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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/23/07

DE RUEHKO #3914/01 2350837
P 230837Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) Spotlight on anti-terror law deliberations: Half of all fuel
supplied by MSDF in Indian Ocean goes to US ships

(2) Japan, India to work together in a broad range of areas, but
gaps exist in expectations -- India in pursuit of actual benefits

(3) Japanese, Indian business leaders urge leaders to sign EPA

(4) US calls for investment in Pacific islands

(5) How Prime Minister Abe will treat key persons -- Fukuda and
Tanigaki in cabinet reshuffle? Is silence golden for key persons?

(6) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (2):
DPJ strategy

(7) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (3):
Prime minister after Abe

(8) "Borderline" ties the hand of SDF


(1) Spotlight on anti-terror law deliberations: Half of all fuel
supplied by MSDF in Indian Ocean goes to US ships

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
Eve., August 23, 2007

In connection with the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF)
non-reimbursable oil-refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, where
MSDF ships are deployed, it has been learned from a Defense Ministry
document that over nearly six years, oil was supplied to a total of
11 countries participating (in mop-up anti-terrorist operations),
and that nearly 350 times or half of the refueling went to US
warships. The Anti-Terrorist Special Measures Law will expire Nov.
1, and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) has taken a
stance opposing an extension of that law. While the government and
the US are stressing that the anti-terrorist war has "international
breadth," the question of how to evaluate the weight given to
assisting the US will be one focus of attention in the deliberations
on the anti-terror bill in the extraordinary session of the Diet
this fall.

The document is a paper titled, "State of SDF activities and
accomplishments." It seems to have been prepared for use mainly to
brief opposition party lawmakers, based on the opposition camp
occupying a majority of seats now in the Upper House.

The purpose of the multinational force's "blockade activities at
sea" is to block terrorist movements at sea and stop oceanic
transport of weapons and drugs to Afghanistan. According to the
document, the MSDF since December 2001, not long after the terrorist
attacks on America, until this July 26, has supplied fuel to
warships of 11 countries for a total of 769 times, with oil totaling
approximately 480,000 kiloliters (valued at approximately 21.9
billion yen). Of this, US ships were supplied 350 times, much more
than Pakistan, which was supplied 135 times. France came in third
with 94 times.

TOKYO 00003914 002 OF 013

However, the number of times for refueling and the volume of oil
supplied have been dropping every year. The peak was 175,000
kiloliters in 2002, but the fuel supplied yo the ships dropped to
48,000 kiloliters in 2006. Since the special measures law was
extended last Nov., refueling of Pakistani warships occurred 30
times, greater than the US (16 times) and France (17 times).

The document refers also to blockade activities at sea. There were
over 11,000 incidents of boarding inspections; over 140,000 wireless
inquiries. Stating that the number of suspicious vessels had
dropped, the report revealed that the number of wireless inquiries
had dropped from 41,000 in 2004 to 9,000 in 2006.

(2) Japan, India to work together in a broad range of areas, but
gaps exist in expectations -- India in pursuit of actual benefits

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
August 23, 2007

Tsuyoshi Yamada, Yushi Kihara, New Delhi


In a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that the two countries would cooperate
in a broad range of areas, including global warming and security
affairs. Japan aims to strengthen relations with India, which is
rapidly increasing its presence. To this end, Japan has prepared a
number of "economic assistance" cards toward India. India, however,
is cool-headedly assessing the actual benefits it might obtain from
cooperation with Japan, while being positive about improving
relations with China and Russia as well.

"It's a good example that Japan and India as members of the
international community will work together to combat climate
change," Abe stressed at a press briefing after the summit talks
with Singh yesterday. Abe also indicated his willingness to offer
technical assistance to India to improve energy efficiency.

The two leaders displayed their intention to work together to create
a post-Kyoto Protocol framework, but when it came to specifics, the
gaps in their views were conspicuous. Abe underscored in the talks:
"I think it is necessary for India to be committed in some way or
the other to a new framework." In response, Singh said, "I'll give
serious consideration to the long-term goals," but at a press
conference, Singh highlighted the need to strike a balance between
the environmental issue and economic growth. Given that the
environmental dispute between industrialized and developing
countries is likely to surface again once full-fledged international
talks on climate change begin this fall, whether the two countries
can work together in actuality is an open question.

