Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/27/07

VZCZCXRO0258
PP RUEHWEB
DE RUEHKO #4528/01 2700812
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270812Z SEP 07 ZDK CTG RUEHZC 1419
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7984
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 5788
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 3375
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 7031
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 2318
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 4102
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 9180
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5238
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 6115

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 004528

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 09/27/07


Index:

(1) Ambassadors of 11 countries discuss the question of extending
Japan's Antiterrorism Special Measures Law

(2) Editorial -- Six-party talks: Tangible progress on nuclear and
abduction issues desirable

(3) Back-against-the-wall cabinet: Switch from Abe policy gathering
steam

(4) Education Minister Tokai says he returned donations, calling
suspicions regrettable

(5) Defense Minister Ishiba describes current government's Futenma
relocation plan as ideal, points out difficulties in offshore
relocation

(6) Japanese tanker attacked by suicide terrorists

(7) Leaks of harmful agents at Yokota Air Base: Whether to report
and investigate incident depends on US military judgment

(8) Teaming up with GSDF: Base sharing to push for integration

ARTICLES:

(1) Ambassadors of 11 countries discuss the question of extending
Japan's Antiterrorism Special Measures Law

SANKEI ONLINE NEWS (Full)
September 27, 2007, 13:05 p.m.

The ambassadors of 11 countries, including the United States, which
have deployed their forces in the Indian Ocean, this morning
gathered together at the Pakistani Ambassador's Residence at Shoto
in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and discussed measures to persuade Japan to
continue its refueling mission. By emphasizing the importance of
international unity, they urged Japan to continue its Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operations and issued a joint
statement expressing appreciation for Japan's refueling activities
carried out to date.

Those who participated in the gathering included ambassadors of the
US, Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Italy, Canada, Greece, New
Zealand, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The statement said: "Japan has made amazing and essential
contributions in the area of refueling, which decides on the fate of
Operation Enduring Freedom. It has contributed to peace and
stability in Afghanistan and international efforts to promote
prosperity." Referring to recently-adopted United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1776, the statement added: "Allies have
understood, deeply appreciated, and hope for Japan's assistance."

On the rumor that the MSDF might have refueled US vessels involved
in combats in Iraq, US Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer
denied it, noting: "There has been no trace of such refueling."

(2) Editorial -- Six-party talks: Tangible progress on nuclear and
abduction issues desirable


TOKYO 00004528 002 OF 011


SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 27, 2007

The six-party talks to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue are to
restart in Beijing on Sept. 27 and hold the first plenary session
since this past March. The session will give the first occasion to
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's just launched administration to face
North Korea. Also, the session will test the administration's
ability to deal with the nuclear and abduction issues.

A major focus of the upcoming meeting is to set a specific roadmap
for implementing the "next-phase action" leading to complete nuclear
disablement.

According to US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the
US chief delegate to the six-party talks, the plenary session will
receive a report from a group of experts from the United States,
China, and Russia on the results of their inspections of nuclear
facilities in North Korea. Following the report, the participants
will discuss progress at each of five working groups held in the
summer.

Based on the results of the discussions, a process for disabling
major nuclear facilities, including (1) the graphite-moderated
nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, (2) the reprocessing facility, and (3)
the facility for the production of fuel rods will be sealed in a bid
to prevent the total amount of nuclear-bomb-grade plutonium
estimated at about 50 kg at present from increasing. On the
reporting of nuclear programs, the session will call on the North to
disclose its uranium enrichment program, which has not been made
clear in the past, and aim to disable it, too.

The United States appears to be motivated by its desire to
facilitate disablement before the end of the year in order to pave
the way for nuclear dismantlement next year. One concern in this
regard is a growing possibility that the US will remove North Korea
from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in an easygoing manner
as called for by the North.

Whether the North will honestly carry out its pledge to completely
dismantle nuclear weapons and programs still remains an open
question. Recently the media reported that North Korea is suspected
of having cooperated with Syria in developing nuclear weapons and
missiles. On the question of disablement, as well, nothing has been
decided, such as who will be responsible for the actual process and
how to share the cost.

Should the US government decide to delist North Korea at this point
in time, that could simply have an adverse impact on a resolution of
the abduction issue involving Japanese nationals and could also
affect the Japan-US alliance. The Fukuda administration's
capabilities will be tested in this connection.

