq, public security is not expected to be recovered
with religious sectarian conflicts intensifying. The focus, looking
ahead into the future, is on what kind of exit strategy the
government will map out to withdraw the ASDF.

"If they (ASDF) had to return home suddenly, that would have become
an internationally serious problem. I'm happy." So saying, Defense
Minister Kyuma looked relieved yesterday with the special measures
law's revision. Meanwhile, another question from reporters was about
when to recall the ASDF. "I don't know," Kyuma said, adding: "I
can't make a judgment until I see the whole situation, such as how
the international community will work for Iraq and what will become
of public security in Iraq." With this, Kyuma admitted that he could
not look ahead into the future.

The ASDF, with its detachment based in Kuwait, has been engaged in
the task of assisting Iraq with its reconstruction under the
government's masterplan based on the now-revised special measures
law. The GSDF pulled out of Iraq in July last year. Since then, the
ASDF has been tasked primarily with airlifting personnel and
supplies for US-led multinational forces. The government has not
disclosed details about the ASDF's activities in Iraq for security
and other reasons. However, one SDF officer has confessed that 80 %
to 90 % are armed US troops and other multinational force

In Diet deliberations on the revised law, opposition parties
insisted on the ASDF's early pullout. There were similar voices from
within the ruling coalition as well. Hiroshi Takano, a House of
Councillors member of New Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party's coalition partner, said: "If there is a change of
administration in the United States, I think we're going to withdraw
the ASDF. We need to work out an exit strategy."

However, the ASDF's Iraq mission is a symbol of Japan's
contributions to Iraq's reconstruction. The government therefore can
hardly say Japan will pull the ASDF troops out of Iraq as long as
public security in Iraq does not deteriorate to excess.

7) ASDF deployment in Iraq to be extended for another two years with
enactment of bill revising Iraq Special Measures Law, but no "exit
strategy" in sight

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged)
June 21, 2007

TOKYO 00002799 006 OF 010

Following the passage of the bill to extend the Iraq Special
Measures Law for two years, the government will decide in July on a
basic plan for air-refueling service in Iraq by the Air Self-Defense
Force (ASDF). The government initially planned to extend the term of
the ASDF deployment in Iraq for a half year from August, but it
changed this plan from a half year to one year. This length of the
extension is to be included in the basic plan. The deployment of
Japanese troops in Iraq, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inherited
from his predecessor Koizumi administration, has become the "symbol
of Japan's emphasis on the United States. Because of this
circumstance, it is difficult for Abe to chart an "exit strategy,"
which will include the conditions for a pullout of Japanese troops
from Iraq and in what way the pullout will be made.

"We can't make a decision without taking into consideration the
international situation, the security situation in Iraq, the effect
of a troop increase by the US military, and the like," Defense
Minister Fumio Kyuma said in response to a question about an exit
strategy by reporters in the Diet after the passage of the bill. On
the previous day, Kyuma also commented: "We'll keep them deployed
there for a while. We'll do so in a matter-of-fact manner." While
showing special consideration to the US, which has been put in a
bind over its Iraq policy, Japan exposes the lack of its strategy.

The ASDF started air-refueling service in March 2004. At present,
the ASDF operates under a 200-man structure to transport, for
instance, pharmaceuticals and United Nations officials to Baghdad or
the northern Iraqi city Arbil. The total times of transport topped
500 times and the volume transported exceeded 500 tons. But during
the past month, the times of transport were no more than 13 and the
weight amounted to only 1.3 tons. A senior Foreign Ministry
official, however, emphasized: "Although the volume of transport is
not so large, it is significant to participate in reconstruction

Given that there is more than one year before the US presidential
election set for November 2008, "It's unthinkable that the US troops
will pull out from Iraq immediately," one official of the Ministry
of Defense (MOD) said. The reason why Japan changed its
initially-planned term of extension of a half year to one year is
officially said to be avoid complicated procedures. But this change
also reflects the government's ulterior motive of emphasizing its
attitude of attaching importance to the US for a little longer. One
national defense lobbyist lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) made this prediction: "Japan can't withdraw its troops
from Iraq before President Bush steps down."

8) Lower, Upper House remain divided over three labor bills

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
June 21, 2007

Senior members of the ruling coalition, including Liberal Democratic
Party Secretary General Nakagawa and New Komeito Secretary General
Kitagawa, met at a Tokyo hotel yesterday and discussed how to deal
with pending bills after the Diet session is extended. They agreed
to continue to discuss legislation for a Japanese-version national
security council (NSC) and other key bills. On labor-related three
bills, however, they remained divided. The Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) and the House of Representatives want to enact
the bills out of desire to underscore in the House of Councillors

TOKYO 00002799 007 OF 010

election campaign policymaking achievements for workers, while the
Upper House asserts it is impossible to handle more bills.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki said regarding the three labor
bills in a press conference yesterday: "We want to see the bills
enacted in the current Diet session. The Japanese Trade Union
Confederation (Rengo) and other political parties particularly deem
the minimum wage bill as important legislation." Shiozaki and other
Kantei members once gave up on passing the labor legislation through
the current Diet session, giving priority to the passage of the
bills to reform the Social Insurance Agency. Their about-face
reflects their consideration to a strong call from Rengo, a support
group of the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), to pass the

Major bills the ruling coalition plans to shelve in the current

Japanese-version NSC bill Reorganize the current Security Council of
Japan into a Japanese-version NSC. Strengthen the Kantei's function
as control tower for foreign and security policies (April 6).
Broadcast reform bill Add a new administrative punishment that would
authorize the internal affairs and communications minister to order
a broadcasting station that caused a scandal, such as airing a
fabricated program, to submit a plan to prevent a recurrence (April
Pension unification bill Integrate the mutual pension program for
public servants into the employees' pension program in 2010 (April
Civil servant reform bill Strengthen regulations on the practice of
former government officials finding employment in the private
section and create a punishment on illegal approach by such
bureaucrats to incumbents.

9) House Speaker Kono's "dovish line" baffled in failure to
undertake coordination between ruling and opposition parties

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
June 21, 2007

Takenori Noguchi

"Lower House Speaker Yohei Kono has remonstrated the governing
coalition against railroading bills, hasn't he?" Tsuneo Suzuki,
member of the House of Representatives, who has acted together with
Kono in the New Liberal Club and the former Kono faction of the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said in a rebuttal at a full
session yesterday of the Lower House, when a no-confidence motion
submitted by the opposition parties against the speaker was rejected
by a majority from the governing coalition.

This motion was introduced against a speaker for the first time in
six and a half years. The opposition parties submitted it because
the governing bloc single-handedly adopted a no-confidence motion on
June 18 against the chairperson of the Committee on Discipline, who
belongs to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto). This
committee decides on the fate of lawmakers, for instance, by
expelling them, so a senior Minshuto member concluded this
development as "the case of the speaker rejecting parliamentary

Referring to it, Kono himself noted: "Something that should never

TOKYO 00002799 008 OF 010

occur by the nature of things has occurred." Caught in between the
giant ruling coalition pursuing a tough line and the opposition
parties increasing their confrontational stance, Kono, who
emphasizes the importance of undertaking coordination to help the
ruling and opposition parties to reach agreement, was simply baffled
in pursuing a "dovish line."

10) Assistant Secretary Hill sees restart of six-party talks in
early July

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
June 21, 2007

Assistant Secretary of State Hill, who is the chief delegate to the
six-party talks on the North Korea nuclear issue, told the press
corps after his meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Yachi yesterday
at the Foreign Ministry that he expected the talks to restart
possibly in early July.

Hill noted, "China thinks we can get something going in early July,"
indicating his intention to coordinate among the other chief
delegates and the like, while closely consulting with China, which
chairs the talks. He said, "We may start the talks immediately after
July 4 (the US' Independence Day holiday)."

He also indicated the possibility of a six-party foreign ministerial
to be convened around the time of the ASEAN-ARF that will take place
on August 2.

11) Six-party talks: As Upper House election approaches, government
concerned about abduction issue being left behind

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
June 21, 2007

In a bid to bring progress to the six-party talks on North Korea's
nuclear development issue, Japan and the US on June 19 started a
two-day meeting to undertake full-fledged coordination of views.
Visiting Assistant Secretary of State Hill told Japanese negotiators
his hope to resume the talks as early as early July. However, there
is deep-seated caution on the Japanese side about the suggestion in
view of the lack of progress on the abduction issue.

Concern about the possibility of developments in the six-party talks
affecting the upcoming Upper House election in a delicate manner is
appearing in the Abe administration, which maintains a hard-line
stance toward North Korea. Vice Foreign Minister Yachi yesterday
once again conveyed Japan's position to Hill: "I believe you
understand that bringing progress to the nuclear issue and settling
the abduction issue are both important." Hill: "I understand that

Hill also met with Asia and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General
Kenichiro Sasae on the previous evening. He told reporters after the
meeting, "I want to create a base so that a forward-looking result
can be obtained regarding the abduction issue."

However, Senior MOFA officials are cool toward Hill's comment with
one saying, "Mr. Hill understands Japan's public opinion. However,
there is no change in his desire to avoid being bound by Japan,
which wants the US to make a settlement of the abduction issue a
premise for removing North Korea from a list of state sponsors of

TOKYO 00002799 009 OF 010


When to hold the next round of the six-party talks will be
determined with the intentions of North Korea and China taken into
consideration. If it is held in July, there is a strong possibility
of the meeting clashing with the campaign period for the Upper House

Prime Minister Abe plans to field Special Advisor to the Prime
Minister Kyoko Nakayama, State Minister in charge of the abduction
issue, in the LDP's proportional-representation constituency and
make a public appeal of his enthusiasm to tackle the abduction

Chances are that if discussion on measures to provide North Korea
with energy assistance takes place at such a time, Japan, which
makes progress in the abduction issue a premise for its extending
assistance to that nation, may be urged to make concessions. One
government official said, "Both the abduction and nuclear issues
will affect the Upper House election, if no achievements are made.
However, we cannot say that the next round of the talks should be
held after the election."

Amid the Abe administration refusing to make a compromise, Yachi on
the 18th told reporters: "Defining progress in the abduction issue
and then discussing the energy assistance issue would not be

12) Hu administration containing domestic anti-Japanese movements,
keeps social stability ahead of the CCP's convention in this fall

YOMIURI (Page 7) (Excerpts)
June 21, 2007/06/21

Hiroyuki Sugiyama, Beijing

Chinese President Hu Jintao on June 19 expressed to the Japan-China
Youth Friendship Delegation (led by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro
Nakasone), which was visiting Beijing, his determination to build
better relations with Japan. This news was widely covered by Chinese
media yesterday, helping his determination to be disseminated across
the country. The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Central Propaganda
Department has also indicated it would calm down reports critical of
Japan. The Hu administration appears to be trying to carefully
contain movements of anti-Japanese groups that enable the masses to
mobilize in a way to shake up the society ahead of the 17th CCP
convention set for this fall.

Red-carpet media reports on Nakasone-led delegation

The China Central Television (CCTV) yesterday aired the footage of a
meeting between Hu and the Japan-China friendship delegation and a
welcoming party for 10 minutes from the start of a 30-news program.
Quoting Hu as saying, "China and Japan must step up cooperation on a
bilateral basis, as well as on a regional and global basis," the
program aired the footage of an entertainment part of the dinner
party. The CCP's organ paper, the People's Daily, devoted two-thirds
of the front page to stories about the delegation.

This year will mark the 35th anniversary of the diplomatic
normalization of Japan-China relations, as well as the 70th
anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which triggered the

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Sino-Japanese War, and the Nanjing Incident. Japan-China relations
would be profoundly affected by which memorial day China will attach
more importance. Hu apparently has chosen to attach importance to
China-Japan friendship. The top leader's clear announcement of his
policy would serve as "deterrent against behavior going against it,"
one Chinese official said.

According to an informed source, the CCP's Central Propaganda
Department instructed news services not to report negative aspects
of Japan at their discretion. As a result, senior members of news
companies reportedly have become extremely cautious about carrying
articles critical of Japan that could fan the flames of
anti-Japanese sentiments. There are news reports critical of Japan,
but they are "too modest to provoke anti-Japanese sentiments in
China," the same source said.

The reason why China is stepping up its efforts to contain
anti-Japanese movements is primarily because it concerns the
stability of the administration from both a short-term to a
long-term perspective.

13) Agriculture Minister Akagi suddenly decides to return home
midway through his German visit

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
June 21, 2007

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Akagi, who has been
visiting Germany for a Group of 4 ministerial meeting under the Doha
Round (multilateral trade talks) at the World Trade Organization
(WTO), has suddenly decided to return home. He explained that he
made that decision because tension is growing in the Diet session,
as can be seen in the fact that opposition parties are showing
readiness to introduce a no-confidence motion against the cabinet.
Akagi is visiting Germany in order to hold talks with G-4 cabinet
ministers, but his first foreign visit since his inauguration as
agriculture minister has apparently turned into a wasted effort.

He is expected to leave Germany on June 20 and arrive at Narita
Airport on the 21st. He said that he made a certain degree of
achievements through his visit to Germany. He appears to have made
the decision, based on the judgment that it would not be wise to
travel abroad when tension is mounting in the Diet and that since it
would be difficult to hold separate talks, he should avoid being
criticized as staying in Germany meaninglessly.

It is said that a ministerial meeting of the Group of 6 involving
the G-4 nations plus Japan and Australia will be held in Germany
around the 23rd. In that case, Akagi wants to visit Germany again.
However, other participating countries are taking a cool approach to
Japan with one minister saying, "The G-6 will become a venue for
only explaining the outcome of the G-4 meeting." In addition, the
ruling parties plan to enter into procedures for extending the Diet


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