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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Destruction Of

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0496 0570404
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260404Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1997
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INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6289
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RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 6894
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RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7925
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8512
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 000496

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 - DESTRUCTION OF
SATELLITE

1. LEAD STORIES: All Tuesday morning papers front-paged
Prime Minister Fukuda's summit with new South Korean
President Lee Myung Bak in Seoul on Monday, during
which the two affirmed the resumption of reciprocal
visits and enhanced trilateral coordination with the
U.S. on North Korea.

2. "Destruction of Satellite Raises Concern about Arms
Race in Space" The business-oriented Nikkei
editorialized (2/26): "As the U.S. followed UN
guidelines in shooting down a satellite recently, that
action cannot be termed a violation of international
rules. At the same time, what took place was far from
ordinary.... One could speculate that the U.S. took
advantage of the falling satellite to essentially carry
out a drill aimed at shooting down a satellite or
intercepting a missile. The U.S. may have wanted to
display its missile defense capabilities to North Korea
and Iran.... The U.S. move may prompt other nations to
follow suit and cite a falling satellite as an excuse
to conduct an intercept test. If other countries try to
compete over satellite attack capabilities, an arms
race in space could be unleashed. A framework is needed
to stop nations from readily destroying satellites."

3. "MD: Legacy or Burden?" The liberal Mainichi's
Washington bureau chief Bando wrote (2/26) "It is
questionable whether the U.S. military's motives
concerning the recent destruction of a satellite were
clear enough. While the prevention of potential damage
caused by the satellite's toxic fuel was cited as the
reason for its destruction, the chances of a satellite
falling onto a densely populated area are extremely
slight. The normal course of action would have been to
carefully monitor its descent.... A more natural
interpretation of the event is that the U.S. military,
in the process of considering how to deal with the
falling satellite, opted to destroy it as a means of
killing two birds with one stone. President Bush
approved the operation in the hope that MD will be a
legacy of his administration.... However, some in the
U.S. are concerned that MD deployment will aggravate
ties with Russia and China or unleash an arms race in
space. There is a possibility that the Bush
administration's 'legacy' will turn out to be a burden
for the next administration."

SCHIEFFER

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