Fukuda expressed his enthusiasm, saying, "I'd like to resolve the
abduction issue myself," but some have expressed concern that Fukuda
may prioritize "dialogue over pressure" in contrast to the former
Abe administration. Japan should not easily make concessions on the
question of whether to extend its own sanctions taken since last
fall against North Korea, such as a ban on North Korean ships,
including the Man Gyong Bong, calling at Japanese ports. We hope to
see the government's strong determination to move both the nuclear
and abduction issues forward while working in close cooperation with

TOKYO 00004528 003 OF 011


the US, as well as the government's strategy for that end.

(3) Back-against-the-wall cabinet: Switch from Abe policy gathering
steam

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
September 27, 2007

The Fukuda cabinet was formally launched on the evening of Sept. 27.
His secretary reported to Fukuda, who was working in his office at
the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei), "It appears that
cabinet approval ratings in opinion polls conducted by various
dailies are around 60 PERCENT ." Fukuda replied with a smile, "Oh,
really. We have to live up to public expectations."

Fukuda was elected prime minister amid growing distrust in politics
caused by the pension record-keeping errors, politics and money
scandals, and the subsequent defeat of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) in the Upper House election, which led to Shjinzo Abe's sudden
resignation.

It was Fukuda himself who dubbed his cabinet the "against-the-wall
cabinet" in a press conference held after the formation of the
cabinet on the evening of September 25, because he was acutely
alarmed about the idea that even one single mistake could cause the
LDP to lose power.

On the policy front, Fukuda is beginning to adjust the radical
reform initiative carried on by the Koizumi and Abe administrations.
Policy Research Council Chairman Tanigaki, who supported Fukuda in
the LDP presidential election, stressed, "We must make a policy
shift so that attention will be given to the downside of structural
reforms."

Supporters of Fukuda held policy talks in a Tokyo hotel on Sept. 15,
when Fukuda announced his candidacy for the presidential election. A
number of participants called for measures for those in vulnerable
positions. Policies to put on hold such measures as an increase in
medical copayments by the elderly and a reduction in child
allowances for single-mother families, were adopted immediately.
Fukuda's public pledges also incorporated measures to revitalize
local economies.

The shift from the Koizumi and Abe policies is a change in the
political situation caused by the LDP's devastating defeat in the
Upper House election. Structural changes are also gathering steam.
An increasing number of members of the New Komeito and its power
base Soka Gakkai now take the position that if they join hands only
with the LDP, they will lose support or that they should look into
non-cabinet tie-ups.

The New Komeito in the power-sharing talks with the LDP strongly
called for an increase in welfare-related spending. The policy
agreements the two parties reached on the 25th included promoting
the deployment of medical helicopters, strengthening assistance for
child-rearing, including improved child allowances, nursery services
and assistance to pregnant women, and considering a drastic review
of the Disabled Persons Self-Help Assistance Law.

Realizing those measures needs a considerable amount of financial
resources. The government incorporated a policy of cutting social
security outlays by 1.1 trillion yen over five years starting in

TOKYO 00004528 004 OF 011


fiscal 2007 in the basic policy guidelines on economic and fiscal
management and structural reforms adopted last July. However, a
switch from this policy is bound to occur.

In addition, due to the trading of places between the ruling and
opposition camps in the Upper House, the Japanese government has
become a divided government in which the DPJ holds the key to
realizing policies, according to Tokyo University Professor Akihiko
Tanaka. The Fukuda administration is strapped with a structural
problem, that is to say, it cannot pass bills into law without the
DPJ's cooperation.

Many take the view that if the New Komeito and the DPJ both attach
importance to measures on social security and social disparities,
the government might resort to a strategy of scattering about
pork-barrel largesse.

On the diplomatic front, Fukuda categorically said that he would not
visit Yasukuni Shrine and that he would give weight to dialogue in
dealing with North Korea. He also stressed a stance of holding talks
with the DPJ regarding the issue of continuing the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling operation for US vessels that are
engaging in antiterror operations in the Indian Ocean, though
prospects for such talks have yet to be secured.

How will Fukuda make a policy switch smoothly, while avoiding
negative impacts? Since the thorny path remains unchanged since
under the Abe administration, his ability as prime minister will be
tested.

