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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06TOKYO3076 2006-06-05 09:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

METI VICE MINISTER ON LDP PRESIDENTIAL RACE; METI

Tags:   ECON JA PGOV PINR 
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VZCZCXRO7535
RR RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3076 1560916
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 050916Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2853
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6565
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9184
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 9795
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7717
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 003076 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT. PLEASE PASS TO USTR/WENDY CUTLER, MICHAEL BEEMAN.
PLEASE PASS TO INR/B.
COMMERCE FOR OFFICE OF JAPAN/MELCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2016
TAGS: ECON JA PGOV PINR
SUBJECT: METI VICE MINISTER ON LDP PRESIDENTIAL RACE; METI
PERSONNEL MOVES


Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer. Reason: 1.4 (b,d)



1. (C ) Summary. Vice Trade Minister Kusaka told Ambassador
Michalak that Foreign Minister Taro Aso was seeking the
support of METI Minister Toshihiro Nikai in the LDP
presidential race. Internal Affairs and Communications
Minister Heizo Takenaka was also looking to increase his
waning influence in the twilight of the Koizumi
administration by cultivating ties with Nikai. Meanwhile,
Kusaka speculated that Trade Policy Bureau Director General
Toshiaki Kitamura would likely succeed him and that Economic
& Industrial Policy Bureau Director General Takao Kitabata
would replace Administrative Vice Minister Hideji Sugiyama
this July. End Summary.

Nikai The LDP Politician


--------------------------





2. (C) Nikai was heavily involved in maneuvering for position
in the LDP presidential race, Kusaka claimed. Aso did not
yet have the necessary twenty votes to become eligible for
the LDP Presidential Race and was therefore seeking the
support of Nikai and his faction to clear this threshold.
Kusaka said that Aso hoped one of the two Mori faction
candidates - Shinzo Abe or Yasuo Fukuda - would drop out of
the race, leaving Aso well positioned to garner the anti-Mori
faction vote as the second leading candidate. Before this
could happen, however, Aso needed Nikai's support to
establish the viability of his candidacy. Kusaka said that
Takenaka was also strengthening his ties to Nikai because
Takenaka's influence in the LDP was waning as Prime Minister
Koizumi's term drew to a close. In his search for a new
patron, Takenaka was reaching out to Nikai. Kusaka said
Takenaka had invited Nikai to join him on a trip to Brazil
later this summer, something Nikai was seriously considering.

METI Senior Personnel Gossip


--------------------------





3. (C) Kusaka said he and Administrative Vice Minister
Sugiyama would leave METI sometime this July in a personnel
reshuffle. He noted that Nikai had not yet approved the
slate of new senior officials, but the most likely outcome
would be that Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau Director
General Takao Kitabata would take the Administrative Vice
Minister (AVM) slot now held by Sugiyama, and Trade Policy
Bureau Director General Toshiaki Kitamura would take Kusaka's
position as Vice Minister for International Affairs. Kusaka
thought that Commerce and Information Policy Bureau Director
General Masakazu Toyoda would replace Kitamura as head of the
Trade Policy Bureau. One wild card, according to Kusaka, was
the fate of Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Director
General Nobuyori Kodaira. By custom, said Kusaka, if
Kitabata becomes the new AVM, Kodaira ought to retire because
he entered the Ministry in the same year as Kitabata - 1972.
(Note: Kitamura also entered in 1972). Kusaka went on to say
that Minister Nikai values Kodaira's advice on Iran and South
China Sea energy issues and may want to retain him. Kusaka
then noted, however, that neither of these issues is likely
to be resolved soon so keeping Kodaira on temporarily may not
be the best option from the perspective of METI's career
officials.
SCHIEFFER