Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/22/08

DE RUEHKO #2018/01 2040810
P 220810Z JUL 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Marc Knapper of U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is promising Japan expert

(2) Fukuda-style politics (Part 1): Fukuda has no "right-hand man"

(3) JCP's Nihi slams subservience to U.S. (Akahata)

(4) Bush plays up U.S. military realignment, Fukuda vows
implementation (Akahata)

(5) DPJ's Hatoyama proposes debate on Afghan aid (Akahata)

(6) Ten years since establishment of DPJ; No blueprint for achieving
equal alliance between Japan and U.S. alliance (Mainichi)

(7) Special Advisor to Prime Minister Kyoko Nakayama: Dialogue on
return of abductees with pressure as tool (Sankei)

(8) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, G-8 summit, North
Korea abductions, consumption tax (Tokyo Shimbun)

(9) Cold eyes on Defense Minister Ishiba (Foresight)




(1) Marc Knapper of U.S. Embassy in Tokyo is promising Japan expert

FORESIGHT (Page 31) (Full)
August 2008

It has been a long time since observers pointed out that the number
of Japan experts has decreased in the U.S. government. However, Marc
Knapper, 38, who arrived last year at his current post of deputy of
the political section at the U.S. Embassy, is a promising U.S.
diplomat. There is a rumor that Knapper will be promoted to
minister-counselor (for political affairs) to succeed incumbent
Minister-Counselor Michael Meserve, who will leave the post next
year. A Japanese government official said hopefully: "He will become
an influential Japan expert in the future like Richard Armitage and
Michael Green."

After learning Japanese politics at Princeton University, Knapper
studied at the University of Tokyo. He even worked at the
International Affairs Division of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP). As he speaks fluent Japanese, he has built wide-ranging
personal connections with Japanese Diet members and their
secretaries. He knows Tatsuo Fukuda, the oldest son of Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, a policy secretary to the prime minister.

Knapper is well versed also in Korean affairs and speaks Korean.
Under the Clinton administration, he flew to Pyongyang for
negotiations prior to a visit to North Korea by then Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright. A Foreign Ministry official said: "I have
exclusively held negotiations with Mr. Knapper on onerous bilateral

TOKYO 00002018 002 OF 011

There is no way to predict who will win the U.S. presidential
election, Republican Senator John McCain or Democratic Senator
Barack Obama. A source familiar with Japan-U.S. relations commented:
"Mr. Knapper will support the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo whatever
government is formed."

(2) Fukuda-style politics (Part 1): Fukuda has no "right-hand man"

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 17, 2008

Criticism has become stronger regarding Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda's management of his administration. Fukuda's political method
that sometimes changes depending on the situation has confused even
his aides. With an eye on the next House of Representatives
election, Fukuda must first overcome many hurdles. This newspaper
probes into the Fukuda-style of politics.

Issues instructions out of blue

"Expenditures for public service corporations will be cut by 30
PERCENT ," Fukuda said slowly in an informal cabinet meeting on July
4. Since he made the instruction without holding prior coordination
with relevant ministries and agencies, as well as with
special-interest policy cliques in the Diet, government officials
were surprised at his instruction, with one official saying: "It was
a total surprise."

Although the ministries and agencies concerned were aware of a
pending reduction in annual expenditures, they did not expect a 30
percent cut. On the night of July 4, Fukuda told reporters: "The
expenditures will be cut even more." A government source said in a
hesitant way: "Even a 30 percent cut is difficult."

Fukuda's lack of communication with others sometimes created
negative effects. One typical example occurred in March when the
government's nomination for the new governor of the Bank of Japan
was repeatedly rejected by the main opposition Democratic Party of
Japan. The reason is because Fukuda failed to present the first
nomination to the Diet because he had been busy with the handling of
the collision of an Aegis ship and small fishing boat. He submitted
the second nomination, while the opposition was negatively reacting
to the ruling coalition having rammed through the bill on a budget
for fiscal 2008 in late February. Fukuda did not convey his decision
even to Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura until the last minute.
Since the opposition did not approve the second nomination, as well,
the BOJ governorship was vacant for three weeks. As a result, many
in the ruling camp grew concerned about the situation.

Political observers note that an absence of those politicians who
would serve to convey Fukuda's intentions has undermined his

Fukuda is now serving in his sixth-term in the Lower House. Diet
members serving in their 6th-term are regarded in Nagato-cho as
mid-level lawmakers. Since Fukuda has never headed any faction, he
did not need to have a "right-hand man" to coordinate views.

Concerned that Fukuda may give up the prime minister's post

In June and early July, prior to Group of Eight (G-8) summit, for

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which Fukuda became passionately devoted, speculation was afoot that
he might resign his position after the event.

The Fukuda cabinet's approval ratings have been at the 20
percent-level. Fukuda has been unable to manage his administration
as he wishes because of the divided Diet. Abe's sudden resignation
is still a fresh memory. Fukuda also suddenly quit the chief cabinet
secretary post due to his failure to pay pension premium payments.
Fukuda's equidistant political stance worked well when he
established the government backed by main LDP factions. However,
close cooperation between the government and ruling parties is
indispensable for handling the next extra Diet session, as well as
for winning a tug-of-the war between the ruling and opposition
camps, which may lead to the next Lower House election.

Even if Fukuda carries out a cabinet shuffle soon, whether it will
lead to boosting his administration will depend on how he manages
his new cabinet. If there is no change in his political methods, the
mood will grown stronger for him to be replaced.

(3) JCP's Nihi slams subservience to U.S.

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Abridged)
July 20, 2008

Sohei Nihi, a House of Councillors member of the Japanese Communist
Party, participated as a panelist in a town meeting held yesterday
in Yokohama by the Junior Chamber International Japan (JCIJ) and
exchanged views with representatives from other political parties on
the Constitution.

Regarding whether Article 9 of the Constitution should be changed
for Japan's international contribution, Nihi stressed that the
United States is now deeply stalemated both in Iraq and in
Afghanistan and is being internationally isolated. "I wonder how
long Japan will follow the United States' unitary hegemony," Nihi
said. "Article 9 is a step ahead in illegalizing wars, so we must
utilize it for politics," he insisted.

Hajime Funada, a House of Representatives member of the Liberal
Democratic Party, said: "We should cross out the second paragraph of
Article 9 for Japan to have armed forces for self-defense. We must
consider how to help America as our ally." Akihisa Nagashima, a
House of Representatives member of the Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto), said: "We should repeal the second paragraph of Article
9 and expressly stipulate the Self-Defense Forces. We need to add
another paragraph to describe international peace cooperation."

(4) Bush plays up U.S. military realignment, Fukuda vows

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Full)
July 20, 2008

Japan and the United States held a summit meeting of Prime Minister
Fukuda and President Bush on July 6 in the Hokkaido town of Toya on
the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit held at Lake Toya
in Hokkaido. On that occasion, Bush said the realignment of U.S.
forces in Japan would be important for the next administration, as

On July 18, the government held a consultative meeting with local

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officials from Okinawa's prefectural and municipal governments on
the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station
in Okinawa Prefecture to the prefecture's northern coastal city of
Nago. In this meeting, Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura revealed
what was discussed in the Fukuda-Bush meeting. According to his
account, Bush told Fukuda: "The realignment of U.S. forces in Japan
is important for the next administration as well, and it is
extremely important to steadily implement the Japan-U.S. agreement."
Fukuda responded, "Japan will steadily implement the roadmap (for
the U.S. military's realignment)."

The United States had expected to take up the U.S. force realignment
as the primary issue on the agenda for the Fukuda-Bush meeting.

The roadmap, including a plan to build a new base in a coastal area
of Nago City for Futenma relocation, describes that the U.S.
military realignment will be completed in 2014. Bush's remarks
indicated that the U.S. military realignment is a 'categorical
imperative' for the Japanese government regardless of the outcome of
this fall's U.S. presidential election.

Bush also stressed the importance of implementing the Japan-U.S.
agreement in a steady way. This can be taken as indicating the
United States' strong rejection not only to Okinawa's public
opposition to the new base but also to Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu
Nakaima's advocacy of building the new base in an offshore area of
Nago City.

(5) DPJ's Hatoyama proposes debate on Afghan aid

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Full)
July 20, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama, meeting the press in Okayama City on July 19, stated his
views regarding Japan's aid to Afghanistan. "We will not take part
in any plus alpha discussion while continuing the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's deployment to the Indian Ocean," Hatoyama said.
"But," he went on, "if Japan is to do something different from
refueling activities at sea, there's much room for discussion."

"It's hard to envision land- and sea-based activities," Hatoyama
said, referring to specific assistance measures. He added: "We may
discuss whether there's something Japan can do in the area of
aviation or whether Japan can do something involving another
organization that is not the Self-Defense Forces."

(6) Ten years since establishment of DPJ; No blueprint for achieving
equal alliance between Japan and U.S. alliance

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
July 18, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa held a press
conference in Naha on June 26 in which he said: "Our goal is to take
the reins of government and to establish a Japan-U.S. alliance that
is truly based on equality. We will consider resolving the issues of
the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and U.S. bases by
respecting the views held by the people of Okinawa." Based on the
results of the June 8 Okinawa prefectural assembly election that
reversed the positions of the ruling and opposition blocs, the party
adopted on July 8 what is called its "Okinawa Vision," in which it

TOKYO 00002018 005 OF 011

expressed the party's determination to fundamentally revise the SOFA
and to relocate Futenma Air Station to a site outside Okinawa or

In the June 8 prefectural assembly race, the DPJ won four seats,
adding three seats to the one it had previously held. Sueko
Yamauchi, who was elected to the prefectural assembly for the first
time on the DPJ ticket, ascribed her victory to public expectations
for the party to oppose the construction of the new base once it
attains power.

The prefectural assembly in its plenary session on July 18 is
expected to adopt by a majority of votes by the opposition parties
an opinion letter and a resolution opposing the relocation of
Futenma Air Station to the coastal area of Camp Schwab. If approved,
it would be the first resolution opposing the relocation of a U.S.
base within the prefecture since l996, when Prime Minister Ryutaro
Hashimoto led a coalition administration of the LDP, Social
Democratic Party and Sakigake Party.

A local head promoting Futenma's relocation to the Henoko district
thinks the prefectural policy will shift, depending on the
governor's decision.

The DPJ also refused for the first time to endorse the Special
Measures Agreement, the basis for Japan's Host-Nation Support
(sympathy budget) that pays for the costs of stationing U.S. forces
in Japan. That step, too, reflected the DPJ's decision to take a
resolute stance toward the United States in contrast to the
government and LDP's policy of placing highest priority on the
bilateral alliance, a trend that became especially noticeable during
the Koizumi administration. The UN-centered diplomacy advocated by
Ozawa when his party campaigned against an extension of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force operations in the Indian Ocean can be traced to
the same roots, as well.

The Liberal Forum, a group of DPJ lawmakers who reject Japan's
exercising the right to collective self-defense, conducted a seminar
in Hokkaido's Chitose on July 15 in which a heated debate took place
ahead of the upcoming party leadership race. Some members argued,
"Mr. Ozawa said that the country in principle can dispatch the SDF
as long as there is a UN resolution,, saying that such is not
against the Constitution," and: "Mr. Ozawa is liberal, but the
public does not think so. A leadership race is necessary in order
also to make clear that Mr. Ozawa is not oriented toward amending
the Constitution."

The group eventually gave up fielding its own candidate for the
leadership race and called for establishing an international
cooperation force to conduct peacekeeping and humanitarian
operations overseas that would not conflict with Ozawa's UN-centered
thinking. The group's representative, Hideo Hiraoka, explicitly
indicated that fighting the next Lower House race under President
Ozawa is a precondition.

The DPJ has been referred to as a patchwork party since its
establishment, but its members are now banding together for their
ultimate goat of taking power by putting aside their differences in
views on security. Nevertheless, it is also a reality that the DPJ
has no blueprint to clear the self-imposed hurdles, such as a
revision of the SOFA.

TOKYO 00002018 006 OF 011

"Once the DPJ takes the reins of government, the party would not
able to oppose the sympathy budget (which is essential for the
Japan-U.S. alliance). This is the last chance to do so (as an
opposition party)." This comment came from Keiichiro Asao, the
shadow cabinet's defense minister, in its cabinet meeting on April
2. Will the DPJ be able to realize a Japan-U.S. alliance based on
equality after taking power? Asao's comment reflected the DPJ's

(7) Special Advisor to Prime Minister Kyoko Nakayama: Dialogue on
return of abductees with pressure as tool

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
July 21, 2008

The Japan-North Korea working level talks held in June entered a new
phase. Japan has extracted a promise from North Korea to
reinvestigate abduction cases, based on the assumption that the
abductees are alive, with the aim of locating the whereabouts of
them, including Megumi Yokota, whom Pyongyang has claimed is dead,
and returning them to Japan.

As for the Japanese government's stand on the abduction issue, the
former Shinzo Abe cabinet in 2007 explained that progress on the
abduction issue means Japan and North Korea sharing a common
understanding that the abduction issue must be settled and North
Korea taking concrete action based on that understanding, and that a
settlement of the abduction issue means the return of all abductees,
the shedding of light on the truth and the extradition of those
responsible for abductions.

If the results of the reinvestigation are a fabricated story as was
the case in the past or if the reinvestigation was carried out for
the sake of confirming the abductees' deaths, then Japan should not
lift even part of its economic sanctions against that nation. It is
necessary to nail down that point. If North Korea takes action that
will clearly lead to progress, it may be possible for Japan to lift
part of its sanctions.

Energy aid to North Korea was also on the table of the recent
six-party talks. However, it is only natural that the Japanese
government cannot extend aid, because abducted Japanese nationals
are still in North Korea and North Korea has failed to take any
actions that can be considered as progress.

Prime minister reaches out to G-8 leaders

Former Prime Minister Abe said that he would apply pressure in
implementing his North Korea policy. Japan has applied sanctions
against that nation based on the determination that it would not
respond to calls for talks unless it finds itself in a really
difficult situation. Sanctions have been imposed with dialogue in

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has no intention whatsoever of removing
sanctions as sought by North Korea. His stand is that he will lift
sanctions if North Korea returns abductees to Japan. He is
determined to expedite talks with that nation, using pressure as a
driving force. As such, there is no change at all in the basic
policy lines of Mr. Abe and Prime Minister Fukuda.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Fukuda at the G-8 summit in Hokkaido

TOKYO 00002018 007 OF 011

asked for cooperation from leaders of relevant countries so that
North Korea will understand that returning abductees to Japan would
be in its interest.

He took time to explain to those leaders his thoughts that the
abduction issue must be settled by any means. The prime minister is
more preoccupied with the abduction issue than he appears.

Prime minister not weak-kneed

I do not think that relations between the present government and the
abductee family association are not going well. Previously, there
was not even an organization to deal with the abduction issue in the
government. Now, there is the Headquarters on the Abduction Issue.

There is no change in the government's stance that there will be no
normalization of ties unless the abduction issue is settled. Even if
the abductee family association were to say that there is no need
for the government to deal with the issue any more, the government
would be determined to continue its efforts until all the abductees
return to Japan.

I have not heard any strong dissatisfaction with Prime Minister
Fukuda. I always feel the prime minister's strong desire to regain
abductees. I believe the abductees' families also feel that way. I
can assure you that the present government has never slackened its
efforts on the abduction issue nor has it become weak-kneed toward
North Korea.

(Interviewer Takashi Minekuni)

(8) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties, G-8 summit, North
Korea abductions, consumption tax

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
July 13, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of the
last survey conducted June 12-13.)

Q: Do you support the Fukuda cabinet?

Yes 26.8 (25.0)
No 53.5 (60.2)
Don't know (D/K) + no answer (N/A) 19.7 (14.8)

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the previous question)
What's the primary reason for your approval of the Fukuda cabinet?
Pick only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is trustworthy 16.6 (20.4)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and
New Komeito 7.2 (12.6)
The prime minister has leadership ability 4.0 (1.2)
Something can be expected of its economic policies 2.2 (5.0)
Something can be expected of its foreign policies 5.9 (3.6)
Something can be expected of its political reforms 3.0 (3.7)
Something can be expected of its tax reforms 0.6 (0.9)
Something can be expected of its administrative reforms 3.7 (0.7)
There's no other appropriate person (for prime minister) 53.9

TOKYO 00002018 008 OF 011

Other answers (O/A) 1.7 (1.3)
D/K+N/A 1.2 (3.5)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the first question) What's
the primary reason for your disapproval of the Fukuda cabinet? Pick
only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is untrustworthy 8.1 (11.5)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and
the New Komeito 4.9 (5.2)
The prime minister lacks leadership ability 27.3 (28.7)
Nothing can be expected of its economic policies 29.3 (22.2)
Nothing can be expected of its foreign policies 5.3 (1.8)
Nothing can be expected of its political reforms 7.4 (9.3)
Nothing can be expected of its tax reforms 4.6 (6.4)
Nothing can be expected of its administrative reforms 5.2 (4.7)
Don't like the prime minister's personal character 5.3 (5.3)
O/A 1.6 (1.8)
D/K+N/A 1.0 (3.1)

Q: Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda presided over the Group of Eight
(G-8) summit held at Lake Toya in Hokkaido. Do you appreciate his
leadership at the G-8 summit as its chair?

Yes 30.3
No 51.4
D/K+N/A 18.3

Q: The G-8 summit discussed global warming and agreed to call on the
world for a long-term goal to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by
2050. Do you think this is a step forward for global warming?

Yes 37.2
No 56.2
D/K+N/A 6.6

Q: The Fukuda cabinet has been in office for about one year since
coming into office. There are calls from within the ruling parties
for Prime Minister Fukuda to shuffle his cabinet before an
extraordinary Diet session is called in late August. Do you think
Prime Minister Fukuda should do so?

Yes 42.1
No 41.6
D/K+N/A 16.3

Q: What do you think about the idea of raising the consumption tax
rate in order to secure revenues for social security, the costs of
which are growing due to the aging population with fewer children?
Do you support this idea?

Yes 33.8 (36.9)
No 61.8 (56.6)
D/K+N/A 4.4 (6.5)

Q: North Korea has now promised to reinvestigate the issue of
Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea. The government plans to
lift some of its economic sanctions on North Korea if an agreement
is reached between Japan and North Korea on how to reinvestigate the
issue. Do you support this government policy?

TOKYO 00002018 009 OF 011

Yes 24.2
No 61.9
D/K+N/A 13.9

Q: The House of Representatives' current term is up until September
next year. When would you like the next election to take place for
the House of Representatives?

Within this year 33.7
During the first half of next year 19.1
Upon the current term's expiry in September next year 37.9
D/K+N/A 9.3

Q: Would you like the present LDP-led coalition government to
continue, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a
DPJ-led coalition government?

LDP-led coalition government 31.2 (35.1)
DPJ-led coalition government 45.3 (40.4)
D/K+N/A 23.5 (24.5)

Q: Which political party do you support?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 28.6 (29.1)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 28.6 (23.6)
New Komeito (NK) 3.1 (3.2)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3.8 (3.9)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 0.9 (1.7)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.8 (---)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) --- (---)
Other political parties, groups --- (---)
None 33.0 (35.3)
D/K+N/A 1.2 (3.2)

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted across the nation on
July 11-12 by Kyodo News Service on a computer-aided random digit
dialing (RDD) basis. Among randomly generated telephone numbers,
those actually for household use with one or more eligible voters
totaled 1,471. Answers were obtained from 1,031 persons.

(9) Cold eyes on Defense Minister Ishiba

FORESIGHT (Page 30) (Full)
August 2008

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba's image in the ministry has plunged
because he has been skipping inspections tours of the Self-Defense
Forces units in order to slip out to his home constituency in
Tottori Prefecture. About ten months have passed since he took over
his current position. He has visited neither Okinawa, despite the
pending issue of realigning U.S. forces in Japan, nor the United
States, even though his predecessors usually traveled to Washington
soon after taking office. He is expected to visit China and South
Korea before the end of this year. But he seems uninterested in a
trip to the United States. A senior Defense Agency official said:
"Although he has fancied himself as being very understanding of the
SDF, he has been reluctant to listen to the views of SDF personnel.
I am disappointed with him." Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike,
however, traveled to the United States, India and Pakistan during
her 55-day tenure. She also visited SDF bases in Yokosuka, Okinawa
and Itami. She even went to Niigata, where a major earthquake
occurred while she was in office.

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A senior SDF officer said: "I wanted the minister to visit Iwate and
Miyagi prefectures, which have suffered from a major earthquake." If
he takes a helicopter from the roof of the ministry building, he
will be able to arrive there in ust four or five hours.

There are no bureaucrats and staff officers to suggest to Ishiba
that he make inspections. Ishiba is surrounded by yes-men. Some say
that this is one reason for Ishiba lack of incentive to go out. If
he attaches priority to his election campaigning, no one will back
his defense reform proposals.


About 45 PERCENT of people seeking advice for receiving welfare
benefits actually apply for them

MLIT faults Boeing's probe of China Airlines accident in Naha in
August 2007

Defense Ministry mulls end of 5-zone GSDF Headquarters

Leaders change in 10 domestic markets

Explosions on two buses in China may be terrorist attacks

Tokyo Shimbun:
Former PCI president may have approved bribing Vietnamese official

As many as 115,000 hospital beds to be reduced in 2012


(1) Land ministry's official cars: Government officials must reduce
wasted tax money
(2) Japan Federation of Bar Associations: Go back to starting line
of judicial reform

(1) Decentralization of prefectural authorities: Prefectures should
make efforts to hand over authorities to municipalities
(2) Reassessment of rail roads: Japan's comprehensive power being

(1) Urgent action needed to solve doctor shortage
(2) Fruitful dialogue on Tibet carried out?

(1) Road to low-carbon society: Japanese companies should find new
horizon with environmental technologies

(1) Drastic tax reform: Roadmap on consumption tax should be made

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(2) New Chinese characters: Don't restrict the number of Chinese
characters for use

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Nurturing of nurses: Government must come up with measures to
prevent nurses from leaving jobs
(2) Four domes in Yodo River: Why does the land ministry ignore the

(1) Curb on social welfare expenditures: Social security costs
should not be cut


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