Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/20/09
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 08/20/09
WELCOME TO JAPAN, AMBASSADOR ROOS!
1) Ambassador Roos and family arrive at Narita Airport (Asahi)
2) Roos in arrival statement stresses the strengthening of security
and economic ties between the U.S. and Japan (Mainichi)
3) Roos calls his appointment as ambassador to Japan an "honor"
4) Roos: Nothing is impossible when the U.S. and Japan cooperate
5) Asahi survey of election districts indicates that the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) may lose about half of its Lower House seats
6) Mainichi's survey of election candidates reveals clear contrast
between LDP and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on foreign policy,
tax issue, and Koizumi reforms (Mainichi)
Election only 10 days away:
7) Industrial associations, including Japan Medical Association, are
rapidly abandoning the LDP (Nikkei)
8) LDP and DPJ vie for the farm vote, with Prime Minister Aso in
Hokkaido stumping, and DPJ President Hatoyama in Tohoku region
(northern Honshu) (Sankei)
9) Speeches of Aso and Hatoyama reveal clearly the policy
differences between the two parties, with DPJ making pitch to swing
over independent voters (Tokyo Shimbun)
10) Stumping for former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who
resigned under a cloud, Prime Minister Aso apologizes for the
incident with Nakagawa at his side (Sankei)
North Korea problem:
11) North Korea's promise to reinvestigate the missing Japanese
abducted by its agents remains up in the air (Asahi)
12) North Korea asked former President Clinton during his recent
trip to Pyongyang to bring back two journalist to transmit its
request for direct dialogue with the U.S. (Sankei)
13) Government to create "Japan fund" under COP 10 on 1 billion yen
scale for environmental protection in developing countries (Yomiuri)
1) U.S. Ambassador to Japan Roos arrives to take up post
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
August 20, 2009
Yoichi Kato, editorial staff
The new U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, 54, arrived to assume
his post on August 19. Roos is a lawyer who has no diplomatic
experience, but he has been a long-time supporter of President
Barack Obama, and his close relationship with the President was the
main factor in his appointment to take charge of diplomacy with
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Roos read out a statement to the media after arriving at Narita
Airport. Referring to the 50th anniversary of the signing of the
current Japan-U.S. security treaty next year, he emphasized that,
"Together, we will strengthen the alliance relationship, so that 50
years from now, we will have even stronger political ties and enjoy
even richer cultural exchanges." Roos came accompanied by his wife,
eldest daughter, 22, and eldest son, 17. He said: "We look forward
to making Japan our second home."
Ahead of Ambassador Roos's arrival in Japan, Professor Emeritus
Daniel Okimoto of Stanford University, who is very close to Roos and
advises him on Japan policy, gave an interview to Asahi Shimbun in
which he advocated a new type of Japan-U.S. alliance under the Obama
administration. He said that the two countries should lead the
"formulation of a broader concept of security," which also includes
such issues as "poverty" and "environmental destruction" that
threaten the stability of the world.
2) New U.S. Ambassador to Japan Roos arrives in Japan; Calls for
enhanced security and economic ties
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
August 20, 2009
New U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, 54, arrived at Narita
Airport on an American commercial airplane yesterday afternoon. "The
United States and Japan have forged one of the most successful
alliances in history. Together, we will strengthen and expand that
alliance," the new U.S. Ambassador said, reading out a statement to
the press corps at the airport. He underscored the need to cooperate
in addressing security and economic issues on a global scale.
As challenges that must be addressed by the two nations, Roos cited
the following areas: strengthening the global economy and promoting
trade between the two countries; strengthening global security and
expanding democratic values; climate change; pandemic diseases; and
Touching on his experience working as a lawyer in Silicon Valley in
California where there are many high-tech companies, he also said:
"(In Silicon Valley), nothing is impossible to accomplish. Japan
embodies that same bold spirit. Together, there is nothing we cannot
Clad in a jacket with no necktie, Ambassador Roos made his
appearance in a room at the airport together with his wife, Susie,
daughter Lauren, 22, and son, David, 17. There he read out the
statement and did not take any questions from the press.
3) New U.S. Ambassador Roos: "I am honored to serve as U.S.
ambassador to Japan"
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 2009
New U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, 54, arrived at Narita
Airport yesterday afternoon and read out a statement at the airport
in which he said: "I am honored to be the U.S. ambassador to the
great nation of Japan." He then expressed his hopes, saying: "I
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would like to promote the mutual goals and interests of (Japan and
the United States)." Positioning the Japan-U.S. relationship as the
most successful alliance in history, Roos said: "We will strengthen
and expand that alliance." He also stated that the two economic
superpowers "will help strengthen the global economy and find new
ways to foster trade and investment."
The new U.S. ambassador arrived in Japan along with his wife,
daughter, and son.
4) New U.S. Ambassador to Japan Roos arrives in Japan: "If the
United States and Japan cooperate, there is nothing that cannot be
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 2009
John Roos, the new U.S. Ambassador to Japan, arrived yesterday along
with his wife, Susie, and other family members. He will begin his
diplomatic activities after presenting his credentials to the
Emperor today. At Narita Airport Ambassador Roos read a statement
that said, in part: "Together (the United States and Japan) will
help strengthen the global economy and find new ways to foster
bilateral trade and investment." He demonstrated a willingness to
cooperate closely to resolve the global economic crisis.
"In Silicon Valley, nothing is impossible to accomplish," said
Ambassador Ross, who was a lawyer in Silicon Valley. "If the United
States and Japan cooperate, there is nothing we cannot accomplish."
5) DPJ likely to gain 300 seats
ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
August 20, 2009
Ahead of the Aug. 30 general election, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a
telephone-based survey of voters in 150 of the nation's 300
single-seat constituencies on Aug. 18-19 to examine the election
campaign in its initial phase. As a result, the survey found that
the Democratic Party of Japan is likely to gain a total of more than
300 seats, way above a majority (241 seats). The Liberal Democratic
Party is likely to be unable to reach half of its pre-election
holding (300 seats) and could possibly come in way below it.
Meanwhile, in the nation's proportional representation blocs, the
New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party will likely level off,
and the Social Democratic Party is facing an uphill battle.
When the survey was conducted, 40% of the polled voters in the
single-seat constituencies slightly under 30% in the proportional
representation blocs did not clarify their voting behavior. In
addition, 25% said they might vote for a different political party
or candidate depending on developments in the election campaign.
Given such circumstances, the situation could see a substantial
change during the final stages.
The 150 single-seat constituencies surveyed this time were chosen to
be characteristic of the nation's electorate, and its results were
doubled to see the nationwide situation.
In the case of the DPJ, many of its candidates, who were seated in
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the House of Representatives before its dissolution this time or
lost their one-time seats in past elections, are now doing well in
their campaign battles. In addition, the party's new faces are
leading other candidates running from the Liberal Democratic Party
and other political parties. The DPJ could garner more than 200
seats in the nation's single-seat constituencies and could further
gain many more. In the case of proportional representation as well,
the DPJ will likely garner more seats in all 11 blocs. In the last
general election that was held in 2005, the DPJ won a total of 61
seats for proportional representation. This time around, the DPJ's
potential outcome could be way above that number and will likely
reach a total of substantially more than 80 seats.
In the case of the LDP, even former cabinet ministers running in
single-seat constituencies are facing difficulties. The LDP's total
outcome in the nation's single-seat constituencies is highly likely
to be way below 100 seats. In the nation's proportional
representation blocs as well, the LDP could drop from its
pre-election holding of 77 seats and there is no knowing if the LDP
will be able to reach 60 seats.
6) LDP, DPJ in clear-cut showdown
MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
August 20, 2009
In the run-up to the Aug. 30 general election for the House of
Representatives, the Mainichi Shimbun conducted a survey of 1,374
candidates on policy issues. The Liberal Democratic Party, which has
run the government for years, is now being challenged by the
Democratic Party of Japan. As seen from this showdown between the
LDP and the DPJ, their candidates are clearly maintaining their
parties' positions that differ from each other in many respects. The
survey was started after the House of Representatives was dissolved
on July 21. Answers were received from a total of 1,347 candidates
by Aug. 18 when the election was announced. The retrieval rate was
The LDP and the DPJ differed clearly on the Constitution and foreign
relations in particular. The two parties also differed on how to
handle the nation's pension system and the consumption tax, which
have now become issues in their election campaigns.
In the survey, respondents were asked if they would support the idea
of raising the consumption tax during their four-year term of office
after elected. To this question, 49% of respondents from the LDP
answered "yes," with 95% of those from the DPJ saying "no."
Meanwhile, constitutional reform has yet to become a major issue. In
the survey, however, 82% of LDP respondents were affirmative, with
66% of DPJ respondents remaining negative. In the area of foreign
relations as well, 63% of those from the LDP answered that Japan
should give top priority to its relations with the United States,
while 62% of those from the DPJ said Japan should prioritize Asia
more than ever.
Respondents were also asked if they thought Japan should send the
Self-Defense Forces to Afghanistan in order to help that country. To
this question, 58% of LDP respondents said "yes," and 68% of DPJ
respondents said "no."
ELECTION ONLY 10 DAYS AWAY
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7) Industrial associations fast distancing themselves from LDP; only
26 prefectural medical associations support the party
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 2009
A growing number of prefectural industrial associations, traditional
supporters of the Liberal Democratic Party, are distancing
themselves from the LDP. The Ibaraki Prefectural Medical Association
decided last fall to support candidates on the Democratic Party of
Japan's ticket for all the prefecture's single-seat districts.
Medical associations in eleven other prefectures, including Saitama
and Kyoto, have decided to back the DPJ and other opposition parties
in some district races. Eight prefectural construction associations
have decided not to make recommendations but to let members cast
their votes as they please (in the upcoming House of Representatives
election on Aug. 30). While the possibility of a change of
government is moving closer to reality, industrial organizations
that have backed away from support for the LDP have called for a
reversal of structural reform and spending-cut policies.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun conducted a telephone survey of the
political organizations of prefectural medical, construction, and
agriculture associations regarding their endorsements.
Although the Japan Medical Association decided to support the ruling
parties, mainly the LDP, only 26 prefectural medical associations
will give full support to the LDP (some support the New Komeito).
Only the Ibaraki Medical Association has decided to support the DPJ
in all single-seat districts in the prefecture. Noteworthy is that
many prefectural medical associations will support the DPJ in some
districts or support both the LDP and DPJ. Compared with the 2005
Lower House election, the number of prefectural medical associations
supporting the LDP in the upcoming election has decreased by 12. The
Kyoto Medical Association has decided to support Seiji Maehara of
the DPJ in the prefecture's No. 2 district. The Shiga Medical
Association will support both the LDP and DPJ candidates in the No.
Among the 47 prefectural political federations of construction
(companies) (kensetsu seiji renmei), 34 have announced support for
the LDP. The Ibaraki federation has endorsed Yoshimi Watanabe,
leader of Your Party, in the No. 3 district. Although the Okinawa
federation has decided to allow its members to vote their
consciences, many members are opposed to the DPJ's policy of cutting
public works projects. However, several federations have complained
that structural reform has sapped the vitality of local construction
Thirty-two political federations of farmers (nogyosha seiji renmei)
have decided to support the LDP. Meanwhile, the Aomori federation,
which supported the LDP in the previous poll, has decided to let its
members vote their consciences in all single-seat districts. The
Okayama federation endorsed Takeo Hiranuma, an independent, in the
No. 3 district, and the Hiroshima federation backs Shizuka Kamei of
the People's New Party (PNP) in the No. 6 district.
8) Aso in Hokkaido, Hatoyama in Tohoku vying for farm vote
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
TOKYO 00001921 006 OF 010
August 20, 2009
Prime Minister Taro Aso and Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
President Yukio Hatoyama yesterday delivered stump speeches in
Hokkaido and Tohoku region, both of which are home to many farmers,
Aso gave speeches in Obihiro, Sapporo and other cities in Hokkaido,
in which he criticized the DPJ's change in wording regarding a
proposed Japan-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) in its policy
manifesto. He said: "The policy turnaround shows that the party has
not seriously considered agricultural policy."
Directing his criticism at Deputy President Ichiro Ozawa, Aso said
in reference to the Hosokawa cabinet's agreement on the minimum
access formula for rice in 1993: "I would like you to remember what
Mr. Ozawa and Mr. Hosokawa did." He added: "I would like you to see
which political parties have come up with practical policies and
have considered the need to fulfill their responsibility. We are
confident about these points."
Meanwhile, Hatoyama visited Aomori, Miyagi and Fukushima
prefectures. In a stump speech in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture,
he cited the party's eye-catching pledge to introduce income
indemnity to all farming households and emphasized: "We will
compensate for the margin losses between the prices and costs of
rice and apples for all farmers. The farmers will be able to find
their successors without anxiety."
But Hatoyama stopped short of referring to the FTA pledge. Regarding
the issue of the necessary fiscal resources to finance the proposed
income-indemnity system, as well, he just said: "The source of
revenue will be generated by eliminating wasteful spending of
taxpayers' money without fail."
9) Differences in campaign strategies between LDP and DPJ clear; LDP
has eye on conservative voters and DPJ on unaffiliated voters
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Excerpts)
August 20, 2009
On August 19, two days into the election campaigning, differences in
strategies between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the
main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) - both are aiming to
take the reins of government - became clear. The LDP underscored the
need to return to conservative values, as seen in Prime Minister
Taro Aso's criticism of DPJ policies as "socialistic." Meanwhile,
DPJ executives, including President Yukio Hatoyama, played up their
party's measures to support household finances.
Yesterday Prime Minister Aso delivered a stump speech in the rain in
Hokkaido's Obihiro City. Aso said: "The LDP is the true conservative
party. We will defend the families, the homeland, and the state of
Japan. We will make the economic pie bigger and will redistribute it
With respect to the DPJ's manifesto, Aso also labeled its
pork-barrel policies - possibly with its childcare allowance system
in mind - as socialistic.
Since the election campaign kicked off, Aso has been playing up the
LDP's conservative overtones more powerfully than ever before. He
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apparently has a sense of alarm that the party might fail to win
votes of traditional LDP supporters in addition to swing voters amid
growing chances for a change of administration.
In a pre-election campaign poll conducted by the Tokyo Shimbun, only
45% of LDP supporters said they would vote for the LDP in the
proportional representation section. This has prompted the LDP to
take measures to prop up support by traditional conservative LDP
The issue of Japanese flags being cut up to create the DPJ's
insignia at a meeting in Kagoshima Prefecture has become the new
ammunition for the LDP to attack the DPJ.
Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda repeatedly cited this incident in
his stump speeches in Kanagawa Prefecture. Former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, too, criticized the DPJ in his speech
in Sapporo, saying, "The DPJ has never hoisted the Hinomaru national
flag or sung the national anthem at its conventions."
At the same time, such a trend of the LDP to return to conservative
voters tells of its need to act on the defensive, which is
completely different from the postal election in 2005 in which the
LDP's support base expanded to cover unaffiliated voters.
Meanwhile, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama kicked off his stumping
yesterday in Aomori's Hachinohe City. He delivered speeches at seven
places as he traveled southward to Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochigi, and
Saitama. Disregarding Aso's "socialistic" criticism, Hatoyama played
up policies designed to directly support household finances.
In Sendai, he enthusiastically spoke about a child care allowance
system as a means to stem the declining birth rate, a serious issue
undermining national interests. He also played up an income-subsidy
system for farmers in the five prefectures where agriculture is the
Deputy President Naoto Kan, too, gave stump speeches at five places
in Hiroshima and Ehime, and Secretary General Katsuya Okada also
gave speeches at five places in Kumamoto and Kanagawa.
10) Aso apologizes for Shoichi Nakagawa's drunken behavior, citing
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 20, 2009
Delivering a stump speech yesterday in Obihiro City, Hokkaido, the
electoral district of Shoichi Nakagawa, Prime Minister Taro Aso
apologized before supporters for Nakagawa's drunken behavior (at a
G-7 press conference in Rome in February), for which he resigned as
finance minister. He said: "I offer my apologies for his behavior
and my poor supervision."
Standing next to Nakagawa with a meek look, Aso further said: "We
caused you anxiety over such an unpleasant sight." He mentioned
"poor supervision" twice.
But he added: "Human beings make mistakes, but human beings can
forgive the mistakes. I want you to give Shoichi Nakagawa the
momentum for reinstatement once again." He then bowed deeply.
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NORTH KOREA PROBLEM
11) North Korea was prepared to reinvestigate abductions, but
aborted due to PM Fukuda's resignation
ASAHI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
August 20, 2009
It was learned that based on an agreement at the Japan-DPRK working
level talks in August 2008, North Korea had decided to launch a
committee to reinvestigate the abduction issue in early September
2008. A specific date had also been fixed through coordination with
the Japanese side. However, shortly before the committee was to be
launched, then Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda announced his resignation
on September 1, which prompted the North Koreans to suspend the
plan. There is a view within the Japanese government that if Fukuda
had not resigned, the reinvestigation might have started.
According to a government source, after the bilateral talks in
Shenyang, China, on August 11-12, 2008, a date for launching the
committee was determined through coordination between the two sides.
Fukuda had also approved of the plan after receiving a report from
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, Fukuda announced his resignation right before the
committee's launch. The North Koreans then notified the Japanese
government of its decision to "postpone the start of the
reinvestigation until we can determine how the new administration
will handle the matters agreed upon at the working level talks." The
above government source noted that "the investigation committee was
just about to be launched." It is believed that the DPRK had had
great expectations of the Fukuda administration, which had shown
enthusiasm about normalizing bilateral relations.
Since the start of the Aso administration, the government has asked
North Korea repeatedly to launch a reinvestigation, telling it that
"the policy on implementing the agreement remains unchanged." While
the DPRK has not negated the previous agreement, it has not made any
The dominant view in the Japanese government right now is that
"North Korea will not take any action at least until the DPRK policy
toward the new administration formed after the general election
becomes clear." Since North Korean issues are expected to proceed
with the U.S. and the DPRK as the main players from now on,
strengthening cooperation with the U.S. for a solution to the
abduction issue will also be an issue for the new administration.
12) North Korea demanded direct talks with U.S. during ex-President
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 209
It was learned on August 19 that during former President Bill
Clinton's visit to North Korea early this month, the North Koreans
voiced harsh criticism of the conduct of the Six-Party Talks on its
nuclear issue and proposed a new and "different mode of dialogue."
The DPRK declared its permanent withdrawal from the Six-Party Talks
earlier, and it is believed that it demanded direct U.S.-DPRK talks
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from President Barack Obama through Clinton. It was also learned
that the U.S. government has informed the concerned countries of its
analysis of General Secretary Kim Jong Il's health condition that
"he has recovered considerably." The above was revealed by a number
of Six-Party Talks sources who received briefings from the U.S.
When Clinton and his party arrived in Pyongyang on August 4, he was
met by Yang Hyong Sop, vice president of the Presidium of the
Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), and other senior officials. This
was followed by a meeting with SPA Presidium President Kim Yong Nam,
who has the rank of a head of state.
During this meeting, Kim strongly denounced the Six-Party Talks,
which have been suspended since last December. He said that the
Talks "were a forum for criticizing North Korea, so we declared our
non-participation." He reportedly added that, "There are other modes
of dialogue," demanding direct talks between the U.S. and the DPRK.
Clinton replied that the purpose of his trip was to retrieve the two
female American reporters. He limited himself to urging North Korea
to return to the six-way talks and brought North Korea's message
home. In his subsequent meeting with General Secretary Kim, Clinton
reportedly merely conveyed the U.S. government's standing policy on
seeking the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Meanwhile, based on information obtained during Clinton's visit, the
U.S. government also analyzed the health condition of General
Secretary Kim, who suffered a stroke in the summer of 2008, and has
passed on its analysis to the concerned countries.
Kim reportedly "looked healthy and spoke coherently," making an
astounding recovery from his illness.
Former presidential assistant John Podesta, who accompanied Clinton
on the trip, told Reuters and other media outlets on August 14 that
"General Secretary Kim was fully engaged" and that "(the visit) was
quite an amazing experience." A source on U.S.-DPRK relations
confides that "the greatest surprise for the concerned countries is
General Secretary Kim's health."
The Japanese government had expected the DPRK to demand direct talks
with the U.S. The government also reckons that "a solution to the
nuclear, missile, and abduction issues will have to be through a
decision by General Secretary Kim." It looks at the recent visits by
U.S., South Korean, and Chinese officials to North Korea calmly. A
government source says: "The fact that North Korea is emphasizing
'dialogue' shows that the sanctions have been effective."
Dialogue is premised on return to Six-Party Talks: Secretary of
Takashi Arimoto, Washington
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on August 18 on
the possibility of negotiating with North Korea. She said: "Our
policy remains the same. We continue to offer to the North Koreans
the opportunity to have a dialogue within the Six-Party Talks
framework," reiterating that dialogue is premised on a return to the
Six-Party Talks. She added that: "This will be of great benefit to
the North Korean people. The choice is up to the North Koreans
(whether they want to return to the talks)," stressing that U.S.
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policy will not change.
13) Government to establish "Japan fund" worth one billion yen to
support activities to conserve biological diversity in developing
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 2009
The Japanese government has decided to set up a "biodiversity Japan
fund" (tentative name) to offer financial assistance for activities
to protect wildlife in developing countries. The government will
host for the first time the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) in Nagoya
in October 2010. The planned fund will be worth about 1 billion yen,
almost the same amount as the annual budget (about 1.1 billion yen)
for the secretariat of the conference. The government aims to
underscore its eagerness to address the task of securing
biodiversity on its own initiative.
The Environment Ministry will include 1 billion yen in its request
for fiscal 2010 to create the fund, which will be set up at the
conference's secretariat in Montreal, Canada.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and
Natural Resources, about 16,000 species of wildlife are on the verge
of extinction. The United Nations estimates that activities by human
beings, such as nature development and greenhouse gas emissions,
have accelerated the pace of wildlife's extinction. On the agenda at
COP10 will be the final assessment of the "2010 target" set in a
meeting of the treaty powers held seven years ago to significantly
reduce the pace of loss of biological diversity and a new goal
The Environment Ministry is concerned that some developing countries
might not be able to participate in the joint effort due to
financial difficulties. Given this, the government judged it
necessary to prepare a new framework for all treaty powers,
including developing countries, to take part in the effort and
definitely achieve the target.