Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/07/07

Published: Tue 7 Aug 2007 01:42 AM
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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule
4) Yomiuri poll: Abe Cabinet support rate sinks to 27.2 percent,
non support rate at 63.7 percent; DPJ support leaps 12.6 percent to
26.9 percent, exceeding LDP's 25.8 percent
5) Moriya to resign as vice defense minister
6) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ozawa remains opposed
to anti-terror law extension: "I am against joining US's war in
7) Three opposition parties to cooperate in opposing bill extending
anti-terror special measures law allowing MSDF refueling service in
Indian Ocean
8) LDP seeking compromise with DPJ on anti-terror bill, including
possibly allowing prior Diet approval
9) Ozawa's DPJ pressuring Abe government by seeking a timetable for
ASDF withdrawal from Iraq service
10) Prime Minister Abe, fearing post-election backlash, postpones
Aug. 15 visit to Yasukuni Shrine
11) Abe finding junior lawmakers in the LDP increasingly critical
of his staying on
12) Constitutional research committees in both Diet chambers may
not restart deliberations due to opposition camp's resistance
13) DPJ's Satsuki Eda, respected lawmaker, selected as president of
the House of Councillors
14) DPJ's Ozawa says he aims to have his party win 150 district
seats in the next Lower House election
15) Justice Minister Nagase charging foreign trainees group 500,000
yen "fee" for help in getting visas issued to incoming workers
16) Second case found of former farm minister Akagi having two sets
of accounting books for political funds
Fewer than two-thirds of Upper House members favor constitutional
Justice Minister Nagase receives 500,000 yen from foreign trainee
organization as reward for visa inquiry
China's blue sky campaign for opening of 2008 Beijing Olympics (Part
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JAL, Nippon Express, Kintetsu World Express to set up service for
shipping packages in Asia
Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization orders TBS to
make improvements regarding Fujiya reports
Tokyo Shimbun:
Abe not to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15
World Conference against A Bombs in Hiroshima calls for
nuclear-free world
(1) Government must deliver on prime minister's promise to recognize
people as suffering from A-bomb diseases
(2) National High School Baseball Tournament begins on Aug. 8
(1) People suffering from A-bomb diseases need speedy relief
(2) Eda to become Upper House president
(1) N-plant inspection to offer lessons for world
(2) High schools pad number of successful college applicants
(1) Digital broadcasting needs improvements
(2) Test for 40-year-old ASEAN
(1) Hiroshima peace declaration fails to refer to North Korean
nuclear program
(2) Guidelines on A-bomb diseases must be reviewed swiftly
Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Speedy improvements essential for criteria on A-bomb diseases
(2) How to utilize national academic aptitude test is summer
(1) National High School Baseball Tournament as venue for true
3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)
Prime Minister's schedule, August 6
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 7, 2007
Left the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima.
Attended a ceremony marking the 62nd anniversary of the US atomic
bombing of Hiroshima at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.
Left Hiroshima Airport by ANA 676.
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affiliation was 38.7 percent, down 5.7 points from June.
Respondents were also asked if they thought Prime Minister Abe, who
has now declared his intent to stay on as premier, will be able to
obtain actual results. In response to this question, 54 percent
answered "no," with 18 percent saying "yes" and 25 percent saying
they "can't say which." Meanwhile, Abe is expected to shuffle his
cabinet late this month. Respondents were further asked if they
looked forward to seeing the Abe cabinet's new lineup. To this
question, a total of 55 percent answered "no," with a total of 42
percent saying "yes."
5) Vice Defense Minister Moriya to exit
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
August 7, 2007
Defense Minister Yuriko Koike decided yesterday that Administrative
Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya will retire. Moriya has been
in his current post for over four years. He is to leave his post on
Sept. 1, concurrent with the Defense Facilities Administration
Agency's integration into the Defense Ministry. His post will be
filled by Tetsuya Nishikawa, director general of the Defense
Minister's Secretariat.
In his career, Moriya has successively served as director general of
the Defense Minister's Secretariat and director of the Defense
Policy Bureau. In August 203, Moriya became administrative vice
defense minister. He displayed his skill in negotiating with Okinawa
Prefecture and the US Department of Defense over various issues,
including the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station in Okinawa. He was rumored to be retained with the Diet
convening an extraordinary session this fall. However, he will now
be replaced because he has been in his current post for an
unprecedentedly long period of time.
6) Ozawa stands against taking part in US war
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 7, 2007
Ichiro Ozawa, president of the leading opposition Democratic Party
of Japan (Minshuto), met yesterday at party headquarters with his
party's executives, Vice President Kan and Secretary General
Hatoyama. During the meeting, the three discussed the idea of
extending the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. "US President Bush
has declared that it is the United States' war on terror in
Afghanistan," Ozawa said. "The DPJ is opposed to taking part in the
United States' war." With this, Ozawa indicated that the DPJ cannot
agree to extend the law from its stand against the United States'
Afghan policy.
7) Diet to convene extraordinary session today; Secretaries general
of three opposition parties agree to oppose extending Antiterrorism
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 7, 2007
In preparation for the start of an extraordinary Diet session today,
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) selected the lineup for the
House of Councillors' presidency and executive posts yesterday. The
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main opposition party is now ready to engage in an all-out
confrontation with the ruling coalition. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
met with Acting President Naoto Kan and Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama yesterday. He later announced that the party would express
its opposition to the government's plan to extend the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law. The secretaries general of the DPJ, the Social
Democratic Party, and the People's New Party also met at a Tokyo
hotel last night for the first time after the Upper House election
and confirmed that they would not basically support the government's
extension plan.
In the meeting with Kan and Hatoyama, Ozawa said about the
Antiterrorism Law allowing the Maritime Self-Defense Force to deploy
its vessels in the Indian Ocean (to refuel naval vessels from
various countries): "I am opposed to Japan's support for the US-led
war. President Bush has defined his country's operations as a war on
the terror against Afghanistan. Japan should not take action to
support such operations. Let's discuss such a point."
After the meeting, Hatoyama remarked: "(Ozawa) probably meant to say
Japan should consider more voluntarily serviceable contributions,
while taking other countries' ways of contribution as reference."
In reaction to a reporter pointing out that a question mark might be
put on the DPJ's ability to hold the reins of government if the
party opposes the extension of the law, Hatoyama made this
counterargument: "The fact is the reverse of what you said. The
Liberal Democratic Party has no ability to stay in power. Do you
mean that if a party blindly follows the US and acts as told by it,
the party holds the ability to hold the reins of government? Don't
talk nonsense."
8) "Prior Diet approval" clause likely to be added to bill extending
Antiterrorism Law
NIKKEI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
August 7, 2007
The ruling parties yesterday began discussions on the question of
whether to add a prior Diet approval clause to a bill extending the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which is to expire on Nov. 1.
This clause has been called for by the major opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto). If the ruling bloc fails to obtain
cooperation from the opposition bloc, which holds a majority in the
Upper House, it may be difficult to get the bill adopted. If the
bill is not adopted, that could affect Japan-US relations. The
ruling bloc intends to show the bill to the DPJ during the
extraordinary session of the Diet, which is to be convened on Aug.
31, and ask for the DPJ's support for the bill.
The ruling bloc regards the question of extending the law as a
"major political agenda" in the upcoming extraordinary Diet session
slated for the fall as the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) Diet
Affairs Committee Chairman Toshihiro Nikai puts it. If the ruling
bloc in this regard fails to convince the DPJ, it will face
difficulties in managing the Diet thereafter. By adopting the
opposition bloc's assertions over the question of extending the law,
the governing parties want to help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
policy management even slightly.
The current law obligates the government to obtain ex post facto
Diet approval after the dispatch of troops. If the law is not
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extended, Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) troops must stop their
refueling services now conducted in the Indian Ocean to vessels from
the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries.
The junior coalition partner New Komeito's Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Yoshio Urushibara declared in an interview with the Nikkei
yesterday: "We will agree to add a prior Diet approval clause as
called for by the DPJ to the bill. We strongly hope to revise what
should be revised upon obtaining approval from the opposition
Abe yesterday told reporters at the Prime Minister's Official
Residence, "I'd like to explain to the DPJ with sincerity and ask
for its cooperation," indicating he was positive about prior
consultations. On the same day, Nikai, too, told the Nikkei: "A
variety of views exist. I think it is a good thing to discuss the
matter fully," adding, "If 60 or 100 days are spent for prior
approval, we will be criticized as being too late." He thus implied
that even if prior approval is approved, the term of consultations
should be limited to a short period.
9) Ozawa asks for Iraq withdrawal timetable to apply pressure on
SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
August 7, 2007
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) President Ichiro Ozawa
has informally asked the government to disclose information,
including a timetable for withdrawing the Air Self-Defense Force,
which has been engaged in reconstruction support in Iraq, government
and ruling party members said yesterday. The government intends to
reject the request.
Apparently, the DPJ's aim is to apply pressure on the Abe
administration eager to strengthen the Japan-US alliance amid
growing calls in the United States for withdrawal from Iraq and to
use the request as a bargaining chip in debate over the question of
extending the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law slated to expire on
November 1.
According to the government source, the Ozawa side asked the
government after the House of Councillors election for an
explanation about withdrawing the ASDF from Iraq and future plans.
The government and ruling coalition are reluctant to offer any
explanation about withdrawing from Iraq. The reason is that
America's Iraq policy is wavering as seen from the fact that the US
House in July adopted with a majority approval a bill to pull US
troops out of Iraq by next April but the Senate scrapped the
President Bush is scheduled to produce a final report on Iraq in
September. "Japan must not mention the possibility of withdrawing
from Iraq ahead of a US decision, for that would affect the
foundation of the bilateral alliance," the government source said.
Although Ozawa has indicated that he would oppose an extension of
the law, some DPJ lawmakers are supporting an extension. Depending
on how things turn out, the DPJ might fall into disarray. The
government and ruling bloc are reacting strongly to Ozawa's request,
thinking that the DPJ is trying to obtain public support by linking
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the Iraq issue to the antiterrorism law and that the party must not
politicize diplomatic and security issues.
The ASDF has been engaged in an airlift operation near Baghdad even
after the Ground Self-Defense Force left the southern Iraqi city of
Samawah in July 2006. The government and ruling coalition extended
in June the Iraq Special Measures Law by two years until the end of
July 2009. They have also decided to make changes to the basic plan
to extend the Iraq mission by one year until the end of July 2008.
10) Prime Minister Abe puts off visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 to
avoid political trouble
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top play) (Full)
August 7, 2007
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday made up his mind not to pay
homage at Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15, the anniversary of the end of
World War II. Although former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
visited the shrine on that day last year for the first time since
taking office as prime minister, Abe supposedly judged it is
undesirable to bring about any further political trouble by visiting
the shrine, given that there are strong objections from China and
South Korea to the Japanese prime minister's visit to the shrine,
and that the foundations of his government are not stable at present
because of the ruling bloc's crushing defeat in the July Upper House
In the past Abe has been in support of the prime minister's visit to
Yasukuni Shrine, including Koizumi's. Abe himself visited the shrine
on April 15 of last year, when he served as chief cabinet secretary,
but since taking office as prime minister last September, he has
refrained from visiting the shrine, out of consideration for
relations with China and South Korea.
Abe, however, has made it a policy not to declare whether he visited
the shrine or not. So, he is expected not to reveal whether he did
not visit the shrine on Aug. 15.
Also, it is unclear whether Abe will or will not visit Yasukuni
Shrine during its autumn festival.
Koizumi pledged in the 2001 Liberal Democratic Party's presidential
election to visit the shrine on Aug. 15. But except for the year
2006, when he retired as prime minister, he had visited the shrine
every year on the days other than Aug. 15. His continued shrine
visits were seen as the major cause of the worsened relations like
the suspension of summit diplomacy with China and South Korea, which
are strongly opposing the prime minister's visit to the shrine,
where the Class-A war criminals have been enshrined.
Abe has stood firm in his position about Yasukuni Shrine. He has
said, "I want to continue to offer my prayer for the souls of the
dead and pay my respects to them." He paid 50,000 yen from his
pocket as a masakaki tree to put on the altar for the shrine's
spring festival this past April. In July, he paid 10,000 yen from
his pocket for a votive lantern for the shrine's Bon festival.
11) Criticism of prime minister growing even among junior members
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 7, 2007
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The chaos caused in the Liberal Democratic Party by its crushing
defeat in the July House of Councillors election is unlikely to calm
down for the time being. Criticism of the party leadership is
growing stronger day by day. Junior members were the driving force
behind the inauguration of the Abe government, but a number of them
have also voiced criticism of and dissatisfaction with Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe.
In a meeting of both houses' parliamentary assembly of the Tohoku
bloc held at party headquarters yesterday afternoon, assembly
chairman Koichi Kato, a former secretary general, said: "Here, you
should express what you really think."
In response, former Health and Welfare Minister Yuji Tsushima,
chairman of the Tsushima faction, denounced the prime minister,
saying: "The cause of the party's defeat is not its bad performance.
The leader is expected to understand public feelings, but the
current politics lacks consideration and affection." The Tsushima
faction is the second largest faction in the LDP, but it has no
cabinet post now after former Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma resigned.
Given this, dissatisfaction with the Abe administration has built up
in the faction. The faction is now the core of anti-Abe forces,
including former Defense Ministry Agency Director General Shigeru
Following Tsushima's remark, harsh criticism of the Abe
administration cropped up from many other members, such as: "The
government's structural reforms have aggravated the impoverishment
of local communities;" "We have lost the farm vote;" "The
construction industry, a main vote-gathering group, hardly worked
for us;" "Our patience has worn out;" and "Many key figures in the
central government came to support our candidates in local
districts, so local members felt that they were being overlooked."
Kato decided to deliver the book of minutes entering speakers'
names, saying: "It is necessary to have the prime minister know what
LDP members really think."
12) Constitutional examination committees not set up due to
objection from opposition camp
SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
August 7, 2007
The National Referendum Law stipulating procedures for amending the
Constitution lays down the establishment of a constitutional
examination committee both in the Lower and Upper Houses during the
Diet session to be convened on Aug. 7. However, meting opposition
from the opposition camp, the panel has not yet been established.
There is concern that this abnormal situation could affect
discussion on constitutional revision.
The constitutional examination committee is a key standing panel to
be established in the Diet for examination of bills related to
constitutional revision. Though the panel's authority to examine
constitutional revision bills will be put on hold until May 2010,
when the main portion of the National Referendum Law is put into
force, they are tasked with examining constitutional matters to be
The National Referendum Law stipulates the establishment of the
constitutional examination committees during the first Diet session
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to be convened since its passage on May 18. Based on this provision,
the Rules and Administration Committees of both chambers of the Diet
on Aug. 6 at their own executive meeting conferred on regulations on
the constitutional examination committee, including the fixed number
of committee members and decision-making requirements, but both
failed to reach an agreement.
A DPJ participant during the Lower House executive meeting on Aug. 2
noted: "The prime minister's statement on constitutional revision
was too influential. The chief of the administration should govern
national affairs, based on the existing Constitution." Another DPJ
participant pointed out the forcible passage of the National
Referendum Law in the Lower House and objected the adoption of panel
regulations, saying, "It is too early to establish such
regulations." The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic
Party are opposing the establishment of an examination panel
13) DPJ picks Eda for Upper House chief post
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
August 7, 2007
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) yesterday picked Satsuki Eda,
66, a former House of Councillors' chairman and a former Science and
Technology Agency chief, to be the party's first president of the
Upper House. The selection will be formalized at an extraordinary
session to be convened today.
Speaking before the press corps, Eda said: "The role I will play in
the Upper House at the current juncture is very significant. It is
having a bracing effect on me."
The DPJ has decided to keep the party's Upper House Caucus Chairman
Azuma Koshiishi in his post. Eda served as Science and Technology
Agency chief in the Hosokawa cabinet. The Minshuto candidate in the
Okayama Constituency, his electoral district, defeated Liberal
Democratic Party's Upper House Secretary General Toranosuke Katayama
in the July Upper House election owing to his support. The main
opposition party valued this contribution highly. His father is the
late Saburo Eda, who served as Japan Socialist Party secretary
The DPJ also named former Education Minister Takeo Nishioka as
Steering Committee chairman, Kenji Hirata as secretary general of
the caucus, and Susumu Yanase as the party's Diet Affairs Committee
The extraordinary session will be convened for four days until the
10th. In its plenary session today, the Upper House will unanimously
nominate Eda as president and LDP member Akiko Santo as vice
president. The DPJ intends to submit a bill banning the use of
pension insurance premiums for other purposes than pension payments,
as well as a bill to mandate all political groups to attach receipts
for expenditures of more than 10,000 yen for political activities.
14) DPJ head Ozawa says to Rengo chairman: "We plan to win 150 seats
in single-seat constituencies for the Lower House"
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 7, 2007
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The major opposition Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or Minshuto)
President Ichiro Ozawa yesterday held face-to-face talks with the
Japanese Trade Union Confederation's (Rengo) Chairman Tsuyoshi
Takagi arranged by Rengo's magazine. In the meeting, when asked
about the next Lower House election, Ozawa said, "We want to win 150
seats out of the (300) single-seat constituencies. If that is
realized, we can naturally bring about a change of government." He
thus indicated that he would aim to win a majority of seats in the
single-seat constituencies as the party's target. Takagi told Ozawa:
"The DPJ needs to buttress its local organizations. The right to
dissolve the Lower House lies with the other side. Your party should
always stand ready for an election. Rengo will cooperate with you."
When asked about the upcoming extraordinary Diet session slated for
this fall, Ozawa said, "In the Upper House, we will exercise
administrative investigation rights to answer the public's
questions." The talk between the two is to be carried by the monthly
magazine Rengo to be issued on Aug. 25.
15) Justice Minister Nagase gets 500,000 yen from foreign trainee
referral service organization, to which he serves as advisor, as
gratuity for querying about visas
MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
August 7, 2007
It was found that Justice Minister Jinen Nagase's office in Lower
House Toyama Constituency No. 1 around September last year received
a donation worth 500,000 yen from the Tomishin International
Business Cooperative in Toyama City, an organization that offers
foreign trainee referral services, to which Nagase serves as an
advisor, as gratitude for inquiring at the Justice Ministry about
foreign trainee visas. Nagase returned the money after the Mainichi
Shimbun started collected news materials to cover the case as a news
event noting. "I as the top person in charge of the immigration
administration must not invite misunderstanding." He also resigned
as adviser.
According to several cooperative officials, a dozen or more Chinese
trainees had authorization for resident eligibility issued by the
Justice Ministry Immigration Bureau, but unable to obtain visas from
the Foreign Ministry's diplomatic mission in China. As such, the
cooperative asked Nagase's secretary to find out the reason.
Nagase's office inquired at the Immigration Bureau and the Foreign
Ministry about the matter and found that it was a mistake made by
the Chinese side. Though those trainees were unable to enter Japan,
a cooperative executive visited Nagase's office around the fall and
handed over 500,000 to the secretary, noting, "I would like to
return a favor for your help." The secretary, however, sometime
between June and early July this year, the time when the Mainichi
started collecting news materials on the matter, asked the
cooperative to pretend that there was no transfer of money and then
returned the money. These sources said that the cooperative received
a receipt proving the donation from Nagase's office, but returned
Nagase took office as advisor to Shinyo in May, 1998, when it was
established. However, since he failed to notify the prime minister
of this as stipulated under the cabinet minister law, he offered his
resignation. Shinyo accepted his resignation.
Regarding the time when Nagase's office received the cash, the
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