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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06TOKYO1058
2006-02-28 07:58:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02/28/06

Tags:   OIIP  KMDR  KPAO  PGOV  PINR  ECON  ELAB  JA 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TOKYO 001058 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST
DIVISION; TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS
OFFICE; SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
ADVISOR; CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA
SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02/28/06


INDEX:

(1) Minshuto to suspend Nagata's membership for six months; Party
head refuses to accept resignations of Hatoyama and Noda

(2) Horie e-mail issue: Lawmaker Nagata offers apology at press
briefing; Suspension of his party membership for a half year

(3) US consul general designate denies changes possible to
coastal plan, negates US envoy's flexible remarks

(4) LDP presidential race 2006 - Factions melting down (Part 1):
Junior members rebel against seniority-based factional logic to
achieve rejuvenation

(5) Editorial: Iwakuni plebiscite-National policy not taboo,
either

(6) Editorial: Iran's nuclear ambitions - no other choice but to
clear up suspicions

(7) Editorial: Kyoto Protocol, one year after coming into effect,
finally set in motion

ARTICLES:

(1) Minshuto to suspend Nagata's membership for six months; Party
head refuses to accept resignations of Hatoyama and Noda

NIHON KEIZAI (Page
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 TOKYO 001058

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST
DIVISION; TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS
OFFICE; SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
ADVISOR; CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA
SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02/28/06


INDEX:

(1) Minshuto to suspend Nagata's membership for six months; Party
head refuses to accept resignations of Hatoyama and Noda

(2) Horie e-mail issue: Lawmaker Nagata offers apology at press
briefing; Suspension of his party membership for a half year

(3) US consul general designate denies changes possible to
coastal plan, negates US envoy's flexible remarks

(4) LDP presidential race 2006 - Factions melting down (Part 1):
Junior members rebel against seniority-based factional logic to
achieve rejuvenation

(5) Editorial: Iwakuni plebiscite-National policy not taboo,
either

(6) Editorial: Iran's nuclear ambitions - no other choice but to
clear up suspicions

(7) Editorial: Kyoto Protocol, one year after coming into effect,
finally set in motion

ARTICLES:

(1) Minshuto to suspend Nagata's membership for six months; Party
head refuses to accept resignations of Hatoyama and Noda

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Excerpts)
Eve., February 28, 2006

House of Representatives member Hisayasu Nagata of Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) will make a public apology at a press
conference this afternoon for the uproar he caused by his
allegation without decisive evidence when he cited an e-mail
allegedly from former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Hori
ordering a money transfer to Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe's son. Following his public

SIPDIS
apology, the main opposition party will soon decide on punishment
for Nagata and executive members. The party is expected to

suspend Nagata's membership for six months.

In an informal executive meeting this morning, Secretary General
Yukio Hatoyama and Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Yoshihiko Noda
offered to resign to take responsibility for the e-mail fiasco,
but party President Seiji Maehara refused to accept them.

Nagata was discharged from the hospital this morning. He will
convey the party executive his intention that he would withdraw
his earlier desire to resign his seat. Hatoyama will be present
at Nagata's press conference. Hatoyama, who has been entrusted to
handle Nagata's political fate, told reporters, "I have no
intention to let him give up his seat."

Hatoyama also pointed out, "Both the Diet affairs chief and
secretary general bear heavy responsibilities." Noda said in the

SIPDIS
executive meeting, "I leave my political fate to the party head."
If the resignations of Hatoyama and Noda are accepted, Maehara,
too, might have to resign. There remains much uncertainty about
the situation in the largest opposition party.

(2) Horie e-mail issue: Lawmaker Nagata offers apology at press

TOKYO 00001058 002 OF 008


briefing; Suspension of his party membership for a half year

MAINICHI Online (Excerpts)
February 28, 2006, 15:42

House of Representative member Hisayasu Nagata of Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) this afternoon held a press
conference in the Diet to give an explanation about the
controversial e-mail concerning Livedoor Co. Nagata acknowledged,
"I took the floor in the Diet before obtaining concrete grounds
for the authenticity of the e-mail." He then apologized: "My
questioning caused trouble and turned the Diet into an uproar. I
offer an apology for that." Asked about whether to resign as a
Diet member, Nagata stated: "I have left this case entirely to
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama. I'll follow his decision."

