Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 10/05/07
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 10/05/07
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
North Korea problem:
4) Joint Japan-ROK poll shows 76 PERCENT of Japanese, 17 PERCENT
of South Koreans see abductions by North Korea as priority issue
5) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura finds new six-party agreement
6) Tokyo worried that as nuclear progress continues in six-party
talks, and North Korea is de-listed as terror-supporting state,
abduction issue will be marginalized
7) Shizuoka University Prof. Izumi sees latest six-party accord as
step forward toward resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean
8) Death of Japanese photographer and Burma's inadequate response
has convinced the Japanese government to impose sanctions, including
9) Japan freezing aid to Burma and rebuilding its foreign policy
approach to the regime there
10) Japanese and Russian foreign ministers in telephone conference
discuss need to resolve northern -territories issue
11) Prime Minister Fukuda in Diet interpellations calls for talks
with DPJ on new anti-terror bill, stresses need for MSDF to continue
12) Text of key exchanges on foreign and security affairs in the
Diet session yesterday
13) As part of party's stall tactic, DPJ lawmaker wastes 80 minutes
of Fukuda's time in Diet interpellation by asking 80 trivial
14) New anti-terror bill will likely have a one-year limited
15) Defense Ministry cautious about proposed provision in new
anti-terror bill that would halt MSDF refueling of supply ships, 55
PERCENT of the servicing until now
16) Once government introduces its new anti-terror bill, DPJ plans
to present its bill to scrap the "Iraq law"
17) Views in DPJ are split over President Ozawa's suggestion that
Japan consider service in ISAF in Afghanistan under UN mandate
18) Maritime Self-Defense Force overcharged by shipping company by
80 million yen
1) TOP HEADLINES
Asahi: Mainichi: Yomiuri: Tokyo Shimbun: Akahata:
DPRK to start disabling nuclear facilities within two weeks;
Agreement at six-party talks released; Complete declaration by
year's end; No date give for delisting
TOKYO 00004648 002 OF 013
Toyota decides to allow contract employees to join labor union,
possibly next summer; 3,000 workers in first step
L&G searched over alleged investment scam: Investigation found plan
similar to "enten" currency system targeting South Korea in pursuit
of funds abroad due to funding difficulties
(1) Six-party talks reach agreement, taking step forward
(2) Refueling operations: Disappointed at prime minister's reply
(1) Party representatives question-and-answer session at Diet: DPJ
should quiz Fukuda over details of his low-profile replies
(2) Forcible investigation into L&G over "enten" scam:
Responsibility for promoting investment also weighty
(1) Interpellation at Diet: DPJ should shift from its exclusively
(2) Agreement at six-party talks leaves many pending issues for
(1) Can DPJ show capability to run government?
(2) Consideration must be given to ordinary stockholders in
(1) Party representatives question-and-answer session at Diet
(2) Triangular mergers: Use system instead of fearing it
(1) Diet debates kick off: We hope to see party heads speak their
(2) Six-party talks: Can DPRK meet pledges?
(1) A-bomb sickness recognition system: Drastic improvement needed
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, October 3
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Met Deputy Foreign Minister Yabunaka at the Kantei.
Attended a Lower House plenary session.
Met at the Kantei with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono. Followed
by Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota and others.
Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.
TOKYO 00004648 003 OF 013
4) Poll on N. Korea priority policy: Abductions at 76 PERCENT in
Japan, 17 PERCENT in S. Korea
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
The Yomiuri Shimbun recently conducted a joint public opinion survey
with the Korea Times to probe public attitudes in Japan and South
Korea on North Korea issues. In the survey, respondents were asked
what they thought Japan, China, and South Korea should tackle
together on a priority basis. In response to this question (for
multiple answers), 77 PERCENT in Japan picked "stop North Korea's
nuclear development," topping all other answers. In South Korea as
well, this answer topped all other answers at 68 PERCENT .
