Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/26/07

DE RUEHKO #5653/01 3600317
P 260317Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Japan calls off hunt for humpbacks (Asahi) 3

Political issues:
2) Prime Minister Fukuda scraps Abe's NSC plan (Yomiuri) 3
3) MOFA to retain Vice Minister Yachi (Sankei) 4
4) Cabinet Secretariat to set up intelligence anlysist post
(Yomiuri) 4

Defense and security issues:
5) GOJ not to review midterm defense buildup program in current
fiscal year (Yomiuri) 5
6) Okinawa Gov. Nakaima calls for Tokyo to review Futenma assessment
plan (Nikkei) 5
7) Police, MSDF send papers to prosecutors on Aegis leaks (Sankei)
8) GOJ sees SDF Afghan mission as constitutional (Yomiuri) 6
9) Universities also to block military spies (Yomiuri) 6
10) ASDF posts liaison officer to new U.S. command in Hawaii
(Sankei) 7

Japan-China ties:
11) Japan-China summit set for Dec. 28 (Tokyo Shimbun) 7
12) Beijing deems it difficult to reach agreement with Tokyo in E.
China Sea gas development talks (Asahi) 8
13) Japan-China joint fund eyed for environmental preservation in
China (Nikkei) 8

Energy topics:
14) 18 countries to participate in U.S. nuclear recycle plan,
including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Nikkei) 8
15) Japan to take over North Korea's 45 billion yen debt on
light-water reactor construction (Yomiuri) 9


1) Japan to suspend humpback whaling for year or two, out of
consideration to IWC, Australia

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
December 22, 2007

The government announced yesterday that it would call off for a year
or two the catch of humpback whales, which Japan included on its
list of species subject to its research whaling early this year,
meeting strong reactions from Australia and the United States.
Humpbacks are popular among whale-watchers. Japan's decision on the
temporary suspension came in response to International Whaling
Commission (IWC) Chairman William Hogarth's expression of his
determination to normalize the function of the IWC, in which
discussions over the whaling issue have become polarized and

In a press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura
revealed that Chairman Hogarth had asked Japan to suspend humpback
whaling for a year or two while the IWC makes efforts to normalize
its function. He added: "We will not change the research whaling
plan, but the government will suspend humpback whaling while the
IWC-normalization process is underway."

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According to officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries (MAFF), Chairman Hogarth, keeping in mind Japan's position
of vice chair of the IWC, visited Japan in mid-December and called
for Japan's cooperation for the commission's utmost efforts to
normalize its operations. MAFF takes the view that there will be no
problem with the domestic supply of whale meat even without hunting

Japan's whaling fleet left Shimonoseki Port in Yamaguchi Prefecture
in mid-November this year and arrived at an area near the Southern
Ocean. It plans to catch 850 minke whales, 50 fin whales, and 50

However, the Australian government announced that it will send a
fisheries patrol ship to monitor Japan's whaling activities in the
Southern Ocean to collect evidence for a potential legal case
against Japan's whaling program. A spokesman for the U.S. State
Department also called Japan to practice self-control. As it stands,
criticism of Japan's whaling is growing in the international
community. The ambassadors to Japan of several countries, including
Australia and Argentina, visited the Foreign Ministry yesterday and
submitted a statement by about 30 countries against the resumption
of Japan's research whaling.

MAFF Minister Wakabayashi said that the government's decision to
call off humpback whaling was "not based on Australia's
announcement." But as Machimura said: "I think the decision could
result in improving the relationship with Australia," consideration
to relations with Australia was also behind the decision. Foreign
Minister Koumura informed Australian Foreign Minister Smith of
Japan's decision.

2) Government formally drops idea of establishing Japanese version
of U.S. National Security Council but notes it is necessary to
strengthen Kantei functions

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
December 25, 2007

The government formally decided at a meeting on Dec. 24 of its
Security Council held at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) to abandon the idea of establishing a Japanese version of
the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) aimed at strengthening the
command functions of the Kantei. In line with this decision, the
government will scrap related bills during the current session of
the Diet, including a bill revising the Security Council
Establishment Law. During the session, Prime Minister Fukuda said,
"Under the current political situation, we can't discuss the bills,
and I think it is less likely that the bills will be approved." He
added: "Strengthening the functions of the Kantei is necessary. I
hope to see the chief cabinet secretary, the foreign minister, and
the defense minister work in closer cooperation and play the roles
expected of a Japanese version of the U.S. NSC."

