Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/17/09
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 11/17/09
1) Top headlines
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)
Futenma relocation issue:
4) Futenma working group to hold first meeting today (Mainichi)
5) Prime Minister says Futenma working group talks not premised on
implementation of existing plan (Nikkei)
6) LDP's Ishiba slams premier again over Futenma (Tokyo Shimbun)
7) Foreign Minister Okada says Futenma-Kadena integration is one
8) Prime Minister waffles on Futenma (Sankei)
9) Kadena Mayor rejects consolidation of Futenma facility and Kadena
Air Base (Sankei)
10) Manifesto budget to be squeezed (Yomiuri)
11) Kamei takes steps to form new party (Asahi)
12) Ozawa: Government-proposed legislation for local suffrage for
permanent foreign residents is desirable (Asahi)
13) Christian group protests Ozawa statement (Yomiuri)
Defense & security:
14) Ministry of Defense mulls using "Osumi" as "fraternity boat"
15) Compromise avoids tuna-fishing ban (Mainichi)
1) TOP HEADLINES
Three Health Ministry independent administrative agencies hiring
amakudari ex-officials with high salaries not included in
29 education boards oppose plan to extend teacher training course to
Working group to start cutting budget for implementing policies in
DPJ's manifesto this week
Sharp to supply LED parts for liquid crystal TVs to Sony
Prime Minister wavers in statements on Futenma relocation;
government has no good idea for revising existing plan
Public welfare corporations win 97.5 PERCENT of bids for projects
of Land Ministry Regional Development Bureaus
Increasing number of children not going to class, spending time in
school clinic; need to increase number of teachers
TOKYO 00002648 002 OF 008
(1) 4.8 PERCENT GDP growth: Use supplementary budget to stimulate
private sector demand
(2) Annual auto production at 10 million units: China should give
momentum to green revolution
(1) Economic growth in two consecutive quarters: Adopt policies that
will bring peace of mind, hope
(2) Busan shooting gallery fire: Safety should be first
consideration when traveling
(1) Hatoyama economic policies: Do not trigger recession caused by
(1) Formulate highly effective policies to prepare for economy
(2) Prime Minister should engage in party leaders' debate
(1) Next generation supercomputer: Objection to freezing development
without any strategy
(2) Hatoyama's statements: Is he trying to damage trust between
Japan and the U.S.?
(1) Leaking of GDP figures: Coordination among cabinet ministers in
(2) Busan shooting gallery fire: South Korea should be "close and
safe" tourist destination
(1) July-September quarter GDP: Urgent need for rehabilitation of
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, November 16
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 17, 2009
09:09 Signed in at the Imperial Palace to report his return to
09:38 Met National Strategy Minister Kan and Senior Vice Cabinet
Minister Furukawa at the Kantei.
10:35 Met military analyst Kazuhisa Ogawa.
11:16 Met Finance Minister Fujii, Senior Vice Finance Minister Noda,
Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Furumoto, Vice-Finance Minister
Tango, and others.
12:20 Met Kan and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano.
15:12 Met State Minister for Financial Affairs Kamei.
17:05 Attended talks between the central and local governments.
Later met Hirano.
19:31 Arrived at his official residential quarters.
4) Japan-U.S. working group to hold first meeting today to discuss
TOKYO 00002648 003 OF 008
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 17, 2009
The governments of Japan and the U.S. on Nov. 17 will hold at the
Foreign Ministry the first meeting of their ministerial-level
working group to discuss the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps
Futenma Air Station (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture). President
Obama during the recent bilateral summit asked Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama to implement a Japan-U.S. agreement on the relocation of
the Futenma functions to the coastal area of Camp Schwab in Nago
City, Okinawa Prefecture. However, since Japan's cabinet ministers
differ in their views on the relocation site and the timing to reach
a decision, talks will likely face rough going.
The ministerial-level working group will be attended by Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa from
the Japanese side, and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos and
Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace Gregson from the U.S. side.
