Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/28/08

DE RUEHKO #3008/01 3020815
P 280815Z OCT 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Nikkei)

(2) No end to stock plunges: Market unfazed by government measures

(3) Government's emergency economic measures unlikely to promptly
bring about effect (Yomiuri)

(4) Prime Minister Aso negative about dispatching SDF for activities
on mainland Afghanistan (Tokyo Shimbun)

(5) No gas, no power: U.S. pilot (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(6) Prefectural assembly special committee coordinating resolution
protesting crash of light aircraft (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(7) U.S. military's investigative cooperation insufficient: Gov.
Nakaima (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(8) Death of Kazuya Ito and refueling mission extension debate:
Japan's international view called into question; Afghan people's
heart and soul must be respected (Mainichi)


(1) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 27, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote findings for the
Aso cabinet from the last survey conducted in September.)

Q: Do you support the new Aso cabinet?

Yes 48 (53)
No 43 (40)
Can't say (C/S) + don't know (D/K) 9 (7)

Q: Which political party do you support or like now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 41 (41)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 31 (31)
New Komeito (NK) 3 (4)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 5 (4)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (2)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (1)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) 0 (--)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 0 (0)
None 11 (13)
C/S+D/K 6 (4)

(Note) The total percentage does not become 100 PERCENT in some
cases due to rounding

Polling methodology: The survey was taken in September by Nikkei
Research Inc. by telephone on a random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
For the survey, samples were chosen from among men and women aged 20

TOKYO 00003008 002 OF 010

and over across the nation. A total of 1,530 households with one or
more eligible voters were sampled, and answers were obtained from
947 persons (61.9 PERCENT ).

(2) No end to stock plunges: Market unfazed by government measures

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 28, 2008

Stock prices keep falling even after the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE)
hit a post-bubble low. The government is hastily compiling market
stabilization measures. However, the key Nikkei index slipped to a
26-year low, overcome by various negative factors, such as the
financial crisis, the specter of a possible global depression and
the strong yen. There seems to be no end to stock plunges, following
the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a leading securities company.

After briefing to State Minister for Fiscal and Financial Policy
Nakagawa on an emergency market stabilization package, a certain
senior Financial Services Agency official on the morning of October
27 said with a shattered look, "We have included whatever measures
possible, based on the determination that we will do whatever
possible under the present circumstance."

In an effort to abate the stock plunges and the strong yen, Prime
Minister Aso on the morning of the same day instructed the
government and the ruling parties to compile a package using every
possible measure.

However, the market hardly responded. The TSE plunged to a record
low since the bursting of the bubble economy. One market player
questioned the government's motive, saying, "If it had to compile a
package of market stabilization measures, why didn't it release it
before the market opened on the 27th?"

Nakagawa, a close aide to the prime minister, executed the prime
minister's order. In the wake of the TSE plunge, followed by the New
York Stock Exchange closing lower, it was imperative for the
government to come up with a clear-cut stance in the new week.

Nakagawa, who wanted to put on a show of "a strong Aso," was
motivated by the desire to receive a favorable response from the
market, by releasing the prime minister's bold instruction at noon
of the 27th. One government source explained, "He was also concerned
that if he had released the package before the market opened and if
stock prices had hit the post-bubble lows, it would have hurt market
confidence in the prime minister."

In addition, bargaining over the timing of a Lower House dissolution
is heating up in the ruling camp. The prime minister from the
beginning has taken a stance of prudently determining the timing of
dissolving the Lower House, while determining the Diet and economic
situations. However, Nakagawa strongly believes that a Diet
dissolution should be put off to a later date in order for Aso to
display leadership, by releasing his proposals at the emergency
financial summit to be held in the U.S. The Aso's instruction given
on the 27th was supposed to be the first step for this scenario.

However, with the further advance in stock price falls and the
strong yen, attention has focused on the government's
countermeasures. Nakagawa ordered the Finance Minister and the
Financial Services Agency to come up with every possible measure.

TOKYO 00003008 003 OF 010

Officials in charge continued working on that weekend until
midnight, while being perplexed, because they were not sure about
the cabinet's decision-making process."

However, measures targeting the domestic market are limited in what
they can do in dealing with stock plunges triggered by the U.S. and
European markets, as one Finance Ministry official said. A sense of
alarm about the strong yen, one factor for faltering stock prices,
is mounting. However, the effect of intervention in the exchange
market is unclear amid massive amounts of funds moving beyond
national boundaries. It is also difficult to ask for concerted
intervention from the U.S. and Europe. In the end, a joint statement
designed to check the excessive high yen was issued in response to
the request Japan made to the finance ministers and central bank
governors of Group of Seven Nations.