SIPDIS
Minshuto will not ask Nagata to resign as a Diet member and
instead take a punitive measure to suspend his party membership
for a half year.

When asked about whether he would apologize to Liberal Democratic
Party Secretary General Takebe and his second son, Nagata offered
this apology" "I am extremely sorry for having pursued them by
giving their names before completing a full investigation." But
in response to a question of whether (the e-mail) was bogus,
Nagata took care not to commit himself: "The investigation is
still continuing to see whether it is entirely groundless or if
it contains a certain amount of facts." On his course of action,
Nagata explained he had once indicated his intention to resign to
the party leadership, but he reiterated, "I have left what I will
do now entirely up to Mr. Hatoyama."

(3) US consul general designate denies changes possible to
coastal plan, negates US envoy's flexible remarks

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 1) (Abridged)
February 28, 2006

The United States will no longer accept any changes to the
planned relocation of the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in
Okinawa Prefecture to a coastal area of Camp Schwab in the
prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago, Kevin Maher, director
for security affairs at the US embassy in Japan, stressed in his
speech delivered yesterday at a study meeting hosted by Kyodo
News Service for its subscribers' editorial writers at a hotel in
the city of Naha. "We (Japan and the United States) have
basically agreed on the plan, and It would not be desirable to
negotiate the plan again," Maher said. He is the consul general
designate to Okinawa.

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer said in a speech on Feb.
13 that the United States would flexibly respond to proposals
from local communities, including the city of Nago, for changes
to the relocation plan. However, Maher's remarks negated the
ambassador's remarks, indicating that the coastal plan is a de
facto "final" plan agreed to between Japan and the United States.

In the meantime, Maher also suggested the need for the Japanese
and US governments to go through technical coordination even
after releasing a final report on the realignment of US forces in
Japan. "It will take time to detail specifics, so I think it will
take months to make specific plans even after the final report
comes out," he said.


TOKYO 00001058 003 OF 008


Japan and the United States are now in the final phase of
negotiations to return bases located in the central and southern
districts of Okinawa's main island. "If we try to carry out the
interim report's specifics separately, everything will fall
apart," Maher said. With this, he noted the necessity of reaching
a package settlement, stressing that the return of these bases is
premised on the intergovernmental agreement to relocate Futenma
airfield along with the coastal plan.

(4) LDP presidential race 2006 - Factions melting down (Part 1):
Junior members rebel against seniority-based factional logic to
achieve rejuvenation

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
February 28, 2006

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, 68, who heads the Mori
faction in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has repeatedly
urged faction members to seal off the topic of the LDP
presidential election slated for September, underscoring the
importance of unity in the faction. Mori has a "concept" of what
he wants for the presidential race, but it has yet to take solid
shape.

Mori met with former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda at the
faction office in Tokyo in early January, in which the former
premier asked Fukuda to take on the faction's No. 2 post.

In response, Fukuda said that he needed more time to consider
Mori's offer. Days later, Fukuda declined the offer, saying, "My
assumption of the post would be misinterpreted that I'm bent on
becoming Prime Minister Koizumi's successor."

The Mori faction has two prospective presidential candidates:
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, 51, and Fukuda. Mori's
proposal reflected his plan to strengthen the faction's unity
centering on Abe and Fukuda in the lead-up to the presidential
race.

Mori figured that if Abe, backed by his high national popularity,
decided to run in the race, he would easily be able to make
Fukuda new faction head by promoting him from the No. 2 post.
That way, neither Abe nor Fukuda would lose face. Abe's decision
not to seek the presidency would also give Fukuda every reason to
run in the race as the faction's No. 2.

