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Cablegate: Media Coverage of October 31 Coalition

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKO #5096/01 3060733
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020733Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9188
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 9898
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 2426
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 9587
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5954
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 2049
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 0531
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 1008
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 5826
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 1314
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0097
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1881
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 2033

UNCLAS TOKYO 005096

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EAP/J, EAP/PD, EAP/K, EAP DAS - ARVIZU
INFO FOR DATT/DAO AND PAO/PAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KPAO KMDR KN KS JA
SUBJECT: MEDIA COVERAGE OF OCTOBER 31 COALITION
BRIEFING ON OEF FOR JAPANESE DIET MEMBERS


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 31, the Canadian Embassy
in Tokyo hosted a briefing for Japanese Diet members
focusing on the international nature of OEF Coalition
efforts in the Indian Ocean to combat global terrorism,
as well as on the importance of Japan's contribution to
OEF. Approximately 100 Diet members attended the
briefing, as did representatives of 11 coalition
countries, including Ambassador Schieffer. Although
closed to the media, the briefing, as well as
Ambassador Schieffer's remarks to journalists
immediately afterwards, garnered top coverage October
31 and November 1. Overall, coverage was detailed,
balanced, and substantive, enabling the Coalition
ambassadors to reach over skeptical opposition
lawmakers and carry our message on the importance of
Japan's continuing contribution to the fight against
terrorism to a much larger public audience. END
SUMMARY.

2. (U) On October 31, the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo
hosted a briefing for Japanese Diet members on OEF
Coalition efforts to combat global terrorism in the
Indian Ocean and on the importance of Japan's
contribution to OEF. Representatives of 11 coalition
countries, including Ambassador Schieffer, were present
for the briefing, which was attended by approximately
100 Diet members from almost all political parties.
Although the briefing was closed to the media, AP,
Reuters, and Kyodo News ran long reports on it and on
the suspension of JMSDF OEF support on October 31 and
November 1. Kyodo's November 1 report on the briefing
also quoted extensively from Ambassador Schieffer's
comments to journalists after the briefing. Reuters
and AP carried similar reports, quoting Chief Cabinet
Secretary (CCS) Machimura as calling the suspension

SIPDIS
"regrettable," and adding that "Japan must rejoin the
international team to fight terrorism as soon as
possible by enacting new legislation." The Reuters
piece noted Ambassador Schieffer's comment that a
permanent halt to Japan's participation in OEF would
send "a very bad message" to the international
community and to terrorists.

3. (U) Evening editions of the Asahi and Mainichi
newspapers on October 31 gave front-page play to the
OEF briefing, while Yomiuri, Tokyo Shimbun, and
business-oriented Nikkei ran long page-2 reports.
(Nikkei's article featured a color photo of the
ambassador talking with journalists after the
briefing.) Mainichi called the briefing an "unusual
move," adding that the bulk of the participants were
from the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and
that only six DPJ members attended. Yomiuri said that
Ambassador Schieffer told the press afterward: "I hope
that members of the Diet, after today, will have a
better understanding of the MIO." Mainichi and Asahi
quoted the Ambassador as telling the press, "I hope DPJ
President Ozawa will accept the fact that OEF is an
international undertaking, and I hope he will support
it in the end." According to Yomiuri, DPJ Lower House
legislator Takemasa complained that the briefing
provided no new information and that there was no clear
answer to the question as to whether terrorists have
been apprehended through the MIO. Tokyo Shimbun quoted
DPJ lawmaker Iwakuni as telling the press that what was
most displeasing about the briefing was that the
information was not provided until now.

4. (U) Reports on the noon news broadcasts by NHK-TV
and most commercial TV broadcasters October 31 quoted
extensively from Ambassador Schieffer's meeting with
journalists right after event. NHK also quoted a US
military officer as saying during the briefing that he
hopes for the swift enactment of a new antiterrorism
bill because it would contribute to the war on

terrorism. It also featured Ambassador Schieffer's
comment that, "OEF is not a matter between just the
U.S. and Japan, and it is not a matter for a partisan
debate." NHK also noted the U.S. explained once again
that the fuel provided by Japan was never diverted for
use in US operations in Iraq.

5. (U) On November 1 all TV broadcasters reported the
upcoming expiration at midnight of Japan's
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law. NTV quoted Defense
Minister Ishiba in Diet deliberations as saying he was
"disappointed and saddened" by the fact that the MSDF
operation would soon "vanish." The network added that
as the new antiterrorism bill is unlikely to be enacted
in the current Diet, the outlook is dim for a
resumption of the MSDF refueling operation.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: The briefing at the Canadian
Embassy provide Japanese lawmakers with detailed
information on OEF and the significance of the MSDF's
refueling support in a context that also emphasized the
international nature of the Coalition effort. The
critical comments of opposition lawmakers from the
Democratic Party of Japan and the Communist Party
were expected. However, the extensive and generally
favorable media coverage generated by the briefing
allowed the Coalition ambassadors to reach over
skeptical opposition lawmakers and carry our message on

the importance of Japan's continuing contribution to
the fight against terrorism to a much larger public
audience. END COMMENT.

SCHIEFFER

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