Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 10/20/08

DE RUEHKO #2904/01 2940118
P 200118Z OCT 08




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Opinion polls:
1) Mainichi poll: Public confidence in Aso Cabinet being lost as
support rate plummets 9 points to 36 PERCENT , non-support rate
jumps 15 points to 41 PERCENT (Mainichi)
2) Kyodo poll: Aso Cabinet support rate drops 6 points to 42 PERCENT
; Voters switching from LDP to Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) as
party of choice in election (Tokyo Shimbun)
3) Jiji poll: Cabinet support rate only 38 PERCENT , with LDP, DPJ
vying neck and neck with voters as choice in next election (Tokyo
4) Joint Yomiuri-Waseda University poll finds 80 PERCENT of
electorate disgruntled with both the LDP and DPJ going into the
election season (Yomiuri)

North Korea problem:
5) Assistant Secretary Hill in exclusive Asahi interview shows
understanding toward Japan's position of not participating in
providing aid to North Korea (Asahi)
6) Foreign Minister Nakasone in meeting with Deputy Secretary
Negroponte agree to cooperate on North Korea policy (Yomiuri)
7) Foreign Ministry studying responses to a contingency on the North
Korea Peninsula (Nikkei)

8) Foreign Minister Nakasone in meeting with Afghan counterpart
expresses support for Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election

Defense and security affairs:
9) Debate in Lower House on bill to continue MSDF refueling mission
has climaxed and legislation now goes to the Upper House (Nikkei)
10) Prime Minister Aso makes slip of tongue in talking about
U.S.-Japan security arrangement (Nikkei)
11) Companies used to procure oil for the Indian Ocean refueling
mission overcharged the government (Asahi)
12) Defense Ministry to station personnel in Guam, Hawaii to
coordinate move of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam (Tokyo
13) U.S. sounds out Japan on sending troops, helicopters to
Afghanistan (Yomiuri)
14) Aso considering sending MSDF ship to offshore Somalia to cope
with pirates in those waters (Tokyo Shimbun)

15) President Bush to host financial summit next month; Aso plans to
attend (Nikkei)


1) Mainichi poll: Cabinet support rates plummets 9 points to 36
PERCENT ; Expectations for DPJ's victory again outnumber that for
LDP; Aso's dissolution strategy might be affected

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
October 20, 2008

By Tamotsu Takatsuka

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based nationwide opinion
survey on Oct. 18-19. The survey showed that the rate of support for
the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso was 36 PERCENT , down 9
points from the previous survey conducted on Sept. 24-25 immediately

TOKYO 00002904 002 OF 011

after the establishment of the Aso administration. In the previous
survey, the LDP took the lead for the first time in response to a
question asking, "Which party -- the LDP or DPJ -- do you want to
see achieve victory?" But to the same question in the latest survey,
the two parties traded positions. The latest survey showed severe
figures for the LDP in going into the next Lower House election.
Given the growing chance of the next Lower House election taking
place on Nov. 30, the results of the opinion survey is likely to
have an impact on Prime Minister Aso's dissolution strategy.

Some 41 PERCENT of respondents, an increase of 15 points from the
previous survey, said that they did not support the Aso cabinet.
Nonsupport outpaced support by 5 points. Moreover, 21 PERCENT of
the public, a drop of 6 points, expressed no interest in the

As in the previous survey, the prime minister's leadership in the
latest poll topped the list of reasons for supporting the Aso
cabinet, although the figure dropped 9-points from last time. At the
same time, low expectations of the prime minister's policies topped
the list of reasons for not supporting the cabinet, with 42 PERCENT
so stating, an increase of 6 points from the previous time. The
decline seems to stem from strong public dissatisfaction with the
prime minister's response to the deteriorating economy. The
resignation of Nariaki Nakayama as land and transport minister due
to his controversial remarks also seemed to have contributed to the
low support rate.

A question, "Which party do you want to see win the next Lower House
election," has been asked for the 14th time since the first one in a
poll shortly after the Upper House election last summer. In response
to this question, the LDP scored 36 PERCENT , down 5 points from the
previous survey, while the DPJ recorded 48 PERCENT , up 11 points.
Other parties marked 12 PERCENT , up a point. The results showed
that the DPJ, which had taken the lead in 12 consecutive surveys up
until August, again outflanked the LDP, this time by 12 points.