At heart, Mori believes that the LDP should stick to the
seniority system in determining its head, and this can explain
his desire to keep Abe in a holding position.

For any faction, it is best to solidify unity under one leader.
But Mori intends to pursue a two-track approach, as he feels
uneasy about carrying through the factional logic of producing a
joint candidate for forming an uneasy alliance with other
factions.

During the Jan. 19 faction meeting, Mori angrily said, "You
should never say 'I'm for Mr. Abe or Mr. Fukuda.'" He especially
warned House of Councillors member Ichita Yamamoto, 48, "If you
keep voicing your support for Mr. Abe, you will lose your
membership in the faction."

That did not stop Yamamoto from telling the press afterward: "I

TOKYO 00001058 004 OF 008


didn't do anything wrong. I will keep telling the world that Mr.
Abe should replace Prime Minister Koizumi, and I will not leave
the faction, either."

It was a declaration that he would not abide by the faction's
seniority system. A generational clash is not confined to the
Mori faction, the largest faction with two presidential
candidates.

In the past, the LDP presidency was almost always vied for among
lawmakers of Mori's generation. Abe's candidacy would signify the
advent of an age of junior and mid-level lawmakers.

The nation has experienced four general elections since the
single-seat constituency system in favor of strong party heads
replaced the multiple-seat system in which factions had played a
central role in endorsing candidates and providing campaign
funds.

Today, over 60% of the LDP Lower House members are in their
fourth term or less. They have strong rivalry against the largest
opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) led by 43-
year-old Seiji Maehara. Junior LDP members are eager to rally
around the party's young leader, Abe, by transcending factional
boundaries.

Mori also urged faction members to support a bill to amend the
Imperial House Law by citing a major role played by former Chief
Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda of the Mori faction. But Diet
Affairs Committee Vice Chairman Hakubun Shimomura, 51, objected
to the submission of the bill to the Diet, fearing that such
might throw the government and ruling coalition into turmoil and
sully Abe's name.

Moves to protect Abe are not peculiar to junior and mid-level
members of the Mori faction.

Last year, a cross-factional policy study group was launched by a
dozen or so LDP members, including former Land, Infrastructure
and Transport Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, 48, who is close to
Abe, and Senior Vice Foreign Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki, 55, of
the Niwa-Koga faction. The membership also includes junior
members of the Tsushima and Niwa-Koga factions supportive of Abe.

Meanwhile, some veteran members are willing to back Yasuo Fukuda,
69, in the hope of becoming his successor.

Taku Yamasaki, 69, who heads the Yamasaki faction, indicated on a
television program in January that he found Fukuda's perspective
agreeable. Yamasaki also said: "The presidential race is not a
popular contest. Koizumi politics has destroyed the old system,
and the next prime minister should serve as a consensus builder."

Under Prime Minister Koizumi, who vowed to destroy the LDP, the
factions have weakened, losing their authority over personnel
issues and power to speak out. Cross-factional calls for
political rejuvenation are clearly gaining momentum in stark
contrast to the traditional seniority-oriented factional logic.

(5) Editorial: Iwakuni plebiscite-National policy not taboo,
either

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)

TOKYO 00001058 005 OF 008


February 28, 2006

The US Marine Corps' Iwakuni base is at the mouth of the
Nishikigawa River with the Kintaikyo Bridge in the city of
Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The base covers an area of more
than 600 hectares, and the Maritime Self-Defense Force also uses
the base.

The city's municipal government will promulgate a referendum on
March 5 to ask its people whether they will accept the planned
redeployment of US carrier-borne fighter jets to the base. Voting
and vote counting are slated for March 12. Iwakuni is the second
municipality in the nation to hold a plebiscite over whether to
accept a US military base, following the city of Nago in Okinawa
Prefecture.

