Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/07/07

VZCZCXRO6021
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #5493/01 3410822
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070822Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0122
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 7223
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 4824
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 8490
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 3569
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 5482
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0514
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 6554
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7311

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 14 TOKYO 005493

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 12/07/07

Index:

(1) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, Defense Ministry
scandals, MSDF Indian Ocean refueling legislation, gas tax for road
construction (Asahi)

(2) Ruling parties paving way for enacting new antiterrorism bill
(Sankei)

(3) Editorial: North Korean nuclear programs a real threat
(Mainichi)

(4) Political horse-trading over DPRK's declaration of its nuclear
programs likely to continue into next year, reflecting US
President's wishes (Sankei)

(5) One step forward toward transparency of political funds with
agreement reached between ruling and opposition parties on revising
political funds law (Nikkei)

(6) Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe fighting single-handedly
in face of strong resistance from government agencies (Nikkei)

(7) Government panel recommends easing requirements for daycare
center admission as part of child-rearing support measures (Nikkei)

(8) Okinawa pressured, sweetened for base relocation (Asahi)

(9) Detachment base commander yesterday evening attends wining and
dining session with company executive: "It was a shared-costs
party," says attendant (Asahi)

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, Defense Ministry
scandals, MSDF Indian Ocean refueling legislation, gas tax for road
construction

ASAHI (Page 10) (Full)
December 4, 2007

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. Figures in parentheses
denote the results of the last survey conducted Nov. 3-4 unless
otherwise specified.)

Q: Do you support the Fukuda cabinet?

Yes 44 (45)
No 36 (34)

Q: Which political party do you support now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 31 (31)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 23 (24)
New Komeito (NK) 4 (3)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2 (2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (1)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 0 (1)
None 31 (32)

TOKYO 00005493 002 OF 014


No answer (N/A) + don't know (D/K) 7 (6)

Q: What do you think about Prime Minister Fukuda's job performance
so far? (One choice only)

Beyond expectations 4
Up to expectations 30
Short of expectations 13
No expectations from the start 48

Q: Former Administrative Vice Defense Minister Moriya has now been
arrested on bribery charges, and a Defense Ministry contractor is
now alleged to have padded its bills for equipment delivered to the
Self-Defense Forces. There are now such suspicions over the Defense
Ministry. Do you think the government and ruling parties are
responding to these issues in an appropriate way?

Yes 22
No 65

Q: The House of Councillors once decided to summon Finance Minister
Nukaga over the Defense Ministry's issues. However, the House of
Councillors later decided not to do so. Do you think it was good?

Yes 19
No 65

Q: Do you support the idea of forming an LDP-DPJ coalition
government?

Yes 30
No 55

Q: On Nov. 22, Prime Minister Fukuda met DPJ President Ozawa and
proposed policy talks over national and social security issues. DPJ
President Ozawa did not respond, taking the position that
discussions should be held in the Diet. Which one do you support?

Prime Minister Fukuda 33
DPJ President Ozawa 48

Q: The U.S. and other countries have sent naval vessels to the
Indian Ocean for antiterror operations in Afghanistan. The
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which was for the Self-Defense
Forces to back up their naval operations in the Indian Ocean,
expired on Nov. 1, and the SDF discontinued its activities there. Do
you think Japan should resume SDF activities there?

Yes 44 (43)
No 44 (41)

Q: The government has presented a bill to create a new law replacing
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, and the bill is now being
discussed in the Diet. This legislation limits SDF activities in the
Indian Ocean to fuel and water supply for a period of one year, and
it does not require the government to ask the Diet for its approval
of SDF activities there. Do you support this legislation?

Yes 36 (35)
No 43 (43)

Q: If this legislation is voted down in the House of Councillors,

TOKYO 00005493 003 OF 014


the ruling coalition is thinking of revoting on it in the House of
Representatives to enact it into law with a concurring majority of
two-thirds or more. Do you think it is appropriate to do so?

Yes 46
No 37

Q: Do you think the House of Representatives should be dissolved as
soon as possible for a general election, or do you otherwise think
there is no need to do so?

