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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/26/08

DE RUEHKO #3244/01 3310815
P 260815Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) 47 PERCENT of firms approve Aso's economic policies in survey
two months after launch of his administration (Yomiuri)

(2) Scope column: Government to put off setting up cabinet personnel
bureau; Civil service system reform makes no headway, half-baked
discussion on function, authority (Tokyo Shimbun)

(3) Kanagawa, other base-hosting governors to hold liaison meeting
with Japanese, U.S. governments in December (Kanagawa Shimbun)

(4) Interview: Cluster ban treaty and its challenges (Mainichi)

(5) Japan may be left out of expanded FTA among Pan Pacific nations

(6) Mid-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions cut: Study
group to propose several options possibly by June next year (Asahi)



(9) Prime Minister's schedule, November 25 (Nikkei)


(1) 47 PERCENT of firms approve Aso's economic policies in survey
two months after launch of his administration

YOMIURI (Page 8) (Full)
November 26, 2008

Asked about the economic policy measures implemented by Prime
Minister Taro Aso's cabinet since it was launched about two months
ago, 47 of the 100 leading companies surveyed by Yomiuri said that
they supported or somewhat supported them. This figure was nearly
double the 25 firms that did not support completely or in part Aso's
policy. Twenty eight firms gave no answer. According to the results
of the survey, the rate of support by firms for the Aso cabinet,
which gives priority to economic policy, was 47 PERCENT , slightly
up from the 40.5 PERCENT in the nationwide survey conducted by the
Yomiuri Shimbun in early November.

An automaker gave this specific comment: "Its stance of prioritizing
economic policy over holding an election merits appreciation." A
financial institute offered this opinion: "It has quickly come up
with economic stimulus measures." As for the additional economic
package announced in late October, a total of 56 firms supported the

Asked about the planned scheme of fixed-amount cash handouts
totaling 2 trillion yen, the central pillar of the package, 28 firms
did not approve, outnumbering the 17 firms that gave a positive
reply. The survey results showed that many firms did not approve of
the cash-handout scheme. An electric machinery company presented
this severe view: "It is inconceivable that the plan will contribute
to boosting the economy from the base up." An energy firm said that

TOKYO 00003244 002 OF 010

unless people can feel assured under the nation's social security
system, they would save the money.

Countries are now urged to hammer out measures to contain the
current financial crisis, which triggered a global economic
slowdown. Of the 100 firms, 48 expressed support of the idea of
strengthening the oversight system and regulations over financial
institutions. Sixteen companies, most of which are financial
institutions, said that the current regulations were satisfactory,
and two firms replied that the regulations should be relaxed. But a
higher percentage of firms supported the idea of strengthening

As specific measures to ensure effective oversight and regulation of
financial institutions (multiple answers), 30 companies called for
promoting the disclosure of information on derivatives and other
policies; and 24 firms and 23 firms cited the need to strengthen
regulations governing hedge funds and rating agencies,

Asked about a hike of the consumption tax, many respondents remained
cautious, with 35 firms saying that the tax should not be raised
until the economy turns around; and 34 companies replying that the
government should thoroughly cut its wasteful spending before
discussing a consumption tax hike. With respect to the tax rate for
daily necessities, including food, 37 firms said that the current
tax rate of 5 PERCENT should be applied, while 16 PERCENT were
negative about adopting a reduced tax rate for daily necessities.

(2) Scope column: Government to put off setting up cabinet personnel
bureau; Civil service system reform makes no headway, half-baked
discussion on function, authority

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
November 24, 2008

The government on Nov. 23 began coordination to put off the creation
of a cabinet personnel bureau in fiscal 2009, which is one of the
main features of civil service reform. Prime Minister Taro Aso will
make a final decision on the matter after discussing it with
Administrative Reform Minister Akira Amari. The reason is that many
in the ruling coalition have called for a delay of the establishment
because a discussion has been insufficient on what kind of authority
and functions the planned personnel bureau should have.

The establishment of the cabinet personnel bureau is stipulated in
the Basic Law on Reform of the Civil Service System, which was
enacted in June. Bills related to reform of the civil service
system, which include the overall picture of the proposed personnel
bureau, are expected to be presented to the Diet by June 2009.
However, the law has no provisions regarding the timing of the

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Administrative Reform Promotion
Headquarters Chairman Koki Chuma intends to call for including
expenses for the establishing of the personnel bureau in a draft
budget for fiscal 2009. Former Administrative Reform Minister
Yoshimi Watanabe, however, has objected to such an idea, arguing:
"If the civil service system is not reformed even though the new
personnel bureau is set up, the present promotion system of one's
years of service in a ministry will remain as is." Watanabe has
asserted that more time should be spent for consideration so that

TOKYO 00003244 003 OF 010

the personnel bureau will become a strong organization that can
dispense reward and punishment and carry out private sector-level

Amari, who is caught between the two sides, said:

"One says that I am delaying the establishment of a personnel
bureau, and the other says what I'm doing is fast and sloppy if a
thorough discussion is not conducted on the functions of the

Regarding the functions of the personnel bureau, the advisory panel
to the government's civil service system reform headquarters
presented on Nov. 14 a report to Amari. The report cited the
Planning and Control Division of the National Personnel Authority,
the Aged Personnel Division of the Personal and Pension Bureau of
the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), and the
allowance control section of the Budget Bureau of the Finance
Ministry as sections that should be transferred to the proposed
cabinet personnel bureau.

However, the ministries that were requested to transfer their
sections to the planned new personnel bureau have already taken a
stance of opposing the request. The report stipulated both the pros
and cons regarding the transfer of the MIC's Administrative
Management Bureau, which manages the fixed number of personnel of
the ministries and agencies. Also, conclusions have not been reached
on how far the cabinet personnel bureau has authority. Base on such
a situation, the government has leaned to the judgment that it will
be difficult to establish a cabinet personnel bureau in fiscal

Lawmakers who have called for an early establishment will inevitably
criticize the government. Therefore, the government intends not to
give the public the impression of retreating from its reform stance
by formulating a roadmap for reform of the civil service system
possibly before the end of the year.

(3) Kanagawa, other base-hosting governors to hold liaison meeting
with Japanese, U.S. governments in December

November 25, 2008 (19:00)

The Japanese and U.S. governments, U.S. Forces Japan, and governors
from 14 prefectures hosting U.S. military bases will hold a liaison
conference at the Foreign Ministry on Dec. 3. In the wake of
incidents and accidents involving U.S. military personnel, including
a U.S. military deserter's fatal stabbing of a taxicab driver in
Yokosuka in March, Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa and other
governors asked the Japanese and U.S. governments this spring to
hold a liaison conference.

The liaison conference will be held with the participation of
representatives from the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry
on the Japanese side and representatives from the U.S. Embassy and
USFJ on the U.S. side for consultations with the base-hosting
governors on base issues. The foreign and defense ministers and U.S.
Ambassador to Japan Schieffer are making arrangements for their
attendance, according to officials. Matsuzawa said: "We will be able
to have an opportunity to directly convey the voice of local
communities to the Japanese and U.S. governments. This means so much

TOKYO 00003244 004 OF 010

to us. We will convey local views to them so they will carry out the
planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan as scheduled, including
the transfer of Atsugi-based carrier-borne aircraft. I also want to
propose revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement."

The governors had initially called for the Japanese and U.S.
governments to set up a special regional committee under their
intergovernmental joint committee. However, the government was
reluctant but instead acceded to the idea of holding a liaison
conference. Matsuzawa said: "We will annually hold a regular meeting
or two, and we will also make requests to them so we can hold an ad
hoc meeting if and when there is a major change regarding base

(4) Interview: Cluster ban treaty and its challenges

MAINICHI (Page 4) (Full)
November 23, 2008

Nonsignatories also should be pressured to ban cluster bombs

Yukihisa Fujita, vice defense minister in the Democratic Party of
Japan's shadow cabinet

Countries concerned about cluster bombs and nongovernmental
organizations have worked together to push for negotiations, and
there will be an anti-cluster treaty with the approval of more than
100 countries. This is significant. In 2001, the United Sates came
under terrorist attacks. Since then, there have been wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq. So we can appreciate the treaty that will
prevent civilians from being involved. However, the draft treaty
excludes state-of-the-art cluster bombs that have fewer bomblets. I
wanted them to go further.

When the antipersonnel landmine ban treaty came into effect,
nosignatories also stopped using landmines. We can also expect the
anti-cluster treaty to have similar effects. In the United States,
Obama and his Democrat administration will come into office. The
United States will not sign the treaty. Even so, the United States
would be constrained.

The Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain
Conventional Weapons (CCW) (involving the U.S., Russia, and China,
which are opposed to restricting certain conventional weapons)
requires a unanimous agreement for its decisions, so it's difficult
to see progress. However, the international community, including
Japan, should not only try to involve more countries but also should
make efforts to prevent nonsignatories (such as the U.S., Russia,
and China) from using certain conventional weapons. That's

The government was reluctant at first to create the treaty. However,
House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono and other Dietmembers
created a parliamentary league (against cluster bombs). This made
the government change its attitude. Innocent children are killed in
Afghanistan and Iraq. This fact probably pushed the government.

There are U.S. military bases in Japan. Their presence here should
be for defense in the Far East. In Iraq and Afghanistan, however,
there are U.S. troops that were sent from U.S. military bases in
Japan. They presumably use cluster bombs over there. However, the
government's position is that it has nothing to do with them once

TOKYO 00003244 005 OF 010

they are off from their bases in Japan. Japan should hold itself
even more responsible.

I have the impression that Japan always follows other countries in
disarmament negotiations, including the cluster bomb talks this
time. Japan is the only atomic-bombed nation, so I want Japan to
develop its diplomacy with more emphasis on humanity. As well as
cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions will also cause damage for
a long time. This is also a big problem. It's more important than
conducting refueling activities in the Indian Ocean. If Japan wants
to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council,
Japan should claim even more about this problem, too.

Alternative weapons needed for national defense

Gen Nakatani, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Research
Commission on Security

Unexploded bombs have been left as they are. That's why innocent
people were killed or wounded. There must not be such a situation
any more. We have negotiated on the treaty to ban cluster bombs from
the perspective of humanity. The treaty itself will now be in place.
This is significant in itself.

In the meantime, after the treaty is signed and ratified, and once
the treaty comes into effect, we will be prohibited immediately from
using cluster bombs, and basically we will be required to scrap all
our cluster bombs in eight years' time. We need to consider
alternatives so there will be no problem from the perspective of
national defense, and we will also have to study how to fight in the

Japan currently has four types of cluster munitions (which will
leave many of their submunitions or bomblets unexploded). The
Defense Ministry is going to scrap them and will instead introduce
single-warheaded weapons with no submunitions. We've so far
discussed how to restrict cluster bombs. As a result, we will have
more precise and modernized bombs. I can say this is a good aspect.
Scrapping cluster bombs will cost much, but we should do so without

Concerning the treaty that bans antipersonnel landmine, I tackled
the issue, representing the LDP. When I was Defense Agency director
general, I called on the defense chiefs of other countries to scrap
landmines. Russia promised to scrap its landmines. However, Russia
has yet to do so. The United States and China are reluctant. In the
case of cluster bombs as well, Japan should call on other countries
to scrap landmines in international cooperation.

In the CCW talks, the United States, Russia, and China (which are
not expected to sign the anti-cluster treaty) have been continuing
discussions. The ban treaty will be in place, so I hope the CCW
convention will also impose similar restrictions.

In modern warfare, civilians must not be killed or wounded. That's a
categorical imperative. In the future, if there are civilian
casualties resulting from cluster bombs, and if such makes the news,
then countries that used cluster bombs-even though these countries
do not join the cluster ban treaty-will be under fire for their
continued use of such prohibited weapons. Superpowers would find it
difficult to use cluster bombs.

