Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 02/24/10

DE RUEHKO #0363/01 0550532
P 240532Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: N/A



1) Top headlines
2) Editorials

Futenma saga:
3) Japan, U.S. to begin coordination on relocation site as soon as
early March (Nikkei)
4) Kamei criticizes nation over Futenma issue (Asahi)
5) SDP slams plan for relocation within Okinawa (Yomiuri)

Defense & security:
6) Blue-ribbon panel confirms existence of two Japan-U.S. secret
accords (Nikkei)
7) Curtain to fall on investigation without clearing up issue of
introduction of nukes by U.S. ships (Nikkei)
8) Japan to bear cost of relocating service members' families from
CONUS to Guam (Tokyo Shimbun)
9) Reduction in burden on Okinawa lacking transparency (Tokyo
10) Japan resigned to scrapping of Tomahawk (Asahi)
11) Japan to host nuclear disarmament conference (Mainichi)
12) New basis policy on Northern Territories stresses edification of
younger generation (Yomiuri)

13) LDP continues Diet boycott (Nikkei)

14) Toyota to apologize, deny fault with electronic control (Asahi)

15) APEC senior officials meeting reveals regional economic
integration complicated (Nikkei)
16) Japan to provide ODA for solar power development (Nikkei)
17) Japan will study IWC coastal whaling proposal (Nikkei)



Asahi: Yomiuri
Toyota denies problems with electronic throttle control system: U.S.
sales unit chief apologizes for delay in recalls

Ruling parties, New Komeito finalize settlement plan for Japan
National Railways union members who were not hired by JR Group

Existence of two Japan-U.S. secret pacts confirmed

Toyota hearing: Watershed for recovering consumer confidence

Tokyo Shimbun:
Relocation of U.S. Marine Corps to Guam: Japan to shoulder
relocation costs for families residing in U.S.

Lawmaker Daimon presses NTT East Japan, Hokkaido to stop temporary
hire system

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(1) Toyota president at hearing in U.S.: Key lies in sincerity to
ensure safety
(2) Excluding Korean schools from government's new subsidy system

(1) Efforts needed for Iran to dispel suspicions
(2) Letter to Hatoyama administration: We hope Maehara will take a
straightforward approach

(1) Social security number system also needed for child-allowance
(2) Thoroughly investigate Hokkaido teachers unions' collusive ties
with politicians

(1) More opportunities needed to examine contents of budget
(2) Rice price indicator necessary

(1) Restart of Monju: Don't forget about safety, information
(2) Use of separate surnames by married couples: Consider negative
effects on children

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Restart of Monju: Overdependence on nuclear power undesirable
(2) Reconsider significance of establishment of graduate schools for
teaching profession

(1) Ozawa should be summoned before Diet over falsified fund

3) Japan, U.S. to launch coordination on possible Futenma relocation
sites early next month

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 24, 2010

A senior government official revealed yesterday that Japan and the
United States will, in effect, launch coordination on where to
relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, with
the Defense Ministry/Self-Defense Forces inaugurating a study with
U.S. military staff officers in early March.

Prior to coordination between Japan and the United States, the
government is scheduled to receive a list of candidate sites from
the ruling camp at a meeting of the Okinawa base issues examination
committee of the government and the ruling parties to be held

4) Kamei on base issue: A considerable number of Japanese people are
out of their minds

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
February 24, 2010

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Referring to the fact that there are no moves in prefectures other
than Okinawa to host U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (in
Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture), Shizuka Kamei, state minister for
financial affairs and postal reform, said yesterday at a press
conference: "A considerable number of the Japanese people are out of
their minds. Although they want to impose the burden on others, they
don't want to accept it themselves." He appears to have been
criticizing the public because he wanted to underscore his view that
there is no other choice but to relocate the Futenma base within

The People's New Party (PNP), which is headed by Kamei, is now
looking into the possibility of moving the Futenma base to the
inland area of Camp Schwab (in Nago City, Okinawa). Kamei said,
"Relocating the base out of Okinawa or out of Japan would obviously
be best, but there is no place that is willing to host Futenma." He
then said that relocating the Futenma base within Okinawa "is not
the best choice but a better one."

However, there is a gap between the PNP and the Social Democratic
Party (SDP), which insists that Futenma be relocated out of the
prefecture or out of Japan. Kamei also stated: "Since there is a
danger that discord will make it difficult to reach a conclusion, it
would be better not to make a decision at present."

5) SDP strongly opposed to Futenma relocation within Okinawa

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged)
February 24, 2010

The Social Democratic Party (SDP), part of the tripartite ruling
coalition led by the Democratic Party of Japan, is strongly opposing
the idea of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station
from its current location in Okinawa Prefecture to another site in
the island prefecture.

On this issue, the People's New Party (PNP), also a constituent of
the three-party ruling coalition, has worked out a set of two plans
for Futenma relocation within Okinawa Prefecture: 1) building a
land-based replacement facility on the premises of the U.S. Marine
Corps' Camp Schwab (located in the prefecture's northern coastal
city of Nago and other municipalities); and 2) merging the heliport
functions of Futenma airfield with the U.S. Kadena Air Base. In
addition, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano met with Okinawa
Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima on Feb. 20. In that meeting, Nakaima
maintained that relocating the Futenma airfield facility outside
Okinawa Prefecture is the "best" option. Hirano, however, said there
might be a "better" option, showing understanding for Futenma
relocation within the prefecture.

Kantoku Teruya, chairman of the SDP's Diet affairs committee, met
yesterday in the Diet with Mikio Shimoji, chief of the PNP's policy
board. Teruya told Shimoji that it would be better for the PNP not
to present its plans for Futenma relocation within Okinawa
Prefecture to a joint review committee of the government and the
ruling parties. However, Shimoji did not respond.

In addition, Consumer Affairs Minister Fukushima, who heads the SDP,
met the press yesterday and criticized Hirano's remark, saying: "He
should do his best, not better. I've yet to hear that the government
has fully discussed the option of relocating Futenma airfield

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outside Japan or outside Okinawa." Hirano, however, stressed in a
press conference yesterday evening that the government is now in the
process of looking into all possible options from scratch, saying:
"The review committee and the government do not base our discussions
on the option of building a land-based facility (within an inland
area of Camp Schwab)."

6) MOFA experts' panel confirms two Japan-U.S. secret agreements on
Korean contingencies, redeployment of nuclear arms in Okinawa

NIKKEI (Top play) (Full)
February 24, 2010

The contents of the draft of the report to be published by the
experts' committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), which
is tasked with investigating the alleged secret diplomatic
agreements signed between Japan and the U.S., including those signed
at the time of the revision of the bilateral security treaty in
1960, were revealed on Feb. 23. The panel was able to confirm the
existence of the secret agreements on the free use of U.S. military
bases in Japan in a contingency on the Korean peninsula and on the
redeployment of nuclear weapons in Okinawa. The report points out
that no agreement was reached on the controversial secret accord on
U.S. vessels' introduction of nuclear arms at the time of the
security treaty's revision, with the two sides adopting different
interpretations of this matter. This will be the first time that the
truth about the secret agreements, whose existence the government
has consistently denied, will be revealed.

With the experts' panel confirming the existence of two secret
agreements, the Hatoyama administration will revise the government's
position under the Liberal Democratic Party administrations. In
which case, it will have to make a decision on whether these two
secret agreements should be regarded as void and should be
abrogated. The government will coordinate with the U.S. side in
advance before making a decision.

The experts' panel has been investigating four secret agreements
signed at the time of the security treaty revision in 1960 and
around the time of Okinawa's reversion to Japanese administration in
1972. One agreement that has been confirmed is the one signed in
1960 authorizing the U.S. forces to use U.S. military bases in Japan
freely, without prior consultations with Japan, in a contingency on
the Korean peninsula. Under normal circumstances, the U.S. forces
would have had to consult with Japan in advance if combat operations
were to be launched from Japan. The secret agreement treated this
case as an exception.

Another secret agreement that has been confirmed was about the
redeployment of nuclear weapons in Okinawa in a contingency after
consultations between the two countries. This was signed before
Okinawa's reversion (in 1972). The family of former Prime Minister
Eisaku Sato has kept the original copy of the secret agreement
signed by Sato and President Richard Nixon, and the experts' panel
has concluded that the document is authentic.

The issue now will be what to do with these two secret agreements.
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has stated that he intends to uphold
the three non-nuclear principles of "not possessing, producing, or
introducing nuclear weapons." Since the agreement on the
redeployment of nuclear arms in Okinawa contradicts these three
principles, it is likely that the agreement's validity will no

TOKYO 00000363 005 OF 012

longer be recognized.

