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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - State of Union Address

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0227/01 0290737
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290737Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1316
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 5758
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 8154
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4405
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 6366
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 9425
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1359
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2093
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7423
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8064
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000227

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 - STATE OF UNION ADDRESS
AND GAZA

1. LEAD STORIES: Five of six national dailies gave top
play to the ruling coalition's move to submit to the
Diet stopgap legislation aimed at maintaining the
gasoline tax at the current level beyond April.

2. "Bush Keen to Set Path toward Addressing Global
Warming" Public broadcaster NHK's Washington
correspondent Iida reported (1/29): "President Bush
appeared to be more forthcoming than he was in previous
years in dealing with global warming, as he vowed to
exercise leadership in creating a post-Kyoto Protocol
framework that would involve all major economies,
including China and India.... White House officials
admitted that it is not realistic for the
administration to launch new policy initiatives in the
President's final year in office. Thus, one of the main
messages of his speech was to put forward a path toward
addressing the global issue of climate change."

3. "Bush Prioritizes Economy" (1/29): Commercial
broadcaster FNN's Washington-based writer Nishigaki
commented (1/29): "The State of the Union Address by
President Bush this year differed from previous ones in
that the economy, not the war on terrorism, was his top
policy priority, given the growing uncertainty over the
U.S. economy.... His speech, however, lacked new policy
initiatives. Additionally, as his popularity remains
very low and as U.S. public attention is shifting to
the race for the Democratic presidential nomination,
President Bush is likely to end his term with much left
unfinished."

4. "Bush Expresses Concern about Economy" The liberal
Asahi wrote (1/29): "The address was dull in content
except for some references to the President's
leadership in dealing with the economy and the
environment, as he is becoming a lame duck and the
public is paying attention to the ongoing presidential
race.... The President appears to have stressed the
need for swift implementation of his economic stimulus
package in order to express his determination to
prevent the U.S. economy from further deteriorating."

5. "Breaking Impasse Appears Difficult" The liberal
Mainichi's Washington correspondent report said (1/29):
"President Bush showed concern about the current state
of the U.S. economy and expressed his determination to
prevent it from further slowing. It will be difficult,
though, for the President to break the current impasse,
as the effects of the planned tax cuts included in his
stimulus package are unclear. His address focused on
economic policy in light of the continuing chaos in the
market... The President did not refer to the North
Korean nuclear issue or to the need for that nation to
democratize. Some observers believe that the President
avoided mentioning the DPRK in order not to irritate
Pyongyang."

6. "Settlement of Diplomatic Issues Distant" The
moderate Yomiuri ran a correspondent report from
Washington saying (1/29): "The President failed to put
forward remedies to finish up his diplomatic tasks, as
he did not refer to North Korea and failed to show a
clear path toward the withdrawal of U.S. troops from

TOKYO 00000227 002 OF 002


Iraq in his State of the Union Address."

7. GAZA: "Put an End to Internment Camp" The liberal
Mainichi editorialized (1/29): "It is wrong to regard
Hamas as a terrorist group. It should, however, be held
accountable for forcing Gaza residents into starvation
and poverty. If Hamas maintains its militant line
without compromising with either Israel or Fatah, the
outlook for peace and stability will remain dim....
Construction of Israeli settlements on the West Bank
continues. As the U.S. has customarily vetoed any UN
Security Council motions critical of Israel, the idea
is taking root that saying anything is pointless. If
the settlement issue remains unaddressed, the Bush
administration's goal of sealing a peace accord within
2008 will be unattainable.... In order to put an end to
the tragedy in Gaza, which has been called an 'outdoor
internment camp,' the international community needs to
unite and use its good sense."

SCHIEFFER

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