Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/16/09

DE RUEHKO #2872/01 3500110
P 160110Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Futenma relocation:
4) Prime Minister shelves relocation of Futenma facility to Henoko
5) Japan informs U.S. of postponement of decision on Futenma
relocation site (Asahi)
6) Foreign Minister will continue to work toward reaching a decision
on Futenma relocation this year (Tokyo Shimbun)
7) Government fails to write scenario for Futenma; deadline shelved
due to opposition from SDP (Nikkei)
8) Okinawans divided in their reaction to Hatoyama's nixing airfield
relocation to Henoko (Asahi)

Foreign relations:
9) Japan eager for new proposal on abolishment of nuclear weapons
10) Okada says no-first-use pledge medium-to-long-term issue

11) Rate of dependence on government bonds tops 50 PERCENT for
first time (Nikkei)

12) Communist Party Chairman Shii: "Ozawa should carefully read the
Constitution" (Asahi)
13) Cabinet to examine legal framework for government-region forum
14) PM Hatoyama moves to quiet down controversy over Emperor's
audience with PRC Vice President Xi Jinping (Yomiuri)

15) Prime Minister leaves for COP15 tomorrow (Asahi) 9

16) Diet poll: SDP's opposition preventing constitutional-review
panel from meeting (Yomiuri)



Government policy to postpone Futenma decision conveyed to U.S.;
plan might be scrapped

Supreme Court approves retrial of Fukawa murder-robbery case 42
years after suspects arrested

Prime Minister intends to relocate Futenma to site other than
Henoko; conclusion in several months eyed

Japan, U.S., Europe agree to delay introduction of new capital
adequacy rules for banks

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Henoko issue; Prime Minister has eye on site other than Henoko; plan
might be scrapped, making Futenma a permanent fixture

Tokyo Shimbun:
Retrial of Fukawa case set after arrest of two suspects 42 years

NTT East threatens to fire 700 contract employees if they refuse to
be shifted to temporary worker status


(1) Futenma decision postponed: Concern about Hatoyama diplomacy

(1) Government's base relocation policy: Futenma must not be made
into permanent fixture; Prime Minister's leadership tested

(1) Futenma relocation: Postponing decision until next year without
any prospects is wrong
(2) Ozawa's demand in press conference for resignation of Imperial
Household Agency chief completely inappropriate

(1) Postponement of Futenma decision will endanger Japan-U.S.
(2) Policy to revitalize companies essential

(1) Emperor's audience with Chinese vice president as special
exception: Ozawa still unaware of use of Emperor for political
(2) Futenma decision must not be put off

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Futenma postponed: Shift focus to relocation outside Okinawa or
(2) Chinese Vice President Xi's visit: Results damaged by clumsy

(1) Screening state projects: Do not use efficiency to gauge

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, December 15

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 16, 2009

09:18 Attended meeting on budget compilation of the Ministerial
Council on Basic Policies at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
10:31 Attended meeting of the taskforce on reform of the system for
physically-handicapped. Attended meeting of the growth strategy

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formulation council.
11:25 Attended award ceremony of the Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award.
11:57 Had lunch with new DPJ lawmakers and Diet Affairs Committee
Deputy Chairman Mitsui at his official residential quarters.
13:34 Met at Kantei with Foreign Minister Okada, Administrative Vice
Minister Yabunaka, Deputy Minister Sasae, Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau chief Saiki. Okada, Sasae, and Saiki stayed behind.
14:18 Met with Australian Prime Minister Rudd. Attended reception
for report by International Committee on Nuclear Nonproliferation
and Disarmament.
15:15 Saw Rudd off. Met with Lower House member Keishu Tanaka.
16:10 Met with Okada, METI Minister Naoshima, Senior Vice Finance
Minister Noda, and Parliamentary Secretary for Environment Otani,
followed by Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Minister Maehara.
20:17 Arrived at his official residential quarters.

4) Prime Minister intends to relocate Futenma to site other than
Henoko; conclusion in several months eyed

YOMIURI (Top play) (Excerpt)
December 16, 2009

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama last evening announced his intention
to review the 2006 Japan-U.S. agreement on the relocation of the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa and to look for
new possible candidate sites other than the coastal area of Camp
Schwab in Henoko, Nago, in the prefecture. The Prime Minister said
that a conclusion will be reached in several months. Now that the
selection of a relocation site for Futenma Air Station is likely to
return to square one, there is no longer any chance of achieving
Tokyo and Washington's goal of completing the relocation by 2014.
Positioned as the core of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan,
the Futenma relocation is likely to have an impact on other
realignment plans as well. A strong backlash from the U.S.
government is expected.

