Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/06/07

DE RUEHKO #4140/01 2490732
P 060732Z SEP 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Loan problem involving environment minister's fund management
body: No end to sloppy fund management cases caused by cabinet

(2) Editorial: Environment Minister must give full explanation on
mistakes in political fund reports

(3) Reading world by Hiroshi Yuasa: Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law defends Japan's sea lane

(4) Japan-US talks widely delayed, making it "unlikely" for Japan to
relax its import conditions for US beef by the end of year

(5) Interview with Masahisa Sato, who seems in favor of greater
freedom in weapons use by SDF


(1) Loan problem involving environment minister's fund management
body: No end to sloppy fund management cases caused by cabinet

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
September 6, 2007

Following the revelation on Sept. 5 of discrepancies between the
fund report filed by the fund management body of Environment
Minister Ichiro Kamoshita and his political fund payment report over
the loans that Kamoshita had extended, the shuffled Abe cabinet is
facing yet another disturbing "politics and money" issue involving
its minister. Prefacing his remark with "If I recall," Kamoshita
explained that the case was a matter of an erroneous entry." Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano
accepted his explanation for the time being. However, there seems to
be no end to sloppy fund management cases caused by cabinet
ministers, as can be seen in the fact that State Minister in charge
of Declining Birthrate has rectified her asset report. Abe tried to
fend off pursuit by the opposition in the upcoming extraordinary
Diet session with the resignations of Agriculture Minister Takehiko
Endo and Upper House member Yutaka Kobayashi. However, Abe finds
himself in a precarious situation with his intention already
suffering a setback.

The examination comp of the political fund report submitted by the
New Policy Study Group (now Policy Paradigm Study Group),
Kamoshita's fund management body, clearly shows discrepancies. The
fund management body claimed that it borrowed from Kamoshita 2
million yen in 1996 and 10 million yen in 1997. However, the 1997
fund report claimed 10 million yen as outstanding loan balance. The
2 million yen entered in the previous year was missing. A new loan
worth 3 million yen was recorded in the 1998 report. However, the
outstanding loan balance in that year jumped to 23 billion yen for
no given reason.

Kamoshita during the press conference stressed that the borrowing
incurred in 1996 was 2 million yen," saying that the 10 million yen
reported until 2005 was an erroneous entry. He said that he would
rectify the amount of outstanding loan balance accordingly. However,
the grounds for that is his memory. He said that there were no
documents endorsing the money borrowing and lending relationship

TOKYO 00004140 002 OF 008

with the fund management body. As a matter of fact, the Political
Fund Control Law does not mandate the attachment of such documents.

Under the Political Fund Control Law, recording false information in
fund reports is liable to imprisonment for no more than five years
or a fine worth no more than 1 million yen.

The amount entered as loans receivable in Kamoshita's asset report
submitted to the Lower House speaker is completely different from
the amount of borrowings entered in the political fund payment
report. The Asset Disclosure Law, which was put into force in 1993,
obligates the submission of asset reports. The standard of
requirements attached to the asset reports is less strict than
requirements attached to the political funds payment reports. The
law requires the entry of the total amount of loans receivable, but
no details or I.O.U. documents are required.

Explanations given by Kamoshita are just excuses

Hiroyuki Uewaki, professor of Kobe Gakuin University Graduate School
and co-representative of the Political Fund Ombudsman: The Political
Fund Control Law obligates politicians to keep an account book. If
account books are inherited properly, a discrepancy worth 8 million
yen would not have occurred, even if accounting clerks were
replaced. Mr. Kamoshita's explanation sounds like an excuse. Prime
Minister Abe said that cabinet ministers who are unable to explain
problems pointed out should leave the post. However, if he accepts
his explanation, people would think that the prime minister has
moved back from that stance.

It is highly risky for prime minister to defend Kamoshita; Likely to
be held responsible, if another discrepancy is discovered

The Abe administration is on the edge of a precipice. It could
collapse, if another cabinet minister is forced to resign. However,
Abe appears to have calculated that he can tide over the predicament
this time. It was not Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano but Deputy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsushige Ono that listened to Kamoshita's
explanation on the 5th. One member of the LDP leadership also
indicated his perception that there would be no problem about his

Provided that a new discrepancy crops up from Kamoshita's
explanation, the prime minister is bound to be held accountable for
his accepting his explanations temporarily. In that sense, it is a
highly risky game for the Prime Minister's Official Residence to
defend Kamoshita. Another politics and money scandal involving State
Minister Kamikawa occurred on the 5th. She corrected her asset
report. A senior Upper House member expressed concern about the
situation in which four ministers of the reshuffled cabinet
corrected their political fund reports and asset reports, noting, "I
wonder the administration can endure opposition parties' attacks
during Upper House deliberations."

The opposition is determined to strengthen the pursuit of Kamoshita
in place of former Agriculture Minister Endo in the extraordinary
Diet session to be convened on the 10th, as they think that the
explanation provided by Kamoshita is insufficient.

Azuma Koshiishi, chairman of the DPJ caucus in the Upper House,
noted, "This is a scandalous story. The public cannot understand why
Kamoshita is unable to explain 8 million yen in loans he extended."

TOKYO 00004140 003 OF 008

Japanese Communist Party General Secretary Tadayoshi Ichita
criticized, "If he cannot give satisfactory explanations, he would
have no other choice but to resign. We want to look into the
possibility of submitting a censure motion against the environment
minister at the most crucial timing." Social Democratic Party head
Mizuho Fukushima said, "The Abe cabinet is a faulty new cabinet. The
prime minister's responsibility for appointing Mr. Kamoshita is

(2) Editorial: Environment Minister must give full explanation on
mistakes in political fund reports

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
September 6, 2007

What is happening with this administration? Following the
resignation of farm minister Takehiko Endo, another money scandal
involving Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita came to light
yesterday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that Kamoshita need
not quit his post since it was a book-keeping error. However, can
Kamoshita's explanation convince the public?

Kamoshita's fund management organization filed in its political fund
report for 2005 that it had borrowed 10 million yen from Kamoshita
in 1996, but according to its fund report for 1996, it had borrowed
only 2 million yen that year. It failed to explain what happened
with the remaining 8 million yen in its 2005 report.

In his assets disclosure reports, which he is required to submit the
speaker of the House of Representatives, Kamoshita reported that he
had no loan as of January 1997. In his report for 2000, he filed 8.2
million yen in loans. He, however, filled no loan in his reports for
2004 and 2005. He failed to report money he loaned to his political
fund management body.

Kamoshita revealed on the afternoon of Sept. 5 that he had loaned 2
million yen in 1996, 10 million yen in 1997, and 3 million yen in
1998, to the fund management organization. He then said that he
would correct his political funds and assets disclosure reports. He
attributed the differences in the two separate reports to
miscommunication between those who drafted the separate reports.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano stated: "The drafters of the
two separate reports might have made mistakes. We, humans often make
clerical mistakes and create false impressions." If he believes so,
he has a different sense of things than does the public. Filing a
false political fund report is an illegal act. Huge amounts of tax
money are offered to political parties. Many people have doubts
about the fact that lawmakers think that they are forgiven if they
only correct the mistakes.

Prime Minister Abe is said to have taken much time to check
candidates for his new cabinet as to how they managed political
funds. If he screened Kamoshita's political funds reports, he would
have easily found inconsistencies in his reports. The Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) undeniably lacks a screening

Yoko Kamikawa, state minister in charge of declining birthrate,
filed corrections yesterday for her asset disclosure reports, saying
the reports did not include loans to her fund management
organization. Yukiko Sakamoto quit her parliamentary secretary post

TOKYO 00004140 004 OF 008

over the inclusion of fictitious meeting costs in her political
activity spending. Former farm minister Tokuichiro Tamazawa left the
LDP over the fake receipts scandal that the LDP chapter which he
headed used the same receipts up to five times by changing dates.
The public is beginning to think that there are few LDP lawmakers
who accurately declare their political fund reports. The lawmakers
should take it seriously. Secretary General Taro Aso has been
negative about a revision of the Political Funds Control Law
requiring politicians to attach to their political fund reports
receipts for expenditures of one yen or more for office, utilities
and miscellaneous expenses. It is said that there is a move in the
LDP to oppose the trend of reinforcing the control. Have they
already forgotten why they suffered a humiliating defeat in the July
Upper House election?

The opposition bloc appears to be submitting censure motions to the
Upper House in the upcoming extraordinary session of the Diet. With
the resignation of Endo, Prime Minister Abe has been forced to be in
a tough position.

(3) Reading world by Hiroshi Yuasa: Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law defends Japan's sea lane

SANKEI (Page 6) (Abridged)
September 5, 2007

Frankly, I was under the impression that there was neither "mutual
concession" nor "mutual respect" between Japan and China. I keenly
felt that after a session of marine experts from Japan and China to
discuss exploration of natural resources in the East China Sea.

I do not intend to deny even "mutual benefit or reciprocity." The
term "reciprocity" appeared when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during
his visit to China last year declared 'strategic reciprocity'
together with his Chinese counterpart, so I may need to wait for
this idea to take root.

Both Japan and China agreed to the concept of strategic reciprocity
during Abe's "ice-breaking tour" of China last fall, and during
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "ice-melting tour" of Japan this
spring, the two countries were supposed to depart from their
previous confrontation and to find common ground in foreign affairs.
But development of natural resources in the East China Sea has been
put aside in those two rounds of summit talks.

During a Japan-China dialogue on marine security hosted by the Ocean
Policy Research Foundation (chaired by Masahiro Akiyama), a Japanese
expert in attendance noted with an amazed look: "I've lost hope to
see the Chinese side insisting that the continent is superior to
islands. It's nonsense that China regards the sea that is called the
East China Sea by Japan and other countries as a Chinese territorial

These remarks came out in response to a Chinese researcher's remarks
that: "The Japanese side insisted on the use of the median line, but
there is a difference in status between the continent and islands.
In short, Japan is geographically put in a disadvantageous situation
in the East China Sea, so if Japan goes on insisting on the use of
the median line, no agreement will be permanently reached between
the two countries."

This Chinese researcher also noted that as China possesses a "regal

TOKYO 00004140 005 OF 008

presence of a big power," it responded to discussion of joint
development of a disputed sea water area.

The researcher was not a rabble-rouser but a leading marine
researcher. Other Chinese researchers, as well, chanted the same
view, leaving us under the impression that they simply obeyed the
Chinese forces' views. It seems utterly impossible to pin hopes on
even experts' conscience.

For instance, one researcher, speaking of the case of China's Han
class nuclear submarine's intrusion into Japan's territorial waters
in November 2004, argued bluntly: "Japan refers to that water area
as its territorial waters, and Japan describes the seven seas as if
they are all Japan's territorial waters. If all the seas are ruled
by Japan, no country can pass them through."

China is granted the international right of transit passage around
Ishigaki Island. But the area is within Japan's territorial waters.
So, even submarines are required by international law to surface and
navigate in the sea.

What China is asserting is tantamount to declaring it is all right
to ignore international rules if they do not serve its rights. This
is a reality of China, which portrays itself a "regal presence of a
big power." That is why Japan needs to resolutely deal with China if
it ignores rules, or China will accumulate a number of faits
accomplis and escalate its behavior.

In fact, China used armed force to fight off Vietnamese from the
Sprately Islands in 1988.

Afterwards, China erected a military facility on Mischief Atoll of
the Philippines and has put the area under its control.

China appears to view seas as a place for it to acquire energy
resources, as well as to help it to counter America's military power
in connection with a reunification of China and Taiwan. For the
Chinese Navy, its major objective is presumably to defend China's
sea lane.

In this dangerous sea area, no one can deny that Japanese and
Chinese vessels may accidentally fight each other. Should
Japan-China relations turn strained, Japan's sea lane in the South
China Sea for the transportation of oil from the Middle East to
Japan is more likely to be interrupted.

Atsushi Kitamura, a technical advisor to the US Navy, explained: "It
is therefore significant for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
(MSDF) supply ships to back up the multinational force under the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law." The open sea outside the
Persian Gulf is China's sea lane for its oil supplies.

If China prevents Japanese tankers from navigating in the South
China Sea, then the multinational force can seize Chinese vessels in
the Indian Ocean. Bearing this possibility in mind, China has
restrained its action. The MSDF's participation in the multinational
force in the Arabian Sea in this sense is beneficial to Japan
because it defends Japan's sea lanes.

(4) Japan-US talks widely delayed, making it "unlikely" for Japan to
relax its import conditions for US beef by the end of year

TOKYO 00004140 006 OF 008

SANKEI (Page 8) (Full)
September 6, 2007

Prospects look uncertain in negotiations between Japan and the
United States to ease Japan's import conditions for US beef. The
uncertainty stems from the frequent replacements of Japanese
agriculture ministers, as well as the gaps in standpoints between
the United States, which calls for a full lifting of import
conditions, and Japan, which is cautious about such. The relaxing of
import conditions, expected by the end of the year, now seems

Japan and the United States commenced expert talks in June to
reconsider import conditions. Judging from what was discussed there,
the Japanese side analyzed that it was less likely that US cattle
would be infected with BSE and set a policy course of easing the
import condition, raising the cattle age limit from the current 20
months to an age limit of 30 months, as adopted widely in Europe. A
final decision on this policy was expected by the end of the year if
matters went smoothly after discussions by the Food Safety
Commission concluded.

However, since August, agricultural ministers have been replaced
with bewildering speed, with Norihiko Akagi followed by Takehiko
Endo followed by Masatoshi Wakabayashi. As a result, Japan and the
US have yet to set up a meeting with US Agriculture Secretary
Johanns to discuss easing import conditions.

Meanwhile, calls for Japan's lifting its import conditions
concerning the months of cattle are growing stronger in the US on
the grounds that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has
recognized US beef as safe to export regardless of the age of the
cattle. The US meat industry at one point voiced understanding about
Japan's delay, citing its domestic circumstances with the chairman
of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) saying, "Japan will follow
the procedures step by step," but now hard-liners are gaining

(5) Interview with Masahisa Sato, who seems in favor of greater
freedom in weapons use by SDF

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
Evening, September 5, 2007

By Akio Fujiwara

House of Councillors lawmaker Masahisa Sato, 46, a former
Self-Defense Force (SDF) colonel who once led a contingent to Iraq,
stirred up a controversy during an appearance on a recent television
program when he said that SDF personnel should be allowed to use
weapons more freely.

Sato made the controversial remark in an August 10 TBS news program
that reported on the Council for Rebuilding the Legal Foundation for
National Defense, an advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
When the subject turned to use of weapons by SDF personnel engaged
in peacekeeping operations, many indicated that in the event foreign
troops in the same operations came under attack, SDF troops should
be allowed to rush over to provide protection. Under the
government's interpretation of the Constitution, such an act would
violate the top law, for it does not fit any cases in which weapons
use are now allowed, such as self-defense and avoiding immediate

TOKYO 00004140 007 OF 008


Sato, having actually served in Iraq, then stated:

"If the SDF and the Dutch military had been carrying out activities
in areas close to one another and if the SDF had failed to take some
kind of action (such as returning fire), the SDF would have drawn
criticism (from countries concerned)."

The announcer commented: "Mr. Sato indicated that in order to guard
the Dutch troops, he had intended to go over in the name of
information-gathering and thus be dragged into the conflict."

Sato continued:

"We cannot create a situation of self-defense or avoiding immediate
danger unless we become embroiled in a conflict. I think we would
have gone (to defend) our friends when we saw they were in trouble
under our nose. I would be happy to be tried under Japanese law as a
result of (such an act)."

Sato's comment eventually elicited an open letter from some 150
constitutional protectionists, including lawyers, saying, "What he
said violates the Constitution and conflicts with civilian control."
They called for Sato's resignation as a lawmaker.

What was his true intention? I called on Sato at his office in the
Dietmembers' Office Building in Nagatacho.

"I was interviewed by the broadcaster a couple of days before that
council meeting. I didn't expect the broadcaster to use my remarks
in such a program. Although the program discussed the right to
collective self-defense (which was supposed to be discussed by the
council), I simply talked about use of weapons from a general
viewpoint regarding the option of extending a helping hand and other
situations. Various discussions have been held on SDF arms
guidelines, and as a result, a commander is now allowed to issue an
order to use weapons. Today, SDF personnel are allowed to use
weapons in defending themselves or those under their control or to
avoid immediate danger."

Sato, who apparently thought that such was still insufficient,

"But in reality, the SDF is not allowed to use weapons even if SDF
troops or Japanese citizens are abducted. That's why we couldn't do
anything when Japanese journalist and NGO workers were attacked in

Nevertheless, severe restrictions on use of weapons by the SDF on
overseas missions are a manifestation of the national consensus. In
fact, when a young Japanese traveler was killed in Iraq, there was
hardly any call for allowing the SDF to use arms.

Then why did Sato bring up such a hypothetical situation as
defending the Dutch military and being tried under Japanese law at
this point?

According to Sato, the reason was because two different subjects
were put into one story in the program. "Being tried meant a
decision by a court of law. If we had used arms, the judiciary would
have made a final decision. It certainly didn't mean that we were

TOKYO 00004140 008 OF 008

willing to break law," Sato explained, adding: "If SDF troops used
arms in Iraq, Cambodia, or elsewhere, a court of law would always
come in to determine if they did so in self-defense. Many people are
not aware of that."

How was the SDF viewed in Iraq? I was in Samawah collecting
information on the SDF in February 2004, during which I asked the
Dutch commander: "If the SDF comes under attack, will Dutch troops
help them?" In response, the Dutch commander said: "They (SDF) seem
professional soldiers who are capable of defending themselves. It
will not be necessary for us to assist them."

Sato also noted:

"The idea of troops of one country defending another country's
troops is unacceptable internationally. In particular, if you
compare the Dutch military with the SDF, the GSDF is superior in
terms of arms efficiency and other factors, not to mention national
strength. The Dutch Army and Navy were really small in scale."

Although Sato stopped short of speaking his mind in the interview,
he presumably wanted to say that the SDF should be allowed to engage
in operations suitable to their level of equipment and that if they
cannot use weapons, they should not be sent overseas.


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