Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09//07

DE RUEHKO #4080/01 2470150
P 040150Z SEP 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Scandals hit Abe cabinet again:
4) Agriculture Minister Endo resigns over money scandal
5) Parliamentary Secretary Sakamoto resigns over money scandal
6) Former farm minister Tamazawa resigns from LDP over money scandal

7) LDP's Miyagi chapter calls for Prime Minister Abe to resign to
take responsibility for cabinet scandals
8) Decision to force Endo to quit was orchestrated by Yosano, Aso,
with Prime Minister Abe out of the loop

New farm minister:
9) Appointment of former Environment Minister Wakabayashi as
agriculture minister will be his second time at bat
10) New farm minister will be tested at WTO negotiations and on US
beef issue

11) Maehara appointed deputy president in DPJ leadership reshuffle

Anti-terror law extension:
12) French, Australian foreign ministers in separate telephone calls
to Foreign Minister Machimura press for extension of Anti-Terrorism
Special Measures Law
13) Defense Minister Komura: I will do anything to get the
anti-terror law extended
14) Komura says government is considering passing a new bill to
replace current anti-terror law
15) DPJ head Ozawa blasts concept of a new legislation to replace
current anti-terror law

North Korea problem:
16) Japan-North Korea talks restart tomorrow in Ulan Bator, with
focus on whether DPRK will be flexible on the issues
17) US denies Pyongyang's announcement of US-DPRK agreement on
taking North Korea off the terror-sponsor list
18) Pyongyang's announcement that its name being taken off US
terror-sponsor list may be tactic to shake up Tokyo prior to
bilateral talks
19) Japanese government to seek details about Pyongyang's claim that
US has agreed to remove North Korea from list of
terrorist-sponsoring states
20) Government official incredulous about Pyongyang's announcement
about name being removed from terror-sponsor list



Asahi & Akahata:
New Agriculture Minister Endo quits over illegal receipt of

Mainichi & Tokyo Shimbun:
SIA survey: 342 million yen embezzled by SIA officials, local
government officials

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No suggestion to abolish any independent administrative agency comes
from 11 ministries and agencies; Minister in Charge of
Administrative Reform Watanabe to ask them to reconsider

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nippon Steel to integrate their
bridge-building sectors

DPRK declares agreement reached on terror delisting; US denies


(1) Resignations of cabinet ministers: Ruling, opposition camps need
change in thinking
(2) US-DPRK nuclear agreement: US should boil down contents of

(1) Resignation of agriculture minister: Big blow to new Abe
(2) UN disarmament talks: Give boost to nuclear disarmament

(1) Resignation of farm minister: Diet situation forced Endo's early
(2) US-DPRK working-level talks: Doubts about North Korea's
implementation of agreement within the year

(1) Abe administration has already stumbled
(2) Can Yamagata University stand on its own under amakudari

(1) Dismissal of agriculture minister: Did Prime Minister Abe forget
reason for crushing defeat in Upper House?
(2) Lack of leadership: Shed light on bad teachers

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Resignation of agriculture minister: Prime Minister Abe needs to
analyze the results of Upper House electoral defeat before
implementing policy measures
(2) Review of cram-free education: Don't worry about confusion at

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, September 3

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 4, 2007

Met with Agriculture Minister Endo at Kantei, and afterwards, met
with Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sakamoto. Later,
met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano.


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Met with Yosano.

Met with former Environment Minister Wakabayashi.

Met with Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Masuda.

Met with Foreign Minister Machimura and after him, met with
Education Minister Ibuki.

Met with Chilean President Bachelet. Later, held a joint signing
ceremony for a joint statement and a joint press briefing.

Hosted a dinner party.

Returned to Kantei residence.

4) Farm minister Endo resigns, becoming fifth minister to be
replaced in Abe cabinet; Wakabayashi to replace him

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Excerpts)
Evening, September 3, 2007

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takehiko Endo, 68,
elected from the Lower House Yamagata No. 2 constituency, submitted
this morning his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
at the Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence) to take
responsibility for subsidies illegally received by a farmers' mutual
aid association headed by the minister. Abe accepted Endo's
resignation, making him the fifth minister to be replaced in the Abe
cabinet. Former Environment Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi was named
Endo's successor. In addition, Parliamentary Foreign Secretary
Yukiko Sakamoto, 58, elected from the Upper House Shizuoka electoral
district, also resigned form her post this morning to take
responsibility for inappropriate political fund management of the
local chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party in Shizuoka Prefecture
she represents. A cabinet minister and a parliamentary secretary
resigned over money scandals just a week after Prime Minister Abe
reshuffled his cabinet following the ruling bloc's crushing defeat
in the July Upper House lection. With the opposition bloc planning
to pursue the prime minister's responsibility severely for
appointing Endo and Sakamoto in the extraordinary Diet session
scheduled to open on September 10, the Abe administration is likely
to find itself under intense pressure.

5) Endo apologizes to Abe

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Evening, September 3, 2007

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takehiko Endo after
submitting his resignation held a press conference at the ministry,
in which he explained his decision to step down this way: "The
agriculture minister, who is in charge of executing subsidies, must
keep neutrality strictly. I have violated neutrality because a
farmers' mutual aid association headed by me has received subsidies
illegally. I have decided to submit my resignation before harming

TOKYO 00004080 004 OF 012


public trust in agricultural administration."

Endo also explained that in submitting his resignation to Prime
Minister Abe, he said that he was truly sorry for failing to meet
the prime minister's expectations and causing trouble for the next
Diet session. In response, Abe encouraged Endo to keep up his
efforts, while expressing his regret, according to Endo.

6) Ruling camp nervous about politics and money scandals: Former
Agriculture Minister Tamazawa decides to leave LDP over multiple
declaration of expenditures totaling 2.55 million yen

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
September 4, 2007

The government and the ruling parties now find it imperative to take
strict measures on politics and money issues following the
resignation of Agriculture Minister Takehiko Endo over illegal
receipt of subsidies. Former Agriculture Minister Tokuichiro
Tamazawa of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) yesterday announced
his decision to leave the party to take responsibility for the
branch of the Iwate Prefecture No. 4 Constituency, where he serves
as head, having forged receipts. The party leadership appears to
have urged him to leave the party voluntarily.

Tamazawa's election branch office in its 2003 political funds
payment report declared expenditures based on the same reports, by
changing the date up to five times. The LDP leadership will shortly
consult on the matter with the Party Discipline Committee and accept
his departure from the party.

Tamazawa on Sept. 3 held a press conference in the Diet and revealed
that the multiple declarations of expenditures totaled 2,552,800 yen
and offered an apology, saying, "My local secretary in charge of
accounting forged receipts. I sincerely apologize for causing
distrust among the public." He also noted that he would return the
amount received based on the forged receipts to the state coffers.

Regarding how he decided to leave the party, Tamazawa said, "I made
the decision on my own without consulting with anybody." However, an
LDP source revealed, "Falsifying receipts is an incorrigible act.
The leadership has secretly urged Tamazawa to make a quick response
and he decided to leave the party."

7) LDP Miyagi branch submits to prefectural chapter letter calling
on Prime Minister Abe to resign

ASAHI (Page 31) (Full)
September 4, 2007

In the wake of a series of scandals involving former Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takehiko Endo and other cabinet
ministers, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Miyagi prefectural
chapter's Furukawa branch office submitted yesterday to the
prefectural chapter (chaired by Upper House member Ichiro Ichikawa)
a letter calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The letter wrote: "(Abe) exposed his lack of leadership in dealing
with the scandals involving cabinet ministers. He should consider
that the party was defeated in the Upper House election due to his
strategy." Miyagi prefectural chapter deputy chairman Watanabe said:
"It is difficult to relay the message (to the prime minister), but
many party members feel the need for measures narrowing

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socioeconomic disparities and promoting agriculture."

