Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 03/24/08

DE RUEHKO #0803/01 0840806
P 240806Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Close-up 2008 - Move to amend law banning child porno: More
children victimized with spread of child pornography on Internet

(2) U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer: Japan also should punish
simple possession (Mainichi)

(3) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties (Nikkei) 4
(4) Opposition may again call on Ishiba to resign as defense
minister (Mainichi)

(5) Vacuum in BOJ governorship (Part 2): Responsibility heavy for
acting governor (Tokyo Shimbun)

(6) Masaaki Shirakawa to serve as first acting BOJ governor in
postwar period (Mainichi)

(7) Rivalry evident among Kantei, MOD and LDP for leadership in
reform of MOD (Tokyo Shimbun)

(8) South Korean President Lee seeks trilateral framework with Japan
and China for environment and FTA issues; Suggests inviting Emperor
at "proper time" (Nikkei)

(9) U.S. military serviceman arrested for allegedly assaulting
police officers (Okinawa Times)

(10) Naha prosecutors indict U.S. Marine for counterfeiting U.S.
20-dollar bills (Okinawa Times)

(11) Editorial: 5 years after Iraq war-Important lesson given to
Japan (Sankei)


(1) Close-up 2008 - Move to amend law banning child porno: More
children victimized with spread of child pornography on Internet

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 22, 2008

Yumi Isozaki, Eriko Horii, Takashi Sakamoto

Child pornography circulates across the borders on the Internet and
is copied. Following the international move to tighten controls over
child pornography, Japan's ruling and opposition parties, too, have
begun moving to amend the Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child
Prostitution and Child Pornography. The Mainichi looked into the
moves in Japan toward amending the law.

"When I was a little girl, I was abused by an adult and was
photographed. As long as the photos taken at the time are still
available somewhere even now, I can neither marry nor have a baby."
"If someone can change the current situation, please do so to help
me to get out of this situation."

The Japan Committee for UNICEF, which began gathering signatures to
call on the government to amend the law, held a news conference in
Tokyo's Nagata-cho on March 11. In the news conference, Agnes Chan,
the ambassador of the Japan Committee for UNICEF, read victims'

TOKYO 00000803 002 OF 011

experiences and stressed: "It's wrong to possess pictures that may
deprive children of their normal lives."

According to the National Police Agency, cases of arrests in
connection with child pornography in 2007 numbered 567. The number
of victim children reached 304, a 20 PERCENT increase from 2006. Of
them, six were children preschool age and younger. Behind the
increase of child porno are the spread of personal computers and
cell phones with cameras. Most images were taken in the midst of
child prostitution or sneak photographing and were copied later to
be handed from one to another on the Internet or via e-mails.

Putting such images on display or exchanging them is subject to
punishment even under the current law. Seiji Yoshikawa, deputy
director of the Internet Hotline Center (in Tokyo's Minato Ward), an
organization that receives reports about illegal and harmful
information found on the Internet, made this comment: "As long as
demand (simple possession of child porno) continues, there will be
no end to supply (displaying and providing child porno)."

This center received 1,609 reports last year regarding child
pornography that was displayed openly. The administrator of a
server, which provides a location for display, has no obligation to
delete the child pornography of whoever posts it on websites. But if
the simple possession of child pornography is determined as
violating the law, it will be judged as illegal if the administrator
fails to take action against it despite knowing it is child porno.

The Internet industry, too, is expecting the controls will be
tightened. Naoya Bessho, director of the Legal Department of Yahoo
(in Minato Ward), which is supportive of the Japan Committee for
UNICEF, said: "We monitor illegal information, but there is a limit
to what one company can do. Punishing simple possession will help to
stop the spread of child pornography."

Opinions divided over possible abuse of right to investigate

With the law set to be reviewed in three years after being amended,
it was supposed to have happened last year. But the law was not
reviewed in actuality because such was not regarded as a priority
issue in the divided Diet, where the ruling bloc has no control of
the Upper House.

A sudden policy shift, however, came around on Feb. 6. Lawmakers,
including Sadakazu Tanigaki, chair of the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party's (LDP) Policy Research Council, and Yukio Edano, former chair
of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) Policy
Research Council, were invited to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo (in
Minato Ward). At the embassy, a U.S. State Department official asked
them to tighten the regulations, saying, "It's only Japan and Russia
among the Group of Eight countries (G-8) that have yet to ban simple
possession." With the G-8 Toyako Summit in Hokkaido in July in mind,
the LDP, at the order of Tanigaki, set in motion discussion (on
banning the simple possession of child pornography).

Whether to ban simple possession has been discussed whenever debate
was held on the subject, but the issue has been shelved every time
so far. The key to amending the law lies in the question of whether
to come up with a measure to remove the concern voiced by the DPJ
that banning the simple possession could lead to abusing the right
to investigate. Edano pointed out: "Japan's investigators lean
heavily on confessions. The concern is that cases where those who

TOKYO 00000803 003 OF 011

(received images of child porno that was sent unilaterally by
someone) and who are not aware that they possess it may be punished.
But I think some ideas are necessary to curb the circulation and
production of child porno. It is possible to punish only those who
are well aware that they intentionally received child pornography."
The DPJ will shortly form a project team to deal with the matter.

Another challenge in this connection is what to do about animated
cartoons, comics, and video games.

The simple possession of a Japanese-made animated cartoon was found
guilty both in the U.S. and Canada in 2005. But in this regard, too,
a cautious view is deep-rooted in the LDP with one member insisting,
"It's difficult to draw a clear line between the freedom of
expression and simple possession." Another member argued: "No child
is being victimized in actuality (in a cartoon)."

The junior coalition partner New Komeito, which established a
project team at the end of last year, inspected Tokyo's Akihabara,
where animated cartoons are mass-sold.

The chair of the team, Kaori Maruya, a House of Representatives
member, said: "We want to deepen discussion on the matter of freedom
of expression."

(2) U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer: Japan also should punish
simple possession

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
March 22, 2008

Why is the United States calling on Japan to amend the Law for
Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography?
The Mainichi interviewed U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas
Schieffer about this question.

There are clear links between the act of looking at child
pornography and sexual crimes toward children. According to one U.S.
survey result, 85 PERCENT of those who were found guilty of
obtaining images (of child pornography) on the Internet had sexually
abused minors.

In the U.S., comics and animated cartoons are also subject to the
ban on the simple possession of child pornography. Comics and
animated cartoons do not have images of actual children, but they do
not seem to be useful in terms of nurturing children, and they also
seem to be providing people impetus to commit crimes.

The Internet is a wonderful invention, but when it comes to child
pornography, the Internet helps link together those living in the
underground of society who commit crimes (against children). It also
results in expanding the market (of child pornography). Because
Japan has yet to ban the simple possession, Japanese police
authorities have been unable to take part in international
investigations and their absence from the investigations has led to
trouble in terms of exposing cases of child pornography, which is
spreading across the world.

Those who oppose a ban on the simple possession argue that the ban
could lead to confusion in the right to investigate. Certainly, that
is a rational concern. Whatever legislation may come out, it would
be troublesome if it is abused. But we must not forget at the same

TOKYO 00000803 004 OF 011

time that even at this very moment, children are being exploited for
pornography, and are being abused. I would like Japanese lawmakers
to work on whatever wording would be appropriate in order to prevent
abuse of the right to investigate.

Can you imagine the fear of the victims? Child pornography is a
crime that cannot ever be ever forgotten by the victims. No one
wants to see children abused and exploited. This is not an issue
that only Japan faces. The international community must work
together and declare and end to it.

(3) Poll on Fukuda cabinet, political parties

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
March 24, 2008

Questions & Answers
(Figures shown in percentage. Parentheses denote findings from the
last survey conducted in February.)

Q: Do you support the Fukuda cabinet?

Yes 31 (40)
No 54 (48)
Can't say (C/S) + don't know (D/K) 15 (12)

Q: Which political party do you support or like now?

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 40 (39)
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 30 (31)
New Komeito (NK) 3 (4)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 3 (3)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (1)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 1 (1)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 1 (0)
None 15 (16)
C/S+D/K 5 (5)

(Note) The total percentage does not become 100 PERCENT in some
cases due to rounding.

Polling methodology: The survey was taken on Mar. 21-23 by Nikkei
Research Inc. over the telephone on a random digit dialing (RDD)
basis. For the survey, samples were chosen from among men and women
aged 20 and over across the nation. A total of 1,574 households with
one or more eligible voters were sampled, and answers were obtained
from 865 persons (55 PERCENT ).

(4) Opposition may again call on Ishiba to resign as defense

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 22, 2008

The Defense Ministry has disclosed the results of its investigation
into the collision of the Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis
destroyer Atago and a small fishing boat, as well as its punishment
for those who involved in the Aegis collision. With this, the
ministry intends to bring the curtain down on the series of
misconducts involving its personnel. The opposition camp, however,
is going to step up its offensive at concentrated deliberations

TOKYO 00000803 005 OF 011

today in the House of Councillors, arguing that the Defense Ministry
bears heavy responsibility for having made false explanations. The
opposition may demand again that Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba
step down from his post. The government will likely find it
difficult to steer itself.

Ishiba apologized in a press conference on March 21, saying: "I
offer an apology to the public. Based on specific problematical
points discovered through the investigations, I will steady
implement truly effective measures to prevent a recurrence of
similar incidents." Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told the press in a
strong tone: "I want (Ishiba) to build a new system based on a deep
repentance for having made improper conducts." A senior New Komeito
member said: "We are not satisfied with the report, but the ministry
punished those involved. So the ministry must go to the next step to
maintain its organization."

However, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama stated: "(The defense minister) should have felt grave
responsibility for his false remarks." The largest opposition party
has no intention to loosen its pursuit of Ishiba. Intertwined with
such important issues as highway tax revenues and the selection of a
new governor of the Bank of Japan, whether Ishiba should step down
or stay on in his current post will likely be brought up as a topic
of discussion.

(5) Vacuum in BOJ governorship (Part 2): Responsibility heavy for
acting governor

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Abridged)
March 21, 2008

The Bank of Japan governor changes every five years. As if to
coincide with transitions of power at the BOJ, stock prices have
always faced turning points in the past.

The BOJ governor was last replaced in March 2003. The 225-issue
Nikkei Stock Average also began surging around the time Toshihiko
Fukui replaced Masaru Hayami. In fact, in the five years of Fukui's
tenure, the stock average rose 1.5 fold from 8,195 to 12,260.

Meanwhile, following the power shift in 1989 from Satoshi Sumita, a
former Finance Ministry official, to Yasushi Mieno, a former BOJ
executive, the stock average plunged from the 38,000 level to the
19,100 mark.

Eiji Kinouchi of the Daiwa Institute of Research noted: "They were
not all coincidental. They were affected by shifts in monetary

In the early 1990s, Mieno was focused on bringing an end to the real
estate bubble. As BOJ governor in the country's turbulent period
from its economic bubble to its burst, Mieno implemented dynamic
monetary policies, raising the official discount rate three times
and lowering it seven times.

Mieno also locked horns with then Liberal Democratic Party
Vice-President Shin Kanemaru, who threatened that the government
would fire him unless he lowered the discount rate further. The
Japanese economy eventually slipped into a long recession following
the bursting of the bubble economy, and the BOJ's monetary policy
management drew fierce public criticism.

TOKYO 00000803 006 OF 011

It has been 15 years since then. Concerns are mounting that the
global financial markets would be thrown into turmoil and that the
global economy would slowdown due to the subprime loan crisis in the
United States. As seen in the yen's rapid appreciation against the
dollar and the falling stock market, the environment surrounding the
BOJ of the post-Fukui period is becoming severe to an extent that
brings back memories of those days.

The BOJ governorship remains unfilled at this economic turning
point. Former BOJ Governor Fukui said in his farewell press
conference: "It is doubtful whether or not the BOJ can work well
without the top post being filled for a long time."

Fukui, who assumed office during the economic expansion phase, aimed
at normalizing the interest rate, raising the interest rate twice by
breaking away from the quantitative easing policy.

Fukui managed to set the policy interest rate at 0.5 PERCENT by
engaging in a dialogue with the market and fulfilling his
accountability to the public by utilizing his speaking skills and
ability to give examples.

The tidal flow has markedly changed. The monthly economic report for
March categorically described the Japanese economy as pausing.
Prices of goods have risen due to soaring crude oil prices and the
prices of basic necessities, such as food, have also visibly shot

The longest postwar economic expansion is hanging by a single thread
in its seventh year. Some have even begun voicing concerns about
stagflation, a period of time characterized by high inflation and
recessionary conditions. A retired BOJ official said: "The central
bank might return to the zero-interest-rate policy instead of
normalization, as it is pressed to lower the interest rate."

The central bank chief is required to show clearly a direction of
monetary policy management to the market. It is questionable how far
Deputy Governor Shirakawa Masaaki can bear that responsibility as
acting governor. Will monetary policy administration shift once gain
once the new governor is installed? The BOJ's policy management
remains unclear.

(6) Masaaki Shirakawa to serve as first acting BOJ governor in
postwar period

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
March 22, 2008

In an abnormal situation in which the post of BOJ governor will
become vacant for the first time in the postwar era, Masaaki
Shirakawa (58) will assume a heavy responsibility as acting monetary
policy watchdog. He has been installed in the post based on his
well-appreciated capability to plan and formulate BOJ monetary
policy as a working-level official. Though he calmly said, "It is
impermissible for BOJ operations to reach an impasse due to the
absence of a governor, and I strongly feel my responsibility,"
tension showed on his face.

Since entering the BOJ in 1974, Shirakawa served in a series of
important posts at the central bank and directly experienced the
emergence of the bubble economy and its collapse. His advantage is

TOKYO 00000803 007 OF 011

that in his career, he had the experience of taking every kind of
measure in dealing with financial and deflationary crises facing the
Japanese economy. As he described it, the situation entailed the
possibility of leading toward recession. The measures he adopted
included the introduction of quantitative money easing measures,
which was unprecedented in the world, and the buying of stocks from

On March 7, he received a phone call from Prime Minister Yasuo
Fukuda asking him to assume the post of deputy BOJ governor. He
immediately replied, "I would like to accept your offer."

He has returned to the BOJ after a year and a half of teaching at
Kyoto University's graduate school. The environment surrounding the
BOJ is severe with the U.S. economy facing a financial crisis due to
the subprime mortgage problem.

He noted: "The central bank has two tasks: stabilizing prices and
the banking system. Its task involves much more than one thinks." In
setting the bank's monetary policy, he will find himself engaging in
acrimonious exchanges with the market and politics. Tough it is not
certain how long he will serve as acting governor, he said, "I would
like to do my utmost so that my words will carry weight."

(7) Rivalry evident among Kantei, MOD and LDP for leadership in
reform of MOD

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
March 23, 2008

A fierce tug-of-war is going on between the Prime Minister's Office
(Kantei), Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba and the Liberal Democratic
Party over the reform of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) in the wake
of a series of misconduct by MOD, including the recent collision
between an Aegis destroyer and a small fishing boat. Holding clearly
different motives, coordinating the three parties' views into a
single plan is likely to face difficulty.

At present, MOD reform is being discussed at three venues: MOD
groups by theme; the government's Council on Reform of the Defense
Ministry established last December; and an LDP Security Research
Commission subcommittee launched on March 19.

There is no consistency among the responses of the three groups.

Following the Maritime Self-Defense Force's cover-up last October of
the amount of fuel provided to a US supply ship in the Indian Ocean
and other misconduct, Ishiba has embarked on reform of MOD with the
aim of ensuring civilian control.

The fuel underreporting incident was followed by other scandals,
including one involving former Administrative Vice-Defense Minister
Takemasa Moriya. This led the Kantei to establish the government's
reform council, concluding that MOD is incapable of reforming

Following the Aegis accident, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has also
ordered Ishiba to advance MOD reform. Given the prime minister's
seal of approval, Ishiba has begun exhibiting renewed enthusiasm to
reform MOD, launching a new special team in the ministry.

Ishiba's plan is to radically reorganize civilian personnel from

TOKYO 00000803 008 OF 011

internal bureaus and uniformed personnel from each staff office of
the three SDF forces into three units each responsible for building
up defense capabilities, employment, responses to the Diet and
explanation to the public.

Alarmed by this move, the LDP's subcommittee has been desperately
trying to prevent the Ishiba plan from becoming a predetermined
policy course, as was evidenced by its decision to produce a reform
plan In April.

(8) South Korean President Lee seeks trilateral framework with Japan
and China for environment and FTA issues; Suggests inviting Emperor
at "proper time"

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Full)
March 24, 2008

(Yamaguchi, Seoul)

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met with members from four
economic newspaper companies of Japan, South Korea, Britain, and
China at the Blue House on March 22. In the interview, Lee proposed
that Japan, South Korea, and China should promote discussions on a
free trade agreement (FTA) and environmental issues under a
trilateral framework. He then called for expanded cooperation in
Northeast Asia. Lee also suggested that it may be a good time for
the Japanese Emperor to visit South Korea. On the current political
turmoil in Japan over the selection of a next Bank of Japan (BOJ)
governor and other issues, Lee said: "It is desirable for Japan to
restore political stability."

For the first time after assuming office on Feb. 25, Lee gave an
interview to members of domestic and foreign press corps - Japan's
Nikkei, South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper, Britain's Financial
Times, and China's Economic Daily News, including Shigeru Komago,
editorial board head of the Nikkei head office in Tokyo. Talks on an
economic partnership agreement (EPA) between Japan and South Korea
have been suspended since November 2004. Although the president
remained cautious about resuming bilateral negotiations, he
indicated an eagerness to move forward talks on a Northeast Asia FTA
that would also include China as a core member, besides Japan and
South Korea, saying: "I think that if each of the countries within
the region work together, a free trade zone may be possible." He
then called on Japan also to play a positive role in promoting this
initiative, remarking: "By coordinating efforts, Japan, China, and
South Korea will be able to become competitive in the global

On environmental issues, which will be high on the agenda at the
Lake Toya Summit in July, Lee stated: "A considerable portion of the
issues can be resolved in Northeast Asia. South Korea, China, and
Japan should establish a cooperative mechanism that produces
substantial results." The environment ministers of the three
countries meet periodically, but he called for higher-level talks.

In reference to bilateral relations with Japan, Lee stated: "I share
Prime Minister Fukuda's foreign policy of seeking to improve
diplomacy within Asia. It will be possible for South Korea and Japan
to further develop their bilateral relationship." Lee also hinted at
the possibility that during his planned visit to Japan on April
20-21, he would extend an invitation to the Japanese Emperor to
visit South Korea, though he stopped short of making a definite

TOKYO 00000803 009 OF 011


Asked for his view about Japan's current political turmoil being
caused by the government's inability to make policy decisions in the
Diet with the opposition controlling the House of Councillors, Lee
said: "I hesitate to comment. Prime Minister Fukuda just assumed
office." But he added: "It is desirable for South Korea and Japan to
stabilize their political situations and smoothly cooperate with
each other." To expand the framework of bilateral cooperation, Lee
thus implied his hopes for an early settlement of the confusion,
even while being careful so as not to interfere in Japan's domestic

On issues related to North Korea, the president said: "Consideration
should be given to such humanitarian issues as North Korea's
abductions of South Koreans." Regarding the issue of North Korea's
nuclear program, Lee emphasized: "(North Korea) should fulfill the
promises it made in the six-party talks," urging Pyongyang to
implement what it had promised in the six-party talks, including the
declaration of all its nuclear programs. President Lee expressed his
resolve to continue efforts to persuade the North to move the
denuclearization process forward, under the policy of launching
large-scale aid to the North on the condition of its
denuclearization while calling on it to resume North-South talks.

(9) U.S. military serviceman arrested for allegedly assaulting
police officers

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 31) (Full)
March 22, 2008

Naha Police on March 21 arrested at the scene U.S. Marine Corps
Sergeant Aaron Sansarik (TN: phonetic), based at Camp Zukeran, on
suspicion of assaulting two police officers. The 26-year-old Marine
sergeant allegedly scratched a police sergeant, 45, and a senor
policeman, 28, on the street in Naha at around 6:45 p.m. that day.
The two police officers, who were asked for help by the suspect's
estranged wife, went to check on the couple. When the two policemen
tried to prevent the U.S. serviceman from grasping at his wife, they
were pushed down.

(10) Naha prosecutors indict U.S. Marine for counterfeiting U.S.
20-dollar bills

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 31) (Full)
March 22, 2008

In connection with the discovery of counterfeit U.S. 20-dollar bills
in central Okinawa last November, the Okinawa Public Prosecutors
Office on March 21 indicted U.S. Marine Corps First Sergeant Phillip
C. Scott, 20, assigned to Camp Kinza, on charges of counterfeiting
foreign currency and passing it. U.S. military authorities handed
him over to Naha prosecutors on the 20th. The indictment says that
the first sergeant made 42 counterfeit 20-dollar bills by copying a
genuine 20-dollar bill at his housing in Camp Kinza. He reportedly
passed eight bogus bills in the cities of Urasoe and Okinawa last
Nov. 10 and 12.

(11) Editorial: 5 years after Iraq war-Important lesson given to

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)

TOKYO 00000803 010 OF 011

March 21, 2008

The Iraq war started on March 20, 2003. Since then, five years have
now passed. The leaders of Britain and other major countries that
took part in the Iraq war have changed now. U.S. President Bush will
leave in January next year. More than 35 countries supported the
Iraq war. At this point, when we look back on the Iraq war and the
course of events so far, we can actually feel an important lesson
given by the Iraq war to Japan.

The Iraq war overthrew Iraq's dictatorship. Former Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein has already been executed. However, we cannot say
Iraq is peaceful now. Currently, the United States keeps 160,000
troops in Iraq. U.S. military casualties are nearing 4,000.
Meanwhile, Iraqi fatalities number more than 100,000, with more than
4.26 million refugees in and outside Iraq.

Critics have pointed to mistakes in America's Iraq policy. President
Bush cited the Hussein regime's weapons of mass destruction as
justification for the war. This justification, however, is now
groundless. There was another justification, which was an "Al Qaeda
link." In this case as well, the U.S. military, in its recent
detailed report, said there was no evidence.

However, it is too simplistic to conclude that there was no
justification for the Iraq war.

The Iraq war is on the same track with the 1991 Gulf War that was
touched off by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 under the
Hussein regime.

Hussein's Sunni-led regime, backed by the Baath Party's
dictatorship, ignored United Nations Security Council resolutions
even after Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War and did not fulfill its
obligation to scrap and verify its weapons of mass destruction. The
Hussein regime was also rumored to have slaughtered 5,000 Kurds
using chemical weapons. The U.S. military report also noted that the
Hussein regime carried out training for terror attacks, such as
suicide bombings, and backed terrorist activities in and outside
Iraq for the purpose of remaining in power.

The most horrifying of all about Saddam Hussein was his reign of
terror. Hussein named politicians who went against him, and he
ordered that they be executed by at once. We cannot say it was
meaningless to overthrow such a dictator and a rogue state.

The major objective of the Iraq war was to help Iraq build a
democratic state. The question is how.

With the autocracy's collapse, the Shiites, which constitute a
majority of Iraq's population, gained momentum. Meanwhile, there
have been sectarian struggles between the Shiites and the Sunnis
with their radical militant groups' repeated terror attacks against
each other. The Kurds in the northern region of Iraq strongly desire
to become independent. International terrorist elements infiltrated
Iraq while taking advantage of that country's complicated situation.
Iraq was thrown into even more serious confusion. In December 2005,
however, Iraq held the first election for its national assembly
under its new constitution and somehow became a parliamentary

President Bush, reflecting on insufficiency in the initial phase of

TOKYO 00000803 011 OF 011

the U.S. military's operation in Iraq, sent 30,000 more troops to
Iraq In February last year. It was a wise judgment. According to a
U.S. military announcement, there was a decrease in terror attacks
in Iraq of 70 PERCENT from June last year through February this
year, and there was also a decrease in sectarian attacks of 90
PERCENT . The Brookings Institution, a U.S. research organization,
also cited an improvement in public security and an increase in oil
production, saying that those who conclude that the Iraqi political
situation is hopeless are not aware of the new developments. We can
see bright prospects.

The deployment of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq was an
important touchstone for Japan to determine its future course of

The Ground, Air, and Maritime Self-Defense Forces have been tasked
with humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and security
assistance in Iraq under a special measures law. The GSDF was
engaged in medical support, water supply, and other services like
repairing public facilities. Its activities in Iraq started in
January 2004 and ended in September 2006. The ASDF is still
conducting airlift activities for the multinational forces and the
United Nations.

Upon Japan's SDF deployment, the Diet argued over whether the SDF's
destination was a combat area or not. What if Japan had given up on
its Iraq dispatch? Japan would have been labeled a country that
caved in to terrorism, and Japan undoubtedly would have lost not
only the confidence of the United States-Japan's most important
ally-but also the confidence of the international community.

Japan depends on the Middle East for 90 PERCENT of its oil imports,
so stability in Iraq is a matter of life and death for Japan. The
ASDF's mission in Iraq is of vital importance in the sense of having
the Japanese public realize again how important the Japan-U.S.
alliance is. Japan will be pressed for a decision on the extent to
which the SDF will act in concert with the international community.

In the meantime, the ruling and opposition parties have yet to
debate permanent legislation for Japan's international peace
cooperation. The current special measures law, under which the MSDF
has resumed its refueling activities in the Indian Ocean, will
expire next January. The Diet does not have much time to create a
permanent law. The war on terror will continue. It is time for Japan
to be determined to defend its national interests.


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Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


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