Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/16/07

DE RUEHKO #3777/01 2280458
P 160458Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



Abe diplomacy:
1) Prime Minister Abe travels to India Aug. 21, to pledge 40 billion
yen in assistance

2) Japan's search for role in Middle East peace process: FM Aso
meets Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian leaders, plays up "arc of
peace and prosperity" initiative

3) Defense Minister Koike to visit Pakistan and India, Aug. 21-25

4) Koike-Moriya feud over next defense vice minister continues,
further damaging image of Prime Minister Abe's dwindling leadership

Yasukuni Shrine issue:
5) Abe's ambiguity on Yasukuni Shrine visits scoring diplomatic
points but angers conservative forces
6) Minister for Okinawan Affairs Takaichi said she visited Yasukuni
Shrine on Aug. 15 as a private citizen not as a cabinet minister
7) Families of war dead would like to find way to bring back visits
to Yasukuni Shrine even if that means removing the 14 Class A war
criminals enshrined there

8) Abe to continue the system of prime ministerial advisors, even
adding specialist on pensions

9) Despite a signing of a GSOMIA between US, Japan, a number of
hurdles to defense secrets protection yet to be overcome


1) Yen loans worth 40 billion yen to be extended to India: Prime
minister to reach agreement during his visit to the nation starting
on Aug. 21; Construction projects for water supply, power
transmission systems

YOMIURI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
August 16, 2007

The outline of a set of assistance measures intended to strengthen
bilateral ties with India was revealed yesterday. The governments of
Japan and India are expected to reach agreement on the package when
Prime Minister Abe visits India starting on Aug. 21. The package
contains approximately 40 projects covering six fields, including a
new exchange project, economic assistance and cooperation in the
environmental area. The package will be provided in fiscal 2007
based on a stance that strengthening ties with India important for
Japan's security policy, with an eye on China's moves in the region,
and the development of the Japanese economy itself. The Japanese
government with this package will actively support India's plan to
build industrial infrastructure, linking Delhi in northern India and
Mumbai in the western part. The two governments will also release a
joint statement of cooperation on measures to address climate

Forty cultural and academic exchange programs

During his stay in India Aug. 21-23, the prime minister will have a
summit meeting with Prime Minister Singh. He also will take part in
cultural exchange events.

TOKYO 00003777 002 OF 008

The governments of Japan and India have characterized 2007 as a year
of Japan-India exchanges. Six areas of bilateral relations will be
strengthened by Abe's visit: (1) culture, performance art; (2)
academic, personnel exchanges; (3) tourism; (4) economy and
industry; (5) environment and energy; and (6) economic cooperation.

As economic and industrial cooperation, Japan support a main artery
plan to build industrial infrastructure, including the construction
of roads and port and harbor facilities, in a corridor approximately
1,400 kilometers long between Delhi and Mumbai. Japan hopes that the
consolidation of infrastructure will make it easier for Japanese
companies to make inroads into India. To this end, the government
will extend yen loans totaling approximately 39.6 billion yen to
finance two projects: a power transmission and transformation
network consolidation program planned for Maharashtra and water
supply service and sewer system construction program to be
implemented in Goa in western India.

Major projects aimed at strengthening ties between Japan and India,
which Prime Minister Abe plans to announce

(Culture, performing art) - Comic storytelling called "rakugo"
performance in New Delhi

(Academic, personnel exchanges) - Roundtable conference between
Japanese and Indian university presidents

(Tourism) - Increase the number of tourists coming and going between
the two countries to 300,000 from the present number by 2010 and to
500, 000 by 2015.

(Economy and industry) - Promote the Delhi-Mumbai main industrial
artery development program, including the building of roads and port
and harbor facilities

(Economic cooperation) - Yen loans worth approximately 39.6 billion
yen for two domestic infrastructure building programs, including
water supply service and sewer system construction

2) Japan groping for expanded involvement in Middle East diplomacy

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 16, 2007

Foreign Minister Aso, currently visiting the Middle East, held a
four-party cabinet-level meeting with representatives from Israel,
the Palestinian autonomous region, and Jordan. The meeting was held
in Jericho in the Palestinian autonomous region on the West Bank of
Jordan on the afternoon of Aug. 15, local time. In the meeting, Aso
obtained their agreement for the Japan-proposed initiative, "Concept
for Creating the Corridor for Peace and Prosperity." Japan is eager
to play a certain role to help promote confidence building between
Israel and the Palestinians, but there is still a long way to go
before such an initiative can be realized.

