Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/23/07

DE RUEHKO #4950/01 2960752
P 230752Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, MSDF refueling

(2) New antiterrorism legislation gets double wallop of Moriya's
Diet testimony and corrected amount of MSDF oil; Defense Ministry
hit by scandal after scandal ahead of government's explanation on
bill today (Yomiuri)

(3) MSDF's cover-up of misreported amount of fuel increasing
suspicions of oil diversion (Mainichi)

(4) Interview with Takashi Uesugi, journalist and author of
"Collapse of the Kantei": Question - Is the Kantei broken?; Does the
strong return of party politics, portend the collapse of the LDP?
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(5) Assistant USTR Wendy Cutler in interview is cautious about
Japan-US FTA, sees treatment of rice as an impediment (Nikkei)


(1) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, MSDF refueling

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 22, 2007

Questions & Answers
(T = total; P = previous; M = male; F = female)

Q: Do you support the Fukuda cabinet?

Yes 46 (57) 39 51
No 30 (25) 37 24
Not interested 21 (16) 21 22

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the above question) Why?

Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party 12
(13) 14 11
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
15 (12) 16 14
Because there's something stable about the prime minister 58 (58) 52
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures 12 (12) 13 12

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the above question) Why?

Because the prime minister is from the Liberal Democratic Party 24
(20) 24 24
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
16 (21) 17 14
Because there's no fresh image about the prime minister 13 (20) 13
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's policies 46
(35) 45 47

TOKYO 00004950 002 OF 009

Q: Which political party do you support?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 27 (32) 26 29
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 27 (26) 34 21
New Komeito (NK) 5 (4) 3 7
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3 (2) 3 2
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (3) 2 2
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0) -- 1
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 1 (1) 1 0
Other political parties 1 (1) 1 1
None 32 (30) 29 35

Q: The government is going to create a new law in order for Japan to
continue the Maritime Self-Defense Force's current refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean. Do you support continuing the MSDF's
refueling activities?

Yes 48 53 44
No 43 41 44

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Why? Pick only one reason.

Japan should do so as its international contribution 65 65 65
Japan should do so to prevent its US ties from worsening 18 17 19
Japan needs to participate in the war on terror 16 17 15

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Why?
Pick only one reason.

Japan should contribute to the international community in a
different way 48 41 52
It's strange to take part in a US war 37 40 34
It's unconstitutional 13 15 12

Q: The MSDF's refueling mission is said to be part of the US-led war
on terror. Do you think the MSDF's refueling activities are helpful
for antiterror deterrence?

Yes 32 35 28
No 61 58 63

Q: DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa has indicated that Japan would
participate in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Afghanistan if his party takes the reins of government. Do you
support this idea?

Yes 26 37 16
No 62 55 68

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "0" indicates that
the figure was below 0.5 PERCENT . "--" denotes that no respondents
answered. "No answer" omitted. Figures in parentheses denote the
results of the last survey conducted Sept. 25-26.

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Oct. 20-21 over the

TOKYO 00004950 003 OF 009

telephone across the nation on a computer-aided random digit
sampling (RDS) basis. Answers were obtained from 1,064 persons.

(2) New antiterrorism legislation gets double wallop of Moriya's
Diet testimony and corrected amount of MSDF oil; Defense Ministry
hit by scandal after scandal ahead of government's explanation on
bill today

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Abridged slightly)
October 23, 2007

New antiterrorism legislation has gone amiss ahead of the
government's explanation on the bill in a House of Representatives
plenary session today. The fate of the new legislation has become
even murkier due to a series of improprieties involving the Defense
Ministry, such as the questionable relationship between former Vice
Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya and a defense contractor and the
ministry's sloppy response to the correction of the amount of oil
provided to a US oiler by the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Another problem

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in a Liberal Democratic Party executive
meeting last evening ordered stricter discipline, saying, "One
misfortune has followed another. Discipline must be strengthened."

It has been about six weeks since the current extraordinary Diet
session opened on September 10. During that period, the Abe cabinet
has been replaced by the Fukuda cabinet. The government has finally
reached the point of Diet deliberations on the new antiterrorism
bill. However, senior government and ruling party members look grim
at this critical juncture due to the series of problems involving
the Defense Ministry, including the revelation that former Vice
Defense Minister Moriya has been treated to over 200 free rounds of
golf and wining and dining by a former executive of Yamada Yoko
Corp., a major defense contractor.