Eyeing security, Abe is attaching importance to India apparently
with the aim of forestalling China, which is expanding its military
strength. During the summit talks, Abe and Singh agreed to
strengthen defense cooperation and discussed how to expand
information exchange at the working level on joint military
exercises and terrorism.

While Japan is pursuing cooperation in a broad range of areas to
include the environment and security, India is pursuing practical
benefits like improvement of infrastructure, technical assistance to
the industrial sector, investment, and acceptance of work force.

TOKYO 00003914 003 OF 013

India's growth potential is drawing not only Japan's attention but
also other countries' as well. The United States finalized
negotiations on a historic civil nuclear agreement by making big
concessions to India and it is eagerly watching for an opportunity
to access the distribution sector and the financial market in India.
America's list of items for cooperation with India ranges from
military affairs and aerospace to agriculture and is practical.

Russia, which has been traditionally friendly toward India, already
announced it would render cooperation to India regarding the
construction of a nuclear power plant in that country. Russia is
also increasing its presence as a supplier of oil and gas to India.
Although China has a border dispute with India, some 60 Chinese
firms have already advanced into India.

Japan and India were alienated from each other for many years, but
they have now recognized each other as an important partner. But
India has no intention to give special treatment to Japan as Foreign
Minister Mukhergee said that India was pushing ahead with
"unprecedentedly omnidirectional diplomacy" at present.

(3) Japanese, Indian business leaders urge leaders to sign EPA

YOMIURI (Page 11) (Excerpts)
August 23, 2007

An economic mission accompanying Prime Minister Abe on his visit to
India, chaired by Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
Chairman Fujio Mitarai and composed of about 200 business leaders,
held a business leaders forum with Indian businessmen on Aug. 22. In
the forum, the Japanese mission urged the Japanese and Indian
leaders to sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA). The two
leaders issued a joint statement that included the goal of doubling
the value of bilateral trade by 2010. Japan and India have so far
been remotely related on the economic front, but business leaders
expect the bilateral ties will deepen from now.

300 million middle-income earners

Mitarai said in the forum: "Japan and India have been remote in
terms of goods, services, humans, equity, and information."

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, trade
between Japan and India in 2005 totaled 6.7 billion dollars in value
terms. This figure accounts for only 3.5 PERCENT of the value of
trade between Japan and China. The accumulated amount of direct
investment in India up to 2005 was 1.79 billion dollars, equivalent
to only 7.3 PERCENT of investment in China. But the mission was
composed of as many as over 200 businessmen, more than the 180 on
the occasion of the prime minister's visit to the Middle East this
spring. This large number shows that the Japanese business world is
greatly interested in doing business in India.

In India with a population of about 1.1 billion, the ratio of
middle-income earners who earn 90,000 rupees or about 253,000 yen to
all households sharply increased from 9.5 PERCENT in 1995 to 28
PERCENT , or about 3 people, in 2005. The Japanese industrial world
sees India as a potential consumption market.

Meanwhile, India expects more investment from Japan. Minister of
Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath said in the forum: "We want not
only leading companies but also small to medium-sized firms to

TOKYO 00003914 004 OF 013

invest more in India."

The weak economic ties between Japan and India are attributed to
such negative factors in India as delay in economy-related legal
arrangements, non-transparent investment rules, and poor industrial
infrastructure, such as railways and port facilities.

In the forum, Mitsui & Co. Chairman Nobuo Ohashi said: "We hope
India will introduce more convenient rules."

A questionnaire survey by the Japan Bank for International
Cooperation found that Japanese firms see India as the second
potential country for their new businesses, following China. But as
tasks India should address, 50 PERCENT of respondents cited
inadequate industrial infrastructure, such as railways, and 30.9
PERCENT listed nontransparent application of its legal system.

In the Japan-India forum, participants also presented their leaders
with a package of proposals calling for an early conclusion of an
EPA and for easing or abolishing restrictions on foreign capital.

