Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/17/07

DE RUEHKO #2233/01 1370831
P 170831Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Panel on Asia gateway concept stops short of listing drastic
air-liberalization measures in final report

(2) Interview with National Defense Academy Professor Emeritus
Masamori Sase on the right to collective self-defense

(3) Laughing at constitutional protectionists' strange logic

(4) Feature: Prime Minister Abe's words and action regarding the
issue of his providing offering to Yasukuni Shrine

(5) One year after Japan-US agreement on Futenma relocation plan

(6) Japan being downgraded with 29-year-old woman named director for
Asian Affairs at White House NSC


(1) Panel on Asia gateway concept stops short of listing drastic
air-liberalization measures in final report

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 3) (Full)
May 17, 2007

The government's Council on Asia Gateway Strategies issued a final
report yesterday that proposed turning Haneda Airport into an
international airport at an early date, with the aim of making Japan
Asia's gateway. The report, though some progress is observed in it,
stopped short of addressing fundamental issues that could undermine
Japan's competitiveness, such as the shortage of capacity at
airports in the capital sphere, listing only small-scale open skis

Haneda Airport will have its fourth runway in the fall, 2010. The
strategic panel had initially called for initiating regular
international flight services from and to Haneda even before the
completion of the runway, but the panel decided to propose expanding
chartered international flights by making use of the current landing
and departure slots during early morning and nighttime hours.

Regarding regular international flights to be operated starting in
the fall, 2010, the panel agreed to take into consideration such
factors as distance, demand, and the importance of routes. It paved
the way for the flight course between Haneda and Beijing to be set.
This route is longer than the longest domestic route of 1,947
kilometers between Haneda and Ishigaki Island. For regular flights
to Europe and the US, only Narita Airport is likely to be used. The
report thus avoided reviewing the current framework of using Narita
for international flights and Haneda for domestic ones.

Japan Air Lines plans to increase the number of chartered
international flights departing from Haneda Airport to 300 this
fiscal year, up about 70% over the previous year. All Nippon
Airways (ANA) President Mineo Yamamoto also said: "We would like to
offer services in a positive manner." The two companies are paying
attention to how many landing and take-off slots will be allocated
in the fall, 2010. As an ANA executive said, "There will be no
change in our business plan for this fiscal year," cool views are
dominant in the aviation industry.

(2) Interview with National Defense Academy Professor Emeritus

TOKYO 00002233 002 OF 010

Masamori Sase on the right to collective self-defense

ASAHI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
May 17, 2007

-- The government does not allow exercising the right to collective

Sase: The government's interpretation that the country has the right
under international law but is not allowed to exercise it under its
Constitution is defect. It is also a lie that the government cannot
easily change the Cabinet Legislation Bureau's traditional theory.
In Diet deliberations in 1960, then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi
replied: "Although Japan cannot exercise the collective defense
right in a way to conduct core activities in the US mainland, it can
exercise it in other parts." The wrong interpretation was
established during the Cold War era of the 1980s, and it has run
into cul-de-sac without any political decision.

-- In your view, what prevented politics from making a decision?

Sase: I recently asked former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, "Why
didn't you say, 'I will make a decision' when you were prime
minister?" In response, he said, 'Opening the door for exercising
the right would have shorten the life of my administration. (As
prime minister), I had to think of the survival of the

-- Do you think Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to cut into
the right?

Sase: I don't know. I think he wants to make a decision to exercise
it to some extent. But in view of such possibilities as the
submission of a resignation by the Cabinet Legislation Office chief
and turmoil in his administration, I don't know if he can stick to
his conviction.

-- Even some ruling coalition members are already voicing
apprehensions about the future course of the blue-ribbon panel you
are going to join.

Sase: What I want to say is that being able to exercise the right
under the Constitution and brandishing it are two different matters.
Once a conclusion is reached to allow using it, we need to place
substantially tight restrictions on it.

-- Specifically what kind of restrictions?

Sase: Perhaps a government statement - in a form similar to the
three non-nuclear principles. A statement reading "Decisions will be
made on a case-by-case basis in view of national interests and the
situation at the time" would not cause other countries to harbor
doubts. In that event, specific cases must not be mentioned because
cases expected to require using the right would change with times.

-- But isn't the panel going to discuss specific cases?

Sase: Honestly speaking, I didn't want to become a panel member. The
Kantei (Prime Minister's Official Residence) would present four
types of situations, such as a US warship navigating alongside an
SDF vessel being attacked. And what if I said, "The definition of
the right to collective self-defense is absurd?" That would cause
trouble for other members. Discussing restrictions something like a

TOKYO 00002233 003 OF 010

government statement would also be difficult. But now, I'm curious
to hear other people's arguments.

(3) Laughing at constitutional protectionists' strange logic

SANKEI (Page 15) (Full)
May 15, 2007

Toshiyuki Shikata, professor at Teikyo University

A national referendum bill got through the Diet yesterday, and Japan
has now taken a step forward toward amending its postwar
constitution. However, I was always irritated whenever I heard the
opinions of constitutional protectionists. Many of them are opposed
to bilateral defense cooperation between Japan and the United
States. They insist that Japan should distance itself from the
United States and should act on its own. However, they say it's
taboo to advocate establishing a constitution on Japan's own. That's
quite absurd. They also assert that the Constitution of Japan-even
though the strategic environment changes-must not be amended because
its ideas are lofty.

To take a look at the written constitutions of major countries, the
United States has upheld its constitution as is for the longest
period of time, though with amendments. That is because the United
States created its constitution on its own and has seen no change in
its establishment.

In the meantime, Marxism-Leninism, which once dominated the world,
was the spirit of many communist nations' respective constitutions.
In the changing times, however, almost all of their constitutions
were amended. Their constitutions were modeled after the now-defunct
Soviet Union's constitution, which was revised in 1993 and became
Russia's new constitution. Even a constitution accepted by the
people of a country when established is revised later with the
changes of the times, as a matter of fact in history. The
Constitution of Japan today came to us from the Occupation forces,
and it came into effect with minor changes that Japan had begged for
and the Occupation forces had allowed. Therefore, it's only natural
to review this postwar constitution at some point.

Meanwhile, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party was also too
negligent. To recount the delay in constitutional revision, the LDP
first said the time was not ripe. Next, the LDP said Japan has
obtained something substantial with its interpretation. So saying,
the LDP did not work to find the right time for constitutional
revision. Prime Minister Abe, who is young, became the first LDP
president to come into power under the slogan of constitutional

Japan created the Self-Defense Forces, and today, sends SDF
personnel overseas to engage in United Nations peacekeeping
operations and in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. These
facts are the results of reinterpreting Japan's postwar
constitution. The LDP has said the SDF is not a military force
because the Constitution rules out the right of belligerency.

However, the SDF is an armed force of military troops in itself to
any eye-not only to the eyes of the Japanese people but also to the
eyes of the peoples of Japan's neighbors. We may well say a military
force is a military force. This is not to blame in itself. There are
some people refusing to call a military force a military force. That
is to blame. I cannot think at all that the international community

TOKYO 00002233 004 OF 010

will recommend such a strange country to be seated on the United
Nations Security Council as its permanent member.

There is one more thing that I think is strange. Japan and the
United States teamed up to impose economic sanctions on North Korea.
In the six-party talks, however, the United States unilaterally
relaxed its economic sanctions on North Korea and did not touch on
that country's potential nuclear arsenal. Instead, the United States
is poised to focus its efforts solely on stopping the North from
developing nukes from now on.

There are some people taking it as the United States' shrewd stand
that runs counter to the policy of strengthening the Japan-US
alliance. However, the United States eyes settling the Iraq problem,
blocking Iraq's nuclear development, and reunifying the Korean
Peninsula. Ultimately, the United States has its relationship with
China in mind. As part of such a global-scale grand strategy, the
United States is only dealing with the issue of North Korea's
nuclear arsenal.

In the meantime, North Korea is said to have 200 intermediate-range
ballistic missiles, which can reach any of Japan's big cities in 10
minutes or so. As it stands, Japan will have to intercept them
within several minutes. For Japan, North Korea's nuclear arsenal is
of a tactical nature that quite differs from that of the United

Prime Minister Abe called the Japan-US alliance "irreplaceable."
Even so, the United States takes several strategic and tactical
counteractions, giving first consideration to its national
interests. I take it for granted, and it is no wonder, that the
United States does so.

Similarly, Japan is also a country that will not try to do all it
can to protect the United States' national interests. An alliance
displays its power only when a country and another under that
alliance almost concur in their respective interests. That is the
limit of an alliance and the way realpolitik is in the world.

Japan has depended on the United States' nuclear umbrella and has
done nothing to provide against a nuclear attack. Japan has upheld
its self-imposed three nonnuclear principles and has not legislated
even for the capability of striking enemy bases. Lately, the
government only began at long last to lay down a missile defense
system and restudy exercising the right of collective self-defense.

The United States provides its nuclear umbrella to Japan. Even so,
there are some cases where we cannot find it effective to have a
nuclear counterattack launched at once. Japan therefore should not
spare its multifarious efforts to heighten its reliability. Japan
should reduce its three nonnuclear principles to two. At the same
time, Japan should immediately build early-warning systems against
ballistic missiles and should also hurry to acquire the capability
of striking enemy bases.

Many of those constitutional protectionists espouse a Japan acting
on its own. On the other hand, they believe that Japan is secure
under the US nuclear umbrella. They have such a strange way of
thinking. If they reject the US nuclear umbrella, there are only
three options left. First, Japan closes its eyes to a nuclear
arsenal and risk exposing the nation to a defenseless state. Second,
Japan enters the nuclear umbrella of China or Russia. And third,
Japan possesses its own nuclear weapons. All these options are

TOKYO 00002233 005 OF 010


In the end, many of the constitutional protectionists-when it comes
to the nuclear problem-are in the habit of insisting on the
necessity of eliminating nuclear weapons and trying to escape from
reality. Idealism must depart from reality.

(4) Feature: Prime Minister Abe's words and action regarding the
issue of his providing offering to Yasukuni Shrine

MAINICHI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)
Eve., May 10, 2007

Yasuyoshi Nojima, Arisa Ota

It became known recently that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had sent an
offering of a "sakaki tree" (valued at 50,000 yen) to Yasukuni
Shrine for its spring festival (on April 21-23). But when asked
about this by reporters, Abe said to them, "I refuse to answer that
question." Even when further pressed to answer, he made this
comment: "I hope the public will understand that."

Main points of questions and answers exchanged between Abe and

The following are main points of Abe's remarks made on the night of
April 8 in response to questions posed by reporters about whether he
sent an offering to Yasukuni Shrine.

-- With what feelings did you send an offering to the shrine?

Abe: I want to keep on showing respect for those who fought for our
country and died, and to pray for their souls.

-- Did you send an offering, instead of visiting the shrine?

Abe: Now that matters related to Yasukuni Shrine have become
political and diplomatic issues, I decline to comment on whether I
will visit the shrine or whether I sent the offering.

-- Do you mean to say you deny the fact that you had sent an

Abe: I decline to comment on this question, either, as well as the
question of whether to send it or not.

-- Is that because if you make it clear, there may be an impact on
relations with other countries?

Abe: I've already made clear my standpoint.

-- It's impossible to hide the fact that you sent an offering, isn't

Abe: I don't deny it. I simply refuse to either confirm or deny it.

-- Don't you think your attitude encourages a certain religious

Abe: I've already made clear my standpoint.

-- China and South Korea have voiced concerns.

TOKYO 00002233 006 OF 010

Abe: I refuse to answer that sort of question, because if I do, my
answer could give rise to a diplomatic issue.

-- Do you think your attitude will win the public's understanding?

Abe: I'd like to see the public, based on what I've said, understand
my attitude.

Comments by Ritsumeikan University Prof. Shoji Azuma: Abe evasive

It is just like Abe to say "I decline to comment on whether I had
sent an offering." It is also characteristic of Japanese politicians
to comment in a way in which they evade, dodge or parry a question.
Abe follows this sort of old-style political tradition.

Abe often uses polite sentences ending with the polite verb,
"gozaimasu," just as traditional politicians used to do. But this
way of speaking has a bureaucratic flavor and gives an impression of
his being subservient. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who
never used such polite endings, always spoke in a clear and firm
manner. Compared to Koizumi, Abe's way of speaking seems ambiguous.

Abe appears to be speaking to the public with sincerity, and this
attitude is understandable. But his way of speaking gives the
impression that he lacks self-confidence and the strength required
of politicians. His speeches fail to come home to us.

Why is this so? It is because Abe speaks like reporters setting out
facts in an unconcerned manner. In this sense, he is in sharp
contract to US Senator Barack Obama, who is winning popularity as a
likely candidate for the next US presidential election. Obama often
stresses this in his speeches: "This election is not mine but
yours." He can employ words that come home to voters. Therefore, his
popularity is going up.

Politicians need to place emphasis on expressing their real feelings
so as to deeply resonate with the public. This tendency is found
around the world. What Japanese voters seek from politicians is also
changing. Politicians are required to show a sense of fellowship and
demonstrate a strong leadership. One example of this is the
magnetism and strength of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. Abe
lacks both.

When trouble occurs, politicians tend to take either of the two
approaches: one is to face up to the problem and then resolve it;
and the other to sidestep the problem and behave as if nothing
happened. In most cases, Abe apparently has taken the latter

This behavior of Abe can be politically called "avoidance strategy."
In other words, it is an evasive strategy. This strategy is very
common in Asia, but it is not acceptable in the United States. As
his recent remarks on the wartime "comfort women" issue caused the
American public to become aroused, Abe's way of speaking could be
taken as "lying." Even if he makes efforts sincerely, the leader of
a country is required to do more.

Shoji Azuma: Born in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1956; graduated from
Waseda University's School of Letters; serves as professor of the
Language Education & Information Science of the Graduate School at
Ritsumeikan University and also as professor of Language &
Literature at Utah University

TOKYO 00002233 007 OF 010

Comments by journalist Shoko Egawa: Abe's remark "Private capacity"
logic-chopping; He shouldn't take office as "prime minister" if he
is unwilling to fulfill accountability

I wonder which country Prime Minister Abe represents? I am concerned
about Abe's lack of explanation to the public about the question of
whether he had sent an offering to Yasukuni Shrine rather than that
question itself.

When it comes to the wartime "comfort women" issue, Abe said that
there was no coercion by the former Imperial Japanese Army. This
remark caused a controversy afterwards, but Abe failed to give a
proper account about that to Japanese media, as well as to the Diet.
Nonetheless, he was energetic about explaining it to President Bush,
US lawmakers, and US media. Why didn't he do the same to Japanese
journalists? I suspect that he thinks it is unnecessary to give an
appropriate explanation to the Japanese public.

I also suspect that he might have thought that his offering of a
sakaki tree (priced at 50,000 yen) to Yasukuni Shrine was not a
problem unless it was openly revealed to the public. If so, it would
be unavoidable that what he is doing behind the scenes comes into
public scrutiny. I am worried that other countries may consider
Japan to be distrustful because of its top political leader's
furtive behavior.

Abe sent an offering to Yasukuni Shrine in the capacity of prime
minister, didn't he? For the shrine, his title had a meaning, but
Abe insisted that he did so as a private citizen. This is
logic-chopping. Instead of explaining with his own words about this
matter, Abe had the chief cabinet secretary explain it. Abe himself
should explain with his own words.

Politicians are supposed to bear a responsibility to do their best
to explain things with their own words and persuade the public.
However, (former Prime Minister) Koizumi got by with only one-phrase
quips. In the case of the offering of a sakaki tree this time, Abe
has refused to say anything, not even a one-phrase comment. It's
deplorable. I wonder whether politicians have deteriorated that far.
If he is unwilling to fulfill his accountability, he should not take
office as prime minister. He should pay a visit or send an offering
to Yasukuni Shrine as a private citizen, Shinzo Abe coming from
Yamaguchi Prefecture, if he wants to do so.

He has stated, "I refuse to say anything about the matter because
this sort of thing has become a diplomatic and political issue."
This means that he is aware that his behavior could create a
diplomatic issue. If so, he should give a proper explanation, like
his personal feelings that led to the offering, his position and his
diplomatic consideration. This is the starting point of debate on
the matter. If he thinks debating is unnecessary, that is a denial
of democracy.

Or does he think that if we the Japanese want a proper explanation
from the Japanese prime minister, the first thing for us to do is to
appeal to US lawmakers and journalists and ask them to have the
prime minister explain? This is too sad a situation, isn't it?

Shoko Egawa: Born in 1958; after working as a reporter of the
Kanagawa Shimbun, became a free-lance journalist; is the author of
many books; and was awarded the Kikuchi Kan Prize for her series of
reporting on the Aum Shinrikyo cult.

TOKYO 00002233 008 OF 010

(5) One year after Japan-US agreement on Futenma relocation plan

YOMIURI (Page 13) (Abridged slightly)
May 17, 2007

By Yoshifumi Sugita, Political News Department

Will the plan to relocate the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station
(in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture) move forward now that the Japan-US
defense chiefs have met in Washington, following the Upper House
Okinawa by-election in April in which the ruling coalition-backed
candidate was victorious?

"It's important to implement the plan as is without making any

This comment came from US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the
outset of his meeting with Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma in
Washington on April 30. Gates apparently intended to dampen the
emerging moves to alter the Futenma relocation plan. On his way
home, Kyuma stopped over in Brussels where he continued to hint at
modifying the plan, saying: "Even if we make no major changes to the
current plan, we still won't know if the United States is against
shifting (the envisaged runways)."

Tokyo and Washington agreed last May on a plan to build a V-shaped
pair of runways on the coastline of Camp Schwab (in Nago) to
relocate Futenma Air Station. But no progress has been made since
then. The reason is because LDP-backed Hirokazu Nakaima won the
Okinawa gubernatorial race last November, pledging to: (1) revise
the government's plan, and (2) eliminate the dangerous nature of
Futenma Air Station within three years. In addition, Okinawa had a
by-election for the Upper House this April.

The Futenma relocation council, which consists of representatives of
the central, prefectural, and municipal governments, has not met
since this January. The government's plan to send in March a set of
documents on environment assessment methods to the prefectural
government has also been stalled.

Will the Japan-US agreement become reality with coalition-backed
Aiko Shimajiri's victory in the Upper House by-election?

On April 25, three days after the by-election, Kyuma told Gov.
Nakaima: "We can now push ahead with the survey of existing
conditions smoothly. Let us consult with each other closely in a
businesslike manner before presenting the environmental impact
assessment documents." Kyuma's comment followed a report to him that
Nakaima would agree to the survey of existing conditions to be
conducted independently by the government ahead of the environmental
impact assessment.

Although Gov. Nakaima has been lobbying the government to bring
about his campaign pledges since taking office, talks with the
government always broke off due to objections from Defense Ministry
administrative officials. Against all odds, Kyuma takes a flexible
stance toward revising the plan, as seen in his comment: "Any runway
will do as long as it is acceptable to Washington, the affected
municipalities, and Tokyo." Nakaima's recent cooperative posture is
apparently ascribable to Kyuma's consideration to Okinawa.

His consideration reflects the fact that under current law,
landfills for airfield construction requires the governor's

TOKYO 00002233 009 OF 010

authorization. Legally speaking, Futenma Air Station cannot be
relocated unless the governor authorizes landfills once the
environmental impact assessment is over.

The government intends to push the relocation issue forward by
obtaining Okinawa's concurrence before long about presenting
environmental assessment methods and resuming Futenma relocation
council meeting. In late April, Kyuma told Nakaima: "You don't have
to do anything. There is ample time before authorizing (landfills).
Until then, let's find a settlement line."

Base issues have repeatedly been put off because of elections. This
year, the Upper House election is coming up in July. Some in the
government and the ruling coalition are already calling for shelving
the Futenma plan in deference to Okinawa residents and their
sensitivity to base issues. But the situation is such that the
government will have to mobilize Maritime Self-Defense personnel for
setting up equipment for the survey of existing conditions at the
cost of Okinawa's sentiments.

What is Kyuma's settlement line? Uncertainties are looming over the
Futenma relocation plan.

(6) Japan being downgraded with 29-year-old woman named director for
Asian Affairs at White House NSC

SHUKAN BUNSHUN (Page 52) (Full)
May 24, 2007

"It must be a mistake. I wonder if Japan is being downplayed, " a
senior Foreign Ministry official reportedly said when he received a
cable from the Japanese Embassy in Washington informing him of the
appointment of the new director for Japan and Korea at the National
Security Council (NSC).

The Foreign Ministry's North American Affairs Bureau, which is in
charge of policy toward the US, and the Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau, which is responsible for Korean Peninsula policy, had been
paying attention to who would succeed Victor Cha, after the scholar
returned late last month to his former teaching position at
Georgetown University.

An international journalist said:

"Cha, a Korean American, is a specialist in East Asian affairs. His
predecessor, Michael Green, currently Japan Chair and senior advisor
at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a
Japan expert who speaks fluent Japanese. Green has quite a few
acquaintances in Japan's political, government and academic circles.
So, the post of director for Japan and Korea at the NSC has always
been served by experts on Japanese or Korean affairs."

However, the person who was appointed as new NSC director for Japan
and Korea was 29-year-old Katrin Fraser. "They must be kidding!"
someone said.

Fraser graduated from the Fletcher School at Tufts University in
2001 and entered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). After
serving three years in Seoul, South Korea, she worked as an analyst
for East Asian affairs at CIA headquarters. After that, moving to
the State Department, she had served as special aide to the
assistant secretary of state for international organization

TOKYO 00002233 010 OF 010

The international journalist commented:

"It is true that she is a former CIA officer with a high scholastic
standing. Since she lived in Japan when she was a child, she speaks
a little Japanese. She is fluent in Korean. However, it is another
problem whether she is suitable to serve in the post responsible for
East Asia policy."

In fact, Fraser will not assume the post of deputy US envoy to the
six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, although her
predecessor Cha had served in that post. The White House seems to
have known that she lacks ability to serve in that capacity. Some
say that her appointment is evidence of the Bush administration
becoming a lame duck.

Fraser's Japanese counterparts are North American Affairs Bureau
Director General Shinichi Nishimiya and Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau Director General Kenichiro Sasae.

"Both Nishimiya and Sasae are in their mid-fifties. So the age gap
alone between Fraser and them is enormous," the journalist said.


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