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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/19/07

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RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7968
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4026
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5093

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003311

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DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
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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: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 07/19/07


Index:

(1) Kashiwazaki City orders suspension of nuclear power plant due to
growing distrust

(2) A study of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a "spoiled rich kid" (Part
2): Strong sense of obligation and friendship

(3) "Next-phase action" coming into focus at resumed six-party
talks


ARTICLES:

(1) Kashiwazaki City orders suspension of nuclear power plant due to
growing distrust

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 19, 2007

The order for an emergency suspension of the Kashiwazaki nuclear
power plant issued by Hiroshi Aida, mayor of Kashiwazaki City,
Niigata Prefecture, is creating a stir. The castle town that houses
the nuclear power plant that has been dependent on subsidies for
hosting that plant has finally taken a strong stance of lodging a
protest. After receiving that shockwave, Tokyo Electric Power
Company (TEPCO) has had to ask other utility companies to supply
power. However, there is unabated concern about whether the company
can get by this summer, when the usual heat waves are expected to
come. There is no outlook for resuming plant operations, since there
are many barriers to clear before that can be done.

Mayor makes decision, following successive glitches

Mayor Aida, who has issued the emergency order to suspend at 11:00
a.m. on July 18 the use of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power
plant based on the Fire Defense Law called in TEPCO President
Katsumata to the Kashiwazaki City Office and told him in a harsh
tone: "A tremor exceeding the intensity anticipated when designing
the plant has occurred. Discussing the safety of a nuclear power
plant and ground is an issue that cannot be slighted."

Behind the mayor's decision are the irregularities that TEPCO was
responsible for five years ago. In February 2002, when TEPCO found
glitches at three nuclear power plants, including Kashiwazaki, it
carried out illicit practices, such as fabricating inspection
results and repair records, and recording false information.

In Kashiwazaki City and Kariwa Village, which host the nuclear
plant, residents' concern has grown over its pluthermal energy
program for recycling spent nuclear fuel. Then Kashiwazaki Mayor
Masazumi Nishikawa, Kariwa Village Mayor Hiroo Shinada, and the
Niigata Governor Ikuo Hirayama agreed to cancel a prior approval
given to TEPCO and withdrew the plan.

A mayoral election took place in Nov. 2004. Nishikawa sought a
fourth election, obtaining recommendation from the LDP and the New
Komeito. Pro-citizen Aida, former environment department chief of
Nagaoka City, also ran in the election a contender. Aida won a close
contest, backed by votes from those who were against the
construction of a nuclear power plant and votes from labor unions.
During the election campaign, he insisted on the need to seek

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further information disclosure, premised on the securing of the
safety of a nuclear power plant.

When it was found this May that TEPCO hid troubles that had occurred
at the Kashiwazaki nuclear power plant, he was furious, saying, "The
corporate structure that has given priority not to safety but to
operations is a problem." For that reason alone, the series of
troubles following the quake were impermissible for him.

When Aida ordered the suspension of the operation of the plant,
President Katsumata admitted that fire extinction equipment was
insufficient. However, regarding the structure of the nuclear power
plant, he said, "We were comparatively able to secure safety. I feel
there is no problem."

Aida brushed aside his comment with an unpleasant look, "The city
will confer on the nuclear power plant's fire extinction system as a
business establishment." Meeting the press in the evening, Mayor
Aida, after citing a major benefit of hosting a nuclear power in
terms of local district development, noted, "The major premise is
safety. It could not be helped that the operations automatically
stopped due to the quake intensity stronger than anticipated.
However, I as the mayor of the city cannot grant approval for the
operation of facilities." He hinted that his order for suspension
included a disciplinary meaning with importance given to the series
of mismanagement.

Many barriers to clear before resuming operations

TEPCO said that there are no prospects for resuming the operations
of seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.
There are many barriers to clear before resuming operations,
including a revision of earthquake resistance evaluation gauged at
the time when the plant was designed, consideration to the need for
reinforcement work, government inspection and approval from local
governments hosting the facility.

The Onagawa nuclear power plant was jolted by a stronger earthquake
than anticipated as was the case this time when the Miyagi
Earthquake occurred in Aug. 2005. There was no need for reinforcing
earthquake resistance there. Nevertheless, even in the fastest case
of no. 2 reactor, it took five months to resume operation. It took a
year and nine months for the no. 1 reactor to resume operation. The
delay is largely attributable to the fact that it was necessary to
ensure that nuclear reactors can endure the maximum earthquake that
could occur.

It will take time to analyze what impact key equipment, such as
reactor pressure vessels, received in the quake this time. If
problems are found, the intensity assumption has to be revised.
Hokuriku Electric Power Company, which is investigating into the
impact of the Noto Peninsular Earthquake occurred this March on the
Shiga nuclear power plant, has not yet submitted a final report to
the government.

The safety determination process involves the government determining
whether there is any problem about inspections carried out by
utility companies and reaching a decision on each nuclear reactor,
based on discussions pursued by an advisory council consisting of
experts. It would take even longer time for a utility company to
resume operation of reactors, if they are identified as requiring
earthquake resistance reinforcement. Even if the company obtains

TOKYO 00003311 003 OF 006


government approval for reinforcement work and the reactors in
question undergo the work, it still needs to receive certification
proving that the work was conducted correctly. Approval of local
governments hosting the nuclear power plant in question is also
necessary. The local governments will independently determine
safety.

There were only 9 kilometers from the nuclear power station to the
point right above the epicenter. TEPCO carried out a geological
survey around the nuclear power plant until this April, based on the
new quake resistance guidelines, which the government set last
September. However, the survey did not cover the sea floor. It did
not consider the existence of the active fault, which is assumed to
have caused the quake this time.

Following the quake, TEPCO decided to conduct an additional
geological survey. If the survey confirms the existence of an active
fault, it is bound to affect safety evaluation and approval by local
governments hosting the nuclear power plant.

(2) A study of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a "spoiled rich kid" (Part
2): Strong sense of obligation and friendship

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 24) (Abridged)
July 15, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dined with a dozen or so Liberal
Democratic Party lawmakers on the night of May 29, the day after
Agriculture Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide. At the
dinner table, an unusually eloquent Abe affectionately described
Matsuoka this way: "Mr. Matsuoka played a central role in making
arrangements for everything from beef imports from the United States
to rice exports to China to my meeting with Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao. He was always highly committed to his job."

One of the participants took Abe's words as an act to defend himself
as the person who had appointed Matsuoka. Lawmaker Katsuei Hirasawa,
61, who once tutored Abe when he was a primary school student, took
it differently. He said: "The prime minister is a gentle person. I
believe he couldn't help but make such a comment for the sake of Mr.
Matsuoka's honor"

Abe has a tendency to remain loyal to his sympathizers, whether they
be friend or foe.

Former House of Representatives lawmaker Kiyoshi Ueda, 59, left the
Democratic Party of Japan in August 2003 to run in the Saitama
gubernatorial race, which he won. Days before the election, Ueda
unexpectedly received an encouraging message from Abe, his friend,
which read: "I had been asked by the LDP Saitama chapter to stump
for your rival at four locations, but I have decided to do so only
at one place."

"I keenly felt his consideration," Ueda said, looking back at the
incident.

Abe also allowed Seiichi Eto, 59, a postal rebel and another close
friend, to rejoin the LDP in the face of strong objections from
within the party.

Three key players in the Abe cabinet resigned in succession soon
after Abe took office. The first was Masaaki Honma, who resigned as

TOKYO 00003311 004 OF 006


the government's tax commission chief last December due to his use
of a government apartment to house his mistress. Then came the
resignation of Regulatory Reform Minister Genichiro Sata over his
shady office expenses. Abe at first staunchly defended Honma and
Sata. Sata's resignation was followed by the case of Defense
Minister Fumio Kyuma, 66, who stepped down in late June over his
atomic-bombings-couldn't-be-helped remarks. Abe again defended Kyuma
until he tendered his resignation.

Eiji Oshita, 63, the author of Abe-ke Sandai: Abe Shinzo
(Third-Generation Politician, Shinzo Abe) explained Abe's
indecisiveness about sacking cabinet ministers this way: "The gentle
DNA Abe inherited from his father, Shintaro Abe, crops up whenever
he is faced with a difficult personnel decision. Becoming a great
commander takes the guts to ax people as necessary."

As Matsuoka's successor, Abe picked Norihiko Akagi, 48, deputy head
of a group of junior lawmakers who support visits to Yasukuni
Shrine. Akagi is ideologically close to Abe, and his grandfather
once served as defense chief in the cabinet of Prime Minister
Nobusuke Kishi, Abe's grandfather. Abe defended Akagi when an office
expense scandal broke out, saying, "His political organization
declared 800 yen as monthly utility expenses, but I won't let him go
just because of that." This visibly disappointed Oshita.

Oshita noted:

"There was no need for the prime minister to bring up the 800 yen
example to defend Akagi, who is in the hot seat. It reminded me of
Abe's words that ruled out any investigation after Matsuoka's
suicide. Mr. Abe is honest, or rather immature."

In his debate with DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa on July 1, Abe
fervently said: "I would like to see children grow up to be
courageous enough to protect friends from bullying and stand up for
them."

Abe's junior high school classmate, Yojiro Tanii, 52, still vividly
remembers Abe who stood up for friends against bullies. "He was not
good at fighting, but he never left friends behind," Tanii said.

Shinzo Abe's mettle is being tested as prime minister instead of as
a person with a strong sense of obligation and friendship.

(3) "Next-phase action" coming into focus at resumed six-party
talks

ASAHI (Page 15) (Full)
July 19, 2007

Hajime Izumi, professor of politics on the Korean Peninsula at
University of Shizuoka

The chief delegates to the six-party talks resumed discussion in
Beijing after a hiatus of four months. One major purpose of the
meeting is to deal with the question of how specifically to
facilitate the "next-phase action" toward denuclearization, now that
North Korea shut down its nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

The US top envoy to the six-party talks, Christopher Hill, assistant
secretary of state, has come up with an immediate timetable aimed at

SIPDIS
completing the "next-phase action" by the end of the year,

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suggesting first creating a "road map" for the completion of the
next-phase steps, next holding a working group meeting that will be
followed by a plenary session of the six-party member nations, and
then holding a six-party foreign ministerial by the first week of
September.

I think it is possible to translate all those plans into action. The
US allowed the North Korean money that had been frozen at a Macao
bank to be transferred to North Korea, and that in exchange for
that, the North shut down its nuclear facilities. Since then, a kind
of relationship of mutual trust has been emerging between the two
countries. Given this, it would not be much difficult to confirm a
"road map" and arrange a timeframe for discussions.

However, actually implementing the "next-phase action" is not an
easy task. The six-party agreement made on February 13 has put North
Korea under obligation to implement two things: submission of a full
declaration of all of its nuclear programs and disablement of all of
its nuclear facilities. It is, however, too optimistic to expect
North Korea to implement them strictly. Obviously, it is well
imagined how difficult it is for the North to do, given measures the
North must undertake in that regard.

As for a full declaration, the North Koreans need to admit the
existence of their uranium enrichment activity. Regarding the
disablement, the North Koreans must undertake steps to disable the
operations of the five-megawatt nuclear reactor as well as the
nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. Also, they need to make it
impossible to reprocess 8,000 fuel rods used to operate the
five-megawatt nuclear reactor.

All these are deemed Washington's "minimum demands" on Pyongyang,
but it is unthinkable for the North to accept them without any
objection. North Korea is likely to contend strongly that
"disablement" does not mean indefinitely sealing nuclear
facilities.

In short, it is unlikely that the US and North Korea will easily
come to a compromise over the "next-phase action."

Should Pyongyang deem Washington's "returns" as attractive, the
North could implement the "minimum action" demanded by Washington.

The Bush administration turned around its previous policy and now
appears willing to advance talks on building a peace mechanism for
the Korean Peninsula even before the North becomes nuclear-free.
This policy switch reflects the Bush administration's strong
interest in putting an end to the Cold-War structure left on the
Korean Peninsula. This is certain to give a strong incentive to the
North, too.

Once a six-party foreign ministerial session takes place, four-party
talks among North and South Korea, the US, and China aimed at
creating a peace mechanism for the Korean Peninsula will be set in
motion. I cannot rule out the possibility that in that process,
North Korea will move to fulfill the obligations set forth in the
"next-phase action."

Should Japan continue to give the highest priority to progress on
the abduction issue as it has in the past and remain unwilling to
play a part in building a peace mechanism for the Korean Peninsula,
the role Japan will play for the peace, stability, and security of

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East Asia will be severely limited.

It is high time for Japan to restudy its previous North Korea
policy.

SCHIEFFER

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