Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 07/27/06

Published: Thu 27 Jul 2006 03:28 AM
DE RUEHKO #4183/01 2080328
P 270328Z JUL 06
E.O. 12958: N/A
1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
US beef is coming back:
4) Final GOJ decision today on resumption of US beef imports should
see products in store cases next month
5) Yoshinoya ready to put US beef on its beef-bowl menu in September
6) Mainichi poll: 55% would of Prime Minister Koizumi's supporter go
along with another Yasukuni visit by him, but 60% want a new
war-memorial facility
Aso diplomacy:
7) Foreign Minister Aso trying to strengthen diplomatic credentials
at ASEAN ARF ministerial by focusing on sideline meetings
8) Japan, US, China meet at ASEAN ARF in order to kick-start
six-party talks with North Korea
9) Japan, China meeting in the public toilet?
10) Japan, China, North Korea all at the same hotel for ARF meeting
Yamasaki diplomacy in Washington:
11) LDP's Taku Yamasaki in Washington expresses concern about Shinzo
12) Abe rebuts Yamasaki remark about him in Washington
Political agenda:
13) TBS television show smears Abe by putting his photo on Unit 731
14) Abe calls the TBS gaffe "fearsome"
15) LDP's Kyuma not enthusiastic about a Nukaga candidacy for LDP
Defense issues:
16) ASDF widening its scope of operations in Iraq
17) Alleged SDF missile launches in Japan Sea that set off local
fishermen turns out to have been simple flares
18) State will not challenge court decision requiring 4 billion yen
compensation for noise pollution by Atsugi base aircraft
50% of corporate websites have holes resulting in data leaks
Lockheed scandal deposition: Prime Minister Tanaka's secretary
Enomoto handed 20 million yen each to 26 candidates running in 1974
Upper House election
Mizutani Kensetsu concealed 3 billion yen in income in August 2003
term, evading 900 million yen in taxes
Nihon Keizai:
Business hours growing for major, local banks; Weekends, nighttime
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also open
Corruption of Japanese language evident
Tokyo Shimbun:
Government to formally decide on resumption of US beef imports
JCP examines flood-hit Kagoshima; Flexible governmental steps
(1) Koizumi administration in final stage: Sound countermeasures
(1) Abe's departure from Mori faction: Factions anachronistic
(2) Arrested Nikkei employee harmed public trust in entire newspaper
(1) System not to blame for shortage of doctors
(2) Honorifics must be used correctly
Nihon Keizai:
(1) Sound housing insurance system essential to deal with defective
(2) Local governments must adopt market-testing system
(1) Member countries must have sense of crisis over failed WTO
(2) Be on high alert against avian flu even in summertime
Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Immediate ceasefire top priority for Lebanon crisis
(2) Use Japanese language correctly
(1) Government to blame for corrupt welfare system
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, July 26
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Attended at Kantei a meeting of the Central Council for the
Promotion of Measures for Disabled Persons. Met afterwards with
Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Yachi.
Attended award ceremony for persons involved in forestry promotion.
Took commemorative photograph with award winners.
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Met with Science and Technology Policy Minister Matsuda and lawmaker
Hiroyuki Abe of the Council for Science and Technology Policy. Met
later with Toshiba Chairman Okamura and Yotaro Kobayashi, supreme
advisor to Fuji Xerox.
Met with Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Saka, followed by
Public Security Intelligence Agency chief Oizumi.
Attended a meeting of the Council for Science and Technology
Returned to his official residence.
4) Government to decide to resume US beef imports today, following
LDP approval; Shipments to arrive as early as next month
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Full)
July 27, 2006
In a bid to resume US beef imports, the Ministry of Health, Labor,
and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and
Fisheries (MAFF) conducted prior inspections of US meatpackers to
check their BSE preventive measures. As a result, they yesterday
decided to resume imports from 34 of 35 authorized facilities. They
consulted with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and obtained its
approval. The decision will be formally adopted today, and shipments
will arrive in Japan as early as mid-August.
Meat processed prior to authorization found in distribution channel
The government has decided to resume US beef imports six months
after the second ban was imposed following the discovery of
vertebral columns, a specified risk material, in a shipment on
January 20 this year. However, since Japanese consumers are
distrustful of the safety of US beef, distribution will likely be
limited at first.
Both ministries inspected 35 US meatpackers authorized to export
products to Japan over a one-month period starting on June 24 to
check whether their facilities meet Japan-bound export conditions.
The inspections found that one plant of the 35 needed to change its
processing manuals due to a planned corporate merger.
For this reason, this plant will not be eligible to export products
to Japan until it prepares new manuals and the Japanese side
examines them.
Inspectors also found that when Japan resumed imports last December,
one meatpacker exported beef from cattle slaughtered before it
obtained authorization from the US government. MAFF and the MHLW
allowed this company to resume exports to Japan on the condition
that the US government intensively monitors it for two months. Now
that beef imported from this company has already been distributed in
the domestic market, criticism will likely arise.
Regarding the products that have not cleared customs and are being
held in storage at warehouses at domestic ports, the government has
changed its plans to approve the import of this meat immediately
after it formally decides to resume US beef. This meat will be
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allowed in only if it has been confirmed that there have been no
problems three months after the resumption of imports.
MAFF and the MHLW will make a formal decision today and relay the
decision to the US after reporting it to the Cabinet Office's Food
Safety Commission. They will hold briefings in Tokyo and Osaka to
explain the decision to resume US beef imports to consumers and
representatives of the food industry.
5) Yoshinoya chain to put beef-bowl back on its menu, possibly in
late September
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 3) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Following the government decision today to lift a ban on US beef
imports, restaurant chains and retailers will begin full
preparations to sell beef products. Yoshinoya D will carry out its
own inspections of US meat processing plants with the aim of putting
its popular beef bowls back on the menu at its restaurants, starting
in late September. Some barbecue restaurant chains have also started
looking into the possibility of using US beef. However, since some
consumers still remain distrustful of the safety of US beef, many
companies are taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Yoshinoya will mount posters at its 1,000 stores noting, "It will
take at least two months until we can serve beef bowls again to our
patrons." The company will dispatch a survey group to some of the
meatpackers, which the Japanese government has inspected recently,
to see whether cattle are processed properly.
Yoshinoya expects that it could secure 1,000 tons of beef per month
- about 40% of the pre-ban level. Chances are, however, it may not
be able to find even this amount. In that case, it will likely serve
beef bowls only on a limited number of days. If it can procure 1,000
tons a month on a stable basis, it would put beef bowls on a lunch
menu, instead of on designated days. If it can procure more beef, it
will then serve the dish on a regular basis. The price of a
medium-size beef bowl will be around 400 yen. The pre-ban price was
280 yen.
6) Poll: 55% of LDP supporters favor Aug. 15 visit to Yasukuni
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
July 27, 2006
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's supporters are in favor of
prime ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, the Mainichi Shimbun
found from its analysis of answers to questions in its July 22-23
nationwide public opinion survey. Among LDP supporters, however,
more than 60% are in favor of separately enshrining the Class-A war
criminals or building a new national secular memorial for the war
dead as a potential solution to the Yasukuni issue. This tendency is
generally similar to the trend of all respondents. This shows the
mixed feelings of LDP supporters who favor prime ministerial visits
to Yasukuni Shrine but want the Yasukuni issue to be settled in some
way or other.
In the latest survey, the Mainichi Shimbun asked respondents if they
thought Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should visit Yasukuni
Shrine on Aug. 15. In response to this question, "yes" accounted for
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36% , with "no" at 54% . Among LDP supporters, "yes" accounted for
55% and "no" at 38% . When it comes to other political parties'
respective supporters, more than half of each political party's
supporters opposed Koizumi's Aug. 15 visit to Yasukuni Shrine. In
their breakdown, "no" accounted for 71% among those who support the
leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), 64% among
the New Komeito party's supporters, 82% among the Japanese Communist
Party's supporters, and 76% among the Social Democratic Party's
Respondents were also asked whether they wanted the next prime
minister to visit Yasukuni, with 33% of respondents answering "yes"
and 54% saying "no." In their breakdowns, "yes" accounted for 48%
and "no" 40% among LDP supporters. Among DPJ, Komeito, JCP, and SDP
supporters, more than two-thirds were opposed. As seen from these
figures, LDP supporters appear to favor the next prime minister
visiting Yasukuni as well.
7) Aso to play up diplomatic credentials through separate talks
SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 27, 2006
Jiro Otani, Kuala Lumpur
Foreign Minister Taro Aso, now visiting Malaysia, plans to hold
bilateral talks with his counterparts of China, South Korea, and
others countries, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
cabinet meeting that will be held on July 28. The bilateral sessions
are the result of a meeting of minds of Aso, who wants to boost his
diplomatic profile as he prepares for running in the LDP
presidential election in September, and the Foreign Ministry, which
want to focus on Asia diplomacy after the LDP presidential race.
"The ARF meeting provides a good opportunity to strengthen
communication channels to Asian leaders at the cabinet level," a
Foreign Ministry official said. In fact, Aso's itinerary is tightly
On July 26, he met with the foreign ministers of Vietnam and other
countries. On July 27, he is scheduled to have talks with the South
Korean and Chinese counterparts. Those events will be followed by
bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of other participating
countries, such as Russia and Malaysia. Time permitting, Aso intends
to have even "chats" with leaders of other countries, according to
an official traveling with him.
The Foreign Ministry's enthusiasm for bilateral talks reflects its
concern over China's rapidly growing influence over ASEAN members.
8) Japan, US, China looking for ways to bring North Korea back to
six-party talks
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
July 27, 2006
Toyofumi Amano, Kuala Lumpur
Prior to the start of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) ministerial
session, an effort was launched yesterday to bring North Korea back
to the six-party talks. Some countries have begun looking for ways
to hold informal multilateral talks in which nonmembers of the
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six-party talks can take part, as China has been unwilling to take
part in a five-party foreign ministerial meeting as called for
mainly by Japan and the United States if North Korea does not
In the ASEAN+3 foreign ministerial session yesterday, Foreign
Minister Taro Aso insisted: "North Korea should take the message
from the international community seriously and return to the
six-party talks immediately and unconditionally."
China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing implied the need for the US and
North Korea to meet halfway, noting: "North Korea's missile launches
this time came because of the prolonged hostility between the
concerned countries and the serious level of mutual distrust." This
foreign ministerial meeting issued a chairman's statement expressing
hopes for six-party discussions on the sidelines of ARF.
Prior to the foreign ministerial session, the chief Japanese and US
negotiators to the six-party talks, Kenichiro Sasae,
director-general at the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian
Affairs Bureau, and Christopher Hill, US assistant secretary of
state, shared the perception that it is of significance to hold a
multilateral foreign ministerial meeting by utilizing the
opportunity ARF presents. After the meeting, Sasae told reporters,
"There are a number of possibilities regarding the form it should
take." Hill made this comment: "A multilateral solution is
necessary. We'd like to work together with our partners and
9) Japan-China talks in the bathroom?
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006
In the middle of the ASEAN+3 foreign ministerial session yesterday,
Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing
bumped into each other in the bathroom.
When participants were saying that ASEAN frequently holds dialogue
while Northeast Asia is different, Aso left for 10 minutes. Upon
returning, he stated: "I ran into Foreign Minister Li in the
bathroom, and we discussed how to advance the six-party talks. It
was productive." Ahead of the foreign ministerial session slated for
July 27, Aso thus expressed a mood of friendship.
10) Japanese, Chinese, North Korean foreign ministers attending ARF
share the same hotel
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Tomoko Onuki, Kuala Lumpur
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) cabinet meeting on July 28 will also
bring together the foreign ministers of the six-party talks on the
North Korean nuclear issue. In Kuala Lumpur, Foreign Minister Taro
Aso will be staying at the same hotel with his counterparts from
North Korea, China, and Russia supposedly for security reasons. It
is extremely rare for leaders of Japan, China, and North to share
the same hotel. Attention is focused on the hotel, speculating that
Japan and North Korea will come in contact with each other.
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Aso arrived in Kuala Lumpur on July 26. North Korean Foreign
Minister Paek Nam Sun is scheduled to arrive there on July 27. The
Chinese and South Korean foreign ministers are expected to urge
Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks in the talks with their
North Korean counterpart. Talks between Japan and North Korea are
not scheduled, however. If realized, Aso is expected to press the
North to comply with the latest UN Security Council resolution on
North Korea, protesting Pyongyang's missile launches.
11) LDP's Taku Yamasaki in Washington indirectly critical of Shinzo
Abe: Difficulty to call for enemy-base strike capability (under
current Constitutional restriction)
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
July 27, 2006
By Hideya Yamamoto in Washington
Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Vice President Taku Yamasaki,
who is now visiting the United States, gave a speech in Washington
on July 25 at the influential think-tank Heritage Foundation, in
which he called North Korea's launching of ballistic missiles at
American a "love call." He indicated that there should be leniency
in the response to the launches. In addition, he warned that there
would be "tragic results" coming from moves to impose sanctions on
North Korea, and he urged the US to respond to the North by direct
talks within the framework of the six-party talks.
In the speech, Yamasaki proposed that the US, taking the missile
launches as a "love call," should change to a flexible stance, with
both tough and soft features, toward North Korea. On the argument
that has floated up after the North Korea missile launches for Japan
to have a capability to strike enemy bases, Yamasaki pointed out:
"It is difficult at this point for Japan to have such a capability
based on constitutional interpretation." Although he did not name
any names, he said, "One by one, gallant statements from Japanese
politicians that can be taken as based on nationalism are coming out
one after the other." He was criticizing Defense Agency Director
General Nukaga and Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe for their remarks.
12) Abe rebuts remark by Yamasaki in Washington
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe in his press conference on July
26 rebutted the criticism about him made by Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) former Vice President Taku Yamasaki who said in a speech in
the US that the argument for Japan possessing a strike capability
was difficult under the current interpretation of the Constitution.
Abe retorted: "If he is going to criticize my statements, then I
would like him to read well (the contents) of my press conferences.
Everyone knows I was discussing the topic in the context of sole
Abe also rebutted Yamasaki's referring to North Korea's missile
launch at America as a "love call" that sought a dialogue. "It is
not even worth my commenting on it," he snapped. A senior government
official yesterday expressed displeasure at the remark, saying, "No
one in the US should be taking such a remark seriously."
13) Photo of Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe appears on TV program
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featuring Unit 731; TBS apologizes
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
July 27, 2006
It was learned yesterday that a photo of Chief Cabinet Secretary
Shino Abe had been shown during a story on the former Imperial
Japanese Army on the "Evening Five" TV program on Tokyo Broadcasting
System (TBS). TBS on the same program apologized, saying that it had
not deliberately included the photo and that it apologized to Abe.
The footage might have given the audience a false impression. The
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is now investigating
the TV program.
The TV program in question, broadcast on July 21, said that the
chief of Unit 731 planned to unleash germ warfare on the US military
immediately after the end of World War II. A photo of Abe appeared
for several seconds when a TBS reporter was filmed conducting a
phone interview. A spokesperson for TBS said, "In order to film the
reporter on the phone in a small room, the cameraman moved from a
prop storage room, and stage props and other materials happened to
be shown."
According to the broadcaster, there was no intention to link the
story to Abe.
14) Abe: "It's appalling"
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Referring in a press conference on July 26 to a Tokyo Broadcasting
System program in which his photo appeared though there was no
connection to the story, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said:
"I was quite surprised to see it. If it was intentionally done, it's
appalling, and if it was intended to damage my political career,
it's a grave problem. I want to believe that it was not
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has started
investigating the TV program as to whether it was done intentionally
or not. Abe said: "I would like to wait for the results of the
investigation." With the Liberal Democratic Party presidential
election approaching, persons closed to Abe have expressed
displeasure, with one person saying, "The way that image was used
was extremely forced."
15) LDP's Kyuma reluctant to field Nukaga in party presidential
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) General Council Chairman Fumio Kyuma
delivered a speech yesterday in Fukuoka, in which he touched on the
September party presidential election:
"Some say that one should be nominated as a presidential candidate,
but I cannot accept such a view. Unlike the Olympics, just fielding
someone in the presidential race is not good enough. We must win the
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He did not mention the name but he was apparently negative about a
view calling for fielding Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro
Nukaga in the race. The view is being floated in the Tsushima
faction, to which Kyuma belongs.
A senior faction member from the House of Councillors told reporters
yesterday, "If Mr. Nukaga runs in the election, he will be defeated
Faction head Yuji Tsushima stressed in a meeting yesterday, "We will
prevent our faction Upper and Lower members from splitting." So
saying, he called on his faction to unite, keeping in mind what
happed in the 2003 general election.
16) ASDF to broaden assistance to Iraq
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006
The government plans to modify the basic plan worked out under the
Special Measures Law on Reconstruction Assistance to Iraq and get
approval of a modified plan in early August. A draft modified plan
was revealed yesterday. According to the revised plan, Arbil in
northern Iraq and Taril in southern Iraq will be added to the areas
for the Air Self-Defense Force's (ASDF) assistance. The revised plan
will be submitted to a cabinet meeting soon after being approved at
a joint session on Aug. 1 of the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP)
Cabinet Office Division, National Defense Division, and the Foreign
Affairs Division.
The expansion of the ASDF's activities is intended to demonstrate to
the United States Japan's contributions after the Ground
Self-Defense Force pullout from Iraq's southern city of Samawah.
With the GSDF withdrawal, the provision relating to humanitarian
assistance activities will be removed from the basic plan. Added to
the GSDF evacuation unit's duties will be, for instance,
maintenance, cleaning, and packing in Kuwait.
17) Hyogo governor protests to Defense Agency against missile test
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
July 27, 2006
Hyogo Prefecture's Governor Toshizo Ido yesterday lodged a protest
with the Defense Agency and the Fisheries Agency over a missile test
conducted in the Sea of Japan. "The Defense Agency carried out a
missile performance test in the Sea of Japan off Hyogo Prefecture
without prior notification," Ido said. "Local fishing boats had to
evacuate the waters there," he added. No one was injured.
According to the Hyogo prefectural government, a 19-ton fishing boat
with six crewmen on board was recovering its fishing gear in the Sea
of Japan about 130 kilometers off the prefecture's coastal town of
Kasumi at around 3:55 p.m. on July 25 when the fishing boat's crew
saw something like a column of water arising from the sea several
kilometers ahead after an airplane turned in the sky.
The sea area is designated by the Defense Agency for live-fire
training. "The Defense Agency told us through the Fisheries Agency
that they would conduct training," a Hyogo prefectural government
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official said. "But," the official added, "we didn't think they had
planned a missile performance test that would cause a column of
water to arise." Live-fire training is to be conducted with prior
notification and no vessels nearby.
There were a total of at least 10 fishing boats in the training
range when the test was going on. For this reason, the Hyogo
prefectural government claimed in writing to the Defense Agency
director general that the incident this time could have led to a
fatal eventuality. In the letter, the governor strongly protests to
the Defense Agency against the test, requesting the agency to avoid
conducting anything like this time.
According to the Defense Agency's account, F-4 fighter planes were
training for missile attacks on a destroyer. The destroyer fired 10
flare bombs to avert air-to-ship missiles. However, the fighter jets
fired no missiles, the agency said. The agency also explained that
the fishing boat was off the training range. The fishing boat's crew
saw something like "a column of water" arising from the sea,
according to the prefectural government. The agency admitted to the
destroyer's firing of flare bombs. However, the agency also
recounted that a column of water would not arise when a flare bomb
falls into the sea. "They might have mistaken the smoke of flare
bombs for a column of water," an agency official said. However,
Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga told reporters
yesterday evening that he had ordered agency officials to find out
if it was a column of water, while taking it that the training
troubled local fishermen.
18) GOJ defeat finalized over Atsugi noise
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 26) (Abridged)
July 27, 2006
The Defense Facilities Administration Agency decided yesterday not
to make a final appeal to the Supreme Court and to accept the Tokyo
High Court's ruling on a class action lawsuit over aircraft noise
from the US Navy's Atsugi base, which is located in Kanagawa
Prefecture and is currently jointly used with the Maritime
Self-Defense Force. The Tokyo High Court in its ruling ordered the
government to pay about 4.04 billion yen in damages to the roughly
4,900 plaintiffs who reside near the base. The case will not go to
the Supreme Court. The government's defeat will now be finalized.
The Tokyo High Court, in its ruling handed down on July 13, upheld
an October 2002 Yokohama District Court ruling that ordered the
government to pay damages. The high court rejected the government's
appeal, saying that there has been no substantial improvement of the
situation. At the same time, the court also rejected the plaintiffs'
demand for future damages.
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