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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/17/07-2

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DE RUEHKO #3244/01 1980142
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170142Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5549
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
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 4508
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2089
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5677
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1170
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 2874
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7917
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3974
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5046

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003244

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 07/17/07-2


Index:

Defense and security:
13) Defense Minister Koike to meet Secretary Gates possibly in
August
14) Government considering staying awhile with superannuated F4 jets
as indirect result of leaked classified information

Opinion polls:
15) Mainichi survey of LDP candidates finds 32 % willing to consider
Japan having a nuclear arsenal - a seven-point increase over same
question in 2004 election
16) Jiji poll: Abe Cabinet support rate at record low of 25.7 %
17) Latest Asahi election series poll: Cabinet non-support rate at
55 %; In proportional races, 30 % of voters pick DPJ, 23 % favor
LDP
18) Asahi poll: 45 % of public say their impression of Prime
Minister Abe has "worsened"
19) Kyodo trend poll: Cabinet support rate at record low of 28 %

Run up to Upper House election:
20) Pre-election absentee voting up 10 % over last election
21) LDP candidate lashes out at Prime Minister Abe's concept of
"beautiful country, Japan"

22) Administrative reform headquarters encountering resistance in
targeting independent public corporations for reforms

13) Defense Minister Koike possibly to travel to US in August

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
July 14, 2007

Defense Minister Koike on the night of July 13 had a telephone
conversation with US Secretary of Defense Gates, and the two defense
chiefs agreed to hold bilateral defense ministerial talks in the
United States in August. Koike told Gates, "I'd like to visit the US
as early as possible after the Upper House election." Gates
responded, "We'll welcome your visit to the US."

This teleconference was proposed by Gates to congratulate Koike on
her assumption of the post of defense minister. The two defense
chiefs confirmed that they would put into practice the realignment
plans for the US Forces Japan and facilitate the sharing of military
information on such systems as missile defense (MD).

Gates referred to Secretary of State Rice having called Koike on the
night of July 12 ahead of Gates and told Koike: "She reported on her
call at a meeting in the White House, and President Bush said
jokingly, 'The State Department may take over the Defense
Department.'"

14) Defense Ministry considering extending use of F-4 due to
hard-going F-22 talks following information leak

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 15, 2007

In the face of hard-going talks between Tokyo and Washington on the
use of the F-22A Raptor stealth fighter jet as Japan's possible
next-generation mainstay combat jet aircraft (FX), the Defense
Agency and the Self-Defense Forces have begun considering extending

TOKYO 00003244 002 OF 006


the life of the F-4 fighter, which is scheduled to be replaced in
several years. Behind the Defense Ministry's step lies the United
States' sense of distrust in Japan's intelligence management in the
wake of a leak of pivotal data on the Aegis system by Maritime
Self-Defense Force personnel. In a rare development, Japan is likely
to be forced to continue to use the old mainstay fighter as a key
component in the country's national defense.

Japan has deployed a total of 91 F-4 fighters since 1973. The F-4
and the F-15 have been the country's mainstay aircraft. However, the
Defense Ministry is scheduled to begin replacement in fiscal year
2008 by substituting seven F-4s with F-2 support fighters. The
government plans to determine the FX model by the time it starts
compiling a budgetary request for FY2021 next summer. But in the
event the US government does not disclose information on the F-22,
the decision might delay. Given the situation, the government needs
to review the planned switchover and the life of the aircraft
accordingly.

The Defense Ministry has been studying six types of aircraft as
possible successors to the F-4.

Although the government has repeatedly asked the US for information
on the F-22, US law prohibits exporting and disclosing information
on the aircraft with the aim of preventing the flow of
state-of-the-art technology to other countries. On July 12, the US
House of Representatives began studying the propriety of lifting the
ban toward Japan and other countries.

The bottleneck is the information management systems of the Defense
Ministry and the SDF. During his visit to the US earlier this month,
Administrative Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya held talks with
former US Deputy Defense Undersecretary Richard Lawless and others.
In the session, the US side indicated that information on the Aegis
system might have fallen into the hands of China. Moriya asked the
US to consider selection of the FX apart from the incident. In turn,
the US asked for proof that information has not leaked to China,
suggesting a sense of distrust in Japan.

15) Mainichi survey of LDP candidates finds 32 % approve giving
consideration to Japan having nuclear weapons, a seven-point
increase since survey in 2004

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
July 16, 2007

In a questionnaire survey carried out by the Mainichi Shimbun of all
candidates running in the upcoming Upper House election, it was
found that 32 % of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates approve
of giving consideration to Japan arming itself with nuclear weapons.
This is a seven-%rise since the question was asked in the last
survey of Upper House candidates prior to the 2004 election. With
the question of what Japan should do about nuclear weapons
reappearing in the wake of former Defense Minister Kyuma's atom-bomb
remark, it appears that the debate over nuclear armament is no
longer taboo in the ruling LDP.

