Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 02/23/10
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SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 02/23/10
1) Top headlines
3) GOJ to take over selection process from Futenma panel (Nikkei)
4) Gov't in disarray on timing of Futenma decision (Tokyo Shimbun)
5) Hirano says gov't will coordinate with U.S. behind the scenes
6) Ishiba raps gov't for drift on Futenma (Mainichi)
Defense & security:
7) U.S. decision to scrap Tomahawk renders moot question of "no
introduction" principle (Mainichi)
8) Diet debate (Yomiuri)
9) Administration eyes adoption of mechanism for results-based
revision of policy (Nikkei)
10) Prime Minister wants Ozawa to remain in post (Nikkei)
11) Hirano says gov't not considering establishment of Takeshima Day
12) Toyota subpoenaed by grand jury (Sankei)
13) APEC senior officials meeting kicks off in Hiroshima (Nikkei)
1) TOP HEADLINES
China put pressure on North Korea after its nuclear test last
Government shows passive stance over information disclosure,
retracting data on 12 trillion yen used for amakurari practice
Monju nuclear reactor to restart possibly next month after 15-year
Government to revise campaign pledges flexibly; budgets that did not
produce results subject to cuts
Sankei, Tokyo Shimbun
Toyota recall: U.S. federal grand jury issues subpoena with firm's
criminal responsibility in mind
Plan would force all admitted patients to switch hospitals after
three months; discrimination would be universal
(1) Defeat in Nagasaki gubernatorial election reflects voters'
departure from DPJ
(2) Japan, Australia agree on nuclear disarmament: Politicians'
TOKYO 00000350 002 OF 009
enthusiasm needed to address the challenge
(1) Nagasaki shock: DPJ must resolve "politics-and-money" scandals
(2) Sengoku should play role of managing policy tasks
(1) Resumption of Monju: Give priority to safety to prevent
(2) Banks' equity capital: Hasty reinforcement of restrictions could
generate side effects
(1) Defeat in Nagasaki election taken as alarm bell for Hatoyama
(2) Japan should make utmost efforts to persuade Iran to accept IAEA
(1) Refusing call for summoning Ozawa before Diet is against popular
(2) Devise measures to exclude Korean schools from new government
(1) Next Keidanren chief: Advocate "coexistence with the people"
(2) Child-rearing vision: We do not want to be disappointed this
(1) Japan also must totally ban cluster bombs on occasion of
effectuation of international treaty
3) Gov't to take over selection process from working group
NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
February 23, 2010
The government will end discussion in the government/ruling party
working group examining sites for relocation of the U.S. military's
Futenma base in Okinawa Prefecture after the group presents
candidate sites at its next meeting to be held shortly. The
government will take over the work of examination and, after
coordination with the U.S. and the municipalities at the relocation
sites, it plans to reach a formal agreement at a Japan-U.S. summit
as early as the end of May.
The government's examination will center on the Defense Ministry's
careful review of the feasibility of relocation to the inland area
of Camp Schwab (Nago City, Okinawa), which was floated within the
ruling parties. The government has adopted a stance of prioritizing
the implementation of a plan judged to be highly feasible in spite
of a backlash in Okinawa and the Social Democratic Party's demand
for relocation outside the prefecture or Japan. Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa, at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on Feb.
22, reiterated his position that it would be desirable if the
government/ruling party working group decided on a relocation site
4) Lack of unity in government exposed over timing for deciding
possible relocation sites for Futenma airfield
TOKYO 00000350 003 OF 009
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged)
February 23, 2010
A lack of unity in the government was exposed yesterday over the
timing for deciding on possible relocation sites for the U.S. Marine
Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture.
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa called for the work to be done by
the end of February, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano
indicated that a decision should be made in March.
In a meeting yesterday of the House of Representatives Budget
Committee, Kitazawa said: "Even if we decide on possible
alternatives by the end of February, there will be only three months
left (until the end of May). Since we will be chiefly responsible
for negotiations with Okinawa and the U.S., the Defense Ministry
would at least like to have that many days."
The Defense Ministry, which will engage in negotiations together
with the Foreign Ministry in the run-up to the deadline of late May
that has been promised to the U.S., hopes to have as many days as
possible for the negotiations.
Meanwhile, Hirano, who heads the examination committee on Okinawa
base issues of the government and ruling coalition, said in a press
conference yesterday: "The committee has not decided to draw (a
conclusion) by the end of February." He ruled out Kitazawa's earlier
statement and indicated his desire to draw a conclusion within
For the prime minister's office, the passage of the fiscal 2010
budget bill through the Lower House is vital. It would be
undesirable if unity in the ruling coalition were disrupted before
the passage of the bill as a result of the government hurriedly
deciding on possible alternatives. That is why the government
postponed the planned submission of proposals from political parties
at a committee meeting on Feb. 17.
An official of the prime minister's office said: "The government has
no intention to hold the next committee meeting this week,"
revealing that the government will delay the selection of possible
alternatives to sometime in March.
Even so, the more the government delays its decision on a plan out
of consideration for the other coalition members, the more the time
for negotiations with the U.S. government and affected
municipalities will be reduced.
5) Hirano expresses willingness to coordinate views on Futenma issue
with U.S. behind closed doors
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
February 23, 2010
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano has come to grips with the
task of exploring possible relocation sites for the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, in a drive to come
up with a conclusion by the end of May. Hirano seems to have finally
realized the difficulty of coordination. In a press conference
yesterday, he expressed his willingness to address the issue in a
cautious manner, indicating that the government would carry out
coordination with the U.S. behind closed doors. Even in such a case,
TOKYO 00000350 004 OF 009
Okinawa and the concerned municipalities could criticize the
government as "disregarding their wishes."
In the press conference, Hirano said: "It is conceivable that a
conclusion might not be reached if information is leaked while
coordination is under way. Given this, we must proceed with
discretion." Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa has called on the
government to decide possible alternatives within this month. In
this connection, Hirano stopped short of mentioning any definite
deadline, saying: "We have not yet decided on whether to draw a
conclusion in February or not."
6) Ishiba criticizes the government's discussion on Futenma that has
drifted off course
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
February 23, 2010
Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council Chairman Shigeru
Ishiba gave a talk at the Midland Mainichi Forum held by Mainichi
Shimbun Co. in Nagoya on Feb. 22. During his talk, Ishiba criticized
the government's discussion on the Futenma issue which has drifted
off course, saying: "(The government) should try to obtain Okinawa's
acceptance of the relocation plan even it is has to plead. From a
security standpoint, trying to please everyone is absolutely
7) Maintenance of deterrence requires discussion of three nonnuclear
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
February 23, 2010
Now that the United States is moving in the direction of scrapping
its Tomahawk missiles, a situation is likely to be avoided for the
time being in which compliance with the principle of not allowing
nuclear weapons to enter Japanese territory, one of the country's
three nonnuclear principles, is called into question. The government
is scheduled to announce in March the results of its investigation
into a purported Japan-U.S. secret pact allowing U.S. ships carrying
nuclear weapons to call at Japanese ports. Even so, the U.S.
government has not clearly recognized Japan's right to reject
passage or port calls by vessels carrying nuclear arms. The three
principles are likely to require a further discussion.
The U.S. policy to scrap the Tomahawk missiles is consistent with
the principle of not allowing nuclear weapons enter Japanese
territory, which is one of the country's three nonnuclear
principles. At the same time, some in the Foreign Ministry take the
view that the Tomahawk missile functions as a deterrent against
North Korea to a certain extent by making that country think that
there might be (nuclear weapons) in Japan. A senior government
official even expressed this view: "It will be meaningful to review
the three principles to allow nuclear weapons to enter Japanese
territory even after the Tomahawk is scrapped."
The view runs deep in the Japanese government that scrapping the
Tomahawk will affect deterrence against North Korea. How to
compensate for the possible impact remains a subject for
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The United States has made clear its stance of eliminating nuclear
weapons, announcing a plan to replace part of its nuclear deterrent
with conventional weapons.
8) PM Hatoyama: A solution will surely be found for Futenma issue
YOMIURI (Page 11) (Full)
February 23, 2010
Gist of intensive deliberations at House of Representatives Budget
Committee on Feb. 22
Following is the gist of questions and answers at the House of
Representatives Budget Committee's intensive interpellation on the
economy and foreign policy on Feb. 22. The following Diet members
asked questions: Motohisa Ikeda (Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)),
Tomoko Abe (Social Democratic Party (SDP)) Mikio Shimoji (People's
New Party (PNP)), Junji Higashi (New Komeito), Chizuru Takahashi
(Japanese Communist Party) and Keiichiro Asao (Your Party). The
Liberal Democratic Party boycotted this session due to the ruling
parties' refusal to meet its demand to summon DPJ Secretary General
Ichiro Ozawa for questioning in the Diet.
Abe: Do the U.S. Marines have to be in Okinawa? It is fully possible
to move them out of Okinawa.
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada: Aside from the Korean peninsula, the
presence of the Marines is much more valuable in Okinawa than in
other locations in the event of disasters or contingencies in the
southern part of Asia and the Pacific.
Abe: This brings no benefit to Okinawa, and Okinawa is forced to
tolerate their presence.
Okada: There is no question about the great burden on Okinawa. When
discussing this issue, it is absolutely necessary to think of what
can be done to reduce the burden on Okinawa. At the same time, the
role of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) as a deterrent force must not be
Higashi: Was the purpose of the visit of Chief Cabinet Secretary
Hirofumi Hirano to Okinawa on Feb. 19 and 20 aboard a Self-Defense
Forces (SDF) plane to observe Camp Schwab (in Nago City, Okinawa,
whose inland area has emerged as a possible relocation site) from
Hirano: The commercial airplanes were fully booked and since it was
unpredictable when I might need to return to Tokyo, I traveled on a
SDF plane. This was not for the purpose of observing any location
from the air.
Higashi: If Futenma relocation is not realized, will the return of
the facilities south of Kadena Air Base (KAB) and the relocation of
the Marines to Guam also be cancelled?
Okada: The relocation of the Futenma Air Station, the relocation of
8,000 Marines in Okinawa to Guam, and the return of facilities south
of the KAB are one package under the Japan-U.S. road map for the
implementation of USFJ realignment. They are all linked. (The
TOKYO 00000350 006 OF 009
government) is hoping for the relocation of the Marines to Guam and
the return of facilities (south of the KAB). If Japan and the U.S.
fail to reach agreement on Futenma relocation, it is possible that
(the other two projects) may be affected.
Higashi: What is the SDP's thinking on Futenma's relocation site?
Consumer Affairs Minister Mizuho Fukushima (SDP leader): Although
the SDP has not made any proposals (on specific relocation sites),
the examination committee (of the government and the ruling parties)
is engaged in vigorous discussions. I am confident that we can reach
Higashi: Is the PNP proposing relocation to the inland area of Camp
Schwab at the examination committee?
Financial Affairs Minister Shizuka Kamei (PNP leader): We have not
proposed this at the examination committee. This is one proposal
that has been taken up in discussions within the party. If there are
better proposals for the Okinawan people, for Japan, and for the
U.S., we will not insist on the inland relocation plan.
Higashi: What is the basis for setting the end of May as the
deadline for resolving the issue?
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama: We should not wait for the House of
Councillors election (this summer) and the Okinawa gubernatorial
election (the governor's term ends in December). We decided that the
government should be responsible for making a decision before that,
so last December, I thought we would need six months' time at most.
Since deliberations on the budget would take place from January to
April, making it difficult to go to the U.S. or Okinawa, I thought
May would be an appropriate deadline.
Higashi: Do you have a timetable for resolving this issue?
Hirano: I am proceeding based on a mental image for the portion that
I am responsible for. We have not reached the stage of talking to
the relevant officials (such as Okinawa's governor).
Higashi: A political responsibility will arise from failure to
resolve this issue.
Hatoyama: If we exert efforts, a solution will surely be found. I
will settle this issue without fail by the end of May.
Asao: Tell us your perception of the geographical threat that Japan
Hatoyama: I think you are referring to the question of what kind of
threat is felt from which country, but I believe we should not name
(specific) countries when defining threat. There are countries close
to Japan that are expanding their nuclear threat or building up
their military power. There is the question of the extent of threat
they present. Japan needs to maintain the defensive side of its
security (capability) properly.
Asao: Was your statement that it is desirable to relocate the
Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa based on such a perception?
Hatoyama: It stands to reason that the excessive burden on Okinawa
should be reduced.
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Asao: Part of Japan's security is derived from its being under the
U.S. "nuclear umbrella." Is Japan in a position to speak up to the
Hatoyama: Japan is a country that is determined not to possess
nuclear weapons, and it is an ally of the U.S., which possesses
nuclear arms. The reality is that Japan has been able to maintain
peace thanks to this arrangement. However, U.S. President Barack
Obama himself is talking about "achieving a world without nuclear
weapons." The conditions are now ripe for engaging in discussions
with the U.S.
9) Government to revise campaign pledges flexibly
NIKKEI (Top play) (Lead para.)
February 23, 2010
The government on Feb. 22 started looking into a mechanism that
allows it to flexibly revise show-case policies included in its
policy manifesto for the Lower House election, depending on the
results of the policies. The National Policy Unit will formulate
assessment guidelines to gauge the effects of spending and review
the following year's spending based on the level of achievement. The
system is, in a way, tantamount to screening spending pledges in the
policy manifesto. The screening will be carried out in April on a
trial basis and reflected in the compilation of the fiscal 2012
budget onwards. Determining that implementing all campaign pledges
could lead to a further decline in the nation's finances, including
increased issuance of government bonds, the government will thus
devise a way to cut spending included in the manifesto that is
expected to produce minimal results.
10) Hatoyama supports Ozawa's staying on as secretary general
NIKKEI (Page 3) (Excerpt)
February 23, 2010
The Nagasaki gubernatorial election was the first major local
election after the scandal of falsified fund reports involving
Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa's
fund-management organization received wide media coverage. Speaking
before reporters at the Prime Minister's Official Residence last
night, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said: "We should take seriously
the fact that the money-and-politics scandal was behind (the
DPJ-backed candidate's defeat)." But he emphasized his intention to
keep Ozawa in the post of secretary general, saying that the
campaign for the House of Councillors' election will be carried out
under the current party executive."
11) Muneo Suzuki and others attend Takeshima Day ceremony; chief
cabinet secretary rules out government designating a memorial day
SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged slightly)
February 23, 2010
A ceremony to commemorate "Takeshima Day," a day designated by
Shimane Prefecture, was held in Matsue City on Feb. 22. Takeshima is
an inherent part of Japan's national territory that is illegally
occupied by South Korea.
TOKYO 00000350 008 OF 009
No one from the Democratic Party of Japan or the government attended
the fifth Takeshima Day, the first under the Hatoyama
administration. However, the event was attended by a total of 10
lawmakers: two from the ruling camp - House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and New Party Daichi leader Muneo
Suzuki and People's New Party House of Councillors member Akiko
Kamei; and a record number of eight from the opposition camp,
including former Liberal Democratic Party Upper House caucus
chairman Mikio Aoki and LDP Organization Chairman Nobuteru
Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano made the
following comment at a press conference on Feb. 22 that fell on
Takeshima Day: "We plan to maintain our stance and work upon South
Korea persistently." At the same time, Hirano indicated that the
government is not considering designating a memorial day at this
point in time.
12) Toyota recall: U.S. federal grand jury issues subpoena with
firm's criminal liability in mind
SANKEI (Top play) (Excerpts)
February 23, 2010
Toyota Motors on Feb. 22 said that it has received a subpoena from a
federal grand jury of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York requesting the submission of documents related
to defective accelerator pedals on its vehicles and the brake system
for its Prius hybrid, which have led to major-scale recalls for free
repairs. It is unusual for a grand jury to issue a subpoena over
recalls. There is now a possibility of Toyota being held criminally
According to the documents Toyota disclosed through the Tokyo Stock
Exchange, the federal grand jury issued a subpoena as of Feb. 8. The
Los Angeles office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
has also requested Toyota Motors' U.S. subsidiary to submit similar
13) APEC growth strategy: Discussion on regulatory reform; senior
working-level talks kick off
NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 23, 2010
Two-day senior working-level talks sponsored by the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) started in Hiroshima City on Feb.
22. Concerning the region's growth strategy to be formulated this
year, participants voiced opinions that policies that will not
require public spending, such as regulatory reform, will become
important. Participants from some countries asked for the regular
provision of information on the progress of talks on a free trade
agreement (FTA) among Pacific-rim countries, in which the U.S. has
announced its intention to take part.
APEC is composed of 21 countries and areas, including Japan, the
U.S., and China. Japan will host this year's meeting for the first
time in 15 years. Various ministerial-level meetings have been
scheduled in the lead-up to the summit to be held in Yokohama in
November. Adjustments will be made at the senior working-level
meeting on the main agenda items to be discussed at those meetings.
TOKYO 00000350 009 OF 009
At the summit held last year in Singapore, the Japanese government
proposed formulating an intra-regional growth strategy.
Compatibility with environmental measures and measures to widely
benefit small- and medium-size businesses will also be mapped out at
the summit in November.