Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/03/08

DE RUEHKO #2405/01 2470123
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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Political agenda:
4) LDP presidential election scheduled for Sept. 22; Aso, Koike
likely to run (Tokyo Shimbun)
5) Local party members will also vote in the upcoming LDP
presidential election (Yomiuri)
6) LDP Secretary General Aso supported for presidential bid by 22
local party chapters: Kyodo poll (Tokyo Shimbun)
7) Aso has the support of 23 local party chapters in his bid for LDP
presidency: Asahi survey (Asahi)
8) Anti-Aso force aiming to block his presidency bid is
strengthening in the LDP (Mainichi)
9) Support in LDP is growing for former Defense Minister Koike as
presidential candidate (Nikkei)
10) Likelihood growing of Diet dissolution immediately after the
supplemental budget passes (Asahi)

Fukuda's final days:
11) Prime Minister Fukuda refuses impromptu interviews with
reporters, saying he did not want to create "useless noise" (Asahi)

12) Fear that with Fukuda stepping down a foreign policy vacuum will
set in (Yomiuri)
13) No prospect in sight now for implementing Fukuda's policy
agenda, particularly the MSDF Indian Ocean refueling mission and the
Consumer Affairs Agency (Yomiuri)

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) reaction to Fukuda resignation:
14) DPJ alarmed by the possibility that the LDP presidential
election will steal the thunder of its own presidential election on
Sept. 21 (Tokyo Shimbun)
15) DPJ unable to demonstrate its political presence, owing to LDP
presidential activity; some members worried that winning a general
election may not be easy (Mainichi)



Lower House likely to be dissolved before year's end after
supplementary budget compiled

Candidates to vie with Aso in LDP presidential race likely decided

LDP prefectural chapters to let members vote in presidential race;
Aso to reveal campaign pledges on Sept. 8

Move to field rival candidates against Aso in LDP presidential race
moving into full swing

Plan to hold Lower House election on Oct. 26 may crop up; LDP's
Machimura faction to let members cast votes independently in Sept.

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22 presidential election

Tokyo Shimbun:
Sumo wrestlers Roho, Hakurozan test positive for marijuana

Political reform now urged


(1) LDP presidential race: Policies more important than who will
lead campaign for Lower House election
(2) Oita education scandal: Will Oita put end to scandal just by
cancelling employment?

(1) LDP presidency: Performance won't be able to bring LDP back from
political abyss
(2) Hikes in commodity prices: Consumers should be wise

(1) LDP presidency: Active policy debate expected
(2) Budget for FY2009: How to cover revenue shortages

(1) Aso should show policies in LDP presidential race
(2) Thailand needs national reconciliation to restore order

(1) New LDP president should not avoid implementing policies that
involve pain
(2) EU summit: Strategic response to Russia needed

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Logical step for LDP is to leave political helm to the

(1) Diet deliberations on basic issues indispensable

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, September 2

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 3, 2008

Attended an executive meeting at party headquarters.

Attended a cabinet meeting at the Kantei. Environment Minister Saito
stayed behind. Followed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.

Attended an extra Executive Council meeting at party headquarters.

Attended a commendation ceremony for those who have done
distinguished services for disaster prevention.

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Met Machimura. Followed by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary

Vice Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Edogawa. Later met
Machimura. Again met Edogawa.

Met Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka.

Met Special Advisor Ito.

Met Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Ando at his official

4) LDP to announce on Sept. 10 that it will hold presidential
election on 22nd; Koike implies possibility of running

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
September 3, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided in a meeting
yesterday of its presidential election administration committee to
formally announce on Sept. 10 that it will hold a presidential
election on Sep. 22 to choose the successor to Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda, president of the LDP. Secretary General Taro Aso, 67,
yesterday expressed in effect his intent to run in the race.
However, former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, who is critical
of Aso's economic policy, revealed yesterday plans to field a rival
candidate against Aso from among junior and mid-level lawmakers
supporting the structural reform policy. The name of former Defense
Minister Yuriko Koike, 56, is being mentioned as one of "reformist
candidates." The LDP is now carrying out coordination with the
possibility of convening the next extraordinary Diet session on
Sept. 24 and to conduct a Diet vote for the prime minister the same

Nakagawa met yesterday with Koike and former Administrative Reform
Minister Yoshimi Watanabe. After the meeting, Nakagawa revealed to
the press that he would choose a candidate, focusing on Koike. He
said: "We have to field someone from among the reformist group."
Koike also told reporters: "Since this is a national crisis, I hope
the sense of crisis will be shared among other members."

However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, who heads the
faction to which Nakagawa and Koike belong, appearing on a
commercial television program yesterday, stated: "My faction will
not support somebody as a unit."

In the Yamasaki faction, meanwhile, there are calls for filing
Nobuteru Ishihara, former LDP policy chief, while Akira Amari, a
senior faction member and former economy, trade and industry
minister, has clarified his support for Aso.

Seiko Noda, minister of state for consumer administration, told a
Tokyo Shimbun reporter: "I'm honored that my name is mentioned, but
I will not run in the race. I am calmly watching who will run."

5) LDP presidential election: Local chapters to let party members

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vote in presidential race; Aso set to announce campaign promises on
the 8th

YOMIURI (Top Play) (Abridged slightly)
September 3, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on September 2 held a meeting of
the presidential election board and decided to officially announce a
presidential election to choose a successor to Prime Minister
Fukuda, who has announced his decision to step down, and to hold the
election on the 22nd. Secretary General Aso is expected to formally
declare his candidacy on the 8th and announce his campaign pledges
the same day. In the meantime, former Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa of the Machimura faction yesterday indicated his intention
to field a rival candidate from the stance of following through on
former Prime Minister Koizumi's structural reform policy. Since
former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike is showing a desire to run in
the race, coordination of views will likely be made with the
possibility of fielding her. Many local chapters have also decided
to let party members and friends of the party vote in the
presidential race.

The Aso faction yesterday held a meeting and hastily made
preparations to field Chairman Aso in the race.

Aso contested with Fukuda in the presidential election last
September. He took office as secretary general in the shuffle of the
party leadership this August. Aso has been seen as a potential
candidate to succeed Fukuda because of his popularity among the
public. Regarding economic policy, he is known as an advocate of
positive public spending.

Nakagawa, who takes a different stance from Aso over economic
policy, yesterday met with a number of persons in Tokyo, including
former State Minister for Administrative Reform Yoshimi Watanabe,
who does not belong to any faction, and former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki of the Koga faction. After a series of
talks, Nakagawa told reporters, "We must field someone from among
the reformists. We have yet to designate our candidate." He
presumably made this statement with the fielding of Koike in mind.

Prior to this, Koike told reporters in Tokyo, "It is most important
for presidential candidates to pursue policy debate."

Some mid-ranking and junior lawmakers are recommending Nobuteru
Ishihara, former Policy Research Council Chairman, of the Yamasaki
faction. Others are seeking State Minister for Economic and Fiscal
Policy Yosano, who gives priority to fiscal reconstruction, to
announce his bid for LDP presidency.

The LDP presidential election will be contested with 528 votes --
304 votes from Lower House members, 83 votes from Upper House
members, three votes from each local chapter. The General Council
will formally decide on the 3rd a timetable for the presidential
election. The party headquarters will accept notifications on
candidacy for 30 minutes starting on 11:00 a.m. A new president will
be elected in the voting by Lower and Upper House members and
representatives of each local chapter at the general assembly of LDP
lawmakers from both Diet chambers.

6) 22 prefectural chapters back Aso in LDP race

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TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
September 3, 2008

Kyodo News yesterday conducted an emergency survey of the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party's local chapter executives across the
nation. The secretaries general and other executives of 22 LDP
prefectural federations, including the one in Fukuoka Prefecture,
answered that they would support LDP Secretary General Taro Aso as
the successor to Prime Minister Fukuda (LDP president). Meanwhile,
25 LDP prefectural federations-more than half-answered that they
were undecided, or gave no answer. "All the candidates have yet to
show up," one of the LDP's Mie prefectural federation said. As seen
from this response, they are assuming a wait-and-see attitude.

Aso, currently in the post of LDP secretary general, ran for the
party's presidency in September 2007 and made a good show. He is
therefore well known among his party's local executives.

Some of the LDP's prefectural federations named Aso as the first and
foremost candidate but also cited the names of other candidates. One
LDP local executive in Shiga Prefecture said, "When we think of the
election for the House of Representatives, it's also good that there
are two female lawmakers, former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike and
State Minister for Consumer Affairs Seiko Noda."

"Mr. Aso has been talking about economic issues," a supporter of Aso
in Ibaraki Prefecture said. Another supporter of Aso in Yamaguchi
Prefecture said, "He has served in important cabinet ministerial
posts and the LDP's three top posts, so he's familiar with all

7) 23 LDP prefectural chapters want Aso to become next prime

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 3, 2008

Following Prime Minister Fukuda's announcement of his intention to
step down, the Asahi Shimbun interviewed senior members of the
Liberal Democratic Party's 47 prefectural branches yesterday. Of
them, 23 chapters expressed hope that Secretary General Taro Aso
will become the next prime minister. Asked about the appropriate
timing for the next House of Representatives election, 26 chapters
cited sometime next spring or afterward, showing that many remain
cautious about an early dissolution of the Lower House.

Among those that supported Aso are Iwate, Ibaraki, Saitama, Aichi,
Hyogo, Fukuoka, and Nagasaki. Asked why, some chapter members
expressed hope for his ability to manage the government, given the
current politically divided Diet situation. An Ishikawa prefectural
member replied: "He is winning wide-ranging public support;" and an
Okinawa chapter member said: "He is capable of demonstrating
leadership." Focusing on Aso's positive stance about disbursing
government funds, a Hiroshima chapter member said: "He is expected
to take measures to buoy up the economy," and a Gifu member
remarked: "He knows much about local circumstances."

In reply to a question about the timing for the next Lower House
election, eight chapters, including Nagano, Okayama, and Ehime, said
that the election should be carried out as soon as possible, with
some citing sometime during the upcoming extraordinary Diet session,
as a Fukui member said: "A new prime minister will win high public

TOKYO 00002405 006 OF 012

support temporarily." Meanwhile, 12 prefectural branches, including
Osaka, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, and Kumamoto, mentioned around next April
or May after the fiscal 2009 budget bill clears the Diet, with a
Hokkaido member citing this reason: "We would like to see the
government steadily implement measures to remove public concerns
next fiscal year, too." As demonstrated by the reply by a Shizuoka
member that "a sense of distrust in the LDP is strong in local
areas," 12 prefectural branches, including Aomori, Tokyo, Tottori,
and Oita, suggested that the election should be delayed until all
Lower House members' terms of office expire next September.

8) LDP presidential race: Some LDP forces decide to field candidates
to vie with Aso; Voting set for Sept. 22; Coordination underway for
prime ministerial election on Sept. 24

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
September 3, 2008

The Liberal Democratic Party decided yesterday to formally announce
the presidential race on Sept. 10 and carry out voting on Sept. 22
to determine the successor to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is
LDP president. Former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, who is at
odds with Secretary General Taro Aso over economic policy, held
talks with former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, who has expressed a
willingness to run in the race, former Policy Research Council
Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara and others. They confirmed that they
would field a cross-factional candidate to vie against Aso. They
will begin selection work later this week.

In the wake of the determination of the LDP presidential election
timetable, the LDP and New Komeito have begun coordination with the
opposition bloc for convening the next extraordinary Diet session on
Sept. 24 and immediately carrying out the prime ministerial election
in the two Diet chambers that day.

Nakagawa said to the press corps: "We must field a successor to the
Koizumi reform initiative." Besides Koike and Ishihara, Nakagawa
also met with former Administrative Reform Minister Yoshimi Watanabe
and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki.

After the series of meetings, Nakagawa said to reporters: "Some
indicated that we must field a reformist. They stopped short of
naming any specific names." Nakagawa pointed to a plan to expedite
coordination for coming up with an appropriate candidate.

Last night, Nakagawa also met with former Prime Ministers Yoshiro
Mori and Shinzo Abe.

Acting in concert with Nakagawa's move, the young lawmakers'
cross-factional group called the Project Nihon Fukkatsu (Restoration
of Japan) confirmed at its meeting last night: (1) to field several
candidates, and (2) not to turn the presidential election into a
faction-oriented one.

Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima yesterday afternoon
informed the four opposition parties of the ruling coalition's
decision to retract the initial plan to convene the extra Diet
session on Sept. 12.

LDP and New Komeito secretaries general, policy chiefs, and Diet
chiefs met later on to exchange views on a new timetable for
convening the session and responses to the Diet. They agreed to get

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Diet approval for the supplementary budget, according to an

9) Some LDP forces trying to field candidate, such as Koike, to vie
with Aso in presidential race

NIKKEI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
September 3, 2008

Moves to choose the successor to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who
announced his resignation yesterday, are now in full swing in the
Liberal Democratic Party. Secretary General Taro Aso, who has
announced his candidacy for the LDP presidency, has kicked off an
effort to win support beyond factional boundaries. Meanwhile, forces
making a clear distinction with Aso's proactive fiscal-policy line
have been accelerating moves to field former Defense Minister Yuriko
Koike to vie with Aso. There is a strong likelihood that Aso and a
rival candidate will run against each other in the LDP presidential
election Sept. 22.

Coordination is underway to convene the next extraordinary Diet
session on Sept. 24. LDP and New Komeito secretaries general and
others decided yesterday to: (1) discuss coalition talks ahead of
the prime ministerial election, and (2) discuss a bill extending the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and a bill establishing a
Consumer Affairs Agency throughout the LDP presidential campaign

The LDP Presidential Election Administration Committee met yesterday
and decided to formally announce the election on Sept. 10 and carry
out voting and vote-counting on Sept. 22. Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Tadamori Oshima informed the opposition bloc yesterday of a
decision to postpone the convocation of the extra Diet session,
initially planned for Sept. 12. The government and ruling coalition
plan to finish the prime ministerial elections in the two Diet
chambers and forming the new cabinet on the day the Diet session is

Although Aso is still regarded as the front runner in the race, his
party footing is not rock-solid, for his faction has only 20
members. The faction has begun calling on party members with the aim
of garnering the support of at least 20 lawmakers, the number needed
to stand as a candidate.

General Council Chairman Takashi Sasagawa, appearing on an NHK
program last night, said: "From a common sense viewpoint, Secretary
General Aso will be elected." Such members as former METI Minister
Akira Amari and Fiscal and Economic Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano of
the Yamasaki faction are also proactively supporting Aso. There are
expectations for Aso in the New Komeito, as well.

Mid-level and young lawmakers advocating the continuation of the
Koizumi reform policy course met several times yesterday. Fifteen
lawmakers attended a night meeting in which they decided to field a
young candidate against Aso to promote the reform policy.

Former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, a major proponent of the
theory placing high priority on spending cuts and economic growth,
met yesterday with Koike in Tokyo, and they analyzed the situation
in the party. Nakagawa also held talks with former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki and former Administrative Reform
Minister Yoshimi Watanabe. The group advocating economic growth is

TOKYO 00002405 008 OF 012

fixated on fielding its own candidate against Aso, who is eager to
advance a fiscal policy line, has a power struggle element with an
eye on the next administration.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura made this comment on a
TBS program yesterday: "We will not single out any group. We will
leave the matter to the good judgment of each member." Former Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe and others are expected to throw their support
behind Aso. Taking a united action seems difficult for the Machimura

Serving as the "face" of the next Lower House election carries
weight in selecting candidates. There is a move in the Yamasaki
faction to field former Policy Research Council Chairman Nobuteru
Ishihara. But Amari and others in the faction are backing Aso.
Whether the faction members can rally around Ishihara is still

Yosano and Consumer Administration Minister Seiko Noda made it clear
yesterday that they would not run in the race.

10) Lower House most likely to be dissolved for election by year's
end after compilation of supplementary budget: LDP election on the
22nd; Move to field Koike seen

ASAHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
September 3, 2008

Following Prime Minister Fukuda's resignation announcement, a call
for dissolving the Lower House for a snap election before year's
after passage of a supplementary budget bill, which includes a set
of economic stimulus measures, in the fall extraordinary Diet
session gained ground in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the
New Komeito. The LDP has also adopted a timetable for formally
announcing its presidential election on the 10th and holding the
election on the 22nd. There is a move to field former Defense
Minister Yuriko Koike as an opponent to Secretary General Taro Aso.

Commenting on the timing for dissolution of the Lower House, New
Komeito President Ota, who has called for dissolution of the Lower
House during the year change period, told reporters on September 2:
"The ruling parties are responsible for people's lives. We must
first gain confidence of the people, by firmly realizing a
comprehensive economic stimulus package." He thus indicated his view
that it would be desirable to dissolve the Lower House after passage
of a supplementary budget bill.

Commenting on the timing for dissolution of the Lower House,
Election Committee Chairman Makoto Koga, who is responsible for
election affairs in the LDP, on a TV program gave three possible
cases: (1) at the outset of the extraordinary Diet session; and (2)
after passage of a supplementary budget bill in the extraordinary
Diet session.

Secretaries general, policy research council chairmen and Diet
Affairs Committee chairmen of the LDP and the New Komeito yesterday
evening met in the Diet and confirmed their stance of giving
priority to deliberations on a supplementary budget bill in the
upcoming extraordinary Diet session. The government and the ruling
parties have agreed on a supplementary budget draft worth 1.8
trillion yen. The budget bill is certain to obtain Diet approval
with by a majority vote of members of the ruling parties, because

TOKYO 00002405 009 OF 012

priority is given to a decision reached in the Lower House. If the
Lower House is to be dissolved after that, the following scenario
can be anticipated: (1) dissolution in October and general election
in November; or (2) dissolution in November and general election in

The prime minister has the authority to decide when to dissolve the
Lower House. However, opinions in the ruling camp are bound to
affect his decision. Some LDP members take the view that if cabinet
approval ratings surge as a result of a replacement of the prime
minister, the prime minister should dissolve the Lower House at the
outset of the extraordinary Diet session, riding on the back of the
new cabinet's popularity. In the event that the new prime minister
sticks to the enactment of a consumer agency establishment law and
an extension of the law governing the MSDF refueling operation in
the Indian Ocean, policies inherited from Fukuda, extending the term
of the extraordinary Diet session would be inevitable. In that case,
the timing for dissolving the Lower House could be delayed until
early in the new year.

11) Fukuda refuses impromptu interviews with reporters, saying: "I
don't want to create useless noise"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 3, 2008

Prime Minister Fukuda announced yesterday through his secretary that
he would not respond during his remaining term of office to
impromptu interviews with reporters that have continued every day
since he became prime minister. Fukuda was quoted as saying: "Since
I announced my decision to step down, I should not make unnecessary

The prime minister has responded to impromptu interviews twice a day
in principle. Fukuda said that if such emergencies as major
disasters, incidents, or accidents occur, he will respond to
questions by reporters. But the group of reporters assigned to the
Cabinet Office has asked for such interviews to be continued.

In a cabinet ministerial meeting yesterday, Fukuda said: "I would
like all the cabinet ministers to properly deal with state affairs
to the end," but he has abandoned his accountability, in a sense.

12) Diplomatic vacuum may be created

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 3, 2008

With Prime Minister Fukuda's abrupt announcement of his decision to
step down, a vacuum in the diplomatic timetable will inevitably be
created. The Foreign Ministry has already rescheduled a
Japan-China-South Korea summit initially set for Sept. 21. It is
also uncertain whether the Japanese prime minister will be able to
attend the United Nations' annual assembly for the first time in
three years. There might also be some effect on Japan's response to
North Korea and an extension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

On Japan's policy toward North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Machimura emphasized in a press conference yesterday: "No matter who
becomes prime minister, the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by
North Korean agents will continue to be high on the diplomatic

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agenda." But since North Korea will carefully scrutinize the next
prime minister's diplomatic approach, a senior Foreign Ministry
official said: "North Korea might delay the start of reinvestigating
the abducted as it promised.

13) No prospects in sight for MSDF refueling mission, consumer

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
September 3, 2008

As a consequence of Prime Minister Fukuda's sudden announcement of
resignation, there are now no prospects in sight for the Diet to
pass critical legislation the government had planned to present at
the forthcoming extraordinary session.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, meeting the press yesterday
morning, cited such policy agenda items as a bill revising the new
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to continue the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, a
package of bills related to establishing a consumer agency, and the
supplementary budget for fiscal 2008 featuring a package of economic
stimulus measures. "Whoever may become prime minister," Machimura
said, "these policy tasks cannot be avoided." With this, he
indicated that the Fukuda cabinet's policy of passing these bills at
the extra Diet session would be handed over to a successor.

In point of fact, however, the government and ruling parties are
giving priority now to electing Fukuda's successor. The extra Diet
session, initially scheduled to be called Sept. 12, is now expected
to be considerably delayed. As it stands, the government and ruling
parties cannot expect to pave the way for these accomplishing these
policy tasks.

The MSDF is currently tasked with refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean under the new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which is set
to run out in January next year. The government plans to introduce a
bill revising the law to continue the MSDF's refueling mission
there. However, the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) is opposed to the plan. The New Komeito, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party's coalition partner, remains reluctant to
take a second vote in the House of Representatives on the bill to
override the opposition-dominated House of Councillors' possible
rejection of it.

"We will continue to emphasize the importance of fighting against
terrorism and will make efforts to deepen public understanding,"
Defense Minister Hayashi told a press conference yesterday,
underscoring his stance of trying to obtain cooperation from the
opposition parties and the public on the government's plan to
continue the MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

Hayashi was scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates
in early September, but he has now canceled the meeting in the wake
of Fukuda's announcement of his resignation. In the scheduled
meeting, Hayashi was to tell Gates that Japan will continue to
contribute to the war on terror through the MSDF's refueling

The LDP and the New Komeito will hold a meeting of their project
team today to enter into coordination over the government-planned
bill to revise the antiterror law. However, it will not be easy to

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close the gap in views between the two parties.

14) DPJ wary of being forgotten

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
September 3, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election, which
is to pick Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's successor, is now certain
to take place along with the leading opposition Democratic Party of
Japan's presidential election, which will be officially announced
Sept. 8 with its voting set for Sept. 21. The LDP and the DPJ will
now likely hold double elections for their presidencies. DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa, however, is expected to be elected for a
third term unopposed. Some DPJ lawmakers are concerned that their
party's presidential election might be forgotten if the LDP has a
presidential race with multiple candidates. However, the DPJ is
trying to dispel that impression by preparing itself for a snap
election for the House of Representatives.

Asked about the LDP's presidential election schedule, DPJ Secretary
General Yukio Hatoyama said yesterday: "They're trying to do it at
the same time, I think. We can hold our presidential election in a
calm manner."

There is a sense of crisis among DPJ lawmakers. "All eyes may be on
the LDP (race) and their (LDP) support rate may go up," said Azuma
Koshiishi, chairman of the DPJ's caucus in the House of Councillors.
In the DPJ, however, there are no moves to field any other
candidates against Ozawa.

15) DPJ deprived of opportunities to demonstrate its presence:
Concern about facing harsh election

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Abridged slightly)
September 3, 2008

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) intended to go on
the offensive against the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-New Komeito
administration in pursuit of early Diet dissolution for a snap
election. However, it is now certain that President Ichiro Ozawa
will be elected for a third term without a contest in the
presidential election to be officially announced on September 8 and
held on the 21st. The convocation of the next extraordinary Diet
session will now be postponed until after the LDP presidential
election. Under such circumstances, the DPJ finds itself in a
situation where it can only wait and see who wins the LDP
presidential election. There will be no occasions in the foreseeable
future for it to be able to make a public appeal regarding its
political presence. It can only diligently stage campaigns for
candidates in each constituency.

Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama on a radio talk show on September 2
said, "They have chosen a timing that coincides with our
presidential election." He seemed alarmed that the presence of the
DPJ might be overshadowed.

As a countermeasure, Hatoyama gave a pep talk to DPJ members,
noting: "We will start preparing for the election by swiftly
choosing candidates who will run in the race on the DPJ ticket. The
Lower House may be dissolved in September." He also indicated that
if Aso replaced Prime Minister Fukuda, cabinet approval ratings

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might rise, forcing the DPJ to face a tough election.

Public Relations Committee Chair Yoshihiko Noda, who had taken the
view that the contents of a manifesto for the next Lower House
election should be strengthened through policy debate, had to give
up his plan to run in the presidential election since the leadership
is giving priority to the Lower House election instead of to the
party's own election. Some junior lawmakers now regret this move,
noting that the DPJ should have also held a real presidential

DPJ lawmakers on the evening of the 2nd made campaign speeches in
downtown Tokyo. They raised their voices in vain, "You can entrust
the reins of government to the DPJ."


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Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>