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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/03/07-2

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RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4234
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5253

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 003539

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: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 08/03/07-2


Index:

(5) LDP prefectural chapters wary of possible Lower House
dissolution for general election

(6) Calls growing for giving priority to protecting dugongs in
waters off Henoko over assessment

(7) Prime Minister Abe must not back down

(8) Editorial: Lessons of Riken shock

(Corrected copy) US concerned about DPJ's opposition to
antiterrorism law's extension; US envoy wishes to try to persuade
Ozawa

ARTICLES:

(5) LDP prefectural chapters wary of possible Lower House
dissolution for general election

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 2, 2007

After the House of Councillors election, the Asahi Shimbun
interviewed the secretaries general of the prefectural chapters of
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Despite the party's
historical defeat in the Upper House race, most of them supported
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to stay on in office. Meantime,
they were wary of a possible resolution of the House of
Representatives for a snap election, though they felt frustrated
with Abe's management of his government, including his Diet strategy
and appointments of cabinet ministers.

The large number of secretaries general said that there was no need
for an early dissolution of the Lower House for a general election.
Many insisted that the Lower House should not be dissolved as long
as the LDP was facing an adverse wind. For example, Chiba Chapter
Secretary General Hideo Honsei said: "We wouldn't win if a Lower

SIPDIS
House election were carried out now." Yoshizo Yoneda of the Ishikawa
prefectural chapter said: "The prediction is that we will lose, so
an election should not be conducted."

Hideaki Takuchi of the Kanagawa chapter took this view:

"Among those voted for Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) in
Sunday's election, there were voters who had trusted the LDP, which
has long held the reins of government. If the LDP loses another
election, our support base will crumble."

They also expect the government and the LDP will turn up the heat on
the DPJ. Tadashi Seko of the Shiga chapter responded: "As the time
passes, various contradictions will come out in the DPJ's policy."
Katsunari Nishioka of Kumamoto said: "The DPJ's pledges have a low
feasibility factor. So we should wait for Diet debate."

The Nagano and Tottori chapters responded that the Lower House
should be dissolved at an early time. Jiichiro of Nagano predicted
the political situation would become sever, saying: "The Lower House
would be dissolved until next summer at the latest. The DPJ would
such tactics as preventing bills from passing the Diet and
submitting no-confidence motions at the Upper House." Tottori's

TOKYO 00003539 002 OF 007


Hideaki Yamane replied: "In order for the LDP to win, a general
election should be held after the typhoon passes. However, for the
sake of the people, the election may have to be carried out even we
are in the middle of a typhoon."

Provincial areas do not feel economic growth

A total of 39 prefectural chapters approved of Abe's economic growth
policy.

Hokkaido's Kimiatsu Maruiwa, however, said: "There are gaps in the
economy between the urban and regional cities," although he approved
of the prime minister's economic policy. Koyama Yasuo of Okayama
pointed out: "As the law of the jungle prevails in the LDP, the
regional chapters will not function unless a significant revision is
implemented."

Yoichi Suzuki of Akita did not make his position clear, but he said:
"Akita residents do not feel economic recovery. I want the
government to address economic policy." Isao Nakamura of Miyagi
chapter stressed: "The policy direction is right, but this time
around we were unable to put up with pains from reforms."

Asked about their views on Abe's remarks that many people understood
his basic policy, 29 secretaries general said that they agreed,
while 13 said they disagreed and five said they could not answer.

The focus was on the selection of a successor to Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa, who has announced his intention to step down. When
asked about who would be the appropriate person for the secretary
general's post, seven chose Foreign Minister Taro Aso. Akira Fukai
of Saitama said: "Aso is an internationalist since he was defeated
in an election." Shigeo Usui of Yamanashi said: "His way of speaking
is attractive."

Asked who would be most suitable person as next secretary general:
seven said Taro Aso; three, Toshihiro Nikai; two, Makoto Koga; one,
Shigeru Ishiba; one, Tadamori Oshima; one, Nobuyuki Hanashi; and 32
said they could not answer or they did not know.

(6) Calls growing for giving priority to protecting dugongs in
waters off Henoko over assessment

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 26) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2007

In preparation for constructing a new air station to replace the
Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, an undersea environmental impact
assessment is now underway in waters off Henoko, Nago City, Okinawa
Prefecture. Conservation groups are increasingly concerned that the
environment assessment itself could threaten the survival of the
dugongs.

The dugong is a large marine mammal and is one of four extant
members of the order Sirenia. Their span of life is about 70 years.
Dugongs inhabit coral reefs in tropical or subtropical shallow
waters in such regions as East Asia, the South Pacific, and
Australia. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), about
100,000 dugongs exist in the world. Of them, 80,000 are in waters
off Australia. In Japan, a small number of dugongs inhabit waters
off the eastern coastal area of Okinawa, including the Henoko
District. WWF Japan Director Shinichi Hanawa said: "Many people have

TOKYO 00003539 003 OF 007


seen dugongs in the Bay of Oura, where the US and Japanese
governments want to build a new base. The bay is said to be home to
dozens of dugongs." The dugong is heavily dependent on seagrasses
for subsistence. Various kinds of seagrasses grow in the shallow
waters in front of Camp Schwab.

Hanawa added: "It is feared that reclamation work could ruin the
critical seaweed bed. I am worried about the possible negative
impact of the ongoing assessment. Unless some measures are taken,
the dugong might become extinct."

In the ongoing assessment, passive sonar, underwater video cameras,
and other equipment to check the state of coral reportedly have been
installed at more than 100 spots on the sea bottom. Hanawa said:
"Dugongs are a wild animal, so it is conceivable that they leave
habitat in reaction to lights or the presence of equipment
unfamiliar to them. Before the environment is properly assessed,
their habitat is being ruined. Such cannot be called scientific
research."

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) urged the US and Japanese governments twice in the
past to prepare measures to protect the dugong.

The WWF has worked on the IUCN to issue its third warning to Japan
and the US, prior to the IUCN-sponsored conference in Spain in
2008.

Former Teikyo Kagaku University Professor Toshio Kasuya said:

"Assessment itself could threaten dugongs depending on its methods.
It is necessary to urgently take measures to protect it, rather than
continuing the assessment. The reclamation work must be stopped, and
the environment must be protected. Japan is conducting environment
impact assessment without setting any goals or standards to stop
development or construction. If some measures (to protect the
dugong) are not worked out now, It will become too late."

(7) Prime Minister Abe must not back down

SANKEI (Page 13) (Full)
August 1, 2007

Hisahiko Okazaki, former ambassador to Thailand

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's rout in the recent election
for the House of Councillors made me feel uneasy about the future of
politics in Japan. However, I felt relieved now that Prime Minister
Abe has made up his mind to stay on.

A man like Shinzo Abe is a wonder. When it comes to something very
important, he makes a decision of his own. Also, he is a person of
steadfast convictions.

Prime Minister Abe has done so about the abduction issue since he
was young. He has been firm in his convictions since the days when
anyone who was outspoken would be called a reactionary rightist. On
the recent comfort women issue, Prime Minister Abe stated: "The 20th
century was an era when human rights were violated. Japan also had
something to do with it." As seen from this statement, he has
consistently kept his words touching the heartstrings of opinion
leaders around the world in their view of the 20th century.

TOKYO 00003539 004 OF 007

This time as well, Prime Minister Abe, as far as I know, probably
did not consult with anyone. He made his own decision that he
believes is right. No matter how much noise or criticism he may
encounter, he is the last to be shaken, holding fast to his
judgment.

In the first place, I wonder what the election held this time was.
Although I am out of their domain, I have always been feeling that
the post-Cold War elections in Japan were a far cry from policy
debates or ideology-oriented elections. In my view, those were
image-oriented races. Such images are blown off and swing like the
pendulum.

Otherwise, there is no way to explain the LDP's overwhelming victory
in the earlier election for the House of Representatives. Given the
swing of the pendulum, it was the LDP's turn to lose in the election
this time after that overwhelming victory.

When considering Prime Minister Abe's administration and its
achievements in the area of policies up to the election this time,
he has been flawless in my area of foreign affairs and security.
Actually, nothing was regarded as a problem in this area during the
election campaign.

Prime Minister Abe, shortly after taking office, visited China and
South Korea. Thereafter, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao came to Japan.
Prime Minister Abe held summit talks with Wen. In addition, the
prime minister also met with US President Bush. In the following
summit talks of Group of Eight (G-8) leaders, he spoke for Japan and
its stance over environmental issues. He did so well that the
opposition parties and the press could not find fault with him.

They say one of the issues at home is the pension problem. When it
comes to the pensions fiasco, however, the onus should be laid on
both Prime Minister Abe's predecessors and labor unions. Meanwhile,
the government has increased the burden of taxes and old-age medical
expenses. This, however, is a legacy from the Koizumi cabinet. It
was an inevitable inheritance for Prime Minister Abe and his
administration. He is not to blame for it. However, he became an
object of public dissatisfaction. The public image of Prime Minister
Abe swung back like the pendulum. This considerably affected the
election.


In my intuition, however, there seems to be another reason. Kumiko
Obino, in her recent writing for a newspaper, hit the nail on the
head, noting that it might be a struggle between the LDP's new self
and its old self (i.e., Ichiro Ozawa, president of the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan or Minshuto).

The LDP-led government has now upgraded the Defense Agency to full
ministry status. In addition, the government has also amended the
Basic Education Law and created the National Referendum Law for
constitutional revision. In the past, the LDP simply laid aside
these issues for vague reasons, fearing as if to say it is going too
far to do so. Undoubtedly, people with the LDP's old nature felt
that something was wrong. However, they cannot rebut that, because
the LDP is doing right under Prime Minister Abe. They were probably
dissatisfied with that.

Prime Minister Abe would not avoid confronting the major newspapers.

TOKYO 00003539 005 OF 007


Among his predecessors, no one but Prime Minister Eisaku Sato would
try to face off with the big media. At one time, Prime Minister Sato
vented his pent-up anger when he met the press after making up his
mind to retire.

Prime Minister Abe has broken away from the way the LDP used to be.
It can be easily imagined that his political approach or governing
style angered the LDP's old-natured people who think much of
logrolling politics.

Given that this analysis is right, Prime Minister Abe must not back
down. In its former self, the LDP remains the same as the
now-defunct Japan Socialist Party. In the LDP, there are many people
who want to restore the party's old self to live in peace. If the
prime minister backs down, they will regain momentum. If he holds
out, they will turn into has-beens in time.

It is easy to imagine that the political situation will be
difficult. However, Prime Minister Abe has only to carry out his
original intention. Among those elected this time from the
Democratic Party of Japan as well, I think that there are many
people who are repulsed by the nature of the LDP's old self or the
JSP.

The election this time might be a chance for generational change. If
so, this can be a case of good coming out of evil. Prime Minister
Abe should hold fast to his convictions and can become a supraparty
rising star for those who will shoulder a new Japan.


During the election campaign, Prime Minister Abe was criticism-free
in the area of foreign and security policies. Fortunately or
unfortunately, the Constitution did not become a point at issue,
either. Japan should make its alliance with the United States
adamantine, including the right of collective self-defense. By doing
so, Prime Minister Abe should face up squarely to pending issues in
order for Japan to secure its people for decades, and I hope the
prime minister will pursue his initial goal.

(8) Editorial: Lessons of Riken shock

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 24, 2007

The Chuetsu earthquake in Niigata Prefecture has caused confusion to
domestic automakers as well, because the production of piston rings,
key parts of car engines, at the Kashiwazaki plant of Riken Corp., a
leading part maker, stopped. Various automakers have sent backup
personnel to help the company's desperate efforts to recover from
the damage. The incident has also called companies' crisis
management ability into question in terms of their readiness for a
possible earthquake and capability to constrain quake damage to a
minimum.

Toyota Motor, the largest automaker, depends on Riken for a
considerable portion of its piston ring procurement. The company
decided to stop operations at all of its domestic plants starting on
the afternoon of July 19, as it ran out of stock. Now that Riken
resumed parts shipment on July 23 with its recovery efforts coming
to fruition, Toyota will also resume almost full operations on July
24.


TOKYO 00003539 006 OF 007


A worst-case scenario of long-term continuation of the production
suspension will likely be avoided. Even so, the production
curtailment suffered by Toyota alone is estimated to reach 55,000
units. The curtailed output suffered by all carmakers due to the
quake will likely reach 100,000 units, exceeding similar damage
incurred in the Hanshin earthquake.

Behind such a widespread impact of the quake are Riken's high
technical capabilities. Riken, which has its own high precision
processing technology, has jointly developed products with various
automakers. Automakers make it a principle to procure parts from
several suppliers just in case. However, regarding piston rings,
they often placed orders with Riken alone out of consideration to
the company's status as their development partner. Automakers are
now facing a serious challenge of how to maintain a balance between
securing stable supplies and strengthening R&D.

The Riken shock is not someone else's problem for other industries.
The chip plant of Sanyo Electric Co. was hit by the 2004 Chuetsu
earthquake. As they experienced in the Chuetsu earthquake this time,
once a disaster occurs, manufacturing companies could suffer a
direct impact if their business partners are struck, even if their
plants suffer no damage.

Risk factors are not limited to within the country. Procurements of
parts from foreign countries, such as China, have recently
increased. It is imperative for companies to take countermeasures,
hypothesizing cases in which their business partners are struck by
such natural disasters as earthquakes floods, or by geopolitical
risks, including terrorist attacks, in realizing disaster-resistant
business management.

(Corrected copy) US concerned about DPJ's opposition to
antiterrorism law's extension; US envoy wishes to try to persuade
Ozawa

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
August 2, 2007

Takashi Arimoto, Washington

The US government is increasingly concerned over the question of
extending Japan's Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, slated to
expire in November. White House spokesman Tony Snow in a press
conference on July 31 made the following comment regarding
Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa's announcement to
oppose the law's extension: "We will not interfere in Japan's
political affairs. We consider Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an
important and valuable ally of the United States." Snow indirectly
indicated that the United States would support the Abe
administration and expressed hopes for continued assistance from
Japan.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer revealed a plan
in an interview with the Financial Times August 1 edition that he
would hold talks with Ozawa at an early date to try to persuade him
not to oppose the law's extension.

The antiterrorism law has been the legal basis for the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's mission of refueling vessels of the United
States and other countries that are engaged in the mop-up operation
in the Indian Ocean against the Islamic militant group Taliban in

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Afghanistan. The law will expire on November 1. Against a backdrop
of the Taliban's increased activities and the murky situation in
Afghanistan, the US government is concerned that Japan might
discontinue its activities in the Indian Ocean.

In the interview, Schieffer while indicating that he has not met
Ozawa since arriving at post in April 2005, expressed his eagerness
to meet with the DPJ head to convince him, saying that opposing the
law's extension will not serve Japan's interests in the wake of the
ruling bloc's failure to garner a majority in the House of
Councillors in the July 29 poll.

The ambassador also said: "Japan is a responsible member of the
international community. If Japan decided not to make contributions,
that would be truly regrettable."

Michael Auslin of the AEI, a US think tank, indicated in an
interview with the Sankei Shimbun on July 31 that Tokyo's failure to
extend the law would spell trouble for Japan-US relations. He also
indicated that the key is held in the prime minister's explanation
to the people, saying: "It would be an opportunity for Prime
Minister Abe to explain to the people about why Japan has to support
the Untied States to counter terrorism."

In the meantime, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted
on July 31 a resolution expressing appreciation for Japan's
contributions to the war on terror and other matters. As examples,
the MSDF's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean and the Air
Self-Defense Force's airlift operations in Iraq are cited.

SCHIEFFER

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