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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/24/07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 003929

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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 08/24/07


Index:

(1) What economic strategy will Japan take in APEC summit?

(2) Ronten (point at issue) -- WTO trade talks: WTO is a lifeline
for Japanese economy

(3) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (4):
Diplomacy, security policy

(4) DPJ in action (Part 1): Ozawa determined to bring about change
of government in straightforward manner, sealing off option of
political realignment plan

(5) Koichi Kato, former LDP secretary general, says Abe's decision
to stay in office without public support creates political vacuum

(6) Facts about civilian control (Section 4): Thinking of SDF as
Japan's new garrison-SDF in transformation (Part 2): Backing to US
military called assistance with Iraqi reconstruction

ARTICLES:

(1) What economic strategy will Japan take in APEC summit?

SANKEI (Page 13) (Full)
August 24, 2007

The annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
will be held in Sydney, Australia, in early September, in which
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also participate. Excluding the ASEAN
(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum (ARF), in
which security issues are exclusively discussed, APEC is the sole
arena for discussion in the region. APEC also brings together the
United States and China, both of which have influence over the
economies in the region. Attention is now being focused on what
economic strategy Japan, which ranks with these two powers, will
take in the APEC summit.

APEC was launched in 1989 at the proposal of Australia, with 12
members - Japan, the US, Canada, South Korea, Australia, New
Zealand, and the six ASEAN member countries (at that time).

APEC declared that it would liberalize trade and investment in the
region and contribute to world economic growth, instead of aiming at
forming a closed trade bloc of its member countries. The forum also
aimed to maintain and further develop the current multinational free
trade system under the World Trade Organization for areas outside
the region, in a bid to create an open economic zone.

APEC is now composed of 21 countries and regions. China joined in
1991, and Russia and Vietnam were also added in 1998, though they
were socialist countries. Its members' combined gross domestic
product (GDP) accounts for 60 PERCENT of the entire world's. It
population makes up 40 PERCENT of that of the whole world. As it
stands, APEC has grown into a giant economic zone.

Its members are called not "states" but "economies." Taiwan and Hong
Kong are members of APEC, showing its nature of placing emphasis on
economic affairs, unlike other international forums.

Initially, the forum called only ministerial meetings, but a summit

TOKYO 00003929 002 OF 011


was held in 1993 for the first time at the proposal of US President
Clinton. Since then, APEC has held a summit and a ministerial
meeting every fall.

The Bogor Declaration in 1994 set the goal of completely
liberalizing trade and investment in the region by 2010 for
industrialized countries and by 2020 for developing countries.
However, countries have begun to pour their efforts into
negotiations on concluding bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) on
the heels of changes in the economic situation and have eventually
become less interested in the goal of pursuing trade liberalization
among the APEC members.

The US has advocated a concept of forming an APEC-wide Free Trade
Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), but it is quite difficult to
realize a free trade zone based on common rules in the Asia-Pacific
region, which is featured by diversification. China, which has been
stepping up efforts to conclude FTAs with ASEAN countries, proposed
an economic-zone initiative involving the 10 ASEAN countries plus
three (Japan, China, and South Korea), apparently showing its
eagerness to take the initiative in managing the Asian economy while
excluding the US from the framework.

APEC has proposed promoting multilateral trade liberalization,
centering on WTO negotiations. On this challenge, too, it is now
unlikely to see a settlement of the Doha Round of global trade talks
under the WTO by the end of this year. APEC was launched, with
economic issues as its main theme, but no conspicuous achievements
have been produced in the economic area. In recent meetings of APEC,
North Korea and security issues have been taken up as major themes,
and its weakening identity is being pointed out.

How will Prime Minister Abe be involved in the US-proposed FTAAP
concept, in order to hold in check moves by China, with which Japan
is struggling for leadership in negotiations on future options for
the ASEAN plus three and the East Asia summit? Attention is being
focused on what economic strategy the prime minister will take. The
issue of global warming, which will be high on the agenda for the
Lake Toya Summit next year, is also expected to take center stage in
the APEC summit. Another focus is on what views on the issue of
global warming will be compiled under the framework of APEC summit
joined by the US and China - two major greenhouse gas emitters.