TOKYO 00003244 006 OF 010

When it comes to the disposal of unexploded landmines, a nonprofit
organization of retirees from the Self-Defense Forces and volunteers
in the private sector are working overseas and backing from the
government. For the disposal of unexploded cluster bombs as well,
the government should continue its backing through a similar

(5) Japan may be left out of expanded FTA among Pan Pacific nations

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 22, 2008

The Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (known as P4)
signed by four Pan Pacific nations is expected to attract more
countries. In September, negotiations were launched for the U.S. to
join the agreement. Following the U.S., Australia and Peru also
expressed their intentions on the 20th in succession to participate
in the accord. The Trans-Pacific agreement is now likely to become
the core of economic integration in the region, an idea proposed by
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC). Japan may
be left out of economic partnerships in the Pacific Rim region.

The Trans-Pacific Agreement was signed by Singapore, New Zealand,
Chile, and then Brunei. The accord is designed to promote the
liberalization of trade in farm and industrial products, financial
services, and investment rules. The four countries have decided to
phase out all tariffs by 2015 in their transactions. The P4 is now
expected to expand to P7 with the U.S. Australia, and Peru as new

Among the APEC member countries, Canada and Mexico reportedly is
considering the possibility of participating in the agreement.
Meanwhile, Japan, negative about opening up its market of farm
products such as rice, has stayed out of the framework of P4, which
is now expected to glow into a comprehensive free trade agreement
(FTA) of APEC. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro
Nikai told reporters on the 20th after attending an APEC ministerial
meeting: "It is impossible to form a consensus in the nation at
present," indicating that Japan would not join the Trans-Pacific

The U.S. and Australia have promoted wide-ranging FTA negotiations,
also eyeing a plan to create a Pan-Pacific economic zone, keeping in
mind the delayed process of setting new trade rules by the World
Trade Organization. China has also accelerated moves to conclude
bilateral agreements, as seen from its conclusion of a FTA with
Peru. If Japan drops out of the partnership framework, it may not be
able to enjoy benefits from free trade and investment.

(6) Mid-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions cut: Study
group to propose several options possibly by June next year

ASAHI (Page 6) (Full)
November 26, 2008

The first meeting of the study group reporting to the Prime
Minister's Office (Kantei) that is tasked with discussing a mid-term
goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions was held on November 25.
Participants agreed to a plan to propose several options by around
June next year. Setting a mid-term goal is the focus of attention in
United Nations talks on a post-Kyoto Protocol framework. The
government will explore the appropriate level for such a goal and

TOKYO 00003244 007 OF 010

watch for a chance to announce it, while paying close attention to
the next U.S. administration, which is positive about taking
measures to combat global warming.

Gap between reality and ideals

Participants were split into those who attach importance to energy
policy and those who give priority to the environment. Each side
voiced its views at the outset of the meeting. Yoichi Kaya, deputy
executive director of the Research Institute of Innovative
Technology for the Earth (RITE) said, "The greatest issues are
whether it is possible to meet the goal and s whether it is possible
to shoulder the cost." Hironori Hamanaka, executive director of the
Institute for Global Environment Strategies (IGES), stated, "It is
important to indicate the feasibility of attaining the goal and to
show the impact of climate change and its risks in quantitative

The challenge of how to fill the gap between reality -- the extent
cuts can be achieved using the present form of technology and
industrial structure -- and ideal -- the amount of cuts necessary to
reduce damage caused by global warming -- has already emerged.

The study group will discuss several projections in cooperation with
Japan's prominent research institutes specializing in global
environment and energy policy. The plan is to prepare options for a
mid-term goal, while coordinating outlooks for the future economic
situation and the technologies that will be needed, preconditions
for setting a mid-term goal. The plan also will take into account
existing measures to curb global warming and the achievable amount
of emissions cuts.

Toshihiko Fukui, chairman of the study group and former Bank of
Japan (BOJ) governor was enthusiastic, "While adjusting the model, I
want to prepare a framework the government can use to face
international talks,."

However, according to many numerical estimates presented by various
research bodies, Japan can achieve only a small amount of reduction,
even if it spends the same amount of money as other industrialized
countries do. This is because it has already made major-scale
investments in energy saving for many years. Industrial circles are
bound to express dissatisfaction, if industrialized countries set a
mid-term goal in a lock-step way in talks on a post-Kyoto framework,
which aim to reach an agreement late next year.

Close attention on next U.S. administration

With the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to the Climate
Change Convention (COP14) close at hand, the government is paying
close attention to the moves of the incoming Obama administration in
setting a mid-term goal. It will hold a meeting of four related
ministers, centered on the chief cabinet secretary, possibly on the
27th and coordinate external strategy, including how a mid-term goal
should be set.

Obama this month gave a video speech at an international conference
on the global warming issue. As a long-term goal to be achieved by
2050, he came up with an 80 PERCENT cut in comparison with the 1990
level, which is more ambitious than a 60 PERCENT -80 PERCENT cut
advocated by the former Fukuda administration. However, when it
comes to a mid-term goal, his proposal was reducing the amount of

TOKYO 00003244 008 OF 010

emissions to the 1990 level by 2020.

The mid-term goal proposed by the European Union (EU), which has
thus far led UN talks, is a 20 PERCENT cut from the 1990 level.
Japan welcomes Obama's proposal for reducing emissions to the 1990
level. One senior Foreign Ministry official said, "The proposal is
convenient to Japan. Mr. Obama has indicated a clear-cut stance of
seriously tackling measures to curb global warming." The government
envisages a scenario of Japan and the U.S. cooperating to face the

However, there is no guarantee that Japan's expectations will be
met. EU officials are hastily approaching those who will be in
charge of measures to deal with domestic global warming in the next
Obama administration. Obama is positive about introducing emissions
trading on the federal level the aim being to promote domestic
measures to combat climate change. Some already take the view that
the possibility of the EU and the U.S. becoming closer may be more
realistic than the possibility of Japan and the U.S. cooperating
with each other, as one government source put it.


Asahi: Tokyo Shimbun
Suspect in murder, assault incidents involving ex-welfare officials
found to have several million yen in debts; Plotted to attack five
households in three days

Mainichi: Nikkei
U.S. unveils 800 billion dollar package to cope with credit crunch

Government plans to require hearings of opinion from victims,
bereaved families if those sentenced to life imprisonment are
released on parole

Kim Hyon Hui criticizes "pro-North Korea" Roh Moo Hyun

No monitoring system to prevent resale of foreign farm products
imported for nonfood use


(1) Challenges await new U.S. economic team
(2) Postponement of submission of second supplementary budget bill
to Diet session: Where can we find politics that does not back away
from problems

(1) Postponement of submission of second supplementary budget bill
to Diet session makes no sense
(2) Bailout of Citigroup: No exit from crisis in sight

(1) Extension of Diet session: Time for prime minister to
re-solidify his foothold
(2) New U.S. economic ministers: Lineup of technocrats to face
financial crisis

TOKYO 00003244 009 OF 010

(1) New U.S. administration to aim to reconstruct economy, led
(2) Postponement of second supplementary budget to Diet session

(1) Postponement of second supplementary budget to Diet session:
Where has Prime Minister Aso's determination to materialize policy
(2) Lineup of U.S. economic ministers: Make preemptive move to
overcome financial crisis

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Postponement of second supplementary budget to Diet session:
Prime minister's explanation incomprehensible
(2) South Korea and North Korea: Lee administration should settle
down in dealing with Pyongyang

(1) Group of Article 9: Grass-roots power to apply the Constitution

(9) Prime Minister's schedule, November 25

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 26, 2008

Arrived at Haneda Airport by government plane.

Called at the Imperial Palace to report his return.

Arrived at his private residence in Kamiyama-cho.

Met New Komeito Secretary General Kitagawa at the Kantei. Followed
by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura.

Met Kawamura, Finance Minister Nakagawa, Economy, Trade and Industry
Minister Yosano, LDP Secretary General Hosoda, Kitagawa, and

Met Education, Science and Technology Minister Shionoya and Vice
Minister Zeniya.

Met Director of Studies at the IISS Cronin. Later met Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Uruma.

Attended an attestation ceremony for Supreme Court Chief Justice
Takesaki and then a ceremony for Sendai High Court Chief Justice

Dined with Otsuji, chairman of the LDP Upper House caucus, Upper
House Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Suzuki, and others at a

TOKYO 00003244 010 OF 010

Japanese restaurant in the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, also joined
by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura and Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Konoike.

Met Cronin at a pub in the Imperial Hotel.

Returned to his private residence.


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