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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/28/07

DE RUEHKO #5671/01 3620124
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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Diet agenda:
4) Deliberations on new antiterrorism special measures bill to
restart after New Year's with ruling and opposition camps deadlocked
in Upper House committee (Yomiuri)
5) Antiterrorism bill to allow refueling mission to continue in
Indian Ocean will likely be enacted by Lower House override on Jan.
11 (Nikkei)
6) Upper House starts deliberations on Democratic Party of Japan's
(DPJ) counterproposal bill to the ruling camp's antiterrorism bill
7) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura calls DPJ's proposed
antiterrorism bill "impractical" (Mainichi)
8) DPJ to put off submission of censure motion against prime
minister and resume battle with ruling camp in next regular Diet
session (Sankei)
9) Foreign Minister Koumura clarifies government's stance on
supporting ISAF activities in Afghanistan (Yomiuri)
10) Government's bill to provide relief to hepatitis victims will
admit responsibility for the illness and seek to fully resolve the
issue (Sankei)

11) Prime Minister Fukuda's biggest challenge in China visit will be
find mutually beneficial solution to gas-field development issue in
E. China Sea (Asahi)

12) Appointment of Yabunaka as new vice foreign minister may usher
in a "Fukuda color" for Japan's diplomacy (Mainichi)

Post Kyoto Protocol:
13) Japan to announce at Davos that it will support numerical
targets for reduction of greenhouse gases (Asahi)
14) Government to strengthen efforts for agreement on global warming
measures, based on country-specific reduction targets (Tokyo



Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
Former PM Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

JAL to ask banks, trading houses to buy preferred shares worth 100
to 150 billion yen

Hepatitis C plaintiffs meet with JCP Chairman Shii


(1) North Korea's nuclear weapons: Top priority should be on the
North's declaration of all its nuclear activities
(2) Efforts to streamline independent administrative institutions

TOKYO 00005671 002 OF 010

(1) ODA budget should be secured so that Japan can contribute to
international community
(2) Divided Diet can be resolved without forming a grand coalition

(1) A strenuous year for world news

(1) Japan must carry out reforms
(2) Don't stop education revitalization

(1) Is Social Insurance Agency serious about making clean start?
(2) Tamiflu: We should be aware of medicines must

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Dispatch of day workers: Disposable workers cannot be accepted
(2) DPJ's tax system outline: Fruitful Diet debate necessary

(1) Education revitalization panel report: No future for Abe-style

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, December 26

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 27, 2007

Met with Natural Resources and Energy Agency Natural Resources and
Fuel Department Director General Kitagawa at the Kantei. Then met
with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ono and Foreign Ministry Asian
and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General Sasae.

Met with New Komeito head Ota, followed by Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Futahashi.


Met with Zhu Jianrong, representative of the Society of Chinese
Professors in Japan.

Arrived at the official residence.

Left Haneda Airport by government plane to visit China.

Evening (local time)
Arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport. Stayed overnight
at Beijing Chang Fu Gong Center Hotel.

4) New antiterror bill into next year

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
December 28, 2007

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

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yesterday ended its debate for the year on a new antiterror bill
resuming the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean. The committee's first meeting for the coming year is
scheduled for Jan. 8. Prime Minister Fukuda will be present. The
ruling coalition proposed winding up the committee's discussions on
the bill and taking a vote on it that day. However, the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) insisted on
discussing its own bill presented as a counterproposal to the new
antiterror bill.

5) New antiterrorism bill may clear Diet on Jan. 11

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
December 28, 2007

The ruling parties have now taken the offensive in managing Diet
affairs. The ruling coalition-controlled House of Representatives is
expected to take an override vote possibly on Jan. 11 on the special
measures bill to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean which has been the main focus of
attention in the current Diet session. The ruling bloc plans to
submit to the next regular Diet session, at the outset, a bill
temporarily maintaining the rate for revenue sources set aside for
road construction, paving the way for taking a second vote on that
bill before the end of March. It intends to observe how the
opposition camp will act, while seeking to hold in check the main
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto).

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,
which has been deliberating on the government's new antiterrorism
special measures bill, confirmed in a meeting yesterday of its
directors a plan to hold a next session on Jan. 8. The committee is
scheduled to summon Naoki Akiyama of the Japan-U.S. Peace and
Cultural Exchange to testify as a Diet witness. In the session, the
ruling coalition proposed putting the bill to a vote, but the DPJ
rejected it.

The Upper House, which is controlled by the opposition bloc, will
likely take a vote on the bill in committee on Jan. 10 and the main
vote in a plenary session on the 11th. The outlook is that once the
bill is voted down in the Upper House, the ruling camp will readopt
it with a two-thirds majority override vote in the House of
Representatives even on the 11th, without holding a consultative
meeting of both Diet chambers.

The Upper House committee yesterday started debating a bill on
Afghanistan aid measures submitted by the DPJ as a counterproposal
to the government-sponsored bill to resume the MSDF refueling
mission. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa stressed in a press conference
in the city of Kumamoto:

"The government's interpretation of the Constitution and the way of
its thinking of international contribution are fundamentally
different from those of our party. Since the two different arguments
are submitted to the Diet, I want the public to understand (the
DPJ's bill)."

The ruling camp will not budge an inch in deliberations on bills
related to tax system reform, including road-connected ones, in the
regular session to be convened in January. It decided yesterday in a
meeting of its Diet affairs committee chiefs to submit the
road-related bills earlier than the scheduled on in early January,

TOKYO 00005671 004 OF 010

aiming at priority on deliberations on those bills, along with a
supplementary budget bill for fiscal 2007.

6) Diet begins debate on DPJ's antiterror bill

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
December 28, 2007

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in
the Diet met yesterday and entered into debate on a bill presented
by the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) as a
counterproposal to a new antiterror bill introduced by the
government to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean. The DPJ-presented bill is intended
to assist Afghanistan with its reconstruction for the purpose of
preventing and eradicating international terrorism. The committee's
substantive discussions will be carried over to next year. However,
the ruling bench will fast-track the new antiterror bill.

The DPJ bill proposes sending Self-Defense Forces members and
civilians to Afghanistan for humanitarian and reconstruction
assistance and for public security reform. Specifically, it
incorporates measures for Japan to engage SDF members and civilians
in disarming, medical support, transportation, and other activities.
Masayuki Naoshima, chairman of the DPJ's policy board, explained the
bill before the committee.

The DPJ bill says Japan will help the Afghan government create an
agreement with Taliban and other armed groups to halt conflicts.
Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, however, criticized the DPJ bill,
saying, "It's difficult and inappropriate for the Japanese
government to promote and assist this." The DPJ bill also says
Japan's humanitarian and reconstruction activities will be conducted
in "non-combat zones" where civilians will not be affected. Koumura
also said it would be difficult to specify such conflict-free areas
for locals in Afghanistan.

The committee, prior to its debate yesterday, held a meeting of its
directors. In that meeting, the ruling parties proposed winding up
the committee's discussions on the new antiterror law and take a
vote on it on Jan. 8. However, the ruling and opposition parties
failed to reach an agreement.

7) Chief cabinet secretary: DPJ's new antiterror bill "is not

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 28, 2007

Ryuko Tadokoro

The Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense yesterday
held its last meeting during the year, in which Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura criticized the major opposition

Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) counterproposal to the
government-sponsored new antiterrorism special measures bill by
noting: "The DPJ's bill gives the impression that the Self-Defense
Forces (SDF) will be sent to a safe area but civilians will be sent
to a dangerous area. This approach is not realistic." Machimura, who
has usually taken the brunt of the opposition bloc's attack against
the government's bill, now sarcastically said: "I want to take the
floor as a questioner and ask those in the DPJ who drafted the

TOKYO 00005671 005 OF 010


The DPJ's counterproposal is titled "a special measures bill aimed
at preventing and eliminating international terrorism and helping
Afghanistan to reconstruct itself". In the session yesterday, the
DPJ gave an explanation of the bill and the debate on the bill
began. The feature of the bill is that areas for the SDF to operate
are limited to where a cease-fire agreement is signed or where the
local residents will not suffer any harm. Foreign Minister Masahiko
Koumura also pointed out: "It is unrealistic to assume that the
Karzai government will make peace with the Taliban. It is also
difficult to specify areas where residents will not suffer any

8) DPJ to put off introduction of censure motion against prime
minister; Card to be preserved for regular Diet session

SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
December 28, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) yesterday decided
not to introduce to the Upper House a censure motion against Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, a focus of attention in the extraordinary
Diet session, as a countermeasure against the ruling camp's move to
put the new antiterrorism special measures bill to a vote again in
the Lower House. Its strategy is to corner Fukuda into a dissolution
of the Lower House and a snap election by continuing its offensive
into the regular Diet session regarding issues directly related to
people's lives, such as pensions and the abolition of the
provisional gasoline tax, which will lead to reductions in gasoline
prices, by preserving the censure motion card. More than one DPJ
official revealed this strategy.

The government and the ruling parties are determined to have the new
antiterror legislation enacted by putting it to a vote again in the
Lower House during the current session, which is to end on Jan. 15,
2008, if opposition parties vote down the legislation or carry it to
the next session in the Upper House, where the opposition camp has a

Some DPJ members insisted on countering the ruling parties by
introducing a censure motion. However, even if it is adopted in the
Upper House, it is not legally binding, which would necessitate the
opposition camp trying to corner the administration into a
dissolution of the Lower House or resignation by resorting to a
strategy of refusing to attend Diet deliberations after the prime
minister has been censured.

If opposition parties pass a censure motion coinciding with the
passage of the legislation, they might lose public support, because
they would have to stay away from Diet deliberations on the fiscal
2008 budget bill starting in late January. The People's New Party,
which has a joint parliamentary group with the DPJ, is also cautious
about the idea of introducing a censure motion. However, if the
ruling parties force through the introduction of related bills aimed
at maintaining the provisional gasoline tax during the current Diet
session or public support ratings for the cabinet dramatically drop,
the DPJ would reconsider the possibility of introducing the censure
motion at the end of the Diet session.

9) ISAF complementary to police: Koumura

TOKYO 00005671 006 OF 010

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 28, 2007

Foreign Minister Koumura yesterday attended a meeting of the House
of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in which he
explained the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
deployed to Afghanistan. "Based on the Afghan government's consent,
the ISAF is complementarily undertaking some of Afghanistan's
policing activities in order to recover or maintain public
security." The government has so far taken the position that the
Self-Defense Forces' participation in ISAF conflicts with the
Constitution because the ISAF uses armed force. However, the
government formally revised such a standpoint with the foreign
minister's statement before the committee.

10) Government's draft bill aimed at offering blanket relief to
hepatitis C patients recognizes its responsibility for causing
drug-induced infection; Ruling bloc intends to bring complete
settlement to the case

SANKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
December 28, 2007

The ruling bloc's project team that is drafting a bill aimed at
offering blanket relief to those who were infected with hepatitis C
via tainted blood products yesterday decided to include in the bill
a phrase substantially admits the government's responsibility for
causing drug-induced infection, a major point at issue so far. The
plaintiffs suing the government and drug makers for drug-caused
hepatitis C infection strongly demanded that the government
acknowledge its responsibility for the infection. The ruling parties
and the plaintiffs are to meet for final consultations today. The
case of hepatitis C victims is now expected to be settled completely
in five years after those victims brought the case to the court.

According to an informed source, the bill in its preamble will
include this passage: "The government admits its responsibility for
damage the patients infected with hepatitis C suffer and failure to
prevent the spread of the infection and offers a sincere apology to
the hepatitis C victims. Although the passage does not use the
wording "responsibility for the infection," what the passage implies
would be understood by the plaintiffs. An insider in the ruling bloc
commented: "Agreement has been reached in principle. The bill will
take shape today."

So far the government had admitted "its responsibility for the
results" and "moral responsibility" to offer relief to the victims,
but it had strongly refused to admit its "responsibility for the
infection," in part because some local district courts' rulings said
that there was no error in the government's pharmaceutical
administration and primarily because if the government does so, that
would have a significant impact on its pharmaceutical

Administrative Vice Health Minister Takeshi Erikawa told a press
briefing yesterday: "Pharmaceuticals have both efficacy and
side-effects. If the government recognizes its responsibility for
the infection, it will become impossible to manufacture
pharmaceuticals that will have side-effects."

In response to those press remarks, the plaintiffs asserted; "The
government should learn a lesson from this drug-caused infection

TOKYO 00005671 007 OF 010

case and on its responsibility, it should offer blanket relief to
all the victims."

11) Prime minister's major challenge in China is how to resolve
gas-field development dispute in a mutually beneficial way

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
December 28, 2007

Prime Minister Fukuda arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese
government leaders last evening. Since former Prime Minister Abe
visited that nation in October last year, which marked the first
visit by a Japanese prime minister in five years, the two countries
have successfully established the formula of reciprocal summit
visits. A major challenge for Fukuda in this visit is to enhance
what government officials call a mutually beneficial bilateral
relationship based on common strategic interests, on which Abe
agreed on when he visited China. As part of this challenge, how to
resolve the dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China
Sea is likely to be the touchstone of Fukuda's ability.

Speaking before reporters, Fukuda indicated his eagerness to resolve
this thorny issue, remarking: "It is desirable to settle the issue
as soon as possible. This is a matter that involves another party,
so if we talk, we will be able to reach an agreement."

The spots cited for joint development are on the Japan-set median
boundary line, which China has not recognized. This gap has made
negotiations on the issue difficult. The dispute is sharpening
mainly over how to treat the gas fields under development by China,
including the Chunxiao (called Shirakaba by Japan) gas field; and
what to do about funds and technical cooperation for joint
development and how to treat products there.

Japan: "It is unacceptable to include the area straddling the median
line in our joint development plan."

China: "We have not recognized and will never recognize the
(Japan-claimed) median line."

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that
a state's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extends to a distance of 200
nautical miles (about 370 kilometers) out from its coast. But since
the distance between the Japanese and Chinese coastal baselines is
short and their EEZs overlap, the two countries have yet to agree on
a median line. Japan regards a line equidistant from both sides'
coastal baselines as the median line, but China insists on the
Okinawa Trough as the line.

Even if both sides are eager to resolve the issue based on a
political decision, they need to give careful consideration to
domestic public opinion, because the issue is linked to the
sovereignty issue. Depending on how the issue is settled,
nationalism may well up. The domestic standing of the Fukuda
administration, which was launched in September, remains weak, given
that the opposition camp holds a majority in the House of
Councillors. The government under President Hu Jintao was reshuffled
at the Communist Party Convention in October, so its political
footing is also still weak. A source familiar with Japan-China
relations said: "Both sides must find it difficult to accept a risk
that could deal a blow to them."

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Even so, moves are gaining momentum to resolve the gas-field
development standoff in the upcoming meeting between Fukuda and Hu.
In a meeting between Foreign Minister Koumura and his Chinese
counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Dec. 1, both agreed that the
two countries will make a political decision in an effort to resolve
the issue by the time of Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China.
Afterward, China unofficially asked Japan for joint development on
an area straddling the median line. As it stands, China has finally
begun to "move forward." A Chinese source said: "This is a major
concession for China."

China, though, has indicated an unwillingness to accept Japan's
proposal for jointly developing the gas fields now under development
independently by China by investing funds, such as the Chunxiao gas

12) Fukuda demonstrates his own diplomatic imprint with appointment
of Yabunaka as vice foreign minister; Strong lineup to deal with

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 28, 2007

Yudai Nakazawa

The government will reshuffle major personnel in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) after the extraordinary session of the Diet
ends in mid-January. The reshuffle includes appointing Deputy
Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka as administrative vice foreign
minister, apparently reflecting the strong wishes of Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda, who has made diplomacy his lifework. The new lineup of
the key MOFA officials shows clearly Fukuda's unique diplomatic
imprint that is quite different from that of his predecessor Shinzo

When Fukuda served as chief cabinet secretary in the Koizumi
administration, Yabunaka, along with then Deputy Foreign Minister
Hitoshi Tanaka, conducted negotiations with North Korea. Fukuda has
a strong faith in Yabunaka -- who at one point served as Japan's
chief delegate to the six-party talks to discuss the North Korean
nuclear issue -- for the steady way he gets the job done.

Kenichiro Sasae, director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau, who is expected to be installed as Yabunaka's successor, and
Akitaka Saiki, minister at the Japanese Embassy in the United
States, who is expected to be chosen as Sasae's replacement, both
have extensive experience in negotiating with North Korea. Given
that Fukuda wants to resolve the abduction issue while he is in
office, the new ministry lineup is seen as having a North Korea

With an eye on developments in the U.S. presidential campaign and
the election next November, Fukuda intends to have Ambassador Ryozo
Kato, who has been in that post seven years, retire after the Group
of Eight summit conference at Lake Toya, Hokkaido, next July. But it
is not clear when he will replace Kato, because the appointment of
his successor will be affected by the political situation in the

As Kato's successor, a most likely candidate is Ichiro Fujisaki,
ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
and Other International Organizations in Geneva. Fujisaki served as

TOKYO 00005671 009 OF 010

director-general of the North American Affairs Bureau and deputy
foreign minister.

Ambassador to Indonesia Shin Ebihara was also rumored to be the next
ambassador to the U.S., but he is expected to succeed Ambassador to
the United Kingdom Yoshiji Nogami. Former Ambassador to Ireland
Keiichi Hayashi is likely to be appointed as director-general of the


13) Japan to announce at Davos Conference a plan to set own
numerical targets for greenhouse gas emissions cuts

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 28, 2007

Prime Minister Fukuda has decided to announce in the annual assembly
of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in late January
that Japan will set its own medium- to long-term targets to reduce
its greenhouse gas emissions. It seems difficult to work out
targeted numerical figures by the meeting, but the prime minister
hopes to present such figures at the Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido
next July. The Japanese government was negative about setting
targets out of consideration to concern in domestic industrial
circles about a decline in Japanese firms' competitiveness in the
international community, but it has made a policy switch, with a
desire to demonstrate its leadership in forming a post-Kyoto

In a meeting on an international strategy to deal with the global
warming issue yesterday with the environment minister, the economy,
trade and industry minister, and the foreign minister, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Machimura revealed the government's plan to set reduction


In the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Bali,
Indonesia, this month, Japan, together with the United States,
opposed the policy of setting numerical targets. Japan's judgment
was that in order to have such large gas emitters as the U.S.,
China, and India take part in a new framework, it would not be wise
to set numerical targets at the present stage. Japan's stance met
strong reactions from the European Union (EU) and developing

The global-warming issue will be high on the agenda at the Lake Toya
Summit, which Japan will chair. If Japan allows other participants
to continue to regard it as a "force of resistance," Japan will not
be able to demonstrate leadership. Given this circumstance, the
prime minister intends to announce in the Davos Conference, which
will bring about world political and economic leaders that Japan
will achieve the 6 PERCENT target set in the Kyoto Protocol and
then shoulder a further obligation to reduce gas emissions.

14) Government to strengthen greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal
in post-Kyoto Protocol framework: Mulling introduction of numerical
target for each country

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
December 28, 2007

The Kyoto Protocol for greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures
ends in 2013. In connection with the post-Kyoto framework, the

TOKYO 00005671 010 OF 010

government yesterday started considering the possibility of setting
country-specific numerical targets for cutting greenhouse gases, the
aim being to further increase Japan's goal to cut emissions 6
PERCENT from the 1990 level.

In setting a target number, the government plans to work out a new
method centering on the feasibility of industry-specific emissions
reduction goals and ask other countries in talks with them to adopt
the same method. It will also call on participants to agree on the
idea at the G-8 Summit in Hokkaido to be held in July next year.

The government is also undergoing coordination with the possibility
of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announcing the plan there when he
attends the annual plenary session of the World Economic Forum to be
held in Davos, Switzerland in late January next year. However, with
the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Business
Federation strongly opposing the setting of numerical targets,
efforts to obtain an agreement on the proposal could run into

Japan also intends to propose a global energy conservation
acceleration strategy aimed at improving by 2020 energy efficiency
by 30 PERCENT from the 2005 level.


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