Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/13/07

DE RUEHKO #5217/01 3170228
P 130228Z NOV 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



Prime Minister Fukuda going to Washington
1) US-Japan summit scheduled for Nov. 16 (Sankei)
2) Bush-Fukuda meeting set for Nov. 16 (Yomiuri)
3) N. Korea delisting also on agenda: CCS Machimura (Nikkei)
4) Prime Minister Fukuda in meeting with President Bush to propose
expediting Yokota AB dual use (Tokyo Shimbun)

Opinion polls:
5) Yomiuri poll: 51 PERCENT support continuing MSDF refueling
mission for OEF-MIO operations in Indian Ocean (Yomiuri)
6) 44 PERCENT support resuming MSDF refueling activities in Nikkei
poll (Nikkei)
7) Fuji-Sankei poll shows 51 PERCENT support new antiterrorism
legislation (Sankei)
8) 55 PERCENT don't support LDP-DPJ grand coalition in Nikkei poll

Diet battle over new antiterror legislation:
9) New antiterror bill clears special committee, to pass House of
Representatives today (Yomiuri)
10) New antiterror bill to clear Diet's lower chamber today, but
unlikely to get through upper chamber (Sankei)
11) DPJ to put new antiterror bill on backburner (Mainichi)
12) DPJ to refuse early discussion on new antiterror legislation
13) DPJ's Ozawa before meeting Prime Minister Fukuda mulled
participation in refueling activities (Mainichi)

Foreign relations:

14) Former top defense executive Miyazaki wined and dined senior US
officials aiming at obtaining US force-realignment projects (Asahi)

15) Hinode Sanso memorial opens in commemoration of 'Ron-Yasu'
friendship (Tokyo Shimbun)
16) MOFA's vice minister deems it difficult to hold 6-party talks
within the year (Sankei)
17) Japan, China to hold foreign ministerial over East China Sea gas
field development (Yomiuri)


1) Prime Minister Fukuda's schedule for overseas travel officially
decided; Japan-US summit to occur on Nov. 16

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's schedules to visit the United States
and Singapore were decided yesterday. The prime minister will leave
for Washington on Nov. 15 and meet on the 16th with US President
George W. Bush. He will return home on the 17th. He will then leave
for Singapore on the 19th and return to Tokyo early on the morning
of the 22nd. In Singapore, Fukuda is expected to attend a summit of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three
(Japan, China and South Korea), as well as an East Asia summit.

Referring in a press conference to the fact that the US government
has been considering delisting North Korea as state sponsor of
terrorism, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura expressed

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concern, saying, "The abduction issue is different from other
issues, because it is deeply related to the sentiments of Japanese
public. The abductions are a state crime, and the issue means a
violation of the human rights of many Japanese nationals. (Delisting
the North as state sponsor of terrorism) will not have a positive
impact on Japan-US relations."

2) Japan-US summit to take place on Nov. 16

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura announced in a press
conference last evening that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will leave
for the United States on Nov. 15 and hold talks with President
George W. Bush on the 16th. It will be the first overseas trip for
the prime minister since he took office.

Fukuda is expected to tell Bush of Japan's policy of strengthening
the Japan-US alliance, as well as of promoting Asia policy.

Fukuda told the press last night:

"Japan's relations with the United States are very deep and wide. I
want to tell the President my views on Japan's foreign policy and
other issues. I would like to hear the US views, as well."

3) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura: Issue of delisting North Korea
as state sponsor of terrorism will be discussed in Japan-US summit

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura revealed yesterday the
expectation that the question of whether the United States will
remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism will
be discussed in the upcoming meeting on Nov. 16 between Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda and US President George W. Bush. Machimura
stated in a press conference yesterday:

"The United States has reiterated that it will not try to improve
relations with North Korea at the expense of the Japan-US
relationship. At any rate, this issue will be discussed in the
Japan-US summit."

Asked how Japan would respond if the US delisted the North as a
state sponsor of terrorism with no progress on the abduction issue,
Machimura pointed out: "The abduction issue has a significance that
differs from other topics of discussion. (Delisting) would not have
a positive impact on Japan-US relations."