Dissolve as soon as possible 34 (35)
No need to do so 55 (57)

Q: If you were to vote now in a general election, which political
party would you like to vote for in your proportional representation
bloc?

LDP 32
DPJ 32
NK 4
JCP 3
SDP 2
PNP 1
NPN 0
Other political parties 1
N/A+D/K 25

Q: Would you like the current LDP-led coalition government to
continue, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a
DPJ-led coalition government? (Figures in parentheses denote the
results of a survey taken Oct. 10-13.)

LDP-led coalition government 37 (33)
DPJ-led coalition government 36 (32)

Q: The gasoline tax is originally 29 yen per liter. However, this
gas tax is set at 54 yen per liter with an additional rate of 25 yen
for road maintenance, improvement, and construction. This additional
portion's duration is legally up until March next year. After that,
the gas price will go down. Meanwhile, the road-related budget will
decrease to almost a half. Do you think the additional rate of 25
yen for roads should be continued?

Yes 21
No 68

Q: The government is thinking of incorporating gasoline taxes and
other road revenues into the general account budget so that the road
revenues can be used for other purposes. Do you support this way of
thinking?

Yes 46
No 41

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Dec. 1-2 over the
telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
Respondents were chosen from among the nation's voting population on
a three-stage random-sampling basis. Valid answers were obtained
from 1,969 persons (57 PERCENT ).

(2) Ruling parties paving way for enacting new antiterrorism bill

TOKYO 00005493 004 OF 014

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
December 7, 2007

With the Dec. 15 closing of the current Diet session just around the
corner, the government and ruling parties yesterday continued
coordination to extend again the ongoing Diet session by mid-January
and to enact a new antiterrorism special measures bill into law by
taking a second vote on the bill in the House of Representatives
based on the so-called "two-thirds" article (of the Constitution).
Also the heads of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's factions
have begun paving the way for re-adopting the bill in the Lower
House by taking advantage of such occasions as their faction
meetings. Since the opposition camp has remained in its position to
thoroughly oppose the bill, the ruling and opposition camps will
likely engage in a fierce battle in the middle of next week.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura and LDP Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima discussed yesterday afternoon a
plan to re-extend the Diet session. Oshima met intermittently also
with Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki and New Komeito Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Yoshio Urushibara.

The Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense yesterday
carried out deliberations on the new antiterrorism bill. The
committee has spent only 11 hours and 30 minutes. There have left
only two days -- Dec. 11 and 13 -- for deliberations in the
committee. It is, therefore, difficult for the Upper House to secure
deliberation time (about 40 hours) on a par with the Lower House.

Since the Lower House can extend the Diet session only one more
time, the government and ruling coalition have determined that if
the session is extended about one week, it will be difficult to
enact the bill during such a short period. Assuming that the Upper
House would not take a vote on the bill within 60 days after
receiving it from the Lower House, which means that the upper
chamber voted down the bill, the government and ruling bloc are
pressing forward with coordination to substantially extend the
session until mid-January.

In consideration of Prime Minister Fukuda's strong enthusiasm for
enacting the bill, there is a growing mood in the ruling camp that a
lengthy extension of the session and taking a second vote in the
Lower House will be unavoidable.

Hidenao Nakagawa, former LDP secretary general, stated in a meeting
yesterday of the Machimura faction: "We will use all necessary
measures which the Constitution allows. If they say the number of
days for deliberations is insufficient, we will do our best to
re-extend the session."

Taku Yamasaki, former LDP vice president, who was reluctant to the
lower chamber overriding the upper chamber's vote, said yesterday:

"We have no choice but to extensively extend the session. We will
pass the new antiterrorism bill thorough the Diet during the current
session at any cost. I want the Prime Minister and the party
executives to have courage and determination."

Former Secretary General Taro Aso stated:

"For the sake of national interests, we must take a second vote on

TOKYO 00005493 005 OF 014


the bill in the Lower House. If 60 days are passed without the Upper
House taking final action, the existence of the chamber will be
called into question."

The New Komeito, which was cautious about re-adopting the bill in
the Lower House, has assumed since late November a stance of
allowing the idea. One senior New Komeito member said: "We no long
have any choice but to allow the Lower House to take a vote on the
bill."

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) Upper House
Caucus Chairman Azuma Koshiishi said yesterday in a press
conference:

"There is no change in our policy of scrapping the bill. Although
the Constitution allows the Lower House to override the upper
chamber's votes, it is nothing to be taken casually. (If the upper
chamber's vote is overridden), we will submit a censure motion
against Prime Minister Fukuda and force him to dissolve the Lower
House."

Fukuda told reporters last night: "I'm considering all
possibilities." When asked at noon yesterday by reporters whether he
decided to take a second vote in the Lower House, Fukuda responded
with a smile: "Who took a peek of my mind?" He also said: "I
strongly believe that the Diet will enact the bill into law in the
end."

(3) Editorial: North Korean nuclear programs a real threat

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 7, 2007

To our surprise, this year's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a
report representing the consensus view of U.S. intelligence
agencies, concluded that Iran had frozen its nuclear program in the
fall of 2003 and has not resumed it since. This must be a blow to
the Bush administration which has brandished the possibility of
using force against Iran, labeling it a threat. A big question mark
has now been put on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program by the
best brains of the intelligence agencies, reversing their
traditional view.

This brings to mind the Iraq war which was launched by the Bush
administration in 2003 under the pretext of dealing with the threat
of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). No WMD were ever found, and an
independent investigative body in the United States submitted a
report to the President concluding that almost all the decisions
were completely wrong.

The intelligence agencies reportedly tried to collect and analyze
information based on that bitter lesson. In view of the past
mistakes, the NIE report cannot be concluded to be totally correct.
If President Bush and Vice President Cheney have kept making
hard-nosed statements in the knowledge of the view of the
intelligence agencies, they would be suspected to have tried to
manipulate public opinion. At least, the chicken game of U.S.
provoking Iran and Iran reacting sharply must come to an end.

The report has also created a stir in the UN Security Council which
has been discussing additional sanctions against Iran. The
international trend is changing. Nevertheless, there are some

TOKYO 00005493 006 OF 014


grounds for sanctions. It is wrong for President Ahmadinejad, who
has turned a deaf ear to UN calls for ending its uranium enrichment
program and other matters, to declare a victory. The people would
become happier if the nuclear issue were brought to an end by Iran's
extending cooperation to shed light on the suspicions.

As for North Korea, it has now found it difficult to disable its
nuclear-related facilities and declare all nuclear programs before
the end of the year. According to Assistant Secretary of State and
chief U.S. delegate to the six-party talks Christopher Hill, who
recently visited Pyongyang, there is a gap in views between the
United States and North Korea over the contents of declaration of
nuclear programs. There is a possibility that because the United
States is unlikely to delist North Korea as a state sponsor of
terrorism before year's end, the North having hardened its stance.

There have been reports that President Bush sent letters to the
other nations involved in the six-party talks. The process of
dismantling nuclear programs has been deadlocked. The United States
looked rushing toward delisting North Korea. Suspicions over North
Korea must be examined closely. The allegation that North Korea
helped Syria develop a nuclear program also needs a clear
explanation.

In his State of the Union Address in early 2002, President Bush
described North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, as an "axis of
evil." Iraq has not developed nuclear weapons and Iran's nuclear
program remains unclear. Five years later, the North Korean threat
must be clear to the American people. The United States was on alert
against the Saddam's Iraqi regime and Iran's trends. But in reality,
a "real threat" to the international community is North Korea, which
has actually conducted a nuclear detonation.

The Bush administration, which is scheduled to leave office in just
over one year, should take such facts to heart and concentrate on
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

(4) Political horse-trading over DPRK's declaration of its nuclear
programs likely to continue into next year, reflecting US
President's wishes

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
December 7, 2007

Morimichi Imabori, Makiko Takita; Takashi Arimoto, Beijing

The six-party talks to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue sees
political horse-trading continuing between the United States and
North Korea since the November summit talks between Japan and the
U.S. The U.S., which reaffirmed cooperation with Japan during the
summit, has prodded North Korea to make a complete and accurate
declaration of its nuclear programs. President Bush sent a personal
letter to North Korean Secretary General Kim Jong Il. Chinese Vice
Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who presides over the six-party talks,
yesterday indicated that a meeting of the chief delegates to the
six-party talks would not occur until next year. Before the
end-of-the-year deadline for the submission by North Korea of a
declaration of its nuclear programs, a tug of war between the U.S.
and North Korea is likely to intensify even further. The Sankei
Shimbun probes into the movements of Japan, the U.S., and North
Korea after the Japan-U.S. summit in November.


TOKYO 00005493 007 OF 014


"I'm not satisfied," President George W. Bush told Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda during the Japan-U.S. summit held in the White House on
Nov. 16. This remark came out from Bush when Fukuda referred to the
start of the process of disabling nuclear facilities (in North
Korea).

That remark surprised the Japanese side. At that time Japan thought
that the disablement process was going smoothly in order to
implement the six-party agreement reached in October as a group of
experts arrived in Yongbyon.

With regard to the declaration of nuclear programs, U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State Hill, the U.S chief negotiator in the six-party

SIPDIS
talks, thought that the North Koreans were unlikely to make a full
declaration from the start. So Hill planned to have the North
declare its nuclear programs several times, even though they would
likely be insufficient. In this way, the declaration would gradually
become full and accurate.

Meanwhile, the White House was cautious about the North Korea's
"salami tactics," under which the North calls for aid in return for
providing information bit by bit. Bush's remark above in this sense
could be taken as "expressing discontent toward the current state of
negotiations," a source involved in the negotiations noted.

Reflecting Bush's wishes, Hill told his North Korean counterpart
when he visited that country in early this month: "It's important
for you to make a full and accurate declaration even though it is
your first draft of a declaration."

In response, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan told
Hill: "Haste makes waste." Kim did not explain the reason why he
could not attend the planned session of the chief delegates to the
six-party talks slated for Dec. 6.

On the night of Dec. 5, Hill, who tended to give an optimistic
expectation about the negotiations, admitted, "Some differences
exist."

Although the tug of war has been continuing between Washington and
Pyongyang over the declaration of nuclear programs, one Japanese
government official said with a sigh of relief after the Japan-U.S.
summit: "The President has clearly realized controversial points,
including the importance of the abduction issue."

Before and after the Japan-U.S. summit there was the speculation
that the U.S. might decide to remove North Korea from the list of
state sponsors of terrorism, so some in Japan suspected whether
matters related to the North Korean issue were correctly reported to
the President. If the North were to be delisted, that would deal a
big blow to the Fukuda administration, given its unstable situation
in the Diet, where the ruling bloc fails to hold a majority in the
Upper House.

Fukuda and Bush reportedly exchanged in-depth views on the abduction
issue.

Bush questioned Fukuda in rapid succession. "Do you know the
identities of the victims of abductions?" "Can you affirm who the
kidnappers were?" Fukuda handed a set of files written in English
regarding the abduction issue to Bush and told him: "Resolving the
abduction issue together with the nuclear and missile issues is

TOKYO 00005493 008 OF 014


vitally important for Japan." In response, Bush said: "I will never
(sic) forget the abduction issue."

Fukuda did not bring up the question of delisting North Korea. An
aide to the prime minister said: "Even though the prime minister did
not raise an objection to delisting the North, the President surely
understands the prime minister's feelings. The prime minister got
the feeling that delisting was unlikely to occur for the present."

Fukuda since taking office as prime minister has made a clear
departure from the Abe administration's "pressure-oriented" line
toward the North and has indicated that he would attach importance
to dialogue. In a CNN interview given during his U.S. visit, Fukuda
said, "If North Korea continues to possess nuclear weapons, it would
cease to exist."

On Dec. 5, the Korean Central News Agency issued a rebuttal to that
remark by Fukuda. It was the North's first criticism of Fukuda. This
criticism is taken as forestalling the move by Japan and the U.S.
after the bilateral summit meeting to jointly assume a tough stance
toward North Korea.

(5) One step forward toward transparency of political funds with
agreement reached between ruling and opposition parties on revising
political funds law

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
December 6, 2007

The Diet affairs chiefs from the six parties that make up the ruling
and opposition camps yesterday reached a basic agreement to a bill
revising the Political Funds Control Law. The bill is aimed at
widening the coverage of receipts subject to disclosure. The bill is
expected to be enacted during the current session of the Diet.
Ambiguity was left as to whether receipts for payments of 10,000 yen
or below would be required. However, the ruling and opposition blocs
came to terms with each other in their efforts to somehow produce
results in the current session of the Diet, where the ruling bloc
holds a majority in the Lower House, but the Upper House is under
the opposition parties' control.

The new political fund control system requires political
organizations represented by Diet members and candidates for
national elections to obtain and keep receipts for all payments
(excluding the personnel expenses). In the case of receipts for the
payment of 10,000 yen or above, those receipts should be attached to
a report on political funds and be made open to the public. In the
past receipts for the payment of 50,000 yen or above have been
disclosed, but under the new system, the scope of disclosure will be
broadened.

As for receipts for the payment of one yen to 10,000 yen, those
receipts will be disclosed conditionally. The conditions for
disclosure will be discussed at a third body (which is tentatively
called a committee on appropriate political funds), which is to be
established in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It will be the
ministry of internal affairs or each prefectural administration
commissions who will actually decide whether to disclose receipts.

The compromise reached this time between the ruling and opposition
parties reflects their stance of working together in areas where
they can cooperate.

TOKYO 00005493 009 OF 014

Main points in agreement between the ruling and opposition parties
on political funds

Organizations affected
1. Fund management organizations of Diet members and candidates for
the Diet
2. Political organizations represented by Diet members and others
and their branches in electoral districts
3. Political organizations recommending Diet members and others
Political funds auditors (tentative name) registered at a third
agency examine every receipt for every expenditure (excluding the
personnel costs).
Receipts for the payment of10,000 yen or above should be attached to
reports on political funds and be disclosed.
Requests for disclosure of receipts for the payment of below 10,000
yen made by means of abuse of authority or going against public
order and morality will be restricted.
Making a copy of reports on political funds when reading them should
be allowed.
The new political funds control system is expected to be applied to
reports on political funds for 2008 and beyond.

(6) Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe fighting single-handedly
in face of strong resistance from government agencies

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 6, 2007

A tug-of-war over administrative reform between the Prime Minister's
Office (Kantei) and government agencies is intensifying. In the
final stage, bureaucrats, in fear they might lose their vested
interests, are putting up strong resistance to the government's
plans to streamline independent administrative corporations and to
restrict the amakudari practice (the practice of former government
officials finding employment in the private sector). Work to compile
a package of reform plans is rough-going. Some lawmakers expect
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda or Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura to display leadership, but coordination work has been left
in the hands of State Minister in Charge of Administrative Reform
Yoshimi Watanabe, throwing the situation deeper into confusion.

Watanabe: "Since the soccer lottery (called toto) project by the
National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health has been
dogged by net losses carried forward, the project should be
immediately abolished."

Education, culture, Sports and S&T Minister Kisaburo Tokai: "I would
like to reach a conclusion by FY2010. The project is expected to
accrue profits this year, so if the project is stopped now, the
public burden will become heavier."

Watanabe met separately with Tokai and Economy, Trade and Industry
Minister Akira Amari yesterday to discuss the issue of streamlining
independent administrative corporations. Tokai agreed only to a plan
to abolish the National Institute of Multimedia Education. Amari
opposed a plan to transfer the Nippon Export and Investment
Insurance into a special corporation wholly owned by the government,
claiming: "Under this plan, another special corporation would be
established. I cannot understand."
Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Yoichi Masuzoe, who held
negotiations with Watanabe on Dec. 3, made an inspection of the

TOKYO 00005493 010 OF 014


Kanagawa Center, in which the Employment and Human Resources
Development Organization of Japan has provided vocational training.
On the planned reorganization plan, Masuzoe expressed his view that
it would be difficult to reach a conclusion in a short period of
time, remarking: "We need to consider it as part of the entire
government."