8) Yosano, Aso pave way for farm minister Endo's resignation while
leaving Abe outside loop

ASAHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
September 4, 2007

It was Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano and Foreign Minister
Taro Aso that made moves behind the scenes for the resignation of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Takehiko Endo just
three days after the revelation that a farmers' mutual aid
association headed by Endo had received subsidies illegally. It was
also Yosano and Aso that successfully persuaded Endo to step down
and conducted a screening of his successor for unethical activities.
The two settled the new farm minister's scandal that threatened the
crisis management capability of the just-shuffled Abe cabinet
without bothering to soil the hands of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The changeover of the farm minister that kept Abe outside the loop
has exposed a shift in quality of the administration, which is now
effectively controlled by Yosano and Aso.

After a comprehensive disaster drill on September 1, the day Endo's
scandal first broke out, Abe discussed a cabinet response with
Yosano on the phone. Abe was allegedly at a loss.

After reshuffling this cabinet five days ago, Abe held a press
conference, in which he explicitly said regarding cabinet ministers
being involved in politics and money scandals: "They have taken up
their posts in readiness to leave the cabinet in the event that they
are unable to provide satisfactory explanations."

But when a scandal actually broke out, Abe was slow to respond. In
response to a question from a reporter, Abe simply said: "I have not
been informed of any specifics about the matter. If questions are
raised, (Mr. Endo) must offer an appropriate explanation."

Around that time, Aso vented his frustration with Endo to his aide,
saying, "This is his own problem." Appearing in an NHK talk show on
the morning of September 2, Aso also said: "The question is whether
his explanation can convince the public." Yosano, too, said in a
TV-Asahi program: "(Whether we will defend (Mr. Endo) and whether we
can defend him are two separate matters." Comments by both Aso and
Yosano were apparently intended to pave the way for Endo's

After the TV shows, Aso and Yosano had a lunch at a Tokyo hotel
along with Liberal Democratic Party Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
Tadamori Oshima. Over the lunch, they reached the conclusion that if
Endo remained in his post, the ruling coalition would not be able to
weather Upper House deliberations in the upcoming Diet session. The
largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan on September 1 began
considering presenting a censure motion against Endo to the Upper
House, which is now controlled by the opposition.

After the lunch, Yosano secretly visited another Tokyo hotel to see
Endo. Yosano said to Endo: "Regardless of circumstances, you are
under fire because of a matter involving subsidies from MAFF. You
should give serious thought to that point." This was successful to
change the mind of Endo, who had refused to step down on September
1. Endo said to Yosano, "Please tell the prime minister that I will
step down."

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Yosano's determination to put a speedy end to Endo's scandal came
from strong alarm against the Kantei's (Prime Minister's Official
Residence) poor crisis management ability exposed in dealing with a
spate of gaffes and improprieties by former cabinet ministers that
eventually led to the ruling bloc's crushing defeat in the July
Upper House election.

9) Masatoshi Wakabayashi appointed agriculture minister

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
September 4, 2007

Masatoshi Wakabayashi, 73, assumed the environment minister's post
in the previous cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inaugurated
last September, was also named in August minister of agriculture,
forestry and fisheries, as the replacement of Norihiko Akagi, when
he quit his farm minister's post to take responsibility for a money
scandal involving his political fund management offices. Wakabayashi
was then again appointed agriculture minister this time because of
his ability.

Wakabayashi joined the agriculture, forestry and fisheries ministry
in 1957. He was first elected to the House o Representatives in
1983. Although he lost his Lower House seat in the 1996 election, he
was elected to the House of Councillors in 1998. In his meeting in
August in Beijing with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, he as environment
minister confirmed with Wen that Japan and China would cooperate
over the environment problem, which is a pending issue between the
two countries. His ability will soon be tested in negotiations in
the global trade talks under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Prime Minister Abe is his junior at Seikei Junior and Senior High

10) New agriculture minister's bargaining power being watched with
attention: Talks at WTO, US beef issue to come to head

YOMIURI (Page 9) (Full)
September 4, 2007

The series of replacements of the agriculture minister in a short
period of time has generated concern about a decline in Japan's
bargaining power on such occasions as WTO talks, which will move on
to a new chapter this month or later. Prime Minister Abe has
appointed former environment minister and former agricultural
bureaucrat Wakabayashi as a successor to Agriculture Minister Endo
presumably because he thought it would be necessary to face
difficult talks with a person versed in agricultural policy.

The newly appointed agriculture minister will find himself in a
difficult situation right after taking office.

In particular, regarding market liberalization for agricultural
goods, a fierce battle is expected to take place over key items that
are exempt from general tariff cuts in general.

Former Agriculture Minister Matsuoka, who worked energetically in
order to bring a successful end to the WTO talks, killed himself in
May. His successor Akagi was slated to exchange views with United
States Trade Representative Susan Schwab on WTO talks in August.
However, he stepped down over his political organization's
accounting problem, causing a vacuum in negotiations with foreign

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countries. Regarding the issue of easing conditions for US beef
imports, Japan-US talks will shortly move into full swing to reach a
consensus. Japan intends to ease the cattle age criterion from the
current 20 months or younger to below 30 months. However, the US is
urging Japan to scrap the age criterion itself. The new agriculture
minister is bound to face harsh talks.

11) Maehara picked as DPJ vice president: Koshiishi appointed as
deputy party head with importance given to Upper House

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpts)
September 1, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) yesterday adopted a
new party executive line-up at its plenary session of members of
both chamber of houses. Former President Seiji Maehara, who is
keeping himself at arms' length with President Ichiro Ozawa, was
appointed vice president. Incumbent Vice President Katsuya Okada
will stay in his post. The party will thus attach importance to a
party unity. It has also set up a lineup that attaches importance to
the Upper House, by having Azuma Koshiishi, Chairman of the JDP
caucus in the House of Councillors, double as deputy president and
appointing former secretary general of DPJ members in the House of
Councillors as Policy Research Committee chair, the first
appointment of an Upper House member for the post.

Lower House member Kenji Yamaoka was picked as Diet Affairs
Committee chair and former Vice President Hirotaka Akamatsu as
Election Campaign Committee chair. Former Diet Affairs Committee
Chair Yoshihiko Noda took office as Public Relations Committee
chair. Deputy Policy Research Committee Chair Akira Nagatsuma, who
has pursued the pension premium payment record-keeping error issue,
remained in his post.

Deputy party head Naoto Kan and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
will stay in their posts. The collective leadership consisting of
Ozawa, Koshiishi, Kan and Hatoyama will continue in effect.

12) French, Australian foreign ministers express in telephone calls
to Foreign Minister Machimura their expectations for Japan's
extending the Anti- Terrorism Law

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

Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura held a telephone conference with
his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer on the afternoon of Aug.
31. Machimura told Downer that the Japanese government would do its
best to extend the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, which
expires on Nov. 1. Downer then expressed his hopes for an extension
of the Antiterrorism Law, saying: "We have acknowledged the
importance of Japan's activities and look forward to seeing the
extension of the Law."

Machimura later talked by phone with French Foreign and European
Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner and then with Indian External
Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The French minister expressed his
expectations for an extension of the law. He told Machimura:
"Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operations in the
Indian Ocean is absolutely necessary."

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13) Defense Minister Komura says, "I will do anything" to extend
Antiterrorism Law

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
September 4, 2007

Defense Minister Masahiko Komura stated in a speech delivered
yesterday in Tokyo on the issue of extending the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law:

"Since Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa has
opposed an extension of the law, we won't be able to extend it
unless we obtain his understanding in some fashion. I am determined
to do anything that can extend the law."

Komura indicated in his remark that in order to get the DPJ's
understanding, the ruling camp would hold consultations with the
opposition, also with an eye on a revision of its ruling coalition's

At a press conference yesterday, Administrative Vice Defense
Minister Kohei Masuda revealed that his ministry would look for a
submission in a positive manner a new bill that would enable the
Maritime Self-Defense Force to continue its refueling activities in
the Indian Ocean. In a Fukuoka City yesterday, DPJ Secretary General
Yukio Hatoyama, however, expressed to reporters his doubts about the
idea of formulating a new bill.

14) Gov't mulls creating new law before antiterror law runs out:

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
September 3, 2007

Defense Minister Masahiko Komura indicated yesterday that the
government would consider introducing a legislative measure to
establish a new law in order for Japan to continue its seaborne
logistical support for the antiterror drive in Afghanistan. The
Maritime Self-Defense Force has been staging its vessels in the
Indian Ocean to refuel US and other foreign naval vessels under the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. This law, which is due to expire
Nov. 1, could lose its effect since the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) is opposed to extending the
law. Komura suggested the need for the government to continue the
MSDF's refueling activities beyond the antiterror law's expiry. "We
will look for every possible way that is effective," Komura said. He
was replying to a question from reporters in Tokyo.

