Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 05/29/08

DE RUEHKO #1474/01 1500812
P 290812Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Some ruling camp members concerned about ASDF aircraft dispatch
to China, citing "rough-and-ready decision" (Sankei)

(2) Japan to endorse treaty that totally bans cluster bombs (Asahi)

(3) Japanese negotiator, Ambassador Nakane: "Japan can't make a move
at a stretch" on the question of imposing restrictions on cluster
munitions; Disapproval shown of a "total ban" draft treaty

(4) Japan suddenly changes stance to endorse treaty banning cluster
bombs under Fukuda's instruction (Asahi)

(5) Editorial: A ban on cluster bombs would harm Japan's security

(6) Japanese firms becoming eager to invest in Africa, focusing on
rich natural resources, huge market (Asahi)

(7) TICAD IV opens: METI minister develops aggressive talks with
leaders of various countries with aim of catching up with delay in
resources diplomacy (Yomiuri)

(8) Okinawa governor makes Ambassador to U.S. Fujisaki detailed
requests on Futenma relocation issue (Okinawa Times)

(9) Editorial: SDF should join relief operations (Nikkei)


(1) Some ruling camp members concerned about ASDF aircraft dispatch
to China, citing "rough-and-ready decision"

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
May 29, 2008

The government, just one day after receiving China's informal
request, decided yesterday to send Air Self-Defense Force aircraft
to transport relief supplies to the earthquake-hit areas in Sichuan
Province. The Prime Minister's Official Residence's (Kantei) desire
for making the dispatch of ASDF planes a symbol for improvement in
Japan-China relations appears to be realized. Some in the
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and ruling parties, however, are concerned
about anti-Japanese sentiments in China, and they think the
government might have made a rough-and-ready decision.

Starting out by saying that China did "not appear to have asked the
SDF to engage in operations in the country," Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura stated in press conference yesterday: "We
understand that China wants the SDF to deliver tents and blankets to
airports in the country (from Japan)."

A government source underscored: "It is the military that has a
large quantity of tents." Regarding transportation, the government
looked into the possibility of chartering commercial planes, which
need a sufficient length of a runway. The government, therefore,
decided to use C-130 transport aircraft, which can be more flexible,
according to a source familiar with the government.

TOKYO 00001474 002 OF 010

Lastly, Prime Minister Fukuda's view greatly affected the decision.
Fukuda, who is now in Yokohama to attend the fourth Tokyo
International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV),
instructed the (Kantei) through his secretary "to sent SDF planes."
As a result, his instruction supported the tendency in the
government favoring the dispatch of SDF aircraft. Many in the ruling
parties highly value Fukuda's decision, with one lawmaker saying:
"It will be epoch-making for China to accept SDF planes." There is
also a view wary of the Kantei's quick decision, with a mid-level
member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) saying:

"The Chinese government should have sought the SDF's support if it
gave consideration to the sentiments of Chinese people. So, China
may have had no other choice but to ask Japan's support."

Meanwhile, perplexity has been spreading in the Defense Ministry and
the SDF. At a time when Japan received China's request, MSDF Chief
of Staff Toshio Tamogami was in Australia on a business. Therefore,
Joint Staff Council Chairman Takashi Saito was busy dealing with the
matter, putting off his overseas trip that was to start on May 29.

The ASDF has 16 C-130 transport planes. Of the 16 planes, three have
been deployed in Kuwait for the transport mission in line with the
Iraq Reconstruction Support Special Measures Law, two cannot be used
due to the planned shift of a deployed ASDF unit, and four are now
under regular inspection and maintenance. So, only seven planes are
available now. A senior ASDF officer said: "The operation will be
conducted at the worst time possible."

The outlook is that two C-130s, which are painted white in a bid to
reduce the risk to be attacked by ground-to-air missiles over Iraq,
will be used. This also stems from consideration that traditional
camouflaged SDF planes may give a militaristic image to the Chinese
side, according to a Defense Ministry source.

A source connected to the Defense Ministry pointed out cultural
differences toward the military between the two countries, noting:
"In communist China, the military will take the swiftest action once
they are given an order. But in Japan, it is just the opposite
because the SDF is bound by rules. Private transport companies can
operate quicker. Some officials in the Defense Ministry are praising
the dispatch of ASDF transport planes, citing that such humanitarian
assistance is significant. There is also an icy view in the ministry
that the Kantei used the matter as a material to stress the
importance of Japan-China relations.

(2) Japan to endorse treaty that totally bans cluster bombs

ASAHI NET (Excerpts)
15:06, May 29, 2008

Dublin, Shigeo Tosa

The Dublin international conference of the Oslo Process composed of
countries aiming at a treaty banning cluster bombs reached an
agreement on May 28 on a draft treaty banning cluster bombs, except
for latest models. Unexploded bomblets have caused harm to
civilians. Designed to ban almost all existing bombs, the draft
treaty can be called a de facto total ban. The treaty will be
officially adopted on May 30. Japan intends to endorse it.

At the same time, such countries as the United States, China, and

TOKYO 00001474 003 OF 010

Russia, which produce and possess large numbers of cluster bombs,
are not members of the process.

The draft treaty is designed to ban conventional cluster bombs with
high rates of unexploded bomblets and to exclude new,
high-performance bombs with extremely low rates of unexploded
bomblets. In the conference, such countries as Japan, Britain,
France and Germany called for a wide range of exceptions, while such
Oslo Process proponents as Norway and African countries insisted on
a total ban without exceptions. In the end, an agreement was reached
to ban almost all cluster bombs in the world in accordance with the
definition in the draft treaty, with some exceptions.

Signatories to the treaty possessing cluster bombs will aim at the
total abolition of cluster bombs in eight years. The draft treaty
also includes a provision on assistance for victims of cluster

Britain, France, and Germany supported the draft treaty because it
is designed to exclude cluster bombs with self-destructive devices
that would not leave unexploded bomblets. Following the agreement,
British Prime Minister Brown released a statement saying, "We will
abolish all types of cluster bombs we possess." France also made it
clear that it would destroy the cluster bombs banned under the

(3) Japanese negotiator, Ambassador Nakane: "Japan can't make a move
at a stretch" on the question of imposing restrictions on cluster
munitions; Disapproval shown of a "total ban" draft treaty

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
Eve., May 28, 2008/05/29

Ken Uzuka

Takeshi Nakane, ambassador/director-general of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Disarmament, Nonproliferation and Science
Department, recently responded to an interview with the Mainichi
Shimbun. In the interview, he spoke of the fact that the Oslo
Process, which are disarmament talks aimed at concluding a ban on
cluster munitions by the end of the year, is about to reach a
conclusion to totally ban cluster bombs in principle, except for
newer "smart" cluster munitions whose failure rates are extremely
low. Nakane voiced strong disapproval of a treaty that would totally
ban all such weapons. He noted: "Even though the conference is
wrapped in such a mood, we can't make a move in that direction at a
stretch." As the reasons, he cited the huge cost of scrapping the
cluster munitions Japan now possesses and the security concerns
(created by removing all such weapons).

Ambassador Nakane was the first senior MOFA official responsible for
negotiations on cluster munitions who talked about Japan's views
regarding the Dublin Conference now going on Ireland as part of the
Oslo Process.

In the conference, Japan has insisted on firmly upholding "improved
cluster bombs" or those whose failure rates have improved
remarkably, even more so than the newer "smart cluster munitions."
But Japan's idea is shared only by a minority.

Referring to improved cluster munitions, Nakane said, "We can't side
with the call for rejecting such munitions entirely," and touching

TOKYO 00001474 004 OF 010

on the mainstream's view that the newer "smart cluster munitions"
should be exempted from the ban, Nakane said: "That will mean Japan
will be forced to scrap all cluster bombs it now possesses. The cost
of scrapping them will be huge. In actuality, it would be difficult
to prepare alternatives at a stroke."

