Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/01/08

DE RUEHKO #2112/01 2140109
P 010109Z AUG 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Fukuda in action:
4) Prime Minister to shuffle cabinet and party executives today,
with Machimura remaining as chief cabinet secretary and Aso asked to
be secretary general (Asahi)
5) New Komeito distancing itself from Fukuda administration, members
openly critical, but Prime Minister will meet party head Ota today
to repair ties (Asahi)
6) Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) surprised by Fukuda's decision to
speed up timing of his cabinet shuffle (Mainichi)
7) Key question is whether a cabinet shuffle will boost Fukuda's
popularity ratings (Yomiuri)

Opposition party in action:
8) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), expecting an early Lower House
election, moving toward reelecting Ozawa without a formal vote
9) DPJ expects Diet dissolution during the extra Diet session
10) DPJ proposing election amendments that would allow use of
Internet for campaigning, ban "hereditary" Diet seats (Yomiuri)

Takeshima flap:
11) President orders BGN to restore designation of Takeshima (Dokdo)
as South Korean (Sankei)
12) Japan taking Takeshima's redesignation calmly (Yomiuri)
13) No sign of repairing Japan-ROK relations (Tokyo Shimbun)

Defense affairs:
14) U.S.S. George Washington to arrive at Yokosuka in Sept. after
repairs completed to burned out area (Akahata)
15) Okinawa base issue: Central and local government to form two
study teams to look into possible changes in Futenma relocation plan

16) Japan reaches record on longevity chart, with women living an
average 85.99 years, men reaching 79.19 years (Asahi)



Asahi: Mainichi: Yomiuri: Nikkei: Sankei: Tokyo Shimbun
Fukuda to carry out major cabinet shuffle today: Sounds out Aso for
LDP secretary general post; Machimura likely remain chief cabinet

Medical associations in 35 prefectures call for abolishing or
revising public health insurance scheme for people aged 75 and


(1) Five proposals to ensure peace of mind should address major

TOKYO 00002112 002 OF 011

(2) Assistance to fishing industry: Pork-barrel largesse will not be

(1) Cabinet shuffle: Clarify aims of new administration
(2) Takeshima issue: U.S. government accountable for offering
convincing explanation

(1) Low-carbon action program: Key is practical application of
innovative technologies
(2) Heat-induced illness: Surviving the hot weather

(1) Carry out cabinet shuffle with a focus on policy
(2) Raise average monthly electric bill for households in convincing

(1) Decision to shuffle cabinet: Premier should show what he wants
to realize
(2) Takeshima issue: We hope South Korea will deal with the issue in
an adult manner

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Takeshima issue: Restrain from South Korea needed
(2) Goodwill closes business: Workers are not goods

(1) Triple whammy for household budgets: Focus on people's

3) Prime Minister's schedule, July 31

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2008

Met at the Kantei with Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe and
Public Servant System Reform Taskforce Head Tachibana. Followed by
Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director
General Saiki.

Arrived at his official residence.

Attended the funeral for former Upper House member Hiroshi Inoue at
the funeral hall on the Aoyama grave site.

Arrived at his official residence.

Met Cabinet Office's Special Advisor Kurokawa at the Kantei.

Met Agriculture Minister Wakabayashi, METI Minister Amari, Chief
Cabinet Secretary Machimura, Agriculture Deputy Vice Minister
Murakami, METI Trade and Commerce Policy Bureau Director General
Ishige, and Foreign Ministry's Economic Affairs Bureau Director
General Otabe.

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Arrived at his official residence.

Dined with his secretaries at a Chinese restaurant in the Grand
Prince Hotel Akasaka.

Met Machimura at the official residence.

Met Secretary General Ibuki.

4) Premier to sound out Aso for LDP secretary general post in
shuffling his cabinet today: Likely to retain Chief Cabinet
Secretary Machimura

ASAHI (Top Play) (Full)
August 1, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda has firmed up his intent to shuffle the
cabinet and reshuffle the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) on August 1. He will make a final confirmation after a meeting
today with New Komeito head Ota at his office. Fukuda wants to
replace Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki with Taro Aso, who previously
served in the post. He yesterday sounded out Aso about assuming that
post on the phone. Today, he will meet him face to face and ask him
to accept his offer. Aso is considering the offer with the
possibility of accepting it, if conditions are met. Machimura, the
chief cabinet secretary, the key post in the cabinet, will likely
stay on.

This will be the first cabinet shuffle since the Fukuda
administration was launched in September 2007. Some 15 of 17
incumbent ministers of his cabinet were either reappointed to the
same posts or different posts from the previous Abe cabinet. All
eyes are fixed on the prime minister to see if he can form his own
cabinet and prepare the way for a dissolution of the Lower House for
a snap election, taking the initiative.

Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Fuyushiba from the New
Komeito will likely be replaced. Amid concern about an economic
recession, the selection of economic ministers is also drawing
attention. Chances are that the cabinet shuffle will be minor if
Fukuda fails to persuade Aso to assume that post.

With a Lower House dissolution strategy in mind, Fukuda will give
top priority to the selection of the secretary general, who will be
tasked with leading the election campaign, in reshuffling the LDP
leadership. He wants to replace Ibuki with Aso, who is popular with
the public. Persons such as Finance Minister Nukaga have been
floated as candidates in the event Aso turns down the offer. Ibuki
has been at odds with the New Komeito over the timing of convening
an extraordinary Diet session. As such, it has been pointed out that
if he stays on, the LDP's relations with the New Komeito would be
strained. A plan has been floated to appoint him to a key cabinet

Concerning a cabinet shuffle, the prime minister on the evening of
July 31 told reporters after meeting Agriculture Minister
Wakabayashi and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Amari, who have

TOKYO 00002112 004 OF 011

returned home from multilateral trade talks sponsored by the World
Trade Organization (WTO), "I have that in mind. We as heads of the
ruling parties will reach a decision at a meeting tomorrow."

Referring to the planned meeting with Ota, Fukuda said, "I would
like to confer on various matters with him, including a future
political schedule. I want to discuss with him how to address future
policy themes and what system we will make." He thus indicated his
intention to coordinate views with Ota on when to convene the
extraordinary Diet session, an issue over which both parties are at
odds, and the issue of extending the law governing the MSDF
refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, on which some New Komeito
members are taking a cautious stance.

The prime minister will first deal with reshuffling the LDP
leadership after the party head meeting with the New Komeito. He
will select new party executives this afternoon. He will then
receive letters of resignation from all cabinet ministers at a
special cabinet meeting and set up a cabinet formation headquarters
at the Kantei this evening. An attestation ceremony at the Imperial
Palace for new ministers will likely take place tomorrow.

5) New Komeito distances itself from government, criticizing LDP and
calling for caution on using override vote

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2008

The distance between New Komeito and the Fukuda administration is
rapidly growing. The New Komeito has thrust one demand after another
at the government regarding the timing for a dissolution of the
House of Representatives, Diet management, and policies. New Komeito
President Ota is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Fukuda today amid
a growing sense of alarm in his party over the next Lower House

Ota to meet Fukuda today

Senior New Komeito members began to voice criticism of the
government around when Fukuda entered his summer vacation and
started looking into a cabinet shuffle.

In a meeting of senior members of the Liberal Democratic Party and
the New Komeito on July 17, Secretary General Kazuo Kitagawa
proposed opening an extraordinary Diet session in late September,
raising an objection to the plan of the government and the ruling
camp to convene the session in late August. Following Kitagawa's
remark, one New Komeito member after another presented views
critical of the prime minister and the Liberal Democratic Party.
Election Committee Chairman Yosuke Takagi said: "Unless the LDP
changes itself, the party will be ruined." Policy Research Council
Deputy Chairman Natsuo Yamaguchi commented: "It would be better to
avoid a Lower House dissolution under pressure."

When the senior leaders of the two parties met again on the 30th,
LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima cautioned the
participants: "I want you to refrain from making comments publicly
on a Lower House dissolution, because such remarks will limit the
prime minister's supreme authority."

The remarks critical of the LDP reflect growing dissatisfaction with
the LDP in Soka Gakkai, the power base of the New Komeito. Soka

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Gakkai has been increasingly irritated with the LDP since the ruling
camp suffered a crushing defeat in the House of Councillors election
last year. A senior member of the religious group claimed: "The LDP
has little sense of alarm." Group members interpret the remarks by
senior New Komeito members as fully reflecting their feelings. In
late July, a senior group member reportedly told senior LDP Election
Committee members about the atmosphere in the Soka Gakkai.

6) Prime Minister Fukuda's decision to shuffle cabinet creating
commotion in LDP; Party leaders misread timing

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
August 1, 2008

The report that the cabinet will be shuffled this week is creating a
stir in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in which
speculation was rife that a cabinet shuffle would occur next week.
One LDP lawmaker had to suddenly cancel his planned seminar in his
home constituency. General Council Deputy Chairman Kyogon Hagiyama
told General Council Chairman Toshiro Nikai last evening at LDP
headquarters: "Since the nation and party are more important (for me
than a meeting), I will not go (to my hometown) to give a speech."
Hagiyama had planned to give a speech at a meeting on the evening of
August 1 in the city of Himi, Toyama Prefecture, which had invited
him. He cancelled his plan after receiving information about the
cabinet shuffle. Hagiyama, a member of the Ibuki faction, is
regarded as a possible candidate to join the new cabinet. A senior
party official said: "He may be eager for a cabinet post."

The LDP leadership, too, has misjudged the outlook. Policy Research
Council Chairman Sadakazu Tanigaki in a speech last evening said
with a forced smile: " Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki and I planned
to give speeches at a seminar hosted by Mr. Ibuki tomorrow in

Although the seminar will be held this morning in the city of Kyoto,
Ibuki will not attend it because he will have to join a meeting
between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and New Komeito leader Akihiro
Ota that will take place this morning. He suddenly recorded his
speech on a DVD and it will be shown in the seminar. Tanigaki will
attend the seminar for 25 minutes by reducing the planned 90 minutes
and he will return to Tokyo.

Ibuki was in Kyoto last night to attend a meeting, but he went back
to Tokyo after staying there for only one hour.

One party executive member said displeasingly: "I wonder if the
Prime Minister makes all decisions by himself. No information was
leaked. I wonder why the Prime Minister does this thing, even to the
party leadership."

7) Will cabinet shuffle boost Fukuda administration's popularity?

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 1, 2009

The cabinet shuffles carried out in recent years have not
necessarily led to gaining public support.

According to the results of nationwide (interview-based) polls the
Yomiuri Shimbun conducted before and after the last 12 cabinet
shuffles, the support rate increased in seven shuffles and decreased

TOKYO 00002112 006 OF 011

in five ones. Of the 12 shuffles, just a small change -- a drip or
surge of only two percentage points -- was seen in eight shuffles.

The major successful example is the shuffle of the cabinet of Prime
Minister Keizo Obuchi in January 1999. The Obuchi government's
approval rate jumped 11 percentage points because of public
expectations of the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic
Party and Jiyuto (Liberal Party), although only one new minister was

In addition, the first shuffle of the cabinet of Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi in September 2003 was a successful example,
gaining seven percentage points in the support rate. Koizumi changed
nine of the 17 ministers and carried out some "surprise
appointments," naming Yuriko Koike as environment minister and
Shinzo Abe as secretary general of the LDP.

On the other hand, there were the cases of failure. In the reshuffle
of the second cabinet of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, 17 of the
20 ministers were replaced. Since the appointment of Takayuki Sato,
who had been convicted on charges of being involved in the Lockheed
scandal, was severely criticized by the public, Sato resigned as a
minister after serving in his cabinet post only 12 days. As a
result, the Hashimoto cabinet's approval rating plunged 12
percentage points.

8) Calls for determining DPJ leader without a vote growing; Focus,
too, on Edano, Noda

ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2008

With the Democratic Party of Japan presidential race coming up in
September, the growing mood in the party is to reelect President
Ichiro Ozawa for a third term without a formal vote. Amid a rumor
that the Lower House might be dissolved before the end of the year,
Vice President Katsuya Okada, who was regarded as a promising
candidate, has indicated that he would not run in the race. Calls
for policy debate in the leadership race are likely to be deafened
by the roaring wind of dissolution that has begun to blow.

In a press conference on July 30, Okada said: "At present, I do not
have a strong desire to run in the leadership race. One individual
should serve as party president until the next general election. It
is not desirable to carry out a presidential election at a time like
this when the next general election seems near at hand." As a
result, the view that Okada will not run in the race has spread in
the party.

Consideration then was given in the party for former Policy Research
Committee Chairperson Yukio Edano of the Ryounkai group, which
includes Vice President Seiji Maehara and Yoshito Sengoku, to become
a candidate. Public Relations Committee Chair Yoshihiko Noda, who
heads the Kaseikai group, also hinted at being a candidate, saying,
"A presidential election will be carried out without fail." Although
moves by Edano and Noda are the center of attention for the time
being, the future course of the presidential race, including the
gathering recommendations, remains murky.

At the same time, there are growing calls for selecting the leader
without a vote. Former Secretary General Tatsuo Kawabata, who is
leading the former Democratic Socialist Party group, at his

TOKYO 00002112 007 OF 011

fund-raising party on July 29, put pressure on the group to favor
such a course: "People should grow out of the argument that an
election should be held in order to demonstrate that the Democratic
Party of Japan is an open party. Those who are looking for someone
must be confusing the means for the objective."

Deputy President Naoto Kan, who is close to Edano, also said in his
workshop on July 30: "Putting aside likes or dislikes, I think at
this political conjuncture, we need a leader who is feared by the
Liberal Democratic Party. I believe fighting the next general
election under President Ozawa will maximize the chances of a change
of government." Kan also made this comment about Edano in a press
conference on July 31: "He has what it takes to be a leader.
Generally speaking, it is good for a variety of people to come
forward, but my judgment will not change."

9) DPJ to intensify offensive in extra Diet session and force Fukuda
to dissolve Lower House

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 1, 2009

Following Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's decision to shuffle his
cabinet, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will
intensify its political offensive in the next extraordinary Diet
session in order to force Fukuda to dissolve the House of
Representatives and hold a snap election. Since discord is evident
between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior
coalition partner New Komeito, the largest opposition party has
judged that the Lower House will be dissolved earlier than expected.
It intends to attend deliberations in the extra session in order to
gill the new Fukuda cabinet over such issues as the controversial
health insurance system for people aged 75 and older, as well as
reform of the system of using dedicated revenue sources for road

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa said at a press meeting yesterday in
Saitama City: "What the public hopes is not just changing the
cabinet lineup but a change of government."

At the final stage of the recent regular Diet session, the DPJ
submitted to the House of Councillors a censure motion against
Fukuda, but Fukuda ignored it. Reacting strongly against it, the DPJ
boycotted all deliberations. However, it has now changed its tactic,
thinking that pursuing the new Fukuda cabinet in debate would be
more effective to undermine it.

In the upcoming extra Diet session, the DPJ plans to call for an
early abolition of the health insurance system for the elderly. It
will present a bill abolishing the provisional tax rates, including
gasoline-related taxes. Regarding a bill extending the special
measures law on Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, about
which the New Komeito has been cautious, Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Kenji Yamaoka said: "If they try to take an overriding
vote, we will boycott deliberations."

10) DPJ's Public Offices Election Law amendment plan designed to ban
Diet seat hereditary practice and allow use of Internet in

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
August 1, 2008

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The Democratic Party of Japan's task force to promote political
reform is scheduled to produce an interim report in August on
reviewing the Public Offices Election Law. The report is mainly
designed to prohibit the hereditary transfer of Diet seats and allow
the use of the Internet in election campaigning. The DPJ plans to
call the ruling bloc for talks on amending the Public Offices
Election Law in the next extraordinary Diet session.

The report shows eight policies, including greater freedom, more
consideration to the aged and the handicapped, and less costly
campaigning. Based on these policies, the report includes: (1) the
lifting of the ban on the use of the Internet in campaigning and on
door-to-door canvassing by candidates, (2) preventing the children
of former Diet members from running in the same constituencies, (3)
prohibiting lawmakers from sending congratulatory or condolence
telegrams to voters in their constituencies, and (4) prohibiting
local heads from serving multiple terms.

At the same time, some believe that prohibiting the hereditary
practice should be made into a party rule rather than legislation
from the viewpoint of freedom of employment. Some also think the
step is unconvincing in view of the fact that both President Ichiro
Ozawa and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama are from prominent
political families.

11) Japan to wait and see on Takeshima issue

SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
August 1, 2008

Takashi Arimoto

WASHINGTON-The Board on Geographic Names (BGN), a U.S. government
organization, has now restored its description of Takeshima (Dokdo
in Korean), a pair of rocky islets in the Sea of Japan, from
"undesignated sovereignty" to "South Korean territory." The White
House, faced with strong reactions from the South Korean government,
ordered the BGN to do so. The U.S. government takes the position
that it does not acknowledge South Korea's territorial right to the
disputed group of islets and remains committed to its neutral
stance. However, a source familiar with Japan-U.S. relations
revealed that the Japanese government had not been informed that the
U.S. would regard the islets as South Korean territory again.

"I regret that the change of description made South Koreans think
that our policy has changed," U.S. National Security Council (NSC)
Senior Director for Asian Affairs Wilder said yesterday.

The BGN's change in its description of the islets to "undesignated
sovereignty" was originally intended to make the U.S. government's
neutral stance clearer. According to Wilder, however, there was a
request to President Bush from a "very high level" official of the
South Korean government. Bush told Secretary of State Rice to
reconsider the matter and decided to restore the original status of
the islets, judging that there was no good reason to change it at
this point, Wilder said.

Bush is scheduled to visit South Korea from Aug. 8. Given this, the
decision can be taken as a measure giving first consideration to the
success of his meeting with the South Korean leader. However, there
is also a backlash against a U.S. government stance that can be

TOKYO 00002112 009 OF 011

taken as "Japan passing" or making light of Japan.

12) Japan to take wait-and-see attitude over Takeshima description

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2008

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has now restored its
description of Takeshima, a pair of rocky islets in the Sea of
Japan, from the previous "undesignated sovereignty" to "South
Korea." On this issue, the Japanese government is underscoring its
calm response. The Japanese government, while maintaining that
Takeshima is Japan's inherent territory, will neither call on the
United States to change its description nor file a protest, which
would cause Japan's relations with South Korea to deteriorate

The Japanese government presumes that the U.S. government had
intended to prepare a better atmosphere ahead of U.S. President
Bush's scheduled visit to South Korea on Aug. 5. It also considered
that Japan and South Korea are currently at odds over the
description of Takeshima in an education ministry manual explaining
new middle school curriculum guidelines for social studies.

However, the Japanese government is not planning to just take a
wait-and-see attitude; it is also considering working informally on
the U.S. government to restore "undesignated sovereignty." After
President Bush's visit to South Korea, the Japanese government will
explain to the U.S. government that the United States had previously
acknowledged Takeshima as part of Japan's territory, according to a
government source. "We want the United States to understand this
fact," the source said.

13) Government perplexed at South Korea's reaction to Takeshima
issue, with no signs of improvement in relations, but intends to
take wait-and-see attitude

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2008

Over a U.S. government organization's reversion of its description
about the sovereignty of the disputed Takeshima islets (called Dokdo
in South Korea) from "non-designated sovereignty" to "South Korea,"
the Japanese government intends to take a wait-and-see attitude for
a while. In the Foreign Ministry, however, many officials are
perplexed at South Korea's unabated ire over the Takeshima issue.

The dominant view in the government is that the U.S. government
agency's reversion of its description of the islets will have little
impact on the Takeshima dispute itself, based on the view that
Washington's neutral stance remains unchanged.

Seeing the government's uncommitted stance, some might think that
the government has given its tacit approval, but the government's
judgment is that an overreaction could result in exacerbating
resentment toward Japan among South Koreans.

Even so, the government is concerned about South Korea's unrelenting
strong reaction to the Takeshima issue.

The Japanese government has made efforts to improve relations with
South Korea, based on the judgment that it would be wiser to build a

TOKYO 00002112 010 OF 011

new age of future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations, instead of
underscoring the rift between the two countries over the Takeshima
and school textbook disputes. In dealing with North Korea, as well,
cooperation and understanding from South Korea are indispensable for
Japan, which is saddled with the issue of abducted Japanese

Affected by the Takeshima issue, however, the Japanese and South
Korean foreign ministers just stood and talked, though they had a
chance for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the unofficial
six-party foreign ministerial on the North Korean nuclear issue.
Visible effects have also begun to appear, such as the cancellation
of planned exchanges of private-sector personnel and other events.

The government expects the situation to calm down quickly, as a
senior Foreign Ministry official said: "Setting aside both sides'
different positions, it is important for the two countries to
cooperate on matters on which they have common consensus. There are
many things for Japan and South Korea to tackle in cooperation." But
the government remains unable to find a way to improve the strained
relations with South Korea.

14) U.S. nuclear-powered carrier to be deployed to Yokosuka in
September; Cause of fire was smoking

AKAHATA (Page 1) (Excerpt)
August 1, 2008

The U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet has carried out an investigation of
the cause of disastrous fire on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
George Washington in late May and concluded on July 30 that
"unauthorized smoking" started the fire. The vessel's commanding
offer Capt. Dykhoff and the executive officer Capt. Dober both
resigned. The announcement stated that the carrier would be deployed
to the U.S. Navy base at Yokosuka in late September.

15) Gov't sets up 2 teams to study Futenma relocation with Okinawa

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 1, 2008

The government yesterday set up two working-level study teams for
discussions with officials from Okinawa Prefecture and its
municipalities over the planned relocation of the U.S. military's
Futenma airfield in the city of Ginowan in the island prefecture.
The Okinawa prefectural government had called on the government to
set up the teams. The two teams will hold their first meetings on
Aug. 5.

The two study teams are under a currently existing consultative body
for central government officials and Okinawa's prefectural and
municipal officials over Futenma relocation. One of the two working
teams is intended to discuss how to remove danger in the periphery
of Futenma airfield, and the other working team is intended to
facilitate the planned construction of an alternative base and the
implementation of an environmental impact assessment for Futenma

The two working teams will discuss Futenma relocation, with the
Defense Ministry's Local Cooperation Bureau deputy director general
presiding. The two teams are made up of officials at the division
director level from the Foreign Ministry, Cabinet Secretariat, and

TOKYO 00002112 011 OF 011

Cabinet Office, and the chief of the Okinawa governor's office and
other local officials at the department director general or division
director level from the municipal governments of Nago City and
Ginoza Village.

In the working teams, Okinawa Prefecture will ask the government to
move the planned alternative facility's location offshore. The
government takes the position that it would be difficult to change
the planned relocation site without a rational reason. However, the
government will try to find a way out of the deadlock by considering
Okinawa's requests.

16) Average Japanese life span reaches record 85.99 years for women,
79.19 years for men

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
August 1, 2008

Average life expectancies stood at a record 79.19 years for men and
85.99 years for women in the nation last year, up 0.19 year and 0.18
year, respectively, from the previous year, the Health, Labor and
Welfare Ministry (MHLW) announced yesterday. The ministry attributes
the increased average life spans mainly to improved treatment
results for three major diseases: cancer, heart disease and

According to the latest overseas data held by the MHLW, the
longevity of Japanese women was ranked number one in the world for
the 23rd straight year, followed by Hong Kong's 85.4 years and
France's 84.1 years. Japanese men ranked third following Iceland's
79.4 years and Hong Kong's 79.3 years.

The chance of dying from the three major diseases was 55.57 PERCENT
for men and 53.02 PERCENT for women in 2007, down 0.43 points and
0.55 points respectively from the previous year.


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