Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 04/19/07

DE RUEHKO #1740/01 1090804
P 190804Z APR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) What lies behind the clouds over Japan-US relations: Iraq,
comfort women issue require more level-headed players

(2) "Comfort women" issue by Yoshiaki Yoshimi: Need to disseminate
clear message showing that Japan has overcome the past

(3) North Korea fails to implement six-party agreement; Pyongyang
eyes change to America's "hostile policy"; Pyongyang unlikely to
abandon nuclear programs until ceasefire agreement is replaced with
peace treaty

(4) People who can't recognize North Korea threat

(5) US district court decides blanket cattle testing is legal:
Government has no authority to place ban; Private company wins case

(6) Japan, behind in FTA race, urged to craft global strategy


(1) What lies behind the clouds over Japan-US relations: Iraq,
comfort women issue require more level-headed players

SANKEI (Page 13) (Abridged)
April 19, 2007

By Tadae Takubo, visiting professor at Kyorin University

What happens if US troops leave Iraq?

It is still fresh in our memory that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
highhandedly broached historical issues in his meeting with Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit held
in Vientiane in November 2004. Japanese people also still remember
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's thunderous look before
television cameras during massive anti-Japan demonstrations in China
in 2005. Demons can sometimes behave like angels. During their
recent visits to Japan, Wen and Li presented themselves as likable
Chinese leaders, wearing smiles all the time. Japan welcomed them
with open arms. I have no intention of discussing the
appropriateness of this sort of reaction to the Chinese leaders in
this paper. What truly worries me is the fact that dark clouds are
beginning to hang over Japan-US relations, which must be rock solid
in dealing with China.

First, one cause lies in Japan's frivolous attitude of having gone
along with the Bush administration on the Iraq war without bothering
to determine its essence. Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan)
President Ichiro Ozawa described the Bush administration's actions
as "egoistic" and urged Tokyo to make a decision not to follow the
United States. Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma also said twice that the
Bush administration's decision to launch the Iraq war was a
"mistake." Those thoughtless remarks are seemingly attributable to
calls for withdrawal from Iraq rising in the US from the Democrats,
who won the midterm elections last November.

I have three questions for the lawmakers: (1) Is the Iraq "war" a
war between states? (2) Who is fighting for what? (3) What will
happen if the US troops abruptly withdraw from Iraq? Because this is
not a war under international law, there cannot be negotiations for
a ceasefire. Sooner or later, the US will withdraw from Iraq. But

TOKYO 00001740 002 OF 009

before doing so, the Iraqi government must become able to defend
itself. The war on international terrorism will continue even after
the US troops leave Iraq. The war on terrorism is not going to end
with the Democratic Party in charge of the US government. The United
States is fighting back some Islamic fundamentalists who are
challenging democracy. A steep rise in oil prices would not be the
only consequence of turbulence in the Middle East resulting from a
Kurdish attempt for independence in a civil war after America's
departure. The defense minister is not the only one who offers his
view like an umpire in defiance of the country's dangerous

Japan-US crisis and Japan and US experts

The second cause is Japan's inept response to the so-called comfort
women resolution presented to the US Congress by Representative
Michael Honda and others. At issue is whether or not the former
Imperial Japanese Army used coercion in recruiting the comfort
women. The absence of coercion would mean that the Japanese military
had bordellos just like the militaries of other countries. The Honda
resolution relies on the Kono Statement that simply complied with
Seoul's request for acknowledging the use of coercion for the honor
of the former South Korean comfort women. Prime Minister Abe's
remarks intended to correctly clarify the background of the comfort
women issue by explaining the word "coercion" from both the broad
and narrow senses were twisted and drew flak from the US media. The
US media reaction was unfair.

Every time tensions have grown between Japan and the United States,
the automatic self-correcting mechanism worked properly with US
experts in Japan persuading Tokyo not to go overboard and Japan
experts in the US checking Washington's mistakes. For instance, a
movement spread in the US in 2001 to expand the scope of
compensation for wartime Nazi slave laborers to include those worked
for Japanese companies. Then Secretary of State Colin Powell opposed
it, and three former US ambassadors to Japan, including Walter
Mondale, issued a statement critical of the US Congress. I was so
impressed that I contributed to this column an article praising
their action as mirroring American conscience.

Japan bashing by China, South Korea, and the US

This time, no one but Daniel Inoue raised objections to the Honda
resolution. Even US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer joined the
Japan bashing by saying: "It would have a destructive impact if the
American people took it that Japan was backing away from the Kono
Statement." It is also absurd for China, South Korea, and the United
States to try to squash Japan's view, which is just. Many people
believing in the Japan-US alliance hold correct views.

During his stay in Japan, Wen delivered a speech at the Diet, giving
a positive evaluation to Japan's sincere apologies and remorse over
historical events and urging Tokyo to match them with action. His
speech elicited huge applause from the audience. Many ruling and
opposition leaders also made courtesy calls on Wen at his Tokyo
hotel - something that has never taken place during visits to Japan
by President George W. Bush. China's "magical" diplomacy was utterly
amazing. Japan-US relations are far more mature than Japan-China
relations, but that warrants no optimism.

(2) "Comfort women" issue by Yoshiaki Yoshimi: Need to disseminate
clear message showing that Japan has overcome the past

TOKYO 00001740 003 OF 009

AKAHATA (Page 15) (Full)
April 19, 2007

Yoshiaki Yoshimi, professor of modern Japanese history at Chuo

Prime Minister Abe's response to a US House resolution on "wartime
comfort women" is sending out ripples. His response was that there
was no "coercion in the narrow sense," and that he had no intention
to offer apologies. Afterwards, however, Abe came under strong fire
from abroad, so he said he stands by a government statement issued
in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono (commonly called the
Kono Statement), but he has not taken back his previous response on

Well, how about historical facts?

It is strange in the first place to draw a line between the term
"taking away" (renko) and the term "work or employment" (shieki) and
take issue only with the former. Whatever the forms of "taking away"
were, the question is whether women were forced to work at comfort

The point at issue is not limited to abductions by using violence or
intimidation. Even under the law at the time, if someone takes
someone out of the country by force or intimidation and detains that
person, this act constitutes human trafficking and the act of taking
someone to elsewhere by cajolery or allurement. Specifically, these
acts correspond to "abduction and transfer from the country", "human
trafficking", and "abduction, kidnapping and transfer from the

It is also impossible to say that the government would not be
responsible if the rank and file of either the military or the
police authorities were not involved directly. That is because the
former Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) created, managed, and expanded
the wartime comfort women system. In Korea and Taiwan, Japanese
military police and police told brokers to recruit women and put
those brokers under their control.

The leading role in the system was played by the military, not by
brokers. Proof of this is official military documentation that has
already been disclosed. If the recruitment of women and management
of comfort stations were entrusted to brokers, the military and
brokers were equally guilty because the military did not put an end
to the detention of women.

Much more serious a problem than that is that the wartime comfort
women system was essentially sexual slavery -- exclusively for
military use. Most women were detained in comfort facilities as a
result of human trafficking or after being kidnapped or abducted.
They had no freedom to refuse to provide sexual service or to go out
or to retire. All these things have been proved by not only victims'
testimony but also a number of military files and records and
soldiers' memoirs.

Abductions by the military or military police, in other words, cases
coming under the so-called "coercion in the narrow sense," cannot be
rejected, either. Even a Japanese court has acknowledged that
Japanese military personnel abducted women by force in China's
Shanxi Province. Many testimonies by Philippine women indicated the
same. A 1994 research report by the Dutch government recorded that
there were eight cases of this kind, including not only the Semerang

TOKYO 00001740 004 OF 009

Comfort Station incident but also failed attempts to abduct. There
is also documentary evidence of the International Military Tribunal
for the Far East (Tokyo Trial) and soldiers' memoirs.

In conclusion, it is impermissible to back away even a single step
from the Kono Statement. But the Kono Statement is not necessarily
perfect, because although it admitted it "severely injured the honor
and dignity of many women," it employed the phrase "with the
involvement of the military authorities" to make it ambiguous as to
who injured the honor and dignity of many women. It is also a
problem that the statement does not admit legal responsibility.

Overseas media have severely taken issue with the gap in Abe's
attitude between the abduction issue caused by North Korea and the
"comfort women" issue, as he is eager to resolve the former but less
eager to deal with the latter. Both issues are important human
rights issues and remain pending. If the Japanese government clearly
acknowledges its responsibility for the "comfort women" issue and
compensates each victim, that will be a big contribution to human
rights issues. It will also enhance Japan's prestige and undergird
Japan's position on the abduction issue.

Japan should not escape into the Kono Statement as a makeshift
measure. Rather, it should reform itself into a country that can
send a clear message for the future by showing that Japan has
overcome the past and is contributing to preventing a recurrence of
wartime violence.

(3) North Korea fails to implement six-party agreement; Pyongyang
eyes change to America's "hostile policy"; Pyongyang unlikely to
abandon nuclear programs until ceasefire agreement is replaced with
peace treaty

YOMIURI (Page 15) (Abridged)
April 18, 2007

The six-party talks held on February 13 adopted an agreement
obligating North Korea to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities
and accept IAEA inspectors within 60 days as its initial steps.

Conditioning its work to shut down the nuclear plant on Washington's
move to fully unfreeze North Korean accounts at Banco Delta Asia
(BDA), Pyongyang missed the February 14 deadline.

Amid growing skepticism about Pyongyang's commitment to the
six-party agreement, an American delegation led by New Mexico Gov.
Bill Richardson visited Pyongyang on April 8-11. Arriving in Seoul
on his way back to the US, Richardson indicated that he has sensed
Pyongyang's intention to implement its initial steps.

Once the funds at BDA are withdrawn, North Korea is certain to shut
down its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Then, what was the purpose of the North's adherence to its BDA
accounts that hold only 25 million dollars?

The answer lies in North Korea's assertions and moves since last
spring. Simply put, Pyongyang used its BDA funds in a bid to bring
changes to America's hostile policy toward North Korea. The North's
standpoint is that the July 1953 ceasefire agreement of the Korean
War should be swiftly replaced with a permanent peace treaty.

Starting last spring, North Korea pressed the US behind the scenes

TOKYO 00001740 005 OF 009

for a shift from the ceasefire agreement to a peace treaty.
Washington's rejection resulted in missile launches in July and a
nuclear test in October by North Korea. Following US-ROK joint
military exercises, the Panmunjom mission of the Korean People's
Army released a statement on Aug. 22 noting: "We consider that the
US has declared the ceasefire agreement as invalid."

Pyongyang's view is that as long as the US sticks to its hostile
policy toward the North that threatens the security of the region,
it will not abandon a nuclear deterrent, and that once the US has
adopted policy of coexistence in place of hostile policy, it is
ready to dismantle its nuclear programs.

Although this logic is self-centered, in dealing with North Korea,
which is extremely cunning, it is essential to be aware of
Pyongyang's way of thinking.

What will happen to the six-party talks in the future? Based on the
February agreement, working groups have been established on five
themes: (1) the nuclear issue, (2) economic aid, (3) improving
US-DPRK relations, (4) normalizing Japan-DPRK relations, and (5)
regional security. Groups for (3) and (5) are expected to function
actively. North Korea has a particularly strong interest in group
(5), which will handle a peace treaty.

China, as the chair of the six-party talks, are lobbying other
member countries to hold a foreign ministerial once the North shuts
down the Yongbyon plant and accepts IAEA inspectors, as promised.
Chances are also high for the US, China, and North Korea - the
signatory countries of the ceasefire -- plus South Korea to hold
talks on a peace treaty. But there is a long way to go before the
North relinquishes its nuclear programs if it taps into a peace
treaty after taking the initial steps. Japan would be less
represented in the process.

(4) People who can't recognize North Korea threat

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
April 16, 2007

Hisayoshi Ina, senior writer

In my last column "Thinking from Vientiane," I wrote that the
present-day situation-in which Japan is facing North Korea's nuclear
and missile threats-is akin to the Cuban Missile Crisis the United
States experienced in 1962. I thought this sense could be shared by
people living on the Japanese archipelago. But it does not seem like

Last month, there was a Japan-US security seminar in San Francisco.
In the seminar, I said the current state of Japan was like that
crisis. This view encountered a counterargument on the spot from
Hajime Izumi, a professor at the University of Shizuoka. I have his
consent to introduce his view in this column. Mr. Izumi said,
"Japanese people do not think so seriously about North Korea's
nuclear development."

Americans there also looked surprised. They said the United
States-with its expanded deterrent strategy clearly shown to North
Korea-would defend Japan. That is premised on North Korea's
possession of nuclear weapons. This point is a problem for Japan.
However, they consider North Korea's nuclear arsenal as a threat. In
this respect, their perception decisively differs from Mr. Izumi's.

TOKYO 00001740 006 OF 009

Figures shown in press polls indicate the Japanese public's sense of

According to the Asahi Shimbun of Oct. 11, 2006, those feeling a
threat from North Korea totaled over 80% -broken down into 44%
"feeling a very strong threat" and 38% "feeling a threat to a
certain extent." Those who "don't feel one very much" accounted for
13%, and the proportion of those who "don't feel one at all" was

Around the same time, CNN also conducted a public opinion survey in
the United States. In that CNN poll, 20% considered North Korea as
an imminent threat, according to the Asahi Shimbun of Oct. 18, 2006.
These figures came right after North Korea's nuclear test. Yet,
there has been a similar trend.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun of Dec. 16, 2006, 40% in Japan
answered that the international community should overthrow the Kim
Jong Il regime in order to have North Korea abandon its nuclear
arsenal. Among other answers in Japan, 33% opted for the six-party
talks, with 13% choosing to toughen sanctions and 6% suggesting the
need for the United States and North Korea to hold bilateral
dialogue. In the United States, 50% favored the six-party talks,
with 23% insisting on the necessity of stepping up sanctions and 7%
calling for bilateral dialogues between the United States and North
Korea. The option of "overthrowing the Kim Jong Il regime"-which
topped all other answers in Japan-accounted for 6% in the United

In addition, the Japanese public took a severe view of the six-party
talks held in February. According to the Mainichi Shimbun of Feb.
27, 2007, 63% did not appreciate the six-party talks while 31% did.
As seen from these figures, negative answers were over twofold. The
six-party talks reached an agreement. Asked about this, 15% thought
North Korea would give up its nuclear arsenal in line with that
six-party agreement, while 78% did not.

As well as Mr. Izumi, academics studying regional affairs are prone
in their sensitivities to feel like people living in regions they
study. Mr. Don Oberdorfer, who once served as chief of the Tokyo
bureau of the Washington Post and is a most respected foreign
affairs journalist in the United States, is now pursuing his study
of the Korean Peninsula at Johns Hopkins University's School of
Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Writing for the March 14 electronic version of Newsweek for South
Korea, Oberdorfer analyzed why the United States has switched its
North Korea policy. The first reason he cited was North Korea's
nuclear test. He underscored the start of dialogue over the
deepening threat. This overlaps with North Korea's logic of seeing
its nuclear test as a political success. Even Oberdorfer agrees.

Mr. Han Sung Joo, a former South Korean foreign minister, spoke at
George Washington University. I had a chance to hear his speech
there, and he was clear-cut in what he said there. Han, who is a
scholar of political science, noted that the pattern of a Japan-US
coalition vs. South Korea in the six-party talks has changed to the
pattern of a South Korea-US coalition vs. Japan. He also ascribed
this changeover to the "strategic decision" of the United States and
also to the Sunshine Policy (of South Korea) toward North Korea. It
was a "second Nixon shock" to Japan, he said.

TOKYO 00001740 007 OF 009

The six-party agreement of Feb. 13 set a 60-day time limit for first
steps. When calculated normally, April 14 is the day time is up. Has
North Korea delivered on its promise to answer the "strategic
decision" of the United States? Has the bilateral dialogue paved the
way for North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal in its entirety?

If Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not think so, he should then ask
President Bush to reconsider policy. Otherwise, Japan and the United
States will have strategically different dreams in the same bed.
Consequently, the hollowing-out of their alliance will be set in

(07041804im) Back to Top

(5) US district court decides blanket cattle testing is legal:
Government has no authority to place ban; Private company wins case

Shimbun Akahata (Page 15) (Full)
April 18, 2007

Washington, Jiji Press

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, a US meatpacker in Kansas, filed a
complaint against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
seeking approval for it to independently carry out BSE inspection.
In this connection, it was learned on Apr. 16 that the District
Court in Washington handed down a ruling in favor of the firm,
deciding that it is illegal for the government to ban the firm from
independently carrying out BSE inspection. The ruling is noteworthy
of attention as paving the way for blanket cattle inspection by
private companies.

The ruling will not take effect until June 1 so as to give time for
the USDA to respond. The firm has already constructed facilities for
blanket cattle inspection. It said that it is ready to cooperate
with the USDA. It will decide whether to start testing, once it
determines whether the USDA will appeal the ruling.

The ruling handed down in late March noted that the law, which
provided the grounds for the USDA decision to place the ban, allows
it to regulate the use of medicines by the private sector with the
aim of determining whether cattle are infected with diseases or not,
but gives no authorization to ban inspection of slaughtered cattle.

Creekstone Farms had demanded government approval for blanket cattle
testing from about three years ago, claiming that such a testing
will lead to improved confidence in US beef in Japan and South
Korea. However, the USDA is keeping the ban on cattle inspection by
private companies in place, insisting that cattle testing by the
private sector has no scientific grounds and will damage the
trustworthiness of BSE testing by the government. The company filed
a complaint last March.

It is important for Japan to continue blanket cattle testing

(Commentary) The ruling handed down by the US District Court in
Washington noted that it is illegal for the USDA to ban private
companies from conducting BSE inspections, overturning the US
government's ban on blanket cattle testing by private companies on
the grounds that such inspection is not based on scientific

TOKYO 00001740 008 OF 009

The court decision has once again raised the responsibility of the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito for easing
Japan's blanket cattle testing system at the beck and call of the US
and forcing through the resumption of US beef imports without
blanket testing.

According to foreign telegrams, the court ruling pointed out the
efficacy of blanket cattle testing noting that it is useful as a
measure to prevent BSE and called on the USDA to authorize such a
testing by private companies.

The court decision has brought into the bold the importance of
blanket cattle testing as a domestic BSE preventive measure.

(6) Japan, behind in FTA race, urged to craft global strategy

YOMIURI (Page 9) (Excerpts)
April 19, 2007

Japan has reached a broad agreement with the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to conclude an economic partnership
agreement (EPA).

In auto parts, flat-screen TV and other manufacturing industries, a
division-of-labor system has been widely adopted between Japan and
Southeast Asia. In producing a plasma TVs, there are many cases in
which value-added major parts, such as the panel, are made in Japan,
the parts are assembled into semi-finished product in Indonesia, and
the semi-finished product is completed in Vietnam. In this case,
tariffs are imposed whenever products move from nation to nation.
But once an EPA covering the region is concluded, the tariffs will
be removed, making it easier for Japanese companies to promote the
division of labor in the ASEAN region.

An EPA between Japan and ASEAN is regarded as one step forward
toward the concept of an East Asia EPA. Under this concept, 16
countries - Japan, China, South Korea, the 10 ASEAN countries,
India, Australia, and New Zealand - would seal an EPA, based on a
free trade agreement (FTA).

However, Japan has lagged behind the United States, the European
Union (EU), and even South Korea in competition over FTA and EPA.
Following South Korea sealing an FTA with Chile in 2004, Japan
launched EPA negotiations with Chile.

South Korea has eagerly pushed ahead with negotiations on concluding
FTAs with economic powers. It reached a broad agreement on
concluding an FTA with the US on April 2 and also plans to hold the
first round of FTA negotiations with the EU in May. The EU has
levied a 10% tariff on automobiles and a 14% tariff on flat-screen
TV, so if the EU and South Korea strike a deal, Japanese products
might become less competitive in Europe. In contrast to South Korea,
Japan has yet to launch FTA negotiations with the US and the EU. .

China has already put an FTA with ASEAN on goods into effect. China
has also engaged in FTA negotiations with such resource-supplying
countries as the six Middle East countries belonging to the
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and

Some observers attribute Japan's delay in the FTA race to an absence
of global FTA strategy as a result of giving priority to forming a

TOKYO 00001740 009 OF 009

free trade system centered on the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Nobuto Iwata, professor at Aoyama Gakuin University and president at
the WTO Research Center, said: "Japan has yet to craft a strategy to
seal EPAs with countries other than Southeast Asian countries. South
Korea and China have concluded FTAs in succession. Japan needs to
take response measures to such moves." Nihon Keidanren (Japan
Business Federation) has called for a FTA between Japan and the US,
from the viewpoint of strengthening the Japan-US alliance.

Hidejiro Urata, professor at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific
Research of Waseda University, commented: "It is desirable for Japan
to establish a system to have the Kantei (the Prime Minister's
Office) take the lead in determining the nation's external economic
strategy while removing the conventional vertically segmented system
of government administration." Keidanren has proposed creating a
council on external economic strategy, stressing the need for a
unified body going beyond the wall of government agencies.

An abolishment of tariffs on rice, wheat and other agricultural
products also stand in the way for Japan in promoting EPA
negotiations. The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy set up
expert panels on agriculture and EPA. These panels have engaged in
discussing what measures should be taken. But some reiterate the
need to establish an institute vested with more authority.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


New IPCC Report: ‘Unprecedented Changes’ Needed To Limit Global Warming

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes,” such as ditching coal for electricity to slash carbon emissions, says a special report that finds some of the actions needed are already under way, but the world must move faster… More>>


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>>


Sulawesi Quake, Tsunami: Aid Response Begins

Oxfam and its local partners are standing by to deploy emergency staff and resources to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, as an estimated 1.5 million people are thought to be affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit on Friday. More>>


Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC