Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/01/08

Published: Wed 1 Oct 2008 08:23 AM
DE RUEHKO #2742/01 2750823
P 010823Z OCT 08
E.O. 12958: N/A
(1) Sankei-FNN poll on Aso cabinet, political parties (Sankei)
(2) U.S. Treasury Undersecretary McCormick expects Japan to continue
to cooperate in efforts to stabilize financial markets (Nikkei)
(3) Interview with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone: Close
cooperation with U.S. on North Korea's nuclear arms (Tokyo Shimbun)
(4) Interview with Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada: Will pursue
passage of bill for continuing refueling mission in Indian Ocean
(Tokyo Shimbun)
(5) Roadmap rational: Hamada (Okinawa Times)
(6) MSDF to scale down drill due to soaring oil price (Nikkei)
(7) Aso cabinet made of postal rebels? Three postal rebels given
cabinet posts, two rebels receive Kantei posts; Demonstrates stance
of separating himself from Koizumi's policy influence (Tokyo
(8) Aso's political group received 1.5 million yen in donations from
firm punished under Antimonopoly Law (Akahata)
(9) Five cabinet members affiliated with the educational policy
clique in the Diet received 11.97 million yen from firms in
educational facilities group, with 2.52 million yen to Aso, 2.6
million yen to Kawamura (Akahata)
(1) Sankei-FNN poll on Aso cabinet, political parties
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
September 27, 2008
Questions & Answers
(Note) Figures shown in percentage. Figures in parentheses denote
findings from the last Sankei-FNN survey conducted Sept. 10-11.
Q: Do you support the Aso cabinet?
Yes 44.6
No 35.7
Don't know (D/K), etc. 19.7
Q: Which political party do you support?
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 31.7 (29.1)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 25.9 (23.8)
New Komeito (NK) 4.1 (3.5)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2.5 (3.2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.3 (1.7)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.1 (0.2)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1 (0.0)
Other answers (O/A) 1.0 (1.2)
None 32.3 (35.0)
D/K, etc. 1.0 (2.3)
TOKYO 00002742 002 OF 011
Q: What's your impression of the Aso cabinet's lineup?
None the better for the change 30.7
Featureless 24.9
Balance conscious 16.3
Competent 9.5
Fresh 6.1
Surprising 5.2
D/K, etc. 7.3
Q: Who is the most hopeful minister in the Aso cabinet?
Health, Labor & Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe 21.6
Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Minister Shigeru Ishiba 16.7
State Minister for Declining Birthrate Yuko Obuchi 12.3
State Minister for Financial Services Shoichi Nakagawa 4.6
State Minister for Consumer Affairs Seiko Noda 4.6
State Minister for Economic & Fiscal Policy Kaoru Yosano 2.5
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone 1.2
Internal Affairs & Communications Minister Kunio Hatoyama 0.8
Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito 0.4
Land, Infrastructure & Transport Minister Nariaki Nakayama ASTERISK
Justice Minister Eisuke Mori 0.2
Economy, Trade & Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai 0.2
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada 0.2
National Public Safety Commission Chairman Tsutomu Sato 0.2
State Minister for Administrative Reform Akira Amari 0.2
Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology Minister Ryu
Shionoya 0.1
Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura 0.1
O/A 0.6
None 20.1
D/K, etc. 13.1
( ASTERISK Nakayama resigned from his post on Sept. 28, and
Kazuyoshi Kaneko is in his place.)
Q: What do you want the Aso cabinet to do?
Fiscal policy to cut down on waste 26.9 (30.4)
Social security, including healthcare and pension systems 25.0
Economic stimulus measures 20.4 (18.5)
Consumer affairs, including food safety 9.1 (---)
Social divide 5.7 (---)
Tax reform, including the consumption tax 4.1 (3.9)
North Korea 2.8 (2.4)
Global warming 2.5 (4.4)
D/K, etc. 3.5 (1.1)
Q: Who do you think is most appropriate for prime minister?
Prime Minister Taro Aso 22.6
DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa 16.1
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi 13.2
Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike 4.7
Former LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara 3.9
DPJ Deputy President Naoto Kan 3.0
Economic & Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano 2.2
DPJ Vice President Katsuya Okada 2.1
DPJ Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama 1.7
TOKYO 00002742 003 OF 011
Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Minister Shigeru Ishiba 1.6
Former DPJ Vice President Seiji Maehara 1.6
Other ruling party lawmakers 1.5
Other opposition party lawmakers 2.5
None 18.4
D/K, etc. 4.9
Q: What to you think is most important for the extraordinary Diet
session convened Sept. 24?
Enact the supplementary budget 31.1
Dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election 28.7
Respond to the U.S. financial crisis 22.6
Pass a bill to establish a consumer affairs agency 6.6
Amend a law to extend the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean 4.3
D/K, etc. 6.7
Q: What's your image of the LDP and the DPJ?
Good policy
LDP 37.5
DPJ 44.8
D/K, etc. 17.7
LDP 54.1
DPJ 26.1
D/K, etc. 19.8
Political stance
LDP 36.0
DPJ 45.2
D/K, etc. 18.8
Favorite party in next election for the House of Representatives
LDP 40.7
DPJ 48.5
D/K, etc. 10.8
Q: What do you think about the Aso cabinet and DPJ President Ozawa?
Prime Minister Aso's imprint shows in his cabinet's lineup
Yes 63.0
No 27.8
D/K, etc. 9.2
Prime Minister Aso's appointees to his cabinet were disappointing
Yes 33.4
No 50.8
D/K, etc. 15.8
The Aso cabinet will fail to push for reforms
Yes 59.7
No 30.4
D/K, etc. 9.9
Sorry for former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike because she is the
only one with no important post among the five candidates in the LDP
presidential election
Yes 30.3
No 66.0
TOKYO 00002742 004 OF 011
D/K, etc. 3.7
Questionable about 2nd-, 3rd-generation lawmakers becoming prime
Yes 58.2
No 37.9
D/K, etc. 3.9
Wanting DPJ President Ozawa to become prime minister
Yes 43.5 (30.5)
No 51.6 (62.7)
D/K, etc. 4.9 (6.8)
DPJ President Ozawa should run only from his home electoral district
in Iwate Prefecture
Yes 42.5
No 42.0
D/K, etc. 15.5
Wanting DPJ President Ozawa to field showcase candidates like women
and celebrities in the next election for the House of
Yes 16.5
No 78.0
D/K, etc. 5.5
Q: Which political party would you like to vote for in your
proportional representation bloc at the time of the next election
for the House of Representatives?
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 36.0 (34.3)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 39.3 (34.6)
New Komeito (NK) 5.1 (5.1)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3.9 (4.8)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2.1 (2.4)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 1.2 (0.6)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.3 (0.6)
O/A 4.6 (6.6)
D/K, etc. 7.5 (11.0)
Q: What form of government would you like to see after the next
election for the House of Representatives?
LDP-led coalition government 24.1 (21.1)
DPJ-led coalition government 32.1 (29.8)
Grand coalition involving both the LDP and the DPJ 38.5 (41.4)
D/K, etc. 5.3 (7.7)
Q: Do you support the idea of extending the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean?
Yes 43.6
No 43.7
D/K, etc. 12.7
Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Sept. 25 by the Sankei
Shimbun and Fuji News Network (FNN) over the telephone on a
computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis. For the survey, a
total of 1,000 persons were sampled from among men and women, aged
20 and over, across the nation.
Aso cabinet's inaugural ratings from media polls (Yes = support; No
TOKYO 00002742 005 OF 011
= don't support)
Media sources Yes No Date
Sankei Shimbun 44.6 35.7 9/25
Asahi Shimbun 48.0 36.0 9/24-25
Mainichi Shimbun 45.0 26.0 9/24-25
Yomiuri Shimbun 49.5 33.4 9/24-25
Nikkei Shimbun 53.0 40.0 9/24-25
Kyodo News 48.6 32.9 9/24-25
Cabinet ratings upon inauguration (Yes = support; No = don't
Prime Minister Yes No Date
Taro Aso 44.6 35.7 9/08
Yasuo Fukuda 55.3 28.7 9/07
Shinzo Abe 63.9 17.0 9/06
Junichiro Koizumi 80.9 6.9 4/01
Yoshiro Mori 37.6 29.6 4/00
Keizo Obuchi 26.5 52.5 7/98
Ryutaro Hashimoto 58.3 19.2 1/96
Tomiichi Murayama 47.7 47.1 6/94
Tsutomu Hata 62.1 32.4 4/94
Morihiro Hosokawa 83.4 11.0 8/93
(2) U.S. Treasury Undersecretary McCormick expects Japan to continue
to cooperate in efforts to stabilize financial markets
NIKKEI (Internet edition) (Full)
October 1, 2008
By Yusuke Yoneyama in Washington
U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in a
briefing to members of the international press corps on Sept. 30
lauded efforts by major countries to stabilize international
financial markets, saying, "Combined cooperative actions were taken,
and we hope progress will continue." He stated his intention to
strengthen policy cooperation in such areas as supplying liquidity
to the market.
Undersecretary McCormick praised Japan for "being an extremely
active collaborator in such areas as supplying liquidity." "We hope
to see continued cooperation," he added.
On the spreading global credit crunch, he pointed out, "We have kept
in close contact with monetary authorities and central banks of
every country in monitoring the markets." However, on actions to
stabilize markets, he noted, "It is not necessary for every country
to take the same countermeasures as the United States." He indicated
that in his view there was no insistence on such steps as purchasing
non-performing assets from financial institutions using public
Commenting on the financial stabilization act that the U.S. House of
Representatives had rejected, he explained, "We will continue our
efforts to seek the understanding of the public that the impact of
turmoil in the financial market would extend to their daily lives."
He stressed the government's plan to closely cooperate with the
Congress, aiming at swift passage of the act.
(3) Interview with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone: Close
cooperation with U.S. on North Korea's nuclear arms
TOKYO 00002742 006 OF 011
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 1, 2008
-- The six-party talks to discuss North Korea's nuclear development
program have come to a standstill. What do you think will be Japan's
role in finding a breakthrough?
"I met with U.S. Secretary of State Rice during the recent UN
General Assembly. We confirmed that both countries should take joint
steps by working in close cooperation. We must make that nation
resume its disablement process at Yongbyon. I have hopes for
Assistant Secretary of State Hill's visit to Pyongyang."
-- North Korea has pledged to reinvestigate abduction cases
involving Japanese nationals. However, it informed Japan of its
decision to put off the investigation. Do you think this is due to
the effect of a political vacuum created by the resignation of
former Prime Minister Fukuda?"
"Given the situation, it is regrettable that North Korea has
suspended the commitment in that way. I am not sure whether the
suspension was due to a political vacuum. The LDP held a
presidential election, but I do not know what that country's
intention now is. However, there is no change in the Japanese
government's stance from that of the Fukuda administration. I want
North Korea to start an investigation as soon as possible so as to
settle the issue. I will work on North Korea aggressively."
-- It appears difficult for the ruling camp to secure a two-thirds
majority in the Lower House. In that case, how will the ruling
parties try to enact a bill amending the New Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law for US-led Antiterrorism Operations in the Indian
"For a start, we will do our utmost to maintain a two-thirds
majority. It is important to strongly appeal the importance of the
bill to the public and secure its understanding. All we can do is to
tenaciously call on the opposition camp to cooperate.
-- Premier Putin is expected to come to Japan before the end of the
year. What is your approach to settling the (Northern Territories)
"We must aim for the establishment of a peace treaty, using every
opportunity. The territorial issue is Japan's long-standing pending
issue. (The Northern Territories) are an integral part of Japan." We
must fairly and squarely advocate our view at the upcoming summit."
(4) Interview with Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada: Will pursue
passage of bill for continuing refueling mission in Indian Ocean
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 1, 2008
-- There is a strong criticism of Japan for continuing its refueling
mission in the India Ocean due to the sharp rise in crude oil
"It is not a judgment that is made based on whether oil is costly or
not in Japan. We can only make our public appeal with sincerity
regarding the importance of doing things together (with the
international community) from an internationally cooperative view."
TOKYO 00002742 007 OF 011
-- It seems that if the Lower House is dissolved, it would become
impossible to take a revote on the bill extending the refueling
"Uncertain factors are still gripping the issue, because it is the
prime minister who must make that decision. I want to tenaciously
pursue passage of the bill as long as there is a possibility."
-- What is your view on establishing a permanent law to enable the
dispatch Self-Defense Forces' personnel as needed?
"Amid various disputes emerging throughout the world, it is very
important for Japan to take part from the perspective of
international cooperation. If Japan wants to swiftly take part (in
international cooperation), then it is better for it to have a
permanent law. I want to discuss the issue by all means."
-- Prime Minister Aso mentioned his intention to approve the
exercise of the right of collective self-defense. What is your view
on that?
"I think I must follow the government's stance. If Japan has the
right of collective self-defense, it could have closer connection
with various countries in Asia."
-- What makes you think that it is better for Japan to have the
right of collective self-defense?
"For instance, there is the piracy issue. Even if various countries
try to prevent piracy by dispatching their vessels, Japan cannot do
so. What I mean is that we would build a relationship of trust among
the militaries of various countries."
-- Local communities in Okinawa are demanding that the government
revise the plan and shift the relocation site for Futenma Air
Station's facilities into the sea.
"I would like to consider to what extent we can respond to their
request, while taking into account their stance. I want them to
understand that the government will not flatly turn down their
(5) Roadmap rational: Hamada
OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
October 1, 2008
TOKYO-New Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada assumed his post on Sept.
24, and the Okinawa Times interviewed him yesterday afternoon to
hear his views regarding such issues as building an alternative
facility for Futenma airfield, reforming the Defense Ministry, and
refueling in the Indian Ocean.
-- Concerning the planned relocation of Futenma airfield, Okinawa
wants the alternative facility's construction site moved out into
the sea.
Hamada: The roadmap (to realign U.S. forces in Japan) is rational.
It's considerably difficult to alter (the Futenma relocation plan).
However, I will listen to Okinawa's views so we can obtain Okinawa's
understanding, and we will have to scrutinize what we can do and
TOKYO 00002742 008 OF 011
what we cannot do. I'd like to listen to Okinawa while making
effective use of the working teams.
-- The government says it will not change the relocation plan
without rational reason. Okinawa Prefecture has been maintaining
that it is rational to move the construction site out into the sea,
given such factors as suffering from the noise.
Hamada: Whether that is rational or not, we will take it into
consideration. We will also have to consider (the outcome of) an
environmental impact assessment. We will listen to local
communities, and we will look into their opinions including whether
that is viable.
-- The government has so far discussed the issue of Futenma
relocation under the initiative of the prime minister's office. Some
of the key members are now gone. How will this affect the
government's discussion?
Hamada: The government has handled this matter under the initiative
of the prime minister's office. This way of doing things will not
change suddenly. I don't think our discussion will be affected. I
want to do what I can.
-- When it comes to the Defense Ministry's reform, there is some
discrepancy between the plan you worked out in the Liberal
Democratic Party and the plan the government has. How will you take
it over?
Hamada: I will tackle the Defense Ministry's reform as a task of top
priority. We are expected to explore the best possible system for
national defense with public faith. I may be taking a different
approach to that goal, but I share my predecessor's view. It's
important to create s system under which we can integrate our
organizations including the Defense Ministry's internal bureaus.
-- If the ruling parties should fail to garner two-thirds of the
seats in a general election for the House of Representatives, it
will be difficult to create a similar bill for the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in the Indian Ocean.
Hamada: For now, we have no choice but to clearly explain its
purpose and Japan's national interests in our public accountability.
Also, in the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) as well, there are
people who make a levelheaded judgment.
(6) MSDF to scale down drill due to soaring oil price
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 1, 2008
Referring to a MSDF drill the cancellation of which had been looked
into, Maritime Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Keiji Akahoshi
stated in a press conference yesterday: "We plan to carry it out by
downsizing its scale." The drill will be conducted as early as
mid-November by reducing the scale to one-third of that conducted so
far. The U.S Navy will likely take part in it. The drill has been
held every year since 1954 when the Self Defense Forces was
(7) Aso cabinet made of postal rebels? Three postal rebels given
cabinet posts, two rebels receive Kantei posts; Demonstrates stance
TOKYO 00002742 009 OF 011
of separating himself from Koizumi's policy influence
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
October 1, 2008
Prime Minister Taro Aso yesterday appointed Shunichi Yamaguchi, a
postal rebel and former senior vice minister of internal affairs and
communications, as special advisor to the prime minister (on the
revitalization of local economies). Three postal rebels, including
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, were picked as members of the
Aso cabinet. Tadayoshi Konoike, another postal rebel, was named
deputy chief cabinet secretary, a Prime Minister's Official
Residence (Kantei) staff member. Aso is demonstrating his policy of
reversing the Koizumi reform initiative by giving postal rebels
important posts.
At a press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo
Kawamura denied a connection between the appointment of Yamaguchi
and the reform policy line, saying: "It is not that (the prime
minister) dared to give a cabinet post to a postal rebel. It is a
result of his effort to keep the principle of placing the right
person in the right position. None (of postal rebels appointed) has
raised any objection to the reform policy.
During the LDP presidential campaign, Aso asserted that he would put
priority on economic stimulus measures rather than on structural
reforms, but he did not reject postal privatization. But as if to
endorse a policy of separating himself from Koizumi's policy
influence, Aso has awarded postal rebels cabinet posts one after the
In the Abe and Fukuda cabinets, only one or two postal rebels were
given cabinet posts. Aso, however, gave three postal rebels cabinet
posts and two postal rebels Kantei posts. In an interview with the
Tokyo Shimbun yesterday, Nakasone stressed: "The LDP is liberal and
tolerant. It has tried to use each politician's capability."
The resignation of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister
Nariaki Nakayama is a low point in Aso's selection of his cabinet
members, even though Aso picked Nakayama as the most suitable person
for that post. If the postal rebels Aso picked his cabinet members
fail to exercise their capabilities, the Aso cabinet would be
criticized for reversing the reform line.
Postal rebels given cabinet or Kantei posts in Abe, Fukuda and Aso
First Abe cabinet None
Second Abe cabinet Defense Minister Koumura
First Fukuda cabinet Foreign Minister Koumura
Second Fukuda cabinet Foreign Minister Koumura
Consumer Administration Minister Noda
Aso cabinet Foreign Minister Nakasone
Consumer Administration Minister Noda
Declining Birthrate Minister Yuko Obuchi
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Konoike
Advisor to the Prime Minister Yamaguchi
(8) Aso's political group received 1.5 million yen in donations from
firm punished under Antimonopoly Law
AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
TOKYO 00002742 010 OF 011
October 1, 2008
The Liberal Democratic Party's No. 8 Fukuoka Prefecture constituency
chapter, headed by Prime Minister Taro Aso, received 1.5 million yen
in donations over a five-year period from 2003 through 2007 from the
petrochemical manufacturer Tokuyama (in Shunan City, Yamaguchi
Prefecture), which was ordered to end its illegal business
practices, according to official documents shown yesterday.
The revelation of improper donations to Aso follows that of
donations from Yamato Jushi Kogaku (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), whose
president was arrested this August over a bribery case involving a
national hospital.
According to the chapter's political funds reports and Tokuyama,
Tokuyama donated 300,000 yen every year to the chapter. A member of
the prime minister's local office (in Iizuka City, Fukuoka
Prefecture) commented: "We have received and reported donations in a
proper way."
Tokuyama was advised by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in May 2001
to end its plastic price-fixing practice in violation of the
Antimonopoly Law.
In August of last year, the FTC handed down a judgment recognizing
its violation, but Tokuyama filed a complaint with the Tokyo High
Court, seeking the cancellation of the FTC judgment. This case is
still pending in court.
It has already been learned that the Fukuoka chapter and Aso's funds
management group Sowai-kai had received 4 million yen in donations
over a 13-year period from 1995 until 2007 from Yamato Jushi Kogaku.
(9) Five cabinet members affiliated with the educational policy
clique in the Diet received 11.97 million yen from firms in
educational facilities group, with 2.52 million yen to Aso, 2.6
million yen to Kawamura
AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
October 1, 2008
The Aso cabinet is noteworthy for the many lawmakers from the
educational policy clique (bunkyo-zoku), including those who have
held the post of education, science and technology minister. It has
been found that five cabinet members who are members of the
education clique, including Prime Minister Aso himself and Chief
Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, had received a total of
11.97million yen over a period between 2004 and 2006 from the
Research Institute of Educational Facilities, an incorporated
organization that served as a point of contact for collusive
relationships among politicians, bureaucrats and business leaders in
construction projects commissioned by the Education, Science and
Technology Ministry.
Akahata found the above facts by researching the political funds
reports from 2004 through 2006 of the Liberal Democratic Party's
constituency chapters headed by the lawmakers belonging to the
education policy clique, including the Aso-headed No.8 Fukuoka
Prefecture constitut3ncy chapter.
The late Kakuji Yanagawa, a former House of Councillor member,
TOKYO 00002742 011 OF 011
chaired the Research Institute of Educational Facilities for about
20 years. Many of successive executives there came from the
Educational Facilities Planning Department of the said ministry.
According to the political funds reports, Prime Minister Aso, who
served as parliamentary vice education minister and as LDP Education
Division head, received a total of 2.52 million yen from five member
companies, including 900,000 yen from Techno Ryowa Ltd. and 600,000
yen from Dai-Dan Co.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura continued to receive donations from
companies that were prosecuted for bid-rigging practices even after
their problems were disclosed. He received 2.6 million yen from 10
companies, including 360,000 yen each from Hasegawa Sports
Facilities Co. and Okumura Corp. Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone
accepted 1.71 million yen from five companies, including 360,000 yen
from Kokuyo Co. and 410,000 yen from Tonets Corp.
State Minister in Charge of Declining Birthrate Yuko Obuchi, who
assumed the post of parliamentary secretary in the education
ministry, was given a total of 4.74 million yen in donations from
nine firms, including 1.5 million yen from Sanko Air Conditioning
Co. and 720,000 yen from Uchida Yoko Co.
Education, Science and Technology Minister Ryu Shionoya, who held
the vice ministerial post in the education ministry, also received
400,000 yen from Yahagi Construction Co.
Many companies in the Research Institute of Educational Facilities
have given executive posts to facilities department heads at
national universities and local construction office heads who had
moved from the Educational Facilities Planning Department. Donations
to the lawmakers affiliated with education affairs are part of the
collusive relationship that exists among politicians, bureaucrats
and business executives.
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