Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 06/26/07

DE RUEHKO #2893/01 1770805
P 260805Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Editorial: Iraq Special Measures Law-Is this a Bush
administration backup law?

(2) Upper House now an arena for ramming bills through Diet

(3) How capable is the Abe administration in coping with challenges?
Suffers damage in handling pension fiasco; Heavily responsible for
dealing with environment issue

(4) Interview with Yoshihiro Ozawa, honorary advisor to OIE, on
propriety of continuing 20-month age limit condition: Meaningless
under current inspection methodology

(Corrected copy) Hill tells Sasae, "DPRK will shut down its facility
within three weeks"


(1) Editorial: Iraq Special Measures Law-Is this a Bush
administration backup law?

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
June 23, 2007

A bill revising the Law Concerning Special Measures for Humanitarian
and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq-or the so-called "Iraq Special
Measures Law" for short-cleared the House of Councillors. Under the
now-revised law, the Air Self-Defense Force's airlift activities
will be extended for another two years.

In Iraq, there is no end to Islamic sectarian terrorism and attacks
against U.S. forces, and an increasing number of people have been
victimized. More countries are now beginning to pull out or reduce
their troops. As it stands, the question is whether to retain those
Self-Defense Forces members there. The government had to make such a
serious decision. However, it is hard to say the government
fulfilled its accountability in the Diet.

The Iraq war was started with wrong intelligence. Prime Minister
Koizumi at the time supported the Iraq war, and he sent even SDF
troops while riding roughshod over public opinion opposed to his
decision on the SDF's Iraq dispatch. It should be a categorical
imperative for the government and the ruling parties to own up to
the fact that this action was wrong from the start. However, both
the government and the ruling coalition, pretending not to know,
decided to extend the ASDF's Iraq mission. This is extremely

In addition, two other serious problems have been left unexplained.

First, there is no exit strategy for when to withdraw the ASDF from
Iraq. Second, the government has little accounted for what the SDF
has been doing in Iraq.

The government cannot say anything about an exit strategy. That is
probably a matter of course for the government. There was a decision
in the beginning to continue the SDF's activities in Iraq. The
government considered the Japan-US alliance before anything else and
sent the SDF to Iraq. The government's judgment on when to withdraw
all SDF members from Iraq is inevitably up to the United States'

TOKYO 00002893 002 OF 007

policy course. That may be what the government has in its heart of

US President Bush met with a serious defeat in last year's midterm
elections, and he is now in a fix with his approval rating having
fallen to below 30 % . The Republican Party is certain to fight an
uphill battle in campaigning for next year's presidential election.
What lies behind that is public opinion critical of Bush's Iraq

What the SDF is doing in Iraq is a "token" of Japan's support for
Bush. The Iraq Special Measures Law is for Japan to assist Iraq with
its reconstruction. In point of fact, however, the law substantially
purports to support the Bush administration.

What is the ASDF airlifting? According to Diet replies given by the
government, 95 % of those that were carried on ASDF C-130
transports during the nine months through this spring were for the
multinational forces. The ASDF's actual mission is to buttress up
the military operations of US forces and other multinational force
members, isn't it?

Moreover, the ASDF seems to have called off many C-130 transport
flights to avoid potential attacks. The government ought to account
in detail for how dangerous it is for the ASDF to carry out its
activities in Iraq.

The government has been veiling SDF activities in Iraq. Its secrecy,
however, is obviously going too far. The government must report the
facts about the SDF's Iraq mission to the Diet. Otherwise, civilian
control cannot function.

The government has been covering up something that it does not want
to let us know. This is the same as in the case of the SDF's
Intelligence Security Corps problem, which the Japanese Communist
Party recently pursued on the basis of the SDF's in-house

The documents in question denote the Intelligence Security Corps'
surveillance of individuals and groups opposed to the SDF dispatch
to Iraq. The government has refused to comment on this problem,
reasoning that the documents were not made public by the government.
As it stands, we must think the government has no intention at all
to fulfill its accountability.

Including the SDF's extended Iraq mission, such an attitude shown by
the government will not raise public trust in the Japan-US alliance
or the SDF.

(2) Upper House now an arena for ramming bills through Diet

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
June 26, 2007

In the upcoming House of Councillors election (official announcement
on July 12, the election date set for July 29), the focus of
attention tends to be on the clashes between the ruling and
opposition parties, as each side campaigns to win a majority. But a
more important issue is what the Upper House should be in the
future. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of
the two chambers in the Diet. The Tokyo Shimbun considers the
current situation and the future of the Upper House.

TOKYO 00002893 003 OF 007

(Team collecting news materials about the Upper House election)

Question: In the ongoing Diet session, there were many scenes in
which the ruling parties - the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito - forcibly took a vote. The Upper House initially should be
tasked with holding in check in a sensible manner reckless acts by
the government and the House of Representatives. We wonder why the
ruling camp in the Upper House doesn't apply the brakes to the
forcible management of the Diet by the government or the Lower

Answer: It would be hopeless to pin much hope on the ruling camp in
the Upper House. On the contrary, the ruling parties have repeatedly
rammed legislation through the Upper House. Mikio Aoki, chairman of
the LDP caucus in the Upper House, has maintained his influence over
the administration by guaranteeing the passage of legislation. The
Upper House does not hesitate to resort to strong-arm tactics if the
administration hopes to get legislation through the Diet. The Upper
House is not a sensible chamber and it is indisputably capable of
ramming legislation through the Diet.

There is very little chance that bills sent from the Lower House are
rejected in the Upper House. The contents of deliberations there are
also a repetition of those in the Lower House, aren't they?

Question: The bills related to postal privatization were rejected in
August 2005 as a result of many LDP members voting against the
bills. As shown in this case, the Upper House could play the role of
checking the Lower House.

Answer: It was acceptable until the legislation was voted down, but
then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Lower House for
a general election. As a result, the result of the vote in the Upper
House was completely ignored.

Moreover, the LDP won an overwhelming victory in the Lower House,
with the ruling camp garnering votes from two-thirds of all the
members. Although the legislation had been voted down in the Upper
House, the bill was preserved with approval from two-thirds of all
Lower House members again. The Upper House has significantly lost
its political influence.

To make worse, LDP postal rebels in the Upper House decisively hurt
the authority of the Upper House. The privatization legislation that
had been submitted to the Diet after the Lower House election was
adopted and enacted in the Upper House. Although the contents of the
original legislation and the revised version were same, most of the
LDP rebels in the Upper House voted for the bills in the second
vote. One of the rebels said, "I respected the public will shown in
the Lower House election," but they must have feared a punishment
from the party. Their about face was a suicidal act of the Upper

Question: In the upcoming election, the meaning of the Upper House's
existence will be tested. The Upper House also appears to be trying
to find ways to demonstrate its own identity by improving screening
account settlement.

Answer: With improvement in account-settlement screening alone, it
cannot be said that drastic reform is being carried out. On inequity
in the value of a single vote, as well, the fixed numbers of seats
in Tochigi and Gunma will be decreased by two each, while those in
Tokyo and Chiba will be increased by two each stating with the

TOKYO 00002893 004 OF 007

upcoming election. But the differential in the value of a single
vote still varies by a factor as high as 4.83 (as of September of
last year).

Political parties have skirted the issue of reform of the Upper
House in their election pledges for the coming election. On the
contrary, the LDP, the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), and the
People's New Party have even fielded candidates who had been
defeated in the previous Lower House election. Looking at its
current situation, it might be natural for the Upper House to be
criticized as unnecessary.

(3) How capable is the Abe administration in coping with challenges?
Suffers damage in handling pension fiasco; Heavily responsible for
dealing with environment issue

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 6) (Slightly abridged)
June 26, 2007

Interview with international political scientist Hiroshi Nakanishi
by reporter Yoichi Toyoda

Toyoda: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is taking the brunt of criticism
for the missing pension premium-payment records. The incident is the
outcome of accumulated administrative failures. The governing LDP is
heavily responsible for what happened. What is your view on the
reason for this issue spreading to fast?

Nakanishi: The pension problem came to light, coinciding with an
already declining public support rate for the Abe administration. My
sense is that with the Upper House election coming in July, the Abe
administration was flabbergasted by this incident, which opened old
political wounds. The Social Insurance Agency's (SIA) pension record
keeping has been undeniably sloppy with a huge number of premium
payment records missing. It is understandable that people are angry.
But in common sense terms, it is not conceivable that the Abe
administration caused the pension mess. In my view, however, if it
had dealt with the issue appropriately at the start, the matter
would not have become such a big problem.

Toyoda: Prime Minister Abe at first aimed to make constitutional
revision a campaign issue in the Upper House election. But now, he
has acknowledged that pensions as a campaign issue. The election
date has been delayed by a week due to the extension of the Diet
session. How much do you think the pension issue will contribute to
determining the outcome of the Upper House election?

Nakanishi: Generally speaking, a rumor once spread lasts but 75
days. So, by delaying the election date, it is conceivable that the
situation might change. However, I must say that unless something
major happens, the negative image of the pension fiasco will be
disadvantageous to the LDP, even though the Diet session has been
extended for a week. Approval rates for the Abe cabinet have been
dropping since May. I feel that the public is beginning to get the
impression that the Abe administration's proposed amendment of the
Constitution and plans to revitalize the education system are losing
momentum. How the Abe administration will handle the issue of the
missing pension premium-payment records will influence the public's
evaluation of the Abe administration, so this issue will have a
major impact on the upcoming election.

Toyoda: Participants in the G-8 summit held in Heiligendamm in early
June agreed to seriously consider halving greenhouse effect gas

TOKYO 00002893 005 OF 007

emissions by 2050. However, the base year is unclear. How do you
rate this agreement?

Nakanishi: Since there had been a strong observation that the summit
would end with the US and the EU remaining wide apart, it is
historically meaningful that leading countries shared the perception
that greenhouse gases will adversely affect humans. It is true that
Prime Minister Abe served as a bridge between the US and the EU,
which is apparently the achievement attributable to the Japanese
government or the Abe administration. However, the details of the
agreement are extremely ambiguous. Prime Minister Abe proposed a 50
% cut from the present level, while a proposal by European
countries is a 50 % cut from the 1990 level. Their proposal also
includes various regulations intended to cut green house gas
emissions in an effective manner in the process leading up to 2050.
The US remains opposed to such measures. It has committed to
becoming involved in terms of looking into a 50 % cut by 2050. I
must say that it has made little concessions in real terms.

Toyoda: Japan will host the Hokkaido Toya summit next year. Global
warming countermeasures will be a key agenda item there.

Nakanishi: Given a schedule to set a general framework for an
international agreement replacing the Kyoto Protocol within next
year, the Lake Toya summit will bear a significant meaning. It would
be a difficult job for Japan to serve as a bridge between the US and
the EU, whose views are actually wide apart, and wrap up an
agreement involving emerging countries, such as China, India,
Brazil, Mexico and South Africa -- countries that are called
outreach 5 -- and developing countries. Reaching a substantive
agreement to prevent global warming would be impossible without
involving those countries. The US would not take part, either,
without participation of those countries. Whether the Abe
administration will be in place until next year's summit or not, it
is true that a very heavy burden has been placed on the Japanese

Toyoda: What should be done in order to engage the US, China and
India in an international framework designed to cut global warming

Nakanishi: In the US, public opinion has become supportive of
measures to curb global warming, compared with several years ago. We
should pay attention to how such a domestic situation will affect
the presidential election and congressional elections next year. It
will be unmistakably important for Japan to cooperate with the Bush
administration, which will come up for the final year next year,
while observing the moves of the next-term administration and the
Congress as well as the trend of public opinion. Whether the US can
come up with a proposal that is acceptable will also be of
importance to Japan. Another point is whether a framework under
which China and India assume obligations to some degree will have a
major impact on US participation. As such, it will be very
meaningful to work on China and India from an early stage of the
process, including such strategic dealings as providing
environmental technology through official development assistance

Hiroshi Nakanishi: Born in 1962 in Osaka. Studied in the US after
graduating from the Kyoto University Graduate School Law Department
Research Course in 1987. Became professor at the same department in
2002. Serving as a professor at the Kyoto University Public Policy
Graduate School starting since 2006. Studied under now-dead Masataka

TOKYO 00002893 006 OF 007

Kosaka, an international political scientist. His works include
"What is international politics?" published by Chuko-Shinsho.

(4) Interview with Yoshihiro Ozawa, honorary advisor to OIE, on
propriety of continuing 20-month age limit condition: Meaningless
under current inspection methodology

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
June 25, 2007

There is major misunderstanding about BSE. The testing all cattle
for human consumption for BSE can be cited as a typical case. Most
people believe that the safety of beef will be guaranteed by blanket
testing. But as long as Japan continues to adopt its current
inspection methodology, this view is mistaken.

Under the current methodology, only part of the animal's brain is
extracted and examined. Even if a cow were infected with BSE, if
abnormal prion proteins have not reached the brain, the cow would
test negative and be shipped to market. That's why American and
European experts think that the removal of specified risk materials
is most important, and do not recommend blanket testing,

Even in Western European countries where a large number of infected
cows were found, experts do not think that BSE testing of all cattle
is a meat-safety measure. In Britain, people eat beef from cattle 30
months of age or younger that need not undergo a screening test for

Testing is important for surveillance purposes to find infected
cattle. In this case, however, it is sufficient to test cattle 30
months or older, because the accumulation of abnormal prion proteins
is considered to be almost impossible to detect in cattle younger
than 30 months. In most countries in Western Europe, tests are done
only on cattle aged 30 months or older. In Japan, the government has
explained that blanket testing is a means to guarantee the safety of
beef, creating a major misunderstanding among the Japanese people.

Meanwhile, many slaughterhouses in Japan still carry out the
practice of pithing, which has been prohibited in Western countries.
There is the danger of abnormal prion proteins in the brain flowing
into the blood and contaminating the meat in this process.

That is why the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has yet
to recognize Japan as a controlled-risk nation for BSE. The United
States was classified in this category this May.

BSE is a disease linked to the transfer gene called Transmissible
Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). A 21-month-old cow and a
23-month-old cow were identified as infected with BSE in 2003. In
its two-year test on mice injected with their brain tissue, the
National Institute of Animal Health found no symptoms of BSE in the
tested mice. Since infection was not confirmed, it cannot be
concluded that the two cattle had contracted BSE.

This research result makes it even more meaningless to set the age
limit of cattle at 20 months in terms of both import and domestic
screening test. Japan should first step up efforts to ensure the
safety of domestic meatpacking plants before criticizing other

(Corrected copy) Hill tells Sasae, "DPRK will shut down its facility
within three weeks"

TOKYO 00002893 007 OF 007

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., June 23, 2007

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the chief US
negotiator in the six-party talks, arrived in Japan this morning and
met with his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae, director-general
of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

Hill said to Sasae that he confirmed during his meetings with North
Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, the chief negotiator in
the six-party talks, and Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun North Korea's
will to fully implement the first-stage action, including shutdown
of the nuclear facility in Yongbyon, in line with the February
agreement. Hill told Sasae that the shutdown of the facility would
be completed within three weeks. Both Japanese and US negotiators
agreed to accelerate talks to push North Korea to implement
"next-phase action," including disabling all the nuclear facility.

On the abduction issue, Hill told Sasae that he urged North Korea to
address it positively, by noting, "Japan is the second largest
economic power in the world. It's important to improve relations
with that country." On the other hand, Hill said, "There was no
fresh response from the North Korean side."


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>