Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/13/07

DE RUEHKO #3232/01 1940810
P 130810Z JUL 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Projecting LDP's results in Upper House election; Abe likely to
remain in power with 40-50 seats

(2) Upper House election battle: Unforeseen occurrences observed in
conservative world

(3) 2007 Upper House election; Candidates reluctant to speak of
politics-money issue

(4) Koike withholds judgment on realignment subsidy for Nago

(5) Guam gov. positive about hosting Marines


(1) Projecting LDP's results in Upper House election; Abe likely to
remain in power with 40-50 seats

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Abridged)
July 13, 2007

Some are already talking about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe taking
responsibility for the outcome of the July 29 House of Councillors
election, for which campaigning got underway just yesterday. Such
talk comes from strong concern that the ruling bloc might fail to
win a majority in the Upper House in the wake of a series of
incidents, such as the pension fiasco and Agriculture Minister
Norihiko Akagi's shady office expenses. This article examines what
might happen to Abe and the management of Diet business in the event
the ruling coalition lost its majority in the Upper House.

Over 45 seats

Although Abe has not mentioned any specific figure that is likely to
result in his resignation, the dominant view in the Liberal
Democratic Party is that 44 seats would be the dividing line. The
reason is because when the party won only 44 seats in the Upper
House election in 1998, then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
resigned to take responsibility. Abe is likely to stay on if the LDP
wins between 45 and 50 seats, even if the ruling bloc loses the
Upper House majority.

In an effort to regain a majority, the LDP would then immediately
begin approaching such opposition lawmakers as Hiroyuki Arai, who
has left the New Party Nippon, and Shinpei Matsushita, who has
bolted the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) and the
People's New Party (PNP). Seats held by Arai, Matsushita, and two
PNP members are not contested in the ongoing race. Although PNP head
Tamisuke Watanuki ruled out the option of joining the ruling
coalition, he has left the door open for an off-cabinet

In order for the Abe administration to climb out of this critical
situation, the ruling bloc needs to take control of the Upper House.
A plan is in the works for the LDP to form a unified front with the
New Komeito with the aim of blocking the DPJ from seizing the Upper
House presidency in order to take the initiative in running Diet

But if the ruling bloc's maneuvering to win a majority fails, the

TOKYO 00003232 002 OF 008

Abe administration would become weak. In such a case, the DPJ is
certain to try to vote down ruling bloc-presented bills or to
prolong Diet deliberations in the extraordinary session in the

The opposition camp might actually be able to kill some bills,
including one to extend the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law,
scheduled to expire on November 1, derailing the ruling bloc's Diet

The view might arise that the ruling bloc should present only those
bills that are certain to win support of the opposition parties. But
the largely modified bills would be de facto legislation mapped out
by the opposition camp.

In this scenario, chances are that sooner or later the Abe cabinet
would be forced to dissolve itself for a snap general election.

Less than 44 seats

If the LDP won less than 44 seats, ways to prolong the Abe
administration's life, such as joining hands with the PNP, would be
closed. Despite that, if a "dump Abe" move did not gain ground in
the LDP, there might be still some chance for Abe to cling to power.
Yet the dominant view in the LDP is that Abe must resign if the
party garners less than 44 seats.

Following Abe's resignation, the LDP would immediately begin work to
determine his successor.

The LDP would likely to select its new president through a
presidential election rather than through talks, for such would be
criticized as a back-room deal.

At present, the front-runner in the race to replace Abe is Foreign
Minister Taro Aso, who came in second after Abe in the LDP
presidential race last September. Former Finance Minister Sadakazu
Tanigaki is likely to announce his candidacy, as well.

Additionally, such persons as former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo
Fukuda, Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, and even former Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi are being mentioned as prospective

However, even if the prime minister were replaced, the LDP-New
Komeito coalition would still be minority parties in the Upper

(2) Upper House election battle: Unforeseen occurrences observed in
conservative world

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
July 13, 2007

Shimane Prefecture: Aoki desperate to solidify LDP power base

Mikio Aoki, chairman of the LDP caucus in the Upper House, yesterday
morning was making a speech in front of the Shimane Prefectural
Government Office at the top of his voice: "We have never
experienced an uphill election fight like this. We had never
expected a situation like this six months ago. We are going into the
Upper House election, feeling the chill."

TOKYO 00003232 003 OF 008

During his own Upper House campaign three years ago, Aoki never
returned to his home constituency, but he defeated a rival
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) candidate by 130,000
votes. However, he plans to visit the constituency this time in
order to back incumbent Shuntaro Kageyama's campaign. Aoki is the
chairman of the Shimane LDP Prefectural Chapter and is responsible
for the LDP election headquarters there. Even so, it is unusual for
Aoki, who is in a position of controlling the ruling camp in the
election campaign all over the country, to visit the constituency

The ruling parties are suffering from a setback following the
pension fiasco and gaffes and scandals caused by cabinet ministers
to an extent that cannot be salvaged with organized votes. Aoki is
determined to do his utmost, noting: "Anything could happen in
elections. If we lose in Shimane, we will lose nationwide."