(4) Education Minister Tokai says he returned donations, calling
suspicions regrettable

ASAHI Online (Full)
13:34, September 27, 2007

In connection with allegations that the Liberal Democratic Party
Hyogo Prefecture No. 10 Electoral Branch headed by Education,
Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Minister Kisaburo Tokai
received 1 million yen each in donations from a construction company
undertaking a national public works project on the day and the day
before the public announcements of the 2003 and 2005 Lower House
elections, Tokai indicated earlier today that the branch has
returned a total of 2.9 million in donations to the company. The
education minister explained the reason this way: "My perception is
that the donations were not violations of the Public Offices
Election Law, but it was regrettable that suspicions arose. I
therefore ordered the branch to return the money to clear its
name."

In responding to questions at the Education Ministry, Tokai said to
the press: "Closely associating with the company for two
generations, I have received assistance from it regularly." He also
explained that the branch had received from the company a total of
1.3 million yen in donations in 2003 and 1.6 million yen in 2005.

The Public Offices Election Law prohibits companies in contract with
the central government making donations in connection with national
elections and candidates receiving donations.

(5) Defense Minister Ishiba describes current government's Futenma
relocation plan as ideal, points out difficulties in offshore

TOKYO 00004528 005 OF 011


relocation

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
September 27, 2007

At a press briefing yesterday after the just launched Fukuda
cabinet's first meeting, Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba referred to
the possibility of constructing a planned V-shaped airstrip offshore
as called for by Okinawa Prefecture and Nago City regarding the
relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and indicated
there would be difficulties in doing so, noting: "I think the
present plan is ideal. There is no change in the central
government's way of thinking that (the current plan) will not be
modified unless there is any rational reason."

At the same time, Ishiba said, "I don't intend to turn a deaf ear to
local voices. As a minister in charge, I want to have a proper
perception about what are real local voices and how (airplanes) will
actually fly." Ishiba thus underlined his intention to make efforts
to know firsthand the desires of Okinawa Prefecture and Nago City
and have a good grip of an operating plan for an alternative
facility.

Additionally, Ishiba mentioned that "The military bases cannot exist
without local understanding and cooperation. Local understanding is
of great importance for the continuation of the Japan-US alliance.
The central government "absolutely should not make local residents
feel 'the central government lacks sincerity in doing it.'"

Referring to the Consultative Council on Futenma, which has not met
since January of this year, Ishiba explained: "The council should
meet as quickly as possible. The central government is responsible
for setting the stage for the council to reopen. State Minister in
Charge of Okinawa Fumio Kishida and I are responsible for doing so."
Ishiba thus indicated his intention to restart the council as
quickly as possible while working together with Kishida.

Former Defense Minister Masahiko Komura, at a ceremony for him to
leave the Defense Ministry to assume the post of foreign minister
ahead of Ishiba arriving at the post of defense minister, said this
about the Futenma relocation plan: "(The relocation plan) is a key
to implementing the US force realignment plans." He then added: "The
important thing is to keep trust relations with municipalities and
residents. I hope the central government, in line with the Japan-US
agreement, will give a detailed account of its views to local
residents, listen to local views, hold discussion with the locals in
all sincerity, and realize the relocation as swiftly as possible."

(6) Japanese tanker attacked by suicide terrorists

SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 27, 2007

NYK Line's 280,000-ton tanker Takasuzu transports crude oil from the
Persian Gulf to Japan through via the Indian Ocean.

Oil tankers are vital for Japan, which imports 90 percent of its
crude oil from the Middle East. Oil from the Middle East has been
supporting the Japanese economy, producing electricity, and running
automobiles.

What if such tankers were attacked by terrorists in the sea lanes

TOKYO 00004528 006 OF 011


coming from the Middle East? Japan's energy supply would dry up and
the Japanese economy would suffer a devastating blow from it,
resulting in an oil crisis

The Takasuzu in fact came under a terrorist attack in waters off
Basra, Iraq, in the Persian Gulf and narrowly escaped sinking. It
was the US-led coalition forces in the Persian Gulf that interdicted
the terrorist attack against the Takasuzu.

According to the British naval vessel Norfolk's operational logbook,
an oil shipping terminal became the target of suicide attacks by
small high-speed boats on April 24, 2004. Although damage to the
terminal was slight, the Takasuzu docked at the port suffered
serious damage.

A coalition forces vessel spotted the three suspicious high-speed
boats approaching and exchanged fire with them. One of them exploded
several hundred meters away from the Takasuzu.

The NYK Line Tokyo head office received a radio message saying that
the Takasuzu had been attacked, sending shockwaves through the
company. At around the same time, the Defense Agency Defense
Intelligence Headquarters also received information on the
incident.

The tanker's hull was riddled with bullets and an iron door was
blown away. Moreover, two US navy personnel and one Coast Guard
sailor were killed in the incident. Although the terrorist attack
was interdicted, the incident took a heavy human toll.

Several days later, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is connected with the
Al Qaeda, issued a statement claiming responsibly for the attack.
They think attacks on tankers would boost oil prices and that would
deal a serious blow to the major Western powers.

Some 40-50 Japanese tankers, including those of NYK Line, the
operator of the Takasuzu, are cruising in the Persian Gulf at any
given moment. NYK Line safe environment group chief Hiroshi Sekine
said: "Without protection by the coalition forces, the tankers
cannot go near waters off Basra."

Meanwhile, 90 PERCENT of the Iraqi national budget comes from oil
exports. Use of such terminals is essential for the reconstruction
of Iraq.

In the wake of the Takasuzu incident, the coalition forces have set
up a 3,000-meter alert zone in the port that is closed to
unauthorized regular vessels. The security of this area is vital not
only for the oil importing countries, such as Japan, but also for
Iraq, the supplier, as well.

The coalition forces are engaged in the war on terrorism from the
Persian Gulf through the Indian Ocean with the aim of interdicting
maritime terrorism.

Tight legal restrictions do not allow Japan to send Maritime
Self-Defense Force vessels to the "battle zone" in the Persian Gulf.
Given the situation, MSDF supply vessels have been refueling naval
vessels of the multinational forces in the Indian Ocean. In
addition, because the MSDF is not allowed to directly root out
maritime terrorism, Japan has to rely on other countries in
defending its tankers.

TOKYO 00004528 007 OF 011

The MSDF refueling operations have been based on the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law. Opposition parties are opposing the law's
extension, saying the government is not allowed to send troops to
places irrelevant to the security of Japan.

The Takasuzu incident has proved that waters in the Persian Gulf
directly concern Japan. MSDF supply vessels have been supporting the
war on terrorism and also protecting the economic artery that is
directly connected with Japan's national interests at the same
time.

MSDF personnel have been dutifully providing ship-to-ship refueling
services in the Indian Ocean under the scorching sun. Japan's
departure from the Indian Ocean is likely to force the Pakistani
vessels to leave the area, as they are heavily dependent on fuel
from the MSDF. Such a development might unnecessarily harm the
Japan-US alliance as well.

Touching on the possibility of MSDF withdrawal, the British economic
daily Financial Times said on Sept. 13 that "this is not bushido;
this is being chicken." Japan's departure would take a toll on other
countries, and that would seem like fleeing from the enemy lines.

The countries that have sent ground troops to the coalition forces
think Japan's Antiterrorism Law is taken political hostage in the
country. The latest Newsweek issue cynically reported that Japan's
irresponsible politics is being booed by other counties. At least
the United States has the tradition that partisan interests
connected with national security must be stopped at the water's
edge. Both the Republicans and Democrats avoid clashing head-on by
giving top priority to defending the country in the event of a
national contingency.

That is the right thing to do. As seen in the Takasuzu incident, the
Japanese public must not forget that the country's economy is
founded on the sacrifices of the coalition forces, including the
United States.

The UN Security Council adopted on Sept. 19 a resolution extending
the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan
that also included words of appreciation for Japan's refueling
operations. Japan's operations are being highly appreciated out of
proportion of its risks.

As of Sept. 26, the Takasuzu is cruising west in the Arabian Sea
north of the Indian Ocean where the MSDF remains on alert. The
tanker is expected to arrive in the Persian Gulf in several days.

NYK Line's Sekine fears that the Japanese tankers would become
defenseless after the Antiterrorism Law expires. He said: "The
tankers must pass through even dangerous areas. If possible, I would
like to see MSDF vessels give protection to the tankers in the
Persian Gulf, but that's not possible, so my understanding is that
they are engaged in refueling operations in the Indian Ocean."

It is near impossible to root out terrorism, aggression, and
intimidations from the international community. If Japan
self-servingly decides to leave the Indian Ocean, that would be
tantamount to forcing other countries to assume the risks and
burdens.


TOKYO 00004528 008 OF 011


(7) Leaks of harmful agents at Yokota Air Base: Whether to report
and investigate incident depends on US military judgment

ASAHI (Page 37) (Full)
September 27, 2007

It has been found that a total of 90 cases of leakage of toxic
materials, including jet fuel, occurred at Yokota Air Base or its
affiliated facilities over the past seven years but that local
government was notified of only one case. The local communities must
be informed of the actual state of pollution and properly deal with
the situation. Is there no impact on the environments around the
base?

A team of lawyers in a lawsuit complaining aircraft noise at Yokota
Air Base visited the Foreign Ministry in April and asked if no fault
was found with the US military, which did not inform Japan of most
of the incidents. An official responsible for matters related to the
Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) replied: "The US
military, which has the authority to hand down a judgment, judged
that the incidents would have no impact on the environment outside
the base. There is no problem." This reply underscored the
ministry's stance of leaving everything to the US military's
discretion.

Under an agreement reached by the Japan-US Joint Committee, the US
military is required to notify Japan of a spill incident that could
cause pollution. The Foreign Ministry has no intention to work to
review the agreement, with one official saying: "It is not true to
interpret that everything should be reported."

There was a case in which although the US military notified the
Japanese government of an incident, the Japanese government did not
relay the news to local governments concerned. On April 9 in 2002,
about 5,680 litters of fuel leaked from a tank. Data kept by the US
military stated that the incident "could pose a threat to public
health and safety."

According to explanations by the Foreign Ministry and the Tokyo
Regional Defense Facilities Administration Bureau on this case, the
US military notified the government of the leak as reference
information and was not based on the Joint Committee's agreement.
They replied in response to the Tokyo metropolitan government's
request for disclosure of information that they would properly
respond and report even if it was just reference information.

There were cases in which local governments, even if informed of an
incident, remain unable to cope with the situation.

Many pollution accidents have occurred at US military bases in
Okinawa. Kadena Air Base suffered a jet fuel leak of about 8,700
liters in late May. The US military was aware of the leak on May 29,
but it notified the Foreign Ministry about the incident two days
later, and the ministry did not inform the Okinawa prefectural
government of it until June 1, according to the prefectural
government.

The prefectural government asked the US military to allow it to
collect soil samples, but the US military declined the request, on
the strength of its facility-management right specified in the SOFA.
Okinawa officials entered the base twice, but they were just allowed
to conduction visual checks. They said they had no alternative but

TOKYO 00004528 009 OF 011


to only watch US troops moving the soil to another location in the
base.

Contamination status at Onna Communication Site in Onna Village was
revealed for the first time after the site was returned to Japan.

In 1996, the year after the base was returned, 104 tons of mud
containing 12 times larger amounts of polychorinated byhenyl (PCB)
and other harmful substances than the allowable ones under the
government's regulations were found. The US military has refused to
take care of the contaminated mud, on the grounds that the SOFA does
not require the US military to restore original state. The Japanese
government has kept the mud in drums at the Air Self-Defense Force
Onna Base.

The Tokyo government is eager to make Yokota Air Base an airport
used by both the US military and Japanese civilians, as one of the
campaign pledges by Governor Shintaro Ishihara.

Officials responsible for foreign and defense affairs of the two
countries have discussed potential problems expected to surface if
the plan is implemented and conditions since last October. Both
governments plan to come up with a policy decision by this October.

The Tokyo metropolitan government had conducted a groundwater
inspection in areas near the station until last fiscal year,
following a leak of 68 kiloliters of aircraft fuel into the site of
Yokota base in 1993. The government reached the conclusion that
nothing abnormal was detected, without any health threat.

An official of the Tokyo government, though, commented regarding the
leak in the military base: "It is difficult to estimate how
seriously the soil in the entire base has been polluted. There will
be no other way but for us to continue to urge the US military to
give consideration to the ambient environments."

Yoichi Endo, former assembly member of Fussa City, which houses
Yokota AB, and has engaged in base-monitoring activity, said that
this case exposed the US military's little consideration to safety.
He said: "The joint use plan involving commercial airlines that must
give top priority to the safety-first principle should be considered
in a cautious manner."

(8) Teaming up with GSDF: Base sharing to push for integration

ASAHI (Kanagawa edition) (Page 34) (Full)
September 21, 2007

Takashi Watanabe, Asahi Shimbun

The air was dry with the sun blazing down. The horizon was
reddish-brown over the vast expanse of America's land in the
wilderness. A tank that was brought in from Japan was rolling across
the ground, firing a shell. In the sky overhead, an antitank
helicopter hovered. The chopper then launched rockets.

The US Army has a field training ground in Yakima County,
Washington. The training area, also known as the Yakima range, is
situated about 200 kilometers southeast of the US Army's Fort Lewis
base. At the Yakima range, the Ground Self-Defense Force conducted
maximum-range live-fire training on Sept. 6-15, with the
participation of about 340 GSDF members, including those from the

TOKYO 00004528 010 OF 011


GSDF Western Army. In Japan, there is no place for such full-scale
live-fire training.

"We were given an environment where we could use firearms to the
fullest." With this, Masatsugu Ono, who commands the GSDF 8th
Artillery Regiment 3rd Battalion, thanked the US Army.

The US Army, however, did not only offer a training site in its
cooperation with the GSDF. In the United States, the GSDF has
annually conducted 16 training exercises. For this year's training,
Ft. Lewis sent about 100 troops, including those from the 17th Fires
Brigade, which is a modular field artillery unit of the US Army's
1st Corps, or I Corps ("eye core") for short, and which has
state-of-the-art multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS). For the GSDF
training, they served as 'stagehands' to give training advice,
refuel vehicles and helicopters, put out underbrush fires, and
provide water and food.

The GSDF training this time was commanded by Kazumichi Miyamoto,
deputy commander of the 8th Division, a GSDF field unit based in
Kumamoto City. "We trained until late at night," Miyamoto said, "and
they also helped us until late at night." He added, "I take off my
hat."

The US Army's 9th Corps (IX Corps) used to locate its headquarters
on Camp Zama in Kanagawa Prefecture. Its headquarters was absorbed
into the headquarters of I Corps in 1995. Since then, I Corps and
the GSDF have annually conducted a bilateral joint command post
exchange (CPX) drill in Japan or the United States, with their
command staffs using computers.

The GSDF has posted officers to I Corps headquarters since 1996, as
well as South Korea and Australia, to liaise with the US Army and
coordinate training exercises, including live-fire drills at
Yakima.

"The important thing is to share intelligence between trustworthy
countries," I Corps Public Affairs Officer McDorman said. "For the
United States," the I Corps spokesman added, "Japan is an important
friend." One GSDF officer also said, "We meet and talk every day,
and then we trust each other."

In the process of realigning the US military presence in Japan, I
Corps will locate its headquarters on Camp Zama to command its
forward-deployed troops. The GSDF will also move the headquarters of
its Central Readiness Command (CRC) to Camp Zama by the end of
fiscal 2012 from its current location at the GSDF's Asaka garrison
that stretches over Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo. The Defense
Ministry has earmarked approximately 1.5 billion yen in its budget
estimate for fiscal 2008 to build facilities and billets at Zama.

Among those concerned with military affairs in Japan and the United
States, this base sharing at Zama is seen as a symbol of bilateral
cooperation. That is because Japan and the United States are
expected to go ahead with their military integration further as I
Corps and the CRC share the base for their respective commands.

On Sept. 14, US Army Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, the deputy
commanding general of I Corps, was also in the Yakima range to see
the GSDF's live-fire training for the day.

After the training, Campbell talked to each of the young GSDF

TOKYO 00004528 011 OF 011


members there and dined with GSDF officers. When the I Corps deputy
commander was leaving on a helicopter, I asked him about the plan to
set up a command of forward-deployed troops at Camp Zama.

"After the command of forward-deployed troops is located at Camp
Zama, our two countries' bilateral relationship would be
strengthened further," Campbell answered.

Note: This is the second of a three-part series.

SCHIEFFER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>