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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/01/06

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 004305

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA
SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 08/01/06

INDEX:

(1) Debate: Is US beef safe? - part 2

(2) GSDF shifting southwest; North Korea, China now hypothetical
enemies with Soviet collapse

(3) Editorial: Toughening penalties is not sufficient in regulating
golden parachutes

(4) Opinion column -- Yasukuni and Class-A war criminals: How do we
read the "heart" of Emperor Showa (Hirohito)?

(5) Editorial: 2006 LDP presidential race: Candidates must aim at
rebuilding Asia policy

(6) Bush and Koizumi -- the fate of the strengthened alliance (Part
1): Japan-US security cooperation to cover the entire world, beyond
regional bounds of the Far East

ARTICLES:

(1) Debate: Is US beef safe? - part 2

MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
July 31, 2006

Kazuya Yamanouchi, professor emeritus at Tokyo University: Risk
awareness is insufficient; Only measure to prevent BSE is blanket
cattle testing

For a start, I would like to review a report on risk evaluation of
US and Canadian-produced beef issued by the Food Safety Commission.
The first conclusion reached by the panel was that from a scientific
viewpoint, it is difficult to determine that the potential risk of
US beef is equal to that of domestic products. The report, then,
added that if export conditions are observed, differences in
potential risks between US and domestic beef would be very small. It
is difficult to understand this conclusion. However, our report did
not declare that the panel had guaranteed the safety of US beef with
these conclusions.

The government has made a comprehensive judgment, based on the
latter conclusion, and decided to resume US beef imports. That is
fair enough. However, it failed to provide an explanation as to how
it has surmounted the former conclusion or whether it has just
ignored it. The inclusion of vertebral columns in a shipment was
discovered this January. It was an unexpected, rudimentary blunder
and made one feel that there was a structural flaw in the US'
inspection system. That is why it is only natural that consumers are
harboring anxieties about the safety of US beef.

The US meat industry is built upon a thorough cost-cutting system.
The labor force has been reduced through a belt-conveyer-assisted
mass production system. A smallest possible number of inspectors
check products, mainly only on paper. This production system does
not allow on-the-spot inspection physically.

The US' BSE inspection system is also poor. Since the number of
cattle subject to inspection is extremely small, it is not possible
to estimate the situation of BSE infection. The US plans to further
curtail its cattle inspection. In the US, it is allowed to feed pigs
and chickens on meat-and-bone meals. Therefore, there is concern

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that this could spread BSE infection.

The US introduced a belt-conveyer system early in the 20th century,
which has given rise to a system of attaching importance to cutting
labor resources rather than securing food hygiene. That is to say,
its present food processing system is traditional. That is why there
was a statement, which quoted traffic accidents in claiming the
safety of US beef. I must say that the BSE risk awareness in the US
is woefully insufficient.

If the US wants to say, "Now, our beef is all right," it should
carry out blanket cattle inspections. Since our target is agents
that pose a serious crisis for food safety, it is most rational to
conduct blanket cattle testing, thereby guaranteeing safety and
peace of mind.

Even if US beef is imported to Japan, I will not eat it. People may
say that there is almost no possibility of eating the BSE-causing
agents, but there is no guarantee about the safety of US beef,
either.

Kazuya Yamanouchi: Graduated from the Tokyo University Agriculture
Department. Served as a member of the Food Safety Commission Prion
Experts Council from July 2003 through March 2006. 75 years old.

(2) GSDF shifting southwest; North Korea, China now hypothetical
enemies with Soviet collapse

SANKEI (Page 4) (Full)
July 31, 2006

The Ground Self-Defense Force is shifting the mainstay of its troops
from Japan's northern districts to its southwestern districts. The
GSDF, in its northern defenses, used to regard the now-defunct
Soviet Union as a hypothetical enemy. Today, the GSDF is building up
its southwestern defenses against North Korea's potential missile
attacks and China's infiltration into the East China Sea. The GSDF's
7th Division-Japan's only panzer corps headquartered in the city of
Chitose on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido-has
strengthened its northern defenses. In June, however, the GSDF's
Western Infantry Regiment, organized in 2002 and based in the city
of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, unveiled its seaborne landing drill
of GSDF rangers trained by the US Marine Corps. Their amphibious
training gave an imprint of Japan's preparedness for the threats
surrounding Japan. What was the aim of that seaborne landing
practice? The Sankei Shimbun reports on the GSDF that is undergoing
a sea change.

On the afternoon of June 6, an amphibious vessel of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force was anchored at sea two kilometers off the GSDF's
Aiura garrison in the city of Sasebo. Five rubber dinghies, launched
from the MSDF transport, began to head for the shore.

