Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/18/07

DE RUEHKO #2255/01 1380704
P 180704Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Tokyo Gov. Ishihara on the comfort-women issue: "Not true the
military procured them" 2

(2) Gov. Ishihara suggests possibility of Japan possessing nuclear
weapons and China heading toward military adventurism 2

(3) Former Ambassador to US Yanai: Times demand change in
interpretation of the right of collective defense 3

(4) Way to constitutional revision -- National referendum bill
enacted into law: Final goal is amending Article 9 4

(5) Editorial: Iraq law extended without self-reflection, overview

(6) IWC annual meeting in Alaska on May 28-31, with focus on catch
quota for US aboriginals, IWC normalization 7


(1) Tokyo Gov. Ishihara on the comfort-women issue: "Not true the
military procured them"

May 18, 2007, at 10:37

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, who is taking part in the Large Cities
Climate Change Summit in New York, yesterday attended a meeting of
the Japan-US cultural exchange organization, The Japan Society,
where he said this about the issue of wartime "comfort women": "It's
not true at all that the military procured them."

When asked by reporters after a speech about his view, Ishihara
said: "It's absolutely not true that the military procured those
women. However, there were some people who went into the business of
providing such women to the military."

In the United States, lawmakers on both sides of aisle in the
Congress are sponsoring a resolution calling on the Japanese prime
minister to make an official apology to the former comfort women,
but Prime Minister Abe denied there had been "coercion in the narrow
sense," which caused a backlash in the US. Afterwards, Abe said this
about the comfort women: "I feel very sorry for them." The
comfort-women issue has become a matter of great concern in the US.

A government statement issued in 1993 by then Chief Cabinet
Secretary Kono admitted the Japanese military's involvement, noting:

"At the request of the military, agents played a role in recruiting
comfort women, and in some cases, police authorities were directly
involved in recruitment."

(2) Gov. Ishihara suggests possibility of Japan possessing nuclear
weapons and China heading toward military adventurism

Jiji, New York, May 17

Visiting Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara delivered a speech at the
Japan Society in New York on May 17 in which he said regarding a
contingency involving the Senkaku Islands and other events: "The
extent to which the United States will take responsibility for the
defense of Japan is extremely questionable. If the United States is

TOKYO 00002255 002 OF 007

undependable, Japan will have to make independent efforts. The
country might end up possessing nuclear weapons, an option the
United States fears."

Also predicting that China's economic growth "will not last" until
the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Ishihara noted in the speech: "An
authoritarian regime will always head for military adventurism
following an economic collapse and social turmoil." The governor
also indicated that chances were extremely slim for the United
States to shoulder Japan's defense in the event China took military
action against the Senkaku Islands and other places.

Additionally, Ishihara said that in the event a full-scale war broke
out between the United States and China: "The United States would
not be able to counter the Communist regime which looks up (former
President Mao Zedong), who did not hesitate to kill 70 million
people, as the father of the country." He also highlighted the need
to build Japan-US relations on an equal footing, saying: "The
peoples of Japan and the United States must renew the awareness that
Japan has never been a country like (US-governed) Puerto Rico."

(3) Former Ambassador to US Yanai: Times demand change in
interpretation of the right of collective defense

MAINICHI (Page 15) (Full)
May 17, 2007

The informal council on improving legal security infrastructure will
hold its first meeting on May 18. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will
call on the panel to review the interpretation of the Constitution.
The panel will focus on a change in the government's interpretation
of the right of collective defense, under which Japan is prohibited
from exercising that right even though it possesses it. There is a
growing view that Abe will decide to allow partial exercise of the
right based on a conclusion the panel will reach in September. A
Mainichi Shimbun reporter interviewed Shunji Yanai, the former
ambassador to the US who will chair the panel, about his perception
on the government's interpretation of the Constitution.

-- The government interprets the Constitution to mean that Japan has
the right of collective defense but it cannot exercise it. What your
view on the government's interpretation?

Yanai: Reading Article 9 of the Constitution, it is impossible to
take it to mean that Japan can exercise only its right to individual
defense. Considering the time when the Constitution was established,
that interpretation was possible because the focus was on disarming
Japan so that it would not invade other countries. Since then Japan
has stopped thinking. Japan's pacifism means Japan does not invade
other countries. But I wonder if Japan's safety can be secured by
that pacifism alone. Next to Japan, there has now emerged a
dictatorship with nuclear weapons. However, what Japan can only say
is it will not invade that country. I wonder if it is good for

-- Why should Japan be allowed to exercise its collective
self-defense right? Does it mean to strengthen the Japan-US

Yanai: In the end, Japan has to defend itself on its own. However,
the purpose of the alliance is to help and complement each other.
Japan's neighbors, excluding South Korea, have nuclear weapons.
There is no answer for nuclear weapons except nuclear weapons. What

TOKYO 00002255 003 OF 007

will Japan do? Going nuclear is an option in theory. However, in my
view such an idea is not good. Therefore Japan has no choice but to
remain under America's umbrella.

-- The dominant view in the government, centering the Cabinet
Legislation Bureau, is that since Japan is a country ruled by law,
the interpretation of the Constitution should not be changed every
time a government changes.

Yanai: But how was the government's current interpretation of the
Constitution that Japan can use only the right of individual
self-defense reached? The government decided that there was no law
stipulating that Japan was allowed to have only the individual
self-defense right but not the right of collective defense. Why
didn't it do so even though it could change the interpretation?
Security should be considered based on the demands of the times.
There are dangers in the world.

-- You served as director general of the Treaties Bureau of the
Foreign Ministry. I have heard that you had fierce debates with the
director general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau.

Yanai: The prime minister, considering an overarching policy for the
country, orders the director general of the Cabinet Legislation
Bureau to think about a logical framework for implementing the prime
minister's policy. However, the Legislation Bureau works for the
Cabinet. Past prime ministers asked Cabinet Legislation Bureau
chiefs, "What about your views?" Bureau chiefs had no choice but to
repeat the conventional reply.

-- If the exercise of the right to collective defense is allowed,
people will likely be concerned, wondering how far Japan will follow
the United States.

Yanai: If the exercise of the right is allowed constitutionally,
there will be another issue of legal interpretation. If it is
decided that the right of collective defense is exercised this far,
how far the right is used is a policy issue. That's where the Diet
comes in. Our panel will discuss issues, including that point.

Junji Yanai was born in 1937. He entered the Foreign Ministry in
1961, graduating from the law faculty of the University of Tokyo. He
served as ambassador to the US from 1999 to 2001, after having
served as administrative vice foreign minister. He has been serving
as judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He
also served on the council to strengthen the functions of the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) regarding national security
to establish a Japan National Security Council (NSC).

(4) Way to constitutional revision -- National referendum bill
enacted into law: Final goal is amending Article 9

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
May 17, 2007

"I'm often asked whether to amend Article 9. Revising Article 9 has
already been mentioned in (the Liberal Democratic Party's draft for
a new constitution). I am one of the members responsible for the
draft constitution," Prime Minister Abe said at a meeting yesterday
of the Upper House Special Committee on the Constitution, making it
clear the focus of constitutional revision is on Article 9.

What underlies Abe's notion is the idea that the security

TOKYO 00002255 004 OF 007

environment around Japan and the world has changed greatly and that
expectations are rising that Japan will contribute greatly to the
international community. For that, the legal basis needs to be
prepared. Relations between international contributions and the
Constitution must be made clear.

The question is how to make the relations crystal clear? Will the
relations be made clear by reinterpreting the previous
interpretation of the right to collective defense by the Cabinet
Legislation Bureau (CLB) that Japan has the right but is unable to
exercise it? Opinion is divided even in the government and the
ruling parties over the matter.

Former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki and other party members
insist that amending the Constitution is essential for Japan to
exercise collective defense. The LDP's draft constitution allows the
exercise of the right to collective defense by deleting the second
paragraph of Article 9 and suggests setting provisions pertaining to
the use of that right in a basic security law.

In contrast, Abe's way of thinking is to allow under the current
Constitution the use of the right to collective defense in some
cases for the time being, and, after totally allowing the exercise
of that right in the near future when Article 9 is amended, to
consider policy measures not to mobilize the Self-Defense Forces
(SDF) personnel to regions as far as the other side of the world.

