Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/20/09

DE RUEHKO #2417/01 2930634
P 200634Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Editorial: Taking advantage of U.S. defense secretary's visit to
Japan today, government urged to settle bilateral issues to maintain
alliance (Sankei)

(2) Gov. Nakaima negative about settlement of Futenma relocation by
just moving new facility offshore (Okinawa Times)

(3) Why isn't the Futenma relocation plan moving forward? (Asahi)

(4) New and previous governments' procedures for receiving
petitions/requests (Nikkei)

(5) Government plans to submit 11 bills to extraordinary Diet
session; child allowance bill not included (Jiji Com)

(6) "Seiron" column: The Hatoyama administration's misunderstanding
of the Japan-U.S. relationship (Sankei)

(7) Poll on Hatoyama cabinet, political parties (Mainichi)

(8) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet at 1 month since its debut (Yomiuri)

(9) Trouble over custody of children in failed international
marriages: Japanese mother indicted in U.S. on suspicion of
abduction of her own children (Mainichi)

(10) Editorial: Disputes arising from international divorces:
Discussions on parental and visitation rights needed (Asahi)


(1) Editorial: Taking advantage of U.S. defense secretary's visit to
Japan today, government urged to settle bilateral issues to maintain

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 20, 2009

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert will visit Japan on Oct. 20-21 to
hold talks with senior Japanese government officials, including
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

In the planned meetings, the focus of attention is likely to be on
the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station
in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture. Besides the Futenma issue, the
Hatoyama administration has been saddled with numerous issues that
affect the Japan-U.S. alliance fundamentally, such as alternative
contributions to the ongoing Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean and what to do about the U.S. nuclear
umbrella. To prevent the Japan-U.S. alliance from being put at risk,
Hatoyama is urged to make realistic judgments in a bid to resolve
Futenma and other pending.

Ahead of the defense secretary's visit to Japan, a senior U.S.
Defense Department official indicated that the U.S. would approve
the proposed plan to move the construction site for the alternative
runways further offshore (in Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture). Last
week, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima had said that the Okinawa
government would approve the relocation of the Futenma facility
within the prefecture based on the existing plan, on the condition

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of moving the site into the sea. Apparently in response to the
governor's flexible stance, the U.S. official took a concessionary
approach, saying that "it is possible to make a compromise if the
plan is altered only slightly."

The local communities concerned and the U.S. government have thus
begun to take joint steps. Despite this progress, senior government
officials, including Prime Minister Hatoyama, have indicated that
the government would put off a final decision until the middle of
next year, citing the need to probe the will of the people in the
prefecture. Probably the officials are bearing in mind the
Democratic Party of Japan's campaign pledge for the latest general
election to relocate the Futenma air station out of the prefecture,
as well as the upcoming Nago mayoral election in January and the
Okinawa gubernatorial election in November of next year. Showing
such an (indecisive) posture is a problem.

The Futenma issue, however, has been left pending between Japan and
the U.S. for the 14 years since the U.S. agreed in 1996 to return
the Futenma air station to Japan. The existing plan is an
indispensable part of the planned global-scale realignment of U.S.
forces. A further delay in implementing the agreed plan might
constitute a serious hindrance to the U.S. military's strategy for
the entire Asia-Pacific region and the joint deterrence setup of
Japan and the U.S. Focusing on expectations among the residents and
the request by Japan's ally, Hatoyama should quickly demonstrate his

The Hatoyama administration plans to halt the refueling mission in
the Indian Ocean, citing the reason that the Afghan government has
not eagerly called on Japan to continue the mission. But the
government has yet to work out any alternative assistance measures.

Regarding the U.S. nuclear umbrella as well, Foreign Minister
Katsuya Okada has called on the U.S. to come up with the policy of
no-first-use of nuclear weapons and suggested holding a discussion
between Japan and the U.S. But the U.S. nuclear umbrella is the most
reliable tool to ensure Japan's security in preparations against
such threats as China's military expansion and North Korea's nuclear
and missile development. Given this, the appropriateness of the call
for relinquishing the deterrence capability of Japan's ally, the
U.S., is questionable.

The concept of an East Asia Community proposed by Hatoyama also
makes some persons worried that it might exclude the U.S. Although
Hatoyama has advocated the slogan of establishing a close and equal
partnership between Japan and the U.S., his concept might make the
U.S., Japan's ally, distrustful of Japan.

Taking advantage of Gates' visit to Japan, Japan and the U.S. should
work hard to dissolve such doubts and pending issues. The prime
minister is urged to make specific decisions and take decisive
action in order to strengthen the bilateral relationship of trust.

(2) Gov. Nakaima negative about settlement of Futenma relocation by
just moving new facility offshore

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
October 20, 2009

With regard to the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station, a high U.S. Defense Department official said that if the

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Japanese government proposes that runaways be moved farther offshore
than currently planned, the United States will "consider" this
proposal. Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima lauded the U.S. official's
remarks, saying: "Because I wrote in a position paper on the
preparatory documents for the environmental impact assessment (of
the site of the replacement facility for Futenma Air Station) that
(a new military airfield) should be moved farther offshore, it would
be good if a conclusion is arrived in line with that direction."
When asked whether the Futenma relocation issue would move toward a
conclusion if the hurdle of moving the alternative facility further
offshore is cleared, Nakaima expressed a negative view, saying, "It
is not that moving the military facility offshore is the only

Meanwhile, citing the enforcement of the Environmental Assessment
Law as an example, Vice Governor Zenki Nakazato expressed his view
for the first time, noting, "If the purpose is to reduce the impact
on the environment, the relocation site will move 100 meters or 200
meters, as far from the coastline as possible." Both Nakaima and
Nakazato were speaking to reporters at the prefectural government

Referring to his position paper on the preparatory documents on the
environmental impact assessment, Nakaima said: "It is not only me.
As many as 500 residents in the prefecture, the Environmental
Assessment Council, and the heads of municipalities have expressed
their opinions. It is not just moving the facility further offshore;
a variety of issues raised by them must be overcome." Asked about
the option of moving the facility 50 meters farther offshore than
the existing plan, Nakaima said, "It is a matter that engineers
should decide on. It is not appropriate for a person at the
political level to make a suggestion."

Regarding the idea of moving the facility by 50 meters offshore,
Nakazato said: "A judgment should be made in relation to the
environment. It is presupposed that building a reclaimed base in
that region will destroy the natural environment."

He stressed: "The government is a contracting party for the
replacement facility requiring the environmental impact assessment.
Procedurally the governor has to express his opinion."

(3) Why isn't the Futenma relocation plan moving forward?

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 20, 2009

Takateru Doi

Kobukuro: What is the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station
in Okinawa all about?

Answer: Futenma Air Station is a U.S. Marine Corps base. It sits in
a densely populated residential area in the city of Ginowan.
Concerned about noise and safety, the prefectural and city have long
been calling for the return of the air station. A local schoolgirl
was gang-raped by U.S. service members in 1995 and that exacerbated
the sentiments of people in Okinawa. In 1996, the governments of
Japan and the United States reached an agreement to return Futenma
Air Station in five to seven years' time on the condition that its
functions are relocated to a new site within the prefecture.

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Ko: That was 13 years ago. Why hasn't the relocation plan moved

A: Although it accounts for less than 1 percent of Japan's land
mass, Okinawa hosts 75 percent of the U.S. bases in Japan. People in
Okinawa raised strong objections to relocating the Futenma facility
to a site within the prefecture, and it took a long time to decide
on the relocation site. In 2002, the central, prefectural, and city
governments agreed on a plan to reclaim a site off Henoko in Nago,
but the plan made little progress due to backlash from local
residents. The Japanese and U.S. governments re-discussed the matter
and decided in 2005 to relocate the Futenma functions to the coastal
area of Camp Schwab in the Henoko district. The plan was revised
again in 2006. Japan successfully convinced the United States,
saying, "(The replacement facility) can be constructed without fail
in this off-limits area." The talks were held only between Tokyo and
Washington, and local residents criticized the decision as a deal
made behind their back.

Ko: Can't (Futenma Air Station) be moved outside Okinawa?

A: Futenma Air Station plays the role of a helicopter base for
transporting the Marine Corps' ground troops of other bases in the
prefecture. The U.S. military has insisted that the relocation site
must be close to where the ground troops are located. In 2008 the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) produced its "Okinawa Vision," which
called for the relocation of (Futenma Air Station) out of Okinawa or
even out of Japan. Meanwhile, in its manifesto for the general
election this year, the DPJ pledged to move "in the direction of
reexamining" the realignment of U.S. forces and the modalities of
U.S. bases. Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said: "The project is
already underway, so searching for a new path would be quite
difficult. It would take a lot of time to find a relocation site
outside the prefecture or outside the country.

Ko: It's a difficult problem.

A: In an Asahi Shimbun opinion poll conducted in May, some 70
percent of people of Okinawa expressed opposition to relocating
(Futenma functions) to a site within the prefecture. The relocation
is falling behind schedule. In the meantime, in 2004 a U.S. military
helicopter crashed into the campus of the university adjacent (to
Futenma Air Station). Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has accepted relocation
within the prefecture because he thinks the danger of Futenma Air
Station must be eliminated promptly. The plan is a package deal that
also includes the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps from Okinawa to
Guam and the return of other bases in the prefecture. Prime Minister
Yukio Hatoyama has expressed his intention to postpone the
conclusion until next January when the Nago mayoral election will be
held. But he will still be pressed to make a tough decision (next

(4) New and previous governments' procedures for receiving

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2009

(Chart not available)

(5) Government plans to submit 11 bills to extraordinary Diet
session; child allowance bill not included

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October 14, 2009

The government decided on Oct. 14 to submit 11 bills to the
extraordinary Diet session opening in late October and has notified
the ruling parties of this. The government and the ruling parties
will give priority to formulating the FY2010 budget before the end
of 2009 and plan to schedule the extraordinary Diet session to close
by the end of November. The number of bills to be submitted has been
narrowed down, and the bills for the child allowance and abolishing
the provisional tax rates for gasoline, among others, will be
deferred to the regular Diet session next year.

Among the major bills to be submitted are a "bill on prevention of
credit crunch and loans recalls," providing for a repayment
moratorium on loans incurred by small and mid-sized businesses, and
a bill to freeze the planned sale of the shares of Japan Post group
companies. There will also be five bills to ratify treaties and
approve previous cabinet decisions, including a decision made last
June regarding a complete ban on exports to North Korea.

Other bills to be submitted are:

? Amendment to the law on the salaries of rank-and-file civil
? Amendment to the law on the salaries of civil servants in special
? Amendment to law on civil servants' childcare leave
? Amendment to law on salaries of judges
? Amendment to law on salaries of prosecutors
? Amendment to law on childcare leave for judges
? Bill on measures to deal with new-strain influenza
? Bill on the independent administrative agency Organization for the
Promotion of Regional Medical Services
? Amendment to law on salaries of Ministry of Defense employees

(6) "Seiron" column: The Hatoyama administration's misunderstanding
of the Japan-U.S. relationship

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
October 20, 2009

James Auer, director, Center for U.S.-Japan Studies, Vanderbilt

Result of "typically Japanese" decision

New administrations have been launched both in Japan and the United
States, and the fate of the bilateral relationship is in the
limelight. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama advocates a more equal
relationship between Japan and the U.S. However, as far as I can
remember, over the past 45 years the U.S. has consistently asked
Japan to "speak out more positively." So I'm not clear what Mr.
Hatoyama means by "equal."

I think Mr. Hatoyama is laboring under misapprehensions about the
Japan-U.S. relationship. I would like to discuss four points that
come to mind. I hope those who have pinned hopes on a change of
administration will bear them in mind.

The first misunderstanding is that Japan has been in a servile

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position in its relationship with the U.S. from 1945 until present.
It is a fact that during this period the U.S. wielded several times
the military clout as Japan. However, Japan was not asked to share
the fate of the United States. Japan of its own volition chose to
enter into an alliance with America after the U.S. occupation. It
was a question of choice made by Japan itself.

In fact, as the Japanese economy recovered and its competitiveness
increased, until 1970 many members of the U.S. Congress had begun to
complain that the Japan-U.S. alliance was unequal in favor of Japan.
Japan could have parted ways with the U.S., but did not. Japan
remained with the U.S. not because the U.S. ordered it to do so, but
because it made a "typically Japanese" decision very much to its
advantage at its own discretion.

Alliance unequal for the U.S.

The second misunderstanding is that the Japan-U.S. relationship
impedes the deepening of Japan's relations with the Asian countries.
This also requires careful consideration.

In the 20 years until the end of the Cold War, Japan faced a
dangerous military threat from the former Soviet Union, which
counted more than 100 submarines in its Pacific fleet alone. For
sure, even after the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of
the threat of the former USSR, Japan is still threatened by the
unpredictable dictatorial regime in North Korea. There are also
serious concerns about the future direction of China.

Japan has apologized repeatedly to Korea, its former colony, and to
China, and made a great effort to get along with them. Yet its
effort has not been rewarded. In China in particular certain
elements carry out highly biased anti-Japanese education and
criticize Japan for not having sufficiently apologized. What's more,
such criticism is used to divert attention from government

What would happen if Japan were to cease relying on the U.S. for its
security and make an effort to provide for its national defense on
its own? Asian countries would probably ratchet up their criticism
of Japan's defense policy. To think Asian countries would welcome
Japan's distancing itself from the U.S. would be the height of

The third misunderstanding is that the burden on Japan will be
reduced if its relations with the U.S. become more equal. Why is
this also wrong?

Often cited as proof of inequality are the hard-to-overlook
pollution at several U.S. bases in Japan and the fact that U.S.
soldiers guilty of crimes are not handed over to the Japanese police
before indictment. But in my opinion these are trivial matters,
especially in comparison with the inequality in the operation of the
Japan-U.S. alliance.

Through this alliance, the U.S. keeps an eye on the nuclear powers
in Japan's vicinity and provides continuous security to prevent
military attacks on Japan and disruptions of the sea lanes in the
Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific. The U.S. does not want to
emphasize China and ignore Japan, a major democratic power embracing
a free market economy. Therefore, the argument that Japan is not
needed is wrong. If Japan makes little or no effort to place its

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relationship with the U.S. on a more equal footing, the U.S. will
only look beyond Japan.

Japan has been engaged in the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
since the second half of 2001. While this is not a dangerous
operation, the U.S. appreciates Japan's efforts. At least Japan is
doing "something." Yet, the Hatoyama administration is saying the
mission will be discontinued without even offering any alternative

Fulfillment of role and obligations is the issue

The fourth misunderstanding is that reducing its support for the
alliance will enable Japan to reduce its expenditure for security
without weakening it. For sure, the alliance is no longer as
important to the U.S. as it was during the Cold War. If Japan were
to demand U.S. Forces relocate out of Japan, the U.S. would comply,
albeit with reluctance. In such a case, however, it is unlikely that
North Korea or China would also reduce their military strength.
Japan's military spending is just 1 percent of GNP in spite of its
being situated in a dangerous part of the world. Japan is only able
to enjoy peace and prosperity because of its security arrangements
with the U.S.

Clearing up the above four misunderstandings leads to the conclusion
that if Japan now makes a greater effort to fulfill its role and
obligations, it will be able to have a more equal relationship with
the U.S. Let me reiterate that it is up to Japan to decide whether
or not it wants to do so. Just as previous Japanese governments have
done of their own volition, I hope that the Hatoyama administration
will with wisdom ponder what is in Japan's national interest.

(7) Poll on Hatoyama cabinet, political parties

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
October 19, 2009

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

Q: Do you support the Hatoyama cabinet?

Yes 72 (77) 75 69
No 17 (13) 16 19
Not interested 10 (9) 9 11

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the above question) Why?

Because the prime minister is from the Democratic Party of Japan 1
(3) 2 1
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
4 (4) 2 6
Because something can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures 16 (15) 15 17
Because the nature of politics is likely to change 78 (77) 81 76

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the above question) Why?

Because the prime minister is from the Democratic Party of Japan 8

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(8) 8 8
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's leadership
12 (9) 6 15
Because nothing can be expected of the prime minister's policy
measures 57 (58) 61 54
Because the nature of politics is unlikely to change 21 (23) 23 20

Q: Which political party do you support?

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 40 (45) 45 37
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Jiminto) 14 (12) 13 14
New Komeito (NK) 4 (4) 4 5
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 4 (3) 2 5
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 (2) 1 1
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0) 0 0
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 2 (3) 2 2
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0) 0 0
Other political parties 1 (1) 1 1
None 32 (27) 30 34

Q: Do you think people's lives will improve or worsen with the DPJ
running the government?

Improve 43 (47) 50 39
Worsen 10 (6) 11 10
Remain unchanged 45 (44) 39 50

Q: The Hatoyama cabinet is trying to make policies under the
initiative of politicians, with its ministers and subcabinet-level
political appointees giving directions to bureaucrats. Do you
approve of this?

Yes 80 85 76
No 17 13 21

Q: The former Aso cabinet adopted a supplementary budget totaling
over 14 trillion yen for the current fiscal year. On this extra
budget, the Hatoyama cabinet has decided to suspend spending on 2.9
trillion yen on budgeted projects. Do you approve of this?

Yes 71 76 68
No 26 23 28

Q: Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Maehara has clarified
his intention to call off the construction of Yamba Dam in Gumma
Prefecture. This is a policy measure based on the DPJ's manifesto
for this summer's election for the House of Representatives.
However, there are also calls from among local communities for the
continued construction of this dam. Do you think this dam
construction should be suspended?

Yes 58 62 55
No 36 35 38

Q: Prime Minister Hatoyama has set forth a policy goal of reducing
Japan's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 PERCENT from 1990 levels by

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2020, and he declared this at the United Nations. Do you approve of

Yes 79 (69) 79 80
No 17 (25) 20 16

Q: The DPJ falls short of a majority in the House of Councillors, so
the DPJ has formed a coalition government with the SDP and the PNP.
Would you like to see the DPJ form a single-party government after
next summer's election for the House of Councillors?

A single-party DPJ government 36 (33) 41 31
A DPJ coalition with the SDP and the PNP 32 (34) 30 34
A DPJ coalition with other political parties 27 (25) 26 29

Q: The LDP has elected Mr. Sadakazu Tanigaki as its new president.
Do you have high expectations for him?

Yes 40 42 39
No 55 56 55

Q: The LDP has become an opposition party as a result of this
summer's election for the House of Representatives. Would you like
the LDP to reconstruct itself?

Yes 59 (56) 66 54
No 38 (41) 33 42

(Note) Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. "0" indicates that
the figure was below 0.5 PERCENT . "No answer" omitted. Figures in
parentheses denote the results of the last survey conducted Sept.

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Oct. 17-18 over the
telephone across the nation on a computer-aided random digit
sampling (RDS) basis. A total of 1,669 households with one or more
eligible voters were sampled. Answers were obtained from 1,067
persons (64 PERCENT ).

(8) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet at 1 month since its debut

YOMIURI (Page 11) (Full)
October 18, 2009

Questions & Answers
(Figures in percentage)

Q: There will be an election for the House of Councillors next
summer. Which political party are you going to vote for in your
proportional representation bloc, or which political party are you
going to vote for?

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 35
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Jiminto) 18
New Komeito (NK) 3
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 1
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 1
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0

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New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0
Other political parties 0
Undecided 39
No answer (N/A) 1

Q: It has now been nearly a month since Prime Minister Hatoyama came
into office. What's your impression of Prime Minister Hatoyama? Pick
only one from among those listed below on the following points.

Very much 15
Somewhat 59
Not very much 16
Not at all 4
N/A 6

Very much 37
Somewhat 45
Not very much 11
Not at all 3
N/A 4

Public accountability
Very much 12
Somewhat 46
Not very much 29
Not at all 7
N/A 6

Q: The Hatoyama cabinet is a tripartite coalition of the DPJ, SDP,
and PNP. Looking back on the past month, do you think this
three-party coalition has been functioning well?

Yes 33
No 53
N/A 14

Q: What would you like the Hatoyama cabinet to tackle on a priority
basis? If any, pick as many as you like from among those listed

Economic stimulus measures 73
Job security measures 47
Fiscal turnaround 23
Tax reform, including consumption tax 20
Healthcare reform 41
Pension reform 49
Low birthrate, childcare support 31
Japan-U.S. relations 8
North Korea policy 14
National security 13
Public service reform 16
Public investment review 19
Postal privatization review 8
Decentralization 8
Agriculture 16
Greenhouse gas emissions cut 14
Other answers (O/A) 1
Nothing in particular (NIP) + N/A 2

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Q: What do you think divides the tripartite ruling coalition of the
DPJ, SDP, and PNP? If any, pick as many as you like from among those
listed below.

Economic stimulus measures 10
Job security measures 5
Fiscal turnaround 11
Tax reform, including consumption tax 6
Healthcare reform 4
Pension reform 5
Low birthrate, childcare support 9
Japan-U.S. relations 18
North Korea policy 5
National security 21
Public service reform 3
Public investment review 7
Postal privatization review 15
Decentralization 2
Agriculture 3
Greenhouse gas emissions cut 2
Other answers (O/A) 1
NIP+N/A 39

Q: In the past, the government and the ruling parties used to plan
national policies separately. The Hatoyama cabinet, however, is
trying to unify this bipolar policymaking process into its
government. Do you think this effort is going well?

Yes 36
No 43
N/A 21

Q: Do you think politicians should play the role of making decisions
on national policies, or do you otherwise think central government
bureaucrats should do so?

Politicians 63
Central government bureaucrats 6
Can't say which 28
N/A 3

Q: Do you think politicians are taking the lead in making policy
decisions for Japan, or do you think central government bureaucrats
are taking the lead in doing so?

Politicians 30
Central government bureaucrats 42
Can't say which 25
N/A 4

Q: Do you think politicians should have the capability of
controlling bureaucrats instead of confronting bureaucrats?

Yes 87
No 9
N/A 4

Q: Do you think it would be better for Japan to have a single-party
government, or do you otherwise think it would be better for Japan
to have a multiple-party coalition government?

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A single-party government 33
A coalition government 58
N/A 10

Q: There is an opinion saying a coalition government will
unnecessarily take much more time in its process of making policy
decisions. Do you think this is true?

Yes 74
No 21
N/A 6

Q: There is an opinion saying a coalition government can reflect
various opinions among the people in its policies. Do you think this
is true?

Yes 60
No 32
N/A 8

Q: Generally speaking, do you think it would be better to see a
change of government at times?

Yes 75
No 19
N/A 6

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Why? Pick up to three reasons from among those listed below.

Policy course changes 45
Political structure changes 31
Political corruption hardly occurs 63
Interparty policy debate kicks off 44
Bureaucrats' influence weakens 21
O/A 1
No particular reason 2
N/A 0

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Why?
Pick up to three reasons from among those listed below.

Policies lack consistency 71
Government gets confused 58
Political corruption persists 9
Elections tend to court public favor rather than to focus on
policies 29
Bureaucrats' influence grows 12
O/A 2
No particular reason 3
N/A --

Q: Do you think political parties should translate their manifestos
into action without any modifications when they win an election for
the House of Representatives and take the reins of government, or do
you otherwise think they may modify their manifestos as needed?

Translate their manifestos into action without any modification 21
Modify their manifestos as needed 76
O/A 0
N/A 3

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Q: What do you think Japan's political parties will need in
particular? If any, pick up to three from among those listed below.

Political ethics 25
Policyplanning capability 19
Policy implementation 55
Human resources development 21
A party head's leadership and accountability 29
Public sensitivity 59
Coordination 11
Transparency 25
O/A 0

Q: Would you like to see the existing political parties break up or
join for the so-called "political realignment"?

Very much 13
Somewhat 24
Not very much 37
Not at all 21
N/A 6

Polling methodology
Date of survey: Oct. 10-11.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random-sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
Number of valid respondents: 1,801 persons (60 PERCENT )
Breakdown of respondents: Male-46 PERCENT , female-54 PERCENT ;
persons in their 20s-8 PERCENT , 30s-14 PERCENT , 40s-16 PERCENT ,
50s-19 PERCENT , 60s-25 PERCENT , 70 and over-18 PERCENT ; big
cities (Tokyo's 23 wards and government-designated cities)-21
PERCENT , major cities (with a population of more than 300,000)-18
PERCENT , medium-sized cities (with a population of more than
100,000)-26 PERCENT , small cities (with a population of less than
100,000)-23 PERCENT , towns and villages-11 PERCENT .

(Note) In some cases, the total percentage does not add up to 100
PERCENT due to rounding. "0" denotes percentages less than 0.5
PERCENT . "--" denotes that no respondents answered.

(9) Trouble over custody of children in failed international
marriages: Japanese mother indicted in U.S. on suspicion of
abduction of her own children

MAINICHI (Page 31) (Full)
October 20, 2009

Lately, reflecting a spike in broken international marriages, there
has been a succession of cases in which a parent removed a child
from the care of their ex-spouse. A Japanese fiftysomething woman
living in Greater Tokyo who was indicted in the U.S. for allegedly
abducting her own children gave an interview to the Mainichi

In the U.S. and Europe there is the view that such incidents
frequently occur because Japan has not yet signed the Hague
Convention, which provides rules for the settlement of disputes
arising from international marriages. However, women (married to

TOKYO 00002417 014 OF 015

foreigners) hope that the government will take a cautious stance
toward this issue. As the woman noted, "My children dislike their
father. If Japan signs the convention, they might be taken away to
the U.S."

In the 1980s, this woman married an American man, whom she met while
studying in the U.S. She gave birth to two children. The family
started living in Japan in 1992. However, she and her husband fell
out with each other over differences in customs and his use of
abusive language. Subsequently the woman walked out of the marriage
and sued her husband for divorce. She also filed a lawsuit seeking a
provisional injunction for denying her ex-husband access rights to
the children. She won both cases. The couple formally divorced in
1999. Her ex-husband returned to the U.S. before the divorce was

In the meantime, her ex-husband, after returning to the U.S., filed
a report of damage with a public prosecutors office in the U.S.,
noting that his ex-wife is retaining their children in Japan,
intentionally obstructing his exercising legal custody of them." The
U.S. grand jury indicted her on a charge of abducting the children
from the U.S. The woman was never given an opportunity to refute the

The woman employed an attorney in the U.S., paying more than 5
million yen. Later, she was surprised to learn that Interpol regards
the children as "missing persons" and is looking for them. Because
this woman has not violated any Japanese law, she will not be
arrested as long as she does not leave Japan.

Some Japanese parents of children who have been taken away from
Japan are calling for Japan's early signing of the Hague Convention.
However, this woman is cautious toward the idea. "If Japan signs the
convention," she said, "the children will be returned to their
fathers against their will. I might be held criminally responsible.
I would like the Japanese government to decide whether or not to
sign the convention after carefully considering what will make
children happy."

(10) Editorial: Disputes arising from international divorces:
Discussions on parental and visitation rights needed

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
October 20, 2009

The Western countries are complaining that more than 100 children
have been "abducted" to Japan.

This is not a made-up story. Problems pertaining to Japanese parents
who have taken their children away from their country of residence
illegally after the failure of their international marriages are
becoming an international issue. There have been over 110 such cases
in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and other countries. There have even
been extreme criticisms that Japan is a country that "encourages"
the abduction of children.

There has also been an incident in which an American ex-husband was
arrested for trying to reclaim his children forcibly from his
ex-wife who returned with them to Japan.

The background behind this issue is the different rules governing
the handling of children in international divorces. Under the Hague

TOKYO 00002417 015 OF 015

Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction of
Children, which has 81 signatories, when children are taken away to
another country, they should basically be brought back to their
country of residence, and parties to the convention are obliged to
cooperate in returning them.

Japan and Russia are the only G-8 nations that are not signatories
to the Convention, and numerous disputes have arisen between
signatory and non-signatory countries.

International pressure continues to rise, with U.S. Ambassador to
Japan John Roos and ambassadors of other Western countries asking
the justice minister to sign the Convention on Oct. 16. Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada has stated in a news conference that: "We
would like to consider this positively. However, there is also the
question of how the public will react to this."

How should disputes regarding parental rights and custody after a
divorce be settled between countries with different cultures and
legal systems? The argument that the Hague Convention should be
observed as a common rule is persuasive. Under the present
situation, when children are taken away from Japan to a foreign
country, the only way to get them back is through independent
efforts. The number of Japanese marrying internationally is
increasing steadily, exceeding 40,000 cases annually. It is not
realistic to avoid signing the Convention any longer.

On the other hand, there are also numerous issues that need to be

Right now, problems with the Western countries mostly involve cases
where the mother is Japanese. Many of them have fled to Japan
complaining of domestic violence by their ex-husbands. How to help
mothers and children driven into a difficult situation in a foreign
country is a serious question.

There is also a gap between the Western countries and Japan in terms
of laws and customs. In the U.S. and other countries, there are
strict regulations on the parents' rights of visitation after a
divorce, while there are no such provisions in Japan's civil code.
"Joint parental rights," under which both parents each have parental
rights are not allowed in Japan. The tendency is to give preference
to the mother in determining custody. It is also very rare for the
courts to be involved with the compulsory handover of children.
Japan's joining the Hague Convention under the present condition
will give rise to serious contradictions.

It must be remembered that the basic principle is that the welfare
of the children should be given top priority. How can their right to
continue to maintain their bonds with both parents after a divorce
be respected? This is an issue that has long been neglected in
general, not only in the case of international marriages.

It is time to give some serious thought to the happiness of children
who are faced with the divorce of their parents, not only in Japan,
but also in foreign countries.


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