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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 06/14/06

DE RUEHKO #3277/01 1650812
P 140812Z JUN 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

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(1) North Korea in war of nerves with Japan, US

(2) Opinion column: Bright and dark sides of US public diplomacy

(3) 2006 LDP presidential campaign: Taro Aso says, "I will
definitely run if I can get 20 lawmakers to recommend me"; but
who will back ASO? How will he raise public support?

(4) Editorial: Japan-South Korea EEZ talks should be pursued
separately from Takeshima/Dokdo ownership issue

(5) Three personnel actions at the Foreign Ministry


(1) North Korea in war of nerves with Japan, US

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
June 14, 2006

WASHINGTON-North Korea may shortly test-fire a long-range
ballistic missile that can reach the US mainland, according to
Japanese and US government officials. North Korea could carry out
a missile test in a week at the earliest, one official said,
adding that North Korea, now in a fix due to financial sanctions
taken by the United States against North Korea, is showing such a
political pose in an aim to find a way out of its current
difficulties. However, there is also a chance of North Korea
carrying out a missile test. As it stands, Japan and the United
States are on high alert. Such a potential North Korean missile
test, should it be carried out, will intensify tensions in the
region. Japan and the United States appear to be in a war of
nerves with North Korea.

According to Japanese and US government officials, there were
busy moves-including vehicles and radio communications-near a
missile test site in North Korea's eastern province of Hamkyong
Bukdo. In response to such moves, the Japanese and US governments
have now raised warning levels. The US military is now flying RC-
135S Cobra Ball electronic reconnaissance aircraft on warning and
surveillance missions.

North Korea is presumed to test-fire a missile before the rainy
season. This is believed to be why officials say North Korea
could carry out a missile test in a week or so. However, it seems
that North Korea has yet to fuel its missiles.

Meanwhile, the six-party talks over North Korea's nuclear
programs have been suspended. "China, which hosts the six-party
talks, have failed to persuade North Korea," one US government
official noted. "Since then," the official added, "North Korea
has been threatening to launch a missile."

North Korea is of course well aware of Japanese and US satellite
surveillance activities in outer space for its missile launches,
so North Korea knows that Japan and the United States are
watching its moves.

For now, the chance of North Korea launching a missile is 30% or
so, according to a US official. However, Japan and the United
States will surely step up their moves to impose sanctions on

TOKYO 00003277 002 OF 008

North Korea should that country launch a missile. "It's against
the spirit of the joint statement that was released at the fourth
round of six-party talks in September last year and that was
signed by North Korea, too," US State Department Spokesman
McComack said.

"We don't think their missile launch is imminent at this point,"
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a press conference
yesterday. However, he warned: "I want North Korea to take action
for the international community's confidence."

In 1999, the then US Clinton administration eased its economic
sanctions on North Korea in exchange for that country's freeze on
its Taepodong-2 missile test.

At present, the United States is giving priority to its
negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. The US
government has come up with a comprehensive plan in exchange for
Iran's moratorium on its nuclear development. With an eye on the
United States' moves over Iran's nuclear program, North Korea is
apparently trying to check the United States and wants to hold
negotiations to its advantage.

(2) Opinion column: Bright and dark sides of US public diplomacy

ASAHI (Page 9) (Slightly abridged)
June 12, 2006

By Yasushi Watanabe, professor of anthropology at Keio University

I watched the film Good Night and Good Luck now being released
here in Japan. The film was directed and co-written by popular
actor George Clooney in Hollywood. The hero of the film is a
renowned newscaster, Edward Murrow, who dauntlessly stood up to
Senator Joseph McCarthy, a leading figure in the so-called "Red
Scare" or McCarthyism that engulfed the United States in the
early 1950s.

Murrow said: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at
home." This line seems to reflect what Clooney feels about what
is happening in the US today.

In 1961, Murrow was invited by President John F. Kennedy to take
office as director of the United States Information Agency
(USIA), though this episode is not included in the film. The post
enabled him to play a leading role in public diplomacy aimed at
making other countries have a good grip on the US and improve
America's image abroad.

When he accepted that position, Murrow cited this condition: "If
you want me in on emergency landings, I'd better be there for the
takeoffs (TN: sic; Murrow actually said: "If you want me in on
the landings, I'd better be there for the takeoffs.") Kennedy
accepted the condition and allowed Murrow to attend the National
Security Council (NSC), the nation's supreme organization
handling national defense and foreign policy.

The above line, along with these remarks by Murrow "Truth is the
best advertisement, and fallacy is the worst"; and "A skillful
advertisement for a poor policy only exacerbates the fallacy,"
are often quoted even today as the essence of public diplomacy.

The true value of public diplomacy is questioned most in Islamic

TOKYO 00003277 003 OF 008

nations. For the security of the US and in order to set an
environment for policy-making, it is essential to assuage
antipathy toward the US. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in
2001 against the US, the Bush administration, as part of its top
priority national strategy, has been trying to attract the hearts
of Islamic people by highlighting American culture, lifestyles,
and the charm of the American society by introducing such
programs as "Radio Sawa," a television network "Al-Hurra," and
Arabic-language youth magazine "Hi."

The US also ran an advertisement on television showing that the
US has not hostility toward the Islamic religion. In the ad, five
Islamic-Americans -- a baker, a teacher, a paramedic, a student
majoring in journalism, and a government official -- emphasized
the tolerance of the American society. But this advertisement
aroused criticism even in the US for concealing the negative
realities that Islamic-Americans are facing in the US.

At present six million Islamic-Americans are said to live in the
US, and their population in the US, particularly in big cities,
is on the rise, and it is likely to exceed that of Jewish-
Americans in a few years. Of those Muslims, one-fourth are Blacks
who converted to Islam. The reason for their conversion is
presumably their deep sense of despair stemming from their being
at the bottom of the social pyramid in the US. Immediately after
the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Bush issued a statement, in
which the president warned against any hostile action toward Arab-
Americans (most of whom are Christians) and Islamic-Americans.
But the hate crimes and violations of human rights are too
frequent to enumerate, so some describe such a situation as a
revival of the dark days of the Red Scare.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report
in May that sharply criticized the government's strategy, which
has already expended massive amounts of money, as a failure in
every respect. The report stressed instead the importance of
exchanges with other countries, for instance, journalists,
politicians, teachers, and students, as well as the importance of
foreign language education. What is urgently needed, in other
words, is to dispel misperceptions and prejudice through
dialogues and exchanges instead of a one-way flow of information.

This criticism stems from the notion that a distorted perception
of others can only lead to a distorted foreign policy. It also
comes from the self-reflection that the quantity of information
provided or the public relations strategies used are not germane
to the solution of the problem.

These days, when international exchange projects are financed by
public money in the US or in Japan, there is a tendency to
eliminate those people whose opinions are critical of the
country's policies, all in the name of the logic that this is
taxpayers' money.

This approach, however, can only bring about an adverse effect
especially in the present-day information-oriented society or
network society. It is narrow-minded, given the present-day
society where there are a diversity of public organizations
ranging from the civic society to regional federations to the
global society that are overlapping with each other.

Senator J. William Fulbright, who was on friendly terms with
Murrow and was the proponent of the Fulbright Program that has

TOKYO 00003277 004 OF 008

contributed to Japan-US exchanges since the end of World War II,
released a statement in the name of chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee in the year when Murrow took office
as director of USIA. The statement goes: "I strongly dismiss such
an idea that regards educational and cultural exchange projects
as weapons or a means for the US to fight."

This remark appears to point to the danger of a power game-
oriented idea that fighting comes first before anything else. It
also appears to be an aphorism to the world today.

(3) 2006 LDP presidential campaign: Taro Aso says, "I will
definitely run if I can get 20 lawmakers to recommend me"; but
who will back ASO? How will he raise public support?

SANKEI (Page 4) (Full)
June 10, 2006

In a speech delivered in Tokyo on June 9, Foreign Minister Taro
Aso declared his intention to run in the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) presidential election. "Among the four contenders (to
succeed Prime Minister Koizumi), only I have declared my
intention to run in the presidential race. I will definitely run
if I can line up 20 (backers)." But Aso is far behind Chief
Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and former Chief Cabinet Secretary
Yasuo Fukuda in public support, according to opinion polls. Even
if he secures the required number of recommenders to run for the
race, Aso would not be able to avoid an uphill battle.

High hurdle lies ahead

In the speech, Aso said, "I'm sure 20 lawmakers will stand up for
my candidacy," promising that he can secure the required number
of 20 lawmakers for him to run in the election. Until then he had
said he was confident about getting such a number of lawmakers,
but now he has begun saying he was sure he would do so.

Late in that day, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also told
reporters: "I believe Mr. Aso will have 20 such lawmakers. It's
good for willing people to run for the race without hesitation."

Aso belongs to the Kono group in the LDP, but the group has only
10 members, excluding its head Yohei Kono, who has left the group
upon assuming the post of speaker of the Lower House and is now
an independent. This circumstance requires Aso to secure at least
10 lawmakers from other factions in the party. Another concern is
that Taro Kono, a House of Representatives member, who is also a
member of the Kono group, has indicated his intention to run for
the race. Considering these elements, some in the party are
skeptical about whether he can secure the required number of

On June 6, Aso met with Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, head
of the Tanigaki faction, and lawmakers Yuya Niwa and Makoto Koga,
representatives of the Niwa-Koga faction. All these three groups
deriving from the former Miyazawa faction now see some of their
members moving to merge their groups into one to be called the
"grand Kochi-kai."

Ahead of this three-way meeting, Aso dined with Koga one on one
and exchanged views. But it is not an easy task to unify a
candidate among the three groups.

TOKYO 00003277 005 OF 008

Aso talks tough about his candidacy: "Given that I garnered 31
votes in the presidential race five years ago, I think I can
secure at least more than that." A person close to Aso,
expressing the hope of other groups, such as the Komura faction,
giving endorsement to Aso, explained: "That's because (Aso) has
now a prospect of securing the required number of supporters for
his candidacy even without counting on members of the former
Miyazawa faction."

Low public supporting rates

A headache for Aso is that he tends to be overshadowed by the
most promising contender Abe. The two basically will follow
Koizumi's reform line, so there is no major policy difference
between them. This is perhaps one reason why Aso cannot widen
public support, observers say.

"Are you confident of coming in second at best?" LDP General
Council Chairman Fumio Kyuma asked Aso when he met with Aso at a
Tokyo hotel on April 28. When Aso was chair of the LDP Policy
Research Council, Kyuma served as deputy chair of the council.
Kyuma and Aso are on the same wavelength with each other. So,
Kyuma sounded out Aso about his real feelings, but Aso avoided
making a clear answer. Aso has said, "I don't care about" (low
supporting rates for him), but he sometimes murmurs to his aides:
"There's a significant difference between one-digit support
ratings and two-digit ones."

Finding time between his diplomatic schedules, Aso has taken a
tour of some prefectures, such as Hokkaido and Hiroshima, and he
has appealed to the public regarding his own policy ideas, such
as shifting the present Japanese society to an more active
graying society." Gaining more of support from local LDP chapters
by making clear his stance of grappling with rectifying social
disparities and revitalizing local economies seems to be Aso's

While Abe has indicated his intention to announce his candidacy
after the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in mid-July, expectations
for Fukuda, who remains mute, are rising. Amid this situation,
Aso finds himself under pressure to do something for him to draw
public attention. He wants to get out of his current unfavorable
situation by working out as early as in July what he calls an Aso
vision charting the future image of Japan.

