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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Uss George Washington

VZCZCXRO1972
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2656/01 2700145
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 260145Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7519
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N541// PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA// PRIORITY
RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 0061
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 2420
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 8151
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 0636
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 3803
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5529
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2540
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1524
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1811
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 002656

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 - USS GEORGE WASHINGTON
DEPLOYMENT TO JAPAN AND NORTH KOREA

1. LEAD STORIES: Most Friday morning papers gave top
play to the results of their respective nationwide
opinion polls on public support for the Aso cabinet,
which was launched on Wednesday.

2. "Can George Washington Be Fortress of Peace?" The
liberal Asahi editorialized (9/26): "...The deployment
means more than a switch from an old carrier to a new
one. While the U.S. Navy operates throughout the world,
Yokosuka is the only overseas homeport for a U.S.
carrier. Yokosuka is a symbol of the U.S.-Japan
alliance due to the fact that it allows the Navy to
cover an area ranging from the Pacific to the Arabian
Sea.... Ambassador Schieffer said in the welcoming
ceremony that the U.S. has no alliance more important
than the one it has with Japan.... The deployment of a
new aircraft carrier, which will increase the U.S.
military's deterrent power, will contribute to the
security of Japan.... However, the GOJ should receive
more information from the U.S. military concerning its
activities based from Japan.... More importantly,
safety measures for nuclear-powered ships should be
taken."

3. "U.S. and Japanese Governments Need to Take Thorough
Safety Measures" The liberal Mainichi stated in an
editorial (9/26): "...A minor incident or accident
aboard a nuclear-powered vessel could lead to a serious
incident involving local residents. The U.S. and
Japanese governments need to establish a robust system
to prevent and prepare for a possible accident by
reflecting on the recent fire aboard the USS George
Washington.... It is not sufficient for Japan to depend
only on information from the U.S. military when an
accident happens or is suspected to have happened. The
Japanese government should establish new arrangements
with the U.S., including onsite inspections of U.S.
vessels."

4. "Deployment to Contribute to Stability in Asia" The
moderate Yomiuri editorialized (9/26): "The deployment
is expected to contribute not only to the defense of
Japan but also to peace and stability in the entire
Asia-Pacific region.... At the same time, thorough
safety measures for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
need to be taken. The GOJ needs to continue to call on
the U.S. to pay close attention to the safety of the
carrier in order to remove local concerns.... It is
important for the U.S. and Japan to continue their
efforts to build mutual confidence through joint drills
and candid exchanges of opinion."

5. "Concerns About Homeporting" The liberal Tokyo
Shimbun insisted in an editorial (9/26): "...Although
the U.S. has guaranteed the safety of the carrier,
safety control exercised only by the U.S. will not
remove local anxieties. The GOJ's active commitment is
indispensable to prevent an accident.... While a
welcoming ceremony was held at the base, civic groups
carried out protests, displaying a banner reading 'We
don't need a nuclear-powered carrier.' This
demonstrates how deep their concern about a 'floating
nuclear reactor' is. The U.S. and Japanese governments
should take this seriously.... It will not do to have

TOKYO 00002656 002 OF 002


the Japanese people feel anxious because of the U.S.-
Japan alliance. The GOJ's efforts are insufficient. It
should call on the U.S. to release more information and
allow it to verify ships' safety."

6. "North Korea's Brinkmanship Unacceptable" The
conservative Sankei editorialized (9/26): "...Although
North Korea claims that it is taking 'countermeasures'
in response to the U.S. delay in delisting it as a
state sponsor of terrorism, this is nothing more than
sophistry. Delisting was originally set to be carried
out in return for Pyongyang's complete and correct
declaration of its nuclear programs, and verification
of the declaration is required to ensure the accuracy
of the declaration.... It is important that the other
five members of the six-party talks, including the U.S.
and Japan, not compromise their principles.... If North
Korea goes back on its agreements, the suspension of
energy assistance will be unavoidable."

SCHIEFFER

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