Nakane, however, noted, "We want to pay due consideration" so that
Japan will not be isolated, and he even implied the possibility of
making a certain degree of concessions with the mainstream group, by
saying, "We will not make any negative statement at the

The government said in its Diet replies that the maintenance cost of
cluster munitions comes to 27.6 billion yen, combining the costs
needed by both the Ground and Air Self-Defense Forces (GSDF and
ASDF). The number of old cluster bombs whose failure rates are high
and which are stored by the ASDF is estimated to be in the
thousands. Japan possesses neither improved cluster bombs nor the
newer smart ones.

(4) Japan suddenly changes stance to endorse treaty banning cluster
bombs under Fukuda's instruction

ASAHI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
Evening, May 29, 2008

The Japanese government suddenly decided today to endorse a draft
treaty banning cluster bombs, following the presentation of the
chairman's plan in the Dublin Conference. Until then, Japan had
reserved its stance, but judging it necessary to make a response
from the humanitarian point of view, the government has decided to
endorse the draft treaty to be adopted on May 30. Japan also intends
to send a representative to the signing ceremony scheduled for

According to informed sources, Prime Minister Fukuda instructed
relevant government agencies to address the issue of banning cluster
bombs in a positive manner. When he met on May 23 with Deputy
President Toshiko Hamayotsu of the New Komeito, which has called for
total prohibition, Fukuda also said: "It is necessary to take a
penetrating response. Leave things to me."

The Japanese government was initially calling for exceptions for
some types of cluster munitions and setting a certain transitional
period, stressing the need to have a balance between humanitarian
considerations and the security aspect.

The chairman's plan, though, bans all the types of cluster bombs now
possessed by the Self-Defense Force. A senior Defense Ministry
official grumbled: "It will become necessary to abolish all our
cluster bombs, so security problems might arise. New types of bombs
are expensive, so we are in a quandary."

The government will have to consider how to dispose of the cluster
bombs held by the SDF and look into an introduction of the
state-of-the-art munitions. It will work out details by the signing
ceremony in December and ask for views about the propriety of
Japan's conclusion of the treaty in the regular Diet session next

(5) Editorial: A ban on cluster bombs would harm Japan's security

TOKYO 00001474 005 OF 010

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 29, 2008

In Northeast Asia where the Cold War structure is still very much
alive, the possession of cluster bombs by Japan alone might be

In Ireland's capital of Dublin, the "Oslo Process" international
conference is underway to discuss a treaty banning the use of
cluster bombs. In the conference, a chairman's plan to ban almost
all cluster bombs possessed by the member countries has been

The conference is now in the final phase of coordination with the
aim of adopting a treaty on May 30. Tokyo must consider carefully
how joining the treaty could affect Japan's security.

Any step harming the country's security would leave serious problems
for the future.

Cluster bombs are designed to scatter smaller bomblets. There has
been a flurry of accidents involving unexploded bomblets. Japan must
make greater efforts to implement and support humanitarian measures,
such as disposing of unexploded bombs.

The participating countries have been discussing ways to restrict
cluster bombs under the framework of the Convention on Prohibitions
or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
The Oslo Process started centering on countries calling for a total
ban on cluster bombs. Over 100 countries, including Japan, are
taking part in the Dublin conference. It does not include the United
States, Russia, and China, which possess large numbers of cluster
bombs. South Korea and North Korea -- members of the six-party talks
-- have not joined it, either.

The conference is split between such countries as Norway and Ireland
which are calling for a total ban and Japan, Britain, and Germany
which are in favor of a partial ban. Major points at issue include
the definition of the cluster bomb and how to handle joint
operations with nonmember countries.

The chairman's plan seems to be intended to exempt from the ban the
latest model of cluster bombs that are designed to accurately attack
military targets only and to blow themselves up so as not to leave
unexploded bomblets. With this, over 90 PERCENT of the cluster
bombs possessed by the member countries and all the bombs possessed
by Japan would be banned.

Japan plans to use cluster bombs to fight off an invading enemy.
Having long coastal lines and many remote islands, there is no other
effective means for Japan to prevent enemy troops from landing in
the country. The environment is different from Europe where the Cold
War is a thing of the past.

The ban would have a significant impact on the Japan-U.S. alliance
as well. If the use, production, and stockpiling of cluster bombs
are banned under the treaty, the strike capability of the U.S.
military in Japan would decline and Japan would not be able to
support the U.S. military. Japan should consider every possible
response, including a rejection, so as not to impair its

TOKYO 00001474 006 OF 010

(6) Japanese firms becoming eager to invest in Africa, focusing on
rich natural resources, huge market

ASAHI (Page 11) (Full)
May 29, 2008

Japanese companies have begun to eagerly invest in Africa as a
future enormous market. While European countries, China, and India
have been stepping up efforts to make inroads into Africa with the
aim of securing rich natural resources there, Japan was slow to make
an approach to the region.

In the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD), which opened yesterday, Prime Minister Fukuda pledged to
double investment in Africa by the Japanese private sector. He said:
"The more effective utilization of rich natural resources in Africa
by employing Japan's technologies will help stimulate economic
growth and will result in surely benefit Africa."

Coastal areas in North Africa and West Africa produce large volumes
of oil and gas. South Africa yields abundant amounts of rare metals.
Trading houses are eagerly trying to win exploitation rights.
Sumitomo Corp. announced last year plans to participate in a nickel
mining project in Madagascar that will cost approximately 3.7
billion dollars, or approximately 380 billion yen.

In the past, of the orders received by Japanese companies for
projects in Africa, most were those related to the government's
official development assistance (ODA) program. But the situation has
completely changed.

Mitsubishi Corp. has invested in such businesses as chromium alloy
production (in South Africa) and aluminum refining (in Mozambique).
It has operated even processing plants there. Mitsubishi is known as
a company that succeeded in fostering sustainable businesses in

Given the current vigorous mine development, as well as increasing
demand for machinery for infrastructure construction, Komatsu Ltd.,
a leading construction equipment manufacturer, expects its sales in
Africa to increase from 70 billion yen in FY2006 to 120 billion yen
in FY2008. Four major Japanese construction companies, including
Kajima Corp., have won contracts for 540 billion yen worth of
project to construct highways in Algeria. Demand for equipment for
power generation is sharply growing. Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries have received orders from the South African
government for power-generation boilers and nuclear power reactors.

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to enhance the productive capacity of its
plant in South Africa from the current 200,000 units to 220,000
units. Nissan Motor Co. will set a new plant it will establish in
Morocco jointly with Renault, a French vehicle manufacturer, in
operation in 2010.

In response to soaring demand, Sumitomo Chemical Co. has set up a
system to annually produce 10 million insecticide-treated bed nets
which can protect against malaria. The company is also planning to
build a plant in Nigeria. President Hiromasa Yonekura said: "It is
essential for us to establish a sustainable relationship with the
other side while making profits, instead of just offering
provisional aid."

TOKYO 00001474 007 OF 010

Ajinomoto Co. has marketed a flavor enhancer, its main product, in
Nigeria. Its spokesman said: "People there regularly eat tomatoes
and rice. The flavor enhancer makes dishes using such foodstuffs
more tasty." The company posted 10 billion yen as the sales value in

Loans extended by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to
private firms planning to invest in Africa in FY2007 skyrocketed to
approximately 86 billion yen, about 16 times larger than that in the
previous fiscal year.

