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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/02/07-1

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020121Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5075
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 4246
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1831
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5411
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 0939
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 2640
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7677
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3735
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4829

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 002979

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 07/02/07-1


Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials

Prime Minister's weekend schedule: Mostly campaign-related
activities

Opinion polls:
3) Asahi poll: Abe Cabinet support rate sinks to lowest ever, 28 %
, rivaling unpopularity of former Mori administration
4) Mainichi poll shows 52 % non-support rate for Abe Cabinet, with
majority of public unhappy about prime minister's handling of
pension issue

Kyuma flap:
5) Defense Minister Kyuma: "Atomic bombings of Japan could not be
helped"
6) Text of Kyuma's remarks justifying US use of atomic bombs to end
war
7) Opposition parties blast Kyuma for atomic-bombing remarks
8) Ruling parties perplexed by Kyuma's atomic-bombing remarks, fear
they could impact on the Upper House election
9) Prime Minister Abe: Defense minister was just introducing US view

10) Opposition camp demands Kyuma's dismissal for atomic-bombing
remarks
11) Abe rejects calls for dismissing Kyuma, though admits remarks
were inappropriate

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Poll: Cabinet approval rate declines to low of 28 %

Mainichi:
Poll: Cabinet disapproval rate rises to new high of 52 %

Yomiuri, Sankei:
Abe, Ozawa lock horns in debate ahead of Upper House election

Nikkei:
Japan's economy growing driven by domestic, external demand

Tokyo Shimbun:
Abe refuses to dismiss Defense Minister Kyuma

Akahata:
Kyuma's atomic bombing remark demonstrates unfitness for office

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Heated debate expected ahead of Upper House election
(2) Kyuma's appalling atomic bombing remarks

Mainichi:
(1) Kyuma's thoughtless and dishonorable remarks
(2) Abe-Ozawa debate needed more heat


TOKYO 00002979 002 OF 007


Yomiuri:
(1) SIA officials must lose public servant status
(2) More party-head debates needed

Nikkei:
(1) Campaign issues now clear with Abe-Ozawa debate
(2) Kyuma unfit for office

Sankei:
(1) Four-party talks must not replace six-party talks
(2) Preservation of cultural assets deserves thorough discussion

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Kyuma's atomic bombing remarks expose his ignorance
(2) Hong Kong marks 10 years since reversion

Akahata:
(1) National Life White Paper needs viewpoint of social solidarity

3) OPINION

Poll: Cabinet support hits new low of 28 %

ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
July 2, 2007

The Abe cabinet's support rate hit a record low in the Asahi
Shimbun's telephone-based eighth public opinion survey conducted on
June 30 and July 1, with the Diet having essentially ended its
ordinary session. Abe was enthusiastic about reforming the Social
Insurance Agency and revising the National Public Service Law. He
has just had relevant bills get through the Diet. All the more for
this reason, the survey's results were severe for him.

In the survey this time, the Abe cabinet's support rate was 28 %
(31 % in the last survey). The lowest figure in the past was 30 %
, which was shown in the fourth serial survey taken June 2-3. This
time, the Abe cabinet's support rate was below 30 % for the first
time. The Abe cabinet's nonsupport rate was 48 % , the same as in
the last survey. The cabinet support rate last dropped below 30 %
when the Mori cabinet was in office, though the results of previous
polls and the one taken this time cannot be simply compared due to
different polling methodologies.

The Abe cabinet's support rate, after dropping to 30 % , stayed low
at 34 % , 32 % , and 31 % . Among men, its support rate was 24 %
this time, showing a substantial drop from 36 % in the last
survey, with its nonsupport rate rising to 52 % from 50 % in the
last survey). Among those in their 20s to 50s, the support rate was
low at around 20 % . Among those who support the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party, the Abe cabinet's support rate was a record low of
64 % , failing to reach 70 % for the first time.

In the current Diet session, the ruling coalition rammed pension and
other bills through the Diet. Respondents were asked if they
appreciated the Abe cabinet's response to the issue of the
government's pension record-keeping flaws. In response to this
question, 24 % answered "yes," with 59 % saying "no." When it
comes to the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto), 27 % answered "yes" to that party's response over the
pension issue, with 45 % saying "no." The survey shows the
public's severe view of the Abe cabinet.

TOKYO 00002979 003 OF 007

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 25 % (27 % in the last survey), with the DPJ at 16 %
(15 % ). New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, was at 3 % (4
% ). The Japanese Communist Party was at 2 % (2 % ), and the
Social Democratic Party (Shaminto) at 1 % (1 % ).