Kageyama on June 30 returned to Matsue on the first morning plane as
soon as the Upper House plenary session ended. He visited 11 places
and explained the pension issue. His supporters listened to him,
while nodding, but the waves of negative reaction remained

"We telephoned our supporters, but some replied, 'I will not vote
for the LDP this time." "We are not receiving many application forms
for membership in the LDP supporters organization."

The headquarters has received a number of reports on "unforeseen
occurrences." The results of a survey the LDP carried out were
reported at a meeting of prefectural assembly members on July 3. The
report noted: "We have not yet secured support from 40 % of LDP
supporters." Senior officials of the election headquarters were
shocked and said that they had not expected that public opinion was
so critical of the government.

When Kageyama started his election campaign on the morning of July
12, Aoki made a public appeal, introducing the government's
measures: "These are commitments made by the prime minister of the
country. Please put trust in the words of Prime Minister Abe."

In the meantime, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) was
having difficulty picking up candidates. It in the end decided to
recommend Akiko Kamei fielded by the People's New Party (PNP), the
daughter of PNP Secretary General Hisaoki Kamei. She was the last
person named but is running for a single-seat constituency backed by
the DPJ.

Even so, she is increasingly gaining support, backed by a favorable
trend. The focus of her campaign is criticism of the structural
reforms under the Koizumi and Abe administrations.

Shimane Prefecture's public works in fiscal 2006 stood at 129.7
billion yen, just over half the amount of the peak year of fiscal
1998. Local industries, which have supported the LDP, are taking a
severe beating from the decline in public works. Akiko Kamei said,
"Even LDP supporters think that politics has gone strange

Nagasaki: Pictures taken with prime minister removed

Kiyoshige Okubo of the DPJ on the morning of the 12th stressed

TOKYO 00003232 004 OF 008

during a kick-off ceremony of his campaign held at a large shopping
mall in Nagasaki City: "Cabinet ministers have made too many
controversial activities and statements. Former Agriculture Minister
Toshikatsu Matsuoka killed himself. Prime Minister Abe is
responsible for appointing them."

He criticized the prime minister over the shady ties between
politics and money, an issue that has been rekindled due to
Agriculture Minister Akagi's office expenses issue. He then aimed
his attack at Akio Kyuma, elected from the same constituency, who
quit over another gaffe. Okubo said: "Many people were victims of
the atomic bombings. They have been engaged in activities to abolish
nuclear weapons and achieve world peace. Mr. Kyuma's statement
trampled on their efforts. I cannot forgive such a statement."

In a speech made in front of fishermen and brokers, who assembled at
the fish market at Port Fukue on Goto Island, he responded to a
request by executives of the fishermen's association. He was able to
do so, because a prefectural assembly member elected from Goto is a
DPJ member. When Tadatoshi Komine, who is running on the LDP ticket,
visited the fish market a week ago, there was no such a request made
by officials of the fishermen's' association.

Kyuma's remark dealt too heavy a blow to Komine. The LDP election
headquarters and prefectural chapter received dozens of phone calls
protesting the remark. LDP lawmakers repeatedly offered apologies at
various meetings.

Senior members of the LDP Nagasaki Chapter during Komine's rally
told attendants that it has been only six months since Komine joined
the LDP and that he shares with them the perception that the LDP
lacks discipline. The strategy was to distance himself from the LDP
in order to head off the setback. He removed election posters
carrying a picture of him and Prime Minister Abe from billboards.

Kyuma did not attend a kick-off ceremony for Komine's campaign,
though it was he who helped Komine get selected as an LDP candidate.
Komine did not touch on the Kyuma gaffe issue at all, saying: "I
come from peasant and fisherman stock. I would like to change the
LDP from a perspective of an average person."

Commenting on Komine's difficult situation, Tsutomu Tomioka, an LDP
Lower House member elected from proportional representation, noted,
"He has suffered from a setback, another setback, a storm and then
torrential rain caused by the defense minister's remark."

(3) 2007 Upper House election; Candidates reluctant to speak of
politics-money issue

NIKKEI (Page 39) (Excerpts)
July 13, 2007

The official campaigning for the July 29 House of Councillors
election started yesterday.

Ibaraki prefectural district

A 64-year-old candidate running in the Ibaraki prefectural district,
which has been shaken by a political-fund scandal involving
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Norihiko Akagi's
political management organization, hardly mentioned the issue of
"politics and money" in his campaign speech, focusing instead on the

TOKYO 00003232 005 OF 008

economy and the pension-record mismanagement by the Social Insurance
Agency (SIA). He said: "I will let the central government know how
severe our economic situation is;" and "I will do my best to have
the SIA dissolved."

Two seats are up for reelection in the Ibaraki constituency, one
previously held by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the
other by the largest opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan). A senior LDP Election Strategy Headquarters member, who is
perplexed by the money scandal coming to the forefront immediately
before the start of the campaign for the Upper House election, said:
"Like the Agriculture Minister, I, too, have called for reform of
agricultural policy. However, I am reluctant to mention the name of
the farm minister." Reportedly Akagi has no plan to deliver a speech
on behalf of the LDP candidate.

Opposition candidates, though, made severe comments (on the
money-politics issue).
The 57-year-old Minshuto first-time candidate stated, "All political
organizations should disclose all receipts. The 55-year-old Japanese
Communist Party (JCP) candidate stressed: "The (agricultural
minister) should step down from his post if he cannot disclose the

Most voters nodded in assent to the above calls, but one person
said, "I want to cast my vote in consideration of policies affecting
my livelihood." A 78-year-old self-employed man, a resident of Mito
City, said: "I want someone to change the present political
situation of neglecting rural areas. Many shutters have been closed
for good on our shopping streets."


In Kumamoto Prefecture, the Upper House election and a by-election
to fill a Lower House seat that fell vacant after former Agriculture
Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide one month ago will be
conducted the same day. Candidates running in the Kumamoto electoral
district in the Upper House race also focused on the money-politics
issue in their campaign speeches.

The first-time Minshuto candidate, 56, who is running in the
conservative district, in which one seat is up for election, took a
stance of pursuing Akagi, saying: "The agricultural minister's
problem is the same as (Matsuoka's)." A 53-year-old incumbent
lawmaker, however, placed priority on local issues, noting, "I will
revitalize agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries and small

The LDP gave up on filing a candidate in the Lower House by-election
for the Kumamoto No. 3 district. A 56-year-old former Lower House
member, who is expected to run in the race and who fought against
Matsuoka in the two past elections, advocated carrying out clean
politics. A Kumamoto prefectural assembly member, who is backed by
Matsuoka's support group, stressed, "I want to remove the fetters on
me. But I wonder whether I would then be able to win the votes that
Matsuoka had sewed up."


Iwate Prefecture is the constituency where Minshuto President Ichiro
Ozawa hails from. There was a controversy over Ozawa's political
management organization's possession of huge amount of properties.

TOKYO 00003232 006 OF 008

In the Iwate prefectural district, no candidates talked about this
problem. A supporter for the 36-year-old LDP first-comer candidate
said, "Criticizing each other is meaningless."

Candidates advocated that they would make efforts to revitalize
local industries and resolve the shortage of medical doctors. They
referred little to a revision of the Political Funds Control Law, as
well as the politics and money issue. The 53-year-old Minshuto
candidate, an incumbent Upper House member, only said, "I want to
prevent the ruling coalition from running amok."

(4) Koike withholds judgment on realignment subsidy for Nago

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
July 12, 2007

TOKYO-Defense Minister Yuriko Koike responded to a press interview
at her ministry yesterday afternoon for pool coverage including the
Ryukyu Shimpo. In the interview, there was a question asked if she
thought the city of Nago was being considered at this point for the
government's plan to subsidize base-hosting municipalities
cooperating in the process of realigning US forces in Japan under
the US Forces Realignment Promotion Special Measures Law. Koike
withheld her judgment, saying, "I'd like to reserve judgment on
whether to so consider." With this, she indicated that she would
listen to Nago's standpoint at the stage of giving consideration to
that possibility.

On the question of whether the government would consider Nago for a
realignment subsidy, Koike's predecessor, Fumio Kyuma, had indicated
that Nago would be eligible for the initial outlay of 10 % in
subsidization because the city has accepted the planned relocation
of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station. Koike, in her remarks
this time, backpedaled on Kyuma's remarks.

Asked about realignment subsidization, Koike said the government
would factor in whether the realignment would proceed in a steady
way. Meanwhile, Koike also said the government would consider how to
use the special measures law. She added that she would make a
judgment "while listening to Nago's views."

In the meantime, Nago City and Okinawa Prefecture have asked the
government to revise its Futenma relocation plan, calling for the
government to install an alternative facility in waters off the
coast of Nago City (instead of laying down a V-shaped pair of
airstrips in a coastal area of Camp Schwab in the city). Koike,
however, reiterated her negative view about altering the plan,
saying: "The plan to build airstrips in a V-shape is based on an
overall decision that was made from various perspectives, such as
how to preserve the environment, including coral and seaweed beds,
and how effectively to use the new airfield. This is an extremely
important issue-that is not only from the aspect of carrying out
base relocation but also in the sense of defending our country and
ensuring security in the region. We should resolve this issue as
early as possible."

Koike also suggested the need for the government and Okinawa's
prefectural and municipal governments to hold a meeting at the
earliest possible time to discuss Futenma relocation. In the
meantime, the government will have to inform the Okinawa prefectural
government in written form of how to conduct an environmental impact
assessment of the relocation site. "We'd like to take procedures at

TOKYO 00003232 007 OF 008

an early date," Koike said. For that purpose, Koike added that the
government wants to ask for local understanding.

Commentary: Koike follows vice minister's remarks

Defense Minister Yuriko Koike's press remarks on US military
realignment subsidies denote that she has backed down from her
predecessor's view. Moreover, the new defense minister has also
changed her own attitude she has shown over a package of economic
incentives for Okinawa Prefecture's northern districts. Her remarks
reflect a strong imprint of the influence of Administrative Vice
Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya, who is repulsed by Nago City's
call for the government to revise the government's Futenma
alternative facility plan and who is negative about subsidizing Nago

In late May 2006, when Koike was a minister of state for Okinawa,
the government decided in a cabinet meeting to repeal its cabinet
decision of 1999 that incorporated a package of economic promotion
measures for Okinawa Prefecture's northern localities. Koike then
underscored her consideration for local communities, saying,
"Okinawa Prefecture and Nago City have yet to agree."

However, Koike, now defense minister, inclined at once to the
Defense Ministry in what she said. In yesterday's interview, Koike
was careful about her words, saying," We need to listen to Nago City
for its needs as well." There was another question from a reporter.
"This is important, so I want to confirm what to say." With this,
Koike read an answer paper prepared by her ministry's administrative

Koike said she would make a judgment "while listening to Nago City's
opinion." So saying, Koike stressed her future course of action.
However, she only followed what Moriya said in May. The vice
minister said the government "will now work on making a decision."

Koike may come out with her own views in the future as she gets used
to her job as defense minister. However, her ministry's officials
want to push ahead with Futenma relocation based on the government's
plan. After the upcoming House of Councillors election, they will
presumably gear up for Futenma relocation. Nago City and Okinawa
Prefecture will likely be in an even more difficult position.

(5) Guam gov. positive about hosting Marines

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
July 12, 2007

Guam, July 11-A delegation of mayors from 11 municipalities in the
middle part of Okinawa Prefecture, led by Okinawa Mayor Mitsuko
Tomon, is now visiting Guam to look into the possible impact of
moving US Marine Corps from Okinawa to Guam in the process of
realigning US forces in Japan. The delegation today called on Guam
Gov. Felix Camacho. In addition, the group also visited the US
Navy's Apra base and the Guam Chamber of Commerce. "We will welcome
the Marines," the governor said, "and we want to invite many more US
troops." The governor also revealed that he would go to Washington
on Aug. 2 to talk with US government officials about issues relating
to the US military's realignment.

Gov. Camacho explained that the US military realigned its presence
on Guam and closed down some of its bases on the island in 1996. As

TOKYO 00003232 008 OF 008

a result, the island's economy stagnated, the governor said. The US
Marine Corps is now planning to move Okinawa-based troops and
families totaling 17,000. "It will have an economic impact we've
never experienced," the governor said. He also said, "We'd like to
work together with the local business community while establishing a
friendship with the military." With this, he indicated that Guam
would invite US troops to boost its economy.

In addition, Gov. Camacho also said he would like to ask the
Pentagon for ways and means, noting the indispensability of
infrastructure construction for Guam to host the Marines. The
governor also revealed that he has been invited by Okinawa Gov.
Hirokazu Nakaima to visit Okinawa. "I will visit Okinawa with the
lieutenant governor, and I'd like to share what the people of
Okinawa are feeling," he said.

At the Apra base, the delegation met with Capt. Robert Lee, acting
director of the Joint Guam Program Office-Forward. In the meeting
there, Capt. Lee explained: 1) there will be a sharp increase in the
number of US troops and family dependents from 14,200 at present to
40,000 after realignment; and 2) the US military will create an
environmental impact report by 2010 and complete base construction
by 2014. Capt. Lee also said the Marines would relocate fixed-wing
aircraft and helicopters to Andersen Air Base "as soon as

At the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the delegation met with GCC
President Eloise Baza and other executives. According to GCC
President Baza, the GCC found from its poll of local residents in
April this year that 71 % were in favor of accepting Marine
relocation to Guam. "There are growing expectations for economic
ripple effects," she said. With this, the local business leader
welcomed Marine relocation to Guam.


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