Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/17/08

DE RUEHKO #3439/01 3522308
P 172308Z DEC 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Editorial: Collapse of WTO talks -- Failure is no longer
acceptable (Asahi)

(2) Yamasaki, Kato, Kan, Kamei (YKKK) just waiting for right
atmosphere to develop for political realignment (Sankei)

(3) Honeymoon-like relationship between postal votes and DPJ

(4) Civilian control shaky, with Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) unable to perform role of control tower (Tokyo Shimbun)

(5) Meaninglessness of Murayama Statement must be driven home


(1) Editorial: Collapse of WTO talks -- Failure is no longer

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
December 17, 2008

Faced with an unprecedented crisis, the global economy is in great
turmoil like a ship being tossed back and forth by a swift current
in front of a mighty falls. The ship will be sucked under the
waterfall unless all crewmembers pull on the oars with all their

But so far, no one is able to fall in line to make even the first
pull of the oar. Coordination of views had been underway at the
multilateral trade talks (Doha Round) sponsored by the World Trade
Organization (WTO) with the aim of reaching a framework agreement
before year's end. However, the member countries have given up
holding a ministerial meeting to reach an agreement before the end
of the year, because major countries have failed to fill the gaps in
their views.

The WTO talks were the first litmus test to see if major countries
could act together. The damage caused by their failure will be

Leaders from the group of 20 who met in a financial summit in
November sent a message that they were determined to reach an
agreement before year's end. At the time, there were increasing
indications of a simultaneous slowdown of economies in the world.
Their aim was to prevent trade from shrinking by stemming the rise
of protectionism. The failure of the major countries to do so casts
doubts about their determination. They instead might have showed the
world that the future course of the global economy will indeed be a
difficult one.

Under such circumstances, some countries may set trade rules that
will give priority to their own economies or create exclusive
economic blocs. Countries that took part in the G-20 pledged not to
establish new trade barriers for one year. Nevertheless, Russia has
decided to raise its auto tariff starting in January.

The major cause of the setback was confrontation between the U.S.
and such emerging countries as India and China. Regarding conditions

TOKYO 00003439 002 OF 008

for approving the invocation of import restrictions in the event of
a sharp increase in imports of agricultural products, the U.S.
sought strict standards, while emerging countries wanted to see as
moderate standards as possible. Industrialized countries are seeking
a substantive hike in tariffs on mined and manufactured products,
such as autos and electronic products. However, emerging countries
are opposing such.

Although the Bush administration, now in its final days, has lost
the capability to coordinate domestic views, the U.S. is still
greatly responsible for stopping the economic chaos triggered by the
financial crisis that started there. At the same time, we also want
China and India, whose impact on the global economy has greatly
increased, to be aware that their responsibility has become heavy.

It is not until each country accepts the pain that will befall their
domestic industries that trade liberalization can be realized. Since
the WTO talks have been put on hold, the delay will likely worsen
the simultaneous slowdown of the global economy and make it
difficult for various countries to coordinate. As a result, domestic
coordination of views in all countries will become even more

If the global consensus to maintain the free trade system
disappears, international trade will shrink, making the economic
crisis even worse. We must not forget the pre-war history, in which
protectionism developed into a world war.

No country should give up on achieving the unity needed in order to
reach an agreement. We would like to see final talks held at the WTO
immediately, once the Obama administration is launched in the U.S.
in January.

(2) Yamasaki, Kato, Kan, Kamei (YKKK) just waiting for right
atmosphere to develop for political realignment

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
December 16, 2008

While the support rates for the cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso
plummeting in the polls, former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Secretary General Koichi Kato, former LDP Vice President Taku
Yamasaki, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Deputy President Naoto Kan
and People's New Party (PNP) Deputy President Shizuka Kamei appeared
all together on a television talk show on Dec. 14. Their joint
appearance is now creating a controversy. The four have since been
dubbed the YKKK group. On the TV talk show, Yamasaki stressed that
the four of them could become the linchpin of political realignment
in the future. However, Kato and Yamasaki denied the possibility of
their leaving the LDP before the next general election for the House
of Representatives. The situation is that the two veteran lawmakers
are unable to rally together those LDP members who are critical of
Aso. They appear to be trying to wait for the developments of the
next regular Diet session, which is certain to be turbulent.

Appearing on the TV Asahi talk show on Sunday, the four politicians
made the following remarks:

Kamei: These two died in the so-called "Kato rebellion" (in November
2000, in which Kato called on then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to
step down and Yamasaki supported him). They have recovered by a
miracle, but they are just alive. Since Mr. Kato insists the LDP has

TOKYO 00003439 003 OF 008

exceeded its shelf life, the question is whether he has courage to
leave the party before the next Lower House election.

Kato: I'm not considering such right now.

Yamasaki: We really belong to the LDP. We cannot hastily leave or
rejoin the party.

Kan: I would like brave LDP members to take action from within the

Although Kamei and Kan urged Kato and Yamasaki to bolt the LDP, the
two LDP lawmakers would not give their word. Yamasaki told
reporters: "In case there is political realignment before the next
snap election, we will not be the center of such realignment."

In 2000, when Kato urged Mori to quit the prime minister's post, he
and Yamasaki then decided to leave the LDP. Therefore, the two are
regarded as spring boards for realigning political parties,
according to a senior LDP member. Looking back on the LDP-Social
Democratic Party-New Party Sakigake coalition government, Kato said
during the TV program on Sunday: "We share the view that we can
discuss matters."

After the appearance of Kato and Yamasaki had been set, Yamasaki
tempted Kan and Kamei to appear on the TV Asahi program, according
to one of the participants.

Kato and Yamasaki planned a trip to the United States by a group of
nonpartisan Diet members before the end of the year, but they have
put it off due to the tight Diet schedule for December.

Political observers view that Kato and Yamasaki are considering
forming a new party that would become a tripolar party made up of
lawmakers bolting the LDP and DPJ. However, DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa said on Dec. 15 in Kyoto:

"At this point, I do not consider (political realignment) at all.
Unless we once replace the LDP-led government, true parliamentary
democracy (by two major parties) will not be enrooted in Japan."

There was speculation in political circles that Kato and Yamasaki
would form a new party before the end of the year in order to secure
next year's political subsidies. However, there are a number of
hurdles that they would first have to clear in order to leave the
LDP. They have not yet secured broader support in the party. A
person close to them said: "The next ordinary session will go on a
rampage. (They) should wait for the right atmosphere to develop."

In a party hosted by an LDP lawmaker on Dec. 15th, former Finance
Minister Bunmei Ibuki sought to constrain the four, saying:

"If Y is removed from the YKKK, the YKKK will become the KKK, which
is the name of a secret organization advocating white supremacy in
the United States. The organization murdered many Black Americans,
so I hope many capable young LDP members will not be (figuratively)

(3) Honeymoon-like relationship between postal votes and DPJ

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 16, 2008

TOKYO 00003439 004 OF 008

Yoshiji Namekawa, postmaster of the Toyomi Post Office in Kujukuri
Town, Chiba Prefecture, in early October received a phone call from
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa. Ozawa told
him, "I would like to meet you by all means."

Namekawa, who is also the chairman of the Association of Postmasters
in the Kanto Region, a local organization of the National
Association of Postmasters (Zentoku; former Association of
Postmasters of Specified Post Offices), visited the DPJ headquarters
several days later. Ozawa greeted him with a full smile: "You did a
wonderful job in the Chiba No. 9 Constituency for the last Lower
House election. Please tell me how you did it, because it is what
the DPJ needs most."

Ozawa proposed having a picture of them shaking hands taken, adding
in a good humor, "I do not mind if you use this picture for the
upcoming election campaign." He thus expressed hopes for Zentoku's
support for the DPJ in the next Lower House election.

Most powerful organization

In the Lower House Chiba No. 9 Constituency, former postal
bureaucrat Soichiro Okuno, a new face running on the DPJ's ticket in
the upcoming election, will challenge Kenichi Mizuno, a fourth-term
incumbent. Namekawa in mid-August distributed flyers introducing
Okuno to about 200,000 households in the constituency, using the
Association of Postmasters of 700 post offices in the prefecture. As
a result, Okuno has secured an enormous visibility.

Now-defunct specified post offices originate from the entrustment of
postal services to local dignitaries and rich persons by the Meiji
government. Zentoku, a group of "dignitaries," is called the most
powerful vote-gathering organization. Its political activities were
dubbed the fourth postal service, following mail, postal saving and
kampo postal insurance services. Its political organization Taiju
consisting of former postmasters and their family members, who
spearhead the organization's political activities in place of
incumbent postmasters, who are not allowed to engage in election
campaigns, has long been the LDP's greatest support organization.

Zentoku's clear-cut stance of staying away from the LDP to such a
degree as to fully support a DPJ candidate plainly indicates its
strong belief that it was let down by the LDP in the postal
privatization promoted by former Prime Minister Koizumi.

Taiju was disbanded in January this year in order that a better
organization may be formed. The new organization is called the
Postal Policy Study Group, also joined by postmasters, whose
membership became possible as a result of the postal privatization.
Osamu Urano, chairman of the National Association of Postmasters,
said, "It is significant that postmasters, who had remained in the
background up until now, have now become able to engage in political

Ambivalence of LDP

Zentoku's political goal is now to take a second look at the
spinning off of Japan Post Group into four units and freeze the
planned sales of its stocks.

One LDP member said, "If Zentoku takes the DPJ's side in the

TOKYO 00003439 005 OF 008

election, the election would be fairly difficult for the LDP."
However, there are many members who take the position, as one junior
lawmaker put it, that: "Postal privatization is the showcase of the
Koizumi reform. If the LDP shows understanding of a revision to its
reform at all, people would take that the LDP has backpedaled on its
reform policy. It would be a setback for the election."

Prime Minister Aso on November 19 showed understanding of the sales
of postal stocks. However, he retracted his statement the following
day. The incident appears to symbolize the LDP, which is wavering
between postal votes and public opinion.

Unlike the ambivalence of the LDP, Namekawa's stance is clear. He
said, "The only way to have the postal privatization revised is
realizing a change of administration. We will tackle the upcoming
election in a determined manner."

He always carries a briefcase with the photo taken with Ozawa in

(4) Civilian control shaky, with Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) unable to perform role of control tower

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
December 12, 2008

A classified meeting was held at the Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) everyday starting in 2004, when the first group
of Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops was dispatched to Iraq,
until 2006. In one meeting, a Defense Ministry official brought in
an iron mock shell, saying: "This is a rocket."

The meeting was chaired by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Masahiro
Futahashi, inviting the Foreign Policy Bureau director general from
the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Operations Bureau director
general and the director of the Operations Department (J3) of the
Joint Staff from the uniformed services. But only the J3 director
stayed behind after the directors general soon left the room.

In Iraq, there were such incidents as a rocket fired at the
Self-Defense Force (SDF) camp in Samawah and a Ground Self-Defense
Force's vehicle attacked with a hand-made remote-control bomb.
Following such incidents, Defense Ministry officials visited the
Kantei with dummies of the weapons used. According to a person
concerned, "The Kantei was fully informed of what had happened in

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had replied in the Diet before the
first batch of troops was dispatched to Iraq: "Naturally, I cannot
say where a noncombat zone is." But the reputation of Koizumi among
uniformed personnel from the SDF staff office was not bad.

In a meeting of the Security Council held just before the first
group of SDF members was sent to Iraq, Koizumi instructed the
participants in effect to hand money over to uniformed personnel,
saying: "You have given discretionary power to the SDF, haven't

The GSDF used money from the defense budget to finance the
construction of a fortress at the SDF camp and made use of
grass-roots grant aid intended for developing countries as insurance
for the unit.

TOKYO 00003439 006 OF 008

Under the Self-Defense Force Law, the prime minister is the supreme
commander. The prime minister stands at the top in the system of
civilian control. Was there any instruction from the prime minister
to the SDF?

Hikaru Tomizawa, a trustee of Toyo Gakuin University, said: "If
there was a goal, evaluating the SDF activities was possible. But
since no goal was ever presented, I was dissatisfied."

When he was chief of staff of the GSDF in 1994, Tomizawa was ordered
to engage in rescuing Rwandan refugees in Africa. Given that the
operational area was dangerous, his unit was withdrawn only three
months after the start of their activities. They were given no
instruction about how many refugees they should treat.

When he met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame during his visit to
Japan this May, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda did not refer to
the dispatch of SDF troops to his country in 1994, and Kagame did
not express gratitude, either. The activities carried out by the SDF
have been erased from history.

The plan to dispatch SDF personnel to Iraq for humanitarian
reconstruction assistance was adopted at a cabinet meeting. Defense
Ministry advisor Hajime Massaki, who was serving as GSDF chief of
staff at that time, said: "Certainly, the Kantei presented no
targets to us. We set the targets on our own, for instance, the
facility-reconstruction ratio and the ratio of supplied water to the
needed amount. We reported achievement rates to the Kantei."

SDF personnel controlled their work by themselves while taking into
consideration politicians' intentions. Such is not called civilian
control. Only when a person interested in SDF activities assumes the
premiership does the Kantei fulfill the role of control tower.

The Conference on Reform of the Defense Ministry, set up in the
Kantei, produced a report this July proposing in the clause on
strengthening the Kantei's function as control tower the drafting of
a national security strategy and the installation of an expert
advisor on security to the prime minister.

In the Kantei under Prime Minister Taro Aso, there has been no move
to translate these proposals into action.

(5) Meaninglessness of Murayama Statement must be driven home

SANKEI (Page 13) (Abridged slightly)
December 16, 2008

By Yasuo Ohara, professor at Kokugakuin University

Other main player in Tamogami scandal

It has been nearly two months since Toshio Tamogami was dismissed as
Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff due to his controversial
essay. Fierce debates over his essay show no signs of abating.
Points at issue cover a wide range of areas, including the
assessments of Tamogami's historical view, appropriateness of the
government's step, significance of civilian control, freedom of
speech for SDF personnel, propriety of entering the essay contest,
timing of submitting the essay, and media reactions. Views are split
even among conservatives. Albeit belatedly, I would like to add my

TOKYO 00003439 007 OF 008

view, as well. However, it is on the so-called Murayama Statement,
which can be called the other main player in the Tamogami incident.

In response to a set of questions from House of Representative
member Kiyomi Tsujimoto, the government presented a written reply on
November 14. The reply reportedly explains why Tamogami was
dismissed from the post this way: "It was inappropriate for him to
express a view that was at variance with the government's standpoint
on the last major war." The reply reportedly also notes, "He
presented his view in an inappropriate manner on an important matter
pertaining to the Constitution."

The latter is probably in response to the criticism that the SDF is
not allowed to exercise the right to collective self-defense in
territorial defense. Prime Minister Taro Aso has already suggested a
review of the government's view on the collective self-defense
right, so this part is merely an addition. Needless to day, problems
lie in the former. There is no doubt that the government's view on
the last major war points to the Murayama Statement.

Undefined keywords

As is widely known, the Murayama Statement was delivered before the
House of Representatives on June 9, 1995. It was later released as
the statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the August 15
end-of-the-war anniversary on the back of discontent with the Diet
resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.
The statement is rife with masochistic expressions, such as, "during
a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a
mistaken national policy," "through its colonial rule and
aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering," and "my
feelings of deep remorse and my heartfelt apology."

There is no room here to discuss this historical view that is
one-sided and crude. The question is if the Murayama Statement,
which has been treated like a gospel by successive cabinets, has any

I believe "following a mistaken national policy" are the keywords
here. About 11 years after the release of the Murayama Statement,
Lower House member Akira Nagatsuma presented a set of questions.
This elicited a reply from the government on June 13, 2006 that
read: "Regarding your question about the phrase 'following a
mistaken national policy,' the government, given a variety of
discussions on assessments of individual acts, cannot determine
anything, including its cause." This was consistent with the release
in the previous year, the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, of
the so-called Koizumi Statement that did not include the phrase
"following a mistaken national policy."

The word "aggression" carries greater significance. Lower House
member Muneo Suzuki also asked the definition of "aggression." In
response, the government honestly admitted on October 6, 2006 its
inability to offer a clear-cut idea in its written reply that read:
"There have been all kinds of discussions on the definition of
aggression under international law. We are not aware of any clear
definition of the word and that makes it difficult to answer your

"Aggression" and "colonial rule" expunged

(Back in 1995) I clashed with then LDP Policy Research Council

TOKYO 00003439 008 OF 008

Chairman Koichi Kato, who enthusiastically promoted the 50th
anniversary Diet resolution, over what should go into the
resolution. I said to him: "If you want to incorporate in it such
words as 'acts of aggression' and 'colonial rule,' they must be
defined clearly." In response, Kato said matter-of-factly: "We are
not scholars, so we don't need to offer any clear definitions." This
made me realize that the vagueness of the Murayama Statement
originated from there.

There is no need to discuss any further the insubstantiality of the
Murayama Statement that includes those undefined keywords. Based on
such ambiguous criteria, the government cannot pass judgment on
Tamogami's essay titled "Was Japan an Aggressor Nation?"

Interesting enough, such expressions as "acts of aggression" and
"colonial rule" did not make the Diet resolution commemorating the
60th anniversary of the end of the war, adopted on August 2, 2005,
days before the release of the Koizumi Statement that left out the
words "following a mistaken national policy." The series of these
events seem to indicate that some sort of changes occurred over the
ten-year period and that the Murayama Statement does not necessarily
coincide with the government's view.

It is vital to drive home the foolishness of upholding such a
statement and to stir up a discussion to reexamine the Murayama
Statement from all aspects, including the historical view.


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