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Cablegate: Dprk Missile Launch: Japan Public Reaction

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RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL IMMEDIATE
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RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA IMMEDIATE
RUHBABA/CG III MEF CAMP COURTNEY JA IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFIUU/COMUSKOREA SEOUL KOR IMMEDIATE
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RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 1015

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 003736

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR UNSC JA
SUBJECT: DPRK MISSILE LAUNCH: JAPAN PUBLIC REACTION

TOKYO 00003736 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY: Initial Japanese public reaction to North
Korea's July 5 missile launches has been broadly critical and
supportive of a strong response by the Japanese government,
to include economic sanctions. Political party leadership,
media pundits, local government leaders, and
"man-in-the-street" commentary have been unanimous in their
call for a stern response. END SUMMARY.

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Political party reaction
------------------------

2. (U) Japan's leading political parties, including the
leading opposition Democrats, have strongly and unequivocally
condemned the launches.

-- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Takebe
branded North Korea's actions "insane" in press remarks early
today.

-- LDP coalition partner Komeito Secretary-General Fuyushiba
stated that the Taepodong launch violated the Pyongyang
Declaration. Komeito contacts expect the party's Diet
Members to unanimously support some kind of sanctions,
referral to the UN Security Council. Komeito's response will
be "in basic step with the LDP," say party contacts.

-- Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) denounced North Korea's "outlaw diplomacy" and
called for the GOJ to "implement all relevant existing laws"
(party staffers indicate this refers to the laws restricting
North Korean shipping and financial flows that have been
adopted by the Diet, but not implemented by the Koizumi
administration). Ozawa, speaking from Beijing, told the
press he had asked Chinese government officials to urge
Pyongyang to refrain from further provocation.

Media reaction
--------------

3. (U) Reports of the missile launches came after the
deadline for Japan's morning newspapers, but were heavily
covered on television networks. The tone of commentary on
midday news shows was highly critical of North Korea, and
supportive of sanctions of some kind. Newspaper editorial
comment, also expected to endorse a firm response, should
first appear in the July 5 evening editions of major dailies.

-- Initial "man-in-the-street" reaction carried on television
networks quotes passers-by as calling the launches
"unbelievable", "counter to international rules," and
"scary." Wire services quote several fishermen from Sado
Island, off the Japan Sea coast, as seeing the sky "glow red"
during the missile launches.

Local Government reaction
-------------------------

4. (U) Local government reaction to the launches has been
most intense in Hokkaido and Niigata (on the Sea of Japan
coast), the areas closest to the missile impact.

-- Hokkaido Governor Takahashi, a conservative, issued a
statement calling for the GOJ to make a "strong protest" to
North Korea. ConGen Sapporo anticipates local public
reaction to back economic sanctions. The Consulate also
reports local media interest in whether the carrier USS Kitty
Hawk, which visited the Hokkaido port of Otaru July 1-5,
would be involved in any USG response to the launches.
Wakkanai City has reported a number of inquiries from
concerned locals about the location of missile landing sites.

-- Niigata Governor Izumida announced his decision to cancel

TOKYO 00003736 002.2 OF 002


the assignment of a berth in Niigata port to the North Korean
ferry Manyongbongon. The spokesman for one of the leading
abductee family groups, based in Niigata, welcomed the
Japanese government's six-month ban on port calls by the
ferry, saying it should remain in place "until the abduction
issue is resolved."

-- Elsewhere on the Japan Sea coast, various prefectural
governments in Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui held urgent crisis
management coordination meetings, with a focus on confirming
the safety of local fishermen, according to Consulate Nagoya.
Tottori prefectural authorities have requested city
governments to report any "unusual objects" washing ashore.

-- In Okinawa, Consulate Naha expects press comment on the
launches to draw a linkage to the impending deployment of
PAC-3s to Kadena air base, perhaps to reinforce the claim
that Okinawa is becoming more of a "target." Okinawa City
announced it had suspended its work on a local assembly
resolution opposing the PAC-3 deployment, although the local
mayor publicly clarified she was still against their
deployment. The town council of Chatan city, near Kadena,
denounced the U.S. for taking "maximum advantage" of the
North Korean missile threat to deploy PAC-3s to Okinawa.

-- The governor of Aichi, home of Nagoya, issued a statement
regretting North Korea's actions.

-- Authorities in Kanagawa prefecture and Yokosuka city, home
of the Seventh Fleet, reported no concerned public inquiries.

Business community reaction
---------------------------

5. (U) Business Federation Chairman Mitarai voiced "strong
regret" over the missile launches, and called on the GOJ to
"gather accurate information and...cooperate with the U.S.
and the international community," according to wire reports.
SCHIEFFER

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