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Richard Armitage IV by Sankei Shimbun Newspaper

Interview by Yukio Kashiyama of Sankei Shimbun Newspaper

Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State

Washington, DC August 4, 2004

(11:00 a.m. EDT)

MR. KASHIYAMA: My first question (inaudible) Constitution, Article 9 issue. The other day you met with Mr. Nakagawa. He explained that you mentioned Article 9 was some obstacle for the U.S.-Japan security alliance. I really want to know what exactly you said and what is your idea about that issue?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yes, and I, not only did I meet with Minister Nakagawa, I also met Mr. Okada of the DPJ, Minshuto.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Yes.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: And I answered this question for him. I said, first of all, that Article 9 is a matter for Japanese to decide. It's the Japanese constitution. But I said to him further, and this is what I had written in the Nye-Armitage Report, that it is clear that Article 9 is a constraint on alliance cooperation. But having said that, I said we do respect the nature of Japanese democracy, and we respect the outcome of the democratic process, "full stop."

Then I went on to say that, however, the United States fully supports Japan in its desire to have a seat on the UN Security Council. I also made the point that it is the UN Security Council which is the executive decision-making organization in the United Nations, who makes decisions about deployments of (inaudible) overseas.

MR. KASHIYAMA: You said it s a constraint on cooperation. What does it mean? It s an obstacle for the U.S.-Japan alliance?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I said it's a constraint on alliance cooperation. Our commitment to defend Japan, the home islands and the territories under the administrative control of Japan, is iron-clad. That has nothing to do with Article 9; that has to do with our alliance. But I said it's a constraint to cooperation because in the Far East, right now, under presence circumstances, if the United States' ships were sailing back and forth and we were attacked by another country, Japan could not help us.

MR. KASHIYAMA: So one-way?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yes, that's kind of one-way. That's all I am saying. But our commitment to the defense of Japan, the home islands and the administrative territory, is iron-clad. It's not based on anything other than our alliance.

MR. KASHIYAMA: So, also you mentioned that the United States has been supporting Japan s efforts for membership of the Security Council. But at the same time, you said to Mr. Nakagawa, that -- but once we joined, become a member of the Security Council, that we need to face some military contribution.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, what I said -- no, what I said was that, I repeat again, that the Security Council is the executive decision-making entity of the United Nations. They're the ones who make decisions about deployments of forces. So it's ironic. It would be ironic that a country on the Security Council would not be able to themselves deploy.

Interestingly enough, I think what it was Mr. Okada who said to me that if it was in line with the constitution and if there were a UN resolution, that Japan would be able -- well, this was obvious -- but he responded in that way. Nakagawa, I was going to say, I don't remember. I don't think he responded.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Is it possible as Article 9 exists, as long as Japan preserves Article 9, is it disturbing for the U.S. (inaudible)?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No. The alliance is going to remain no matter what. Look, we have Article 9 today, and I think many people describe the present U.S.-Japan relationship as a golden time.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Yes.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I don't view this -- in our sort of wedding terminology, a golden anniversary is 50 years -- so I would look for this golden time to last about 50 years or so. It's going to last whether we have Article 9 or not. The decision to change Article 9 is one that rests entirely with the Japanese. And the Japanese have opinions -- some want to, some don't. And, as I say, we respect the outcome of the Japanese democratic process.

MR. KASHIYAMA: So what I heard and what Mr. Nakagawa expressed to us and I asked this at the press briefing also what you said to Mr. Nakagawa, does it imply that it s a condition for the United States to support Japan s effort (inaudible)?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, absolutely not. No, that's why I use the terminology "full stop," after I described Article 9, "full stop." And then our support for Japan's Security Council seat is not tied to anything. We have supported Japan in this for a number of years and we're going to continue to. I think that we had -- the Japanese Embassy representative who was here, the Japanese Embassy representative who was here during Nakagawa-sensei s visit.

MR. KASHIYAMA: I think Mr. Shiojiri.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yes, it was. He -- I think he has probably told you that I didn't -- I didn't tie the two together.

MR. KASHIYAMA: I talked to him.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I think because they came so close together that maybe Nakagawa-sensei maybe tied them, but they're not tied together. They weren't the other day, they're not today, they won't be tomorrow.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Does that mean that without amendment of Article 9 that the United States supports Japan s efforts to gain a permanent seat?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: It means that if Japan does not change Article 9 we support it. If Japan changes Article 9, then we support Japan. If Japan does anything else. It's up to Japan to decide. I have spoken in the Nye-Armitage Report about my desire to have as close a relationship with Japan as possible, indeed, one that mirrors as much as possible -- except for the nuclear weapons -- Great Britain. We're pretty close to that now.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Basically, does United States want Japan to amend the Article 9?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, you've asked the same question about four times. The United States wants Japan to follow her own constitutional process and make a Japanese decision, and we will respect the outcome of that decision.

MR. KASHIYAMA: I understand Mr. Secretary, but you are a very close friend to Japan, many Japanese people know you, and you have a lot of friends in Japan. I think you are one of best friends for Japan. So it's not so bad an idea to give us suggestions or advice as friend to Japan.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: My advice as a friend, when I sit in this position, will be to government officials. It won't be through even such a good newspaper as Sankei Shimbun. So any advice I give will be done privately. I think that words in the Armitage-Nye Report, Nye-Armitage Report stand on their own, and they have to be taken in full context. It's a constraint to alliance cooperation, but we respect the unique nature of Japanese democracy and the outcome of that democratic process. So it makes very clear in that report that with an Article 9 or without Article 9, we, or the United States, are going to strive as hard as possible to have as close, warm relationship with the nation and the people of Japan as possible.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Okay, good. I want to go to the next question. On Iraq. How will Japan contribute in Iraq?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Both to Nakagawa-sensei and Okada-sensei I was able to say, from United States point of view, there is enormous gratitude for the courage of the Japanese Government, the Japanese jieitai personnel , who are serving in Samawah. But, moreover, there is enormous affection by the people of Iraq for what the jieitai troops are doing. I think that if we're successful in Iraq, and our President intends to be, Japan will have had a major part in changing the face of the Middle East for the better.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Can you elaborate? What do you want Japan to do? What do you hope Japan to do, what kind of role Japan to play in the near future?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: The role Japan is playing now is the role we'd like to see, that is one that's providing assistance for reconstruction to Iraq, providing a great example, I think, to the people of Iraq, and as standing strong with the coalition in the reconstruction of Iraq. That's a perfectly reasonable and good role for Japan to play. On the political -- that s the practical implication, a practical matter. On the political side, Japan has stood up very well against intimidation and threats.

In fact today we in the United States and many of the many of the coalition members will be issuing a statement around noon about the need to stay very strong and not give any concessions to terrorists. As you know, the Philippines made what we believe was a concession, and we very much regretted that decision. We saw Japan stand very firm and very much appreciate the courage and the wisdom of the government leaders in Japan.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Next question, Mr. Jenkins.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yes, Sergeant Jenkins.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Yes, it's a very difficult situation. Is still the U.S. position the same?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Our position is the same. We consider him still on active duty. He's a deserter, and he has to answer to some sort of process for the allegations that have been made against him for his service during the Korean War.

Having said that, he is very ill. And although we feel under the SOFA we have the right to demand his return, his ill-health has made us be very cautious, and we're working with the authorities in Japan to try to work this out. I saw today on the TV that he's been given access to a military lawyer. It's all part of the process.

MR. KASHIYAMA: So is there any idea to resolve this issue (inaudible) everybody will be happy?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I have never found an issue which was resolved where everybody is happy. But, as I say, you asked our position, I gave it to you, and I'll just leave it right there.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Okay. Now on North Korea, Six-Party Talks in September or in the middle of this month some working-level meetings -- do you have any concrete date?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, we don't have concrete dates. As you probably know, our envoy Joe DeTrani was recently in Beijing and had discussions. All six parties were agreed that we'll have a session before the end of September. We're intent on that. We'd like to have a working group this month, but as I sit here there is no actual date.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Okay. How do you think is North Korea going to answer to your comprehensive proposal?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: How could I know that? How could I know that? They're the only ones who can answer that. I believe that the North Koreans found our proposal at the Six-Party Talks that Jim Kelly participated in an interesting proposal. They've told us that they found it interesting. And I know the Chinese have had discussions with the North Koreans. So I think that we're into a process, and we've got plenty of patience to see that process out.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Even if North Korea at some time in the future, if North Korea says, no, I don't like the U.S. proposal, then what happen? I think the Six-Party Talks will collapse.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, I don t think so. People have been predicting the end of the Six-Party Talks since before we had the first one, and we're still having them. I don't think -- I don't expect the North Koreans to stand up and say, yes, we endorse the whole proposal. This is a process, and in that process sides give and sides take. And all six parties who are involved are giving and taking.

What's been important thus far -- the Chinese engagement, and the Government of Japan, the Government of the Republic of Korea and the United States in very close consultations which, through a difficult issue, have made the three of us even closer.

MR. KASHIYAMA: The final question.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Sure.

MR. KASHIYAMA: A lot of rumors that Mr. Secretary and Mr. Armitage might be leaving when President Bush is elected again. I ve heard a lot of rumors that you might be nominated as CIA Director. What are you going to do?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, first of all I have never accepted or turned down a job which hasn't been offered, so I'll say that. And I do appreciate the fact that you acknowledge that President Bush will get re-elected. (Laughter.) I like that. That's what we're all concentrating on now. The Secretary and I serve at the pleasure of the President, and we'll decide what he wants when he lets us know.

MR. KASHIYAMA: Thank you very much.

[End]

Released on August 12, 2004


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