In Japan, those who picked "resolve the abductions of Japanese and
South Korean nationals" accounted for 76 PERCENT . In South Korea,
however, the proportion of those who gave this answer was only 17
PERCENT . The sensitivity of threat to North Korea, which conducted
a nuclear test in October last year, was high both in Japan and in
South Korea. However, there was a perception gap between the
Japanese and South Korean public over the abductions issue.
The third-ranking answer in Japan was "stop North Korea's missile
development and launch" (62 PERCENT ). In South Korea, the
second-ranking answer was "missile development" (44 PERCENT ). The
third-ranking answer in South Korea suggested the need for Japan and
South Korea to "normalize diplomatic relations with North Korea" (35
Respondents were also asked if they thought North Korea would
abandon its nuclear programs. To this question, those who answered
"no" totaled 82 PERCENT in Japan, and those who said "yes" totaled
15 PERCENT . As seen from these figures, most people in Japan were
pessimistic. In South Korea, those who chose "no" totaled 58 PERCENT
, with "yes" totaling 41 PERCENT .
On the question of the public impression of North Korea, "bad"
totaled 98 PERCENT in Japan and 63 PERCENT in South Korea.
The survey was conducted in Japan and South Korea from late August
through early September on a face-to-face basis with men and women
aged 20 and over.
5) Machimura hails six-party accord
ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura yesterday hailed the statement of
agreement released after the latest round six-party talks,
declaring: "The document is laudable. Under the accord, North Korea
will declare all its nuclear programs by the end of the year."
According to a source connected to the six-party talks, a clause
obligating North Korea to declare its nuclear programs was made
clearer than the final draft that China had originally presented. A
senior Foreign Ministry official, commenting on this, said: "A
heavier obligation has been placed on Pyongyang."
Foreign Minister Komura also commented on the accord last night: "A
TOKYO 00004648 004 OF 013
better document was worked out, compared with that in the drafting
process. What is important is to have North Korea deliver on its
promises." On Japan's economic sanctions against North Korea, Komura
indicated the government would continue the sanctions for the time
being, saying: "Japan will not remove the sanctions immediately. We
must carefully watch what move the North will make."
A senior Foreign Ministry official commented on the issue of whether
the United States would remove North Korea from its list of
terrorism-sponsoring nations: "The document only says that the US
will begin the process. It contains no details." However, North
Korea's understanding is that if it disables three nuclear
facilities at Yongbyon, the US will be able to delist it. A senior
Foreign Ministry official said: "We have the impression that the
delisting process has moved half a step forward."
In reference to a pledge made in the consensus documents issued in
the six-party talks in February and this time to provide the North
with one million tons of heavy oil, Komura renewed the government's
stance of not joining the aid program as long as there is no
progress on the abduction issue.
6) Japan worries US may delist North Korea, putting abduction issue
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
October 4, 2007
The Japanese government has favorably taken the agreement reached in
the latest six-party talks, focusing on the deadline set at Dec. 31
for the completion of disablement of North Korea's nuclear
facilities and declaration of all its nuclear programs. Chief
Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said: "An accord satisfactory
to Japan was worked out in the final stage." However, regarding the
United States' commitment to begin the process of delisting North
Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, there is concern that the US
may hurriedly delist North Korea, separating it from the issue of
North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals. The Fukuda
administration, which places importance on both pressure and
dialogue, will inevitably be hard pressed to make a difficult
Speaking before reporters at the Prime Minister's Office last night,
Machimura commented on the delisting issue: "It depends on to what
extent Pyongyang moves ahead with fulfilling its obligations. It
would be strange if the North were removed automatically at some
point." Foreign Minister Komura also said: "North Korea is required
to declare all of its programs," indicating that Pyongyang should
also declare uranium-enrichment and nuclear development programs.
In a plenary session held in late September, Japan insisted that the
North disable all its nuclear facilities and nuclear development
programs. On the delisting issue, Japan demanded that a complete
settlement of the abduction issue should be made a precondition. A
senior Foreign Ministry official praised to some extent the fact
that the accord did not specify a clear-cut date for that, saying:
"Although we can not give it full marks, Japan's stance was
reflected in it."
