Search

 

Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 02/16/10

VZCZCXRO3956
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0295/01 0470532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160532Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9395
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1168
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8832
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2648
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5840
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9322
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3078
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9759
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9116

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 TOKYO 000295

SIPDIS

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 02/16/10

INDEX:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials

Futenma follies:
3) Senator Webb: "I'm confident of a conclusion favorable to both
countries" (Yomiuri)
4) Hirano: Saipan out of the question (Asahi)
5) DPJ Okinawa chapter to adopt Futenma proposal (Sankei)
6) PNP to offer plans for relocation of Futenma facility within
Okinawa (Asahi)
7) Fukushima opposes land-based facility at Camp Schwab (Mainichi)


Defense & security:
8) Gov't: U.S. not obliged to defend Takeshima (Nikkei)
9) Japan, Australia to conclude ACSA (Nikkei)
10) GSDF officer gets written warning (Mainichi)
11) Kitazawa chides GSDF officer for comment on Japan-U.S. alliance
(Yomiuri)

Foreign relations:
12) Ozawa reveals he criticized U.S. Asian policy in meeting with
Campbell (Sankei)
13) Japan pressed to sign Hague Convention (Yomiuri)

Sea Shepherd vs. Japan:
14) Activist climbs aboard whaling ship (Yomiuri)
15) Sea Shepherd captain to be handed over to Japanese Coast Guard
(Asahi)

Politics:
16) Strategy Minister Sengoku vows sweeping reform of farming
regulations (Nikkei)
17) Gov't to abolish ceiling on postal savings (Yomiuri)
18) Ozawa denies asking for Obama meeting (Nikkei)
19) Former LDP lawmaker Yoshimura to join PNP (Nikkei)
20) DPJ accepts Ishikawa's resignation (Asahi)

Economy:
21) GDP marks real growth of 4.6 PERCENT (Nikkei)
22) Kamei: It's foolish to be swayed by foreign countries (Asahi)

23) Next generation power transmission network: Pubic, private
sectors aim to capture market through cooperation (Nikkei)

Opinion:
24) Jiji poll: Cabinet support rate plummets to 35 PERCENT (Tokyo
Shimbun)
25) Sankei poll: 75 PERCENT of Diet members believe Ozawa's
explanation of scandal insufficient (Sankei)

ARTICLES:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Major banks reject only a few debt moratorium applications from
small firms, housing loan borrowers

Mainichi:

TOKYO 00000295 002 OF 013


Costs for 190 road construction projects increased from initial
budget requests, reflecting local desires

Yomiuri:
Road project budget up 60.8 billion yen from initial request, with
local wishes taken into account

Nikkei:
Japan to receive 75 billion yen worth of orders in Vietnam for
infrastructure work

Sankei:
Chinese-style strategy to grab resources: "Zambians are treated like
slaves"

Tokyo Shimbun:
Major banks receive 20,000 debt moratorium applications from home
loan borrowers, small firms in a month

Akahata:
Local residents at possible alternative sites for Futenma airfield
voicing anger, opposition to increased burden of hosting U.S.
military bases

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Positive GDP growth: Government should draw up strategy for
self-sustaining recovery
(2) Murder, injury of three in Miyagi Prefecture: Review measures
against domestic violence in light of this incident

Mainichi:
(1) Consumption tax debate: Start with an explanation
(2) Anti-smoking measures in work places: Draw up a blueprint for
complete smoking ban

Yomiuri:
(1) Consumption tax debate: Finance Minister Kan making a move
finally
(2) Continuous improvement of GDP: Concerns about a double dip
remain

Nikkei:
(1) DPJ administration should discuss taxes, pension with opposition
parties
(2) Economy sluggish despite recovery of growth rate

Sankei:
(1) Political funds and income tax declaration: All taxpayers are
furious

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Consumption tax debate: Flip side of growth strategy
(2) Public transportation: Localities should maintain local means of
transportation

Akahata:
(1) GDP: Implement fundamental shift from old growth strategy

FUTENMA FOLLIES


TOKYO 00000295 003 OF 013


3) U.S. Senator Jim Webb meets FM Okada, DM Kitazawa

YOIURI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2010

U.S. Senator Jim Webb (Democratic Party), chairman of the Senate's
Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs who is on a visit to
Japan, met Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa separately in Tokyo on Feb. 15 to exchange views on
the relocation of the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa.

Okada said, "We will reach a conclusion by May after consulting with
the U.S. government," while Kitazawa stated, "We would like to make
every effort to find the most appropriate solution," in their
efforts to gain Webb's understanding. Webb responded with: "The
Japan-U.S. relationship is strong enough to overcome any specific
issue. I am confident that whatever the conclusion will be, it will
be desirable for both countries." At a news conference at the Japan
National Press Club in Uchisaiwaicho, Tokyo, earlier, Webb said that
"there are several practical options" with regard to the relocation
site, indicating his acceptance of relocation sites other than the
location designated by the current relocation plan. However, he
refrained from talking about the relocation site at his meetings
with the foreign minister and the defense minister.

4) Hirano: Saipan is not included among potential alternative sites
for Futenma facility

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
February 13, 2010

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told a press conference
yesterday that Saipan, the largest island of the U.S.-held Northern
Mariana Islands, is not included among the possible alternative
sites for moving the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in
Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture. In exploring every possible
alternative, lawmakers from the Social Democratic Party and the
People's New Party visited Saipan recently. But Hirano said in
reference to the recent: "This idea came out of the blue. The idea
is not under discussion (at the study committee of the three ruling
parties on Okinawa base issues). There is no plan to include the
option in the items for discussion." Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa also said in a press conference on the same day: "Given the
prime minister's strong determination to resolve the Futenma issue
by the end of May, I think this idea would be considerably
difficult."

5) DPJ Okinawa chapter to come up with Futenma relocation proposal

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 16, 2010

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Okinawa chapter yesterday
decided to come up with its own proposal for relocating the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa
Prefecture).

6) PNP to propose Futenma's relocation within Okinawa; SDP proposals
to include relocation to northern Kyushu

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
February 16, 2010

TOKYO 00000295 004 OF 013

The proposals for the relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air
Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa) to be submitted by the People's
New Party (PNP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the
examination committee of the government and the ruling parties on
Feb. 17 have been decided on. The PNP will make two proposals: (1)
integration with the U.S. forces' Kadena Air Base (KAB) (straddling
the towns of Kadena and Chatan and Okinawa City) and (2) relocation
to the land area of Camp Schwab (in Nago City). The SDP's preferred
option is relocation to the U.S. territory of Guam.

The PNP's proposal for Futenma's integration with the KAB calls for
the relocation of Futenma's helicopter units to the KAB after
transferring the fighter units on the KAB to the Air Self-Defense
Force's Misawa base (in Aomori Prefecture). The training drills of
the U.S. Marines will be dispersed, and noise problems caused by the
KAB will also be remedied. The proposal to relocate the Futenma base
to the land area of Camp Schwab will entail the construction of a
new runway to be used by the Marines' helicopters on the military
base.

Guam is the SDP's preferred option for Futenma relocation, but Guam
has refused to accept the relocation. Therefore, the party is also
considering temporary relocation to northern Kyushu, such as the
Ground Self-Defense Force's Ainoura base or the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's Omura base (both in Nagasaki Prefecture).

However, it is believed that the Hatoyama cabinet is also looking
for other alternative relocation sites behind the scenes. Certain
administration officials reckon that the examination committee's
listening to the views of the two parties is merely a way to "create
an excuse."

7) Discord in ruling parties: SDP leader opposes proposal to
relocate Futenma to land area of Camp Schwab; PNP irked

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2010

Shinichiro Nishida, Yasushi Sengoku

Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Mizuho Fukushima commented on
Feb. 15 on the plan of the People's New Party (PNP) to propose the
relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City,
Okinawa) to the land area of Camp Schwab (in Nago city). She voiced
her opposition, saying: "The mayor of Nago has clearly stated that
relocation either to the coastal or land area is unacceptable. The
sentiment of the citizens of Nago and Okinawa is for us to work for
relocation out of Japan or out of Okinawa." She made the above
remarks to reporters in Tokyo. The proposals of the ruling parties
will be submitted to the meeting of the Okinawa base issues
examination committee of the government and the ruling parties on
Feb. 17.

There is an opinion in the government and the ruling parties that
relocation to the land area of Camp Schwab will be the "final
compromise" for Futenma relocation. Fukushima's statement negated
this view. In response to this, PNP policy chief Mikio Shimoji told
reporters: "Since now is a time when all parties should respect each
other and present their proposals, this is very annoying." He
stressed the advantage of the plan to relocate to Camp Schwab's land
area, explaining that, "Our criterion is that it will not damage the

TOKYO 00000295 005 OF 013


sea and will not use additional civilian land." He said the proposal
will be submitted to the examination committee on Feb. 17, after
which he will request a meeting with Nago Mayor Sumumu Inamine to
seek his understanding.

The SDP plans to propose relocating the Futenma base out of Japan to
the U.S. territory of Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern
Mariana Islands. As to candidate relocation sites within Japan, the
party will discuss how to make such proposals, in consideration of
expected opposition from the affected local governments. Along with
the Camp Schwab land area proposal, the PNP will also propose the
integration of the Futenma base with Kadena Air Base (straddling the
towns of Kadena and Chatan and Okinawa City) combined with the
transfer of exercises to Guam, Saipan, and other locations.

DEFENSE & SECURITY

8) Gov't: U.S. not obligated to defend Takeshima

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 13, 2010

The government decided in a cabinet meeting yesterday on an answer
to be filed in reply to a parliamentary interpellation, taking
position that the United States is currently not obligated under the
Japan-U.S. Security Treaty to defend Takeshima ("Dokdo" in Korean),
a group of South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan, to
which both Japan and South Korea have been claiming territorial
rights.

"Takeshima is currently under a situation that prevents Japan from
conducting its administration," the government says in the
cabinet-adopted answer, explaining that the United States is
obligated to defend if and when there is "an armed attack within
territories under Japanese administration."

9) Japan, Australia to ink ACSA pact

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
February 14, 2010

The Japanese and Australian governments decided yesterday to
conclude an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, or ACSA for
short, to provide each other with food and fuel. The two governments
will hold a security consultative committee of their foreign and
defense ministers in Tokyo and are expected to sign the ACSA pact in
March. Australia will be the second country, following the United
States, for Japan to conclude an ACSA pact with. This is aimed at
stepping up trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States,
and Australia on the security front and working together in such
areas as disaster relief and reconstruction assistance.

10) GSDF commander cautioned

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
February 13, 2010

The Defense Ministry said yesterday it has cautioned in written form
Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Takeshi Nakazawa, a GSDF regiment
commander, over his recent remark in which he said that "an alliance
cannot be maintained by just saying 'trust me.'" The caution does
not constitute disciplinary action under the Self-Defense Forces

TOKYO 00000295 006 OF 013


Law.

Nakazawa heads the GSDF 6th Division 44th Infantry Regiment. The
GSDF commanding officer made the remark in a directive he gave in a
ceremony held at the GSDF's Ojojigahara range in Miyagi Prefecture
to start joint training exercises there with U.S. Army troops. The
Defense Ministry explained the reason for the caution, saying: "The
remark could incur a misunderstanding that can be taken as making
light of politics and diplomacy and even as criticizing the prime
minister's statement, and it is not appropriate for a leader of the
Self-Defense Forces to make such a remark." Nakazawa was quoted as
saying: "I'm sorry that what I said has caused a misunderstanding. I
take the action very seriously."

Last November, when Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President
Obama met, Hatoyama told Obama to trust him over the issue of
relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield.

11) Kitazawa issues directive to GSDF's top brass

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2010

Defense Minister Kitazawa called in Ground Self-Defense Force Chief
of Staff Yoshifumi Hibako yesterday and directed the GSDF's top
brass man to alert his staff officers concerning GSDF 44th Infantry
Regiment Commander Col. Takeshi Nakazawa's recent remark over the
Japan-U.S. alliance in order to prevent a recurrence.

Col. Nakazawa was cautioned on Feb. 12 for a remark he made at a
ceremony at a GSDF range on Feb. 10 before the start of bilateral
joint training exercises there between GSDF and U.S. Army troops.
The colonel was quoted as saying there: "An alliance cannot be
maintained by diplomacy or political flowery words, nor can it be
maintained by only saying 'trust me.'"

Kitazawa, after giving directions to the GSDF chief of staff, met
the press and explained why he took disciplinary action against Col.
Nakazawa, saying: "Concerning the national idea of government and
diplomacy, the colonel expressed his philosophy that an alliance
cannot be maintained by such things. At the same time, the colonel
used an expression that sounded as if he was making fun of a
statement by the prime minister, the commander in chief of the
Self-Defense Forces."

FOREIGN RELATIONS

12) Ozawa criticized U.S.'s Asia policy

SANKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
February 14, 2010

Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa gave a
lecture at a meeting of the Ichiro Ozawa Seiji-juku, a school he
heads, in Tokyo on Feb. 13.

Ozawa indicated that when he met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State Kurt Campbell on Feb. 2, he said to Campbell: "If an unstable
situation occurs in Far East Asia, it would not be comparable to the
situation in Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan. The United States must
think of the region more seriously." Ozawa thus indicated that he
had pointed out problems associated with the U.S.'s Asia policy.

TOKYO 00000295 007 OF 013

On state affairs, Ozawa announced his determination to make all-out
efforts for the maintenance of the DPJ-led administration, saying,
"There is no other option but for the DPJ administration to remain
responsible for the country's politics although it will have to go
through a process of trial and error for the time being." He also
noted: "The Liberal Democratic Party has experienced a meltdown and
is no longer a cohesive political party. You must keep the right
attitude so as not to fall short of the people's expectations for
democracy or betray them."

Ozawa excused himself from a Seiji-juku meeting on the night of Feb.
12 because he was not feeling well. During the meeting on Feb. 13,
Ozawa said in a nasal voice, "I have not been feeling well lately."

13) U.S. urges Japan to accede to child custody convention

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
February 14, 2010

The fact that Japan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on
the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is emerging as a
new source of conflict in relations between Japan and the United
States.

The convention stipulates that if a child custody dispute occurs as
a result of a failed international marriage, the child must be
returned to the country of his or her habitual residence. Eighty-one
countries, including the United States, are signatories to the
convention.

There have been many cases in which foreign parents seeking
visitation with their children could not take any legal steps
against Japanese nationals who have taken their children to Japan, a
non-signatory to the convention, without prior consent from their
spouses after their international marriages ended in divorce. Such
cases have been regarded as a problem in the United States. During
his visit to Japan earlier this month, U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State Kurt Campbell expressed at a press conference on Feb. 2
concern about the possibility that the matter could have a negative
impact on Japan-U.S. relations. During his talks with senior Foreign
Ministry officials, Campbell also urged Japan to accede to the
convention, saying, "Some in the U.S. Congress have indicated that
the United States might not be able to support Japan on the issue of
abductions by North Korea."

Nevertheless, in order for Japan to sign the convention, the country
needs a domestic law stipulating a set of procedures to return a
child to the country of his/her habitual residence. Some in the
government are opposed to acceding to the convention. "Concerns over
the treaty have been voiced by women who have suffered from domestic
violence," Justice Minister Keiko Chiba said.

On Feb. 10 the Foreign Ministry held a meeting to explain how the
government is working toward joining the convention. But
coordination in the government has not taken any concrete shape.

SEA SHEPHERD VS. JAPAN

14) Anti-whaling activist boards Japanese research whaling vessel in
Southern Ocean


TOKYO 00000295 008 OF 013


YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Evening, February 15, 2010

An activist from the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society was detained after he boarded a Japanese research whaling
vessel in the Southern Ocean, the Fisheries Agency said today.

According to the agency, the male activist climbed aboard the patrol
ship Shonan Maru No.2 at around 9:00 a.m. on the same day (Japan,
time). The activist is the former skipper of the Ady Gil, a
high-tech power-boat that sank after colliding with the Shonan Maru
No. 2 last month. He reportedly approached the ship on a jet ski and
climbed aboard the ship. He was detained without a struggle, and no
crew members were hurt, according to the agency.

15) Anti-whaling activist to be transferred to Japan

ASAHI (Page 39) (Excerpt)
February 16, 2010

An activist form the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society boarded a Japanese research whaling vessel in the Southern
Ocean. In this case, the Fisheries Agency decided yesterday to
transfer the activist to the Japan Coast Guard, which has
investigative authority, based on the judgment that it is necessary
to question him in Japan on suspicion of breaking and entering.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu
revealed this decision within the ministry yesterday afternoon.

The Fisheries Agency will hold discussions with relevant government
agencies on what final decision the government should make and how
the activist should be transferred to Japan.

POLITICS

16) National Strategy Minister Sengoku: Agriculture regulatory
reform should be carried out drastically

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 15, 2010

Referring to regulatory reform to allow private companies to
participate in the agriculture business, State Minister for National
Strategy Yoshito Sengoku told reporters on Feb. 14: "With regard to
the regulatory issue, we must carry out drastic regulatory reform,
not half-baked reform," indicating that he will be looking into
drastic reform. Sengoku made inspection tours of agricultural
corporations in the cities of Myoko and Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture,
in order to flesh out the government's growth strategy, which is
expected to be formulated in June. He made the above remarks in
Joetsu City after his inspection tours.

17) Limit to postal savings to be scrapped: Government undergoing
final adjustments of postal reform plan

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
February 13, 2010

The government on Feb. 12 underwent a final adjustment of views on
postal reform with the possibility of scrapping in three years' time
the limit on postal savings (10 million yen per depositor) in a
postal reform bill to be submitted to the current Diet session. As a

TOKYO 00000295 009 OF 013


tentative measure until the limit is scrapped, the upper limit will
be set at 30 million yen. There is a strong possibility that
expanded business by the government-backed Japan Post Bank could
squeeze the operations of private financial institutions. Private
banks are bound to strongly oppose the bill.

State Minister for Financial Affairs Kamei and Internal Affairs
Minister Haraguchi met on the 12th and reached an agreement in
general outline. They are expected to finalize the bill before the
end of March.

Japan Post Insurance, which sets a limit on the amount of insurance
(13 million yen per policyholder), will also abolish the limit in
three years' time. The limit will be tentatively raised to 50
million yen until then.

A new parent company will be formed by the current holding company
integrated with two postal services companies. It will have Japan
Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance under its wing. The government's
capital ratio in the new holding company will be set at over a half.
It will maintain powerful rights as a shareholder, including the
right to appoint executives. The parent company's capital ratio in
the two financial companies will be set at one-third.

The government will mandate postal services, postal savings and
postal insurance operated by the Japan Post Group to offer uniform
service throughout the nation. As a measure to reduce the burden of
the cost to ensure uniform service, the government will consider
exempting the group from the consumption tax on some transactions
among member companies. The government is also making adjustments
with the possibility of the two financial companies being exempted
from regulations under the Banking Law and the Insurance Business
Law so as to differentiate them from private financial organizations
that pursue profits.

18) Ozawa: "I did not ask for a meeting with President Obama"

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 15, 2010

During his earlier visit to Japan, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt
Campbell asked Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro
Ozawa to visit the U.S. In reference to this, Ozawa made the
following comment yesterday to reporters in Kurume City, Fukuoka
Prefecture:

"I said to him (Campbell) that if I decide to visit the U.S., the
purpose will be to further develop the Japan-U.S. alliance and
promote bilateral friendship and goodwill given that this year marks
the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the alliance. I did not
tell him I would like to meet President Barack Obama."

Ozawa had said in a press conference on the 8th: "I told (Campbell)
that if I decide to go to the U.S., the U.S. side should make
arrangements for a meeting between me and the President."

19) Upper House member Yoshimura to join People's New Party

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 16, 2010

It was learned yesterday that House of Councillors member Gotaro

TOKYO 00000295 010 OF 013


Yoshimura, 71, elected from the Fukuoka constituency, who had left
the Liberal Democratic Party, will join the People's New Party.
Yoshimura will hold a press conference today to announce his
decision.

20) DPJ accepts Ishikawa's letter of resignation

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
February 16, 2010

The Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) Standing Officers Council
approved on Feb. 15 House of Representatives member Tomohiro
Ishikawa's resignation from the party and submitted his withdrawal
from the parliamentary group to the Lower House. As a result, the
party breakdown in the Lower House is as follows:

Party Number of members
DPJ, Independent Club 310
Liberal Democratic Party, Japan Renaissance Party 119
New Komeito 21
Japanese Communist Party 9
Social Democratic Party, Social Citizen's Coalition 7
Your Party 5
People's New Party 3
Group of independents to protect national interests and people's
daily lives 3
Independents (including Speaker and Vice Speaker) 3

ECONOMY

21) Real GDP in October-December quarter grows 4.6 percent

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Lead para.)
Evening, February 15, 2010

According to the preliminary statistics released by the Cabinet
Office on Feb. 15, the gross domestic product (GDP) for the
October-December quarter in 2009 increased 1.1 percent from the
preceding quarter or an annualized 4.6 percent increase in real
terms, which excludes the impact of fluctuations in prices. This
represents the third consecutive quarter of positive growth. Exports
and personal consumption expanded, and capital spending also moved
into the plus column. The nominal GDP, which is close to the actual
sentiments of households, increased 0.2 percent from the previous
term or an annualized 0.9 percent increase, achieving positive
growth for the first time in seven quarters. Concern about the
economy sinking into a double-dip recession is waning. However, some
are beginning to take a view that the growth rate in the first half
of this fiscal year will decline as economic stimulus measures lose
steam.

22) State Minister for Financial Affairs Kamei on government bond
ratings - "Japanese are susceptible to foreign influences. It's
stupid."

ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
February 16, 2010

Referring to the downgrading of the outlook for Japan's long-term
government bonds by foreign rating companies, State Minister for
Financial Affairs Shizuka Kamei said, "The Japanese are susceptible
to foreign influences. There are lots of idiots." He thus indicated

TOKYO 00000295 011 OF 013


his dissatisfaction with the nature of credit ratings and the way
people respond to them. Kamei is set to have regulatory power over
credit rating companies starting in April.

He pointed out, "Ninety percent of Japanese government bonds are
purchased by Japanese. There are only few foreign holders." He then
criticized (rating companies), noting, "It may be important to
caution credit rating companies saying that their ratings of
Japanese government bonds do not match the actual conditions. They
rate Japanese government bonds without asking. Even if their ratings
have an influence, they do not cover our losses."

23) Next generation power transmission network: Pubic, private
sectors aim to capture market through cooperation

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
February 14, 2010

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will set up a
consultative council consisting of the public and private sectors
with the aim of capturing the next-generation smart grid market,
which is expected to expand in the future. More than 100 companies,
such as utility companies and electronics- and system-related
companies, are expected to participate in the project. The Smart
Grid power-transmission system is expected to become a global market
worth over 1 trillion dollars. METI will designate the market as a
growth area and set up a system for public and private sector
cooperation.

The Smart Grid is a technology that enables stable power supply and
energy conservation by using a telecommunications network to grasp
power demand in households and offices and supply at power stations.
It is deemed essential in expanding the use of renewable energies,
such as solar energy and wind power.

METI will announce a plan to establish a Smart Community Alliance on
the 15th. In February it will start canvassing for companies to
participate in the project and as early as March it will launch the
consultative council. The head office will be set up at the New
Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), an
independent administrative agency under METI's jurisdiction.

OPINION

24) Poll: Cabinet nonsupport at 44 PERCENT ; support sags to 35
PERCENT

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
February 13, 2010

The rate of public support for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his
cabinet plummeted 11.4 percentage points from last month to 35.7
PERCENT , according to a Jiji Press poll conducted Feb. 4-7. The
nonsupport rate for the Hatoyama cabinet increased 12.3 points to
44.7 PERCENT , rising for the fourth month in a row. The figures can
be taken as reflecting the indictment of Tomohiro Ishikawa, a former
secretary of ruling Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General
Ichiro Ozawa and currently a lawmaker seated in the House of
Representatives, for a violation of the Political Funds Control Law
involving Ozawa's fund management organization.

The survey was conducted across the nation on a face-to-face basis,

TOKYO 00000295 012 OF 013


with a total of 2,000 persons chosen from among men and women aged
20 and over. The response rate was 67.2 PERCENT .

When asked what Ozawa should do, a total of more than 70 PERCENT
were against Ozawa's staying on as DPJ secretary general, with 48.4
PERCENT saying he should resign from his party post and 24.1
PERCENT saying he should resign not only from his party post but
also from the Diet.

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the DPJ
dropped 3.4 points from last month to 22.8 PERCENT , the lowest
level since the Hatoyama cabinet's inauguration. The leading
opposition Liberal Democratic Party was at 14.6 PERCENT , up 1.5
points. Among other political parties, the New Komeito was at 4.3
PERCENT , the Japanese Communist Party at 1.6 PERCENT , the Social
Democratic Party at 0.7 PERCENT , the Your Party at 0.4 PERCENT ,
and the People's New Party at 0.1 PERCENT . The proportion of those
with no particular party affiliation was 53.0 PERCENT .

25) Diet poll: 75 PERCENT see Ozawa's account as insufficient

SANKEI (Top play) (Almost full)
February 15, 2010

The Sankei Shimbun conducted a questionnaire survey of Diet members
on the "politics-and-money" problem of ruling Democratic Party of
Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and the advisability of giving
suffrage to foreign nationals with permanent resident status in
Japan for local elections. Asked about Ozawa, 53 PERCENT of
respondents answered that he should provide further explanation and
a total of 75 PERCENT thought that Ozawa has yet to deal with the
problem sufficiently. In addition, the survey also found that some
of the DPJ's lawmakers are also opposed to vesting foreign nationals
with the right to vote in local elections, saying it is
"unconstitutional" or citing other reasons.

The survey was conducted on all Diet members in the House of
Representatives and in the House of Councillors, totaling 722
persons. Answers were obtained from 134 lawmakers up until
yesterday. In the breakdown of responses, there were answers from 39
persons in the DPJ (9 PERCENT ), 57 from the leading opposition
Liberal Democratic Party (29 PERCENT ), 12 from the New Komeito, 11
from the Japanese Communist Party, and 3 from the Social Democratic
Party.

In the survey, respondents were asked to give multiple-choice
answers about what they thought Ozawa should do following the
indictment of Tomohiro Ishikawa, a former secretary of Ozawa and
currently a DPJ lawmaker seated in the House of Representatives.

As a result, 53 PERCENT answered that Ozawa should give a further
explanation, with 26 PERCENT saying he should resign from the Diet,
22 PERCENT urging him to resign from his party post, and 5 PERCENT
calling for him to leave the DPJ. The question was asked on a
multiple-choice basis, so a total of 75 PERCENT of the respondents
to the survey insisted that Ozawa should take further action
himself.

In the DPJ as well, 13 of the 21 respondents sought a further
explanation from Ozawa. Ahead of this summer's election for the
House of Councillors, a sense of dissatisfaction with Ozawa seems to
be growing in the DPJ.

TOKYO 00000295 013 OF 013

However, none of the DPJ's respondents called for Ozawa to take any
action like resigning from his party post.

Meanwhile, when asked about the issue of giving suffrage to foreign
nationals with permanent resident status, 61 PERCENT gave negative
answers and 26 PERCENT gave affirmative answers. In the DPJ as
well, 10 of its 29 respondents to this question were opposed to
vesting foreign nationals with suffrage. Among other political
parties, all of the LDP's 53 respondents to this question were
against giving voting rights to foreign nationals.

ROOS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>

UN News: Motherhood On The Brink In Yemen

War, a humanitarian crisis, a looming famine, a health system close to collapse and the deepening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a “catastrophic situation” in which a woman dies in childbirth every two hours in Yemen, according to the UN ... More>>