Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/14/08

DE RUEHKO #3150/01 3180812
P 130812Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Japan Finance Corporation Vice President Watanabe calls on U.S.
to increase scale of public funds to be injected (Jiji)

(2) Financial summit: IMF plan; European countries want to give it
strong supervisory power; Japan, U.S. remain cautious about drastic
reform (Nikkei)

(3) Financial summit: 20 countries' interests conflicting over
market regulations (Mainichi)

(4) Obama's America: Urgent need of expanding exchanges of lawmakers

(5) Okinawa minister, foreign minister deliver policy speeches
expressing eagerness for building independent economy, U.S. military
realignment (Okinawa Times)

(6) Nuclear-powered submarine USS Ohio to reenter White Beach today
amid local outcry (Okinawa Times)

(7) Kyodo News poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Tokyo

(Corrected copy) Target in Kyoto Protocol moving away from Japan,
with record volume of CO2 emissions in 2007 (Nikkei)


(1) Japan Finance Corporation Vice President Watanabe calls on U.S.
to increase scale of public funds to be injected

JIJI (Internet) (Full)
November 14, 2008

(London, November 13) Former senior Finance Minister official
Hiroshi Watanabe, who is now vice president of the Japan Finance
Corporation (and CEO of JBIC, the Japan Bank of International
Finance), responded to Jiji Press' request for an interview on Nov.
13. In connection with the emergency financial summit being held in
Washington Nov. 14-15, he expressed his hope that the United States
would come up with additional policy measures, saying, "The scale
(of the U.S.' public money to be injected) is too small, I think. I
would like to see it make a commitment to secure funds in its own
way whenever necessary."

Vice President Watanabe, commenting on the role of JBIC, which has
become one of Japan's policy financial institutions, stressed:
"Apart from whether it can cooperate or not as a policy mechanism,
it has the capability for joint financing." He expressed the view
that JBIC would respond to international economic crises, having in
mind cooperation with such financial institutions as the World

(2) Financial summit: IMF plan; European countries want to give it
strong supervisory power; Japan, U.S. remain cautious about drastic

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 14, 2008

TOKYO 00003150 002 OF 011

(Toshiki Yazawa, Washington)

Reform of the IMF has surfaced as a major contentious issue at the
emergency summit (financial summit) to be held in Washington on the
evening of November 14 (morning of the 15th in Japan). European
countries are geared up to press for a drastic reform of the
organization, which is being managed under the U.S. leadership,
highlighting a confrontational stance against the U.S. Participating
countries are in lock-step agreement on short-term emergency
assistance to emerging countries. However, the course of discussions
of the future vision of such measures is unclear.

The IMF was set up along with the World Bank, also based in
Washington, under the Bretton Woods system right after World War II.
Since then, it has been playing a central role in overseeing the
international financial system. However, its delay in responding to
the financial crisis that started last summer has invited criticism
that the IMF has become "dysfunctional," as one Japanese government
source put it. If such is the case, some now take the view that the
IMF has at last begun to take action ever since the Japanese
government has sought the introduction of an emergency loan system
for emerging countries.

Participating countries all agree on the need to strengthen the IMF.
However, when it comes to a specific plan, differences remain wide
among them.

European countries take the most radical view, having adopted at the
emergency finance-ministers summit on the 7th a reform plan that
would make the IMF the supreme body for financial stabilization,
including the stabilization of exchange rates. The plan would give
powerful authority to the IMF for supervising and regulating banks
and security houses operating in international markets. Even a plan
to set up a world finance ministry under the IMF surfaced.

European countries are suffering from a serious setback from the
financial crisis. They want to take over the lead in building a new
Bretton Woods-like system, discarding the U.S.-style financial
globalism, under which government regulations have been constrained
to the minimum. Emerging countries support the stance of European

On the other hand, the U.S. and Japan are cautious about a drastic
reform of the IMF. For financial oversight, there is already a
financial stabilization forum comprised of financial and monetary
officials of member nations. The Japanese government views that a
pragmatic reform of the IMF can be achieved by strengthening its
cooperation with that forum and having the two bodies jointly
fulfill a central role in the international financial system.

Regarding the idea of strengthening emerging countries' right to
speak, both sides are motivated by somewhat different desires. The
U.S. is largest capital contributor to the IMF. It effectively has
veto power over key issues. European countries want to weaken U.S.
influence by increasing the relative strength of emerging countries
in the system. Japan is also positive about taking a second look at
emerging countries' capital contribution shares. However, Japan's
real intention is to decrease the share of European countries.
Bargaining between the two sides will likely become fierce.

