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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - U.S.-Japan Relations

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DE RUEHKO #1845/01 1890355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070355Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8737
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1113
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 6963
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9322
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2466
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4251
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2412
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0241
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0651
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001845

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 - U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS

1. LEAD STORIES: All Monday morning papers gave top
play to Sunday's summit between President Bush and
Prime Minister Fukuda ahead of the G8 summit.

2. "Sunset of U.S.-Japan Relations under Bush
Presidency" The liberal Asahi editorialized (7/7):
"U.S.-Japan relations under the Bush administration
have been led by U.S. foreign policy.... While
U.S.-Japan relations will remain important, the U.S.
and Japan alone cannot resolve everything. Japan over
the past seven and a half years has learned the limits
of the bilateral alliance."

3. "Summit Helps Mend Bilateral Ties, But Issues
Remain" The business-oriented Nikkei stated (7/7): "A
strategic decision by the U.S. and Japan prompted the
two leaders to play up bilateral unity at the summit.
Any hint of awkwardness on the part of the two leaders
would only have benefited North Korea.... It is a
matter of course for the two leaders to reaffirm unity,
and it was a prudent move diplomatically. However,
trying to paper over the issues with moderate rhetoric
will not lead to immediate solutions. The summit helped
ease the awkwardness in bilateral relations to some
extent, but it is questionable whether it was able to
send a strong message urging North Korea to respond
sincerely on the abduction issue."

4. "How to Cooperate on Abductions" The conservative
Sankei argued in an editorial (7/7): "Despite the two
leaders' praise of the enhanced bilateral alliance,
signs of vulnerability in U.S.-Japan ties are
abundant.... For one thing, the U.S. appears to be
placing more emphasis on multilateral talks than on the
U.S.-Japan alliance. The president referred to pressure
on North Korea by the members of the six-party talks.
That idea, however, will not be effective, as China and
Russia will distance themselves from such an approach.
Another problem is that Japan is not making efforts to
reinforce the alliance. Japan would not intercept a
ballistic missile headed toward the U.S. because doing
so would constitute collective defense. Given this, the
U.S. will not trust Japan as a reliable partner."

5. "Push North Korea to Take Action on Nuclear and
Abductions Fronts" The top-circulation, moderate
Yomiuri editorialized (7/7): "Now is an important time
for the U.S. and Japan to coordinate even more closely
to ensure meaningful progress on the North Korean
nuclear and abduction issues.... We must keep in mind
that any schism between the U.S. and Japan would only
benefit North Korea. It is significant that the leaders
of the two nations reaffirmed bilateral coordination on
the DPRK.... North Korea must not be allowed to buy
time. It is important for the U.S. and Japan, in
coordination with China and South Korea, to urge North
Korea to act swiftly in future six-party talks."

6. "Follow up Words with Action to Resolve Abductions"
The liberal Tokyo Shimbun asserted (7/7): "In a press
conference following his summit with Prime Minister
Fukuda, President Bush took up the abduction issue in
his opening statement. He had expressed his sympathy
toward the abductees and their families in previous
summits. However, he appeared to be even more

TOKYO 00001845 002 OF 002


considerate toward them this time around.... Disarray
in U.S.-Japan relations would not only have a negative
impact on the bilateral alliance but would also benefit
North Korea. The two leaders were able to successfully
reconfirm coordination toward resolution of the nuclear
and abduction issues."

SCHIEFFER

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