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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/26/09

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 002469

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DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 10/26/09

INDEX:

(1) Hatoyama emphasizes importance of U.S. to Japan (Asahi)

(2) PM Hatoyama torn between Japan-U.S. alliance and Asia-focused
diplomacy at ASEAN+3 Summit (Nikkei)

(3) Main points of statements by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Mullen (Yomiuri)

(4) U.S. military's top officer brushes off call for "no first use
of nukes" (Asahi)

(5) Foreign minister's statement on relocation of Futenma within
prefecture sends shockwaves across Okinawa and local communities
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(6) Editorial: Government's intentions for relocating Futenma
facility still unclear (Mainichi)

(7) Host-nation-support outlays to U.S. military have become sacred
realm: Estimated budget request same amount as one submitted by
previous government (Akahata)

(8) Japan pays 900 million yen annually for highway tolls for U.S.
military, including leisure trips (Akahata)

(9) Keeping U.S. bases in Okinawa a crime (Tokyo Shimbun)

(10) "Kazamidori (Weathercock)" column: Ozawa-style Diet
restructuring (Nikkei)

(11) Poll: 53 PERCENT "didn't read a book for 1 month" (Yomiuri)

ARTICLES:

(1) Hatoyama emphasizes importance of U.S. to Japan

ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
October 25, 2009

Haruko Kagenishi in Hua Hin (Thailand)

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama attended on Oct. 24 a summit meeting
of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
where he said, "I have proposed the long-term concept of creating an
East Asia Community." This is the first time Hatoyama briefed ASEAN
leaders on the framework. He also clarified his position of seeking
the involvement of the U.S. in the community framework.

Regarding the question of how Hatoyama's proposed community would
handle the U.S., Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said: "The
government is not considering the idea of including the U.S. in the
community." Hatoyama, who has said, "Japan has no intention of
excluding the U.S.," also said in a meeting with the Chinese and
South Korean leaders on Oct. 10: "Japan has depended too much on the
U.S."

Such remarks, in addition to the government's response to the issue
of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa,
have made the U.S. distrustful of the Hatoyama administration. By
emphasizing the importance of the U.S. for Japan, Hatoyama

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apparently tried to remove Washington's anxieties ahead of the
planned first visit to Japan by U.S. President Barack Obama next
month.

(2) PM Hatoyama torn between Japan-U.S. alliance and Asia-focused
diplomacy at ASEAN+3 Summit

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

Osamu Sato in Hua Hin, central Thailand

Along with the leaders of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK),
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama participated in the ASEAN Summit,
where he gave an explanation of his East Asian Community initiative
and stated that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the linchpin of Japan's
diplomacy. He endeavored to indicate his intention to balance
Asia-focused diplomacy and Japan-U.S. cooperation. However, it is
unclear how far he will be able to narrow the widening gap between
Japan and the U.S. over such issues as the relocation of the U.S.
forces' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa).

At the beginning of the meeting with the ASEAN leaders, Hatoyama
emphasized Japan's position of giving importance to the Japan-U.S.
alliance. He said: "We have achieved a change of administration. The
administration's foreign policy is that the Japan-U.S. alliance is
the linchpin of our foreign relations."

Hatoyama went on to say: "ASEAN plays an important role in East
Asia. I would like to propose the long-term vision of an East Asian
community and promote cooperation under the principle of open
regional cooperation." His speech was unusual because he talked
about the Japan-U.S. alliance with the full lineup of ASEAN leaders
in front of him. The Prime Minister undoubtedly had his eyes set on
the United States.

Hatoyama had elicited the U.S.'s displeasure with his statement at
the Japan-China-ROK trilateral summit on Oct. 10 that "Japan had
tended to depend too much on the U.S.; I would like to build a
policy that gives more importance to Asia." With regard to the East
Asian Community, certain government officials have said that the
U.S. is not meant to be an official member of the community, thus
arousing suspicions on the U.S. side.

