Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/16/08-1

DE RUEHKO #2523/01 2600122
P 160122Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Mainichi analysis: Aso likely to achieve overwhelming victory,
securing majority of lawmaker votes and 70 PERCENT of local chapter
vote (Mainichi)

(2) Koizumi declares support for Koike: Is he eyeing political
realignment, which could involve DPJ? (Mainichi)

(3) Considering giving key posts to Yosano and others: Aso hints at
early dissolution of Lower House (Asahi)

(4) Negotiations on nuclear verification suspended, with no response
from North Korea to U.S. new proposals (Yomiuri)

(5) Unknown sub intrudes into territorial waters (Yomiuri) Error!
Bookmark not defined.

(6) Foreign Ministry tolerates leaks of water containing radiation
from nuclear vessels without disclosing U.S. explanation made 45
years ago (Mainichi)

(7) Farm Minister Ota says ministry not making big fuss over
tainted-rice issue, causing another stir (Tokyo Shimbun)

(8) Poll: Public also divided-Aso wanted for premiership, DPJ
preferred for voting in snap election (Sankei)


(1) Mainichi analysis: Aso likely to achieve overwhelming victory,
securing majority of lawmaker votes and 70 PERCENT of local chapter

MAINICHI (Top play) (Full)
September 14, 2008

The Mainichi Shimbun analyzed Sept. 13 information gathered about
the LDP presidential election on Sept. 22, in which both the LDP
Diet members and local chapter representatives would cast votes. The
situation showed that Secretary General Taro Aso is likely to garner
about 200 votes out of the 386 LDP Diet members who are to cast one
ballot each and about 100 votes out of the 141 local chapter votes.
As a result, chances are high that Aso will win the presidency
without a runoff vote, collecting more than 300 votes, well over a
majority of the total of 527 votes. Nevertheless, the situation
remains still fluid as some 20 PERCENT of the LDP lawmakers have
yet to make up their minds and there is a move to turn the tables,
including local votes.

Besides Aso, the race is being fought among former Policy Research
Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara, 51, former Defense Minister
Yuriko Koike, 56, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, 51, and
Economy and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano 70. Besides Aso,
Yosano is a step ahead of the other three.

By faction, Aso has secured the support of all 28 members of the
Ibuki faction, which has decided to back him as faction, and
generally all 16 Nikai and 15 Koumura faction members, in addition
to the 20 Aso faction members. Support for Aso is also spreading in
the Tsushima faction (69 members), Koga faction (61), and Yamasaki
faction (41). The situation also shows that Aso is gripping the

TOKYO 00002523 002 OF 007

harts of a majority of the members of the Machimura faction, the
largest in the party.

Support for Yosano, a lawmaker with no factional allegiance, centers
on the Tsushima and Koga factions, with 30 PERCENT of them backing
him. Meanwhile, support for Ishihara, Koike, and Ishiba comes from
20-40 PERCENT of the Yamasaki, Machimura, and Tsushima factions.

The local votes will be determined through "primaries" by 47
prefectural chapters and fraternity members. The Mainichi Shimbun
has found that 16 prefectural chapters would employ the
winner-takes-all method in which the top contestant takes all three
votes and 31 prefectural chapters would take the D'Hondt system in
which votes are allocated to each candidate according to the
percentage of votes each wins.

Aso has secured almost all winner-takes-all prefectural chapters
except for Tottori, Ishiba's home turf. Aso is also likely to garner
two to three votes in almost all D'Hondt prefectural chapters
excluding several chapters where the situations are murky.

(2) Koizumi declares support for Koike: Is he eyeing political
realignment, which could involve DPJ?

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
September 13, 2008

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on September 12 declared his
support for former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike in the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election. It is believed that
his aim is to shake up the campaign, in which Secretary General Taro
Aso holds a commanding lead, as well as to boost support for Koike
with an eye on political realignment, which could occur around the
next Lower House election. He also appears to want to prevent former
Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, who backs Koike, from becoming
isolated in the party.

Koizumi concerned about factions holding consultations

Though Nakagawa and former Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe had
repeatedly asked Koizumi to support Koike in the LDP presidential
election campaign, Koizumi refrained from indicating a clear-cut
stance. He, however, indicated his decision to back Koike, saying
during a meeting with Takebe and others in Tokyo on the morning of
the 12th, "The LDP, if it is headed by Koike, would be a good match
for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) led by Mr.
Ozawa." He also pointed out, "The LDP is facing a serious crisis,
but they do not have enough of a sense of crisis." He thus expressed
strong concern about the ongoing presidential campaign, which is
increasingly showing indications that factions are holding

Nakagawa at a meeting of Koike's campaign headquarters excitedly
said, "That's just what I'd expected from Mr. Koizumi. I have
deepened my sense of reverence for him." Koike also told reporters,
"I am encouraged by Mr. Koizumi's declaration."

