Thanks Steve - Keith @ Panasonic said the same thing.
But going through pass involves a computer and a bunch of hoop jumping when the meter is actually in the camera. I have owned much more expensive and equally sophisticated menu driven cameras and decks and they always provide a path into engineer menus.
For some reason, with this camera, Panasonic does not want users to have full access. I can only figure that they don't trust the users and feel that if you are buying this mid level camera you are not savvy enough to navigate advanced menus w/out screwing everything up.
They provide a 5 year warranty and want to limit the number of free repairs caused by user error.
The guy that took this picture told me he had to hold down a series of buttons in order for the menu to appear ... kind of like the trick to show color bars in the old Sony VX1000
1. Turn camera on and push the following keys
2. "Reset" (on left side)
3. "Stop" (on very bottom behind flap)
4. "Disp/Mode CHK"
6. than scroll down the menu-list and enter the 'diagnostic menu'
7. at 'OPERATION' you will find the hours