Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/13/08

DE RUEHKO #0385/01 0440821
P 130821Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Two local governments in Okinawa file protest; Governor touches
on revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (Tokyo Shimbun)

(2) Okinawa engulfed in anger over rape of 14-year-old schoolgirl by
U.S. Marine (Mainichi)

(3) Gov't desperate to calm down situation (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(4) Main points from meeting between Gov. Nakaima, U.S. Okinawa Area
Coordinator Zilmer (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(5) Somewhat dubious about groups clamoring against U.S. and U.S.
bases (Sankei)

(6) Discord between Ozawa and Hatoyama propelled by Ozawa's skipping
override vote in Lower House plenary session (Asahi)

(7) Difficulty expected in determining plan on new entity tasked
with supervising consumer affairs policies due to protest from
government agencies (Mainichi)


(1) Two local governments in Okinawa file protest; Governor touches
on revision of the Status of Forces Agreement

TOKYO ONLINE (Slightly abridged)
13:43 PM, February 13, 2008

Photo of U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer and Okinawa Prefecture
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who has just been handed a letter
addressed to the victim and family

In the case of rape of a third-year junior high school girl in
Okinawa, the assemblies of Okinawa City and Chatan Town, both
localities related to the incident, held an emergency session this
morning and passed by unanimous agreement a protest resolution and
written statement calling on the U.S. and Japanese governments to
take steps to prevent a recurrence, apologize, and pay compensation.
Governor HIrokazu Nakaima in a reply to the prefectural assembly
made his first statement since the incident in which he expressed
his view of seeking a drastic revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of
Forces Agreement (SOFA).

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer in the afternoon visited Governor
Nakaima at his prefectural office and stated: "I feel it was
regrettable that this kind of incident has occurred. My heart goes
out to the girl and her family who have suffered." He entrusted the
governor with a letter addressed to the victim and her family.

Governor Nakaima at the prefectural assembly stated: "In resolving
these sorts of problems centered on the U.S. bases, it is not enough
just to improve the application of the Japan-U.S. SOFA, which gives
the U.S. side a free hand. There must be a drastic revision of it."

(2) Okinawa engulfed in anger over rape of 14-year-old schoolgirl by
U.S. Marine

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Abridged slightly)
February 13, 2008

TOKYO 00000385 002 OF 009

Possible adverse effect on U.S. base realignment

The alleged rape of a 14-year-old schoolgirl by a U.S. Marine last
Sunday in the town of Chatan in Okinawa has heightened anti-base
sentiment across the country amid the ongoing realignment of U.S.
forces in Japan. As was the case with the September 1995 rape
incident, there is a possibility that the latest incident will
adversely affect the planned realignment of U.S. bases, including
the relocation of Futenma Air Station. The government is desperately
trying to keep the rape incident separate from the base-relocation

"If the incident had occurred during the election campaign period, a
severe result would have naturally come out."

The comment came from the mouth of an officer of the camp of
Yoshihiko Fukuda, 37, who won the Feb. 10 Iwakuni mayoral election
in Yamaguchi Prefecture by a margin of only 1,782 votes. Fukuda is a
proponent of the relocation of a U.S. carrier-based air wing to the
U.S. base in the city. A senior Defense Ministry official, too,
commented: "It gives me a chill just to imagine the incident had
occurred a day earlier. The outcome would have been completely

The comments by the two persons indicate that to municipalities
hosting U.S. bases, incidents involving U.S. servicemen are serious
enough to affect the will of local voters.

Although incidents involving U.S. servicemen are not confined to
Okinawa, the situation in the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of
U.S. bases in Japan, is particularly serious. Anger over the latest
incident is quickly spreading in the prefecture. It has been 13
years since the 1995 schoolgirl rape incident that led to the
consolidation and reduction of U.S. bases, including a return of
Futenma Air Station.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima on the morning of Feb. 11 after the
incident came to light said glumly: "The prefecture was hit by
another incident, which should never have occurred. Naturally, it
will negatively affect the sentiment of the Okinawa public.".

At the same time, the governor indicated that it would not directly
affect the Futenma relocation plan, for which talks are underway
with the central government.

Although Nakaima is at odds with the government over the relocation
site in Nago for Futenma Air Station, he supports the realignment of
U.S. forces in Okinawa, believing it will help reduce U.S. bases in
the prefecture. Nakaima is apparently trying to stem the mounting
anti-base sentiment by presenting the view that the alleged sexual
assault and the realignment plan are two different matters. A senior
prefectural official noted: "The governor really does not want to
see the rape incident take a toll on the realignment issue."

A protest movement is steadily spreading in Okinawa, however. The
Naha City Assembly adopted a protest resolution yesterday. The
prefectural assembly is expected to adopt a resolution tomorrow.
Other municipalities are likely to follow suit. Many civic groups
and labor unions released statements of protest or staged protest
rallies yesterday.

TOKYO 00000385 003 OF 009

Reformist prefectural assemblyman Chosei Taira suggested the
possibility of holding a nonpartisan prefectural rally. The Liberal
Democratic Party Okinawa chapter holds the key to holding such a
rally. Secretary General Tetsuji Shingaki took this view: "Although
the latest incident is a despicable crime, it is different from the
1995 incident. There has been no talk of a prefectural rally,

University of the Ryukyus Professor Jun Shimabukuro said: "In 1995,
reformist Governor Masahide Ota was at the helm of the prefectural
government. The political situation was different from today, when
LDP-backed Nakaima is at the helm. Iwakuni, too, has a new mayor who
supports the relocation plan. The government will probably advance
the U.S. force realignment plan irrespective of Okinawa's wishes."

Government draws line between incident and Futenma plan

On the morning of Feb. 11, the day after the incident, the Foreign
Ministry requested the U.S. Embassy in Japan to take steps to
prevent a recurrence and strengthen discipline among U.S. military
personnel. In a cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Fukuda
also ordered the cabinet ministers to respond carefully to the
incident. For the sake of the planned Futenma relocation, the
government definitely wants to avoid a rehash of an outcry in
Okinawa that followed the 1995 rape incident.

The government is also pressed to give consideration to the
sentiment of people in Okinawa as well as to relations with the
United States. Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba after the cabinet
meeting yesterday expressed his anger by saying, "The incident
concerns the foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance," adding, "But
the incident and the Futenma relocation are two separate subjects."

The governments of Japan and the United States agreed in May 2006 to
complete building a Futenma replacement facility by 2014. On
subsequent occasions, such as the Japan-U.S. summit last November,
the two governments have confirmed the implementation of the

Ishiba denied the possibility of moving up the Futenma relocation
plan, saying: "There are many base burdens. It is not appropriate to
think that Futenma Air Station must be relocated early (because of
the latest incident)." Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura also
underlined the importance of the bilateral agreement, noting:
"Aircraft using Futenma Air fly over residential areas. It is best
to relocate the air station as planned."

The environment surrounding the government today is totally
different from that in 1995. Following the rape incident that year,
the coalition government of the LDP, Social Democratic Party of
Japan, and New Party Sakigake (Harbingers) launched the Special
Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) to discuss ways to consolidate
and reduce U.S. bases in Okinawa. Then Governor Masahide Ota
demanded all U.S. bases, including Futenma, be returned in steps by
2015. The Okinawa issue became a top priority for the
administration. An agreement was eventually reached in April 1996
between then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale and Prime
Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto to return Futenma Air Station.

In the meantime, Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura recently quoted
Governor Nakaima as saying that (the rape incident) would not
directly affect the Futenma plan. The government sees Okinawa's

TOKYO 00000385 004 OF 009

cooperative stance as a favorable wind blowing its direction. The
largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan is not opposed to U.S.
force realignment, either. The Okinawa issue is unlikely to be a
point of dispute for Lower House dissolution. DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa simply said yesterday: "Tokyo might not have discussed (U.S.
force realignment) with Washington on an equal footing. Questions
will be raised about the reality of the Japan-U.S. alliance."

(3) Gov't desperate to calm down situation

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Abridged)
February 13, 2008

In the wake of an Okinawa-based U.S. serviceman's rape of a junior
high school girl, the government was quick to move, desperately
trying to calm down the situation, with the suspect denying his
alleged rape. That is partly because the government wanted to avoid
repercussions on the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan,
including the relocation of Futenma airfield. However, there is no
knowing if the government's quick action will lead to effective
steps for the prevention of a recurrence and for the enforcement of
discipline. Meanwhile, the incident this time took place in
connection with the U.S. serviceman living in off-base housing.
Local residents are therefore feeling uneasy about U.S. servicemen
living outside their bases.

"Never again." "It will seriously affect Japan-U.S. relations."
Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, Defense Minister Shjigeru Ishiba,
and other government leaders voiced their indignation when they met
the press yesterday following the incident.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura hurriedly announced
yesterday that the government would send Senior Vice Foreign
Minister Itsunori Onodera to Okinawa. It was "unusually quick
action," according to a Foreign Ministry official.

What concerns the government is a potential impact on the relocation
of Futenma airfield. In 1995, U.S. servicemen gang-raped a local
schoolgirl. That incident developed into struggles all over Okinawa
Prefecture against U.S. military bases.

"At that time," a senior official of the Defense Ministry recalled,
"the government was late in taking action." This official went on,
"That intensified the local people's anger." The official added, "I
don't want to see that again." Another senior official of the
Defense Ministry said: "If (Okinawa Prefecture's) Governor Hirokazu
Nakaima changes his mind and calls for the U.S. military to get out
of Okinawa as soon as possible, then the government will have to
give up. The incident is so serious."

"We want to prevent the flames from spreading," a senior official of
the Defense Ministry. So does the U.S. military. "At the time of the
1995 incident, the Okinawa area coordinator of the U.S. forces in
Okinawa called on the governor one week after that incident. The
rest is up to your judgment, though." The Foreign Ministry's Okinawa
office provided this information to the U.S. military. U.S. Okinawa
Area Coordinator Zilmer suddenly paid a call on Gov. Nakaima
yesterday evening. The government had moved so quickly. The sudden
visit surprised Nakaima. "I was thinking of going over there,"
Nakaima said. "But," he added, "they came first."

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and other government leaders, meeting

TOKYO 00000385 005 OF 009

the press yesterday, suggested the need to take further steps for
the enforcement of discipline and for the prevention of a
recurrence. However, they did not talk about any specific plan.
"This is the best the government can do in its quick action," one
government official admitted. "As for the rest," this official
presumes, "the government will have to watch public opinion." With
this, the official also implied that the government's quick move
could end up as an appeal to keep down the local sentiment.

The incident this time broke out in connection with a U.S.
serviceman who lived in an off-base house. Chatan Town Mayor
Masaharu Noguni, in his request to the government yesterday, also
expressed local anxieties about U.S. servicemen living outside their

Noguni told Okinawa Defense Bureau Director General Ro Manabe:
"There are many houses for foreigners, so the local residents are
feeling very uneasy while thinking that U.S. soldiers like him are
in the neighborhood. There are quite many foreigners living in the
Sunabe area of Chatan Town, so the anxieties (of local communities)
are growing strong."

In point of fact, however, it is hard to find out the actual number
of U.S. servicemen living in off-base houses. "They have no resident
registration, so we can't grasp the actual situation." So saying,
Noguni looked downhearted.

(4) Main points from meeting between Gov. Nakaima, U.S. Okinawa Area
Coordinator Zilmer

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
February 13, 2008

U.S. Forces' Okinawa Area Coordinator Zilmer: I really deplore the
incident that was directed at the girl. I'm worried about how much
the hearts of victimized girl and her family have been hurt. We
sincerely take the incident this time and will continue to fully
cooperate on the Okinawa Police Station's investigations. We will
give instructions and educational programs to the Marines from
tomorrow, not only in Okinawa but also all over Japan, about morals,
including the basic values. This week, we will also educate all the
Marines under my command. I want Okinawa Prefecture's people and the
Japanese people to understand that an incident like the one this
time is contrary to the military personnel's essential values.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima: I feel that an incident like this has
happened again, and I think it is extremely regrettable. If an
incident like this continues, the Okinawa prefectural people's anger
will reach its peak, and it may seriously affect base issues in the
future. I want the United States to further enforce discipline and
educate the Marines in a thoroughgoing way so that such an incident
will never happen again, and I want you to make all-out efforts to
prevent a recurrence. The incident is an extremely outrageous crime
that tramples down women's human rights. I feel strong indignation,
considering the fact that the victim is a junior high school

Consul General Maher: On behalf of the U.S. government, I think that
the incident this time is extremely regrettable. The U.S. government
also takes it sincerely. In addition, I also feel sympathy for the
victim and family.

TOKYO 00000385 006 OF 009

Gov. Nakaima: I hope the United States will thoroughly carry out
what we've talked about today.

(5) Somewhat dubious about groups clamoring against U.S. and U.S.

SANKEI (Page 5) (Abridged)
February 13, 2008

Nobuaki Hanaoka

A disgusting incident has taken place again. A U.S. Marine stationed
in Okinawa allegedly raped a schoolgirl.

The authorities concerned need to shed light on the incident and
should condemn this crime. As a matter of course, this Marine will
be given a severe punishment. No matter how much he tries, he can
never make up for the crime he committed because a 14-year-old girl
will suffer the damage he caused to her during the rest of her

Keeping all this in mind, I still need to write that it is
understandable for locals to take the incident this time as a
recurrence of the 1995 rape incident that involved an elementary
school girl and U.S. servicemen, but that there is something dubious
about anti-U.S. and anti-base groups that are now in high spirits,
apparently encouraged by the incident.

If they use the incident as a political tool, their attitude would
be taken as lacking consideration for the victim.

The freedom of speech may allow them to loudly shout in chorus, "The
U.S. forces should leave here." But if they do so, they need to be
responsible for what they say. Needless to say, Japan relies on
America's "nuclear umbrella" for its national security. If they call
on the U.S. forces to withdraw from Japan, they then need to insist
that Japan nuclear-arm itself; otherwise the security environment
around Japan would drastically shift.

The military situation in East Asia could become tense if a power
vacuum emerges there. Who would then chuckle to himself? We need to
consider this point when we discuss security policy in a sober and
pragmatic manner.

This incident may give heads of municipalities and assembly members
in Okinawa an opportunity to sit on the fence again in dealing with
the relocation of the U.S. military's Futenma Air Station. The only
way for Okinawa to follow would be to co-exist with the bases for
co-prosperity. They are fully aware of this but they have failed to
devote themselves body and soul to realizing that.

One decade has already passed since the Japan-U.S. Special Action
Committee on Okinawa (SACO) announced that the site of the Futenma
base would be returned to Japan, and that the base's heliport would
be relocated somewhere. Japan and the U.S. have agreed on a plan to
relocate the heliport to somewhere around Camp Schwab, but there has
been no progress so far in terms of coordination with locals on the
relocation issue.

Some segments of the media are reporting on the incident in a highly
emotional and hysterical fashion. This way of reporting is difficult
to understand. The incident is one thing but security is another.

TOKYO 00000385 007 OF 009

Journalism should not forget the crucial importance of the
Japan-U.S. alliance.

(6) Discord between Ozawa and Hatoyama propelled by Ozawa's skipping
override vote in Lower House plenary session

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
February 9, 2008

The troika system of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ or Minshuto) appears to be shaking. Propelled by President
Ichiro Ozawa having skipped an override vote in a House of
Representatives plenary session, there is discord between Ozawa and
Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama. Non-mainstream lawmakers, who had

remained silent, have begun to move into action with an eye on the
political situation after the September party leadership race and an
expected dissolution of the Lower House followed by anelections.

On the night of Feb. 5 at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo, Kyocera
Honorary Chairman Kazuo Inamori told Ozawa, Hatoyama, Naoto Kan,
deputy president of the DPJ, and DPJ Upper House Caucus Chairman
Azuma Koshiishi: "I want you to remain on good terms whatever
happens in order to take over the reins of government." Inamori is
known as a strong supporter of Ozawa. Hatoyama, thinking that
Inamori spoke for Ozawa, said to persons close to him: "We have
tried to protect Mr. Ozawa, but ..." He said that as if Ozawa was
the person who was spoiling the harmony.

Inamori had to use the wording "remain on good terms" because Ozawa
and Hatoyama have been at odds since the beginning of this year.

Hatoyama criticized Ozawa for skipping an override vote on the
special measures bill to resume Japan's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean and for going to Osaka to support the DPJ-backed
candidate running in the Osaka gubernatorial election. He said:
"(Ozawa) should offer an apology to the public." He again made a
critical comment: "(His skipping the vote) came under criticism from
the public. It is one of the reasons for (the defeat)."

Ozawa then said: "I don't know what the secretary general said. As
the party head, I make my own priorities about my own duties. He
expressed his annoyance with Hatoyama, saying: "I don't know what
the secretary general said. I don't think that (my abstaining from
voting) affected (the result of the election)."

It was also unveiled that their communication was not good as to
whether they would attend the Davos Conference. Regarding a battle
at the Diet over a stopgap bill to retain the provisional tax rates,
Hatoyama worked for an agreement between the ruling and opposition
camps through the good offices of the leaders of the two Diet
houses. Ozawa, who had urged a settlement of the Diet battle,
however, said: "I'm not the person in charge since I did not look
into the contents of the agreement and did not order it."

Hatoyama has supported Ozawa even when distrust of him grew in the
party over the notion of forming a grand coalition with the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Hatoyama's aide described the
feelings of Hatoyama as the eruption of piled-up anger.

Moves by non-Ozawa group

The moves of Hatoyama could affect the political dynamics in the

TOKYO 00000385 008 OF 009


Recently, moves by a non-Ozawa force have become noticeable. Yoshito
Sengoku, former policy chief, who made a candid remark about the
grand coalition uproar, visited South Korea from Feb. 10 as a
suprapartisan group member along with Taku Yamasaki and Koichi Kato
of the LDP. The suprapartisan group includes Yukio Edano, Sakihito
Ozawa, Takashi Doi, and Renho, who have close ties with Sengoku,
Hatoyama, Kan and Yoshihiko Noda.

There is a view in the DPJ that the participation in the
suprapartisan group by Sengoku and Edano alone would have
underscored an anti-Ozawa tinge. Kan has emphasized that the Seoul
visit is a diplomatic purpose. He said: "It is desirable to build
channels of communication to South Korea. The visit to South Korea
by nonpartisan Diet members is a good option." However, a view still
remains that the move will become an encircling net of Ozawa in the
presidential election.

Hatoyama along with former LDP Secretary General Taro Aso
participated in a nonpartisan group to aim at computerization of
administrative procedure drew attention. His participation drew
attention. In a press conference on Feb. 8, Hatoyama said: "Joint
activities by ruling and opposition members tend to prompt all sorts
of conjectures. However, there is no concern about (the visit to
South Korea). We will take over the reins of government under the
leadership of President Ozawa." He, meanwhile, showed understanding
toward the idea of fielding candidates against Ozawa in the
presidential race, saying: "I think conducting a leadership race is
a necessary process."

DPJ lawmakers close to Ozawa are frustrated with words and actions
by Hatoyama and other members. One lawmaker said: "It is desirable
that Ozawa will be reelected without going through an election. But
there are more factors in the party that worry us than outside the

(7) Difficulty expected in determining plan on new entity tasked
with supervising consumer affairs policies due to protest from
government agencies

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
February 13, 2008

The government's Council for Promoting Consumer Policy was launched
yesterday, in accordance with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's goal of
unifying consumer administrative functions. The panel was
established earlier than initially scheduled in the aftermath of the
recent food-poisoning outbreak involving Chinese-made frozen
dumplings. Various plans regarding a new entity tasked with
supervising consumer affairs policy are already on the table, and
each has good and bad points. It will not be easy to pick one from
among them. In the Chinese food-poisoning case, the government was
slow to take countermeasures. Mapping out measures to prevent a slow
response is another task for the panel. But government agencies
involved in the plan are expected to put up resistance, so the panel
may fail to produce actual results.

"Looking at all of you, I feel that a good result has already been
made," the prime minister said in the first meeting of the council
yesterday. The prime minister indicated his confidence in his
personnel selection for the panel.

TOKYO 00000385 009 OF 009

Consumer administrative functions are now split among 10 government
agencies, including the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Health,
Labor and Welfare (MHLW), and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries. Relevant laws, such as the Food Sanitation Law and
the JAS Law, are under the jurisdiction of different government
agencies. Some critics point out the harmful effect of the
vertically fragmented system of administration.

The Liberal Democratic Party's research council on consumer affairs
issued its interim report this January as a basis for discussion on
a new entity. Specifically, the panel proposed these three plans:
(1) Create a consumer agency as the control tower for the relevant
government agencies; (2) upgrade the Cabinet Office's Quality of
Life Policy Bureau to an administrative committee with strong
authority; and (3) beef up the functions of the said bureau and the
National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan.

The first plan has the merit of creating a consulting office for
consumers to pour out their complaints. On the other hand,
government agencies that could lose their power are expected to
raise objections. Fearing this possibility, the LDP gave
consideration to each government agency in drafting its plan,
noting: "The new plan should be premised on maintaining the current
system of each government agency." There is the possibility that the
new agency could be an extra body.

A senior government official said: "The prime minister may not be
able to maintain his dignity" if no other measures are taken than
beefing up the function of the Quality of Life Policy Bureau. The
official indicated that only with a small-scale reform plan,
questions might be raised about the prime minister's eagerness.

The most likely idea on a new body in the LDP research panel is the
plan of upgrading the Cabinet Office's bureau to an administrative
committee. A senior official of the Cabinet Office said: "The
current authorities supervising consumer affairs, such the Ministry
of Economy, Trade and Industry, hold enormous sway over industrial
circles, so such authorities naturally should be utilized." In this
case, the main question is what to do about integrating their
policymaking functions.

In the Chinese dumpling scare, it took more than a month until the
information on damage that had been reported to local police
stations and the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan was
relayed to the MHLW. The new panel will also discuss how to unify
consumer counseling services.

Prime Minister Fukuda appointed State Minister in Charge of People's
Life Fumio Kishida, who now takes the lead in dealing with the
Chinese food-poisoning case, as minister responsible for promoting
consumer affairs administration, based on the view that "the lessons
learned in this case should be reflected in discussion on a new
consumer affairs agency," according to a close aide to the prime
minister. Even so, since the details of the incident are under
investigation, no progress has been made in discussing measures to
prevent a recurrence.


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