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who backs Aso, previously told
lawmakers who were concerned that Koizumi could back Koike, "Don't
worry. Mr. Koizumi won't move." However, he on the 12th reportedly
said with a disappointed look, "I don't know. If he wants to back
her, he can do so."

TOKYO 00002523 003 OF 007

In September 2005, when he was prime minister, Koizumi proposed a
grand coalition to then DPJ President Seiji Maehara. He thus has an
understanding with junior DPJ reformist lawmakers. Koizumi's
statement appears to indicate that he believes there could be
political realignment, centered on the losers of the LDP
presidential election and the DPJ.

(3) Considering giving key posts to Yosano and others: Aso hints at
early dissolution of Lower House

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 13, 2008

Secretary General Taro Aso, who is taking the lead in the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) presidential campaign, on September 12 firmed
up a policy of offering key cabinet and party posts other
candidates, starting with State Minister for Economic and Fiscal
Policy Kaoru Yosano, in the event of his assuming the premiership.
He also indicated at an open debate held at the Japan National Press
Club in Tokyo his intention to dissolve the Lower House at an early
date while LDP approval ratings are still high after the
presidential election.

Referring to the formation of a cabinet after his nomination for
prime minister, Aso said: "I will give priority to solidarity.
However, I will basically appoint the right persons for the right
jobs." He is expected to appoint his rival candidates who have
fought well in the presidential election to key posts, such as
ministers and the three top party officers. Concerning the timing of
dissolving the Lower House for a snap election, one reporter asked
him whether he would reach a judgment after seeing cabinet approval
ratings. Aso replied, "That's only natural."

The Koizumi administration in its last days adopted a policy of
constraining growth in social security expenditures to 1.1 trillion
yen over five years or 220 billion yen a year. Aso hinted at taking
a second look at this policy, noting, "My candid feeling is that
policy has just about reached its limit." He also hinted at looking
into putting on hold the government's fiscal reconstruction goal of
moving the primary balance into the black by fiscal 2011. He said:
"It is correct to maintain that policy as a target. However, when
that policy was adopted, the nominal growth rate was 2 PERCENT .
However, it is now a negative 3 PERCENT . The present economic
situation is very harsh."

He ruled out the issuance of deficit-covering government bonds,
saying: "People tend to say that more public spending is synonymous
with issuing deficit-covering government bonds. However, fiscal
disbursements do not immediately mean issuing such bonds."

(4) Negotiations on nuclear verification suspended, with no response
from North Korea to U.S. new proposals

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 14, 2008

(Miyazaki, Washington)

Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have been suspended as
North Korea has made no response to a report with new proposals
presented by the U.S. in late August on a nuclear verification

TOKYO 00002523 004 OF 007

regime, according to a senior U.S. government official on Sept. 12.

No response may be attributed to Kim's illness

The senior U.S. official said: "The possibility of Kim Jong Il's
illness cannot be ruled out" as the main reason for North Korea's no
response, indicating that North Korean officials might be unable to
receive instructions on how to respond to the new U.S. proposals.
Concern is growing of further stagnation in the six-party talks to
denuclearize North Korea.

According to the U.S. government official, U.S. State Department
official Sung Kim, special envoy to the six-party talks, handed the
new draft report over to a North Korean official during their
meeting in New York on Aug. 22. Although the U.S. official did not
reveal the contents of the report, a source close to the six-party
talks, keeping in mind the North's official refusal to allow
sampling of nuclear materials and inspections of all nuclear
facilities in North Korea as proposed by the U.S. in its report in
July, thinks the new report may contain partially corrected phrases
on these measures.

The fresh report must be more acceptable for North Korea than the
July report, but North Korean authorities remain unresponsive.

There are rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had a stroke
in mid- or late August. The U.S. official indicated that Kim might
be unable to give instructions on a response to the new proposal
report. On North Korea's resumption of work to reassemble its
Yongbyon reactor, the U.S. official thinks that Kim gave the
instruction before he had a stroke.

The senior U.S. government official said: "What we can do now is
just wait for the other side's response," indicating that the U.S.
would make no more concessions.

(5) Unknown sub intrudes into territorial waters

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
September 15, 2008

A submarine of unknown nationality yesterday morning intruded into
Japan's territorial waters near the Bungo Strait off Ashizurimisaki
cape in Kochi Prefecture. The Maritime Self-Defense Force
Aegis-equipped destroyer Atago, which was on a training mission,
spotted the submarine at around 7 a.m. about seven kilometers inside
Japan's territorial wasters (12 nautical miles or about 22
kilometers). The Atago chased the submarine but lost track of the
submarine about 1 hour and 40 minutes after its discovery of the
submarine. The Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces are
continuing the search for the submarine and are also analyzing
gathered information to determine the submarine's nationality, path,
and intentions.

According to the Defense Ministry, the captain and his officers
onboard the Atago spotted what appeared to be a submarine periscope
at 6:56 a.m. at sea about one kilometer ahead of the Atago. At 7
a.m., the Atago used its active sonar to search for the submarine.
After about 30 minutes, the Atago judged that it likely was a
submarine. The submarine is believed to have left Japan's
territorial waters after 7 a.m., heading southward.

TOKYO 00002523 005 OF 007

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
requires foreign submarines to navigate on the surface and show
their flags when passing through the territorial waters of other
countries. The Defense Ministry has confirmed that the submarine was
not a U.S. Navy vessel, and the ministry takes it as an intentional
violation of Japanese waters.

In November 2004, a Chinese naval submarine violated Japan's
territorial waters and cruised underwater for about three hours. The
government ordered the MSDF to carry out maritime security
operations. In January 2005, the government decided to issue an
order in principle for maritime security operations against
submarines that violate Japanese waters. This time, however, the
government did not issue that order. "The submarine was already out
of Japan's territorial waters by the time we had confirmed it was a
submarine," Defense Minister Hayashi told reporters yesterday
evening. "I judged that the submarine was unlikely to return to
Japan's territorial waters," he added.

(6) Foreign Ministry tolerates leaks of water containing radiation
from nuclear vessels without disclosing U.S. explanation made 45
years ago

MAINICHI (Page 26) (Full)
September 13, 2008

Prior to the planned deployment of the nuclear-powered USS George
Washington at Yokosuka Port in Kanagawa Prefecture on Sept. 25,
concern is growing that cooling water containing radiation might
leak from the aircraft carrier. Behind this concern is the fact that
the Foreign Ministry was found to have closed to the public the
information given by the U.S. in negotiations 45 years ago that a
U.S. nuclear-powered submarine could leak water containing a small
amount of radiation. Experts insist that the ministry should
properly explain this information to the public.

This fact was found in the process of Shoji Niihara, a researcher on
international issues, examining a declassified document obtained
from the National Archives and Records Administration in the U.S.
The document details the negotiations between Japan and the U.S. on
the first port call in Japan of a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine in
1964. According to the document, the U.S. Department of State
instructed the U.S. Embassy in Japan in a cable dated March 19,
1963, to tell Japan, which was calling on the U.S. to ban radiation
leaks in Japanese territorial waters, that it was necessary to
discharge (cooling) water containing a small amount of radiation
when the reactors are warmed up. Japan accepted "exceptional
radiation leaks" in the end.

When a reactor is operated before a nuclear vessel leaves port,
reactor primary coolant containing a small amount of radiation can
be discharged outboard. The Foreign Ministry produced a brochure in
November 2006 ahead of the deployment of the aircraft carrier George
Washington. But the brochure stopped short of referring to
exceptional radiation leaks, just noting: "U.S. nuclear-powered
vessels are prohibited from leaking water containing radiation
within 12 nautical miles of Japan."

A member of the Status of U.S. Forces Agreement Division in the
Foreign Ministry explained: "Basically, there are no exceptions.
Since 1964, we have received no report of harm to human health." In
reaction, Kunikazu Noguchi, a full-time lecturer (on Radiochemistry

TOKYO 00002523 006 OF 007

Science) at the faculty of dentistry of Nihon University, commented:
"It should not be concluded that there is no problem based on the
fact that no report has been made of harm to human health."

(7) Farm Minister Ota says ministry not making big fuss over
tainted-rice issue, causing another stir

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Abridged slightly)
September 13, 2008

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Seiichi Ota, appearing
on a satellite TV program on Sept. 12, made the following comment in
connection with the fact that rice tainted with pesticide has
illegally been distributed: "I can say with confidence that it will
cause no harm to human health. So we are not making a big fuss over

Rice distributed by Mikasa Foods Co., a wholesale rice processing
firm in Osaka, has been used for human consumption at hospitals.
Strong public concerns have also forced shochu distilled spirit and
senbei rice cracker makers to voluntarily recall their products.
Ota's "no big fuss" remark has drawn calls for his resignation from
opposition parties. Consumer safety is likely to become a campaign
issue in the next general election that may follow the upcoming LDP
presidential election.

After the program, Ota told reporters: "I am not slighting (the
issue); I am saying that we will respond to the matter calmly."

On Sept. 11, MAFF Vice Minister Toshiro Shirasu suggested that the
rice-processing firm was to blame and not the ministry. Questions
have been raised about the ministry's stance, including Ota's

(8) Poll: Public also divided-Aso wanted for premiership, DPJ
preferred for voting in snap election

SANKEI (Top play) (Full)
September 13, 2008

In the wake of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's announcement of his
resignation and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's promulgation
of a presidential election to pick his successor, the Sankei Shimbun
and Fuji News Network conducted a joint public opinion survey on
Sep. 10-11. In the survey, DLP Secretary General Taro Aso, 67, was
most popular at 37.2 PERCENT among all five candidates running in
the LDP race. According to the Sankei Shimbun's findings, Aso has
now secured 60 PERCENT of all votes allocated to the LDP's 387
lawmakers in both houses of the Diet. Meanwhile, it looks like his
popularity with the public is also growing.

Former LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara, 51,
ranked second at 13.8 PERCENT , followed by former Defense Minister
Yuriko Koike, 56, at 13.0 PERCENT , Economic and Fiscal Policy
Minister Kaoru Yosano, 70, at 8.6 PERCENT , and former Defense
Minister Shigeru Ishiba, 51, at 5.3 PERCENT .

In the survey, respondents were also asked which one they thought
would be appropriate for prime minister between each of the five
candidates in the LDP presidential election and Ichiro Ozawa,
president of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto), who has been reelected unopposed for a third term. In

TOKYO 00002523 007 OF 007

response to this question, Aso marked 55.3 PERCENT , with Ozawa at
29.4 PERCENT . But Ozawa outpaced all of the other four LDP
lawmakers. Respondents were further asked if they hope Ozawa will
become prime minister. To this question, "yes" accounted for 30.5
PERCENT , with "no" at 62.7 PERCENT .

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 29.1 PERCENT , up 2.1 percentage points from the last
survey taken Aug. 2-3. Meanwhile, the DPJ dropped 2.8 points to 23.8
PERCENT . However, when asked which political party they would like
to vote for in the next election for the House of Representatives.
the DPJ marked 35.2 PERCENT for electoral districts and 34.6
PERCENT for proportional representation, edging out the LDP (34.4
PERCENT for electoral districts, 34.3 PERCENT for proportional

Respondents were further asked when they thought the House of
Representatives should be dissolved for a general election. To this
question, a total of over 60 PERCENT called for an early
dissolution of the lower chamber, broken down into 34.9 PERCENT
saying "right after a new cabinet's inauguration" and 31.9 PERCENT
saying "within the year." Asked about the desirable form of
government, those choosing an "LDP-led" coalition government
accounted for only 21.1 PERCENT , with the proportion of those
preferring a "DPJ-led" coalition government was 29.8 PERCENT .


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Save The Children: World Leaders Urged To Halt Escalating Hunger Crisis

A group of 120 non-governmental organisations has joined forces in an open letter calling on world leaders to do more to halt a devastating global hunger crisis as new analysis shows the number of people likely to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2022 could rise by 17%...More>>

WMO: Another La Niña Impacts Temperatures And Precipitation – But Not Climate Change
La Niña has developed for the second consecutive year and is expected to last into early 2022, influencing temperatures and precipitation. Despite the cooling influence of this naturally occurring climate phenomenon, temperatures in many parts of the world are expected to be above average because of the accumulated heat trapped in the atmosphere...

UN: Violations Of Palestinian Rights Puts Two-State Solution At Risk, Chief Warns
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Monday... More>>

World Food Programme: Millions More In Need Of Food Assistance As A Direct Result Of Conflict In Northern Ethiopia

The number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of ongoing conflict, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today... More>>

Food: Three Billion People Cannot Afford A Healthy Diet

Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on Tuesday... More>>

COP26: Enough Of ‘Treating Nature Like A Toilet’ – Guterres Brings Stark Call For Climate Action To Glasgow
As the World Leaders Summit opened on day two of COP26, UN chief António Guterres sent a stark message to the international community. “We are digging our own graves”, he said, referring to the addiction to fossil fuels which threatens to push humanity and the planet, to the brink, through unsustainable global heating... More>>

  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC