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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Burma and Bush Trip To

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UNCLAS TOKYO 001281

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 - BURMA AND BUSH TRIP TO
MIDDLE EAST


1. LEAD STORIES: Top items on Monday morning included a
UN estimate that over 220,000 people are still missing
in Burma more than a week after Cyclone Nargis
devastated the country's coastal regions.

2. "Junta Goes Ahead with Referendum" The conservative
Sankei reported from Bangkok (5/11): "The Burmese junta
delayed relief work to carry out a referendum on a
constitutional draft, because approval of the draft,
which calls for 'democratization,' was deemed
imperative to maintaining its grip on power. However,
as soldiers in the field raised doubts about the vote
and as deeply religious Burmese believe that the
devastation wreaked by Cyclone Nargis was an expression
of God's anger at the junta's failed rule, discontent
with the military leadership is apparently beginning to
mount."

3. "Gloomy Choice" The liberal Asahi wrote (5/11): "It
appears certain that Burma will be ruled under a
constitution for the first time in 20 years in view of
the tight control of the junta, which urged voters to
support the draft. For many Burmese, Saturday turned
out to be a gloomy day, as they were pressed to choose
between continued oppression and a constitution that
gives the military permanent legitimacy."

4. "People's Will Repressed" Bangkok-based
correspondents for the top-circulation, moderate
Yomiuri reported (5/11): "The national referendum on
Saturday provided the Burmese people with an
opportunity to take part in national politics for the
first time in 18 years. However, most voters appeared
to have been coerced by the junta, and there was no
sense of elation associated with casting ballots. Anger
at the junta, which is continuing its oppression and is
failing to assist victims of the cyclone, is permeating
deeply into Burmese society."

5. "Difficult Trip to Middle East" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri's Washington correspondent predicted
(5/12): "In his upcoming trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia,
and Egypt, President Bush is tasked with jumpstarting
the stalled Middle East peace talks, given that his
goal of sealing an accord within this year is becoming
difficult to attain. Just as the rising tensions in
Lebanon call into question the efficacy of his
diplomatic policy of democratization in the Middle
East, the President's six-day tour of the region may
turn out to be a trying one that ends up mirroring the
stalemate in his Middle East policy."

DONOVAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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