An aide to Watanabe murmured: "The Prime Minister's Office (Kantei)
should offer a helping hand now." But a senior government official
said: "We expect the administrative reform minister will make one
more effort," indicating that he would take a wait-and-see attitude
for a while. Some have begun to think it might be difficult to
finalize a package of reform plans by the end of the year.

Chief cabinet secretary also remains silent

Discussion on a plan to establish a government-private sector
resource exchange center to offer outplacement service for all
public servants under the unified system is also going nowhere.
Watanabe said in a meeting of experts yesterday that he would
include in a final report measures to: (1) immediately ban a
repeated outplacement service for the same person; and (2) award the
post of vice minister at the center to a civilian. Watanabe
grumbled: "Although I conveyed my idea to the chief cabinet
secretary on the previous day, I have yet to receive his answer."

SIPDIS

The chief cabinet secretary indicated in a press briefing yesterday
that there is no need to specify the issue of repeated outplacement
service in the final report, saying: "This issue is nothing to do
with the function of the center."

Concern about image of negative stance about administrative reform

The government's Council on Regulatory Reform also held an open
debate with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on
deregulating the double-billing system and reforming the nursing
system, but no agreement was reached. Chairman Takao Kusakari met
Machimura, his junior in Hibiya High School, on Dec. 1 and asked him
to offer cooperation in finalizing the second report with
recommendations. But Machimura only said: "We need to consider it,
but ..."

The ruling camp is not so eager for administrative reform now. In
the aftermath of its crushing defeat in the July House of
Councillors election, the ruling parties tend to give priority to
measures to stimulate local economies over administrative reform.
Even so, with an eye to the next Lower House election, they want to
avoid giving the image that the ruling camp is negative about
administrative reform.

New Komeito Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa said in a press
conference yesterday: "I cannot understand why the Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure, & Transport has presented a zero reply" about the
review of independent administrative corporations, posing questions
about the posture of Transport Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of the New
Komeito.

(7) Government panel recommends easing requirements for daycare
center admission as part of child-rearing support measures

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Full)
December 7, 2007

TOKYO 00005493 011 OF 014

The government's Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform,
chaired by Nippon Yusen K.K. Chairman Takao Kusakari, released its
second package of recommendations yesterday. The report calls for
drastically reforming the daycare system to increase child-rearing
support. Specifically, it proposes introducing a system to enable
parents to sign up directly with government-certified daycare
centers and easing child-care enrollment requirements. The report
also recommends the creation of a national registration system for
foreign residents in Japan, whose number is now over 2 million, with
the aim of protecting their rights. Against the backdrop of the
birthrate declining and the population aging, the panel gives
priority to measures to secure workforce and to strengthen Japanese
firms' international competitiveness.

The panel plans to submit its second package to Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda in mid-December. Based on these proposals, government
agencies will compile three-year regulatory reform plans by March
2008.

In the medical and welfare sectors, the report calls for changing
day nursery regulations in response to the increasing variety of
working patterns, as represented by the rising number of working
parents. As a specific measure, the council proposes relaxing the
qualifications for parents to register their children in daycare.
Under the current system, only parental guardians working full-time
are eligible to register their children in government-certified
facilities in principle, but under the proposed regulation, parents
working part-time would also become eligible. If part-timers, whose
number is about 9.5 million or one-quarter of the work force, are
allowed to place their children in certified daycare centers, which
charge lower than other private facilities, this deregulation may
work effectively as a countermeasure to the falling birthrate.

Reportedly, 18,000 children are on the waiting list. To alleviate
the shortage in child-care facilities, the council calls for easing
standards for establishing a child-care center and increase
facilities. It is now regulated that a space of 3.3 square meters is
needed for one child. But the report defines this standard as
groundless. The council will request the standards be eased starting
in FY2009.

To give parents more freedom of choice, the council proposes
revising the current system under which local governments assign
children to specific centers into a new system to enable parents to
sign up directly with daycare facilities.

The proposal in the report for the creation of a national
registration system for foreign residents in Japan is aimed at keep
track of them. Currently, relevant local governments keep
registration data for foreign residents, but foreigners are not
required to submit moving-out or moving-in notifications, as well as
to update their records on births, deaths and divorces. Further,
marriages between Japanese and foreign citizens are not recognized
as households, so there are cases in which procedures for taxation,
health insurance admission, and local school enrollment are not
properly carried out.

The alien registration system was introduced in 1952. At that time,
the measure was aimed at immigration control, and there was no
assumption of an increase in international marriages or changes of
address. The report proposes the establishment of a basic resident

TOKYO 00005493 012 OF 014


register for foreigners, similar to the system for Japanese
citizens. At the request of the regulatory reform panel, the Justice
Ministry and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have already agreed to
examine introducing a registration system for foreigners and aim to
submit related bills in FY2008.

In the trade area, the report calls for reviewing the
customs-clearance system to activate physical distribution,
including a measure to abolish the prior notification system in the
case of goods-clearance procedure taken outside business hours.

In a press conference yesterday, Kusakari said that the panel has
already agreed on easing the qualifications to attain a childcare
certificate and other deregulatory measures. But on such bold reform
plans as allowing a hospital to have two different systems for
medical bills - one with medical insurance and the other without it
- and as changing the daycare system, relevant government agencies,
such as the Health, Labor and Trade Ministry, have put up strong
resistance, so stormy negotiations are expected.

Key points in the second package of recommendations

? Relax child-care enrollment requirements at government-certified
facilities, and introduce a system of direct contract between
parents and child-care facilities
? Create a national registration system for foreign residents.
? Improve the current notification system for customs clearance
outside business hours. Review the bonded transportation system.
? Establish a school evaluation system and a teacher evaluation
system.
? Make the management of agricultural cooperatives more transparent
and sound.
? Ease the qualifications to attain a childcare certificate.
? Total lift of the on introducing a double-billing system.

(8) Okinawa pressured, sweetened for base relocation

ASAHI (Page 39) (Full)
December 3, 2007

"What's this all about!"

On Jan. 19, Takemasa Moriya, 63, who was administrative vice defense
minister, was at the prime minister's office. Moriya there blazed
away at senior officials from the city of Nago in Okinawa
Prefecture.

It was right after a consultative meeting of officials from the
government and Okinawa's prefectural and municipal governments on a
plan to relocate the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in the middle
part of Okinawa's main island to Henoko Point in the island
prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago.

In May last year, Japan and the United States agreed on a plan to
build a V-shaped pair of airstrips as an alternative for Futenma
airfield to be relocated to Nago. In the consultative meeting, the
government explained the new airfield plan and then showed
environmental assessment procedures and other steps to Futenma
relocation.

The consultative meeting was followed by an off-the-record informal
meeting. Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro said there, "We want the

TOKYO 00005493 013 OF 014


construction site moved to a southwestern offshore area."

The Nago mayor's proposal irritated Moriya. "I felt the pressure of
holding down localities that do not follow the government," one
senior official of Nago City recalled.

"If the runway is largely out to the sea, local people against the
Futenma relocation will stand against that to block the construction
work," Moriya said. Local communities want the new facility moved
out to the sea to abate noise. Their face-off came to the surface in
that meeting.

Okinawa is said to be one of the most important themes for Moriya as
a defense bureaucrat. In 1995, a local schoolgirl was raped by U.S.
servicemen in Okinawa. Since that incident, Moriya has tackled base
realignment and reduction.

Masanori Yoshimoto, who was a lieutenant governor of Okinawa
Prefecture, appreciates Moriya. "Mr. Moriya and others were the
first to discuss Okinawa's base issues from the perspective of
defense policy." Moriya himself said, "I will never back down from
Okinawa."

However, the Futenma relocation plan hit snags. Moriya's relations
with local officials gradually worsened. At the Defense Ministry, he
excluded disagreeing senior officials.

In the summer of 2005, Moriya, the then administrative vice defense
minister, was looking for a new relocation site for Futenma. One
day, Moriya called in the Defense Facilities Administration Agency
director general to his room. "I'd like you to retire," Moriya told
the DFAA director general. It was a de facto dismissal. The DFAA
chief was pushing for an offshore reclamation plan that respected an
agreement with the base-hosting local communities.

When the realignment talks were going on, there was a rumor going
around in Nago City's Henoko district, where Futenma airfield was
initially planned to be relocated for its heliport functions. The
rumor was: "Compensation for the Futenma relocation is 100 million
yen per household." It was a plan to move all local residents of
Henoko to somewhere else along with the construction of a new base
there. This idea sometimes came up and went out in the past years.

The government has not formally discussed the idea of moving all
those Henoko residents. Several years ago, however, one senior
official of the Defense Agency at that time heard from Moriya about
the idea. "It's institutionally difficult to move all the people
there," the official said to Moriya. "Moreover," the official went
on, "they would get angry." With this, the official expostulated
Moriya. However, Moriya had no ear.

Meanwhile, a local constructor close to Moriya persuaded local
residents and often called at the Defense Agency. This constructor
brought a bundle of signatures from local residents approving of
their move. At the Defense Agency, senior officials met the
constructor. One of them declined to accept the signatures, saying,
"It's impossible." Moriya later told one of those senior officials,
"Don't be so hard (on the constructor)."

Henoko is a coastal community populated by more than 400 households.
"Compensation with 100 million yen per household is not high,
considering the enormous cost of base construction." This was

TOKYO 00005493 014 OF 014


Moriya's way of thinking.

"If the (Okinawa-based) Marines are relocated to Guam, Okinawa's
business communities will also have access to construction projects
there." In the spring of last year, Moriya's words were transmitted
through an official to local constructors opposing the government's
relocation plan. The planned Marine relocation from Okinawa to Guam
is said to cost 1 trillion yen, including housing construction. If
Okinawa agrees to Moriya's relocation idea, there will be progress
in the Marine relocation to Guam, and local business communities
will profit. Moriya thought to sweeten Okinawa.

Moriya got into the complicated interests over defense procurement,
and he tried to force his way through to move the bases. "I wanted
to help Okinawa stand on its own feet even without bases," Moriya
said right before his arrest. There are now various expectations
among local business communities over the huge amount of money for
base relocation. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is
also investigating the defense interests over base relocation.

(9) Detachment base commander yesterday evening attends wining and
dining session with company executive: "It was a shared-costs
party," says attendant

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Eve., December 6, 2007

It was found that eight senior officers assigned to the Air
Self-Defense Force's Shariki Detachment Base in Tsugaru City, Aomori
Prefecture, attended a wining and dining session at a hot-springs
inn in the city, along with executives of a company that receives
orders for base-related services. Attendants include base Commander
Masaru Ota (lieutenant colonel) and the president of the company.
Ota said that his attendance at the party does not infringe on the
code of ethics for SDF personnel, claiming, "We all paid 5,000 yen
each as our participation fee." In view of the facts that lavish
entertainment of former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya by a
trading company has become a problem only recently and party
hostesses were also at the session, the wining and dining session
joined by ASDF officers and company executives will likely cause a
controversy.

The wining and dining session in question was held to celebrate the
opening of a branch office of Daikyo Seibi (head office in Tokyo), a
defense-related company, near the detachment base.

The commander responded to an interview by Asahi Shimbun in Tsugaru
City. He explained that eight ASDF personnel, including officers
assigned to the base, including himself, and young ASDF members,
attended the session. Ten persons, including President Numamoto,
attended from Daikyo Seibi. Attendants from the ASDF were quoted as
having received invitation for the celebration party in advance.

The wining and dining session started at 6:30 p.m. Several party
hostesses were also there. The session ended in about two hours. The
ASDF participants returned to their barracks by a bus provided by
the inn.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>