In Nigeria with the largest population, however, China reportedly
holds a 90 PERCENT share in the two-wheeled motor vehicle market.
About 7,000 Japanese now live in Africa, whereas Chinese residing
there, including migrant workers for natural resource development,
reportedly total 750,000. Mitsubishi Corp. President Yorihiko Kojima
pointed out the necessity to make use of ODA for new purposes,
saying: "It will be difficult to do business in the same way (as
done by Chinese). We should win confidence in our own way, such as
offering cooperation for infrastructure development."

(7) TICAD IV opens: METI minister develops aggressive talks with
leaders of various countries with aim of catching up with delay in
resources diplomacy

YOMIURI (Page 9) (Full)
May 29, 2008

The government is proactively developing resources diplomacy toward
various African countries at the Fourth Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), which opened in
Yokohama City on May 28. Prime Minister Fukuda and Economy, Trade
and Industry (METI) Minister Amari are eager to secure Japan's
interest in crude oil and rare metals in Africa through a series of
talks. Japan is lagging behind China or Russia in its resources
strategy toward Africa. It needs to adopt a sustainable strategy in
order to recover from inferiority.

Tight schedule

Fukuda is keeping his tight summit schedule on track. Amari also met
with the Angolan leader on the 27th and the leaders of Gabon and
Uganda on the 28th. They are scheduled to meet with a number of
leaders from African countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar,
Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of
South Africa after the 29th as well.

Of those countries, Nigeria is the largest oil-producing country in
Africa. Angola also has promising oil fields. South Africa produces
zirconium. Congo is a cobalt-producing country. Cobalt is a
versatile material for industrial use. Most of the leaders they will
meet are from countries that export resources, which Japanese
manufacturers want to purchase.

The government is eager to secure channels to procure resources, by
establishing close relations with those countries with the TICAD
conference as the occasion.

China, Russia taking lead

Behind Japan's aggressive approach to African nations is the fact
that it is lagging behind in resources diplomacy toward Africa.

TOKYO 00001474 008 OF 010

China is endeavoring to strengthen ties with African countries with
its leader frequently visiting African nations and coming up with
such aid measures as to provide funds or help them build
infrastructure. China's move to financially support its companies'
advance into Africa is also visible as can be seen in that the
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has obtained a 20 PERCENT
stake in Standard Bank, the largest bank in South Africa.

China imports resources, such as crude oil, from Africa and exports
manufactured goods to it. Its trade with Africa outdoes Japan's
trade with it in terms of value and growth rate. India and Russia
are also more aggressively approaching various African countries.

Newly-established mine operating companies of Europe and the U.S.
are also beginning to pay attention to rich resources in Africa.
Non-affiliated oil and gas companies of Britain and the U.S. last
year discovered promising oil and gas fields in West and Central

Key is sustainability

Some take the view that while emerging countries, such as China, are
increasing their presence in Africa, Japan is losing attraction as a
destination of Africa's resources and a country from which it can
procure capital, as a METI source put it.

However, leaders of the countries with whom Amari met pinned hopes
on cooperation from Japan with Angolan President Dos Santos saying,
"We are in short supply of social infrastructure and human
resources," or Ugandan President Museveni noting, "We want Japan to
invest in our countries, without missing out on this opportunity."

The government has revealed a plan to double official development
assistance (ODA) to and investment in Africa over the next five
years. However, it needs to come up with a strategic aid policy that
will lead to securing resources.

(8) Okinawa governor makes Ambassador to U.S. Fujisaki detailed
requests on Futenma relocation issue

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 2) (Full)
May 28, 2008

New Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki met on May 27 with
Okinawa Gov. Masahiro Nakaima at the governor's office. The two
exchanged views on crimes and accidents caused by U.S. military
personnel, as well as on the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps'
Futenma Air Station (to a coastal and offshore area adjacent to Camp
Schwab in eastern Nago City). Regarding the Futenma relocation,
Nakaima said: "I basically accept the agreement between the Japanese
and U.S. governments, but I am working on the matter with minor
adjustments in mind." He indicated in his remark that it would be
necessary to adjust the runway construction plan to build the
runways off the coastline.