3) Appointment of new administrative vice foreign minister deferred

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
December 26, 2007

The government decided to delay appointing a new administrative vice
foreign minister, which was planned for January. Behind this
decision is the government's judgment that because the current

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extraordinary session of the Diet has been re-extended to Jan. 15,
the government has no time to spare to select a new vice minister.

Incumbent Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi (63) is
to retire in March, but the government will delay his retirement so
that personnel replacement, including the selection of a new vice
minister, will be carried over to next summer after the coming
ordinary Diet session.

4) Government to set up info analyst posts to strengthen
intelligence functions

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
December 25, 2007

The government will strengthen its intelligence functions next
fiscal year. It plans to set up intelligence analysis posts tasked
with analyzing developments in issues such as the threat of North
Korea and international terrorism in the Cabinet Secretariat. The
government has also decided to establish a counterintelligence
center with the aim of thoroughly protecting its information.
Although the Fukuda administration officially decided yesterday to
abandon a plan initiated by the former Abe administration to create
a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), it
intends to enhance the government's ability to collect and analyze

In a press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura
stressed that the government would strengthen intelligence
gathering, saying: "Raising the government's intelligence-gathering
abilities is a basic requirement for preserving Japan's peace,
security and independence."

About five analysts will be appointed to the Cabinet Intelligence
and Research Office. They will be in charge of specialized areas,
such as the Korean Peninsula, China and other Asian countries,
international terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction. Based on
analysis of information obtained by the government through persons
or satellites, they will draft an information-assessment report and
submit it to the Prime Minister's Office.

The government intends to select for the posts "persons with
specialized skills from both the government and the private sector,"
according to a senior officer of the Cabinet Intelligence Office.

5) Midterm defense plan not to be reviewed in current fiscal year:

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
December 25, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, meeting the press yesterday, said
the government for now would not review its current midterm defense
buildup plan for the period of five fiscal years from 2005 through
2009. The current midterm defense buildup plan totals 24.24 trillion
yen. "W will consider what to do about it after seeing the outcome
of the advisory panel's discussions on a reform of the Defense
Ministry," Machimura said. The government, if necessary, is to
review the defense buildup plan during the current fiscal year as
its third year in consideration of the international situation and
financial circumstances. However, the government has set up the
Defense Ministry reform panel in the wake of scandals involving the

TOKYO 00005653 004 OF 008

Defense Ministry. The panel is expected to work out an interim
report in February next year. The government will then decide on
whether to review the plan.

6) Futenma assessment plan insufficient: Nakaima

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 22, 2007

Okinawa Prefecture's Governor Hirokazu Nakaima yesterday presented
the Okinawa Defense Bureau with a statement calling for the
government to review its environmental impact assessment plan for
the relocation of the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in Okinawa
Prefecture to the island prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago.
Nakaima, in his statement, takes the position that the environmental
assessment plan is "insufficient" in terms of what to survey and how
to assess a potential impact on the environs of the relocation site
for Futenma.

The governor's statement calls for the government to disclose
information about aircraft types and flight operations for the newly
planned facility. Meanwhile, Nago City has proposed moving the
Futenma relocation site to an offshore area. In this respect, the
governor also calls for the government to conduct a fact-finding
survey of aircraft noise. The government is planning to start an
environmental survey in February next year. Nakaima asked the
government to release its review of the assessment plan before

7) Papers pertaining to the case of Aegis information leak against
four SDF officers, including one lt. cmdr., sent to prosecutors

SANKEI (Page 22) (Abridged)
December 26, 2007

The Kanagawa Prefectural Police and the Maritime Self-Defense Force
Criminal Investigation Command, which were jointly investigating the
case of a petty officer 2nd class (33) having taken key information
on the Aegis defense system, yesterday sent to prosecutors papers
pertaining to the leak of classified information involving four SDF
officers, including a lieutenant commander (43) at the MSDF Fleet
Training Command, who had taught at the MSDF First Service School,
on charges of violation of the Law Concerning the Protection of
Secrets for the Japan-U.S. Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement, thus

winding up their investigation into the case.

Three other officers who have been referred to prosecutors were: a
lieutenant (49) who had taught at the above service school and who
faces additional charges; a petty officer 2nd class (38) who had
been a student at Maizuru Training Center; and a leading seaman (24)
who had been assigned to service activity at Yokosuka Base.

8) Government decides to interpret SDF's participation in ISAF as
constitutional in terms of complementing police activities

YOMIURI (Top play) (Lead paragraph)
December 22, 2007

It was learned on Dec. 21 that the government has come to the view
that the Self-Defense Forces' (SDF) participation in the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operating in
Afghanistan would be constitutional. In the past, however, cabinet

TOKYO 00005653 005 OF 008

members had stated in their Diet replies that the SDF's
participation in ISAF would be regarded as the use of armed force,
which is prohibited by the Constitution. By making changes to this
stance, the government has now come out with a fresh view that
ISAF's main activities would not be regarded as the use of weapons
in light of international law and has noted that in some cases, the
SDF would be allowed to take part in ISAF activities that might use
armed force. The government has thus implied the possibility of the
SDF's future participation in ISAF, even though there is another
condition that must be met, which is how to confirm a "noncombat
area." As for the SDF's participation in ISAF at this point in time,
the government will assess the security situation in Afghanistan and
carefully decide whether to send the SDF to that country, even
though the constitutional issue has now been resolved.

9) Protection of WMD-convertible technology at universities:
Government plans to adopt stricter screening system when accepting
foreign students

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, December 25, 2007

The government yesterday mapped out guidance on technical control of
security trade guidelines targeting research organs and
universities, with the aim of preventing the outward flow of
technologies convertible into weapons of mass destruction (WMD),
such as nuclear weapons. The guidelines call for setting disclosure
standards for such technologies and adopting a stricter screening
system for the acceptance of foreign students. The government will
notify related organs of the guidelines early next year.

The guidelines were mapped out by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry (METI) and the Ministry Education, Culture, Sports, Science
and Technology (MEXT). They call for setting three to four
categories, such as "top secret," "secret" and "for internal use
only," based on the principle that not all information should be
disclosed freely and it should be checked whether the guidelines
lack the viewpoint of security.

The guidelines also cite Iran, Iraq and North Korea as "countries of
concern" that are developing WMDs. Regarding the acceptance of
students from those countries, the package notes that it is
necessary to cautiously consider technologies possessed by host
sections and departments when accepting students who have the
possibility of entering employment in military-affairs-related
sectors or the military when they return their home countries.

According to MEXT, 229 Iranian students and researchers and 13 Iraqi
students and researchers were studying in Japan as of May this year,
but there are no North Koreans. The guidelines recommend that host
entities vet applicants' personal history and nationalities at the
stage when applications are filed.

As other points to keep in minds, the guidelines note: (1) staff
members must submit all technical information they possess to
universities or research organs before they resign; (2) the
disclosure of information through patent applications and the
release of theses should also be taken note of; and (3) when
accepting tours of research facilities by foreigners, careful
consideration must be given in advance to the specifics of the

TOKYO 00005653 006 OF 008

10) ASDF posts liaison officer to new U.S. command in Hawaii

SANKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
December 23, 2007

The Defense Ministry has sent a liaison officer to the U.S. Air
Force's warfighting headquarters newly established in Hawaii,
sources revealed yesterday. The newly launched headquarters, an
organization in charge of planning and conducting operations, has
24-hour command and control functions using a satellite network. The
new headquarters will command air operations in its area ranging
from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Japan, with its liaison
officer posted to the new command, will step up its intelligence
sharing and interoperability with the United States for emergency
and disaster relief operations.

The new command, called the Kenny Headquarters, is located at Hickam
Air Force Base in Hawaii. It was established in June 2005 and is
currently tasked with the Pacific Air Forces Headquarters' command
and control functions. The Defense Ministry sent an Air Self-Defense
Force lieutenant colonel to the Kenny Headquarters this month.

11) Japan-China summit on Dec. 28: Premier to visit China tomorrow

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
December 26, 2007

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang on Dec. 25 released the
Chinese side's schedule for welcoming Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda,
who will visit the nation from the 27th through the 30th. The top
three officials -- President Hu Jintao, National People's Congress
Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo, and Premier Wen Jiabao --
will meet with Fukuda on the 28th. Wen will also attend a breakfast
meeting on the 29th to cordially welcome him.

Qin underscored: "Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China will carry
a significant meaning for the development of China-Japan relations.
The leaders will exchange in-depth opinions on issues of interest to
both countries." However, regarding talks on the development of gas
fields in the East China Sea, an issue that will likely have
rough-going, Qin repeated China's usual stance that it will aim for
an early settlement of the issue based on the principle of joint
development, putting the dispute on the back burner. Regarding a
joint statement after the summit, he remained cautious, simply
saying, "Consultation is now under way."

Fukuda will deliver a speech at Beijing University on the 28th. On
the 29th, he will visit a primary school in Beijing. He will then
visit Tianjin, Wen's hometown, and Qufu in Shandong, the birthplace
of Confucius. Wen visited Kyoto and Osaka along with Tokyo when he
came to Japan in April. The Chinese side had asked Fukuda to visit
provincial cities.

12) Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman indicates difficulty in
resolving gas-field development row

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 26, 2007

(Kenji Minemura, Beijing)

In a regular press conference on Dec. 25, Chinese Foreign Ministry

TOKYO 00005653 007 OF 008

Spokesman Qin Gang said on the standoff over joint gas-field
development in the East China between Japan and China, which is
expected to be high on the agenda at the upcoming meeting between
Prime Minister Fukuda and President Hu Jintao planned for Dec. 28:
"Since there is a wide gap in both sides' views, negotiations have
reached a stalemate." He added: "The Chinese government has always
attended the negotiations in a positive and practical manner,"
indicating the need for Japan to make further efforts to resolve the

13) Environmental protection in China: Government, ruling camp
mulling establishment of joint Japan-China fund as proposal by PM
Fukuda in China: Coordination underway with outlay of 10 billion yen
in mind

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
December 23, 2007

The government and the ruling camp on Dec. 22 started looking into
the possibility of setting up a fund to be jointly financed by Japan
and China with the aim of protecting the environment in China. The
heads of the ruling parties will coordinate the details. If the
proposal is finalized, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will propose it
to the Chinese side during his visit to the nation starting on Dec.

Protecting the environment in China has been seen as one means of
preventing global warming. The government wants to play up the
Fukuda administration's enthusiasm with the establishment of such a
fund in the run-up to the G-8 (Lake Toya Summit) in July next year,
where global warming will be one of the top agenda items.

The establishment of the fund is also intended to partially replace
the end of yen loans in fiscal 2007. The government has searched for
a new framework for providing funds to China based on the policy of
continuing cooperation on the environment. It has judged that if
both countries provide funds, hard-liners against China in the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would agree.

The government wants to confer on the proposal at the working level,
after proposing it at the bilateral summit, and reach an agreement
at the summit in July.

14) U.S. nuclear fuel processing plan draws in 18 countries

NIKKEI (Page 7) (Excerpts)
December 26, 2007

Kazuaki Fujii, Washington

The United States government is accelerating its plan to establish a
framework to increase the use of nuclear power internationally and
for countries to reprocess used nuclear fuel. As of May, only four
countries - Japan, France, China, and Russia - had joined the U.S.
plan. But the number has increased to 18. The U.S. government has
already signed contracts with such private firms as Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries, Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited, and Areva of France. The
U.S. aims to dissolve concern about funding and technology by
joining hands with foreign countries, mainly Japan.

15) Assumption of North Korea's debts worth 45 billion yen: MOFA
insists on demanding payment

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YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 22, 2007

The government has decided to in principle take on 44.8 billion yen
in the outstanding balance of loans the Japan Bank for International
Corporation (JBIC) extended to North Korea for the construction of
light water nuclear reactors by the Korean Peninsula Energy
Development Organization (KEDO). The procedure will be that the
government outlays funds to KEDO, and KEDO pays the money to the
JBIC. The outlay of funds will start next fiscal year and continue
for up to five years. The government earmarked approximately 9
billion yen in the initial fiscal 2008 budget.

A senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
yesterday stressed his ministry's view that it will ask North Korea
to repay the money, noting that the outlay of funds to KEDO does not
mean that the Japanese government will assume North Korea's debts
payments. However, it is viewed that there is almost no possibility
of North Korea responding to Japan's demand for the repayment of the
loans, as a government source put it. Such being the situation, it
would be unavoidable for Japan to cover North Korea's debts with
taxpayers' money. Some ruling party members are voicing skepticism
about the idea of Japan assuming the payment of debts held by North

The government in April 1999 decided at a cabinet meeting that the
JBIC would extend loans up to 116.5 billion yen (1 billion dollars)
for the construction of two nuclear light-water reactors, which KEDO
will provide to that nation. North Korea was expected to pay the
loans through KEDO. However, the arrangement was that in the event
of North Korea failing to pay its debts, the Japanese government
would cover the losses. Following North Korea's declaration of its
possession of nuclear weapons, it was decided to end construction of
the light-water nuclear reactors in May 2006. As a result, loans
worth 44.9 billion yen turned sour.


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