Even so, concern persists that if the second phase in the
denuclearization process moves forward, the US might delist the
North, putting the abduction issue on the backburner. With respect
TOKYO 00004648 005 OF 013
to Japan-North Korea relations, as well, the accord refers to (North
Korea's) promise to implement specific action in order to settle
past accounts and pending bilateral issues. Reflecting this, one
Japanese representative indicated Japan's willingness to speed up
adjusting the timetable for the bilateral working group on
normalization of diplomatic ties, but the situation does not warrant
7) One step forward on North Korea's denuclearization
ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
October 4, 2007
By Hajime Izumi, professor at the University of Shizuoka
The contents of the statement of agreement coming out of the
six-party talks was largely anticipated. The document obligates
North Korea to disable three of its nuclear facilities by Dec. 31.
This obligation can be taken as a move one step forward toward a
settlement of the issue of North Korea's denuclearization and as
such, a visible achievement.
The accord further notes that North Korea has agreed to provide a
complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs. That,
however, would be technically difficult to complete by Dec. 31.
The word "all" would include not only plutonium but
uranium-enrichment nuclear development programs. In addition, it is
necessary to verify what the North declares. Considering this, we
must say that the process to realize the agreement will start by the
end of the year. In this respect, I think we have still a long way
to go. We should not relax our efforts.
Additionally, the agreement states that the United States would
begin the process of removing North Korea from its list of
terrorist-sponsoring nations if Pyongyang moves ahead with its
obligations. The obligations on North Korea include positive
responses to such issues as the Yodo Airliner hijack incident and
abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents. North Korea
will be under pressure now to respond promptly.
The document stresses "strengthened relations of mutual trust" in
referring to relations between the US and North Korea. This is the
first time under the Bush administration for such a positive
expression to be used, and it indicates that the bilateral
relationship has improved considerably.
In describing relations between Japan and North Korea, the document
uses this expression: "make efforts to normalize diplomatic
relations at an early date." Attention should be focused on the
words "at an early date." This shows that Japan-DPRK relations, too,
have begun to move forward.
8) Scope column: Japan decides to take sanction measures against
Burma in effort to seek a full account of death of Japanese reporter
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
TOKYO 00004648 006 OF 013
The government yesterday decided to take sanction measures against
Burma (Myanmar), such as placing a freeze on part of its
humanitarian assistance, in the wake of photojournalist Kenji Nagai
having been shot by a Burmese soldier. In the past Tokyo had been
cautious about imposing sanctions, but it has now judged it is
necessary to indicate its strong will to Burma and to pressure the
military junta to investigate the incident. The two countries are
far apart when it comes to accounts of the incident.
ASTERISK ASTERISK ASTERISK ASTERISK ASTERISK
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said this of sanction measures at a
press briefing: "Japan's economic cooperation toward Burma has been
limited to humanitarian aid, but I want to cut it even further." As
areas in which Japan will suspend aid, Komura cited a construction
plan for a human resources development center (for which 550 billion
yen has been earmarked in the current budget) for such purposes as
Japanese language education.
Since the military junta came to power after a coup in 1988, Japan
has suspended yen loans under its official development assistance
(ODA) program, and it also has suspended any new
economic-cooperation project since pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi was put under house arrest.
Unlike the United States and European nations, which have put
pressure on the military junta by slapping economic sanctions on it,
Japan has continued humanitarian aid as an exception. In 2006, Japan
offered a total of 3 billion yen in grant aid cooperation and
technical cooperation in order to support, for instance, polio
vaccination and projects against narcotics and poverty.
These measures taken by Japan had been in part aimed at urging the
military junta to turn the country into a democracy and improve the
current situation of human rights through repeatedly holding a
dialogue. Japan's deep friendship with Burma in historical and
cultural terms had also affected its policy toward Burma.
