Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/22/06

Published: Fri 22 Sep 2006 08:29 AM
DE RUEHKO #5483/01 2650829
P 220829Z SEP 06
E.O. 12958: N/A
(1) Poll on LDP President Abe, political parties
(2) Net polling on LDP presidential election
(3) New LDP President Abe likes sweets; His wife enjoys alcoholic
(4) Abe has ties with key business leaders
(5) Baton of reform handed off to Abe administration (Part 1):
Enemies in Kasumigaseki
(6) Viewpoint on Abe administration (Part 1): A "new constitution"
filled with contradictions
(7) Abe to start picking successors to private-sector members of
Regulatory Reform Council, CEFP; Selection of new line-ups will
likely determine fate of reform drive
(1) Poll on LDP President Abe, political parties
ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 22, 2006
Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage, rounded off. Parentheses denote the
results of a survey conducted Sept. 8-9.)
Q: Which political party do you support now?
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 38 (40)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 14 (14)
New Komeito (NK) 3 (3)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2 (1)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 (2)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Liberal League (LL or Jiyu Rengo) 0 (0)
Other political parties 0 (1)
None 35 (36)
No answer (N/A) + don't know (D/K) 7 (3)
Q: Mr. Abe has now become the LDP's new president. Do you think it's
Yes 57
No 22
Q: Do you feel an affinity with Mr. Abe?
Yes 59
No 31
Q: Do you think Mr. Abe has strong leadership?
Yes 29
No 53
Q: Do you think Mr. Abe has appropriately accounted for his
political beliefs and ideas?
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Yes 38
No 42
Q: Do you think the LDP will change for the better with Mr. Abe as
the LDP's new president? (One choice only)
Change for the better 17
Change for the worse 3
No change 70
Q: In last year's general election, the LDP ousted its lawmakers who
opposed the privatization of postal services. Now, the LDP may take
them back. Do you think it's acceptable?
Yes 43
No 42
Q: Mr. Ozawa has been reelected to head the DPJ. Do you have
expectations for him?
Yes 43
No 44
Q: Who do you think is appropriate for prime minister, Mr. Abe of
the LDP or Mr. Ozawa of the DPJ?
Abe 57
Ozawa 22
Q: Would you like the current LDP-led coalition government to stay
on, or would you otherwise like it to be replaced with a DPJ-led
LDP-led coalition 43 (44)
DPJ-led coalition 25 (34)
Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Sept. 20-21 across the
nation over the telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing
(RDD) basis. Respondents were chosen from among the nation's voting
population on a three-stage random-sampling basis. Valid answers
were obtained from 1,062 persons (59 percent).
(2) Net polling on LDP presidential election
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 22, 2006
Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage, rounded off.)
Q: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe won the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party's presidential election and he will now become prime minister.
Do you support him?
Yes 65
No 35
Q: What do you think is the primary reason for Mr. Abe's victory?
His policies were appreciated
He was thought to be the best choice for the LDP to win next
summer's election for the House of Councillors
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LDP lawmakers crowded around him in expectation of posts
There was no other appropriate person
Q: What is best about Mr. Abe?
Experience 3
Decisiveness 6
International sensibility 5
Popularity with the people 33
Flexibility 4
Ability to implement policy 2
Foresight 1
Ability to coordinate 4
Personal character 16
Morality 2
Leadership 2
Youthfulness 24
Q: What is lacking about Mr. Abe?
Experience 28
Decisiveness 12
International sensibility 7
Popularity with the people 1
Flexibility 6
Ability to implement policy 15
Foresight 4
Ability to coordinate 5
Personal character 1
Morality 5
Leadership 14
Youthfulness 2
Q: What do you want Mr. Abe to prioritize when he comes into office
as prime minister?
Constitutional revision 6
Educational reform 6
Fiscal reconstruction 20
Social security reform 20
Economic recovery 20
Social divide rectification 13
Asia diplomacy turnaround 14
Polling methodology: MACROMILL, Inc., a research firm, sampled a
total of 1,500 persons, aged 20 and over, at random from among its
monitors registered as LDP presidential election monitors. The
survey is conducted on the Internet, with the aim of obtaining
answers from 800 persons each time. The latest fourth poll was
conducted Sept. 20-21, and answers were obtained from 824 persons.
(3) New LDP President Abe likes sweets; His wife enjoys alcoholic
ASAHI (Page 35) (Full)
September 21, 2006
Shinzo Abe, the new president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
and his wife Akie, 44, got married in June 1987. They got to know
each other through a friend when Abe was working as a secretary to
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his father, Shintaro Abe, who served as foreign minister. They have
no child, but they have a dog named Roy.
Akie graduated from the University of the Sacred Heart in Shirogane,
Tokyo. She is a strong drinker, while her husband likes sweets very
much. She easily goes out drinking with her husband's supporters.
Perhaps realizing that she is similar to singer/songwriter Anri,
Akie often sings her song "While Listening to Olivia " at karaoke
Akie worked as a disc jockey who went by the name of "Akki" at an FM
radio station in Shimonoseki City from 1998 to 2002. Her program
reportedly invited natives of Yamaguchi Prefecture who were active
in Tokyo as guests. Since Akie did not use her real name, Abe's
supporters in the city were unaware.
In a meeting of the wives of LDP Diet members, Akie was quickest to
raise her hand, saying, "Yes," to a question about whether the
people present would still marry their husband if they had to do it
over again.
She showed up at a rally for Abe in August in their home
constituency having cut short her trademark long hair. One of the
participants took this as an expression of her determination to
become the "First Lady."
(4) Abe has ties with key business leaders
ASAHI (Page 9) (Full)
September 21, 2006
The Shiki no Kai (Four Seasons Association) is a representative
group supporting new Liberal Democratic Party President Abe. The
group holds a meeting each season since several years ago.
Abe is 52 years old, and most of its members are elderly, with their
average age being 10 years older than Abe's. The group is featured
by the lineup of chief executive officers (CEO) at heavy,
traditional key companies. In contrast, Prime Minister Koizumi used
as his brain CEOs at such new companies as Orix chairman Yoshihiko
Miyauchi and Secom COE Makoto Iida.
Members of Shiki no Kai
-- Members since the group was inaugurated
Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (Chairman Takashi Nishioka)
Central Japan Railway Co. (Chairman Noriyuki Kasai)
Nippon Steel Corporation (Chairman Akio Mitamura)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (President Tsunehisa Katsumata)
Toyota Motor Corporation (Chairman Fujio Cho)
Japan Airlines Co. (Chairman Toshiyuki Shinmachi)
-- Members who joined afterward
Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance Co.
(President Kunio Ishihara)
Nomura Holdings (Chairman Junichi Ujiie)
Sumitomo Corporation (President Motoyuki Oka)
Toshiba Corporation (Chairman Tadashi Okamura)
Bank of Mitsubishi-Tokyo UFJ Bank
(President Nobuo Kuroyanagi)
Mitsubishi Corporation (President Yorihiko Kojima)
Fuji Photo Film Co. (President Shigetaka Komori)
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Mizuho Corporation Bank (President Hiroshi Saito)
West Japan Railway Co. (Advisor Shojiro Nanya)
Shikishima Baking Co. (Advisor Kazuaki Morita)
Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Co.
(Chairman Tomijiro Morita)
Yamasa Corporation (President Michio Hamaguchi)
NTT Communications (Advisor Suzuki)
Transcutaneous Technologies
(Chairman Hironori Aihara - former Mitsubishi Corporation vice
(5) Baton of reform handed off to Abe administration (Part 1):
Enemies in Kasumigaseki
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
September 22, 2006
Members of a council of advisers on reducing the size of the
government, chaired by Secom Supreme Advisor Makoto Iida, met at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence on the morning of Sept. 20.
Although a number of members were absent from the meeting, the
participants discussed the extent of progress in the reform of
government-affiliated financial institutions, the last feature of
Prime Minister Koizumi's reform initiative. In reports submitted by
government agencies, "under study" was stamped on most of the listed
reform plans. It is now clear that bills related to these plans have
no chance of being submitted to the extraordinary Diet session,
scheduled to open on Sept. 26.
Officials in the Kasumigaseki government office area are still
trying to obstruct restructuring plans.
Shinzo Abe won the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election by
a wide margin, but once he gives an impression of being affected by
bureaucrats, he will find it difficult to keep his popularity
ratings high.
In an effort to prevent such a situation, Abe yesterday sent faxes
to government agencies detailing a plan to invite applications from
bureaucrats who wish to work for the Kantei and are eager to push
ahead with reform, even opposing their own government offices. But
closely looking at the conditions of entry in detail, we find some
loopholes hidden in them.
The conditions include these phrases: "The recruited officers will
be in charge of devising policies for specific tasks under the
instruction of the prime minister"; "Bureaucrats equivalent to
senior planning officers or department directors are eligible to
apply in principle"; and "They will not return to their former
workplaces while the Abe administration remains in power." This
represents Abe's determination to deny the conventional
appointment-rotation system among government agencies, but it does
not say: "They should join the special assignment office after
leaving their workplaces permanently."
The Koizumi administration invited experts from the private sector,
like Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) Heizo
Takenaka, as the engine for its reform drive. Will it be enough only
with bureaucrats in the role of reform engine? The answer to this
question can be detected from the welcome mood in Kasumigaseki
regarding the recruitment system. MIC Vice Minister Takatoshi
Matsuda said: "(Recruiting personnel) is significant. We would like
to farm out able personnel in a positive manner."
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Health, Labor and Welfare Vice Minister Tetsuo Tsuji also said: "We
will be grateful if the Kantei uses our employees."
The Finance Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Economy,
Trade and Industry (METI), and the National Police Agency provide
their personnel as secretaries to the prime minister as a
traditional practice. Under the Koizumi administration, a special
task team composed of division-director-level officials from the
MIC; the Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW); the Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries Ministry; the Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Ministry; and the Defense Agency was assigned to the Kantei and
participated in policymaking.
Regardless of ostensible reasons, government agencies are actually
of the opinion that they must not miss such a golden opportunity to
establish a beachhead in the core of the government. A senior MIC
official issued this instruction in the ministry: "Send more than
three officers." There are ministries that have started selecting
personnel under the lead of the personnel section.
Out of fear that there might be no response, the Kantei has
unofficially asked each government agency to send at least one
In the LDP presidential election, the number of votes for Abe was
smaller than that anticipated by his camp. In a bid for the LDP to
win next year's House of Councillors election, Abe says that he
would not hesitate to replace party-endorsed candidates whose
performance is poor. His relations with Mikio Aoki, the head of the
LDP caucus in the House of Councillors who is eager to protect the
authority of the Upper House executive, have already become fragile.
Such discord stems from Abe's demonstration that he is a "fighter"
willing to take on sacred cows that not even Prime Minister Koizumi
dared oppose. This is a similar approach to the one taken by
Koizumi. He deemed the postal rebels "forces of resistance" in an
attempt to highlight his unyieldingness.
The key lies in directing bureaucrats' attention from their ministry
interests to national interests and not making reform just a
theater-type game. The baton of reform has been handed off to the
Abe administration.
(6) Viewpoint on Abe administration (Part 1): A "new constitution"
filled with contradictions
ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 22, 2006
"Now is the time to end the murky and unstable system that has
enveloped Japan throughout the postwar period and make clear Japan's
This is a passage from the preamble to Redefining Japan for the 21st
Century, a set of proposals by the Institute for International
Policy Studies chaired by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
The proposals were released on Sept. 5, days before the LDP publicly
announced the official start of its presidential race.
Nakasone calls for an end to the postwar setup. Shinzo Abe, who will
soon become prime minister, advocates a new constitution. Their
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views are extremely similar.
Abe called on Nakasone yesterday as the new LDP president. Receiving
Abe, Nakasone said: "Your campaign pledges and statements seem close
to my neoconservative liberalism. I'm counting on you."
Both Nakasone and Abe are unhappy with the Constitution that was
established during the Occupation and with the postwar regime.
"At long last, I can speak my mind," Abe said six years ago before
the Lower House Research Commission on the Constitution, which had
just been established. Abe's real feeling is that the Constitution
was forced upon Japan and that it has had an adverse effect on the
mentality of the Japanese people.
Constitutional revision is described in Abe's recent book as a
symbol of the restoration of independence. Abe thinks that love of
the nation and homeland has been given short shrift because
constitutional revision has been put off.
Social Democratic Party head Mizuho Fukushima called the urge to
revise the Constitution a negative reaction to postwar democracy.
Abe must have been frustrated with the over five years of
constitutional debate under the Koizumi administration.
The prevalent opinion in the Lower House constitutional commission
was that the government must not play up the idea that the
Constitution was forced upon Japan. In contrast, the Upper House
panel was generally appreciative of the Constitution for its
positive contributions to Japan after the war.
Last fall, the LDP drafted a new constitution that generally
reconfirms the present Constitution.
Sixty years is a long time. Supporters of the current Constitution
are a minority today. The focus of debate has also shifted from the
propriety of revising the Constitution to how it should be revised
specifically. The notion that the Constitution was forced upon Japan
has also lost its momentum as a rationale.
All those developments have enlivened Abe.
Difficulties remain, though. Opponents of constitutional revision
say that it would result in structural paradoxes. Former LDP
Secretary General Koichi Kato took this view: "Mr. Abe doesn't like
the Constitution that was forced upon Japan by the United States,
but he is eager to enhance the Japan-US security setup. It's like
turning on the air-conditioner and the heater at the same time."
Abe has many sides when it comes to matters involving the United
State, including the question of acknowledging the legitimacy of the
International Military Tribunal for the Far East.
Abe, who wants to establish a firm Japanese identity, also eyes
transforming Japan into a country that is generous and open to all
people in the world. Is Abe a one-dimensional nationalist or a
well-rounded statesman? He will soon face mounting challenges and
demonstrate his true nature.
(7) Abe to start picking successors to private-sector members of
Regulatory Reform Council, CEFP; Selection of new line-ups will
likely determine fate of reform drive
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NIHON KEIZAI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
September 22, 2006
With the inauguration of the new Shinzo Abe administration close at
hand on Sept. 26, moves to pick private-sector members for
government organizations that will play a central role in promoting
reform drive are underway. Private-sector members of the Council on
Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP), including Masaaki Homma, a
professor at Osaka University, and Yoshihiko Miyauchi, chairman of
Orix, who has headed the Regulatory Reform and Privatization
Council, will resign en masse following the changeover of
government. The new line-ups of these panels will likely affect the
future course of economic policy the new administration will
The Koizumi administration, inaugurated in April 2001, shifted away
from the hitherto demand-focused policy, including fiscal
disbursements. It has concentrated on reform of the supply side,
such as spending cuts and deregulation. This was an area where
reform efforts were bound to meet strong opposition from
politicians, who want to funnel fiscal funds to their home
constituencies, and bureaucrats, who want to maintain authority. In
this reform process, private citizens, starting with then State
Minister in charge of Economic and Fiscal Policy Heizo Takenaka (now
internal affairs and communications minister), a former professor at
Keio University, have increased their presence.
Miyauchi is a man of the economy who has expended his effort to ease
regulations from the early stage of the reform drive in the 1990s.
He has actively proposed scrapping or easing regulations in areas
where reforms were bound to incur opposition from politicians and
bureaucrats. He has contributed to the introduction of a cell phone
unit sale system and a partial lifting of a ban on a mixed medical
services system - treatment under the medical insurance system and
treatment without such. The Cabinet Office has calculated that
regulatory reform since the 1990s has produced effects worth 14
trillion yen a year.
The private-sector members of the CEFP, which came into the public
limelight under the Koizumi administration, have increased their
presence because they have reformed business sectors regardless of
strong opposition from Diet policy cliques and bureaucrats.
Private-sector members successively proposed reform plans for
financial services, social security, postal privatization and
administrative reform. They have contributed to accelerating the
reform drive by directly obtaining instructions from Prime Minister
Abe will likely appoint private-sector personnel shortly after his
election as prime minister on the 26th and the selection of a
cabinet lineup. The name of Takao Kusakari, chairman of Nippon Yusen
K.K., has been floated as a successor to the chairman of the
Regulatory Reform Council. He is in charge of regulatory reform as a
representative of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).
He is a type of person who attaches importance to reason. The
Regulatory Reform Council will likely continue to be active.
Regarding private-sector members of the CEFP, apart from Fujio
Mitarai, chairman of Nippon Keidanren, one will be picked from among
business leaders and two from academia. Jiro Ushio, chairman of
Ushio Inc., who is to step down as a private-sector member of the
CEFP, noted: "Only 20 percent of the deregulatory program has been
achieved. Since fiscal disbursements are difficult, it is essential
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to again reinforce deregulatory efforts in order to boost growth."
Homma states: "Efforts to take a second look at the bureaucrat-led
policymaking process in line with the actual state of the economy,
such as a drop in the population, have just begun. If the nation
enters a stable phase, it will be possible to introduce a system
under which politicians and bureaucrats alone are responsible for
setting policy. It will take 20 years or so until such an era
To what degree the new government will use administrative organs,
the engine to propel reform, and the selection of the new lineups
for those panels will likely become the best yardstick in measuring
the Abe administration's eagerness to reform.
"40 percent of the regulatory reform program has been achieved,"
says Miyauchi
Responding to an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Miyauchi
(71) yesterday evening said, "It is only natural for me to quit,
because Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has backed our
activities, will step down." Commenting on the progress of
regulatory reform, he said, "We have achieved 40 percent of the
goals." He also encouraged members of the successor panel, which is
to be launched next spring, saying, "I want them to do their utmost
without being discouraged by criticism."
-- What made you decide to step down?
"I have led the panel for more than a decade. We have met resistance
from various circles, but in the latter half of that time we have
managed to deal with very difficult issues thanks to strong backing
from the prime minister. I thought that since the prime minister
will step down, it would be only natural for me to quit as well.
"I wouldn't have remained in the post if it had not been for Prime
Minister Koizumi. Since there are many issues to be handled
regarding regulatory reform and privatization, such issues should be
tackled like in a relay race. Energy from the private sector cannot
be created unless we continue this work by leaving the task to our
-- How do you view the results of regulatory reform?
"Our job in the first half of the process was to remove from the
private sector regulations with a strong control flavor and shift to
a market economy. I believe these efforts have bolstered the
Japanese economy."
"In the second half of the process, the focus of our efforts shifted
to reform of the non-private sector. Each issue was hard to tackle.
Summarizing the whole process, 40 percent of the regulatory reform
plan has been achieved. I hope my successor will do his utmost with
a sense of responsibility and lofty aspirations without being
discouraged by critics."
-- Some have voiced criticism that Orix is making profit from the
regulatory reform program. What is your view on that?
"I do not understand such criticism. Regulatory reform is to remove
vested rights and interests and create a fair society to which
anybody can have access. Such criticism has nothing to do with my
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