In the questionnaire, four choices were given regarding Japan arming
itself with nuclear weapons: 1) something that should not be
considered in the future; 2) should be considered, depending on the
international situation from now on; 3) should start considering
now; and 4) Japan should possess nuclear weapons.

TOKYO 00003244 003 OF 006

The answer, "should not be considered" was chosen by 57 % of the LDP
candidates surveyed or 41 persons. Although they form a majority of
opinion, if compared to the entire body of candidates, of which 71 %
chose this answer, the percentage is much lower.

In addition, 24 % (17 persons) among the LDP candidates chose the
answer, "Should be considered, depending on the international
situation." The same question was asked in 2004; at the time, 25 %
chose the above answer. Those who answered, "Should start studying
now," numbered zero.

The increase in those who approve of studying a nuclear option
compared to three years ago can be attributed to the comments to
Foreign Minister Aso and others who called for discussion of such
following North Korea's testing of a nuclear device last October.

Among the opposition parties, 72 Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) candidates, or 94 %, chose the answer, "Should not be
considered." Only 1 % chose the answer, "Study depending on the
international situation," and 3 % said, "Should start studying
now."

On the question of recognizing Japan's right to collective
self-defense, 50 % (36 persons) among the LDP candidates chose the
option, "Should not be allowed," and 36 % (26 persons) chose,
"Should be allowed." All New Komeito candidates said that such use
of that right should not be allowed.

Among the opposition parties, 19 % (15 persons) of the DPJ, and 18 %
(4) of the Peoples New Party would allow the use of that right. All
Japanese Communist Party and Social Democratic Party candidates were
against allowing Japan the use of collective self-defense.

16) Jiji poll finds Abe Cabinet support rate at record low of 25.7
%, reflecting such issues as office-expense scandals

TOKYO (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 14, 2007

According to the July survey of public opinion carried out by Jiji
Press on the sixth to ninth of this month, the support rate of the
Abe Cabinet dropped 3.1 points to 25.7 %, the lowest level since the
administration came into office. The non-support rate increased 4.8
points to 53.2 %, the first time for the figure to exceed the 50 %
level. The record low level of support seems to reflect such factors
as the missing pension records, the resignation of Defense Minister
Kyuma for his atom-bomb remark, and the office-expenses controversy
involving Farm Minister Akagi. With the Upper House election
scheduled for July 29, the poll portends severe results for the
ruling parties.

The survey was carried out by face-to-face interviews of 2,000 men
and women, with an effective response rate of 66.7 %.

17) Voter's choice in proportional representation segment in Asahi
series poll: DPJ, 30 %; LDP, 23 %; Abe Cabinet non-support rate now
at 55 %

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 16, 2007


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The Asahi Shimbun on July 14-15 carried out its 10th in a series of
opinion surveys directed at the upcoming Upper House election. In
the poll, when voters were asked their party choice in the
proportional representation segment of the election if the election
were held now, 30 % chose the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) (26 % in the last poll), while 23 % (22 % last time)
favored the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In the district races,
as well, 32 % of voters were for the DPJ (previously 28 %), and 26 %
(previously 25 %) were for the LDP, indicating a growing shift in
voter preference for the opposition DPJ.

The support rate for the Abe Cabinet was 30 % (previously 31 %) and
the non-support rate was 55 % (previously 51 %), reaching a record
high.

With the public announcement of the Upper House election, more and
more people are making clear their choices when they vote. In that
selection process, the DPJ's rise has been outstanding.

18) Asahi poll finds 45 % of public say impression of prime minister
has "worsened"

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
July 16, 2007

In the latest national opinion survey by the Asahi Shimbunsha, the
public was asked, "In looking at Prime Minister Abe's most recent
remarks and actions, has your impression of him grown better?" In
contrast to the 6 % who answered that they thought it had "got
better," 45 % said that their impression of him had "worsened."
Another 45 % said that it "had not changed." The Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) is promoting the prime minister as the party's "election
face," but it appears that the voters are looking at Abe with severe
eyes. Asked the same question about Minshuto (DPJ or Democratic
Party of Japan) President Ozawa, 10 % answered that their impression
of him had improved, and 14 % said that it had worsened. But the
vast majority or 71 % said that there was "no change."

By gender, 47 % of men and 43 % of women had the view that their
impression of Prime Minister Abe had worsened. Of DPJ supporters,
only 3 % thought it had improved; while 59 % said that it had
worsened. Of unaffiliated voters (mutouhasou), 2 % said it had got
better, while 49 % said it had worsened. Of LDP supporters, 26 %
said it had worsened, while 15 % said it had become better.

19) Poll: Cabinet's support rate renews record low at 28 %; Minshuto
at 27 %, LDP at 18 % in proportional representation

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
July 17, 2007

Kyodo News Service conducted its fourth nationwide telephone-based
opinion survey on July 14-15 to find out voters' trends ahead of the
July 29 House of Councillors election. As a result, the rate of
support for the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was 28.1 %,
down 2.0 points from the previous July 7-8 poll. It was a record
low, falling below the 30 % level for the first time since the
cabinet was launched last September. The disapproval rate was 58.8
%, no change from the last survey.

Voters were also asked, "What party or candidate will you vote for
in the proportional representation segment?" To this question, 27.2

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% said they would vote for Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), an
increase of 2.6 points, and 18.3 % pointed to the Liberal Democratic
Party, an increase of 0.7 points, from the previous poll. Asked to
pick up to two top priority issues, 53.6 % of respondents cited
"pension," down nearly 5 points. The "politics and money" issue rose
to the second place at 23.7 %, up 4.2 points, from the fourth place
in the pervious poll.

20) Upper House election: Early voting rate up 10 % over previous
election, reaching 683,046, according to interim report

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
July 17, 2007

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry yesterday released
an interim report on early (absentee) voting for the Upper House
election. The number of voters who cast ballots for three days from
July 13 through 15 increased about 10 % from the corresponding
period of the previous election in 2004 (618,383).

The voting day for the Upper House election this time is July 29,
which is the latest along with the one in 2001 among all elections
in the past. Since the election day coincides with summer vacation,
many voters are expected to vote early because of their holiday
plans.

The highest growth rate of 2.8 in early voting was marked in Gunma
Prefecture, followed by Toyama, Aomori, Yamagata and Ishikawa. These
five prefectures are all single-seat constituencies.

In Shikoku and Kyushu, the early voting rate fell below 2004. In
particular, that of Miyazaki and Kochi remained below half the level
of 2004.

21) LDP's Tamura criticizes Abe's "beautiful country" slogan

ASAHI (Page 31) (Abridged slightly)
July 17, 2007

Kohei Tamura, 60, an incumbent Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker
seeking his third term in the upcoming House of Councillors
election, held a lecture meeting yesterday in the Kochi prefectural
district, his home turf. In the session, Tamura harshly criticized
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's slogan to make Japan a beautiful
country, saying:

"I cannot understand what it really means. People in Kochi are in a
dire situation. They are struggling just to put tomorrow's bread on
the table. If the prime minister comes here to campaign for me and
plays up his 'beautiful country' slogan, that would sound like an
insult to the local residents because that's a pie in the sky. What
is a beautiful country anyway? If (the prime minister) is concerned
about me, he should come with money. If the government earmarked 500
billion yen or so for the Nankai area, Kochi would be able to
withstand typhoons and earthquakes."

Prime Minister Abe attended a pep rally held for Tamura in Konan
City, Kochi Prefecture, on July 1.

Tamura also criticized LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, who
visited Kochi on July 15, saying: "He suggested selling agricultural
products grown in Kochi in Shanghai. But Kochi Airport is not an

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international airport. He should not have suggested that which is
not possible."

22) Independent Administrative Agency reform: ARPH to publicly
recruit councillor; Kantei decides, meeting resistance from
government agency

SANKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
July 16, 2007

The government's Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters (ARPH)
yesterday decided to publicly recruit a councillor in charge of
reforming independent administrative agencies. A councillor is
virtually the top post responsible for the administrative side of
reform of independent administrative agencies. It is extremely
unusual for the government to publicly recruit top-ranking
personnel. The Prime Minister's Office (Kantei) says that it will
take a second look at its independent administrative agency reform
from scratch, intensifying a tug-of-war with various government
agencies, which are aiming at securing ministry interests. The
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which has previously
filled that post, was reluctant to select a successor. In response,
State Minister for Administrative Reform Yoshimi Watanabe reached a
final decision in the public recruitment, based on the Kantei's
will.

The councillor's post has remained vacant since July 10, when
Masanori Suzuki, hailing from METI, took office as the Nuclear and
Industrial Safety Agency deputy director general as a result of a
regular personnel transfer. Since METI officials have customarily
filled that post, the Kantei has sounded out the ministry about the
selection of Suzuki's successor from around early this month, when
Suzuki's transfer was decided.

The Kantei requested that METI not select a person who advocates on
behalf of his home ministry's interest. However, METI objected to
the request saying, "We do not want the Kantei to meddle with our
personnel matters." As it has not shown any inclination towards
selecting Suzuki's successor since then, Watanabe undertook the
task, coordinating views with the Kantei and deciding to publicly
recruit an ARPH councillor.

SCHIEFFER

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