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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/20/07

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #5627/01 3540808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200808Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0480
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 7489
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 5093
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 8758
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 3797
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 5730
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0758
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 6817
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7513

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 005627

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 12/20/07


Index:

(1) Poll: 23 PERCENT support grand coalition idea; 21 PERCENT
support DPJ-centered coalition (Mainichi)

(2) Ozawa to play up confrontational stand in party-head debate on
Jan. 9; Some doubtful that debate will even take place, considering
pitched battle between ruling and opposition camps over new
antiterrorism legislation (Yomiuri)

(3) Calls for cabinet shuffle appearing in ruling camp (Mainichi)

(4) Koike, the fighting lawmaker, voices dissatisfaction with
government (Yomiuri)

(5) Establishing connections with Japanese politicians a task for
South Korean president-elect Lee (Nikkei)

(6) I Corps command established at Zama (Tokyo Shimbun)

(7) Draft basic maritime plan calls for strengthened measures
against suspicious boats (Yomiuri)

(8) TOP HEADLINES

(9) EDITORIALS

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, December 19 (Nikkei)

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll: 23 PERCENT support grand coalition idea; 21 PERCENT
support DPJ-centered coalition

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 20, 2007

The Mainichi Shimbun found from its poll conducted on Dec. 15-16
that the public has a certain level of understanding toward a grand
coalition of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the main
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) -- a notion
which was discussed by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and DPJ President
Ichiro Ozawa. The outcome of the poll clearly showed that many LDP
supporters were positive about the idea, while many DPJ supporters
were negative about it. The newspaper questioned those polled about
the form of government that they thought desirable, presenting six
options. As a result, 1) 23 PERCENT considered a grand LDP-DPJ
coalition the most desirable; 21 PERCENT thought a DPJ-centered
coalition would be the best choice; 17 PERCENT said the current
LDP-New Komeito coalition would be the best; 11 PERCENT deemed a
DPJ government the best option; 10 PERCENT considered a LDP
government desirable; 6 PERCENT wanted a government-led by one
party, but neither the LDP nor the DPJ.

Among the LDP supporters, 35 PERCENT favored a grand coalition of
the LDP and DPJ, 34 PERCENT supported keeping the LDP-New Komeito
coalition; and 23 PERCENT wanted an LDP government.

Many LDP supporters seem to have favored a grand LDP-DPJ coalition
due to a sense of alarm about the now divided Diet, in which the
Upper House is controlled by the opposition camp.


TOKYO 00005627 002 OF 007


Meantime, 45 PERCENT of the DPJ supporters wanted a DPJ-centered
government and only 16 PERCENT hoped for a grand coalition with the
LDP, followed by 25 PERCENT wanted to see a DPJ government. This is
one of the reasons the DPJ turned down Ozawa's grand coalition
proposal.

Fifty-five percent of the New Komeito supporters favored maintaining
the present LDP-New Komeito coalition, while 15 PERCENT supported a
grand coalition.

(2) Ozawa to play up confrontational stand in party-head debate on
Jan. 9; Some doubtful that debate will even take place, considering
pitched battle between ruling and opposition camps over new
antiterrorism legislation

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
December 20, 2007

The ruling and opposition camps reached an agreement yesterday to
conduct a party-head debate on Jan. 9 between Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) President
Ichiro Ozawa. It will be Prime Minister Fukuda's first one-on-one
party-head debate since taking office. But because hard bargaining
between the ruling and opposition blocs over the new antiterrorism
special measures bill is expected to climax early next year, some
observers are doubtful that the debate will take place as planned.

A party-head debate has always been held during a Diet session,
except for short-term sessions that usually follow national
elections or other important events. In the current session,
however, a party-head debate has not taken place due to the recent
Fukuda-Ozawa talks and other reasons. A record 200 days have passed
since the last party-head debate.

