Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 01/20/10

Published: Wed 20 Jan 2010 01:18 AM
DE RUEHKO #0112/01 0200118
P 200118Z JAN 10
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1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
Japan-U.S. alliance at 50
3) Japan-U.S. joint statement: Maintain the deterrence of U.S.
military (Nikkei)
4) Japan-U.S. joint statement mentions Okinawa (Mainichi)
5) Japan, U.S. groping for way to deepen alliance (Nikkei)
Defense & security:
6) Govt. mulling sending SDP personnel to provide medical aid to
Haiti quake victims (Asahi)
7) Finance Minister orders further search for documents relating to
secret accords (Yomiuri)
8) Yokohama District Court dismisses claim for compensation in U.S.
sailor's assault case (Akahata)
Foreign relations:
9) PM will not attend Davos Forum (Nikkei)
10) China protests Japan's plans for infrastructure construction on
outlying islands (Nikkei)
11) Prime Minister's answers in Diet session (Yomiuri)
12) Private council recommends preferential visa status for foreign
specialists (Mainichi)
13) Postal group to be reorganized into three companies (Yomiuri)
14) Tanigaki voices opposition to enfranchising foreigners (Sankei)
15) LDP lawmaker announces formation of new policy-making group
Ozawa scandal:
16) Ozawa agrees to undergo grilling by prosecutors (Yomiuri)
17) Hatoyama believes Ozawa's declaration of innocence (Asahi)
18) JAL files for bankruptcy protection (Nikkei)
19) Delta offers JAL full support (Mainichi)
20) U.S. vehicles also eligible for Eco car subsidy system (Nikkei)
Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Nikkei, Sankei, & Tokyo Shimbun:
JAL files for bankruptcy, debts hit record high of 2.3 trillion yen,
ETIC decides to support reconstruction
JCP's Sasaki demands disclosure of whole truth about money scandals
involving Hatoyama and Ozawa
(1) Diet debate: Dark democracy unnecessary
(2) JAL's legal liquidation: Reconstruction that will not increase
public burden
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(1) JAL's reconstruction: JAL must not rely on government
(2) Diet interpellation: Prime Minister Hatoyama, take action to
find breakthrough
(1) Interpellation: Prime Minister Hatoyama should answer questions
about money scandal
(2) JAL files for bankruptcy: JAL's dependence on government invited
(1) Conceited management brought JAL's bankruptcy
(1) DPJ investigation team: Does the DPJ aim to interfere with
efforts to uncover truth about allegations?
(2) JAL files for bankruptcy: Speedy and strict reconstruction
Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) 50th anniversary of the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty:
Bilateral alliance should be deepened and improved
(2) JAL legal liquidation: Reconstruct "Japan's wings"
(1) 50th anniversary of the revised Japan-U.S. Security Treaty:
Japan should aim to put end to abnormal dependency and abolish the
3) Japan, U.S. vow in joint statement to maintain U.S. military
NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
January 20, 2010
The Japanese and U.S. governments yesterday released a joint
statement of their foreign and defense ministers, as the day marked
the 50th anniversary of the signing of their current security
treaty. The joint statement proclaims that the bilateral alliance
between Japan and the United States remains "the cornerstone of
regional stability" contributing to peace and stability in the
Asia-Pacific region beyond bilateral cooperation, specifying that
U.S. forces in Japan will maintain a deterrence. It indicates that
the two countries will "deepen" their security cooperation in
wide-ranging areas to deal jointly with global issues.
Japan and the United States have been strained over the pending
issue of relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in Ginowan,
Okinawa Prefecture. As it stands, the joint statement aimed to show,
both internally and externally, that the bilateral alliance is
important and that the two countries have repaired their relations.
In a foreign ministerial meeting held on Jan. 12 in Hawaii, the
Japanese and U.S. governments agreed to shelve the Futenma issue and
start talks in an effort to deepen the bilateral alliance. The joint
statement released this time also reiterates the two countries'
intention to step up their talks.
Meanwhile, the focus is on what to do about the presence of U.S.
military bases in Japan. In this regard, the two countries vow in
the joint statement to "mitigate the burden of base-hosting
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localities, including Okinawa." The joint statement says the two
countries "endorse efforts to maintain (U.S.) deterrence, including
an appropriate stationing of U.S. forces (in Japan)." However, it
did not touch on the Futenma relocation issue.
In addition, the joint statement also pointed to such "new threats"
as North Korea's nuclear programs and terrorism. It emphasizes the
bilateral alliance's significance, saying the two countries will
seek global peace and security without nuclear weapons while
maintaining necessary deterrence." Concerning China, the joint
statement says Japan and the United States will welcome that
country's "constructive and responsible role in the international
4) Joint statement refers to consideration for Okinawa
MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)
January 20, 2010
The Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC), made up of
foreign and defense ministers from Japan and the United States, met
yesterday and released a joint statement, as the day marked the 50th
anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The
joint statement gives high marks to the bilateral alliance between
the two countries and its role. At the same time, it also says the
two countries will deepen their alliance. In the joint statement,
the Japanese and U.S. governments vow to "reduce the burden of
base-hosting localities, including Okinawa," and endorse "efforts to
maintain deterrence, including an appropriate stationing of U.S.
forces, in a changing security environment," thereby indicating the
two governments' intention to maintain U.S. military deterrence in
Japan. In addition, the joint statement also incorporated efforts to
seek "a world without nuclear weapons" as advocated by President
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, meeting the press yesterday,
indicated that the "Okinawa Base Issues Review Committee," a panel
of officials from the government and ruling parties, should discuss
where to relocate the U.S. military's Futenma airfield in Okinawa
Prefecture from the perspective of maintaining deterrence. "We
cannot ignore U.S. military deterrence when thinking about the
Futenma replacement facility," Okada said. Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa, also meeting the press yesterday, pointed to the threat
from North Korea and China's military expansion and underscored the
presence of U.S. forces in Okinawa as a necessary deterrence.
5) Japan, U.S. groping for ways to deepen security alliance
NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Although the Japanese and U.S. governments emphasize their
determination to deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance and make it the
"anchor of stability" in Asia and the Pacific in their joint
statement (on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the security
treaty), they are groping for concrete ways to do so. Tackling the
issue of the relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station, the
rise of China both politically and economically, and the North Korea
issues will not be easy. The road to the redefinition of the 1996
Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security, which defined the role of
the security alliance in the post-Cold War period, will be bumpy.
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At his news conference on Jan. 19, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
said: "We will, of course, discuss developments in China," citing
China as one topic in the talks for deepening the alliance. China
has been at the center of changes in the security environment in
Asia and the Pacific since the 1996 Joint Declaration. While there
has been a persistent theory of China's threat, cooperation with
China in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile issues is
also indispensable. A delicate balance between caution and
cooperation is crucial.
In the first place, the foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance has
been destabilized because Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has
indicated his intention to reconsider the relocation site of the
Futenma base, which had already been agreed upon by the two
countries. Along with suspicions about Hatoyama's advocacy of an
"equal Japan-U.S. relationship," the U.S. is increasingly
distrustful of the Hatoyama administration. Hatoyama has declared
that the "results" of the bilateral talks on deepening the alliance
"will be presented to the people before the end of the year." The
Japan-U.S. summit to be held when President Barack Obama visits
Japan in November will be a critical juncture, but this will be
premised on the rebuilding of the bilateral relationship of trust.
At his news conference, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said: "If
the security alliance is strong, climate change and energy will also
be discussed," indicating that a solution to the Futenma issue will
contribute to the deepening of the overall alliance. How can this be
reconciled with the Social Democratic Party and others advocating
Futenma's relocation out of Japan or out of Okinawa? The first
hurdle to deepening the alliance will be whether the government can
meet the deadline of May for a solution to the Futenma issue.
6) Government considers dispatching SDF personnel to Haiti to
provide additional medical assistance
ASAHI (Page 9) (Full)
January 20, 2010
The Hatoyama government has started looking into dispatching
Self-Defense Force (SDF) medical personnel to Haiti to treat
survivors of the devastating earthquake. Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa ordered the SDF on Jan. 18 to start preparations for
sending a medical team and has already sent a fact-finding team of
12 members to the stricken area.
The government plans to send a medical team of 70 to 80 members who
will engage in providing medical services to the injured and
controlling infectious diseases. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano said in a press conference on Jan. 18: "We have to carry out
additional rescue measures. We hear the situation there is very
serious." Once arrangements are completed, the government will
dispatch a team composed mainly of medical officers by the end of
this week from the Ground Self-Defense Force's Middle Army (in Itami
City, Hyogo Prefecture).
7) Finance Minister Kan orders reinvestigation into documents
related to Japan-U.S. secret pact
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Finance Minister Naoto Kan revealed during a press conference
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yesterday that he has ordered his ministry to reinvestigate the
documents related to a secret pact on the expenses to restore the
sites of former U.S. bases to their original condition during the
reversion of Okinawa to Japanese administration. "According to my
experience, old documents were generally kept at government
offices," Kan said. In 1996 when he was serving as health and
welfare ministry, Kan had his ministry disclose documents on
drug-induced AIDS problems that had been kept at the ministry.
8) Yokohama District Court dismisses taxi driver's claim for
compensation from government in U.S. sailor's assault case
AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
January 20, 2010
The Yokohama District Court handed down its verdict on Jan. 19 in
the claim for compensation for damages from the government filed by
Mr. Iwao Tabata, 64. Tabata, a taxi driver, was assaulted by a
sailor of the Blue Ridge, the flagship of the U.S. Navy's Seventh
Fleet based in Yokosuka, who was inebriated after an
all-night-drinking binge, and suffered serious injuries in an
incident in September 2006. He was suing for compensation on the
grounds that U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) failed to meet its
responsibility for supervising the sailor. Chief Justice Toshimasa
Fukami dismissed the plaintiff's case.
The verdict recognizes that the USFJ has power of supervision over
U.S. service members off-duty. It also cites the fact that the USFJ
recognizes that drinking at night is a cause of crimes by U.S.
service members and has imposed restrictions on going out at night
and drinking during off-duty hours and states: "It cannot be denied
that if (the USFJ) had thoroughly enforced its regulations, the
crime committed in this case could possibly have been avoided."
However, the sentence emphasizes that "it is impossible to restrict"
the behavior of USFJ personnel "excessively." It cites the fact that
the U.S. sailor had no previous record of disciplinary action or
trouble caused by drinking, and therefore, the USFJ's failure to
restrict the suspect "cannot be regarded as grossly irrational,"
denying that the USFJ failed to fulfill its supervisory
Lawyer Hiroshi Takahashi gave the following comments: "It is
commendable that the court recognizes that failure to strictly
enforce regulations covering drinking at night to prevent crimes by
U.S. service members resulted in the crime. However, its verdict
that the USFJ did not fail to meet its supervisory responsibility is
in discrepancy with the people's common sense."
9) Hatoyama to forgo attending Davos conference
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full0
January 20, 2010
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama decided yesterday to forgo attending
the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (Davos conference),
which will start on Jan. 27 in Davos, Switzerland, according to a
government source. Hatoyama has given priority to voting on the
second supplementary budget for fiscal 2009, which the government
aims to pass before the end of this month.
10) China opposes bill on preservation of Okinotori Island
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NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Referring to the Japanese government's decision to submit to the
current regular Diet session a bill aimed at the preservation of the
nation's outlying islands, including Okinotori Island, the
southernmost island of Japan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma
Zhaoxu said at a press conference yesterday: "The Japanese
government's assertion of the expansion of territorial waters under
its jurisdiction with Okinotori Island as a base does not conform
with international law."
11) Prime Minister's replies during Jan. 19 House of Representatives
question-and-answer session
YOMIURI (Page 11) (Excerpts)
January 20, 2010
Economic measures
The economy is picking up, but it still lacks vitality. The
government decided on a package of economic stimulus measures last
December in the face of the high unemployment rate and the severe
employment situation. Defining employment and the environment as
priority areas, the government will enhance the nation's growth
potential from the mid- to long-term perspective. The government
will produce an overall picture of its growth strategy by around
Futenma relocation issue
The government will look into the matter based on the Japan-U.S.
agreement and the policy agreement of the coalition government,
while valuing the sentiments of the people in Okinawa. (The
government and the ruling parties') study committee will reach a
conclusion by May. The government will look into a wide-range of
possible relocation sites without attaching any preconditions.
Three weapons-export principles
The three principles banning weapons exports are vital in light of
the peace-oriented country's basic idea of avoiding international
conflicts. The government will adhere to the policy of dealing with
matters cautiously based on the three principles.
12) Panel on immigration policy recommends simplification of entry
procedures, other preferential treatment for foreign experts
MAINICHI (Page 24) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Junichi Ishikawa
A private advisory body to the justice minister, the "council on
immigration policy" submitted a report to Justice Minister Keiko
Chiba on Jan. 19 recommending preferential treatment, such as
extension of authorized period of stay, for foreigners with high
levels of specialized knowledge and skills. This is aimed at
increasing the incentive for them to come to Japan. The
recommendations will be incorporated and institutionalized in the
basic immigration policy plan to be drafted by the Ministry of
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Justice shortly.
The report recommends introducing a point system which will give
preferential treatment in immigration procedures for foreigners
obtaining a certain number of points assigned for educational
background, income, linguistic ability, and so forth. Research
achievements and other categories will be given additional points,
and a foreigner certified to have "advanced expertise" should enjoy
such preferential treatment as simplification of immigration
procedures and authorized period of stay of up to five years.
The panel recommends that the entry into Japan of foreigners in the
following categories should be encouraged: researchers and other
academics; doctors, lawyers, and other professionals with advanced
expertise and skills; and business managers and experts in
management and administration. The UK, Australia, Canada, and other
countries already have point systems in place. The report also
recommends that the limit of authorized stay for dentists, nurses,
and other foreigners with government certified medical licenses,
currently set at four to seven years, should be abolished, as in the
case of doctors.
13) PNP final draft proposes reforming current structure of postal
group into three-company system
YOMIURI (Page 9) (Excerpt)
January 20, 2010
The People's New Party (PNP) revealed yesterday its final draft plan
for reforming the Japan Post Group prior to the start of drafting a
postal reform bill (tentative name). Under the plan, the current
five-company system under Japan Post Holdings Co. would be changed
into a three-company system in which Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan
Post Insurance Co. would be placed under a holding company to be
formed by integrating Japan Post Holdings, Japan Post Service Co.,
and Japan Post Network Co. In its initial draft, the PNP had
presented two ideas - a one-company system and a three-company
system, but the party has withdrawn the one-company system.
14) Tanigaki expresses opposition to granting local suffrage to
foreign residents
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki, appearing on a
BS Fuji-TV program last night, announced that his party will oppose
a bill to grant local suffrage (voting rights) to permanent foreign
residents in Japan. He said: "When looking at the moves to leave the
question of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station up
to a local election (Nago mayoral election), I wonder if it is a
good idea to grant local suffrage." He thus expressed his intention
to require the LDP lawmakers to vote according to party policy.
15) Five LDP lawmakers to form new policy study group
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Five Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers, including Yuji
Yamamoto, former minister of financial services, yesterday announced
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that they would form a new policy study group, "Nozomi," advocating
constitutional reform. Yamamoto said, "We want to support LDP
President Sadakazu Tanigaki and participate in attacking the
Democratic Party of Japan." Besides Yamamoto, the new group includes
Ichiro Kamoshita, Keiji Furuya, Yoshihisa Furukawa, and Seiichi Eto.
Ryota Takeda decided against joining the group.
16) Ozawa agrees to undergo questioning over land deal scandal
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Excerpt)
January 20, 2010
Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa has
notified prosecutors that he will accept their request for
questioning over a shady land purchase by Rikuzan-kai, Ozawa's
political fund management group, according to informed sources. The
prosecutors suspect that the land deal violated the Political Funds
Control Law. The two sides will now arrange a date for the
questioning. The prosecutors have also asked Ozawa's wife to
voluntarily submit to questioning as an unsworn witness.
17) Hatoyama: "It is natural as a peer to believe in his innocence,"
in replying to Diet questions over Ozawa's land deal scandal
ASAHI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
January 20, 2010
Asked about the propriety of his decision to keep Secretary General
Ichiro Ozawa in his post, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama replied in a
plenary session at the House of Representatives yesterday: "I have
trusted Mr. Ozawa as our party secretary general up until now, so it
is the principle stance as a peer to believe in his innocence if he
claims that he is." Ozawa's former aides were arrested on suspicion
of violating the Political Funds Control Law.
Hatoyama reiterated in the interpellation session that since the
case involving Ozawa's political fund management organization is
under investigation by prosecutors, "it is necessary to calmly watch
the development of the investigation." He also said: "I have no
intention of (criticizing) the prosecutors' investigation or
exercising my authority." He added that he was not considering an
investigation by the party.
18) JAL applies for court-administered bankruptcy protection and
reorganization: ETIC to support carrier's turnaround; flight
operations to be continued
NIKKEI (Top play) (Lead para.)
January 20, 2010
The financially-troubled Japan Airlines (JAL) and two of its
subsidiaries on Jan. 19 announced that they applied for protection
with the Tokyo District Court under the Corporate Bankruptcy Law and
received on the same day a court decision to commence the
procedures. The JAL group's total liabilities stand at 2.32 trillion
yen, the highest-ever amount for a company outside the financial
sector. The Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan
(ETIC) has formally decided to support JAL's reconstruction. The
corporate turnaround body and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ)
will provide the carrier a credit line worth 900 billion yen in
public funds. Following these decisions, the Tokyo Stock Exchange
announced that it will designate JAL stock as a liquidation issue
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for a month starting on the same day and delist it on Feb. 20.
19) Delta Air Lines offers full support to JAL
MAINICHI (Page 8) (Full)
January 20, 2010
Following Japan Airline's (JAL) application for a petition for
protection with the court under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law,
Delta Air Lines of the U.S. which is aiming at forming an alliance
with JAL, and SkyTeam, to which Delta Air Lines belongs, on Jan. 19
issued comments noting that they will offer full support to JAL and
extend as much financial aid and support as possible to the carrier.
American Airlines of the U.S., a member of OneWorld, to which JAL
belongs, also released a statement saying that it will continue to
cooperate with JAL.
20) Subsidy system for eco-friendly-car buyers to be applied to U.S.
vehicles as well
NIKKEI (Page 7) (Full)
January 20, 2010
The U.S. has been calling on Japan to review its subsidy system for
buyers of Japanese-made eco-friendly cars, complaining that the
system is excluding U.S. automakers. In connection with this, the
government on Jan. 19 announced that it would add imported cars that
are not covered under Japan's system for designating vehicle types
to the list of vehicles eligible for the subsidy system. To be
precise, buyers of vehicles imported under the basic screening
system that targets imported cars will become eligible for tax
No U.S. vehicles have thus far been covered by the system. However,
three or four types of vehicles or about 700 units will become
eligible for subsidies after the revision.
Under the eco-friendly vehicle subsidy system, up to 250,000 yen
will be provided to buyers of a vehicle that meet the fuel
efficiency standard set under the designated model system. The basic
screening system is applied to approximately 30 percent of U.S.
vehicles imported by Japan. Following the review of the system,
whether to apply the eco-friendly vehicle subsidy system to U.S.
cars will be determined on the basis of whether the vehicles meet
the subsidy standards by converting the U.S-style fuel efficiency
value determined on a mileage-per-gallon basis into kilometers per
liter under the system for designating vehicle types.
Concerning this issue, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in talks with
Foreign Minister Okada called for a corrective measure, saying:
"There is growing concern on the issue in Congress." Resolutions on
the inequality of the system have been submitted to the Senate and
the House of Representatives. Referring to the review of the system,
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima said: "There
is something unclear regarding whether the fuel efficiency system
adopted by the U.S. is really correct or not. However, the
government has expanded the vehicles eligible for the subsidy system
from the viewpoint of stimulating the economy. We did not handle
this issue as a political issue."
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