Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/03/07

DE RUEHKO #4645/01 2760753
P 030753Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Foreign Minister Komura hints at freezing part of Japan's aid to

(2) DPJ President Ozawa calls for participation in ISAF in

(3) Concern about decline in civilian control: New refueling
legislation would stipulate MSDF operations and produces in
simplified manner; Some ruling party members opposing deletion of
Diet approval clause

(4) The current state of war on terror in Afghanistan and Japan: Two
military operations coexist (part 1)

(5) Editorial: On new anti-terror legislation, information
disclosure indispensable

(6) Interview with Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba: Pins hopes on
start of debate on creation of permanent legislation

(7) Many restraints put on deterrent action in Japan

(8) Growing calls for extending current Diet session


(1) Foreign Minister Komura hints at freezing part of Japan's aid to

October 3, 2007, 13:15

Responding to the incident of photojournalist Kenji Nagai (50)
having been shot to death in Burma (Myanmar), Foreign Minister
Komura at noon today commented, "I want to consider whether it would
be possible to suspend for a while activities of certain
organizations, such as the center for human resource development."
He suggested there might be a freeze placed on part of humanitarian
assistance provided to Burma, such as, grant aid. Komura was
speaking to reporters at the ministry.

Komura continued: "Some insist that all (aid) should be
discontinued, but I think it is not good to stop aid that directly
benefits the people of Burma, given how difficult it is now for

According to the Foreign Ministry, Japan's aid to Burma has been
limited since 2003 to humanitarian assistance. Japan's aid for
fiscal 2006 was 3 billion yen in the areas of grant aid and
technical cooperation. Regarding the construction of a human
resource development center and its relevant equipment, about 550
million yen has been planned for that purpose this fiscal year.

(2) DPJ President Ozawa calls for participation in ISAF in

12:51, October 3, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun learned today that the Democratic Party of

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Japan's (Minshuto or DPJ) organ paper dated Oct. 5 carries this
statement by President Ichiro Ozawa's statement on the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling operations in the Indian Ocean:
"Since it is authorized by a UN resolution, ISAF (International
Security Assistance Force) does not infringe on the Constitution.
When we take the reins of government and come into a position to
determine foreign and security policies, I would like to see Japan
take part in it."

In the statement, Ozawa also took the following view about
international contributions regarding the war on terrorism: "(Japan)
should take part actively. Actively participating in a UN
peacekeeping operation is in line with the philosophy of the
Constitution even if it eventually involves the use of force."

ISAF is a multinational force launched based on a December 2001 UN
Security Council resolution with the aim of maintaining security in
and around Kabul in Afghanistan. Since October 2006, ISAF has been
engaged in security operations under the command of NATO (North
Atlantic Treaty Organization).

(3) Concern about decline in civilian control: New refueling
legislation would stipulate MSDF operations and produces in
simplified manner; Some ruling party members opposing deletion of
Diet approval clause

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 3, 2007

The government and the ruling camp on Oct. 2 agreed on the outline
of new legislation to realize the continuation of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operations in the Indian
Ocean. According to that, the new legislation will stipulate MSDF
activities and procedures for such in a simplified manner, compared
with the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which expires on Nov.
1. The aim is to eliminate as many obstacles as possible in pursuing
Diet deliberations due to the dominance of the opposition in the
Upper House so that a possible vacuum in MSDF operations as a result
of failure to secure Diet approval before the law expires can be
lessened as much as possible. However, there is concern that
minimizing Diet involvement in the matter could give rise to a
decline in civilian control.

The new legislation would be extensively different from the existing
antiterror law in terms of its limiting MSDF activities to refueling
and water-supply operations and omitting a regulation mandating Diet

The current antiterror law categorizes operations which the
Self-Defense Force can implement into (1) cooperative assistance,
including refueling and water-supply operations; (2) search and
rescue operations; (3) rescuing affected people; and (4) other
necessary measures. The scopes of specific operations are stipulated
in a separate program. Securing ex-post-facto approval from the Diet
is mandatory in the event in which operations included in the basic
program were implemented.

The new legislation would limit SDF operations to refueling and
water-supply operations, but it would stipulate details of
operations and areas for such, which were included in the basic
program under the antiterror law. The new legislation would also
specify that areas of operations are the Indian Ocean including the

TOKYO 00004645 003 OF 011

Persian Gulf, in the same way the basic program does under the
antiterror law.

If the new legislation incorporates a Diet approval clause, two
sessions of Diet deliberations, including deliberations on the
legislation itself, would become necessary before it is passed into
law. This would be risky if the reality that the opposition camp,
which holds a majority in the Upper House and is opposing the
continuation of refueling operations, is taken into account. In
theory, if detailed activities are incorporated in the legislation,
it would be possible to consider that passage of the bill means that
Diet approval has been obtained, even if the legislation does not
incorporate a Diet approval clause, according to a related cabinet

However, even in the ruling camp there is a deep-seated cautious
view toward the idea of eliminating a Diet approval clause, as one
junior Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker said, "Civilian
control must not be neglected."

Arguments on the way civilian control should be are reflected in the
assertions made by the LDP and the New Komeito over the duration of
operations to be incorporated in the legislation.

The LDP during a meeting of the ruling parties' project team on the
2nd presented a proposal for setting the duration of operations at
two years and making it mandatory to submit an annual report to the
Diet. Under this proposal, it would be possible for the MSDF to
continue operations regardless of the wishes of the Diet.

In contrast, New Komeito Acting Policy Research Council Chairman
Natsuo Yamaguchi contended, "If a Diet approval clause is to be
removed, the duration of MSDF operations should be set at one year
so that the Diet's checking function works." The panel has put off
the deadline for reaching a conclusion until Oct. 4. Future talks
within the ruling camp and between the ruling and opposition parties
will likely focus on the way civilian control should be.

"Refueling operations are not allowed under the Constitution," says
DPJ head Ozawa

The government and the ruling parties indicated a plan to present to
the opposition parties the outline of new legislation for the
continuation of refueling operations next week. In this connection,
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa indicated his stance of opposing the new
legislation as well. He noted, "Refueling operations are not
basically allowed under the Constitution. There can be no room for
talks on that principle."

The outline limits the activities of MSDF troops to refueling and
water-supply operations. Regarding this limit, Ozawa pointed out,
"Whether it is oil or water, MSDF operations should not be approved
without limit constitutionally, since their aim is to assist
military actions by US forces."

(4) The current state of war on terror in Afghanistan and Japan: Two
military operations coexist (part 1)

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
October 2, 2007

Six years have passed since the United States and its allies

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launched strikes on Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks on
American soil in September 2001. The US and European nations are
still engaged in the war on terror in Afghanistan and the
neighboring area. Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) has
continued a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean as logistic
support for the war on terror, even though the allegations are
emerging that the fuel provided by the MSDF might have been diverted
for the Iraq war. This mission, however, is sure to be interrupted
because the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, the legal basis for
the mission, is to expire on Nov. 1. Prior to the start of a full
debate on the issue in the current extraordinary session of the
Diet, the Asahi Shimbun reports on the still unstable situation in
the country and its nearby areas.

Difficulties in distinguishing between two operations going on in
Persian Gulf

Masato Tainaka, Cairo

The US forces-led war on terror targeting Afghanistan, the base for
the international terrorist network Al Qaeda, is called Operation
Enduring Freedom (OEF). This operation consists of subordinate
operations: mop-up operations against Al Qaeda and against the
antigovernment Taliban insurgents and maritime interdiction
operations (MIO).

In 2001, the Japanese government enacted the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law to support the maritime interdiction operations in the
logistical area and decided to deploy MSDF supply ships to the
Indian Ocean for refueling of the warships of America and other
countries. As of the end of this August, MSDF ships had provided
refueling services 777 times (totaling 484,000 kiloliters) to
foreign warships, of which US vessels were serviced 350 times.

Japan's refueling operations have been called "a free gas station on
the sea." But countries participating in the Coalition of the
Willing appreciate Japan's services. In fact, a high-level British
Navy officer noted, "The efficiency of our operations has improved
20 PERCENT or more because our vessels don't have to make port
calls for refueling."

Reportedly, the maritime interdiction operations have successfully
spotted suspicious ships and prevented terrorist groups from
entering areas near Afghanistan, and they also have prevented
movements of weapons and narcotics into or out of the country.
According to Japan's Defense Ministry, the MSDF in 2004 made over
11,000 inspections of suspicious vessels and made about 41,000
wireless inquiries. The number, however, dropped to 9,000 inquiries
in 2006. The Japanese government highlighted the achievements,
saying, "The number of suspicious boats has definitely dropped," but
links between suspicious boats and terrorist groups have yet to be

Meanwhile, when it comes to the maritime operations, those for the
"war on terror" in Afghanistan and those for the Iraq war have both
existed since the start of the Iraq war in the spring of 2003.

According to the US Navy, the Coalition of the Willing has been
engaged in operations in three sea areas: the combined task force
(CTF) 150, a sea area located outside the Persian Gulf; the CTF 152,
a sea area in the southern part of the Persian Gulf; and the CTF
158, a sea area in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. The MSDF

TOKYO 00004645 005 OF 011

has provided fuel other countries' ships only in the CTF 150, which
is closest to Afghanistan. The MSDF has insisted that it will never
refuel vessels that are not subject to the antiterrorism law and
take part in any operations for the Iraq war.

In 2003, however, the USS Kitty Hawk, which was supposed to take
part in the war on terror, and accompanying ships received refueling
service from the MSDF and afterwards headed for the Persian Gulf and
joined the Iraq war. This event later led to the allegations that
fuel provided by the MSDF might have been diverted for the Iraq war.
Then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda denied the allegations.
But late last month, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD)
corrected the amount of fuel provided by the MSDF at the time from
the 200,000 gallons (760 kiloliters) to 800,000 gallons (3,030
kiloliters). The government has said it will again ask the US about
this matter.

A lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) with
connections to the defense industry made this comment: "It's no
wonder that because the US forces have participated in both the Iraq
war and the war on terror, the purviews of their task forces might
have been overlapped at least in early days after the US launched an
attack against Iraq."

In the Persian Gulf, operations for the war on terror and those for
the Iraq war are both going on. It is very difficult to distinguish
between the two. At present the USS Enterprise and its fleet have
been engaged in both the war on terror and the Iraq war in CTF 152.
In CTF 158, a multinational force led by the US military is training
the Iraqi Forces' soldiers while guarding against suspicious vessels
around the oil platforms located in Iraq's territorial waters.

Afghanistan: Cleanup operations against Taliban turning into morass

Manabu Kitagawa, Islamabad, Yoshiki Kishi, Brussels

A big explosion occurred suddenly on the morning of Sept. 29 at a
bus stop in Afghanistan's Kabul, which was crowed with commuters. A
bus carrying Defense Ministry officials was hit by suicide bombing,
which killed 31 people The antigovernment force Taliban admitted it
was the source of the suicide bombing.

December will mark the sixth anniversary after the collapse of the
former Taliban government, which gave shelter to Osama bin Laden,
leader of the international terrorist network Al Qaeda. The war on
terror has continued, but the threat of terrorism has been growing
even more.

According to a report by the United Nations, there were 103
suicide-bombing incidents as of the end of August. This year's
number is likely to the worst year of 2006 with 123 incidents.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by 37
countries, most NATO member nations, have deployed some 41,000
troops in Afghanistan. Aside from them, 8,000 troops composed mainly
of US soldiers have been engaged in the Operation Enduring Freedom
(OEF), searching for bin Laden.

At one point, some LDP lawmakers looked for ways to let the
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) participate in ISAF, as DPJ President
Ozawa declared that "If our party holds the reins of government, we
would positively let the SDF take part in something like the ISAF."

TOKYO 00004645 006 OF 011

But a senior Foreign Ministry official noted, "Ground operations are
incomparably dangerous unlike maritime operations. Some lives would
be surely lost." In fact, the ISAF and the OEF have suffered an
increased number of casualties. According to Reuters, the toll of
victims for a period from 2001 through the end of this September
reached 7,000.

Because the Constitution bans the use of force abroad, the Japanese
government intends to avoid providing assistance on the ground as

The currently unstable situation in Afghanistan is attributable to
the fact that the Taliban is regaining its power. The Taliban is
widening its support by inviting jobless young people to join the
group. Because the multinational force's operations against
terrorists have frequently involved civilian casualties, people have
tended to side with the Taliban.

(5) Editorial: On new anti-terror legislation, information
disclosure indispensable

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
October 3, 2007/10/03

The government adopted an outline for a bill yesterday to extend the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean. Antagonism between the ruling and opposition blocs on the
controversial new legislation will inevitably heat up in the current
Diet session. Both camps must take to heart the importance of
thorough disclosure of information.

The government swiftly moved on the day after Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda delivered a policy speech. Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba
and other relevant cabinet ministers finalized an outline for the
new legislation. They will shortly present the outline to the
opposition camp and submit a bill to the Diet in mid-October.

The MSDF has supplied fuel and water to naval ships of the United
States, Britain, France, Germany, and Pakistan engaged in operations
to prevent terrorists from transiting the Indian Ocean. The
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law endorses the MSDF mission, but
the law is due to expire Nov. 1. The government reiterates that
continuing the mission is Japan's responsibility and serves Japan's
national interest.

But the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the main opposition party,
has been dead set against extending the Antiterrorism Law. Now that
the opposition bloc has control in the House of Councillors, it will
be difficult to extend the law. Under such a situation, the
government decided to draw up a new bill.

The outline restricts MSDF activities to supplying fuel. A clause in
the Antiterrorism Law that requires Diet approval for the MSDF
activities is not included in the outline, reflecting the view that
the enactment of the bill is tantamount to Diet approval. To enact
the antiterror bill, obtaining approval at both houses is necessary.
Some observers speculate that the government removed the clause in
anticipation of the bill being rejected in the Upper House.

It might be reasonable for the opposition camp to complain that
civilian control has not been properly functioning. On this point,

TOKYO 00004645 007 OF 011

more discussion must be conducted.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1776, which expresses
appreciation for the MSDF refueling operation, is included in a
clause on purposes of the outline. The Japanese government worked on
the UN to adopt the resolution, out of consideration to the DPJ,
which stresses the need for the UN seal of approval. But the DPJ
says the resolution is insufficient. There seems to be no way for
talks to be realized between the ruling and opposition parties.

The government should not try to hastily enact a new law under the
cause of an international pledge.

What activities is the SDF carrying out in the Indian Ocean? How
effectively has the operation worked in the fight against terrorism?
There are so many things we do not know. The government's duty is to
give detailed explanations on these questions.

The government remains unable to deny the allegation that fuel
provided by the MSDF to US warships was diverted for use in the Iraq
war. It is Prime Minister Fukuda who denied the allegation as then
chief cabinet secretary. This problem must not be left untouched.

Defense Minister Ishiba said he would disclose information in a
positive manner. We expect he will put his words into action. The
prime minister stressed in his policy speech the importance of
taking public views into consideration. Information disclosure is
likely to be a critical test to that end.

(6) Interview with Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba: Pins hopes on
start of debate on creation of permanent legislation

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
October 3, 2007

Interviewer: Nakae Ueno

-- How do you seek the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan's
(DPJ) understanding about a new bill on antiterrorism measures in
order to continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean?

"Upon examining what has made (the DPJ) opposed to the continuation
of the mission, for instance, 'violation of the Constitution' or
'availability of other measures,' I would like to ask that party to
sit down at the negotiating table and obtain its understanding about
the need for Japan to do something for the sake of its national
interests and international peace."

-- The refueling mission is certain to be suspended. What effect
will it have?

"The shorter the interruption the better it would be. I hope that a
new bill will be passed into law soon after the current
antiterrorism law expires on Nov. 1 and that the mission will be

-- What do you think about appealing to DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
to respond to talks with the ruling parties?

"President Ichiro Ozawa was designated as prime minister in the
Upper House. In this sense, Mr. Ozawa bears a large responsibility.

TOKYO 00004645 008 OF 011

I am sure he will respond to Prime Minister (Yasuo Fukuda)'s call
for talks. In terms of the current political situation and the
current international environment surrounding Japan, I think it is
most desirable that the two leaders will discuss a basic direction
about most appropriate activities for Japan to take.

-- What do you think about submitting a bill to establish permanent
legislation to the ordinary session of the Diet if a new bill is
rejected in the Upper House?

"So far I have felt that something is wrong about creating a special
measures law as the need arises. We must consider three elements in
this regard: on what occasion such a law should be created; whether
Japan will be able to assume an appropriate role in international
cooperation; and whether civilian control will be secured. Many in
the opposition parties are also stressing the need for creating a
general law (permanent legislation). I hope the ruling and
opposition parties will share the perception that a general law
should be established, putting an end to creating a special measures
law as the need arises.

-- When it comes to the US force realignment, will Okinawa's Nago
City, which has called for modifying the central government's plan
for the relocation of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, be
qualified to receive subsidies from the central government?

"The most important thing is to see how much the residents
understand about the US force realignment. Putting myself in the
shoes of Okinawans, who have housed military facilities and whose
land was requisitioned by force, I will make efforts to obtain their
understanding about the realignment plan. There is no change in the
central government's stance that the current plan is the best and no
change will be added to it unless rational reasons are shown. I want
to have an opportunity to visit Okinawa and organize my thoughts
about the situation."

(7) Many restraints put on deterrent action in Japan

SANKEI (Page 1 & 2) (Slightly abridged)
September 29, 2007

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) solicited views
from companies in the defense industry in the summer of two years
ago about equipment that should be newly introduced. One company
employee said in a hearing: "We want to develop a torpedo that can
be used in shallow seas, such as the East China Sea." In response,
the ministry official in charge angrily said: "Do you see rising
China as a threat?" The employee replied: "Isn't it necessary to
build a breakwater to provide against an emergency?" As a result,
the government decided to start research and development to that end
starting next fiscal year. The company employee grumbled that he was
surprised that a person who is not interested in national defense is
responsible for improving national defense capabilities.

There seems to be no mood of tension in the nation, but there was a
case in which Japan, as a result of taking deterrent action,
prevented an intrusion by foreign aircraft into its air territory.
On Oct. 7, 1996, activists from Taiwan and Hong Kong intruded by
fishing boats into waters around the Senkaku Islands (called the
Diaoyutai Islands) - territory that is an inherent part of Japan -
and four of the intruders put up the Chinese and Taiwanese flags on
one of the islands. Earlier, an activist from Hong Kong had died in

TOKYO 00004645 009 OF 011

a drowning accident off the islands. Upset by this incident, former
Taiwanese Air Force officers prepared a scheme to land two
helicopters on the islands.

As soon as they learned of this plot, Air Self-Defense Force's
(ASDF) Southwestern Composite Air Division Commander Mamoru Sato in
Naha decided to take alert action to prevent the planned intrusion.

So that F4 Phantom jet fighters can patrol airspace over the Senkaku
Islands and the nearby waters on a 24-hour basis, it is
indispensable to mobilize E2C airborne early warning aircraft. Five
E2C planes urgently took to the air from Misawa Air Base in Aomori
Prefecture. On Oct. 19, 29 F4 and E2C fighters took off.

Sato also anticipated a possible airspace intrusion by China. He
believed firmly that the Chinese Air Force would spot the E2C
fighters in the stack 6,000 meters above. It was a good opportunity
for Japan to demonstrate its iron-tight air defense.

The alert lasted for 10 days. In reaction, the Taiwanese Executive
Yuan released a statement banning helicopters from flying over the
Senkaku Islands. But Sato responded to the order in a cool-headed
manner, because he was not sure if Japan would be able to cope with
the situation properly once a foreign country's helicopter plane
intruded into its airspace. The Air Defense Command, a higher body
of the air division, issued these instructions: "Don't use any
weapons;" and "Don't get overly close to intruding aircraft."

When a foreign aircraft intrudes into another country's airspace,
that nation must take necessary steps to enable fighters that
scramble to force the intruding aircraft to make a landing or to
leave the territory. Depending on circumstances, it might be
necessary to fire tracer bullets or obstruct the flight course of
the plane. If fighters are not allowed to take such steps, they will
be unable to perform their mission. A human toll might be taken.

An officer of the Air Defense Command explained that its instruction
was in accordance with the Prime Minister Office's intention. Then
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto had drawn fierce protests from
China for his visit to Yasukuni Shrine in July.

After all, Sato agreed with the ASDF chief of staff to carry out the
alert action without making a fuss and took the steps as stipulated
in regulations. But he keenly felt how difficult it was to take
proper action to prevent infringement of sovereignty.

Now retired, Sato still stresses the importance of having a
deterrent capability. "Unless Japan makes a resolute response, it
may result in an increasing number of illegal intrusions," he said.

Japan's helplessness detected

In part because North Korea was aware that Japan's deterrent
capability was not properly functioning, Japanese nationals were
abducted by its agents.

According to the book titled, Secret teachings of Kim Il Sung"
(published in 2004), which correspondent Ruriko Kubota assigned to
the Sankei Shimbun Seoul Branch Office edited based on her interview
with a senior North Korean agent, Kim Il Sung had instructed agents
to carry out operations taking advantage of Japan's weakness,
saying: "Japan is a prime fishing ground that enables us to expand

TOKYO 00004645 010 OF 011

our indirect maneuvering" (in talks with agents toward the South in

Kim Il Sung made the following remarks in an executive meeting in

"Japan is an interesting country. Japan cannot wield its power
toward North Korea because it controlled and plundered our country
as its colony for 36 years.

"Japan has no legal or systemic measures to restrict espionage or
anti-government activities. Even if we carry out such activities and
the activities are discovered, only light punishment will be imposed
under the Alien Registration Law or the Immigration Control Law.

"If necessary, we may have to kidnap Japanese nationals."

As pointed out by Kim that Japan "cannot wield its power," Japan has
no provision to allow the Self-Defense Force (SDF) to take measures
to stop incursions. In other countries, it is common for the
legitimate armed forces to take forcible measures to deal with
illegal acts by a foreign military force.

In the case of airspace intrusions alone, the SDF is allowed to take
necessary measures under Article 84 of the Self-Defense Force Law.
But on the use of weapons, Japan has yet to set definite standards.
That is because Japan has applied the principle of allowing a
counterattack in proportion to the scale of an attack from an enemy.
Pilots are allowed to use weapons only in the case of emergency
evacuation or legitimate self-defense. Troops on the frontline are
allowed to take action for the first time only after being attacked.

Aware of an overly heavy burden from such regulations, SDF troops
are eager to establish a powerful system to prevent enemies from
taking advantage of their weakness.

Junior lawmakers from various political parties created a group at
the end of 2001 to establish a security system suited for the new
century. The group, headed by Keizo Takemi, called for reviewing the
current awkward national defense system. Since then, the group has
reiterated the need to quickly reconstruct the exclusively
defense-oriented system and reconsider the current security

In the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), its members Goshi Hosono and
Akihisa Nagashima worked out a report calling on the government to
authorize the minor use of the self-defense right, including the
defense of missions, and to change the government's interpretation
of the Constitution to conform the international standard on the use
of armed force." The project team on territory and sea interests
approved the report in December 2004.

Although the proposal was approved, the government has yet to make
an effective legal system to protect its territorial waters and

(8) Growing calls for extending current Diet session

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
October 3, 2007

TOKYO 00004645 011 OF 011

With the government outlined new legislation enabling the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to continue its refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean, views calling for an extension of the current Diet
session, which runs until Nov. 10, have become stronger. The reason
is that the government expects that it would be difficult to enact
the legislation during the ongoing extraordinary session, since the
opposition camp controls the House of Councillors. As the Diet will
have to deal with both -- an annual tax code revision and budget
compilation for fiscal 2008 -- some coalition members are cautious
about extending the session. Therefore, coordination could stall

The most likely scenario is that the current session will be
extended for about one month until mid-December. The scenario is
that if the government submits the legislation to the Lower House in
mid-October when the budget committees in both Diet houses end
deliberations, the measure would clear the Lower House early
November and it would be sent to the Upper House. If that is the
case, the ruling bloc will be able to readopt the legislation with
more than two-thirds of the Lower House members.

In case the term of the session expires while deliberations are
discontinuing at the Upper House, chances are that the new
legislation will be scrapped. Therefore, some in the ruling
coalition assert that the Lower House should decide to carry the
legislation over to the next regular session for deliberations

The second scenario is that the session should be extended up to
next January, using a safeguard. In a meeting yesterday of senior
party officials, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Upper House Caucus
Chairman Hidehisa Otsuji said: "Since the session will be extended,
it should be extensively extended so that the opposition will be
able to see our seriousness for passing the legislation."

If the Upper House does not take a vote on a bill within 60 days
after the Lower House sent it to it, the Lower House can consider
that the bill was voted down. If the session is extended
substantially, the Lower House will be able to take a vote again on
the legislation even if deliberations at the Upper House are dragged

However, LDP Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki sought to constrain the
view calling for a lengthy extension of the Diet session, saying
yesterday in a liaison conference of the government and ruling
coalition: "The government's top priority is to continue
antiterrorism operations. Since improving people's lives is also
important, compilation of the budget should not be delayed."

A senior New Komeito leader asserted that the ruling coalition
should be cautious about taking a vote twice in the Lower House.
Some in the LDP think that if they cannot have discussions with the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the current session should be
closed as scheduled and the bill should be discussed in the next
session. This is the third scenario.

The root cause of the necessary for an extension of the extra
session is that the Diet stalled for about three weeks due to the
LDP presidential election. Therefore, there is a view in the LDP
that the session should be extended at least three weeks.


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With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>