Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/19/07

Published: Fri 19 Oct 2007 08:26 AM
DE RUEHKO #4902/01 2920826
P 190826Z OCT 07
E.O. 12958: N/A
(1) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura on US Defense Department's
statement: "Japan will continue work to confirm what should be
confirmed" (Nikkei)
(2) The US has clearly denied diversion allegation in its statement
on MSDF-supplied fuel, says foreign minister (Tokyo Shimbun)
(3) US DOD statement has increased suspicion of oil diversion, says
DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama (Nikkei)
(4) War on terrorism -- Japan's choice (Part 1): Government finds
some room for accepting Ozawa's ISAF participation proposal
(5) Japan's Burma diplomacy drifting between assistance and pressure
(6) DPJ has yet to prepare definite strategy for early start of
deliberations on its own bills (Asahi)
(7) MSDF officer's sloppy handling of secrets (Sankei)
(8) US Air Force to conduct paradrop training today at Kadena base
(Ryukyu Shimpo)
(9) Hiroshima police probing US servicemen over gang rape (Chuugoku
(10) 4 Iwakuni-based US Marines rape underage girl (Yomiuri)
(11) It's unforgivable: Machimura (Yomiuri)
(12) Government aims at eliminating overwork in 10 years' time:
Number of workers who work 60 hours a week to be halved; Ratio of
men who take child-care leave to be raised to 10 PERCENT (Asahi)
(15) Prime Minister's schedule, October 18 (Nikkei)
(16) Political Cartoon
(1) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura on US Defense Department's
statement: "Japan will continue work to confirm what should be
October 19, 1:26 PM
In a press conference after a cabinet meeting today, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura praised a statement issued by the
United States Department of Dense that denied the alleged diversion
of fuel supplied by the Maritime Self-Defense Force to US warships
in the Indian Ocean for use in the Iraq war. Machimura also said:
"The government will continue efforts to confirm what should be
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Machimura stated: "Although various reports have been made, I
understand that the conclusion is that the oil-diversion allegation
was denied." He added: "Since it is still uncertain whether
everything has been cleared up in the statement, the Defense
Ministry will continue work to confirm points that should be
Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba also said in a press conference:
"The government naturally should trust the US statement." But he
went on to say: "It is not enough to totally believe what the US
says. We will try to reconfirm the facts as much as possible by
comparing the US-provided information with our records."
The statement read that the US confirmed the MSDF-provide fuel was
not used for other purposes than in the war on terrorism in
Afghanistan, but the statement added that it is difficult to
completely clarify for what purposes the fuel was used.
(2) The US has clearly denied diversion allegation in its statement
on MSDF-supplied fuel, says foreign minister
13:33, Oct. 19, 2007
Referring to the US government statement that the fuel the Maritime
Self-Defense Force (MSDF) supplied to a US vessel in the Indian
Ocean was not used for purposes other than the antiterror operations
in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura during a press
conference held today after a cabinet meeting indicated his view
that the diversion allegation has been denied. He noted, "The US
categorically said that there was no fuel diversion. I think this
statement will suffice."
The US government statement denied fuel diversion, but at the same
time it noted that it is impossible to correctly determine how the
fuel was used. Regarding this part of the statement, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura underscored that the government will
continue its effort to determine how the fuel was used, if there are
diversion allegations, pointing out, "Since the use of the entire
amount supplied has yet to be determined, the Defense Ministry will
continue the work of determining whatever needs to be determined."
(3) US DOD statement has increased suspicion of oil diversion, says
DPJ Secretary General Hatoyama
13:02, October 19, 2007
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary-General Yukio Hatoyama
this morning criticized the US Department of Defense's statement
acknowledging the difficulty in tracking the use of fuel provided to
US naval vessels by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Indian
Ocean, saying: "The answer was that they do not know very well
(about how Japanese fuel was used). Suspicions have grown stronger
that (Japanese oil) was diverted for use in the Iraq war." He was
speaking to the press corps in Tokyo.
He also said: "There is no mistake that the USS Kitty Hawk headed
for the Iraq war after indirectly receiving oil from the MSDF supply
ship Tokiwa. Even they could not totally deny (the oil diversion)."