The U.S. characterizes the working group as, in President Obama's
words, "a vehicle intended to implement the agreement"; the group
will not to approve revisions to the Japan-U.S. accord other than
minor ones. However, the prime minister has repeatedly indicated his
stance of not eliminating the option of relocation outside the
prefecture. The U.S. and Okada want to reach a decision before
year's end. However, the prime minister has hinted at the
possibility of putting off a decision until after the Nago mayoral
election in January next year.
5) Prime Minister: Japan-U.S. agreement not premise for Futenma
relocation; cabinet-level meeting today
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
November 17, 2009
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama reiterated yesterday that the existing
plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station to the
coastal area of Camp Schwab, on which Japan and the United States
agreed in 2006, is not the premise for the Futenma relocation issue.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada indicated that the
relocation must be premised on the intergovernmental agreement to a
certain extent. The views of the two leaders remained wide apart
yesterday, the day before the first meeting of the Japan-U.S.
cabinet-level working group on Nov. 17.
"I think that is the foreign minister's view," the Prime Minister
said to the press corps last night about the foreign minister's
statement. At the same time, the Prime Minister emphatically said:
"I don't think there are concerns about Japan-U.S. relations. I
think the relationship of trust has deepened between U.S. President
Obama and myself."
The inaugural meeting today of the cabinet-level working group will
be attended by Foreign Minister Okada and Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa from the Japanese side and U.S. Ambassador to Japan John
Roos, Assistant Secretary of Defense Wallace Gregson, and others
from the U.S. side.
6) LDP's Ishiba slams premier again over Futenma
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
TOKYO 00002648 004 OF 008
November 17, 2009
Shigeru Ishiba, chairman of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party,
reiterated yesterday his criticism of Prime Minister Hatoyama for
his recent remarks over the pending issue of relocating the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station. The Japanese and U.S. governments
plan to launch a ministerial working group to discuss the Futenma
issue. However, Hatoyama has said the working group's discussions on
the Futenma issue will not be premised upon the current relocation
plan that is based on an intergovernmental agreement reached between
Japan and the United States. "What the prime minister says is almost
completely opposite from the U.S. President's view," Ishiba said.
"This could produce irreparable consequences," he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has indicated that it
would be difficult to call off the bilateral agreement over Futenma.
"That's an extremely sensible, appropriate judgment," Ishiba said,
adding: "He was talking about verifying the Futenma issue, but I
wonder if his judgment is a result of verifying the issue." Ishiba
also pointed to divergence within the Hatoyama cabinet over the
Futenma issue, saying, "They say they're doing things under their
political initiative, but it's really just inconsistency in the
7) Foreign Minister Okada tells Okinawan mayors that proposal to
merge Futenma base with Kadena Air Base is "one option"
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, November 16, 2009
Shinichiro Nishida, Teruhisa Mimori
In connection with the issue of the relocation of the U.S. forces'
Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa), Foreign Minister
Katsuya Okada visited the Kadena Air Base (KAB) (straddling the
towns of Kadena and Chatan and Okinawa City) on the morning of Nov.
16. Okada is considering a plan to merge the Futenma base with the
KAB as an alternative to the current plan to relocate to the coastal
area of Camp Schwab (in Nago City). After the visit, he met with
Kadena Mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi and the mayors of Chatan and Okinawa
City. Okada explained that "the Kadena merger plan is one of the
options being considered" and that "the prerequisite is that the
noise level will be lower than what it is at present."
Miyagi reiterated his opposition to the plan and pointed out that
the 1996 agreement on measures to reduce noise has not been
observed, and the noise level has not improved even with the
relocation of training activities. He told Okada: "Our burden should
be reduced first before any further plans are considered." Okada
responded with: "If such an agreement exists, we will make (the U.S.
forces) observe this agreement," indicating his intention to make
efforts to reduce the local community's burden.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama gave the following comment
on the new Japan-U.S. cabinet level working group on Futenma
relocation on the morning of Nov. 16: "If everything is going to be
decided based on the Japan-U.S. agreement, there will be no need for
any discussions," stressing once again that discussions will not be
premised upon the existing agreement. He also said: "President Obama
also fully understands the meaning of engaging in discussions." He
made the above statements in front of his official residential
TOKYO 00002648 005 OF 008
8) PM Hatoyama waffles on Futenma relocation
SANKEI (Top play) (Abridged)
November 17, 2009
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama continues to waver on the issue of the
relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City,
Okinawa) in his statements. Shortly before the cabinet-level working
group agreed upon at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting was to be
convened, he said on the morning of Nov. 16: "If everything will be
decided based on the (existing) Japan-U.S. agreement, there will be
no need for any discussions." However, in the late afternoon of the
same day, he commented that "the Japan-U.S. agreement has great
significance." Why does he keep on wavering?
The background to this is the Prime Minister's political style of
giving importance to public opinion. He likes to use the phrase "the
feelings of the Okinawan people," and his comment on the hit-and-run
incident in Yomitan Village, Okinawa, was "accidents like this occur
because of the military bases." He has a strong desire to speak for
the Okinawans, and this affects the main thrust of his statements.
When he found out that toll-free expressways, one of the
high-profile campaign pledges in the manifesto of the Democratic
Party of Japan, was not popular in public opinion polls, he started
talking about a policy shift. He gives absolute priority to public
Although Hatoyama does give consideration to the Japan-U.S.
relationship, his statements change by the day. He said on Nov. 2:
"I have no intention to ignore the Japan-U.S. agreement in making a
decision," but stated subsequently on Nov. 16: "If everything will
be decided based on the Japan-U.S. agreement, there will be no need
for any discussions." His style of saying different things at
different times is complicating the issue.
9) Kadena mayor nixes base merger plan
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 17, 2009
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada yesterday visited the U.S. Kadena Air
Base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, in connection with the pending
issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.
After that, Okada met with three municipal heads, including Kadena
Mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi, whose town hosts the Kadena base.
In the meeting, Okada asked for the local mayors' understanding of
his proposal to integrate the heliport functions of Futenma airfield
into the Kadena base. "It's a categorical imperative to lower noise
levels," Okada said, adding: "We're now verifying the Futenma issue
while assuming some of the Kadena base's functions will be
transferred somewhere else. I'm thinking of negotiating with the
However, Miyagi rejected Okada's advocacy of merging Futenma
airfield with the Kadena base. "There's something very difficult
about bringing the functions of Futenma to Kadena as is," Miyagi
said. "We can't place faith in his saying the government will lessen
our base-hosting burden."
10) Manifesto budget to be squeezed
TOKYO 00002648 006 OF 008
YOMIURI (Top play) (Lead para.)
November 17, 1009
The Democratic Party of Japan pledged in its manifesto for the Lower
House election to implement various key policies, including
toll-free highways, starting in fiscal 2010. However, the government
on Nov. 16 decided to squeeze budgets for those policies, because,
while the government was deciding the implementation time for those
policies and its policy on budgetary distributions, related
budgetary requests each government agency filed for fiscal 2010 have
ballooned significantly. The government intends to vet the amounts
of budgets requested by all government agencies in the same way it
handled existing project programs without regarding the manifesto
budget as a sacred cow.
11) People's New Party, New Party Nippon to form new party before
year end, aiming at becoming the third force
ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged)
November 17, 2009
Shizuka Kamei (state minister for financial affairs and postal
reform), leader of the People's New Party (PNP), has begun to move
toward forming a new party. He will first form a parliamentary group
with New Party Nippon (NPN) leader Yasuo Tanaka in the House of
Representatives, then join forces with the group led by former
Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Takeo Hiranuma, aiming at
launching a new party before year end. His goal is to gather the
non-LDP and non-DPJ forces to secure a voice in politics, but it is
unclear how effective this will be.
Kamei told reporters on Nov. 16: "The PNP and the NPN are both
planning to dissolve the parties to form a new party. He (Tanaka) is
also thinking about doing so," indicating that an agreement will be
reached shortly. The new party will maintain the coalition with the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Social Democratic Party. At
a news conference on the same day, DPJ Secretary General Ichiro
Ozawa stated: "This will be a positive development if it boosts the
number of ruling party seats (in the Diet)," thus expressing his
approval of the founding of the new party.
12) DPJ Secretary General Ozawa: Government should submit own
foreign residents' suffrage bill to the Diet
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
November 17, 2009
In reference to a bill to grant local suffrage to permanent foreign
residents, Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa
said yesterday at a press conference: "It is best for the government
to submit its own bill from the standpoint of making clear its
position." DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka on Nov.
6 expressed the intention to submit lawmaker-initiated legislation
during the ongoing Diet session, but the government and DPJ decided
to entrust Ozawa with the suffrage bill issue in their executive
meeting on Nov. 11. Ozawa refrained from referring to the timing of
submitting the bill.
13) Christian group protests remark by DPJ Secretary General Ozawa
TOKYO 00002648 007 OF 008
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 17, 2009
The Japan Confederation of Christian Churches, which is comprised of
60 Christian-related organizations and chaired by Nobuhisa Yamakita,
has sent a letter of protest to the ruling Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) with regard to its Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa's remark
that called Christianity "exclusive and self-righteous." In the
letter, the Christian group said: "Ozawa's remark itself, based on a
one-sided understanding of Christianity, was 'exclusive' and
'self-righteous.' We have serious doubts about his good judgment."
The letter of protest was faxed and mailed to Ozawa on Nov. 11, the
day after Ozawa made the remark. In response, Ozawa explained at a
press conference yesterday that he was talking about fundamental
differences between religious philosophies and outlooks on life.
14) Defense Ministry considering using MSDF transport vessel Osumi
as yuai boat
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
November 17, 2009
The Defense Ministry began considering yesterday using the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's transport vessel Osumi (178 meters long, 25.8
meters wide) as a yuai (fraternity) boat to carry out medical and
other activities in a disaster-stricken area. The Osumi has a large
amount of space to carry medical equipment and other supplies and is
capable of transporting 330 Ground Self-Defense Force personnel. The
ministry intends to dispatch the vessel after it takes part in joint
exercises with the United States and other countries to be carried
out in the next fiscal year.
The yuai boat concept was announced by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
in his Asia policy speech delivered in Singapore. According to this
plan, private citizens and nongovernmental organization (NGO)
personnel aboard a yuai boat will carry out medical and cultural
exchange activities in the Pacific/Southeast Asian regions starting
next year. "With the withdrawal of the refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean near at hand, the plan is intended to play up the
government's eagerness to make manpower contributions," a senior
Defense Ministry official said.
15) Ban on bluefin tuna catch avoided through compromise: 40 percent
cut in annual catch quota
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Lead para.)
November 17, 2009
At its annual meeting, the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) on Nov. 15 reached an
agreement to set a catch quota of bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic
Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea, for 2010 at 13,500 tons, by
cutting the level by 38.6 percent from the 2009 level. The move
reflects a growing call for the conservation of bluefin tuna. The
cut in the catch quota is unlikely to have effects on Japan, such as
a sharp rise in price, because its domestic stock of the fish has
increased sharply due to sluggish consumption of the fish. However,
if the trend of regulating catch quotas continues, a rise in price
will be unavoidable over the mid- to long-term. A view calling for
TOKYO 00002648 008 OF 008
the application of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES = Washington
Convention) on the fish, citing that the ICCAT catch quota
regulation is insufficient, is deep-rooted in European countries and
the U.S. As a result, the next focus of attention will be the CIES
Conference of the Parties to be held next March.