Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 06/27/08

DE RUEHKO #1772/01 1790815
P 270815Z JUN 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Nuclear programs, abduction, and peace (Part 1): Time of trial
for abduction-and-nuclear issue dual policy (Mainichi)

(2) Dispatch of GSDF personnel to Sudan in August or later as
command center personnel (Sankei)

(3) Editorial: North Korea's nuclear declaration -- Insufficient
report unacceptable (Sankei)

(4) Editorial: U.S. government should reconsider decision to delist
North Korea (Nikkei)

(5) Editorial: North Korea's declaration must lead to complete
nuclear abandonment (Asahi)

(6) Defense exchange isolated (Sankei)

(7) Editorial: IWC plenary meeting; moves underway for normalization
of organization (Tokyo Shimbun)


(1) Nuclear programs, abduction, and peace (Part 1): Time of trial
for abduction-and-nuclear issue dual policy

MAINICHI (Pages 1 and 2) (Abridged slightly)
June 27, 2008

President George W. Bush in a press conference on June 26 announced
that the United States would delist North Korea as a state sponsor
of terrorism. The President also emphatically said: "The United
States will never forget the abduction issue."

The President detests tyrannies. He seemed so sympathetic to the
abduction issue that the Japanese public had expected the United
States would not delist the North unless there was progress on the
abduction issue. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage
once indicated that the abduction issue was a reason why the United
States put North Korea on its terrorism blacklist.

In reality, the U.S. government has not officially promised anything
beyond "giving consideration." In April 2007, when then Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe visited the United States, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said to him clearly that resolving the abduction
issue was not a condition for delisting North Korea.

President Bush started to use the phrase, "We will not forget the
abduction issue," from around that time. He used the same expression
when Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda visited the United States in
November 2007. That can be taken as a U.S. announcement that though
it harbors sympathy, Washington's decision on whether to delist the
North would not be affected by the prime minister's preference for
pressure or dialogue in dealing with Pyongyang.

The turning points were the January-February 2007 U.S.-DPRK Berlin
talks that reached an agreement on resolving the nuclear issue and
the six-party Beijing agreement on first-phase steps. This was
immediately followed by a series of visits to Japan by high-ranking
U.S. officials. While in Japan, they all asked the definition of
progress on the abduction issue. People began to fear that the

TOKYO 00001772 002 OF 010

abduction issue might cause a split in the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Former Prime Minister Abe once at the Diet defined progress as
specific steps by North Korea for the resolution of the abduction
issue. A Japan-DPRK normalization working group also began
functioning under the six-party framework. Momentum was gathering
even under the Abe administration to move the abduction issue
forward in tandem with progress on the nuclear issue.

Prime Minister Abe was replaced by Fukuda in September 2007. Fukuda
soon made it clear that his administration would pursue the nuclear
and abduction issues at the same time with the aim of resolving the
abduction issue while he was office. The phrase "dialogue and
pressure" has rarely been heard since.

Japan-DPRK talks were held on June 11-12 and an agreement was
reached for Pyongyang to reinvestigate the abduction issue and hand
Japanese radicals who hijacked a Japan Airlines plane to North Korea
in 1970 over to Tokyo and for Japan to partially lift its sanctions
against the North. It is widely believed that behind this
development, there was a nudge by Washington, which wants to proceed
with the denuclearization of North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

Although Prime Minister Fukuda has welcomed the series of
developments, the North's declaration in not covering nuclear
weapons, uranium enrichment, and other activities is clearly
imperfect. Japan has lost the leverage of delisting the North, and
the future of the implementation of the reinvestigation into the
abduction issue remains unclear.

There is a proverb that goes: "He who runs after two hares will
catch neither." The Fukuda administration's North Korea policy is
facing a testing time.

On the night of June 13 at a Cabinet Office conference room, Foreign
Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Akitaka
Saiki briefed abductees' families on the Japan-DPRK talks held in
Beijing. In the session, Saiki said, "I did my very best, but I am
ready to take any criticism." His explanation lasted an hour and 40

Some of the family members who were assembled together after
receiving fax messages from the government the day before were
hopeful that surviving abductees would be able to return to Japan.
Family members fiercely criticized Pyongyang's plan to reinvestigate
the abduction issue and Tokyo's plan to partially lift its
sanctions. The abduction issue was reinvestigated in 2004 after the
second Japan-North Korea summit, and Pyongyang did not change its
previous claim that eight abductees had died.

Family members had high hopes for Saiki, who headed the government's
investigation team that visited North Korea immediately after the
first Japan-North Korea summit that took place in September 2002.
His expression was stony throughout the meeting with the family

The Association of the Families of Victims of Kidnapped by North
Korea (AFVKN), which regards abductions as an ongoing act of
terrorism, has been waiting for the Untied States to identify
"abduction" as a ground for keeping North Korea as its terrorism
blacklist. Since its then representative Shigeru Yokota, 75, first
visited the United States in February 2001, AFVKN members have often

TOKYO 00001772 003 OF 010

visited Washington to lobby U.S. officials.

In the spring of 2004, the abduction issue made the State
Department's Annual Country Report on Terrorism. The AFVKN took this
as Washington having recognized abductions an act of terrorism. In
April 2006, Sakie Yokota, 72, visited the United States and met with
President Bush in person. The AFVKN was convinced that unwavering
ties were established with the United States.

North Korea conducted a nuclear test six months later, in October
2006, promoting Washington to put high priority on Pyongyang's
nuclear programs. AFVKN members visited the United States last fall
and this spring to lobby against delisting the North in vain.

At a regular AFVKN meeting in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on the night of
June 25, Sakie Yokota bitterly criticized the government's decision
to ease sanctions against the North.

Her daughter Megumi Yokota, who was abducted at the age of 13,
scratched so desperately at an iron door during the boat ride to the
North that she lost all her fingernails, according to a former North
Korean agent.

What Sakie fears the most is the reopening of Japanese ports for the
North Korean cargo-passenger ship Mangyongbong-92. The ship is used
for Korean residents in Japan to visit their kin back in North
Korea. It has also become clear through police investigations that
the Mangyongbong has been used for activities by North Korean
agents. Abductees' families, including Sakie, have been conducting a
dive to keep the vessel out of Japanese ports. The government has
imposed a ban on the ship's entry into Japan in the wake of the
North's missile launches in July 2006. But based on the recent
bilateral agreement, the vessel will be allowed to enter Japanese
ports strictly for transporting humanitarian supplies.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura met on June 17 with
family members with a letter opposing the government's decision to
partially lift the sanctions. The government's spokesman said to
them: "The reinvestigation must be based on the repatriation of
(abductees). We are now at the stage of word for word, so we will
not lift sanctions immediately." Representative Shigeo Iizuka, 70,
did not conceal his mistrust in the government which keeps pace with
the United States. The blog of Teruaki Masumoto, 52, the
organization's secretary general, reads: "The United States has
completely betrayed us. The Japanese government, too, has abandoned
the victims of kidnapped by North Korea."

On the night of June 26, Machimura discussed (the delisting of North
Korea) with Stephen Hadley, assistant to the President for national
security affairs. In the conversation, Machimura had to make a
request to the U.S. government, saying: "The Japanese public is
shocked (by the delisting), although it is a predetermined step. We
would like to see the U.S. government handle the matter carefully."

(2) Dispatch of GSDF personnel to Sudan in August or later as
command center personnel

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
June 27, 2008

The government on June 26 decided to dispatch several Ground
Self-Defense members to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which is

TOKYO 00001772 004 OF 010

operating in southern Sudan, as central command personnel. It will
undergo coordination with the UN with the aim of dispatching them in
August or later.

This will be the first dispatch of SDF personnel to Africa since
1993-1995, when they were sent to join UN operations in Mozambique
(ONUMOZ). The government's aim is to play up Japan's international
contributions in the run-up to the G-8 in July, where Africa
assistance will top the agenda.

SDF personnel will be dispatched to the UNMIS command center located
in al-Khartum, the capital of Sudan. They will be serving as liaison
and coordination officers dealing with troops taking part in
peace-keeping operations (PKO) there. The government yesterday held
a meeting of Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura, Foreign
Minister Masahiko Koumura and Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba.
However, coordination has been still underway as no agreement was
reached at that meeting over the posts they will assume.

Regarding the dispatch of SDF personnel to Sudan, the government has
considered dispatching GSDF personnel for the reconstruction of
roads and the removal of land mines. However, only command center
personnel will be dispatched at least for the present. The
government is also looking into dispatching SDF personnel to PKO
centers in Ghana, Kenya and Egypt for the first time as

(3) Editorial: North Korea's nuclear declaration -- Insufficient
report unacceptable

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 27, 2008

In the wake of North Korea handing over a declaration of its nuclear
programs, U.S. President George W. Bush has notified Congress of his
decision to delist Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism.

It is extremely regrettable that Pyongyang's declaration has
excluded or forgone a list of its actual nuclear weapons, which is
especially vital for Japan, even though it had been expected in the

We have to wonder how effectively and completely verification can be
done in the 45 days before delisting goes into effect.

If North Korea is removed from the U.S. blacklist, it will be able
to get international economic support. "No economic assistance to
North Korea before resolution of the abduction issue" has become
common public opinion of Japan. Therefore, the U.S. government's
decision this time around may put the brakes on resolving the
abduction issue, and it may also harm Japan's national interests.
However, delisting has not yet been finalized. It is time for Japan
to devote all its energies to prevent Japan from being left in the

The declaration stipulates the amount of extracted plutonium, the
reactor records, among other matters. A separate report should have
itemized nuclear weapons that use highly-enriched uranium and
indicate Pyongyang's cooperation to Syria's nuclear development.
But the United States appears to have given in to North Korea's

TOKYO 00001772 005 OF 010

Pyongyang has put off providing a list of its nuclear weapons to a
later phase of the complex negotiations.

The declaration this time around was made based on the joint
statement by the Six Parties in September 2005. The joint statement
stipulated that the DPRK committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons
and existing nuclear programs. Therefore, it is evident that the
declaration is a major backsliding.

The United States put North Korea on its list of state sponsors of
terrorism in 1988 after its agents were found to have bombed a South
Korean airliner the previous year. In order to remove a country from
the list, the two points must be proved: 1) the country has not
supported any terrorists for the past six months; and 2) the country
is committed to not supporting terrorism in the future.

What should be forgotten was that the U.S. government has clarified
that it would add the issue of abductions to the conditions for its
designation as terrorist-sponsoring state. This is the remark made
by then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage after then Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi had visited Pyongyang. The issue of
Japanese abduction of nationals by North Korea agents was first
stipulated in the annual report on global terrorism in 2004. The
phrase that the abduction issue is not resolved should be written
into the annual report.

We wonder how much the Japanese government made efforts to share
such a view with the governments of the United States and other
countries. In order for the U.S. Congress to reverse the Bush
administration's decision to delist the North, new legislation is
necessary. We want the Foreign Ministry and Diet members from the
ruling and opposition forces to do their best to bring about a
rollback by taking advantage of their channels to the U.S.

(4) Editorial: U.S. government should reconsider decision to delist
North Korea

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
June 27, 2008

Following North Korea's submission of a declaration of its nuclear
development programs, the U.S. government notified Congress of its
decision to delist the North as a state sponsor of terrorism. The
U.S. came up with the decision in disregard of Foreign Ministry's
Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director General Akitaka Saiki's
warning that a delisting decision may negatively affect the
reliability of the Japan-U.S. alliance. Things are going as North
Korea intended. The foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance could be
undermined under the current serious situation.

During the 45-day delisting process, if North Korea presents
measures to verify the contents of its report effectively and if
progress is made toward settlement of the issue of Japanese
nationals abducted by North Korean agents, the situation will turn
around. Otherwise, the Bush administration should retract the
delisting decision.

The delisting plan contains a number of problems. First, the deal
between the U.S. and North Korea might make it more difficult to
move negotiations on North Korea's denuclearization forward since it
lacks rationality and balance.

TOKYO 00001772 006 OF 010

North Korea's declaration is not linked to the U.S. removal of North
Korea from its blacklist under U.S. domestic law. Moreover, North
Korea had promised in an agreement reached in the six-party talks
last October to produce a complete and accurate declaration of its
nuclear programs and activities by the end of last year. The
declaration came out six months later.

An extravagant reward is given to a student for the homework the
student turned in six months later. The spoiled student will
continue to get around doing homework. According to this logic, it
will become less hopeful for North Korea to denuclearize itself.

Second, the nuclear report, though taken as a one step forward for
form's sake, contains no information concerning the nuclear weapons
Pyongyang has produced. Further, the report sets out no principle on
how to verify its contents. A state of closed nature, like North
Korea, can deport investigators from the nation at any time, as the
North did in the past. As long as North Korea remains closed, the
effective verification of the report will be difficult.

Third, it is an open question that North Korea is no longer a state
sponsor of terrorism. The terrorist attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11
in 2001 and North Korea's abductions of Japanese citizens are both
challenges to the civilized world. North Korea has yet to launch the
reinvestigation of the Japanese abductees based on its pledge to
Japan. The perpetrators of the abductions, who can even be called
state terrorists, are still in the hands of North Korean

Fourth, the delisting policy of the U.S. will deal a serious blow to
the Japan-U.S. alliance. The Bush administration is strict with Iran
but is not so with North Korea. The delisting decision exposed that
Japan and the U.S. have different senses of menace toward North

Sharing the same sense of menace should be a premise for the
alliance. If Japan and the U.S. do not have common sense, their
security treaty would be just a scrap of paper.

