Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 07/23/08

DE RUEHKO #2030/01 2052228
P 232228Z JUL 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Ruling, opposition blocs in tug of war over extra Diet session
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(2) Additional cuts in public works: Ruling parties already opposing
proposal; Full coordination on estimated budget request guidelines
starts (Nikkei)

(3) Editorial: We welcome cabinet shuffle with Lower House
dissolution in mind (Mainichi)

(4) Questioning the Japan-U.S. alliance (Mainichi)

(5) Editorial: Removing base from prefecture is only way to settle
Futenma relocation issue (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(6) Interview with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen
Breyer: Ten months to go until introduction of citizen-judge system
in Japan; More impartiality of trial with involvement of citizens
(Tokyo Shimbun)



(9) Prime Minister's schedule, July 22 (Nikkei)


(1) Ruling, opposition blocs in tug of war over extra Diet session

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
July 23, 2008

The Diet is expected to enter into an extraordinary session this
fall. The question for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its
coalition partner, New Komeito, is when to kick off the game.
Concerning this Diet calendar, LDP and New Komeito lawmakers in the
House of Councillors are calling for moving back its convocation.
They say it should be convened in late September. Meanwhile, the
government and the LDP leadership in the House of Representatives
want the kickoff for late August. In the opposition-controlled upper
chamber, however, LDP and New Komeito executives want to put off
this fall's Diet battle, because they do not want to be under fire
from the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) in
a very long session.

The government and the LDP on the lower chamber's side want to
convoke the extraordinary Diet session in late August, because they
do not want the Diet to be thrown into confusion in December when
the government will be in the final stretch to compile the budget
for fiscal 2009.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Self-Defense Force has been on a refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean under a new antiterrorism special
measures law. This law, however, is to run out on Jan. 15 next year.
The government and the ruling coalition intend to extend the MSDF
mission there, so they will present a bill seeking to revise the law
when the extraordinary Diet session sets in.

The new refueling law was enacted in January this year. At that

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time, the DPJ was opposed to the new refueling law. The DPJ then put
off Diet deliberations on this new refueling legislation in the
House of Councillors for nearly 60 days after it cleared the House
of Representatives. The Constitution stipulates that a bill passed
by the House of Representatives will be regarded as being rejected
by the House of Councillors and will become law if the House of
Councillors rejects or does not vote on it within 60 days after it
was sent from the House of Representatives and if it is approved by
the House of Representatives in a second vote with a majority of
two-thirds of those present. Given this fact, the DPJ is highly
likely to put up all-out resistance to revising the new refueling

The government and the ruling coalition therefore plan to take a
second vote in the House of Representatives in late November to
enact the new refueling legislation. The ruling coalition expects to
deliberate on the legislation for about a month in the House of
Representatives and 60 days in the House of Councillors, after which
it can be regarded as being rejected by the House of Councillors.
Based on this timeframe, the government and the ruling coalition are
planning to convene the extraordinary Diet session in late August,
substantially earlier than in usual years.

In the House of Councillors, however, some LDP lawmakers and New
Komeito are calling for convening the extraordinary Diet session
after Sept. 21, when the DPJ is slated to hold a presidential
election. "We don't have to be in a hurry to convene the extra Diet
session," says Hidehisa Otsuji, who heads the LDP's caucus in the
House of Councillors.

Meanwhile, the DPJ is now gearing up its offensive toward the
LDP-led coalition in an attempt to push Prime Minister Fukuda to
dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election. The
LDP does not want to give the DPJ much time for a challenge. This is
the primary reason. For another, the DPJ has implied that it will
summon former New Komeito Secretary General Junya Yano, who has
instituted a lawsuit against Soka Gakkai, the nation's largest lay
Buddhist group backing New Komeito. This also seems to have had

(2) Additional cuts in public works: Ruling parties already opposing
proposal; Full coordination on estimated budget request guidelines

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 23, 2008

The government and the ruling parties have begun full coordination
for the compilation of guidelines for estimated budget requests for
fiscal 2009. The Finance Ministry has come up with a policy of
procuring funds to finance a prioritized framework for measures to
address a shortage of doctors by increasing cuts in public works.
Some ruling party members are already opposing the Finance
Ministry's proposal. The government is expected to approve the draft
guidelines at a cabinet meeting on July 29. However, a final
settlement is unlikely to be reached until the year-end budget

The prime minister at a meeting of the Council on Economic and
Fiscal Policy on July 22 noted, "It is not easy to strike a balance
between strengthening growth and achieving sound finances. However,
Japan has no choice but to follow this difficult path."

TOKYO 00002030 003 OF 010

Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga has revealed a policy of keeping
firm the spending cut policy line, including constraining 220
billion yen in social security expenses, while increasing spending
by up to 30 billion yen for measures to address a shortage of
doctors and global warming from the 50 billion yen set aside this
fiscal year. He is determined to come up with the necessary funds by
increasing spending cuts in discretionary expenses, such as public
works and defense expenditures by 2 PERCENT .

The prioritized framework is a desperate measure to strike a balance
between Prime Minister Fukuda's policy stamp and sound finances.
However, this measure could make an enemy of policy experts in the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The ruling camp, which is concerned
about a dissolution of the Lower House for a snap election, is
deeply dissatisfied with the Finance Ministry's plan.

Fierce criticism of the estimated budget request guidelines was
heard at a plenary meeting of the LDP Policy Research Council on
July 22, with one participant noting, "The business slump in the
construction industry is caused by policy. The LDP will not be able
to hold itself together if cuts in public works expenditures are
stepped up to more than 3 PERCENT ." Another participant predicted,
"If subsidies for private schools are slashed, it will be impossible
to run the schools." If discretionary expenditures appropriated to
each government agency are uniformly slashed by 2 PERCENT , the
margin of cuts in public works would expand from the previous 3
PERCENT cut a year to 5 PERCENT .

(3) Editorial: We welcome cabinet shuffle with Lower House
dissolution in mind

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
July 23, 2008

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda returned to work on July 22 after
finishing his summer vacation. Ruling camp members have a strong
interest in a cabinet shuffle. Before making a decision on whether
to shuffle the cabinet, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda needs to make
clearer the aim of his cabinet. Fukuda should not evade a
dissolution of the House of Representatives for a snap election. We
welcome a cabinet shuffle that is aimed at Lower House dissolution.

Even after the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Hokkaido was over, the
approval rating for the Fukuda cabinet has remained low, nearly
unchanged. Therefore, there is a possibility that a cabinet shuffle
will turn around the situation. Most of the Fukuda cabinet members
were kept on from the cabinet of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
So, Fukuda may want to form a cabinet that could be called his own.

Fukuda should be aware that just changing the roster of his cabinet
members cannot ease public distrust of politics. In case a scandal
involving a new cabinet minister is discovered, the Fukuda
administration will run into a crisis. As Fukuda has acknowledged
that the first thing to do is to make clear what he should do. A
cabinet shuffle is a step toward that end. The Fukuda cabinet's
support rating would rise after showing such an effort to the

It is true that Fukuda has led a debate on a policy of placing
priority on average people and consumers. He plans to submit to the
next extra session a bill establishing a Consumer Affairs Agency and

TOKYO 00002030 004 OF 010

other related bills. However, a move going against Fukuda's plan is
now appearing in the ruling camp. For example, some members are
calling for putting off convening the extra Diet session to
mid-September from the planned late August.

Such urgent political issues as soaring gasoline and food prices, as
well as serious fisheries issues are closely related to the daily
lives of people. However, some members are reluctant to convene the
extra session soon, with one saying: "An early convocation of the
extra session will give the opposition a chance to grill the
government, as well as encaurage lively the campaigning for the
presidential election of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The
official campaign will start on Sept. 8.

The public will not accept such a view.

Fukuda's tendency to put off difficult issues has become stronger.
He has already toned down his argument on a consumption tax hike.
Even some have rumored that the Fukuda government may postpone a
plan to increase the government's share of basic pensions to 50
PERCENT in 2009. Meanwhile, the government has not pushed ahead
with the worked of reducing the wasteful use of tax revenues.

We cannot see what Fukuda wants to do. He seems unable to do
anything, anyway. The divided Diet is not the only reason for
preventing the government's moves. The major reason may be that the
Fukuda government has yet to receive the judgment of the people. It
is difficult for such a government to carry out its policies.

If the Lower House dissolution is put off even after the cabinet is
shuffled, there will be no change in the situation. We suggest
Fukuda and the ruling coalition prepare for Lower House dissolution
and general elections after a cabinet shuffle.

(4) Questioning the Japan-U.S. alliance

MAINICHI (Page 8) (Abridged slightly)
July 20, 2008

Major points of the dialogue:
? What is the implication of a series of incidents by U.S. service
members in Japan?
? Should the SOFA be revised?
? How should the government respond to the relocation of Futenma Air
? What kind of alliance should the Japan-U.S. alliance be in the

Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Itsunori Onodera -- United States'
policy toward Japan positive

A series of criminal cases involving U.S. service members in Japan
has substantially worried the residents near the bases. The
incidents have made it difficult to look calmly at the environment
surrounding the Japan-U.S. alliance.

At the same time, the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee to discuss the use
of U.S. bases in Japan and the status of U.S. service members has
been functioning well. In the wake of the murder-robbery of a taxi
drive in Yokosuka, a system has been established to report all U.S.
military deserters to Japan. The United States has dealt with Japan
quite positively in comparison to the similar pacts the United

TOKYO 00002030 005 OF 010

States has concluded with other countries.

The LDP and New Komeito that support the governor in U.S. force
realignment have now become a minority in the Okinawa prefectural
assembly. This means responses must be more careful than before. We
would like to deal with the matter while taking into account
Okinawa's request for moving into the sea the envisaged Futenma
replacement facility. We also intend to discuss with the affected
municipalities what specifically can be done to eliminate the danger
of Futenma Air Station.

The Japan-U.S. alliance has deepened in various fields and has long
history, as well. Some people are concerned about Japan-U.S.
relations because the United States has decided to delist North
Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. At the same time, I am
certain that they are aware that the abduction issue will not be
resolved without the cooperation of the United States. I also
believe that for the United States, the strategic importance of
Japan as an ally has increased in the Far East where Russia and
China's military expansion is evident.

The United States' policy toward Japan will probably not change
drastically, regardless of who becomes the new U.S. president,
Senator Obama or Senator McCain. Then again, how to deal with the
United States and Japan's foreign policy might change subtly
depending on how the new U.S. administration is going to deal with
Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. The Japan-U.S. alliance has always been
around like air, but we should not take it for granted. We must make
efforts to make the United States understand Japan's standpoint and
to confirm the importance of Japan-U.S. relations.

DPJ shadow cabinet senior vice-foreign minister Koichi Takemasa --
SOFA must be revised into pact of equality

On August 13, 2004, a U.S. military helicopter crashed on the campus
grounds of Okinawa International University. When I visited the
accident site three days later, the fuselage had been removed by the
U.S. military, and prefectural police officers were looking at the
site from afar. I thought, "What happened to Japan's sovereignty? Is
this really Japan?" A similar accident could occur anywhere in
Japan. The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) must be
revised. The accident became my major turning point.

In February this year, a middle school girl was sexually assaulted
by a U.S. service member living off-base, an unexpected case. It
took nearly two weeks for Kanagawa prefectural police to get to
question the U.S. serviceman who was believed to have robbed and
killed a taxi driver in Yokosuka. The question of the SOFA has been
left unaddressed, so three opposition parties -- the Democratic
Party of Japan, Social Democratic Party, and the People's New Party
-- have drafted a SOFA revision plan.

The government has repeatedly insisted on improving SOFA
administration, but the infringement of sovereign must not be
allowed. The events were symbolic of this country's diplomacy, in
which Japan does not say what should be said. The DPJ, representing
a sovereign state, will always say what it has to say to the United
States. The Japan-U.S. alliance will remain the cornerstone of
Japan's foreign policy.

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has repeatedly asked for a
revision of the SOFA at all costs. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S.

TOKYO 00002030 006 OF 010

bases in Japan, so there are dangerous factors and strong concerns
in the prefecture. U.S. bases play a major role in the Japan-U.S.
alliance. One cannot try too hard to understand the pain as one's

In June, I attended the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Program and
explained the SOFA revision plan. I was urged by U.S. counterparts
between meetings to let them know if there were any calls in Japan
for revising the SOFA. The Foreign Ministry had told me that U.S.
Congress was opposed to revising the pact, but I felt the need to
exchange views move actively between lawmakers of the two

In addition to the SOFA revision plan, our party has produced an
"Okinawa Vision" tha spells out the need to relocate Futenma Air
Station out of Okinawa and eventually out of Japan. We are also
considering including it in our manifesto for the next Lower House
election. A plan to relocate the base to the Henoko district has
been stalled. Even if the plan moves forward, it would be several
years before the functions are completely relocated there. The
danger of Futenma Air Station before then cannot be left
unaddressed. There is every reason to explore ways to relocate it to
a site outside the prefecture and eventually outside Japan.

(5) Editorial: Removing base from prefecture is only way to settle
Futenma relocation issue

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 5) (Full)
July 20, 2008

How long is the government going to use cheap tricks? It has been
nearly 12 years since the Japan-U.S. Special Committee on Okinawa
(SACO) reached an agreement in 1996 to return the U.S. Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station to Japan in five to seven years. Work is
proceeding slowly. It is natural to think the plan has flaws.

The Japanese government apparently does not think so. The government
has clearly exhibited a stance of sticking to its original plan.

The establishment of two working teams was decided in the July 18
meeting of the Futenma relocation consultative council (presided
over by Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura) composed of the
central government and affected municipalities. One is to study ways
to eliminate the danger of Futenma Air Station, and the other is to
mull a replacement facility construction plan. The decision
reportedly takes into account Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's call for
effectively closing down Futenma Air Station in three years and for
moving offshore the envisaged replacement facility.

The government has effectively ignored the two requests all this
time. What prompted the government to take "a step forward," as
Governor Nakaima put it? There is no doubt that it is ascribable to
the fact that the prefectural assembly is now controlled by the
opposition bloc. The decision also alludes to the government's
intention to give heed to popular will.

If the government is truly mindful of popular will, it should go a
step further. Incidentally, the Okinawa prefectural assembly that
day adopted by a majority of votes an opinion letter and a
resolution opposing the construction of the new base in the Henoko
district. There must be no objection to equating the assembly's
wishes with the popular will.

TOKYO 00002030 007 OF 010

The matter must be returned to the starting point. Why is the return
of Futenma Air Station being mentioned? Needless to say, that is
because of the danger of the air station. Questions have repeatedly
been raised about the dangerous aspects of the airfield that sits in
the middle of residential areas.

It is still fresh in our memories that in November 2003, then U.S.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld viewed Futenma Air Station from
the air and pointed out the danger of it. As if to prove that, a
U.S. military helicopter crashed into Okinawa International
University less than a year later. The air station remains
dangerous; no one can deny that.

The inability to find a way out of this situation comes clearly from
the negligence of lawmakers and the administration.

The matter has become complicated. The reason is simple: The return
of Futenma Air Station is based on the relocation of its functions
to another site in the prefecture. A dangerous facility remains
dangerous no matter where it is relocated.

To resolve the problem, there is no option but to remove the base
from the prefecture. In the prefectural assembly, the ruling bloc
pressed the opposition camp for a counterproposal. It was absurd.
The Japan-U.S. security setup exists to defend the safety of the
people. A base that exists for the security setup puts Okinawa
residents at risk. The people of Okinawa are seeking a solution to
that paradox. The obligation to settle the matter does not rest with
the people of Okinawa but with the governments of Japan and the
United States.

(6) Interview with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen
Breyer: Ten months to go until introduction of citizen-judge system
in Japan; More impartiality of trial with involvement of citizens

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
July 23, 2008

Preparations for the introduction of a lay judge system next May are
under way, as can be seen in the holding of a mock trial involving
lay judges at the Tokyo District Court, which started on July 22.
The Tokyo Shimbun asked U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen
Breyer (69), now visiting Japan, about the meaning and impact of
citizens being involved in trials. The U.S. jury system, which
allows citizens to be involved in the judicial process, has a
history of 200 years.

Even a judge can serve as jury

-- Is it difficult to realize the involvement of citizens in the
judicial process?

"No, it isn't. Citizens are expected to take part in the judicial
process in the U.S. They actually participate in the process and are
satisfied with the results. I incidentally was also satisfied when I
served on a jury. When I was a judge of the federal appeals court,
which is equivalent to Japan's high court, I served on a jury at a
district court in my native state. Though it may be prohibited in
Japan (under the Japanese lay judge system), it is possible for
judges to serve on a jury in Massachusetts.

TOKYO 00002030 008 OF 010

Juries have their own views. They handed down a guilty verdict to a
defendant who was charged with driving under the influence of
alcohol. The judge then sentenced the person to attend a driving
school and suspended his driver's license. (U.S. juries just decide
whether defendants are guilty or not.) They do not determine
appropriate judgments. I am very interested how Japan's lay judge
system, under which lay judges also determine appropriate
punishments, will work."

-- What impact has the jury system had on the American society?

In my view, the jury system has had a positive impact on the
American society. Courts are a venue for judges to meet defendants
with troubles and listen to whatever they say. Lay juries'
involvement in such a setting helps the system work more
impartially. Furthermore, trials by juries are a good venue to teach
citizens the way justice should be carried out.

Impossible to silence juries

-- In Japan, lay judges have a duty to keep deliberating
(discussions held between judges and lay judges during a trial
process) about their cases. However, juries in the U.S. are not
allowed to speak about the details of their deliberations. Why is

"It is difficult to silence juries. We know from our experience that
there would be no major problems even if they speak about their
concerns. In addition, attorneys sometimes learn from juries. In my
view, it is better for juries not to reveal confidential
discussions. However, there is no way to silence them."

-- You handled the Watergate case in 1972, which forced former
President Nixon to step down.

"I worked as an assistant to a special prosecutor (independent of
the government) for several months. He was loyal to his job. It is
difficult to investigate cases that could bring a serious political
result. However, I learned from that prosecutor that cases like that
require cool-headedness and sincerity. We must not protect or hurt
someone availing ourselves of our position. It is important to
pursue the facts."

-- What do you value as a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice?

"Judgments we have made or will make will have an impact on the U.S.
as a whole, where various ethnic groups with different values live
together, based on the consensus that they abide by the law. As
such, we must not make rigid judgments. Our judgments must be such
that help the state stay united.


Government Tax Commission begins debate to revise inheritance tax

Mainichi, Yomiuri & Sankei:
Woman dies after being stabbed at bookstore in Hachioji

Nikkei & Tokyo Shimbun:
At least 3.9 trillion yen combined fiscal deficit for central and
local governments projected for FY2011

TOKYO 00002030 009 OF 010

JCP holds lecture meeting on 86th anniversary of founding


(1) Heavy security for Beijing Olympics underscores China's serious
(2) We need rewarding jobs

(1) Social unrest in China cannot be resolved by Olympic patriotism
(2) Cabinet shuffle with Lower House dissolution in mind would be

(1) Economy white paper sidesteps key issues
(2) Pass down the joy of books

(1) Structural reform leads to improvement in employment
(2) System failure damages confidence in Tokyo Stock Exchange

(1) Bus explosions in China: Protect security and human rights
(2) Daughter kills father: Need to build good relations between
parents and children

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Performance-based pay: Don't rob people of their will to work
(2) Arrest of Karadzic: Good opportunity for Balkan stability

(1) Japan must reject U.S. demands for increased military spending

(9) Prime Minister's schedule, July 22

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 23, 2008

Attended an LDP executive meeting at LDP headquarters.

Attended a cabinet meeting at the Kantei. Afterward met Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura, followed by Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Futahashi.

Met Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota and Assistant Chief
Cabinet Secretary Saka. Ota stayed on.

Met Machimura.

Met Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitsuya, followed by Consumer
Administration Promotion Minister Kishida.

Met Ambassador to the European Union Onoda, Ambassador to Kazakhstan

TOKYO 00002030 010 OF 010

Natsui, and Ambassador to Malawi Noro.

Met LDP Reform Headquarters chief Takebe.

Met LDP Foreign Affairs Research Commission Chairman Yamasaki.

Attended a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

Met outgoing and incoming vice-environment minister Nishio and
Tamura, followed by LDP Secretary General Ibuki.

Returned to his official residence.


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