Foreign Minister Aso told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when
they met on Aug. 14: "We will take an approach to this issue not
from the military or political area but on the economic front." The
concept is designed for Japan, which aims to expand its involvement
in the Middle East in a different form from the US and Europe, to
provide economic support to help promote the peace process in the

TOKYO 00003777 003 OF 008

region, utilizing its experience of postwar reconstruction.

Whether the concept is put into action or not depends on moves by
the Israeli government. That government outwardly welcomes the
concept, as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "It is necessary to
give hope to Palestinian moderates in the economic area." But Livni
said in a joint press conference with Aso on Aug. 14: "Political
outlooks (such as the establishment of a Palestinian state) should
be discussed at bilateral talks between Israel and the
Palestinians." Against Japan's desire to expand its involvement in
the Middle East peace process, the Israeli foreign minister defines
Japan's concept not as the "main plot" but as the "sub-plot."

No prospects are in sight for progress in peace negotiations. Prime
Minister Olmert, who failed to deal properly with the Lebanon issue,
has seen his support rate at a low level and his political standing
weakening. On the Palestinian side, as well, its territories are
divided into two, with the West Bank of Jordan under the control of
Chairman Abbas and the Gaza Strip effectively controlled by Hamas,
an Islamic radical group. Japan's concept calls for the construction
of an agro-industrial park in the West Bank. But even if such a park
is constructed, people might not be able to go to work there even if
they wish, because the Israeli military bans the Palestinians in the
autonomous territories from freely moving to other places for
security reasons. The Israeli media pay attention to the proposed
resumption of aid to the Palestinian Authority government as the
star item of Foreign Minister Aso's visit, hardly focusing on the
corridor concept.

The Palestinian side also highly evaluated in the four-way talks
highly expressed expectation that the Japanese concept would lead to
its economic development.

3) Defense Minister Koike to visit Pakistan, India

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 16, 2007

The Defense Ministry announced yesterday that Minister Koike would
leave on Aug. 21 for Pakistan and India. She will be the first
Japanese defense minister to visit Pakistan. She is expected to
return home on the 25th.

Koike is expected to meet with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
and Prime Minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal and tell them the Japanese
government will do its best to extend the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law in the extraordinary Diets session in the fall.

In India, she plans to meet with Defense Minister A.K Anthony and
other leaders to discuss the promotion of defense exchanges.

4) Discord between Kantei, defense minister over appointment of vice
minister: Prime minister takes wait-and-see attitude, showing
further decline in his leadership

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 16, 2007

Defense Minister Yuriko Koike hoped to obtain approval for the
replacement of Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya at a cabinet
meeting yesterday. But it was decided instead that a new vice
minister would not be selected until after the cabinet reshuffle on

TOKYO 00003777 004 OF 008

Aug. 27. Discord between the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) and the defense minister over which side will take the
political lead has worsened. Prime Minister Abe's wait-and-see
attitude has increasingly underscored his lack of leadership.

During a press conference after the cabinet meeting yesterday, Koike
strong rebutted Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki for his
criticism of her for her attempted personnel action: "I have done
nothing wrong in terms of procedure."

The procedure, as mentioned by Shiozaki, means personnel changes
must be reviewed by a council consisting of four Kantei officials:
the chief cabinet secretary and three deputy cabinet secretaries.
Appointments of personnel ranking above bureau directors general of
all ministries and agencies require prior screening by that council.
Koike reportedly failed to fully set the groundwork with Shiozaki
and others, being in a rush to replace the vice minister before the
cabinet shuffle.

The personnel review council was launched during the Hashimoto
cabinet. Shiozaki during a press conference on Aug. 15 deliberately
explained the meaning of the council, "It is a new democratic device
introduced to give the cabinet, Kantei and politicians the lead in
personnel appointments." He then made a sarcastic comment, "I
believe Defense Minister Koike should be aware of that."

Koike takes pride in politically-guided personnel appointments and
said, "It is the role of the defense minister to clarify the will of
the Defense Ministry, which has jurisdiction over the Self-Defense
Forces." Some cabinet ministers supported this stance of Koike, with
Finance Minister Omi yesterday noting, "I would like the responsible
person (cabinet minister) to appoint the vice minister, based on

However, regarding teamwork with the Kantei, Koike said, "I always
give an overall report to the prime minister." It appears certain
that the cause of the hurly-burly this time is that she has
undergone coordination of the issue, bypassing Shiozaki.

Facing a situation like this, Prime Minister Abe yesterday simply
noted, "Defense Minister Koike is naturally responsible for her
ministry." He did not even give an indication he would intervene in
the issue.

Some LDP lawmakers harshly criticized the prime minister for a
series of commotions, with former Secretary General Koichi Kato
saying, "This is too much to tolerate. This is another typical
example of another blunder by the prime minister in his personnel

5) Prime Minister Abe continues ambiguous strategy; forgoes visit to
Yasukuni Shrine, angering conservative forces

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 16, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered flowers at the Chidorigafuchi
National Cemetery and attended a national memorial service for the
war dead the government hosted yesterday on the 62nd anniversary of
the end of World War II. But he forwent a visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
Sanae Takaichi was the only Abe cabinet minister to pay homage at
the Shinto shrine, the lowest number of cabinet ministers visiting

TOKYO 00003777 005 OF 008

the shrine in two decades. Abe's stance of refraining from visiting
Yasukuni appears to be delicately affecting a number of areas.

The prime minister's "ambiguous strategy" of forgoing shrine visits
has been successful in repairing relations with China, which had
deteriorated under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. A government
source said: "If the prime minister had visited Yasukuni, he
wouldn't be able to visit China this fall." Political observers view
that Abe's decision to forgo a visit to Yasukuni will great
contribution to Japan's diplomacy.

However, conservative supporters of Abe have begun expressing their
displeasure with his stance of continuing his self-constraint. A
group of 73 such conservatives with close ties to Abe, including
Kyoto University Prof. Terumasa Nakanishi, sent a letter on Aug. 13
calling on the prime minister to visit Yasukuni on the 15th.
Lawmaker Yoshinobu Shimamura, who heads the group, criticized Abe,
saying: "He doesn't seem to be himself. He should have visited the

6) State Minister Takaichi visits Yasukuni Shrine, stressing that
the visit was made in a private capacity

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
Augusts 16, 2007

Of 16 ministers of the Abe cabinet, only State Minister in Charge of
Okinawa and Northern Territories visited Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15,
which marked the day commemorating the end of WWII.

After visiting the shrine, Takaichi told reporters, "I thanked those
who dedicated their invaluable lives to the state and prayed for a
peaceful rest for the souls." To a question whether she made the
visit in a private or official capacity, she stressed that she
visited the shrine in a private capacity, noting, "I visited there
as an individual Japanese."

Commenting on Takaichi's Yasukuni visit, Prime Minister Abe, who
refrained from visiting the shrine, noted, "Ms. Takaichi visited the
shrine, based on her own judgment. Cabinet ministers are free to
visit the shrine."

7) Families of war dead picking up speed of debate on enabling
emperor to visit Yasukuni Shrine even by removing enshrined souls of
Class-A war criminals

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
August 16, 2007

Whether (the prime minister) would visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15
becomes a controversial issue every year. As measures to avoid such
a situation, some are calling for removing the enshrined souls of
Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni Shrine, a proposal made in May
of last year by former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary general
Makoto Koga, chairman of the Japan War-Bereaved Association.
Yasukuni Shrine has rejected this suggestion, but Koga insists that
it should be done to make it possible for the emperor to be able to
pay tribute to the war dead without feeling uncomfortable. There has
been no imperial visit to the shrine either by the Emperor Showa and
the current emperor for the past 32 years. An association managing
director expressed a sense of alarm about the current situation,
saying: "Our members are getting older. We must do something before

TOKYO 00003777 006 OF 008

they lose their voice."

A study group - composed of 14 leading association members to
discuss the idea of removing Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni -
held its first meeting this May. Many members believe that since the
souls of Class-A war criminals are enshrined there, it is impossible
for the emperor to visit the shrine. But some leading association
members, including Vice Chairman Hidehisa Otsuji, remained cautious
before the July Upper House election about holding a full-scale
discussion on the matter, as one member said: "The association might
split over the issue."

Otsuji won a fourth term in the proportional representation segment
of the Upper House election in July. It is now definite that he will
be appointed to chair the LDP Upper House Caucus. A leading
association member in favor of separate enshrinement said: "(With
the election of Otsuji,) discussion on the matter will be put on
track at last."

Although discussion will start in September, a majority of the 14
members have already expressed support for the separate-enshrinement

The association's predecessor, the Japan War-Bereaved Welfare
Association, was established in 1947. It was an overwhelmingly huge
organization, called an association of 8 million bereaved families.
The group continued to field its candidates on the LDP ticket in the
proportional representation portion, and the candidates were all

These Upper House members requested increasing survivors' pension
benefits, placing Yasukuni Shrine under state protection in the
1960s, and allowing the prime minister's annual visit to the shrine
in the mid-1970s, working together with Yasukuni Shrine.

Regarding the separate-enshrinement idea, the association noted in
its special committee report issued in commemoration of the 60th
anniversary of the end of the war: "A judgment should be made by
Yasukuni Shrine," but the atmosphere in it has changed since
notebooks and memos showing the Emperor Showa's displeasure at the
enshrinement of the souls of Class-A war criminals at Yasukuni were
found in succession last summer.

The wives of fallen soldiers are their late 80s. The number of
members has also decreased to less than one million. Another
managing director said: "I had never thought of removing Class-A war
criminals from the shrine. But now I am uncertain. We must discuss
the matter for a year or two, if we do. If we do nothing, the
situation will never change."

8) Posts of special advisors to the prime minister to be kept, but
post of special advisor on national security to be abolished, while
special advisor on pension issue to be created

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 16, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided yesterday to keep intact the
special prime ministerial advisor system, which has been criticized
for not functioning well, even after the cabinet is reshuffled he
plans on the 27th. He has also started looking for a possibility of
establishing the post of special advisor on the pension issue. The

TOKYO 00003777 007 OF 008

expectation is that the post of special advisor on national
security, which has been vacant since Yuriko Koike was appointed as
defense minister, will be scrapped. Abe thinks that this advisory
post has concluded its role.

Under the present Cabinet Law, the prime minister is allowed to set
up five or less special advisor posts. Last September when Abe
launched his government, he created five such posts: national
security; economic and fiscal policy; the abduction issue;
education; and public relations.

The prime minister intends to strengthen efforts to deal with the
missing pension premiums fiasco, by creating a special advisor post
on the pension issue, which would play a "bridging" role between
relevant ministries and agencies.

The special advisor on national security was set up in order to
study the establishment of a Japanese version of the US' National
Security Council (NSC). The post, however will be abolished Abe
shuffles his cabinet, since the government has already submitted to
the previous regular Diet session a bill to establish a national
security council.

There are objections in the ruling camp that role-sharing between
the special advisors and cabinet ministers is not clear and that
nobody knows what they are doing. Some lawmakers are unhappy with
the fact that Abe picked lawmakers who have close ties with him as
special advisors. In consideration also of those who are critical of
him, Abe plans to select a new set of advisors.

9) GSOMIA with US: Still legislative hurdle to clear; penalties

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged)
August 16, 2007

The Japanese and United States governments have signed a General
Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in order to
prevent the leakage of defense secrets, setting up a unified
standard for the protection of classified information. With the
signing of the agreement, it would seem that sharing of intelligence
between the two governments can now move forward. However, there are
many hurdles yet to overcome, including the passage of legislation
to protect secrets.

The US has signed GSOMIAs with over 60 countries, centering on NATO
countries, such as Britain and France. Although the US had wanted to
sign a similar pact with Japan, the Japanese government was cautious
due to deep-seated public opposition toward passing stronger
legislation to protect secrets.

However, the mood for signing such a pact improved with the
strengthening of relations between the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and
the US armed forces through the passage of the regional contingency
law that allowed cooperation between Japan and the US during an
emergency in Northeast Asia.

Despite that, the stiffening of penalties for leaking secrets, which
the US has insisted on, is being delayed, and the GSOMIA has started
under the current legal framework (SDF Law, National Civil Servants
Law, etc.). Under existing laws, the penalties are inconsistent,
ranging from one year to ten years, depending on the law. An

TOKYO 00003777 008 OF 008

advisory panel in February, in pointing this out, called for
legislation to protect secrets. The US' legislation to protect
secrets is broad in scope and includes civilians. The penalties are

much stiffer than Japan's.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

Unsplash/ElevenPhotographs The US Capitol building in Washington D.C. A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>