A U.S. informed source said that the feeling or sense of U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has not changed from
that when he was serving as U.S. ambassador to South Korea in the
days of the administration led by President Roh Moo Hyun. If Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda turns a blind eye to the cracks that are
appearing between Japan and the U.S. and officially falls in step
with the U.S. policy of reconciliation toward North Korea, Japan's
cornerstone supporting the alliance would be undermined.

North Korea is apparently taking into account the Bush
administration's term of office drawing closer. We want to ask
President Bush if he would like to go down in history as the
president who made a decision that caused the U.S. to lose its most
important alliance in the Pacific region.

(5) Editorial: North Korea's declaration must lead to complete
nuclear abandonment

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
June 27, 2008

At long last, North Korea came up with a declaration of its nuclear

TOKYO 00001772 007 OF 010

programs. Its details have yet to be unveiled. This declaration,
however, is an important step in line with an agreement reached at
the six-party talks for North Korea's nuclear abandonment.

Last year's six-party agreement anticipates three phases. The first
phase is to freeze and seal North Korea's nuclear-related
facilities. The second phase is to disable these facilities so they
cannot be used and is to declare all nuclear programs. The third
phase is to complete North Korea's nuclear abandonment.

So far, the first phase is over. North Korea is currently in the
process of disabling its nuclear-related facilities. The declaration
is the last thing of what North Korea should do in the second phase.
North Korea was to have come up with its nuclear declaration by the
end of last year. However, it was six months overdue due to its
protracted talks with the United States.

In return, the United States is now in the process of delisting
North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

We would like to welcome the resumed process of translating the
six-party agreement into action. However, we cannot say we totally
welcome it.

First of all, North Korea has yet to disable all of its nuclear
facilities. North Korea will reportedly invite the six-party
members' news media to see North Korea demolish one of its nuclear
facilities today. This is probably aimed at visual effects. However,
North Korea should disable its nuclear facilities through such
substantive measures as removing spent nuclear fuel from the

Second, we wonder if the submitted declaration really clarifies
North Korea's nuclear development in its entirety. It reportedly is
a far cry from being a "complete and correct declaration."

That is because the declaration is said to contain no core
information, such as how many nuclear weapons North Korea has and
where they are stored. North Korea is said to have only declared its
nuclear development using plutonium and reportedly does not touch on
its uranium enrichment. It looks like the declaration fails to
account for its suspected proliferation of nuclear-related
technologies to Syria.

All these doubts must not be left vague.

Even so, the declaration itself should be viewed as progress. It
will not ease North Korea's nuclear threat. However, North Korea
will be disabled at least from making raw materials for nuclear

More importantly, the third phase-which is for North Korea's
abandonment of its nuclear programs-is finally in sight.

What should be done from now is clear. The six-party talks should
resume at once and decide on how to verify North Korea's
declaration. North Korea should sincerely respond to on-the-spot
inspections and hearings from its engineers. After that, we want the
six-party talks to work out specific procedures for the third

We probably cannot say U.S. President Bush, whose term is to run out

TOKYO 00001772 008 OF 010

shortly, is not impatient. If the declaration is found false, the
United States could bring back the process. Bush stressed in his
press remarks that he will not forget the abduction issue.

For the sake of Japan's national security, we must prod North Korea
to abandon its nuclear development. In that process, we should pave
the way to resolve the abduction issue or tragic crime. We should
make headway without losing sight of this starting point.

(6) Defense exchange isolated

SANKEI (Page 6) (Abridged)
June 26, 2008

Toshu Noguchi

ZHANJIANG, Guangdong, China-The Maritime Self-Defense Force
destroyer Sazanami, now visiting China for the first time, went
through main exchange events yesterday. China apparently tried to
make an appeal to the international community on its stance of
disclosing information, with the exchange this time as a symbol of
confidence building between Japan and China in the military area.
With an eye on anti-Japanese sentiment, the MSDF ship's visit to
China was isolated from the Chinese public. This gives the
impression that it is difficult to build confidence.

The Sazanami had about 100 visitors from the naval forces of the
Chinese People's Liberation Army yesterday. On the deck, they were
taking pictures and listening to an MSDF officer's briefing on the
Sazanami's hardware. I asked them about historical issues that lie
between Japan and China, and I also tried to ask them about the
issue of marine interests in the East China Sea. "Please ask our
officer," one of them said.

China stressed that the "military exchange" is based on the Japanese
and Chinese leaders' common understanding" (in the words of China's
South Sea Fleet Commander Su Shiliang). In November last year, the
South Sea Fleet's missile destroyer Shenzhen made its first port
call in Japan. This time around, an MSDF ship visited China. Japan
and China are now set to go on with bilateral exchanges in the most
delayed area of military affairs. "Looking back on history," one of
the Sazanami's crew said, "it wouldn't be so easy to build a
relationship of mutual trust in a real sense." This is also true,

In Zhanjiang, China was wary of 'anti-Japanese' moves. The Sazanami
remained berthed at the naval base, where the South Sea Fleet is
headquartered. An MSDF band's downtown performance was canceled, and
a joint concert planned to be held in the city was suddenly
rescheduled to take place on base.

Such measures were taken for "security reasons." Public security
authorities were guarded against anti-Japanese demonstrations.
Anyone suspicious was barred from the gate to the base. On the
Internet were write-ins for demonstrations against the Sazanami's
port call.

There were no citizens at the base ceremony upon the Sazanami's
arrival. The Sazanami's crew felt a welcome mood. In their eyes,
however, the scene there looked somewhat bare. The Sazanami will be
opened to the public on June 27. This event, however, is reportedly
for only those permitted by Chinese authorities.

TOKYO 00001772 009 OF 010

The Chinese media is friendly toward the Sazanami's visit, but their
coverage of the MSDF ship's port call is not so prominent. Local
residents voiced their mixed feelings. "History is history," a
taxicab driver said. "It's important to promote exchange and
friendship," he added. "A naval ship flying the Japanese flag is
here," a restaurant manager said, "so I can't help but imagine the
history of aggression."

Japan and China have somehow started their defense exchanges.
However, one of those concerned voiced misgivings: "It's also
important to promote open exchanges like visiting each other's
ships. However, I wonder if we can understand each other without
exchanging views or holding discussions, including sensitive issues.
The slogan of exchanges may take on a life of its own, and I fear
that China may only use this exchange for their image strategy to
make an appeal on what they call 'transparency.'"

(7) Editorial: IWC plenary meeting; moves underway for normalization
of organization

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
June 27, 2008

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) at its 60th plenary
meeting, now underway in Santiago, Chile, has decided to set up a
working group joined by major member nations. Both whaling and
antiwhaling countries need to seriously make efforts to normalize
the organization.

It has been more than 20 years since Japan withdrew from commercial
whaling in late 1982, when the IWC imposed a 10-year moratorium on
such at a plenary meeting. The outcome of the Santiago meeting has
paved the way to put an end to an annual verbal battle between
whaling and antiwhaling countries seen at IWC meetings.

The IWC at its Santiago plenary meeting, which has started this
week, agreed to establish a working group tasked with dealing with
the future of the organization and key issues.

The membership of the IWC is now 81, of which 24 major countries
will join the envisaged working group -- 10 countries, such as
Japan, China, South Korea, Norway, Iceland, etc., from the whaling
countries' side, and 14 countries, including the U.S., Britain,
Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentine, etc., from the
antiwhaling countries' side.

Main items the envisaged working group will take up include the
resumption of small-scale coastal whaling, as sought strongly by
Japan, and the completion of the revised management scheme (RMS) for
the proper control of cetacean resources. Antiwhaling countries will
bring up a total of 33 items, including the expansion of sanctuaries
and the way Japan's whaling should be.

The IWC says that the working group will aim at submitting a package
of agreed proposals at the plenary meeting in Madeira, Portugal,
following a first meeting this fall and a series of discussion
sessions to be held with the IWC's interim meeting next March in

In view of the fierce conflict in the past, the agreement reached
this time is groundbreaking. It is praiseworthy that participants

TOKYO 00001772 010 OF 010

vowed to find common ground through talks for the normalization of
the stalemated organization.

Japan, which has been calling for long-term whaling, once hinted at
its intention to walk out of the IWC, after the Anchorage plenary
session last year. It cast a ballot in favor of aboriginal
subsistence whaling in the U.S. and Denmark. However, its proposal
for resuming coastal whaling was voted down by antiwhaling

The IWC is an international agency established in 1948, based on the
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Its
objective is to preserve cetacean resources and develop the whaling
industry in an orderly manner. Member nations are obligated to
restore the original form of whaling.

However, the future of whaling is far from reassuring. The key is to
what extent whaling and antiwhaling countries will make concessions.
Antiwhaling countries will probably seek the curtailment of or
withdrawal from research whaling in the Southern Ocean, if Japan
focuses on the resumption of coastal whaling. The barrier to the
resumption of commercial whaling is even higher. Revising key items
requires approval by a two-thirds majority or more at a plenary
meeting. Making decisions from a broad perspective is


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