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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - President Bush's 8/22

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DE RUEHKO #3920 2360706
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 240706Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2759
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 5190
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5592
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 003920

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - PRESIDENT BUSH'S 8/22
SPEECH ON IRAQ


LEAD STORIES: Most papers gave top play to the finding
on Thursday by investigators that a loose bolt caused a
fuel leak in the China Airlines jetliner that burst
into flames at Naha Airport on Monday.

1. "President Bush Equates Prewar Japan with Al-Qaeda"
The liberal Asahi's Washington correspondent Yoshiyuki
Komurata wrote (8/24): "Although President Bush praised
Japan's successful postwar democratization to justify
his Iraq policy during his remarks at the national
convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars, which was held
in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 22, he demonstrated
his poor understanding of history by likening prewar
Japan to Al-Qaeda.... The president completely ignored
the historical fact that there was popular suffrage in
Japan during the Taisho era (1912-1925) and based his
argument on the premise that there was no democracy in
prewar Japan, saying, 'The Japanese themselves didn't
think the country would democratize.'... The president
also lumped together WWII with the Korean War and the
Vietnam War and stressed that the US can achieve
victory in the Middle East 'like it did in Asia.' US
media outlets criticized the analogy, noting that Japan
and South Korea are, unlike Iraq, homogenous countries
and arguing that the president has drawn an incorrect
lesson from history... President Bush's legacy hangs on
the war on terrorism, but in this speech, he displayed
his ignorance of the history and culture of foreign
nations, including Japan. He ignored inconvenient facts
and trumpeted America's 'ideals' and 'goodwill' in a
message intended for domestic consumption."

DONOVAN

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