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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/20/08

VZCZCXRO4491
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2293/01 2330743
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200743Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6716
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1839
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9477
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3216
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 7626
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0057
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4982
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0972
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1310

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TOKYO 002293

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 08/20/08

INDEX:

(1) Defense Minister Hayashi positive about closing Futenma Air
Station within three years; Moving alternative facility offshore
difficult (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(2) Futenma commander tells visiting Okinawa military base committee
that clear zone is not in violation of U.S. safety standards (Ryukyu
Shimpo)

(3) SDF dispatch (Part 1): Extension of refueling mission-Barren
rehash continues (Mainichi)

(4) U.S. aircraft carrier crewmember arrested for murder, another
incident of misconduct before the vessel's deployment to Japan
(Kyodo)

(5) Yokosuka-bound U.S. nuclear flattop's crewman arrested for
alleged murder (Asahi)

ARTICLES:

(1) Defense Minister Hayashi positive about closing Futenma Air
Station within three years; Moving alternative facility offshore
difficult

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
August 20, 2008

Defense Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visited Okinawa Prefecture
yesterday afternoon for the first time since taking office. He met
with Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima at the prefectural office. In the
meeting, Nakaima sought a response from the government to Okinawa's
request to lose the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within
three years. He told Hayashi: "The government needs to negotiate
with the U.S. side." Hayashi told reporters after the meeting:
"After carrying out flying measurement research, if countermeasures
are needed, we will consider them." He indicated that the government
would respond in a positive manner based on the results of flying
measurement research, which will start on Sept. 28.

Regarding the moving of the alternate facility for Futenma Air
Station off shore, which the Okinawa prefectural government and Nago
City have called for, Hayashi said in the meeting: "It is difficult
to do so unless there are any logical reasons." He rejected anew
Okinawa's demand that the government's plan be changed.

Nakaima told Hayashi in the meeting:

"I appreciate that you came to Okinawa soon after taking office. The
residents of Okinawa wish that the excessive burden of U.S. military
bases will be eased. I would like to exchange flank views with you
from now on."

As to the relocation of Futenma Air Station, Nakaima said:

"In order to implement the realignment of U.S. bases in Japan, it is
indispensable to gain local understanding and cooperation. I hope
that the government will give sufficient consideration to local
requests and that the relocation of Futenma Air Station will make
progress as soon as possible."


TOKYO 00002293 002 OF 004


Nakaima demanded that Futenma Air Station be closed within three
years and that the replacement facility be moved offshore.

Nakaima handed Hayashi a list of five requests that include the
complete return of U.S. bases located south of Kadena Air Base and
the nation's complete bearing of costs for removing unexploded
bombs.

Hayashi said:

"The working team of the council has started discussion in detail.
The discussion will not move forward without local understanding and
cooperation. We have repeatedly said that it is difficult to (move
the replacement facility off shore) without a logical reason. Under
such circumstances, I would like you to boil down various matters."


Okinawa Vice Governors Zenki Nakazato and Katsuko Asato, the Defense
Ministry's Defense Policy Bureau Director General Nobushige
Takamizawa and Local Cooperation Bureau Director General Genzo Inoue
were present at the meeting.

(2) Futenma commander tells visiting Okinawa military base committee
that clear zone is not in violation of U.S. safety standards

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 2) (Full)
August 20, 2008

The Okinawa Prefectural Assembly U.S. military base affairs special
committee (Chaired by Kiyoko Tokashiki) yesterday visited Kadena Air
Base and Futenma Air Station and received explanations on the bases'
conditions. Tokashiki quoted Futenma Air Station commander Col. Leo
A. Falcam as saying regarding the base's clear zone: "The zone is
operated under U.S. law with adjustments being made as needed. It is
operated within the scope of international aviation standards, so
there is not a violation."

The U.S. Air Force and Marines aviation safety standards require the
establishment of a clear zone prohibiting the use of land up to 900
meters from either end of a runway, an area that has a high
probability of aircraft accidents.

Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha and others have pointed out that Futenma
Air Station violates safety standards, citing the existence of an
elementary school in its clear zone.

Hearing the explanation, a committee member said: "Futenma is not
based on U.S. standards." In response, Commander Falcam reportedly
reiterated the view that the base is operated in accordance with
U.S. safety standards, emphatically saying, "The base has been run
while adjusting (the U.S. standards) as necessary."

Further, regarding pre-posting education for service members in
connection with incidents and accidents by U.S. Marines, the
commander was quoted as saying: "They all get a thorough education
in the United States. A large number of incidents might be traceable
to difficulty in adapting to Okinawan culture."

At Kadena AB, Tokashiki said to Public Affairs chief John Hutcheson:
"Local residents have been tremendously affected by early-morning
takeoffs and rapid-response drills. The minimum noise accord must be
observed."

TOKYO 00002293 003 OF 004

(3) SDF dispatch (Part 1): Extension of refueling mission-Barren
rehash continues

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Abridged)
August 19, 2008

The Self-Defense Forces' overseas dispatch, which began with the
Gulf War in 1991, used to be ancillary but became a primary task of
its own as the Defense Agency was upgraded to its current ministry
status last year. Diet debate over the SDF's overseas dispatch used
to focus on its propriety-whether or not Japan should send SDF
troops to foreign land. Nowadays, the focus is on how to create a
stable legal framework for the SDF's overseas activities. However,
Japan's course of action has been wavering not only with the
international situation but also with the stance of the government
of the day and trends in public opinion. The Diet, in its
forthcoming extraordinary session, is expected to focus its debate
on a government-planned bill extending the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. In addition, the Diet
has also deliberated on such issues as amending or reinterpreting
the Constitution and creating a permanent law for SDF activities
overseas instead of enacting a time-limited special measures law
each time. However, parliamentary discussions on these issues have
repeatedly heated up and cooled down or gone back and forth to get
nowhere.

"There can be various ways, including the option of having the
Self-Defense Forces escort Japanese oil tankers. If the government
is not (considering any other measures than refueling), that's
neglectful." With this, Taro Aso, the new secretary general of the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party, came up with his idea on Aug. 5 of
tasking the MSDF with a new mission in the Indian Ocean instead of
engaging the MSDF in refueling activities there. LDP General Council
Chairman Takashi Sasagawa also made similar remarks. Their advocacy
created a stir in the government and the LDP.

The government has been stressing how important the war on terror
is. However, people are turning their eyes to the soaring gasoline
prices and the newly introduced but controversial healthcare
insurance plan for the elderly. People may say, "If you have free
oil for the United States, you should supply that oil to domestic
consumers." One LDP lawmaker fears that if the government is
criticized in this way, the LDP would be at a disadvantage in a
general election for the House of Representatives should it be
dissolved. This lawmaker said, "If that is the case, the LDP should
say the SDF will defend Japanese tankers." That can make an appeal
to the public, he thought.

This, however, is a rehash of arguments already done. In April, the
then defense minister, Shigeru Ishiba, replied to an interpellation
in the Diet. At the time, Ishiba suggested the need for Japan to
have a new law in order for the SDF to defend sea lanes for Japan's
oil shipping. If the government chooses to create a new law, there
will be an inevitable hurdle in store. In that case, the LDP and its
coalition partner, the New Komeito, would have to take a second vote
in the House of Representatives in order to override the
opposition-controlled House of Councillors' decision as the ruling
coalition will have to do so in order to extend the new
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, under which the MSDF has been
tasked with refueling services in the Indian Ocean. A senior
official of the Defense Ministry grumbled, "If we say protecting

TOKYO 00002293 004 OF 004


Japan's oil is the kind of international cooperation, I don't think
they will understand that."

"We will have to gain an edge in the election before thinking about
our international contributions," said a ruling party executive.
Some lawmakers in the ruling parties are also saying the new
antiterror legislation should be carried over to next year's
ordinary Diet session so that they will not be affected if and when
the House of Representatives is dissolved for a general
election-just as the ruling coalition is putting off a consumption
tax hike that is needed for social security revenues.

(4) U.S. aircraft carrier crewmember arrested for murder, another
incident of misconduct before the vessel's deployment to Japan

Kyodo (Online) (Full)
12:36, August 20, 2008

August 19, Washington

A sailor from the USS George Washington, a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier to be deployed to Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa
Prefecture, was arrested on Aug. 19 by local police in connection
with a murder that occurred in a San Diego, California, suburb, the
Stars and Stripes website reported on the same day.

The George Washington, which is under repair since a fire broke out
onboard in May, was scheduled to re-depart for Japan as early as
Aug. 21. Although there seems to be no change to its planned
departure, persons concerned are shocked by yet another incident of
misconduct committed by U.S. service members. Voices of concern are
likely to grow louder in Japan.

According to the Stars and Stripes, the police have arrested two
service members: Petty Officer 2nd Class Cloris Cannon, 26, from the
George Washington and another 26-year-old petty officer 2nd class of
a different unit. They got into a quarrel with two men in National
City on Aug. 16, and the petty officer 2nd class who was with Cannon
shot them, killing one. Cannon and the other suspect were arrested
on suspicion of murder and assault.

(5) Yokosuka-bound U.S. nuclear flattop's crewman arrested for
alleged murder

ASAHI (Online) (Full)
August 20, 2008 (13:26)

WASHINGTON-Two sailors, including a 26-year-old petty officer second
class from the USS George Washington, the first nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier to be deployed to Japan, were arrested on Aug. 19
for their alleged involvement in a murder that took place in the
suburbs of San Diego, according to the Stars & Stripes (online), a
newspaper published for U.S. forces. The two sailors quarreled with
two others there, and another 26-year-old petty officer second class
from a different unit, who was with that crewman from the George
Washington, fired a gun, killing one of the other two, the online
story said. The George Washington caused a fire in May and is now
under repair. She was slated to set sail on Aug. 21 for Yokosuka.

SCHIEFFER

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