Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/25/07
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3380/01 2060209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250209Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5792
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
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 4646
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2223
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 5819
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1285
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3001
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8038
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4098
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5144
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 003380
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 07/25/07
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
4) Mainichi's third net monitor poll on the Upper House election:
Widening gap between DPJ, LDP on level of good feelings toward each
5) Yomiuri's net monitoring poll finds almost half of sampled voters
saying Prime Minister Abe should resign if election lost
6) Yomiuri survey: Focus on measures to follow through with party
pledges; Calls for debates regarding constitutional revision and
7) Abe spokesman says this election not to choose a new
administration so Abe should stay in office even if Upper House
8) Chorus of Abe's LDP supporters say he should stay on as prime
minister no matter what the outcome of the Upper House election
9) In terms of election campaign support, Foreign Minister Aso,
Defense Minister Koike draw crowds, but cabinet members Yanagisawa,
10) Foreign Minister Aso to meet Chinese counterpart in Manila
11) Prime Minister Abe in speech bemoans Japan being left behind in
six-party talks on efforts to resolve abduction issue
12) Second active fault discovered near quake-damaged nuclear power
plant in Niigata
13) Defense Ministry to introduce an internal whistle-blowing system
in Sept. to curb leaks of classified material
1) TOP HEADLINES
Asahi: Mainichi: Tokyo Shimbun:
Ceiling crane at No. 6 nuclear reactor building at Kashiwazaki
nuclear power plant damaged, making it impossible to check reactor
NHK proposes cutting subscription fees by 50 yen a month; additional
50 yen cut for viewers who pay by bank transfer
Mitsukoshi Department Store to hold business tie-up talks with
The shame of an election contested only on scandals and pension
Upper House election: Growing number of LDP supporters, corporate
managers, first-time women voters, determined to cast ballots for
TOKYO 00003380 002 OF 010
(1) Constitution: Don't give the administration a blank check
(2) Food imported from China: Quality control is the way forward
(1) Tax evasion on foreign exchange earnings: Danger of spreading
the word about amateur investors' profits
(2) 2007 Upper House election: Foreign policy principles important
(1) Public servant system: No real debate on radical reform
(2) Suspension of auto production: Unexpected Achilles' heel of
just-in-time parts supply system
(1) Use resumption of rice exports to go on agriculture offensive
(2) Care needed in management of foreign reserves
(1) Former vice ministers refuse to testify on amakudari: Do
bureaucrats have this much power?
(2) TOB defense measures: Easy management buyouts (MBO) also
(1) Problems at nuclear power plant: Too many unforeseen incidents
(2) Food policy issue not only for farming villages
(1) Protect Article 9: Cast ballots to prevent constitutional
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, July 24
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 25, 2007
Met at the Kantei with Internal Affairs and Communications Minister
Suga, followed by Niigata Gov. Izumida in the presence of Disaster
Management Minister Mizote and others.
Attended a cabinet meeting. Foreign Minister Aso stayed on.
Afterward, attended a council meeting on comprehensive reform of the
civil servant system. Later met Cabinet Intelligence Director
Left Haneda Airport by ANA 873.
Arrived in Akita Airport.
Canvassed in JR Akita Station. Afterward delivered a campaign speech
at the East Exit of the station.
TOKYO 00003380 003 OF 010
Had lunch with secretaries in Kita-Akita City.
Canvassed in Odate City.
Canvassed in Kuroishi City.
Left JR Aomori Station on limited express Tsuruga No. 30.
Arrived at JR Hachinohe Station.
Canvassed in Hachinohe City.
Left Misawa Airport by JAL 1226.
Arrived at Haneda Airport.
Arrived at his official residence.
4) Poll: DPJ gaining popularity
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
July 25, 2007
The Mainichi Shimbun conducted its third Internet-based opinion
survey on July 20-21 on the upcoming House of Councillors election.
To a question asking which do you have good feelings for, the
Liberal Democratic Party or the Democratic Party of Japan,
72%pointed to the DPJ, up 1%age point from the previous survey (July
12-13) and 26%to the LDP, down 2%age points, showing a growing
disparity between the two parties. Of those who have joined the
surveys in a row since the first one on June 29-30, 63%persistently
picked the DPJ, and 19%chose the LDP.
Unlike other opinion polls, the Mainichi's series of opinion surveys
are aimed to find out continuous trends of Internet monitors. In
each survey, 800 people took part, and 340 people participated in
all three surveys. Some questions were asked repeatedly in the three
surveys in order to find out overall trends and changes in awareness
of the same group of people.
In response to a question asking for their preference between the
LDP and DPJ, 214 persons of the 340 picked the DPJ in all three
polls, while 66 persons favored the LDP. Twenty-eight persons, or 8%
, chose the DPJ in the third survey although they had favored the
LDP in the first or the second poll, while 21 persons, 6% , pointed
to the LDP, reversing their previous choice of the DPJ.
Again this time, the monitors were asked, "Who is fit to assume the
country's top job, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa?" Abe's rate marked 34% , down 1%age point from the previous
poll, against Ozawa's 65% , up 1%age point. Asked in the event the
LDP suffered a major setback, should Abe resign, 68%said he should
resign and 30%said he should not.
TOKYO 00003380 004 OF 010
The respondents were also asked if they have read any party
manifestos, 72%said "no," and 27%"yes." Of those answered "yes,"
38%said they read manifestos of two parties, 34%said they read more
than three parties', and 28%said just one.
5) Poll: 48%say Abe must resign if ruling camp fails to win a
majority in Upper House
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
July 25, 2007
In its sixth nationwide opinion poll, the Yomiuri Shimbun asked
1,000 Internet monitors what should Prime Minister Shinzo Abe do in
the event the ruling coalition failed to win a majority (122 seats)
in the Upper House in the upcoming election. The results tabulated
yesterday showed that 48%said he should resign and 26%said he should
However, among Liberal Democratic Party supporters, 71%said Abe
should not resign, while 15%indicated he should resign. Abe's
resignation was also favored by 66%of the Democratic Party of Japan
supporters and 44%of unaffiliated voters.
Asked about DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa's course of action in the
event the opposition bloc failed to take control of the Upper House,
43%said he should resign, while 25%ruled out his resignation. As far
as DPJ supporters were concerned, 43%pointed to his resignation, and
only 29%indicated otherwise.
To a question, "Which bloc -- ruling or opposition -- do you want to
see win," 33%said "the opposition bloc by a large margin." This was
followed by "the ruling bloc by a small margin" at 17% , "the
opposition bloc by a small margin" at 16% , "even" at 10% , and "the
ruling camp by a large margin" at 8% . Of those who said they would
vote for the LDP in the proportional representation segment,
53%favored "the ruling bloc by a small margin," while only
23%pointed to "the ruling camp by a large margin."
Ozawa had a support rate of 24%and Abe 15%in terms of campaign
speeches and television debates. In addition, 34%said the DPJ
television commercial was most impressive, and 14%picked the LDP's.
The DPJ commercial was favored even by 18%of LDP supporters.
As for the People's New Party, which might have the casting vote
depending on how the race turns out, 40%said it should cooperate
with the ruling bloc on a policy basis instead of forming a
coalition, while 28%said it should cooperate with the ruling camp.
Asked in the event the standings of the ruling and opposition
parties were reversed in the Upper House, 51%said the prime minister
should dissolve the Lower House at an early time, and 18%indicated
that the ruling camp should cooperate with the DPJ.
6) Net Monitor survey: Focus on measures to follow through with
party pledges; Calls for debates regarding constitutional revision
and consumption tax
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
July 25, 2007
The "Upper House election net monitor survey" which Yomiuri Shimbun
TOKYO 00003380 005 OF 010
has been conducting since mid-June asked 1000 eligible voters from
around the country to offer their opinions about the upcoming
election and the platforms of each political party. Many respondents
called on each party to debate issues such as constitutional
revision and a consumption tax hike in a candid, concrete manner.
Many people placed importance on having specific measures, such as
securing the necessary fiscal resources, to realize campaign
pledges.For example, a 35 year old man from Tochigi Prefecture said,
"There are many campaign pledges that are aimed to please, but I
would like to support a party that takes a realistic approach."
Regarding a possible consumption tax hike, in particular, although
respondents were split on whether to support such a tax increase,
many called on the political parties to have a frank discussion
about the issue. A 32 year old woman from Miyazaki Prefecture said,
"I want to hear what each party thinks."
When asked about constitutional revision, too, many called for an
active debate.A 66 year old man from Kanagawa Prefecture said,
"While the pension problem is very important, the debate over
constitutional revision is equally important as it will determine
A 56 year old man from Niigata Prefecture had this to say: "Since
(the constitution) is the fundamental law of the county, the
opposition parties must also engage in debate. I don't think that
Minshuto (the Democratic Party of Japan), which has continued to
debate with the Liberal Democratic Party on this issue, should have
thrown it out the window mid-election because of partisan
Regarding their image of Prime Minister Abe, some agreed with a 29
year old woman from Gifu Prefecture who said, "He gives a clean
impression."Others expressed suspicion towards his leadership
abilities, such as a 38 year old man from Aichi Prefecture who said,
"It's a shame. I thought he would be more aggressive."
Meanwhile when asked about DPJ President Ozawa, a 30 year old man
from Iwate Prefecture said that Ozawa is "the type of person who
works behind the scenes," and a 53 year old woman from Aichi
Prefecture commented, "He is quick to split up a political party. I
don't really know what he thinks." Some valued his strong presence,
such as a 47 year old woman from Ehime Prefecture who said, "He is a
man of few words, but he is a solid politician."
7) Government, ruling coalition: Upper House election not an
occasion to choose administration
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
July 25, 2007
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki stated yesterday at a
press conference: "Upper House elections have basically not been
regarded as an occasion to choose administrations. I think the
upcoming one is the same, and it's not as though the policies of the
administration are being debated." He implied that the results of
the election would not be tied to any calls for the prime minister
to take responsibility.
In a speech delivered yesterday at the Foreign Correspondents' Club
of Japan, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Council
TOKYO 00003380 006 OF 010
Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa said, "Since the Upper House election is
not an occasion to select the prime minister, I think the question
of whether Prime Minister Abe will resign or not is a separate
Meantime, Yukio Hatoyama, secretary general of Minshuto (Democratic
Party of Japan), told reporters yesterday in Chiba City: "It is the
voters who decide on the appropriateness of an administration. When
the Kantei says that they won't take responsibility even if they
lose the election, that sounds to me like an attempt to evade
He then added: "Make no mistake - this election if a referendum on
the Abe administration. When the voters have said that they no
longer want Abe to remain in office, the administration should
8) GOJ, LDP officials emphasize Abe will stay on
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
July 25, 2007
With less than one week left before election day, several GOJ and
LDP officials commented yesterday that the Upper House poll is not
an occasion in which voters will choose the nation's leader. The
implication is that Prime Minister Abe should stay on, whatever the
election results may be. As the media are reporting on the uphill
battle faced by the ruling parties and the falling approval ratings
for the Abe cabinet, many observers take such comments to be
"precautions" against some of the LDP who may call on Abe to step
down to take the responsibility for the election results. Opposition
parties are becoming increasingly critical of the LDP, arguing that
such comments are intended to evade responsibility.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki told a press briefing yesterday:
"Basically, the Upper House election has not been seen as an
opportunity for voters to choose which party will lead the nation.
This holds true of the election this time, too. (Although some
cabinets resigned en masse in the past), they did so upon their
decisions at the time." Shiozaki indicated that even if the ruling
parties fail to win a majority in the Upper House, the prime
minister will not step down.
The LDP's Policy Research Council Chairman Nakagawa likewise said in
a speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan yesterday: "The
Upper House election is not a national election that involves an
election of a prime minister. The question of whether the prime
minister steps down or not has nothing to do with the outcome of the
Upper House election."
In the LDP, before the announcement of the Upper House election on
July 12, Upper House Policy Board Chairman Yoichi Masuzoe noted,
"Abe will have no choice but to resign if the party suffers a major
Recently, however, media polls have been predicting a major setback
for the ruling parties. Senior LDP officers and cabinet members thus
judged it necessary to contain any moves within the party to pull
down Abe before they grow stronger.
One government official pointed out yesterday: "It's no good for LDP
members to begin mentioning the prime minister's responsibility for
TOKYO 00003380 007 OF 010
the election results. The comments by Shiozaki and others were
intended for LDP members."
Abe, however, has asked, "Who do you think is more qualified for the
post of prime minister, Ozawa (head of the major opposition
Democratic Party of Japan) or me?" Given this, some in the ruling
parties have argued that making the case that the election is not an
opportunity to choose the leader of the government at this point in
time could be taken as an excuse. An official at the LDP Election
Strategy Headquarters expressed concern that "at a time when we are
making final efforts and demonstrating our sense of crisis by facing
up to the possibility of defeat, the chief cabinet secretary and
others are making these comments. This could backfire." The junior
coalition partner New Komeito's Representative Ota also revealed a
sense of displeasure yesterday, telling reporters: "What the ruling
parties should do now is concentrate our efforts on garnering a
majority of votes."
9) Upper House election: Many candidates ask Aso, Koike to make
campaign speeches for them, but Yanagisawa, Akagi unpopular
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
July 25, 2007
Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Defense Minister Yuriko Koike are very
much in demand in giving campaign speeches for candidates running in
the July 29 House of Councillors election. Aso is the top favorite
since he is regarded as a most likely successor to Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe. The anchorwoman-turned politician Koike also is deluged
with requests. Meanwhile, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo
Yanagisawa, who made a controversial remark referring to women as
baby-bearing machines, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Minister Akagi, who gave unsatisfactory explanations about
allegations of improperly used political funds involving his
offices, as well as about his bandaged face, have seldom received
requests. The existence of the two cabinet ministers has become
major setbacks for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in
carrying out policy debates in their area or responsibilty.
According to LDP headquarters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has so far
delivered campaign speeches in 28 prefectures, the largest number
among the cabinet members. Although the number of prefectures Aso
and Koike have visited is a dozen or so, the figure which is the
same as other cabinet ministers, requests by candidates for them to
deliver speeches is extremely large. The person followed by Aso and
Koike reportedly is Yoshimi Watanabe, state minister in charge of
Aso made a joke before audiences gathering yesterday at a hotel in
Sapporo City, saying: "Is it the first time for you to see my face
in person? Do you think I'm better in person than on TV? Don't you
think my wife had good judgment?" Drawing laughter from young people
in Akihabara with his comic style talk, he gained popularity among
young people during his campaign for the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) presidential race last fall. One of the reasons for his
popularity is that he is the most likely candidate to succeed Abe.
There was a scene in which the mayor of a city in Fukuoka Prefecture
gave a speech for a LDP candidate, saying to voters, "I want you to
vote (for the LDP) in order that Aso becomes prime minister and LDP
Aso has the tendency to make gaffes, however. When referring in a
TOKYO 00003380 008 OF 010
speech delivered in Toyama Prefecture on July 19 to the price
disparity between Japanese rice in Japan and overseas, he made a
controversial remark that even people with Alzheimer's disease can
tell the difference. He later retracted his remark.
Koike, too, has such light wit as move people to laughter. In her
speech yesterday in Akita City, she said: "I am often called the
Secretary of State Rice of Japan, but I'm slightly older than she is
(Japanese word: karei). So I call myself rice curry (raisu karei)."
She also stressed: "I will defend the people and the nation. I will
protect the livelihoods of the people. I will protect the
environment so that we can see beautiful starry sky. And I will
secure LDP seats."
Meanwhile, Yanagisawa has delivered campaign speeches in Shizuoka,
from which he fails, and only four other prefectures, though some
LDP prefectural chapters have begun to say they want to hear his
explanations about the pension issue. Reportedly Akagi has hardly at
all made campaign speeches. All the more because Prime Minister Abe
has stepped up criticism of agricultural policy by the largest
opposition party, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), while
playing up his efforts for dealing with the pension record
mismanagement fiasco. "It is troublesome that the two ministers are
not welcomed," said a senior LDP member.
10) Japanese, Chinese foreign ministers to meet in Manila
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 25, 2007
Foreign Minister Taro Aso yesterday decided to meet with his Chinese
counterpart Yang Jiechi in Manila, which he will be visiting from
July 30 to attend such sessions as a meeting of foreign ministers
from ASEAN countries, Japan, China, and South Korea. If realized,
this will be his third meeting with Yang, who took office as foreign
minister in April. Based on the results of the latest session of the
chief delegates to the six-party talks, Aso plans to exchange views
with Yang about specific steps for the denuclearization of North
Korea. Aso intends to call on China to apply strict rules to ensure
the safety of Chinese food and other products.
11) Abe leaves abduction issue on back burner
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
July 25, 2007
In the ongoing election campaign, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has
hardly touched on the abduction issue, his signature issue. The
stalled abduction issue is hard to play up for Abe, who is seeking
the people's judgment based on his administration's achievements.
Abe has tended to mention the abduction issue only briefly just
before winding up his campaign speeches. In Akita City and other
places yesterday, Abe reiterated this message: "I will put all my
energy into the issue until the day when Mr. and Mrs. Yokota can
warmly embrace their daughter, Megumi."
As soon as his administration was launched, Abe set the abduction
issue as his administration's top priority. But the government has
been able to directly discuss the matter with North Korea on only
three occasions on the sidelines of the six-party talks. There has
essentially been no progress on the issue.
TOKYO 00003380 009 OF 010
"The abduction issue must be dealt with on a nonpartisan basis.
There is not a big difference in views between the Liberal
Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan," a government
source explained. The fact is the LDP cannot play up an issue on
which there has been no progress.
In the government and ruling coalition, some are trying to foster a
sense of crisis by linking the LDP's poor performance in the ongoing
race to North Korea, as seen in Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki's
comment, "It is Pyongyang that wants to stop the Abe policy
12) Chuetsu earthquake: Secondary fault identified; Was it the cause
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
July 25, 2007
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
(AIST) has confirmed through studies of the seafloor fault that
caused the Chuetsu Earthquake in Niigata Prefecture that there is a
secondary fault that branches off from the main fault. A number of
depressions in the center of Kashiwazaki City, which cannot be
explained by activity along the main fault alone, have been found.
AIST said that there is a strong possibility that the quake was
triggered by downward movement on the land side of the secondary
Haruo Horikawa, leader of the AIST investigation team, analyzed the
shape of the main fault and its movement based on a site survey and
crustal movements available from data obtained through the global
positioning system. The team determined that the land in the center
of Kashiwazaki City should have moved upward if the main fault alone
had slipped, indicating a discrepancy with the depressions actually
observed. For this reason, the team considered what could have
caused the depressions, and using computer analysis determined the
presence of a secondary fault.
The secondary fault is approximately 10 km long and 10 km wide. It
is located near the southern end of the main fault, which runs
parallel to the coast of the Sea of Japan, and is nearly
perpendicular to the main fault.
Horikawa and the other team members used a computer to recreate the
earthquake, including the movement along the secondary fault. The
simulation found that downward movement along the sea side of the
main fault (23 km long and 11 km wide) in combination with movement
along the secondary fault would correspond with the actual results
of the earthquake.
Horikawa explains: "While some of the areas that sunk may have done
so due to liquefaction from the tremors, movement along the
secondary fault played a major role."
13) Defense Ministry to revise whistleblower system by September to
strengthen steps against information leaks
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 25, 2007
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) decided to revise by September the
TOKYO 00003380 010 OF 010
system of safeguards for those who disclose information in the
public interest in order to make it easy for someone in the MOD to
blow the whistle on leaks of defense secrets, including information
on the Aegis system. The current system does not protect people who
report leaks related to the operations of the Self-Defense Forces
(SDF), ministry secrets necessary to be kept confidential in terms
of defense operations and defense secrets, or leaks of such
information as special defense secrets relating to the Japan-US
Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement. By revising the system, the MOD
plans to reinforce measures against information leaks.
The MOD system is based on the Law on Safeguards for Those Who
Disclose Information in the Public Interest, which took effect in
April 2006. The law prohibits dismissing or imposing penalties on
The current system protects whistleblowers who inform about
violations of laws and ordinances regarding (1) protection of lives,
(2) environmental preservation, and (3) securing of fair
competition. However, acts violating the SDF Law, including leaks of
ministry secrets, are not covered; as a result, the system has
failed to prevent information leaks.
The MOD will further study in the weeks ahead whether violations of
internal rules, such as personal information leaks via the Winny
file-sharing program, will be covered by the system.
On the information leaks involving the MOD, former US Deputy Under
Secretary of Defense Lawless and others expressed concern to Vice
Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya when he visited the US early this
month. The information leaks have had a negative effect on the
selection of a next-generation fighter, as the US has been reluctant
to provide information about the F-22 stealth fighter.