People were also asked, "Which party would you vote for in the
proportional representation segment if the Lower House election were
to be held now?" As a result, the DPJ was favored by 38 PERCENT ,
far greater than the 25 PERCENT preferring the LDP. The two parties
also traded their positions in regard to the rate of support, with
the LDP dropping 4 points to 24 PERCENT and the DPJ increasing 5
points to 27 PERCENT . In the previous poll, the LDP outnumbered the
DPJ by 6 points.

There was also a question asking, "Who is fit to become the prime
minister -- Prime Minister Aso or DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa?" To
this question, some 40 PERCENT , down 2 points, pointed to Aso,
while 18 PERCENT , also down 1 point, favored Ozawa. The answer
"neither is fit for the job" increased 10 points to 40 PERCENT . As
the desirable form of administration, an LDP-DPJ coalition
government marked 30 PERCENT , followed by a DPJ-led coalition
administration at 25 PERCENT , and the current LDP-New Komeito
coalition administration at 12 PERCENT . The trend was the same in
the January 2007 survey when the same question was asked.

Management of administrating also gets low rating

By Yu Takayama

People were asked to evaluate Prime Minister Aso's management of his

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administration and the DPJ's response to Diet affairs. The results
showed that negative answers outnumbered positive ones in both

Some 43 PERCENT respondents positively evaluated the prime
minister's stance of prioritizing economic measures over Lower House
dissolution/general election, while 50 PERCENT assessed his stance
negatively. Among LDP and New Komeito supporters, as well, 23
PERCENT and 31 PERCENT , respectively, said they did not positively
evaluate such a stance.

Some 44 PERCENT gave positive assessments to the DPJ's stance of
supporting the fiscal 2008 supplementary budget and calling for
early Lower House dissolution, while 47 PERCENT gave negative
assessments. Negative assessments came to 27 PERCENT among DPJ

To the continuation of the MSDF refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean, 47 PERCENT expressed support, while 43 PERCENT voiced
opposition. At the same time, 24 PERCENT of LDP supporters, 30
PERCENT of New Komeito supporters, and 40 PERCENT of DPJ
supporters expressed support, indicating difficulty making the
matter a campaign issue in the next Lower House election. Further,
asked if the establishment of a consumer affairs agency would lead
to the resolution to the question of food safety, 55 PERCENT said
'no.' This indicated deliberations on legislation for the
establishment of a consumer affairs agency would not serve as a
positive factor for the ruling bloc.

2) Aso Cabinet support rate drops 6 points to 42 PERCENT in
telephone-based opinion poll

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Excerpt)
October 20, 2008

According to a telephone-based opinion survey carried out Oct. 18-19
by Kyodo News Service, the support rate of the cabinet of Prime
Minister Aso was 42.5 PERCENT , a 6.1 point drop from the last poll
taken in late September. Conversely, the non-support rate rose 6.1
points to 39.0 PERCENT . On the question of which party to vote for
in the proportionate part of the next Lower House election, the
Democratic Party of Japan was tops with 35.9 PERCENT , surpassing
the Liberal Democratic Party, which garnered 32.7 PERCENT .

3) Jiji poll: LDP and DPJ neck and neck ahead of next Lower House

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 18, 2008

Jiji Press Co. conducted an opinion survey on Oct. 10-13. The
results showed that 31.8 PERCENT of people would vote for the LDP
in the proportional representation segment in the next Lower House
election, up 3 points from the previous survey. The DPJ marked 30.8
PERCENT , up 3 points. Although the LDP outpaced the DPJ this time
around, the two parties were still neck and neck. The rate of
support for the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso marked 38.6
PERCENT , lower than that of the former Abe cabinet's 51.3 PERCENT
recorded immediately after its establishment and the former Fukuda
cabinet's 44.1 PERCENT .

Asked which party they will vote for in the next Lower House

TOKYO 00002904 004 OF 011

election, 27.7 PERCENT of unaffiliated voters named the DPJ, 21.3
PERCENT the LDP, 5.5 PERCENT the New Komeito, 2.2 PERCENT the
Japanese Communist Party, 0.4 PERCENT the People's New Party, and
0.1 PERCENT the New Party Nippon. Although the rate of support for
the cabinet recovered from the closing days of the former Fukuda
cabinet, which had fallen below 20 PERCENT , the rate of nonsupport
for the Aso cabinet still marked 34.1 PERCENT .

4) Yomiuri-Waseda University poll: 80 PERCENT unhappy with LDP,

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
October 19, 2008

A joint nationwide interview-based poll on Oct. 4-5 by the Yomiuri
Shimbun and Waseda University found that 78 PERCENT of respondents
were dissatisfied with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and
79 PERCENT were unhappy with the main opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ), while 20 PERCENT and 17 PERCENT , respectively,
were satisfied with the LDP and the DPJ. Only 5 PERCENT said they
had hopes for both parties. Prior to the next House of
Representatives election, it appears that people do not feel they
can trust either party with power.

When people were asked whether they were disappointed with the LDP
and DPJ, 69 PERCENT said they were disappointed with the LDP and 50
PERCENT were disappointed by the DPJ. Asked whether they had
concerns about the LDP, 82 PERCENT said yes and 14 PERCENT said
no. The figures for the DPJ were 75 PERCENT and 22 PERCENT .

Some 49 PERCENT of respondents said they had hopes for the LDP,
while 50 PERCENT said they did not. The respective figures for the
DPJ were 50 PERCENT and 48 PERCENT . The figures showed that
although people are disappointed with the LDP, they do not have high
hopes for the DPJ.

As to the shape of government, 21 PERCENT of respondents said that
they think a DPJ-led government would be most desirable in order to
resolve pressing issues, 20 PERCENT preferred a LDP-New Komeito
coalition government, and 19 PERCENT wanted to see an LDP-DPJ
coalition government. Some 13 PERCENT wanted political realignment
and a new framework. Although people are hoping for political
change, they do not yet have a clear image of the kind of government
they want.

5) Assistant Secretary of State Hill in exclusive interview
expresses understanding for Japan not participating in aid to North

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
October 19, 2008

By Satoshi Ukai in Honolulu

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the senior U.S.
delegate to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue,
gave an exclusive interview on Oct. `7 to this newspaper in Hawaii
while on official business there. In it, he indicated understanding
for the Japanese government's position of not participating in
providing economic and energy assistance to North Korea, citing the
abduction issue as the reason. In response to Japan's objections to
the U.S. removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of

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terrorism, Assistant Secretary Hill said: "I would like Japan to
realize that denuclearization in its interests."

Although the Six-Party Talks reached agreement that in return for
North Korea's disabling of its nuclear facility, each country would
provide energy assistance that would total one million tons of heavy
fuel, Japan has refused to comply, citing its abduction issue. Hill
said, "I understand that Japan attaches special importance to that
issue." He agreed that it was unavoidable for Japan to provide such
until there is progress on the abduction issue.

With Japan not participating, it will be necessary for Japan's share
of 200,000 tons to be divided up among the other countries, but Hill
said, "I cannot say at this time which countries will bear a share,
but there are signs that other countries than the five that will
participate." He suggested that a third country or countries might
take part of Japan's share.

Hill also made it clear that, in connection with the verification of
the nuclear plan agreed on by the U.S. and the DPRK that each of the
six countries will join, when he visited North Korea Oct. 1-3, North
Korean officials said that they would agree to the verification by
only countries possessing nuclear weapons. However, the U.S. side
would not budge on the need to include Japan and South Korea, so in
the end, North Korea withdrew its demand.

Commenting on the U.S.' removal of North Korea from the list of
state sponsors of terrorism that disregarded Japan's request to move
cautiously, Hill stressed: "I understand the special importance that
the abduction has for Japan. We have clearly told the North Koreans
in negotiations that there needs to be progress on that issue." He
added, "Although we are aware that all problems have not been
resolved, we hope the Japanese people realize that denuclearization
is in Japan's interest."

On the health of North Korean General Secretary Kim Jong Il, Hill
said, "It's our impression that something has happened to him."
Since the middle of August, when the movements of Secretary General
Kim Jong Il ceased to be reported on, even though there was a brief
halt in discussion with North Korea, Hill noted: "At the end of
September, we were able to obtain North Korea's responses. So, they
are making decisions again."

6) Nakasone, Negroponte agree on importance of preparing document on
procedures for verifying North Korea's nuclear program

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 19, 2008

(Takashi Nakagawa, Abu Dhabi)

Foreign Minister Nakasone held a meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary
of State John Negroponte at a hotel in Abu Dhabi on the afternoon of
Oct. 18, local time. They agreed that Japan and the U.S. would
cooperate in dealing with North Korea's nuclear development and
abduction issues. Washington's removal of North Korea from its list
of terrorism-sponsoring nations reportedly was not taken up in the
meeting. On North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals,
Nakasone called for the U.S. government's cooperation in resolving
the issue. In response, Negroponte said: "The U.S. position of
taking the abduction issue seriously remains unchanged. President
Bush and Vice President Cheney share (Japan's) concern."

TOKYO 00002904 006 OF 011

Nakasone and Negroponte agreed that it is important to adopt in the
next session of the six-party talks to be held soon a document on
procedures for verifying the nuclear program declared by Pyongyang.

On the war on terror in Afghanistan, Nakasone said: "Japan will
positively extend support." He then spelled out the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
Negroponte expressed hopes that Japan will continue the service,
remarking: "The international community has highly evaluated that

7) Government studying response to contingency on Korean Peninsula

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 18, 2008

Referring to rumors about North Korean General Secretary Kim Jong
Il's health situation, Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau Deputy Director General Kazuhide Ishikawa on October 17
revealed that the government is looking into ways to respond to a
possible contingency on the Korean Peninsula. He revealed this at a
meeting of the "Kitachosen Gaiko o Shincho-ni Susumeru Kai" (Group
for a Prudent Diplomacy toward North Korea) held at the party
headquarters on the morning of the same day, joined by like-minded
persons in the LDP. Ishikawa said, "There is fear that if North
Korea falls into turmoil, it could affect the abductees living in
that country. The Cabinet Secretariat is considering what should be
done in such a case."

8) Foreign Minister Nakasone tells Afghan counterpart that Japan
will support presidential election

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 20, 2008

Atsuko Niuchi, Abu Dhabi

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, now visiting the United Arab
Emirates (UAE), held a meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin
Dadfar Spanta on the night of Oct. 18, morning of Oct. 19, Japan
time. In the meeting, Nakasone conveyed to his Afghan counterpart
Japan's plan to aim at the continuation of the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, as well as to support
the movement of democratization in Afghanistan, including the
presidential election planned for next year.

Foreign Minister Spanta gave a positive assessment to the MSDF
refueling mission, saying, "It is extremely important not only for
Afghanistan but for the international community."

9) Diet debate on refueling extension to reach crucial stage this
week as legislation moves to the Upper House

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 20, 2008

With the strong possibility of Lower House dissolution in early
November, Diet debate on a bill extending by one year the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean will
reach a crucial stage this week. The bill is expected be adopted in
a Lower House plenary session tomorrow after a question-and-answer

TOKYO 00002904 007 OF 011

session ends today, and it will then be sent to the Upper House on
Oct. 22.

Prime Minister Taro Aso intends to play up the achievements of the
refueling activities through Diet deliberations as Japan's effort to
contribute to the international community. Aso wants to take up the
propriety of international contributions as a campaign issue in the
upcoming Lower House election. In a speech delivered at the annual
defense review at the Air Self-Defense Force's Hyakuri base in
Ibaraki Prefecture, Aso stated in a strong tone: "There is no option
for Japan to withdraw from the mission."

The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has called for
the need for assistance measures that are different from the
refueling operation such as the supplying of water and medical
assistance. In order to realized an early Lower House dissolution,
the DPJ plans to cooperate with the government and ruling
coalition's idea of ending deliberations for a short period. The
Lower House will take a second vote on the legislation in a plenary
session on Oct 30, after the Upper House votes it down on the 29th.

A bill revising the Law to Strengthen Financial Functions, designed
to revive the injection of public funds to regional financial
institutions will be adopted in a cabinet meeting this week after
coordination between the ruling and opposition camps. The Diet will
then likely start deliberations on the bill soon.

The expectation is that the bill will be enacted before the end of
this month, since the ruling coalition and the DPJ share the view
that a quick response is necessary for the U.S.-originated global
financial crisis.

10) Prime Minister Aso expresses real thoughts on Japan-U.S.
security arrangements?

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 20, 2008

In a speech delivered yesterday at the annual defense review at the
Air Self-Defense's base in Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Prime
Minister Taro Aso said: "We will endeavor to further improve the
recovery of trust in Japan-U.S. security arrangements." However,
afterward, his secretary corrected the remark, saying that Aso had
intended to say "improve the reliability."

Although aides to the prime minister have explained that he just
misread the speech, some believe that his real feelings were
expressed in his remarks, as he was not told by the U.S. of the
delisting of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism until
immediately before it took place.

11) Defense Ministry overpays 230 million yen to two companies for
procurement of oil used for refueling operations in Indian Ocean

ASAHI (Page 39) (Abridged slightly)
October 19, 2008

The Board of Audit (BOA) has audited contracts that the Defense
Ministry (MOD) signed with two domestic trading houses for the
procurement oil for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean, which was carried out, based on the now
expired New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. The audit found that

TOKYO 00002904 008 OF 011

the ministry overpaid to those companies by a total of nearly 230
million yen over a two-year period between fiscal 2006 and fiscal
2007. Since MOD was not aware of the terms of settlement presented
by the trading companies, it paid too much to them.

The BOA pointed out that it was inappropriate that MOD was not aware
of the terms of settlement when it was procuring oil based on
discretionary contracts. A designated bidding system was adopted for
the procurement of oil used for refueling operations, which are
being carried out in compliance with the current Refueling Support
Special Measures Law. Since the contracts adopted fixed exchange
rates, MOD's payment has again become rather high due to the current
strong-yen trend. MOD has changed the contract term to one that can
cope with fluctuations in exchange rates.

MOD had procured fuel for vessels used for refueling operations in
the Indian Ocean, starting in December 2001, based on discretionary
contracts with the two domestic companies with the aim of securing
stable supply.

According to BOA and MOD, one of the two companies had reserved
exchange rates in order to stave off the risk of exchange
fluctuations when it borrowed dollars from banks to make payments
for its purchases of oil. However, MOD was not aware of the futures
rates. It continued to pay to the trading company, based on higher
spot exchange rates. As a result, it overpaid about 200 million yen
two years from fiscal 2006 through fiscal 2007.

The other trading house was a leading company. It was, therefore,
conceivable that it had enough dollars needed for the payment of
purchases. Nevertheless, MOD paid approximately 30 million yen in
two years -- an amount equivalent to foreign exchange commissions.

MOD introduced the designated bidding system for the procurement oil
used for refueling operations, which were resumed in February 2008,
based on the present Refueling Support Special Measure Law. Since
the amount of oil for the refueling mission has decreased, compared
with the time when the operations were started, MOD has decided to
sign a contract with one company for each procurement from amount
several companies, including those two companies.

However, the new contracts adopt a term that payments be made
several months later, based on the fixed rate at the time of the
signing of the contract, the amount of payment had become high due
to the recent strong yen. In response to the point made by BOA, MOD
has incorporated in contracts a liquidation term that allows a
flexible response to exchange fluctuations.

12) Defense Ministry from next September to station personnel in
Guam and Hawaii as relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa moves
into full swing

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Full)
October 19, 2008

In the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan under the under the
agreement reached between Japan and the United States, the Defense
Ministry, which is moving forward with the plan to relocate U.S.
Marines on Okinawa to Guam, has decided to station next September
nine personnel to Guam and seven personnel to Hawaii, where the
Pacific Command (PACOM) is located. PACOM is in charge of the U.S.
forces on Guam. The Defense Ministry will establish an office in

TOKYO 00002904 009 OF 011

charge of the Guam-relocation project. Accordingly, the relocation
project, which will cost altogether 1 trillion yen, will get
underway, but there is likely to be debate in Japan about such an
enormous outlay to construct an American base in another country.

The permanently stationed staff will be charged with coordinating
with the U.S. such matters as construction of facilities. By 2014,
some 8,000 Marines and 9,000 family members will have been relocated
from Okinawa to Guam. Their headquarters building and billets will
be constructed at Japan's expense in an area near the U.S. military
base in the northern part of the island of Guam. Family housing will
be constructed in the southern part of the same military area, and
it will be financed jointly by the Japan Bank of International
Cooperation (JBIC) and a private company. The main purpose of the
newly established company will be to construct the housing and then
handle upkeep and maintenance. Everything will start next year.

Japan and the U.S. estimate the moving cost at $13 billion
(approximately 1.0815 trillion yen), and Japan will shoulder the
burden of $6.71 billion or approximately 640 billion yen, which is
59 PERCENT of the total cost. However, the GAO announced that the
cost would be $15 billion (1.575 trillion yen), much higher than the
first estimate. Regarding the extra cost, Defense Minister Hamada
has said, "Naturally, we will consider" picking up the remaining
cost. If the share of 59 PERCENT is used to calculate the new cost
for Japan, based on the GAO estimate, the amount would rise to
approximately 930 billion yen. Regarding Japan's share of the total
cost of USFJ realignment, a senior U.S. official on April 2006
estimated it would come to 3 trillion yen.

The Defense Ministry has included in next fiscal year's budget
request outlays of 75 billion yen to meet USFJ realignment expenses.
The amount apparently will be increased annually until 2014.

13) U.S. wants Japan to send SDF helicopters to Afghanistan

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 19, 2008

The U.S. has unofficially asked Japan to send Self-Defense Forces
helicopters to aid reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, according
to informed sources yesterday. Specifically, the U.S. has made three
requests: (1) Transport service in Afghanistan by CH-47 transport
helicopters; (2) Transportation of goods and personnel by C-130
transport aircraft from overseas to key airports in Afghanistan; and
(3) personnel contributions to provincial reconstruction teams. The
U.S. requests show its expectations for further Japanese
contributions to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, in addition to
the ongoing refueling service by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in
the Indian Ocean.

According to an informed source, Afghanistan is suffering from a
shortage of helicopters, which play a key role in domestic
transportation due to delays in road repairs and improvement. The
source quoted a U.S. official as saying that the helicopter shortage
is hampering the transportation of not only goods but also wounded
soldiers. Noting that only a few countries possess a number of large
helicopters, the U.S. official expressed hopes for Japan's
cooperation, according to the source.

But the dispatch of SDF helicopters and transport aircraft would
require new legislation. The actual situation is such that the

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Japanese government cannot afford to discuss the U.S. requests until
after the next general election following the dissolution of the
House of Representatives.

14) Aso mulls dispatch of MSDF ships to waters off Somalia as
anti-piracy measure

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 18, 2008

In a meeting of the Antiterrorism Special Committee in the House of
Representatives yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Taro Aso
expressed a positive view about looking into the possibility of
sending Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) vessels to
pirate-infested waters off Somalia.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) member Akihisa Nagashima said that
as an anti-piracy measure, "it will be considerably effective for
MSDF vessels to escort (commercial freighters and other ships). The
dispatch does not involve the use of force." In response, Aso said:
"I think that the proposal is very good. We would like to study that

On the question of whether an order for MSDF vessels' "maritime
patrol action" that is premised on monitoring an unidentified ship
in Japanese waters can be issued for action in waters off Somalia,
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said: "The possibility cannot be
ruled out." He expressed the view that the dispatch of MSDF ships is
possible in view of legal interpretation if their action is limited
to escorting Japanese vessels.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura indicated a positive view
about preparing new legislation in a press conference, saying: "If a
new law is necessary, a study must be conducted." He appears to have
had in mind also activities intended to guard other countries'

15) Financial summit to be held in U.S. next month: Emerging
countries, including China and India, to take part

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
October 20, 2008

U.S. President Bush and French President Sarkozy on October 18
agreed to hold on November 4 after the U.S. presidential election an
emergency summit in the U.S. to deal with the financial crisis. The
envisioned summit will be joined by G8 members and emerging
countries. Several rounds of meetings are expected. Leaders of
industrialized countries will in an unprecedented move tackle policy
cooperation in an effort to address the increasingly serious
financial crisis

Prime Minister Aso undertaking coordination with possibility of
taking part

Prime Minister Taro Aso has started undertaking coordination with
the possibility of taking part in the summit. The prime minister on
the 19th indicated a positive stance to reporters in Tokyo, saying,
"When I had a phone call from President Bush, I told him that it is
better to hold such a meeting." However, some take the view that in
the event the prime minister takes part in the summit, it could
affect his decision on when to dissolve the Lower House, because the

TOKYO 00002904 011 OF 011

timetable for holding a Lower House election in November will become

According to an aide to the prime minister, the U.S. contacted the
prime minister about an emergency summit on the evening of the 18th.
The prime minister on the 19th told reporters, "The matter cannot be
settled only by G-8 members. There should be other concerned
countries. It is better to think what should be done, involving
those countries as well."


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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>>