Japan took the above measures even though it knows China is the
largest aid donor to Burma. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura said: "If we drive Burma, an ASEAN member, into a corner
and it moves even closer to China, it will become difficult to keep
Southeast Asia in a stable situation."
Nonetheless, the government has now decided to impose sanctions on
Burma. Behind this decision is the government's judgment that the
military junta is unwilling to investigate the incident of the death
of a Japanese journalist. The government continued to insist that
the death of the journalist was accidental even when Deputy Foreign
Minister Mitoji Yabunaka was sent to Burma to lodge a protest and
demand an investigation of the incident.
However, many in Japan take the view that if humanitarian aid is
suspended, "That would deal a blow to the people of Burma, while the
military junta would not affected," according to a senior Foreign
Ministry official. Taking this into account, the government intends
to carefully select projects to be frozen with Foreign Minister
Komura noting, "It's no good to suspend such projects that are
directly beneficial to the public."
Yet, it is unavoidable that traditionally friendly relations between
Japan and Burma will now grow cool.
TOKYO 00004648 007 OF 013
9) Japan to remake policy toward Burma following decision to freeze
part of aid to Burma
ASAHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
October 4, 2007
Will Japan review its previously friendly ties with Burma (Myanmar)
though official development assistance (ODA) or will it maintain the
dialogue line while continuing aid? Tokyo has now decided to put a
freeze on part of humanitarian aid to Burma. This means Japan's
policy toward Burma has come to a turning point. Japan has begun
looking for ways to rebuild its policy toward Burma in a way
different from the United States and European nations, which have
cut off relations with the Burmese military junta, and China, which
has been boosting its presence owing to massive aid to Burma.
At the Prime Minister's Official Residence late yesterday, Prime
Minister Fukuda admitted that the government began reconsidering its
previous policy toward Burma, telling reporters: "I want the Foreign
Ministry to fully study what (humanitarian) aid projects can be cut
or whether it is good to cut them."
In the past Japan had followed a unique policy toward Burma, keeping
the door for dialogue open to the military junta unlike the US and
European nations, which have assumed a tough stance by imposing
economic sanctions on Burma. But in the wake of the recent shooting
death of photojournalist Kenji Nagai in Burma, Tokyo has been forced
not only by the international community but also by the Japanese
public to assume a strong position against the military junta. Japan
has come to a turning point in its policy toward Burma.
Japan's economic ties with Burma, for instance, in trade, have been
on the decline in recent years. Its official development assistance
(ODA), as well, has been limited to emergency humanitarian aid and
personnel training contributing to democratization. When it comes to
sanctions against Burma, "What Japan can do is limited," a senior
Foreign Ministry official said.
After being briefed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka, who
just returned home from Burma, Foreign Minister Komura reportedly
decided to change the previous aid policy, noting, "It's
unacceptable if we do not take any action despite the death of a
Japanese national. We must cut our aid, albeit slightly."
The Foreign Ministry will more closely examine the projects of high
urgency out of the grant aid and technical cooperation programs to
be implemented. At the same time, it intends to continue its steady
effort to hold dialogue with the military junta while working in
close cooperation with the international community.
10) Japanese and Russian foreign ministers exchange views on
resolving the Northern Territories issue
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura late yesterday held a telephone
conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in which he said:
"It is essential to resolve the (Northern) Territories issue. I want
TOKYO 00004648 008 OF 013
to continue my efforts to find a solution acceptable to both sides."
In response, Lavrov said, "We have no intention of freezing the
peace treaty issue. We really hope to resolve (the territory)
Komura underscored: "Strengthening Japan-Russia relations would
contribute to improving the strategic environment in the
Asia-Pacific region." Lavrov replied: "We must bring to realization
cooperation in a new area, including cooperation in the Far East and
East Siberia." Both leaders confirmed that Lavrov would visit Japan
in late October.
11) Fukuda calls for discussions on new antiterror law
ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
October 4, 2007
The Diet has now entered into a battle of words in earnest. In the
House of Representatives, the ruling and opposition benches kicked
off their parliamentary debate yesterday with questions from those
representing their respective political parties. In his
parliamentary reply, Prime Minister Fukuda underscored the need to
continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force's current refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean in order for Japan to fulfill its
international responsibility in the war on terror. The MSDF's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean is based on the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law, which is due to run out on Nov. 1. In this
regard, Fukuda said the government would like to work out the newly
planned legislation as soon as possible to show its outline to the
public, including the opposition parties.
12) Main points from Oct. 3 Diet interpellations
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
October 4, 2007
Foreign and security affairs
Bunmei Ibuki (Liberal Democratic Party): I would like to see the
government also begin discussions with the opposition parties on new
legislation (for continuing the refueling mission in the Indian
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda: We will speedily produce an outline to
present it to the general public, including the opposition parties.
Yukio Hatoyama (Democratic Party of Japan): The Defense Ministry has
corrected the amount of fuel supplied to a US supply vessel by the
Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2003 from about 200,000 gallons to
800,000 gallons. I want the government to thoroughly disclose facts
about SDF activities overseas, including the refueling mission.
Fukuda: In collecting refueling data back then, the Maritime Staff
Office mistook the volume provided to the US supply vessel for that
to another ship. It was a clerical mistake. I feel it was
regrettable that such a mistake occurred. I have ordered the defense
minister to take thorough measures to prevent any more clerical
mistakes. We must give thought to the possibility that disclosing
MSDF activities might have adverse effects on the operations of the
SDF and foreign forces. We will make efforts to disclose as much
information as possible by obtaining the understanding of other
TOKYO 00004648 009 OF 013
Hatoyama: Our party is opposed to continuing the MSDF mission that
lacks a UN resolution.
Fukuda: All UN members are required to take appropriate measures to
prevent international terrorism based on UN Resolution 1368. Japan's
refueling operations are also based on that UN Security Council
Hatoyama: What is your perception of the current situation in
Afghanistan and do you have any exit strategy?
Fukuda: In Afghanistan, the process of building a system of
government is over. Efforts are being made for high economic growth
and improved educational and medical systems and infrastructure, and
refugees are returning to the country, as well. The Afghanistan
government is also endeavoring to improve security under the
assistance of multinational forces. At the same time, the war on
terrorism, a tough and long-term effort, is continuing. In close
cooperation with the international community, Japan will continue
extending reconstruction assistance to eliminate poverty and other
factors contributing to terrorism.
Hatoyama: Is the government prepared to make efforts for the
democratization of Burma (Myanmar)?
Fukuda: It was regrettable that a Japanese national was killed. We
are concerned about the democratization of Burma. We are working on
Burma to settle the situation through talks instead of force. We
will swiftly and persistently work on that country in collaboration
with the international community.
Hatoyama: To settle the abduction issue, what measures are you going
Fukuda: We will make maximum efforts to bring all abductees back to
Japan, settle the unfortunate past, and normalize diplomatic
relations. We will urge North Korea to take concrete steps to
resolve the abduction issue, while holding serious talks with the
North and working close with concerned countries, including the
United States, through the six-party talks and other venues.
13) DPJ's Nagatsuma presents 80 questions to Prime Minister Fukuda -
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Akira Nagatsuma, deputy policy chief of the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), asked about 80 questions of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda during Diet interpellations yesterday. It is
unprecedented for a lawmaker to ask as many as 80 questions
regarding the prime minister's Diet policy speech, said to a source
in the Lower House. Fukuda spent 40 minutes answering the questions,
exceeding Nagatsuma's allocated time.
It has been standard practice for party representatives to question
the prime minister's about basic political stances. Nagatsuma,
however, raised minutely detailed questions, centering on the
Fukuda answered all his questions, however. Chief Cabinet Secretary
TOKYO 00004648 010 OF 013
Nobutaka Machimura made a sympathetic comment: "Seeing the prime
minister from the side, I felt sorry for him."
After the Lower House plenary session, Nagatsuma told reporters:
"Since the prime minister's policy speech was full of abstractions,
I asked him about specific figures and date. His answers were also
abstract so that the actual meaning of his words could not be
He then gave notice he would grill Fukuda further, saying, "I will
ask him more specific questions during committee meetings."
14) Government, ruling parties to set term of new antiterrorism
legislation at one year
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 4, 2007
The government and ruling parties decided yesterday to set the term
of new antiterrorism legislation intended to continue the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean at one
year and obligate the MSDF to report to the Diet every six months.
They are also considering halting the refueling service to supply
vessels of the United States and other countries and stipulating in
the legislation to limit its service to destroyers and cruisers. The
ruling bloc project team plans to finalize the outline of the
legislation today to brief on it at a meeting tomorrow of the Diet
affairs chiefs of the ruling and opposition parties.
The government had initially presented the ruling parties with a
plan to set the term of deployment at two years, but the New Komeito
insisted on one year, citing solid civilian control. The government
and Liberal Democratic Party eventually concurred with the New
Komeito plan. The government has come up with the idea of removing
the supply vessels from the MSDF refueling list in response to the
allegation that the fuel provided to a US supply vessel was used in
the Iraq war.
15) Gov't mulls stopping fuel supply to supply vessels; Defense
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
October 4, 2007
The government is now beginning to consider stopping the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's fuel supply services for multinational forces'
supply vessels in the Indian Ocean, sources said yesterday. The
MSDF's fuel supply to those foreign naval supply vessels there
accounts for nearly 60 PERCENT of the MSDF's refueling services in
the Indian Ocean. In this regard, opposition parties say Japanese
fuel supplied to a US aircraft carrier through a US supply vessel
was used for operations in Iraq. The government is therefore looking
to rule out the possibility of indirect refueling in a newly planned
legislative measure, which is to replace the current time-limited
antiterror law. This is aimed at dispelling suspicions over such
indirect refueling. Meanwhile, there are also cautious arguments
within the Defense Ministry, with one of its officials saying it
means rejecting the MSDF's activities in the past. Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, meeting the press yesterday, indicated
that the government would positively consider excluding supply
vessels from those subject to MSDF refueling services. "That's one
TOKYO 00004648 011 OF 013
idea if their operation is possible as a whole," the top government
spokesman said. The government will specify such a course of action
in the new legislation. At the same time, the Japanese government is
also coordinating with the governments of foreign countries whose
naval vessels are refueled by the MSDF to stipulate it in the
Japanese government's exchanges of notes with them.
A senior official of the Defense Ministry explained yesterday
afternoon why the MSDF will stop refueling supply vessels. "That's
because there is now less need," this official said. One staff
officer of the Self-Defense Forces, however, raised a question about
halting the MSDF's fuel supply services to foreign naval supply
vessels. "If we stop it just because the opposition parties said
that, the MSDF's activities in the past will be viewed as mistaken,"
the SDF officer noted. According to the Defense Ministry, the MSDF,
which began its Indian Ocean refueling activities in December 2001,
refueled foreign vessels with 484,000 kiloliters up until Aug. 30,
and 267,000 kiloliters or about 55 PERCENT of that fuel supply went
to US and British supply vessels. The MSDF conducted a total of 105
refueling services for foreign vessels until that time, including 88
services for them before the Iraq war started in March 2003. In 2003
and the following fiscal years, the MSDF conducted no more than 10
fuel supply services to them.
16) DPJ will submit bill abolishing Iraq Special Measures Law if
government presents new antiterrorism bill
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 4, 2007
The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) decided
yesterday to immediately present to the House of Councillors its own
bill to abolish the Iraq Special Measures Law to support Iraq
reconstruction if the government submits to the House of
Representatives new legislation enabling the Maritime Self-Defense
Force to continue its refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
The government-drafted legislation features the MSDF operation to
provide US and British ships engaging in the terrorism mop-up
operations in and around Afghanistan. The DPJ's bill to abolish the
Iraq law is aimed at withdrawing Air Self-Defense Force troops
deployed in Iraq. Therefore the regions to which the two bills
subjected differ. The DPJ, however, intends to purse the
appropriateness of SDF oversea dispatch, alleging the MSDF might
have provided fuel to a US aircraft carrier engaging in the Iraq.
17) DPJ divided over Ozawa's statement about ISAF participation
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa writing for
the party's organ paper took a positive stance about Japan
participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
in Afghanistan. Ozawa appears to be aiming at securing public
understanding for his party's opposition to the continued refueling
mission by the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the Indian
Ocean by stressing the DPJ's positive stance toward making an
Ozawa explained the reason for his opposition to the MSDF refueling
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"The war on terrorism in Afghanistan began with an armed attack by
the United States, declaring it a self-defense war. The Constitution
prohibits Japan from dispatching the Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
overseas for the sake another country's use of the right of
He took the view that the MSDF refueling mission violated the
He also pointed out that if Japan participated in the ISAF operation
that was dispatched in December 2001, based on a UN Security Council
resolution, it would not violate the Constitution, since ISAF was
authorized by a UNSC resolution. He then stressed: "I want to bring
that about at the time when my party assume the reins of government
and is making foreign and security policy."
House of Representatives member Akihisa Nagashima welcomed Ozawa's
"His argument is sound. We should prevent the public from seeing us
as just opposing everything. In order to show our clear stance
toward the war on terror, we should call for ISAF participation."
The DPJ is now compiling its own set of aid measures for
Afghanistan. There is a view in the party that logistic support for
ISAF should be included in the measures for Afghanistan.
There is also a strong view in the main opposition party that since
ISAF missions carry considerable risk, measures should be focused on
improvement in the people's livelihoods such as sending in a medical
team. The party executives decided yesterday to forgo for the time
being a plan to dispatch a parliamentarians' delegation to
Afghanistan to find out about the ISAF mission there.
The government and ruling coalition are negative about the SDF's
participation in ISAF operations. Gen Nakatani of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), a former defense chief, revealed his view
that Japan's participation in ISAF missions would not be realistic,
saying: "The SDF will not respond to the ISAF mission based on its
present equipment and exercises. We base our contributions on the
principle of not using armed force."
18) MSDF allocated contracts 80 million yen higher than average
price, Board of Audit points out: Nippon Express consigned for goods
ASAHI (Page 34) (Full)
October 4, 2007
Auditing of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) by the Board of
Audit (BOA) found that it consigned the transportation of goods,
such as ammunition, to Nippon Express (Minato Ward, Tokyo), a
leading trucking company, at prices higher than the average level.
A BOA source that the auditing found contracts that could have been
cheaper if better ways for loading and transportation had been
worked out. The MSDF reportedly started reviewing the methods of
contracts and transportation April this year.
The MSDF has consigned the land transportation of goods, including
ammunition and engines, to Nippon Express. It explained that since
the transportation of such goods is highly special, it has opted for
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However, according to the BOA, the cost of the transportation of
goods with standard volume and weight was higher in contracts
between the MSDF and the BOA, compared with average prices given by
the Economic Research Association (Chuo Ward, Tokyo), a judicial
foundation specializing in research on domestic prices, and the
Construction Research Institute (Chuo Ward, Tokyo).
The BOA pointed out that in contracts in which trucks were chartered
for the exclusive transportation of MSDF goods, prices could have
been lowered if they had been shipped together with goods of other
customers. There were also cases in which even the transportation of
special goods, such as ammunitions and engines, could have been
managed with a fewer number of trucks, if a better loading method
shipment had been worked out. The auditing report also noted that
there were cases in which expensive trucks were used even when the
transportation distance was over 200 kilometers - cases in which
railway container transportation is cheaper.
One BOA official pointed out: "There was an overly strong sense that
goods consigned by the MSDF were special. There is room for cost
reduction, if a better transportation method is work out."