Apparently, SDF personnel's desperate call (for amending Article 9)
has been conveyed to Abe.

Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops were deployed in Samawah in
the reconstruction of Iraq. How should they respond if they on their
way back to their camp after finishing their activities of the day
they see Australian troops guarding the road attacked by an armed
group? One senior GSDF officer said: "Under the present law (Iraq
Special Measures Law), we will bypass the scene and return to our
camp. But I wonder if it is possible from a humanitarian point of
view for us to do so."

If there is fear that North Korean troops will invade South Korea,
the United States will be certain to swiftly evacuate Americans
residing in South Korea using commercial planes. In such a tense
standoff, if an F-15 from the Air-Self Defense Force (ASDF) on
patrol encounters the scene of a North Korean fighter attacking an
American commercial plane, what would happen?

This situation envisioned is an emergency around Japan, but under
the present legislation, the F-15 cannot strike the North Korean
plane. One ASDF officer revealed his conclusion after long years of
agonizing: "If I were commander, I would give an order for the plane
to strike. I will opt for the Japan-US alliance over Article 9 of
the Constitution. Things that should be resolved by politicians are
now put in the hands of commanders on the scene."

Abe had asked the CLB about the possibility of reviewing the
interpretation of the (right to collective self-defense) since the
days of serving as chief cabinet secretary, but the bureau did not
budge even an inch in its attitude, simply noting that no
modification can be made to the current interpretation.

However, after taking office as prime minister last September, Abe
said in his Diet replies: "The CLB comes under my jurisdiction
because it is merely one office of the cabinet."

TOKYO 00002255 005 OF 007

"Will the CLB chief tender his resignation if I say this or that?"
Abe asked one of his advisers on foreign and security affairs in
this past January. With the launch of his cabinet, former CLB
Director-General Masahiro Sakata retired from the post.

"This" in the above question means, "The government will conclude
that it is legally possible for the SDF to respond to cases that
have been seen as being related to the exercise of the right to
collective self-defense as prohibited by Article 9." "That" means,
"(Abe) will have a council of experts study (the question of the
right to collective self-defense)."

Three months later, Abe's idea was embodied in the form of
establishing a Council to Rebuild the Legal Basis for Security. The
council's fist meeting is set to take place on May 18.

One of Abe's advisers explained why the council was launched: "As of
last December, the prime minister was most likely to come up with a
conclusion on his own about the question of the right to collective
self-defense. But if he had done so brushing off the CLB's
opposition, the CLB's chief and some senior officials there would
resign in succession, thereby causing a fuss. Taking all this into
consideration, he decided to establish the council."

Some in the government take the view that what the prime minister
has in mind is his grandfather, former Prime Minister Kishi's Diet

Kishi repeatedly made this reply in the Diet in 1960: "One typical
case in which Japan is constitutionally prohibited from exercising
the right to collective self-defense is for Japan to mobilize troops
in its ally's country to defend it." When he was asked on May 14 in
a Diet session about using armed force for self-defense purposes to
the level of slightly exceeding minimum necessity as prohibited by
the Constitution, Abe said, "The term 'minimum necessity' implies a
quantitative concept," suggesting that in some cases using armed
force might be allowed even though it comes under the right to
collective self-defense.

In order to meet the changing security environment, the
constitutional problems must be sorted out. Will the council of
experts serve as a milestone on the road to amending Article 9, one
policy goal for Abe? The curtain will go up and debate will begin.

(5) Editorial: Iraq law extended without self-reflection, overview

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
May 16, 2007

The US Bush administration has been caught up in the morass of Iraq.
How far will Japan go along with it...

Many people may have such a feeling as the House of Representatives
passed a bill yesterday to extend the Iraq Special Measures Law for
two years.

In Iraq, the Air Self-Defense Force has been tasked with airlifting
cargoes. This airlift mission is to end in July this year. The bill
extends it for another two years.

Why is the government going to extend the ASDF's Iraq mission? The
government explains that it will do so because the United Nations

TOKYO 00002255 006 OF 007

and the Iraqi government asked Japan to stay on. However, the
primary reason is probably because the government does not want to
give up on its stance of supporting the Bush administration's Iraq

In the Diet, Prime Minister Abe and his government's officials
reiterated the stance of defending the United States' decision on
the Iraq attack. They must be concerned that the legal grounds for
Japan's sending of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq will be
undermined should they admit that it was a wrong war.

The decision to start the Iraq war was based on intelligence that
was a product of mistakes and exaggerations. The United States and
Britain themselves have now admitted to that. Above all, it is clear
that any weapons of mass destruction-to which the decision on the
Iraq war was ascribed-did not exist in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the premier and his government's officials sounded as
if to say the decision was right. This is almost intellectually

They might have had the Japan-US alliance in mind. That is not
beyond comprehension. Stability in the region is critical for Japan,
which depends on the Middle East for oil resources. They say the
turmoil in Iraq cannot be left as is, and we also think so.

Even so, continuing to ratify a fait accompli without admitting to
an obvious mistake at the starting point is not an attitude to be
assumed by responsible politicians.

In Britain, Prime Minister Blair was driven to step down after he
came under fire from the public. US President Bush also faced a
budget plan and a resolution from Congress making it a precondition
to pull US troops out of Iraq with a time limit set. His support
rate is now down to its lowest level ever.

Meanwhile, in Japan, a government-introduced bill to extend the
SDF's Iraq mission easily sails through the Diet. Without any
particular overview or self-reflection, the government continues to
take part in the United States' Iraq policy, though it is not
justifiable and is mistaken. We can only wonder how strange for it
to do so.

The prime minister says he wants to clear the SDF of constraints by
revising Constitution Article 9 or otherwise pave the way for Japan
to exercise the right of collective self-defense even under the
current Constitution. However, using military power brings strict
responsibilities to politics in its train.

As in the case of Iraq, politics will not sincerely face up to a
consequence. How can the public trust politics?

Moreover, there is another matter of concern to us. We do not know
at all what the ASDF is airlifting in Iraq. The government has not
clarified anything but the number of flights and the weight of
cargo. We do not know how much the ASDF has contributed to the
United Nations. For the most part, the ASDF might have been tasked
with airlifting US troops. There is also such suspicion.

The government probably covers up the facts with safety in mind. In
Iraq, however, Japanese personnel, resources, and taxpayers' money
are used. The government does not report details even to the Diet.
Is civilian control dead? The government should withdraw the SDF at

TOKYO 00002255 007 OF 007

once and should fundamentally overhaul Japan's Iraq aid program from

(6) IWC annual meeting in Alaska on May 28-31, with focus on catch
quota for US aboriginals, IWC normalization

May 14, 2007

The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)
will be held at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, between
May 28 and the 31st. The Scientific Committee has already been in
session since May 5 at the same hotel. The United States proposed
hosting the annual meeting in Anchorage this year, showing its
interest in keeping the quota of catching bowhead whales allocated
to Alaska's aboriginal people. Japan intends to maintain its
conventional stance.

Momentum gathering to rebuild whaling ship: Review of safety

Prior to the start of expanded research whaling in the Antarctic
Ocean this year, a new "catch boat" Daisan Yushinmaru is under
construction. Since the operation hours of the existing catch boat
are increasing as more whales are being caught, expectations are
being placed on the new ship's coming into service soon.

In addition, the whaling mother ship Nisshinmaru has become
superannuated and has also shown a lack of capacity with larger
whales now being targeted for research and an increasing number of
whales being caught. Given this, a move to rebuild the mother ship
is gaining momentum. Reflecting the recent good performance in the
shipbuilding industry, however, it will take time until the
construction work starts (after the order is placed). Persons
concerned appear to be willing to push ahead with this plan
immediately. In order to gain accurate knowledge through research
and produce good-quality by-products, it is certainly necessary to
prepare superior equipment and build a new ship. Even so, the
construction should not be hurried. A fire broke out on the research
whaling ship this year, but even before, a fire had been reported,
and the cause of the fire has yet to be clarified.

Conducting substantial research is important, but the premise for
such research should be to secure safety research. It is would be
necessary to thoroughly review the safety of the current ship first
and then to prepare new equipment and construct a new system.


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