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Cablegate: Mod Dg Takamizawa Discusses Afghanistan,

VZCZCXRO4499
PP RUEHPW
DE RUEHKO #1765/01 1790302
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 270302Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5430
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/USDAO TOKYO JA
RHMFISS/USFJ
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1268

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001765

SIPDIS

DOD FOR OSD/APSA/SEDNEY/HILL/BASALLA; PACOM FOR
J00/J01/J5/POLAD; CENTCOM FOR POLAD/J5; USFJ FOR
J00/J01/J3/J5

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/2018
TAGS: PREL MARR PGOV AF JA
SUBJECT: MOD DG TAKAMIZAWA DISCUSSES AFGHANISTAN,
REALIGNMENT AND COLLECTIVE SELF DEFENSE

REF: TOKYO 1464

Classified By: DCM Joe Donovan; Reasons: 1.4 (b/d)

SUMMARY
--------

1. (C) In a June 25 dinner Ministry of Defense (MOD) Director
General for Defense Policy Nobushige Takamizawa cited
technical and political challenges to the possibility of
Japan deploying helicopters or PRTs to Afghanistan. He also
underscored the Japanese Government's need to convince
Japan's public and politicians of the importance of any
mission. On realignment, he suggested that MOD faces the
predicament of explaining to the public the discrepancy
between the U.S. and Japanese governments with respect to the
number of military dependents to be moved from Okinawa to
Guam. Regarding collective self defense, Takamizawa
predicted Prime Minister Fukuda and the Cabinet will set
aside the Yanai-led blue ribbon panel's report. End Summary.

2. (C) In a June 25 farewell dinner hosted for the DCM,
Ministry of Defense (MOD) Director General for Defense Policy
Nobushige Takamizawa discussed a number of Alliance issues,
including Japanese support of coalition operations in
Afghanistan, realignment, and collective self defense.
Takamizawa was accompanied by MOD Senior Coordinator for
Realignment Marui, Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Division
Director Serizawa, Defense Policy Division Director Yamamoto,
and Strategic Planning Division Director Nakajima. Embassy
Political Minister-Counselor, Defense Attache and other
Embassy officers accompanied the DCM.

Afghanistan
-----------

3. (C) DG Takamizawa noted that MOD is considering deploying
Japanese CH-47 helicopters, and/or dispatching Japanese Self
Defense Force (JSDF) members or civilian officials to
provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) in support of
coalition operations in Afghanistan. He singled out two main
challenges with respect to expanding Japanese support for
Afghan operations: technical limits of Japanese CH-47s and
the Japanese government's unenviable task of persuading Diet
members to pass necessary legislation. The JSDF's CH-47J
helicopters do not have the same engine performance standards
as U.S. CH-47s and will have difficulty operating in southern
Afghanistan without significant modifications, he asserted.
Takamizawa estimated it could take two to three years to make
these modifications. The dilemma, Takamizawa said, is that
Japanese CH-47s should operate adequately in northern
Afghanistan but the needs of the coalition forces are
greatest in the south.

4. (C) Perhaps more difficult than overcoming technical
challenges is obtaining consensus among politicians and the
Japanese public, Takamizawa said. The Government of Japan
needs to develop a specific, reasonable plan that it can
present to members of the public to persuade them of the
merits of deploying to Afghanistan. While the possibility of
casualties is something the Japanese public can come to
accept with the right approach, politicians will remain
averse to any risk to Japanese lives. Takamizawa suggested
that a deployment in the north and west of Afghanistan would
minimize any casualties among Japanese Self Defense Force
(JSDF) members or civilians and have the added benefit of
being able to deploy JSDF CH-47s without modifications. He
added that participation in PRTs is an attractive option for
the Japanese government to pursue, as it is an activity that
can be illustrated more easily as humanitarian assistance
efforts than the dispatch of CH-47s.

5. (C) Takamizawa underscored that, regardless of where the
helicopters might be deployed, three conditions must be met
to convince the public and politicians of the need for a
deployment to Afghanistan. First, the Japanese government
must characterize the operation as a humanitarian relief
mission. Second, the international community -- especially
Afghanistan, the UK, Germany, and Canada -- must welcome and
support publicly the Japanese plan. Finally, the United
States should highlight the importance of Japan's mission
regardless of the substance of the activities.

6. (C) When asked about possible roles for NGOs and other
ministries and agencies in a deployment, Takamizawa noted
that MOD has not yet engaged with other ministries or the
Japanese public. There is no clear lead in any of the
Japanese ministries on the matter of deployment, he said. He
noted, however, that Japan is impressed with the role of
civilian participation and leadership in Afghanistan and
pledged to explore similar roles for Japan.

Realignment
-----------

7. (C) Takamizawa lamented that he had not realized a serious
gap existed between U.S. and Japanese figures on the number
of military dependents involved in the relocation of U.S.
Marines from Okinawa to Guam. MOD faces a gargantuan task of
explaining to the public the discrepancy, having had, in
effect, ""sold false figures"" to the Japanese public.
Japanese officials are currently deliberating internally on
the best way to address the issue without opening the door
for opposition leaders to call for a fundamental
investigation into the realignment process. DCM pointed out
that we had been careful to state throughout the realignment
process that the number of dependants cannot be fixed early
on and that they would remain notional until final decisions
are made on which uniformed personnel will relocate.

Collective Self-Defense
-----------------------

8. (C) Regarding the June 24 report from the blue-ribbon
panel on collective self defense headed by former Ambassador
to the United States Shunji Yanai, Takamizawa said Prime
Minister Fukuda and the cabinet will likely set aside any
recommendations from the report for future deliberation. His
impression is that the report, while uncontroversial in
content, is a rough sketch that reads like a ""wishlist"" that
fails to address specific roadmaps for realizing collective
self defense. Takamizawa underscored that the Prime Minister
and other senior officials are dismayed by the poor timing of
the release of the report, as it can be viewed by the public
as a gap in perception between the administration and the
panel, i.e., between Fukuda and former PM Abe. Barring a
major incident, the report is not likely to generate much
public interest, Takamizawa predicted.
SCHIEFFER

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