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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/14/08

VZCZCXRO4690
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0692/01 0740750
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140750Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2561
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 9036
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6644
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0317
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5159
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7248
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2219
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8267
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8836

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 TOKYO 000692

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 03/14/08

INDEX:

(1) Editorial: MOD and information; Is it possible to purify water
by reducing the number of taps? (Mainichi)

(2) MOD bureau chief, alarmed at China, refers to application of
concept of neighboring contingency to Taiwan (Sankei)

(3) Yomitan Village to form exec committee for prefecture-wide rally
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(4) Jet noise hits this year's high at 104.5 db in U.S. military
readiness training (Okinawa Times)

ARTICLES:

(1) Editorial: MOD and information; Is it possible to purify water
by reducing the number of taps?

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
March 14, 2008

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) must
have learned how sloppy their information control and capability
is.

The SDF, an organization that uses force, cannot win trust from the
people unless they correctly explain the objective and specifics of
their activities. A press conference is a venue where its
information capability is tested.

However, discussions that can be taken as distorting lessons learned
from the accident are taking place in the ministry. A proposal for
reducing the number of regular press conferences it holds has been
proposed with the aim of preventing confusion in the transmission of
information.

In the MOD, the minister, vice minister and spokesman hold a press
conference twice a week, and once a week by the chairman of the
Joint Staff Council and the chiefs of the Ground, Maritime and Air
Staff Offices. According to the Public Information Division, this
basic system has been in place for at least 40 years.

Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda referred to a revision of the
press conference system, stating, "The Defense Ministry holds
regular press conferences by seven officials. The number of
officials who give press conference is larger than any other
government offices." Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said, "We must
think about reducing points of contact for transmitting information
as much as possible."

The way MOD released statements on the accident caused by Atago were
sloppy. For instance, it called in the chief navigator to the
ministry by helicopter on the day of the accident to hear the
circumstance. Regarding whether the MOD informed the Japan Coast
Guard (JCG) of this hearing, Masuda admitted to the possibility that
the MSDF gave a false account to him, noting that they did so.
However, upon receiving a report from the MSDF that all
communications were recorded, Masuda had to withdraw his statement
that the MSDF gave him a false account.

When there are conflicting reports in an emergency, it is necessary

TOKYO 00000692 002 OF 005


to collect information, check it and transmit it, by clarifying the
locus of the responsibility of public relations.

However, what has been revealed in the accident this time is that
the MOD and the SDF failed to share information. This situation is
serious.

One person who gave a press conference did not fully recognize the
contents of the statement another person gave in a press conference,
causing inconsistency in their statements. It would be a case of the
tail wagging the dog to reduce the number of press conferences to
prevent inconsistent information from being transmitted for that
reason.

At issue is the quality of water running in the organization.
Cutting the number of taps would not purify the water. The MOD must
pay attention to the fact that information channels are not working.


The former Defense Agency considered ending regular press
conferences by the chiefs of staff of the Ground, Maritime and Air
Staff Offices in 2004, when the dispatch of Ground-Self Defense
personnel to Iraq was close at hand. The move fizzled out shortly.

The existence of the SDF is impossible without public trust. If they
are aware of that, the top officers of each SDF organization should
fulfill their accountability to the people in their own words. Their
proactive action would strengthen the organization.

(2) MOD bureau chief, alarmed at China, refers to application of
concept of neighboring contingency to Taiwan

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
March 14, 2008

In yesterday's Liberal Democratic Party Security Research Commission
session, Defense Ministry Defense Policy Bureau Director-General
Nobushige Takamizawa was asked for Japan's response in the event of
a contingency in the Taiwan Strait. In response, Takamizawa said:
"Should anything happen between China and Taiwan, that would be a
serious matter for our country. It would not be a matter of
Japan-U.S. security (cooperation), but a matter of the security of
Japan." He also expressed the view that the Self-Defense Forces'
warning and surveillance activities must be increased even if it is
not a contingency in areas surrounding Japan. The statement, made in
an explanation on China's military trends, apparently reflects
strong alarm at Chinese military authorities, who have been pursuing
a military buildup with an eye on unifying Taiwan with China by
military force.

Before the LDP research commission yesterday, Takamizawa also said:
"If I was asked by China, 'Do you (recognize) it as a contingency in
areas surrounding Japan?,' I would (reply), 'Japan will naturally do
so.'" This statement consequently resulted in the view that
(Takamizawa) had referred to the application of the concept of a
neighboring contingency to Taiwan. Given this, Takamizawa held a
press conference last night in which he said: "I did not talk about
the recognition of a contingency in areas surrounding Japan. I made
the statement in the sense to strengthen (the SDF's) warning and
surveillance activities. My explanation was insufficient, and I am
sorry if that caused a misunderstanding."


TOKYO 00000692 003 OF 005


Takamizawa made the remarks in explaining MOD's analysis of China's
military trends. Touching on China's defense spending, which has
seen double-digit increases, he said, "It is intended to force
Taiwan into giving up (its ambition of independence)."

He also commented about Japan's response in the event China attacked
Taiwan: "Areas close to Taiwan, such as Yonaguni Island, would be
affected. It might result in combat in a way that does not infringe
on Japan's sovereignty."

Those remarks by a senior defense official make clear that China's
military power has been enhanced to a level that cannot be
overlooked for the security of Japan. The United States Department
of Defense released a report earlier this month noting that China
has been increasing not only its capabilities to conquer Taiwan but
also its naval power to deal with conflicts over the Senkaku
Islands, known as Diaoyu in China, and the East China Sea. A former
Self-Defense Force officer indicated that in the event Japan
provided rear-area support to the U.S. military for the defense of
Taiwan, the Chinese military might occupy the Southwest Islands of
Japan and make Japan a target.

A gist of the Takamizawa statement

China's growing military spending is intended to press Taiwan into
giving up (its ambition of independence). Should a contingency occur
between China and Taiwan, areas close to Taiwan, such was Yonaguni
Island, would be affected and might also result in a battle that
does not inflict on Japan's sovereignty. We would then increase
warning and surveillance activities. The situation would involve
neighboring contingency-like factors, so we would deal with it
accordingly.

If anything happens between China and Taiwan, that would be a
serious matter for our country. Before discussing whether or not to
recognize it as a contingency in areas surrounding Japan, the SDF's
warning and surveillance activities must be increased and other
appropriate steps must be taken. If I was asked by China, "Do you
(recognize) it as a contingency in areas surrounding Japan?" I would
(reply), "Japan will naturally do so." I would also say, "It is
about the security of Japan. So you must absolutely not cause
trouble with Taiwan." It is not about Japan-U.S. security
(cooperation) but about the security of Japan. It is important to
demonstrate such a stance.

(3) Yomitan Village to form exec committee for prefecture-wide
rally

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 29) (Abridged)
March 14, 2008

Okinawa Prefecture will hold a protest rally in Chatan Town on Mar.
23 against incidents and accidents caused by U.S. military
personnel. For the rally, local public entities in the prefecture's
central part-where a junior high school girl was allegedly raped by
a U.S. serviceman-are going to organize their respective executive
committees. The government office of Yomitan Village worked on 22
organizations in the village and will form an executive committee on
Mar. 17. The village will be the first municipality in the
prefecture to form an executive committee. Chatan Mayor Masaharu
Noguni also said his town would form an executive committee by Mar.
17 and cooperate on the rally. Meanwhile, the Okinawa prefectural

TOKYO 00000692 004 OF 005


chapter of New Komeito, a ruling party in the prefecture's assembly,
decided yesterday to participate in the rally. In response, relevant
organizations would like a prefecture-wide rally to be held with the
participation of various political parties.

The Okinawa Prefectural Liaison Conference for the Promotion of
Juvenile Societies is a key constituent member of the prefecture's
rally executive committee. Tetsuei Tamayose, who chairs the liaison
conference, visited the government offices of Chatan Town, Okinawa
City, Kitanakagusuku Village, and Ginowan City yesterday to ask for
cooperation in forming their respective executive committees.

Yomitan Village, which has now decided to form an executive
committee, is calling on its assembly, women's associations, PTA
federation, and other organizations to participate in its executive
committee, as in the case of a previous rally over the issue of
school textbook screening. Yomitan Village Mayor Keizo Yasuda said:
"We must demonstrate our protest against incidents and accidents
that have been brought about by U.S. servicemen, or there will be no
end."

According to the secretariat to the rally executive committee, there
were positive answers from various organizations in Okinawa City,
Kitanakagusuku Village, and Ginowan City about participating in the
rally.

(4) Jet noise hits this year's high at 104.5 db in U.S. military
readiness training

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 1) (Full)
March 13, 2008

KADENA-The U.S. Air Force's Kadena base is now conducting
operational readiness training in anticipation of emergencies. Along
with this training, the sounds of U.S. fighter jets hit this year's
high at 104.5 decibels yesterday afternoon in Kadena Town's Yara
block. This level of noise is equivalent to that at the side of a
railway when trains are passing. In addition, jet noise in excess of
70 decibels-a level uncomfortable to most people-was also monitored
138 times before 5 p.m. that day. This is the largest number of
times per day this month. The Kadena base is conducting the training
with the participation of 12 F-16 fighter jets from the U.S. Air
Force's Kunsan base in South Korea. It is now clear that the roaring
sounds of Kadena-based fighter jets and those from a U.S. base
outside Japan in the readiness training are threatening the daily
lives of local residents. Kadena Town's assembly will call a meeting
of its special committee on military base affairs this afternoon to
discuss this issue, with Koei Tanaka presiding.

"Children were covering their ears with their hands when they were
on their way to school and on their way back home yesterday," Tanaka
said, adding: "We are concerned about growing noise damage caused by
fighter jets from bases outside Japan. We want to make a strong
request so they will stop the training and fighter jets from bases
outside Japan will not use the Kadena base."

The readiness training is being conducted with the participation of
F-16 fighter jets and Kadena-based F-15 fighters. On Mar. 12, they
took off one after another at around 7:30 a.m. and carried out
flight training with violent noise. Some of those fighter jets took
off from the Kadena base's northern runway that is near residential
streets.

TOKYO 00000692 005 OF 005

There were also AV-8 Harrier vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)
fighter jets and FA-18 fighter attackers at the Kadena base
yesterday. They were not in the readiness training.

Kadena Town has set a noise-monitoring device in the Yara area,
which is situated about 400 meters away from the Kadena base's
northern runway. This monitor read 104.5 decibels, this year's high,
at 1:35 p.m. yesterday. Noise over 90 decibels-which is believed to
be caused by fighter jets in their takeoff and is equivalent to a
level in a noisy factory-was also read 41 times, the second largest
number of times per day this year.

Concerning the Kadena base, a Kadena Town official said: "Noisy
fighter planes like the F-15, F-16, and FA-18 are now using the base
all together unlike before. This is an abnormal situation. Local
residents living near the base are suffering from violent noise."

The readiness training, according to the Kadena base's press office,
will continue until tomorrow. The F-16s will stay at the Kadena base
for about a week after the readiness training to carry out dogfight
training with Kadena-based F-15 jets, the base press office said.

SCHIEFFER

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