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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/03/07

DE RUEHKO #3031/01 1840818
P 030818Z JUL 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) Kyuma resigns

(2) Kyuma's remarks about atomic bombings: Has the habit of saying,
"couldn't be helped"; Frequent calls for his dismissal; Arguments
shallow, explanations less persuasive

(3) Editorial: Support rate at 28 % , Tension appears as election

(4) USGC chairman: Biotech crops key to stable supply of food

(5) USGC chairman plans to increase corn production primarily by
using GM corn

(6) Interview with US Grains Council Chairman Miller on soaring corn
price; Price to be stabilized in fall

(7) Is US Japan's true ally?


(1) Kyuma resigns

July 3, 2007

Defense Minister Kyuma, elected to the Lower House from the Nagasaki
Constituency No. 2, on the afternoon of July 3 met with Prime
Minister Abe and conveyed his intention to resign to take
responsibility for stating in a speech that the atomic bombings of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US "could not be helped." The prime
minister accepted his resignation. Kyuma offered an apology, taking
back his remark. However, as criticism of Kyuma spread in the ruling
camp, the prime minister has judged that he should not allow the
issue to become prolonged any longer with the Upper House election
due to be publicly announced on July 12. Kyuma is the third minister
to be replaced in the nine months since the inauguration of the Abe
administration. As it stands, the Kyuma flap is bound to inflict a
severe blow on the Abe administration and the ruling parties, which
are already suffering from the pension premium payment record

Emerging from his meeting with the prime minister at the Kantei,
Kyuma told reporters: "I have caused a great deal of trouble to the
citizens of Nagasaki. I am sorry I seem to have failed to obtain
understanding. I, therefore, have decided to step down to take
responsibility." According to Kyuma, Abe said, "You have been of
great help. It is regrettable that you have to resign," but he did
not persuade him to stay on.

Tomihisa Taue, mayor of Nagasaki City, on the morning of July 3
visited Kyuma at the Defense Ministry and hand-delivered a letter
noting: "The remark has trampled on the feelings of the victims of
the atomic bombings. Nagasaki City, the bomb site, cannot overlook
such a remark. We call on the government to deeply recognize that
the use of nuclear arms cannot be allowed whatever the cause and to
make efforts to abolish nuclear arms." Kyuma made an apology, "I am
sorry I have caused trouble to the citizens of Nagasaki City and
Nagasaki Prefecture and the victims of the atomic bombings
throughout the country." He also conveyed his intention to consider

TOKYO 00003031 002 OF 009

declining an invitation to attend the Nagasaki Atomic-Bomb Victims
Memorial Peace Prayer Ceremony on Aug. 9.

In the meantime, a growing number of ruling party members had called
on Kyuma to voluntarily step down. The New Komeito had planned to
hear explanations from Kyuma after a cabinet meeting on the 3rd.
However, it later turned down the offer as being too early to do so,
since internal discussion on the issue was not over yet, according
to a senior official. Deputy head Toshiko Hamayotsu the same day
issued a comment seeking his resignation: "I personally think that
Defense Minister Kyuma's statement is grave. It is qualitatively
different from the remark made by MHLW Minister Yanagisawa. I would
like Mr. Kyuma to reach a wise judgment on what to do with

Secretaries general of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or

Minshuto), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People's New
Party (PNP, Kokumin Shinto) had planned to visit the Kantei to call
for Kyuma's resignation.

Kyuma on June 30 made a speech in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture.
Commenting on the atomic bombings of Japan by the US military, he
noted: "Many Nagasaki people suffered by the US atomic bombing, but
I think that the bombing in Nagasaki put an end to the war. I think
it was something that couldn't be helped."

Following this remark, the government and the ruling parities tried
to quell the uproar, with LDP Secretary General Nakagawa telling
Kyuma to offer an apology and retract the statement. Kyuma held a
press conference in Nagasaki and retracted his comment. The prime
minister on July 1 indicated his intention of not questioning
Kyuma's responsibility.

However, opposition parties demanded his dismissal. An increasing
number of ruling party members also called for a strong approach to
Kyuma. Calls for Kyuma's dismissal gained momentum in Nagasaki
Prefecture, his home constituency. Giving consideration to the
possible impact of the remark on the upcoming Upper House election,
the government and the ruling parties decided that his resignation
would be necessary.

Kyuma was first elected as a Lower House member in 1980, after
serving at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and
as a Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly member. He has been elected nine
times since then. He served as Defense Agency director general
during the Hashimoto Cabinet, after serving as state secretary for
the Transport Ministry and LDP deputy secretary general. He took
office as Defense Agency director general last September, after
serving as acting secretary general and Executive Council chairman
of the LDP. He became the first defense minister when the Defense
Agency was upgraded to the Defense Minister in January this year.

(2) Kyuma's remarks about atomic bombings: Has the habit of saying,
"couldn't be helped"; Frequent calls for his dismissal; Arguments
shallow, explanations less persuasive

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
July 3, 2007/07/03

Defense Minister Kyuma said in a speech that the dropping of atomic
bombs by the United States on Japan "couldn't be helped" -- a
comment that has caused a huge commotion. Kyuma apologized for the

TOKYO 00003031 003 OF 009

remarks in a press conference on July 1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
summoned Kyuma to his office and reprimanded him yesterday. The
government now is earnestly trying to calm down the situation, but
opposition party members and the residents of Nagasaki and
Hiroshima, both of which were atom-bombed, are still angry at Kyuma.
Officials in the government and the ruling camp are increasingly
concerned about a negative impact of the remarks on the upcoming
House of Councillors election.

Kyuma's controversial statement cropped up in a speech he delivered
on June 30 in a symposium on "peace" at Reitaku University, Chiba

Kyuma made the remarks in answering a question after reiterating the
propriety of the Shigeru Yoshida-led cabinet's decision to join the
liberal camp during the Cold-War period. Later, Kyuma told
reporters: "I wanted to say that Japan, which was unable to read the
Soviet Union's real intentions, made a serious miscalculation." This
explanation could be taken as implying the Japanese government's
responsibility for causing serious damage to the Japanese people due
to its improper judgment in ending the war.

But the defense minister just said in the speech that the US dropped
the atomic bombs with the aim of preventing the Soviet Union from
participating in the war, adding: "In the worst case, the Soviet
Union could have seized (Japan), including even Hokkaido." These
remarks could be interpreted as indicating that the war ended
because the US dropped atomic bombs, resulting in preventing an
invasion by the Soviet Union into Japan and urging Japan to join the
liberal camp.

Kyuma has so far made a series of remarks that are a deviation from
the government's policy on Japan's relations with the US. He once
criticized the US government's decision on the Iraq war as based on
a wrong judgment. Now, he is under heavy fire for his remarks taking
the side of the US.

A senior member of the Upper House Liberal Democratic Party
attributed Kyuma's series of controversial comments to his personal
characteristics, saying, "His arguments are always shallow." In
apologizing in a press conference on July 1, Kyuma said: "I said
various things, like a commentator. That was the problem"; and "'The
phrase 'couldn't be helped' was vague." But later, he grumbled to
his aide: "'couldn't be helped' is my favorite phrase."

When asked by reporters about the opposition camp's demand for his
resignation as cabinet minister, too, Kyuma simply replied as if he
didn't care about it at all, "Such a situation always happens." Last
night, however, Kyuma reportedly told his aide in a weak-spirited
way: "I feel sorry for causing you trouble. I have been off my guard
probably because I am getting old."

Kyuma knows only a bit of historic background

Comment by Kazutoshi Hando, author of the History of Showa

The arbitrary argument in the United States is that it dropped
atomic bombs in order to make Japan quickly surrender. There is no
need for the Japanese defense minister to take the US side's view.
Many Japanese people must be feeling the same. Japanese people
should always claim and must continue to claim that the use of
inhumane weapons is unacceptable for the sake of humans.

TOKYO 00003031 004 OF 009

Defense Minister Kyuma seems to take the view that the US and the
Soviet Union fought in order to make Japan surrender, but the US had
agreed in the Yalta Conference (in February 1945) to allow the
Soviet Union to join the war three months after Germany's surrender.
The US had ordered the dropping of atomic bombs before the Potsdam
Declaration (in July 1945). The Japanese government was moving to
terminate the war even from before the US dropped atom bombs. Both
the US and the Soviet Union knew about it. Defense Minister Kyuma
knows only a bit of the historic background and does not correctly
understand it.

(3) Editorial: Support rate at 28 % , Tension appears as election

Asahi (Page 3) (Full)
July 3, 2007

In Asahi Shimbun's latest public opinion poll, the Abe cabinet's
sluggish support rate has finally dropped into the 20 % range.
When the Koizumi cabinet was in office, the support rate never
dipped below 30 % , and although polling methods differed, even the
Mori cabinet fared better. It has been 6 years since a cabinet
support rate was this low.

There are only 4 weeks left until the Upper House election, so it
must be quite a shock to Prime Minister Abe that he is in such
"dangerous waters."

In this latest poll, 28 % of respondents said they support the Abe
cabinet. Abe's support rate began to drop in late May after the
eruption of the pension fiasco and the suicide of former farm
minister Matsuoka. However, even then his rating didn't fall below
30 % . In other media polls, Abe's popularity has taken a similar

The reasons for this decline are not difficult to imagine.

In an all-night session of the Diet last weekend, the government and
the ruling camp, over the objections of the opposing camp, pushed
through laws regarding the breaking up of the Social Insurance
Agency and a bill to remove the statute of limitations on pension
claims. They also passed legislation to help retiring bureaucrats
find new jobs and a revision to the Political Funds Control Law.

The prime minister most likely wants to be praised for these
achievements. However the results of the poll offer a completely
opposite view. 59 % of respondents said they "do not appreciate"
the government's response to the pension fiasco, and 49 % said that
their "anxiety has not been relieved."

As the distrust and dissatisfaction towards the government's
handling of the pension fiasco continues to grow, the declining
support rate may be a reflection of the public's disgust with
strong-arm tactics and the use of numerical superiority to
forcefully push legislation through the Diet.

Another interesting aspect regarding the results of the poll is the
increase of unaffiliated voters to 53 % . When the Abe cabinet was
first inaugurated, unaffiliated voters were around 40 % , but over
time, they have slowly increased. This is a change from the Koizumi
cabinet, which drew unaffiliated voters to its ranks during the

TOKYO 00003031 005 OF 009

battle over postal privatization. The current situation is a return
to the old Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

It has become clear that voters have turned a critical eye towards
the Abe cabinet's nine months in office.

What is truly pitiful is the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto).
Their support rate has been stagnant at 16 % . Minshuto uncovered
the problem of "vanished pensions," yet 45 % of respondents said
that they "do not appreciate" Minshuto's handling of the issue.
Minshuto must reflect on the seriousness of their inability to
translate dissatisfaction with the Abe cabinet into support for
their own party.

LDP leaders, perhaps in a conscious response to the declining
support rate, commented that "the Upper House elections are a
midterm evaluation of the Abe administration." They are probably
putting up protective barriers to prevent the election results from
directly necessitating the prime minister's resignation.

However, will the Upper House elections really just be a "midterm
evaluation"? Amidst increasingly critical public opinion, the
upcoming elections could go beyond a mere "midterm evaluation" and
serve as a judgment of the Abe cabinet as a whole.

The prime minister has also upped the voltage. (Abe in a debate
with Minshuto president Ichiro Ozawa) "Who is better suited to be
prime minister - me or Mr. Ozawa?" In response, Ozawa showed his
resolve by stating that he is "betting his political life."

If tension has appeared in the political realm, that is just fine.

(4) USGC chairman: Biotech crops key to stable supply of food

June 27, 2007 at 19:48

Visiting US Grains Council (USGC) Chairman Vic Miller stated in an
interview with Jiji Press on June 27 that the expansion of ethanol
production had caused corn prices to rise, and the gap between
demand and supply of corn to widen worldwide. He noted that one
decisive factor in securing sufficient supply of corn would be to
disseminate biotech crops even more. He continued that the price
hike was primarily attributable to rising energy costs.

(5) USGC chairman plans to increase corn production primarily by
using GM corn

June 30, 2007

Visiting US Grains Council (USGC) Chairman Vic Miller arrived in
Japan on June 29 and visited dairy farmers at Naganuma Town in the
Sorachi Area in Hokkaido. Miller mentioned the worldwide shortage of
grains caused by the expanded production of bio-ethanol and said
that corn acreage in the United States was on the increase,
indicating that the production of genetically-modified (GM) corn
would be one key to securing the supply of corn.

The purpose of his visit to Hokkaido was to exchange views with
diary farmers using imported feed and others. The USGC consisting of
90 relevant organizations, including growers' bodies, aims for

TOKYO 00003031 006 OF 009

promoting exports of US-grown corn, sorghum, and barley.

Speaking of the expansion of the amount of land devoted to planting
crops, Miller stressed: "A sufficient amount of crops will be
produced to meet demand" As a key to a stable supply of crops, he
cited the cultivation of GM corn, which needs a small amount of
agricultural chemicals and is less affected by the weather, by
noting: "Corn is likely to occupy a larger part of the area planted
in the future."

According to the US Department of Agriculture, GM corn is grown in
70 % of the land devoted to corn. This percentage is expected to
increase even further.

(6) Interview with US Grains Council Chairman Miller on soaring corn
price; Price to be stabilized in fall

July 3, 2007

US Grains Council Chairman Vic Miller, 60, now visiting Japan to
publicize American corn, gave an interview to the Hokkaido Shimbun
on June 29. In the interview, Miller took a view on the price of US
corn, which has skyrocketed due to demand for ethanol: "The corn
crop is expected to increase in the fall. So the prices of animal
feed will stabilize." The following are the details of the

-- Dairy farmers in Hokkaido are concerned about the soaring price
of US corn.

Miller: The skyrocketing corn price is attributed to a sudden
increase in bio-ethanol production. There is growing concern about
our corn supply in the world. But there is no need to worry about
it. According to the US Agriculture Department's latest estimate,
the crop acreage for this year will increase by 12-15 % from last
year. Since we have so far been blessed with magnificent weather,
the crop will likely increase.

-- Do you think the corn price will stabilize?

Miller: I think so. Actually the market price has been stable for
the last several days, reflecting the expected boost in the harvest.
Japan imports annually 16 million tons of corn, mainly for feed.
About 25 % of the 16 million tons are consumed in Hokkaido. I
visited Japan to promise a stable supply of corn to our important

-- How do you see Japanese consumers' deep-rooted aversion to
genetically modified (GM) products?

Miller: Seventy-two % of US-grown products are GM products. I think
the number of GM foods will increase more and more. The reason is
that GM products have a great advantage in that they are
environmentally friendly because they need less use of pesticides.
We have produced GM crops for more than a decade. Although American
people have continued to eat them, there has been no report of any
health hazard. I hope that Japanese consumers will make a right
decision based on the scientific evidence.

(7) Is US Japan's true ally?

TOKYO 00003031 007 OF 009

SHUKAN SHINCHO (Pages 178, 179) (Abridged slightly)
July 5, 2007

By Yoshiko Sakurai

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) lawmaker Keiichiro Asao asked
an interesting question in a House of Councillors Foreign Affairs
and Defense Committee session on June 19. The question was about the
Voice of America's (VOA) May 12 report on US Pacific Command
Commander Timothy Keating's alleged indication that the United
States was willing to help China build aircraft carriers.

Keating said in the May 12 press conference: "If China is to push
ahead with a program to build aircraft carriers, we will help them
build a carrier to the degree that they seek and the degree that we
are capable." Having a lunch with Vice Adm. Wu Shengli, commander of
China's navy, ahead of the press conference, Keating reportedly
explained in detail to the Chinese side about complexity and
difficulty building and maintaining aircraft carriers.

To Asao's question a month and week after the VOA broadcasting, the
defense minister replied that he knew nothing about Keating's
remarks. Asked about his perception of Keating's statement, Defense
Minister Kyuma said: "I have nothing to say about it."

Explaining that Japan has told China that possessing aircraft
carriers would be extremely costly and that adding a new area would
take a toll on other areas in a limited budget, Kyuma, said: "We
will keep an eye on China's program."

Was there any need for Keating and Kyuma to point out the need for
an enormous budget? China must be aware of such an aspect.

China's view on aircraft carriers has been clear. Arguing that China
possessing aircraft carriers is not a matter of its economic or
technological power, the People's Liberation Army Daily March 17,
1989 issue noted:

"Since the emergence of carrier-borne airmen at the turn of this
century, it has been proven through combats that no country can
secure maritime control without gaining maritime air supremacy and
that maritime control goes hand in hand with maritime air supremacy.
Carrier-borne airmen are the main body of navy seamen, and aircraft
carriers are bases for the activities of carrier-borne airmen.
Whether or not the country needs aircraft carriers is not a matter
of building equipment but a matter of whether or not it needs to
gain maritime air supremacy." (Yomigaeru Chuugoku Kaigun (Reviving
Chinese Navy) by Shigeo Hiramatsu)

China eyes an era after annexing Taiwan

Possessing aircraft carriers is China's national objective
transcending such factors as costs and economic might. Shigeo
Hiramatsu, a China expert, noted:

"By the mid-1970s, China reached for the South China Sea and made
the Paracel Islands part of its territory. China's desire for
building strong navy and possessing aircraft carriers has been
evident since those days."

On January 11, 1974, China declared that all islands in the South
China Sea -- the Spratly, Paracel, Macclesfield, and Pratas Islands

TOKYO 00003031 008 OF 009

-- were part of its territory. On January 17, the country attacked
the South Vietnam forces, and placed the Paracel Islands under its
control on January 20.

Ostensibly it was a battle between China and Vietnam, but behind it,
there were the Soviet Navy's intention to advance into Asia and
China's determination to block it. At the time, the United States
was struggling in the Vietnam War and Britain had withdrawn from the
east of the Suez Canal since the late 1960s. Taking advantage of the
situation, the Soviet Union continued to expand its forces to the
Indian Ocean.

Taking the Soviet Pacific Fleet's passage through the Strait of
Malacca that led to the reopening of the Suez Canal as a threat, the
People's Daily reported on May 12, 1974

"(The Soviet Union's) maritime supply line from the Red Sea to the
Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf has been shortened from 11,000
miles to 2,000 miles due to (the reopening of the Suez Canal). The
Soviet Union is expected to further strengthen its naval power in
the Indian Ocean, as well."

China's fear of the Soviet Union grew stronger, and China
established diplomatic relations with the United States in January
1979 to counter the Soviet Union. China back then even urged Japan
to increase its defense spending to GNP from 1 % to 2 % to be
prepared against the Soviet threat. In 1985, China bought the
16,000-ton aircraft carrier Melbourne from Australia and opened it
to the public.

Hiramatsu noted:

"China also made public the aircraft carrier Varyag it bought from
Ukraine. Beijing was careful not to let the international community
harbor unnecessary doubts by making it clear that it was too early
for the country to build its own flattops, while exhibiting its
eagerness to possess carriers. There is no doubt that they examined
the Melbourne inside out. After all, it was the first aircraft
carrier to Chinese military personnel, although it was old in the
eyes of other countries. I believe they scrapped it after absorbing
all the necessary knowledge."

The international community reacted coldly to China's purchase of
carriers, saying, "They are decrepit." Such a reaction was exactly
what China wanted.

Hiramatsu explained:

"China is cautious. Although they say possessing aircraft carriers
is their long-cherished wish, their immediate goal is annexing
Taiwan. Until that is achieved, China doesn't need aircraft
carriers. I don't think they will possess carriers."

US, Japan as targets of China's operations

The situation is likely to turn around once China annexes Taiwan.
China's long-term strategy is to gain control of the Pacific and the
Indian Ocean after placing the South China Sea, the East China Sea,
and the western Pacific under its control to eventually face off
with the United States across the western Pacific. Because China
eyes the maritime control of the entire Pacific Ocean, they do not
acknowledge the Okinotori islets as Japan's territory. That's why

TOKYO 00003031 009.2 OF 009

they have repeatedly conducted maritime surveys in waters around
those islets without acknowledging them as Japan's territory or in
Japan's exclusive economic zone. In order to vie for control with
the US Navy, China must completely know its territorial waters.

Hiramatsu also took this view:

"After annexing Taiwan, China is expected to advance into the
western Pacific and beyond by making full use of aircraft carriers.
At that point, they will build their own aircraft carriers to
nurture an elite overseas navy. In my view that would be sometime
between 2020 and 2030 -- before 2050 at the latest, the country's

At this point, Japanese people must take special note of the 2010
China national defense program compiled by the China University of
National Defense, which goes:

"China will not commission an aircraft carrier before 2010. However,
the country will be able to build a semi-aircraft carrier similar to
Japan's Okuma-class amphibious assault ship to acquire experience in
building and using aircraft carriers to meet demand for amphibious
operations. The United States and Japan that may intervene in Taiwan
and a Taiwan naval battle will be main targets of China's operations
over the next decade."

Pointing out the United States and Japan as China's immediate
enemies, the program also reads:

"Ground-based fighters will be able to accomplish their missions in
operations (against Japan and the United States)."

This exposes the Chinese military's excess confidence. However,
given the US commander's comment expressing his country's
willingness to help China build its own aircraft carriers and the
attitude of the Japanese defense minister, who did not know the
commander's vital statement for over a month, it is only natural for
China to have full confidence in itself.


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