4) Prime minister to ask US president to turn dual use of Yokota
Base into reality

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
November 10, 2007

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said yesterday that he would ask United
States President Bush during their meeting planned for next week to
turn a plan to use Yokota Air Base as joint military-civilian
airport into reality at an early date.

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In replying to questions from reporters at the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei) last night, the prime minister said: "It
is necessary (for Japan and the US) to further discuss the issue at
working-level talks. . . . This is an idea that our side should
take up (during the Japan-US summit)."

Prior to this, Fukuda met with Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara at
the Kantei. Ishihara urged the prime minister to work on the US to
move forward the talks on military-civilian joint use of the base,
remarking: "Securing air access in the Tokyo metropolitan area will
lead to securing national power."

The Japanese and US leaders agreed in their meeting in May 2003 to
look into the feasibility of military-civilian joint use of Yokota
Base. Following the agreement, both sides started talks in October
last year. They planned to wind up the talks within 12 months, but
they have yet to reach a conclusion.

5) Yomiuri Shimbun poll: 51 PERCENT approve continuation of
refueling operations in Indian Ocean, reaching majority for first
time; 56 PERCENT negative about Ozawa remaining in office

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
November 13, 2007

Yomiuri Shimbun carried out a nationwide opinion poll on
continuation of refueling operations in the Indian Ocean by the
Maritime Self-Defense Agency (MSDF) on Nov. 10-11, based on an
interview formula. The poll found that 51 PERCENT were in favor of
continuing the operations, while 40 PERCENT were against it. This
is the first time the Yomiuri opinion poll has seen majority support
for continuing the MSDF operation. Likewise, to a question on the
new antiterrorism special measures bill to be put to a vote in a
Lower House plenary session on Nov. 13, 49 PERCENT approved it,
topping the 39 PERCENT who opposed it.

Looking at the results by party affiliation, 69 PERCENT of Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) supporters were in favor of continuing the
operation, while 24 PERCENT were against it. Among Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) supporters, 36 PERCENT supported it,
while 62 PERCENT opposed it. Among swing voters, support was 53
PERCENT and opposition 42 PERCENT .

The public approval rating for the Fukuda cabinet dropped to 52.2
PERCENT , down 6.9 points from the October poll. The nonapproval
rating increased to 36 PERCENT , up 9.3 points from the previous
survey. The poll was carried out for the first time since the effort
to create an LDP-DPJ coalition came to light. Support for the LDP
dropped to 34.3 PERCENT , down 3.5 points, while support for the
DPJ, which rejected the grand coalition proposal, rose to 22.5
PERCENT , up 4.5 points.

6) Nikkei poll: 44 PERCENT support resumption of refueling
operations, 37 PERCENT opposed; Support for resumption a majority
in three surveys in row

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 13, 2007

According to a Nikkei poll on the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
(MSDF) refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, 44 PERCENT of
respondents replied that the operations should be resumed, exceeding

TOKYO 00005217 004 OF 010

37 PERCENT who opposed the idea. This is the fourth questionnaire
regarding the MSDF refueling operations, and the first since the
MSDF ended the operations with the expiration of the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law on Nov. 1. The number of those who supported
the operation topped the respondents who opposed it in the second
poll. Since then supporters have had a majority in three polls in a

Regarding those who supported resuming the operation, differences in
stances according to party affiliation were distinct, with 60
PERCENT of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supporters in favor of
it, while only 38 PERCENT of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) supporters favored it. However, compared with the previous
survey, the support rate among LDP supporters has dropped by 8
points, but support jumped by 4 points among DPJ supporters.
Likewise, the number of LDP supporters who were against continuing
operations rose by 5 points, while this rate among DPJ supporters
dropped by 8 points.

Among swing voters who have no party affiliation, those who replied
that the operation should not be resumed reached 50 PERCENT , up 19
points. These who said that the operation should be resumed slipped
to 23 PERCENT , down 15 points.