Some in the ruling and opposition camps suspect that the close
relationship between Moriya and the former Yamada executive might
have affected the contract for procuring the engine for the CX
next-generation transport aircraft now under development by the
ministry. A senior LDP lawmaker said, "There is no one in the LDP to
seriously defend Moriya."

The government and ruling parties held talks in the Diet building
yesterday at noon. In the session, New Komeito Upper House Diet
Affairs Committee Chairman Hisashi Kazama said: "(Moriya has
repeatedly acted) in a way to ruin our efforts. During Diet
deliberations, the ruling parties must uncover what took place." LDP
Lower House Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima echoed
Kazama's view, saying, "The ruling bloc should also hurl questions
at him." Thus, the government and ruling parties smoothly decided to
summon Moriya to the Diet, with no one objecting.

The ruling parties initially planned to summon Moriya to the Diet as
an unsworn witness. But through talks last evening between Oshima
and his New Komeito counterpart Yoshio Urushibara and others, the
two ruling parties decided to summon Moriya as a sworn witness.
Although there was concern that the Diet deliberations would center
on uncovering facts behind the suspicions, the conclusion was
reached from the judgment that coming across as defending Moriya
would be detrimental to the ruling bloc.

TOKYO 00004950 004 OF 009

Diet testimony over counterproposal

Meanwhile, the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto
or DPJ) in the Lower House antiterrorism special committee meeting
yesterday afternoon demanded four individuals, including Moriya, be
summoned to the Diet as sworn witnesses. Enlivened by an array of
blunders by the ruling camp, the largest opposition party in the
meeting last night raised the number of witnesses to eight,
including the person who was serving as vice defense minister (in
February 2003).

A senior DPJ lawmaker declared last night: "We will not join
committee deliberations unless a clear timetable for Diet testimony
is set." DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, in his talks yesterday with
Policy Research Committee Chair Masayuki Naoshima, also confirmed
the policy direction of focusing attention on Moriya's scandal and
the corrected oil amount by postponing the party's plan to come up
with a counterproposal this week to the government's new

In the wake of this development, the DPJ foreign affairs and defense
meeting planned for Oct. 23 is expected to conduct a hearing on the
MSDF oil issue and other matters instead of soliciting views for a

New legislation might not pass Lower House in early November

In the event the antiterrorism committee fails to begin substantial
deliberations on the new legislation this week, the government's
plan to have the legislation clear the Lower House in early November
might fall through.

In the talks yesterday, the government and ruling parties confirmed
the policy course to have the Lower House endorse the new
legislation to send it to the Upper House. But an LDP executive
explained the mood in the ruling camp this way yesterday: "There has
emerged an atmosphere to adjourn the Diet session early. It might be
difficult for the new legislation to pass even the Lower House."

But a ruling party executive said apprehensively: "The Diet
timetable has been delayed according to the LDP's convenience.
Shying away from deliberations would not help win public support,
and Prime Minister Fukuda won't be able to explain anything when he
visits the United States."

(3) MSDF's cover-up of misreported amount of fuel increasing
suspicions of oil diversion

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
October 23, 2007

The Defense Ministry admitted yesterday that a senior Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) official had noticed on May 9, 2003, an
error in records of MSDF refueling but had not reported it to his
superior. The cover-up was undertaken immediately after an
allegation of diversion of MSDF-supplied fuel for use in the Iraq
war came up following a US commander announcing that his ship had
been refueled by the MSDF before joining the Iraq war. At that time
around, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and then Defense
Agency Director General Shigeru Ishiba were pressed for explanations
about the diversion allegation. The opposition camp suspects that

TOKYO 00004950 005 OF 009

the MSDF was involved in the cover-up. Defense Minister Ishiba plans
to issue a final report later this month. Affected also by an
allegation of a former vice defense minister having received favors
from a defense contractor, deliberations on a bill to replace the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law have already reached a deadlock.