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(4) War on terrorism -- Japan's choice (Part 1): Government finds
some room for accepting Ozawa's ISAF participation proposal
MAINICHI (Top play) (Abridged slightly)
October 19, 2007/10/19
Will Japan's role be limited to refueling foreign vessels, or will
ground troops be dispatched as well?
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa's proposal
for joining the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Afghanistan has brought some changes to the ongoing debate on the
war on terrorism.
The government and ruling parties tried to win the general public
over to their side by focusing only on the propriety of continuing
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operation in the Indian
Ocean, contending that it is safe and cheap and has won
international praise. Then came Ozawa's unexpected proposal that
Japan should be able to make full-fledged contributions.
Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba at a House of Representatives Budget
Committee session on Oct. 9 lashed out at Ozawa, saying, "Under the
Constitution, Japan is not allowed to take part in the ISAF, which
involves armed force." The government, however, has not dismissed
the idea of joining the ISAF altogether.
In January of this year, then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a
speech at NATO headquarters in which he indicated that Japan would
cooperate with NATO's Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT)'s
humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. Although the PRT's objective
is to provide civilian assistance by civilians, it is teamed up with
the ISAF because it needs armed forces for ensuring security.
This standpoint has not changed under the administration of Prime
Minister Fukuda. In fact, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told the
press in Tokyo on Oct. 14, "ISAF participation is not
On the night of Oct. 17, a senior government official compromisingly
said: "If the DPJ were to tell us to include ISAF participation in
new antiterrorism legislation, we will do so at anytime. The ISAF is
not limited to activities by ground troops."
Making compromises is not an option for Ozawa, who aims to wrest
power from the ruling coalition. Conversely, Ozawa's proposal has
exposed the weak points of the government and the ruling parties'
constitutional policy and international contribution strategy.
Ozawa's proposal has caused a stir in the DPJ as well. The stock
argument of DPJ shadow vice defense minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, the
diplomat turned lawmaker on Ozawa's advice, is Japan's support
should be limited to civilian assistance. Ozawa told Yamaguchi on
Oct. 4, "Your argument is based on policy, mine is on the
Constitution." Ozawa's message: There is no need to take his
assertion as a counterproposal to real politics. Ozawa seems to
think this way: The constitutional argument is just a means of
applying pressure on the government in order to take power, and it
should be translated into policy only after taking the reins of
It has been six years since the United States and Britain started
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the war on terrorism in Afghanistan following 9/11. The ruling and
opposition parties are continuing to use the Constitution in their
tug-of-war to serve their interests. What Japan must do is again
being questioned.
The ruling coalition new antiterrorism legislation project team met
at the Diet building on Oct. 4. Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kyoji Yanagisawa slowly presented a paper specifying the
outline of a new antiterrorism bill to the team's chair and former
LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki. Under the purposes, the paper said
to protect the sea lanes from terrorism. It was reportedly devised
by senior government officials. A discontent Yamasaki said: "This
would become a big problem, constituting an exercise of Japan's
right to self-defense." That part was dropped from the paper in an
LDP joint meeting the following day.
The Antiterrorism Special Measures Law enacted in 2001 allows
wide-ranging activities, including refueling naval vessels attacking
Pakistan. The new legislation is designed to allow the MSDF to
refuel only the vessels taking part in the maritime interdiction
operations. At the same time, the government has begun emphasizing
that defending the waters where oil tankers cruise through serves
Japan's national interests.
Preoccupied with the DPJ's reaction and popular will, the government
and ruling parties now seems to have put on the backburner the
debate's main theme of the justification for participating in the
war on terrorism. The argument that supplying oil is cheap and safe
is also out of line with the Gulf War's lesson that money does not
settle everything.
They even incorporated whimsical points in the draft bill
irrespective of the constitutional debate. Possibly affected by the
former Abe administration that tried to revise the constitutional
interpretation, the government's interpretation is becoming hollow.
The situation in the DPJ is no better. The party held a meeting of
its foreign and defense departments to discuss a counterproposal
yesterday in which the following views came up:
"We should draw up a counterproposal with a sense of urgency of what
to do tomorrow after taking the reins of government."
"We must not present ourselves as lacking unity before taking
"Let's come up with the party's policy by setting aside President
Ozawa's view."
Some 20 members who attended the meeting all stated their opinions,
with most of them having a change of government in mind. Views on
the main topic of SDF dispatch split, and serious debate did not
take place on the Constitution.
Shortly after assuming office, Prime Minister Fukuda presented a
handwritten memo to the policy speech-writing government officials.
"Foreign policy to produce peace" was the memo's main point. It
reflected Fukuda's special sentiment.
During his tenure as chief cabinet secretary in May 2002, Fukuda
personally added "to study necessary steps for making the challenge
of bringing about perpetual peace and nation building the central
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piece of international cooperation" to the then Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi's policy speech manuscript. Eight months after
9/11, the MSDF was providing fuel to foreign vessels in the Indian
Ocean. But Japan was not able to send SDF troops to Afghanistan to
provide humanitarian assistance. Fukuda wanted to do something about
such a situation.
The month after Koizumi delivered his policy speech, Fukuda
established an advisory panel to discuss international peace
cooperation reporting to the chief cabinet secretary. The panel
produced a report in December that year specifying the need to
establish a permanent law enabling the government to dispatch the
SDF to provide logistical support to multinational forces.
Constitutional revision is not simple and a permanent legislation is
necessary before that in order to play an international role, is
Fukuda's stock argument.
It has been five years since then, and Fukuda is now prime minister.
Defense Minister Ishiba is also a proponent of permanent
legislation. But given the opposition-controlled Upper House, the
LDP's coalition partner of the New Komeito is cautious about
enacting a permanent law. Fukuda's policy speech stopped short of
mentioning specific ways to produce peace. Under the situation,
Fukuda will have to seal off his permanent-law argument for the time
This month, Yamasaki has received many questions from persons
connected with the US government, such as, "What is going to happen
in the future?" or "For how many days will the Japanese vessels be
away from the Indian Ocean?" US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer
also expressed hope for bringing a successful conclusion to the
question of new legislation. Japan, however, seems to be rocking
today regarding such fundamental questions as why the war on
terrorism and what and to what extent the country has to do.
(5) Japan's Burma diplomacy drifting between assistance and
ASAHI (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
October 19, 2007
Japan's policy toward Burma is drifting, following the death of
Japanese photographer Kenji Nagai (50) in a shooting incident in
Burma. Will the government continue its own stance of urging the
nation to work on democratization, by maintaining its channel with
the military junta through official development assistance (ODA)? Or
will it shift to the policy of trying to pressure the regime with
sanctions, similar to those adopted by the US and European
countries? Asahi Shimbun will look into possible options available
to Japan in its efforts to democratize Burma, with sanctions other
countries are imposing into account.
The Kokang Special Region in Shan State, Burma was once a global
center for opium poppy growing. Visits by foreigners are strictly
restricted in that remote region. Members of the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), an independent administrative agency, are
teaching the farmers to grow rice, corn and cultivate tea bushes as
substitute crops for poppies.
Since the growing of opium poppies came to an end, when locals
reached an agreement with the central government, their poverty has
worsened due to a substantial drop in cash income. Many died of
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malaria. Some even starved to death. The Japanese government decided
to provide comprehensive assistance to such areas as medical
services and education to improve the poor situation and launched in
April 2005 a technical cooperation program that included the
dispatch of experts. The plan is to disburse 900 million yen over
five years.
Japan's ODA to Burma started as a substitute for war compensation.
Japan was one of Burma's major creditors for a long period of time.
In July 1988, a military junta replaced the Ne Win regime, when it
was toppled by a democracy movement. Though Japan temporarily
suspended new aid, it resumed part of the assistance program in
1989. Currently it extends only grant aid and technical cooperation.
Since movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained under house
arrest, no new outlays have been provided,.
The government decided that only aid that meets the following three
requirements will be provided, after a careful check: (1) highly
urgent humanitarian-related projects; (2) projects to nurture human
resources that will contribute to democratization; and (3) projects
targeting the region as a whole, including the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
However, following the murder of Nagai, the Foreign Ministry (MOFA)
has decided to cancel grant aid worth 552 million yen for a project
to construct a human resources development center. MOFA is now
reading further reductions in the number of projects. However, it is
difficult to lay down clear-cut guidelines. Cuts in grant aid will
unlikely serve as an effective measure against the military junta.
Although the EU and the US denounce the military junta, they have
continued to provide humanitarian aid to NGOs. One senior MOFA
official said, "Revising our aid policy is a political message to
the military junta and the international community. We do not intend
to settle the problem by slashing aid to that nation."
Channel disappears due to downfall of premier
There were times when using aid to create communication channels to
the junta worked. In particular, during 2001 - 2002, Japan developed
an independent diplomacy to urge that country to democratize. It did
so by cultivating ties with Khin Nyunt, the First Secretary of the
State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) who was then number three
person in the military regime. He later became premier.
However, Khin Nyunt fell from power in 2004, when he was suddenly
dismissed as premier. With the launch of the dictatorship of SPDC
chairman Than Shwe, Japan lost its personal contacts in the military
Another factor has been a major change in recent years in the
international situation surrounding Burma. China, whose economy is
moving forward, is though to be extending enormous economic aid to
Burma. The advance of Chinese companies into Burma has been
The same MOFA official stressed, "Japan can play a role, taking the
patch in between the US and the EU, which are denouncing the
military junta, and China, which is strengthening ties by extending
enormous aid."
The Japanese government is aiming at establishing a direct dialogue
TOKYO 00004902 007 OF 013
between Chairman Than Shwe and Suu Kyi, after the environment has
been created by the international community united criticism of the
military junta. The junta supposedly most fears economic sanctions
by China. The government plans to press China to open the way for
the military junta to come forward for dialogue.
Talking about Japan's choices, former Ambassador to Burma Shigeru
Tsumori noted: "Japan should continue to convey to Burma the spirit
of democracy it has nurtured in the postwar decades, and it should
not be carried away by the power politics of China and India, and it
should not consider abandoning Burma."
(6) DPJ has yet to prepare definite strategy for early start of
deliberations on its own bills
ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
October 19, 2007
A full-scale battle has been launched at the start of deliberations
on the bills the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has submitted to
the House of Councillors to implement its pledges in the latest
House of Councillors election campaign. The DPJ wishes to start
deliberations at each committee early next week, but the ruling
coalition is opposed to the DPJ plan, citing the conventional rule
of unanimity in the Upper House. This indisputably reflects the
current state of the reversal of strengths between both camps. The
DPJ, while toning down its high-handed measures for now, is likely
to keep seeking to open act two of its running battle with the LDP.
Priority to pension
The DPJ submitted to the Upper House a bill designed to provide
subsidies to individual farmers and a bill aimed to scrap the Iraq
Reconstruction Special Measures Law yesterday. Party executive
members, including President Ozawa and the chairmen of both
chambers' Diet affairs committees, met yesterday and agreed to urge
the government to start deliberations on the 11 bills submitted or
to be submitted by the DPJ to the Upper House during the current
Diet session.
In the DPJ's view, it is conceivable that the government and the
ruling coalition will give up on the passage of its antiterrorism
bill designed to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF)
refueling service and close the current Diet session on Nov. 10 as
scheduled. That's why the main opposition party wishes to have its
own antiterrorism bill adopted in the Upper House and start
deliberations on the bill as soon as possible, in the hope of
playing up the outcome of the state of the reversal of strengths
between the ruling and opposition camps. The DPJ has given top
priority to the passage of a bill banning pension premiums from
being misappropriated. The party aims to have the bill pass the
Upper House in early November, in a bid to underscore its presence
over the pension issue and spotlight the pension record issue again
in the process of deliberations.
The ruling camp, however, cannot easily allow the opposition camp to
demonstrate its influence. To that end, the ruling coalition has
already launched a strategy to delay deliberations on DPJ-presented
bills, based on the maneuverings taken at the House Steering
Further, the DPJ yesterday called for cabinet ministers' policy
TOKYO 00004902 008 OF 013
speeches at all committees in the Upper House, but the ruling camp
insisted that ministers should make policy speeches in the Lower
House first. In the end, cabinet ministers delivered speeches only
at four committees, excluding those on health, labor and welfare
tasked with discussing pension issues and foreign and defense
committees dealing with the bill abolishing the Iraq law.
