Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/19/07

Published: Mon 19 Nov 2007 10:56 PM
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November 19, 2007
(1) Editorial: Avoidance of joint press conference a sign of the
autumn of Japan-US relations (Nikkei)
(2) Fukuda tells President Bush: "The government will make utmost
efforts for swift passage of new antiterrorism bill (Asahi)
(3) New antiterror bill: Question mark put to DPJ's counterproposal
(4) Assistant Secretary of State Hill positive toward taking North
Korea off US list of state sponsors of terrorism; Abductees'
families ask US not to delist (Tokyo Shimbun)
(5) Questions voiced about effectiveness of new system for
immigration checks, including fingerprints, photos (Asahi)
(6) Asia and Japan-US alliance (Part 3): Fukuda diplomacy gets
underway; synergy policy to be sent out; Koizumi-Abe policy to be
repaired (Mainichi)
(7) Nuclear threat: Will nuclear proliferation be prevented? What
would happen if US launches preemptive attack against North Korea
(8) DPJ rejects LDP-planned schedule for Upper House deliberations
on bills (Yomiuri)
(9) "Suspicious party" directly hits the administration; Senior
government official says, "Why real names now?" (Asahi)
(10) Defense Ministry goofs again, panicked with misinfo: "Missile
fired at Japan" (Sankei)
(11) Is N-flattop really safe? (Asahi)
(12) Gas fields in East China Sea: Government sounds out China over
development on Japanese side of median line as well: "If Japan
test-drills, China will dispatch warships," says Chinese side
(1) Editorial: Avoidance of joint press conference a sign of the
autumn of Japan-US relations
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 18, 2007
TOKYO 00005290 002 OF 018
The first summit meeting between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and US
President George W. Bush seems to have been held to prevent winter
from falling on the Japan-US relationship. The Fukuda-Bush summit
made us think that the summer that was the Koizumi-Bush era has
passed, making way for bilateral relations to enter an autumn
It was symbolic that the two leaders did not hold a joint press
conference, although they showed up before the TV cameras.
It is normal for pending issues to exist not just in Japan-US
relations but in all international relations. Some issues are big;
others, small. After checking into those issues, Foreign Ministry
officials preparing for the summit decided to play up those areas on
which the two countries have reached agreement.
The two top leaders or Foreign Ministry officials seem to have
wanted to avoid minor differences coming up in a press conference
because the two countries had areas where substantial agreement
exist. They might have been concerned that if Fukuda and Bush
answered questions at a press conference, gaps would emerge.
That indicates to us that there are serious issues in security
relations, which are regarded as foundation of bilateral ties and
always viewed as being good. Prime Minister Fukuda could not clearly
spell out the prospect of refueling operations being resumed in the
Indian Ocean. President Bush could not clearly state that the US
would not de-list North Korea as a state sponsoring terrorism.
It is common for the US president, along with the top leader of
another country, to answer questions at a joint press conference. It
was quite unusual for the leaders of Japan and the US not to hold
such a press conference. It has been the practice for the US
president to hold a joint press conference with the Japanese prime
minister since the first one took place in July 1991 in
Kennebunkport between Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and President
George H. Bush.
In the summit in March 1990 in Palm Springs, Bush and Kaifu held no
a joint press conference. The reason reportedly was Kaifu had only
25 hours to spend in the US. However the two were criticized for not
having a press conference, because Kaifu swam in the pool after the
summit, and differences in the respective briefings by US and
Japanese officials emerged.
Early in the 1990s, the US administration was unhappy with Japan's
contribution to the Gulf war. There was also friction over the
Structural Impediments Initiative. Friction has remained endemic to
the bilateral relationship.
Fukuda spent only 26 hours in Washington. He made the right decision
to meet President Bush prior to his attendance at the East Asia
summit. The fact that Bush and Fukuda did not hold a press
conference means the relationship has returned to the state it was
17 years ago.
The prime minister and the president probably wanted to conceal the
existence of differences in stances. When the US held summit
meetings with France and Germany, the leaders revealed in their
joint press conferences their affirmation to repair relations
strained by the Iraq war. Is the US now downgrading its relations
TOKYO 00005290 003 OF 018
with Japan?
(2) Fukuda tells President Bush: "The government will make utmost
efforts for swift passage of new antiterrorism bill
ASAHI (Top Play (Excerpts)
Evening, November 17, 2007
Shinji Inada, Washington
In their first meeting at the White House on the morning of Nov. 16,
local time, Prime Minister Fukuda and United States President Bush
confirmed the need for strengthening the Japan-US alliance. The
prime minister promised to Bush that his government would make
utmost efforts to pass the new antiterrorism bill designed to resume
at an early date the Maritime Self-Defense's (MSDF) refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean. The president expressed his
expectations for the swift resumption of the MSDF operation. On
issues with North Korea, the prime minister said: "It is important
for Japan and the US to take joint steps in dealing with the North,
including the issue of delisting North Korea as a state sponsor of
terrorism." The president said in reference to the issue of North
Korea's past abductions of Japanese: "We will never let the issue be
The Japan-US summit lasted for about one hour, with Secretary of
State Rice and other government officials present. According to US
government sources, Fukuda and Bush held a brief tete-a-tete meeting
after the summit. Later, they held a joint press conference and then
attended a luncheon, also joined by Defense Secretary Gates.
On the MSDF's refueling mission, Fukuda stressed great zeal to
resume the operation, using this expression: "Early enactment of the
bill." The fact remains, however, that it will be difficult to enact
the bill unless the current Diet session, due to end on Dec. 15, is
extended. In the House of Councillors, of which the opposition camp
has control, discussion has yet to be started, though the bill
cleared the House of Representatives. Bush in the press conference
hailed the operations Japan has so far carried out as "very
important contributions."
Fukuda and Bush also agreed on the need for close cooperation
between the two countries to urge the North to scrap all its nuclear
weapons and facilities. Regarding North Korea's status as a
terrorism-sponsoring country, the Japanese government stopped short
of disclosing what the two leaders discussed, "based on an agreement
with the US," as said by a government source.
According to US government sources, however, Bush listed as
conditions for his judgment on the delisting issue: (1) North
Korea's disabling of its nuclear facilities; (2) the North's
declaration of its nuclear development plans; and (3) the abduction
issue. This indicates that although the president is giving
consideration to the abduction issue, he does not regard a
settlement of the issue as a condition for taking North Korea off
the US blacklist. There reportedly was no request from the prime
minister in a direct way for the US to refrain from delisting the
North before the abduction issue is resolved.
Bush told Fukuda: "I am aware that there is concern in Japan that
the US might reach an agreement with North Korea, leaving the
abduction issue behind." In the press conference, the president also
TOKYO 00005290 004 OF 018
remarked: "We will never forget the abduction victims and their
families." In this respect, the US government sources explained that
there is no change in the government's policy regarding the
delisting issue and that the president's remark indicates an
intention to continue to urge Pyongyang to settle the abduction
On Japan's host-nation budget (the so-called sympathy budget), which
the Japanese government is considering cutting despite the US'
opposition to it, Defense Secretary Gates emphasized: "It (host
nation support for the US Forces, Japan) is the most important
policy item in Japan-US relations. The issue must be settled without
fail." Fukuda replied: "I hope the issue will be resolved at an
early date through thorough talks between the cabinet ministers
concerned of the two countries." With respect to the issue of US
force realignment, including the transfer of the US Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station, they confirmed that the two countries will
steadily push ahead with the plan in accordance with the agreed
(3) New antiterror bill: Question mark put to DPJ's counterproposal
SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged)
November 17, 2007
The government has introduced a new antiterror bill to the Diet in
order for Japan to resume its refueling activities in the Indian
Ocean. Meanwhile, the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) is working out a counterproposal bill to prevent and root
out international terrorism and assist with Afghanistan's
reconstruction. In its outline, the DPJ's counterproposal expressly
stipulates that Japan will send the Self-Defense Forces to
Afghanistan. The DPJ also touches on the pending issue of what to do
about the government-set standards for SDF personnel's use of
weapons overseas. In this regard, the DPJ's bill contains something
that can be seen as a step forward from the government's restrictive
weapons use standards. However, the DPJ sets difficult preconditions
for Japan to dispatch SDF troops. One defense source therefore
wonders if the DPJ is really thinking of sending SDF members. The
DPJ remains cautious about presenting its bill to the Diet because
of its parliamentary strategy, or for some other reason. The party
does not seem willing to challenge the government and ruling parties
to debate with its own bill.
"Not on the sea but on the land" and "civilian assistance" are the
catchphrases that adorn the DPJ's counterproposal. The government's
new antiterror bill is aimed at resuming the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean at an early date.
However, the DPJ emphasizes civilian assistance in Afghanistan. The
DPJ-proposed measures include conducting humanitarian and
reconstruction assistance, as well as sending the Ground
Self-Defense Force for infrastructure construction.
The DPJ proposes improving Japan's weapons use standards, or the
rules of engagement (ROE). The current standards, which were applied
to GSDF troops sent to Iraq, restrict SDF personnel's use of weapons
to their self-defense or their defense of those under their
The DPJ, in its counterproposal, allows SDF personnel to use weapons
"if and when they unavoidably have to do so in order to deter
resistance to Afghan reconstruction and assistance." This is
TOKYO 00005290 005 OF 018
believed to be in line with the United Nations' weapons use
standards that allow UN forces to use weapons in order for them to
eliminate those standing in their way when they are on duty.
Meanwhile, one of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's
defense-related lawmakers has a question about the DPJ-set
preconditions for sending SDF troops. This lawmaker said, "Their
bill might actually contain something against sending the SDF."
The DPJ's counterproposal says Japan may conduct its activities in
1) an area that has reached a ceasefire agreement and 2) an area
where Afghan civilians will not be affected. The second point can be
taken as denoting a 'safe area.' However, one defense-related LDP
lawmaker raised a question: "Its definition is vague. If we
interpret it in a broad sense, we can't send the SDF. If it's
something like what the government calls a noncombat area in Iraq,
that's contradictory to the DPJ's criticism of the government."
Furthermore, an executive member of the DPJ's foreign and defense
policy committee explained that the SDF's dispatch is premised on a
ceasefire accord. "I don't know if our party wants to send the SDF
or if our party does not want to do so," said one of the DPJ's
middle-ranking lawmakers.
Another feature of the DPJ's counterproposal is that the DPJ has
shelved Japan's participation in the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) and in logistical activities for ISAF. In
October, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa wrote an article for a monthly
magazine. In his article, Ozawa clarified his view suggesting the
need for Japan to participate in ISAF after the DPJ takes office.
However, there were objections from within his party.
Also, even after improving the weapons-use standards, the DPJ's
counterproposal does not allow the SDF to engage in the security of
civilians working in Afghanistan. Accordingly, Japan will need to
ask a foreign private-sector security company or a foreign country's
armed forces to guard civilians.
Furthermore, the DPJ is not even expected to translate its
counterproposal into a bill and present it to the Diet.
Main points from DPJ counterproposal
? Japan will restrict its activities to civilian activities
including its participation in a provincial reconstruction team
? Japan will send SDF personnel and civilians, including doctors and
police officers, for agricultural and medical support, disarmament,
and reforms in the area of public security.
? Japan will not send SDF combat troops and will limit its
assistance activities to humanitarian and reconstruction activities
or infrastructure construction.
? Japan will not participate in ISAF's antiterror mop-up operations
and its logistical support.
? Japan will restrict its activities to an area where a ceasefire
agreement has been reached or otherwise to an area where Afghan
civilians will not be affected (safe area).
? SDF personnel will be allowed to use weapons if and when they
unavoidably have to do so in order to deter resistance to their
? Japan will establish a basic principle (basic law or permanent
law) in order to send SDF troops overseas in conformity with UN
TOKYO 00005290 006 OF 018
? If there is a UN resolution, Japan will then consider
participating in maritime interdiction operations, including
refueling activities in the Indian Ocean.
? The legislation is to be enacted into a special measures law valid
for a period of one year.
(4) Assistant Secretary of State Hill positive toward taking North
Korea off US list of state sponsors of terrorism; Abductees'
families ask US not to delist
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, November 19, 2007
Assistant Secretary of State Hill, the US top envoy to the six-part
talks to discuss North Korea's nuclear issue, on Nov. 15 met with
Chairman Takeo Hiranuma of the parliamentary group on the abduction
issue, Deputy Chairman Shigeo Iizuka of the Association of the
Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea and several others.
According to Hiranuma, Hill indicated a positive stance toward
removing North Korea from the US list of state sponsors of
terrorism, noting, "It is one means of eliciting concessions from
that nation."
Holding a press conference after the meeting with Hill, Hiranuma
said that Japanese participants during the meeting said, "North
Korea is still continuing an act of terrorism, namely the
abductions. The allegation of nuclear cooperation between Syria and
North Korea has yet to be cleared up." They strongly asked Hill not
to delist North Korea, noting, "If North Korea is delisted, it would
be a major setback for the Japan-US alliance."
In response, Hill reportedly said, "I am not in a position of making
the decision. President Bush has the authority to decide." Acting
executive director of the parliamentary group on the abduction issue
Hitoshi Matsubara indignantly said, "Mr. Hill avoided discussions on
the issue, by stopping short of directly making a comment. It is
very lamentable and regrettable."
Iizuka expressed his sense of alarm about a possible response to the
issue by the US, noting, "We left Japan, saying that we would
prevent the US from delisting North Korea, but our concern is still
continuing." He pinned hopes on Prime Minister Fukuda directly
calling on President Bush not to take North Korea off the US
(5) Questions voiced about effectiveness of new system for
immigration checks, including fingerprints, photos
ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 19, 2007
A new system to require foreign visitors to be fingerprinted and
photographed when they enter the country will be introduced at 27
airports and 126 ports across the nation starting tomorrow. Japan
will be the second nation, following the United States, to
fingerprint foreign visitors. The US introduced the requirement of
fingerprinting, following the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001.
But some question the effectiveness of the system, harboring the
concern that human rights might be abused under it. The visit-USA
program is said to be a model for Japan's new system, but defects in
it have been pointed out.
TOKYO 00005290 007 OF 018
A senior Justice Ministry official said: "I think that if the
terrorist attacks in the US had not occurred, this kind of law
should not have been approved."
The government included the idea of establishing the new system in
the action program it worked out to prevent terrorism following the
9/11 attacks. The revised Immigration Control and Refugee
Recognition Law, which was submitted to the regular Diet session in
2006, was enacted, backed by such views as then Senior Vice Justice
Minister Taro Kono's that "it's no time to be talking in such a
leisurely fashion now that al-Qaeda reportedly is targeting Japan."
The Justice Ministry has developed an electronic scanning device
that cost 3.6 billion yen. About 540 units will be installed at
immigration facilities across the nation.
Previously, only those who had been taken into custody regularly in
criminal cases were subject to the requirement of fingerprinting. It
is estimated that about 8 million foreigners visit Japan annually.
Of them, about 7 million visitors will likely be subject to the new
immigration examinations. The scanned fingerprint data will be
cross-checked against a blacklist on a database. The blacklist
includes people who have been deported from Japan (about 800,000
cases) and suspected criminals on the police's wanted list (about
14,000 cases).
In the past, a senior al-Qaeda member had passed through Japan's
immigration six times with a different person's passport over the
four years until he was arrested in Germany in 2003.
A National Police Agency officer said: "If the system had been
introduced, it would have been possible to block his reentries."
But Yoichiro Mizukami, a former head of the Tokyo Immigration
Bureau, raises questions about the effectiveness of the new system,
saying: "There little information in Japan about terrorists'
fingerprints. I wonder how the scanned fingerprint data will be
cross-checked. Japan should first establish a system to collect
information on its own."
In actuality, the Justice Ministry itself seems to have hopes that
the system will work effectively to reduce the number of illegal
immigrants, rather than working as an antiterrorism measure. Those
who had been once expelled from Japan but reentered the nation with
a different person's passport totaled about 7,000 in 2006,
accounting for about 13 PERCENT of all the deportees. It will
become possible to prevent such persons from entering the nation due
to the requirement of fingerprinting.
But Masashi Ichikawa, who has tackled this problem as a lawyer at
the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, criticized the new system,
remarking: "Is it significant to invest huge money in arresting
overstaying foreigners? It would be impermissible to introduce any
measures without proving their necessity, on the pretext of an
antiterrorism measure."
(6) Asia and Japan-US alliance (Part 3): Fukuda diplomacy gets
underway; synergy policy to be sent out; Koizumi-Abe policy to be
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
TOKYO 00005290 008 OF 018
November 16, 2007
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday left for the US. Asked about
the meaning of his first visit to the US as prime minister, he
stressed, "I will strengthen and deepen Japan-US relations, which
are important for the smooth promotion of our Asian diplomacy."
As soon as he returns home from the US on Nov. 19, he will leave for
Singapore to attend a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) plus Three (Japan, China and South Korea) and the
East Asia Summit and meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South
Korean President Roh Moo Hyun. It means that he arranged his US
visit before the already fixed Asia diplomacy schedule.
The past two administrations took pains to strengthen Japan-US
relations, but their diplomacy toward Asia was strained because of
Japan's view of wartime history, set off by former Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine and further worsened
by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement on the wartime
comfort-women issue. Fukuda is aiming at rebuilding Japan's Asia
diplomacy, based on the self-confidence way he has steadily made
efforts to repair relations with Asian countries when he was chief
cabinet secretary and a rank-and-file lawmaker.
When the national referendum law stipulating procedures for
constitutional revisions was enacted, Fukuda along with former
Foreign Minister Taro Nakayama visited various embassies in Tokyo,
including the Chinese embassy, and explained, "There will basically
no change in Japan's peace policy."
Even after resigning as chief cabinet secretary, he frequently
attended various events and meetings in Asia. He established
friendly ties with most Asian ambassadors to Japan, as one of his
aides pointed out. Heightened expectations of Fukuda among Asian
countries during the Koizumi and Abe administrations served as a
factor to land him the premiership.
Defense Academy President Makoto Iokibe highly evaluated Fukuda's
choice of the US as the destination for his first foreign trip,
noting, "Since he is viewed as being strong in Asia diplomacy, he
would have given the impression that he is an Asian expert, if he
had chosen Asia."
Prime Minister Fukuda in his policy speech given in October
advocated synergy (kyomei) of strengthening the Japan-US alliance
and promoting Asia diplomacy. This is the phrase he himself created
without advice from the bureaucrats.
In discussions with the Foreign Ministry, it was decided to use the
word "synergy" instead of "resonance" as the interpretation for the
word "kyomei", because synergy means interaction. One senior Foreign
Ministry official explained, "If Japan and the US relations enjoy
amicable relations and Japan and Asia also enjoy amicable relations,
they would produce amplified results."
However, a blue print for how precisely synergy can be brought about
has not yet come into sight.
Hilary Clinton, a promising Democrat candidate for the US
presidential election, mentioned in an article on her foreign policy
that China would become the most important bilateral relation for
the US this century. There is the possibility that Japan's Asia
TOKYO 00005290 009 OF 018
diplomacy, which is supposed to resonate in harmony with the
Japan-US alliance, could drift if the alliance ceases to be the axis
of American foreign policy.
(7) Nuclear threat: Will nuclear proliferation be prevented? What
would happen if US launches preemptive attack against North Korea
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
November 16, 2007
(The following is a simulation.)
"We confirmed that North Koreans responsible for developing nuclear
weapons have contacted an Islamic-rooted terrorist group. There is
the possibility that the North Koreans may sell nuclear weapons to
the terror group."
Washington conveys the above top-secret information obtained by the
United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the Prime
Minister's Official Residence. The prime minister calls an emergency
meeting of the Security Council and tells the participants: "If the
North is found to have sold nuclear weapons to terrorists, the US
will undoubtedly launch a preemptive strike." The prime minister
also indicates that in such a case, Japan would become the target of
North Korea's nuclear missile.
Following North Korea's nuclear testing in October 2006, the five
other members of the six-party talks succeeded in persuading the
North to agree to disable some of its nuclear facilities, including
the nuclear complex in Yongbyon. Since the US began to take a policy
of dialogue, however, Pyongyang has kept silent about its enriched
uranium development program and existing nuclear weapons, the number
of which reportedly is about 10.
Five days after the CIA intelligence is relayed to Japan, Japan and
the US hold a meeting on joint operations at the Defense Ministry.
"On the day of the start of the war, the US military would fire
guided missiles, such as a bunker buster, to strike underground
missile launching sites, like Musudan-ri. The number of missiles to
be fired in a day would total 4,000." a US military officer says in
the meeting.
Irritated at this explanation, a senior Self-Defense Force officer
interrupts the US officer, arguing: "Is it possible to prevent a
missile launch with that number of guided missiles, five times more
than the 800 used in the Iraq war?" North Korea has yet to complete
a missile capable of reaching the US. The Rodong (with the range
estimated at about 1,300 kilometers), which targets Japan, was a
mobile liquid propellant ballistic missile, but liquid propellant
was replaced with solid propellant. In the case of solid fuel, it is
difficult to detect a missile firing beforehand.
Seven days after the delivery of the information, the US Department
of Defense spokesman, while showing photos taken by the spy
satellite KH-11 of several Rodong missiles loaded on trailers,
demands of the North: "Immediately abandon all nuclear weapons." In
response, North Korea issues a statement of its Foreign Ministry
reading: "We will send a crash of thunder against our arrogant
enemy, who infringes on the autonomy of a nuclear power," indicating
that the North would use nuclear weapons. The prime minister orders
the Self-Defense Force to be ready to be mobilized to protect the
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The Aegis cruiser Kongou dispatched to the Sea of Japan with US
aircraft carriers is carrying out intercept training. Although the
intercept missile SM-3 system is highly credible, one vessel is
capable of loading only eight missiles. All Rodongs are not nuclear
missiles, but the Maritime Self-Defense Force has only 32 SM3
missiles, and there is no guarantee that they are capable of
shooting down all incoming missiles. In preparation for a failure in
intercepting incoming missiles, the surface-to-air PAC3 missile
system is installed at Camp Ichigaya in Tokyo to defend the capital,
with the target set at the western sky.
Ten days after the information was transmitted, the Arab TV station
Al Jazeera airs an announcement that it claimed had been made
several days before by the leader of an international terrorist
group, reading: "We inform the US government that we have obtained
nuclear weapons."
Of course, the above scenario is a fiction. But once North Korea
passes its nuclear weapons into terrorists' hands, the US will
undoubtedly launch a preemptive attack on the North. This is the
worst-case scenario for Japan. On the assumption of (1) the death of
leader Kim Jong Il and collapse of his regime, (2) completion of a
ballistic missile capable of reaching the US, and other imminent
steps toward a nuclear crisis, the Defense Ministry has been
discussing the details of an action plan for the Self-Defense Force
since North Korea conducted a nuclear test in October last year.
It is essential to have North Korea abandon its nuclear facilities
and weapons by such diplomatic means as the six-party talks and the
Japan-US alliance. But North Korea seems to be aiming at achieving
the status of becoming a nuclear power like India and Pakistan.
US Secretary of Defense Gates has said: "Northeast Asia is one of
the last regions where a nuclear-weapons clash could take place."
Japan also has to deal with nuclear threats from China and Russia.
The nuclear threat facing Japan has expanded far larger than we
(8) DPJ rejects LDP-planned schedule for Upper House deliberations
on bills
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 16, 2007
Former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya's testimony yesterday
under oath to the Diet named Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and
former Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma (as politicians who were wined
and dined by a former executive of the defense equipment trading
house Yamada Corp). The revelation will adversely affect the
government and ruling parties ability to manage Diet affairs. The
main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ and Minshuto) will
ask the ruling coalition to shed light on allegations against Nukaga
and Kyuma, as a condition to start deliberations on the new
antiterrorism special measures bill and other bills, aiming at
gaining the intitiative in the House of Councillors.
The ruling camp intends to enact the new antiterrorism legislation
by Dec. 15, when the extended Diet session ends. The Upper House
Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense will be meeting on Tuesday
and Thursday. The ruling coalition planned to hold deliberations on
TOKYO 00005290 011 OF 018
the legislation on Nov. 19 in an Upper House plenary session and
start interpellations in the committee on Nov. 22.
The DPJ has taken a hard-line stance toward the ruling bloc's plan,
in part because of the outcome of Moriya's testimony to the
In a meeting today of the directors of the Upper House Steering
Committee, the largest opposition party determined it would reject
the ruling coalition's proposal of launching deliberations on the
19th and would not approve it until a debate on a bill to abolish
the Iraq Reconstruction Support Special Measures Law is over.
Negotiations between the ruling and opposition camps have hit rocky
ground over a schedule for deliberations on the Iraqi bill.
In yesterday's committee session, the DPJ proposed explaining the
purpose of the measure on the 20th and beginning deliberations on
the 22nd. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) suggested
starting deliberations on the 20th. The DPJ turned down the LDP's
idea, however.
In order to kill time until Dec. 15, the DPJ leadership has a
strategy of letting the new antiterrorism bill die when the current
session ends Dec. 15, by prolonging deliberations on the Iraq bill
and summoning Nukaga and Kyuma to testify on the allegations.
DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka pointed out in a
press conference yesterday: "Actually, it has become difficult to
carry out deliberations on the new antiterrorism bill before the end
of the session."
A senior LDP Upper House member said yesterday:
"The fact that Moriya said in his testimony that Nukaga and Kyuma
had been entertained is likely a timely offer for the opposition,
which wants to delay deliberations on the new antiterrorism bill. A
negative impact cannot be avoided."
One ruling coalition member said: "Under the present situation, it
would be difficult to begin deliberations late this month on the new
antiterrorism bill."
A senior LDP member expressed the intention of avoiding an impact on
the Diet timetable, saying, "I wonder why Mr. Nukaga and Mr. Kyuma
are forced to testify to the Diet just because they had been treated
to dinner. It is enough for them to hold press conferences to
A LDP source, however, said: "It is not good that the public takes
it that the LDP is trying to cover up the allegations" if the party
neglects the matter. There is a growing view in the ruling coalition
that it will not be easy to arrange a Diet timetable during the
remaining term of the session.
Expected main political events
Nov. 16, 2007 Prime Minister Fukuda holds summit with President Bush
in US
Nov. 20 Summit of ASEAN Plus Three in Singapore
Nov. 21 East Asia summit in Singapore
Dec. 15 Extra Diet session ends
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Late December Government's draft budget approved
Jan. 16, 2008 DPJ convention
Jan. 17 LDP convention
Mid- or late-January Regular Diet session convenes
(9) "Suspicious party" directly hits the administration; Senior
government official says, "Why real names now?"
ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
November 16, 2007
The names of two lawmakers came out from the mouth of former
Administrative Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya during his
second Diet testimony yesterday. Moriya specifically testified that
Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and Fumio Kyuma -- both former
defense chiefs and belonging to the Tsushima faction in the Liberal
Democratic Party -- had been present when he was being wined and
dined by Motonobu Miyazaki, a former managing director of defense
equipment trading house Yamada Corp. With the Moriya scandal
expanding to engulf an incumbent minister in the Fukuda
administration, the extended Diet session has now plunged deeper
into chaos. Part of behind-the-scenes personnel connections over the
defense industry has also come to light.
A pall over refueling assistance bill
In his testimony before a House of Representatives committee
yesterday, Moriya at first simply said that former defense chiefs
had been present when he was being wined and dined by Miyazaki,
whetting the apetites of both the ruling and opposition parties.
Moriya repeatedly refused to reveal the names of the lawmakers,
saying: "I would like to refrain from naming names so as not to
cause trouble for them." But continually pressed to specify the
individuals, Moriya finally pointed to the two former defense
The "sudden disclosure" dealt a double blow to the political
community. It has cast a blight on the management of the business of
the just-extended Diet. It could rock the entire Fukuda
Throughout Moriya's Diet testimony, Nukaga stayed at the finance
minister's office. As he came out of his office two hours after the
testimony ended, Nukaga was surrounded by reporters, and he
repeatedly said, "I have no recollection."
Scheduled to leave shortly for the United States, Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda was also visibly upset. Reporters at the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) asked Fukuda: "How are you
going to respond to Finance Minister Nukaga?" In response, Fukuda
said: "How? Well, I don't know if that is a problem. Since he is a
cabinet minister, why don't you ask him questions (at a press
The enactment of a refueling assistance bill is the top priority for
the government and ruling parties during the extended current Diet
session. They do not want another impediment at this time when there
are no prospects for the House of Councillors to begin discussing
the bill. Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said in a press
conference: "In view of accountability, I think people should go ask
Mr. Nukaga many questions."
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It is unlikely that the matter will quiet down with Nukaga's
explanation. That is because although the government and ruling
coalition think there is nothing wrong with dining with other
people, Nukaga has denied being wined and dined (by Miyazaki).
A Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) director of the Lower
House Special Committee on Prevention of Terrorism last night
conveyed to an LDP director his party's plan to demand Diet
testimonies by Nukaga and Kyuma, adding, "In particular, Mr. Nukaga
in an earlier committee meeting denied a meeting with Mr. Miyazaki."
Nukaga in a Nov. 7 committee meeting explicitly said, "I have never
been invited or entertained by Mr. Miyazaki."
The DPJ, the largest party in the Upper House, envisages submitting
a censure motion depending on Nukaga's response. The fate of the
refueling assistance bill is murkier.
The government and ruling bloc complied with the opposition camp's
call for Moriya's testimony on Oct. 29 by putting top priority on
the bill's passage of the Lower House. But with the revelation of
the names of the politicians, their plan to separate the Moriya
scandal from the legislation has now fallen apart. An LDP lawmaker
who once served as a cabinet minister noted gloomily: "This might
result in a political crisis over Nukaga. How will that affect the
budget compilation process? Things could go terribly wrong." A
senior government official complained, "(Moriya) refused to name
names at the Lower House. Why today?"
After Moriya's testimony, a senior New Komeito lawmaker said in
disgust: "Why did he reveal the names of the politicians? I don't
care if he falls from grace because of suspicions, but I surely
don't want to see the legislation fall apart with him."
Japan-US defense personal ties come to light
The testimony yesterday offered a glimpse into the opaque defense
personal ties between political, bureaucratic, and business circles,
including the defense industry.
Moriya testified that the former defense chiefs who had wined and
dined with Miyazaki were Kyuma and Nukaga. In addition, Moriya also
revealed that such persons as Naoki Akiyama, an executive of the
Japan-US Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange, and former US
Defense Department Japan desk director James Auer (Director of the
Center for US-Japan Studies and Cooperation at the Vanderbilt
Institute for Public Policy Studies) were also present at the
Led by former Defense Agency Director-General Tsutomu Kawara, the
membership of the Japan-US Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange
includes ruling and opposition party defense policy specialists,
such as Kyuma and former DPJ President Seiji Maehara, Japanese
defense industry executives, and US defense specialists, such as
former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. In a way, it is an
organization linking Japanese and US political circles to the
defense industry. Yamada Corp. President Yoshihiko Yonezu, who
testified before the Upper House Foreign Relations and Defense
Committee yesterday as an unsworn witness, also serves as a director
of the center.
One of the main figures at the "exchange center" is Akiyama, who is
known as the "fixer" in that world. Akiyama, who was once close to
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the late LDP Vice-President Shin Kanemaru, is said to have strong
connections with former Keiseikai members. Moriya testified
yesterday that Akiyama had invited him to the meeting with Kyuma and
Miyazaki, saying, "I am going to drink with the minister. Why don't
you come over?"
The center annually holds the Japan-US Security Strategy Conference
during the consecutive holidays in early May in the United States
and in the fall in Tokyo. This May, Nukaga led the US tour.
Such lawmakers as Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and Maehara were
absent from the conference held in Tokyo earlier this month.
Nevertheless, the conference received a video message from Kyuma,
now hospitalized, in which he said touching on the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's withdrawal from the Indian Ocean, "The view was
dominant that the Japanese government was at the beck and call of
the United States."
Although Kawara explained the purpose of the conference was to
conduct exchanges transcending the political, bureaucratic,
academic, and business boundaries, some have pointed out that it is
a breeding ground for collusive ties (among those circles).
Moriya also described Auer, who had been present at the meeting with
Nukaga, as one of the persons introduced by Miyazaki, whom he came
to know 23 years ago, saying, "You should also get to know persons
from abroad." Yamada President Yonezu also testified yesterday that
his company was in contract with a consultancy run by former US
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Although his testimony offered a glimpse into defense interests
involving Japanese and US political circles and the connected
defense industry, Moriya did not reveal what had been discussed at
the meeting, saying, "I don't remember anything."
"The Defense Ministry has been hit by scandal after scandal
regarding defense interests. Doesn't that mean the ministry has
structural problems, such as the defense industry and huge interests
and collusive ties between political, bureaucratic, and business
circles?" LDP lawmaker Ichita Yamamoto asked Moriya yesterday. In
response, Moriya said, "Our organization is not like that at all."
(10) Defense Ministry goofs again, panicked with misinfo: "Missile
fired at Japan"
SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
November 17, 2007
The Defense Ministry got into a panic yesterday with misinformation
about the South Korean military's test-launching of a missile into
the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula. US Forces Japan
informed the Defense Ministry of the missile test. This information,
however, was mistaken.
According to Defense Intelligence Headquarters (DIH) sources, South
Korea launched a missile at 10:45 a.m. on Nov. 16. The sources said
that the missile was targeted at pre-announced Yellow Sea waters
situated west of its launching site, and that the missile landed
there as planned.
The DIH reported the missile's test launch to Joint Staff Office
divisions. In that process, however, this information was mistakenly
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conveyed. It said, "The missile was launched "in the south direction
(Japan)." The JSO, with its tensions running high at a stroke, was
driven to check and see if it was true, according to the sources.
Someone in the JSO suspected that there was something wrong within
the South Korean military. However, it soon turned out to be
misinformation resulting from a simple mistake in communication, the
sources said.
(11) Is N-flattop really safe?
ASAHI (Page 35) (Abridged)
November 9, 2007
Fumiaki Sonoyama, Asahi Shimbun
The USS George Washington, a US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier named after the first US president, will arrive at the US
Navy's Yokosuka base in August next year for deployment. She is the
first nuclear flattop to be homeported at a base in Japan. Her
deployment to Yokosuka means that nuclear reactors with generating
capacity equivalent to that of an atomic power plant will be
floating just a little way from Japan's metropolis at all times. Is
she really safe?
In late October, the USS George Washington, after her yearlong
renovation, was plowing through the waves of West Atlantic waters on
a vital training mission for her future deployment to Japan. Next
spring, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will set sail for Japan
from Norfolk, Virginia, where she is currently homeported. The
carrier is loaded with two nuclear reactors, which are of the
pressurized-water reactor type. Each of her two reactors has a
thermal power generating capacity of estimatedly about 600,000
kilowatts. The two reactors' combined power output is well over that
of Mihama Nuclear Power Plant's Reactor 1 (1,031,000 kW). She is
really a floating atomic power plant.
"We have excellent technologies, facilities, training programs, and
operating procedures," said US Navy Capt. Dave Dykhoff, the
commanding officer of the USS George Washington. The commander was
on the bridge. "That's why," he proudly went on, "we've never caused
any reactor accident for over 50 years."
There are no records to show that US nuclear-powered warships
brought about reactor accidents or major radiological contamination
in the past. The US Navy ruled out the possibility of such events,
asserting that it is "extremely inconceivable."
The US Navy says there are four safeguards to keep radioactivity
inside its nuclear-powered warships should something happen to their
reactors. One is their fuel itself, which is solid metal that can
withstand strong shocks. Furthermore, radiated primary cooling water
does not leak out of a completely welded vessel. Moreover, nuclear
reactors are housed in robust components. The fourth and last
barrier is the strong hull of nuclear-powered warships, according to
the US Navy.
Recently, however, there was an incident that rocked the reliability
of US nuclear-powered warships. The captain of the USS Hampton, a
nuclear-powered submarine homeported in San Diego, was relieved of
his commanding duty because of "a loss of confidence" in his
leadership. According to a local news report, sailors on the
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submarine failed to do daily safety checks on the sub's nuclear
reactor and falsified records to cover up the omission. However,
Cdr. William Silkman, an officer in charge of the USS George
Washington's nuclear reactors, stressed: "Our internal check system
functioned, so the problem was discovered and appropriate action was
There is no knowing details about the reactor's structure or its
operating procedures. These are heavily veiled for military
superiority. In the case of atomic power plants in Japan, the
Japanese government can inspect them for safety under the Nuclear
Reactor Regulation Law. However, a nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier's reactor is untouchable.
There was also an event that bears it out.
In September last year, when the USS Honolulu, a US Navy
nuclear-powered submarine, called at Yokosuka, a slight amount of
radioactive substances was detected in waters near the nuclear
At that time, the US military denied the discharge of radioactive
substances from the USS Honolulu as a result of its own survey.
Meanwhile, an expert panel of the Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released a report, saying: "We
cannot rule out the possibility of such radioactive substances
having leaked out of the nuclear submarine. However, we also cannot
categorically determine that the radioactive substances leaked out
of the nuclear submarine." With this, the MEXT panel avoided
reaching a conclusion even without embarking on the USS Honolulu.
A group of Yokosuka citizens called for disclosing the USS
Honolulu's logbook and her reactor operating records. However, the
Japanese government did not ask the US government to provide data.
In 1968, the USS Enterprise first visited Japan. Since then, US
nuclear-powered flattops have made a total of 13 port calls in
Japan, arriving at Yokosuka or Sasebo. They used to anchor off shore
and stay for several days. The USS George Washington, unlike their
port calls, will be homeported in Yokosuka, so she will be berthed
there for a total of about six months a year.
Late last year, a group of Yokosuka citizens and others opposing the
USS George Washington's deployment to Yokosuka called for a poll of
local residents on her deployment to Yokosuka. The anti-homeporting
group collected signatures from 37,858 citizens or 10.64 PERCENT of
the city's voting population. The group collected more signatures
than those from the minimum number of voters required by law to
request a local referendum. The city's assembly voted down the
request with a majority of votes against it, stating: "The aircraft
carrier issue, on which the city has no decision-making authority,
is inappropriate for a poll of residents." However, local misgivings
will never die out.
(12) Gas fields in East China Sea: Government sounds out China over
development on Japanese side of median line as well: "If Japan
test-drills, China will dispatch warships," says Chinese side
SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
November 17, 2007
Sankei Shimbun learned on Nov. 16 that regarding a plan for Japan
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and China to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea, the
Japanese government had put out a feeler to China, noting that it
would approve joint development in part of the Japanese side of the
median line, provided that China accepts joint development in an
area straddling the median line, including Shirakaba (Chunxiao in
Chinese). The Japanese side categorically made this proposal to
China at a bureau director-level meeting on the 14th. In this
connection, it was also found that when a Japanese negotiator hinted
at the possibility of test drilling due to the stalemate in the
talks, the Chinese side said that if the Japanese side does that,
the Chinese Navy will dispatch warships.
The government had thus far called on China to jointly develop gas
fields on the Chinese side of the median line, ruling out joint
development on the Japanese side of the median line, because it is
within Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Japanese side during the talks also conveyed its policy of
excluding areas around the Senkaku Islands, claimed by China, and
areas around the continental shelf belonging to Japan and South
Korea, from joint development.
The government has decided to approve joint development in part of
the Japanese side of the median line, motivated by the desire to
elicit concessions from China with a soft approach, thereby securing
concrete results when Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is said to be
strong in Japan-China relations, visits China for the first time as
prime minister, as a Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) source
put it.
Under such circumstances, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura
on the 16th met with Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cui Tiankai at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei). He conveyed the
government's intention to settle the joint development issue by the
time the prime minister visits China. Coordination is now underway
for the prime minister to visit that nation as soon as the end of
this year. Ambassador Cui said, "China has the sincerity and
resolution to jointly make efforts to settle the issue at an early
time in an appropriate manner."
It was confirmed in the Japan-China joint statement, released when
Premier Wen Jiabao visited Japan this April, that both countries
would compile a report on concrete measures to launch joint
development by the fall of this year."
If the two countries reach an agreement on areas subject to joint
development, they will sign a bilateral agreement that stipulates
that they put on hold drawing a demarcation line in the said areas
for a certain set period of time, respectively shoulder 50 PERCENT
of the cost of development, and go fifty-fifty on the right to
natural gas produced. However, the Chinese side insists that the
area in dispute is between the Japan-China median line and the
Okinawa trough.
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Food price hikes looming amid shortages on international grain
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of 50 PERCENT cancer screenings
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2 million people facing crisis due to subprime loan fiasco
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70 PERCENT of Japanese temples support Article 9 of the
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