The DPJ wants to use the series of scandals involving the Defense
Ministry and the deadlocked efforts to identify a large number of
pension accounts to its own advantage as ammunition to attack the
government and ruling coalition. The DPJ intends to vote down the
new antiterrorism legislation in the House of Councillors by Jan.
11. "President Ozawa will send out a signal we are going on the
offensive in the party-head debate ahead of our taking a vote (in
the Upper House)," a person close to Ozawa said.

Amid growing criticism of the government's response to the pension
record issue, a senior LDP member, too, expressed an upbeat view,
saying, "It will be a good opportunity for the prime minister and
others to offer explanations."

Prime Minister Fukuda said last night: "Since it will be my first
party-head debate, I want to conduct it in a way that is easy to
understand." DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama also commented:
"It is important for the party heads to discuss matters frankly."

At the same time, the ruling and opposition camps are in agreement
not to conduct a debate between party leaders during the week when
the prime minister is attending a committee meeting. Chances are
high that the prime minister will attend an Upper House Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee meeting around Jan. 9 when the
antiterrorism legislation is expected to be at a critical juncture.
If that is the case, the fate of the planned party-head debate would
become uncertain.


TOKYO 00005627 003 OF 007


(3) Calls for cabinet shuffle appearing in ruling camp

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 20, 2007

Calls for a cabinet shuffle early next year are now becoming
stronger in the ruling camp. One reason is that Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda kept on most of the ministers appointed by his predecessor
Shinzo Abe, and another is that some believe a cabinet shuffle could
halt the Fukuda administration's plummeting approval ratings and
turn the political situation around. However, a senior Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) member noted: "It would be difficult to set
the schedule" since the new antiterrorism special measures bill is
expected to be put to a vote at the beginning of the New Year.
Fukuda has hinted at such a possibility, but he will likely be
forced to make a tough decision.

"Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed (the present cabinet),
but he and Mr. Fukuda have quite different ideas," said former Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori on a TBS talk show. He indicated that he
expected an early shuffle of the cabinet in an attempt to stop the
plunge in cabinet support rates in the polls. Fukuda retained 13 of
the 17 cabinet ministers whom Abe had picked. Foreign Minister
Nobutaka Machimura was moved laterally to the chief cabinet
secretary's post and Defense Minister Masahiko Koumura moved to the

SIPDIS
foreign minister's post. He appointed only two new members: Shigeru
Ishiba as defense minister; and Kisaburo Tokai as minister of
education, culture, sports, and science and technology. A senior
member of the Machimura faction to which Fukuda belonged said: "It
is only natural for Fukuda to want to display his own political
identity by forming his own cabinet."

The New Komeito also has indicated it expects to see an early
cabinet shuffle, since Tetsuzo Fuyushiba has now been serving as
minister of land, infrastructure, and transport for 15 months.

Fukuda, who wants to keep on top of the situation with an eye on the
upcoming regular Diet session, has strongly denied the possibility
of his dissolving the Lower House to call a snap election, but he
has left some room for a cabinet shuffle. In an interview on Dec. 14
by the Mainichi Shimbun, he stated: "It is a matter on which I must
soon decide." An aide said: "If he wanted to shuffle his cabinet, it
will only take him two days to do so." However, the current Diet
session is expected to be under a tense situation until Jan. 15,
when it will close once the Lower House overrides the Upper House's
rejection of the new antiterrorism bill and the opposition in turn
lodges a censure motion against the prime minister. Since the
government and ruling coalition plan to convene a regular session on
Jan. 18, there would not be enough time for Fukuda to shuffle his
cabinet during the recess.

Moreover, many lawmakers think that it ill advised to change the
cabinet ministers who had compiled the state budget for fiscal 2008
immediately before starting deliberations on the budget bill. In the
past, however, there were a few cases of a cabinet shuffle and the
inauguration of a new cabinet conducted almost simultaneously, such
as the Obuchi cabinet shuffle on Jan. 14, 1999, after the
compilation of the state budget; the Nakasone cabinet reshuffle on
Dec. 28, 1985; and the Kaifu cabinet reshuffle on Dec. 29, 1990.

(4) Koike, the fighting lawmaker, voices dissatisfaction with
government

TOKYO 00005627 004 OF 007

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 20, 2007

LDP lawmaker and a former defense minister Yuriko Koike delivered a
speech in the city of Fukuoka yesterday. In it, touching on the 13th
session of the Conference of the Parties to United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (COP13) held in Indonesia, Koike
criticized the government, which is reluctant to further reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, saying: "If I were environment minister, I
would have supported setting numerical targets. I watched the
conference with frustration, thinking that Japan should come up with
more proactive measures" In regard to attendance at COP13 by
Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita, Koike cynically said: "Japan
is regarded as an easy target (by other countries)."

During her tenure as environment minister under the former Koizumi
administration, Koike spread the Cool Biz casual business dress code
across the country. Under the former Abe administration, Koike as
the country's first female defense minister locked horns with then
Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya over personnel appointments
and forced him to resign. In the speech yesterday, Koike said: "An
election will occur sometime next year. I will say what I have to
say and work hard as a common foot soldier."

In the House of Representatives election in 2005, she won a seat,
running in the Tokyo No. 10 constituency as an "assassin" against a
postal rebel. This time around, the major opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) has decided to field a female
candidate, former University of Tokyo associate professor, as an
"assassin" against Koike.

Is Koike, who has a strong image of being a fighting lawmaker, going
to take a defensive stand? A verbal battle has kicked off already in
preparation for the not-so-distant Lower House election.

(5) Establishing connections with Japanese politicians a task for
South Korean president-elect Lee

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 20, 2007

In the South Korean presidential election campaign, Lee Myung Bak
expressed eagerness to improve relations with Japan, emphasizing: "I
am determined to open up an age of Asia diplomacy." But many
observers see that when he was a businessman and even after he
entered the political world, "Lee did not establish a wide network
of contacts with Japanese," according to a member of the Grand
National Party. Establishing connections with the Japanese political
world is a major task for the new administration.

Lee was the president of Hyundai Construction, so a person concerned
said: "He can hold a conversation in basic Japanese."

When Lee came to Japan in November last year, he held meetings with
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa
Shiozaki, New Komeito President Akihiro Ota, and other government
officials. He met former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa at the Davos Forum last year. He also is acquainted
with former Democratic Party of Japan President Katsuya Okada. But
he has met no other major Japanese politicians than those listed
above.

TOKYO 00005627 005 OF 007

In his election campaign speeches, Lee hardly referred to Japan,
probably out of consideration to the anti-Japanese sentiment in the
nation. A brain-trust foreign policy adviser stated: "He places
importance on relations with Japan, but if trouble breaks out over
Japan's views of history, he would find it difficult to hold down
reactions in South Korea."

The Grand National Party, to which Lee belongs, and the LDP once
actively exchanged members. During the election campaign this time,
former Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil, who was on friendly terms with
former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, joined the party. Even so,
veteran party members who speak Japanese have mostly retired to
private life during the decade when the party was in the opposition
camp.

In the Grand National Party, there are such junior or medium-ranking
members as Kwon Chol-hyon, secretary general of the South
Korea-Japan Friendship Parliamentarian Group, and Lee Song-kwon, who
served as a secretary to LDP House of Representatives member Taro
Kono, but the party's present ties with Japan are weak.

(6) I Corps command established at Zama

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
December 20, 2007

A U.S. Army 1st Corps command was officially launched at Camp Zama
in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, yesterday. The U.S. Army in
Japan will be upgraded from a rear support unit to a forward command
responsible for the security of the whole Asia-Pacific region.

This is the first stationing of a U.S. Army combat-force command
since the 9th army corps was disbanded in 1995, following the end of
the Cold War. The Ground Self-Defense Force's Central Readiness
Command will also be relocated to Zama by fiscal 2012. Such
reorganization is regarded as a "symbol" of closer bilateral
cooperation between Japan and the U.S.

