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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/26/07

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #5018/01 2990807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260807Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 4688
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9742
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5796
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6611

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TOKYO 005018

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 10/26/07


INDEX:

(1) "Continuing refueling operations is difficult," Yachi tells
Negroponte (Yomiuri)

(2) Japan plans North Korea policy course change toward dialogue:
Assistance possible if progress on abductions issue (Asahi)

(3) Okinawa Defense Bureau chief reveals US plan to build CALA at
Futenma alternative facility; Enhancement of functions becomes clear
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(4) Japan's Burma policy nowhere in sight: Harsh views from within
and outside country on continuation of aid (Sankei)

(5) First month of Fukuda cabinet (Part 1): Concern about growing
present of Kasumigaseki in Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Nikkei)

(6) Prime Minister Fukuda after one month in office still a "safe
driver" with no reference to his vision of the state (Sankei)

(7) Personal network of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (Sapio)

(8) TOP HEADLINES

(9) EDITORIALS

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, October 25 (Nikkei)

ARTICLES:

(1) "Continuing refueling operations is difficult," Yachi tells
Negroponte

YOMIURI NET (Full)
13:32, October 26, 2007

Yuichi Suzuki, Washington

Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, now visiting the United States,
met with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte at the State
Department on the morning of Oct. 25 (before dawn on Oct. 26, Japan
time) in which he indicated that it would be inevitable to
temporarily halt the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
operations in the Indian Ocean.

Regarding the new antiterrorism legislation to continue the
refueling operations, Yachi said: "Other opposition parties,
including the Democratic Party of Japan, and are opposed it, so the
environment surrounding Diet deliberations is extremely severe."
Negroponte noted, "The international community as a whole is
strongly hoping that Japan will continue providing fuel."

(2) Japan plans North Korea policy course change toward dialogue:
Assistance possible if progress on abductions issue

ASAHI.COM (Full)
October 26, 2007

In order to break the impasse in Japan-North Korea relations, the
government has firmed up its intention to consider a removal of

TOKYO 00005018 002 OF 009


sanctions in stages and the providing of assistance depending on
North Korea's responses on the nuclear and missile issues and if
what can be taken as "progress" on the abduction issue occurs, such
as the repatriation to Japan of some of the abductees. The policy
course takes into consideration the intentions of Prime Minister
Fukuda, who has placed emphasis on dialogue with the DPRK, and
reflects a switch in policy away from the hard-lined stance of the
Abe administration to a dialogue line.

Foreign Minister Komura, meeting the press today after the cabinet
meeting, said, "It is clear that if even some (of the abducted
victims) return to Japan, that will be progress." He continued: "If
there is progress, we, too, will take actions in response to the
level of that progress. That is only natural if relations are to
improve between Japan and the DPRK." He suggested that depending on
North Korea's responses, there was the possibility of considering
easing sanctions measures and providing economic assistance.

Until now, the government has been vague about defining "progress,"
but the aim now is to urge compromise on the part of North Korea,
which has taken a hard-nosed stand on the abduction issue. One can
say that the Japanese government has shifted policy in order to
bring about in the end a repatriation of all (abductees) who remain
alive, which the Japanese has presented as a condition for the
normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea. This will
apparently become subject to discussion in the upcoming
working-group meeting between Japan and the DPRK.

(3) Okinawa Defense Bureau chief reveals US plan to build CALA at
Futenma alternative facility; Enhancement of functions becomes
clear

RYUKYU TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
October 26, 2007

Okinawa Defense Bureau Director-General Akira Kamata in a regular
press meeting on Oct. 25 admitted that the US military is planning
to build a combat aircraft loading area (CALA) at the facility
replacing Futenma Air Station. Although the plan has already been
revealed through a US government document, this is first time that a
Japanese government source has admitted it. Futenma Air Station is
not equipped with such a facility. It has become clear that base
functions would be enhanced in addition to the relocation. Kamata
also said about the large (214-meter-long) quay specified in the US
government document: "As far as what was confirmed with the Defense
Ministry, there is no plan to build a quay capable of functioning as
a military port."

The construction of a CALA at the alternative facility is not
included in the final agreement reached at the Japan-US talks in May
2006. Futenma Air Station has the (1) heliport function to transport
troops, (2) air-tanker operational function, and (3) emergency use
function. The agreement says that of them, only the heliport
function will be moved to the new facility.

Kamata said: "Of the three functions of Futenma Air Station, the
idea of relocating just the heliport function is correct. As for
Futenma Air Station, ammunition is now loaded at Kadena Air Base.
Because the operations are expected to be hampered due to the
relocation (of the heliport function) to the Henoko district, (a
CALA) will be built at the new site."


TOKYO 00005018 003 OF 009


The function and equipment that were not revealed initially will now
be increased following the deployment of Ospreys, the US
next-generation mainstay transport aircraft. Once a CALA is built,
helicopters and Ospreys that are loaded at the alternative facility
might fly over Nago City and Higashi Village. A local backlash is
inevitable.

To a question asking whether fighters will be loaded with ammunition
as well, an Okinawa Defense Bureau official said, "We hear
helicopters will be loaded with ammunition."

Kamata also indicated that the ministry has sent to Gov. Hirokazu
Nakaima an outline of local views regarding a notice specifying the
details of an environment assessment for building the alternative
facility. He said: "We will collect objective data in the assessment
process and politely explain the results to the prefectural and
local governments."

In addition, about the construction of a US Army firing range at
Range 3 on Camp Hansen in Kin Town, Kamata noted, "The US military
informed us on October 2 that it has completed a contract with a
contractor."

A CALA is a place to load aircraft with missiles and other
ammunition. US military regulations stipulate that in building a
CALA, a certain distance must be kept from residential areas and the
like. Futenma Air Station does not have a CALA due to the difficulty
keeping a safe distance.

(4) Japan's Burma policy nowhere in sight: Harsh views from within
and outside country on continuation of aid

SANKEI (Page 6) (Full)
October 26, 2007

Video journalist Kenji Nagai was gunned down while filming
demonstrations in Burma. Following the incident, the Japanese
government took a stance of protesting to Burma by canceling one aid
item. The government does not intend to curtail any more aid
programs for humanitarian reasons. However, views from within and
outside the country are harsh toward continuation of aid to a nation
controlled by a military junta.

Japan provided official development aid (ODA) worth approximately 3
billion yen to Burma since fiscal 2003, combining grant aid and
technical cooperation. It once extended a massive amount of grant
aid in order to relieve the debt-ridden nation. However, in recent
years, it has been focusing on a human resources program and
anti-drug measures due to the political situation in Burma.

In extending aid to the nation, the government is attaching
importance to measures to prevent infectious diseases, such as
malaria. According to statistics issued by the World Health
Organization (WHO), the number of patients affected by malaria
reaches approximately 600,000 a year, of whom 3,000 people die of
this disease. The Japanese government provided roughly 144 million
yen in fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2006 in terms of track record and has
earmarked 157 million yen for fiscal 2007-2009.

Commenting on Japan's aid, Masahiro Kumomi, leader of the Major
Infectious Diseases Measures Project Team of the Japan International
Corporation Agency (JICA) explained, "Japan's aid attaches

TOKYO 00005018 004 OF 009


importance to spreading technology, instead of providing equipment.
Japan investigates affected people and supply medicines to make up
for portions used. It is now in the process of establishing an early
discovery and early treatment system, by training nurses."

However, Kei Nemoto, a professor at Sophia University, is skeptical
whether people receive pharmaceuticals Japan sent. He said, "Japan
should work on the junta to do that job."

Kumomi rebuts this view with assurance, "Since there are persons
that take charge of money, it is improbable that money is spent for
other purposes." He thus stressed that there is no problem about
securing transparency of aid.

One Foreign Ministry official called for continuation of aid from a
geopolitical perspective: "The military junta is amazingly
inward-looking. However, we cannot abandon a country sandwiched
between two powers -- China and India." There is also a deep-rooted
view among government officials that since there are persons who
will lead the country in the future among technocrats, Japan should
continue a program to invite them to Japan.

However, many experts take the position that though Japan's
influence had been strong until around 1995, it now has little
influence. This view indicates the fact that since Burma is making
profits by exporting natural gas, even if Japan stops ODA, its
impact would be small, as an official of the Japan External Trade
Organization said.

Despite the junta's suppression of demonstrators and Nagai's death,
there is no mood for discussing a policy toward Burma in the Diet.
One government source made this comment with a sigh, "Above all
things, the major problem is that Japan has no Burma policy."

(5) First month of Fukuda cabinet (Part 1): Concern about growing
present of Kasumigaseki in Prime Minister's Official Residence

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 25, 2007

The Fukuda cabinet will mark the first month tomorrow since its
inauguration. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has been trying to get
through the current extraordinary Diet session, while taking a low
profile. But enacting quickly the new legislation to continue the
Maritime Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operation in the Indian
Ocean has become a hopeless situation. With the shadowy presence of
the bureaucracy in the background, Fukuda has found it difficult to
lead the opposition camp, having in mind the next House of
Representatives election.

"What should I say about the consumption tax issue?" Fukuda
telephoned Nobumitsu Hayashi, former director of the Finance
Ministry's Overall Coordination Division, on Sept. 13, the day
before Fukuda announced his candidacy for the presidential election
of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hayashi, who was a
secretary to then Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda, immediately

SIPDIS
brought him a paper detailing how to respond to the questions.
Assisted by Hayashi and Kimihiro Ishigane of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MOFA), Fukuda came up with an administrative concept and
the goals of the cabinet. Fukuda has neither a right-hand man nor a
close aide in political circles. Although Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura is an advisor to Fukuda in the foreign policy

TOKYO 00005018 005 OF 009


area, he has been at Fukuda's side for only one month. They
reportedly have a businesslike relationship. Given that fact, it is
only natural for Fukuda to use the bureaucracy in consideration of
his strategy of playing up stability and a sense of balance.

Fukuda eats dinner at his private residence almost always with his
secretaries. He invited on Oct. 19 senior ruling coalition members

SIPDIS
for the first time to the Prime Minister's Official Residence. He
spent almost one month just dealing with day-to-day duties.

The influence of the Finance Ministry has grown over the past one
month, exceeding Fukuda's expectation. The typical example is the
government-ruling coalition consultative council on social security
and tax system reform, which held its first meeting on Oct. 22.

Although the purpose of the establishment of the council is to
strengthen ties between the government and the ruling camp, it is
clear that the aim is to exclude the Council on Economic and Fiscal
Policy. It can be said that the real purpose of the council is that
the Finance Ministry together with senior ruling camp members
control discussions by excluding private-sector persons. The
advisory council is modeled after the council on fiscal and
structural reform in the Hashimoto government. The Hashimoto
government raised the consumption tax to 5 PERCENT following the
council's recommendation; as a result, the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) suffered a crushing defeat in the 1998 Upper House
election. In the Oct. 22 meeting, when LDP Upper House Chairman
Hidehisa Otsuji said, "I wonder why there is only 30 minutes for the
tax-rate issue, which is supposed take a lot of time, even for just
discussing the national burden," Machimura and Finance Minister
Fukushiro Nukaga changed their countenances.

It is ironic that the bureaucratic organization, on which Fukuda
relies, is putting the skids to his government. In addition to a
series of scandals involving the Defense Ministry, it was discovered
that the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry had left documents
listing the names of patients who had contracted hepatitis-C caused
by contaminated blood products. In a meeting on the night of Oct. 22
with his secretaries, Fukuda raised his voice: "What happened with
you, bureaucrats? I don't understand!"

In a meeting on the evening of the 24th with senior LDP prefectural
chapter members, the prime minister brought on laughter by saying:
"I have bowed my head every day. How long should I have to do this?
I want to do something that will make you happy." How will Fukuda
display his own political imprint in a way that would attract the
public? There is not much time to lose.

(6) Prime Minister Fukuda after one month in office still a "safe
driver" with no reference to his vision of the state

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
October 25, 2007

Since he came into office on Sept. 26, a month ago, Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda has continued to take a low-posture approach to the
opposition camp, reflecting the state of the reversal of strengths
between the ruling and opposition parties in the House of
Councilors. Uncertainty is looming over the fate of the government's
antiterrorism special measures bill due to the Democratic Party of
Japan's (DPJ) unclear stance, but the prime minister has shown no
intent to display his leadership in managing policies and Diet

TOKYO 00005018 006 OF 009


business, apparently trying to play the role of a "safe driver."
Calling his cabinet as having "its back to the wall," Fukuda is
moving ahead by avoiding anything that would have a "Fukuda policy
imprint."

On the policy front, the prime minister has set forth such vague
principles as recovery of public trust in politics and has come up
with a slogan, "independence and coexistence," but his specific
policies remain unknown. An aide to the prime minister said: "He has
entirely entrusted Diet business, including legislation, to the
ruling coalition."

The prime minister, though, has indicated his eagerness to extend
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean and to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted
by North Korea. In contrast, he has made no remarkable statements on
issues related to his vision of the state, such as educational
reform and constitutional revision, which former Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe tackled, and the issue of whether to allow the
Self-Defense Force to use the right to collective self-defense
rights. A mid-ranking LDP official commented: "He is trying to
remove the Abe policy imprint while keeping silent about his own."

The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy in a meeting on Oct. 17
presented a provisional calculation calling for a hike in the
consumption tax, implying a policy switch to tax increases.

The actual situation is that the government has tolerated rollback
operations by the bureaucracy, which is opposed to administrative
reform that the former Abe administration espoused. Fukuda has
repeatedly said that the government will study in a cautious manner
such ideas as establishing a human-resource agency to take care of
reemployment of retired bureaucrats and abolishing the career system
for national public servants. An official of the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei) explained: "The prime minister is a good
listener and a commonsense person. He is still in a stage of
intently listening to others talk."

In the LDP, a former cabinet minister said: "Colorlessness is the
Fukuda cabinet's policy identity." But Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura remarked in a press conference yesterday:
"Preparations are underway for the cabinet to be able to gradually
demonstrate its own policy identity. The cabinet will pour its
energies not into work under deadlines, but into tasks whose results
can be positively dispatched."

Fukuda strengthening defense to dodge opposition's attacks

By Atsuo Ito, political analyst

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda devoted himself to buttressing his
defenses over the past month in an effort to minimize major
setbacks, without aiming at attaining a score. Fukuda is doing well
in a sense, given the state of the reversal of strengths between the
ruling and opposition parties. The DPJ must see Fukuda as a person
difficult to attack.

Despite the disclosure of a series of scandals, including cozy ties
between former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya and a defense
contractor, a data error of records of MSDF refueling, and the issue
of tainted blood that caused hepatitis, public criticism of the
Fukuda administration has not escalated. His low profile and posture

TOKYO 00005018 007 OF 009


of good deception have worked somewhat effectively.

Under the Koizumi and Abe administrations, theater-type politics
were carried out for about six and a half years. The people are now
tired of going to the theater. Fukuda, taking advantage of this
trend, seems to be trying to keep the people less interested in
politics. The Prime Minister Fukuda is resorted to the possibility
of the LDP losing a considerable number of its seats in the next
House of Representatives election. For him, the most important
challenge is to reduce the number of lost seats.

The prime minister's strategy of resorting to an exclusive
defense-oriented policy is a major gamble for the government. There
is no guarantee for the administration to be able to ride under the
current momentum into the election given the current situation. It
is also unlikely that the prime minister, who has no clear-cut
political ideology, will put forth a patchwork ideology or play up
his political leadership. The Fukuda administration's fate might
depend on the outcome of a match of endurance between the prime
minister and the people.

(7) Personal network of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (Sapio
10/24/2007 p39)

(8) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Record low of 70 PERCENT of beds being used at public hospitals:
Internal Affairs Ministry to issue guidelines to improve management

Mainichi:
Information remaining credit: 3 trillion yen not registered,
providing breeding ground for excessive credit contracts

Yomiuri:
English language school NOVA to file for protection under the
bankruptcy law with debts exceeding 50 billion yen: President
Samadhi to be dismissed possibly today

Nikkei:
Government comes up with new policy to find breakthrough in
stalemated Japan-DPRK relations; Extending assistance in stages, if
progress is made on abduction and nuclear issues

Sankei:
US ambassador to Japan tells president not to remove DPRK from US
list of state sponsors of terrorism, creating ripples in
reconciliation policy

Tokyo Shimbun:
Former Yamada Corp. managing director also treated former Defense
Minister Kyuma to inaugural dinner in December last year

Akahata:
Medical insurance fees to tope 80,000 a year on average under new
medical service system for elderly people aged 75 or older

(9) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) False food labeling is no longer acceptable
(2) Global financial uncertainty: Root cause is US deficit

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Mainichi:
(1) Former Meat Hope president under arrest: Root out false labeling
of food products
(2) New antiterror legislation: Law is not necessary if discussion
based on conventional wisdom is accepted

Yomiuri:
(1) Candidates for lay judges: Can they decline nomination, citing
their thought and belief?
(2) Kim Dae Jung abduction incident: Abduction by any country is
violation of sovereignty

Nikkei:
(1) Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy also proposes adopting tax
formula for paying pension benefits from government coffer
(2) Government should admit its fault and take hepatitis measures

Sankei:
(1) One month since Fukuda taking office as prime minister: Trial
period over
(2) Probing the moon by China: It is questionable if its aim is to
explore resources and boost national prestige

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) One month since Fukuda taking office as prime minister:
Controlling the bureaucracy pending issue
(2) Motor show: Development of eco-cars visible

Akahata:
(1) Results of nationwide academic performance test: Face danger of
eroding education

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, October 25

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 26, 2007

09:18
Attended a national secretaries general and policy research council
chairmen meeting held at the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

10:17
Met former Prime Minister Mori at the Kantei.

11:04
Met LDP Comprehensive Agricultural Administration Research
Commission Chairman Hori, followed by Natural Resources and Energy
Agency Director-General Mochizuki.

12:16
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

13:48
Attended the Autumn Imperial Garden Party.

15:39
Met JA Zenchu President Miyata at the Kantei in the presence of
Machimura.

16:10
Met National Police Agency Director-General Yoshimura. Afterward

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talked with Prime Minister Prodi of Italy on the phone. Later met
Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.

18:17
Attended a Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy meeting.

20:01
Arrived at his residence in Nozawa.

SCHIEFFER

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