In their joint statement, Prime Minister Abe and his Indian
counterpart Singh pledged to sign an EPA at an early date. An EPA
now under negotiations proposes trade liberalization, such as
lowering tariffs, as well as measures related to direct investment,
such as the construction of plants. If both sign the accord, the
environment for bilateral trade and investment will significantly

In a leaders' statement, both sides confirmed the need for the two
countries to cooperate in promoting an industrial main-artery
concept designed to construct railways, etc., between New Delhi and
Mumbai. The Japanese government has supported this concept. If both
sides decide to implement such initiatives, investment by Japanese
private firms is expected to boost.

On this concept, however, it has been reported that India has asked
Japan to offer a huge amount of financial aid. The two governments'
working groups planned to compile an interim report on plans to give
specifics to the concept, timed with the Japan-India summit. But
since both failed to reach agreement on its scale and funds
procurement, they were not able to come up with a report. It is
likely to take time for Japan and India to build a favorable
environment to strengthen their economic ties.

(4) US calls for investment in Pacific islands

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
Eve., August 22, 2007

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior David Cohen at a press
conference in Tokyo yesterday urged Japanese business investment in
Pacific islands like Guam, where part of the US forces stationed in
Japan will be relocated. The relocation will create demand for new
infrastructure, such as public facilities, since the island
population is likely to increase. A conference to discuss business
opportunities will take place this October in Guam, with concerned
US government officials, senior officials from various countries,
and business leaders attending.

(5) How Prime Minister Abe will treat key persons -- Fukuda and
Tanigaki in cabinet reshuffle? Is silence golden for key persons?

TOKYO 00003914 005 OF 013

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
August 23, 2007

Prior to the reshuffling on Aug. 27 of the cabinet and the lineup of
the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) executives, former Prime Minister
Yoshiro Mori said that former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda,
71, and former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, 62, would become
key persons for party unity. The outlook is that the political trend
will drastically change, depending on how Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
will treat them.

Fukuda may serve in cabinet post, depending on conditions

On July 31, two days after the LDP's devastating setback in the July
29 House of Councillors election, Mori reminded the prime minister,
who called on him at his office:

"The key words to the cabinet reshuffle are assurance and security.
You should ask Fukuda and Tanigaki to assume cabinet posts. It is
meaningful to ask them to serve in cabinet posts even if they
refrain from accepting the request."

This story spread immediately. When asked by a junior lawmaker about
it, Fukuda replied blandly: "Don't you know such a favor will drive
me into a corner?" Although Fukuda was regarded as the strongest
rival to Abe in the LDP presidential election last September, he
announced in July that he would not run due to his age. Although he
has not appeared in the central political stage since the Abe
administration was inaugurated, many LDP members still want to see
him become prime minister due to his consensus building method.
Faction head-level lawmakers, who do not want to see a rapid
generational change, have strong confidence in him. Whenever the Abe
cabinet displays immaturity, a view is always raised that if only
Fukuda were prime minister.

However, Fukuda and Abe are like oil and water. When Fukuda was
serving as chief cabinet secretary and Abe was Fukuda's deputy in
the Koizumi cabinet, the two were seriously at odds over the
government's North Korea policy and other issues. Abe is a grandson
of former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and the second son of former
Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, while Fukuda is the oldest son of
former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda. The fact that both belong to the
Machimura faction has made their relationship complicated. Due to
Fukuda's dovish thinking and a hidden motive of wanting to split the
Machimura faction, there is strong expectation in the Tsushima and
Koga factions that Fukuda would become the next prime minister.

Fukuda has recently criticized the government, saying, "There is the
wrong idea in the Prime Minister's Official Residence that they can
do anything." Regarding Abe's decision to stay in office, he
reportedly quipped: "That's the worst choice."

Although Fukuda often says that it is not that he became a
politician because he likes the job, a person close to him said,
"His interest in national politics has become stronger over the past
year." The dominant view is that if the prime minister asks him to
join his cabinet, he won't turn down the offer depending on the

He appears to be thinking that if he accepts the offer easily, he
will lose his value. Fukuda then told his aide: "Silence is

TOKYO 00003914 006 OF 013


Tanigaki gauging circumstances in the party

Tanigaki stayed at his residence in Tokyo on Aug. 4, cancelling his
planned Mt. Fuji climb, which he did last year.

His aides expected that he finally had made his move, but he carried
out no political activities, but just cleaned his bicycle. He went
overnight cycling to Chichibu on Aug. 11.

A senior member of the Tanigaki faction, which is a den of anti-Abe
forces, said that the LDP's crashing defeat in the Upper House would
be a good chance for the faction to hold the reins of government. In
a meeting on Aug. 7 of the Lower House members, former defense chief
Gen Nakatani, secretary general of the Nakatani faction, urged Abe,
who was also preset the meeting, to step down from office. He made
the calculated remark. The prevailing view in the Tanigaki faction
is that if Tanigaki is offered a cabinet post, he should decline it.
A mid-level lawmaker in the faction said: "If he joined the Abe
government, he would lose the chance to become a LDP presidential
candidate for good."

In a meeting on the night of Aug. 8 at a Japanese restaurant in the
Akasaka district, Tanigaki sought to constrain his followers,
saying, "We should watch calmly the circumstances." Tanigaki, whose
pet word is "bonds" or "ties," believes that jockeying for power
should be avoided. He has, however, openly said: "Before making a
decision to remain in his post, the prime minister should sum up the
defeat in the July Upper House election and show his guidance for
the future." He has continued to try to check Abe. Aides to Tanigaki
are upset about his equivocal behavior. One aide said: "We could not
see early-morning sunlight this year, as well. If Tanigaki accepted
the offer, his faction would break up."

(6) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (2):
DPJ strategy

Tokyo Shimbun (Page 2) (Full)
August 22, 2007

By Shoichi Takayama

Question: The power balance between the ruling and opposition
parties was reversed in the Upper House. Although it has been
nearly a month since the Upper House election, various public
opinion polls have indicated that the approval rating for the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is high and on a par with that of
the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Will the DPJ be able to
maintain that strength?

Answer: Indeed, until now, the DPJ usually lost momentum quickly,
even if it made a leap in the national elections. That is because
the opposition parties never had a majority (in either Diet
chamber). The ruling parties, in the end, continued to take the
lead in the Diet, and voters were disappointed at the powerlessness
of the DPJ. But things are different this time. The opposition
parties have such a great advantage in the Upper House that the LDP
has not room for political maneuvering to cobble together a

A Bitter Experience

TOKYO 00003914 007 OF 013

Q: What will change?

A: The DPJ now holds the initiative in the Upper House. DPJ member
Satsuki Eda was sworn in as Upper House speaker. Since the LDP was
formed in 1955, this is the first time that a lawmaker from a party
other than the LDP has become the Upper House speaker.

Q: What will happen during the extraordinary Diet session in the

A: The situation should be drastically different from before. When
the ruling camp had the initiative, the Upper House simply voted on
the many government-sponsored bills sent over from the Lower House,
where more than 70 percent of time allocated for deliberation was
spent. However, such will no longer be the case.

The opposition camp will now be able to thoroughly probe into the
deficiencies of the bills and the ambiguous replies during
deliberations. The opposition will be able to summon sworn or
unsworn witnesses as they wish. The opposition camp is also
expected to utilize the right of the Diet Houses to conduct
investigations of the government, the exercising of which has been
effectively prevented by the ruling parties, and to look into the
workings of the administration and the way that taxes are used.

The government and the ruling parties, which will be in trouble,
will probably call on the opposition camp to hold negotiations to
revise bills.

Q: Will the DPJ accept negotiations?

A: No, that will not happen. The DPJ had a bitter experience.

At the extraordinary Diet session in 1998, when the opposition
parties had dominance in the Upper House, then DPJ President Naoto
Kan stated that the financial issue "will not be utilized as a step
to seek a change of power." Because the DPJ took a cooperative line
with the ruling camp, the Liberal Party under then party leader
Ichiro Ozawa, gave up on the united front among the opposition
parties and formed a coalition government with the LDP. The DPJ
lost an opportunity to take power.

DPJ lawmakers are feeling strongly that they should never repeat
that mistake. DPJ President Ozawa has said, "We will not be able to
fulfill our responsibility to the people (the popular will) which
was expressed in the election, if we negotiate with the ruling
parties and come up with a policy formulated by simply adding one
plus one and divide it by two."

