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07TOKYO1271 2007-03-22 08:28:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 03/22/07

Tags:   OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA 
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RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 2797
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0331
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3845
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3645
					  					
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 001271

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 03/22/07


INDEX:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties 2

(2) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties 3

(3) 6 months of Abe administration -- Loneliness and agony: Torn
between Kono statement and US House resolution; LDP will launch a
reinvestigation into coercion mentioned in Kono statement, and
government will cooperate as necessary 4

(4) Editorial: Make aid to Africa a model for economic independence
6

ARTICLES:

(1) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
March 20, 2007

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote the results of a
survey conducted in February.)

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

Yes 43.8 (45.3)
No 43.9 (42.7)
Other answers (O/A) 4.4 (3.0)
No answer (N/A) 7.9 (9.0)

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the foregoing question)
Give up to two reasons for your approval of the Abe cabinet.

I can appreciate its political stance 27.4
It's stable 9.2
The prime minister is trustworthy 27.6
There's a fresh image of the prime minister 43.4
I can appreciate its economic policy 4.3
I can appreciate its foreign policy 15.1
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 10.2
It's better than its predecessors 10.4
O/A+N/A 3.9

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the foregoing question) Give
up to two reasons for your disapproval of the Abe cabinet.

I can't appreciate its political stance 44.4
It's unstable 32.0
The prime minister is untrustworthy 27.3
The prime minister lacks political experience 16.6
I can't appreciate its economic policy 19.3
I can't appreciate its foreign policy 10.7
Because it's a coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the New
Komeito 8.6
It's worse than its predecessors 10.7
O/A+N/A 3.9

Q: Which political party do you support now? Pick only one.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 36.4 (34.2)

TOKYO 00001271 002 OF 007


Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 11.3 (12.0)
New Komeito (NK) 2.1 (3.9)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 1.8 (1.4)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 0.7 (1.0)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0.1 (0.3)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.1 (0.1)
Other political parties --- (---)
None 46.0 46.8
N/A 1.5 (0.5)

Q: The rate of public support for the Abe cabinet has been declining
over the past six months. Why do you think this is? Pick as many
reasons as you like from among those listed below, if any.

The prime minister has failed to display leadership in his cabinet
or toward his party
43.7
The prime minister has not set forth any appropriate policy
21.0
The prime minister has not fully accounted to the public for his
policy, etc. 32.2
The prime minister had postal rebels reinstated in the LDP
31.6
The prime minister is negative about reform 15.2
The prime minister has made no remarkable achievements
33.9
There are scandals and gaffes involving his cabinet ministers

60.1
O/A
1.7
Nothing in particular
3.5
N/A
1.5

Q: Because of scandals and gaffes involving cabinet ministers, there
are calls from within the LDP for shuffling the cabinet before this
summer's election for the House of Councillors. Do you think it
would be better for Prime Minister Abe to shuffle his cabinet before
the upper house election?

Yes 30.3
Yes to a certain degree 22.9
No to a certain degree 16.3
No 21.9
N/A 8.6

Polling methodology
Date of survey: March 17-18.
Subjects of survey: 3,000 persons chosen from among all eligible
voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified
two-stage random sampling basis).
Method of implementation: Door-to-door visits for face-to-face
interviews.
Number of valid respondents: 1,741 persons (58.0% ).

(2) Poll on Abe cabinet, political parties

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
March 19, 2007

Questions & Answers

TOKYO 00001271 003 OF 007


(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote findings from the
last survey conducted in February.)

Q: Do you support the Abe cabinet?

Yes 43 (49)
No 45 (41)
Can't say (C/S) + don't know (D/K) 12 (10)

Q: Which political party do you support or like now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 41 (44)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 18 (21)
New Komeito (NK) 4 (3)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 5 (3)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (3)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 1 (1)
None 25 (21)
C/S+D/K 4 (4)

Q: Do you appreciate the Abe cabinet's job performance?

Yes 29 (34)
No 56 (52)
Can't say which 8 (6)
C/S+D/K 7 (8)

Q: What do you think about the Abe cabinet's reform stance compared
with the Koizumi cabinet's?

Positive 3 (3)
Negative 50 (50)
Not very different 38 (37)
C/S+D/K 9 (10)

(Note) The total percentage does not become 100% in some cases due
to rounding.

Polling methodology: The survey was taken March 16-18 by Nikkei
Research Inc. over the telephone on a random digit dialing (RDD)
basis. For the survey, samples were chosen from among men and women
aged 20 and over across the nation. A total of 1,568 households with
one or more voters were sampled, and answers were obtained from 901
persons (57.5% ).

(3) 6 months of Abe administration -- Loneliness and agony: Torn
between Kono statement and US House resolution; LDP will launch a
reinvestigation into coercion mentioned in Kono statement, and
government will cooperate as necessary

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
March 22, 2007

Fumito Ishibashi

On the evening of March 8, shock waves passed through junior and
mainstay lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who
sympathize with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's thoughts and
convictions.

The reason was that when asked by reporters what he would do about

TOKYO 00001271 004 OF 007


the statement released in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei
Kono (Kono Statement) acknowledging that government authorities'
involvement in recruiting women for sexual servitude, Abe told them:
"We basically stand by the statement. Our party will launch a
reinvestigation about coercion. We on the part of the government
will cooperate with the party as necessary."

Two hours before this comment came out, Nariaki Nakayama, who chairs
the Parliamentary Council to Consider the Future of Japan and
History Education, a group of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP), and some group members called on Abe at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) and called on the
government to conduct a reexamination of the data, which had formed
the grounds for the Kono Statement. Should the government decide to
reinvestigate the data, it would supposedly be confirmed that there
are no data that show the military or government authorities had
forced women to serve as prostitutes in military brothels. Reviewing
the Kono Statement then seemed inevitable.

At the time, Abe expressed his gratitude to Nakayama and the others
and indicated his willingness to launch a reinvestigation. But
afterwards, he declared that the reinvestigation would be conducted
not by the government but by the LDP. This half-baked policy switch
perplexed the parliamentary council members. Abe's implication was
that the government would stand back from the frontline of debate on
the problem of whether to review the Kono Statement. One member said
angrily: "I felt as if the ladder were taken away from under me."
Another quipped, "Who in the world put him up to that?"

To avoid confrontation

Abe and Shoichi Nakagawa, currently the chairman of the LDP Policy
Research Council, together created the parliamentary council in 1997
when they discovered descriptions of the comfort women situation
were being included in all history textbooks for junior high school
students. The question of whether to review the Kono Statement is
indeed a major subject that affects Abe's very raison d'etre.

Nonetheless, Abe declared at the Lower House plenary session last
Oct. 3 that he stood by the Kono Statement. This declaration was
viewed as a significant political compromise, even though in his
reply before a Lower House Budget Committee session last Oct. 5 Abe
denied the existence of "coercion in the narrow sense," which means
the direct involvement of the Imperial Japanese Army in the "comfort
women" issue. Although Abe felt ashamed (of his announcement that he
stood by the Kono statement), if he had declared he indeed would
review the Kono statement, he would have certainly become an easy
target of criticism for the anti-Abe group in the LDP, starting with
former LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato, as well as the opposition
parties, given the political climate at the time.

Why did Abe stop short of deciding to launch a reinvestigation with
the government's initiative?

One primary reason was his concern about what would happen to the US
House resolution condemning Japan on the comfort-women issue. This
resolution concludes the comfort women issue as "one of the largest
cases of human trafficking in the 20th century." It was initially
hardly noticed in the United States, however.

But Japan's backlash against the resolution fueled outrage in the US
media. The March 6 edition of The New York Times in its editorial
criticized Japan sharply: "What part of "Japanese Army sex slaves"

TOKYO 00001271 005 OF 007


does Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, have so much trouble
understanding and apologizing for?" Following it, other major
dailies also gave wide space to articles criticizing Abe one after
the other.

As of March 8, Abe was being informed through diplomatic channels
that the resolution would inevitably clear the House. Abe was forced
to conclude that if the government had declared it would conduct a
reinvestigation at this point, that would simply add fuel to the
flames of criticism.

The planned visit to Japan by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in
mid-April and Abe's own visit to the US set for late April also
shackled him. But what Abe feared more than that was the possibility
that a deep-seated anti-US sentiment found among Japan's
conservatives might ignite and come to the surface.

If the resolution were to be approved by the House, voices
condemning US troops for their raping of women during the days of
the occupation of Japan by the General Headquarters of the Allied
Powers (GHQ) would inevitably arise. Voices charging the US with its
air raid on Tokyo and its dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki would also arise. Such being the case, the US Republicans
would not remain mum. Who and which country would chuckle with glee
at the emergence of such a dispute between Japanese and American
conservatives?

At noon of March 9, Abe invited two-term lawmakers of his party to a
luncheon at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei). During
the lunch, Yasuhide Nakayama, who led the process of compiling
suggestions (for the review of the Kono statement), complained: "All
of us have felt chagrined at the current development." Abe, however,
went no further than to say, wearing a stern look: "I'd like you to
fully discuss the matter with Mr. Shoichi Nakagawa. I also will tell
him to do so."

Japan's inability to rebut

A similar resolution denouncing Japan was introduced five times in
the US House of Representatives in the past, but every time, the
resolution was killed. But "there seems to be some difference
between this time and the past cases," Eriko Yamatani, the special
advisor to the Prime Minister (for education), said. She was quick
to notice the difference.

Last September, soon after assuming her post, Yamatani suggested to
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki: "Taking no action would
lead to fatal consequences." But Shiozaki was slow to act. It was
not until December when Abe, realizing the seriousness of the
situation, told Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi
and others: "You must rebut thoroughly each time there is criticism
of Japan if it is not based on facts."

On Feb. 15, however, the US House's subcommittee held a hearing for
former "comfort women." Irritated by this development, Abe sent
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (for Public Relations)
Hiroshige Seko to the US.

"Lying behind the resolution are Chinese lobbyists. Their aim is to
drive a wedge between Japan and the US," said Seko, desperately
appealing to a division director-level official at the US State
Department who had responded to Seko. Swayed by Seko's strong
appeal, the official went to (Christopher) Hill, assistant secretary

TOKYO 00001271 006 OF 007


of state. Hill later told Seko: "I didn't realize there was such a
background to the story." Hill appeared very much disturbed. Because
the matter concerns human rights, conservatives in the US cannot
extend a helping hand so easily to Japan. It was too late.

Japanese Ambassador to the US Ryozo Kato issued a statement to the
US Congress, in which he asserted: "The Japanese government clearly
admitted it was responsible for the comfort women issue and offered
a formal apology in the name of a top-level government official."
But Japanese Embassy officials have shown no trace of having given a
detailed explanation to the US government or the US Congress. Nor
have they made a rebuttal. Why? The reason is the existence of the
Kono statement. "As long as the government stands by that statement,
we can't make any rebuttal," a ranking government official said. The
Kono statement is not only used as the grounds for the resolution
but also is the reason why the Japanese government cannot rebut.

Self-remonstrance?

Yohei Kono currently serves as speaker of the Lower House. This fact
also makes the government reluctant to review the Kono statement.
Minutes before the vote was taken on the fiscal 2007 budget in the
Lower House on March 3, there was even the rumor flying around that
"If the move calling for the review of the Kono Statement gains more
momentum, Kono might refrain from ringing the bell to open the Lower
House plenary session." On March 15, Kono expressed displeasure at
the emerging move to seek the review of the statement, noting, "I
released the statement based on my convictions. I hope to see it
taken as is." Many in the government and the LDP are also negative
about reviewing the statement. One official commented, "Why do they
bother to make waves?"

While faced with a tough situation, Abe attended the Defense
Academy's graduation ceremony held in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa
Prefecture, on March 18. He there quoted a passage of former British
Prime Minister Churchill's Memoirs: "How can advice seeking caution
and self-restraint become a major cause for fatal danger? We will
realize how a middle-of-the road policy adopted in pursuit of a safe
and calm life is associated with the center of disaster."

Abe then continued: "In an emergency, I don't think it is not an
appropriate conclusion to add the two together and divide the sum by
two. It is necessary to make an accurate analysis of the situation
and make a correct decision in accordance with own convictions."
These remarks should be rather taken as admonishing himself.

(4) Editorial: Make aid to Africa a model for economic independence

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
March 22, 2007

In the Asia-Africa Conference and the G8 Gleneagles Summit in 2005,
then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged that Japan would
double its official development assistance (ODA) to Africa. The
aid-to-Africa project has now gone into full swing. Tokyo signed an
agreement on yen loans to the African Development Bank in February
and it also inked in March accords on yen loans for infrastructure
construction and for poverty reduction to Tanzania and Mozambique.
Tanzania is the second country that has received debt relief,
following Senegal in 2005.

Japan increased aid to Africa until the middle of the 1990s, when it
financed ODA budgets separately from other accounts. Japan has

TOKYO 00001271 007 OF 007


hosted the Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD), which aims to assist Africa's economic self-support. The
4th round of TICAD will be held in 2008.

Since the economic situation of sub-Saharan Africa has worsened,
many countries in this area became subject to debt relief.
Therefore, the number of countries subject to yen loans was limited
to Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya and a few other countries. Because of a
cut in ODA budget, grant aid and technical aid were also reduced.

The Millennium Development Goals were adopted at the United Nations
in 2000. The World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in
Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002. Aid to Africa where the poverty
has become serious was a main discuss issue in the Johannesburg
Summit.

Infrastructure development in the Asian region has been the pillar
of Japan's ODA. It is true that Japan's ODA has contributed to the
region's economic growth, although it was often criticized. However,
Japan cannot provide the same kind of ODA to Africa, countries in
which are at different stages of economic development, as it did to
Asian countries. Japan needs to come up with measures that can be
applied to African nations.

As part of the government's effort to reform ODA programs, the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will implement all aid
programs -- repayable aid of loans, grant aid, and technical
assistance -- from October 2008. The new system is suited for
offering aid to Africa where measures for poverty reduction,
development of human resources, social-infrastructure development,
and the building of economic foundations have to be implemented
simultaneously. Fortunately there are many JICA bases in Africa.
This could be a good chance for JICA to test its policy of placing
priority on requests from aid recipients.

Japan should provide not only ODA programs such as building roads
and power, and laying electric power cables that are indispensable
for economic independence, but also sustainable projects. The right
way of offering aid is to create bases for economic independence
through aid projects in the agriculture area, modernization of
smaller businesses, and promotion of local industries that will
produce extensive ripple effects in the economy.

Although Japan was the largest aid donor in the world in the 1990s,
it will become the fifth largest donor in 2010, losing the lead to
Britain and Germany, according to the OECD's Development Assistance
Committee's forecast. Unless Japan's financial condition turns
better, there is no hope that Japan will be able to boost its ODA
budget. Therefore, Japan should provide quality ODA programs so that
that its aid will receive recognition.

Former colonial powers have led in providing aid to Africa, but
their aid programs have not been successful. It is said that their
assistance has reached its limits. Therefore, Japan will be able to
show its presence by extending aid projects that help Africa become
economically independent.

SCHIEFFER