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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/11/08

DE RUEHKO #2505/01 2550813
P 110813Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) ASDF to withdraw from Iraq this year as time limit of UN
resolution for stationing troops runs out (Mainichi)

(2) Opposition parties in Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to ask about
purpose of governor's U.S. visit, may revise extra budget (Okinawa

(3) Seven years since 9/11 (Nikkei)

(4) Camp Zama's forward deployed command different from main body:
U.S. commander (Asahi)

(5) Scanner column: Nakagawa at odds with Mori in Machimura faction;
junior Tsushima faction members launch "coup d'etat" (Yomiuri)

(6) Drifting policies - Agriculture: Goal of 50 PERCENT
self-sufficiency rate moving away (Asahi)



(9) Prime Minister's schedule, September 10 (Nikkei)


(1) ASDF to withdraw from Iraq this year as time limit of UN
resolution for stationing troops runs out

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
Eve., September 11, 2008

The government this morning revealed that it plans to withdraw this
year the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) personnel dispatched to Iraq
for reconstruction support activities. At a press conference, Chief
Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura stated: "We have begun giving
consideration to ending the mission of the ASDF in Iraq later this
year." With this, the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq
that has lasted close to five years will be over.

The decision was made this morning at a meeting of the chief cabinet
secretary, foreign minister, and defense minister. As the reason for
the withdrawal, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura explained: "The
domestic public-security situation in Iraq has improved, and the
goal of the special measures law for Iraq reconstruction assistance
has been achieved." He made it clear that the Iraqi government, as
well, was considering reviewing the operations of the multinational
force, and has indicated its understanding of Japan's plan to
withdraw its troops.

The United Nations resolution that forms the basis for stationing
troops in Iraq will expire in late December, and the United States
has decided to reduce its troops by approximately 8,000 by next
February. The U.S. has indicated it will transfer the personnel to
Afghanistan, now the focal point of the war on terror, so the
decision by the Japanese government is in accord with that move.
Regarding continuing the Indian Ocean oil-refueling mission by the
Maritime Self-Defense Force that runs out on Jan. 15, Japan's
response will be all the more under scrutiny. At the press
conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura stressed: "Every

TOKYO 00002505 002 OF 009

country is strengthening its approach to Afghanistan, so we must
continue by all means our refueling mission in the Indian Ocean."

(2) Opposition parties in Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to ask about
purpose of governor's U.S. visit, may revise extra budget

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
September 11, 2008

Six opposition parties in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly held a
representatives meeting yesterday to discuss what strategy they
should take in a regular meeting on Sept. 17. The parties decided to
question in representative and other interpellation sessions the
main purpose of Governor Hirokazu Nakaima's planned visit to the
U.S., expenses for which have already been earmarked in the
prefecture's supplementary budget.

The opposition bloc adopted in a regular meeting in June a
resolution against a plan to construct a new facility in the Henoko
district of Nago City, Okinawa, to replace the U.S. Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station. If Governor Nakaima expresses in the U.S. a
willingness to promote the relocation plan, the opposition side,
which holds a majority in the assembly, might revise the
supplementary budget (to take away funding for the trip).

In a regular press conference on the 5th, Nakaima announced the
prefecture's view about the relocation of the Futenma Air Station.
He refuted the opposition camp's resolution, saying: "The plan is
different in nature from what the resolution calls 'the construction
of a new base'." He then indicated that he would move the relocation
plan forward, in order to eliminate the risk from Futenma Air

Yonekichi Shinzato, the largest opposition group's chairman, said:
"The view presented by the governor challenges our resolution. The
people of Okinawa are opposed to the relocation plan. If the purpose
of the U.S. visit goes against the public will, we cannot approve

(3) Seven years since 9/11

NIKKEI (Page 6) (Abridged slightly)
September 11, 2008

Restricted freedom widely accepted

Hiroyuki Nakamae, New York

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the
Untied States in which nearly 3,000 people died. The weight of
antiterrorism measures has declined, with economic policy taking the
center stage in the ongoing U.S. presidential race. The wounds of
terrorism are still casting dark shadows over American society, as
seen in the enactment of legislation authorizing wire tapping
without a court order and in tightened controls on U.S.

At the final stage of the U.S. presidential race, people tend to
criticize the economic policies of the two candidates, Senator
Barack Obama and Senator John McCain, with one saying, "McCain
doesn't understand the economy," and another predicting, "Obama will
raise taxes."

TOKYO 00002505 003 OF 009

In an opinion poll conducted by the New York Times in mid-August, 40
PERCENT of the American people -- the largest group -- cited the
economy and employment as the most important factor in selecting
candidates. In contrast, only 9 PERCENT and 15 PERCENT of people
pointed to "antiterrorism measures and security" and the "Iraq war,"
respectively -- factors that are said to have dictated the outcome
of the presidential election four years ago. Witnessing a slowdown
in the economy resulting from the financial crisis, in addition to
the absence of another terrorist attack on the country, Americans
seem to have changed their views of what they expect of the next

Despite such shifts, there are no signs of revisions being made to
President George W. Bush's hard-line stance against terrorism, which
has been criticized by liberals, who attach importance to civil

In July, Senator Obama voted for the FISA (Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act) Amendment Act authorizing warrantless surveillance
of international terrorist suspects. His action was denounced by
some Republican and Democratic lawmakers as a betrayal. His
compromise was seemingly aimed at winning more support from
conservative and middle-of-the-road voters. A CNN opinion poll in
July showed that 35 PERCENT of people believed that there would be
a terrorist attack on the United States within several weeks. This
can partly explain why the United States cannot lower its guard down
against terrorism.

Helped by the growing inward-looking trend, antiterrorism measures
against foreigners have repeatedly been tightened in the United
States. Starting this spring, the Department of Homeland Security
has begun collecting fingerprints from international visitors upon
arrival at major U.S. airports. Beginning January 2009, visitors
from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries, including
Japan, will be required to register online their names, where they
will stay, and other personal information no less than 72 hours
prior to travel to the United States.

At U.S. airports, even U.S. citizens have to take off their shoes as
part of security inspections. In the United States, freedom has been
sacrificed for security since 9/11. Although the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan are continuing, there are no signs of the United States
restoring the freedoms that have been lost.

No exit in sight for Bush administration's war on terrorism

Hiroshi Maruya, Washington

On Sept. 9, two days before the seventh anniversary of 9/11,
President Bush emphatically said: "There are difficult issues still
left for the future." He declared an end to major combat operations
in Iraq in May 2003. He could not have imagined that he would be
urging people to be ready for a long war more than five years

The Iraq war has cost the U.S. military over 4,000 lives and 858
billion dollars (about 92 trillion yen) the Congress has approved.
The President was forced to send additional troops to Afghanistan,
where the Taliban Islamic fundamental group was supposed to have
been defeated. No exits are in sight for the two wars on terror.

TOKYO 00002505 004 OF 009

The loss of power of the United States has allowed Russia to
challenge the international order, as seen in the Georgia conflict.
The world has become multi-polarized, but the president's belief
remains unchanged. In closing his speech on Sept. 9, the president
categorically said, "We will leave behind a safer and more peaceful
world for our children and our grandchildren," while repeating the
"power of freedom" three times.

(4) Camp Zama's forward deployed command different from main body:
U.S. commander

ASAHI (Kanagawa edition) (Page 29) (Full)
September 10, 2008

Taichiro Ogawa, Mitsuo Sekine

U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) Commanding General Francis Wiercinski met
the press yesterday at Camp Zama, a U.S. Army base straddling the
Kanagawa cities of Zama and Sagamihara, where he said the U.S. Army
1st Corps' forward deployed command, which was set up (at Camp Zama)
in December last year, is "an organization that is quite different
from the 1st Corps on the U.S. mainland." The commander added: "Its
main functions are command and control. This does not mean that
combat vehicles and many soldiers will come." Meanwhile, local
residents are worried that the 1st Corps may relocate its main
body's functions (to Camp Zama). In this regard, he almost ruled out
that possibility.

