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Cablegate: Mlit Dg Suzuki Defends Need for Fdi Limits For

VZCZCXRO6752
RR RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1021 1050838
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140838Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3429
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 4438
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2810
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8832
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 7155
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7264
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5682
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9642
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0935
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7858
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0386

UNCLAS TOKYO 001021

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/J, EEB/TRA FOR BYERLY
PASS TO USTR FOR BEEMAN
PASS TO DOT FOR GRETCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR EINV PREL PGOV JA
SUBJECT: MLIT DG SUZUKI DEFENDS NEED FOR FDI LIMITS FOR
"CRITICAL" JAPAN AIRPORTS

REF: TOKYO 572

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET.

1. (SBU) During an April 11 meeting, Transport Ministry
Director General Hisayasu Suzuki told EMIN Japan must
continue to look for a legislative means to protect four
critical airports, i.e., Tokyo's two main hubs and Chubu and
Kansai International Airports. Suzuki's name appeared
frequently in the press earlier this year as an actor pushing
for new Japanese legislation to limit foreign investment in
Japan's airports (ref). Suzuki dismissed Asia Gateway, noting
only that it was a former Prime Minister Abe initiative. He
told EMIN that Japan has been engaged in civil aviation talks
with South Korea, China, Thailand and Hong Kong, but
congested airspace has prevented Japanese airlines from
moving forward into Beijing and Shanghai as Japan's industry
and government would like.

2. (SBU) Suzuki said private sector Australian efforts to
purchase 20 percent of the Japan Airport Terminal Co., which
runs terminal buildings and parking lots at Haneda Airport,
provoked MLIT's legislative proposal. The GOJ continues to
look to double total foreign investment in the country by
2010. However that policy did not mean there needed to be
foreign investment in all Japan's airports, Suzuki continued.
Suzuki asked what the USG would do if a Chinese, Russian or
Arab investor tried to purchase significant stock in JFK or
other New York airports or O,Hare. EMIN pointed to positive
U.S. experiences with foreign investment and noted ways the
U.S. has developed to deal with national security questions
that can arise from individual investment cases (i.e., CFIUS).

3. (SBU) Suzuki also raised U.S. rules limiting foreign
ownership of U.S. carriers. Japanese airlines cannot have
more than one-third foreign ownership, he continued. Suzuki
reasoned that limiting foreign ownership of the shares in
airports in Japan to one third simply brings them to the same
level as that allowed for Japanese airlines. EMIN noted the
history of U.S. civil aviation negotiations with the EU
showed the Administration's thinking and willingness to work
on this front and again recounted the benefits of a more open
investment regime.

4. (SBU) Comment: Each GOJ ministry defends clients'
interests when it comes to discussing foreign investment, and
MLIT is unabashedly looking at old-line Japanese domestic
interests. Therefore, unlike the Financial Services Agency,
which seeks to promote Tokyo as a global financial center, or
JETRO, with the specific mandate to increase FDI, MLIT rarely
considers the international impact of its decisions.

5. (SBU) Although Deputy Director General (and lead
negotiator on civil aviation matters with the U.S.) Ryuhei
Maeda participated in the meeting, he did not make any
substantive statements. Other than agreeing on the need for
positive talks, Suzuki did not engage or offer any comment on
the upcoming bilateral negotiations with the U.S. End
Comment.
SCHIEFFER

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