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News Briefs, part 2

White House Staff Changes Expected

The Washington Post

It's been nine weeks since White House Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta said he would move quickly to shake things up.

Then came allegations that he suffered a mild attack of "Clintonitis," which affected his ability to make tough decisions. Then came the distractions of the crime bill and health care reform fights of August. Then came vacation in California this week.

Word now is something may happen after Labor Day - maybe a while after Labor Day.

So far the only official announcement has been that Panetta's longtime aide, Jodie R. Torkelson, is in as head of the White House office of administration, the job vacated by the helicoptering David Watkins.

President Clinton wanted his pal, departing Education Department chief of staff Billy Webster, to take that job. Clinton had called Webster, who was going back home to South Carolina, to ask him to come to the White House.

Webster's coming, but to be head of scheduling and advance. (Peter Scher, now staff director of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said no thanks to that job.) Webster's never done scheduling before but has the reputation of a quick study.

Japan to Commit $1 Billion To Peace Initiative

Los Angeles Times

Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama formally announced Wednesday that Japan - to "face squarely" its "acts of aggression" and colonialism - will commit $1 billion over the next 10 years to a "peace, friendship and exchange initiative."

The program will be launched in 1995, the 50th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II. It will seek to overcome the "pain" of the past and "clear up the future of the Asia-Pacific," he said in a statement read to reporters by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kozo Igarashi.

But the effort, at present, amounts to more of a compendium of hopes than a program of action.

Apart from the $1 billion commitment, the announcement said only that historical research by Japanese and foreign scholars, exchanges and support of international pushes for the advancement of women - including vocational training centers - would be carried out. No specifics were offered.

Igarashi repeated the government's position that all claims against Japan from its former enemies have been settled by peace treaties. He also said no official payments would be made to individuals.