Commenting on a weak effect of the package, Aso simply told
reporters on the afternoon of the 27th, "I do not think that the
package would produce effects immediately. I have no intention of
being moved from joy to sorrow by stock price fluctuations.

Voices calling for interest rate cut at early date

A person responsible for the stock market at a certain leading
securities house was apparently surprised at the unabated stock
price plunges, saying, "It is scary to check the stock price board."
The observation on leading banks' plan to reinforce their capital
bases triggered the stock plunges in the morning trading session.
Concern about the right of existing shareholders being diluted sent
the stock prices of the three major banking groups to a limit low.

Foreign exchange quotations are now more visibly moving in lockstep
with stock prices. As the yen makes more gains relative to the
dollar, stock prices plummet further due to concern about a decline
in export-oriented companies' business performances. This is the
pattern now being repeated. Prime Minister Aso instructed the
compilation of market stabilization measures after the morning
session of trading ended. However, it was not the market
stabilization package but the high yen that drew attention of the
market. With market players determining that the G-7 statement will
have a slim effect in checking the strong yen, stock prices of
export-oriented companies, such as auto makers and electronic
manufacturers, renewed a record low since the beginning of the year.
All stock prices collapsed.

Asian stock prices also plunged in an apparent chain reaction,
followed by falls in European share prices. Norihiro Fujito,
Investment Information Division chief at Mitsubishi-UFJ Securities,
made this comment: "Domestic measures are limited in their effects
of putting stock prices on a recovery track. Unless the U.S., where
the financial crisis started, comes up with additional measures, the
TSE will not stabilize."

Amid the government being limited in what it can resort, voices
hoping for an interest rate cut by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) are
beginning to gain ground on the market. There is a possibility of
European countries and the U.S., where economies are slowing,
cutting interest rates in the future. However, the BOJ has thus far
indicated no stance of cutting the interest rate. One market player
pointed out that the reason for the unabated strong yen caused by
dollar and euro selling for yen buying is because investors are
continuing buying the yen, which is free from an interest rate cut."

TOKYO 00003008 004 OF 010

The BOJ will hold a policy-setting meeting on the 31st and adopt an
immediate monetary policy. The same source took the view that the
BOJ could cut the interest rate, if stock prices continue to

Takashi Anzai (president of Seven Bank): Reason for little expansion
of domestic demand

Japan's stock prices have fallen to the level of the fall of 1982.
However, even now after the plunges, the Dow Jones industrial
average stands at a level eight times higher than the 1982 level. It
is difficult to compare these two phenomena in a simplistic manner,
but the gap manifests the difference between the side that has
served as an economic driving force and the side that has depended
on it.

The challenge for the Japanese economy has been all the while how to
shift from dependence on foreign demand and expand domestic demand.
What is happening means that structural reforms have not taken place
on that front.

Unlike the 1980s, there was no trade friction between the two
countries. Japan recovered from the collapse of the asset-inflated
bubble economy, by making direct investment in China and exporting
goods to the U.S. It has increasingly become dependent on the U.S.
As a result, the strong yen, which is supposed to have a positive
aspect, has continued to serve as a factor for lowering stock

In Japan, the household economy has financial assets worth 1,500
trillion yen, while the government is saddled with huge borrowings.
Measures to expand domestic demand that will not entail any more
fiscal disbursements governments and divert savings to spending are
urged. One possible measure would be the adoption of a tax system
that will encourage elderly people who have assets but do not spend
much, to leave their assets to young people.

However, it is impossible for Japan to settle the current financial
crisis by its own ability. It is necessary for the U.S., where the
financial crisis started, to bail out trust in the dollar from the

Akio Mikuni: Market moving to dissolve distortion

It should be viewed that the steep appreciation of the yen is not
because the market has collapsed but because the original function
of the market is now trying to work normally. Since the Tokyo market
has been distorted extremely due to the policies of Japan and the
U.S., drastic moves to dissolve the distortion are occurring. There
are two distortions -- the Japanese economy's excessive dependence
on foreign demand and the U.S. that uses Japan's money having
supported the Tokyo market.

Domestic demand expanded up until the 1980s, with the growth of
export-oriented companies reflected in wages. However, low-wage
countries have risen since the 1990s. Japan has constrained wage
growth, as it wanted to boost exports. In order to prevent the yen
from making gains, because a strong yen can have an adverse effect
on export, it managed earned dollar funds, thereby returning such
funds to the U.S., which wants to continue excessive spending. Japan

TOKYO 00003008 005 OF 010

and the U.S. both enjoyed a bubble economy.

Regarding financial policy, yen-carry trading for managing foreign
currency using the yen procured at a low interest rate occurred.
Foreign money that flowed back to Japan was used for the purchases
of Japan stocks. The current share price plunges are the results of
the disappearance of a growth engine for the Japanese economy - the
U.S. economy, and share buyers.

Stock prices plummeting to the 1982 level does not mean that Japan
has fallen into a bottomless pit. The real power of the
manufacturing industry is solid. If companies stop exclusively
engaging in cost reduction competition and if domestic demand
recovers, Japanese companies' capability to respond to sensitive
Japanese consumers' needs will increase, leading to the development
of competitive new products.

(3) Government's emergency economic measures unlikely to promptly
bring about effect

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
October 28, 2008

The government announced a set of emergency economic stimulus
measures yesterday. The package includes all possible measure to
stabilize the nation's financial systems that have been turbulent
due to recent nose-diving stock prices. As key measures, the package
proposes tightening controls over share trading and relaxing
regulations on bank accounting. Even after the announcement of the
package, however, stock prices continued to plummet. Some market
observers are skeptical of the prompt efficiency of these measures.
Nobody can tell whether stock prices would rally owing to these
Controls over short-selling

State Minister in Charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy Yosano
stressed the need for emergency measures, speaking before reporters
at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday morning, just after meeting
with Prime Minister Aso. He said:

"Based on the current state of the monetary market, the prime
minister gave us an instruction. We decided to carry out one
practicable measure after another."

The key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday fell past the
post-bubble low immediately after the start of trading. Alarmed at
the situation, the government put forth "the stabilization of the
stock market" at the outset of its economic package.

A pillar of the package is tightening controls over short selling of
stocks. This measure, which will be introduced in November, will ban
the practice of selling a stock short, without first borrowing the
shares or ensuring that the shares can be borrowed. But many
observers attribute the recent steep drop in stock prices mainly to
moves by investors to unload their stocks in the wake of the
financial crisis. Given this, it is uncertain whether the
restrictions on short selling will greatly contribute to raising
share prices.

The package also proposes easing restrictions on banks'
shareholdings. Banks are allowed to hold shares worth a value not

TOKYO 00003008 006 OF 010

exceeding their capital adequacy ratios. The government is aiming to
raise the maximum value as a measure to prevent rushed selling.

The government will also consider resuming a system to let the
Banks' Shareholdings Purchase Corporation or the Bank of Japan (BOJ)
purchase shares held by banks. However, some observers point out
that the neutral stance of the BOJ might be undermined if it
possesses shares in individual corporations. They are calling for
caution about implementing the measure.

Banks' recapitalization

Another pillar is boosting banks' financial footing that has
weakened due to nosediving stock prices. The government will relax
restrictions regarding a bank's capital adequacy ratio (CAR).

CAR is a ratio of a bank's capital to its all assets including risky
loans. Banks are required to deduct about 60 PERCENT of potential
losses from their core capital, resulting in reducing their CAR. By
lowering the ratio of latent losses deducted from capital, the
government aims to make a reduction in CAR moderate.

The government will expand the scale of public funds to be injected
into banks from the planned 2 trillion yen to 10 trillion yen. It
also intends to review the current market-value accounting.

As measures to keep investors in the stock market, the government
will consider extending the preferential securities tax system, as
well as tax privilege for small-amount transactions by individual
investors. The ruling coalition will study introducing these
measures in revising the tax system for fiscal 2009 at the end of
the year. In the process, the focus of attention is likely to be on
how long the system should be extended and at what level the tax
rate should be set.

(4) Prime Minister Aso negative about dispatching SDF for activities
on mainland Afghanistan

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Internet edition)
October 28, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso, appearing in the Upper House Foreign and
Defense Affairs Committee this morning, expressed a negative view
about the idea of dispatching the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to
mainland Afghanistan, calling into question the constitutionality of
such activities. He said: "We cannot deny that they might not get
caught up in acts of combat. Opinion is divided over whether it
would be viewed as constitutional if they fired in response to
counter the other side."

At the same committee meeting, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo
Kawamura, commenting on dispatching the SDF to serve on ISAF for
operations on mainland Afghanistan, he expressed his view about the
possibility of such being related to the use of armed force which is
prohibited by the Constitution. "When Japan considers joining
activities, we need cautiously consider the relationship to the

Referring also to the refueling activities by the MSDF in the Indian
Ocean, the Prime Minister stressed: "The operations are not for the
sake the United States. Japan, too, has joined the war on terror,
and since each country expects our refueling activities, we should

TOKYO 00003008 007 OF 010

not choose the option of withdrawal." He was replying to questions
from Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Keiichiro Asao and Hiroe

(08102802bb) Back to Top

(5) No gas, no power: U.S. pilot

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., October 27, 2008

Hisao Miyagi

TOKYO-On Oct. 24, a U.S. military light aircraft crashed at Makiya,
Nago City. In the aircraft's last radio communication before
crashing, its pilot had radioed to an official for Kadena Air Base
radar approach control (RAPCON), a system controlling air traffic in
airspace near Okinawa's main island, that the plane had "no gas, no
power," sources revealed today.

According to the Land and Transport Ministry, Kadena RAPCON
authorities reported to the ministry's Naha Airport office on Oct.
24 that there was such a radio message from the light aircraft.
However, the ministry still cannot reconfirm it through the U.S.

(6) Prefectural assembly special committee coordinating resolution
protesting crash of light aircraft

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., October 27, 2008

In response to the recent crash in Nago City of a light aircraft
belonging to the U.S. military, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
Special Committee on U.S. Military Bases, chaired by Kiyoko
Tokashiki, met this morning to hear the circumstances from Okinawa
prefectural government and police officials. The committee will
coordinate in order to present to the assembly a petition and a
protest resolution. In the meeting, committee members from the
ruling and opposition parties asserted that under an expanded
interpretation of SOFA provisions, the application of the Japan-U.S.
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) extends even to leisure-purpose

Akira Uehara, chief of the Okinawa governor's office of the Okinawa
prefectural government, explained that in the wake of a small U.S.
aircraft's crash landing in 1999, "(The U.S. military) announced
that flight plans would avoid flying over densely populated areas."
Due to the accident this time, Uehara stated that the Okinawa
prefectural government would also propose prohibiting aircraft from
flying over residential areas, as well. Kiyoharu Hidaka, director
general of the criminal investigation department at Okinawa
prefectural police headquarters, stated that the police "were unable
to fully investigate" the accident since the U.S. military, based on
the SOFA, did not allow the local police to seize the crashed
aircraft. Hidaka revealed that the police have requested the
presence of the U.S. military's accident committee for an on-base
inspection of the crashed aircraft. He stated that the pilot of the
crashed aircraft belongs to a Kadena air wing, adding that the
police take the accident as happening when he was off duty.

TOKYO 00003008 008 OF 010

(7) U.S. military's investigative cooperation insufficient: Gov.

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., October 27, 2008

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima voiced dissatisfaction with the U.S.
military this morning over its failure to fully cooperate with
Okinawa prefectural police on the recent crash of a U.S. military
lightplane in Nago City, saying: "I know there is Article 17 of the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. Basically, however, I want
them to prepare a system in concrete terms under which they can
cooperate properly with police investigations."

Nakaima made the remarks to Yuji Sakota, a Cabinet Secretariat
official for Okinawa affairs and crisis management, at his office
this morning.

Nakaima told Sakota: "Whether the U.S. military is cooperating with
police investigations is a matter of primary concern to the local
residents. I want the government to take appropriate action while
standing between the prefectural police and the U.S. military.

The governor told the Ryukyu Shimpo that he would like to go to the
accident site shortly to look at the situation.

(8) Death of Kazuya Ito and refueling mission extension debate:
Japan's international view called into question; Afghan people's
heart and soul must be respected

MAINICHI (Page 6) (Abridged slightly)
October 28, 2008

By Shuichi Abe, Western Press Department

A bill amending the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to extend
the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for another year is being
used as a bargaining chip between the ruling and opposition in
connection with the timing of dissolving the Lower House. As a
person who has covered Peshawar-kai, a nongovernmental pioneer
organization of assistance to Afghanistan, I can hardly think that
the refueling mission supporting the use of armed force will lead to
the eradication of terrorism. Aside from that, it is regrettable
that a chance to review Japan's assistance to Afghanistan, which is
plunging deeper into chaos, and its involvement in the war on terror
is being handled as part of deliberations linked to Lower House
dissolution. The New Antiterrorism Law will expire in just two and a
half months. I believe the matter must be discussed thoroughly
before and after the next general election.

There is a photograph I have of a farewell gathering (held in
eastern Afghanistan) for Peshawar-kai aid worker Kazuya Ito, 31, who
was abducted and slain in Afghanistan in August. According to
Peshawar-kai, the gathering brought together some 800 local
condolers, including influential figures. I visited the area for
news coverage last year and walked along a 13-kilometer-long
agricultural channel. I also saw green fields cultivated by Ito.
Grassroots agricultural assistance was highly appreciated by the
locals. The people mourning the death of Ito and the sight of those
green fields touched my heart.

Afghanistan has been hit by a serious drought on top of the

TOKYO 00003008 009 OF 010

maelstrom of war. A British NGO has warned that some 5 million
people could face severe food shortages. One out of five children
under the age of five dies from malnutrition. Youths finding it hard
to make a living constantly join militant groups to earn daily wages
like robbers. Ito and others were endeavoring to cut off this
unfortunate vicious cycle resulting from poverty and anarchy. The
fact that many refugees have returned to settle down in areas near
the agricultural channel showed that their efforts have achieved

What about the U.S.-led war on terror in Afghanistan? A record 43
coalition force troops died this August. In addition, over 700
civilians have died this year due to accidental bombings by the U.S.
military and other events. The public's hatred of foreign forces and
the government is increasing.

There is a decisive difference between activities by Ito and others
and the refueling mission, although they both aim at bringing peace
to Afghanistan. The difference is whether or not in line with the
feelings of local residents. Prime Minister Taro Aso has described
the refueling mission as a due obligation as a member of the
international community. His view ignoring the Afghan quagmire
sounded as if Afghan people do not exist in the international
community. The prime minister lacks an attitude to consider the
reality of Afghanistan, a country far away from Japan, as his own. I
cannot help feeling that he cannot face up to the stalled war on
terror because of that.

To me, Afghanistan overlaps with Japan 63 years ago. After its
defeat in WWII, Japan was reconstructed as a result of accepting
surveillance and assistance from the international community. What
if the U.S. military continued bombing various parts of Japan in the
name of sweeping war criminals? What if that resulted in massive
collateral damage, including the deaths of many children? Under such
circumstances, did the Japanese people come to terms with their
defeat in the war?

In Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents are still engaged in battles
joined by "troops" who do not hesitate to launch suicide bombings
due to poverty and hatred. Any act of terrorism is completely
impermissible. We must not forget the fact that the death of Ito,
who sided with those suffering hardships than with international
criticism, resulted from the inhumanity of terrorism that has become
instilled in the Afghan people.

The Afghan issue is at a big turning point.

It has become clear through Mainichi Shimbun coverage that the
Afghan government has been in rapprochement talks with Taliban
Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. The government feels its
limitations to suppressing by force the Taliban, which is gaining
strength as the spokesman for national anger.

The next U.S. President is expected to pursue a new war on terror.
Meanwhile, Japanese lawmakers are struggling to determine a Diet
timetable centered on Lower House dissolution instead of on
substantive debates.

Peshawar-kai Representative in Afghanistan Tetsu Nakamura once
described the group's starting point as efforts to respect peoples'
lives and search for common ground. His words can be paraphrased as
the role that must be played by lawmakers. Japan's international

TOKYO 00003008 010 OF 010

view underpinning the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law does
not project the aspect of Afghan people suffering from the vortex of
war and the drought. I would like to see the ruling and opposition
parties make maximum efforts to look for common ground and end the
cycle of poverty and hatred in the backdrop of terrorism.

The application filed for Peshawar-kai by Ito five years ago carried
these words: "I want to grow with local residents. I want to assist
their efforts to create the environment in which children do not
have any difficulty getting food." His cause must not be go to


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: Monkeypox Outbreak Can Still Be Contained, Insists UN Health Agency
The monkeypox outbreak that has been reported in 16 countries and several regions of the world can still be contained and the overall risk of transmission is low, the UN health agency said on Tuesday...

UN: “COVID-19 Is Not Over”, Tedros Warns World Health Assembly
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told global health Ministers on Sunday that although reported COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly, it is not time to lower the guard... More>>

UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

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>>