Japan is visibly active regarding short-term measures to deal with
the financial crisis. Prime Minister Taro Aso plans to announce at

TOKYO 00003150 003 OF 011

the financial summit that Japan is ready to make a fund contribution
worth 10 trillion yen to the IMF.

(3) Financial summit: 20 countries' interests conflicting over
market regulations

MAINICHI (Page 11) (Full)
November 14, 2008

In the first round of Group of 20 (G-20) financial summit to be held
on Nov. 14 and 15 in Washington, participants will discuss the issue
of reviewing each nation's system of oversight and regulations
governing financial institutions. But behind the scenes, the U.S.
and Europe are struggling for leadership in tackling the ongoing
global financial crisis. Emerging countries have insisted that the
current mechanism of rulemaking led by industrialized countries
should be changed. Meanwhile, Japan intends to advocate the need for
strengthened regulations based on market mechanisms and "hopes to
play a mediatory role between the U.S. and Europe, as well as
between industrialized countries and emerging countries," according
to an international monetary source.

The European Union (EU) decided in its summit in early November,
chaired by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, to call on participants
in the upcoming financial summit to strengthen their surveillance
systems and regulations over financial institutions, based on the
judgment that the ongoing financial crisis was caused by the
malfunctioning of each nation's regulatory and oversight systems.
The EU also envisions in this proposal a plan to have an
international institution supervise and regulate the financial
institutions and hedge funds that are operating internationally. The
EU proposal calls for replacing the current U.S.-type system of
allowing unrestricted business operations by a new system that is
designed to allow the government to intervene in the market.

A U.S. Treasury Department source refuted: "Reform not trusted by
market players will not end successfully." The source approved a
plan to place regulations on rating agencies but stressed: "If
excessive restrictions are introduced, the functions of the market
will be undermined, and they will work negatively for economic
growth." Assistant to the President Price said on Nov. 12: "The
financial summit is not a place to aim at integrating international
financial supervisory organizations."

Meanwhile, such emerging countries as China, Brazil, and Russia have
been calling for changing the current system of rulemaking led by
industrialized countries itself, claiming that the international
financial rules linked to the currencies and financial centers of
limited countries, like the U.S. and European countries, have not
reflected the actual state of the world economy.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Taro Aso said: "It is necessary to tighten
regulations, but competition based on unrestricted market mechanisms
will also constitute the basis of economic growth in the future."
Based on this stance, Japan has proposed strengthening cooperation
in supervising financial institutions by participant countries,
including emerging countries, centering on the Financial
Stabilization Forum (FSF) composed of industrialized countries'
financial supervisory authorities. Japan aims to display its
influence in setting up a new oversight system and regulations. But
it is uncertain whether the Aso proposal would be accepted, because
the financial summit also includes emerging countries.

TOKYO 00003150 004 OF 011

Positions on financial surveillance

U.S. ? Proposes an action plan to regulate and supervise financial
institutions; is cautious about large-scale reform.
"Correct the problem areas, instead of disbanding the system that
contributed to improving people's livelihoods."
"Free market capitalism is the best system" (President Bush)
Japan ? Place restrictions on rating agencies, and establish a
surveillance system for the agencies.
? Upgrade the status of the FSF. Urge other participants to
strengthen cooperation with the IMF.
EU ? Hopes to create an institute tasked with supervising major
financial institutions across the world. Boost government
? Proposes tightening regulations on hedge funds and other
institutions as a preventive measure.
"Adopt in the financial summit an action plan presenting measures to
resolve priority tasks in 100 days." (French President Sarkozy)
Emerging countries ? Hold a finance ministerial joined by four
emerging countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Expand
emerging countries' involvement in work to strengthen financial
surveillance, including IMF reform.
? Include emerging countries in the FSF (in a statement issued in
the latest meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank
"The financial crisis originated in an industrialized country as a
result of their blind belief in markets."

Key points in the Aso proposal

? Dispose of nonperforming loans held by financial institutions and
companies' excessive debts in a package.
? Urge countries dependent on loans to curb excessive consumption
and countries dependent on foreign demand to pursue economic growth
led by domestic demand.
? Significantly increase the capital of the IMF in the future. As a
transitional measure, Japan will lend up to 100 billion dollars from
foreign reserves.
? Raise the status of the FSF to an organ that supervises
international financial institutions. Strengthen cooperation with
the IMF. Encourage emerging countries to join the FSF.
? Place rating agents under each nation's restrictions and
surveillance system.
? The G-20 countries should support the dollar-based currency
? Promote trade and financial integration in East Asia in pursuing
open regionalism.