USARJ Commanding General Wiercinski arrived at his post in late
June. He concurrently heads the 1st Corps' forward deployed command
as its commanding officer. He met the press for the first time since
his arrival. He stressed there that the forward deployed command is
another organization. "The First Corps in the U.S. mainland (state
of Washington) will go to Iraq," he said. "But," he added, "we won't
go there." He further stated: "Some people say hundreds or thousands
of soldiers will be coming with tanks and airplanes. That's a

The Zama-based forward deployed command's functions focus on command
and control, Wiercinski said. The U.S. military will therefore bring
communication equipment and delivery vehicles.

The U.S. Army has since 9/11 been redesigning its troops into
'modular' units instead of mobilizing troops in large units like
divisions. "This change is still underway," Wiercinski said. He also
said, "We're learning to pull out and put together necessary
functions for other troops."

In connection with the 1st Corps' forward deployed command, former
USARJ Commanding General Perkins, who is Wiercinski's predecessor,
remarked in February this year that the U.S. military was planning
to station 300 more personnel at Camp Zama for the relocation of the
1st Corps' functions from the U.S. mainland to Zama. The local
communities around Camp Zama were strongly opposed to that
reinforcement plan, claiming that it would expand the base's
functions. Local residents were therefore concerned about the plan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military plans to build a new facility at the
U.S. Army's Sagami Depot for the forward deployed command's use. The
planned facility is called the "Battle Command Training Center."
Concerning this facility, Wiercinski said the U.S. military is now
putting on the finishing touches. He revealed that the U.S. military

TOKYO 00002505 005 OF 009

would hold bidding in four to six weeks and that construction work
would start before the summer of 2009 and would be completed in the
fall of 2010.

Wiercinski explained that the training center is a "highly
digitalized facility" and that small groups can be trained there for
battle command. He said, "We will also conduct joint training
exercises with the Ground Self-Defense Force, and we want to step up
our cooperation in preparation for emergencies."

(5) Scanner column: Nakagawa at odds with Mori in Machimura faction;
junior Tsushima faction members launch "coup d'etat"

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
September 10, 2008

Most factions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have
decided to let their members cast their votes on their own in the
party's presidential election on Sept. 22. The official campaign
will kick off today. This is noticeably different from the past
elections. In the Machimura faction, the largest in the LDP, there
is conflict between former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and former
LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa. The Tsushima faction, which
was derived from the Tanaka and Takeshita factions that enjoyed an
"iron-clad unity," has lost its unity. Faction heads can no longer
control their members.

Machimura faction

On the morning of Sept. 9, Nakagawa, former Defense Minister Yuriko
Koike and other lawmakers, who support Koike's bid for the LDP
presidential election, got together in a room of ANA
Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo. Nakagawa complained: "I may be left
out in the cold."

In a meeting on Sept. 8 of the Machimura faction, Nakagawa felt as
if he were lying on a bed of nails.

Nakagawa, in the meeting, said: "If the faction as a policy group
forces its members to follow its decision, it will not meet the
public's thinking." Yoshiro Mori, a supreme advisor to the faction,
told Nakagawa with a displeased look: "Cut it out."

Nakagawa, however, did not stop, and said:

"Ms. Koike is running in the election at the risk of her political
career. I understand that our faction members want to support her as
like-minded persons. As Mr. Mori often says there will be no
enemies, when the election ends."

Mori then spoke for about 40 minutes. He stressed:

"I will back Mr. Aso. He supported the Abe and Fukuda cabinets as
secretary general. I don't care that people call me a politician of
the old LDP. I don't force fellow faction members, but we should not
forget our moral obligation."

A veteran faction lawmaker said: "With Mr. Mori's speech, a trend to
support Aso will probably emerge. Since former Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe will likely support Abe, Nakagawa, who backs Koike, will be
gradually isolated in his faction.

TOKYO 00002505 006 OF 009

Meanwhile, a junior faction lawmaker supporting Koike stressed: "A
clampdown by the faction will not work."

On Sept. 9 at a party held in Toranomon, Tokyo, Nakagawa said
emphatically as if to encourage himself: "If you don't want to be
placed in an unduly position, you should not become a politician.
Factions must not apply pressure on their members for the
presidential election."

Tsushima faction

The Tsushima faction is in a serious situation. Such junior faction
members as Wataru Takeshita, younger brother of former Prime
Minister Noboru Takeshita, and Gaku Hashimoto, second son of former
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, made efforts to file the name of
former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba in the presidential election.
LDP General Council Chairman Takashi Sasagawa and other senior
faction members were working on supporting Aso, while Mikio Aoki,
former chairman of the LDP caucus in the Upper House, was taking a
stance of backing Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano.
Under such circumstances, Takeshita and Hashimoto were maneuvering
to field Ishiba.

In the Tsushima faction, former Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga
had long been regarded as a presidential candidate. Nukaga expressed
his eagerness for running in two elections in the past, but he
consequently gave up. The junior faction members intended to bring
about a generational change to the faction by skipping Nukaga. In a
faction meeting on Sept. 5, Upper House member Hiromi Iwanaga
refused to back Ishiba, saying, "We, Upper House members, will take
action on our own." Takeshita said in a strong tone: "The way that
you don't listen to us is the same as Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa's." A senior member who happened to be
there took it as criticism of Aoki and felt that Aoki's influence
was diminished.

Koga, Yamasaki factions

Both the Koga and Yamasaki factions have decided to let their
members to cast their vote freely.

In the Koga faction, Yoshihide Suga, former Internal Affairs and
communications minister, supports Aso; LDP Deputy Secretary General
Hiroyuki Sonoda backs Yosano; and Fumio Kishimoto, former state
minister for Okinawa affairs, supports Ishihara. Although LDP
Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga is believed to back
Aso, he has yet to make up his mind. Bothe Koga and Aso are from
Fukuda Prefecture.

In the Yamasaki faction, Ishihara will run in the election, but
Akira Amari, senior faction member and former economy, trade and
industry minister, supports Aso, while Tsutomu Takebe, former
secretary general, backs Koike. Taku Yamasaki, former LDP vice
president, has reiterated that his decision is still a "blank

(6) Drifting policies - Agriculture: Goal of 50 PERCENT
self-sufficiency rate moving away

ASAHI (Page 7) (Excerpts)
September 11, 2008

TOKYO 00002505 007 OF 009

Prime Minister Fukuda: "What is the main reason for the drop (of the
food self-sufficiency rate) to 39 PERCENT ? Are there any measures
to raise the rate?"

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Wakabayashi (at that
time): "I would like to establish a policy mechanism to increase the
rate to more than 50 PERCENT ."

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) set the
goal of raising the food self-sufficiency rate to 50 PERCENT under
the instruction of the prime minister on July 2, just ahead of the
Hokkaido Toyako Summit.

Grain prices have steeply risen across the world since last year.
Due to soaring prices, eve riots arose in countries in Africa and
other areas. In the Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD) in Yokohama in May, Prime Minister Fukuda
indicated his determination to address the food security issue. In
the food summit in Room in July, Fukuda also declared: "By promoting
agricultural reform and enhancing its self-sufficiency rate, Japan
would like to contribute to stabilizing the world's balance between
supply and demand."

Encouraged by the prime minister's "international pledge," the
government and the ruling camp began to move to switch the
conventional acreage-reduction policy. In August, the government
came up with a decision to increase the output of rice flour for
bread and noodle, as well as rice for livestock feed.

However, rice flour and rice for feed are priced at only 20 to 30
PERCENT of the prices of rice as a staple food. To maintain
equilibrium between income and expenditures, state subsidies are
needed for such producers. MAFF requested 52.6 billion yen in its
fiscal 2009 budget request as fiscal resources to fund a system in
which 50,000 yen is paid per 10 ares. The ministry has sought a
total of 302.5 billion yen to finance measures to raise the
self-sufficiency rate, accounting for 10 PERCENT of the total
budgetary estimate.

These measures, however, are expected to enhance the
self-sufficiency rate only by 0.5-1 percentage point annually. In
addition, the international price of wheat has dropped 30-40 PERCENT
from its peak, alleviating the impending crisis about skyrocketing
food prices.

In a questionnaire survey conducted in May by the Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries Finance Corporation, the largest number of
respondents (41.3 PERCENT ) cited "safety" as the factor most
concerned for consumers, followed by "domestically produced food
(25.8 PERCENT ), both two times larger than in the previous survey
(in January). In the aftermath of the food-poisoning cases in Japan
triggered by Chinese-made frozen dumplings, an increasing number of
consumers now pay more attention to safety and opt for domestic
products. Despite such a trend, the government remains unable to
take the next step to enhance the self-sufficiency rate. The 50
PERCENT goal might end up with just a dead letter.

No progress in project to foster large-scale farm families

To improve the nation's self-sufficiency rate, it is imperative to
foster highly motivated farmers and expand the scale of farming. The
average area under cultivation of a Japanese farm household is 1.7

TOKYO 00002505 008 OF 009

hectares, while it is 84 hectares in the U.S. and 380 hectares in
Australia. Even with quality and safety taken into consideration,
Japan must expand the average area at least to 5-10 hectares, in
order to strengthen its international competitiveness in terms of

To that end, MAFF has prepared measures to reform the nation's
farmland system, aiming to regenerate fallow land, which account of
8 PERCENT of all farmland across the nation, and to consolidate
such land for motivated farmers.

Even under the current system, local government heads are allowed to
order the owners of idle farmland to lease such land to farmers. But
it will take time to go through the necessary procedures, so there
is no precedent case. MAFF has worked eagerly to improve the current
legal system. The ministry intends to submit bills amending relevant
laws to the ordinary Diet session next year. But the legislation
might be delayed due to Fukuda resignation as prime minister and the
next general election.''

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has criticized the subsidy
system for large-scale farmers the government has introduced since
last fiscal year as "bullying small-scale farmers." Following the
DPJ's overwhelming victory in the House of Councillors election last
summer, the LDP has also made small-scale farmers eligible for the
subsidy system. The DPJ has proposed creating a system worth one
trillion yen designed to give income support for individual farmers
in its policy package. If the LDP comes up with countermeasures, the
two parties might fall into a port-barrel battle.

To seriously nurture large-scale farmers, a review of the land tax
system will also become necessary. In order to facilitate companies
to establish incorporated agricultural procedures, advisors have
suggested the need for deregulation, but nothing has been done yet.

The new round of World Trade Organization (WTO) global trade talks
(Doha Round) ended in rupture in the latest session, but its
working-level talks have been resumed since Sept. 10. Ministerial
talks will be resumed in two to three years. Japan will unavoidably
be pressed again to lower the tariffs it has imposed on rice and
other sensitive items. There is no much time left for Japan to
reconstruct its agricultural policy.


Aso gains upper hand in LDP presidential election

Mainichi and Tokyo Shimbun:
2 firms in Aichi Prefecture also found to have sold tainted rice

Yomiuri and Sankei:
Majority of LDP lawmakers support Aso

Honda to launch electric motorcycles in 2011

JCP determined to abolish medical insurance system for people 75 and


TOKYO 00002505 009 OF 009

(1) LDP presidential race underway
(2) Great anxiety at North Korea's 60th anniversary

(1) LDP presidential race: Campaign pledges too ambiguous
(2) U.S. financial bailout plan only first step to restoring
international trust

(1) LDP presidential candidates must present big picture
(2) Supreme Court's decision on land readjustment project

(1) Countdown to next general election
(2) What happened in North Korea?

(1) LDP presidential race: Discuss ways to break political gridlock

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) LDP race: Consumption tax ignored
(2) Waiver of nuclear trade with India inappropriate

(1) 7th anniversary of 9/11: Ending the war on terror

(9) Prime Minister's schedule, September 10

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 11, 2008

Met at Kantei with Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, Cabinet Office
Senior Vice Minister Tanimoto and Decoration Bureau Chief Fukushita.
Met later with Machimura and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary

Met with Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.

Met with Futahashi.

Met with Special Advisor Ito.

Met Untied Nations University president.

Met with Consumer Administration Minister Noda.

Returned to his official residence.


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