The newly planned law is expected to incorporate humanitarian
assistance to a United Nations international security assistance
force (ISAF) currently working in Afghanistan. This is intended to
obtain the DPJ's cooperation.

However, there are also negative arguments within the ruling parties
as well about whether Japan will be able step into humanitarian
assistance in Afghanistan.

Komura, shortly after assuming his post, met the press and implied
that the government could retouch the bill in compliance with the
DPJ's demand so that the antiterror law will not lose its effect.

The opposition parties are calling for the government to disclose

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information about the Self-Defense Forces' overseas activities. In
this regard, Komura has also shown a flexible stance. "I will ask
the countries concerned to provide intelligence including
confidential information," Komura said, "and then I'd like to

disclose that information."

15) Ozawa hits LDP's new law advocacy over antiterror law

TOKYO (Page 2) (Full)
September 4, 2007

Ichiro Ozawa, president of the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto), criticized the government and ruling parties
yesterday over the issue of extending the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law. There are now positive views from within the
government and the Liberal Democratic Party about creating a new law
incorporating the DPJ's standpoint. "I wonder if they really
understand our standpoint," Ozawa said. He added, "They don't
understand our standpoint at all, so I don't know what to say about
their ignorance."

"Japan is not allowed to participate in any activities other than
peacekeeping activities that are clearly authorized by the United
Nations," Ozawa said, "and that's our position."

Ozawa was replying to questions from reporters in the town of
Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, where the DPJ has been holding a
workshop for its House of Representatives members.

16) Japan, N. Korea to restart talks tomorrow

TOKYO (Page 3) (Abridged)
September 4, 2007

Japan and North Korea will hold a second session of their six-party
working group on diplomatic normalization on Sept. 5-6 in the
Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. Meanwhile, the United States and
North Korea held a meeting of their normalization working group in
Geneva on Sept. 1-2. Their bilateral talks have made progress to a
certain extent, with North Korea having agreed to declare its
nuclear programs and disabling its nuclear facilities within the
year. Japan and North Korea have also held talks, in which North
Korea has taken the position that the issue of Japanese nationals
abducted to North Korea has already been settled. The focus of the
talks between Japan and North Korea is whether Pyongyang will change
its current standpoint over the abductions issue and will begin to
show a flexible stance.

"I hope that we will be able to remove our mutual distrust of each
other through substantive talks and that we will be able to make
progress in our bilateral relations," Yoshiki Mine, ambassador for
negotiations with North Korea over diplomatic normalization, said in
a press interview yesterday. Mine stressed the importance of
specific action.

On the abductions issue, Mine indicated that Japan would again call
for North Korea to let Japanese abductees return home, unveil facts
about the abductions issue, and hand over those who abducted the
Japanese nationals.

North Korea has also referred to Prime Minister Abe's remarks over
"liquidation of the past" concerning Japan's colonial rule. With

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this, Pyongyang is now showing a stance that can be taken as
softening its attitude.

Japan is therefore poised to talk about normalization issues,
including "liquidating the past," so that the talks will not break
down over the abductions issue like before. Tokyo would like to
create an environment that can continue substantive talks.

17) North Korea announces "the US and the DPRK agree to delist the
North as a state sponsor of terrorism," but the US denies

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

Masahiko Takekoshi, Seoul

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that a North Korean
press officer yesterday revealed that as the United States and North
Korea in their working group session in Geneva on Sept. 1-2 agreed
that the North's nuclear facilities would be disabled within the
year, the US accepted "delisting North Korea as a state sponsor of
terrorism" as well as "fully lifting the sanctions now imposed on
the North in accordance with the Trading with the Enemy Act." The
press officer did not mention when these two actions would occur.
North Korea has until now called for delisting it as a state sponsor
of terrorism and lifting the application of the Trading with the
Enemy Act as a premise for it to disable its nuclear facilities and
make a report on all of its nuclear programs. The announcement
yesterday by the press officer is taken to mean that the North is
trying to use what the US has promised as "reward" for nuclear
abandonment as a fait accompli. The US has denied that such an
agreement was reached.

18) DPRK announces US will "delist" DPRK as state sponsor of
terrorism, in an apparent attempt to shake Japan ahead of start of
Japan-DPRK working group

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 4, 2007

Shinichiro Hori, Beijing

North Korea yesterday stated that the United States agreed to fully
lift sanction measures now imposed on the North, such as listing it
as a state sponsor of terrorism and applying the Trading with the
Enemy Act to the North. Behind this announcement is apparently the
North's intention to shake up Japan and the US ahead of the talks at
the Japan-North Korea working group on diplomatic normalization
under the six-party talks slated for Sept. 5-6 in Ulan Bator.

In order to mend relations with the US, the North has insisted that
the US should end its hostile policy toward the North. It also has
called for a lifting of the hostile policy as a precondition for
progress on the nuclear issue.

However, if the US ends its hostile policy and delists the North as
a state sponsor of terrorism, that would affect the abductions of
Japanese nationals by North Korea and the issue of sending back to
Japan hijackers of the JAL "Yodo-go" plane who now reside in the
North (this hijack occurred in 1970).

Tokyo has asked Washington not to delist the North as a state

TOKYO 00004080 011 OF 012


sponsor of terrorism. The issue of whether to delist the North is
likely to have a significant impact on the Japan-US alliance. In
fact, during the Japan-US summit in April, Secretary of State Rice
also joined the session and stated, "Resolving the abduction issue
will not be made a condition for the US to delist the North Korea as
a state sponsor of terrorism." Her remark created a stir.

19) Japan to ask for a detailed explanation from the US

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 4, 2007

The North Korean Foreign Ministry stated that the United States
agreed to delist North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, but
the Japanese government has taken a negative view with one senior
Foreign Ministry official noting, "The US has stated that it would
take into consideration progress on the abduction issue and that it
will not delist it." However, it is true that calls for delisting
the North as a state sponsor of terrorism are gaining momentum in
the US. While asking for a detailed explanation from the US, Tokyo
intends to ascertain in the upcoming session of the Japan-North
Korea working group on diplomatic normalization slated for tomorrow
how the North will respond to Japan.

A senior Foreign Ministry official late yesterday strongly denied
North Korea's announcement, saying, "It's a lie." Another senior
official stressed: "I presume a premise for such things is that the
US and North Korea and Japan and North Korea come to the stage of
normalizing their diplomatic ties."

20) Japanese government: "It's incredible"

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 4, 2007

Kahori Onaka, Yudai Nakazawa

A North Korean diplomat yesterday declared that the United States
and North Korea agreed in their talks at their working group under
the six-party talks to delist the North as a state sponsor of
terrorism. The Japanese government, however, views it with
skepticism with one Foreign Ministry official saying, "It's hard to
believe." But some take it as part of the North's attempt to
forestall Japan ahead of the Japan-DPRK working group talks, which
are to begin tomorrow in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Tokyo intends to
carefully scrutinize the information.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill already reported on
the results of the (US-DPRK) talks to the Japanese Foreign
Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General
Kenichiro Sasae. Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura yesterday told
reporters, "We've been told by the US that the US will not sacrifice
Japan for progress on US-DPRK relations," strongly denying the
possibility that Japan-North Korea relations would be left behind as
a result of the issue of delisting the North as a state sponsor of
terrorism making progress.

It seems certain, however, that the US-DPRK working group session
saw a certain degree of progress on the issue of the North's nuclear
abandonment. Meeting the press yesterday, Administrative Vice
Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi expressed hope that progress on
US-DPRK relations would boost Japan-DPRK relations.

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The US and North Korea appear to have discussed the question of
whether to send back hijackers of the JAL "Yodo-go" plane to Japan.
Depending on developments of this issue, delisting the North as a
state sponsor of terrorism is more likely to come. A senior Foreign
Ministry official yesterday noted, "This is a psychological war."


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