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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/27/07-2

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RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/COMPATWING ONE KAMI SEYA JA
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 2870
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0406
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3921
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9754
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 1353
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6312
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2389
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3700

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 TOKYO 001344

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 03/27/07-2


INDEX:

(6) Extraordinary foreign media reaction to "comfort women" issue
only serving to drive wedge between Japan, US

(7) Viewpoint in selecting politicians, Ask for views about history,
war

(8) Base issues: National policy stands in way of citizens'
expectations

(9) Weak America casts shadow on world; Change in timing between
Japan, US

ARTICLES:

(6) Extraordinary foreign media reaction to "comfort women" issue
only serving to drive wedge between Japan, US

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
March 27, 2007

Hisashi Utsunomiya

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has faced extraordinary reaction from the
foreign media to his remark on the "comfort women" issue that "there
was no coercion."

The March 6 edition of The New York Times (NYT) wrote:

"What part of 'Japanese Army sex slaves' does Japan's prime
minister, Shinzo Abe, have so much trouble understanding and
apologizing for? The underlying facts have long been beyond serious
dispute. During World War II, Japan's Army set up sites where women
rounded up from Japanese colonies like Korea were expected to
deliver sexual services to Japan's solders. These were not
commercial brothels. Force, explicit and implicit, was used in
recruiting these women. What went on in them was serial rape, not
prostitution."

A French daily, Liberation wrote in its March 5 edition:

"The former Japanese General Staff Office allowed the sexual slavery
to ease its soldiers' frustration at the battle front. Tens of
thousands of women (or 200,000, most of whom were Korean, according
to historians) were rounded up by force and sold to work in field
brothels for Japanese soldiers. Many sexual slaves or 'comfort
women' were unable to survive a horrible environment and many killed
themselves."

These media reports portrayed the former Imperial Japanese Army as
if they had carried out a massive "witch-hunt" for women by using
force.

Abe was also exposed to harsh criticism.

The March 6th edition of Austria's major daily, Presse, said:

"Human beings are raised from their childhood days to tell the truth
about even minor things. But there is one adult who has no
hesitation in continuing to refuse to tell the truth about crimes
that were clearly and obviously confirmed."


TOKYO 00001344 002 OF 007


South Korea's daily, JoongAng Ilbo, wrote in its March 7 edition:
"Prime Minister Abe must reflect hard on why his remarks met with
criticism from not only Asia but also Western media. History must
not be judged in an arbitrary manner."

The Los Angeles Times in its March 7 edition mentioned the need for
the Emperor to apologize:

"The emperor . . . could offer a more forceful apology for all
crimes committed in his family's name."

The ongoing uproar over the comfort women issue came with US
Congressman Mike Honda's submission to the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs of a resolution calling on the Japanese government
to apologize for the comfort women. The resolution insists that
young women were forced by the former Imperial Japanese Army into
sexual slavery in the 1930s and 40s. But needless to say, this
assertion "does not stem from objective facts," as Abe has noted.

The basis for the resolution is the 1993 statement by then Chief
Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, in which Kono made mention of such
words as "administrative/military personnel directly took part" in
the recruitment of comfort women and "through coaxing coercion." But
the statement was created out of consideration for South Korea,
which at the time was escalating its criticism of Japan, and without
any clear proof or evidence, as then Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobuo Ishihara later revealed.

From the beginning, doubts have been cast on testimonies made by
women identifying themselves as "former comfort women."

Tsuneyasu Daishido, who had served as an official at the

SIPDIS
Government-General of Korea, looking back on his own experiences,
wrote in a book, Ianfu Kyousei Renko wa Nakatta (No coerced
recruitment of comfort women) published by Tentensha:

"It was inconceivable that forcibly recruiting women was carried out
without disturbing other ordinary women. Naturally, commotions
should have occurred across the country, and that they should have
been known to us."

What he said would be the truth.

On March 11, Abe told domestic media: "I have extended a sincere
apology and remorse to all those who suffered pain and incurable
psychological wounds (as comfort women)." But the Boston Globe in
its March 16 edition said:

"Maybe there is no final comfort for the comfort women, but there
should be justice."

Foreign media's criticism of Japan is likely to continue for a
while.

The LAT even said (in its editorial on March 7):

"The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's failure to discipline its
World War II-atrocity minimizers has damaged Japan's international
reputation. . . . Japan's reluctance to fully acknowledge its
wartime behavior has hampered the potential of the US-Japanese
alliance."

These distortions as seen, for instance, in the House resolution and

TOKYO 00001344 003 OF 007


groundless media reports are indeed dangerous, because they are
likely to help drive a wedge between Japan and the US.

(7) Viewpoint in selecting politicians, Ask for views about history,
war

ASAHI (Page 15) (Full)
March 27, 2007

By Hiroshi Hoshi, editorial board member

Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii had an unexpected
experience when he visited Vietnam this January. Key Vietnamese
government officials referred to a speech by House of
Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono, one remarking, "I was
impressed."

Kono made the following speech in return for a speech in the Diet by
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung when he visited Japan last
fall:

"When asked if our nation after the Meiji Restoration has always met
the Vietnamese people's expectations, I am hanging my head in shame.
I think we must never forget that a number of persons died of
starvation under our nation's military administration during the
last world war."

In Vietnam under the control of the Imperial Japanese Army in the
last stage of WWII, many people died of starvation in part because
of cold-weather damage. Kono's stance of touching on such a
depressed historical fact was highly appreciated in Vietnam.

In August 1993, when he was chief cabinet secretary in the Miyazawa
cabinet, Kono issued a statement on the issue of wartime comfort
women. At that time, the Liberal Democratic Party was defeated in a
general election and was about to become an opposition party. Kono
was in a complicated situation in which although he was elected
president of the LDP, he was unable to become prime minister.

The Kono Statement inserted such expressions on comfort women as:
"They were coercively rounded up and were placed under a piteous
situation;" and "(Japan) seriously hurt the honor and dignity of
many women." The statement received a certain level of appreciation
from South Korean and other countries' governments, so the comfort
women issue quieted down for the meantime.

Recently, however, there has been a move in the United States House
of Representatives to adopt a resolution calling for an official
apology by the prime minister over the comfort women issue, evoking
critical voices from LDP members. Some LDP lawmakers are calling on
the government to review the Kono Statement. Prime Minister Abe
stated, "Evidence does not exist to prove coercion." In quick
response, US newspapers reported, "(The prime minister) denied
coercion." As it stands, the comfort women issue has set off sparks
these days.

Kono has said little because of his position, but according to his
aides, Kono takes this view: "If the decision had not been made at
that timing, it probably would have been unable to make a decision
under LDP rule afterward. In such a case, South Korea and China
would have been more distrustful of Japan."

Michael Green (former senior director for Asian affairs at the

TOKYO 00001344 004 OF 007


national Security Council), an American knowledgeable about Japan,
made this remark, drawing much attention:

"Whether comfort women were coercively rounded up or not is not the
point. Nobody in countries other than Japan is interested in this
question. The problem is that comfort women suffered a bitter fate.
Politicians in the capital district of Nagata-cho do not remember
this basic fact."

As pointed out by Green, the essential point in the wartime
comfort-women issue is that there were a number of women whose honor
and dignity were harmed in the war waged by Japan. Politicians are
now being tested over what response they will make over the issue,
in short, whether they offer an apology in the face of such a
historical fact or make light of Japan's responsibility while
hanging up about the point of "coercion."

Four years have passed since the Iraq war was opened. The government
and the ruling parties have decided to extend the Iraq Special
Measures Law, based on which Air Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops
have been dispatched to Iraq, for another two years. Deliberations
on this issue were low key. Logistic support is the mission of SDF
troops, but many American soldiers and Iraqi people have lost their
lives in the war joined by Japanese troops. International footage
shows almost everyday family members of war victims abandoning
themselves to grief.