The results indicated that understanding of the refueling operation
has deepened, compared with the results of the August poll, in which
more than 50 PERCENT of respondents were against an extension of
the antiterror special measures law. However, the number of polliees
who supported a resumption of the operation still falls short of a
majority. Public opinion will likely affect whether a decision will
be reached on the legislation and deliberations on a censure motion
against Prime Minister Fukuda, which the opposition camp is

7) Sankei-FNN Poll: 51 PERCENT favor revote on new terrorism bill;
Fukuda support rate plummets to 41.1 PERCENT

SANKEI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
November 13, 2007

In an opinion poll conducted by the Sankei Shimbun and FNN on Nov.
10-11, the support rate for the cabinet led by Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda plummeted to 41.1 PERCENT , down 14.2 percentage points from
55.3 PERCENT in the previous survey (on Sept. 26-27). This figure
is almost the same as the nonsupport rate of 40.3 PERCENT .
Observers see this result as reflecting public criticism of the
grand-coalition idea proposed during earlier meetings between Fukuda
and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa, as well
as of Fukuda's failure to come up with measures to deal with the
current state in which the opposition camp has control of the House
of Councillors.

In the survey, 60.5 PERCENT voiced opposition to the idea of a
grand coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the
DPJ, while only 26.8 PERCENT favored it. Even so, 68.4 PERCENT
praised the fact that party head talks were held. The survey also
showed that many respondents favor talks between the ruling and
opposition blocs on necessary policies, with 90.9 PERCENT
expressing support for policy talks between both sides.

Asked about Ozawa's announcement and then retraction of his
resignation, 67.1 PERCENT said that it was hard to understand, but

TOKYO 00005217 005 OF 010

45.9 PERCENT said his decision was good, while 40.8 PERCENT were
against it. The survey thus found many people placing high
expectations on Ozawa's capabilities.

The support rate for the LDP stood at 32.2 PERCENT , down 1.7 points
from 33.9 PERCENT in the previous survey, while that of the DPJ was
also down 1.6 points to 26.5 PERCENT from 28.1 PERCENT .

Asked about the propriety of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, those who supported the
operation increased 0.8 point to 51.8 PERCENT , outnumbering the
percentage of those against it at 38.2 PERCENT . The survey also
showed that 51.2 PERCENT supported the use of the ruling camp's
two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives in order to
enact the antiterrorism bill in the Lower House if the bill is
rejected in Upper House, surpassing 37.2 PERCENT opposition. The
survey found that a majority is in favor of the MSDF continuing its
refueling mission.

8) Poll: 55 PERCENT don't support 'grand coalition' initiative

NIKKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
November 13, 2007

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun conducted a public opinion survey on Nov.
10-12, in which respondents were asked if they supported the "grand
coalition initiative" that came up in a recent meeting of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is president of his ruling Liberal
Democratic Party, and Ichiro Ozawa, president of the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto). In response to this
question, only 27 PERCENT answered "yes," with 55 PERCENT saying
"no." The rate of public support for the DPJ was 28 PERCENT , down 4
percentage points from the last survey taken in late October. This
result can be taken as reflecting the recent flap over Ozawa's
once-announced intent to resign. The popularity gap between the DPJ
and the LDP increased again.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
rose 4 points to 42 PERCENT , with the DPJ falling to the level
before this July's election for the House of Councillors. The severe
rating for the DPJ is expected to affect the tug of war between the
ruling and coalition camps over how to schedule Diet deliberations
for the days ahead and when to dissolve the House of Representatives
for a general election.

The approval rating for the Fukuda cabinet was 55 PERCENT , leveling
off from the last survey. The disapproval rating was 33 PERCENT , up
2 points.

The survey was taken by Nikkei Research Inc. over the telephone on a
random digit dialing (RDD) basis. For the survey, samples were
chosen from among men and women aged 20 and over across the nation.
A total of 1,514 households with one or more voters were sampled,
and answers were obtained from 919 persons (60.7 PERCENT ).

