Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/18/09

DE RUEHKO #2184/01 2610239
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E.O. 12958: N/A


1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

Opinion polls
4) Asahi: 71 PERCENT approve of Hatoyama cabinet; rating is tied
for second highest in history (Asahi)
5) Nikkei: 75 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet (Nikkei)
6) Kyodo: 72 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet; largest number of
respondents cite hopes for political reform (Tokyo Shimbun)
7) Mainichi: 77 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet (Mainichi)
8) Yomiuri: 75 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet; 49 PERCENT give
coalition high marks (Yomiuri)

Foreign Relations
9) Prime Minister eager for progress in Northern Territories issue
10) Daniel Okimoto, adviser to U.S. Ambassador, calls for building a
practical friendship between Japan and U.S. (Asahi)

Futenma Relocation
11) Defense Minister to ask Okinawa Governor's opinion about Futenma
relocation issue (Yomiuri)
12) Defense Minister Kitazawa: Difficult to relocate Futenma
facility outside Okinawa (Asahi)
13) Foreign Minister Okada: A decision on Futenma will be made this
year (Sankei)
14) Pentagon planning shorter Futenma replacement runway (Yomiuri)

Defense & Security
15) U.S. Defense Secretary to visit Japan on Oct. 20 (Yomiuri)
16) Okada aims for redefinition of Japan-U.S. alliance by next
summer's Upper House election (Tokyo Shimbun)
17) Defense Minister Kitazawa indicates he does not recognize the
right to collective self-defense (Tokyo Shimbun)

Refueling Mission
18) Defense Minister says refueling mission gets low marks (Nikkei)

19) Defense Minister: "Refueling mission will not be extended"
20) U.S. prepared to accept end of refueling mission on condition
Japan increases aid to Afghanistan (Mainichi)

21) METI Minister shows a willingness to reduce emissions 25 PERCENT
below the1990 level (Mainichi)



Infrastructure minister reveals plan to review 143 dam projects

Public approval rating for Hatoyama cabinet reaches 77 percent
according to Mainichi poll


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Support rate for Hatoyama cabinet at 75 percent in Yomiuri poll

Government to look into reorganizing public medical insurance system
into regional insurance systems, scrapping medical service system
for elderly people aged 75 or older

New administration to reform Japanese systems: Ability to implement
policy measures to be put to test

Tokyo Shimbun:
State strategy office will not be involved in recompilation of
supplementary budget adopted during Aso cabinet

Foreign minister orders investigation into Japan-U.S. secret pacts


(1) New administration should demonstrate competence in implementing
its policy of discontinuing Yamba Dam construction
(2) Climate change summit: Environmental diplomacy that will
influence world urged

(1) Investigation into Japan-U.S. secret pacts: Take advantage of
change in government
(2) Challenges to Hatoyama administration: Budget fund reallocations
should be carried out boldly and speedily

(1) Ban on vice ministerial press conferences: Hasn't the DPJ got
the wrong idea about politician-led politics?
(2) Falling land prices: Implement policy to halt plunge

(1) Mr. Kamei, please consider extending financial assistance to
companies in a cool-headed manner
(2) Continue tax breaks, taking falling land prices into account

(1) Ban on vice ministerial press conferences: Concern over
information control
(2) Foreign minister's statement of nuclear weapons shows he lacks
perception of reality

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Ban on vice ministerial press conferences: Do not stop
information disclosure
(2) Unidentified pension accounts: Municipalities should cooperate
to resolve issue

(1) Number of children waiting to be admitted to day care centers
reaches 25,000: Take full-fledged measures to settle issue

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, September 17

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NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 18, 2009

09:31 Met with Japanese Trade Union Confederation President Tsuyoshi
Takagi and others at the Kantei. Health, Labor and Welfare Minister
Nagatsuma and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano were also present at
the meeting.
12:04 Met deputy chief cabinet secretaries Matsuno and Matsui, and
13:08 Met Hirano and Lower House member Ritsuo Hosokawa.
15:44 Met Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.
16:15 Met Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka.
17:00 Held a telephone conversation with Russian President
17:33 Met State Minister for National Strategy Bureau Kan, Finance
Minister Fujii, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano, and State Minister
for Administrative Reform Council Sengoku. Kan, Fujii, and Sengoku
stayed behind.
18:10 Met Sengoku.
20:30 Arrived at his private residence in Denenchofu.
21:06 Dined with his wife at a sushi restaurant in Jiyugaoka.
22:31 Arrived his private residence.

4) Poll: 71 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 18, 2009

The public approval rating for Prime Minister Hatoyama's cabinet
reached 71 PERCENT in a telephone-based spot nationwide public
opinion survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in the wake of the
administration's inauguration. The disapproval rating was 14 PERCENT
. The Hatoyama cabinet's approval rating upon its debut - though
below the inaugural 78 PERCENT rating for the Koizumi cabinet (in
April 2001) - ranked second among its predecessors, paralleling the
71 PERCENT rating for the Hosokawa cabinet upon its inauguration
(in a face-to-face poll conducted in September 1993) that came into
office as a non-Liberal Democratic Party government.

In response to a question in the survey about Japan-U.S. relations,
71 PERCENT of respondents answered that Japan-U.S. relations would
"remain unchanged," with 14 PERCENT saying that relations between
the two countries would "worsen." Concern over the negative impact
of Prime Minister Hatoyama advocating building "an equal
relationship between Japan and the United States" does not seem to
have spread among the public.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the
Democratic Party of Japan stood at 46 PERCENT , with the LDP at 15
PERCENT . The DPJ's support rate hit an all-time high, way above the
39 PERCENT rating in the last survey conducted Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
It topped even the LDP's one-time record high of 43 PERCENT , which
was marked in September 2005 when the Koizumi cabinet was in office,
and is on a par with the LDP's support rate between the 1980s and
the early 1990s when the LDP's single-party government was in
office. The LDP's support rate hit its lowest level since its
founding in 1955.

5) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet's support rate at 75 PERCENT

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 18, 2009

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In the wake of the Hatoyama cabinet's inauguration, the Nihon Keizai
Shimbun and TV Tokyo jointly conducted a spot public opinion survey
on Sept. 16-17. In the survey, the public approval rating for Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama's cabinet reached 75 PERCENT . This rating
for the Hatoyama cabinet is the second highest inaugural rating,
ranking second to the Koizumi cabinet's 80 PERCENT rating upon its
inauguration in April 2001. The disapproval rating was 17 PERCENT .
The rate of public support for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
reached an all-time high of 58 PERCENT .The figure shows the
public's high expectations for the DPJ, which has upheld such
campaign slogans as "breaking away from the bureaucracy's lead." The
Liberal Democratic Party's support rate plummeted from 29 PERCENT
in August to 22 PERCENT .

6) Poll: 72 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet

TOKYO SHIMBUM (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 18, 2009

The public approval rating for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his
cabinet, which made its debut on Sept. 16, reached 72.0 PERCENT in
a telephone-based spot nationwide public opinion survey conducted by
Kyodo News on Sept. 16-17, the third highest inaugural rating next
to the Koizumi and Hosokawa cabinets since the Miyazawa cabinet.
Meanwhile, the rate of public support for the Democratic Party of
Japan also rose 6.5 points from the last poll and hit an all-time
high of 47.6 PERCENT . The disapproval rating was 13.1 PERCENT .

7) Poll: 77 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 18, 2009

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a spot nationwide public opinion
survey on Sept. 16-17 in the wake of the Hatoyama cabinet's
inauguration. The Hatoyama cabinet's support rate was 77 PERCENT
upon its debut. Its inaugural rating is the second highest, ranking
next to the Koizumi cabinet's 85 PERCENT rating in April 2001. It
topped even the 75 PERCENT rating for the Hosokawa cabinet in
August 1993, which came into office as a non-Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) government. The rate of public support for the
now-ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) also hit an all-time high
of 45 PERCENT , up 6 points from the last survey conducted Aug.
26-27 before the Aug. 30 general election for the House of
Representatives. Meanwhile, the LDP dropped to an all-time low of 12
PERCENT , down 8 points from the last survey.

8) Poll: 75 PERCENT support Hatoyama cabinet

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)
September 18, 2009

Following the Hatoyama cabinet's inauguration, the Yomiuri Shimbun
conducted a telephone-based spot public opinion survey across the
nation from the evening of Sept. 16 through Sept. 17. The new
cabinet's support rate reached 75 PERCENT , with its nonsupport rate
at 17 PERCENT . This rating for the Hatoyama cabinet is the second
highest inaugural rating (since the Ohira cabinet that came into
office in 1978), ranking second to the 87 PERCENT for the Koizumi
cabinet. Among reasons given for supporting the Hatoyama cabinet,
"something can be expected of its policy measures" accounted for 29

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PERCENT , "because it's a non- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
government" at 25 PERCENT , and "it's going to make policy decisions
under its political initiative" at 24 PERCENT . The public's
expectations for a switchover from the LDP's politics seem to have
led to the high approval rating.

The public's expectations for change appeared in the popularity
ratings for political parties as well. The now-ruling Democratic
Party of Japan scored an all-time high of 51 PERCENT , up 4 points
from 47 PERCENT in the last survey conducted from Aug. 31 through
Sept. 1, right after the Aug. 30 general election for the House of
Representatives. Support for the LDP fell from 24 PERCENT in the
last survey to 19 PERCENT .

9) Prime Minister Hatoyama eager for progress in Northern
Territories issue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 18, 2009

Yesterday Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama held with Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev a telephone conversation in which the two leaders
agreed to hold their first meeting when they visit the United States
to attend the United Nations General Assembly in late September and
other international conferences. Responding to questions by
reporters, Hatoyama said, "It is impossible to realize progress in
the territorial issues in the absence of a relationship of trust
(between us)," expressing his willingness to build a relationship of
mutual trust with the Russian leader to achieve early progress on
the territorial issue.

Medvedev telephoned Hatoyama. It was Hatoyama's first teleconference
with a top foreign leader since he took office.

10) Advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Japan delivers speech: Urges
development of friendly working relationship with U.S.

ASAHI (Page 11) (Excerpts)
September 18, 2009

Daniel Okimoto, professor emeritus at Stanford University, who is
known as an advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos on Japan
policy, on September 17 gave a speech in Tokyo. Referring to the
launch of the new Hatoyama administration, the professor stressed
the importance of the alliance relationship between Japan and the
U.S. He then urged Prime Minister Hatoyama to build a personal
relationship of trust with the U.S. leader, saying, "President Obama
has an enormous influence on the world. It is essential for the
prime minister to build a friendly working relationship with him."

Okimoto delivered the speech at a lecture meeting titled, "The Obama
administration and Japan-U.S. relations," hosted by the Asahi
Shimbun. In his speech, he pointed out that while the power of the
U.S. has been weakened because of the financial crisis last year,
new powers such as China and India have emerged. He then stressed
the need for Japan and the U.S., which share common problems such as
massive fiscal deficits and high unemployment rates, to cooperate.

Okimoto also pointed out that it is important for the two countries
to continue to cooperate on such issues as measures to curb global
warming and stabilize the financial system. Concerning such fields
as medical services, health care areas, and clean technology, the

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professor said that this a good opportunity for Japan and the U.S.
to create a constructive relationship.

11) Defense minister to hear Okinawa governor's views on Futenma

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 18, 2009

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa revealed at a press conference
yesterday afternoon that he intends to visit Okinawa in late
September to hear the views of the Okinawa governor and other
officials on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station (Ginowan City).

12) Defense Minister Kitazawa: Relocating Futenma Air Station
outside Okinawa will be difficult

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 18, 2009

In a press conference yesterday, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa
said: "It will be considerably difficult to transfer the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa outside the prefecture or
outside the nation." The Democratic Party of Japan proposed
relocating the Futenma facility outside Okinawa in its report,
"Okinawa vision," released in 2008. He then revealed his plan to
visit Okinawa possibly later this month to hear the views of
concerned local residents and communities.

Kitazawa also indicated his intention of continuing the government's
environmental impact assessment of the candidate construction site
for the Futenma replacement facility. Regarding the expenses
included in the Defense Ministry's fiscal 2010 budget request for
transferring U.S. Marines in Okinawa to Guam, as well, Kitazawa took
a negative view about the proposed freezing of the current U.S.
forces realignment plan. He said, "Considering the importance of
continuity in foreign policy and of the Japan-U.S. security
alliance, as well as the need to run the administration in a
practical way, I would like to discuss the issue with other relevant
cabinet ministers." Furthermore, he indicated his intention to have
Maritime Self-Defense Force troops' activities continue to combat
pirates in waters off Somalia for the time being, saying: "The
international community has evaluated the activities highly, so I
would like to watch the situation for a while."

13) Okada indicates hopes of reaching conclusion by year's end on
Futenma issue, discussing with U.S. "no-first-use of nuclear

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
September 19, 2009

In an interview with the media, including the Sankei Shimbun,
yesterday, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada indicated his hope of
reaching a conclusion on whether or not to review the plan agreed on
between Japan and the U.S. on realignment of U.S. forces in Japan,
including the planned transfer of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station in Okinawa. He said: "Once the environmental impact
assessment is completed, it will become necessary to create a budget
for the plan. This means that the government should make a decision
by the end of the year."

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Okada also indicated that the government would start discussing a
redefinition of the Japan-U.S. security arrangements if Futenma and
other issues outstanding between Japan and the U.S. are settled. He
said: "This idea is based on the assumption that various issues are
resolved. I hope that (Japan and the U.S.) will be able to set a
certain direction to establish a relationship of trust." Next year
marks the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S.
Security Treaty.

On whether to call on the U.S. to adopt a policy of no-first-use of
nuclear weapons, Okada made this comment:

"The idea of launching a preemptive attack with inhumane weapons is
beyond my comprehension. It is also beyond my understanding that the
same person (who condones this idea) is calling for abolishing
nuclear weapons and arms reduction. I would like to listen to the
opinions of the administrative officials concerned and discuss the
issue with them."

14) Pentagon plans to shorten the Futenma replacement runways by 380

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 18, 2009

Satoshi Ogawa, Washington

It has become clear that the U.S. Department of Defense has begun
coordination to shorten the length of the runways of a facility
replacing the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, to be built on
Camp Schwab in Nago, by 380 meters from 1,600 meters to 1,220
meters. The overall length of the replacement facility will be
unchanged at 1,800 meters. Although the U.S. government has
consistently denied the possibility of reviewing the U.S. force
realignment roadmap, agreed upon between Tokyo and Washington 2006,
this will effectively be a change to the plan. The step is also
likely to impact talks with the Hatoyama administration, which is
seeking a reexamination of the relocation plan.

U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Timothy Keating delivered a
speech in Washington on Sept. 15 in which he indicated that the
replacement facility runways will be 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) long.
The step is in response to a call for flight safety by the National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, adopted by the U.S.
House of Representatives.

15) U.S. defense secretary to visit Japan on Oct. 20

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 18, 2009

It has been decided that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will
visit Japan on Oct. 20-21. He will hold talks for the first time
with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa to discuss such pending
bilateral security issues as the realignment of U.S. forces in
Japan. Coordination is also underway for Gates to meet with Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

16) Okada eyes redefinition of Japan-U.S. alliance by Upper House
election next summer

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TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 18, 2009

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said yesterday that the government
would consider redefining the Japan-U.S. alliance before the House
of Councillors election next summer in order to establish equal
Japan-U.S. relations. His party - the Democratic Party of Japan -
called for an equal partnership in its manifesto for the latest
House of Representatives election.

In an interview with the media, including the Tokyo Shimbun, Okada
cited the following four issues as those that should be tackled
during the first 100 days after the launch of the new government:
(1) Alleged secret pacts between Japan and the U.S. on the handling
of nuclear weapons and the return of Okinawa to Japan; (2) the
planned transfer of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in
Okinawa; (3) alternative assistance for Afghanistan and Pakistan to
the ongoing Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean; and (4) global warming.

Okada then said regarding the proposed redefinition of the
Japan-U.S. alliance: "It is conceivable that the government will
redefine the Japan-U.S. alliance in the 300 days between now and the
Upper House election on the assumption that various issues will be
smoothly resolved."

He also expressed his hope to reach a conclusion by the end of this
year on whether or not to relocate Futenma Air Station.

17) Defense minister does not approve of exercise of right to
collective self-defense

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 18, 2009

The government's council to discuss security and defense capability
is calling on the government to enable the exercise of the right to
collective self-defense. Touching on this request, Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa at a press conference on September 17 stressed his
stance of not approving of the exercise of the right, saying,
"Domestic views are generally in agreement with the policy of not
exercising this right. It is not productive to expend energy on this
issue." Also referring to the panel's proposal for reviewing the
nation's exclusively defense-oriented policy, Kitazawa said, "It is
not necessary to review this policy."

18) Defense minister says, "Appraisal of Japan's refueling operation
is low"

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 9, 2009

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operations in the Indian
Ocean will expire in January next year. Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa at a press conference on September 17 categorically said
that once the deadlines passes, there will be no extension, because
appraisal of the refueling operation has been low. Speaking of the
dispatch of Self-Defense Forces personnel to Afghanistan, he noted,
"The current situation in that nation appears to be very dangerous.
It would be fairly difficult to dispatch personnel for humanitarian
purposes. We have to be careful."

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19) Defense minister determined not to extend the refueling mission
and to "look squarely at reality" regarding Futenma

MAINICHI (Top play) (Excerpts)
Evening, September 17, 2009

After midnight Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa held his inaugural
news conference in which he indicated that in accordance with his
party's basic thinking, he will not extend the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law authorizing the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF)
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. The law will expire next
January. Kitazawa announced a plan to withdraw the MSDF without
extending the law authorizing the refueling mission. The new defense
minister also indicated that the government will consider new
support measures for Afghanistan. "It is not a subject for (the
Defense Ministry) to deal with independently," he said. "The
government will thoroughly discuss it."

He also suggested that he will not necessarily adhere to a plan to
relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station outside Okinawa
or Japan. "I want to discuss measures by looking squarely at
reality," he commented. He further expressed a plan to visit Okinawa
soon to exchange views with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and others.

20) U.S. to accept termination of MSDF refueling mission on
condition of enhanced assistance for Afghanistan

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
Evening, September 17, 2009

Yoso Furumoto, Washington

The U.S. government decided on Sept. 16 that if the Hatoyama
administration formally decides to terminate the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean,
it will accept the decision on the condition of Japan's enhanced
assistance for Afghanistan, according to a U.S. government source.

There were strong expectations for the continuation of the MSDF's
refueling services for the multinational forces interdicting
terrorist activities in the Indian Ocean. Department of Defense
spokesman Geoff Morrell has said that the United States and the
world have greatly benefitted from the MSDF mission.

Nevertheless, Yukio Hatoyama made clear before becoming prime
minister that his administration will not extend the law authorizing
the MSDF mission beyond its expiry next January. Further, the
Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party, and the
People's New Party, the ruling parties, have also confirmed their
policy to terminate the refueling mission. These indications have
led the U.S. government to conclude that the MSDF pullout is
inevitable. Washington has also decided to avoid taking any steps
that might sour its relations with Tokyo over the matter.

Support for Afghanistan is a top priority for the U.S. government.
U.S. military authorities are considering sending additional troops
to that country. The U.S. government is concerned about the possible
impact of the decision by its ally Japan on the international

"Simply pulling out (the MSDF) is tantamount to the abandonment of
its international responsibility," a U.S. government source said. If

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Japan decides to end its refueling mission, the U.S. government
intends to ask Japan to come up with a new form of assistance for

21) METI minister eager to achieve 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Excerpt)
September 18, 2009

Economy Trade and Industry Minister (METI) Masayuki Naoshima in an
inaugural press conference held early on the morning of September 17
said, "There could be a rise in costs. I must have our policy
understood in order to strike a balance between environmental
(measures) and the economy." He thus indicated a desire to achieve
the Democratic Party of Japan's goal of cutting greenhouse gas
emissions by 25 percent by 2020, compared with the 1990 level."


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