During an informal meeting with reporters accompanying him to
Thailand on Oct. 24, Hatoyama stated unequivocally that he has no
intention of excluding the U.S. from the community. His emphasis on
the importance his administration attaches to Japan-U.S. relations
at the ASEAN+3 Summit was meant to send out the message to the U.S.
that "emphasis on Asia does not mean taking the U.S. lightly."

Japan and China are already competing behind the scenes to grab the
initiative in creating the framework of Asian relations. On the
other hand, the ASEAN countries are wary of becoming the battlefield
for a diplomatic war among Japan, the U.S., and China.

There were some positive comments about the East Asian community
initiative at Hatoyama's meeting with ASEAN leaders. These comments
included "Japan, China, the ROK, and ASEAN should form the core" and
"We appreciate the revitalization of the discussions on East Asian
cooperation." However, no questions were asked about the concrete
plans for the community. The concept also did not come up at the

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Japan-India summit.

It is believed that since Japan's position on whether to prioritize
Asia-focused diplomacy or the Japan-U.S. alliance remains unclear,
Southeast Asia and India are still trying to gauge their optimum
distance from the Hatoyama administration.

(3) Main points of statements by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman
Mullen

YOMIURI (Page 6) (Full)
October 24, 2009

The following are the main points of statements made by U.S. Joint
Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen on the issue of relocating the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.

The Futenma relocation issue is closely linked to all elements
included in the agreement, so (a solution of) the Futenma issue will
open doors to all remaining U.S. force realignment issues. The
realignment plan involves the two governments' budgetary measures. I
understand the motives of (the Hatoyama administration's) examining
(the contents of the agreement), but the government should make a
decision as soon as possible. Secretary (of Defense) Gates has said:
"I expect a solution will be brought about before President Obama
visits Japan."

I consider that the agreement this time, specifically the relocation
of the Futenma facility, is absolutely necessary for the entire U.S.
force realignment package. From the viewpoint of the U.S. military,
it is inconceivable that the U.S. can provide Japan and the region
with security and defense support without this plan. Moving the
Futenma facility (out of Okinawa) will inevitably reduce (the
U.S.'s) security support to Japan and the region.

If there are many months or many years of delay, we might begin to
doubt Japan's willingness to implement the accord itself. The Obama
administration decided to support the agreement in a considerably
short period of time after its inauguration. The government itself
should decide what it wants to do, but Japan has been a partner (of
the U.S.) for many years.

(4) U.S. military's top officer brushes off call for "no first use
of nukes"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
October 24, 2009

Yoichi Kato, senior writer

Visiting U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mullen met the
press, including the Asahi Shimbun, yesterday at the U.S. Embassy in
Akasaka, Tokyo. During the press conference, Mullen rejected Foreign
Minister Okada's advocacy of "no preemptive use of nuclear weapons
"as "unacceptable."

"We must be very cautious in a region where the threat (of nuclear
weapons) is expanding," Mullen said. He explained that the security
environment of Japan is worsening due to such issues as North
Korea's development of nuclear weapons.

"Such a policy would extremely undermine our flexibility (regarding

TOKYO 00002469 004 OF 010


the U.S. nuclear umbrella)," Mullen said, adding: "If our
flexibility rapidly deteriorates, the danger will reach a level that
we think is unacceptable." Thus Mullen indicated that the United
States will refuse to restrict the preemptive use of nuclear
weapons.

(5) Foreign minister's statement on relocation of Futenma within
prefecture sends shockwaves across Okinawa and local communities

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 3) (Full)
October 24, 2009

Satoshi Hokama

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said on Oct. 23 that moving the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa would be
inconceivable, sending shockwaves to prefectural officials
concerned. Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima raised questions about consistency
with the Hatoyama cabinet's tripartite agreement and about how
decisions are made by the cabinet, saying, "What is the government
going to do with its public pledge?" Senior prefectural government
officials also expressed perplexity. The governor has repeatedly
urged the Hatoyama cabinet, which is advocating a review of the
realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, to quickly come up with a
concrete plan. The unexpected Okada statement is likely to press
Gov. Nakaima to revamp his strategy.

Kadena integration option regarded as difficult

"Although (Foreign Minister Okada) said it was his personal view, I
don't quite understand his decision," said a senior Okinawa
official, who has indicated that he will closely watch the Prime
Minister's policy speech to be delivered on Oct. 26. "It is not a
matter on which anyone can comment casually." The official did not
conceal his bewilderment.

The official also indicated that it would be difficult to find
alternative sites in Okinawa, including the option of integrating
Futenma with Kadena Air Base, saying, "The public, including the
people of Okinawa, will not be convinced easily. The government
might end up shifting the envisaged base from one location to
another within the prefecture."

If Foreign Minister Okada's statement becomes the government's
official policy, Gov. Nakaima, who has indicated that the relocation
of Futenma to Henoko is a pragmatic option, will find himself in a
difficult position. Nakaima has reiterated his previous position
that although relocation out of Okinawa is the best option,
relocation within the prefecture is inevitable. There have been
calls from within the ruling parties for Nakaima to send a clear-cut
message seeking to move Futenma out of the prefecture, saying that
in mainland Japan, he has been reported as favoring relocation
within the prefecture.

The prefectural official, while pointing to the need to coordinate
views with the governor, explained a plan to release a governor's
statement indicating that he was exploring the best option of
relocating Futenma outside the prefecture. But given Okada's Oct. 23
statement, even if Nakaima comes up with new policy, he is likely to
come across as being one step behind the government. The prefectural
government might come under pressure to make a difficult decision on
the Futenma issue.

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(6) Editorial: Government's intentions for relocating Futenma
facility still unclear

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
October 23, 2009

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Japan and held
meetings with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister
Katsuya Okada, and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa. The focus of
attention in these meetings was on the relocation of the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture, as
part of the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

Gates appears to be a person who prefers to push ahead with things
in a businesslike manner. When a senior government official visits a
foreign country, the host government customarily holds a ceremony to
welcome him or her. But Gates reportedly has often declined such
offers. In the series of meetings and a press conference in Japan,
too, he made candid statements.

On the Futenma relocation issue, Gates emphasized that (1) The
relocation of the Futenma air station to the coastal area of Camp
Schwab in Nago City under the existing plan is the best option, and
the Okinawa prefectural government's request for moving the site
farther offshore is within the scope of things the U.S. can accept;
(2) without the relocation of the air station, there would be
neither the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam nor the
consolidation of U.S. forces in Okinawa; and (3) the existing plan
should be implemented as soon as possible. With the conveying of
these views by the U.S. government official responsible for the
issue, the Futenma relocation can be said to have entered a new
phase.

Although Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa called the remarks by
Gates "a powerful message," the Japanese government has yet to make
a clear reply. In the meetings, the Japanese officials only
explained how the political situation in Okinawa has changed due to
the change of government and the outcome of the latest general
election. They also explained the government was examining the
process that led to the adoption of the current plan. They probably
wanted to relay its desire to have more time (to make a decision).

There are three options for the relocation of the Futenma air
station: (1) Somewhere outside Okinawa Prefecture, or even outside
the nation, as promised by the Democratic Party of Japan; (2) a site
in Okinawa Prefecture other than the one in the existing plan, such
as Kadena under a plan for integrating Futenma's functions into the
air base; and (3) the site stipulated in the existing plan or the
revision of the plan. If the government adopts the first option,
negotiations with the U.S. government would be extremely difficult,
and it would also become necessary to persuade local communities and
residents to receive the facility. In the second case, as well it
would also be difficult to acquire U.S. government acceptance and
the agreement of local municipalities. In the third case, the DPJ
would need to alter its conventional policy and persuade its junior
coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party.

There are high hurdles to implementing any of the three options, but
the longer the government delays a decision, the longer it postpones
a solution to the problems of safety and noise that have distressed
the residents of the densely populated area surrounding Futenma Air

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Station. Prime Minister Hatoyama has to make a final decision, based
on the results of discussions in the government.

In a meeting with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Defense Secretary
Gates urged Japan to make a policy decision by the time of U.S.
President Barack Obama's visit to Japan on Nov. 12. On the timing
for a policy decision, however, views in the government are divided.
Defense Minister Kitazawa has indicated his eagerness to bring about
an early solution, while Okada has called for a solution by the end
of the year, keeping the compilation of the fiscal 2010 budget in
mind. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hatoyama once said that a settlement
should be reached in the middle of next year.

Hatoyama seems to be hopeful of making a decision after looking at
the outcome of the Nago mayoral election in late January. But it is
inconceivable that the outcome will lead to breaking the impasse in
negotiations with the U.S. on the Futenma relocation issue. Okinawa
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has urged the government to swiftly
determine its policy. The prime minister first should make efforts
to unify views in the government on how and when the administration
should decide on its policy.

(7) Host-nation-support outlays to U.S. military have become sacred
realm: Estimated budget request same amount as one submitted by
previous government

AKAHATA (Page 2) (Excerpts)
October 24, 2009

It was learned by Oct. 23 that in the Defense Ministry's estimated
requests (adopted on Oct. 15) for the military expenses
(defense-related costs) for fiscal 2010, U.S. forces in Japan (USFJ)
support costs (host-nation-support outlays) to pay for the costs of
U.S. military bases' construction works and employees' salaries
reached 191.9 billion yen (on an expenditure basis), which is
exactly the same as the amount requested by the ministry during the
previous Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito coalition
government.

Regarding expenses for the U.S. Forces Japan realignment, new
project plans adopted by the previous administration have been
incorporated in the Defense Ministry's requests as is. The estimated
budget request for costs related to the Special Actions Committee on
Okinawa (SACO) is also the same as the amount requested by the
previous government. The total amount combining these amounts and
the host-nation-support costs comes to 287 billion yen, which is
almost the same as the 287.9 billion yen allocated for these items
in the fiscal 2009 budget. This reveals that the new administration
also regards host-nation-support outlays as a sacred realm.

The Defense Ministry acknowledged in the breakdown of costs for the
U.S. Forces Japan realignment that a new project related to the
transfer of U.S. Marines in Okinawa to Guam that will utilize
private enterprises has been included. This project will involve the
selection of private sector companies for the construction of about
3,500 houses for U.S. servicemen's families and the development of
infrastructure, such as the building of a power supply system.

(Commentary) Even after the transfer of power from the LDP and New
Komeito administration to the new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
administration led by Yukio Hatoyama, estimated budget requests for
military expenses have remained on the same level as that of the

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previous administration. In particular, expenses related to the U.S.
military, such as host-nation-support outlays, are regarded as a
sacred realm.

Japan is not obligated to pay those expenses in accordance with the
Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), too. However, no change is
evident in the government's thinking on this subject. A certain
senior Defense Ministry official said, "It is possible to cut the
host-nation-support budget. However, there is a problem in doing so
from the viewpoint of SACO."

Criticism of SACO grew among the citizens during Diet debate on the
fifth extension of SACO in 2008. The DPJ also opposed such an
extension.

As reasons for opposing the extension of SACO, the DPJ cited: (1)
Japan's share in U.S. military-related expenses is significant
compared with other countries; (2) the government is not fully
monitoring the U.S. government's effort to cut expenses; and (3) the
government cannot say what it needs to say to the U.S.

Upper House member Yukihisa Fujita at a joint session of both
chambers of Diet on April 25 of the same year said, "It is not
possible to gain the public's understanding for the government
readily continuing to shoulder such a burden."

The present SACO expires on Nov. 3. Now that the DPJ is a ruling
party, it should follow through with the stance it took when it
opposed the SACO and end the host-nation-support outlays to the U.S.
military.

(8) Japan pays 900 million yen annually for highway tolls for U.S.
military, including leisure trips

AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
October 24, 2009

Board of Audit calls for correction of practice

Through a Board of Audit survey, it became clear on Oct. 23 that the
Defense Ministry has been paying out nearly 900 million yen a year
in highway tolls incurred by U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) on "official
duties" without examining the tolls. Japan has paid highway tolls
incurred even by rental cars that are believed to have been used for
visiting tourist spots for leisure. The Board of Audit has asked the
ministry to correct the practice, saying it is inappropriate to
treat all vehicles as military vehicles and not to verify whether
they were really used for official duties.

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, U.S. military
vehicles are exempt from paying highway tolls. The Japanese
government pays tolls they incurred. Highway operators make claims
for tolls based on USFJ-issued passes collected at toll booths. In
fiscal 2008, the government paid some 860 million yen in tolls
incurred by USFJ. Of that amount, 440 million yen was incurred by
non-military vehicles.

The Board of Audit examined some 18,000 randomly selected passes
(worth 21 million yen) issued to non-military vehicles. As a result,
it found that some information was missing from about 1,500 passes
(worth 1.89 million yen). In some cases, there were discrepancies
between the destinations indicated in U.S. military registries and

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the route specified on the passes. The ministry did not investigate
these discrepancies.

Passes are also issued to rental cars operated by welfare
organizations on U.S. military bases, including Misawa Air Base (in
Aomori Prefecture). The Board of Audit conducted an investigation
based on vehicle registration numbers and found that 5,100 passes
(worth 10 million yen) had been issued to rental cars.

Of that number, 2,000 passes were issued for Saturdays, Sundays, and
holidays. There was a case in which a car rented in Tokyo passed
through toll booths in Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Nara over five days
including a Saturday and Sunday. The Website of an organization
officially authorized by Iwakuni Air Station (in Yamaguchi
Prefecture) states that fees for rental cars include highway
toll-free tickets good for all over Japan. Finding this Website, the
Board of Audit questioned whether rental cars are used for official
duties. The Defense Ministry has released a statement expressing its
wishes to hold talks with the U.S. side on the appropriate use of
vehicles.

(9) Keeping U.S. bases in Okinawa a crime

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 25) (Full)
October 25, 2009

By Jiro Yamaguchi, professor at Hokkaido University

When Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said that the government would
give up the idea of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station out of Okinawa Prefecture, I happened to be in Okinawa.
Local residents were greatly disappointed at the statement. If Japan
cannot make good use of the change of government as a rare
opportunity (to move the Futenma facility out of the prefecture), it
means that reducing military bases in Okinawa will be impossible
forever.

The government led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has also
been bound by the spell of the myth of maintaining the Japan-U.S.
relationship. Japanese national newspapers and TV have contributed
to strengthening the spell's bind. No media outlet criticized the
rude intimidation by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

I would like to pose questions to those who say the Japan-U.S.
security arrangements might collapse unless U.S. military bases
remain in Okinawa. Have such people ever given a proper explanation
of why Marines should stay in Okinawa and not on mainland Japan or
Guam? I wonder if people who are making a fuss while referring to a
possible collapse of the bilateral security arrangements understand
what the collapse of the system specifically means. The U.S.
military has been using the Kadena and Yokota air bases just as it
pleases. I cannot understand why the transfer of Marines out of
Okinawa would lead to a collapse of the security arrangement.

Allowing the Futenma airfield to remain in Okinawa is a crime
against the local residents. Constructing a new base on reclaimed
land in Henoko is a crime against future generations of Japanese.
The DPJ government should make its utmost effort to implement its
pledge to the people.

(10) "Kazamidori (Weathercock)" column: Ozawa-style Diet
restructuring

TOKYO 00002469 009 OF 010

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
October 25, 2009

Eiji Sakamoto, editorial staff member

The Diet building is certainly worthy of the name of a "white hall."
It is now in the process of having its outer walls cleaned and its
windows replaced for the first time since the building was
constructed in 1936, and its original splendor will soon be
restored. It would seem that the building's renewal coinciding with
the historic change of administration is symbolic.

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa will
move into an office on the second floor of the Diet building to
coincide with the opening of the extraordinary Diet session on Oct.
26. His office looks out to the Diet's front yard and the
administrative district of Kasumigaseki and is located in a very
convenient prime spot. He will be making a triumphal return to the
office that he occupied when he was Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
secretary general 18 years ago.

Ozawa, who is increasingly in the limelight as the key person in the
Hatoyama administration, is focusing first on Diet reform. However,
the reaction of other politicians to such things as the ban on the
bureaucrats' responding to Diet interpellation varies greatly
depending on where they stand in relation to the administration.

To cite an extreme example, a senior official of the LDP, which is
taking a confrontational position as an opposition party, says:
"This is meant to prevent us from asking the investigation
authorities questions about the DPJ's scandals. There is no doubt
about that."

The LDP intends to pursue the government relentlessly on Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama's false reporting of individual political
donations and Ozawa's involvement with the Nishimatsu Construction
Company's donation scandal. The above observation is probably a bit
far-fetched, but it is a fact that the opposition has so far adopted
the strategy of exposing legal flaws through the questioning of
neutral administrative bodies.

There is now a view in both the ruling and opposition parties that
this is a step to lay the groundwork for politicians to exercise
leadership in policymaking. "The real intent is to take back the
power of authoritative interpretation of the Constitution and
treaties from the bureaucrats."

Such authoritative interpretation amounts to the government's
official position on legal interpretation and other such matters.
When Ozawa was LDP secretary general, he clashed head-on with the
Cabinet Legislation Bureau's interpretation that there are "serious
constitutional constraints" to the dispatch of the Self-Defense
Forces for international contributions.

If the directors general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau or the
International Legal Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs are banned from responding to Diet interpellation, Ozawa
will be one step closer to realizing his longstanding assertion that
"the politicians can take the responsibility to change the
interpretation of the Constitution or the treaties if necessary."


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Ozawa himself gave the following explanation. In his speech before
the students and company employees attending a class of the "Ozawa
Ichiro Seiji Juku (Ichiro Ozawa's School of Politics)" in Tokyo on
Oct. 21, he stated fervently: "Bureaucratic control should be
eliminated from the Diet. So far, live coverage of Diet proceedings
is done by NHK only because it is required to do it; nobody pays any
attention. That is not right. The Diet should be made a venue for
debating our ideals and policies."

Ozawa is also keen on "an uninterrupted Diet session throughout the
year" and the abolition of the practice of designating only certain
days of the week for conducting Diet business. These are reforms
that he has already proposed in his book published in 1993
"Blueprint for a New Japan." He regards the Diet as an arena for
debate between the opposition and the government. Ruling party Diet
members are prohibited from submitting bills in principle, and Ozawa
has indicated that he wants to reduce their opportunity to
interpellate in Diet.

Junior LDP Diet members have recently been asking their DPJ
colleagues sarcastically: "Isn't a dictatorship the purpose of
excluding bureaucrats and ruling party members from the Diet?"

Distrust of Ozawa is not unrelated to his past behavior, often
dubbed as "strong-armed," or his reputation as a "wrecker." On the
other hand, Ozawa himself appears to be unconcerned by the disquiet
in the ruling and opposition parties. He says enthusiastically:
"There can be no progress if we only follow precedents." Will his
reforms revitalize or hollow out the Diet?

The reason why there is a mixture of hope for his political ability
to change the times and concern about his arbitrariness is based on
past experience with the periods when Ozawa held the power. However,
he would most probably say in retort: "People who criticize me
always look at me through colored lenses."

(11) Poll: 53 PERCENT "didn't read a book for 1 month"

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 25, 2009

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a face-to-face nationwide public
opinion survey on Oct. 10-11 about "reading." In the survey, 53
PERCENT of respondents answered "no" when asked if they had read a
book during the past month. The figure is up 7 percentage points
from last year's survey and the second highest percentage next to
the previous record high of 54 PERCENT in 2002 since the survey
started to ask this question in 1980. Among those aged 70 and over,
"no" accounted for 70 PERCENT , up 9 points from last year's survey,
and this figure reached a new high since this question started. The
survey showed that senior citizens do not read books. The figure was
followed by 48 PERCENT among those in their 50s, 43 PERCENT among
those in their 40s, 45 PERCENT among those in their 30s, and 41
PERCENT among those in their 20s. There was an increase also in the
proportion of those who do not read books among the younger
generations.

ROOS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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