Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/25/09

DE RUEHKO #1959/01 2370543
P 250543Z AUG 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Prime Minister Aso exchanges views with new U.S. Ambassador to
Japan Roos (Mainichi)
(2) Editorial: Stay alert on North Korea's approach of dialogue
(3) UC Berkeley in possession of remains of WWII Japanese war dead;
California senator calls for return and apology (Sankei)
(4) Poll on general election (Mainichi)
(5) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Yomiuri)
(6) Comparison of LDP, DPJ manifestos on bureaucratic reform,
decentralization of power (Yomiuri)
(7) Flurry of unprecedented budget requests: Deadline for submission
of requests on the 31st, but cabinet ministers busy campaigning for
election (Yomiuri)
(8) Police send U.S. serviceperson's case to prosecutor; marine may
become first serviceperson in prefecture to stand trial in a court
case presided by citizen judges (Ryukyu Shimpo)


(1) Prime Minister Aso exchanges views with new U.S. Ambassador to
Japan Roos

11:10, August 25, 2009

Yasuhiko Sakaguchi

Receiving a courtesy call by John V. Roos, the new U.S. ambassador
to Japan, Prime Minister Taro Aso exchanged views with him for about
15 minutes this morning. After his meeting with the Prime Minister,
Ambassador Roos told the press, "We talked about how to strengthen
the bilateral relationship and how to maintain it." Later, meeting
with Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, Ambassador Roos said,
"President Obama told me that the bonds between the United States
and Japan will become even more stronger."

(2) Editorial: Stay alert on North Korea's approach of dialogue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 25, 2009

North Korean envoys who visited Seoul to mourn the death of former
South Korean President Kim Dae Jung met with South Korean President
Lee Myung-bak and delivered a message from leader Kim Jong Il
calling for promoting bilateral cooperation. North Korea, which has
repeatedly criticized the Lee administration, seems to be turning
the inter-Korean relationship in the direction of dialogue. But we
must keep a strict watch on the North.

This was the first time for President Lee since he came into office
to hold talks with senior North Korean officials. The details of the
message from Kim Jong Il and of the meeting have not been disclosed,
but both sides reportedly expressed a positive view about
inter-Korean cooperation. They now stand at the threshold of
improvement in strained bilateral ties.

North Korea's abrupt about-face apparently reflects a desire to sway
the Lee administration and break out of the tightening international
noose meant to deter its nuclear development. The international

TOKYO 00001959 002 OF 010

community, including the South Korean government, should be
increasingly on the alert against the North.

President Lee reportedly reiterated his view to the North Korean
envoys that there would be no progress in economic cooperation as
long as the North continues its nuclear development programs. Some
observers in South Korea take the view that governmental talks
between the South and North may start in the near future, but we
hope the Lee administration will persist with its basic stance on
the nuclear issue.

With the reception of former U.S. President Bill Clinton in early
August, North Korea initiated a policy of dialogue. Kim Jong Il met
Clinton and released two detained American journalists. The head of
the South Korean Hyundai Group traveled to North Korea and won the
release of an employee detained there. Kim also promised to resume
the projects that were being jointly promoted by South and North

These developments are inevitably signals sent by the North to
express its hope for improvement in relations with the U.S. and
South Korea. The North's approach to South Korea is intended to lure
the U.S. into direct talks with North Korea.

It was North Korea that suspended the South-North cooperation
projects and detained the U.S. journalists and the Hyundai employee.
The aim of these signals for improvement in bilateral ties is to
return the bilateral relationship to its original state. In doing
this North Korea has nothing to lose.

What most interest the international community is the issue of North
Korea's nuclear (development program). But the North has indicated
no willingness to compromise. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu
Dawei, who chairs the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear
issue, visited North Korea on Aug. 17-21 and urged Vice Foreign
Minister Kim Gye Gwan and other North Korean officials to return to
the Six-party Talks. But their reply was to put an end the Six-Party
Talks for good.

Philip Goldberg, a senior U.S. diplomat in charge of coordinating
the Department of State's implementation of sanctions against North
Korea, is making a round of visits to four Asian countries,
including Japan and South Korea. North Korea's irritation at
progress in tightening the noose is evident. It is imperative for
the international community, centered on Japan, the U.S, and South
Korea, to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear
development program.

(3) UC Berkeley in possession of remains of WWII Japanese war dead;
California senator calls for return and apology

SANKEI (Page 8) (Full)
August 25, 2009

Michiya Matsuo, New York

It was learned that the remains of several Japanese who apparently
committed suicide in Saipan, the site of fierce fighting during
World War II, are being kept in the storeroom of the Museum of
Anthropology of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the
top universities in the United States.

TOKYO 00001959 003 OF 010

According to a local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, three sets
of skeletal remains with skulls, and various bones of additional
Japanese war dead without skulls are stored in wooden containers in
the museum. Tags on the vaults show that they were collected in
Saipan, with an explanation that these are remains of "Japanese who
committed suicide during the American invasion."

According to the university, these remains were donated by a navy
doctor in 1974, and they had been kept by him privately before the
donation. The doctor has since died.

Keeping the remains of the war dead in the storeroom of a museum,
that is, treating them with neglect, amounts to lack of respect and
dignity in treating the deceased. The office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi
of the U.S. House of Representatives, whose constituency is near UC
Berkeley, told the Chronicle that Pelosi "has grave concerns about
this issue."

"These are so-called skeletons in the closet," the office of state
Senator Gloria Romero said. "They are an affront to human dignity."
The office demanded an apology to Japan and the return of the

The Chronicle points out that it was not uncommon for U.S. soldiers
to bring home the remains of Japanese soldiers and other war dead as
souvenirs during World War II. The paper suggests that this might
have violated the Geneva Conventions, which call for the protection
of the war dead.

"It has not been determined that they are indeed remains of Japanese
persons or whether they are soldiers or civilians," responded UC
Berkeley. "We also do not have information on how they died." The
university added that the Geneva Conventions are international laws
pertaining to prisoners of war, so if the identity of the war dead
is unknown, there is no violation of the Conventions. However, the
university is taking this matter seriously and is in contact with
the U.S. government and other authorities.

The Japanese embassy in the United States has also shown interest in
this case. It is in contact with the Ministry of Health, Labor and
Welfare and other Japanese government offices to gather information
on this matter.

(4) Poll on general election

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
August 22, 2009

Questions & Answers
(T=total; M=male; F=female)

Q: Are you going to vote in the upcoming election for the House of

Yes 74 79 69
Probably yes 19 15 22
Probably no 2 2 3
No 1 1 1

Q: Which political party do you support?

TOKYO 00001959 004 OF 010

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 19 20 18
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 34 41 27
New Komeito (NK) 5 3 6
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3 3 3
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 1 1
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 1 1 0
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 1 2 1
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) 0 0 0
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 0 0
Other political parties 1 1 1
None 25 20 29

Q: Who do you think is more appropriate for prime minister, Prime
Minister Aso or DPJ President Hatoyama?

Prime Minister Aso 14 14 13
DPJ President Hatoyama 30 37 23
Neither 47 42 51

Q: Which party do you think is more competent to run the government,
the LDP or the DPJ?

LDP 37 38 36
DPJ 40 43 36

Q: What do you regard as most important in the general election for
the House of Representatives?

Economic policy measures 27 28 26
Pension, healthcare, nursing care 29 26 32
Childcare, education 14 9 18
Decentralization 2 2 1
Administrative reform 7 9 5
A change of government 10 14 7

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "0" indicates that
the figure was below 0.5%. "No answer" omitted.

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted jointly by the
Mainichi Shimbun and Japan News Network (JNN) on Aug. 19-20 over the
telephone across the nation on a computer-aided random digit
sampling (RDS) basis. Answers were obtained from 77,858 voters.

(5) Poll on Aso cabinet, political parties

YOMIURI (Page 6) (Abridged)
August 22, 2009

Questions & Answers
(Figures are percentages)

Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?

Yes 24.7
No 64.3
Other answers (O/A) 3.4
No answer (N/A) 7.6

TOKYO 00001959 005 OF 010

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 26.9
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 33.2
New Komeito (NK) 3.2
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.8
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.2
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.4
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 0.6
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) ---
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) ---
Other political parties 0.1
None 28.2
N/A 3.4

Q: Are you interested in the general election to be held on Aug. 30
for the House of Representatives?

Very interested 61.4
Somewhat interested 28.6
Not very interested 8.7
Not interested at all 1.1
N/A 0.2

Q: Which political party's candidate are you going to vote for in
the upcoming election for the House of Representatives in your
single-seat constituency?

LDP 24.8
DPJ 37.7
NK 3.7
JCP 2.7
SDP 1.8
PNP 0.5
YP 1.5
RC 0.1
NPN ---
Other political parties 0.4
Independent 2.2
Undecided 20.6
N/A 4.0

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

LDP 23.9
DPJ 40.4
NK 5.6
JCP 4.7
SDP 1.3
PNP 0.5
YP 1.8
RC ---
NPN 0.1
Other political parties 0.6
Undecided 16.3
N/A 4.7

Q: Which political party would you not like to see gain more seats.
If any, pick as many as you like from among those listed below.

TOKYO 00001959 006 OF 010

LDP 27.8
DPJ 10.2
NK 16.0
JCP 11.2
SDP 5.9
PNP 1.5
RC 0.9
NPN 0.9
Other political parties 3.9
None in particular 40.8
N/A 6.7

Q: Are you going to vote in the upcoming election for the House of

Yes, definitely (including early voting) 74.7
Yes, if possible 20.8
Probably not 2.4
No (abstain from voting) 1.4
N/A 0.7

Q: When comparing Prime Minister Aso and DPJ President Hatoyama, who
do you think is more appropriate to be prime minister?

Prime Minister Aso 26.8
DPJ President Hatoyama 46.3
N/A 26.8

Q: When comparing the LDP and the DPJ, which party do you think is
more competent to run the government?

LDP 44.6
DPJ 31.8
N/A 23.5

Q: What kind of government would you like to see after the upcoming
election for the House of Representatives?

LDP-led coalition government 16.2
DPJ-led coalition government 27.3
LDP-DPJ grand coalition government 24.1
Government under new framework through political realignment 24.9
O/A ---
N/A 7.6

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Aug. 18-20 across the
nation on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
Households with one or more eligible voters totaled 1,811. Valid
answers were obtained from 1,093 persons (59.7%).

(Note) In some cases, the total percentage does not add up to 100%
due to rounding.

(6) Comparison of LDP, DPJ manifestos on bureaucratic reform,
decentralization of power

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
August 25, 2009

Yuichi Suzuki, Shinya Yamada, political reporters

What is the picture of Japan's future being presented in the

TOKYO 00001959 007 OF 010

political parties' manifestos (campaign pledges) for the forthcoming
House of Representatives election where the voters will be choosing
an administration? The pledges of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on the relationship between
politicians and bureaucrats and that between the national and local
governments, two issues which bear on the "shape of the nation," are
examined here.

The administrative vice ministers' meeting, which has existed since
the Meiji era, has traditionally been the body in charge of prior
examination of matters to be taken up at the cabinet meetings.

The DPJ regards this vice ministers' meeting as the symbol of
bureaucratic control and proposes to abolish it. The party would
replace it with "ministers' committees" consisting of a small number
of ministers to serve as the venue of coordination among ministries
for important policies. Its manifesto also talks about creating a
new "national strategy bureau" reporting directly to the prime
minister. The outline of the budget will be drafted by the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) and will not be left in the
hands of the Ministry of Finance.

The Kasumigaseki reform proposals of the DPJ seek to limit the role
of bureaucrats in the process of formulation of and coordination for
policies, and transform the "bureaucratic cabinet system" since the
Meiji era into a "politician-led" system to conform to the
mainstream in the world.

Pitfalls of unified control

However, it is unclear to what extent the relationship between
politicians and bureaucrats will change under the DPJ-proposed
"politician-led" system.

The LDP administrations have followed the convention of
government-proposed bills going through prior examination by the
party's General Council and Policy Research Council under a dual
system of policymaking shared by the cabinet and the LDP. Cabinet
ministers tasked bureaucrats to coordinate with powerful party
members and zoku giin (Diet members lobbying for special interests),
and bureaucrats tended to protect the interests of their own
ministries by joining hands with the zoku giin.

The DPJ proposes to deal with this by amending the National
Government Organization Law and other legislation and to send some
100 ruling party Diet members to the ministries and the Kantei, in
order to unify policymaking under the cabinet. It has declared that
the party will be prohibited from interfering with policy decisions.
However, according to a former Ministry of Land, Infrastructure,
Transport, and Tourism official, many think that "if Deputy
President Ozawa and other powerful party officials do not join the
cabinet, a dual structure of power is very likely."

Many are also concerned that "if the ruling parties are integrated
too much with the government, checks and balances in the Diet and
legislative functions will become lax."

Reinforcing cabinet functions

Meanwhile, the LDP has worked on Kasumigaseki reform since the
"Hashimoto reforms" in the second half of the 1990s in order to
reinforce the cabinet's functions. It has taken such steps as

TOKYO 00001959 008 OF 010

increasing the number of assistants to the prime minister, the
creation of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy chaired by the
prime minister, and the introduction of the system of senior vice
ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Nevertheless, sectarian
thinking endures in the ministries.

In its manifesto, the LDP pledges to set up a national strategy
staff to assist the prime minister and realize the unified
management of appointments of senior civil servants. Unified
personnel management is meant to eliminate sectarianism.

Hideki Kato, a former Ministry of Finance bureaucrat and president
of "Japan Initiative," a policy research institute, points out that
"the reason why bureaucrats have come to hold power is because they
have been responsible for the tedious work of policy coordination,
such as negotiations and briefing stakeholders. If the politicians
do the coordination themselves and take responsibility for the
process, the bureaucrats will follow their leadership. The issue is
rather the politicians' capability."

The definition of the role of the national and local governments is
closely related to Kasumigaseki reform.

Since the Meiji era, Japan has concentrated power and revenues in
Kasumigaseki for the uniformed administration of the country. This
was effective in the process of modernization and postwar
reconstruction, but the involvement of the national government in
the minute details of the local governments' work has given rise to
complaints that local governments are unable to conduct
administration suitable to the local conditions at their own
discretion. The need to regularly petition Kasumigaseki to ask for
approval of projects is also a heavy burden on the local

The DPJ advocates a shift from the system of concentration of power
in the central government to a system of local autonomy. It proposes
abolishing local offices of the central ministries work in principle
and abolishing or reducing Tokyo's micro-regulation of local
governments' work through legislation after taking power.

The above have been long-time demands from the National Association
of Governors. The DPJ claims that combined with its unique proposal
to replace government subsidies with strict limits on usage with
lump sum grants local governments can use freely. "Kasumigaseki can
be reduced to half of its present size," said Koichiro Genba, chair
of the Research Committee on Decentralization of Power.

However, more than two-thirds of government subsidies are used for
social security and education. The LDP criticizes the DPJ's proposal
saying, "Lump sum grants will not increase revenues that can be used

The LDP's proposal for eliminating the concentration of power in the
central government is the introduction of the doshu (regional)
system, the centerpiece of its manifesto. It aims to reorganize the
prefectures into about 10 regions by 2017.

LDP proponents of this system explain that "most of the national
government's powers and revenues with regard to industrial
development, building of social infrastructure, and so forth will be
shifted to the states, and Kasumigaseki's role will be reduced to
such areas as foreign policy, defense, and the judiciary." The

TOKYO 00001959 009 OF 010

Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and the business sector
support the doshu system, but a strategy for persuading the
ministries to transfer powers and revenues in a bold fashion has not
been spelled out.

(7) Flurry of unprecedented budget requests: Deadline for submission
of requests on the 31st, but cabinet ministers busy campaigning for

YOMIURI (Page 11) (Abridged)
August 25, 2009

The day of the Lower House election, in which the main focus is
whether there will be a change in government, is drawing near.
Bureaucrats at Kasumigaseki (government office district) are busily
engaged in dealing with budget request guidelines for fiscal 2010,
with the August 31 deadline for submissions close at hand. The
budget compilation work is not making headway as in other years,
because ministry officials are unable to find time to brief their
ministers, who are busy with election campaigning. The Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ) plans to recompile the budget once it takes the
reins of government. Officials at various government offices are
concerned that if there is power transfer, they would have to do it
all over again.

Securing time for briefing to ministers

As Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kaneko is going on
stumping tours for the Lower House election all over the country, it
is difficult for ministry officials to secure time (for such a
meeting) with him, complained Vice Minister Taniguchi. In his view,
the only thing he can do is to visit the minister's constituency
after his campaign activities are over.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) plans to finish a
briefing to the minister before the end of the week. However, a
timetable for a ministerial meeting, where the ministry's views are
to be unified, has yet to be set. There is a possibility of the MHLW
minister being unable to attend the meeting. Adjustments of views
with the ruling parties, which many government offices undergo every
year, have not made headway sufficiently.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on the 20th
released the specifics of its budget requests. However, the reality
is, according to a senior official: "We released whatever was
available. The real race is yet to come.".

Possibility of budget compilation being put off until next year

At the start of the process of compiling a national budget, request
guidelines (ceilings) are set in late July. Government agencies then
exchange views with relevant sections and the ruling parties, after
which they submit funding requests to the Finance Minister by the
end of August. The Finance Ministry then screens their requests.
This work moves into high gear in September. A government plan is
then adopted in late December.

However, DPJ Policy Research Council Chairman Naoshima criticized
the budget request guidelines for fiscal 2010 as meaningless. The
party is aiming to substantively recompile the budget, by newly
setting up a national strategy bureau directly reporting to the
prime minister.

TOKYO 00001959 010 OF 010

It is viewed that if the budget request guidelines, which the
government has already adopted, are cancelled, there would be a
substantial delay in the budget compilation work. The mechanism of
the proposed national strategy bureau, which is viewed to be tasked
with deciding on the total amount of the budget and budgetary
frameworks for each government agency, has yet to be clarified. Some
Finance Ministry officials have pointed out the possibility of the
compilation of the budget being put off until the next year, with
one official saying, "There is concern that a substantial delay in
the launch of the budget compilation work may make it difficult to
complete the work before the end of the year."

(8) Police send U.S. serviceperson's case to prosecutor; marine may
become first serviceperson in prefecture to stand trial in a court
case presided by citizen judges

Ryukyu Shimpo (Page 31) (Full)
August 25, 2009

On the 24th the Naha Police Department sent to the public
prosecutor's office for robbery causing injury and possible
violation of the Swords and Firearms Control Law the case of an
18-year-old marine private first class (a minor) from the Makiminato
Service Area (Camp Kinser). The marine allegedly put a knife to the
neck of a taxi driver, cutting him, and stole his cash box. If the
Naha District Attorney indicts the marine, he will be the first U.S.
serviceperson to stand trial in a court case presided by citizen
judges in (Okinawa) Prefecture.

According to the Naha Police, the private first class made a full
confession, and the knife, money box, and other evidence were
confiscated during a house search. The prefectural police had
announced on the 6th the marine had been named a suspect.

The private first class is now incarcerated in a prison at Camp
Hansen and will be turned over to Japanese authorities after he is

The Naha Police reported that at 8:39 on the evening of the 1st the
private first class put a knife against the neck of a taxi driver
(58) while saying "money, money." He fled from the taxi with a bag
and money box holding the driver's cash and taxi revenue. The
driver suffered a cut requiring five days to heal.

The money box and bag contained about 60,000 yen and 100 U.S.


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