Wall of "conventional rule"
There is also a wall that exists in the form of a conventional rule
of unanimity in managing the Diet. In the DPJ dissatisfaction is
growing at the ruling camp's approach, with Upper House Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman Susumu Yanase complaining: "It is unreasonable
for the ruling parties, after having stalled the Diet session, to
refer to a custom." Upper House Chairman Azuma Koshiishi said in a
press conference yesterday: "The former Abe administration tried to
clear up everything by forcibly taking a vote, but it is now
impossible to reach a settlement by using their high-handed
In meetings of the Upper House Budget Committee meeting held until
the 17th, the DPJ had called for summoning of witnesses, but the
conventional rule of unanimity dismissed that possibility. The DPJ
has yet to given up using forceful means, as Koshiishi said: "If
necessary, we will ask the government to invoke our administrative
investigation right or issue summons as a witness." But the
opposition party has made a cautious response, as a senior Upper
House member said: "If the DPJ breaks the conventional rule in the
Upper House, it might receive a blow from the ruling camp in the
Lower House."
Looking askance at the showdown, the New Komeito and the Japanese
Communist Party have begun to move to mediate between the DPJ and
the ruling camp over bills to help the socially disadvantaged, such
as a bill amending the Victims' Livelihood Reconstruction Assistance
Law. A senior DPJ member of the Upper House grumbled: "We have drawn
up bills with no help from bureaucrats, unlike the ruling camp. We
are still feeling things out."
(7) MSDF officer's sloppy handling of secrets
SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
October 19, 2007
A Maritime Self-Defense Force lieutenant has violated the MSDF's
internal regulations and saved defense data containing classified
information on a computer accessible to anyone in his unit, sources
revealed yesterday. In this incident, those involved were punished,
according to the sources. The lieutenant is assigned to Fleet Air
Wing 1, which is under the MSDF Fleet Air Force and based in the
city of Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture. The MSDF has not unveiled the
facts about the incident on the grounds that their punishment was
not up to standard. The MSDF has so far been involved in a number of
information leakage incidents, including Aegis and other critical
data that could undermine Japan's national defense. This time
around, the MSDF's slipshod management of information became clear
According to the MSDF, the problem was brought to light in a
biennial training review of fleet air units in July this year. A
"briefing sheet" for antisubmarine maneuvers was saved on an MSDF
computer used by the lieutenant with a shortcut on the screen.
TOKYO 00004902 009 OF 013
The computer interfaced with other computers under a local area
network (LAN), so the saved file was left freely accessible to
anyone in the lieutenant's unit.
The briefing sheet is a file that details antisubmarine drills. It
specifies the names of MSDF vessels participating in the drills as
well as radio frequencies used for the drills. Such data is
classified under the category of "confidential" or "hi." According
to investigations so far, the MSDF has not confirmed any external
leak of the data.
(8) US Air Force to conduct paradrop training today at Kadena base
RYUKYU TIMES (Page 1) (Abridged)
October 19, 2007
The US Air Force will conduct parachute drop training today from
around 3:30 p.m. at Kadena Air Base with about 10 parajumpers from
the 31st Rescue Squadron of the 18th Wing based at Kadena, using
C-130 fixed-wing aircraft. The USAF explained the training as
"exceptional." Akira Uehara, chief of the governor's office of
Okinawa Prefecture called the 18th Wing commander and the US consul
general in Okinawa yesterday afternoon to propose suspending the
paradrop training. "It's really regrettable to carry out such
training, following the one in January," Uehara told them. "It also
runs counter to the Japan-US Special Action Committee's (SACO) basic
policy of mitigating the local burden," Uehara added.
The Okinawa prefectural government sent its deputy director for
military base affairs and disaster prevention, Yoshihiro Hosaka, to
the Foreign Ministry's Okinawa Office and the Defense Ministry's
Okinawa Defense Bureau and requested that the training be suspended.
A local council of three municipalities on the Kadena airbase also
faxed its request of suspension to the Kadena base and the local
defense bureau.
The USAF announced the parachute training plan yesterday afternoon.
"We will basically conduct the drill on the island of Iejima, but
there is an exceptional need to conduct the drill at Kadena due to
bad weather conditions and for operational reasons," a base
spokesman said. The spokesman also said, "We will try to avoid its
impact as far as we can in trying not to trouble local residents."
With this, the USAF sought understanding. The spokesman added, "Our
rescue members have saved the lives of US military personnel and
local people."
They're doing whatever they like: Gov. Nakaima
Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has voiced his discontent with the US
Air Force for its announcement of a plan to carry out paradrop
training at Kadena Air Base today. "It's outrageous," Nakaima told
the Ryukyu Shimpo in an interview yesterday afternoon. He added: "I
feel strongly they're doing whatever they like these days. I have
filed a protest and made a strong request through my office. In
Tokyo, it would be like doing such training at Hibiya Park. I feel
strongly they've now lost their senses. Why is the US military doing
whatever it likes?"
(9) Hiroshima police probing US servicemen over gang rape
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October 19, 2007
Four US Marines from the US Marine Corps' Iwakuni base in the city
of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, are strongly suspected of having
assaulted a 19-year-old girl from Hiroshima City in the city's Naka
Ward in mid-October. Police authorities from the Hiroshima
Prefectural Police Headquarters 1st Investigation Division and the
Hiroshima Central Police Station have started to investigate the
four on suspicion of gang-raping the girl, sources revealed today.
According to investigation, the four are suspected of having
assaulted the girl in a passenger car parked in a parking lot in
Hiroshima City's Naka Ward. They are believed to have taken out the
girl they got to know at a restaurant in the city's Naka Ward.
After the incident, the girl left the scene and reported it to a
police officer on patrol nearby. The incident was brought to light
later. She filed a complaint with police, and the Hiroshima police
started to investigate the incident. She remembered the car's
license plate number, so the four have now been identified,
according to the police.
The Hiroshima police will request the US military to turn over the
four, based on the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement.
Iwakuni-based US Marines gather in a downtown area of the city's
Naka Ward and sometimes create a ruckus all night long. There have
been complaints from neighboring residents.
(10) 4 Iwakuni-based US Marines rape underage girl
October 19, 2007 (12:33 p.m.)
Hiroshima prefectural police have started to investigate four US
Marines from the US Marine Corps' Iwakuni base in the city of
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, suspecting that they gang-raped an
underage female they got to know at a restaurant in the city of
Hiroshima, sources said today.
The local police will request the US military to turn over the four
under the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement as soon as their
allegations become definite.
According to investigations, the four are suspected to have
assaulted the woman in a car parked on a parking lot in Hiroshima
City's Naka Ward early on Oct. 14. The four and the female had just
met on Oct. 13 at the restaurant. The young woman has filed a
complaint. In response, the local police have been conducting an
(11) It's unforgivable: Machimura
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., October 19, 2007
In connection with a recent gang rape incident involving US
servicemen, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, meeting the press
this morning, said Hiroshima prefectural police have been
investigating the incident in cooperation with authorities from US
Forces Japan. "If it's true, it's unforgivable," Machimura said.
Defense Minister Ishiba also told a news conference, "The United
TOKYO 00004902 011 OF 013
States has been saying it wants to be a good neighbor not only in
Okinawa but also in other places (where its troops are stationed)."
Ishiba added, "If it's true, it's extremely regrettable."
(12) Government aims at eliminating overwork in 10 years' time:
Number of workers who work 60 hours a week to be halved; Ratio of
men who take child-care leave to be raised to 10 PERCENT
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
October 19, 2007
The government is now looking into the possibility of adopting
work-life balance charter, aimed at eliminating the problem of being
overworked and contributing to reversing the declining birthrate. A
draft outline of action guidelines was revealed on Oct. 17. The
paper underscores that in order to maintain the vitality of society,
it is essential to take a second look at the way people have to
work. The action guidelines for realizing the charter set goals with
specific figures, such as reducing the ratio of workers who work
more than 60 hours a week by 20 PERCENT from the ratio marked in
2006 -- 10.8 PERCENT -- in five years' time and then halving that
ratio in 10 years' time.
The outline will be presented to a meeting on the 18 of the
"Government-Private Sector op Leaders Council to Promote
Work-Balance Balance," a working group consisting of representatives
of labor and management, related cabinet ministers and experts, and
formally adopted possibly in late November. The government will
consider measures necessary to attain set goals. It will also seek
cooperation from economic organizations and labor unions.
The aim of setting numerical targets is to alleviate concentration
of the workload on men in their thirties and forties, thereby
promoting participation in society by women and the elderly. A
target for an employment rate will also be set. Such a rate for
women in the 20-44 age bracket will be raised from the current 65
PERCENT to 69 PERCENT -72 PERCENT in 10 years' time, that of men
in the 60-64 age bracket from the current 67 PERCENT to 79 PERCENT
-80 PERCENT , and the rate of women in the same age bracket from the
current 39 PERCENT to 41 PERCENT -43 PERCENT .
The ratio of women who continue to work before and after the birth
of a first child will be increased from the current 38 PERCENT to
45 PERCENT in five years' time and to 55 PERCENT in 10 years'
time. The ratio of male workers who take child-care leave will be
boosted from the present 0.5 PERCENT to 5 PERCENT in five years'
time and to 10 PERCENT in 10 years' time. The length of time male
workers with a child younger than six years old spend on child care
and domestic affairs will be increased from an hour a day, marked in
2006 to 1.45 hours a day in five years' time and 2.5 hours in 10
years' time.
Other goals include raising the ratio of workers who take annual
leave with pay from the current 47 PERCENT to 60 PERCENT in five
years' time and doubling the ratio of telecommuters, who work at
home, from the current 10 PERCENT .
Former Vice Defense Minister Moriya played golf with arms supplier
in violation of SDF regulations
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War on terrorism (Part 1): Government finds room for endorsing
Ozawa's proposal for ISAF participation
RCC's losses from housing loan woes amount to 275 billion yen
Kirin in talks to acquire drug maker Kyowa Hakko
Tokyo district prosecutors interview former Yamada Corp executive,
who is close to former Vice Defense Minister Moriya, on suspicion of
breach of trust
Tokyo Shimbun:
US issues statement admitting difficulty in tracking use of MSDF
Chairman Shii calls for talks between ruling and opposition camps on
revision of disaster victims' assistance law
(1) Consumption tax hike must be discussed squarely
(2) Revision of disaster victims' assistance law: Government must
fund rebuilding housing
(1) Solid policy necessary for tax hike discussion
(2) Continue refueling operation to send clear message to
international community
(1) Time to crack down on spam e-mail
(2) Revision of Swords and Firearms Control Law: Gangsters must be
(1) Growth, spending cuts essential for restoring fiscal health
(2) Nintendo develops new market
(1) WWII chemical disposal project needs fresh start
(2) Solid discussion follows fiscal projection
Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Escalator accident at blind spot
(2) G-7 financial minister and central bank governor meeting: Credit
insecurity must be calmed down
(1) Antiterrorism Law: Is Japan going to continue supporting war of
(15) Prime Minister's schedule, October 18
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
TOKYO 00004902 013 OF 013
October 19, 2007
Attended a meeting of seven cabinet ministers to discuss Diet
measures to contain global warming at the Kantei. Later, met Vice
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Erikawa.
Met Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Wakabayashi and
Met Japan Bank for International Cooperation's incoming and outgoing
governor Koji Tanami and Kyosuke Shinozawa. Followed by incoming and
outgoing governor Minoru Murobushi and Takeshi Komura and new Vice
President Hideto Fujii of the Development Bank of Japan.
Met Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura.
Posed for photos for an information bulletin at party headquarters,
with Information Unit Head Kawamura and others present.
Reporter: With posters prepared, has everything been arranged for
the next Lower House election?
Prime minister: I wonder for what purpose the posters will be used.
Met at the Kantei with Vice Finance Minister Tsuda and Financial
Bureau Director General Katsu.
Met Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani. Followed by Resources and
Energy Agency Director General Mochizuki and METI Industry,
Technology and Environment Bureau Director General Ishida. Joined by
METI Minister Amari.
Met Public Security Intelligence Agency Director General Yanagi.
Later, made a phone call to British Prime Minister Brown.
Attended a meeting of the Councillors' Conference on Ocean Policy.
Later, met Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
Director General Sasae.
Met Foreign Ministry's Foreign Policy Bureau Director General Kawai
and Defense Ministry's Operations and Planning Bureau Director
General Takamizawa.
Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.
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