(4) Editorial: Japan-South Korea EEZ talks should be pursued
separately from Takeshima/Dokdo ownership issue

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
June 14, 2006

The governments of Japan and South Korea held for the first time
in six years two days of talks on the demarcation of the
boundaries their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the Sea of

South Korea has changed a base point for its EEZ claim from
Ullung Island to a group of disputed islets in the Sea of Japan,
which are called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. In
the previous talks, Seoul did not make the islets a base point as
protruding rocks that could not be used as the base point under
international law.

TOKYO 00003277 006 OF 008

The two days of talks ended with the gap as wide as ever between
the two sides because Tokyo did not change its EEZ claim that the
boundary should be the median line between Ullung Island and

In the past talks, South Korea proposed that Takeshima/Dokdo be
located within its EEZ claim, which is advantageous to Seoul.

Although it was difficult for Japan to accept South Korea's EEZ
claim, it could became the base for the bilateral negotiations.
It is true that Seoul's policy change made it more difficult to
conclude the negotiations.

South Korean President Roh Moon Hyun's hard line stance against
Japan is the main reason for making the talks difficult further.

Linking the Takeshima/Dokdo issue to Japan's prewar colonial rule
of the Korean Peninsula, Roh released a special statement in
April in which he said that South Korea wouldn't be able to take
a calm response any more. He also stated that as long as Japan
claimed sovereignty over Takeshima/Dokdo, a friendship between
the two countries would not be formed. Under such a president, it
will be extremely difficult for the two countries to demarcate
the boundaries of their EEZs.

In order to prevent South Korea from proposing the naming of
underwater topography in waters around Takeshima/Dokdo to an
international conference, Japan planned in April to survey the
seabed around Takeshima/Dokdo. The two sides agreed to hold the
talks this time around in an attempt to avoid a conflict. South
Korea promised it would forgo its plan if Japan gave up on its
plan. The two governments then agreed to resume the EEZ talks.

However, Seoul is now planning current-observation research in
July in waters around Takeshima/Dokdo. It did not turn down
Japan's request of cancellation. Do they think that they are free
to conduct a research but Japan is not allowed to do so?

The UN Convention of the law of the Sea assures the freedom of
scientific research within other countries' EEZs. South Korea,
however, does not allow Japan to conduct marine research in its
EEZ, and it does not hesitate to seize Japanese ships. Therefore,
Japan cannot carry out research freely in waters around
Takeshima/Dokdo. Minimum rules are needed.

Japan proposed setting a system under which the two country would
notify their research plans in advance, but South Korea rejected
it. If the two countries make no compromises, the gulf on the
issue between the two countries will widen further. We urge Seoul
to reconsider.

In the 1996 Japan-South Korea summit, Prime Minister Ryutaro
Hashimoto and President Kim Yong Sam agreed to push ahead with
the EEZ talks, apart from the issue of sovereignty over
Takeshima/Dokdo. Seoul acknowledged in the latest talks that the
1996 agreement is still effective.

Holding fast to the principle of the Hashimoto-Kim summit will
lead to a resolution of the issue.

Linking the ownership of Takeshima/Dokdo to the issue of
demarcating EEZs will only make the issue more complicated.

TOKYO 00003277 007 OF 008

(5) Three personnel actions at the Foreign Ministry

BUNGEISHUNJU (Pp. 235-236) (Abridged slightly)
July 2006

Every year, many lawmakers visit foreign countries during the
Golden Week holiday period from late April through early May.
This year, trips to the United States particularly stood out,
reflecting lawmakers' desire to play up their activities in that
country in preparation for the post-Koizumi LDP presidential
race. Government officials also scurried around making
arrangements for their trips.

Although Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe did not visit the US
in person, his presence was felt in Washington. On April 28,
Sakie Yokota of the Association of the Families of Victims of
Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN) was able to meet with President
George Bush at the White House. The meeting was made possible
largely by Abe's persistent requests through US Ambassador to
Japan Thomas Schieffer, a close friend of President Bush,
appointments with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, his
deputy Jack Crouch, and other US officials. In the process,
Japanese Minister to the US Akitaka Saiki (who entered the
Foreign Ministry in 1976) made tremendous efforts. Saiki enjoys
the confidence of the AFVKN and Abe.

Defense Agency Director-General Fukushiro Nukaga also relied
heavily on Ambassador Schieffer to pave the way for a meeting
with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that successfully
concluded a series of bilateral talks on US force realignment.
The Foreign Ministry's "mainstream" members, such as North
American Affairs Bureau chief Chikao Kawai (1975) and others,
contacted Pentagon officials regarding US force realignment.
Despite that, they were completely left out of the loop by the
"sub-current" of the Defense Agency, such as Administrative Vice
Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya (who joined the agency in 1971)
and others, in force realignment talks with the US.

Amid such developments, the Takeshima/Dokdo issue reemerged.
Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi (1969), the
ministry's top administrative officer, visited South Korea to
discuss the issue without telling Isao Iijima, Prime Minister
Koizumi's private secretary. Yachi and Iijima were at each
other's throat. Yachi consulted only with Abe within the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei), while Iijima openly
complained about Yachi's tactic: "Once a top official moves, that
is as far as we can go. Mr. Yachi's action didn't help resolve
the issue. The matter was simply put off." Pinning its hopes on
the next administration, the Foreign Ministry is now patiently
waiting for the end of the Koizumi administration, which is only
three months away.

A prime minister Abe would please officials like Yachi who are on
good terms with him, but the China School would be in an
uncomfortable position. Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo
Fukuda is also known for his cold treatment of bureaucrats.

Fukuda visited the United States after Golden Week. Before
leaving for the US, he notified the Japanese Embassy in
Washington that his aides in Japan would completely take care of
his itinerary and that there was nothing the embassy need do. As
a result, only Minister to the US Kimihiro Ishikane (1981)
accompanied Fukuda during his stay in the US. Ishikane served as

TOKYO 00003277 008 OF 008

Fukuda's secretary during his tenure as chief cabinet secretary.

Moves associated with the post-Koizumi race have begun affecting
personnel affairs as well.

Rumor has it that if the government decided to allow Yachi to
remain in his post beyond this summer, at least three more
personnel actions would be affected. First, Ambassador to
Indonesia Shin Ebihara's (1971) promotion to administrative vice-
minister would become certain. Second, Asian and Oceanian Affairs
Bureau chief Kenichiro Sasae (1974) would eventually head the
Foreign Policy Bureau, a lateral move. Third, Ambassador to the
US Ryozo Kato (1965) would retain his post in order to later hand
it over to Yachi.

But hurdles lie ahead of such appointments.

Ebihara reportedly took on the ambassadorial post due to his feud
with Iijima. Sasae, who served as a secretary to former Prime
Minister Yoshiro Mori, is also close to Fukuda. Sasae kept his
distance from Iijima, who locked horns with Fukuda over the
question of resuming US beef imports and the option of building a
national war memorial to replace Yasukuni Shrine. It remains to
be seen whether Iijima and others will allow Ebihara to become
administrative vice-minister after Prime Minister Koizumi steps

Former Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi (1967) is still eager
to become ambassador to the US, replacing Kato. Psychological
warfare is underway regarding who will give Takeuchi the coup de

In the event Yachi resigns from his post this summer, Deputy
Foreign Minister Tsuneo Nishida (1970) would surface as his
successor. Although Nishida lagged behind other members in the
vice minister race, there are vocal calls among division
directors for "Vice Minister Nishida." The Yachi-based three
personnel actions might fall through with the appointment of
Nishida as vice minister. A Yachi-Nishida war involving Chief
Cabinet Secretary Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso is going on
behind the scenes in the Foreign Ministry.


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