Deputy Gov. Zenki Nakazato pointed out: "It is necessary to give
consideration to the result of environmental impact assessment."
Fujisaki reportedly said: "I want to discuss the matter with you so
that the relocation plan will be realized as early as possible."

The meeting, except at its outset, was held behind closed doors.

TOKYO 00001474 009 OF 010

Nakaima revealed that he would visit Washington around this fall to
call on officials connected with the State Department, the Pentagon,
and the Congress to ask them to come up with measures to prevent a
recurrence of similar crimes and accidents caused by U.S. military
members. Nakaima then asked Fujisaki to play a coordinating role.
Nakaima also sought Fujisaki's cooperation on inviting enterprises
to Okinawa.

Fujisaki told Nakaima that he had served as minister-counselor for
political affairs at the embassy in Washington from 1995 and as
director general of the Foreign Ministry's North American Affairs
Bureau from 1999. He said: "Since I have been in charge of Okinawa
issues, I understand effects and burden posed by the U.S. bases on
the prefectural residents." He then spoke of his aspiration: "Fully
taking the feelings of Okinawa people into consideration, I want to
inform the U.S. of the meaning of the Okinawa problem and confer
with the U.S. side as need arises."

It was firs time for a Japanese ambassador to the U.S. to meet with
an Okinawa governor since former Ambassador Ryozo Kato had met with
former Gov. Kenichi Inamine in 2001.

(9) Editorial: SDF should join relief operations

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
May 29, 2008

Tokyo has received a request from Beijing for transporting
Self-Defense Force tents and blankets to China as part of its
assistance to areas devastated by the Sichuan earthquake. The
government has begun considering allowing SDF transport planes to
airlift such supplies. Disaster areas are in serious need of tents
and other supplies. We would like to see the two governments
positively utilize the SDF, which is highly flexible.

SDF aircraft may enter China for the first time. Given China's
strong nationalist sentiment resulting from the aggression (before
and during WWII) of the former Imperial Japanese Army, Beijing's
request is quite unusual. It is epoch-making for bilateral relations
as well.

It has been over two weeks since the deadly earthquake struck China.
The severity of damage from the devastating temblor has become clear
over time. The death toll has exceeded 68,000. The serious risk of
secondary disaster has also cropped up.

What is most feared now is the burst of over 30 "quake lakes." The
Tangjia Shan quake lake is regarded as especially dangerous. Should
it burst, as many as 1,300,000 people would have to evacuate. To
prevent a burst, the Chinese military has begun work to drain the
lake. We earnestly hope their effort will pay off.

There are concerns about infectious diseases as well. Over 360,000
injured people have yet to receive treatment, and there are not
enough tents for the 5 million people who have been left homeless by
the quake. In addition, there are a plethora of tasks, such as care
for children who have lost their family members, collection of
radioactive materials from under rubble, damage from aftershocks.

The Chinese government has been making strenuous efforts with the
assistance of volunteers and foreign aid workers. The Chinese media
has described the effort as the greatest disaster relief operation

TOKYO 00001474 010 OF 010

in the history of the country. It must be a world-class effort. Yet,
the damage is so massive that the government has been a step behind
in taking relief measures.

Premier Wen Jiabao expressed his gratitude to the Japanese disaster
relief medical team, saying, "You have come here to help us at the
most difficult time." Gaining high praise from China, the Japanese
disaster relief team has helped improve Chinese sentiment toward

If there is a request from China, the government should consider
sending an additional medical team beyond dispatching the SDF.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has recently advocated the creation of
an epidemic and disaster prevention network. With an eye on the
future, we would like to see an international cooperation concept
take shape, while helping China in dealing with its difficulties


© 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>>


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>>


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>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC