Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/01/07-1

DE RUEHKO #3495/01 2130126
P 010126Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule

Post-election opinion polls:
4) Abe Cabinet non-support rate spurts to 63%, with 44% of public
seeking Lower House dissolution and snap election this year: Nikkei
5) Half the country wants Prime Minister Abe to resign in Kyodo
poll; Cabinet support rate drops 6.8 points to 29%
6) Asahi poll: 47% of public want Abe to quit, while 40% say stay
on, but non-support rate for Abe Cabinet now at 60%
7) Public split on whether Abe should stay or quit following
election defeat: Yomiuri poll

Political scene:
8) Abe says scandal-accused farm minister Akagi will be shuffled out
of the cabinet but he does not say when
9) Eruption of criticism at LDP meeting over Abe staying on in
10) Election defeat puts the brakes on prime minister's policy
scenario, particularly drive for constitutional revision

Defense and security affairs:
11) Abe faces challenge in fall when anti-terror law is up for
another extension: Failure to pass the bill could create crack in
US-Japan alliance
12) DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan or Minshuto) gathering party
views to oppose passage of the extension of the anti-terrorism
special measures law
13) Cabinet passes extension of SDF PKO duty in the Golan Heights



Poll: 47% want Prime Minister Abe to quit, while 40% want him to say
on in office

Nagoya District Court orders state and drug maker to pay
compensation to people who contracted hepatitis-C through
state-approved drugs

Poll: 44% approve of Abe's decision to stay on in office, while 45%

Government to adopt open source OS to provide administrative
services via Internet

Agriculture Minister Akagi likely to step down

Tokyo Shimbun:
Poll: 49.5% want Abe to step down, while 43.7% want him to stay on;
Cabinet support rate drops to 29%

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US House adopts "comfort women" resolution


(1) US House passes comfort women resolution: Prime Minister Abe
should issue statement
(2) DPJ must prioritize policy over political maneuvering

(1) DPJ should go head-to-head with ruling coalition
(2) Japan should make efforts to bridge gaps in historical views of
the war

(1) Concern about US House's passage of comfort women resolution
(2) Break-up of Comsn serves public good

(1) Ruling, opposition camps must have open dialogue to dispel
public distrust in pension system
(2) Comfort women resolution might hurt Japan-US relations

(1) Comfort women resolution: Correct misconceptions
(2) Arrest of Hirakata mayor: Increase transparency of bidding in

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Comfort women resolution: History must constantly be relearned
(2) DPJ's big win in Upper House race: DPJ must not forget public

Comfort women resolution: Abe diplomacy should break away from US

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, July 31

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2007

Cabinet meeting at the Kantei, followed by a meeting of the
Comprehensive Ocean Policy Headquarters. Internal Affairs and
Communications Minister Suga and State Minister for Financial Policy
Yamomoto remained.

Met with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matoba, followed by Lowe
House member Tadamori Oshima.

Met with Matoba.

Visited former Prime Minister Nakasone at his office in


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Visited former Prime Minister Kaifu at his office in Nagatacho.

Visited former Prime Minister Mori at his office in Nagatacho.

Met with Executive Council Chairman Niwa at the Kantei.

Arrived at the official residence.

4) Poll: 44% call for Diet dissolution this year; Cabinet support at
28%; Nonsupport shoots up to 63%

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
August 1, 2007

In the wake of the ruling coalition's massive defeat in the July 29
election for the House of Councillors, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun
conducted a spot public opinion survey on July 30-31. In the survey,
a total of 44% urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to dissolve the House
of Representatives for a general election within the year. The Abe
cabinet's approval rating was 28%, up 1 percentage point from a
survey taken July 19-21. Meanwhile, its disapproval rating jumped 13
points to 63%. Abe is in a hurry to reform his governing setup by an
early shuffle of his cabinet. However, the public is taking a severe
view of his administration.

Public support for political parties also underwent a sea change.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party stood at 29%, leveling off from
the last survey. Meanwhile, the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto) rose 14 points to 44%.

5) Poll: Public urges Abe to quit; Abe cabinet's support rate down
to 29%

TOKYO (Top play) (Abridged)
August 1, 2007

Kyodo News conducted a telephone-based nationwide spot public
opinion survey on July 30-31 after Sunday's election for the House
of Councillors. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now stated his
intention to stay on as premier in spite of his ruling Liberal
Democratic Party's crushing defeat in the election. In the survey,
respondents were asked what they thought Abe should do. In response
to this question, 49.5% answered that Abe should step down, with
43.7% saying he should stay on. The approval rating for the Abe
cabinet was 29.0%, plummeting 6.8 percentage points from the last
survey taken in early June. The disapproval rating for the Abe
cabinet rose 10.3 points to 59.0%.

In the survey, nearly half of those who responded to the survey
urged Abe to quit, revealing a strong backlash from the public. The
Abe cabinet's support rate also stays low. It was the lowest level
in a series of surveys, with the exception of the 28.1% rating shown
in a telephone-based survey conducted July 14-15 after the election
was announced.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the
leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) stood at
37.6%, up 15.4 points from the last survey. The DPJ now tops the

TOKYO 00003495 004 OF 009

The LDP was at 31.5%, the same as in the last survey. The DPJ's
support rate was an all-time high since its merger with the Liberal
Party (Jiyuto) in the fall of 2003. The DPJ topped the LDP for the
first time since August 2004.

6) Poll: 47% want Abe to step down; 40% want him to stay on; 60%
don't support Abe cabinet

ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
August 1, 2007

In the wake of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's debacle in
Sunday's election for the House of Councillors, the Asahi Shimbun
conducted a telephone-based nationwide spot public opinion survey
from the evening of July 30 through the night of July 31. In the
survey, 47% urged Prime Minister Abe to resign, with 40% saying they
would like Abe to stay on. As seen from these figures, the public is
taking a severe view of the prime minister's clear intention to hang
on. The approval rating for the Abe cabinet was 26%, the lowest ever
since Abe took office in September last year. In the last survey
taken July 21-22), the Abe cabinet support rate was 30%. Meanwhile,
the disapproval rating for the Abe cabinet reached 60%, breaking
that level for the first time. In the last survey, the disapproval
rating was 56%. In the breakdown of public support for political
parties, the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto)
marked 34%, substantially above the 21% rating for the LDP. The
figures mirror the outcome of the election.

In the survey, respondents were also asked if they were pleased with
the election results this time. In response to this question, there
were many affirmative answers, accounting for 68%. Meanwhile, "no"
accounted for 18%. Even among LDP supporters, there were also
affirmative answers, accounting for nearly 40%.

In response to another question asking about the LDP's crushing
defeat, 34% attributed it to Abe himself, with 59% saying they did
not think so. Respondents were also asked to pick the primary reason
from among three options for the LDP's loss of seats. To this
question, 44% picked "the government's pension fiasco," with 38%
choosing "scandals involving cabinet ministers" and 12% taking up
the "social divide." The nation's pension system was said to be the
biggest point at issue in campaigning for the election. However, the
survey shows that the election results were also ascribable largely
to cabinet ministers' money scandals and gaffes.

After the election, Abe said many people understood his ruling
party's basic policy course. Respondents were asked if they thought
that way. In response, 62% answered "no," with 26% saying "yes." As
seen from these figures, there is a perception gap between the
premier and the electorate. Respondents were further asked if they
supported Abe's reform stance with emphasis on economic growth, 36%
answered "yes," with 43% saying "no."

7) Public split, 44% for and 45% against, over whether prime
minister should stay or quit, according to Yomiuri spot opinion

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun on July 30-31 carried out a spot opinion poll

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nationwide (by telephone) on the results of the Upper House
election. Asked about the election results of the ruling coalition
of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito suffering a
defeat, and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) becoming
the number 1 party in the Upper House, 64% said they were pleased,
far more than the 21% who said they were not. Regarding Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to stay on in office, 45% were
against it and 44% approved. Although there have been views that the
election result was a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister,
the public is clearly split on whether he should stay on or leave

8) "I will reshuffle the cabinet, including Agriculture Minister
Akagi," says prime minister, but steers clear of mentioning when

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2007

Concerning a cabinet reshuffle to be carried out following the ruing
parties' crushing defeat in the Upper House election, Prime Minister
Abe yesterday said, "I will reshuffle the cabinet, including
Agriculture Minister Akagi." It has been only two months since Akagi
took office as agriculture minister, succeeding former Agriculture
Minister Matsuoka, who killed himself. However, Abe has indicated
his intention not to reappoint him, because Akagi has been under
constant criticism over his management of political funds. Regarding
the timing for the reshuffle, he indicated a stance of undertaking
personnel selection in a cautious manner, just by repeating, "I will
give much thought to it."

The prime minister made those statements in response to questions
asked by reporters at the Kantei. It is unusual for any prime
minister to mention the name of a specific cabinet minister before
reshuffling his cabinet. His statement is viewed as being based on
the fact that many have pointed out that one cause of the ruling
parties' devastating defeat in the Upper House election was Akagi's
approach to his political funds problem.Some LDP members are calling
on the prime minister to deal with personnel matters as soon as
possible. Abe responded: "Regarding the timing, I will be deliberate
in council and prompt in action, while taking my own schedule and
the political schedule into full consideration. I would basically
like to carry out cabinet and LDP leadership reshuffles
simultaneously." He thus hinted at his intention to carry out the
reshuffles late August or later after winding up his trip to India,
etc. which is to take place from Aug. 19-25.

9) Many LDP executives criticize prime minister's staying in power

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2007

In a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party Executive Council
yesterday, criticism erupted over Prime Minister Abe's decision to
stay on despite the party's crushing defeat in the July 29 House of
Councillors election.

Keeping in mind the prime minister's reference to the Upper House
election as "an occasion for voters to decide on who is more
qualified to serve as prime minister, Mr. (Ichiro) Ozawa or myself,"
former Home Affairs Minister Takeshi Noda said: "The prime minister
pressed the voters to choose which party should take power in the
Upper House election. As a result, since he was completely defeated,

TOKYO 00003495 006 OF 009

he should decide (to resign)." Former Defense Agency Director
General Shigeru Ishiba also criticized the prime minister's decision
to stay in power, saying: "How is he going to explain it to the

Former Secretary General Koichi Kato, even while approving of the
prime minister's staying on, expressed his dissatisfaction with the
fact that plans to change the lineup of party executives and cabinet
members are being discussed before the election outcome has been
analyzed. He said: "The LDP will become completely hopeless if it
pushes ahead with things without analyzing the cause of its defeat
in the election."

Over the office expense scandal involving Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries Minister Norihiko Akagi, former Minister of International
Trade and Industry Takashi Fukaya stated: "The government is taking
stopgap measures. Does he have the competence required of an
agriculture minister? He should immediately step down."

The prime minister told reporters at his official residence last
night: "While taking criticism seriously, I would like to make
utmost efforts to produce results."

10) Move to debate constitutional revision stalled with opposition
parties taking control of Upper House deliberations; Prime
minister's scenario derails

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2007

Discussion of constitution revision, to which Prime Minister Abe has
given top priority, will likely be stalled due to the Liberal
Democratic Party's (LDP) crushing defeat in the Upper House
election. There is now but a slim chance that discussion of
constitutional revision will progress at the speed desired by Abe,
due to the huge election win by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ),
which takes the stand that issues concerning people's daily lives,
such as the pension fiasco, are more important than amending the

Abe during a press conference on July 30 said in disappointment:
"Unfortunately we were unable to debate the Constitution in the
election this time. I would like to discuss the issue by properly
sparing sufficient time in the future." He has apparently toned down
his drive to amend the Constitution from the statement he made in
his New Year's press conference, in which he categorically noted
that he wanted to make a public appeal on his cabinet aiming at
constitutional revision.

New Komeito head Akihiro Ota during a meeting with Abe yesterday
advised him, "Constitutional affairs, of course, are important, but
it is important for you as prime minister to come up with a
clear-cut stance toward matters related to the people's daily lives,
such as income disparities between urban and rural districts.

Abe had planned to fight the Upper House election with
constitutional revision as a major campaign issue. To that end, he
had secured the passage of the National Referendum Law
(constitutional revision procedures law) in May, enabling the ruling
coalition to propose constitutional revision in 2010. Following
Abe's will, the LDP's election manifesto included a pledge that the
LDP would stage a national movement with the aim of proposing

TOKYO 00003495 007 OF 009

constitutional revision in the Diet in 2010.

The LDP had a scenario of having constitution examination councils
to be established both in the Lower and Upper Houses in the next
extraordinary Diet outline a constitutional revision bill so as to
heighten a mood for revising the Constitution in one sweep.

However, the atmosphere has completely changed due to the ruling
parties' devastating defeat. Chances are now the DPJ will seize the
chairmanships of both panels and take the lead in discussions by the
panels. Given the observation that the number of DPJ lawmakers who
support who the current Constitution is larger in the Upper House
than in the Lower House, it will become difficult for the ruling
parties to lead discussion as it desires.

LDP sources are lamenting the situation with one party official
saying, "Discussion on constitutional revision will be slow.
Prospects for proposing constitutional revision in 2010 has dimmed.
It is undesirable that discussion of constitutional revision be
dictated by politics."

11) Diet rejection of antiterrorism law extension would harm
Japan-US alliance

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
August 1, 2007

The extension of the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, the legal
basis for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in
the Indian Ocean, is expected to be the biggest issue in the
extraordinary Diet session this fall. The government plans to submit
a bill extending the law, which is scheduled to expire on November
1. Meantime, the opposition camp, which obtained a majority in the
House of Councillors in Sunday's poll, is poised to oppose that
legislation. A termination of the SDF mission against the background
of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan might rock the
foundation of the Japan-US alliance and undermine Japan's
international credibility.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters yesterday: "Japan has been
making international contributions based on this law to meet
international expectations. We will work hard to obtain the support
of the Democratic Party of Japan, as well." Although a government
source also indicated that the government would seek the opposition
camp's cooperation, the situation is unpredictable.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the
United States, the government established the law, and in December
that year the MSDF began refueling vessels of US-led coalition
forces taking part in the war on terror in Afghanistan. Two MSDF
vessels -- one supply ship and one destroyer -- are now deployed in
the Indian Ocean.

The DPJ, which had opposed the establishment of the law from the
start, has since opposed extending the MSDF mission on three
occasions, citing a lack of a prior Diet approval system. DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa indicated yesterday that his party would
oppose the law's extension in the next Diet session, saying: "We
have opposed the measure in the past, and there is no reason for us
to support it in the upcoming Diet session."

Even if the bill is rejected in the opposition-controlled Upper

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House, it could be enacted with two-thirds approval back in the
Lower House. Although the ruling coalition holds the necessary seats
in the Lower House, the government and the ruling bloc fear that the
DPJ, which is expected to grab the Upper House presidency and the
chairmanship of major committees in the chamber, might block the
Lower House's re-approval of the bill by calling for thorough
deliberations in the Upper House.

Clause 4 of Article 59 of the Constitution stipulates: Failure by
the House of Councillors to take final action within 60 days after
receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives may be
determined by the House of Representatives to constitute a rejection
of the bill by the House of Councillors. For this reason, some have
begun to point out the need to start Diet deliberations early. A
senior Defense Ministry official said: "On the assumption that the
Upper House will effectively reject the bill, the next extra Diet
session has to be convened in early August in order to allow
sufficient time for deliberations (back in the Lower House)."

In the event the government failed to extend the law, the MSDF would
have to withdraw from the Indian Ocean. The SDF's participation in
the war on terrorism is a symbol of the Japan-US alliance. A
withdrawal would have a major impact on relations with the United
States, as well. Abe delivered a speech at the North Atlantic
Council in January in which he said: "Japanese will no longer shy
away from carrying out overseas activities involving the SDF, if it
is for the sake of international peace and stability."

"Supporting the reform bill can be a test for the DPJ to become a
responsible political party," said a former defense chief of the
LDP. Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, too, said in a press conference
yesterday: "Making Japan withdraw from the war on terror is not an
appropriate decision by any responsible party."

12) DPJ to iron out views for opposing antiterrorism law's

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 1, 2007

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan has decided to
consolidate views in the party in line with DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa's announcement yesterday opposing an extension of the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. A Lower House lawmaker close to
Ozawa predicted yesterday that the party would unanimously oppose
the law, saying: "Given the party's overwhelming victory in Sunday's
House of Councillors election under Mr. Ozawa's leadership, the
party will reach a conclusion based on his wishes."

Conservative members in the party are also drawing attention. In
fact, a lawmaker positive about the dispatch of the Self-Defense
Forces for overseas missions noted: "Even if the ruling bloc expects
rebellion in the DPJ, that won't happen. In the wake of the
abduction of a group of South Korean civilians in Afghanistan, the
public will not react negatively if (the opposition camp) calls for
an end to the mission in the Indian Ocean."

Another conservative member took this view: "Mr. Ozawa expressed
opposition to extending the mission under the current law. If the
government and ruling bloc accepted our party's calls entirely, such
as revising the retroactive Diet approval system for the dispatch of
the SDF into an advance approval system, that would be a different

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The DPJ has not ironed out views in the party on the special
measures law. Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama suggested on July 30
that the party would oppose the law's extension, saying: "(The
DPJ's) position has been that the law must not be extended. We will
adhere to that policy course."

But Seiji Maehara, who futilely attempted to reach a party consensus
to support the law's extension as DPJ president in 2005, expressed
concern during a TV program on July 30, saying that withdrawing the
Maritime Self-Defense Force would seriously harm Japan-US

13) Extension of SDF dispatch to PKO in Golan Heights approved at
cabinet meeting

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 1, 2007

The government during a cabinet meeting yesterday decided to extend
for six months until the end of next March the dispatch of
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel to the United Nations
Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) deployed in the Golan Heights.
The UNDOF is monitoring the ceasefire between Syria and Israel. The
Japanese government joined the UNDOF in February 1996, based on the
UN Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) Law. Currently 43 SDF personnel and
two command center officers are engaging in transporting goods,
repairing roads and removing snow there.


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