Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/28/07

DE RUEHKO #4542/01 2710121
P 280121Z SEP 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Burmese revolt:
4) Secretary Rice, Foreign Minister Komura in basic agreement on
Burma, sharply criticize military junta's acts
5) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura protests killing of Japanese
reporter during mayhem in Burma
6) Japanese government remains cautious about imposing sanctions on

Six-party talks on North Korea:
7) Assistant Secretary Hill states that basic agreement with DPRK
over disabling nuclear facility has been reached; North Korea seems
warmer toward Japan
8) Japan very cautious as it enters new "dialogue" phase in
negotiations with North Korea

9) China's President Hu planning visit to Japan next Spring; China
invites Prime Minister Fukuda to come visit, too

Anti-terror law:
10) Ambassadors of 11 countries including US meet at Pakistan's
embassy to issue statement of appreciation for MSDF refueling
services in Indian Ocean
11) Outline of new bill extending MSDF refueling to be presented to
Diet next month
12) Defense Minister Ishiba up beat about passing the new
anti-terror law this Diet session
13) Defense Ministry to investigate whether MSDF oil supplied to US
warships in Indian Ocean was diverted

14) Possible diversion of MSDF oil supplied to US warships in Indian
Ocean having been used in Iraq war could become complex bilateral
15) In meeting with Secretary Rice, Foreign Minister Komura asks for
full information disclosure on use of oil supplied by MSDF in Indian

16) Former Prime Minister Abe briefly returns home from the hospital

Political scene:
17) Mainichi poll: 74 PERCENT see Diet dissolution and a snap
election in a year
18) Prime minister to give Diet policy speech on Oct. 1
19) DPJ planning strategy of flooding the Diet with bills to tie up
20) Former US Ambassador to Japan Mondale meets with Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ozawa



Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
Japanese journalist shot dead in Burma; Security forces
indiscriminately fire at demonstrators

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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries wins China order for nuclear plant

Big companies earn 1.75 times more than in bubble economy years


(1) Prime Minister Fukuda needs to express views to world
(2) Japan urged to work out specific plans to protect environment

(1) China must join international pressure on Burmese military to
end crackdown
(2) Death of 17-year-old sumo wrester after being struck with beer

(1) Give priority to academic ability in drawing up Education
Ministry guidelines
(2) Use international pressure on Burma

(1) Fukuda should pursue 21st-century-version, omni-directional
foreign policy
(2) Carry through NHK reform

(1) Now is time to promote democracy in Burma
(2) Death of young wrester: Sumo association's governance being

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Use international pressure to stop bloodshed in Burma
(2) Japan must be more eager to lead international trend to combat
global warming

(1) MSDF refueling US warships: Unlawful act apparent

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, September 27

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
September 28, 2007

Attended a special cabinet meeting at Kantei. Later, met with
Defense Minister Ishiba and after him, met with Education Minister

Attended a session of administrative vice ministers. Afterwards, met
with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matoba.

Made a private representation to the Emperor at Imperial Palace, and
afterwards attended an attestation ceremony for senior vice

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Had a photo session with senior vice ministers at Kantei. Later,
attended a meeting of senior vice ministers.

Issued letters of appointment to parliamentary secretaries and had a
photo session with them. Afterwards, attended a meeting of
parliamentary secretaries.

Met with LDP Headquarters for Party Reform Implementation Chairman

Met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

Had dental treatment at dental clinic in Minami Aoyama.

Arrived at his private residence in Nozawa.

4) Japanese and US foreign ministers agree to condemn Burma

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Yoshiyuki Komurata, Washington

Visiting Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura on the morning of Sept. 27
(late at night of that day, Japan time) met with Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice at the State Department. They agreed to condemn the
military junta of Burma, sharing the perception that "It is
outrageous to use force on people who were demonstrating in a
peaceful manner. Such an act is never permissible in the
international community." This was revealed by Komura to Japanese
reporters after the meeting.

According to a briefing from the Japanese side, Komura referred to
the information about the death of a Japanese photo journalist and
told Rice: "Japan will file a strong protest with Myanmar."

5) Chief cabinet secretary lodges protest against death of Japanese

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Hearing it had been confirmed that a Japanese national was killed in
Burma (Myanmar), Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told
reporters in Tokyo: "The Japanese government had called on (the
government of Burma) not to take a violent crackdown, and now, a
Japanese national has been caught up in it. This is extremely
regrettable. We will lodge a protest with Myanmar's government and
urge it to clarify what actually happened. We hope it will take
appropriate measures for the safety of Japanese nationals."

Machimura stressed: "We again strongly urge the government of
Myanmar to swiftly change its oppressive attitude and open a
dialogue with the people to resolve the situation." Speaking of
whether to impose sanctions on Burma, Machimura went no further to

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say: "We'd like to wait and see the results of debate to be held at
the United Nations Security Council."

Yesterday evening ahead of these press remarks by Machimura, Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters at the Prime Minister's
Official Residence: "Regrettable events are taking place. We must
think what would be the best way to resolve the situation."

In response to the tense situation involving antigovernment
demonstrators in Burma, the Foreign Ministry yesterday raised the
security level on travel to Burma from "consider whether to visit
the country" to "it is advisable to postpone traveling the

6) Japanese killed in Burma (Myanmar); Government wants the turmoil
to be resolved through dialogue

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 28, 2007

A Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai, covering the tumultous situation
in Burma, was shot to death yesterday by a stray bullet in Rangoon
(Yangon). As a result, the Japanese government yesterday decided to
send Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to Burma and urge the military junta in
charge to end its violent crackdown on antigovernment demonstrators
and resolve the situation through dialogue. Earlier in the day, MOFA
raised the security level in Burma from "need to consider whether or
not to visit the country" to "need to postpone visiting the

Late yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura told reporters:
"We have urged (the Burmese government) not to oppress its (people),
but the violent crackdown has continued. It is highly deplorable
that a Japanese national was caught up in the situation and lost his
life. We will file a strong protest (with the Burmese government)
and again strongly urge it to resolve the situation through dialogue
with the people."

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Hitoshi Kimura late yesterday summoned
Burmese Ambassador to Japan Hla Myint to the ministry and demanded
that his government deal with the situation properly. The first
report on the incident came amid the meeting between Kimura and Hla
Myint. The ambassador explained to Kimura: "We put down the revolt
out of necessity but keeping it at a minimum level."

Whereas the United States and the European Union (EU) have sought to
impose economic sanctions on Burma, the Japanese government remains
cautious about immediate sanctions. A senior MOFA official stressed:
"It would be more practical to urge the junta to resolve the
situation peacefully and promote the democratic process than to
impose sanctions and thereby create more poverty in society"

Japan is Burma's largest aid donor, according to the statistics
released in (2004) by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee.
But Japan has drastically cut down its aid to Burma since the
military junta was established in 1988. "The real largest aid donor
is China, (which is not an OECD member)," Machimura noted.

7) Six-party talks: Hill -- Basic agreement reached on disablement
measures; Joint statement may be presented today; North positive
about improving relations with Japan

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TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Kiyoshi Nakamura, Beijing

The six-party talks aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear
standoff began on the evening of Sept. 27 at the Diaoyutai State
Guesthouse in Beijing. The focus is whether they can adopt before
this round ends on Sept. 30 an agreement that includes a road map
for implementing the second phase of the process leading to nuclear
dismantlement. US Assistant Secretary of State and chief US delegate
to the six-party talks Christopher Hill told the press after the
first day's meeting that a draft agreement might be presented on
Sept. 28, saying, "Basically, we agreed on measures for disablement
of the nuclear facilities."

About disablement of the nuclear facilities, Hill also explained
that additional questions were presented and that the members would
finalize the details tomorrow. According to a South Korean source,
there still remain gaps in views between North Korea and other
countries over disablement. The talks are likely to face rough going
even after a draft is presented.

Yesterday, a plenary session was held for the first time since March
that ended in about one and a half hours. Chinese Vice Foreign
Minister Wu Dawei, who chairs the six-party talks, said at the
outset of the meeting: "This session is vital in the course of the
six party talks and its main mission is to map out an action plan
for the next phase." This was followed by reports by the chairs of
the five working groups on what was discussed in August and

According to a Japanese source, Japanese chief delegate and Foreign
Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau chief Kenichiro Sasae
briefed on what was discussed by the Japan-North Korea working
group. Following this, North Korean chief negotiator Kim Gye Gwan
indicated that his country would like to improve relations with
Japan in line with the spirits of the Pyongyang Declaration and
joint statement.

According to a Foreign Ministry source, the North Korean delegate
has rarely made a positive statement during the six-party talks.
Japan is expected to confirm changes in North Korea's stance toward
the abduction issue and other matters.

8) North Korea exhibits positive stance about improving relations
with Japan possibly with dialogue in mind; Japan to ascertain
Pyongyang's true intention carefully

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 28, 2007

The six-party talks began yesterday in Beijing, providing a venue
for the Japanese government to deal with North Korea for the first
time since the Fukuda administration was launched. In yesterday's
session, North Korea emphasized its willingness to "make efforts"
for improving relations with Japan, including the abduction issue.
The positive statement apparently comes from Pyongyang's keen
awareness of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's eagerness to have a
dialogue with North Korea. The Japanese government is trying to
ascertain the North's true intention.

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Despite the North Korean delegate's positive statement, Japanese
chief negotiator and Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau chief Kenichiro Sasae told reporters after the session that
the meeting was conducted calmly.

Before the meeting, Sasae said: "It is important to listen closely
to what the other side has to say and to clearly state what we have
to say so that matters can move forward." This clearly reflected the
wishes of Prime Minister Fukuda, who puts high priority on a
dialogue with North Korea.

In the meeting yesterday, North Korea seems to have given in to
Japan's urging, as planned. But Japan intends to make a decision
carefully, with Sasae saying, "It's a bit too early to predict the
result at this point."

Through the six-party talks, the government eyes setting a concrete
date for the next working-group normalization meeting with North
Korea. A decision will be made based on whether the North will take
specific steps regarding critical matters, such as resuming the
investigations into the fates of the Japanese abductees in
compliance with Japan's request.

In the wake of the establishment of the dialogue-oriented Fukuda
administration, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan's
statement is seemingly intended to press Tokyo toward reconciliatory
policy away from the hard-line policy taken under the previous Abe

Through the media, Pyongyang repeatedly harshly criticized the Abe
administration as taking antagonistic policy toward the North. A
North Korean source described Prime Minister Fukuda as less
repulsive than Abe.

North Korea apparently attempted to soften Japan's stance toward the
abduction issue by demonstrating its willingness to hold a dialogue
with Japan days after the establishment of the Fukuda
administration. The North also seems to intend to watch for the time
being Japan's response to Kim's statement and to see if there is any
change in Japan's policy toward its sanctions and the General
Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon).

9) Coordination underway for President Hu's Japan visit next spring:
Chinese premier asks Prime Minister Fukuda to visit China

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday met with former Prime Minister
Yoshiro Mori, who is now visiting Beijing, at the Great Hall of the
People. Concerning President Hu Jintao's (General Secretary of the
Chinese Communist Party) visit to Japan, Mori indicated a plan to
coordinate views with the possibility of setting a schedule for next
spring, saying, "It may be good if he visits Japan in spring, for
instance, the season of cherry blossoms."

Mori conveyed a message from Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, which
went, "I would like to visit China as soon as possible."

Premier Wen also met with members of a delegation from the
Japan-China Economic Association, including Fujio Mitarai, chairman

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of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) and chairman of
Canon. Wen during the meeting indicated his intention to promote
active investment in the northeastern region of the country by
Japanese companies and to press ahead with the consolidation of laws
related to bilateral economic cooperation.

This would be the first visit to Japan by a Chinese president since
Jiang Zemin's visit in 1998.

10) Eleven top envoys to Japan, including US ambassador, issue
statement offering appreciation to MSDF for refueling operations in
Indian Ocean

SANKEI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
September 28, 2007

Ambassadors to Japan from eleven countries including US Ambassador
Schieffer which are dispatching troops under Operation Enduring
Freedom to Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean, yesterday met at the
official residence of the Pakistani ambassador in Shibuya, Tokyo.
They expressed appreciation for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling operations in the Indian Ocean and issued a statement
seeking continuation of such services.

It is unprecedented that such a large number of ambassadors to Japan
jointly expressed their wishes toward Japan. Their aim is to offer
indirect assistance to the government and the ruling camp, which are
engaged in Diet deliberations in order to extend the operations, by
demonstrating the significance of the refueling services to domestic
forces opposing the effort.

Participants included ambassadors from the US, Britain, Germany,
France, Australia, Italy, Canada, Greece, New Zealand, Pakistan, and
Afghanistan. They appeared in front of the official residence after
discussing the matter for about 30 minutes. Pakistani Ambassador
Kamran Niaz read out the statement on behalf of the participants.
Japan is now looking into the possibility of instead of extending
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which expires on Nov. 1,
introducing a new bill because the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) and other opposition parties are strongly against an
extension. The government and the ruling camp intend to find a
breakthrough in the issue through talks with the DPJ.

Following the joint statement, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday
told reporters, "I think the statement is an expression of their
expectations of Japan. I am sure there is a deep understanding of
the operations because they are intended to prevent terrorist
activities from spreading." He stressed his determination to make
further efforts to continue the MSDF's activities.

11) Government to compile outline for new legislation next week to
extend MSDF refueling mission

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 28, 2007

The government and the ruling parties decided yesterday to compile
an outline possibly next week for new legislation to extend the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operation in the
Indian Ocean. They plan to reveal the outline in a meeting of the
House of Representatives Budget Committee in early October. If the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) makes proposals on its contents,

TOKYO 00004542 008 OF 013

they will reflect the proposals in drawing up a bill and then submit
it to the Diet.

On the issue of whether to extend the MSDF mission, the DPJ has
indicated it would not hold preliminary talks with the government
and the ruling camp. In a bid to break the impasse, the government
will present an outline for a new law and reflect DPJ proposals in a

Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura said in a NHK program last night:

"We will be able to compile an outline sometime next week. Upon
presenting the outline, we would like to start discussion (with the
DPJ). ... But if the DPJ comes up with proposals during the
discussion, it will be possible to make changes because it is an
outline. Reflecting the proposals, we will work out a bill and
submit it to the Diet."

The Liberal Democratic Party's four executive members, including
Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki, also indicated similar views in

interviews with the Asahi Shimbun and other press companies
yesterday. Ibuki said: "When the Lower House Budget Committee is set
in motion, we will present an outline (for new legislation) and call
(on the DPJ) for discussion."

Discussion on a second revision of the Political Funds Control Law
is underway in the ruling camp, focusing on a proposal under which
political funds groups would be required to attach receipts for
expenditures of more than one yen and an independent third party
would judge whether the receipts should be disclosed or not. On this
proposal, Ibuki indicated that the government would draft a bill and
discuss the bill with the DPJ. Policy Research Council Chairman
Sadakazu Tanigaki also remarked: "The government also should do
properly what the private sector has done."

Regarding the issue of whether to reinstate former Economy, Trade
and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma, one of the "postal rebels," in
the party, Ibuki implied his severe view about his unconditional
reinstatement, saying: "He naturally should properly take the
required steps as we did when we were officially backed by the

On the proposed drastic reform of the law to help disabled people
become independent, in which those who use welfare service are
required to pay 10 PERCENT of the bill, Tanigaki indicated a
cautious stance, saying: "It has been decided that the law is
reviewed every three years, so it does not mean that the framework
of the system will be abruptly changed."

12) Defense minister expresses eagerness to enact new law in current
Diet session to extend MSDF refuel mission

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Appearing on a TV program yesterday, Defense Minister Ishiba renewed
his eagerness to enact a new law in the current Diet session to
extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in
the Indian Ocean. He said: "Personally I am very eager to have the
bill passed in the ongoing extraordinary Diet session by all means."

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13) Defense Ministry investigating past records of MSDF refueling
operations in Indian Ocean

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Referring to allegations that a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship
deployed to the Indian Ocean based on the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law may have refueled to US aircraft engaging in the Iraq
war, Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda revealed at a press
conference yesterday that the Defense Ministry is now investigating
all past records of the MSDF refueling operations to see whether any
Japanese fuel was used for purposes other than for the antiterrorism
operations in and around Afghanistan. The Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
supplied fuel 777 times to vessels from 11 countries from December
2001 through the end of August 2007. The Defense Ministry intends to
complete its investigation before questioning sessions by party
representatives start at the current extraordinary Diet session.

14) Gov't desperate to dispel suspicions over MSDF fuel supply

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 28, 2007

The Diet will now reopen its halted extraordinary session and focus
on the issue of continuing the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling activities in the Indian Ocean beyond the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law's Nov. 1 expiry. Meanwhile, US and other
foreign naval vessels are suspected of having used their
MSDF-supplied fuel for operations in Iraq or other purposes. The
MSDF has so far carried out nearly 800 fuel supplies for them. In
this regard, Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, appearing on a
commercial TV show yesterday, indicated that he would look into the
facts about all of those MSDF fuel supplies to see if the
MSDF-supplied fuel was used for other purposes. However, the
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) and other opposition parties
will pursue the government and ruling parties in the Diet. The
government and ruling parties, now aiming to create a new law as an
alternative for the current time-limited antiterror law, are
concerned about the new source of trouble.

The Antiterrorism Special Measures Law limits its purpose to Japan's
rear-echelon support for operations in Afghanistan, and so does the
newly planned legislation. If it becomes clear that the
MSDF-supplied fuel was used for the Iraq war, that is against the
law's purpose. If that is the case, the government and ruling
parties would be held up in Diet deliberations and would sustain a
serious blow. The government and ruling parties are therefore
desperate to dispel the suspicions.

The biggest matter of concern to the government and ruling parties
over the suspicions is a claim from Peace Depot, a nonprofit
organization in Japan. On Feb. 25, 2003, an MSDF fuel ship provided
a US supply ship with fuel amounting to about 800,000 gallons
(approx. 3,000 kiloliters). According to Peace Depot, the US supply
ship refueled the Kitty Hawk, a US aircraft carrier, when they were
in the Indian Ocean for activities to watch Iraq.

In 2003, the then chief cabinet secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, now the
prime minister, and other government officials explained that the
MSDF refueled the US supply ship with only 200,000 gallons, or an
aircraft carrier's fuel consumption for one day. Fukuda stated at

TOKYO 00004542 010 OF 013

that time, "It's actually inconceivable that the fuel is used for
Iraq attacks." With this, the government denied the suspected use of
fuel for operations in Iraq. However, Peace Depot noted the fuel
supply, based on the Kitty Hawk's log and other sources. The Defense
Ministry later confirmed that the Kitty Hawk had been refueled with
about 800,000 gallons.

The government has so far checked the operational areas of foreign
naval vessels before the MSDF's fuel supply for them. The
government, in its written reply dated Sept. 18, stated that the
government is not in a position to be aware of details about how the
MSDF-supplied fuel is used. However, the government later had to
account for Peace Depot's fact-finding, with a senior Defense
Ministry official saying: "It was before the Iraq war. Also, and the
US Navy's operational areas were not separated so strictly like

On Sept. 23, Fukuda also appeared on a commercial TV show before he
came into office as prime minister. Fukuda said, "We thought they
were operating in the Indian Ocean, but they might have been told to
go to Iraq."

However, there is no guarantee that the countries concerned will
unveil details about their military operations. In this connection,
the government noted security reasons. "We can't say how far it's
possible to disclose," Administrative Vice Defense Minister Kohei
Masuda said. On Sept. 26, New Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party's coalition partner, held a meeting of its foreign affairs and
security panel. In this meeting as well, an official from the
Defense Ministry only said the Japanese government has been
inquiring of the US government. One of New Komeito's lawmakers there
hurled at the official, saying, "Do you think such an explanation is
good enough to get through the Diet committee?"

Under such circumstances, the Defense Ministry is going to look into
the facts about all of those MSDF fuel supplies. One New Komeito
executive voiced concern: "If the opposition parties demand data
files, the Diet will stop its deliberations. This looks like the
issue of the government's pension record-keeping flaws."

The DPJ and other opposition parties are poised to pursue and drive
the government and the ruling coalition into a tight corner while
using the right to conduct investigations in relation to government.
"The government and the ruling parties and the prime minister lied,"
a DPJ executive said. In a recent opinion poll, those in favor of
continuing the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
outnumbered those against it. The DPJ is also aiming to change such
a trend in public opinion.

The DPJ yesterday held a meeting of its foreign and defense affairs
panel for hearings with officials from the Defense Ministry and the
Foreign Ministry about the MSDF's refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean. In the end, however, the Defense Ministry did not answer any
questions at all about when, how often, and how much the MSDF
refueled foreign naval vessels.

Akihisa Nagashima, a DPJ lawmaker seated in the House of
Representatives, noted that the US military operates in various
areas but US vessels move from area to area. "These ships are not
distinguished in different colors for Operation Enduring Freedom
(subject to the MSDF's refueling services)," Nagashima said. "Like
the Japanese government," he added, "they should not be able to say

TOKYO 00004542 011 OF 013

they have never refueled any of their ships participating in
operations other than the Afghan campaign." With this, Nagashima
pursued the government's accountability.

DPJ Vice President Nato Kan commented: "If the government had
intentionally allowed such a thing (to refuel foreign vessels for
other purposes), that means the government has deceived the Diet and
the public and such activities have gone out of civilian control. We
will request complete information disclosure." In addition, Kan also
noted that the US Navy's 5th Fleet website describes the use of
MSDF-supplied fuel for other purposes.

15) Japan during bilateral foreign ministerial asks US to disclose
information on use of fuel it supplied: Defense Ministry starts
investigating use of fuel

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura yesterday met with US Secretary of
State Rice at the US Department of State. Komura explained that
Japan is doing its utmost for the continuation of the refueling
operation in the Indian Ocean by the Maritime Self-Defense Force
(MSDF). He called on the US to disclose locations of the operations
of US vessels that received fuel from MSDF vessels, noting, "It is
very difficult to persuade the opposition camp and the public
without information."

Regarding whether to remove North Korea from the US list of state
sponsors of terrorism, Komura pointed out, "If the nation is removed
from the list before the abduction issue is settled, we would lose
leverage in promoting Japan-North Korea relations." Rice replied,
"We understand Japan's position. We will take it into

The Defense Ministry yesterday announced that they launched an
investigation to find out activities in which fuel provided by MSDF
vessels in the Indian Ocean was used. The opposition camp and civic
groups have claimed that fuel provided by Japan was used for the
Iraq war contrary to the objective of the law. The Defense Ministry
intends to dispel this allegation regarding all refueling cases.

According to the ministry, the MSDF provided approximately 480,000
kiloliters to US and British vessels through August 30. Vice Defense
Minister Kohei Masuda explained, "We are now confirming facts and
checking every single case. We will confirm facts as much as we can,
though there is a military restriction."

Masuda said that the ministry would inquire of fuel recipient
countries, according to need, assuming cases like an MSDF vessel
refueled a US supply vessel, and the US supply vessel refueled US
carrier vessels.

Appearing on a TV-Asahi program, Defense Minister Ishiba said the
same day, "It will not do just to say that there will be no problem,
since Japan has signed an exchange of notes with the US. We will
obtain all data so that we can rebut the criticism properly." He
said that the investigation would end by around Oct. 9.

16) Hospitalized former Prime Minister Abe temporarily returns home

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)

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September 28, 2007

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been in Keio University
Hospital since Sept. 13, was allowed to return temporarily to his
private residence in Tomigaya, Tokyo. It was first time for Abe to
spend the night away from the hospital. According to persons close
to Abe, doctors judged that there was a possibility that Abe would
get better at home more quickly than at the hospital since his
appetite has now increased. Abe will decide on when to leave the
hospital after hearing doctors' diagnosis.

17) Poll: 74 PERCENT urge Diet dissolution within 1 year

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 28, 2007

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a nationwide public opinion survey on
Sept. 25-26. In the survey, respondents were asked if they thought
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda should dissolve the House of
Representatives for a general election. In response to this
question, a total of 74 PERCENT answered that the Diet should be
dissolved within one year, with only 20 PERCENT saying there is no
need to dissolve the Diet. The next general election for the House
of Representatives is expected to be an election for the public
choice of government. The survey shows that the general public wants
an early election for the Diet's lower chamber.

Respondents were also asked which political party they would like to
see win in the next general election for the House of
Representatives. To this question, 45 PERCENT chose the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), with 41 PERCENT
picking the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and 9 PERCENT opting
for other political parties.

18) Prime Minister Fukuda to deliver policy speech on Oct. 1

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 28, 2007

The House of Representatives Rules and Administration Committee
decided yesterday that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will deliver his
policy address on Oct. 1 and hold interpellations by party
representatives on Oct. 3-4.

The House of Councillors is also set to decide today on Prime
Minister Fukuda's policy speech for Oct. 1 and representative
interpellations for Oct. 4-5. The timetable will be determined to
resume the extraordinary Diet session, which has been stalled since
former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his resignation.

19) DPJ's strategy of submitting a storm of own bills to Upper

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
September 28, 2007

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has stepped up
its efforts to submit more of its own bills to the current session
of the Diet, switching from the initial plan to reduce the number of
bills to be submitted. The DPJ executive in the House of Councillors
caucus shifted from a cautious stance with one word from President
Ichiro Ozawa. The LDP Upper House leadership had said that those

TOKYO 00004542 013 OF 013

answering questions would need sufficient time for their
preparations. Ozawa's aim is to counter the government of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who has advocated a dialogue-oriented policy,
through debate at the Diet by submitting a storm of its own bills
from pledges included in its manifesto for the July Upper House

The DPJ submitted yesterday to the Upper House a bill revising the
Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law. The measure is designed to
allow victims to use relief funds also for housing construction,
purchasing and repairing costs, raising the upper limit on the
relief funds from 3 million yen (including 1 million yen for
livelihood support) to 5 million yen, offering funds retroactively
to January this year.

The largest opposition party decided on Sept. 27 to submit to the
Upper House a bill revising the law to support the disabled persons'
self-reliance on Sept. 28 and an anti-hepatitis measures law next
week. Deputy President Naoto Kan revealed at a press conference on
the 27th that the DPJ would present to the current session a pension
system reform bill.

The DPJ has fallen in step with Ozawa's order. Ozawa called his aide
on the morning of Sept. 26, asking, "How are bills going on?" His
aide replied, "Nothing is going on." Attending a meeting that day of
the Next Cabinet, Ozawa urged each lawmaker to submit a list of
bills to him, saying, "If you submit no bills to the Diet, the DPJ's
reputation will be damaged."

20) Former US Ambassador to Japan Mondale meets with DPJ head Ozawa

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 28, 2007

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa met yesterday
at party headquarters with former US Vice President Walter Mondale,
who is in Japan to give a speech. He spoke of the Japan-US
relationship with such comments as, "We must become an ally that
American can rely on and that does not leave everything to the US to
handle." Ozawa, who is opposed to the extension of Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) continuing refueling activities in the
Indian Ocean, seemed to aim at making an appeal through an American
connection of his party's stance of placing importance on the US
relationship. Mondale has had close relations with Ozawa since the
time he was ambassador to Japan from 1993-95. The meeting was held
at Mondale's wish.


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