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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Opec, Caribbean-Latin America

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190550Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
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INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 1551
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RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 9493
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RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2941
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3014
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 003459

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 - OPEC, CARIBBEAN-LATIN AMERICA
SUMMIT, AND NORTH KOREA

1. LEAD STORIES: Top stories on Friday morning included the
likelihood that Toyota will post an operating loss in the current
business year ending in March for the first time in half a century.


2. "Plunging Prices No Excuse Not to Curb Reliance on Oil" On OPEC's
decision to slash oil production, the liberal Tokyo Shimbun
editorialized (12/19): "While the IAEA predicts that petroleum will
continue to be a major source of energy, we need to be prepared for
a possible shortage of oil. Concurrently, there have been calls to
halve the emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020. Whenever oil
becomes cheaper, the enthusiasm for reducing dependence on it
plummets. We need to remember that the plunge in petroleum prices in
the 1980s hampered the development of energy-conservation
technologies."

3. "Cutback in Production Reflects Frustration on Producers' Part"
The business-oriented Nikkei stated in an editorial (12/19):
"...Additional cuts in oil production represent frustration on the
part of oil producers.... Plunging oil prices and the ongoing
financial crisis have slowed new investment in energy-resource
development. A delay or stalemate in investment might hamstring
energy supplies in the future, resulting in a surge in petroleum
prices. It must be recognized that an excess fall in oil prices is
not desirable."

4. "Creation of Latin America-Caribbean Coalition" On an agreement
by Latin American and Caribbean leaders to create a new regional
framework in 2010 that excludes the U.S., the top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri wrote from Rio (12/19): "With the participants
having different motives, it remains to be seen whether the new
regional mechanism will be launched as committed. Central American
countries appear to be anxious to call attention to their presence
during the transition period for the incoming Obama
administration.... The accord for a new regional framework points to
Washington's waning influence in Latin America, which has been
called America's 'backyard'"

5. "DPRK Report on Terror Plot Meant to Apply Pressure on ROK"
Concerning a DPRK media story that police there have foiled a plot
to assassinate Kim Jong Il, a correspondent for the conservative
Sankei speculated from Seoul (12/19): "...North Korea has been
ratcheting up tensions with the Lee administration in Seoul. One
view holds that Pyongyang is doing this by claiming the existence of
a terror plot masterminded by South Korean spies."

ZUMWALT

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