Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 04/16/07

DE RUEHKO #1657/01 1060806
P 160806Z APR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Upper House by-elections: Ruling and opposition candidates neck
and neck in Okinawa; Minshuto enjoys lead in Fukushima

(2) Prime Minister Abe: I will listens to views of local residents"
on Futenma relocation

(3) National referendum bill setting constitutional amendment
procedures: Prime Minister Abe's arbitrary act might create rift
between, LDP and New Komeito, even with Lower House approves the

(4) Editorial: Decline of ODA; Maintain presence using various

(5) Facts about SDF deployment in Iraq (Section 2); Thinking of SDF
as Japan's new garrison-SDF in transformation (Part 4): Support
pact-Integration going on with US military

(6) Japan @ World by Yoichi Funabashi: Japan needs to be further
involved in six-party talks


(1) Upper House by-elections: Ruling and opposition candidates neck
and neck in Okinawa; Minshuto enjoys lead in Fukushima

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Abridged)
April 16, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted on April 15 telephone-based opinion
surveys ahead of the April 22 Upper House by-elections in Okinawa
and Fukushima prefectures. In Okinawa, Aiko Shimajiri (backed by the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito) and Yoshimasa
Karimata (endorsed by the opposition Minshuto (Democratic Party of
Japan), the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party,
and the People's New Party) are neck and neck. In Fukushima,
LDP-backed Isamu Yamaguchi is closing the gap on Minshuto-endorsed
Teruhiko Mashiko. Campaigning between the two camps is intensifying,
as seen in frequent stumping tours by opposition party executives.

Candidates in Fukushima

7 Teruhiko Mashiko, 59, former Lower House lawmaker, endorsed by
7 Isamu Yamaguchi, 69, former prefectural assembly speaker, backed
by LDP
7 Shitsui Miyamoto, 54, former prefectural assembly member, endorsed
by JCP

Candidates in Okinawa

7 Hiroyuki Kinjo, 68, company executive, independent
7 Yoshimasa Karimata, 57, former Rengo (Japanese Trade Union
Confederation) Okinawa chapter chairman, backed by Minshuto, JCP,
SDP, and PNP
7 Aiko Shimajiri, 42, former Naha city assembly member, endorsed by
LDP and New Komeito

In the poll in Okinawa, a little less than 80 PERCENT of LDP
supporters and over 70 PERCENT of New Komeito supporters said they
would vote for Shimajiri. Slightly less than 90 PERCENT of Minshuto

TOKYO 00001657 002 OF 011

supporters and nearly 70 PERCENT of JCP and SDP backers indicated
their intention to vote for Karimata.

In Fukushima, Mashiko has consolidated over 70 PERCENT of support
among Minshuto backers. Yamaguchi has consolidated slightly less
than 50 PERCENT and 40 PERCENT of support among LDP and New
Komeito backers, respectively.

The situation may change, as over 30 PERCENT of respondents in
Okinawa and about 50 PERCENT of voters in Fukushima indicated that
they have yet to decide whom they would vote for. In the survey
conducted on randomly selected voters, respondents came from 1,052
persons (59 PERCENT ) in Fukushima and 856 persons (50 PERCENT ) in


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Okinawa yesterday to stump for
Aiko Shimajiri in Naha, Urasoe, Okinawa, and even Miyako Island. At
those places, Abe, clad in a laid-back Okinawa shirt, vowed to
revitalize the local economy, playing up the positive results
brought about the government's structural reform drive over the last
six years.

The LDP's failure to win the two by-elections would bode ill for the
ruling coalition to secure a majority in the Upper House election
this summer. Upper House LDP Caucus Chairman Mikio Aoki also decided
at a pep rally in Naha on April 14 that the future of the LDP-New
Komeito coalition and the Abe administration hinges on the results
of the upcoming by-elections. LDP workers have been stationed in
Okinawa, where Shimajiri and Karimata are competing with each other
fiercely since early March to tighten the LDP's grip on local
industrial associations.

Minshuto President Ichiro Ozawa, his deputy Naoto Kan, and Secretary
General Yukio Hatoyama also visited Naha yesterday to stump for
Karimata to demonstrate the party's commitment to Okinawa. The three
canvassed the city's downtown area for about half an hour along with
SDP head Mizuho Fukushima and the PNP's Tamisuke Watanuki.

Ozawa harshly criticized the ruling coalition, saying, "We need to
put an end to this system which is harsh to the socially weak and to
the rural areas."

Minshuto intends to focus on correcting disparities among regions.
This strategy comes from the party's failure to get its candidate
elected in last year's Okinawa gubernatorial race. That candidate
had called for an immediate closure of the US Marines' Futenma Air

The Minshuto Okinawa election campaign office also began
full-fledged activities on April 13. Hatoyama and Kan pressed
yesterday afternoon local campaign staffers to brace themselves for
the upcoming race.


LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa stumped yesterday for Isamu
Yamaguchi in four places, including Iwaki and Shirakawa cities.
Nakagawa played up the Abe administration's efforts to reform the
economy to create a society where everyone shares the same pain,
highlighting the need to have a ruling lawmaker for winning funds
for public works projects there.

TOKYO 00001657 003 OF 011

LDP deputy secretaries general have made many trips to Fukushima to
stump for Yamaguchi by putting LDP overtones to the forefront.
Nakagawa's visit to the prefecture yesterday was his seventh.

All Minshuto executives also visited Fukushima to stump for Mashiko,
who is enjoying a lead. Hatoyama still warned the party from Okinawa
yesterday that the largest opposition party must not be overly
optimistic about the Fukushima race.

To illustrate the growing income disparity, Hatoyama said in a
street-corner speech yesterday: "(Per capita) income in Tokyo is 1.8
million yen higher than that in Fukushima. This is unreasonable, and
politics must take the blame for it."

In last year's gubernatorial race, the candidate backed jointly by
Minshuto and the SDP achieved victory under the theme of "the
people's party." Motivated by that race, the largest opposition
plans to capitalize on the national recognition of Mashiko, who
served three terms in the Lower House, rather than to highlight
Minshuto features.

Abe views Futenma Air Station

Prime Minister Abe took a first look at Futenma Air Station
yesterday from Kakazu Takadai Park in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture.

Standing besides Abe, Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima expressed hopes for an
early relocation of the airfield, saying: "The base sits in the
densely-populated residential areas. We want to see the base removed
as soon as possible." In response, Abe indicated that the government
would relocate it to the coastal area of Camp Schwab upon obtaining
local support, saying: "We will push ahead with the relocation plan
while hearing local views. We will work hard to meet your request

(2) Prime Minister Abe: I will listens to views of local residents"
on Futenma relocation

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2007

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Okinawa on April 15 for the first
time since he assumed office in order to support campaigns for the
Upper House Okinawa local elections and the Upper House by-election.
With Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima as his guide, the prime minister
inspected the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station from the
Kakazu-Takadai Park in Ginowan City. Abe is the first incumbent
prime minister to have made an inspection of the Futenma base.
Pointing out the danger of the air station, which is located in an
urban district, the governor demanded early relocation of the
Futenma base. Abe then visited the city of Miyakojima. Abe is the
first prime minister to have visited Miyakojima in 42 years, since
Eisaku Sato went there in 1965 when the island was returned to
Japanese rule.

After inspecting the Futenma base, Abe delivered a street-corner
speech, in which he took a cooperative stance with local residents.
He stated:

"The Futenma Air Station, which carries risk as it is located in an
urban area, should be relocated as quickly as possible. I will hear
the views of the governor and local residents on the relocation of

TOKYO 00001657 004 OF 011

the base."

