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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Iraq and Problems In

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DE RUEHKO #0854/01 0880642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280642Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9068
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000854

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 - IRAQ AND PROBLEMS IN
FINANCIAL MARKETS

1. LEAD STORIES: Several Friday morning papers front-
paged the finding by Japanese police that a personal
article belonging to a missing U.S. sailor was
discovered in the car of a taxi driver who was stabbed
to death in Yokosuka on Wednesday.

2. "Iraq War Altered World Picture" The
business-oriented Nikkei editorialized (3/21): "Because
of massive spending on the Iraq war, the U.S. budget
deficit has increased, with Washington now relying on
investment in U.S. treasury bonds by China and oil
producers in the Middle East. In the ongoing global
financial market turmoil triggered by the subprime loan
crisis in the U.S., some major financial institutions
in the U.S. and Europe have been rescued with money
from oil producers. The accelerated depreciation of the
dollar is shaking its status as a key currency. U.S.
power has eroded considerably over the past five years,
but no single country or region has emerged to replace
the U.S. as a global balancer."

3. "Iraq War Leaves Japan with Heavy Lessons" The
conservative Sankei's editorial said (3/21): "Many have
pointed to the miscalculations the U.S. made on Iraq.
Washington's assertion that the Saddam Hussein regime
had weapons of mass destruction proved to be invalid. A
detailed U.S. military report released recently also
denied the existence of evidence pointing to a link
between Iraq and al-Qaeda. However, it is too
simplistic to declare the war in Iraq a 'war without
cause' based solely on these findings.... The tyranny
employed by Saddam Hussein was gruesome, as evidenced
by the execution of politicians he deemed rebellious.
One cannot argue that the removal of a dictator of a
lawless state was meaningless."

4. "U.S. Diplomacy Shifts toward Realism" The top
circulation, moderate Yomiuri's Washington
correspondent wrote (3/21): "The complex realities of
the past five years have led to a change in the Bush
administration's policy of containing 'rogue states' by
force. Hamstrung by the quagmire in Iraq, Washington
has had no choice but to shift from idealism to realism
and from unilateralism to multilateralism. The
Democratic presidential candidates, who are similarly
idealistic about a swift U.S. military pullout of Iraq,
are themselves likely to be forced to adopt a more
realistic line eventually."

5. "Injection of Public Funds Unavoidable" The liberal
Asahi contended in an editorial (3/21): "As the
bankruptcy of a major financial institution would throw
the global financial markets into chaos, U.S.
authorities have no option but to take preemptive
measures. The Federal Reserve Board in an unusual move
used a special loan approach to bail out Bear Stearns.
One can claim that public money has already been used
to avert a crisis. The next focal point will be when
and how the federal government uses taxpayer money....
There will likely be further twists and turns before
taxpayer money is used. The recent decline in U.S. land
prices appears to be modest considering the surging
values of real estate during the housing bubble. We
must keep in mind that the collapse of that bubble has

TOKYO 00000854 002 OF 002


just started, and we should be braced for a cold wind
from the U.S. for some time."

SCHIEFFER

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