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Cablegate: Cluster Munitions: Japan's Policy of Ambiguity

VZCZCXRO2538
OO RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0804/01 0840827
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 240827Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2835
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 2376
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN PRIORITY 0130
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 2180
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 1179
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 8419
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 6829
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 9212
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 0496
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 7425
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3270
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USFJ PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHMFISS/COMUSKOREA SEOUL KOR PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 8977
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000804

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016
TAGS: PREL MOPS PARM JA NATO
SUBJECT: CLUSTER MUNITIONS: JAPAN'S POLICY OF AMBIGUITY

REF: A. 07 TOKYO 1716

B. 07 TOKYO 2004
C. TOKYO 0347
D. TOKYO 0518

Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer. Reasons 1.4 (B) (D)

1. (S) Summary. This cable describes Japanese policy on
cluster munitions (CM) and summarizes Tokyo's participation
in both the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)
and the Oslo process. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces
(JSDF) possess CM, and Japan has no intention of supporting a
total ban. The Foreign Ministry has assured the United
States that Tokyo opposes a ban on CM. However, Japan has
participated in the Oslo process in order to influence any
""unrealistic"" proposals and to mute domestic public criticism
that Tokyo has ignored the humanitarian aspects of the use of
CM. Embassy Tokyo predicts that Japan will agree to placing
limitations on CM in the Oslo process, but will oppose an
outright ban. End Summary.

----------
Background
----------

2. (C) The United States has clearly conveyed our concerns to
Japan about the movement to develop a legally binding treaty
to restrict the use of cluster munitions (CM) and Norway's
decision to hold discussions of a treaty outside the
framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
(CCW). In April 2007, the PM Bureau's acting Assistant
Secretary Mull and acting DAS Ruggiero advised Japanese
officials that Washington opposes a total ban on CM, citing
the potential loss of military capability and the effects a
ban would have on combined operations within NATO (Refs A,
B). Assistant Secretary Mull stressed that CM are legitimate
munitions that serve a crucial role in modern warfare. Mull
and Ruggiero underscored the U.S. desire to see any
discussion of CM balance security and humanitarian concerns.
They promised to maintain the U.S. commitment to reducing the
impact of CM that potentially threaten civilians and urged
that CM discussion remain in the CCW.

-----------------------
MOFA: Japan Opposes Ban
-----------------------

3. (C) Japanese Foreign Ministry officials, including
Disarmament, Non-proliferation and Science Department Deputy
Director-General Masatoshi Shimbo, have consistently
expressed to Embassy Tokyo strong opposition to the CM ban
being considered under the Oslo process, and have promised
that Japan would not agree to any treaty that negatively
impacts U.S.-Japan security arrangements (Ref A). At the
same time, Shimbo advised Embassy Tokyo that Japan feels
compelled to participate in the Oslo process meetings in
order to influence any ""unrealistic"" proposals, maintain
positive and growing relations with European nations, and to
counter domestic public criticism that Tokyo has ignored the
humanitarian aspects of CM. MOFA officials have expressed
the need for close U.S.-Japan coordination on CM and have
asked the United States to make progress on negotiations
under the CCW.

-------------------------
Defense Ministry Concerns
-------------------------

4. (S) On March 18, Ministry of Defense officials expressed
concern that, acting under political pressure, Japanese
representatives will in fact sign an agreement under the Oslo
process to ban CM at the May Dublin conference. MoD
U.S.-Japan Cooperation Division Director Serizawa told USFJ
that, while the final Japanese government position is ""not
yet decided, politicians are reviewing the pro's and con's""
of joining the Dublin arrangement. According to Serizawa,
MoD is concerned that many politicians will insist that Tokyo
join the ban. Foreign Ministry personnel have approached
USFJ with similar concerns.

5. (C) On March 18, MOFA Conventional Arms Division Director
Ryuichi Hirano categorically rejected any suggestion that
Tokyo would consider joining an Oslo process ban on CM,
noting that Japan's views remain unchanged from positions
previously outlined to Embassy Tokyo (Refs C, D).

-----------------------------------
Japan Likely to Support Limited Ban
-----------------------------------

6. (S) Japanese officials may agree to place some type of
limitations on CM at Dublin. As noted in Ref C, MOFA has
worked hard to soften the language so that, after signing a
modified agreement, Tokyo can argue it will not be too
onerous and will not affect the United States-Japan security
relationship. Japan's position within the Oslo process has
largely been driven by public opinion, the media, and
politicians - including the ruling LDP's pacifist coalition
partner New Komeito Party - who have demanded that Tokyo
adopt a humanitarian approach to CM. JSDF operational needs
for CM will prevent Japan from supporting a CM ban. But it
is possible Japan will make an effort to head off domestic
critics by agreeing to a compromise proposal at Dublin. End
Comment.
SCHIEFFER

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