Numerical Strength

Q: Then, will the Upper House reject government-sponsored bills one
after another?

A: The opposition parties will oppose bills that are symbolic of
the confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties. An
example of this is a bill to extend the anti-terrorism special
measures law, which is required to continue the Indian Ocean
refueling mission by Self-Defense Force ships.

However, the opposition camp will not "oppose everything." They are

TOKYO 00003914 008 OF 013

also expected not to unnecessarily adopt censure resolutions against
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe or cabinet ministers. Because the
opposition parties have criticized politics by the ruling camp as
"oppression backed by numerical strength," there is a possibility
for the opposition parties to antagonize the public, if they take a
rough approach based on the numerical strength.

Q: Then, how are they going to take power?

A: Their scenario is to carry out an offensive at the Diet to drive
the Abe administration to dissolve the Lower House and call a
general election, by which the party can take power at once in that

Q: Will they be able to take power by taking such an ordinary

A: By fully utilizing the of the Diet chambers to conduct
investigations and by summoning witnesses, they will expose problems
of the administration in all kinds of fields, such as the public
pension system, the practice of bureaucrats getting lucrative jobs
after retirement, and the issue of money and politics. They will
also adopt at the Upper House bills that can easily gain
understanding of the people. These bills include a bill to ban the
use of pension premiums for other purposes and a bill to eradicate
the practice of bureaucrats getting lucrative jobs after retirement.
The opposition parties think that there will be increasing public
call for a change of administration, if the ruling parties vote down
these bills at the Lower House. If Prime Minister Abe is driven
into a corner, he will have no other choice but to take a chance and
dissolve the Lower House for a general election. Perhaps, this is
the strategy that Ozawa envisages.

Q: Will it be so easy as that? The Lower House election might be
put on the back burner and Prime Minister Abe might just step down.

A: There is a possibility for these things to happen. Although
that will not be a happy development for the DPJ, which hopes that
"a Lower House election will be held at an early date, so that we
can fight against Prime Minister Abe," there is nothing that the
opposition parties can do about it. There are no reliable steps to
drive the prime minister to an early dissolution.

The Right Path

Q: Will Ozawa engineer the reorganization of the political parties
to bring about a power change?

A: I do not think that he will take that strategy. Under the Lower
House's single-seat constituency system, in which a political party
fields only one candidate in an electoral district, it is difficult
for a large-scale political realignment to take place. First of
all, given the difference in the number of seats held by the ruling
and opposition parties in the Lower House, a change of power is
impossible unless about 100 LDP lawmakers leave the party. The
people are also fed up with repeated realignments of political
parties. A negative opinion about that strategy is prevailing in
the DPJ: "The political realignment is not the right path to take."

Q: Is it possible for a change of power to take place in the next
Lower House election, regardless of when the election will be held
or who will fight that battle?

TOKYO 00003914 009 OF 013

A: The party officials concerned with election affairs are
explaining that "a basic formula (to gain a victory) was established
in the Upper House election." The DPJ should field a fascinating
candidate, build up cooperation with the other opposition parties,
and present policies that can gain public approval as the party did
in single-seat constituency in the Upper House election campaign.
This is the "right path" for the DPJ to take. Ozawa is expected to
tour around provinces again to gain wider support.

(7) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (3):
Prime minister after Abe

Tokyo Shimbun (Page 2) (Full)
August 23, 2007

By Ryuji Watanabe

Question: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers must be nervous
about the shuffling of ministers and party executives coming up on
27 August.

Answer: No, the situation seems different this time. Many LDP
lawmakers are saying that they do not want to board a sinking ship.
After the crushing defeat in the Upper House election, the lawmakers
are more interested in the question of when to hold the next Lower
House election and who should become party leader to fight the
election battle.

First strike to win the battle

Q: The previous Lower House election was held in September 2005.
Lower House lawmakers' term of office will end in September 2009.
So, there are two years remaining until the next general election.

A: The ruling coalition comprising of the LDP and New Komeito lost
their majority in the Upper House. The opposition parties will now
launch an offensive to drive the ruling bloc into dissolving the
Lower House for a snap election. In order to dodge the opposition
camp's offensive and stabilize the administration, the ruling
parties need to again win the majority in the next Lower House
election and prove that voters do not wish a change of government.

Q: If bills sponsored by the government or the ruling parties are
rejected by the Upper House, it will not be possible to enact them
unless the Lower House passes them again by a two-thirds majority.
Currently, the ruling bloc has enough Lower House seats for that,
but it will be difficult for them to maintain those seats after the
next Lower House race. Moreover, the ruling parties may even have
to hand power over to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), depending
on the election result.

A: The ruling camp will be in a fix if they are reluctant about
dissolving the Lower House, out of concern for such a risk. They
could be forced to dissolve the Lower House under disadvantageous
circumstances, if the opposition parties drive them into a corner.
Instead, the better course of action for the ruling parties would be
to launch the first strike in order to win the battle: they should
go ahead and carry out the dissolution at a timing that is
advantageous for them.

Q: I wonder if the LDP will fight the Lower House election battle

TOKYO 00003914 010 OF 013

under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership.

A: The prime minister suffered a fatal blow in the Upper House
race. Thus, he no longer has the political energy to recover his
former cabinet approval rating and be the leader in the battle that
will decide the fate of the LDP. The dominant view is that the LDP
should fight the Lower House battle under a new party president
(prime minister).

Q: At present, there is not a growing call for Prime Minister Abe's

A: Moves to "remove Abe" will become increasingly active later this
year, if the cabinet approval rating remains low even after the
cabinet reshuffle and if the Diet adopts a censure motion against
the prime minister. Even if he tides over the upcoming
extraordinary Diet session, demands for his resignation will grow
strong at once, if he faces such a setback as turmoil in
deliberations during the next ordinary Diet session.


Q: Who are candidates for new LDP president?

A: Foreign Minister Taro Aso is the most likely candidate to be the
next party president. His informal way of talking is gaining high
popularity. When Jiji Press conducted an opinion poll in early
August and asked, "Who is the most suited lawmaker to be the next
LDP president?" Aso was in second place (with 14.9 percent) after
former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (with 17.1 percent). Aso's
popularity was much higher than that of the lawmaker in the third

Q: But Aso's problematic remarks are also cause for concern.

A: There are many lawmakers who were disappointed at his remark
that "even people with Alzheimer's disease can understand this
much." There is also a concern over his tactic of joining hands and
acting as one with the prime minister. Aso is expected to be
assigned to a key post in the cabinet shuffle on 27 August.
However, if more people get the impression that he is in the same
boat with Prime Minister Abe, it will become difficult for him to
clearly express his own character, even when he becomes LDP

Q: Who are his rivals?

A: Former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki and former Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda are being mentioned as rival
candidates. Tanigaki fought against Abe in the LDP presidential
election last fall and has been assuming a critical stance toward
the prime minister since then. He can run in the party presidential
race, advocating a change from the "Abe politics," but his
popularity is not increasing. Although some LDP members are hoping
that Fukuda will become the next party president, support for him is
not growing.

Q: I hear that there is a plan to let former Prime Minister Koizumi
become prime minister again, or make Defense Minister Yuriko Koike
the first female prime minister.

A: Both of them are clearly denying such a possibility, but the LDP

TOKYO 00003914 011 OF 013

is a party that has done whatever it can do to remain in power.
Because Koizumi and Koike are both popular, it cannot be said that
the possibility is zero.

Revitalizing the Party

Q: When will the Lower House be dissolved?

A: It is rumored in the LDP that the dissolution will take place:
1) during the current year if there is turmoil during the
extraordinary Diet session in the fall; 2) in the spring of 2008,
after the passage of the fiscal 2008 budget bill; and 3) after the
Lake Toya summit of the Group of Eight major powers in Hokkaido
(which will be held from 7 to 9 July, 2008).

Q: But when is it most likely?

A: If the dissolution is carried out during the current year, the
LDP will not have enough time to revitalize itself, based on lessons
learned from the Upper House election. This way, the LDP may end up
giving the opposition parties an advantage. It is necessary for the
LDP to secure time to rethink its election strategy, notably
policies for provinces, and reflect these policies on the national
budget. If the LDP will do these things, the dissolution will take
place in or after next spring, when the fiscal 2008 budget bill is

Q: So, it is more likely that the Lower House will be dissolved
under Prime Minister Aso next spring.