He also expressed a positive stance toward an idea of expanding Naha
Airport. He said:

"In order to realize Gov. Nakaima's campaign pledge to boost the
number of visitors traveling to Okinawa to several tens of millions
of people. The airport has to be expanded. I will give top priority
to the expansion of the airport."

He stated this on the realignment of US forces in Japan:

"Easing the burden of US military bases on the residents of Okinawa
is my responsibility. I think we should actively use the land at
Futenma after that base is relocated."

At the Kakazu-Takadai Park, Akira Uehara, head of the governor's
office, briefed Abe on the general outline of the Futenma base.
While showing a picture of the accident site where a US military
helicopter crashed into the ground at Okinawa International
University, Nakaima stressed problems to Abe, saying, "Since the air
station is located in the middle of the city, it is dangerous and

In the city of Miyakojima, Abe toured a facility producing a
bio-ethanol fuel by a sugar fermentation process that uses
sugarcane. On a three percent ethanol-mixed gasoline car (E3), the
prime minister arrived in a place where he was going to give a
speech. Bio-ethanol is the most environment-friendly fuel in the
world. The nation proactively supports this kind of technology."
Earlier in the day Abe attended a funeral at the Air Self-Defense
Force's Naha base for four crew members of a ground-Self-Defense
Forces helicopter killed in a crash last month while on a medical
transport mission. He then visited the National Cemetery for Okinawa
the War Dead to offer flowers.

(3) National referendum bill setting constitutional amendment
procedures: Prime Minister Abe's arbitrary act might create rift
between, LDP and New Komeito, even with Lower House approves the

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
April 13, 2007

The outlook is that concrete procedures to amend the Constitution
will be set for the first time in the 61 years since the national
constitution came into force. Since the bill setting procedures is
designed to revise the supreme law, the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party, its coalition partner New Komeito, and the largest opposition
party initially aimed to reach an agreement. However, after Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe gave the command, a special committee of the
House of Representatives voted on the measure (and subsequently the
bill cleared the chamber). However, important debate on what, when
and how the Constitution will be amended was never conducted.

Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who assumed the
chairmanship of a suprapartisan parliamentary group aiming at
creating an independent constitution, praised Abe on April 5 at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence, saying, "Since you are the
first postwar prime minister tackling straightforwardly
constitutional reform, I accepted the offer to head the
parliamentarian group." Abe then responded with a smile: "I am
grateful that you accepted the post. I would like you to push

TOKYO 00001657 005 OF 011

forward to build popular acceptance as to why constitutional
amendments are needed."

However, Abe's stance of stressing his reform orientation made it
impossible for joint actions among the LDP, New Komeito and Minshuto
(Democratic Party of Japan) to modify the bill.

In his press conference on Jan. 4 for the New Year, Abe positioned
constitutional reform as a campaign issue for the House of
Councillors election this summer, saying, "In campaigning for the
Upper House election, I will stress my intention to aim a amend the

Abe regards himself as a member of the conservative mainstream, so
for him, picking up the challenge to amend the Constitution has
become symbolic with his political stance of breaking away from the
"postwar regime." With his popularity on the decline, should the
national referendum bill, following the passage of a bill revising
the Basic Education Law late last year, clear the Diet, the ruling
coalition will be able to strengthen its conservative base in the
Upper House.

Minshuto President Ichiro Ozawa has accepted Abe's challenge. Caught
up in standoff between the two party heads, joint amendments looked
into by lawmakers from the three parties collapsed.

However, Abe has yet to speak up his blueprint for constitutional
reform. He reportedly stated emotionally in a meeting in January in
Tokyo: "No matter how difficult constitutional reform is, we must
continue speaking about it; otherwise we will never accomplish our
desire." Abe's aide said: "To keep calling for constitutional reform
seems to be Abe's mission." As if responding to Abe's focusing on
just repeating the constitutional-reform mantra, a mood calling for
constitutional amendment has kicked in.

There is no surge in momentum of calling constitutional amendments
even in the LDP, which announced a draft plan for a new constitution
18 months ago.

In order to promote a debate on constitutional reform, the LDP last
October upgraded its Research Commission (chosakai) on the
Constitution to the status of a council (shingikai). However, the
council has yet to resume debate since its head has not been chosen.
Although Upper House Caucus Chairman Yoichi Masuzoe in February
called on former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to set up a new panel
to be headed by him, not much progress has occurred. Masuzoe,
however, is critical of addressing constitutional reform a campaign
issue for the Upper House election, arguing:

"Unless 70 to 80 PERCENT of the people approve constitutional
revision, amending the Constitution will be difficult. Under the
present situation, a campaign pledge to amend the Constitution will
not lead to gaining votes."

One of the reasons for no surge in momentum for constitutional
reform in the LDP is "the national referendum bill itself," said one
LDP member. That is because the legislation includes the New
Komeito's view that during the three years from the proclamation of
national referendum law until the law's going into effect, a review
of constitutional reforms bills and submission of them be

One senior member of the New Komeito, which has called for upholding

TOKYO 00001657 006 OF 011

Article 9 of the Constitution, expects that if more time is taken,
the view held by some of protecting the constitution from change
will grow. Party head Akihiro Ota has repeatedly told the prime
minister: "It will take a long time to amend the Constitution."

The New Komeito has insisted that one vote should be taken on each
article. The party has a strategy of gradually making clear its
opposition to the LDP draft proposals, advocating that it will be
difficult to completely change the Constitution by a national

Ota warned Abe on March 23: "Making constitutional reform a campaign
issue for the Upper House election and constitutional reform
actually becoming a campaign issue are two different things." Ota
meant that the public are not interested in amending the
Constitution, but Abe reportedly fended him off, saying, "Do you
think constitutional reform will become a main issue in the campaign
for the Upper House election?" After the national referendum becomes
law, the gaps between the LDP and New Komeito might become more

(4) Editorial: Decline of ODA; Maintain presence using various

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
April 13, 2007

The track record of Japan's official development assistance (ODA)
last year plunged 11.7 PERCENT from the previous year. Japan's
ranking as an ODA donor slipped to third place, overtaken by
Britain. Japan has had no other choice but to cut the ODA budget, as
it is in the process of reconstructing its finances. The issue of
Japan can maintain its presence in the international community has
become a major agenda item.

Japan once held the top slot, but it was first overtaken by the US
and now by Britain. The drop is mainly attributable to a substantial
decrease in debt reduction offered to Iraq in 2005. Japan's ODA
dropped to 0.25 PERCENT in gross national profit terms as well, a
long away from industrialized countries' target of 0.7 PERCENT .

The basic policy guidelines on economic and fiscal management and
structural reforms issued last year noted that the ODA budget should
be cut 2 PERCENT -4 PERCENT each year in order to turn the primary
balance into black in fiscal 2011. It is projected that Japan will
fall to fifth slot, overtaken by France and Germany in the near
future. Many are concerned about Japan's ODA presence continue to

However, Japan's ODA is still way above that of the US in gross
national income terms. It must be remembered that there is the
aspect of the fluctuation of ODA being determined by fiscal
conditions of the time.

European countries started increasing ODA budgets from around 2000,
the millennium and the year when they achieved fiscal
reconstruction. Japan's ODA continued to increase even after the
collapse of the economic bubble, but it took a downturn in the same

Japan's international contributions, even at a time when it was
suffering from a pronouncedly deteriorating fiscal situation among
industrialized countries, fully deserve global recognition. Another

TOKYO 00001657 007 OF 011

major factor for the drop in the track record of ODA is a sharp
increase in the repayment of yen loans by Southeast Asian countries.
These countries ceased to be recipient countries, proving that
Japan's aid had been successful.

However, maintaining presence with a limited ODA budget requires
various resourcefulness. Cutting the cost of projects will lead to
an increase in the volume of projects. Using private-sector human
resources and know-how will also be essential.

Demand for yen loans is still high. Yen loans to China will be ended
-- visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao did not directly express
gratitude for yen loans to China. In India, which is pro-Japanese
and a key country in security terms, the construction of social
infrastructure will move into full scale. Yen loans will also be
effective in nurturing petty, small and medium-size businesses in
African countries.

ODA is still a major diplomatic tool for Japan. The Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is to be reorganized
into the Overseas Economic Cooperation Council chaired by the prime
minister, will be required to develop a highly sophisticated

(5) Facts about SDF deployment in Iraq (Section 2); Thinking of SDF
as Japan's new garrison-SDF in transformation (Part 4): Support
pact-Integration going on with US military

TOKYO (Top play) (Full)
March 29, 2007

Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait is the largest base of that
country's air force.

There are four aircraft shelters standing along a runway of the
airbase. All those shelters remain wrecked. When the airbase was
under the Iraqi military's occupation in the 1991 Gulf War, US
military jets conducted pinpoint airstrikes on those shelters,
targeting Iraqi troops stationed there.

One of those wrecked shelters has a hole on its ceiling. Three
blue-gray C-130 transport planes dispatched from Japan's Air
Self-Defense Force are parked on an apron in front of that shelter.
"Powder-like sands get in, so we don't turn on the air-conditioning
until right before taking off," says Sgt. Atsushi Hoshino, a
34-year-old maintenance service crewman. "The temperature in the
aircraft goes up to 70 degrees (centigrade) when we're doing
maintenance service," the sergeant added.

Near the shelter is a hangar. The ASDF built the hangar to protect
its aircrafts and members from the severe environment. The hangar is
now in the US military's use.

In the two midsummer months of June and August 2005, gray-coated US
Air Force C-130 transport planes were housed in the hangar for a
total of four periods from four to eight days. "We can use the
hangar again after they return it, so the hangar is offered to them
for nothing," a Defense Ministry official said.

That year, the ASDF provided the US Air Force twice with C-130 parts
and was supplied seven times with componentry from the USAF. In
addition, the ASDF used the US military's toilet-cleaning equipment
four times for its C-130s.

TOKYO 00001657 008 OF 011

The ASDF owes much to the US military. Its supply of air fuel to the
ASDF's Kuwait-based detachment amounts to as much as 140 kiloliters
a year. "The ASDF has dispatched about 200 personnel there," says
Col. Hirohide Inoue, 45, chief coordinator in the Air Staff Office's
Logistics Planning Division. Inoue went on: "The ASDF is provided
with air fuel from the US Air Force, so we can somehow manage to do
things at this level of personnel. If we've got to do everything
ourselves, we will have to send more personnel. As a result, the
ASDF's burden will be heavier."

What makes it possible for Japan and the United States to replenish
each other with supplies is a bilateral arrangement, which is called
the Japan-US Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA). The
two countries return supplies in kind. However, they may also cash

At one time, the Defense Agency-the Defense Ministry's
predecessor-issued a notification in the name of its administrative
deputy director general's name to let the Maritime Self-Defense
Force refuel US naval vessels only when MSDF vessels participate in
the Rim-of-the Pacific joint naval maneuvers (RIMPAC) conducted in
waters off Hawaii under the US Navy's initiative. Japan and the
United States thereafter strengthened their bilateral cooperation.
In 1996, the Japanese and US governments issued a bilateral joint
declaration on security. At the same time, the two governments
entered into ACSA.

At first, ACSA was only applicable to bilateral joint training
exercises between Japan and the United States as well as to United
Nations peacekeeping operations. However, ACSA, as a result of its
two revisions, expanded its applicable scope to contingencies in the
periphery of Japan and emergencies in Japan. Later on, ACSA's
applicable scope was further expanded to the Self-Defense Forces'
overseas activities conducted under the Antiterror Special Measures
Law or otherwise under the Iraq Special Measures Law.

The SDF-with its members deployed in Iraq-came under ACSA at once.
In Kuwait, for instance, Ground Self-Defense Force members stayed at
a US Army camp where they were served with provisions. They were
airlifted to Iraq on ASDF C-130 transport planes. After their
arrival in Iraq, they received similar support from US forces in Ali
(formerly Taril).

As is evident from such cases, the SDF's Iraq mission cannot go it
alone without its integration with US forces. This also seems to be
why the ASDF is tasked with airlift activities mainly for US

Ali Al Salem Air Base also hosts troops from the Republic of Korea.
The ASDF, according to its officer, provides no supplies to the ROK
forces because Japan and the ROK have no arrangement like ACSA.
However, a Defense Ministry official explains that the Iraq Special
Measures Law prescribes a clause of "transfer" and "nonreimbursable
loan," which is applicable to South Korean forces as well.

At the airbase, the ASDF has invested a total of 2.3 billion yen for
its hangar, billeting and recreational quarters, and some other
buildings. "In time," another Defense Ministry official says, "the
SDF will withdraw." This official added: "All these buildings are
therefore regarded as temporary installations. We cannot say these
buildings are state-owned assets, and it's incorrect to say these
facilities are under (Japan's) occupation."

TOKYO 00001657 009 OF 011

When deploying overseas, the SDF sets up a base on the premises of a
base in a foreign land to team up with armed forces from foreign
countries. This framework has already been established. In December
last year, the Self-Defense Forces Law was revised to task the SDF
with overseas activities as part of its primary missions. The law
just caught up with the facts to endorse what the SDF is actually

(6) Japan @ World by Yoichi Funabashi: Japan needs to be further
involved in six-party talks

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

Yoichi Funabashi

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is an ardent fan of
the Boston Red Sox.

Last November, when pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka decided to transfer to
the Red Sox, Hill yelled with delight. Immediately after the
revelation of this decision, Hill engaged in talks with North Korean
Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan on the issue of the 25 million
dollars frozen at North Korea-related bank accounts at Banco Delta
Asia (BDA) in Macao.

Hill was too excited to solemnly engage in the talks.

"Matsuzaka will transfer to the Red Sox. The transfer money is 51
million dollars."


Kim had no idea who was Matsuzaka. He stared at Hill with wonder.

"Why is that huge amount of money paid to only one person?"

"Indeed, it is a large sum of money, more than double 25 million

Their conversation moved from this topic to how to launch a
framework for US-North Korea talks to discuss the lifting of the
sanctions against the North. Last week, the US government announced
it would lift the freeze on the DPRK's funds at the BDA, and this
has now enabled North Korea to withdraw its deposits there. But the
North Koreans have neither shut down nor sealed their nuclear
reactor at Yongbyon yet.

America's lifting of the sanctions against the North has somehow
brought the six-party talks to the point of going to bat in the
direction of denuclearizing the North. If the North reports on all
its nuclear programs and disables all existing nuclear facilities,
the multilateral talks will advance to first base. Then,
full-fledged energy assistance by every member nation will start.
The six-party talks can advance to second base if they succeed in
obtaining the North's commitment to abandon the nuclear enrichment
program that triggered a nuclear crisis this time. The talks would
reach third if they are successful in making the North dispose of
its nuclear weapons tested last October and nuclear materials. The
multilateral talks will reach home plate if they thoroughly inspect
and confirm whether the North has scrapped all of its nuclear
programs and facilities. Unless all this is done, no path for

TOKYO 00001657 010 OF 011

diplomatic normalization between the US and North Korea and between
Japan and North Korea can be set. There is a long way to go,

In addition, the abduction issue stands in the way for Japan and
North Korea to normalize diplomatic ties. Tokyo has proclaimed that
it will not assist North Korea in the energy area unless the
abduction issue makes headway. Pyongyang's position is that the
abduction issue has already been settled. Japan does not intend to
take part in the energy assistance scheme for the time being. The
North has called Japan a country disqualified to be a member of the
six-party talks. Japan is not necessarily going along with four
other member nations of the talks: the US, China, South Korea, and

One South Korean diplomat I met in Beijing told me: "Everybody
initially showed sympathy for the abducted victims. But the Japanese
government has reiterated the same thing at every session under the
six-party talks. I therefore have sent my home government this kind
of telegram concerning Japan's chief negotiator's statements: 'His
statements focused solely on the abduction issue as 'he did in the
last session with no fresh argument.'"

Former US Secretary of State Kissinger, who was recently visiting
Japan, queried ranking Japanese officials: "What would be a
resolution to the abduction issue? Could you tell me the
definition?" Reportedly, however, no clear-cut answer was given to

I doubt whether the Japanese government really has an answer to that
question. In the Diet, both arguments crop up: one is "Japan must
not be left behind the US and North Korea over the nuclear issue"
and the other is "Japan should resolutely deal with the abduction
issue, aside from America's or North Korea's motives."

"The prevailing view is that Japan has received the cold shoulder
and has been isolated in the six-party talks," a high-level US
government official analyzed. This view implies the feeling that:
Japan has been betrayed by the US, which has rushed to reach
agreement in talks with North Korea. Voices of distrust of the US
are in fact heard, for instance, the US is spoiling North Korea; the
US is about to launch "arms control" talks with the North; and
America's "nuclear umbrella" has holes in it now.

Partly because the six-party talks were started under the initiative
of the US and China, Japan has so far tended to participate in the
sessions with a passive attitude and has failed to make strategic
decisions. But it is incorrect to say that Japan has been placed in
an isolated situation in the six-party talks.

Japan needs to cool-headedly analyze the limits of the six-party
talks. Specifically, the multilateral talks eventually allowed the
North to conduct a nuclear test. The North Koreans appear to be
performing "brinkmanship" acrobatics under a safety net called the
six-party talks. North Korea indeed may not abandon its nuclear

Nevertheless, Japan should pursue the possibility of the six-party
talks as far as it can. If nuclear proliferation were to occur at
this point, relations among Japan, China, and South Korea could
assume an aspect of xenophobic nationalism and be filled with a
sense of fear. In this case, Japan would find itself in a most
difficult situation among those member nations.

TOKYO 00001657 011 OF 011

The six-party talks could serve as a first multifaceted process in
the history of this region for peace and stability. Japan's
strategic challenge will be to grope to find the best possibilities
of applying this process, including an opportunity for the Japan-US
alliance and the US-South Korea alliance to be linked to a regional
framework in Northeast Asia. The first ordeal for Japan is to
actively participate in the process of bringing about the
abandonment of the North's nuclear programs and by so doing, to
acquire multifaceted diplomatic skills. There is no choice but to
resolve the nuclear issue and the abduction issue within a
multifaceted process. Preparing for that requires a strategic

Let me add some points of my own in this regard.

7 Maintain a firm relationship of trust between Japan and the US in
a way that is linked to the bilateral alliance, which has the
capability to keep the region stable on the basis of the US Forces

7 Pursue a resolution of the abduction issue while linking it to the
nuclear issue. Unfold a diplomacy that will boost, if possible, the
efforts to resolve the nuclear issue and use Japan's active handling
of the issue to increase multifaceted pressure on North Korea in the
area of the abduction issue.

7 Prepare an "exit plan" for a resolution to the abduction issue
while pressing ahead on it. Consider the abduction issue in light of
diplomacy instead of as a movement.

The question is not a choice between the two: nuclear and
abductions. This is not the question, either, of which issue comes
first. Japan is indeed urged to make a strategic decision.


© Scoop Media

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Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>


MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>


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