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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/21/09

DE RUEHKO #2908/01 3550216
P 210216Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



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

Okinawa issues:
4) Hatoyama explains his position on Futenma to Secretary Clinton
5) Okada says U.S. Marines needed in Japan (Nikkei)
6) Ozawa taking wait-and-see attitude toward Futenma (Asahi)

Foreign relations:
7) Foreign Minister to visit Russia on 27th to discuss territorial
issue (Nikkei)
8) Cheng Yonghua likely next Chinese ambassador to Japan

9) Kozo Watanabe: "Ozawa has become a regular person" (Asahi)
10) Ozawa says party will maintain coalition after Upper House
election (Nikkei)

Economy & trade:
11) U.S. asks Japan for talks on review of postal privatization
12) Japan and Korea restart EPA negotiations (Nikkei)
13) Nikkei poll: Half of company presidents fear double-dip
recession (Nikkei)

14) Yomiuri poll: Cabinet support further declines; 55 PERCENT
15) Mainichi poll: Cabinet support drops 9 points to 55 PERCENT
16) Jiji poll: Cabinet support drops below 50 PERCENT (Tokyo
17) Asahi poll: Cabinet support plummets to 48 PERCENT (Asahi)


Asahi poll: Cabinet approval rating plunges to 48 PERCENT ; 74
PERCENT think PM has not demonstrated leadership

Mainichi poll: Cabinet approval rating falls 9 points to 55 PERCENT
; 68 PERCENT concerned about policy toward U.S.

Ozawa's fund management body suspected to have omitted 400 million
yen from report; Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office to
interview Lower House member Ishikawa

Survey of 100 company presidents: Half of them worried about double
dip recession, yen's further appreciation, and policy

Only one case of seasonal influenza reported due to new flu

Tokyo Shimbun:

TOKYO 00002908 002 OF 010

Public Tokyo elementary schools to introduce two homeroom teacher
system involving retired teachers starting in fiscal 2010

Akahata poll: Health checkup rates drop in 46 prefectures under
medical insurance system for people 75 and older


(1) Participation by disabled persons essential for policy to break
down social barriers
(2) Japan must also pay more attention to Central Asia

(1) Career training essential for high school graduates struggling
to find jobs
(2) North Korea's denomination shows seriousness of system's

(1) Spread of Dubai shock was prevented, but ...
(2) Solid science and technology strategy essential to survive
against international competition

(1) DPJ's expressway requests full of contradictions
(2) Set income cap on child allowances

(1) Flexible vaccination essential
(2) Think beyond uniform management of three Kansai airports

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Thinking about Obama administration in wintertime at beginning
of the week

(1) Make COP15 a new starting point for advancement

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, December 20

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2009

10:07 Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano at his official residential
quarters. Joined by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsui.

4) Hatoyama explains to Clinton that forcibly implementing Futenma
relocation plan would be risky

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, December 19, 2009

Keiichi Kaneko, Copenhagen

Speaking to the press corps on the evening of Dec. 18 (early on the
morning of Dec. 19, Japan time), Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
revealed that during a banquet hosted by Denmark's Queen he was
asked by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sat next to

TOKYO 00002908 003 OF 010

him, for an explanation of the process that led to the decision to
give up on settling the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture) before the end
of the year.

The Prime Minister said that he had asked Clinton for her
understanding, saying, "In the wake of the Democratic Party of
Japan's electoral victory, there are growing expectations among
people of Okinawa (seeking relocation outside the prefecture). I am
well aware that the Japan-U.S. agreement carries much weight, but I
also think it is very risky to forcibly implement (the existing plan
to relocate Futenma to Henoko in the city of Nago within the
prefecture). We are making efforts with new options in mind. I would
like (the United States) to wait for a while."

The very fact that Clinton asked the Prime Minister for an
explanation seems to reflect the fact that Washington is leery of
his handling of the issue. The Prime Minister, however, indicated to
the press corps that Clinton had expressed understanding of his
explanation, saying, "I don't remember her exact words, but I got
the message that she understood (my explanation) very well." The
Prime Minister also said that although he had exchanged a few words
of greeting with President Barack Obama during an informal COP15
summit, they did not touch on the Futenma relocation issue.

5) FM Okada says U.S. Marine Corps is necessary for Japan; brushes
aside idea of Futenma relocation to Guam

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 19, 2009

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada stressed at a press conference on
Dec. 18 that the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa is very mobile and
that its presence is necessary for (the security of Japan). Okada
made the statement in connection with the relocation of the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. Okada also expressed a
negative view about the Social Democratic Party's call for
relocating Futenma to Guam, saying, "If we expect the Marine Corps
to serve as a deterrent, then the argument on whether they should
leave Japan is irrelevant."

As of 2007, there were some 15,000 U.S. Marines deployed in the East
Asia/Pacific region, and of them, 13,000 were in Japan.

"Geographically speaking, it is better to keep them in Okinawa
rather than in Hokkaido or mainland Japan. Okinawa has strategic
advantages," the foreign minister said. "It would take energy to
move everything to another site. In that sense as well, Okinawa is
more conceivable (than other places)."

6) DPJ's Ozawa takes wait-and-see attitude on Futenma out of
deference to PM Hatoyama

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 19, 2009

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, who
has intervened in the formulation of the budget, is taking a
wait-and-see attitude on the issue of the relocation of the U.S.
forces' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. It appears that this is in
deference to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who is experiencing
difficulties with his adoption of Ozawa's policy of an "equal

TOKYO 00002908 004 OF 010

Japan-U.S. alliance." However, if another crisis in which coalition
partner Social Democratic Party (SDP) threatens to bolt the
coalition occurs, it is likely that Ozawa will have to get

Ozawa gives priority to the coalition and is negative about
relocating the Futenma base to Henoko in Nago City as agreed upon in
the Japan-U.S. agreement, but he is avoiding becoming actively
involved in coordination on this issue. Ozawa's position on the
Futenma issue can be gleaned from his recent statements and

Ozawa reportedly told a Diet member he met this week that, "It is
unacceptable to pollute that beautiful sea," indicating his
disapproval of Henoko relocation. He also pointed out at a political
fund-raising party in Tokyo on Dec. 15 that, "Since the
administration has changed, we need to think of the Futenma issue
from a broad perspective even if there will be criticism."

However, even when SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima threatened in early
December to leave the coalition in protest to moves to resolve the
Futenma issue by the end of the year, Ozawa apparently did not take
any action to settle the crisis. It is believed that the reason
behind his silence is the fact that the Prime Minister is
experiencing difficulties trying to implement Ozawa's policy of an
"equal Japan-U.S. alliance."

From his experience serving as the Liberal Democratic Party
secretary general during the Gulf crisis around 1990, Ozawa came to
advocate that Japan should become a "normal country." His idea that
Japan should share security responsibility with the U.S. while
reducing the U.S. forces in Japan came to influence the DPJ's
policies after he became the party's president in 2006. The DPJ
issued its "Okinawa Vision" in 2008 which favored the relocation of
the Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa or out of Japan.

Since late 2008, American experts on Japan have been warning
Hatoyama, who was then DPJ secretary general, and other party
officials that such a policy violates the Japan-U.S. agreement.
However, a review of Okinawa Vision and deliberations on alternative
proposals did not make any progress under Ozawa's presidency.
Hatoyama replaced Ozawa as president in May 2009 in the midst of a
political donation scandal. He simply maintained the foreign and
security policies of Ozawa's presidency because he did not have time
to prepare new policies.

If Ozawa defends his longstanding beliefs from his position as the
party's secretary general, who takes no responsibility for foreign
policy, this will only complicate the matter. At his meeting with
New Party Daichi leader Muneo Suzuki on Dec. 15, Ozawa said that, "I
would like to simply watch how the Prime Minister's Official
Residence handles the situation. If I speak up, it will cause a
flare up."

However, Hatoyama intends to decide on Futenma's relocation site by
next May during the regular Diet session. If he decides on Henoko,
the question of the SDP's bolting the coalition will be rekindled,
and this may bring chaos to the deliberation of bills and election
cooperation. With regard to the May deadline, Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Kenji Yamaoka stated on Dec. 17 that it "no longer exists."
There are already signs of turmoil at this early stage. It appears
that Ozawa is likely to come into the picture before the House of

TOKYO 00002908 005 OF 010

Councillors election (next summer).

7) Foreign Minister Okada to visit Russia on Dec. 27 to discuss
territorial issue

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 19, 2009

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Dec. 18 that
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada will visit Russia on Dec. 27-29.
Okada is expected to discuss on Dec. 28 mainly the issue of the
Northern Territories with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He
will be the first minister of the Yukio Hatoyama cabinet to visit

At a press conference, he said, "On the Russian side, there is a
desire for Japanese technology and capital," pointing out that there
is a possibility that economic cooperation will lead to a
breakthrough in the deadlocked territorial issue.

Okada also said: "Since the issue has remained unresolved for a long
time, it is closely associated with Russian national sentiments. So
we should not be optimistic about a settlement, but will gradually
move forward with negotiations."

8) Chen Yonghua most likely candidate to be next Chinese ambassador
to Japan

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
December 20, 2009

Fumiji Matsuura, Beijing

Several sources familiar with Japan-U.S. relations revealed on Dec.
19 that current Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK),
Chen Yonghua (55), who is well versed in Japan, is viewed as a
possible candidate to be the next ambassador to Japan, succeeding
incumbent Ambassador Cui Tiankai, 57, who will likely to be promoted
to the post of vice foreign minister. Cheng is expected to arrive at
post in late January at the earliest.

Cheng studied at Soka University in Japan. He worked at the Chinese
Embassy in Japan for about 20 years, or four terms, since 1977. He
has been serving as ambassador to the ROK since 2008, after having
served as ambassador to Malaysia since 2006. He is proficient in
Japanese and has many friends in Japanese political and business
circles. Therefore, expectations for his appointment as the next
ambassador to Japan had been high. The Chinese government appears to
be willing to improve a strategic reciprocal relationship with Japan
by appointing "a member of the Japan school" as ambassador.
Meanwhile, although Cui has served in key posts in the Chinese
Foreign Ministry, he had never served in the Chinese Embassy in
Tokyo before he took his present post in September 2007. He will
reportedly no longer be in charge of Japan affairs once he becomes
vice foreign minister. It is uncertain whether Cui will serve as
chair of the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

9) Ozawa becomes regular person: DPJ's Watanabe

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2009

TOKYO 00002908 006 OF 010

Asked about Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro
Ozawa on a TV Asahi program on Dec. 20, Kozo Watanabe, a former DPJ
supreme advisor, said, "For the past week, he has been happily
making efforts at center stage in the political arena. I think he is
now a very regular person." His comment indicated a "change" in
Ozawa, who led a large DPJ delegation to China and has begun to get
involved in the compilation of the state budget for fiscal 2010.

Watanabe reflected on the past, saying, "Mr. Ozawa has had an
influence since he was young. (In the past) he did jobs that other
people did not want to do behind the scenes, and eventually had
someone else stand under the political spotlight. I thought Mr.
Ozawa was that kind of a person."

In connection with the fact that Ozawa did not reappoint him as a
supreme advisor, Watanabe said, "I was disliked by him. We were on
very close terms in the past."

10) Ozawa aims for DPJ's majority in next Upper House election, to
maintain coalition government after election

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
December 21, 2009

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa gave
a speech at a party organized by the DPJ Iwate chapter in Morioka
City on Dec. 20. He reiterated that the DPJ's goal is to win an
absolute majority in the House of Councillors election next summer.
He also discussed the management of the administration after the
election, saying: "Of course, we will not abandon and will maintain
our cooperative relationship with the People's New Party and the
Social Democratic Party." He thus indicated that even if the DPJ
wins an absolute majority, the three-party coalition framework will

Ozawa asserted emphatically, "At a critical moment, controlling the
majority in both houses of the Diet is an administration's greatest
strength." Fifty-three of the DPJ's seats in the Upper House
(including Upper House President Satsuki Eda) are up for election in
the next election. The DPJ needs to win at least 60 seats to secure
an absolute majority. At a news conference held before the party in
Morioka, Ozawa said, "We will make every effort to win at least 61

11) U.S. government to call for talks with Japan on review of postal
privatization plan, to seek equal competitive conditions

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
December 21, 2009

Takashi Osumi, Washington

The U.S. government has decided to call on the Japanese government
to hold talks on its review of the postal privatization plan
(initiated by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi). Deputy USTR
(U.S. Trade Representatives) Demetrios Marantis revealed
Washington's policy in an interview with the Nikkei. The policy came
about because of the enactment of a bill to freeze the sale of
government-owned shares in the Japan postal group and the Hatoyama
administration's decision to review the postal plan. Reflecting
growing concern among the firms doing business in Japan about
possible favoritism toward the Japanese postal group, the U.S.

TOKYO 00002908 007 OF 010

government now judges it necessary to hold talks with the Japanese

Marantis stated in the interview:

"It is up to the Japanese government to determine how to treat the
Japanese postal group. But we hope that Japan and the U.S. will hold
talks with Japan to prevent the group from having an advantage in
competition with foreign firms."

Marantis pointed out three areas - insurance, banking, and
transportation - as the areas in which foreign firms could be placed
at a disadvantage as a result of reviewing the postal privatization
plan. He indicated that Japan and the U.S. should discuss
competitive conditions in these areas.

The Japanese government intends to submit a bill to review the
postal privatization plan that includes future business plans to the
regular Diet session that will commence early next year.

12) Japan, South Korea to hold working-level talks in Seoul today
aimed at resuming EPA negotiations

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2009

The governments of Japan and South Korea will hold a
deputy-director-level meeting in Seoul today to discuss whether to
resume negotiations aimed at concluding a bilateral economic
partnership agreement (EPA). The working-level talks will be held
for the first time in five months and will be the second round since
the talks were upgraded to the deputy-director level during a
bilateral summit meeting in June. EPA negotiations between Japan and
South Korea have been suspended since November 2004 as the two
countries failed to find common ground on such areas as agriculture.
Expectations for an EPA between Japan and South Korea are growing in
the Japanese business world, but there is deep-seated concern about
an inflow of farm products into the Japanese market. Meanwhile, many
South Korean government officials are worried about an expansion of
its trade deficit.

13) Survey of 100 company presidents: Half worry about double-dip

NIKKEI (Top play) (Lead paragraph)
December 21, 2009

A "survey of 100 company presidents" conducted by the Nikkei
revealed that 47.2 PERCENT of respondents were worried that the
Japanese economy could turn sour again before it was put on a solid
recovery track, the so-called "double-dip" recession. This figure is
about 10 percentage points more than in the previous survey in
September. Many cited the rising value of the yen and uncertainty
over the future of policies as the major reasons for concern. The
percentage of those who said the economy was recovering also
declined, from 70 PERCENT to almost 50 PERCENT . Amid waning
expectations for economic growth, the survey found that many
business leaders were considering the possibility of allocating
managerial resources to Asian countries other than Japan.

14) Poll: Cabinet support spirals down to 55 PERCENT ; 51 PERCENT
disapprove of decision to carry over Futenma issue to next year

TOKYO 00002908 008 OF 010

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged)
December 20, 2009

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a telephone-based spot nationwide
public opinion survey on Dec. 18-19, after the government had given
up settling the pending issue of relocating the U.S. military's
Futenma airfield in Okinawa Prefecture before the year is out. In
the survey, the Hatoyama cabinet's support rate was 55 PERCENT ,
down 4 percentage points from the last survey conducted Dec. 4-6.
The nonsupport rate was 33 PERCENT (29 PERCENT in the last
survey). Respondents were asked if they approved of the government's
decision to give up reaching a conclusion by the end of the year. In
response to this question, 51 PERCENT answered "no." They were also
asked if they thought the decision would have a negative impact on
Japan-U.S. relations. To this question, 68 PERCENT answered "yes."
The public's dissatisfaction with the deferment of a conclusion and
their concern about the deterioration of Japan-U.S. relations seem
to have brought about the continual fall of the support rate.

In the survey, respondents were further asked where Futenma airfield
should be relocated. To this question, 35 PERCENT chose "out of
Japan," with 34 PERCENT preferring to relocate it to the island
prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago "in accordance with a
bilateral agreement reached between Japan and the United States" and
14 PERCENT insisting on relocating it "somewhere outside Okinawa
Prefecture." Meanwhile, 64 PERCENT answered "no" when asked if they
approved of the tripartite ruling coalition of the Democratic Party
of Japan, Social Democratic Party, and People's New Party. The
public seems to be dissatisfied with a DPJ that is being pushed
around by the SDP and the PNP.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the DPJ
stood at 43 PERCENT (42 PERCENT in the last survey) and the
Liberal Democratic Party at 18 PERCENT (19 PERCENT in the last

15) Poll: Cabinet support drops 9 points to 55 PERCENT ; 68 PERCENT
worried about U.S. ties

MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged)
December 21, 2009

The Mainichi Shimbun conducted a telephone-based public opinion
survey across the nation on Dec. 19-20. In the survey, the rate of
public support for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his cabinet was
55 PERCENT , down 9 percentage points from the last survey conducted
Nov. 21-22. Respondents were asked if they approved of the Hatoyama
cabinet's decision to defer its conclusion to next year on the
pending issue of relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in
Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture. In response to this question, 51
PERCENT answered "no." Respondents were also asked if they were
worried about the Hatoyama government's policy toward the United
States. To this question, 68 PERCENT answered "yes." The Hatoyama
administration's flip-flopping over Futenma and other issues appears
to have impressed the public with Prime Minister Hatoyama's lack of
leadership and have consequently led to the drop in public support
for his cabinet.

The Hatoyama cabinet's inaugural approval rating scored 77 PERCENT ,
the second highest ever, in a survey conducted this September. In
the surveys that followed, however, its support rate continued to

TOKYO 00002908 009 OF 010

drop. Three months later, it dropped 22 points, nearly a third of
the inaugural rating. The disapproval rating only inched up
slightly. This time around, however, it was 34 PERCENT , showing a
sharp increase of 13 points from the last survey. In the breakdown
of reasons given for not supporting the Hatoyama cabinet, the
proportion of those who answered that it is "because he cannot be
expected to display leadership" increased from 16 PERCENT in the
last survey to 42 PERCENT in the latest survey. Among those who
support the Hatoyama cabinet, "the nature of politics is likely to
change" accounted for 82 PERCENT . The figure indicates that the
public's expectations for change still prop up the support rate.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties as well,
the ruling Democratic Party of Japan dropped 4 points from the last
survey to 35 PERCENT , posting a further drop from its all-time low
of 45 PERCENT . The proportion of those have no particular party
affiliation was 33 PERCENT , remaining flat from the last survey.
Among the unaffiliated respondents, the cabinet support rate was 41
PERCENT , falling below 50 PERCENT from the 51 PERCENT rating in
the last survey. On Dec. 24, the Hatoyama cabinet will have been in
office for 100 days. However, the honeymoon phase with a sense of
hope is now about to be replaced by calls for specific results. The
public, particularly people with no party affiliation, seems to be
casting a severe eye on the cabinet.

16) Poll: Cabinet support falls below 50 PERCENT

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
December 19, 2009

The public approval rating for the Hatoyama cabinet was 46.8 PERCENT
in a public opinion survey conducted by Jiji Press on Dec. 11-14,
down 7.6 percentage points from last month. The figure dropped for
the second month in a row and fell below 50 PERCENT for the first
time since the cabinet came into office this September. Meanwhile,
the disapproval rating was 30.3 PERCENT , up 7.5 points from last
month, reaching the 30 PERCENT range for the first time. In the
breakdown of reasons given for not supporting the Hatoyama cabinet,
a sharply increasing number of people cited Prime Minister
Hatoyama's lack of leadership. This can be taken as reflecting his
and his cabinet ministers' flip-flopping over the pending issue of
relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in Okinawa
Prefecture and over the amount of government bonds to be issued.

The survey was conducted across the nation on a face-to-face basis,
with a total of 2,000 persons chosen from among men and women aged
20 and over. The response rate was 66.1 PERCENT .

17) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet's popularity nosedives to 48 PERCENT

ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
December 21, 2009

The public approval rating for Prime Minister Hatoyama's cabinet
tumbled to 48 PERCENT in a telephone-based nationwide public
opinion survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 19-20,
sustaining a marked drop from the 62 PERCENT rating in the last
survey conducted Nov. 14-15. The disapproval rating for the Hatoyama
cabinet was 34 PERCENT (21 PERCENT in the last survey). In the
survey, a total of 74 PERCENT answered "no" when asked if they
thought Prime Minister Hatoyama was displaying leadership. Half of
those who do not support the Hatoyama cabinet cited "action" as a

TOKYO 00002908 010 OF 010


Broken down by political parties supported, the Hatoyama cabinet's
support rate was 84 PERCENT among those who support the ruling
Democratic Party of Japan (92 PERCENT in the last survey) and 13
PERCENT among those who support the opposition Liberal Democratic
Party (24 PERCENT in the last survey). Among those with no
particular party affiliation, the support rate was 39 PERCENT and
the nonsupport rate was 27 PERCENT in the last survey. This time,
however, the support rate was 24 PERCENT , with the nonsupport rate
at 45 PERCENT . As seen from these figures, the disapproval rating
topped the approval rating for the first time since the Hatoyama
cabinet came into office.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they thought Hatoyama was
displaying leadership. In response to this question, only 18 PERCENT
answered "yes." Even among those who support the Hatoyama cabinet,
"yes" accounted for only 30 PERCENT , with "no" reaching 62 PERCENT

Respondents were also asked if they approved of the Hatoyama cabinet
with regard to the pending issue of relocating the U.S. military's
Futenma airfield. To this question, 60 PERCENT answered "no," with
30 PERCENT saying "yes." Among LDP supporters, "no" accounted for

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the DPJ
stood at 42 PERCENT (46 PERCENT in the last survey), with the LDP
at 18 PERCENT (14 PERCENT in the last survey). The DPJ's
popularity edged down with the cabinet support rate's decline but
still remains high.


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