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Cablegate: Scenesetter for Assistant Secretary Boucher's

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S E C R E T TOKYO 002148

SIPDIS

EMBASSY COLOMBO PLEASE PASS TO A/S BOUCHER
DEPT FOR SCA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS: PREL KNNP XD ZK JA
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER'S
VISIT TO TOKYO

Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer for reasons 1.4(b) and (d
)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and, to a
lesser extent, Central Asia are all actively on the Japanese
radar screen. We are very glad you were able to reschedule
your visit to Tokyo to discuss these pressing issues with
your Japanese counterparts. On Afghanistan, you will find a
government that is wrestling with how to do more in order to
fulfill commitments to the Afghan people and the
international community to make a ""substantial"" commitment,
while at the same time fending off political attacks from a
recently empowered and aggressive opposition party. On
India, Japan is also coming to grips with how to support it's
strongest ally, the United States, and an always close
friend, India, while remaining true to long-standing
non-proliferation imperatives. Foreign Minister Koumura and
Director General Inomata, who you will meet, will have just
returned from a three-day visit to New Delhi. On Pakistan,
Japan has recently announced an increase in aid in the hopes
of encouraging the growth of democracy and a more vibrant
economy. And in Central Asia, Japanese attempts to counter
Chinese and Russian inroads, while modest, closely align with
our efforts to develop southward-looking economies with more
options for trade and exchange. Your counterparts from four
different bureaus are looking forward to sharing their views
with you and to listening to what you have to tell them about
U.S. thinking on these critical issues. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------
DOMESTIC POLITICAL CONTEXT
--------------------------

2. (C) Many of the issues you will be discussing in Tokyo are
closely tied to and complicated by a domestic political
struggle now taking place between the majority Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) and the opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ). Until last summer, the LDP and its coalition
partner, the New Komeito Party, controlled both the upper and
lower houses of the Diet. The opposition was largely ignored
and whatever initiatives the LDP leadership decided to pursue
were easily enacted.

3. (C) All that changed in July 2007, when the LDP lost its
majority control of the upper house after mishandling the
loss of over 50 millin records of individuals' pension
contributions. Although the LDP and New Komeito, with a
two-thirds majority in the lower house, can still enact
legislation over the disapproval of the upper house (and in
fact did so to reauthorize Japan's participation in the
Operation Enduring Freedom Maritime Interdiction Operation),
doing so is not taken lightly in the Japanese political
context. The bottom line is that with its newfound political
clout, and its desire to bring down the LDP and seize control
of the government, the DPJ is now mounting serious opposition
to many LDP initiatives, such as continued support for OEF
and for the continued deployment of Air Self Defense Force
assets in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

4. (C) Even for issues that have not yet come up for
widespread public debate, such as the U.S.-India civil
nuclear agreement, the LDP and the New Komeito are now very
shy about forcing things, fearing that DPJ opposition on
issues such as deployment of forces abroad or weakening the
NPT regime will resonate with voters in the next lower house
election. The Komeito, which is the political wing of a
pacifist Buddist sect, is particularly opposed to any
overseas dispatch of Japanese forces. Since their support is
key to LDP power, they have an effective veto over Fukuda's
policies.

5. (C) The LDP's declining popularity led Prime Minister
Fukuda to shuffle his cabinet last week in the hopes of
strengthening the party's hand for upcoming elections.
However, the fallout of all of this is that you will find a
Japanese government whose hands are nearly tied on several
foreign policy initiatives that are of critical importance to
us.

-----------
AFGHANISTAN
-----------

6. (S) It is fair to say that Afghanistan is Issue Number One
for the recently appointed second cabinet of Prime Minister
Fukuda. Under pressure from us and, to a lesser extent,
other ISAF partners, the Japanese government is in the final
stages of compiling a package of new financial and personnel
support measures for Afghanistan. The new assistance is
provided in response to a direct request from the President
to PM Fukuda at the G-8 Summit last month for Japan to expand
its presence in Afghanistan. The President told Prime
Minister Fukuda on July 6 that Japan needed to provide
""substantial"" assistance to Afghanistan, underscoring that a
symbolic contribution would not be adequate or welcome. He
specifically requested that Japan dispatch two squadrons of
CH-47 heavy lift helicopters or take leadership of a PRT.
Citing his weak domestic political base, however, the Prime
Minister told the President it would be impossible to send a
major Self-Defense Force (SDF) ground component to
Afghanistan and that his government would fall if he pushed
the Afghan aid issue too hard.

7. (S) On July 15-16, DASD for Central Asia Bobby Wilkes
delivered a second option for Japanese support that included
C-130 airlift support, USD 200 million for 2009/10 Afghan
elections, a regional hospital network, and USD 20 billion
over five years to fund the expansion of the Afghan Security
Forces. DASD Wilkes emphasized that, taken together, these
measures would be considered a ""substantial"" package as
outlined by the President. The Japanese government now is in
the final stages of compiling its own package of Afghan
support programs, which we expect to be provided formally to
us in the coming weeks. While Japanese officials say the
package contains significant financial and civilian personnel
components, it is unlikely to include a military component or
substantial participation in a PRT. It will be important for
you to re-enforce the President's and DASD Wilkes message on
the pressing need for a substantial contribution to
Afghanistan. Japanese will seize on any ambiguity on our part
to avoid making hard decisions on Afghan aid.

8. (S) Your counterparts will most likely seek to remind you
that Japan is already the second largest donor to
Afghanistan, but this fails to take into consideration the
operating costs of countries which are deploying military
forces there, not to mention the casualties they are
suffering. When these costs are calculated, Japan slips way
down the list. One other disappointment has been the very
slow progress on the Japanese portion of the ring road.
We've offered to take over construction of their segment
while giving them the credit for its eventual completion, but
they are hesitant to accept this offer. You should mention
that we look forward to the prompt completion of the project,
which we believe will enhance security, enable critically
needed economic growth, and bolster the authority of the
central government.

------
INDIA
-----

9. (C) Japan has long-standing and friendly ties with India.
Former Prime Minister Abe launched a major push to
strengthen the relationship, which was elevated to the level
of a ""joint strategic and global partnership"" in 2006, and
was keen to include India in a ""quad"" relationship with us
and Australia. However, under Prime Minister Fukuda,
Japan-India relations, while still viewed as extremely
important, have not been pushed quite so hard. Bilateral
trade is expanding, but the speed and scope of this expansion
is limited and remains very small in comparison to India's
commercial relationship with China, always a factor that the
Japanese look to. Prime Minister Fukuda held a brief
bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Singh last month on the
sidelines of the G-8 Summit, and Singh is said to be set to
visit Tokyo later this year. Foreign Minister Koumura is
currently visiting New Delhi, where he plans meetings with
Finance Minister Chidambaram, Minister of Commerce and
Industry Nath, Minister of Defense Antony, and Minster of
External Affairs Mukherjee.

10. (C) On the subject of the U.S.-India civil nuclear
agreement, Japan has been cautious and has tried to maintain
a low profile. While not wishing to antagonize or oppose its
most important partner -- us -- or a highly regarded friend
-- India -- Japan's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation
makes it extremely wary of approving an agreement that many
view as weakening the NPT regime. Again, this is another
issue that, if seized upon by the opposition or public, could
create problems for the LDP, particularly with its
pacifist-oriented partner, the New Komeito. It is unlikely
Japan will take any action on its own that would impede
progress on this agreement, but you should take steps to
assure Japan concerning the agreement and attempt to
strengthen, if not their support, then at least their
""non-opposition.""

--------
PAKISTAN
--------

11. (C) Foreign Minister Koumura most recently visited
Pakistan on May 2-4, where he announced an increase in
Japanese yen loan aid to approximately USD 480 million, more
than double the amount of the previous year. Japan believes
the stability and development of Pakistan is directly linked
to the peace and stability of the Asian region and of the
international community as a whole, and that fighting
terrorism, consolidating democracy and achieving sustainable
economic growth are more important that ever in Pakistan.
Japan has also been working with the United States to provide
assistance in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, but
progress on Japanese progress has been very slow due to
security concerns. Your Japanese counterparts will be very
interested in where you see Pakistan heading.

------------
CENTRAL ASIA
------------

12. (C) Japan's main interests in Central Asia revolve around
gaining access to energy resources -- uranium as well as oil
-- and to competing with China and Russia. Although DAS
Feigenbaum has explained to the Japanese that we do not view
the region through the lens of the ""great game,"" it seems
that the Japanese still do. Accordingly, Japan's policies in
the region are designed to a large extent to avoid forfeiting
all influence to Russia and China. Japan's main regional
mechanism is the ""Central Asia plus Japan"" grouping, which
has developed an action plan to promote intraregional
cooperation among the countries of Central Asia. The third
senior officials meeting was held last December, and Japan
was represented at the Deputy Director General level. Like
India, Japan's approach to the region has seemingly receded
from the public view since Prime Minister Fukuda took office.
Former Foreign Minister Aso's ""Arc of Freedom and
Prosperity"" focused heavily on providing assistance to the
developing democracies of the Central Asia. We have been
trying, with limited success, to involve Japan in energy
transmission projects in which hydropower from Central Asian
countries is moved south to help power the growing economies
in India and Pakistan, as well as in Afghanistan. Your visit
will present an excellent opportunity to discuss with
counterparts our shared interests in the region and to
explore ways in which we may work more closely together to
realize them.

SCHIEFFER

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