On the other hand, with regard to the "secret nuclear agreement" of
1960, which has been the focus in the secret agreement issue, the
panel is expected to conclude that Japan and the U.S. did not reach
a clear agreement in 1960.

This "secret agreement" was about not regarding calls on Japanese
ports and passage through Japanese territorial waters by U.S.
vessels with nuclear arms on board as introduction of nuclear
weapons into Japan and allowing such port calls and passage.
According to the experts' panel's investigations, while records of
Japan-U.S. consultations were found, no document attesting to the
actual signing of the secret agreement was found. However, the panel
reckons that it is highly possible that the Japanese side has
acquiesced in the port calls and crossings, accepting the U.S.
interpretation, since the 1970s.

No relevant documents were found on the secret agreement on the
government's paying for the cost of restoring (military base land)
to its original state and other expenses at the time of Okinawa's
reversion, which should have been borne by the United States. No
definitive documents have been found on the U.S. side either, so the
panel is expected to conclude that it will be difficult to prove its

Four secret agreements investigated by the experts' committee

Agreement Contents Verdict
Secret agreement on port calls, passage of U.S. ships with nuclear
arms on board (1960) Ports calls and passage not considered
introduction of nuclear arms, to be allowed without prior
consultations No agreement was reached between Japan and the U.S. on
this secret accord in 1960
Secret agreement on the free use of bases in a contingency on the
Korean peninsula (1960) Prior consultations not required for combat
operations of U.S. forces in Japan in a contingency on the Korean
peninsula Secret agreement exists
Secret agreement on redeployment of nuclear arms after Okinawa's
reversion (1969) Redeployment of nuclear arms in Okinawa in a
contingency after prior consultations Secret agreement exists
Secret agreement on paying cost of Okinawa's reversion on the U.S.'s
behalf (1971) Japan's payment of expenses such as cost of restoring
(military base land) to original state on the U.S.'s behalf Relevant
documents not found

7) Commentary: Investigation to be concluded without clarifying
crucial secret agreement on introduction of nuclear arms into Japan

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 24, 2010

The draft report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs experts'
committee only confirms the existence of two secret agreements, on a
contingency on the Korean peninsula and on the redeployment of
nuclear arms in Okinawa, out of the four secret accords being
investigated. Since no clear evidence was found on the "secret
agreement" on the introduction of nuclear weapons, it is likely that
the investigation will be concluded without clarifying the truth
about the introduction of nuclear arms by U.S. vessels.

The government will convey the contents of the report to the U.S.

TOKYO 00000363 006 OF 012

government shortly. The crucial secret agreement in the panel's
investigations is the secret agreement on Japan's acquiescing in
port calls and passage through Japanese territorial waters by ships
with nuclear weapons on board allegedly signed at the time of the
revision of the Japan-U.S. security treaty in 1960. This is because
such an agreement runs counter to Japan's three non-nuclear

The U.S. side has published several diplomatic documents attesting
to the existence of the agreement, and the opposition parties have
pursued this issue repeatedly in the Diet. However, the report will
conclude that at least in 1960, the Japanese side had not concluded
a secret agreement allowing port calls and passage of ships carrying
nuclear arms.

On the other hand, according to documents on the U.S. side, there
were indications that the U.S. government was able to obtain Japan's
consent on such port calls and passages. It appears that there was a
serious gap in understanding between the two countries on the
existence of the secret agreement.

Subsequently, despite its awareness of this difference in
interpretation, the Japanese government has stated repeatedly in the
Diet that ports calls and passage of (ships carrying) nuclear
weapons are not allowed. While it seems that there is a desire to
treat this as a "problem of the past," since ship-based nuclear arms
that were likely to come to Japan were removed in the early 1990s,
this issue may give rise to disputes in the future owing to the
possibility of the redeployment of nuclear weapons.

8) Relocation of U.S. Marine Corps to Guam: Japan to shoulder
relocation costs for families residing in U.S.

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Full)
February 24, 2010

It has been learned that the cost of the construction of housing for
the families of U.S. Marines to be shouldered by Japan include the
cost of the transfer of their families from the U.S. mainland. Japan
will construct 3,500 housing units at the cost of 2.55 billion
dollars (roughly 232 billion yen).

The Defense Ministry has been shouldering the cost needed for the
realignment of the U.S. military presence in Japan as a relocation
cost. However, this is the first case in which the ministry
shoulders the cost of relocation abroad. It is unprecedented for
Japan to shoulder the cost of the relocation of Marines within the
U.S. (from the U.S. mainland to Guam).

The agreement on the U.S. Forces Japan realignment notes that 8,000
Marines and their 9,000 family members are to be relocated from
Okinawa to Guam as a measure to reduce the burden on Okinawa.
However, according to a survey conducted by Okinawa Prefecture in
September 2008, the actual number of Marines assigned to Okinawa is
12,402. Their family members number 7,596. If 8,000 Marines are
relocated to Guam, the remaining number is about 4,000, which would
cause concern about their deterrence capability. The number of their
family members would be less than zero. As such, the specifics of
the agreement have been called into question.

Until now, the government just explained that the number of Marines
to be relocated is not an actual number, and the number of family

TOKYO 00000363 007 OF 012

members is a rough figure, as then Foreign Minister Hirofumi
Nakasone noted at the Lower House Budget Committee meeting on Feb.
26, 2009.

Regarding families who will be transferred from the U.S. mainland to
Guam, a senior Defense Ministry official replied to a query from
this newspaper: "Okinawa is overseas for the U.S. As such, some
Marines are assigned unaccompanied by family. However, since Guam is
a U.S. territory, they will basically be assigned accompanied by
family. We will charge rent." This official explained that providing
housing to families who will be transferred from the U.S. is an
expenditure occurred as a result of the U.S. Marines' relocation to
Guam. This official also said that at the moment, the ministry does
not know the number of families to be transferred from the U.S.

9) Reduction in burden on Okinawa becoming uncertain

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
February 24, 2010


It is becoming uncertain whether the burden on Okinawa will actually
be reduced as per the aim of the overall plan for the realignment of
U.S. forces in Japan. It has been learned that family members from
the U.S. mainland are included among the 9,000 family members of
Marines to be transferred to Guam. If that is so, "transfer from
Okinawa" that was specified in the written agreement cannot be taken

On the assumption that 8,000 Marines in Okinawa and their 9,000
dependents will move to Guam in accordance with an agreement between
Japan and the U.S., the two sides decided to build 3,500 houses. But
the Japanese government has no grasp of how many military personnel
and their families will actually move to Guam.

Japan has agreed with the U.S. to bear 6.090 million dollars
(approximately 554 billion yen) of the total cost of relocating
Marines to Guam. Last February, Japan signed an accord with the U.S.
to pay 2.8 billion dollars (approximately 255 billion yen) in costs
for constructing the headquarters office building and barracks for
non-married personnel. Based on the accord, Japan will disburse 34.6
billion yen for fiscal 2009 and 46.8 billion yen for fiscal 2010.

Although the amounts to be paid to the U.S. as construction costs
have been decided even in single digits, it remains uncertain
whether barracks and houses will be constructed based on the fixed
number or the real number of those who will move in.

A senior Defense Ministry official indicated that the number of
houses to be constructed might be reduced, saying: "Houses will be
built for those who will move in, so houses for which there are no
occupants will not be constructed."

His remark means that the number of Marines scheduled to move to
Guam will be smaller than planned. Now that a plan to relocate the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within the prefecture is
emerging in the government, achieving the goal of reducing the
burden on Okinawa is becoming more and more uncertain.

(Shigeru Handa, editorial board member)

TOKYO 00000363 008 OF 012

10) Japan to accept Tomahawk retirement

ASAHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
February 24, 2010

The U.S. government will likely indicate its intention in a "Nuclear
Posture Review" report, which will be worked out in March, to scrap
the Tomahawk, a cruise missile that can be armed with a nuclear
warhead. This is because possession of the Tomahawk, described as "a
relic of the Cold War," is now less significant. In Japan, which is
under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, there were calls for the continued
deployment of the Tomahawk. However, the Hatoyama cabinet will
accept its retirement.

The Japanese government, with the change of administration from the
Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party of Japan, has moved
in the direction of accepting the Tomahawk's retirement. Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada, meeting the press yesterday, stressed that
Japan is not in a position to say anything specific about whether or
not they (the U.S.) should stop deploying the missile. Late last
year, Okada sent a letter to U.S. officials, including Secretary of
State Clinton, to convey this view direct to them.

Some Japanese government officials take for granted the U.S.
decision to retire the Tomahawk missile. One official remarked that
it is only natural to scrap outdated weapons. "The continued
deployment of the Tomahawk had a symbolic meaning," said Keiichi
Nogi, a commentator on military affairs. "Even after the missile is
gone," Nogi added, "there will be no change in U.S. strategy."
Another expert noted: "It looks like most Tomahawks are

However, scrapping the Tomahawk means will reduce nuclear options.
In his letter Okada asked U.S. officials to explain how the Tomahawk
retirement will affect the United States' extended deterrence
(nuclear umbrella) for Japan and how the United States will
compensate for its scrapping.

One Japanese government official said: "The United States probably
means to say there's no need for concern (about the U.S. nuclear
umbrella) since they still have many options, including
submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM)." This can be
interpreted to mean that the remaining nuclear arsenal is sufficient
for deterrence.

The U.S. government's possible plan to scrap the Tomahawk will
likely have repercussions in the Diet debate on Japan's three
nonnuclear principles following the Japanese government's
announcement next month of the results of the investigation into
secret pacts on introduction of nukes. This is because U.S. Navy
ships carrying nuclear weapons would be less likely to call at
Japanese ports or transit Japanese waters in view of the fact that
the third principle bars the introduction of such weapons into
Japan. However, some have pointed out that aircraft (carrying
nuclear weapons) might fly to Japan or SLBM-carrying submarines
might pass through Japan's territorial waters.

11) Okada unveils plan for Japan to host an international conference
on nuclear disarmament later this year

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00000363 009 OF 012

February 24, 2010

Takenori Noguchi

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada announced in a press conference
yesterday Japan's intention to host an international conference on
nuclear disarmament in the second half of this year. International
conferences on nuclear disarmament, including the Nuclear Security
Summit, are scheduled to take place in the first half of this year.
Japan wants to give a boost to the nuclear disarmament and
nonproliferation trend as the only country to have suffered atomic
bombing. If realized, this will be the first international nuclear
disarmament conference hosted by Japan.

With respect to the Nuclear Security Summit in April and the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May, Okada
emphatically said: "It is necessary for major powers and concerned
countries to gather together to make efforts toward a world free of
nuclear weapons even after achieving results (at those
conferences)." However, regarding the possible host and participants
for the envisaged international conference, he merely said they are
"under consideration."

Last April, (then) Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone announced that
Japan would host an international nuclear disarmament conference in
February 2010. (Then) Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed his
willingness to make arrangements for hosting the event either in
Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The plan has been in limbo since the change
of administration.

12) Government draft revision of Northern Territories basic policy
places importance on enlightening the younger generation in order to
resolve the issue

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
February 24, 2010

The government yesterday presented a plan to amend the basic policy
for quickly resolving the dispute over the Russia-held islands off
Hokkaido, the so-called issue of the Northern Territories, to the
ruling parties at a policy meeting of the Cabinet Office. Taking the
aging of former islanders into account, the government plan includes
wording such as "a strong will to have the territories returned
should be shared by many Japanese people, including the younger
generation," revealing the government policy of placing importance
on enlightening the younger generation. A decision on the plan will
be made in April.

13) LDP continues to boycott Diet session

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
February 24, 2010

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the largest opposition party,
continued to boycott Diet sessions yesterday. In the LDP, however,
some members, out of fear that the party might fall into oblivion,
have begun to look into proposing a motion calling for changing the
government's budget in a move to search for an opportunity to return
to Diet deliberations.

The LDP boycotted a House of Representatives Budget Committee
meeting in the morning and a Lower House plenary session in the

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afternoon, in which a briefing was presented and questions were
asked about the child-allowance measure. As the condition for its
return to deliberations, the LDP has insisted that the ruling camp
respond to its call for summoning before the Diet those involved in
politics and money scandals, including former secretaries to Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Democratic Party of Japan Secretary
General Ichiro Ozawa.

14) Toyota denies problems with electronic throttle control system

ASAHI (Top play) (Lead para.)
February 24, 2010

Public hearings on Toyota Motors' large-scale recalls of its
vehicles for free repairs started in the House of Representatives of
the U.S. Congress on the morning of Feb. 23. Jim Lentz, president of
the U.S. sales unit of Toyota Motors, released the information that
he will present in his testimony at a congressional hearing in
advance. He admitted to a delay in conducting recalls of his
company's vehicles and apologized for the mistake. However,
concerning the electronic throttle control system suspected of
having caused the sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles, which is
the major focus of attention, he said, "I am confident that there
are no problems with it."

15) APEC senior working-level talks end: Interests conflicting over
intra-regional economic integration

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
February 24, 2010

The senior working-level talks hosted by the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum ended on Feb. 23. With interests of member
nations and areas conflicting on the envisaged intra-regional
economic integration, the main agenda item for this year's APEC
meeting, host nation Japan was forced to coordinate discussions in a
blind way. Since a major goal of APEC is to create a free trade zone
covering the entire region, the government will without doubt be
pressed to steer a difficult course in the run-up to the November

Japan posits paving the way for the Free Trade Area in the Asia
Pacific (FTAAP) initiative, which covers the entire region, as this
year's key challenge. It included in its basic guidelines for the
domestic growth strategy, mapped out late last year, a deadline for
achieving the initiative, noting that FTAAP should be created with
2020 as the goal year. However, it did not refer to the goal year at
the meeting. A participant who represented Japan revealed that
consideration was given to the sense of alarm some countries harbor
with regard to the FTAAP.

There are free trade zone initiatives in the region. Member nations
are examining the advantages and disadvantages of these initiatives
as they search for a framework in which they should participate.
Against the background of a struggle for leadership of APEC, Japan's
capabilities will be put to the test as it seeks to have members

16) Japan extended total of 11.5 billion yen in ODA for solar energy

NIKKEI (Page 4) (Full)

TOKYO 00000363 011 OF 012

February 24, 2010

The Japanese government is supporting photovoltaic generation in
developing countries in Asia, Africa, and other regions by providing
grant aid through its official development assistance (ODA) program.
To date, Japan has extended a total of 11.5 billion yen in aid to 18
countries/regions. Japan's assistance is intended to support
developing countries' efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas
emissions and to help Japanese companies make inroads into foreign
markets by introducing renewable energies.

It is part of the "Hatoyama initiative," which was announced by
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama with the aim of assisting developing
countries' efforts to combat global warming. In December, Djibouti
became the first country to receive such aid from Japan. Morocco and
other countries have followed Djibouti.

17) Japan regards IWC chairman's proposal as worth considering

NIKKEI (Page 4) (Full)
February 24, 2010

Hidemitsu Kibe, London

International Whaling Commission Chairman Cristian Maquieira put
together a proposal allowing Japan under IWC direction to hunt some
whales in the Southern Hemisphere and coastal waters. The chairman's
proposal is aimed at searching for ways to resolve the whaling issue
through discussions without specifying a limit to the number of
whales that can be hunted. Although the Japanese government regards
the proposal as worth considering, antiwhaling organizations are
reacting strongly to it.

In connection with Japan's whaling in the Southern Hemisphere, the
Australian government has announced that If Japan does not agree to
gradually discontinue its whaling, Australia will bring the case to
the International Court of Justice. The problem has become serious
due to the ongoing harassment of a Japanese whaling vessel by a
certain antiwhaling group.

The IWC has been unable to conduct substantial discussions on the
issue because of deepening discord between pro- and anti-whaling
groups. As a result, Maquieira has proposed a plan that will allow
Japan to hunt in the Southern Hemisphere and coastal waters by
substantially reducing the number of whales hunted, in return for
Japan suspending its current research whaling for ten years.

However, Greenpeace is criticizing the proposal as dangerous
backpedaling toward the 20th century in which whales were driven to
the verge of extinction.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government intends to come up with a new
proposal with an eye on the June IWC annual meeting. There is a plan
being floated in the government in which commercial whaling in
Japanese coastal waters would be resumed in place of research

Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu
avoided commenting at a press conference yesterday, noting, "Since
there are various views, we can't put our cards on the table."

Akamatsu also said, "We are making preparations while looking into

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the possibility of 60 to 70 percent of our assertions being
accepted," indicating that Japan is willing to make concessions in
reviewing its research whaling based on its negotiations with other

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Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>