The inaugural ceremony held at Camp Zama yesterday brought together
about 200 participants, including new command members and Defense
Ministry officers. First Commanding General Lt. Gen. Jacoby told
participants in the ceremony: "It is an honor to be able to
strengthen the bilateral alliance between the U.S. and Japan."

Meanwhile, citizens opposed to the launch of the command held a
protest gathering in front of the base. Kanagawa Governor Matsuzawa
and the mayors of seven neighboring cities, including Sagamihara
City, did not attend the ceremony.

(7) Draft basic maritime plan calls for strengthened measures
against suspicious boats

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 20, 2007

The comprehensive maritime policy council, headed by Prime Minister
Fukuda, which is to craft the country's maritime policy, held an
experts' meeting (chaired by Keio University Professor Emeritus
Tadao Kuribayashi) at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) yesterday. The council presented a draft basic maritime
plan incorporating priority policies for the next five years, such

TOKYO 00005627 006 OF 007


as undersea resources surveys and enhanced measures against
suspicious boats.

The draft plan lists 12 policy areas. In the area of maritime
security, the plan highlights the need to establish a system that
can monitor and crack down on mysterious boats and spy ships more
effectively. It also lists the conservation of the marine
environment and promotion of the development of the exclusive
economic zone.

The comprehensive maritime policy council plans to come up with a
basic plan in February next year for a cabinet decision.

(8) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei, and Tokyo Shimbun:
Lee Myung Bak wins South Korean presidential election; Conservative
administration to be established for first time in 10 years

Akahata:
New U.S. Army headquarters opens in Zama

(9) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) ROK presidential election: Closer cooperation in East Asia
expected to follow
(2) Can social security council bear fruit without opposition
parties?

Mainichi:
(1) UN resolution abolishing capital punishment requires thorough
discussion
(2) South Korea chooses pragmatist as new president to deal with
North Korea

Yomiuri:
(1) How will North Korea policy change under new ROK president?
(2) Putin diplomacy points to path back to superpower status

Nikkei:
(1) High hopes for South Korea's new CEO-type president
(2) Adequate wage increase necessary next spring

Sankei:
(1) Mature foreign and domestic policies hoped for of ROK
president-elect
(2) Law must be revised against drunk driving

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Change of administration in ROK: People chose practical gain
(2) Reform of independent administrative corporations must not be
postponed

Akahata:
Proper working conditions essential

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, December 19

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 20, 2007


TOKYO 00005627 007 OF 007


08:45
Attended a ministerial meeting on economic measures at the Kantei.

09:01
Attended an extraordinary cabinet meeting. Health, Labor and Welfare
Minister Masuzoe stayed behind. Handed an official appointment for
National Public Safety Committee (NPSC) membership to former
Hiroshima High Court Chief Kenjiro Tao, with NPSC Chairman Izumi
present.

09:23
Met Internal Affairs Minister Masuda, Vice Minister Takino, Local
Public Finance Bureau Director General Kubo. Followed by Deputy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

10:03
Met Antimonopoly Law Research Council Chairman Horiuchi. Later met
National Police Agency Security Bureau Director General Ikeda.

11:06
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

11:59
Met New Komeito President Ota and mid-ranking members. Ota stayed
behind.

15:17
Met Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Bureau Director General
Kanazawa and Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yanagisawa.
Followed by Cabinet Office's Policy Planning Director General
Shibata. Then met Reform Implementation Headquarters Chief Takebe.

16:04
Met Finance Minister Nukaga, Vice Minister Tsuda, and Budget Bureau
Director General Sugimoto. Followed by ambassadors to Latin American
countries, including Ambassador to Mexico Ono.

17:35
Met former Secretary General Kato.

18:25
Met Masuzoe and Machimura.

19:55
Met Futahashi.

20:59
Dined with Futahashi and others at a Japanese restaurant in the
Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

22:34
Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.

SCHIEFFER

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