Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/16/08

VZCZCXRO5897
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #1348/01 1370808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160808Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4310
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 0227
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7843
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1524
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 6166
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8434
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3382
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9393
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9853

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 TOKYO 001348

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 05/16/08

INDEX:

(1) Maher raps Tokyo, Okinawa as "indecisive" (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(2) Interview with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima on 36th
anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan; Gap exists in views on
Futenma relocation; Reaching agreement behind Okinawa's back went
too far (Asahi)

(3) GIs in Japan-Neighbors' crimes: U.S. military realignment a task
of top priority (Akahata)

(4) International operations to rescue quake victims starting
full-scale, with Japan's team arriving in China first (Nikkei)

(5) LDP parliamentary league agrees to accept immigration bill
(Asahi)

(6) Security and foreign investment restrictions: J-Power incident
questions; Concern about decline in investment in Japan (Nikkei)

(7) Editorial: Basic law on use of space: Using space for peaceful
purposes is the original point (Tokyo Shimbun)

ARTICLES:

(1) Maher raps Tokyo, Okinawa as "indecisive"

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
May 16, 2008

U.S. Consul General in Okinawa Kevin Maher held a press conference
yesterday, during which he criticized the Japanese government and
Okinawa Prefecture for their possible discussions on Okinawa's
proposal to move Futenma airfield's alternative into the sea. Japan
and the United States have now agreed on a plan to lay down a
V-shaped pair of airstrips as an alternative facility for Futenma
airfield. "This is not the stage for indecisiveness in their
attitude," Maher said.

Okinawa Prefecture's Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and Nago City's Mayor
Yoshikazu Shimabukuro have been calling for moving the relocation
site of Futenma airfield into the sea. In February, the government
held a meeting of its consultative panel with officials from
Okinawa's prefectural and municipal governments to discuss the
pending issue of Futenma relocation. In that meeting, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said the government would discuss
Futenma airfield with its offshore relocation in mind. Maher's
statement seems to have been meant to constrain both Okinawa and
Tokyo.

Maher explained, "Rather than point out someone, (the Japanese side)
is as a whole indecisive." He noted: "The plan should be carried out
as agreed on between Japan and the United States. If we try to
partially revise it, there is a high probability that the entire
plan will fall apart."

Maher added: "If we can do the relocation, 8,000 Marines will be
moved to Guam and most bases in the southern part will be returned.
It will be to Okinawa's benefit." With this, he stressed that
relocating Futenma airfield, as agreed on between Japan and the
United States, will lighten Okinawa's burden.

TOKYO 00001348 002 OF 009

(2) Interview with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima on 36th
anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan; Gap exists in views on
Futenma relocation; Reaching agreement behind Okinawa's back went
too far

ASAHI (Page 34) (Abridged slightly)
May 16, 2008

May 15 marked the 36th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to
Japan. Okinawa still hosts 75 PERCENT of U.S. bases in Japan,
although the economic gap has narrowed. The newspaper interviewed
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima to find out his views.

-- It has been 36 years since Okinawa's reversion to Japan.

"Thanks to the government's economic package for Okinawa that
incorporates ample subsidies, Okinawa's infrastructure, such as
roads and airports, has been improved markedly. As for the
manufacturing industry, traditional crafts, such as textiles, and
metal casting have grown, although still small in size."

-- The relocation of Futenma Air Station has not moved forward. It
has already been 12 years since a bilateral agreement was reached to
return it.

"Situated in the middle of the downtown area, Futenma Air Station is
dangerous to anyone's eye. The question is not about its function or
its size. When (Japan and the United States decided to return it to
Japan), Okinawa residents, including myself, thought its replacement
facility would be built outside Okinawa, but the government
eventually settled on another site in the prefecture. There was a
gap in views then, and there remains a gap today."

-- After that, then Governor Masahide Ota said "no" to finding a new
site for the base in the prefecture. He was eventually replaced by
Keiichi Inamine, your predecessor.

"Mr. Inamine said, 'Relocating the base to another site in the
prefecture cannot be helped,' and the government and affected
municipalities reached an agreement to build a replacement facility
in waters 2.2 kilometers off Henoko. It we had pushed ahead with
that plan, there would not have been any problems."

-- In October 2005, the two governments jettisoned the offshore plan
and adopted a coastal plan instead.

"Another gap has resulted from that. The governments of Japan and
the United States arbitrarily made changes behind Mr. Inamine's back
to what had been agreed upon. The way they did was way out of
line."

-- What was the reason for the change?"

"There has been no clear explanation. The foreign minister simply
said, 'This is the best option.' I don't think the Foreign Ministry
can explain why it's the best."

-- What is your stance on the realignment of U.S. forces?

"The U.S. military presence is OK. It is still necessary today. I
also basically think the intra-prefectural relocation cannot be

TOKYO 00001348 003 OF 009


helped. Then again, I have told the government that it would be
faster to obtain local understanding and convince the people in
Okinawa. But the government has insisted, 'What was determined
cannot be moved even a millimeter.' That's why it is taking so much
time."

-- You are calling for moving the relocation site into the sea,
aren't you?

"In order to reduce noise and risk factors, I have basically asked
the government to move the site as far away as possible from the
residential areas."

-- An environmental impact assessment is underway. If the site were
to be moved 50 meters from the current plan, wouldn't it necessary
to do the assessment all over again under an ordinance?

"That's why we have underscored for the last two years the need to
revise the plan before starting the assessment. I have warned them,
'If you don't listen to us, I will not authorize the use of the
surface of public waters for the project.'"

-- When the matter did not move forward, the government considered
the option of transferring powers from prefectural governors to the
state to use the surface of public waters.

"The government recently considers such an approach easily. Times
have changed. About defense policy, including the U.S. military, the
government should ask the opinions of not only the Defense Ministry
but also the general public and local governments."

(3) GIs in Japan-Neighbors' crimes: U.S. military realignment a task
of top priority

AKAHATA (Page 3) (Full)
May 15, 2008

"We deeply apologize." So saying, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer
and the commander of U.S. Forces Japan bowed their heads. We have
now become quite used to seeing them doing so.

"They're now quick to apologize. That's probably risk management
they learned from the schoolgirl rape of 1995." This comment came
from Suzuyo Takasato, a former member of the municipal assembly of
Naha City in Okinawa Prefecture, where she has been tackling the
problem of sexual violence by American soldiers.

In February this year, another schoolgirl was raped in Okinawa.
Afterward, the USFJ set up "a day of reflection" for commanding
officers as well as for the rank and file.

The U.S. military apparently did not want to repeat the situation it
had experienced 13 years ago. At the time, the Japan-U.S. alliance
was said to have been rocked by an incident, involving a group of
three U.S. servicemen gang raping a schoolgirl. Commenting on that
inhuman act, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Commander Mackey said, "If
they had the money to rent a car, they could have got women." This
remark fueled the anger of people in Okinawa Prefecture.

They said they would "enforce stricter discipline" and "take
recurrence prevention measures." However, what they say is always
the same as what they used to say. After an incident, the U.S.

TOKYO 00001348 004 OF 009


military imposes a curfew and issues a no-drinking order. However,
such restrictions will be lifted after a while. That is because
protracted restrictions will lead to undermining morale.

And crimes repeat themselves. In Okinawa, even after this February's
schoolgirl rape, there is no end to heinous crimes, as seen from
such incidents as a foreign woman's rape and a taxi holdup.

What is serious is that heinous crimes committed by U.S. soldiers
are not a lesson to the rank and file.

In January 2006, William Reese, a U.S. Navy serviceman, murdered a
Japanese woman, Yoshie Sato, in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Reese, currently in prison, was based at Yokosuka for nearly two
years from May 2004. During that time, nearly 10 U.S. soldiers and
civilian employees were booked in Kanagawa Prefecture for muggings
or other crimes. However, Reese stated that he had not been given
any individual instructions concerning those incidents.

"It is a task of top priority for me to carry out the agreement
between the Japanese and U.S. governments on the realignment of U.S.
forces in Japan," U.S. Forces Japan Commander Rice, who arrived at
his USFJ post in February this year, said in Tokyo in April.
Concerning a series of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel,
Rice said: "There may be one or two who do not live up to U.S.
military standards. However, we have taken appropriate action to
have them take responsibility." With this, he sounded as if to say
only some outrageous persons committed such crimes.

The United States' intent is plain. They want to carry out the
realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, such as building new Marine
Corps bases in Okinawa's Nago and Guam and deploying a
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Yokosuka. They are trying to
remove unnecessary friction, and to meet that end, they only bow
their heads.

(4) International operations to rescue quake victims starting
full-scale, with Japan's team arriving in China first

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
May 16, 2008

About 30 members of the Japanese government's emergency relief team
left Narita Airport last evening and arrived in Beijing on the night
of the same day. The team will be arriving in devastating
earthquake-hit Sichuan Province on the 16th to help quake victims.
The Japanese team is the first foreign relief group that China
allowed into the country to assist in the rescue efforts.
International rescue operations have started on a full scale, such
as the delivery of tents and other relief supplies by Russia.


The team is composed of members of the Fire and Disaster Management
Agency, the National Police Agency, the Japan Coast Guard, and the
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Rescue dogs have also
been sent with them. Self-Defense Force personnel are not included
in the team. The team will start operations in Qingchuan Province,
about 400 kilometers away from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan
Province. At Narita, team leader Takashi Koizumi, a Foreign Ministry
official, told reporters: "We will make utmost efforts to rescue as
many people as possible."


TOKYO 00001348 005 OF 009


A second group of about 30 is to depart for China today. The
Japanese government is also preparing to send a medical team
consisting of 10 to 20 members. Japan so far dispatched personnel to
China when it was hit by floods and also when Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in the country.

In a press conference yesterday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Qin Gang expressed his gratitude for Japan's support, saying: "The
Chinese government and its people have been greatly impressed (by
Japan's aid)." Qin said that China now needs: (1) tents and
blankets, as well as such daily necessities as instant food; (2)
satellite communications equipment and rescue equipment; and (3)
pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

On the afternoon of the 14th, a Russian transport plane carrying 30
tons of relief materials arrived in Chengdu. From Russia, 100 tons
of additional supplies will soon arrive. Japan's tents and blankets
worth 60 million yen will also arrive in Chengdu on the 16th.
Additionally, goods from South Korea and Britain will shortly land.

According to a Chinese diplomatic source, the Chinese government has
decided to accept rescue teams from Russia and Australia. But it
referred on the 15 to only a plan to accept Japan's team. The
spokesman explained: "We gave priority to such conditions as short
distance and quickness." But the diplomatic source said: "China
expressed its gratitude for the fact that Japan was the first
country that expressed a willingness to offer aid after the quake."

Beijing had replied to Tokyo and other governments that it would be
difficult to receive foreign rescue teams at present because of a
lack of preparedness. China's policy switch largely reflects its
judgment that it needs help from Japan with its high level of rescue
technology and experience, now that no progress has been made in
rescuing survivors.

The survival rate for victims buried under rubble falls sharply 72
hours after a quake hits, according to experts. A Chinese government
source said: "Executive members, including Premier Wen Jiabao, seem
to have made the decision in the morning of the 15th," keeping 15:00
of the 15th - 72 hours after the quake - in mind.

If a disaster-struck nation accepts rescuers from abroad, it shows
that the nation cannot independently deal with the situation.
China's about-face to accept foreign rescue teams apparently
reflects the seriousness of damage, as well as a judgment by the
leadership led by President Hu Jintao giving priority to
international coordination, particularly, to relations with Japan by
emphasizing the need to establish a strategic mutually beneficial
relationship.