When did the US make a miscalculation? Was it appropriate for the
Japanese government to offer support in the war? In deciding to
extend the law pertaining to SDF dispatch, conducting discussion
must be the minimum duty of politicians. The lack of heated debate
might be showing that the current government has lost steam.

It is the mission of politicians of both local and central
governments to discuss history and war. In the upcoming nationwide
local elections in April and the House of Councillors election this
summer, voters must question what views each candidate has about
history and war, in addition to those about welfare and education.

(8) Base issues: National policy stands in way of citizens'
expectations

TOKYO SHIMBUN (age 30) (Excerpts)
March 17, 2007

In the upcoming mayoral election in Ginowan City, Okinawa
Prefecture, which houses the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station,
the issue of transferring its heliport functions has been the top
campaign issue. The election has turned into a contest between
incumbent Mayor Yoichi Iha (55), a reformist, and former Ginowan
Education Commission's Education Department Head Hokama (59), a
conservative independent candidate. Iha insists, "Since it will take
time to transfer the heliport functions to Nago City, transferring
it to Guam is the quickest way," while Hokama asserts, "The
municipal government should work together with the central
government (which pledges to close down the base within three
years)."

Although both candidates reiterate the need for the land used for
the Futenma Air Station to be returned to the municipal government
at an early date, some citizens in Ginowan have suggested that they
cannot expect too much of them.


TOKYO 00001344 005 OF 007


In an agreement reached in the 1996 Special Action Committee on
Okinawa (SACO), Japan and the US decided to construct alternative
facilities off Henoko, Nago City. The two countries also agreed on a
plan in which the US military would vacate the Futenma base in five
to seven years. Although the base transfer took on a realistic touch
at that time, as a result of views split in Nago City, the plan was
"killed" in part also because of opposition from civic groups
calling for environmental protection. In the mayoral election held
four years ago, Iha, who put forth the slogan of "relocating the
functions of Futenma overseas within five years," was elected. In
May of last year, Japan and the US agreed in their final report on
the realignment of US forces in Japan to relocate the Futenma base
to a coastal area of Camp Schwab in Nago City, in 2014, but
negotiations among the Okinawa, Nago, and central governments are
still going on. Citizens in Ginowan want to vote in the hope of the
Futenma base being transferred, but their expectations are fading.

Taxi driver Inafuku (52), whose house is under a flight route of
helicopters that generate noise pollution, deplored: "I will go to
vote with some expectation. But I have mostly given up expecting the
Futenma Air Station to be transferred." Katsuhiko Kawabata (38), who
runs a pub intended for US soldiers in front of the gate of Futenma
Air Station, also said: "For my business, it is desirable that the
base will continue to exist here. If the base is transferred, I will
shut down this and open a new bar in another place. It will be
impossible for the base to be transferred in seven years. There was
no case in which an original plan was implemented as scheduled."
Citizens who have coexisted with the base seem to have deep-seated
skepticism of politics.

In Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, which houses the Yokosuka
Navy Base, a mayoral election will be also held as part of the
nationwide local elections in April.

In front of Yokosuka Central Station, lawyer Masahiko Goto (47) was
delivering a speech on March 4, in which he said, "It is important
to increase the number of assembly members who listen to citizens."

Goto and others collected signatures from about 40,000 citizens,
more than 10% of all the voters, with the aim of having referendum
held to see whether or not citizens approve the planned deployment
of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington at the
Yokosuka base in 2008. They were greatly concerned about nuclear
safety.

The municipal assembly, however, voted down the proposed city
ordinance on Feb. 8 by a vote of 31 to 10 on the grounds that
"foreign and defense affairs are under the exclusive control of the
central government." As was the case in Ginowan City, national
policy stood in the way of citizens' expectations.

An association supporting a referendum, led by Goto, planned to send
an open written question to each candidate in the unified local
elections in April.

Goto said: "Only local governments think seriously of their
citizens' safety. If the number of assembly members who are aware of
this point increases even slightly, the future of our towns will
surely change."

(9) Weak America casts shadow on world; Change in timing between
Japan, US


TOKYO 00001344 006 OF 007


NIHON KEIZAI (Page 1) (Full)
March 23, 2007

Tetsuya Jitsu, Washington

US Columbia University Professor Stiglitz and his group worked out
an estimate of the Iraq war's economic costs. Their estimate totaled
over 2.2 trillion dollars (approximately 250 trillion yen),
equivalent to 20% of the United States' gross domestic product. The
estimate factored in war costs and other economic impacts, such as
the rising price of crude oil. "Its impact on productivity and
national life will remain for decades," Stiglitz noted.

In early March, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Gates testified in the US
Senate. "I have deep concern about the United States'
competitiveness," Gates said. He stressed that the United States did
not look to make investments for the future to improve the level of
education and secure superior immigrants. With this, he tacitly
criticized the Bush administration for its war priority.

Four years have passed since the United States started the Iraq war.
In Iraq, the death toll of US troops has now topped 3,000. The
Democratic Party is strongly calling for the Iraq-based US troops to
be back home. President Bush takes the position that the United
States would face destructive consequences after pulling out the US
troops out of Iraq. As it stands, the Democratic Party and the Bush
administration are now seriously squaring off over the Iraq war. The
protracted war has not only divided public opinion in the United
States but is also spoiling the United States and its power.

The United States is also hurt in its international prestige.

BBC, a British broadcaster, conducted an international public
opinion survey in 25 countries. According to its findings released
in January this year, only 29% answered that the United States had a
plus impact on the world. The figure was down from 40% two years ago
and dropped further from 36% last year.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced late last year that it
would gradually raise the ratio of Euro in its foreign currency
reserves from the current level of 2% to 10% . Russia has already
reduced its dollar holdings. In addition, some other oil producing
countries seem to be distancing themselves from the dollar. Such
moves, which will affect the dollar's credibility, have something to
do with the United States' fix in Iraq.

A weak America casts a shadow on challenges facing the world.

"We want to show negotiation results somehow to the US Congress."
(US Trade Representative Schwab)

"It's no good to say only what is convenient to the United States."
(Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nath)

In early March, US Trade Representative Schwab moved for bilateral
talks to break through the stagnated Doha round of World Trade
Organization (WTO) multilateral trade negotiations. However, his
foreign counterparts were cold. Some in Europe and Asia say the
responsibility for the stagnation rests with the United States that
is too busy with Iraq to display its leadership. Meanwhile, the US
Congress, now dominated by the Democratic Party, urges the Bush
administration not to make any easygoing concessions. The US
administration has limited steps to take. The WTO talks are now

TOKYO 00001344 007 OF 007


being clouded over ahead with no leader.

The United States is also wavering in its policy over the nuclear
issues of Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration has now
decided to lift its financial sanctions on North Korea. Behind the
scenes, the Bush administration is seen to be eager for results on
the diplomatic front.

The weakening of US power will of course affect Japan as a US ally.
The United States' results-oriented policy toward North Korea
differs subtly from Japan's position. Some in Japan are also
critical of the United States, saying it will send a wrong message
to Pyongyang.

In the United States, however, some people are dissatisfied with
Japan's failure to complement their hurt leadership. Japan is seen
as an onlooker in the Doha round.

"What I can see from Japan's way of responding to history issues is
Japan that devotes itself to dealing with trouble before its eyes,
rather than playing a leading role in the world," says a US expert
on Japan.

"We live in a nonpolar world." With this, the International
Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think tank based in the
United Kingdom, came up with an analysis in its annual report for
this year. "US power is strong enough to establish an agenda for
international activity but is too weak effectively to implement that
agenda globally," the analysis says. Japan should now consider its
own role with an eye on global changes brought about by the Iraq
war.

SCHIEFFER

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