According to an interim report released by the Japanese and US
governments on the realignment of US forces in Japan, 57 US
carrier-borne fighters and 1,600 US military personnel will be
relocated from the US Navy's Atsugi base, which is located in an
urban area of Kanagawa Prefecture, to the Iwakuni base. In
return, 17 MSDF airplanes and 700 MSDF members will be moved to
Atsugi.

In the past, the city of Iwakuni has not raised any strong
objection to the US military's use of the base. The city has
chosen to live together with the base.

The redeployment plan this time, however, was a different case.
The government pushed for the plan without listening to local
views despite its serious impacts, such as noise pollution, on
the daily lives of local communities. Iwakuni Mayor Katsusuke
Ihara took it that way and has called for the government to
retract the plan. Last summer, a group of local residents and
others collected signatures from about 60,000 people or half of
the city's population against the plan. The mayor's claim was
backed by that local anti-redeployment campaign.

Last June, the city's municipal assembly also resolved
unanimously to oppose the redeployment. Late last month, however,
a Defense Facilities Administration Agency official visited
Iwakuni, where the official said the government was not thinking
of modifying the realignment plan. Touched off by that remark,
some locals began to insist that the city, premised on its
acceptance of the plan, should hold a dialogue with the
government.

Amid the split of public opinion in the city, the mayor brought
up a referendum as a way of reaching a settlement.

The city's plebiscite ordinance stipulates that its mayor may
initiate a referendum. The outcome of voting is not legally
binding. However, the ordinance provides that the city's mayor,
municipal assembly, and residents should respect the outcome.

When it comes to bases, atomic power plants, and other issues
relating to Japan's national policy, some note that they are not
fit for a local referendum. However, the government, just because
it made the decision, cannot ignore the views of local residents
who will be heavily burdened with the presence of US military
bases. The mayor wants to show the views of his city's
population, so we want to respect his judgment.


TOKYO 00001058 006 OF 008


We polled Iwakuni citizens last weekend, and the poll found 70%
opposed to the redeployment. However, there is no knowing how
many people will actually vote. The city's ordinance stipulates
that a referendum-if its voter turnout is below 50 % -will be
nullified with no counting of votes.

In addition, there are complicated circumstances. The city of
Iwakuni will merge with seven neighboring municipalities and will
elect its new mayor in April. Some people are opposed to the
referendum, arguing that the mayor is campaigning before the
mayoral election. Taking advantage of such an objection, those in
favor of the redeployment are calling on local residents to stay
away from the poll.

Meanwhile, there are also unprecedented moves in the city, as
seen from the fact that there is now a group of anti-redeployment
locals with no political party coloring.

The 'base-hosting city' of Iwakuni-no longer what it used to
be-will now go so far as to poll its residents. The government is
probably most surprised to see such a change in the city's
attitude. However, the government has pushed for a realignment of
the US military presence in Japan while leaving base-hosting
localities in the lurch. The mayor's polling initiative is
ascribable to such a stance shown by the government.

We want to watch the future course of public opinion to be shown
directly by the citizenry of Iwakuni to begin with.

(6) Editorial: Iran's nuclear ambitions - no other choice but to
clear up suspicions

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 28, 2006

Amid growing international suspicions about Iran's nuclear
development program, Foreign Minister Mottaki visited Japan and
met with Foreign Minister Taro Aso. Aso told Mottaki that it is
important for Iran to clear up suspicions about its nuclear
ambitions and to win international trust if it wants to secure
the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This is
indeed the point that might lead to resolving Iran's nuclear
issue.

Suspicions about Iran's nuclear program turned more serious in
November 2003, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
reported that that nation had covertly repeated violations of the
IAEA safeguards agreement for the past 18 years.

In November 2004, Iran, Britain, France and Germany concluded a
Paris agreement in which Iran promised to suspend all uranium
enrichment activity.

Last August, however, immediately after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a
hard-line conservative, took office as president, Iran reneged on
the Paris agreement and began uranium conversion, the stage
before enrichment. This January, Iran restarted uranium
enrichment-related experiments.

To deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions, the IAEA convened an
emergency board meeting on Feb. 4 and adopted a resolution to
refer Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security
Council (UNSC), an international body that can impose sanctions.

TOKYO 00001058 007 OF 008


The resolution states that if Iran failed to follow the
resolution until March 6, Iran's nuclear issue will be sent to
the UNSC.

Iran and Russia reportedly have agreed in principle on a plan for
a joint venture of Iranian and Russian firms to conduct uranium
enrichment in Russia, but the two nations have yet to reach an
accord that would be able to win international confidence.

Assuredly, the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
should be afforded to Iran, as it has claimed. That right is
stipulated in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran is
a member of the NPT. But that right comes with obligations, for
instance, accepting a ban on nuclear weapons development and
nuclear inspections specified in the NPT.

Iran has stated it wants to use nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes like Japan. But it took Japan nearly three decades
before the IAEA recognized Japan as a nation that would never go
nuclear, after examining its nuclear process ranging from uranium
enrichment to reprocessing and then putting it into the group
qualified for integrated safeguards - simple nuclear inspections.

Foreign Minister Mottaki, who served as ambassador to Japan for
four and a half years until the end of 1999, should have been
well informed about these circumstances of Japan. We hope to see
him strive to persuade his nation.

Iran's nuclear issue perhaps has a variety of aspects, such as
national dignity, the public's support and security. But the only
path for Iran to follow would be to use nuclear energy for
peaceful purpose while maintaining transparency, just as Japan
does.

(7) Editorial: Kyoto Protocol, one year after coming into effect,
finally set in motion

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
February 28, 2006

The Kyoto Protocol has finally set in motion one year after it
came into effect in February of last year, through various events
including the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change late last year. At least
that is the impression that Japan now receives. But once
countries begin to be involved in emission-right markets, they
are expected to start moving actively. In that race, Japan must
not be left behind.

"(The Kyoto Protocol) has finally started moving," grumbled
representatives from major domestic nongovernmental organizations
when the Montreal Conference ended late last year. Government
sources are also excited about setting out on a voyage in an
unpredictable sea.

In the series of conferences in Canada late last year, a trigger
was finally pulled. A roadmap was finally drawn up for each
country to continue talks on greenhouse gas-emission cuts in the
second term starting in 2013 and to review the Kyoto Protocol.

Agreement has been reached on the above two commitments under the
Kyoto Protocol, and arrangements have been made to continue
economic benefits and losses to be accrued in the process of

TOKYO 00001058 008 OF 008


fulfilling the commitments in and after 2013.

Ten months after the declaration of "starting the game," the
trigger was pulled. Rules were set, and the game of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions will be played without any concern. We
have no choice but to move forward.

Under the so-called Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, countries are
allowed to trade emission rights with other countries.

The government will soon help to fund projects in developing
countries for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in
return for emission credits. The Nagoya Environment Stock
Exchange (NCTX) has gradually succeeded in joining hands with
Asian markets.

The European Union (EU) has issued a message urging Japan to
cooperate with (other countries). In order to encourage companies
to participate in green projects, it is imperative to improve the
market. Europe has already engaged in such transactions
earnestly. To catch up with Europe, Japan should strengthen
cooperation with the international market by upgrading its system
and soliciting many companies to participate in such projects.

Now that the trigger has been pulled, the trend of the
international community has apparently changed.

In the US, 35 states have pushed ahead with their own emission-
cut plans. They are also making preparations for transactions in
emission rights. In some of these states, the governor is from
the Republican Party. They are ready to take part in the market
beyond the boundary of individual states. The US is an "economic
power that loves markets." Prosperous in the environment stock
markets could be used to bring back the US to the Kyoto Protocol.

All countries now find it difficult to attain their emission-cut
goals set in the Kyoto Protocol. Now that the trigger has been
pulled, they should continue to search only benefits to be
accrued from reducing greenhouse gases, instead of finding good
excuses for cutting themselves free from their gas-cutting
obligation.

SCHIEFFER