Government's view not credible

A report compiled by the Defense Ministry says that the misreporting
of the amount of fuel was caused by a section chief of the Maritime
Staff Office mistakenly having inputted the amount of fuel supplied
to another warship and that the cover-up was made based on a
judgment by a defense division head who had noticed the error. The
report thus denies an alleged MSDF-wide cover-up.

But the mistake involving the amount of fuel cannot be dismissed
simply as a numerical error. It deeply affects the navigation of the
US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. Because then Chief Cabinet Secretary
Fukuda dismissed the allegation of diversion of fuel to the Iraq
war, by saying in a press conference on May 9, 2003: "The amount was
approximately 200,000 gallons, an amount instantly consumed and not
enough for the carrier to enter the Persian Gulf." In actuality,
however, it has been confirmed that the aircraft carrier had entered
the Persian Gulf after provided with 675,000 gallons of oil.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama
takes this view: "The error was intentionally covered up with the
aim of hiding the diversion of fuel for use in the Iraq war." Based
on this view, Hatoyama told reporters: "To avoid the blame from
being shifted to the top executive, the explanation that 'the
section chief did not report it to his superior' was deliberately
made up." The main opposition party is ready to strengthen its
pursuit, focusing on the question of whether the entire organization
was involved or not.

All sections concerned in the Defense Agency, in addition to the
section of the Maritime Staff Office, were informed of the accurate
amount of 800,000 gallons in February, 2003, but Chief Cabinet
Secretary Fukuda said in a press conference on May 9, 2003: "The

amount was about 200,000 gallons."

According to the report, the Defense Policy Division drew up
guidelines for Diet replies in accordance with the contents of an
interview by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on May 8, the
day before the chief cabinet secretary's press conference. The
report does not explain why the Defense Agency did not check the
amount of fuel in question.

As the reason for no report or correction made by the section chief
of the Maritime Staff Office, the report notes that the controversy
over the diversion allegation was calming down.

However, the allegation had come up on May 6 just before the
cover-up was undertaken, set off by the commander of the Kitty Hawk
engaged in the Iraq war disclosing: "The carrier was provided with
about 800,000 gallons of fuel directly by the MSDF." Then Defense
Agency Director General Ishiba was being pressed to give
explanations in Diet replies even afterward.

The report is far from contributing to dispelling the diversion
allegation. Dissatisfaction has begun smoldering in the Prime
Minister's Official (Kantei). In a press conference yesterday, Vice

TOKYO 00004950 006 OF 009

Defense Minister Kohei Masuda had to repeatedly say: "A close
investigation is necessary."

Diet scenario also crumbles

In a Liberal Democratic Party's executive meeting last evening,
Prime Minister Fukuda grumbled: "One misfortune has followed
another." The government and the ruling coalition had prepared a
scenario under which they will override the difficult situation by
realizing a summons of Moriya to the Diet as a sworn witness. But
with this scenario crumbling, it is becoming more difficult to have
the new antiterrorism bill passed in the current Diet session.

Hit by the double whammy of Moriya's scandal and the cover-up of an
error in refueling records, many government officials have voiced
concern about the effect on public opinion.

Over the past several days, the DPJ intensified its offensive
against the government over the Moriya scandal, setting the
summoning of Moriya as the precondition for the opposition camp to
sit on the table for substantial deliberations on the new
antiterrorism bill. In response, Ishiba publicly said on Oct. 20 in
an effort to swiftly bring about a settlement: "If the Diet decides
to summon him, (Moriya) should accept." Around such a time, the
cover-up scandal became an issue. A senior New Komeito member
angrily said: "They are totally stupid. They might have no awareness
of it being a cover-up." The dominant view in the ruling camp is
that it has to accept the opposition camp's demand for summoning
Moriya to the Diet as a sworn witness.

The DPJ intends to also pursue the responsibility of Prime Minister
Fukuda, who was chief cabinet secretary at that time, and others.
Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka, in the belief that
obtaining public support will be possible, told House of
Representatives antiterrorism and Iraq support special committee
chief executive Yoshio Hachiro yesterday: "In the case of summoning
him as an unsworn witness, we reject it. If the ruling camp tries to
forcibly carry out deliberations unilaterally, let it do that."

(4) Interview with Takashi Uesugi, journalist and author of
"Collapse of the Kantei": Question - Is the Kantei broken?; Does the
strong return of party politics, portend the collapse of the LDP?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 6) (Full)
October 23, 2007

It has been almost a month since Yasuo Fukuda took office as prime
minister. Using his low-postured humble approach, he has been tiding
over in Diet debates, given the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or
Minshuto) dominance in the Upper House,. Reporter Takayuki Shimizu
interviewed Takashi Uesugi, author of "Collapse of the Kantei,"
which painted the picture of an Abe administration that had run

Shimizu: The "Collapse of the Kantei" is a title suggesting that you
had expected the abrupt resignation of Abe as prime minister. When
did you get the idea that the Abe administration might collapse?

Uesugi: I hit on the idea of using this title around March. However,

there had been indications from way back that the administration
would collapse, as can be seen in the reinstatement of postal rebels
to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) late last year and its

TOKYO 00004950 007 OF 009

response to a scandal involving the government's then Tax Research
Commission (Chairman Masaaki Honda). Members of the "Team Abe"
flocked to the Kantei in order to take credit, but once a crisis
occurred they scattered like birds. Looking at this situation, I
thought the administration would not last long.

Shimizu: The Fukuda cabinet was supposedly formed based on a
reflection on that administration. But it inherited the lineup of
the Abe cabinet. Do you think it could make the same mistake?

Uesugi: Since the Fukuda administration came into existence

immediately following Abe's sudden resignation, he did not have time
to take care of the cabinet roster, though he changed the party

Mr. Fukuda reinstated Mr. Masahiro Futahashi (deputy chief cabinet
secretary during the Koizumi administration) as a deputy chief

cabinet secretary, a post responsible for managing the bureaucracy.
His appointment was a plus factor in terms of stabilizing the
cabinet. Since the appointment of Mr. Futahashi as deputy chief
cabinet minister would smoothen the collection of knowledge and
information from the bureaucracy as a whole, the cabinet's crisis
management capability has improved.

However, in terms of Japanese politics as a whole, the Fukuda
cabinet gives the impression that the hands of the clock have been
turned back, because during the past six years and six months during
the Koizumi and Abe administrations, it was the Kantei and politics
that had the lead, though not in a quite satisfactory manner. I call
this the return of party politics. Since the bureaucracy and the
party (LDP) have regained power, opposition from the public seems
likely to arise in the future.

Shimizu: How do you analyze the past month since the Fukuda
administration came into existence?

Uesugi: In contrast to the Koizumi and Abe administrations, which

were always in high gear, the Fukuda administration appears stable.
Mr. Fukuda is keeping a low posture, because if he adopts a
hard-line stance with the opposition camp dominating the Upper
House, his administration could not last. No matter who had become
the prime minister, he would have acted in the same manner.

A scandal involving former Administrative Vice Defense Minister
Takemasa Moriya has emerged at this juncture. The scandal will have
an impact on Diet deliberations on the new antiterror special
measures legislation. Taking a false step would prove fatal to the

Shimizu: What do you think the Fukuda administration's weak point

Uesugi: The public has realized the briskness of politics during

the Koizumi and Abe administrations, in particular, during the
Koizumi administration.

If an administration ends in a year or so like the Morihiro Hosokawa
administration, the public may give up on politics, judging,
"Politics will never change." However, the Koizumi and Abe
administrations lasted for six years and a half. Many people must
have thought that they can do it if they try.

TOKYO 00004950 008 OF 009

Despite this emerging trend, Mr. Fukuda returned to the old-style
way of administering politics. The Fukuda administration may find
itself in a tight fix when it goes to the people, that is to say, in
the next election.

Shimizu: When do you think a Lower House election will take place?

Uesugi: Presumably between March and May next year. Basically, it

could be before the Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido.

There is a possibility of the Lower House being dissolved at the
outset of the regular Diet session in January next year. However, in
light of the character of Mr. Fukuda, this is improbable. If that is
so, when the budget bill clears the Lower House, Mr. Fukuda may have
talks with the opposition camp and dissolve the Lower House under
the condition that the bill is allowed to pass the Upper House. Even
if the talks do not go smoothly, the Lower House will still be
dissolved, because the budget could not be implemented if related
bills fail to secure Diet passage due to opposition from the
opposition camp.

Shimizu: Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) President Ozawa
said he would not respond to a Lower House dissolution, based on
talks between the ruling and opposition camps.

Uesugi: If Mr. Ozawa does not give in over the budget, he would come

under fire, because the budget issue will have an impact on people's
lives. I think that dissolving the Lower House based on talks is an
unavoidable option for both camps.

Shimizu: It may be premature to ask this question, but what sort of
election do you expect to occur?

Uesugi: It will indeed be an election for voters to choose whether

it will be the LDP or DPJ. The DPJ has had the image of being a
childish party that has no ability to run the government. However,
seeing Mr. Abe, voters had the impression that there is no
difference between the LDP and the DPJ. The resignation of Mr. Abe
has erased people's notion that if the LDP takes the reins of
government, people can feel secure, but if the DPJ runs the
government, people would feel unstable. In that sense, I would think
that more people would think, 'let the DPJ try for once."

Shimizu: "Collapse of the Kantei" again?

Uesugi: Due to the failure of the Abe administration, the LDP has

abandoned Kantei-led politics. It has returned to LDP-led politics.
Now, it is the turn for the LDP to collapse.

In order for the ruling parties to win, they would have no choice
but to swallow all bills the opposition camp submitted to the Upper
House. They should make the presence of opposition parties
meaningless. If there is no change between ruling and opposition
parties, people would think they do not mind the ruling party
continue to be ruling parties. This approach would be the major
attack the ruling camp can make. The ruling camp has no other choice
but to ensure defeat of the enemy by taking great risk even by
sustaining serious injury.

Takashi Uesugi: Born in 1968 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Graduated from
Tsuru University. Freelance journalist, after serving as state-paid

secretary to Lowe House member Kunio Hatoyama, now justice minister,


TOKYO 00004950 009 OF 009

and reporter for the Tokyo Branch of the New York Times. His works
include "Koizumi's Victory and the Media's' Defeat," "Hate of Makiko
Tanaka," "Shintaro Ishihara's Five Staff Officers."

(5) Assistant USTR Wendy Cutler in interview is cautious about
Japan-US FTA, sees treatment of rice as an impediment

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
October 23, 2007

In an interview with the Nikkei, Assistant US Trade Representative
(AUSTR) Wendy Cutler said that "the time is not ripe yet" for the
possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and the
United States. As her reason for being reluctant to start
negotiations between the two governments on an FTA, she pointed out:
"Unless there is comprehensive liberalization, there is no sense of
challenge." She expressed her view that as long as Japan continues
to keep its agricultural market closed, such as by making rice an
exception to tariff scrapping, FTA negotiations would be difficult.

AUSTR Cutler is the US government's responsible official for trade
negations with Japan. She is also responsible for the Republic of
Korea and APEC, and in April, as the senior negotiator, she
completed FTA negotiations with South Korea.

On the subject of a Japan-US FTA, Cutler stressed: "There are great
expectations from industrial circles for an early signing." On the
other hand, her outlook was that: "Thinking inside Japanese
government has not yet been unified." She expressed the stance of
the US Government in her remarks, namely, that the impediments to
starting negotiations were the lateness on the Japanese side in
coordinating with affected domestic interests and the lack of

Regarding the exception given rice from the list of tariffs subject
to scrapping in the US-South Korean FTA, Cutler said: "Since the
situation with Japan is different, Japan and the Republic of Korea
cannot be discussed on the same plane." The reason for the US
agreeing to treat rice as an exception seems to have been
appreciation for the ROK's steps to double imports of rice by 2014
under the minimum access formula. She stressed that an FTA with
Japan "would have to have comprehensive contents without exceptions
since we are the two largest economies in the world." She held fast
to the basic principle that tariffs on all traded goods, including
farm products, must be abolished. At the same time, she stated,
"Once we start negotiating, failure is unacceptable," hinting at the
strong arguments for caution in the US government.

On the issue of imports of US beef, she pointed out, "It is
important that the decision on safety be based on scientific
grounds." She emphasized repeatedly that the OIE, which sets safety
standards for livestock, has taken a position recognizing the safety
of US beef.


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