China is now being sharply criticized by Western countries for its
actions to put down Tibetan rioters. Observers also see behind
China's policy switch an aim to calm down a xenophobic patriotism
growing among the people in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics
through reports by the media on its image of joining hands with the
international community.

(5) LDP parliamentary league agrees to accept immigration bill

ASAHI (Page 7) (Full)
May 16, 2008


TOKYO 00001348 006 OF 009


A group of about 80 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers
advocating the acceptance of talented foreign workers yesterday
reached a broad agreement on a set of proposals for a
"Japanese-style immigration policy," which is designed to press
forward with accepting such immigration. The group headed by Hidenao
Nakagawa, a former secretary general, aims at creating an
Immigration Agency over the medium to long term. It will submit this
policy proposal to the cabinet before the end of June.

The group noted that Japan needs to actively accept foreign labor in
order to achieve sustained economic growth amid a declining
population. The group aims at making Japan over the next 50 years a
multiethnic country, in which immigrants account for 10 PERCENT of
the entire population, similar to that of Europe.

At present, Japan allows such foreign workers as researchers and
lawyers in specialized or technical areas to reside permanently. The
group, however, calls for expanding the scope of targets to skilled
labor.

As concrete measures, the group proposes abolishing the present
on-the-job training system and creating instead a new system to
teach foreigners skills in vocational training facilities in Japan.
The LDP lawmakers also suggest that the government increase foreign
students from the present 130,000 to 1 million by 2025.

An Immigration Agency would in charge of managing the immigration
and compiling measures for having foreign workers acclimatize
themselves to the Japanese society in an integrated fashion.

(6) Security and foreign investment restrictions: J-Power incident
questions; Concern about decline in investment in Japan

NIKKEI (Page 5) (Full)
May 16, 2008

Private-sector member, "Non-discrimination between domestic and
foreign companies is essential (in applying foreign investment
restrictions)."

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari: "Please do not
mix up with the airport issue. We are dealing with the case with the
existing law."

The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (CEFP) held a meeting on
April 8. The agenda item was the environmental issue. However,
discussions touched on the issue of the Children's Investment Fund's
(TCI), a British hedge fund, bid to increase its stake in J-Power.
As participants were exchanging off-the-record opinions, all other
issues involved cropped up.

No problem, even if a takeover bidder is joining hands with a
foreign company

This J-Power issue is indeed different from a case involving airport
operating companies, in which the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure
and Transport (MLIT) tried to apply a foreign capital restriction.
The government acted, based on the determination that there is a
security concern in light of the existing Foreign Exchange and
Foreign Trade Control Law. It never intended to impose a new
restriction on an ad hoc basis.


TOKYO 00001348 007 OF 009


However, this regulation can only be applicable if a foreign company
tries to obtain a 100 PERCENT stake in a listed domestic company.
If a bidder is a domestic investment fund teaming up with a foreign
fund, then the regulation would not be applied.

Keio University Professor Naoyuki Yoshino, chairman of the Council
on Tariffs and Foreign Exchange, who examined the British fund's
plan to increase its stake in J-Power, pointed out that if it had
been an ordinary company, there have been no problems at all, even
if it was a foreign company. The TCI's past investment activities,
such as it once strongly urged the replacement of a management
executive of a German bourse, were made an issue. However, one
government source said, "You cannot say that you can trust a person,
just because that person is Japanese."

If security is the reason for the application of the foreign capital
restriction, then its application must be non-discriminatory between
domestic and foreign companies, as the above-mentioned
private-sector member of the CEFP pointed out. Otherwise, the
decision would be unconvincing. It would hamper foreign investors
from investing in Japan.

It is also unclear whether the government has fully faced up to the
market. INPEX Holdings was privatized in 2004 as J-Power did, taking
over the resources section of the former Japan National Oil
Corporation. Both companies listed their stocks. INPEX issued golden
shares that can protect management personnel and capital for the
purpose of defending the company from hostile takeover bids, because
it had a sense of crisis that Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell,
which were buffeted by waves of large-scale corporate
reorganization, might attempt to acquire it. On the other hand,
J-Power reportedly did not issue golden shares because of the
possibility of its share prices falling when it is listed. At that
time, the power industry was not worried about being approached by
foreign companies.

Harsh eyes of market insiders

Given such circumstances, it is only natural that market insiders
give a hard look at J-Power for neglecting efforts to take measures
to secure stable stockholders. Akira Yamauchi, a senior consultant
at the Nomura Research Institute, pointed out, "It is a reasonable
decision that the fund targeted J-Power's surplus funds. If that
company is simply rejecting being acquired, then the meaning of its
being listed on the market is weak."

When the government issued an order to the TCI to stop a move to
increase its stake in J-Power, it released a statement, which noted
that the Japanese government's stance of promoting inward foreign
direct investment in Japan has not changed. Behind the statement is
a message that it is not that Japan's foreign investment
restrictions alone are pronounced and that the measure this time is
exceptional.

Even so, what is sought from Japan, whose inward foreign direct
investment in ratio to the GDP is the lowest among industrialized
countries, is not having foreign investment restrictions on a par
with those of European countries and the U.S. but whether it can
lure investment at a pace faster than those countries can. The
government's Export Council on Investment in Japan will shortly map
out a set of proposals, including a hike in the corporate tax rate.
Unless the government steadily takes measures, a suspicion that the

TOKYO 00001348 008 OF 009


Japanese market is closed will linger.

(7) Editorial: Basic law on use of space: Using space for peaceful
purposes is the original point

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
May 16, 2008

Legislation allowing the country to use space for defense purposes
has cleared the House of Representatives. Although it is a major
shift from the traditional principle of using space for "peaceful
purposes" to "security purposes," concerns have not been eased at
all in Lower House. The House of Councillors must conduct thorough
deliberations.

The basic legislation on use of space that will transform the nature
of the country's space development has easily passed the Lower
House.

The legislation, jointly submitted by the Liberal Democratic Party,
New Komeito, and Democratic Party of Japan, has been sent to the
Upper House after it was approved by the Lower House Cabinet
Committee following a two-hour question-and-answer session.

In establishing the National Space Development Agency of Japan
(currently the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) in 1999, the
Lower House unanimously adopted a resolution restricting the
development of space to peaceful purposes. The government has
repeatedly explained that "peaceful purposes" mean "nonmilitary
purposes."

This has prohibited Japan from launching satellites for defense
purposes. The resolution of the information-gathering satellites
that were launched after North Korea fired a Taepodong missile in
1998 has been hold down to a level below that of commercial
satellites.

Clearly specifying "security" as an objective of space development,
the legislation will abolish such restrictions at a stroke.

At work behind it seems to be manufacturers' intention to promote
the space industry by expanding demand in the defense sector, in
addition to meeting the North Korean nuclear and missile threats.

The question is what will result from such a policy shift. Once the
legislation is enacted, the Self-Defense Forces will be allowed to
possess high-performance satellites and early-warning satellites
that can detect missile launches. Japan's unstoppable steps would
put neighboring countries on guard.

Transparency in space development would also be lost. The government
was reluctant to provide information even on information-gathering
satellites. It would be even more reluctant to disclose information
on high-end satellites for defense purposes. The government might
cite the "appropriate management of information" in explaining its
reluctance.

Space development is costly to begin with. Giving priority to the
defense sector might end up taking a toll on peaceful utilization.
How to strike a balance between the two remains totally unclear.

The unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa asteroid probe and Kaguya moon

TOKYO 00001348 009 OF 009


probe, which have been developed as part of Japan's efforts to use
space peacefully, have won the country a high international
reputation. Such technology might wane.

Abandoning the long-held principle of using space for peaceful
purposes without answering those questions would create serious
problems for Japan's space development in the future.

DONOVAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: