Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/15/09

DE RUEHKO #2141/01 2582124
P 152124Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Aso to Hatoyama: I hope you will not lead Japan in wrong
direction (Yomiuri)

(2) Aso cabinet to come to end tomorrow after 358 days in office

(3) Administrative vice ministerial meetings put to an end; New
government intends to abolish 120-year-old practice (Asahi)

(4) Repercussions of 25 percent cut in CO2 emissions (Nikkei)

(5) Defense Ministry requests additional PAC-3 missiles;
Bureaucrat-led decision-making still evident (Tokyo Shimbun)

(6) DPJ, Foreign Ministry moving closer to each other over
relationship with U.S. and secret pact (Mainichi)


(1) Aso to Hatoyama: I hope you will not lead Japan in wrong

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
September 15, 2009

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Yukio Hatoyama met
yesterday in the Diet with Prime Minister Taro Aso to ensure a
smooth handover of power.

Hatoyama expressed his gratitude for the present cabinet's provision
of information. He then told Aso: "If there are matters I should in
particular continue, I wish you would tell me. I would like you to
give me guidance and advice as a former prime minister even after
the new administration is launched."

Citing the international situation, international finance, and
security, Aso responded, "I hope you will think carefully about how
Japan should be and will not lead the country in the wrong
direction." Hatoyama requested the meeting. Chief Cabinet Secretary
Takeo Kawamura and Hirofumi Hirano, director of the DPJ executive
office, attended the session.

(2) Aso cabinet to come to end tomorrow after 358 days in office

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 15, 2009

The cabinet led by Prime Minister Taro Aso will resign en masse
tomorrow morning after 358 days in office. A year has passed since
major U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed
on Sept. 15 of last year. The Aso administration, which excessively
focused its attention on efforts to buoy up the faltering economy,
set aside an aggressive posture in managing Diet affairs and
eventually missed many good chances to dissolve the House of
Representatives. Although signs of economic recovery are finally
appearing, the Liberal Democratic Party will go into opposition for
the first time since 1993 and 1994 as a result of its crushing
defeat in the latest Lower House election. The party has not even
prepared a strategy to return to power, either.

TOKYO 00002141 002 OF 009

Prime Minister Aso tried to dissolve the Lower House immediately
after coming into office, when the support rate for his cabinet
remained high. But he decided to put it off in the belief that if he
came up with large-scale economic stimulus measures, his cabinet
might garner more public support. This decision was his most serious
mistake. While delaying the timing for Diet dissolution, Aso
repeatedly made slips of the tongue, losing empathy from voters.

Aso gave "priority to policy implementation over political
point-scoring." As a result, he failed to come up with tactics to
raise his dismal public support. At a time when Ichiro Ozawa
resigned as Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) president over alleged
illegal political donations to his fund-managing organization from
Nishimatsu Construction Co., Aso was pouring his energy into efforts
to perk up the economy. Just before dissolving the Lower House, the
Aso administration had considered the possibility of replacing party
executives, but he also dropped this idea.

Some members in the LDP, which had enjoyed high public support since
the Koizumi administration, were upset at the nosedive in public
support for the Aso cabinet. They began maneuvering to replace Aso,
but their moves resulted in revealing a lack of party unity and in
prompting voters to leave the LDP.

The Aso administration came up with economic stimulus measures that
required large-scale government spending. Ironically, such measures
have finally begun to produce positive results. The nation's gross
domestic product (GDP) in the April-June period grew for the first
time in five quarters. His aides often heard Aso grumble during
campaigning for the Lower House election: "It is regrettable that we
have to hand over the reins of government at a time when the economy
is about to turn around."

When Ocean Policy Research Foundation Chairman Masahiro Akiyama
visited the Prime Minister's Official Residence on Sept. 9, Aso told
him, "If we had dissolved the Lower House last fall, we would not
have experienced this serious defeat in the Lower House, but in such
a case, we would not have been able to come up with the economic
stimulus measures we have worked out." He thus indicated his pride
that his economic measures will be highly evaluated in the future,
instead of expressing his regret over the LDP's defeat in the

Even so, the LDP paid too much for that. When the party became an
opposition party in 1993, the party was able to regain political
power only in 10 months. But such a situation is unlikely to occur
this time. In 1993, the LDP was the dominant party in the Lower
House, but it is now the second largest. Within the party, there is
no politician who can hammer out a strategy for the party to regain
political power.

Short-lived cabinets under the current Constitution

1 Tsutomu Hata 64 days
2 Tanzan Ishibashi 65
3 Sosuke Uno 69
4 Hitoshi Ashida 220
5 Morihiro Hosokawa 263
6 Tetsu Katayama 292
7 Taro Aso 358
8 Yasuo Fukuda 365
9 Shinzo Abe 366

TOKYO 00002141 003 OF 009

10 Yoshiro Mori 387

(3) Administrative vice ministerial meetings put to an end; New
government intends to abolish 120-year-old practice

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 15, 2009

Administrative vice ministers held their last regular meeting
yesterday at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei). The
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which has advocated "elimination of
bureaucratic influence," plans to abolish the practice that was
introduced more than 120 years ago.

The top bureaucrat at each ministry and agency met regularly twice a
week the day before a cabinet meeting for prior coordination on such
issues as bills, government ordinances, and appointments that were
submitted at cabinet meetings. It is believed that the vice
ministerial meetings have been held since around 1886 although the
practice is not stipulated in any law. Considering the practice to
be a factor that prevents politically-led decision-making, the DPJ
intends to abolish it and have the planned cabinet ministerial
committee carry out policy coordination.

At yesterday's meeting, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Iwao Uruma
said, "I think (the next government) will fumble along and repeat
one trial and error after another. I want them to give considerable
thought to creating a system under which cabinet meetings work

Uruma said at a press conference: "There must be a method in which
politicians carry out policy coordination. I think it is also
important that policies are decided based on such policy
coordination." Vice Finance Minister Yasutake Tango at a press
meeting stated, "Even if the vice ministerial conferences are
abolished, policy coordination among ministries will be necessary."
Vice Environment Minister Hikaru Kobayashi told reporters, "I felt
deeply moved as I took part in the final meeting."

Following the abolition of the vice ministerial conferences, press
briefings by vice ministers will likely be discontinued in
principle. Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Harufumi
Mochizuki said: "Press conferences are important to increase
transparency of the government. (If they are abolished) the level of
transparency will be lowered."

(4) Repercussions of 25 percent cut in CO2 emissions

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
September 15, 2009

Yoichi Kaya, deputy executive director of Research Institute of
Innovative Technology for the Earth

The incoming administration led by the Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) has come up with a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by
25 percent by 2020 from the 1990 level, a target that is stricter
than the previous target. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun asked experts
about what impact the new goal will have on burdens shouldered by
household budgets, companies and international negotiations.

-- What is your view on the reduction target set by the new

TOKYO 00002141 004 OF 009


"It would be very difficult to meet such a target. In my view, the
maximum cut that could be achieved by purely domestic efforts would
be 15 percent in comparison with the 2005 level, which the present
administration advocates. The DPJ appears to be taking into account
carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption of forests and purchases of CO2
emissions credits from abroad. However, emissions cuts achieved by
such efforts would be about 10 percent at the most.

"The present administration adopted the goal of cutting emissions by
15 percent compared with the 2005 level, based on the prime
minister's decision reached after the mid-term goal review committee
pursued discussions. It is unreasonable for the new administration
to totally disregard the goal adopted by the previous
administration. If the next administration wants to change the goal
set by the present one, it should do so, after making a proper
review of it once the new administration is inaugurated."

-- The DPJ is taking a positive stance on introducing a domestic
emissions trading system and a tax designed to curb global warming
(environment tax).

"I think it is impossible to expect emissions trading to reduce
domestic emissions. Since industry circles are already grappling
with emissions cuts, based on voluntary action programs, there will
be few companies that have room to sell emissions quotas. In the
end, emissions credits will have to be purchased from abroad.

"If emissions are to be reduced with the introduction of an
environment tax, the rate will have to be set rather high. If a rate
exceeding the present gas tax is set, it would be impossible to
obtain support from the people. The remaining portion would have to
be achieved through the establishment of regulations, including
mandating consumers to purchase cars with a certain level of fuel
efficiency when they purchase cars."

-- What sort of impact will this have on companies and household

"According to an estimate based on a 25-percent-cut goal, steel and
cement manufacturers will be forced to curb production by about 20
percent. Consumers will not accept such a burden for the sake of
curbing global warming. Another way would be for companies to
transfer their production bases abroad or purchase emissions credits
from abroad. However, neither way is desirable.

"Obviously, household budgets will also be affected greatly.
Provided that energy consumption is to be curbed with the
introduction of the environment tax in order to cut emissions by 25
percent, utility expenses will increase roughly 60 percent (in terms
of tax burden). Consumers will not accept such a burden for the sake
of curbing global warming."

-- There is a view that expanded reductions will prompt economic
revitalization and technological innovation.

"Basically, it is impossible to make economic revitalization and CO2
emissions compatible. If the economy turns around, CO2 emissions
will increase. Based on past cases, emissions decrease only when the
economy experiences negative growth.

TOKYO 00002141 005 OF 009

"Concerning technological innovation, technologies that could lead
to substantial emissions cut, such as reducing iron ore, using
hydrogen in the iron-making process, cannot be put to practical use
in ten year's time. What can be done in the next 10 years will be no
more than the dissemination of hybrid cars and the promotion of
energy-conserving home electronic appliances, and such measures are
limited in what they can achieve."

-- Some have pointed out that European countries will highly praise
the 25 percent cut proposed by Japan as contributing to the
prevention of global warming.

"Setting a high goal without giving a thought to its feasibility is
a pie in the sky. The Social Democratic Party (SDP), which will
become the DPJ's coalition partner, is negative toward nuclear power
generation. There is a possibility that it will oppose the
construction of additional nuclear power plants. It is not pragmatic
to try to realize such a lofty goal without promoting nuclear power

(5) Defense Ministry requests additional PAC-3 missiles;
Bureaucrat-led decision-making still evident

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 27) (Abridged slightly)
September 15, 2009

The Defense Ministry has presented a budget request for fiscal 2010
that is 3 percent greater than its budget for the previous year. It
has become clear that ministry has decided under the leadership of
its internal bureaus, or civilian officials, to deploy additional
PAC-3 ground-to-air missiles for a ballistic missile defense (MD)
system, saying that even the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will
support the step. Bureaucrats played a central role in deciding to
introduce the MD system in the first place. (The additional PAC-3
deployment plan) has exposed the die-hard nature of the Defense

The Defense Ministry's budget is compiled by the Ground, Maritime,
and Air Staff Offices that are referred to as officers in uniform.
The budget is then approved by the internal bureaus, such as the
Minister's Secretariat and the Defense Policy Bureau. Overriding the
reluctance of the Air Staff Office, the internal bureaus
successfully earmarked 94.4 billion yen for the additional
deployment of PAC-3s.

According to a source connected with the internal bureaus, some DPJ
lawmakers called for the deployment of PAC-3s to local areas in the
wake of North Korea's launch of a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile in
April this year.

A sheet attached to the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG)
for fiscal 2005 and beyond, adopted by the cabinet in December 2004,
stipulates that PAC-3 missiles are to be deployed at three key
air-defense missile groups.

There are six air-defense missile groups in Japan for intercepting
aircrafts intruding into Japan's airspace. Currently PAC-3 batteries
to deal with (incoming) ballistic missiles are deployed at three
air-defense missile groups -- one each in Saitama, Gifu, and Fukuoka
prefectures. The additional PAC-3 missiles will be deployed at
air-defense missile groups in Hokkaido, Aomori, and Okinawa. This
will force the government to revise the NDPG. The DPJ, however,

TOKYO 00002141 006 OF 009

intends to postpone the revision of the NDPG, planned for December
this year.

A person concerned thinks the DPJ will accept a partial revision,
while a senior officer in uniform thinks the ministry should
correctly sense the mood (of the DPJ). The DPJ has declared that it
will shift power away from bureaucrats. Things might not go as the
Defense Ministry hopes.

To begin with, the introduction of the MD system was decided under
the leadership of bureaucrats. Then Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa
Moriya (who has appealed against the ruling that found him guilty of
taking bribes) convinced the Liberal Democratic Party, maintaining,
"The United States has invested 10 trillion yen in the development
of the system. It is natural for Japan to support it as its ally."
In December 2003, the cabinet decided to introduce the system.

Japan has the two-stage MD system, under which a ballistic missile
fired against Japan is first targeted by the Aegis destroyer-based
Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) and if that first-stage defense fails, a
ground-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile will be
launched to shoot down the incoming missile. The Defense Ministry
has spent some 850 million yen for the acquisition of the system
from the United States.

(6) DPJ, Foreign Ministry moving closer to each other over
relationship with U.S. and secret pact

MAINICHI (Pages 1 and 3) (Abridged slightly)
September 13, 2009

In tripartite talks to launch a coalition government, the Democratic
Party of Japan especially struggled to fashion language to address
the Social Democratic Party's (SDP) demands without tying its own
hands regarding its relationship with the United States.

The DPJ used to share the SDP's calls for moving the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture) out of
the prefecture, revising the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA), and the termination of the refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean. However, in its manifesto (campaign pledges) for the Aug. 30
Lower House election, the DPJ used softer language, saying the DPJ
"will propose the revision of the SOFA and move in the direction of
reexamining the role of U.S. military bases in Japan." The coalition
agreement reached on Sept. 9 also adhered to that policy course.

Regarding the relocation site for Futenma Air Station, DPJ President
Yukio Hatoyama made the following comment in Okinawa City on July
19, before the Lower House election: "We must take action for at
least moving (Futenma Air Station) out of Okinawa." But after the
election, Hatoyama's comments became ambiguous, as seen in his
statement on Sept. 3: "It is difficult to reach a quick conclusion
on this issue. There is a need to review the matter comprehensively
while building a relationship of trust with President Obama."

A meeting on Aug. 12 seemed to be a turning point.

That evening at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo's Aoyama district DPJ
President Hatoyama, Deputy President Naoto Kan, Lower House lawmaker
Takashi Shinohara (a former agricultural ministry official), and
Lower House lawmaker Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi (a former foreign ministry
official) met with such top Foreign Ministry officials as

TOKYO 00002141 007 OF 009

Administrative Vice-Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Foreign
Minister Kenichiro Sasae, Deputy Vice-Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai,
Foreign Policy Bureau Director-General Koro Bessho, and
International Legal Affairs Bureau Director-General Koji Tsuruoka.

With a change of government in sight, the meeting was arranged by
Shinohara at Kan's behest. Their discussion mostly centered on
Japan-U.S. relations. There were reportedly heated debates on such
issues as the realignment of U.S. forces, the (Maritime)
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission, and the purported secret
nuclear pact. After the meeting, most of the members remained
tight-lipped, with one saying, "We discussed a variety of topics,
but I cannot reveal what they are at this point." Another indicated,
however, "Mr. Kan said (the DPJ) will address the issue of the
secret pact after the election."

Days before, on Aug. 9, Secretary General Okada's secretary and the
DPJ's Policy Research Committee department chief secretly left for
the United States and spent about a week in Washington, D.C. During
their stay in Washington, the two held talks with such senior U.S.
officials as Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, State
Department Office of Japanese Affairs Director Kevin Maher, and
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Schiffer. The two
reportedly conveyed on behalf of DPJ President Hatoyama the message
that the DPJ administration will continue attaching importance to
the U.S.-Japan alliance.

The Foreign Ministry, too, began shifting (its position) after the
assumption of power by the DPJ became a certainty. Vice-Minister
Yabunaka, who had denied the existence of the secret nuclear
agreement, altered his view in a press conference on Aug. 24. "I
understand that there were all sorts of stories told in the past,"
he said. On Aug. 31, the day after the general election, Yabunaka
paved the way for the future disclosure of the pact. "We will take
necessary measures in accordance with instructions from the new

With the change of government near at hand, the DPJ and the Foreign
Ministry, which now share (an understanding) of the diplomatic
secret, have drawn closer. The planned relocation of Futenma Air
Station will be the first test for DPJ diplomacy.

Futenma plan to face turning point on Oct. 13

The Futenma relocation plan faces a turning point on Oct. 13. Japan
and the United States are in accord on building a Futenma
replacement facility on the coastal area of Camp Schwab in the
Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. By that day the Okinawa
governor is scheduled to present his views on preparatory documents
for an environmental impact assessment conducted by the Defense

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who won office with the support of the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito, was expected to
endorse the Henoko plan on the condition that the proposed
relocation site is moved anywhere from dozens of meters to several
hundred meters out to sea.

Meanwhile, the DPJ is opposed to relocating the base within

On Sept. 1, two days after the election, at the prefectural

TOKYO 00002141 008 OF 009

government office DPJ Okinawa chapter representative Shokichi Kina
pressed Governor Nakaima for a change of policy. "The Henoko plan is
a result of the compromise Okinawa made to get back Futenma Air
Station," he said. "There is no need for Okinawa to bear such a
cross. This is a good chance to eliminate the compromise."

"It would be best to move the base out of Okinawa," the governor
said in response. "I want to hear the views of the inner circle of
the party." If the governor endorses (the Henoko plan), that might
cause tension with the (new) government.

In April 1996 the U.S. and Japanese governments for the first time
reached an agreement on the complete reversion of Futenma Air
Station on the condition of building a replacement facility in the
prefecture. Although then Governor Keiichi Inamine approved a plan
to relocate the base off Henoko in Nago, the plan stalled on account
of the anti-base movement and other factors. In October 2005 Tokyo
and Washington again reached an agreement to build a replacement
facility in the coastal area of Camp Schwab as part of the
realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. The U.S. force realignment plan
specifies steps to reduce the burden on Okinawa, such as the
relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam and the return
of six bases south of Kadena Air Base. These are all predicated on
the relocation of Futenma Air Station, however.

The DPJ has yet to forge an intraparty consensus on the issue. In
July 2008, the DPJ formulated what is called the DPJ Okinawa Vision
stipulating a plan to move Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa. Many
party members criticized it as impractical, and the party left it
out of its manifesto for the previous Lower House election.

Meanwhile, Shu Watanabe, Akihisa Nagashima, and other DPJ lawmakers
launched a Futenma issue study group in March. On July 16, the group
presented Secretary General Okada with a report calling for (1) the
relocation of U.S. Marines from Futenma Air Station to Kadena Air
Base; and (2) U.S. Marines to conduct their flight training at the
civilian-pilot training airport on Shimojishima island (in Miyako
City) 300 kilometers southwest of Okinawa's main island. The report
differs from the prefectural chapter's call for moving Futenma to a
place outside Okinawa. It is also designed to forgo the Camp Schwab
relocation plan. "There is a huge gap between the DPJ's vision and
the United States' assertion," Watanabe said. "A proposal to discuss
the option of moving the base out of Okinawa will not help resume
the talks with the United States. We think that pragmatic and
concrete proposals are necessary to induce the United States to sit
down at the negotiating table."

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly remarked concerning the DPJ
administration's unclear foreign policy, "The United States will not
renegotiate with the Japanese government on the Futenma relocation
plan." A Foreign Ministry official who is aware of the mood at the
U.S. government commented apprehensively, "If the DPJ revives the
option of relocating Futenma within the prefecture, the Guam
relocation plan, too, might hit a snag, and that might eventually
return the roadmap on U.S. force realignment to square one."

Japan's contribution to Afghanistan raises questions

Yudai Nakazawa, Keiichi Shirato, Yasushi Sengoku, and Teruhisa
Mitsumori; Yoso Furumoto, Washington

The MSDF's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean is also likely to

TOKYO 00002141 009 OF 009

test the DPJ's "pragmatic policy." President Hatoyama has announced
that he will allow the MSDF to continue its refueling mission until
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law authorizing it expires (on
January 2010) but will not extend it beyond that date. Whether or
not the DPJ will devise a fresh contribution measure to replace the
MSDF refueling mission is drawing much attention at home and

The Obama administration has called for the refueling mission to
continue. In a press conference on Sept. 9, U.S. Department of
Defense spokesman Geoff Morrell urged the DPJ to reconsider its
plan, saying, "We would very much encourage them to continue those
efforts. Japan is a great power and has an international

The DPJ in the past presented a bill to carry out humanitarian
assistance in Afghanistan, but it was criticized even within the
party as impractical. The United States is highly alarmed about the
prospect of Japan's walking away from the international coalition
against terrorism. In reaction to Morrell's statement, Japanese
Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki expressed a sense of
displeasure in a press conference on Sept. 10, saying: "(Assistance
to Afghanistan) is something that the Japanese government should
consider when a new administration is launched. It is up to Japan to
decide." Japan, however, does not have any specific plans.

Some in the Foreign Ministry have begun indicating a willingness to
accept gaps between what the DPJ advocated when it was an opposition
party and what it will advocate after taking power.

On Sept. 2, a symposium was held at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS). The event to discuss the Japanese
elections drew an audience of several hundred, showing the United
States' high level of interest in Japan's Democratic Party of

The event was hosted by CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer. Assistant
Secretary of State for Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, one
of the panelists, said: "The truth is that U.S.-Japan relations have
faced challenges over decades, we've surmounted them, we have worked
closely together, and I think we have a lot of confidence that we'll
be able to do that over the course of the next several months. The
watch words are patience, commitment and solidarity." The word
"patience" means to be ready for confusion at the early stage of the
DPJ administration.

A symposium was also held the day before at Johns Hopkins School of
Advanced International Studies. In the session, Professor Rust
Deming, a former U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Japan, said,
"Although the DPJ advocates an equal U.S.-Japan relationship, what
it specifically means remains unclear. If it carries a negative
connotation of U.S. control, we must be on alert." The high level of
interest in the DPJ administration underscores that the DPJ is
little known.

The Sept. 14, 2009, issue indicated the article "DPJ to adopt policy
of protecting agriculture" appeared in the same day's Sankei. The
article appeared on Sept. 12.


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