Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 05/01/07-1

DE RUEHKO #1923/01 1210112
P 010112Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


Prime Minister Abe in Washington:
1) Bush-Abe summit meeting confirms "irreplaceable alliance" as base
for future multilateral cooperation
2) President Bush to link consideration to abduction issue to
decision on whether to remove North Korea from list of
terrorist-sponsoring states
3) Summit meeting reveals gap still exists between US, Japan on
North Korea issue
4) Bush "accepts" Abe's "apology" for comfort-women issue
5) Gist of summit meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister
6) Summit meeting joint statement includes cooperation to stem
global warming
7) Gap between US, Japan on global warming: No mention in summit
statement about "obligation" to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions
8) Summit meeting agreement on intellectual property protection
9) Summit meeting reaches de facto agreement on prior discussion on
future FTA
10) US, Japanese leaders both deem their first summit meeting a
resounding success
11) One bitter lesson learned for Abe in US was apparent inability
to transmit intention on comfort-women issue


1) Summit meeting -- Japan, US searching for multilateral
cooperation with "irreplaceable alliance" as the pivot

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
April 28, 2007

By Fumi Igarashi in Washington

Prime Minister Abe and President Bush in their summit meeting with
on April 27 (late night in Japan) confirmed to strengthen
cooperation in a broad range of areas from the North Korea nuclear
and abduction issues to measures to counter global warming. At the
press conference that followed, Abe repeatedly referred to the
president as "George" and stressed their closeness. But compared to
the former prime minister, Koizumi, there was an undeniable feeling
that the closeness of the two leaders had "retreated." However,
different from Koizumi, who tilted solely toward the US, there was a
desire to have a new bilateral alliance that would seek out
multilateral cooperation, with the "irreplaceable alliance" as the
pivot, in order to respond to changes in the international

2) US president promise to prime minister that consideration to
abductions issue would be given in removing North Korea from
terrorist list

MAINICHI (Top play) (Excerpt)
Eve., April 28, 2007

By Chiyako Sato in Washington

In his summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the
president's retreat, Camp David, in the suburbs of Washington,
President Bush said, "We will factor in the abduction issue" in
connection with removing North Korea from the list designating it as
a country sponsoring terrorism. He was replying to a request from
the prime minister that consideration be given to the abduction

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issue at the time of removing that country from the list of
terrorist-supporters. The president said: "I promise there will be
no change" in support for the abduction issue. He stressed: "We must
not let our strong stance toward the abduction issue weaken."

3) Covering the gap on North Korea: Prime Minister Abe -- "Common
target of nuclear and other issues"; President Bush -- "Support
Japan on abduction issue"

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 3) (Excerpt)
April 28, 2007

The summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Bush
became a forum for re-coordinating US policy toward North Korea that
had turned toward dialogue with that country. The US confirmed that
if North Korea does not carry out its promise to abandon nuclear
weapons, the US would heighten pressure on it. The president,
turning to the abduction issue, clearly stated that he would support
Japan's efforts to resolve the issue. However, the moves of North
Korea are hard to read, and the truth is that there is a lack of
specific means to pressure it. In case the issue becomes prolonged,
it is unclear how long Japan and the US can maintain their
cooperation on this problem.

4) US President Bush "accepts apology" of Prime Minister Abe on
comfort-women issue

SANKEI (Page 1) (Full)
April 28, 2007

Ruhi Ahiru in Washington

In his summit meeting with the President Bush, Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe apologized for the comfort-women issue, stating, "As a human
being and as the prime minister, I feel genuine sympathy for the
comfort women for their having to undergo such painful experiences
under excruciating circumstances. I feel sorry that they were placed
in such a situation."

He also stated: "The 20th Century was a century in which there were
many human-rights transgressions, and Japan, too, was a part of it.
I would like Japan to make major contributions in the 21st Century
so that it will be a better age without human-rights violations."

In response, President Bush expressed his understanding, saying: "I
accept the Prime Minister's apology. It was a frank statement filled
with great compassion. Our task is to lead our countries by learning
the lessons from the past."

The prime minister's statement aimed to assuage the issue, having in
mind the resolution criticizing the Japanese government that is now
before the US House of Representatives, as well as the protest
demonstration outside the White House on April 26.

5) Gist of summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and US
President Bush

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
April 30, 2007

The following is the main contents of the summit meeting between
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Bush on April 27, as

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briefed by the Japanese government:

Overall Japan-US relations

The two leaders agreed to deal with the various issues in East Asia,
based on the Japan-US alliance, and to further strengthen the
alliance. The two shared the common view of the importance of having
deterrence capabilities based on the bilateral alliance and they
reconfirmed they would promote the realignment of US forces in Japan
and cooperate on ballistic missile defense.

The two leaders compiled a joint statement on such areas as the
economy, cultural exchanges, and nuclear energy. On the economic
front, keeping in mind the rise of new economies and their impact on
the global economy, the two agreed to strengthen cooperation on a
broad agenda that includes energy, intellectual property rights, and
safe and smooth trade.

From the point of view that the cornerstone of the bilateral
alliance lies in exchanges and mutual understanding between the two
peoples, the two leaders agreed also on reform of the Japan-US
cultural and educational exchange council to strengthen the
intellectual exchanges between the two countries. They confirmed
their intention to cooperate based on a joint Japan-US action plan
on nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Abe: As a mission of the Abe Cabinet, I am aiming at
emerging from the postwar regime. With the security environment
around Japan greatly changing, I established just before traveling
to the United States a blue-ribbon panel of experts for the purpose
of rebuilding the legal base for national security to match the age.
On the economic front, I will carry out structural reforms.

It is important to steadily implement the agreement reached last
year in May on the realignment on US forces in Japan, and I will
carry out the relocation of the US forces' Futenma Air Station in
accordance with the agreement.

President Bush: Cooperation will be carried out by the responsible
cabinet members.

North Korea problem

The two leaders agreed to make efforts through the six-party talks
to bring about North Korea's complete scrapping of its nuclear
weapons and nuclear programs.

President: Even now, I am left with a strong impression from the
meeting last year with Sakie-san, the mother of Megumi Yokota, one
of the victims of abduction by North Korea. I would like to
reconfirm by unchanging support for the Japanese government.

Prime Minister: Will North Korea be removed from the list of
terrorist-supporting countries?

President: When we approach that issue, we will factor in
consideration for the abduction issue. This process must never
weaken the strong feelings toward the abduction victims.

Relations with China; measures to prevent global warming

Both leaders welcomed the fact that China was carrying out a more

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constructive role in the international community.

Prime Minister: Even Premier Wen cited the necessity of building an
effective international framework that all major carbon-dioxide
emitting countries could join, including China and India.

War on terror; Middle East situation

Prime Minister: We understand and support US efforts to stabilize
and reconstruct Iraq. (He then explained the bill amending the Iraq
Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures Law to extend it for two

The two leaders agreed on strengthening assistance to Afghanistan
and Pakistan. They also agreed, as has the international community,
to search for ways to resolve peacefully the main case of Iran,
while heightening pressure on that country.

Other issues

Prime Minister: I thank the United States for its support of Japan's
bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security

It is important to deepen dialogue and cooperation with major
democratic nations in the Asia-Pacific region, and to support the
basic direction toward prosperity and democratization in the region.
In addition to Japan and the United States, it would be beneficial
for countries, such as India and Australia to engage in dialogue.

The stability of the Middle East is a matter of vital interest for
Japan. I will visit Middle-East countries, starting on the 28th. I
will make efforts to help stabilize the region by strengthening
relations with Arab states. In a dimension that transcends a
diplomacy that gives priority to energy in relations with each
country, I would like to build broad and multilayered relations in
the region.

6) Japan, US to cooperate on global warming, joint statement
released at summit notes

ASAHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
Evening, April 28, 2007

A joint statement on greenhouse gases, the cause of global warming,
was released after talks between Prime Minister Abe and President
Bush held on the morning of Apr. 27 (midnight of the same day, Japan
time) at Camp David in a suburb of Washington DC. The US, which has
been negative toward the climate change issue, has indicated a
stance of cooperating in areas where its interests are in agreement
with Japan's, such as energy security and development of alternative
forms of energy.

According to the joint statement, Japan and the US agreed to
continue to engage in the ultimate objective of stabilizing the
concentration of greenhouse gases in the air and consider ways to
press ahead with this effort. The statement also noted that both
countries would boost government-level talks and that the US would
send a delegation consisting of senior government officials to Japan
before the G-8 Summit in June in order to deepen discussions on the

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It is a key agenda item for the prime minister, who wants to display
leadership regarding environmental measures, to have the US, which
pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, return to the international
framework to combat global warming. The Japanese side has given high
marks to the joint statement, with Abe saying that the statement was
a major step forward as it was able to obtain US pledge for

Footing for post-Kyoto Protocol discussions

(Commentary) The joint statement the leaders of Japan and the US
released on Apr. 27 categorically mentioned that the objective of
measures to counter global warming is to stabilize the concentration
of greenhouse gases in the air. It can be said that it was an
achievement for Japan in the sense that it has succeeded in clearly
setting the footing for future discussions to have the US return to
an international framework for measures to combat global warming.

There is nothing new about this objective, because it is the same as
the one advocated in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the
starting point for the world's global warming preventive measures.
The point is that the US, which walked out of the 2005 Kyoto
Protocol mandating signatory countries to cut emissions of
greenhouse gases, is a signatory to that convention.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide are now about double the amount
nature, such as forests, absorbs. In order to stabilize the
concentration of carbon dioxide, it is in theory necessary to halve
the amount of emissions. The joint statement noted that Japan and
the US start discussions on cutting carbon dioxide emissions on the
footing they share.

The US Supreme Court early this month decided that greenhouse gases
are pollutants. The State of California is already aiming at
implementing emissions regulation based on that premise. The court
decision will likely back this movement.

For this reason, it has been a pressing issue for the Bush
administration to come up with some countermeasures before various
states start introducing their own regulations.

However, the leaders of the two countries did not exchange any
concrete views on measures to address emissions cut targets or the
deadline to meet such targets. Discussions on the creation of a
concrete post-Kyoto framework have yet to be started.

7) Japan-US summit meeting in discussing global-warming
countermeasures did not step into obligatory reduction of greenhouse
gases, revealing gap with Europe

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Excerpt)
Eve., April 28, 2007

By Kazuaki Fujii in Washington

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Bush in their summit meeting
on April 27 announced cooperation on measures to counter global
warming and to consider ways how the US and Japan might take the
lead in building a framework for the post-2013 period when the Kyoto
Protocol will have expired. However, they did not step into any
specific discussion, such as setting targets for greenhouse-gas
reduction, or making it obligatory for companies to reduce

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emissions. The European Union (EU) has set high numerical targets
and is moving ahead with reduction centered on private companies.
The gap between the EU on one side and Japan and the US on the other
side is becoming increasingly wide.

8) Japanese, US leaders agree on protection of intellectual property

ASAHI (Page 3) (Excerpts)
Evening, April 28, 2007

Washington, Kaori Nishizaki

Prime Minister Abe and US President Bush after a meeting on Apr. 27
released a document advocating strengthening bilateral cooperation
in the economic area. The document incorporated the worldwide
strengthening of the protection of intellectual property rights,
promotion of new multilateral trade talks (Doha Round) at the World
Trade Organization (WTO), efforts to promote the envisaged free
trade area for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and exchanges of information
on a (possible Japan-US) free trade agreement.

With both leaders stressing the Japan-US alliance in the economic
fields as well, no major issues concerning trade disputes surfaced.
Regarding the high-profile US beef issue, the president expressed
his hope to see Japan ease its import conditions. He applied
pressure only in a soft manner noting: "US beef is healthy. We will
serve hamburgers to the prime minister and his entourage for today's

9) Japanese, US leaders agree to start prior negotiations on
bilateral FTA

ASAHI (Page 11) (Excerpts)
April 28, 2007

Kaoru Nishizaki, Washington

In the Japan-United States summit on April 27, the two leaders
agreed that the two countries would promote information exchange on
the details of the free trade agreements (FTA) and the economic
partnership agreements (EPA) that they have so far concluded. The
aim is to find out what type of FTA is possible for the two
countries to form. Japan and the US will launch preliminary
negotiations in effect for future talks on concluding a bilateral

A senior US official who stresses the importance of a Japan-US FTA
commented: "We are fully aware that the Abe administration, keeping
the upcoming House of Councillors election in mind, remains unable
to refer to liberalization of trade in agricultural products. In the
world, however, moves pursuing FTAs have begun in full swing. Japan
and the US also should look into the possibility; otherwise, they
will lag behind the times."

Japan has concluded EPAs or FTAs with six countries, while the US
has signed or agreed on such accords with 13 countries. Since the
contents of each accord are different, both sides have decided to
explain to each other the details of the protection of intellectual
property rights, competition policy, investment, agriculture, and
other areas specified in each agreement.

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10) Japanese, US leaders make great effort so that summit meeting
will be seen as success

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
Eve. April 28, 2007

By Chiyako Sato in Washington

"Last night, we were invited over by George and Laura, and we had a
wonderful time with the President and the First Lady." Prime
Minister Abe, in the joint news conference after his summit meeting
with President Bush, called the president by his first name three
times. The prime minister, once it was decided at the summit meeting
to use first names "George" and "Shinzo," immediately put it into
practice. Although "shared values" were stressed in the talks,
Japan-US relations have some noticeable gaps in understanding. Both
leaders, however, played up their performances to make sure that the
Abe visit to the US would come across as successful.

In particular, on the North Korea problem, both leaders took special
pains so that their differences would be seen as less than they
were. The US administration, which has changed to a soft-line, has
distanced itself gradually from the hard stance of the Abe
administration, which is unable to compromise on the abduction

On this point, the president likely spoke in response to the Japan
side's expectation. The president said he was demanding of North
Korea not just to shut down its nuclear facility, but also to
abandon all nuclear programs. And if the North did not keep its
promise, he said, "We have the capability of carrying out even more

11) Prime Minister Abe's bitter lesson during his US trip: Unable to
transmit his intention on the comfort-women issue

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
April 30, 2007

By Ruri Ahiru in Abu Dhabi

The visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the United States first of
all scored a great success on the point of building a relationship
of trust with Abe's counterpart, President Bush. However, the only
bitter lesson that lingers seemed to have been the comfort-women
issue, which remains pending. The prime minister, in his joint press
conference with the US president, spoke this way of the
comfort-women issue: "I feel genuine sympathy as an individual and
as the prime minister for those who were comfort women, and I feel
sorry that they were placed in such a situation." He continued:
"The 20th Century was an age in which the human rights of people
were transgressed in every region (of the world). I would like to
the 21st Century to be a splendid age in which there will be no
human-rights violations."

Prior to that, in his meeting with senior members of the US
Congress, Abe said about the same thing. And even in an interview
with CNN before his trip to the US, he used the same expressions.

The prime minister's intention was clear. It was important for him
to express directly his sympathy for the situation the comfort women
had been in. In previous replies to the Diet and other occasions, he

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had pointed out, "Although there were was coercion in the broad
sense, in which comfort women were made such against their wills,
there was no coercion in the narrow sense, such as acts of being
rounded up by constituted authorities and made into comfort women."
Although he had explained that there had been no coercive
recruitment by constituted authorities, the overseas media reported
it as if he lacked a human-rights consciousness.

Regarding the reason for sympathizing with the comfort women, he did
not refer to involvement by the Japanese government or constituted
authorities, but stressed that there existed at the time "such
conditions" into which the comfort women were placed. He strongly
suggested that Japan was not the only country during the war
committing human-rights transgressions. His aim was make the others
turn their eyes toward the future and away from the past. By this,
he was not compromising on his basic line that there had not been
any coercion in the narrow sense.

However, the phrases he has so carefully prepared beforehand did not
bring about the results that he had aimed for. Despite his having
repeatedly used the same phrases even before his trip to the US,
much of the Japanese media did not catch his intention or ignored
it, stressing the issue "apology to the US."

On the other hand, the overseas media, having a fixed view that
there had been forced recruitment of comfort women, did not transmit
the delicate nuances of the prime minister's remarks. Even President
Bush, who heard the explanation from Abe directly, simply concluded
that it was an "apology," saying, "I accept the Prime Minister's
apology (to the former comfort women)." As a result, according to a
source accompanying the prime minister, "The image projected at home
and abroad that all he did was repeatedly apologize" could not be

The prime minister's visit to the US thus left a strong impression
that when it comes to historical issues, in order to obtain
understanding, even for example from an allied country, there should
have been more persistent efforts and devices.


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