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Cablegate: Media Reaction Q Launching of North Korean

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P 050640Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7036
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1003
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 003726

SIPDIS

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: MEDIA REACTION Q LAUNCHING OF NORTH KOREAN
MISSILES - TOKYO


LEAD STORIES: All six Wednesday morning TV broadcasters
gave top play to the hastily-arranged press conference by
Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe at approximately 6 a.m.
(Japan time) following the launch by North Korea of
several "projectiles" into the Sea of Japan.

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1. Most broadcasters hastily arranged special morning
news programs with panels of defense and diplomatic
experts expressing grave concern over the impact of
Pyongyang's launch on regional security. Some experts
wondered whether the North, unable to "lift" US financial
sanctions, finally fired the missiles in desperation.

2. "Is Kim Jong Il No Longer in Control of the Military?"
Most commentators in commercially-run TV Asahi's "Super
Morning" show called North Korea's launch of several
missiles a totally desperate and incomprehensible act,
with some experts assuming that Kim Jong Il is no longer
in full control of the North Korean military. They also
suspected that an unsettling situation might be
developing in the military.

3. While diplomat-turned-Takushoku University Prof.
Morimoto stressed the need for an early deployment of
missile defense systems in Japan, former MOFA official
Koike expressed concern over South Korea's "quiet"
reaction to the North's firing of "projectiles," saying
that the South's "non-cooperation" with Japan and the US
would pose a "new threat" to regional security. Koike
also called North Korea's missile launches an act of
provocation and defiance against the US, which not only
celebrated the Fourth of July but also launched the space
shuttle Discovery. Anchor Watanabe suggested the need to
tighten Japan's economic sanctions against the North.

4. "Puzzling Motives for North Korea's 'Projectile'
Launch" Former Chairman of the SDF Joint Staff Council
Gen. Nishimoto predicted that North KoreaQs firing of
QprojectilesQ would draw strong criticism from the
international community, while military affairs analyst
Kamiura said that he is confused about North KoreaQs
motives for the launch. He called the NorthQs action an
act of Qdesperate provocationQ that could only harden
WashingtonQs stance toward Pyongyang. Lower House
lawmaker Eda considered whether a power struggle could be
taking place between the communist leadership and the
military.

5. QLaunches Likely to Make Abduction Settlement More
DifficultQ: Appearing live, Korean affairs expert Pyon
Jin Il called North KoreaQs missile launches an
Qaggravated act of desperationQ on the part of Kim Jong
Il and his military. He predicted the launches would
likely become one of the most controversial international
issues for some time to come, making a settlement of the
abduction issue even more difficult. Anchor Ogura warned
against public overreaction to North KoreaQs Qmissile
threatQ and possible moves in Japan to further strengthen
the SDF.

SCHIEFFER

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