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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Wto, War On Terror,

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DE RUEHKO #3437/01 3520904
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170904Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 003437

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 - WTO, WAR ON TERROR,
U.S. ENVIRONMENT POLICY, AND THAILAND

1. LEAD STORIES: Most Wednesday morning dailies front-
paged a GOJ panel decision to stipulate in the GOJ's
mid-term tax reform program a phased increase in the
consumption tax starting in fiscal 2011.

2. "Failure No Longer Acceptable" On the WTO failure to
convene a ministerial on the Doha Round trade
liberalization talks, the liberal Asahi editorialized
(12/17): "A Doha Round agreement within this year was
proposed by G20 leaders in an attempt to head off
increased protectionism or decline in global trade. The
failure to reach an agreement will call into question
the determination of the major economic powers. On the
contrary, it may have reminded the world of the
paramount difficulties awaiting the global economy.
There may be countries that set up trade barriers to
prioritize their domestic economy or form an exclusive
trading bloc.... The disappearance of a global
consensus for maintaining free trade would shrink the
volume of global trade, which would in turn exacerbate
the economic crisis. It must not be forgotten that
protectionism eventually led to a world war in the
past."

3. "Armed Groups Gaining Influence in Pakistan" A
correspondent for the liberal Mainichi stated in a
dispatch from New Delhi (12/17): "In response to the
terror attacks in Mumbai last month, the Pakistani
military has ceased operations to crack down on armed
groups near the border with Afghanistan, leading to
increasing influence on the part of these militias.
This demonstrates the incompetence in the war on terror
of the Pakistani military, which has been under
pressure following cross-border attacks by the U.S.
military and criticism of Pakistan by India concerning
the Mumbai assault. The war on terror in South Asia
appears to be heading toward a stalemate."

4. "Dream Team in the Offing" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri wrote from Washington (12/17): "With
his appointment of top energy and environment advisors,
President-elect Obama took the first step toward
fulfilling his election pledges to promote the use of
renewable energy and deal with climate change. By
naming an 'environmental dream team,' the
President-elect has made clear his position of
reversing the Bush administration's reactive approach
to the environment and taking the initiative. However,
difficulties still lie ahead before his campaign
pledges can be realized."

5. "Change in U.S. Environment Policy" The business-
oriented Nikkei reported from Washington (12/17): "The
lineup of the incoming Obama administration's
environment and energy policy team has been determined.
The appointment of a scientist who calls for less
dependence on oil as energy secretary signals a clear
turnaround in U.S. environment policy. With the
creation of the post of special assistant to the
president on energy and climate change, the Obama
administration is set to place emphasis on
international cooperation on the issue of global
warming and exercise leadership in global efforts to
reduce greenhouse gases."

TOKYO 00003437 002 OF 002

6. "National Reconciliation Urgently Needed" On the
election of new Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
the liberal Tokyo Shimbun wrote in an editorial
(12/17): "The new administration must rectify economic
disparities by implementing measures to assist farmers,
who are strong supporters of former Prime Minister
Thaksin.... Economic reconstruction is also crucial.
Thai politics has been in disarray in the midst of the
worldwide financial crisis. Until it extricates the
nation's economy from the turbulence, the new
government is bound to face difficulties."

SCHIEFFER

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