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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/17/08

DE RUEHKO #3164/01 3210819
P 160819Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) Aso to attend financial summit with strong confidence, with
positions of Japan, U.S. reversed, compared with seven years ago

(2) Three hundred billion yen fund for developing countries:
Government agree with World Bank on 200 billion yen disbursement
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(3) Afghan dispatch unconstitutional or constitutional? (Tokyo

(4) DPJ demands party head talks: Likely to reject taking vote on
new Antiterrorism Law to extend MSDF refueling mission, if its
request rejected (Yomiuri)

(5) Asahi Shimbun reporter shot in Pakistan (Asahi)

(6) Murayama Statement must be reexamined (Sankei)

(7) Gov't poll: 89 PERCENT choose domestic food; 93 PERCENT
concerned about future imports (Mainichi)



(10) Prime Minister's schedule, November 13 (Nikkei)


(1) Aso to attend financial summit with strong confidence, with
positions of Japan, U.S. reversed, compared with seven years ago

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 15, 2008

(Keiichi Takagi, Washington)

Prime Minister Taro Aso has indicated strong confidence in the role
to be played by Japan in the emergency financial summit that opens
Nov. 14. Such confidence reflects that Japan's financial system was
only slightly affected by the U.S.-triggered global financial
crisis. Moreover, since Aso believes in Japan's latent power, the
financial summit sets the stage for Japan to seek "revenge" on the
U.S. for something that happened eight years ago.

Confidence as economic expert

On the night of Nov. 9, Aso attended an informal meeting with
college students at a Japanese-style pub in Shibuya Ward. He was
glib about what was required of a politician: "Those who want to be
a politician should be good at speaking English, enough to win a
woman's heart, and possess knowledge about economic and business
matters. Incumbent politicians have all talked gibberish about
economics. Mr. Koizumi (former prime minister) also only said that
the economy was bad or something like that."

Aso, who looks upon himself as expert on foreign and economic
affairs, has indicated his eagerness to play a leading role in
stabilizing the international financial system. Japan is the second

TOKYO 00003164 002 OF 010

economic power, following the U.S., and also successfully dealt with
its own financial crisis. Keeping these factors in mind, Aso thinks
Japan is has more influence than any other Group of 20 economies
attending the summit in Washington.

Meanwhile, a source connected to Japan-U.S. relations said: "The
prime minister has suffered trauma from his experience of having
been pressured by the U.S. to take effective measures to stabilize
the nation's financial system seven years ago." The occasion was
when Aso accompanied then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori as state
minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy on his visit to the
U.S. in the last days of the Mori administration in March, 2001.
According to the source, Aso was excessively pressured by officials
in the Bush administration to inject public funds and accelerate the
disposal of nonperforming bank loans as measures to avoid major
Japanese financial institutions from going under.

Harsh baptism

Focusing on Aso's advantages of being good at speaking English and
being an expert on economic matters, a senior Liberal Democratic
Party member recommended that he accompany Mori on his visit to the
U.S. The trip turned out to be baptism by fire for Aso. After
returning home, however, Aso said: "If the people think the Japanese
economy is in a critical state, I will then turn around the
situation without fail." This remark was also intended to launch a
counterattack against U.S. pressure.

Afterward, Aso pushed ahead with structural reform as LDP Policy
Research Council chairman under the Koizumi administration, the
successor to the Mori cabinet. Japan met one request after another
thrust from the U.S.

This time, the financial crisis has been triggered by the U.S. Aso
reportedly told his aides recently: "The U.S. has not aimed any
complaints against Japan on the economic front over the past several
years." Such a remark might reflect his self-confidence due to the
reversed positions of Japan and U.S. due to the current financial
turmoil. While stressing the need to maintain a dollar-based
currency system, Aso intends to press the U.S. as to what it should

(2) Three hundred billion yen fund for developing countries:
Government agree with World Bank on 200 billion yen disbursement

Evening, November 15, 2008

Prior to the emergency summit meeting (financial summit) Finance
Minister Shoichi Nakagawa on November 14 met with World Bank
President Robert Zoellick in Washington. Both agreed that Japan and
World Bank would jointly invest in a fund to boost the capital of
developing countries' banks (tentative name) worth 3 billion dollars
(approximately 300 billion yen), the aim being to stabilize the
financial systems of such countries. Japan will disburse 2 billion
dollars through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).
It will also play a key role in establishing the envisaged fund. The
International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the umbrella of the
World Bank will also invest 1 billion dollars. This is the second
step of Japan-led crisis measures, following additional funding for
the IMF. Prime Minister Aso will propose the plan at the financial

TOKYO 00003164 003 OF 010

Financial summit opens

The envisaged fund will inject capital into leading banks in
developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa in order to
strengthen their management bases. The aim is to stabilize the
financial systems of capital recipient countries through the
stabilization of the management of financial institutions in those
countries. Regarding this measure, the World Bank noted that a
ripple effect worth 75 billion dollars can be expected.

Nakagawa also met with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
During the meeting, he explained Japan's stance, saying, "It is
important to use the IMF to a maximum extent as a measure to deal
with the financial crisis." He also revealed Japan's plan to provide
financial cooperation up to 100 billion dollars. He proposed
doubling the IMF's capital base over the mid- to long term.

(3) Afghan dispatch unconstitutional or constitutional?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
November 16, 2008

The Diet has been deliberating on a government-introduced bill
amending the new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to continue the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean. The legislation is expected to pass the Diet on Nov. 20. The
Diet debate, however, is now being focused primarily on the issue of
former Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami's
publication of his controversial essay that conflicted with the
government's view. The Diet should discuss what to do about Japan's
assistance to Afghanistan. How far is Japan constitutionally allowed
to assist Afghanistan by sending the Self-Defense Forces?

Q: Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) President Ichiro Ozawa
criticized the MSDF's refueling activities as "unconstitutional" in
his essay released in October last year, didn't he?

A: In a Diet deliberation, Keiichiro Asao, who is defense minister
in the DPJ's shadow cabinet, noted that there is a question about
the constitutionality of the MSDF's refueling activities if the
MSDF's fuel was used for ships backing up military operations in
Iraq. In this way, Asao raised a question about the MSDF's ongoing
activities-not about the law itself-since the MSDF's fuel is
suspected of having been used for the military operations in Iraq.

Q: What about the government?

A: Prime Minister Taro Aso rebutted in this way: "The MSDF's
refueling activities obviously do not fall under the use of armed
force. They are working in a noncombat area, and their activities
there do not violate Article 9 of the Constitution. In order to wipe
out the suspicion, however, the government will have to clarify what
kinds of operations were carried out with the participation of
foreign vessels that were refueled by the MSDF. Chief Cabinet
Secretary Takeo Kawamura stated, "In principle, their governments
will not make public details about their military operations." So
the suspicion still remains.

Q: Meanwhile, the government is cautious about sending the Ground
Self-Defense Force to Afghanistan.

TOKYO 00003164 004 OF 010

A: Prime Minister Aso replied: "We cannot rule out the possibility
of being involved in combat operations. There is a split of opinion
about whether Japan is constitutionally allowed to fight back using
weapons." In this way, the prime minister is negative about the idea
of sending GSDF troops to Afghanistan while maintaining that it
could conflict with the Constitution that prohibits Japan from using
armed force overseas. According to the government's interpretation,
one of the prerequisites for Japan's overseas use of armed force is
the case where the other party is a state or a state-like entity.
The prime minister has said, "It is fairly likely that there are
state-like entities in the southern and eastern parts of

Q: The DPJ is positive about sending GSDF troops to Afghanistan.

A: The DPJ presented a counterproposal allowing the government to
send the Self-Defense Forces to Afghanistan if and when the Afghan
government and armed groups agree to stop their conflict. (The DPJ
proposal was voted down in the House of Representatives.) However,
Asao stated, "We have to say the conflict has yet to stop anywhere
in that country." So saying, he also indicated that it would be
difficult to send the GSDF for now.

Q: In the end, there are problems about the MSDF's refueling mission
in the Indian Ocean and the GSDF's dispatch to Afghanistan from the
perspective of constitutionality.

A: That's because the government has sent the SDF overseas without
debate. In April this year, the Nagoya High Court ruled the Air
Self-Defense Force's activities in Iraq to be unconstitutional. The
government should make clear guidelines to limit the SDF's overseas

(4) DPJ demands party head talks: Likely to reject taking vote on
new Antiterrorism Law to extend MSDF refueling mission, if its
request rejected

13:18, November 17, 2008

Senior DPJ officials, including President Ozawa and Secretary
General Hatoyama, met at the party headquarters on the morning of
November 17. They decided to call on the ruling parties to hold
party head talks between Prime Minister Aso and Ozawa the same day.

The party will seek the submission of the fiscal 2008 second
supplementary budget to the current Diet session at the talks, if
they are held. If the ruling camp turns down its request, the DPJ
intends to delay a vote-taking on the bill amending the new
Antiterrorism Law to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF)
refueling mission expected to take place at the Upper House Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee on the 18th.

Many close to the prime minister take a pessimistic view of the
holding of party head talks the same day.

DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka on the 17th asked
his LDP counterpart Tadamori Omori to hold a meeting of secretaries
general and Diet Affairs Committee chairmen.

A growing stance in the ruling parties is to submit the
supplementary budget bill to the regular Diet session in January

TOKYO 00003164 005 OF 010

next year and put off Lower House dissolution. The prime minister
also indicated to accompanying reporters in Washington, which he
visited to take part in the financial summit, the possibility of
dissolving the Lower House next spring or later. Objecting the prime
minister's intention, as it is seeking an early dissolution of the
Lower House, the DPJ has come up with such a hard-line stance,
shifting from the previous stance of taking a vote on the bill
amending the new antiterror bill on the 18th.

Hatoyama at the party headquarters told reporters: "The ruling camp
is stressing the need for economic measures, and yet why doesn't it
submit the second supplementary budget bill, the main pillar for the
package of economic stimulus measures, to the Diet? If they don't,
we will confront them with serious intent." He also noted, "We want
to realize party head talks by all means before a vote-taking on the
bill amending the new antiterror bill. Otherwise, Diet deliberations
will suffer a major impact."

However, some aides to the prime minister noted that they had no
intention whatsoever of accepting the proposed talks, saying why it
is necessary to hold party head talks when no party head debate took
place. They also raised doubts about the DPJ linking the new
antiterror bill with the second supplementary budget bill. For this
reason, a view has emerged that a timetable for a vote-taking on the
bill amending the new antiterror law will be affected.

(5) Asahi Shimbun reporter shot in Pakistan

ASAHI (Page 39) (Excerpts)
November 15, 2008

A gunman opened fire at a Japanese reporter and an Afghan colleague
in a car around 13:10 on Nov. 14 in Peshawar, the northwestern part
of Pakistan. Motoki Yotsukura, Asahi Shimbun's bureau chief, was
wounded in the leg, Sami Yousufzai, an Afghan journalist who has
worked for the Asahi Shimbun, was shot in the left shoulder. The two
men received treatment at hospital. There reportedly is no danger to
their lives.

According to explanations by Yotsukura, he left Islamabad by car and
arrived at Peshawar on the 14th to interview people close to the
Taliban. While they were waiting for the interviewees on the street
in the city in the car, a man came closer to them and suddenly
opened fire at them from outside the car.

The two left the accident site by their car and received treatment
at hospital in Peshawar.

Since some witnesses said that the gunman had tried to open the
car's door before shooting them, there is the possibility that the
attack was intended to kidnap them.

Foreign correspondents have been engaged in news-collection
activities in Peshawar, but security is crumbling in some areas. An
Iranian diplomat was abducted on the 13th.

(6) Murayama Statement must be reexamined

SANKEI (Page 13) (Full)
November 15, 2008

By Mizuho Ishikawa, editorial writer

TOKYO 00003164 006 OF 010

Question is not what is in the essay

The government has dismissed Toshio Tamogami from the post of Air
Self-Defense Force chief of staff over an essay he wrote that
stated, "It is a false accusation to say that our country was an
aggressor." He was removed on the grounds that his essay conflicted
with former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's statement that
declared the past war was "aggression."

Tamogami's essay seemed to have been influenced to some extent by
such unconfirmed theories as the bombing of Zhang Zuolin's train in
1928 being the work of the Comintern, contrary to the long-held
theory that it was the work of the Kwantung Army. He also stated
that Liu Shaoqi held a press conference with Western reporters
regarding the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. Despite such aspects, his
argument is coherent.

The assessment of data on such events is not that important. What
really matters here is the appropriateness of the Murayama Statement
that was used as the basis for discharging Tamogami.

The Murayama Statement was released in 1995, the 50th anniversary of
the end of the war. At the time, the country had a coalition
government consisting of the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan
Socialist Party, and Sakigake (Harbinger Party), and the Shinshinto
(New Frontier Party) was the largest opposition party.

In the statement, Prime Minister Murayama of the Japan Socialist
Party repeatedly expressed his "apology" and "remorse" for the past
war. A variety of historical views held by other cabinet ministers
and former cabinet ministers that did not line up with Prime
Minister Murayama's view were criticized by neighboring countries.

In June of that year, then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Michio Watanabe said that the Japan-South Korea annexation
treaty had been concluded amicably. The statement drew an outcry
from South Korea, and Watanabe later offered an apology.

In August, then Education Minister Yoshinobu Shimamura stated that
it was a matter of interpretation whether the Pacific War was a war
of aggression. Shimamura eventually received a stern warning.

In the Diet, a draft resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary
of the end of the war that expressed deep remorse for Japan's acts
of aggression and its colonial rule was adopted by the Lower House
by a majority of votes by the ruling parties in the absence of the
Shinshinto. The Upper House rejected it, however.

Murayama Statement abruptly presented to cabinet meeting

The Murayama Statement expressing the prime minister's "feelings of
deep remorse" and stating his "heartfelt apology" for "Japan's
colonial rule and aggression" due to a "mistaken national policy
during a certain period in the not too distant past" was abruptly
presented to a cabinet meeting under such odd circumstances.

Reportedly, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Koken Nosaka begged major
cabinet ministers and ruling party executives to support the
Murayama Statement without briefing them on the statement ahead of
the Aug. 15 cabinet meeting.

TOKYO 00003164 007 OF 010

In the cabinet meeting, when Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Teijiro
Furukawa read the Murayama Statement, it was met with deafening
silence, according to a person who was there.

Asked at the press conference after the cabinet meeting about the
timeframe during which Japan had followed a mistaken policy, Prime
Minister Murayama declined to say when, noting, "It is not
appropriate to specify the timeframe." How far Japan should go back
in time with its apology is still unclear.

In an interview to the Sankei Shimbun, then Transport Minister Takeo
Hiranuma said: "(The statement) was presented abruptly without any
prior consultation. I wondered why the prime minister from the Japan
Socialist Party had to issue such a statement. I felt the statement
contained some problems, but I did not bother to raise any
questions. Looking back, I should have expressed my views frankly."

After the release of the Murayama Statement, some cabinet ministers
continued to make statements that year that drew fire from China and
South Korea.

In October, Prime Minister Murayama told the Upper House: "The
Japan-South Korea annexation treaty was concluded legally." This
also drew fire from South Korea, and Murayama later explained that
the two countries had not stood on equal footing and that his
explanation had been insufficient.

In November, Management and Coordination Agency Director-General
Takami Eto in an off-the-record roundtable with reporters said:
"Japan did some good things during its colonial rule." This found
its way into a monthly magazine. Prime Minister Murayama severely
scolded Eto, but that did not help quell South Korea's anger. Eto
eventually resigned from the post.

Up to his death, Eto used to say: "The Murayama Statement was
presented suddenly at a cabinet meeting. I did not say anything
because I thought expressing (opposition) would not change

How Murayama Statement was produced must be clarified

Effectively placed under China's and South Korea's censorship, the
Murayama Statement was produced as a diplomatic document to convince
the two countries, so to speak.

On November 11, Tamogami said before the Upper House Foreign Affairs
and Defense Committee: "I have not openly criticized the Murayama
Statement. I believe SDF personnel naturally have a right to freedom
of speech. I have never thought that it would be constrained by the
Murayama Statement. (Proceedings to reprimand me) would help clarify
where the problems are in my essay."

The Murayama Statement was reportedly drafted by then Cabinet
Secretariat Deputy Counsellor Koji Matsui, who is now a Democratic
Party of Japan lawmaker. It was completed by Cabinet External Policy
Office chief and former ambassador to China Sakutaro Tanino, after
consulting with a scholar who was a close acquaintance.

The Diet should now examine thoroughly the process from the drafting
of the Murayama Statement through its adoption by the cabinet.

(7) Gov't poll: 89 PERCENT choose domestic food; 93 PERCENT

TOKYO 00003164 008 OF 010

concerned about future imports

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 16, 2008

The Cabinet Office yesterday released the results of its poll on
food, agriculture, and the role of farm villages. In the survey,
respondents were asked which they would choose between domestic
products and foreign products when buying food. To this question,
89.0 PERCENT answered that they would choose domestic products, up
7.1 percentage points from a 2000 survey that asked a similar

In the breakdown of reasons (multiple-choice answer) for choosing
domestic products, "safety" accounted for nearly 90 PERCENT ,
topping all other answers. The figure shows the public's growing
concern about imported food products in response to food poisoning
from China-made 'gyoza' dumplings.

Those "not particular" about domestic or foreign food products
accounted for 10.1 PERCENT , down 6.4 points from the 2000 survey.
The proportion of those preferring imported products was 0.5 PERCENT
, up 0.1 points.

The survey was conducted across the nation on a face-to-face basis
with a total of 5,000 persons chosen from among men and women aged
20 and over. Answers were obtained from 3,144 persons (62.9 PERCENT
). A similar survey started in 1987, and the survey this time is the
seventh one.

Meanwhile, when asked about future food imports, 93.4 PERCENT
answered that they were concerned.

The most common reason given to their concern about future food
imports was that imports could decrease or stop due to changes in
the international situation, totaling 55.8 PERCENT . The figure
reflects the recent situation in which global rises in the prices of
grains and crude oil have brought about raises in the prices of food
products at home.


Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei & Tokyo Shimbun:
G-20 leaders agree to ensure all financial institutions are
appropriately regulated

Yomiuri & Akahata:
Industrialized, emerging countries to cooperate in stabilizing
financial system, tighten market regulations

G-20 leaders agree to take every possible measure for financial


(1) Don't undo this solidarity at G-20 summit

(1) Financial summit: Give shape to historic coordination

TOKYO 00003164 009 OF 010

(1) Resolve to overcome financial crisis dispatched from financial

(1) Capabilities to implement measures sought, following model
replies in financial summit

(1) Efforts now needed to implement measures and reform
(2) Establish transparent rules on management of official documents

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) G-20 nations urged to translate measures into action
(2) Abolishment of regular services of buses: Measures needed to
protect local transport services

(1) G-20 summit: Strengthened regulations, reform absolutely

(10) Prime Minister's schedule, November 13 (Local time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 15, 2008


Arrived at Andrews Air Force Base. Stayed overnight at the Willard
Intercontinental Hotel in Washington.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 14 (Local time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 15, 2008


Held talks with Brazilian President Lula at the Fours Seasons

Prime Minister's schedule, November 14 (Local time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 16, 2008

Spoke to journalists traveling with at the Willard Intercontinental

Held talks with British Prime Minister Brown at the British
minister's official residence.

Held talks with Indonesian President Yudhoyono at the Ritz Carton.
The Willard Intercontinental Hotel.

Attended the financial summit reception at the White House hosted by
President Bush, followed by a working dinner. Stayed overnight at

TOKYO 00003164 010 OF 010

the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 15 (Local time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 16, 2008

Attended a photo session with other summit leaders at the National
Building Museum, followed by the first part of the financial summit
plenary session.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 15 (Local time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 17, 2008

Attended the second part of the financial summit plenary session at
the National Building Museum, followed by a working lunch.
Afternoon Held a press conference at the National Press Bldg.

Departed from Andres Air Force Base on government plane.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 16 (Japan time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 17, 2008

Arrived at Haneda Airport.

Prime Minister's schedule, November 17 (Japan time)

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 17, 2008

Arrived at his private residence in Kamiyamacho.


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