9) Lower House special committee adopts new antiterrorism bill with
majority approval by LDP, New Komeito; Legislation to clear Lower
House today

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpts)
November 13, 2007

TOKYO 00005217 006 OF 010

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Prevention of
Terrorism yesterday adopted a new antiterrorism special measures
bill to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operation
in the Indian Ocean with majority approval by the Liberal Democratic
Party and the New Komeito. The bill is expected to clear a Lower
House plenary session today and be sent to the House of Councillors.
The government and ruling parties intend to explain the bill and
take questions at an Upper House plenary session tomorrow to begin
deliberations. However, the major opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), which holds the initiative in the Upper
House, is set to put up do-or-die resistance in the chamber. Given
the situation, deliberations on the bill (in the Upper House) are
unlikely to start until after Nov. 19, after Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda returns home from the United States.

In the event the new antiterrorism legislation is rejected by the
Upper House, the ruling bloc is likely to call a Lower House plenary
session to readopt it there by a two-thirds majority. That might
prompt the DPJ to submit a censure motion against the prime
minister, setting off a pitched battle between the ruling and
opposition camps.

The new antiterrorism bill, designed to replace the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law which expired on Nov. 1, stipulates that (1)
the MSDF's activities are to be limited to providing water and fuel
oil to vessels of the United States, Britain, and other countries
engaged in the maritime interdiction operation; (2) the area of
activities is limited to the Indian Ocean, including the Persian
Gulf; and (3) the term of the activities is set at one year.

10) No prospects for Upper House deliberations on new antiterrorism
bill after it clears Lower House today

SANKEI (Top play) (Excerpts)
November 13, 2007

The new antiterrorism special measures bill to resume the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling operation in the Indian Ocean was
adopted last evening by the House of Representatives Special
Committee on Prevention of Terrorism by a majority vote by Liberal
Democratic Party and the New Komeito. With the bill expected to
clear the Lower House in a plenary session this afternoon, the
battle between the ruling and opposition camps is now likely to
shift to the House of Councillors, which is controlled by the
opposition bloc. Although the LDP and New Komeito are planning to
enact the bill before the current Diet session ends on December 15,
the opposition camp is expected to put up do-or-die resistance. Even
a slight impasse in the deliberations might result in a re-extension
of the Diet session. Even if the Upper House forcibly takes a vote,
the bill is certain to be voted down (by the opposition parties). In
such a case, the focus should be whether or not the ruling camp
readopts it in the Lower House in accordance with the two-thirds
majority clause.

11) DPJ plans to prioritize Iraq legislation over new antiterrorism

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
November 13, 2007

The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
held at its party headquarters yesterday a Diet liaison meeting of

TOKYO 00005217 007 OF 010

President Ichiro Ozawa and Diet Affairs and policy chiefs of the two
chambers of the Diet. In the session, they confirmed a policy course
to prioritize deliberations on a (DPJ-presented) bill to abolish the
Iraq Special Measures Law over a new antiterrorism bill.

Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama explained the reason this way to

reporters at party headquarters: "The Air Self-Defense Force has
been cooperating with the US military in Iraq. The bill regarding
Iraq is more important than the new antiterrorism regarding
Afghanistan. It is also our national obligation to thoroughly pursue
the improprieties involving the Defense Ministry." He thus revealed
the DPJ's short-term plan to pursue the cover-up of the amount of
fuel oil the Maritime Self-Defense Force provided to a (US) oiler
and the lavish entertainment of former Vice-Defense Minister
Takemasa Moriya.

12) DPJ to reject early Upper House deliberations on new terrorism
bill; Government, ruling parties struggling to readjust timetable

YOMIURI (Page4) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Given the certainty of a new antiterrorism bill clearing a House of
Representatives plenary session today, the ruling and opposition
blocs are in a pitched battle over a timetable for the bill's
deliberations in House of Councillors. The Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ or Minshuto), which holds the initiative in the Upper House,
plans to block the government's and ruling camp's plan to begin
Upper House deliberations early. The government and the ruling bloc
are now being forced to readjust the timetable by, for instance,
changing the schedules for the prime minister's foreign trips.

Liberal Democratic Party Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori
Oshima after the adoption yesterday of the new antiterrorism
legislation by the Lower House Special Committee on Prevention of
Terrorism indicated to reporters that there would be no problem with
a committee vote, saying: "Showing maximum understanding to the
opposition bloc's demands, we have conducted sufficient
deliberations and Diet testimony by sworn and unsworn witnesses."

The government and ruling parties plan to make utmost efforts to
enact the bill before the current Diet session closes on December
15. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda stressed at a government and ruling
parties' liaison meeting, held at the Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) yesterday, that the policy course to (enact the
new antiterrorism legislation during the current Diet session)
remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, DPJ Secretary-General Yukio Hatoyama said: "With his
summit meeting with President George W. Bush coming up, Prime
Minister Fukuda forcibly took a vote in order to take a souvenir to
Washington. It was outrageous."

Unlike the Lower House, where the ruling bloc holds a two-thirds
majority, it would be extremely difficult to conduct deliberations
at the ruling bloc's pace in the opposition-controlled Upper House.

The government and the ruling parties initially planned to explain
the new antiterrorism bill and take questions at an Upper House
plenary session on Nov. 14 in the presence of the prime minister.
However, in yesterday's meeting between the LDP and DPJ Diet affairs
committee chairmen, DPJ Upper House Diet affairs chief Susumu Yanase

TOKYO 00005217 008 OF 010

argued, "We would like the Diet to deliberate on the (DPJ-presented)
bill to rescind the Iraq Special Measures Law first. Otherwise, we
cannot accept the plan to deliberate on the antiterrorism
legislation." The two sides failed to find common ground.

Upper House plenary sessions are regularly held on Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Fridays. Because the prime minister will be visiting
the United States on Nov. 16, if the Upper House fails to begin
deliberations on Nov. 14, the next regular session will be Nov. 19.

The government and ruling parties originally considered the prime
minister's foreign trip to be "for one week from Nov. 15." But they
have changed the prime minister's return home to Nov. 17 with
deliberations at a Nov. 19 Upper House plenary session in mind.

13) DPJ head Ozawa before party head talks with Fukuda orders party
to include in counterproposal possible participation in refueling
activities, leaving room for talks with government, ruling parties

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Mainichi Shimbun learned that Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) President Ichiro Ozawa in mid-October prior to the party
head talks with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda had ordered a senior
official of the Policy Research Committee, which is now drafting a
counterproposal to the new antiterrorism special measures
legislation, to incorporate the phrase "will consider possible
participation in water-and-oil-supply operations," though subject to
a UN resolution. This order, which could leave room for revision
talks with the government and the ruling parties, will likely affect
future deliberations on the bill in the Upper House.

Regarding the party head talks, which took place on Nov. 2, the
ruling camp insisted that Ozawa indicated a stance of cooperating
for passage of the new antiterrorism special measures bill, provided
that the ruling camp agrees to confer on a permanent law allowing
the overseas dispatch of Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel.
However, Ozawa gave a conflicting response, "The prime minister
pledged that if a grand coalition is formed, he would not insist on
passage of the new antiterror legislation."

Ozawa's pet argument on a permanent law enabling the overseas
dispatch of SDF personnel is that it must be premised on a UN
resolution. If the government accepts this principle in talks with
the DPJ on a permanent law, and the new antiterror legislation is
revised based on it, Ozawa's instruction would mean that he was
looking into the possibility of his argument being accepted.

Ozawa during a press conference on Nov. 7 revealed that some person
approached him about a possible grand coalition two months ago.
There is the possibility that he gave that order with a grand
coalition in mind. According to a senior official of the Policy
Research Committee, Ozawa himself presented a paper that
incorporated water-and-oil supply operations during talks with
senior officials of the panel. In response to the order given by
Ozawa, the Foreign and Defense Affairs Division responsible for
compiling a counterproposal looked into the possibility at an
executive meeting, but deleted the phrase, with a number of
participants noting that such a phrase could lead to a
misunderstanding that the DPJ will support the antiterrorism special
measures bill. A senior Policy Research Committee official pointed

TOKYO 00005217 009 OF 010

out, "When we were given that order, we did not understand its
meaning. However, it might have been a strategic move for Ozawa to
respond to revision talks."

14) Former top defense executive Miyazaki wined and dined senior US
officials aiming at obtaining US force-realignment projects (Asahi)

ASAHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
November 10, 2007

Motonobu Miyazaki, a former senior managing director of Yamada Yoko
Corp., a trading firm specializing in defense-equipment procurement,
has been arrested on charges that include embezzlement of company
funds. It has been learned from an informed source that Miyazaki
used a secret slush fund from his company's money, which he dug up
under the pretext of it being an executive reward, to wine and dine
senior US government officials. It was also learned that former top
executive Miyazaki had said his aim was to gather information about
such matters as projects that would accompany the realignment of US
forces in Japan. The defense-related trading firm Nihon Mirise,
which Miyazaka established last fall after he left Yamada Corp.,
planned to participate in realignment projects then being planned,
such as the one on Guam.

According to the Ministry of Defense's investigation, whenever
senior US government officials were treated to dinner, former Vice
Defense Minister Moriya was sometimes present. The special
investigation team of the Tokyo Prosecutors Office is continuing its
investigation to find out whether the former executive took
advantage of that opportunity.

According to informed sources at Yamada Corp., when senior officials
and former officials from the Pentagon, where there were good
contacts, and from the State Department visited Japan, former senior
executive Miyazaki would repeatedly wine and dine them, such as
taking them to a high-class Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.
Reportedly, he used slush-money from a special account at bank to
cover the costs.

15) Opening ceremony of museum at former Prime Minister Nakasone's
Hinode Lodge

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 10) (Slightly abridged)
Evening, November 10, 2007

A private lodge called "Hinode Lodge," which former Prime Minister
Yasuhiro Nakasone had owned before he donated it to Hinode Town in
Tokyo last year, will be opened to the public as a museum on Nov.
11. Prior to the opening of the museum, a commemorative ceremony was
held on the 10th with the attendance of Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara
and other officials. At the lodge, the Japan-US summit was held on
Nov. 11, 1983, between Nakasone and then US President Ronald Reagan.
The two top leaders had a close relationship, calling each other
"Ron" and "Yasu." Nakasone served Japanese tea to the president and
his wife.

Nakasone revealed that he had proposed to Reagan, "Why don't we hold
a meeting on Japanese soil, not on the red carpet or under the
chandelier?" He then added: "The lodge was an important place for me
to refresh myself from the heavy burden as prime minister. It is an
honor that the lodge will be used as a cultural property."

TOKYO 00005217 010 OF 010

16) Vice Foreign Minister Yachi: Six-party foreign ministerial
within the year difficult

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 13, 2007

Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi indicated in a
press conference yesterday that it would be difficult to hold a
six-party foreign ministerial before the end of this year. Yachi
pointed out: "The six countries have yet to decide what issues they
should discuss in a foreign ministerial and what results they want
to produce." China, which chairs the six-party talks, has sounded
out the other five countries on holding a foreign ministerial
sometime in early- or mid-December. US Assistant Secretary of State
Christopher Hill has said, however, that holding a foreign
ministerial will be difficult due to the difficulty of coordinating
the schedules of the foreign ministers of the six countries.

17) Japan-China talks on gas-field development to be upgraded to
ministerial level

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
November 12, 2007

Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura intends to focus on the issue of
developing gas fields in the East China Sea during an upcoming
meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Nov.
30. He plans to urge the Chinese government to make a political
decision to resolve the issue.

In the gas-field talks held so far by bureau-chief-level officials
from both sides, Japan has proposed jointly developing gas fields
near the Japan-set exclusive economic zone (EEZ) median boundary
line. China, however, has declined Japan's offer, calling for joint
development of the gas fields on the Japanese side of the line. The
two countries have decided to hold the 11th bureau-chief-level talks
in Tokyo on Nov. 14 to continue to discuss where they should be
jointly developed.

However, Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Director General Kenichiro Sasae said in a meeting of the Liberal
Democratic Party's special committee on maritime issues on Oct. 31:
"China told us in an unofficial meeting that it would be possible
(to jointly develop gas fields around the median line), depending on
how Japan deals with the issue." Keeping such a change in China's
attitude in mind, the Foreign Ministry hopes to move the talks
forward by upgrading the bureau-chief-level meeting to a foreign

In a press conference on Nov. 10, Koumura expressed his desire to
see substantive progress on the gas-field issue before Prime
Minister Fukuda visits China at the end of this year or early next


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