Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/20/07

Published: Thu 20 Sep 2007 01:38 AM
DE RUEHKO #4384/01 2630138
P 200138Z SEP 07
E.O. 12958: N/A
1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Prime Minister's daily schedule: In hospital
Anti-Terrorism Law:
3) Once stopped, it will be difficult to restart MSDF Indian-Ocean
refueling services this year
4) LDP is hoping that new UNSC resolution of appreciation for
anti-terror efforts will help MSDF refueling services in Indian
Ocean continue
5) Some in ruling camp hopeful that anti-terror law can still be
extended in the current Diet session
6) Prime Minister's direct appeal to the US President has made it
difficult for Tokyo to backtrack on the anti-terror law
7) Foreign Ministry worked hard UN members to set in motion the new
UNSC resolution of appreciation for anti-terror efforts
8) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) carefully watching UNSC move to
pass resolution of appreciation but remains adamantly against the
anti-terror law
9) DPJ unlikely to change its basic attitude against the anti-terror
law no matter what resolution the UNSC passes
10) DPJ is ignoring the new UNSC resolution
11) DPJ also trying to shoot down the Iraq dispatch with its own
bill that would scrap the Iraq reconstruction assistance law
LDP presidential campaign:
12) Survey shows candidate Fukuda popular among middle-aged groups,
while Aso appeals to young people
13) Internet monitor survey lists pensions as the top priority issue
for most people, while LDP chapters in another survey chose
correcting income disparities
14) Fukuda, Aso appear at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Japan
15) Japan War-Bereaved Families Association to support Fukuda
16) LDP bigwig Koga becoming more influential in the party due to
Fukuda campaign
17) Coup rumor denied by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano, but new
rumor that LDP's Hidenao Nakagawa also knew about Abe's intention to
Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei & Sankei:
Average commercial land prices across Japan rise 1.0 PERCENT , first
increase in 16 years
Tokyo Shimbun:
Poll of 47 LDP local chapters and Internet users on priority tasks
for next prime minister: "Pensions" cited by Internet users and
"reduction of the gaps between rural and urban areas" by LDP local
LDP presidential campaign strange; Lack of self-reflection, no
difference in policy stances between two candidates, no change from
previous politics
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(1) US interest rate cut in preparation for slowdown in economy
(2) New Komeito still willing to be a coalition partner?
(1) Drastic interest rate cut by US: Radical measures essential to
prevent increase in bad loans
(2) Revision to Road Traffic Law: Need to eliminate drunk driving
(1) Japan, US joined hands to stabilize financial markets
(2) Benchmark land prices: Mini-bubble involving land likely to come
to end
(1) Japanese, US financial officials prioritize stabilizing the
(1) More discussion needed to put "moral education" in a list of
(2) US interest rate cut: Prevent credit crunch with joint efforts
Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) US interest rate cut: No optimism allowed despite recovery of
stock prices
(2) Copyright system for manga necessary in way to realize
coexistence with readers
(1) Hansen's disease sufferers desire establishment of basic law
3) Refueling resumption difficult this year
MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
September 20, 2007
Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has been tasked with refueling
US and other foreign naval vessels in the Indian Ocean under the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to back up their antiterror drive
in Afghanistan. To continue the MSDF's refueling mission, or not to
continue it? That is a heavy challenge facing Japan's next prime
minister to be elected shortly. However, Japan will have to call off
the MSDF mission unless the antiterror law is extended beyond its
Nov. 1 expiry. It would be difficult to resume the MSDF's refueling
activities within the year. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is
already anticipating such a situation in its ongoing presidential
LDP Secretary General Taro Aso: "It's difficult to extend the law."
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda: "I basically agree..."
The two LDP presidential candidates sounded alike as they met the
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan yesterday.
The new prime minister is expected to come into office on Sept. 25.
There is a little over one month left thereafter until the
antiterror law's Nov. 1 expiry. Meanwhile, the Diet is timetabled to
close its current extraordinary session on Nov. 10. The days are not
enough. The Tokiwa, an MSDF supply ship currently in the Indian
TOKYO 00004384 003 OF 012
Ocean, is certain to be recalled. The focus will be on how and when
to create an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties to
resume the MSDF's refueling activities.
Aso has plans to present a new legislative measure to the Diet
during its current extra session. The Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) and other opposition parties currently hold a majority of
the seats in the House of Councillors. The Diet's
opposition-controlled upper chamber would vote down the legislation.
After that, the House of Representatives, currently dominated by the
ruling parties, will take a second vote on the legislation to enact
it into law with a majority of two thirds. Aso is in a position to
go for the fastest track to resume the MSDF's refueling activities.
Meanwhile, Fukuda, now gaining an advantage over Aso in the race,
differs from Aso.
"We have no choice but to work together with the DPJ in a
cooperative manner. We spent time for the party's presidential
election, so we have a limited number of options." This remark came
from Fukuda on Sept. 14.
On Sept. 16, Fukuda said, "I really don't know for now (about
whether it is possible to prepare for a new law)." He also said:
"Taking a second vote (in the Diet's lower chamber) is the last of
all means. That's a rare case."
Instead of Fukuda, former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki has come
out with a scenario that differs from Aso's. Fukuda was chief
cabinet secretary when Yamasaki was LDP secretary general. They
worked to create the antiterror law after the Sept. 11, 2001
terrorist attacks in the United States. The two are also keeping
step with each other on Yasukuni Shrine and North Korea. Yamasaki is
one of those who were quickest to field Fukuda in the party race.
Yamasaki said in his faction's meeting on Sept. 14: "Japan will have
to call off the MSDF's refueling activities. The United States also
knows that. The problem is that we will have to make it acceptable
to the DPJ. DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa says we need a resolution
from the United Nations. Then, it's all right to get a new
resolution for participation, as he says. In that case, it will take
quite a long time to create a new law. One idea is to extend the
Diet session until the end of the year to ram through the bill.
However, we should not do such a foolish thing. Instead, we should
carry it over to the ordinary Diet session next year, and then we
should pass the legislation through talks."
Fukuda has also hinted at the possibility of dissolving the Diet
through talks after the budget for next fiscal year gets Diet
approval. Fukuda is tuned in with Yamasaki on when and how to resume
the MSDF's refueling activities. Prime Minister Abe staked his job
on continuing the MSDF's refueling mission, and he was driven to
step down. If Fukuda comes into office as prime minister, will the
situation change?
Japan has joined the international community's efforts in the war on
terror over the past six years since the Sept. 11 events. Now, Japan
is facing a challenge.
4) Continuation of MSDF refueling operation: LDP works for adoption
of new UNSC resolution, with "gratitude resolution" to be adopted
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YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
September 20, 2007
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is to adopt in the early
hours of Sept. 20 (Japan time) a resolution that includes
appreciation for Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces' (MSDF)
participation in the Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) in the
Indian Ocean. Behind the inclusion are secret moves by the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) following its crushing defeat in the Upper
House election held in late July.
LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa, Foreign Minister Aso at the
time and former Foreign Minister Machimura took the initiative in
the move. They worked on Vice Foreign Minister Yachi and others,
noting: "It is now difficult to extend the MSDF mission because the
ruling and opposition parties have traded places in the Upper House.
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) would find it
impossible to oppose an extension if there is a UN resolution that
can serve as the basis for its operation."
Yachi at first showed reluctance to accepting the idea, noting, "The
MSDF's refueling operation has been internationally acknowledged.
There is sufficient legitimacy in their mission. It would be
difficult for Japan, which is not a UNSC member, to have it adopt a
new resolution for domestic reasons."
Nevertheless, the LDP insisted on securing a UN resolution, because
it was aware that an extension of the MSDF mission is a major issue
that could shake the Abe administration. In the end, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) began strongly working on related countries
in New York starting in late August. The key to settling this issue
was a resolution for deciding on an extension of the International
Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), whose establishment expires in
mid-October. The secret scheme was to propose correcting the
preamble of that resolution and instead including Japan's request.
Russia, a UNSC member, opposed the idea most strongly, noting that
the reason for adding the maritime interdiction operations was
unclear. Germany, which has suffered many losses of their ISAF
members, opposed Japan's request, saying that it is not acceptable
for Japan to make a request regarding the ISAF resolution for
domestic reasons. However, the trend for adopting the resolution was
set with the US and Britain acting on behalf of the continuation of
Japan's refueling operations.
5) UN to adopt new antiterrorism resolution today; Government aims
to quickly introduce new law to extend MSDF refueling mission
NIKKEI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
September 20, 2007
In a bid to extend the refueling mission of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the Indian Ocean, the government
intends to swiftly prepare new legislation based on a new resolution
expected to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
on Sept. 19, local time. On the strength of approval from the UN,
the government hopes to enact a law at an early date. The Democratic
Party of Japan, though, has not eased its opposition to the MSDF
refueling mission. Under such a situation, it will be difficult to
enact a law by the end of the year. Some suggest extending the
current extraordinary Diet session, which is due to be adjourned on
TOKYO 00004384 005 OF 012
Nov. 10, until early next year.
The new UNSC resolution is designed to extend the antiterrorism
mission in Afghanistan by the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) for another year. At the request of the Japanese
government, the resolution includes in the preamble a phrase
expressing appreciation for maritime intercept operations (MIO) by
the multinational naval force in the Indian Ocean. Even so, the
resolution is aimed to extend the ISAF mission and is not intended
solely to approve MIO, which is joined by the MSDF and is aimed to
prevent terrorists from transiting the Indian Ocean.
Key points in the new UNSC resolution
? Express concern about the security situation in Afghanistan,
particularly about the rise in terrorist acts by Taliban fighters
and Al-Qaeda members.
? Emphasize the need for continued international efforts by the ISAF
and the multinational force participating in Operation Enduring
Freedom (OEF).
? Welcome the completion of the ISAF deployment across Afghanistan
and its continued cooperation in OEF.
? Expresses appreciation for the leadership demonstrated by the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the contributions by the ISAF
and many countries in OEF, including MIO.
? Extend the ISAF mission by 12 months beyond Oct. 13 in 2007.
? Allow the participant countries in the ISAF to use every necessary
means to achieve their missions.
6) Prime Minister Abe explained plan on new UN antiterrorism
resolution to President Bush
NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
September 20, 2007
The Japanese government prepared a plan to insert in a United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution a phrase expressing
appreciation for the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling
mission, keeping in mind public opinion and the Democratic Party of
Japan's (DPJ) opposition to extending the MSDF mission. This
strategy was pushed ahead more smoothly than expected by persons
concerned, owing to cooperation between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
and United States President Bush, both of who have been driven into
corner over the war against terrorism.
The plan emerged in the government in early September, just after
the DPJ launched a new leadership in preparation for fighting the
ruling camp. Meanwhile, some members called for caution about the
proposal. One member said: "If the expression of appreciation is
linked to a resolution aimed to extend the mission of the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Japan's operation
might be taken as involving the use of force." Another said: "The
government has explained that Japan's operation is based on a past
UN resolution. If the plan is turned into action, it will be
inconsistent with the conventional explanation."
Although many remained cautious, there was no other good idea. The
Foreign Ministry unofficially asked UNSC members for their views
about the plan through local embassies and received favorable
replies from them. In the Japan-US summit held on Sept. 8 on the
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sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in
Sydney, as well, Prime Minister Abe explained to President Bush the
plan to insert appreciation in a UNSC resolution, seeking his
In the US government, there is strong concern that if Japan
withdraws from the war against terrorism, Pakistan, which is the
sole participant among Islamic countries and whose naval ships have
been refueled by Japan, might also leave the front lines. The
president, who has been in a great quandary over the Iraq war,
promptly accepted Japan's request, according to informed sources.
7) UNSC to adopts resolution "thanking" nations apparently in
response to Japan's strong appeal
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 20, 2007
Yu Koyama
It has been decided to include in a United Nations resolution on
operations in Afghanistan an expression of appreciation for nations,
including Japan, participating in the ongoing antiterrorism missions
in that country. This move reflects the Japanese government's
pressure on the UN to provide a good reason for Japan's Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to continue its refueling mission -- which
is to expire on Nov. 1 -- in the Indian Ocean. The government used
the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) argument
against continuing the MSDF's refueling mission because of the lack
of any UN resolution giving approval to that mission against the
party. Taking advantage of this resolution, the government and the
ruling coalition intend to stimulate public opinion and gain the
advantage over the DPJ.
The MSDF has been engaged in the refueling mission under the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. Internationally, this mission is
seen as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)" led by the
Coalition of the Willing, composed mainly of US troops. An idea of
including appreciation for nations participating in the
antiterrorism campaign in a UN resolution came from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA). MOFA has lobbied the UN Security Council
(UNSC) member nations to include appreciation in a resolution since
the start of this month. A senior MOFA official explained: "It is
safe to say that this idea was in effect aimed at convincing the
The government has used UNSC Resolution 1368 calling on "the
international community to make even more efforts to prevent
terrorism" adopted in September 2001 as the grounds for operations
under OEF. But the DPJ has contended that such operations are not
specifically mentioned in the resolution." The DPJ has been opposed
to the MSDF's refueling mission.
Behind MOFA's energetic lobbying was the domestic situation where
given the reversal of the positions in the Upper House between the
ruling and opposition parties, the government needs to obtain the
DPJ's approval for continuing the MSDF's refueling mission. A senior
MOFA official explained that if a resolution expressing
"appreciation for nations participating in operations under OEF,
including maritime interdiction operation," and a "need for
continued operations," is adopted, "the DPJ will lose the grounds
for its opposition."
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In the ministry, however, someone noted, "The resolution bill is
related to the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF)
missions, and it is not directly giving any grounds to operations
under OEF. Whether the resolution can serve as a material to
convince the DPJ is still questionable." Given this, it remains to
be seen whether MOFA's lobbying will bear fruit.
8) New UN resolution: DPJ to watch public opinion attentively, while
remaining opposed to continuation of refueling operation
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 20, 2007
The UN Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution including
appreciative words for the multinational maritime interdiction
operations (MIO) in the Indian Ocean, in which the Maritime
Self-Defense Force is taking part. Despite that, the major
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto or DPJ) decided
yesterday to continue opposing the MSDF's refueling operation,
saying the content of the resolution does not provide any clear
grounds for the MSDF operation. At the same time, there is a view in
the DPJ that the party must study a flexible response by discerning
public trends as the responsible largest party in the House of
Councillors. The government and ruling parties are watching
carefully how public opinion affects the DPJ's response.
Regarding the UN resolution, DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman
Masayuki Naoshima said in yesterday's press conference: "A
resolution simply expressing appreciation will not be able to change
our thinking." Deputy President Seiji Maehara, who supports an
extension of the MSDF mission, also indicated before the press corps
that the new UN resolution would be insufficient, saying: "A
resolution authorizing the MIO is necessary. The government must
explain to the public what effect it will have (on the refueling
The government has explained that the Antiterrorism Law, which has
been serving as the basis for the MSDF mission, has a seal of
approval from the United Nations by citing UN Security Council
Resolution 1368 that recognized 9/11 as a threat to international
peace and security and Resolution 1267 that urged UN member
countries to take antiterrorism measures.
Meanwhile, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa has clearly opposed an
extension of the refueling mission, saying that the war on terrorism
in and around Afghanistan is America's war of self-defense and that
there has been no UN resolution directly requesting the MSDF's
refueling operation.
At the same time, some in the DPJ have begun paying attention to
public trends. A DPJ lawmaker specialized in national defense took
this view: "Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda is a
seasoned politician, and we need Diet measures distinct from those
of the Abe administration. If public opinion gradually supports the
refueling mission, the DPJ might find itself isolated."
Some DPJ lawmakers, including Akihisa Nagashima, have given positive
assessments to the government's efforts for the additional UN
resolution. It remains to be seen which side -- the government and
ruling parties or the DPJ -- can win public support.
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9) DPJ remains adamantly opposed to extension of MSDF mission
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 20, 2007
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) intends to
oppose an extension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
operation in the Indian Ocean even if the UN Security Council adopts
a new resolution. The DPJ's view is that a new resolution to express
"appreciation" for antiterrorism operations will still not be direct
authorization by the United Nations, which President Ichiro Ozawa
has called for. Even former President Seiji Maehara, who has
expressed his understanding for the MSDF mission, has reacted
negatively, saying: "I feel it is a makeshift measure."
Ozawa yesterday directed Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka that the party should adhere to its opposition to the
government's plan to extend the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law,
even a new resolution is adopted. He told Yamaoka: "It's not
germane. The Constitution and the Japan-US Security Treaty cannot be
tricked by expressions of appreciation."
The DPJ's Foreign Affairs and Defense Division confirmed yesterday
that even if a new resolution was adopted, the party would
"laughingly dismiss it." Yoshio Hachiro, foreign minister of the
Next Cabinet, told reporters: "The UN resolution will not at all
directly single out the antiterrorism operations in which the MSDF
has participated." Keiichiro Asao, defense minister of the Next
Cabinet, also said: "We will not change our opposition."
It seems that the more DPJ lawmakers know about the contents of the
UN resolution, the more they have strengthened their opposition. In
response to an interview by Nikkei, Maehara pointed out: "It is
desirable to directly ask the public as to whether they support or
not. It is not fair to try to change the mood of the public by a UN
resolution expressing appreciation." Another DPJ lawmaker also made
a critical comment: "It is unusual to use the United Nations for
internal politics."
10) DPJ sticking to its position opposing MSDF refueling services in
the Indian Ocean, despite a UN resolution of appreciation
TOKYO (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 20, 2007
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) has eagerly rejected
a new United Nations Security Council resolution on the
anti-terrorist mop-up operations in Afghanistan. The reason is if
the mood of the public swings based on the resolution and public
approval of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's continuing operations
in the Indian Ocean rises, the party, which has consistently been
against the refueling services,
The essence of new UNSC resolution would clearly express
appreciation for the coalition of the willing, including Japan, for
carrying out Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) under the US lead, and
would cite the need to continue OEF operations.
Until now, the government has cited as the grounds for the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling operations an ordinary UN
resolution that criticizes terrorism and includes in it a request
for cooperation to punish terrorist organizations. The new
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resolution, if adopted, would come in the form of adding to the
grounds and the legitimacy of the refueling operations. With this,
the government hopes to get the DPJ, as the largest party in the
Upper House, to reverse its policy course.
However, DPJ leaders have stressed the party will stick to its
opposition to the refueling activities until the end. Policy Board
Chairman Masayuki Uejima at a press conference stressed, "Our
thinking has not changed a bit." Next Cabinet Foreign Minister
Yoshiro Hachiro noted that since the expression of appreciation is
in the resolution's preamble, "It is not at all proper stipulation
for OEF activities in a UN resolution."
DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama criticized the resolution as a
"farce," citing open lobbying by the Japanese government to continue
refueling activities.
11) DPJ to submit bill scrapping Iraq Reconstruction Assistance Law
to Upper House: Information disclosure eyed
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
September 20, 2007
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) yesterday decided to
submit to the Upper House during the extraordinary Diet session a
bill scrapping the Iraq Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures
Law aimed at an immediate pullout of Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF)
troops from Iraq, where they are engaging in an airlift mission for
multinational forces. The party is set to pursue the government over
insufficient information disclosure and the legitimacy of the
dispatch of ASDF personnel to Iraq as well as the propriety of
continuing the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) mission for
refueling in the Indian Ocean, when Diet debate starts after the
election of a new prime minister.
The DPJ is opposing the dispatch of SDF personnel to Iraq, noting
that it is doubtful whether the SDF mission is relevant for the
reconstruction of Iraq and that information disclosure by the
government is also extremely insufficient. The DPJ has so far
introduced a bill scrapping the law three times. Now that the
opposition is the dominant force in the Upper House, the DPJ will
aim at having the bill adopted in the Upper House first and then
securing its adoption and passage in the Lower House with the
consent of the ruling camp.
The government intends to submit a bill approving the dispatch of
MSDF troops during the extraordinary Diet session. However,
suspecting that MSDF ships refueled US vessels heading for Iraq, the
DPJ plans to seek the disclosure of related data and to exercise
administrative investigation rights.
Government denies diversion of fuel
Regarding the MSDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, the
government in a written answer adopted at a cabinet meeting denied
refueling vessels heading for the Iraq operation, noting that MSDF
personnel confirm each time they provide refueling service that
concerned vessels are engaging in activities stipulated under the
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. The reply was made in response
to a memorandum on questions submitted by Upper House member Shinkun
Haku of the DPJ.
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12) Online poll: Fukuda backed by middle-aged, Aso by young people
TOKYO (Page 2) (Abridged)
September 20, 2007
The Tokyo Shimbun's recent online poll of political monitors, the
results of which were tabulated yesterday, shows what strata support
former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and Liberal Democratic
Party Secretary General Taro Aso, who are running in the LDP
presidential race. The survey also shows the public's severe view of
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has now announced his resignation.
In popularity rating, Fukuda stood at 40.1 PERCENT , with Aso at
18.2 PERCENT . However, 36.1 PERCENT had no expectations for the
Among those who picked Fukuda, those in their 20s and 30s accounted
for 37.6 PERCENT , and those aged 40 and over at 62.4 PERCENT .
Meanwhile, among those who opted for Aso, the total proportion of
those in their 20s and 30s was 43.8 PERCENT , and those aged 40 and
over at 56.3 PERCENT . Among those who support Fukuda, there are
comparatively many middle-aged and elderly people. Among those who
support Aso, there are many young people.
Respondents were also asked who they thought would be appropriate
for prime minister. To this question, Ichiro Ozawa, president of the
leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto), ranked top.
More than one third of the respondents named DPJ lawmakers,
including two DPJ vice presidents, Katsuya Okada and Naoto Kan.
Fukuda ranked second, and Aso in third place.
13) Poll: Online monitors, LDP local execs differ on priority
TOKYO (Top play) (Abridged)
September 20, 2007
The Tokyo Shimbun conducted a questionnaire survey of the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party's local chapter executives prior to the
LDP's presidential election in the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's announcement of his resignation. In addition, the Tokyo
Shimbun also conducted an online poll of 500 political monitors. The
LDP's local executives want the new prime minister (LDP president)
to correct the nation's social divide, while the online monitors
want the next premier to fast-track policy measures for pensions.
The monitors also want the House of Representatives to be dissolved
at an early date for a general election. However, the LDP's local
chapters want the next premier to move down a Diet dissolution.
14) Fukuda, Aso address foreign press club
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 20, 2007
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda and incumbent Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Taro Aso, who are running
in the LDP presidential election, yesterday delivered speeches at
the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Fukuda stressed: "The next
prime minister will be required to carry out reforms for the benefit
of the daily lives of the people. Measures will be needed to wipe
away the public's anxiety." He expressed his eagerness to correct
problems caused by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's reform
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Aso referred to the negative side of the Koizumi reform program,
saying: "It is clear that no achievement was made in local area
reforms," adding, "I would like to promote effective reform in the
e-government area."
The two shared the perception that the issue of extending the
Maritime Self-Defense Forces' refueling operation in the Indian
Ocean should be resolved by new legislation.
15) Japan War-Bereaved Families Association to support Fukuda
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 19, 2007
The Japan War-Bereaved Families Association, which is a strong
support organization for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP),
will decide in a meeting today of its directors to back former Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda in the LDP presidential election. The
association and Fukuda share the view that various problems caused
by the enshrinement of Class-A war criminals in Yasukuni Shrine
should be resolved in some way. Chairman Makoto Koga, a former LDP
secretary general, was quick to support Fukuda. He will confirm
today the decision by the directors in a second study session on the
separating of Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni.
As Fukuda compiled a report calling for creating a new national
cemetery when he was serving as chief cabinet secretary, there is a
possibility that debate on the Yasukuni issue would be pushed ahead
if he assumes the prime minister's post. The association has opposed
the idea of building a national cemetery, but a study of removing
Class-A war criminals from the Shinto shrine is aimed at urging
Yasukuni Shrine to change its stance. There is a hidden motive of
promoting debate on a removal of Class-A war criminals from Yasukuni
by debating construction of a new national cemetery.
16) Koga's influence strengthening in LDP
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
September 20, 2007
Makoto Koga, a former secretary general of the Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) who heads a faction in the LDP, has promoted his
political presence. He led the move to field former Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuo Fukuda in the ongoing LDP presidential race, setting
the trend favorable to Fukuda. Koga's influence will likely grow in
a Fukuda government.
Koga said: "My political belief is closer to that of Fukuda than
Secretary General Taro Aso's." He cited Fukuda's policy toward Asia
and a policy of placing importance on the daily lives of people as
reasons for his support for Fukuda. He has set up the election
taskforce team in a Tokyo hotel on his own (for Fukuda).
Despite the sudden presidential election, Koga was quick to take
action. Following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement of his
intention to resign, Koga held on the evening of Sept. 12 a general
meeting of his faction. He soon made contact with Taku Yamasaki,
former LDP vice president, and Sadakazu Tanigaki, former finance
minister, winning their support for Fukuda. A senior Koga faction
member stressed: "Since our faction first voiced support for Fukuda,
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other factions decided to back him."
Koga and Yuya Niwa first co-chaired the faction since June 2006.
However, Niwa left the faction after assuming the post of the LDP
General Council chairman last September. So Koga became the
faction's chairman last October. He has made efforts to take over
the faction. Niwa appears to be supporting Aso, but few faction
members will likely follow him. The dominant view is that Niwa's
clout will inevitably decline as the possibility of Fukuda becoming
the next prime minister is now certain.
There may be a change in the Koga faction's strategy.
Kota is positive about a merger with the Tanigaki faction, aiming at
forming a middle-size Kochikai, while Niwa has advocated the notion
of creating a grand Kochikai. There is a view that if Niwa's
influence weakens, the idea of forming a middle-size Kochikai will
be pushed forward quickly.
17) Did former Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa know about Prime
Minister Abe's intention to resign?
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
September 20, 2007
Although the "coup d'etat" rumor is that Chief Cabinet Secretary
Kaoru Yosano and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General
Tao Aso ultimately forced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step down.
Yosano has fought back, indicating that former Secretary General
Hidenao Nakagawa also knew of Abe's decision. Nakagawa called at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence to meet Abe on Sept. 11, the day
before Abe announced his resignation.
Regarding this point, Yosano stated at a press conference yesterday:
"It is true that he met with the prime minister. So it would not be
strange if the prime minister had told him his intention to quit."
Asked about this by reporters, Yosano responded: "It can be said
that the prime minister wanted to convey his intention in some
fashion on Sept. 10 or 11. But I failed to sense it," saying that he
heard Abe's intention to step down for the first time on the 12th.
He also underscored: "There is nothing wrong with a little media
skirmish over information, but moderation is needed. Otherwise, the
LDP will lose public confidence."
Asked by reporters whether the coup rumor was slanderous, Yosano
replied, "That's right."
On Sept. 11, New Komeito leader Akihiro Ota, too, met with Abe.
Yosano clearly stated that Ota did not know about Abe's intention.
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