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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06TOKYO1186
2006-03-06 07:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03/06/06

Tags:   OIIP  KMDR  KPAO  PGOV  PINR  ECON  ELAB  JA 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8607
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1186/01 0650752
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060752Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9395
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 7600
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 4969
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 8082
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5006
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 6157
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0963
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7155
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9150
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TOKYO 001186 

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 03/06/06

INDEX:

(1) Questions and answers from interview with Kevin Maher,
Security Division Director at the US Embassy in Japan:
Strengthening Guam base would improve Japan's deterrence
capabilities

(2) Strains in the Japan-US alliance (Part 1): How will two
countries break away from dependence on Koizumi-Bush friendship?

(3) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with Tetsuo Jinbou, freelance journalist; Argument
"beef will be safe under blanket-testing system" is fictitious

(4) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with NCBA Chairman Michael John; US ready to take
sufficient safety measures, including inspectors' retraining

(5) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Party 3 - conclusion): Restart
of stricken Minshuto

(Corrected copy) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Part 2): President
Maehara manages the party as if he is still in college

ARTICLES:

(1) Questions and answers from interview with Kevin Maher,
Security Division Director at the US Embassy in Japan:
Strengthening Guam base would improve Japan's deterrence
capabilities

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
March 5, 2006

The following are the questions and answers from Sankei's
interview with Kevin Maher, director of the security division of
the US Embassy in Japan.

-- The talks on the realignment of US forces in Japan are
reaching the final stage.

"All of the realignment proposals make up a package that we would
like to see the Japanese government implement in order to improve
the capabilities of the US-Japan alliance. We, too, think that
the burden of the bases should be lightened, and this is Japan's
chance to do so. The Japanese government is carrying out
coordination with local governments, but we recognize that there
is need to listen to the voices of the local communities in
implementing the plans."

-- Are you thinking of responding to calls for revision of the
(coastal plan) for relocating Futenma Air Station to Camp Schwab?

"Specifically, we need to make technical adjustments. The basic
plan agreed on (coastal plan) should be implemented, but in order
to do so, we need to listen to the voices of the local
communities, and if there are small technical adjustments needed,
we will respond flexibly."

-- There is a request from the local community for you to move
the relocation spot toward the ocean (okiai ni surashite
hoshii).


TOKYO 00001186 002 OF 009


"(The relocation) would not be possible unless we can provide
assurance to the people in the local area by taking into
consideration the safety and noise factors. There is flexibility
in making adjustments based on that perspective."

-- By moving the Okinawa Marines to Guam, won't deterrence
capabilities drop?

"Although the most important purpose of moving the Marines to
Guam is to lighten the burden of Okinawa, another part of
realignment is to be in a location where they can respond
flexibly to a crisis. Even if the command is shifted to Guam, the
combat troops and functions of Futenma air field would remain on
Okinawa, and the deterrence capabilities would not be degraded."

-- What level of the shared cost of relocating the Marines to
Guam are you asking Japan to bear?

"That is something the Japanese government and the Japanese
people will decide. If Japan cooperates, the relocation of the
Marines will be swift, and the facilities on Guam will be
improved. It will also be possible for the Self-Defense Forces to
increase their drills on Guam, which will be a plus for Japan. I
would like to stress that the strengthening of the functions of
the Guam base will lead to improved deterrence capabilities for
Japan."

-- How is the perception of China as a threat reflected in these
moves?

"The need to improve the capability of the alliance is not
thought of as a response to any one specific country. The changes
are to respond to new threats and diverse situations. Rather than
focusing on a threat, we should improve our relations as
countries that are being called to play important roles globally.
"

-- The Japanese government is having difficulty coordinating with
the local governments, so do you feel frustration?

"None in particular. The Japanese government I believe can
implement the plans."

(2) Strains in the Japan-US alliance (Part 1): How will two
countries break away from dependence on Koizumi-Bush friendship?

YOMIURI (Page
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TOKYO 001186

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 03/06/06

INDEX:

(1) Questions and answers from interview with Kevin Maher,
Security Division Director at the US Embassy in Japan:
Strengthening Guam base would improve Japan's deterrence
capabilities

(2) Strains in the Japan-US alliance (Part 1): How will two
countries break away from dependence on Koizumi-Bush friendship?

(3) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with Tetsuo Jinbou, freelance journalist; Argument
"beef will be safe under blanket-testing system" is fictitious

(4) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with NCBA Chairman Michael John; US ready to take
sufficient safety measures, including inspectors' retraining

(5) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Party 3 - conclusion): Restart
of stricken Minshuto

(Corrected copy) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Part 2): President
Maehara manages the party as if he is still in college

ARTICLES:

(1) Questions and answers from interview with Kevin Maher,
Security Division Director at the US Embassy in Japan:
Strengthening Guam base would improve Japan's deterrence
capabilities

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
March 5, 2006

The following are the questions and answers from Sankei's
interview with Kevin Maher, director of the security division of
the US Embassy in Japan.

-- The talks on the realignment of US forces in Japan are
reaching the final stage.

"All of the realignment proposals make up a package that we would
like to see the Japanese government implement in order to improve

the capabilities of the US-Japan alliance. We, too, think that
the burden of the bases should be lightened, and this is Japan's
chance to do so. The Japanese government is carrying out
coordination with local governments, but we recognize that there
is need to listen to the voices of the local communities in
implementing the plans."

-- Are you thinking of responding to calls for revision of the
(coastal plan) for relocating Futenma Air Station to Camp Schwab?

"Specifically, we need to make technical adjustments. The basic
plan agreed on (coastal plan) should be implemented, but in order
to do so, we need to listen to the voices of the local
communities, and if there are small technical adjustments needed,
we will respond flexibly."

-- There is a request from the local community for you to move
the relocation spot toward the ocean (okiai ni surashite
hoshii).


TOKYO 00001186 002 OF 009


"(The relocation) would not be possible unless we can provide
assurance to the people in the local area by taking into
consideration the safety and noise factors. There is flexibility
in making adjustments based on that perspective."

-- By moving the Okinawa Marines to Guam, won't deterrence
capabilities drop?

"Although the most important purpose of moving the Marines to
Guam is to lighten the burden of Okinawa, another part of
realignment is to be in a location where they can respond
flexibly to a crisis. Even if the command is shifted to Guam, the
combat troops and functions of Futenma air field would remain on
Okinawa, and the deterrence capabilities would not be degraded."

-- What level of the shared cost of relocating the Marines to
Guam are you asking Japan to bear?

"That is something the Japanese government and the Japanese
people will decide. If Japan cooperates, the relocation of the
Marines will be swift, and the facilities on Guam will be
improved. It will also be possible for the Self-Defense Forces to
increase their drills on Guam, which will be a plus for Japan. I
would like to stress that the strengthening of the functions of
the Guam base will lead to improved deterrence capabilities for
Japan."

-- How is the perception of China as a threat reflected in these
moves?

"The need to improve the capability of the alliance is not
thought of as a response to any one specific country. The changes
are to respond to new threats and diverse situations. Rather than
focusing on a threat, we should improve our relations as
countries that are being called to play important roles globally.
"

-- The Japanese government is having difficulty coordinating with
the local governments, so do you feel frustration?

"None in particular. The Japanese government I believe can
implement the plans."

(2) Strains in the Japan-US alliance (Part 1): How will two
countries break away from dependence on Koizumi-Bush friendship?

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
March 5, 2006

On Feb. 18, talks were held at a US military facility in Tokyo's
Minamiazabu district between senior Japanese and US officials to
discuss the realignment of US forces in Japan. In the
discussions, US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless
repeatedly stressed sharply, "Futenma is our top priority.
Without that problem solved, 8,000 Marines will not move."

Lawless was making it clear that the transfer of 8,000 US Marines
out of Okinawa is strictly conditioned on the relocation of the
US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station.

Although Tokyo and Washington agreed 10 years ago to relocate
Futenma Air Station to a new site in Okinawa, the Japanese
government has yet to convince affected local governments to

TOKYO 00001186 003 OF 009


accept a relocation plan within the prefecture. Although Japan
and the US are in accord in principle on the need to alleviate
the burden on Okinawa, they are wide apart when it comes to
specifics.

Japan and the US also disagree on the reform of the United
Nations. Japan, Germany, India, and, Brazil jointly produced a
plan to expand the 15-member UN Security Council by 10 seats. But
the US refused to support the plan. As a result, Japan changed
its position and independently came up with another plan to
increase the membership only by six in a bid to win the
endorsement of the US, which wants to keep the framework
relatively small. But the US has yet to express its support for
even that plan. Some Japanese officials have begun speculating
that the US is just trying to buy time in order to shelve UN
reform.

There is a reason for Japanese officials to feel uneasy.

Prior to the Japan-US summit meeting last November, Japanese and
US officials actually had agreed to add six seats to the UNSC.
But the summit meeting failed to nail down the plan, as Prime
Minister Koizumi forgot to broach it in his talks with President
Bush. Reportedly this prompted the US to become even more
reluctant to back Japan's reform plan, concluding that Koizumi
himself was unenthusiastic about reforming the world body.

To begin with, Japan-US relations now rely heavily on the
personal relationship between Koizumi and Bush. Their mutual
trust was solidified by Japan's deployment of Ground Self-Defense
Force troops to Iraq.

Koizumi once confided to an aide, "Even if Japanese troops were
attacked by terrorists and faced tremendous difficulty, I would
not pull them out of Iraq." The US highly evaluated Koizumi's
unprecedented resolve to take risks.

The President's power in the United States seems almost absolute.
Thus, Koizumi, being recognized as a friend of the US President,
has been able to use that relationship as Japan's trump card in
dealing with the US.

But the GSDF mission in Iraq, a symbol of how well the Japan-US
alliance is going, is expected to come to an end shortly. Prime
Minister Koizumi is also scheduled to step down from his post in
September.

Will Tokyo and Washington be able to break away from their
reliance on the personal friendship of the two leaders and
rebuild strong institutional relations?

One of the answers to that question would be enhancing foreign-
policy cooperation between Japan and the US centering on Asia.
The two countries need to tighten the noose around North Korea's
nuclear ambitions by keeping the "dialogue and pressure" approach
in place. China's rapid growth also requires long-term strategies
by Japan and the US.

The security front also needs closer bilateral cooperation. The
two countries produced an interim report last October specifying
a variety of objectives, such as missile defense, intelligence
sharing between the SDF and US military, and greater
interoperability.

TOKYO 00001186 004 OF 009



Defense Agency Director General Fukushiro Nukaga noted, "Japan
must select and address areas on its own before being pressed to
do so by the US military."

Koizumi is considering making his last visit to the US as prime
minister. If realized, his visit is certain to become a major
event to forecast the future of the Japan-US alliance under the
Koizumi administration.

Japan-US relations, reputed to be the best in the postwar era,
are now at a crossroads. The two countries have begun locking
horns over US force realignment, beef trade, UN reform, and other
issues. Where will the Japan-US alliance head for, once the
Koizumi-Bush honeymoon relationship is over?

(3) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with Tetsuo Jinbou, freelance journalist; Argument
"beef will be safe under blanket-testing system" is fictitious

ASAHI (Page 15) (Slightly abridged)
March 3, 2006

The government has re-imposed its ban on US beef imports,
following the discovery of vertebral columns, a specified risk
material (SRM), in a shipment to Japan. Japan has criticized the
US for violating the agreement reached between the two countries.
But the agreement itself, in a sense, is unreasonable. The
government assumes the responsibility for this development,
because it has not satisfactorily provided the people with
information to enable them to make a proper assessment of the
situation.

When the first case of BSE was announced in Japan in September
2001, the government was slow to disclose the information,
resulting in heightening public distrust in beef. To eliminate
the uneasiness, the government explained: "If a blanket
inspection system is introduced, the safety of beef will be
ensured." This misguided explanation complicated matters even
further.

Many might think that if a blanket-inspection system is
introduced, all products to be shipped to market would be tested.
But even under this system, only those parts of the brain in
which agents causing BSE tend to be accumulated are tested. Of
course, this can be taken as a part of the safety net, but the
risk of BSE still will not be completely removed.

To prevent BSE, it is important to impose restrictions on animal
feed and to remove SRMs. Following the discovery of the first
case of BSE in the nation, Japanese cattle farmers began to take
these measures, and by 2003 or so, the measures were fixed across
the nation.

Despite this fact, the government continued to take advantage of
the "myth of blanket testing." The media also stopped shy of
reporting that blanket testing is not a perfect safety measure.
As a result, many Japanese still believe that "beef will be safe
under the blanket-inspection system."

In the US, satisfactory restrictions have not been imposed on
animal feed. SRMs have not been completely removed, either. That
is the reason why concerns about the safety of US beef remain.

TOKYO 00001186 005 OF 009



The US allows livestock farmers to use meat-and-bone meal from
cows as animal feed. It is difficult to confirm cross
contamination, namely, that cattle never eat feed intended for
pigs or chicken. Feeding cattle chicken manure is also allowed.
Given these circumstances, the risk of indirect contamination
cannot be ruled out.

In Japan, SRMs are required to be removed from all cattle. In the
US, though, the requirement is to remove SRMs only from cattle 30
months of age or older. It has also been reported that the SRM-
removal process is considerably sloppy at leading meat-processing
plants in the US. There are loopholes in feed restrictions, and
SRMs have not been satisfactorily removed. The rate of cows
subjected to BSE testing to all cattle in the US is only 1%.
Under such circumstances, it is conceivable that the US has not
come up with an accurate BSE incident rate.

In Europe, SRMs must be removed from cattle 12 months of age or
older. Compared with this, the US standards are overly lenient,
but in contrast, Japan's standards are too strict for even the
international community.

Even so, I cannot totally agree with the view that "Americans eat
beef without any anxiety about its safety and that Japanese
people are overly nervous." In the US, 13 states have introduced
a so-called food libel laws (TN see URL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food libel laws ). In part because
of this, ordinary American people cannot easily obtain
information about BSE.

Experts see the possibility of humans being infected with BSE as
considerably low, based on the view that the species barrier
would prevent BSE from infecting humans. They say it would be
unreasonable to fuel general public distrust in beef.

The Japanese government, even so, must set two key requirements -
- feed restrictions and SRM removal -- as the absolute conditions
for resuming US beef imports. The government then should disclose
information and provide the public with the opportunity of
deciding on whether to eat US beef. To do so, it is also
necessary to impose the labeling requirement of origin on
processed products, in addition to raw meat now subject to the
application of the requirement under the current JAS Law.

(4) Tasks to clear before removing ban on US beef imports:
Interview with NCBA Chairman Michael John; US ready to take
sufficient safety measures, including inspectors' retraining

ASAHI (Page 15) (Full)
March 3, 2006

I have been greatly disappointed at our loss of the Japanese
market again following the discovery of a violation of the
agreement reached between the US and Japan last December. I hear
that the vertebral columns in question were shipped in response
to an order from a Japanese company, but the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for export procedures in the
US. Japan is an important trading partner for US beef producers,
and we would like to maintain good relations with Japan in the
future, as well. We are determined to address the BSE issue in
the form of cooperating with Japan, instead of taking an
adversarial position.

TOKYO 00001186 006 OF 009



The recent violation, however, has nothing to do with the issue
of food safety but is from start to finish simply a technical
problem. The responsible inspector made a mistake. In dealing
with a special case (of veal from a calf several months of age,
which is considered free from BSE risk in the US), the inspector
reportedly was not fully trained.

In the report on research results released by USDA on Feb. 17,
Secretary Johanns presented measures to prevent a recurrence of a

SIPDIS
similar violation, specifically, including retraining inspectors
and increasing the number of personnel engaged in inspections.
Although I cannot speak from the standpoint of Japanese
consumers, I believe those measures will be sufficient to restore
their trust in the safety of US beef. We will also offer
cooperation so that the measures in the report will be actually
implemented.

The longer Japan puts off a response to the report, the more
heated arguments (calling for Japan's early resumption of US beef
imports) will be heard in the US Congress. The National
Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) will hold a spring general
convention in Washington and pay calls on the Congress in late
March. I think American producers are willing to do whatever they
can to help Japan resume US beef imports. There are congressmen
who support the principle of free trade and are calling for
actions to maintain fair trade relations.

We would like to avoid a situation in which Japanese consumers
would become distrustful of US beef in the belief that Japan
decided to resume imports under political pressure from the US.
We have promised, though, to observe the Japan-US agreement, and
in actuality, there is no problem in terms of safety. If the US
takes measures to prevent a similar case, I believe there will be
no reason for Japan to keep a permanent ban on US beef.

I hear some Japanese are skeptical of the United States' system
for estimating the age in months of cattle, but there is the
requirement for us to prove that beef bound for Japan is from
cattle 20 months of age or younger by either means - USDA
inspection of meat quality at slaughterhouses or birth records.
The conditions that producers must abide by are clearly set forth
in US export procedures. I do not think there is any problem with
the US age-determination system.

In addition, US slaughterhouses have long taken the measure to
remove specified risk materials (SRM). Meat-processing plants
have been inspected more strictly than any other food plants in
the US and even in the world.

Since the first case of BSE was reported in the US in December
2003, we have inspected more than 630,000 head of cattle at high
risk of BSE, but only one tested positive. We have also banned
SRM from being used as animal feed for more than eight years, in
response to a request by the World Organization for Animal Heath,
known as the OIE.

I have been a rancher who raised cattle, so cooked beef has been
a daily essential on our family's dinner table. I guess the same
is true for most families in the US. American consumers' trust in
the safety of beef remains unchanged. We will carry out whatever
we can to convince Japanese consumers of the safety of US beef. I
am looking forward to seeing Japanese consumers enjoy the taste

TOKYO 00001186 007 OF 009


of US beef again.

(5) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Party 3 - conclusion): Restart
of stricken Minshuto

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
March 4, 2006

Kozo Watanabe, 73, the new chairman of the main opposition party
Minshuto's (Democratic Party of Japan) Diet Affairs Committee,
made former Diet affairs chief Yoshihiko Noda, 48, laugh on March
3 by saying, "Actress Mitsuko Mori can still to hand stands
despite her being 85 years old. We both eat three raw eggs every
day."

At a meeting of all Diet members of the party, Watanabe urged the
participants to get moving with more vigor during the second half
of the ongoing Diet session or else, "We won't be able to respond
to the public's expectations.

The largest opposition party appeared to have has momentum at the
opening stage of the current Diet session having obtained a set
of four issues to grill the government and ruling coalition. The
four issues include: the Livedoor scandal; the anti-earthquake
data falsification scam; the issue of US beef imports; and the
bid-rigging scandal involving the Defense Facilities
Administration Agency. Lower House member Sumio Mabuchi, who
pursued the government on the earthquake-proof data falsification
scandal, expressed enthusiasm on his own website that since the
Diet is the only place for the opposition to display its
presence, he would carry out heated debate at the session.

Minshuto, however, made a fatal mistake in dealing with the e-
mail fiasco, lodgind allegations made by one of the party's
lawmakers based on a fabricated email message. As a result, the
party's pursuit of the set of four issues foundered. Last weekend
when lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata, who had brought up the e-mail
allegations in the Diet, was hospitalized, Mabuchi grumbled to
the party's Budget Committee members: "We don't need to change
our stance of pursuing the government and ruling camp. We should
not just be thinking about pursuing scandals."

Based on the self-examination that the party lacked investigative
and verification capabilities, giving priority to Diet
performances, the party held on March 2 a first meeting of its
investigative team on the e-mail uproar. The panel began looking
into measures to prevent a recurrence. Some mid-level and junior
lawmakers have called for reconsidering how the party should
basically deal with matters as an opposition party.

The opposition usually grills the stance of the government-ruling
coalition and their responses at the budget committees of both
chambers where the ruling and opposition camps conduct debate on
national issues in general. After that, they deliberate
individual bills, presenting counterproposals to play up the
capability of assuming the political reins.

Minshuto conceives such Diet debate as realizing a functioning
two-party system.

However, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from an ad-hoc public
opinion survey conducted on March 1-2 that 72% of the respondents
thought that Minshuto did not have the capability of assuming the

TOKYO 00001186 008 OF 009


reins of government. Despite the fact that the party's survival
is at stake, many veteran and mid-level lawmakers have been
quietly watching from afar the maneuvering at the top on choosing
the new chairman of the party's Diet Affairs Committee. The
maneuvering is aimed at the party leadership race in September.
Such moves in Minshuto may explain the public's dissatisfaction
with the main opposition party.

President Maehara said on March 3:

"I want to rebuild the leadership. I also would like our party to
fulfill the responsibility of the largest opposition party by
pursuing the set of four issues and distortions of the Koizumi
reform drive."

Watanabe categorically said this about his party's Diet strategy:

"We don't have to stick to just stating the policy line. If we
consider that a bill benefits the public, we will approve it. But
if we assume that a bill will not be good for the people, we
might boycott debate on it."

In an attempt to stand up against the huge ruling coalition, it
is absolutely necessary for Minshuto to secure public confidence.
Whether it can do so is an open question.

(Corrected copy) Self-destruction of Minshuto (Part 2): President
Maehara manages the party as if he is still in college

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
March 3, 2006

On the night of February 28 when Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan) Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Noda was forced to step
down from his post to take responsibility for the e-mail fiasco,
seven members, including Mitsuo Mitani and Keiro Kitagami, got
together at a Tokyo restaurant. The seven were elected for the
first time to the Diet in last year's House of Representatives
election. They were all concerned about the future of their
party.

One lawmaker said:

"The current executive is a party of good friends or a group of
persons who have similar characteristics. They have no one who
can work behind-the-scenes. I wonder if the party can survive as
is."

Some junior lawmakers supporting Maehara even began to question
the party leadership, which is now exposed as incompetent,
witnessing party leaders' slapdash handling of the e-mail issue.

Maehara has managed the party along with his close friends,
including Yoshihiko Noda, who resigned as chairman of the Diet
Affairs Committee, Acting Secretary General Koichiro Genba, and
Goshi Hosono, his junior in Kyoto University. Maehara, Noda and
Genba are graduates of the Matsushita Institute of Government and
Management. A lawmaker affiliated with the now defunct Democratic
Socialist Party commented: "(Maehara) conducts politics just like
college students carrying out activities."

Maehara, who aims to fulfill strong leadership, tried to reach
internal consensuses on such basic policies as security and

TOKYO 00001186 009 OF 009


constitutional amendment through his top-down management. For
example, without getting approval of the party, he stated in a
speech last December that China was a threat to Japan. He then
tried to make his view the party's.

Maehara's political methods are similar to those of Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who got postal privatization bills
through the Diet, refusing harmony and cooperation with anti-
postal reform forces in the LDP. Since Maehara has often left
Secretary General Hatoyama out of the loop, some party members

SIPDIS
dub him the "mini Koizumi." By calling anti-Koizumi lawmakers as
the forces of resistance, Koizumi won public support. One of the
reasons why Maehara cannot unify the party is that he does not
have a strategy, something that politicians who have managed to
clear a number of obstacles usually have developed.

Minshuto's local organizations and support groups of its
lawmakers are weak. Although Minshuto is regarded as a party that
might form a two-party system with the LDP, the main opposition
party has only 35 local government assembly members, which means
that it is difficult for the party to observe views of voters and
local governments, lacking a sense of balance to give
consideration to a variety of views in the party.

Hiroshi Yamada, the head of Suginami Ward, dined with Maehara,
Noda and Genba on Feb. 7. Yamada, the three lawmakers' senior of
the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, gave them
advice, saying, "You have to widen personal network as
politicians. I'm worried about your political activities. You
must have intelligent agents to establish information networks."

Maehara, however, only replied, "You can say that again."

The e-mail fiasco came about ten days later. Taking the
information obtained by lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata on faith, a few
members in the party executive decided to take it up at the Diet
-- a decision that led the party to self-destruction.

Bunmei Ibuki, a former labor minister, said in a meeting of his
faction on March 2:

"Senior lawmakers elected to the Diet a number of times have a
political sense of balance and guardedness. But Minshuto has
excluded such thinking in its management."

Ibuki's analysis is that this structural problem in Minshuto led
to the e-mail uproar.

Yesterday the executive was finally able to pick former Lower
House Vice Speaker Kozo Watanabe as chairman of its Diet Affairs
Committee. The appointment of Watanabe is probably their
afterthought to downplaying of "behind-the-scenes maneuvering" in
the party. Maehara's term as president will expire in September.
Minshuto members have to work hard against time to unite.

SCHIEFFER