Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More



Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/15/07-1

DE RUEHKO #4803/01 2880234
P 150234Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.


(1) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support rate at 44 PERCENT (Tokyo
(2) DPJ Ozawa's remark, "Members who do not agree with the ISAF idea
should leave the party," creating uproar (Yomiuri)
(3) Former LDP Secretary General Nakagawa: New antiterrorism bill
should be enacted in next ordinary Diet session (Yomiuri)
(4) LDP gives in to New Komeito over disclosure of receipts for
expenditures from political funds over single yen (Asahi)
(5) Ozawa's fund management body to repay all rent income (Sankei)
(6) Maritime interdiction drill held without China, South Korea;
Program's effectiveness needs improvement (Yomiuri)
(7) Ruling coalition team decides not to include provision banning
refueling oilers in new legislation (Yomiuri)
(8) Logbook disclosure needed for accountability on MSDF refueling:
NPO chief (Asahi)
(9) Japan, North Korea to unofficially meet in China to determine
details for next session of working group on diplomatic
normalization possibly later this year (Nikkei)
(10) North Korea tells US that delisting it as state sponsor of
terrorism and Japan-North Korea relations are separate issues
(11) Japanese, Chinese governments in coordination on visit to Japan
by President Hu; Prime Minister Fukuda likely to visit China in
January (Nikkei)
(12) Prime minister orders drastic review of independent
administrative corporations: Gets down to work of consolidation and
rationalization plan before year's end (Tokyo Shimbun)
(13) Poll: 92 PERCENT see need for newspapers (Yomiuri)


(1) Poll: Fukuda cabinet's support rate at 44 PERCENT

TOKYO (Page 2) (Abridged)
October 13, 2007

The approval rating for Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's cabinet was
44.1 PERCENT , according to a public opinion survey conducted for
the month by Jiji Press on Oct. 5-8. His predecessor, former Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, stayed low in public support, remaining below
30 PERCENT , when his cabinet was at its last stage. The Fukuda
cabinet's support rate topped the Abe cabinet's. However, the Fukuda
cabinet's inaugural support rate ranked eighth among its
predecessors since the Ikeda cabinet that came into office in 1960,
following the Sato cabinet (in a survey taken in November 1964). The
disapproval rating for the Fukuda cabinet was 24.3 PERCENT

The survey was conducted across the nation with a total of 2,000
persons chosen from among men and women aged 20 and over. The
retrieval rate was 66.3 PERCENT .

(2) DPJ Ozawa's remark, "Members who do not agree with the ISAF idea
should leave the party," creating uproar

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 14, 2007

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ozawa earlier said
regarding the propriety of his controversial idea of Japan's
participation in operations by the international Security Assistance

TOKYO 00004803 002 OF 009

Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan: "Those who do not agree with the idea
should leave the party." This remark is creating a stir in the
party. Now that the main opposition party is launching an attack on
the government in the ongoing Diet session over the issue of whether
to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean, the party executive is frantically trying to avoid
internal discord.

The Ozawa statement cropped up in a press conference on Oct. 10.
Secretary General Hatoyama said in a press briefing on Oct. 12: "He

might have said too much," but he then added: "He did not mean that
those who do not agree with the ISAF idea should leave the party. He
meant that showing no understanding of the policy platform (the
party adopted last December) is contradictory to party decision."

The executive intends to calm down the situation with the
explanation that the idea is Ozawa's personal view and that his
controversial remark is intended to ask the party members to respect
the policy platform.

On the idea of Japan's participation in the ISAF, former DPJ Policy
Research Council Chairman Yukio Edano claimed: "It is irrational to
say that the participation does not come under the category of
invoking state power." Deputy President Seiji Maehara also
criticized his United Nations-centered policy, saying: "(The
international community) will not be able to take security steps
unless China and Russia, permanent members of the Security Council,
say 'yes' or abstain from voting."

The party's policy platform also stops short of referring to whether
the Self-Defense Force (SDF) or a UN stand-by force separate from
the SDF - an idea advocated by Ozawa - should actively join UN
activities. One member grumbled: "The current situation has been
caused because the party has not fully discussed security policy out
of fear of a conflict over policy direction."

Ozawa, when heading the Shinshinto (New Frontier Party), did not
come up with any specific policy principles. That was why the party
was split and dissolved in the end. Keeping this in mind, a veteran
lawmaker vented: "Mr. Ozawa seems to be showing his classic
symptoms." A junior House of Councillors member grumbled: "I might
not be able to receive official recognition in the next election. We
had better refrain from making unwise remarks."

(3) Former LDP Secretary General Nakagawa: New antiterrorism bill
should be enacted in next ordinary Diet session

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 14, 2007

In a speech in Higashi-Hiroshima yesterday, former Liberal
Democratic Party Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa indicated that
the party aims at passing in the next ordinary Diet session the
government's new antiterrorism special measures bill to extend the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
He said: "We should consider the possibility of continuing
deliberations on the legislation in the ordinary Diet session (to be
convened next January)."

(4) LDP gives in to New Komeito over disclosure of receipts for
expenditures from political funds over single yen

TOKYO 00004803 003 OF 009

ASAHI (Page 1 (Full)
October 13, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito yesterday
held a meeting of the Project Team for Bringing Transparency to
Political Funds in the Diet and agreed to disclose receipts for all
expenditures. The LDP's previous stance on this issue was that
receipts for expenditures exceeding a certain amount from political
donations made by individuals, companies and organizations be
disclosed. However, it has given in to the New Komeito, which had
called for full disclosure. However, since the agreement is attached
with conditions, there is a possibility of full disclosure becoming
impossible in effect, depending on the course of future

Both parties will work out such details as a method of disclosing
receipts and then finalize bills amending related laws, such as the
Political Funds Control Law and the Party Subsidies Law, for
submission to the current Diet session. The meeting brought together
Tsutomu Takebe, chairman of the LDP Reform Implementation

Headquarters; Junji Higashi, chairman of the New Komeito Political
Reform Headquarters; and others. Participants agreed that receipts
for all spending items be disclosed and that such receipts be
disclosed in an effective manner with consideration given to the
prevention of administrative costs from expanding.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, which is in charge
of the issue, and the LDP noted that full disclosure would lead to a
substantive increase in information disclosure work. For this
reason, future discussion by the LDP and the New Komeito will likely
focus on narrowing in effect items subject to disclosure on the
grounds of preventing administrative costs from bloating.

Participants in the Project Team meeting almost unanimously agreed
to set up a committee to promote proper expenditures of political
funds (tentative name), based on a proposal made by the LDP.
Auditing by experts, such as certified public accountants, will
likely be obligated. Regarding spending items subject to disclosure,
the LDP wants to limit the scope to political organizations
involving Diet members, while some New Komeito members want to cover
local assembly members as well. Discussions on this matter will

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) has already
finalized an amendment to the Political Funds Control Law, which
will mandate all political organizations attach receipts for all
expenditures. It will submit it to the Upper House possibly next
week. Behind the LDP's policy switch is probably that it was
motivated by the desire to avoid its members from falling out of
step with the DPJ submitting a bill that is close to the New
Komeito's stance.

(5) Ozawa's fund management body to repay all rent income

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
October 14, 2007

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa's fund management
body Rikuzan-kai, which is located in Minato Ward, Tokyo, revealed
on Oct. 13 that it would return all rent income from condominiums
purchased with political funds. Rikuzan-kai will repay S.A.
Consulting, a consulting firm, which rented a condominium at 70,000

TOKYO 00004803 004 OF 009

yen per month for five years and nine months, the International
Grass-Roots Exchange Center, which rented at 200,000 yen per month
for three years and one month, and the Tokyo support group for
Ichiro Ozawa, which rented at 100,000 yen per month for 11 years and
four months. The fund management group will repay the three entities
a total of approximately 26 million yen. The fund management body
has already repaid S.A. Consulting, which terminated its rent at the
end of September of a condominium in Minato Ward.

A spokesperson for Ozawa's office said: "We though we would rent
them free of charge. We think there was no problem. But the media
have reported incorrectly, so we decided to repay the money so that
we won't be misunderstood."

(6) Maritime interdiction drill held without China, South Korea;
Program's effectiveness needs improvement

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
October 14, 2007

A three-day maritime exercise called Pacific Shield 2007 to search,
pursue, and climb aboard suspicious vessels as part of the
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) began on Oct. 13 in waters
off Izu-Oshima Island, Tokyo. The number of countries taking part in
the exercise has increased to seven from the four in 2004, when
Japan last hosted the event. Although observers have also markedly
increased to 40 countries from the 18, China and South Korea did not
join the exercise. This has raised questions about the program's

In principle, the PSI is not intended to deal with any specific
situations or countries, the view prevalent in and outside Japan is
that the exercise held in Japan effectively has North Korea in mind.
In fact, in the wake of allegations that Syria has been pursuing a
nuclear weapons program backed by North Korea, US President George
W. Bush in September warned North Korea to stop nuclear
proliferation. Meanwhile, China and South Korea, which have strong
influence over North Korea, opted not to join the ongoing maritime
drill, leaving Japan and Singapore as the only countries from East
Asia taking part in it and raising questions about regional joint
efforts against North Korea. China and South Korea seemingly decided
not to antagonize the North, with the six-party talks and the recent
inter-Korean summit in mind. A senior Foreign Ministry official said
on Oct. 13, "We would like to urge the two countries to join the
exercise as observers in the future."

(7) Ruling coalition team decides not to include provision banning
refueling oilers in new legislation

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 13, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito held on Oct. 12 a
meeting of the ruling bloc Antiterrorism Special Measures Law
project team, chaired by former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki. As
a result, the team decided not to include in the envisioned new
antiterrorism legislation a provision banning the Maritime
Self-Defense Force from refueling foreign supply ships in the Indian

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto or DPJ) has
been pursuing the allegation that oil provided by the MSDF to a US

TOKYO 00004803 005 OF 009

oiler in the Indian Ocean was diverted for use in the Iraq war. In
order to increase the transparency of the refueling mission, the
idea of prohibiting the MSDF from providing oil to supply ships was
circulating in the government and ruling bloc.

The decision comes from the judgment that banning refueling foreign
oilers under the new legislation might be taken as an admission of
oil diversion and might end up excessively restricting the
activities of other countries as well. To prevent Japanese oil from
being used for other purposes, the ruling bloc will consider such
steps as (1) Prime Minister Fukuda and others declaring during Diet
deliberations on the new legislation not to allow diversion of oil,
and (2) specifying measures to prevent oil diversion in a new basic
plan on the refueling operation.

In the project team meeting, the New Komieto insisted on setting the
term of the new legislation at one year from the viewpoint of
civilian control against the option of making it good for two years
and requiring annual reporting to the Diet. As a result, the meeting
failed to reach a final agreement. The government and ruling camp
plan to hold a project team meeting again on Oct. 16 to discuss the
contents of the new legislation.

(8) Logbook disclosure needed for accountability on MSDF refueling:
NPO chief

ASAHI (Page 15) (Abridged)
October 4, 2007

Hiromichi Umebayashi, representing the Peace Depot

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force provided fuel to US naval
vessels under the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. The US
military, however, is now suspected of having used the MSDF-supplied
fuel for its Iraq operations. The government is aiming to continue
the MSDF's refueling mission. Before doing so, however, the
government should disclose information about the MSDF's activities
so far and fulfill its public accountability.

The suspicion came up in May 2003. Carrier Battle Group 5's Rear
Adm. Moffit, who commands the USS Kitty Hawk, a US Navy aircraft
carrier, revealed that his flattop was indirectly refueled by the
Tokiwa, an MSDF supply ship.

Following up the admiral's remarks, we looked into the Kitty Hawk's
logs and other documents, using the United States' information
disclosure system. As a result, we found that the Tokiwa fueled the
USS Pecos, a US Navy oiler, with about 800,000 gallons on Feb. 25,
2003, and that the Pecos thereafter ran through to the Kitty Hawk
and refueled her on the same day. The Kitty Hawk then headed for the
Persian Gulf and engaged in Operation Southern Watch (OSW) against
Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Iraq.

At first, the Japanese government explained that the amount of fuel
provided by the Tokiwa to the Pecos was 200,000 gallons. However, on
Sept. 21, the day after we pointed to the suspected diversion of
fuel, the Japanese government owned up to its mistake and corrected
the amount thereof to 800,000 gallons-equivalent to the amount of
fuel for the Kitty Hawk to consume within a timeframe of about 5-7
days. During that period of time, the Kitty Hawk was deep in the
Persian Gulf. She was on stage in waters near Iran, a country that
neighbors Afghanistan, where the war on terror is still going on. In

TOKYO 00004803 006 OF 009

those days, tensions were growing between the United States and Iran
over Iran's suspected nuclear development. In response to the
Japanese government's inquiry, the United States says it will look
into facts. However, it would be extremely difficult to maintain
that the Kitty Hawk was engaged there in the war on terror as well.

We are concerned about whether the diversion of fuel was only for
the Kitty Hawk that day. When standing on the US military's
position, there is no reason to separate its warships for operations
with an eye on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. I wonder how Prime
Minister Fukuda and his government will dispel such a natural

In the long run, information disclosure to the public will heighten
the quality and credibility of administration. Unfortunately, the
government has been failing to make us feel that it is serious
enough to consider such an advantage.

We made our information disclosure request to the United States. At
the same time, we also requested the then Defense Agency to disclose
MSDF vessels' logbooks to the public. However, the agency, now the
Defense Ministry, did not disclose them, with the exception of only
some publicly known information, such as when they left port and
when they returned to port. The agency cited some points as reasons
for its rejection of our request to disclose information, fearing
that such information disclosure could make it difficult to ensure
safety and could trouble Japan's relationship of mutual trust with
other countries. We raised an objection to the agency, with copies
of US naval vessels' logs attached. We asserted that the agency
should not reel off theoretical possibilities that are low in
probability. Yet, the agency did not change its conclusion.

The United States-the main player in the war on terror-disclosed its
naval fleet logs. That is probably because it is self-evident that
terrorists can neither locate naval vessels nor attack them
accurately and rapidly. At that time, the Defense Agency cited a
sort of vague fear as a reason for its refusal to disclose
information. This is nothing but to show authoritarianism or secrecy
in old days. In other words, the government thinks it would be
better to let us know nothing. Logbooks that record the Self-Defense
Forces' overseas activities are historical documents, which are
valuable for future researchers as well. They should not be shredded
even after the retention period of archives.

(9) Japan, North Korea to unofficially meet in China to determine
details for next session of working group on diplomatic
normalization possibly later this year

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
October 14, 2007

Japanese and North Korean officials in charge of negotiations on
normalizing bilateral diplomatic ties arrived in Shenyang, China, on
Oct. 13. The officials are expected to determine a timetable and
agenda items for the next session of the working group on
normalizing diplomatic ties to be held as part of the six party
talks possibly later this year. Reflecting the Fukuda
administration's emphasis on dialogue with the North, North Korea
leader Kim Jong Il has indicated his stance of carefully watching
moves by the Japanese government. The focus of attention is on to
what extent progress will be made on negotiations on the issue of
Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents.

TOKYO 00004803 007 OF 009

Working-level negotiations on normalizing bilateral relations,
outside the framework of the six-party talks, will be held for the
first time under the Fukuda administration. The officials who
arrived in Shenyang include Foreign Ministry North and East Asian
Division head Shigeo Yamada and Ambassador of North Korea to
Normalization Talks with Japan Song Il Ho. No specific schedule,
including how long the talks will last, has been determined yet.

In the negotiations, Japan and North Korea are expected to reconfirm
the need to accelerate talks on settlement of past accounts,
including Japan's colonial rule over the North, in line with the
abduction issue. Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura has indicated a
positive stance of tackling the issue of liquidation of the past.

However, Pyongyang has taken no specific move to resolve the
abduction issue, whose settlement is vital for Japan. In the working
group meeting held in early September, Japan urged the North to
return all abducted Japanese nationals and clear up the details of
the issue. But North Korea declined Japan's request, one official
remarking: "Since Japan-North Korea relations have been
deteriorated, we are not in a state of taking more steps."

In the upcoming talks, too, it remains to be seen whether Pyongyang
would respond to Japan's request for a reinvestigation on Japanese
abduction victims.

(10) North Korea tells US that delisting it as state sponsor of
terrorism and Japan-North Korea relations are separate issues

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., October 13, 2007

Washington, Kei Ukai

North Korea does not consider improvement in its relations with
Japan as a condition for the United States to delist it as a state
sponsor of terrorism, a source familiar with North Korean affairs
revealed on Oct. 12. The North has also insisted that if it is not
delisted be the end of the year, it will discontinue the nuclear
disablement process. Therefore, there is a possibility of
Japan-North Korea relations preventing the nuclear disablement

According to the source, Pyongyang asserted that since Japan-North
Korea relations and US-North Korea relations are completely separate
issues, the two issues should not affect each other and that the
six-party talks will stall if the US insists on improvement in
Japan-North Korea ties as a condition for delisting. The Japanese
government, meanwhile, has called on the US government not to remove
the North from its list of state sponsors of terrorism before the
abduction issue is resolved.

The six-party agreement released on Oct. 3 specifies that the US
will live up to its promise in accordance with North Korea's
response based on an accord in the working group of normalizing
diplomatic ties between the US and North Korea. US Assistant
Secretary of State Christopher Hill, US chief negotiator, stated: "I

have clearly said that I want to see improvement in Japan-North
Korea relations." This highlighted that there is a gap between
Washington and Pyongyang on the agreement of the working group.

TOKYO 00004803 008 OF 009

The expectation is that the nuclear disablement process will speed
up based on the agreed document. Georgetown University Prof. Victor
Cha, former director for Asian affairs of the National Security
Council, pointed out: "Delisting will be very difficult unless there
is improvement in the abduction issue," since President George W.
Bush, who will make a final decision, is sympatric about the issue.

(11) Japanese, Chinese governments in coordination on visit to Japan
by President Hu; Prime Minister Fukuda likely to visit China in

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 14, 2007

The governments of Japan and China are coordinating a visit to Japan
by Chinese President Hu Jintao in mid-April, it was learned on Oct.
13. Tokyo and Beijing have determined that it will be desirable for
Hu to visit Tokyo after Japan's Diet completes deliberations,
approving a state budget for fiscal 2008. It will be the first time
for a Chinese president to come to Japan since then President Jiang
Zemin visited in 1998. Prime Minister Fukuda, however, will likely
visit China in January before an ordinary Diet session convenes.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Chinese Prime Minister Wen
Jiabao agreed in their meeting in September in Beijing to set a
schedule for Hu's Japan visit in the next spring. The two
governments, therefore, have been under coordination.

The expectation is that Hu will stay in Japan for five to seven
days. The Chinese government is looking at the possibility of the
president visiting Japanese local areas.

The topics of discussion in the Japan-China summit will likely
include 1) Japan's cooperation for China's energy conservation and
environmental protection; 2) trade and investment issues, including
intellectual property protection and food safety; and 3)
macroeconomic policy such as the handling of the Chinese yuan. The
Japanese side intends to ask the Chinese side for its cooperation
for a settlement of the abductions of Japanese by North Korea.

A visit to Japan by a Chinese president has been a pending issue due
to a conflict over the remarks made by the Emperor when Jiang
visited Japan, as well as over the Yasukuni Shrine issue in the
government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

(12) Prime minister orders drastic review of independent
administrative corporations: Gets down to work of consolidation and
rationalization plan before year's end

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
October 13, 2007

The government and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) yesterday
decided to drastically review the organizations of all of 101
independent administrative corporations and their operations with
an eye on the compilation of an independent administrative
corporations consolidation and rationalization plan slated for the
end of the year. Though basic policy guidelines for revising such
corporations were adopted at a cabinet meeting in August by the Abe
administration, moves of various government agencies that have
jurisdiction over them have been slow. The LDP Administrative Reform
Promotion Headquarters will strengthen efforts at the order of Prime

TOKYO 00004803 009 OF 009

Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

Receiving a report on Oct. 11 on the envisaged compilation of the
plan from Koki Chuma, chairman of the LDP Administrative Reform
Promotion Headquarters, and Hiroyuki Sonoda, Acting Chairman of the
Policy Research Council, in the Diet, Fukuda replied, "It is
necessary to take a second look at independent administrative

At the prime minister's order, the LDP Administrative Reform
Promotion Headquarters will conduct a hearing survey of all
independent administrative corporations and fully look into the
outcome of the survey with the possibility of abolishing some of
their administrative works and projects or privatizing them.

The government's Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters
yesterday started inviting public views on its website on the sale
of projects by independent administrative corporations to the
private sector. State Minister in Charge of Administrative Reform
Yoshimi Watanabe indicated a plan to reflect public opinions in the
envisaged consolidation and rationalization plan.

The government and the LDP are now seriously tackling a review of
independent administrative corporations partly in order to counter
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which has the
initiative in adopting bills in the Upper House. The DPJ advocates
abolition or privatization in principle of all independent
administrative corporations within three years.

However, the basic guidelines for independent administrative
corporations adopted by the government at a cabinet meeting will
likely meet fierce resistance from various government agencies,
because it stipulates that all independent administrative
corporations with the exceptions of those that are considered really
necessary be scraped.

(13) Poll: 92 PERCENT see need for newspapers

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
October 14, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun recently conducted a face-to-face nationwide
public opinion survey, in which respondents were asked if they
thought they needed newspapers to get information or knowledge. In
response to this question, a total of 92 PERCENT answered "yes" or
"yes to a certain degree." Respondents were also asked if they
trusted newspaper reports. To this question, a total of 87 PERCENT
gave affirmative answers with "very much" or "generally."

There are an increasing number of new information-gathering
resources like the Internet. Even so, the general public heavily
weighed the role of newspapers as reliable media. The survey was
conducted on Oct. 6-7, prior to Newspaper Week (Oct. 15-21).

In the survey, respondents were further asked if they thought
newspapers have been careful not to violate human rights or privacy
in their reports. In response, 73 PERCENT answered "yes." Asked
about TV news reports, 46 PERCENT answered "yes."


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.