5) Government policy to postpone Futenma decision conveyed to U.S.;
plan might be scrapped

ASAHI (Top play) (Excerpt)
December 16, 2009

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama last night conveyed to U.S. Ambassador
to Japan John Roos the government's policy of putting off for the
time being its conclusion to the question of determining the
relocation site for the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station (in
Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture). Although the Prime Minister intends to
continue looking into possible relocation sites, including the
existing plan to relocate Futenma to Henoko in Nago within the
prefecture, chances are slim that a breakthrough will be found
before the end of the deadline. Negotiations between Japan and the
United States have effectively returned to square one.

6) Foreign minister will make further effort for settling Futenma
issue within the year--a cynical message to PM?

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
December 16, 2009

At a press conference yesterday, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
expressed his determination not to give up on resolving the issue of
relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station before the end

TOKYO 00002872 004 OF 009

of the year, although the government has decided to put off settling
the issue to next year.

In order to minimize the negative impact on the Japan-U.S.
relationship, Okada has continued calling on Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama to resolve the issue within the year.

With regard to yesterday's government policy, Okada revealed his
perception that it is not the final policy because what the three
parties have confirmed is that they will continue discussion on the
issue. He said, "I hope that a direction will be decided on (before
the end of the year after going through in-depth discussion),"
indicating that he will make a further effort for settling the issue
within the year."

Political observers are taking a view that Okada might have wanted
to ease the U.S. side's irritation by showing his resolve to settle
the issue before the end of the year. It is also speculated that
Okada sent a cynical message to Hatoyama, who made the decision to
defer a conclusion without listening to his view.

7) Government fails to write scenario for Futenma; deadline shelved
due to opposition from SDP

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Excerpt)
December 16, 2009

The government yesterday formally conveyed to the U.S. government
its policy to postpone a decision on the relocation site for the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station. The government has also
shelved the idea of settling the matter by next May in deference to
the U.S. side due to stiff resistance from the Social Democratic
Party. Prime Minister Yukio Hotoyama has made clear his intention to
explore possible alternative sites other than the existing plan to
relocate Futenma to the coastal area of Camp Schwab (in Henoko,
Nago). There is a deep gulf between Tokyo and Washington, which is
calling for an early conclusion to the matter. The postponement of a
conclusion without any scenario for the Futenma issue might
destabilize the Japan-U.S. security arrangements.

Government's policy on Futenma relocation

Q Postpone a conclusion on the relocation site until next year.
Q The three ruling parties will study new alternative candidate
sites, as well as the existing plan.
Q Propose to the U.S. side the establishment of a Japan-U.S.
consultative body.
Q Include relocation-connected spending in the fiscal 2010 budget
based on the existing plan.
Q Continue the environmental impact assessment premised on the
existing plan.

Major events related to Futenma relocation

Late January Regular Diet session may be convened
Jan. 24 Nago mayoral election

March - May
Fiscal 2010 budget bill may be enacted
Fiscal 2010 budget-related bills may be enacted
July House of Councillors election

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Okinawa gubernatorial election (plan)
President Obama's visit to Japan to attend APEC (Yokohama)

8) Mixed reactions in Okinawa to government's Futenma relocation

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
December 16, 2009

After the Ministerial Committee on Basic Policies decided on the
government's Futenma relocation policy, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu
Nakaima picked his words carefully when surrounded by reporters
asking for his comments: "I cannot possibly comment on this unless
the government discusses the matter thoroughly and comes up with the
closest thing to a concrete plan as soon as possible."

While Nakaima has consistently maintained his position of accepting
the Henoko relocation plan on certain conditions and has demanded an
early solution from the government, he refrained from criticizing
the government directly on Dec. 15, saying: "I am beginning to feel
that it is better for the three parties to discuss this properly."

Since the change of administration in Tokyo, there have been rising
expectations in Okinawa for Futenma's relocation out of the
prefecture. A growing number of members of the ruling parties in the
prefectural government, the Liberal Democratic Party and New
Komeito, have also begun to demand relocation out of Okinawa.
Nakaima is becoming increasingly isolated.

Meanwhile, there are expectations with regard to the decision to
consider new relocation sites. Mayor Yoichi Iha of Ginowan City,
where the Futenma base is located, welcomed the government's
decision: "It is highly commendable that the Hatoyama administration
did not bow to the strong pressure from the U.S. side and that it
understands (the Okinawan people's sentiments) and has taken a step
forward in dealing with this issue, including the consideration of
new relocation sites."

The two prospective candidates in the Jan. 24 mayoral election in
Nago, where the designated relocation site under the existing plan
is located, gave completely opposite comments.

Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro, who accepts relocation to Henoko, said:
"This is regrettable." He reiterated his demand for the government
to come up with a decision at an early date. The new mayoral
candidate who is opposed to Futenma relocation, former Education
Board chair Susumu Inamine welcomed the policy, saying: "(The
mayoral election) will be a good opportunity to demonstrate the
popular will." A source in the Inamine camp predicts that "this will
be an election to put the relocation issue to a vote directly."

Distrust of the Hatoyama administration runs deep because it has
wavered for three months in handling this issue. Hiroshi Ashitomi,
leader of a citizens' group conducting a sit-in protest against
Henoko relocation, said: "It is meaningless if the decision is
merely being deferred. Okinawa's anger will explode if after a few
months, we are told that Henoko is being chosen after all. I hope
the government understands that."

9) Japan eager to come up with new proposal for nuclear-free world;
key lies in cooperation with U.S

TOKYO 00002872 006 OF 009

ASAHI (Page 4) (Lead paragraph)
December 16, 2009

Following the release of a report by the International Commission on
Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament led by Japan and Australia,
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada announced yesterday that Japan would
host an international conference on nuclear abolition in the latter
half of next year. He expressed Japan's eagerness to take the
initiative in international discussions on the matter, but it
remains to be seen whether in-depth discussions can be conducted on
nuclear policy at a time when Japan-U.S. relations are strained over
the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.

10) 'No preemptive action' a mid- to long-term issue: Okada

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
December 16, 2009

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has indicated that no first use of
nuclear weapons, which he has been advocating, is a mid- to
long-term issue. "This is not something we can do right away, so we
should hold talks with countries like the United States and
Australia," Okada said in a press conference yesterday. Okada, in a
press conference after becoming foreign minister, stated: "I wonder
if a country that clearly says it will use nuclear weapons first is
qualified to talk about nuclear disarmament."

11) Degree of dependence on government bonds exceeds 50 PERCENT for
first time, with 9.3 trillion yen in issuance added in fiscal 2009
second extra budget

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Lead paragraph)
December 16, 2009

The government approved an extra budget draft for fiscal 2009 during
a cabinet meeting yesterday. The draft entails 9.34 trillion yen in
additional issuance of government bonds. As a result, the nation's
growing budget deficit will be thrown into ever starker relief. The
proportion of revenue dependent on sales of government bonds for
fiscal 2009 has exceeded 50 PERCENT for the first time. In
formulating the fiscal 2010 budget, the government endorsed a basic
policy of pursing the goal of capping the issue of new government
bonds at approximately 44 trillion yen. But it now seems difficult
to attain this goal. The government is trying to raise more than 10
trillion yen from non-tax receipts.

12) JCP Chairman Shii criticizes DPJ Ozawa's comment on meeting
between Emperor, Chinese vice president: "Mr. Ozawa should closely
read Constitution"

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 16, 2009

Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii yesterday criticized
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa's
remark made on Chinese vice President Xi Jinping's audience with the
Emperor held yesterday. Ozawa said: "The Constitution stipulates
that the Emperor should perform acts in matters of state as advised
and approved by the cabinet. I wonder if he (Imperial Household
Agency Grand Steward Shingo Hakeda, who refused the government's
request to arrange the imperial meeting) has read the Constitution

TOKYO 00002872 007 OF 009

of Japan." Reacting to this remark, Japanese Communist Party
Chairman Kazuo Shii said yesterday: "Mr. Ozawa should also closely
read the Constitution."

In light of Article 7 of the Constitution, Shii told reporters:

"An audience with the Emperor by a visiting foreign dignitary is not
categorized as a national event. Such a clause is not included (in
the Constitution). That is deemed as an official duty.... The
Constitution indicates that political intentions should not be
reflected in official duties. If the government is involved in the
Emperor's activities, the activities will be linked to political
interests and infringe on the spirit of the Constitution."

Meanwhile, People's New Party President Shizuka Kamei defended Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama's stance in a speech yesterday. He said:
"The Constitution stipulates that national events should be
conducted based on the cabinet's advice and approval." Asked for his
view about Ozawa's call for Hakeda's resignation, Kamei replied: "He
he is a good person so he does not need to resign."

13) Internal Affairs Ministry to set up consultative panel with
local governments

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 16, 2009

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi
announced yesterday that his ministry will set up a working-level
study group on the legalization of a consultative panel composed of
the central government and local governments as pledge by the
Hatoyama cabinet. Five government officials, including Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary Koji Matsui, and three local government heads,
including Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada, will confer on the topics and
formats for discussions. Kaoru Kurata, mayor of Ikeda City in Osaka,
and Tetsuo Furuki, mayor of Waki Town in Yamaguchi Prefecture, will
participate in the working-level group. The group will hold its
first meeting on Dec. 18 at the Prime Minister's Official Residence

14) PM Hatoyama moves to quiet down controversy over Emperor's
audience with PRC Vice President Xi Jinping

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 16, 2009

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who is being criticized for "using
the Imperial family for political purposes" by making an exception
in ordering the arrangement of an audience of the Emperor with
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, intends to quiet down this matter
following the meeting that took place on Dec. 15. However, harsh
criticism continues to come from the opposition parties, and the
uproar has not subsided.

This issue started with Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General
Ichiro Ozawa's criticism on Dec. 14 of Imperial Household Agency
(IHA) Grand Steward Shinto Haketa, who expressed concerns about
Hatoyama's order for the audience.

Hatoyama told reporters at the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) in the late afternoon of Dec. 15: "The meeting that took
place in an amicable atmosphere was good for bilateral relations.

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The Secretary General did make his statements, but for me, the fact
(that the meeting was realized) is all that matters." Chief Cabinet
Secretary Hirofumi Hirano also commented on Haketa's expression of
concern at his news conference in the morning, saying: "It was his
view as the grand steward," indicating that this was acceptable

Certain government and ruling party officials are demanding a review
of the custom of requiring a written request at least one month in
advance for meetings of the Emperor with foreign dignitaries. Deputy
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno summoned IHA Councillor
Hirofumi Oka to the Kantei in the late afternoon of Dec. 15 and
asked him to give an explanation on the one-month rule. However, the
dominant opinion favors settling this issue at an early date because
"the situation will only get worse the more this issue is
discussed." The call for Haketa's resignation made by Ozawa is also
dying down.

However, there is still strong criticism against the government.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Council Chairman
Shigeru Ishiba stated on Dec. 15: "(The rule) should not be
influenced by the government in power at a specific time."

Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Seiji
Maehara refuted the LDP at a news conference on Dec. 15, saying: "I
understand that a former prime minister had inquired about the
possibility of an audience (with the Emperor). This came to the
Kantei from an LDP person." LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki retorted
with: "If China had asked a former prime minister from our party, it
is possible that he might have inquired about the possibility of an
audience. However, if he was told about the one-month rule, he would
accept that immediately." The controversy goes on.

15) Prime Minister Hatoyama to leave tomorrow for Denmark to attend

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
December 16, 2009

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano announced yesterday at a
press conference that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama will visit
Denmark on Dec. 17-19 to attend the summit-level meeting of the 15th
session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (COP15). Hatoyama intends to advocate
Japan's leading role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and
propose a political agreement incorporating emission reduction
commitments by major countries.

16) Diet poll: SDP's opposition prevents Constitutional review panel
from meeting

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 16, 2009

In a recent survey of all Diet members, 59 PERCENT of respondents
approved of starting the Deliberative Council on the Constitution at
an early date, while 12 PERCENT were against it. The council was
set up in both houses of the Diet in 2007 under the National
Referendum Law but has yet to meet.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they thought that the
Constitution of Japan should be kept intact with no amendments to
any of its provisions. In response to this question, the greater

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part of them answered "no." Of course, those lawmakers in favor of
amending the Constitution answered "yes" when asked if they thought
that the council should meet. Even among those insisting on
protecting the Constitution, more than 20 PERCENT answered
affirmatively. Nevertheless, the council has yet to meet. The reason
is evident in the breakdown of answers by political party.

Among those respondents from the Democratic Party of Japan, 44
PERCENT answered "yes," with 11 PERCENT saying "no." In the case
of the Social Democratic Party, however, all of those who responded
to the survey answered "no." That is because the two ruling
coalition parties could fissure once the council begins to meet.
Among those DPJ respondents, those who answered that they "can't say
which" accounted for 44 PERCENT . This also can be taken as
reflecting such concern.


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