A: If we make a prediction at present point, such is likely. In
political circles, however, nobody can tell what may happen next.
Thus, there is a good possibility for a lawmaker other than Aso to
become prime minister. Even so, it will not change the trend of the
time to dissolve the Lower House at an early date under a new party

(8) "Borderline" ties the hand of SDF

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged)
August 23, 2007

By Hiroyuki Noguchi

In Japan's security laws, there is a fictitious "borderline" that
divides "peacetime" from "contingency." It is a product of a
negative response to the military that was established after the
war. The fictitious "borderline" was devised by some government
officials and lawmakers as a "safety device" to prevent the
Self-Defense Forces from taking reckless actions. Contrary to the
original purpose, the "borderline" is now serving as a shackle for
the SDF, heavily restricting its emergency operations.

Suppose a Japanese transportation system was bombed by a North
Korean special unit. The SDF is allowed to use force only in defense
operations, which should follow an armed attack on the country from
outside. Asked for the definition of an armed attack on Japan from
outside, a government official indicated that "it is a calculated
and organized armed attack on the country by a foreign country."
Will a special unit reveal its identity? Given the possibility of
Islamic fundamentalist groups or extremists in the country attacking
Japan, the government might not be able to issue an immediate order

TOKYO 00003914 012 OF 013

to the SDF for defense operations.

Procedures before issuing an order for defense operations contain
some problems as well. The government is allowed to issue an order
for mobilizing the SDF for guarding specific locations following a
terrorist attack. But influential Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers
questioned if SDF troops are allowed to point guns at civilians, and
this has prompted the government to remove such places as the
Imperial Palace, the Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence),
the Diet building, and nuclear power plants from the list of
locations requiring protection, leaving only SDF and US bases on the
list. In other words, the SDF is allowed to guard other facilities
only when police forces and the Japan Coast Guard are unable to do
so. SDF mobilization is often requested by police forces during
their joint drills. Many people mistakenly believe that mobilizing
the SDF in case of emergency is ensured by law, which is common
sense. The nonsensical legislation has been betraying the public.

The betrayal stems form the government's artificial decision that
police forces would take charge during peacetime and the SDF during
contingencies, forging a fictitious idea that the SDF would take
military action only during national contingencies on an extension
of police authority.

Attacks by special commando units and agents may widely vary in
area, frequency, scale, and danger. Peacetime and contingency could
occur randomly. They could even occur at the same time in some

At the same time, the existence of the gray zone, which is nether
peacetime nor contingency, can no longer be explained with the
borderline theory alone.

A contingency on the Korean Peninsula could easily spill over to
Japan. But such a situation in the initial stage would not
constitute a contingency in Japan. The government therefore has come
up with the concept of "contingencies in areas surrounding Japan,"
which fits in between peacetime and contingency in Japan.

The SDF is allowed to refuel US naval vessels in areas distinct from
combat zones during contingencies in areas surrounding Japan. Under
the law, the SDF is also allowed to halt its refueling operation in
the event a US vessel is attacked while receiving fuel. This is
tantamount to legal guarantee for betraying and deserting an ally in
the face of an enemy on the strength of the "borderline."

Rear areas, including the Japanese territories, are particularly
prone to terrorism. It would be highly effective to let a North
Korean special unit make a terrorist attack on Japan during a
contingency on the Korean Peninsula in order to intimidate the
Japanese public with the aim of forcing the SDF to discontinue its
logistical support for the United States. Terrorism is expected in
Japan instead of "areas surrounding Japan." Advanced missile
technology could also turn the rear areas into combat zones in a
second. Even if Japan draws a line, North Korea could easily cross

"The legal basis facing up to reality that can make full use of the
country's defense capability" and the "state decision-making
mechanism" that are essential for defending sovereignty are now
dysfunctional, given those abstract expressions and the fictitious
"borderline." They would remain dysfunctional as long as the

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legislative and administrative branches hold on to the postwar logic
of not allowing the SDF to take military action until the last


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