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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Iraq and Olympic Torch

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DE RUEHKO #0969/01 1000257
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P 090257Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000969

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 OLYMPIC TORCH
RELAY

1. LEAD STORIES: All Wednesday morning papers gave top
play to the informal decision by the DPJ to reject the
GOJ nomination of former Vice Finance Minister for
International Affairs Watanabe as deputy BOJ governor.

2. "U.S. Military Accepts Status Quo" On Gen.
Petraeus's congressional testimony urging a 45-day halt
in the withdrawal of troops in Iraq, the liberal
Asahi's Washington correspondent wrote (4/9): "While
security in Iraq has been substantially improved, the
situation would not be stable without the presence of
the U.S. military. Gen. Petraeus appears to have
decided to take a wait-and-see approach in the judgment
that a hasty pullout could undo the accomplishments
thus far.... Concerns remain within the U.S. military
about exhaustion from repeated deployments. The
recommendation by Petraeus can be regarded as an
acknowledgement of the status quo in Iraq, where the
U.S. military is forced to undertake two missions
simultaneously - the war on terrorism and peacekeeping
operations meant to prevent civil war. As the continued
presence of U.S. troops is a stopgap measure, a
fundamental improvement in the situation in Iraq cannot
be hoped for without reconciliation among the people of
that country."

3. "Sense of Crisis over Iraq" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri reported from Washington (4/9):
"Behind Gen. Petraeus's recommendation lies a sense of
crisis on the part of the Bush administration that
security in Iraq still remains fragile and could
collapse at any moment. As about 140,000 U.S. troops
are likely to remain in Iraq for the time being,
finding an 'exit strategy' prior to the end of
President Bush's term appears difficult."

4. "China Being Tested" The liberal Asahi editorialized
(4/9): "China should not dismiss the unrest in Tibet as
a ploy by a group led by the Dalai Lama and instead
should face reality and examine how its policy toward
Tibet is viewed by the international community. China
may like to argue that a sporting event should be
treated separately from politics. However, the reality
says otherwise."

5. "Resumption of Dialogue Needed to Prevent
Obstruction of Torch Relay" The liberal Tokyo Shimbun
contended in an editorial (4/9): "In order to tamp down
the disturbances associated with the Olympic torch
relay, a resumption of dialogue between China and the
Dalai Lama is imperative.... Common ground exists for
talks between the two sides. Calling the Dalai Lama a
'demon with a human face and the mind of a beast' to
incite hatred of him is not helpful in calming the
situation."

6. "China Should Heed Calls for Dialogue" The liberal
Mainichi argued (4/9): "China should be aware that the
key to ensuring safe passage of the Olympic torch relay
across five continents is held not by law enforcement
authorities of host countries but rests with its own
attitude. The international community is reacting
strongly to Beijing's highhanded approach toward
Tibetans and other ethnic minorities. Unless it

TOKYO 00000969 002 OF 002


seriously heeds such opinions, people will continue to
obstruct the torch relay."

SCHIEFFER

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