Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/16/07

DE RUEHKO #0692/01 0470824
P 160824Z FEB 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Futenma relocation: Okinawa prefectural government refuses
screening assessment methods in protest against government's plan to
send documents detailing assessment methods; Okinawa prepared to
face administrative lawsuit

(2) US military training intensifying evidenced by gunshots from
early morning, low helicopter flights, mobilized amphibious ships

(3) Government exploring SDF participation in PRT, eyeing creating
general legal framework on SDF dispatch overseas

(4) Kasumigaseki confidential: Future course of Administrative Vice
Minister Yachi

(5) GDP grows 4.8% : Personal consumption lacks vigor due to stalled
wage growth; Upbeat sales of electronic appliances as reaction to
sluggish sales in previous quarter

(6) Personal comments by former Ambassador to Thailand Hisahiko
Okazaki about alterations to exhibits at Yushukan


(1) Futenma relocation: Okinawa prefectural government refuses
screening assessment methods in protest against government's plan to
send documents detailing assessment methods; Okinawa prepared to
face administrative lawsuit

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Top play) (Full)
February 16, 2007

The relocation of Futenma Air Station requires an environmental
assessment of Camp Schwab, the relocation site. The Okinawa
prefectural government, however, has notified the Defense Ministry
that in the event the ministry sent out documents detailing
assessment methods without the concurrence of the Okinawa
government, it would not conduct the assessment so that the governor
would not able to form his opinion on the matter, sources said
yesterday. The prefectural government has apparently stiffened its
attitude. On Feb. 15, the Defense Ministry conveyed its desire to
send the documents the prefectural government at an early date. With
Okinawa upholding its position, the talks failed to close the gap.

The prefectural government's perception is that once the documents
are sent out, it cannot refuse accepting them. In order to determine
the environmental assessment method, the governor, after receiving
the documents, is required to form his opinion based on public
opinion following recommendations by the prefecture's environmental
assessment screening panel. In case the Defense Ministry sends the
documents without an agreement, the prefectural government may opt
for forgoing the screening panel's discussion.

In the event the governor fails to form his opinion due to the
prefectural government's decision not to examine the assessment
procedures, the Defense Ministry might file a suit against the
prefectural government for failure to act. The prefectural
government is prepared to face a suit as a result of its response to
the matter.

Defense Ministry Finance Division Director Daikichi Monma met at the
Okinawa prefectural government office with Vice Gov. Zenki Nakazato

TOKYO 00000692 002 OF 009

and base disaster prevention officer Reiji Fumoto on Feb. 15 in
which he explained the ministry's desire to embark on early the
Futenma relocation environmental assessment procedures. Vice Gov.
Nakazato, however, reiterated the previous view that the ministry
should begin the assessment after obtaining local support.

The ministry has repeatedly voiced its desire to begin the
assessment as early as June in view of the need to observe the
environment, including corals' breeding season. By calculating
backward the period necessary for determining the assessment method,
the ministry has conveyed its intention to send the documents
detailing methods to the prefectural government by around March.

(2) US military training intensifying evidenced by gunshots from
early morning, low helicopter flights, mobilized amphibious ships

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 29) (Full)
February 16, 2007

Northern part of Okinawa

Bang, bang, bang ... Gunshots on the US base echoed across the area
from early morning. On Feb. 15, US Marines again conducted exercises
on the east coast of the northern part of Okinawa's main island
where parachute drop training had been conducted and
machinegun-armed soldiers were spotted outside the base. Helicopters
that took off from the 40,532-ton amphibious assault ship Essex
anchored offshore flew so low that the windows of the houses in the
area rattled. An angry resident complained, "This is not a
battlefield." Due to the deployment of troops to Iraq, the US
military does not have the time to give consideration to the
sentiments of Okinawa residents, according to a scholar.

At around 8:00 a.m. Feb. 15, jeeps and armored vehicles carrying
machinegun-armed servicemen patrolled Camp Schwab. Someone in the
base seemed to be firing blanks.

Some residents witnessed a number of servicemen intimidating mock
terrorists in T-shirts. It was apparently part of training in an
envisaged mop-up operation in Iraq or some other place.

Gunshots made Kazuko Abe, 55, of Henoko in Nago, angry. "Over the
last couple of days, we heard gunshots from early morning until
about 8:00 p.m. We are not in a battlefield."

Three hovercraft-type amphibious ships hurriedly shuttled between
waters off Camp Schwab and the Essex.

That afternoon, US military helicopters sporadically flew low over
residential areas in Taira, Higashi Village, making tremendous

According to a 44-year-old woman who saw the helicopters from the
second-floor veranda of her house, the choppers flew over the
residential areas in Taira toward the west six times between shortly
after noon and 4:00 p.m. She said in a shaking voice: "The noise was
earsplitting, and they flew so low that windows rattled. I was

A US Marine Corps press officer commented: "We cannot make public
the details of training. We properly notify the Naha Defense
Facilities Administration Bureau of all training in advance."

TOKYO 00000692 003 OF 009

Iraq quagmire in backdrop

A series of parachute drop training exercises, soldiers with guns
pointed to the national highway ... Some ascribe growing troubles
involving US servicemen in Okinawa to massive deployment to the Iraq
war, which has turned into a quagmire.

The Stars and Stripes, the US military's quasi-official newspaper,
reported on Feb. 15 that four US Marines from Okinawa had died in
action in Iraq in the two weeks from late January. One of them died
in the crash of the CH46 helicopter from Futenma Air Station.

Professor Masaaki Gabe of the University of the Ryukyus took this
view about intensifying US military training in Okinawa:

"As seen in the fact that some US troops have been sent twice or
more to Iraq where civil war is underway, the US military is worn
out. I assume that becoming tense from combats in Iraq, the US
military has no room to consider the sentiments of Okinawa

Gabe analyzed the parachute drop exercises conducted in Camp Schwab
and Tsuken Jima training waters this way:

"With so many troops on missions in Iraq, I believe that there are
not enough soldiers to conduct exercises on the US mainland, as

(3) Government exploring SDF participation in PRT, eyeing creating
general legal framework on SDF dispatch overseas

ASAHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
February 16, 2007

Prime Minister Abe indicated his eagerness to have Self-Defense
Force (SDF) troops participate in the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization's (NATO) provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) in
post-Taliban Afghanistan. In response, the government has begun
discussing the possibility of creating a general legal framework to
enable SDF personnel's activities overseas, including participating
in PRTs. However, security in Afghanistan remains bleak, and there
are also constitutional restrictions to the SDF's participation in
PRTs' operations that are premised on using weapons. The prime
minister's remark implying his willingness to launch debate on a
general legal framework might began to be focused on as an
international pledge.

In finalizing the prime minister's speech in a NATO executive
meeting in Brussels in January, the prime minister carried out final
coordination with Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, based on a
draft prepared by the Foreign Ministry. In the speech, the prime
minister said, "Japan will no longer be shy away from carrying out
overseas activities involving the SDF." He then praised the role
that PRTs are playing in Afghanistan. In a press conference after
the speech, Abe implied his eagerness to have SDF personnel take
part in PRTs, remarking, "We agreed to work together in assisting
NATO PRTs' humanitarian and development activities."

For peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, PRTs are utilized.
Military personnel are responsible mainly for guarding civilians.
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Professor Kenji Isezaki, who
served as a special advisor to the Japanese government, revealed,
"US military officers in Afghanistan asked the Japanese Embassy

TOKYO 00000692 004 OF 009

there many times to send SDF personnel to join PRTs."

In the case of Japan, however, SDF personnel are not
constitutionally allowed to engage in guarding operations. Given
this, discussion has started in the government on the possibility of
creating a general legal framework and setting comprehensive
standards for dispatching SDF troops overseas.

Prime Minister Abe has been eager to enact a general law from
before. In a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on
Feb. 9, Abe made this reply to a question by former Defense Agency
Director General Shigeru Ishiba, who took the lead in laying out the
Liberal Democratic Party's draft bill pertaining to SDF personnel's
overseas activities: "We would like to consider the legislation
after thorough national debate, including discussion in the ruling
camp." When he was chief cabinet secretary, a senior official of the
Cabinet Secretariat heard Abe saying, "PRTs will serve as a trigger
to spark a debate on a general legal framework." The prime
minister's indication of Japan's possible participation in PRTs
probably stemmed from a desire to strengthen the Japan-US alliance,
as well as to spark a national debate.

Nonetheless, under the government's interpretation of the
Constitution, SDF personnel are allowed to use armed force only when
they move to protect Japan from military attacks by "a state or
equivalent one." SDF troops' use of armed force on duty overseas is
limited only to when they try to protect people who are with them.

While engaging in PRT operations, troops are in charge of guarding
their colleagues and civilians who belong to non-government or other
organizations. In order to draw a line with the category of use of
armed force, it is also required to specify where they engage in
activities in order to avoid a fight with "a state." The Cabinet
Secretariat reached this conclusion through coordination with the

Cabinet Legislation Bureau: "Guarding by SDF personnel might be
interpreted as close to be unconstitutional or unconstitutional."

(4) Kasumigaseki confidential: Future course of Administrative Vice
Minister Yachi

BUNGEI SHUNJU (Page 234) (Full)
March 2007

Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi, who joined the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in 1969, has increasingly boosted
his political identity. Beyond the scope of the ministry official
responsible for diplomatic affairs, Yachi has served as a private
brain-trust advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a prime
ministerial assistant in charge of drafting strategies for the Abe

According to an official announcement, Yachi met 14 times with Abe
at the Prime Minister's Official Residence during past four months
since the Abe government was inaugurated. This means that he met the
prime minister once a week. Newspaper carried articles about him
with such titles as "Prime minister's right-hand, Yachi, increasing
his presence" (Sankei Shimbun article dated Jan. 23); and
"Administrative Vice Minister Yachi, key person in Abe's 'assertive
diplomacy'" (Asahi Shimbun Jan. 25). It was unusual for newspapers
to carry such articles.

Yachi arrived in Moscow on Jan. 22 to hold a strategic dialogue with
his Russian counterpart Andrei Denisov, and he then visited Beijing

TOKYO 00000692 005 OF 009

on the 25th. On Jan. 26-27 he engaged in strategic dialogue with
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. It is common knowledge in
the ministry that Yachi is prepared to handle key diplomatic issues
regarding countries other than Africa, the Middle East, and Latin

The fact that Yachi manages jobs that the deputy minister for
political affairs should handle was unveiled when the UN Security
Council unanimously adopted the resolution condemning North Korea
for firing missiles last July.

With also strong support by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe and
Foreign Minister Taro Aso, MOFA was able to convince Russia and
China to approve the resolution by closely cooperating with the
United States.

Bypassing then Foreign Policy Bureau Director General Masaharu Kono
and then Deputy Minister for political affairs Tsuneo Nishida, Yachi
directly gave instructions to the Foreign Policy Bureau's Policy
Coordination Division Director Nobukatsu Kanehira and Akitaka Saiki,
minister at the embassy in Washington. It was possible for Yachi to
do so because he has tremendous authority in the ministry.

All eyes are now focused on the future course of Yachi. He will
continue to serve in his present post until next January. It was
believed that Yachi would be picked to be the successor to
Ambassador to the US Ryozo Kato. Yachi, however, plans to put Deputy
Minister for political affairs Mitoji Yabunaka in the post of
ambassador to the US.

Yachi also plans to name Ambassador to Indonesia Shin Ebihara, who
has walked on a similar path to him and is on the same wavelength
with him, to be his successor as the next administrative vice
minister. Reportedly he will retire from the ministry even if Prime
Minister Abe prepares a post for him in his cabinet and seek a post
at a university.

(5) GDP grows 4.8% : Personal consumption lacks vigor due to stalled
wage growth; Upbeat sales of electronic appliances as reaction to
sluggish sales in previous quarter

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Almost Full)
February 16, 2007

Gross domestic product (GDP) for the October-December quarter in
2006 largely exceeded the market forecast with the growth rate
reaching 4.8% in real terms. The rise is attributable to the highest
growth in personal consumption in three years. Some market observers
believe that the trend will back the stance of the Bank of Japan
(BOJ), which is seeking the right timing for raising the interest
rate. However, there is deep-rooted skepticism regarding whether
personal consumption has really recovered. The BOJ will likely be
pressed to make a difficult decision as to whether to raise the
interest rate this month.

Recovery of consumption

Given the details of personal consumption in the Oct.-Dec. quarter
in the GDP statistics, the sales of durable goods, such as
flat-screen TVs, increased 5.2% from the previous quarter. This is a
major increase, compared with a 2.2% fall posted in the July-Sept.

TOKYO 00000692 006 OF 009

The sales of semi-durable goods, such as electronic games, also
increased 2.1% in the same quarter, compared with the previous
quarter. As long as figures reported in the Oct.-Dec. quarter are
concerned, the pickup of consumption is being felt in wider areas.

It is true that some commodities are selling good.

The sales of flat-screen TVs, such as plasma TVs and LCD TVs, at the
Yurakucho outlet of Bic Camera, a leading electronic appliance
discount store, continue to be brisk since the year-end sales battle
last year.

A corporate manager, who happened to be at the store, said, "I have
been considering buying a flat-screen TV from a year ago. I want to
decided to buy one now, as the prices are beginning to drop."

According to the store, an increasing number of young customers are
buying large-screen TVs of over 40 inches.

RCN, a market survey company, noted that the sales of large-screen
TVs in the Oct.-Dec. quarter in 2006 rose more than 30% in terms of
both value and the number of units, from the July-Sept. quarter,
which saw a dip in reaction to the World Soccer Cup.

Negative view

The growth in personal consumption has a strong aspect of being a
reaction to the fall (1.1% ) in the sales in Sept.-July quarter
caused by the unseasonable weather.

Regarding the actual results of consumption in annual terms,
consumption in the Oct.-Dec. term stood at 305.6931 trillion yen on
a par with the Apr.-June quarter level of 305.6875 trillion yen. It
means that the increase was just to offset the fall in the
July-Sept. quarter due to the unseasonable weather.

As such, the government remains cautious with State Minister for
Economic and Fiscal Policy Ota saying, "Income is staying flat.
Consumption remains weak." It plans to adopt the economic outlook
that consumption remains weak in the monthly economic report for
February (to be out on Feb. 19) for the third consecutive month.

The major cause of weak consumption is sluggish growth in wages.
Employee remunerations in the Oct.-Dec. quarter increased 1.1%,
compared with the same quarter year earlier. However, according to a
senior Cabinet Office official, the per-capita income decreased due
to an increase in the number of employees.

Corporate capital spending rose 2.2%, topping 0.8% recorded in the
July-Sept, reflecting that capital spending continues to be robust.

However, some leading electronic appliance manufacturers are
beginning to revise their capital investment plans due to dropping
prices of their products, as can be seen in the cases of Hitachi and
Pioneer - both have postponed their plans to build plasma TV plants.
There is concern that the government scenario of passing on
corporate prosperity to employees' income if corporate capital
spending stalls, thereby spreading benefits to the household
economy, derailing.

(6) Personal comments by former Ambassador to Thailand Hisahiko
Okazaki about alterations to exhibits at Yushukan

TOKYO 00000692 007 OF 009

SANKEI (Page 5) (Almost full)
February 7, 2007

The process of modifying exhibits at Yasukuni Shrine's history
museum "Yushukan" is underway. The process is reportedly expected to
be completed this coming July. Former ambassador to Thailand
Hisahiko Okazaki, who as a member of the modification process has
worked on the changes, wrote his personal comments on that process
for the Sankei Shimbun.

My objective in the process of modifying the exhibits was to protect
the intellectual integrity of Yasukuni Shrine.

The first yardstick for alterations is to remove inappropriate
expressions that may be taken as being intellectually dishonest or
farfetched. Other criteria, such as consideration to responses by
certain countries, were deliberately ruled out. The first priority
is to ensure the intellectual integrity of descriptions. Given the
changing international situation, we have not taken into
consideration other countries' responses.

Instead of giving abstract accounts like these, it may be better to
straightforwardly show the reader the controversial points.

Hull Note

It was not factually correct to describe that President Roosevelt
(Explanation 1) forced Japan to go to war as a means to get out of
the Great Depression. This description could be taken as being
somewhat mean-spirited and could cast aspersions on Yasukuni, so
this became the first to be removed.

However, the Hull Note (Explanation 2) was in effect meant to close
negotiations, so we did not raise any objection to a new quotation
from the Stimson Diary (Explanation 3) saying that all that is left
would be to wait for Japan to attack.

It is a historical fact that Roosevelt somehow induced Japan to
carry out the first strike. The indication of this fact does not
cast aspersions at all Yasukuni Shrine's intellectual integrity.

Kissinger (Explanation 4) wrote in his book, Diplomacy: "Roosevelt
must have been aware that there was no possibility that Japan would
accept (the Hull Note). America's participation in the war was the
great achievements made through the extraordinary efforts by a great
and courageous leader."

Should Japan have not attacked the United States, "his job would
have become more complicated. But in view of his ethical and
strategic convictions, it was almost certain that he decided to let
America participate in the war, deeming it as indispensable for the
future of freedom and the safety of America."

I agree with this interpretation. I think it would be more accurate
to think that Roosevelt decided to let America participate in the
war from a strategic and ethical perspective than to think he did so
in order to get America out of the Depression. I therefore deemed it
necessary to make a special mention of the "Quarantine Speech"
(Explanation 5) delivered in 1937.

Northern China operations

The threshold for the China Incident (Japan-China war) was the Marco

TOKYO 00000692 008 OF 009

Polo Bridge Incident (Explanation 6), and in resolving the Marco
Polo Bridge Incident swiftly, such incidents as the Guanganmen
Incident (Explanation 7), the Tongzhou Incident (Explanation 8), and
the Second Shanghai Incident (Explanation 9), which expanded a local
incident in Beijing into a total war, occurred in succession and
made it impossible to settle it (Marco Polo Bridge Incident). It was
a historical fact that all these incidents occurred due to China's
provocation. We will not yield on this point.

After the war, it came to light that the Imperial Japanese Army was
indirectly involved in such incidents as the assassination of Zhan
Zuolin (Explanation 10), the Manchurian Incident (Explanation 11),
and the First Shanghai Incident (Explanation 12), but Japan's
responsibility for the outbreak of the China Incident was not
questioned even at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.

However, I do not mean to blame China, as with the US as mentioned
above. History essentially seeks truths and it is not appropriate to
debate its good or bad aspects. However, China's provocation of
Japan stemmed from the acts and behavior of the Japanese Army.

When it came to Japan-China relations after the Manchurian Incident,
they became stable after signing the Tanggu Truce signed in 1933
(Explanation 13), but Japan's Northern China operations (Explanation
14) unfolded in the west of the Great Wall of China were indeed
viewed as the cause of the war. Portions of postwar historic views
that put all war responsibility on the military have flaws in view
of historical fact, but when it came to the Northern China
operations, they were the result of some Japanese military groups
deployed in China running wild. No doubt this led to Japan making a
major mistake.

According to his memoirs, Chiang Kai-shek, who tried to place
emphasis on confronting the Communist Party, was inflamed with rage
at Japanese troops' Northern China operations.

It was true that since the Sian Incident (Explanation 15), China,
where the National United Front Against Japan gained momentum, had
been in the mood of not allowing Japan to act overbearingly any
longer. This underlay a number of incidents caused by China around
the time when the China Incident occurred.

In the modification process this time, when the four Chinese letters
meaning "Northern China operations" were put in the explanation
regarding the China Incident, I felt the half of the objective of
the process was achieved.

Regarding the Nanking Incident (Explanation 16), we paid serious
attention to original texts that showed only actions based on
reliable historical facts. I think it would impair the intellectual
integrity of Yasukuni Shrine if we added more modifications out of
consideration for other countries' responses, because doing so might
simply stem from secondhand evidence and propaganda-like

Yasukuni Shrine

In this sort of process, everything essentially should be rewritten,
and doing so would be necessary sometime in the future. Partial
modifications have their limit in terms of perfection. What I can
say at present is, please make a comparison between the current
explanations and the pre-modified ones.

TOKYO 00000692 009 OF 009

Regarding the contents of new exhibits, I am ready to take all
responsibility for that. Every modification and addition is not
always what I proposed but at least what I approved.

In working on the process, I very much appreciated that I was able
to take part in it as a plain citizen. If I had been in the post of
government assistant or counselor, I couldn't have done the job as I
just did now. Some reporters tried to trick me by asking, "Have your
reported this to the prime minister?" But I did not such thing at
all. Probably, the prime minister is unaware of what I have been

Nothing in the world is perfect. History allows a myriad of
interpretations. The government is not responsible at all for this.
If there is wrong with this, it is "Okazaki who is to be blamed."

More than 2 million souls have been enshrined at Yasukuni, and while
most died for their country, some did not. There are few places in
the world like Yasukuni where souls are enshrined.


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