(4) Obama's America: Urgent need of expanding exchanges of

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 14, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa greeted
Richard Wood, former dean of Yale University's Divinity School, on
Nov. 5 in his office at party headquarters. After enjoying a
friendly conversation, Ozawa followed Wood out to the building's

Wood is expected to become the U.S. president of the John

TOKYO 00003150 005 OF 011

Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange,
an America-Japan grassroots exchange organization, which Ozawa has
chaired for a long time. Ozawa is said to have communication
channels to the U.S. Democratic Party, which won control of the
Senate and the House of Representatives, not to mention the White

Ozawa has visited China almost every year, but he has rarely made
official visits to the United States. Therefore, he is believed to
have thin personal connections to U.S. political circles. But he has
steadily been involved in grassroots exchanges. U.S. President-elect
Barack Obama, too, has attached emphasis to grassroots activities.
Ozawa, therefore, hopes to use this background to strengthen ties
between his party and the U.S. Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Taro Aso has built his own personal
network with American politicians.

Aso had often met with U.S. prominent figures without passing
through the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. He has personal connections to
persons related to Democratic Party, including John Hamre, president
of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He is
acquainted also with Sen. Chuck Haqel of the Republican Party, who
is regarded as a candidate for assistant secretary of state of the
Obama administration. He met with Haqel on Nov. 16 at the Prime
Minister's Official Residence.

Some have contended that Japanese politicians' personal connections
have leaned to one side. In an LDP meeting on Nov. 6 on foreign
affairs, Taichi Yamamoto, former senior vice foreign minister,
stressed: "We have few communication channels to U.S. Congress,
especially to the Democratic Party."

In the Bush administration, Japan experts such as Richard Armitage
and Michael Green were given such key posts as deputy secretary of
state and senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security
Council (NSC). They backed the honeymoon-like ties between President
Bush and then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Although there are
Japan specialists around Obama, it is viewed that the presence of
China experts will be greater than Japan specialists in the Obama
administration's Asia policy.

Green said: "Japan should make approaches to all advisors to the
Obama administration, not just to those in charge of Asia policy."

Meanwhile, China has proactively carried out political exchanges
with the United States. Japan falls behind China. Washington has
little interested in Japan, because there are few pending issues
between the two countries, according to a person familiar with
Japan-U.S. relations. A source in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
said: "In addition to the 1990 political realignment, with the
introduction of the single-seat electoral system, politicians pay
more attention to internal matters than external affairs."

The fact that U.S. Congress adopted a resolution calling on Japan to
apologize for its use of comfort women during the war exposed a lack
of understanding between Japanese and U.S. legislators.

Based on such experience, Japanese and U.S. lawmakers held a first
meeting in June.

Such junior lawmakers as former Defense Minister Hosei Hayashi made

TOKYO 00003150 006 OF 011

efforts to set up the meeting. A total of 12 Upper and Lower House
members from the LDP, New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan
attended the first session. From the U.S. side, seven experienced
senators, including Sen. Daniel Inoue of the Democratic Party and
Sen. Ted Stevens of the Republican Party, attended the meeting.
Looking at the U.S. side's participants, Kenji Kosaka, who served as
deputy chief of the delegation, said: "We need to build fresh ties."
He indicated in his remarks that Japan would expand exchanges with
junior American lawmakers.

When government-to-government negotiations reach a dead end,
friendly ties among legislators can become a safety net. No matter
which party has the reins of government in the United States,
improving exchanges of lawmakers is absolutely necessary to
strengthen Japan-U.S. relations.

(5) Okinawa minister, foreign minister deliver policy speeches
expressing eagerness for building independent economy, U.S. military

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
November 14, 2008


State Minister of Okinawa Tsutomu Sato delivered on Nov. 12 a policy
speech before the House of Councillors Special Committee on Okinawa
and Northern Problems. In it, he said this about Okinawa policy: "I
will make utmost efforts to help Okinawa build an independent
economy by making good use of its strengths and advantages, based on
the Okinawa economic development plan's final outlook."

On the issue of relocating Futenma Air Station, he stated:
"Listening closely to local wishes, I will serve as a go-between for
Okinawa. I will steadily promote measures for vacated land and for
developing the northern area." The minister also expressed his
eagerness to address data communications-related measures, the
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology project, and measures
for remote islands.

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, too, delivered a policy speech
in which he emphatically said: "I am aware that U.S. military
facilities are concentrated (on Okinawa) and that people in the
prefecture are under a heavy burden. The realignment of U.S. forces
will reduce Okinawa's burden, while maintaining a deterrence."

(6) Nuclear-powered submarine USS Ohio to reenter White Beach today
amid local outcry

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 1) (Full)
November 14, 2008


The USS Ohio (16,764 tons), the U.S. Navy's one of the largest
nuclear-powered submarines capable of carrying cruise missiles, will
reenter White Beach in Katsurenheshikiya, Uruma City, at 10:00
November 14, it was learned yesterday. The submarine is expected to
anchor in waters off (White Beach).

The Ohio first entered the port in the prefecture on the morning of
Nov. 12 for refueling and maintenance and departed from the port at

TOKYO 00003150 007 OF 011

12:17 the same say after anchoring in waters off White Beach. Its
call at (White Beach) on Nov. 14 would be the 36th visit to the
prefecture by nuclear submarines this year, breaking the record.

On Nov. 10, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Providence made a port
call at White Beach without a prior notice. On Nov. 12, the
nuclear-powered submarines Ohio and Hampton entered the port in
succession, triggering an outcry from local residents.

Uruma Mayor Tsuneo Chinen said indignantly: "Despite the city's and
the city assembly's strong protests over dangerous port calls by
nuclear-powered submarines, there have been no improvements. It is
clear from the number of port calls that the U.S. military does
whatever it feels like doing. There is no other option but to revise
the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement."

(7) Kyodo News poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
November 11, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of the
last survey conducted Oct. 18-19.)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

Yes 40.9 (42.5)
No 42.2 (39.0)
Don't know (D/K) + no answer (N/A) 16.9 (18.5)

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the previous question)
What's the primary reason for your approval of the Aso cabinet? Pick
only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is trustworthy 13.5 (19.6)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and
the New Komeito 6.7 (6.1)
The prime minister has leadership ability 10.1 (9.6)
Something can be expected of its economic policies 13.3 (14.5)
Something can be expected of its foreign policies 6.9 (3.7)
Something can be expected of its political reforms 5.7 (1.9)
Something can be expected of its tax reforms 5.3 (1.8)
Something can be expected of its administrative reforms 1.9 (3.8)
There's no other appropriate person (for prime minister) 35.1
Other answers (O/A) 0.7 (0.3)
D/K+N/A 0.8 (1.1)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the first question) What's
the primary reason for your disapproval of the Aso cabinet? Pick
only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is untrustworthy 10.0 (8.5)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Liberal Democratic Party and
the New Komeito 14.5 (16.2)
The prime minister lacks leadership ability 6.5 (5.9)
Nothing can be expected of its economic policies 27.9 (22.6)
Nothing can be expected of its foreign policies 1.3 (4.2)
Nothing can be expected of its political reforms 11.3 (14.8)
Nothing can be expected of its tax reforms 7.7 (3.9)

TOKYO 00003150 008 OF 011

Nothing can be expected of its administrative reforms 7.8 (6.9)
Don't like the prime minister's personal character 10.1 (13.2)
O/A 0.9 (2.5)
D/K+N/A 2.0 (1.3)

Q: The government has decided on a plan for the current financial
crisis and an additional package of economic stimulus measures
totaling about 27 trillion yen. This economic stimulus package
incorporates government payouts to all households and housing loan
tax breaks. Do you appreciate these measures?

Yes 37.1
No 47.9
D/K+N/A 15.0

Q: The additional economic package incorporates a government plan to
hand out cash benefits totaling 2 trillion yen to all households. Do
you appreciate this government payout?

Yes 31.4
No 58.1
D/K+N/A 10.5

Q: How will you use the cash benefits from the government?

For living 50.3
For leisure or expensive goods 16.9
For savings 27.2
O/A 0.7
D/K+N/A 4.9

Q: When Prime Minister Aso announced the additional economic
package, he said he would like to ask for a raise of the consumption
tax rate in three years after carrying out administrative reforms
and seeing the economic situation. Do you support the idea of
raising the consumption tax?

Yes 40.5
No 55.0
D/K+N/A 4.5

Q: (For only those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
When do you think it's appropriate to raise the consumption tax

In three years 62.7
A little after that because it's too early 29.4
D/K+N/A 7.9

Q: Prime Minister Aso has decided to forgo a general election for
the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives' current
term is up until September next year. When would you like the House
of Representatives to be dissolved for a general election?

Late this year after the budget for next fiscal year is compiled
At the beginning of the ordinary Diet session in January next year
Around April after the budget for next fiscal year is approved in
the Diet 18.6
Around June next year when the ordinary Diet session ends 7.4
Wait until the current term expires in September next year without

TOKYO 00003150 009 OF 011

dissolving the Diet 24.3
D/K+N/A 10.6

Q: Would you like the present LDP-led coalition government to
continue, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a
DPJ-led coalition government?

LDP-led coalition government 36.1 (38.3)
DPJ-led coalition government 43.2 (43.0)
D/K+N/A 20.7 (18.7)

Q: Which political party are you going to vote for in the next House
of Representatives election in your proportional representation

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 33.6 (32.7)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 35.5 (35.9)
New Komeito (NK) 3.8 (5.0)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 4.1 (3.2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.8 (1.5)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.2 (0.8)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) --- (0.2)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.2 (0.2)
Other political parties, groups --- (---)
D/K+N/A 20.8 (20.5)

Q: When comparing Prime Minister Taro Aso and DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa, which one do you think is more appropriate for prime

Taro Aso 51.0 (52.3)
Ichiro Ozawa 24.4 (27.2)
D/K+N/A 24.6 (20.5)

Q: Which political party do you support?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 33.8 (36.2)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 26.5 (26.8)
New Komeito (NK) 3.5 (4.7)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.5 (2.7)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 3.0 (1.1)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.5 (0.4)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) --- (0.1)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1 (0.1)
Other political parties, groups 0.1 (---)
None 28.1 (24.4)
D/K+N/A 1.9 (3.5)

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Nov. 8-9 across the
nation by Kyodo News Service on a computer-aided random digit
dialing (RDD) basis. Among randomly generated telephone numbers,
those actually for household use with one or more eligible voters
totaled 1,478. Answers were obtained from 1,027 persons.

(Corrected copy) Target in Kyoto Protocol moving away from Japan,
with record volume of CO2 emissions in 2007

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 13, 2008

Japan's greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2007 amounted to a record
1.371 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, a 2.3 PERCENT

TOKYO 00003150 010 OF 011

increase over the previous year, according to the Environment
Ministry yesterday. The rise is attributed largely to the suspension
of a nuclear power plant. Japan expects to see emissions drop
because of economic slowdown in 2008, the initial year in the period
of implementing the obligations set under the Kyoto Protocol. But
there are many factors of uncertainty over Japan's efforts to
achieve its target, such as a resumption of operations at the
currently suspended nuclear power plant.

"This is very shocking data," Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito said
with a stern look before reporters last evening.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata, operated by
Tokyo Electric Power Co., suffered extensive damage from a great
earthquake in July 2007 and has been still shut down. Due to the
suspension of this plant, Japan expanded operations at thermal
electric power plants, which emit large volumes of CO2. As a result,
Japan discharged 8.7 PERCENT more greenhouse gases than in 1990,
the benchmark year in the Kyoto Protocol.

By sector, the industrial sector emitted 3.6 PERCENT more gases
than in the previous year, due to the expansion of production, while
the household sector saw an 8.4 PERCENT increase partly because of
the increasing use of air conditioning during the summer.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is required to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions by an average of 6 PERCENT from the 1990 level between
2008 and 2012. Comparing the 2007 level, Japan needs to cut
emissions by 13.5 PERCENT . The government plans to take care of
some portion of the estimated shortfall by purchasing emissions
quotas from overseas or through forest absorption of CO2. These
measures are expected to reduce emissions by 5 PERCENT from the
2007 level. How to slash the remaining 8.5 PERCENT will be a
challenge for Japan.

The operation rate of domestic nuclear power plants is the primary
factor that will affect the nation's greenhouse gas emissions in the
future. The operation rate in 2007 was 60.7 PERCENT , down 9.2
points from the previous year. According to the Environment
Ministry, if the rate had stayed at the highest ever level of 84.2
PERCENT recorded in 1998, gas emissions in 2007 would have been
about 5 PERCENT fewer than the actual amount. But once the
suspended nuclear power plant resumes operations, emissions are
expected to decrease significantly.

Another factor is business trends. Japan's economic growth and
greenhouse gas emissions are closely linked to each other. In 1998,
when the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) experienced negative
growth, greenhouse gas emissions decreased about 3 PERCENT from the
previous year. Emissions began to make an upturn as the economy
entered an expansion phase. However, given that the Japanese economy
has slowed significantly since early this year, emissions are
expected to decrease.

Oil consumption has dropped due to the recent steep rise in oil
prices and the spread of eco-friendly vehicles. This can be also
cited as a favorable factor to cut CO2 emissions. The domestic sale
of gasoline in 2007 decreased 2.5 PERCENT below the previous year,
resulting in reducing CO2 emissions by 1.6 PERCENT in the transport
sector. In the first half of 2008, as well, the sale of gasoline
dropped 4.7 PERCENT . Although gasoline prices have come down
recently, the dominant view is that demand for gasoline will remain

TOKYO 00003150 011 OF 011

sluggish for a while.

Even so, if the government relies only on such external factors as
economic trends, emissions may markedly increase when the economy
turns around.


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