4) Poll: Cabinet nonsupport at 52 %

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
July 2, 2007

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey on June 30 and July 1. The rate of public support for
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet was 32 % , the same as in
the last survey taken in May. However, the nonsupport rate for the
Abe cabinet reached 52 % , up 8 percentage points. The figure is
the worst since the Abe cabinet came into office in September last
year. Asked about the government's pension record-keeping flaws, a
total of 74 % answered that they would factor in the issue when
voting in the upcoming election for the House of Councillors. As
seen from the figure, the pension issue is now a major point of
contention in campaigning for the election. In addition, a total of
63 % gave negative answers when asked if they appreciate the
government and ruling parties' efforts to handle the pension
fiasco.

A total of 23 % answered "no" to a question asking if they would
factor in the pension issue when voting in the election, and only 32
% answered "yes" to a question asking if they appreciated the
government and ruling parties' efforts to deal with the pension
issue. The figures show that the pension issue is a minus factor for
the governing parties and one of the likely causes of the rise in
the disapproval rating for the Abe cabinet.

5) Defense Minister Kyuma: Atomic bombings couldn't be helped

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 1, 2007

Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma stated in a speech on June 30 in
Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture:

"Many Nagasaki people suffered by the US atomic bombing, but I
understand the bombing in Nagasaki put an end to the war. I think
it was something that couldn't be helped."


His remarks might be taken as justifying the US atomic bombings.
Opposition parties appear likely to call on Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe to sack him. Kyuma's remarks are now creating a controversy.

6) Gist of Defense Minister Kyuma's remarks on atomic bombings

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
July 1, 2007

The following is a gist of the remarks about the atomic bombings of
Japan made by Defense Minister Kyuma in a speech on June 30:

Although the United States knew that Japan would lose the war, it
dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By dropping a bomb on

TOKYO 00002979 004 OF 007


Nagasaki, the US reasoned that Japan would surrender if it went that
far. In that case, the US thought it could stop the Soviet Union
from joining battle, for on August 9, the USSR began to invade
Manchuria and other places. Fortunately, the war ended on August 15,
without the Soviet Union having occupied Hokkaido. However, mistakes
could have led to the Soviet taking over Hokkaido. If at the time,
it took over Hokkaido, there would have been nothing anybody could
have done. Although countless numbers of people suffered a great
tragedy, in my mind it could not have been helped in order to end
the war. On that, I do not hold any grudge toward the United States.
But I still wonder if it was necessary for them to have used the
bombs, knowing that they were winning the war.

7) Defense Minister Kyuma's remarks on atomic bombings blasted by
opposition parties

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
July 1, 2007

In reaction to Defense Minister Kyuma's statement on June 30 that
the dropping of atom bombs on Japan by the United States "couldn't
be helped," Hiroko Hatakeyama, deputy director of the Hiroshima
Prefecture federation of atomic-bomb victim groups stated: "Have all
those people who died because of the atomic bombings died because it
couldn't be helped? I feel that the feelings of the atomic-bomb
victims have not been transmitted to the Japanese government, and I
am so sad that words escape me."

Hearing such views, Social Democratic Party head Fukushima stated,
"I can't sense there was any thought toward the atom-bomb victims
(in Kyuma's words)." She issued a statement seeking the resignation
of Defense Minister Kyuma.

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) Deputy President Kan met the
press along with Secretary General Kamei of the Peoples New Party
and said: "He is totally unqualified to be defense minister."

8-1) Kyuma remarks perplex ruling party; Could impact on the
election

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
July 1, 2007

Widespread confusion hit the government and the ruling party on June
30 in reaction to Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma's comment that the
dropping of atomic bombs by the US on Japan "couldn't be helped."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and others have tried to quell the issue,
but because of Japan's status as the only nation to have suffered
from atomic bombings and the feelings of atom-bomb survivors, the
ripples from his comment could last a long while.

The prime minister yesterday seemed to take the view that there was
no problem with the content of the defense minister's remarks,
saying, "I understand he was presenting the United States' way of
thinking (in those days). I am told that he also had mentioned the
anger felt in places affected by the atomic bombing.

LDP Secretary-General Hidenao Nakagawa stated, "I think that was his
personal opinion. It appears that the defense minister has issued a
statement, so I think the misunderstanding will be cleared up."

These comments came at a time when the Diet, having clashed over the

TOKYO 00002979 005 OF 007


pension fiasco, has basically ended its session and lawmakers were
shifting focus to the upcoming election. Aides to the prime
minister were not pleased with the latest remarks but are preparing
to calm the situation.

The ruling camp is deeply perplexed, with New Komeito head Akihiro
Ota saying, "(The defense minister's) true intent may be very
different." He added, "If there is something that could bring about
a misunderstanding, an explanation is required."

Yoichi Masuzoe, an LDP member of the House of Councillors commented,
"Now we have given the opposition more material to use," adding,
"Votes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki will now surely decrease during
the next election."

8-2) Kyuma's apology for A-bomb comment: Ruling camp concerned about
adverse impact on Upper House election

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 2, 2007

Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma apologized yesterday for his comment on
the atomic bombings in 1945 by the United States. The apology came
as Kyuma bowed to mounting pressure from the Kantei and the ruling
camp. Members in the ruling parties, which face an uphill campaign
for the upcoming House of Councillors election over pensions and
other issues, are concerned that they could face a tougher time due
to the Kyuma remark. The opposition camp is ready to intensify its
attack against the ruling parties over the newly emerging issue, in
addition to pensions.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conveyed to Kyuma through his secretary on
June 30, when Kyuma made the controversial remark, that he should be
concerned. But Kyuma, who appeared unconcerned, refused to retract
his comment on a TV program yesterday morning. In response, Liberal
Democratic Party Policy Research Council Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa,
who also appeared on the same program, had to suggest to Kyuma: "You
had better apologize."

Further, a senior New Komeito member made a phone call to a close
aide to the prime minister and sought an additional response by
saying, "His true intention should be clarified." Aware of such an
atmosphere in the ruling parties, Kyuma told LDP Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa on the phone in early afternoon of the same day, "I
will retract the comment" and later gave a press conference in
Nagasaki.

With Kyuma's apology and the prime minister's rejection of the
possibility of dismissing him, the ruling bloc intends to put an end
to the issue, with Secretary General Nakagawa saying: "Since the
defense minister apologized and retracted (the comment), the issue
will not have a serious impact." But the opposition camp is poised
to thoroughly pursue Kyuma over his controversial remarks, including
a call for his resignation. Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto)
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama directed his criticism at the prime

SIPDIS
minister during a gathering yesterday in Yokote City, Akita
Prefecture, saying, "Mr. Kyuma should resign from his ministerial
post, but the prime minister is trying to defend him."

9) Prime Minister Abe: Defense minister just introduced US view on
atomic bombings


TOKYO 00002979 006 OF 007


TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
July 1, 2007

In a speech the city of Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe revealed his perception that there was no problem with
Defense Ministry Fumio Kyuma's remarks that the US bombing in
Nagasaki was something that couldn't be helped. Abe stated: "I
understand that he just introduced the US way of thinking. I have
heard that he has mentioned his view that how Nagasaki suffered from
the atomic bombing."

Abe then stressed: "Eliminating nuclear weapons is Japan's mission.
I think Japan has played a leading role in the United Nations."

10) Defense Minister Kyuma's comment on atomic bombings: Opposition
parties intend to seek dismissal

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
July 2, 2007

Defense Minister Kyuma yesterday held a press conference to
apologize for his comments. However, opposition parties are geared
up to continue to seek his dismissal from Prime Minister Abe, saying
that he has not taken back his comment that the atomic bombings were
unavoidable and that his apology was insufficient. Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) Secretary General Hatoyama yesterday told
reporters: "He did not say that he made a mistake. His apology is
not acceptable at all."

Japanese Communist Party General Secretary Ichita also criticized
Kyuma: "The fact that he made that comment remains. The defense
minister should be dismissed. The government and the ruling parties
are trying to calm the situation, surprised at the heavy criticism
his comment has brought. We will pursue this incident."

Social Democratic Party head Fukushima told reporters: "We will
demand the dismissal of Mr. Kyuma. We will make his comment a
campaign issue for the Upper House election."

11) Prime Minister Abe refuses to dismiss Kyuma despite his remarks,
but recognizes them as inappropriate

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Full)
July 2, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the opposition Democratic Party of
Japan's (Minshuto) President Ichiro Ozawa took part in a one-on-one
debate and a meeting (hosted by the People's Council for Building a
New Japan) held at a Tokyo hotel to examine each party's manifesto.
In the debate, Abe talked about Defense Minister Kyuma's recent
comments that America's use of atomic bombs was "inevitable" and
acknowledged that they were inappropriate, noting: "Prudence is
required not to make remarks that could give a false impression to
the public." However, Abe indicated he would reject the calls from
the opposition parties for the dismissal of Kyuma, saying: "Japan's
mission is to eliminate nuclear weapons. I expect Mr. Kyuma as
defense minister to demonstrate his capability to do so from now on
as well."

Ozawa criticized Kyuma for his comments: "He essentially spoke for
America. As a minister, he lacked common sense, and his remarks were
inappropriate." Also, Ozawa asserted, "Japan should seek an apology

TOKYO 00002979 007.2 OF 007


from the United States (for its dropping of atomic-bombs) and
discuss the matter."

In response, Abe rebutted: "Japan's responsibility is to aim for
abolition of nuclear weapons instead of devoting energy to calling
on the US to apologize."

SCHIEFFER

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