(2) Ronten (point at issue) -- WTO trade talks: WTO is a lifeline
for Japanese economy

MAINICHI (Page 8) (Full)
August 24, 2007

Akira Kotera, professor of international economic law at University
of Tokyo

Japan needs to prepare an environment for developing countries to be
able to act in concert as agreement is expected to be reached even
in the area of agricultural goods.

Since the beginning of the 21st century Japan has signed one
bilateral economic partnership agreement (EPA) after another,
starting with the one with Singapore. But the EPA is concluded in
accordance with the rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The importance of the WTO, which underpins the international
economic order, is unshakable even now.

TOKYO 00003929 003 OF 011

The WTO agreements and the EPAs are likened to "laws" and
"contracts" respectively. The WTO (and its predecessor General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), a body pursuing free and
indiscriminate trade, has brought economic prosperity to Japan. We
must not forget the fact that the dispute settlement mechanism under
the WTO has played a major part in dealing with recent trade
disputes. It is safe to say that the fate of the Japanese economy
hinges on the reliability of the WTO. The Doha round -- the fourth
round of major trade talks since the start of GATT -- must be
finalized successfully so as to ensure the reliability of the WTO.

The Doha round has taken up the liberalization of agricultural goods
and developing countries' industrial products, which had been rarely
discussed in the past three rounds of trade talks. The Doha round
began in 2001, but it has remained unable to reach agreement on a
new formula for liberalization despite the deadline for the
agreement set at the end of 2004. Even at present chances are slim
that agreement will be reached. Major factors that have made trade
talks difficult include agricultural products, which are under
strong protectionist pressure, and industrial products. Naturally,
the talks have faced difficulties because they have concerned the
strongholds of protectionism.

Even so, the talks are advancing at a steady pace toward reaching an
accord as evidenced by draft agreements prepared in July by the
negotiation chair regarding agricultural and industrial goods
respectively. Major points at issue in the negotiations are export
subsidies, domestic subsidies for farmers (such as income security),
and tariff cuts. The key to a success of the negotiations lies with
the United States, which has been strongly calling for tariff cuts
on agricultural goods and developing countries' industrial goods. At
the initial stage of the negotiations, least developed countries
indicated their attitude to resist free trade talks, but at present,
the so-called group of four (G-4) -- the US, the European Union
(EU), India, and Brazil -- and the so-called group of six (G-4) --
the G-4 plus Japan and Australia -- have taken the lead over the
negotiations. The process toward an agreement has been improved
now.

What should Japan do at this stage? When will the US, which holds a
key to a success of the Doha round, make a move toward completing
the negotiations? The situation over the US presidential election in
2008 and moves of the US House and Senate also hold a key. Once
there is a sign that the US is moving to complete the Doha round of
trade talks, Japan is probably expected to pave the way for each
country, particularly developing countries, to be able to act in
concert. Japan should do as it did in December 2005. Specifically,
Japan assumed a development initiative and removed tariffs imposed
on least developing countries' products. This initiative made a
significant contribution to the formation of agreement at the WTO
meeting in Hong Kong held immediately after this initiative was
announced.

The issue that has caught the public's attention in Japan is the
issue of tariff cuts on agricultural products. The Japanese
government has indicated opposition to cutting tariffs, but the gaps
in views between supporters and opponents have been narrowed as the
process for completing the trade talks has been progressing. The
current stalemate in the negotiations would not be resolved even
through the Japanese government turned around its current position,
but Japan, premised on broad tariff cuts on agricultural goods at

TOKYO 00003929 004 OF 011


home, must study in earnest the way agricultural administration
should be in the future and make preparations for that.

Akira Kotera: Born in 1952; graduated from University of Tokyo's Law
Faculty; and after serving as professor at Tokyo Metropolitan
University, now serves as professor at University of Tokyo; and also
serves as a faculty fellow at the Research Institute of Economy,
Trade and Industry (RIETI).

(3) Daring prediction - 2007 reversal of power in Upper House (4):
Diplomacy, security policy

Tokyo Shimbun (Page 2) (Full)
August 24, 2007

By Shohei Yoshida

Question: A focal issue at the extraordinary Diet session in the
fall is a bill to extend the antiterrorism special measures law,
which is required to continue the Self-Defense Force's (SDF) Indian
Ocean refueling mission for foreign ships. What are some possible
developments?

Answer: There is no doubt that the government and the ruling
parties will call on the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to hold
negotiations to revise the bill. However, because it is difficult
for them to reach an agreement, the bill is expected to be voted
down at the Upper House in the end.

A Turning Point

Q: Why are they not expected to reach the agreement?

A: The SDF is carrying out the refueling mission to support
antiterrorism operations in Afghanistan. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
has been expressing opposition, claiming that the SDF should not be
sent to the Indian Ocean because "the United Nations did not
approve" the antiterrorism operation.

The DPJ's position is that the SDF should not be dispatched for a
mission that is not based on a UN request. Because the SDF dispatch
poses a fundamental issue related to the basic principles of the
dispatch, neither Ozawa nor the government can reach a compromise.

Q: Even if the Upper House rejects the bill, the bill will be
enacted if the ruling parties pass it again at the Lower House by a
two-thirds majority.

A: Theoretically speaking, that is true. But many Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers think that doing so will be
difficult in reality. They are worried that they might invite a
sharp public reaction if they give the impression that they rammed
through the bill by exercising numerical strength. Because the LDP
suffered such a crushing defeat in the election, they have to be
careful.

Q: If the Diet fails to revise the antiterrorism special measures
law to extend the refueling mission, the Maritime SDF will have to
pull out from the Indian Ocean.

A: Before the Upper House election, it was unimaginable that the
SDF will pull out. But it is beginning to seem real. The LDP

TOKYO 00003929 005 OF 011


leadership has indicated that the party "may naturally need to think
about a possible case where the law expires," and the LDP may not be
just bluffing the opposition bloc by saying this.

Q: Are there any steps to break the situation?

A: Some officials of the government and the ruling parties are
indeed seeking the enactment of a new, alternative law that is
acceptable to the DPJ. However, given the fact that the
antiterrorism special measures law will expire on November 1, that
is difficult time wise.

Q: What will be affected if the Maritime SDF pulls out?

A: The United States has repeatedly expressed a concern to Japan
that "the absence of the Japanese mission will pose a big problem."
If Japan backs out despite the concern, there will be an inevitable
impact on Japan-US relations.

Since the 1996 Japan-US joint declaration on the Japan-US security
treaty, the bilateral alliance has been strengthened. The
integration (of the two countries) was accelerated particularly
under the "Koizumi-Bush relationship," and it was thought to be
Japan's natural course of action to carry out joint activities with
the US military on the Indian Ocean and even in Iraq. Thus, the end
of the refueling mission may serve as a turning point.

Discord

Q: Are there any other causes for concern in the Japan-US
relationship?

A: There is a possibility of a standstill in the transformation of
the US Forces Japan (USFJ), which includes the planned relocation of
Futenma Air Station that was agreed upon by the Japanese and US
governments. In the recent Diet session, the DPJ opposed a bill on
special measures for USFJ transformation. Also, many local
governments holding a relocation site are expressing reluctance.
Therefore, it will not be possible to promote the transformation
plan in a high-handed manner.

Q: The United States was hoping that the Japanese Government will
revise its constitutional interpretation on the exercising of the
right to collective self-defense, so that Japan will be able to use
the missile defense (MD) system to intercept missiles that were
fired at the United States. What will become of this issue?

A: The DPJ is not opposed to introducing the MD system. However,
it is against revising the constitutional interpretation. The
ruling New Komeito as well is becoming increasingly opposed to the
revision after the Upper House election. Thus, the prime minister
will not be able to respond to the US hope in this field as well.

Q: What will become of the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by
North Korean agents? The Abe administration regards it as the
top-priority issue.

A: Although the abduction issue is a bilateral issue between Japan
and North Korea, Tokyo was hoping for US support to break an
impasse. The SDF dispatch to the Indian Ocean or Iraq is not
unrelated with Japan's hope for US cooperation in the abduction
issue. If the relationship with the United States is strained by

TOKYO 00003929 006 OF 011


the SDF's overseas dispatch issue when Washington's backing is
needed for the abduction issue, Japan may run the risk of being up
against the wall on all sides.

A Stalemate

Q: Is it even more difficult now to resolve the abduction issue?

A: To begin with, Washington has recently shifted to a dialogue
line with North Korea, and US-North Korea negotiations have also
started. It is conceivable that the United States will prioritize
the nuclear issue and pay less attention to the abduction issue.

In addition, the Japan-North Korea relationship is in a stalemate in
contrast to the US-North Korea relationship. North Korea has
regarded Prime Minister Abe as an enemy. Some speculate that
Pyongyang will take a wait-and-see stance for the time being
concerning the abduction issue, knowing that the Abe administration
has become feeble because of the crushing defeat in the Upper House
election.

The Japan-North Korea working group of the six-party talks is soon
expected to hold a meeting. Under the current environment, however,
a drastic breakthrough in the abduction issue is unlikely.

(4) DPJ in action (Part 1): Ozawa determined to bring about change
of government in straightforward manner, sealing off option of
political realignment plan

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
August 24, 2007

"Why does it need party discussion? I thought it has already been
settled."

This comment came from Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
President Ichiro Ozawa in a meeting with Financial Committee Chair
Kenji Yamaoka at a Tokyo office on the weekend just before the
mid-August Bon holiday break. Yamaoka had just suggested opening the
party's security research council, which has been dormant, to
discuss measures to deal with the question of extending the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which would be a highlight in
the extraordinary Diet session in the fall.

The DPJ has opposed the law's extension three times in the past.
Ozawa, who believes there is no need to change the party's position,
also conveyed his opposition to the extension to US Ambassador to
Japan Thomas Schieffer on August 8.

But discontent was simmering in the party. Some junior members
voiced the need to have a venue for discussion. Feared that if this
situation persisted, Ozawa might be again criticized as dictatorial,
Yamaoka said to Ozawa: "I think the party will eventually settle on
opposing the extension, but some are still not convinced. So we need
a venue to persuade them."

Ozawa finally agreed to hold a council meeting, though he had no
intention of making compromises. The panel's preparatory meeting
took place on August 21. Ozawa, who had just ended his summer
vacation, told the meeting: "I did not express my personal view to
Mr. Schieffer; I simply explained what the party had decided."


TOKYO 00003929 007 OF 011


Opposing the extension is defined as the first step of the DPJ's
basic strategy for pressuring the Abe administration and taking the
helm of government in the next general election following Lower
House dissolution. At the same time, Ozawa has sealed off his
long-cherished political realignment plan.

Two months ago, Ozawa was visited by Hirohisa Fujii, who won a Lower
House seat as a result of Hiroyuki Nagahama's decision to run in the
July Upper House election. Fujii told Ozawa: "I will not run in the
next race. I will do my best until then."

After leaving the Liberal Democratic Party in 1993, Fujii has
consistently supported Ozawa who has since launched the Japan
Renewal Party, New Frontier Party, Liberal Party, and DPJ. Ozawa
aides, including Fujii who reportedly knows what's on Ozawa's mind
as if by telepathy, repeatedly made contacts with veteran LDP
lawmakers critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Before the July Upper House election, Fujii and others put together
this scenario: If the LDP suffered a crushing defeat in the
election, Abe would resign, and an LDP presidential election would
follow. If Taro Aso became Abe's successor, the DPJ would wrest
power from the LDP, for example, by voting for Sadakazu Tanigaki in
the Diet tally for the prime minister, in collaboration with the
non-mainstream faction in the LDP.

But as the DPJ's landslide victory came in sight toward the end of
the election campaign, Fujii and others came to believe that a
defeated LDP would not hold a presidential election and that Abe
would remain in his post - a prediction that became a reality. Ozawa
as a result decided to aim at the reins of government in a
straightforward manner, sealing off the option of political
realignment.

On July 31, Ozawa made his first public appearance after the
election to visit Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation)
headquarters in Tokyo.

Ozawa, thanking Rengo for its assistance during the campaign, told
Rengo General Secretary Nobuaki Koga: "The race has just begun.
Please work out the schedule so that I can visit (local districts)
in the fall, as I promised. If a general election was held at this
point, the LDP would simply lose more seats, so Prime Minister Abe
will not dissolve the Lower House so easily."

For the July Upper House election, Ozawa personally hunted for
promising candidates and stumped in single-seat constituencies. "My
efforts paid off," Ozawa said to himself on July 28.

Armed with the same approach, Ozawa has begun making moves for the
next Lower House election. He will begin picking candidates for
nearly 100 single-seat constituencies and kick off a stumping tour
along with Rengo executives.

On August 6, Ozawa met with Rengo President Tsuyoshi Takagi at DPJ
headquarters. Takagi said to Ozawa: "The DPJ must enhance its local
chapters. The right to dissolve the Lower House rests with the other
side." In response, Ozawa said: "The LDP has yet to determine why it
suffered the crushing defeat in the previous race. Its mind is still
blank. Parties will present their bills to the Diet in the fall
extraordinary session and that will help people determine if any of
them deserve the reins of government. The DPJ's ability to replace

TOKYO 00003929 008 OF 011


the LDP will be tested by the public."

Ozawa thinks that although chances are slim for Lower House
dissolution before the end of the year, talk of dissolution will
gain ground next March or later when Diet deliberation on the FY2008
budget is in the final stage.

(5) Koichi Kato, former LDP secretary general, says Abe's decision
to stay in office without public support creates political vacuum

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
August 24, 2007

-- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the House of Councillors election
would be an occasion for voters to choose between him and Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) President Ichiro Ozawa.

Kato: He meant in his remarks that the election would give voters
the chance to choose the party they feel should hold the reins of
government. Therefore, he was saying he should step down from the
premiership (should the party suffer a setback). Since the prime
minister positioned the election as a midterm test for his
administration, he should not have said that his reforms were
appreciated.

-- What is your view on the prime minister's announcement of his
decision to stay on in office before the results of the Upper House
election came out?

Kato: It is not good that he gave the impression that he had decided
to remain in office regardless of the outcome of the poll. His
staying on in office are neither good for him nor the party.

When Mr. Abe began to come under fire, some party lawmakers called
on him to quit. It was difficult to urge him to step down, but
someone has to say it. His decision to remain in office without
public support creates a critical political vacuum in effect. The
government is not functioning at all now.

-- The prime minister will be shuffling the cabinet on Aug. 27.

Kato: Shuffling the cabinet means that the prime minister did
nothing wrong. The party will fall back into silence for the time
being, but the issue remains unresolved. As soon as the cabinet is
shuffled, party members will express their displeasure.

-- Party members are interested mainly in appointments.

Kato: Not recognizing that the LDP might sink like the Titanic, a
number of members are talking about cabinet posts they wish to
assume. Their careers are in danger. The ship may go down in two to
three months.

-- What if a censure motion against the prime minister is adopted in
the Upper House?

Kato: If the prime minister manages the economy well, if he has a
flexible foreign policy, and if he enjoys popularity, he will be
able to overcome it. Nobody knows what will happen.

-- Do you think the LDP will be able to fight the next Lower House
election under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe?

TOKYO 00003929 009 OF 011

Kato: It's impossible. There would be a strong voter backlash, with
people feeling that the prime minister had ignored the result of the
Upper House race. The number of Lower House seats we will secure may
all far below 200 seats.

-- When do you think the Lower House will be dissolved for a general
election?

Kato: There will be no immediate suicidal dissolution of the Lower
House because cabinet ministers will not go along with such a
decision. I think the Lower House will probably be dissolved solved
later this year or after next year's regular Diet session at the
latest. Comparing the Lower House to a company, employees usually do
not discuss the decisions of their president, but if their company
is in a crisis, they will discuss it. We need such now.

(6) Facts about civilian control (Section 4): Thinking of SDF as
Japan's new garrison-SDF in transformation (Part 2): Backing to US
military called assistance with Iraqi reconstruction

TOKYO (Top play) (Full)
August 20, 2007

On the morning of March 20 this year, the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party held a joint meeting of its defense-related divisions at its
headquarters. In the meeting, officials from the government briefed
LDP lawmakers. Just as they ended their set of briefings, former LDP
Secretary General Koichi Kato's angry voice reverberated: "How long

SIPDIS
are you going to continue? How can you explain that to the people?"

The government was asking for the ruling party's approval of its
draft bill revising the Iraq Special Measures Law-short for the Law
Concerning Special Measures to Implement Humanitarian and
Reconstruction Assistance and Security Assistance in Iraq. The
legislation was intended to extend the Air Self-Defense Force's
airlift mission in Iraq for another two years. "We need more time to
help with Iraqi reconstruction," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
Kyoji Yanagisawa said. However, he did not account for why the
ASDF's Iraq mission should be extended for two years instead of
one.

In the joint meeting, there were many government bureaucrats sitting
in as briefers. They outnumbered the LDP lawmakers assembled there.
There were vacant seats galore. No one but Kato voiced opposition to
the idea of extending the ASDF's Iraq mission. The joint meeting was
held with former LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki presiding.
"There are many people supporting a two-year extension of the law,"
Yamasaki said in the meeting. "I'm sorry for Mr. Kato," Yamasaki
went on. "But," he added, "I'd like you to understand." With this,
the LDP gave the go-ahead.

Kato likened the LDP to an "ostrich" that retreats to safe ground.
"The LDP has now caved in to the government's evasive logic," Kato
said. Yamasaki, however, was aware of the government's strong
stance. "The government wants to continue the ASDF's activities in
Iraq as a token of the alliance between Japan and the United
States," Yamasaki said. "The government would have in a fix if the
law was not extended-that's why I gave my consent," he added.

That is the way the government and the ruling party are. They passed
the Iraq legislation and sent the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq. The

TOKYO 00003929 010 OF 011


SDF's Iraq mission has undergone a sea change since the Ground
Self-Defense Force wound up its humanitarian and reconstruction
assistance in Iraq and pulled out of that country in July last
year.

The government formulated a master plan for Japan's SDF dispatch to
Iraq. The masterplan is based on the Iraq Special Measures Law. It
expressly stipulates the SDF's activities "centering on humanitarian
and reconstruction assistance activities." According to the master
plan, the SDF is to engage in "security assistance activities" to
back up US troops "as far as the SDF is not hindered from carrying
out its humanitarian and reconstruction activities."

The ASDF, currently working in Iraq, bases its transport planes in
Kuwait. The Kuwait-based ASDF transports make four regular flights a
week to and from Iraq. The government has not disclosed anything
about what the ASDF is airlifting. However, more than 80 PERCENT of
the ASDF transports' payloads are US servicemen or US military
supplies.

Those US troops are mostly engaged in maintaining public security.
The master plan has therefore become a dead letter. On July 10, the
government extended the masterplan for another year. However, the
ASDF's activities "centering on humanitarian and reconstruction
assistance activities" remain the same.

"We discussed whether to retouch the master plan," a senior official
of the Cabinet Secretariat said. "As a result," this official
asserted, "we judged that there was no need to change the master
plan because there has been no particular change in the SDF's
activities." The problem is that the ASDF's airlifts in Iraq are
mostly for the US military there. "Quantity doesn't matter much,"
the official said. "The ASDF's activities there are based on Japan's
policy of high priority," he explained. "That's why," he added. With
such a 'so-what' attitude, the official reiterated the same
explanations.

The government has kept the master plan intact with no change. Asked
why, a senior official of the Defense Ministry cited Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe's reply that was given before the Diet on May 14. In that
Diet reply, Abe stated as follows: "The Multinational Force's
soldiers are also engaged in humanitarian and reconstruction
assistance activities." Bearing this Diet reply in mind, the Defense
Ministry official raised a question about the idea of revising the
master plan. "The government has so far explained the SDF's Iraq
mission in its Diet replies," the defense official said. "If the
government should change the master plan," he went on, "then I
wonder what will happen to all that the government has explained in
those Diet replies." In other words, this defense official meant to
say that the government cannot modify the master plan in order to
retain its coherence with what it has said in the past.

"For the ASDF," Yamasaki recounted, "there's no doubt that their
primary task is to back up the US military." He also said: "The ASDF
is to airlift personnel and supplies for the United Nations. That is
to say, the ASDF is working there in the name of humanitarian and
reconstruction assistance. That's the kind of farfetched logic.
Also, the opposition parties have not seriously pursued the
government in the Diet." In this way, Yamasaki sighed over the
Diet's failure to play the role of civilian control.

The Defense Ministry has no plans to recall the ASDF detachment. One

TOKYO 00003929 011 OF 011


of its senior officials even said: "It's a symbol of the alliance
between Japan and the United States. Some people say Japan should
not extend its Iraq mission. But we've never thought of that option
from the start."

In the beginning, the government had the SDF dispatch plan.
Meanwhile, the Diet does not function to check the government. The
facts about the SDF's Iraq dispatch-which is intended to back up the
United States-have never been made public. SDF activities that have
no public support will leave nothing but stress for the dispatched
personnel.

MESERVE

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