In the dinghies were armed GSDF members from the Western Infantry
Regiment. Eight stalwarts wearing flippers slid into the sea when
their boats reached a point 300 meters off the shore. They swam
sidestroke toward the beach while carrying rifles on their
shoulders.

The scene is from a seaborne landing drill for GSDF members with a
scenario of recapturing an enemy-occupied island of Japan. This kind
of training was disclosed in Japan for the first time. In January
this year, a group of GSDF members was sent from the Western

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Infantry Regiment to the United States for joint field training
exercises with US Marine Corps troops at US military facilities,
including the US Navy's Coronado base in San Diego, California. The
GSDF's seaborne landing drill that day was carried out with about
100 GSDF members from other bases in Japan. They experienced field
training exercises like those conducted in California, and their
landing practice was also opened to the media.

The GSDF troops swam as if sliding through the water. That is why
they are called swimming scouts. They are to guide main troops in
boats at night.

After landing an island, GSDF troops establish a beachhead and mop
up enemy troops near the landing point. In addition, they scout
enemy positions. After making a surprise attack, they leave the
shore. Depending on circumstances, they choose to land on a rocky
place or a sandy beach.

"We carry out this landing operation under the cloak of darkness," a
GSDF officer explained. The officer added, "The purpose of this
training is to practice landing and leaving under cover."

The Western Infantry Regiment is the first special unit tasked with
the defense and security of about 2,500 remote islands, including
about 200 inhabited islands, in the districts of Kyushu and
Okinawa.

What situation is anticipated in an undercover landing drill? "This
training exercise has nothing to do with actual warfare," a GSDF
training officer said. "We just show our training we conducted in
the United States," the officer added with inarticulate words. GSDF
Western District Army Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Koichiro
Bansho, who commanded the training troops, explained that the
landing drill was not intended to deal with any specific country or
area. However, Bansho clearly said the drill was for the GSDF to
cope with enemy incursions on Japan's outlying islands. In other
words, the GSDF will mobilize troops in order to recapture Japan's
southwestern islands, including the Senkaku isles, if these islands
were invaded.

On May 28, Hokkaido's Higashichitose range for the GSDF was in a
cold rain with strong crosswinds blowing when 76 armored vehicles,
including M-90 tanks, were thundering along there. It was a scene
from the 7th Division's combat training.

"The 7th Division is the ace unit to defend Japan's northern
districts as the only armored division that was on the front of
East-West confrontation," said Lt. Gen. Yutaka Shoda, who commands
the 7th Division. However, the Cold War is over. Nowadays, Japan is
less likely to come under attack from airborne or seaborne landing
enemy troops in its northern districts. As it stands, there are now
arguments insisting on the necessity of reviewing the heavily
armored division currently made up of tanks and heavy guns.

Meanwhile, GSDF Chief of Staff Tsutomu Mori once commanded the 7th
Division. "I know some people are saying we don't need tanks any
more," Mori said. "But," Mori added, "we need heavily armed forces
at a certain level." With this, Mori defended the 7th Division while
playing up its raison d'etre. However, the GSDF is now shifting its
troop deployment from the north to the south at a high pitch.

On July 11, the GSDF started a southward-bound redeployment drill to
move GSDF troops from Hokkaido and Tohoku to the Kanto districts,

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using MSDF vessels and Air Self-Defense Force transport planes.
Since 1977, the GSDF has carried out northward-bound redeployment to
move its troops from Honshu to Hokkaido. Last year, however, the
GSDF began southward-bound redeployment in order to push ahead with
flexible deployment to meet the Korean Peninsula situation and
China's moves.

The 7th Division and the Western Infantry Regiment are contrasting
in their training exercises-when it comes to their mobility,
hardware, and scale. The two GSDF units are steadily stepping up
their readiness for changes arising in the security environment and
threats-or hypothetical enemies-surrounding Japan.

(3) Editorial: Toughening penalties is not sufficient in regulating
golden parachutes

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 5) (Full)
July 31, 2006

Toughening regulations on the practice of amakudari -- or national
government employees retiring to cushy positions in companies they
previously used to regulate -- is now under consideration. The
cardinal feature of the plan to stop such golden parachute practices
is the introduction of restrictions on the conduct of civil servants
under which both former and incumbent government employees would be
punished in the event of influence peddling or other irregularities.
The decision to toughen such penalties deserves high praise, but
that alone, we think, is insufficient.

Restricting the practice of amakudari and making a substantial cut
in the authorized number of government employees form an essential
element in the plan to reform the public servant system. The
government's Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters plans to
ready a package of measures by early September just before Prime
Minister Koizumi steps down.

The main targets of the tougher regulations are Type-I public
servants, that is to say, career-track bureaucrats. Regulations now
under consideration include: (1) rooting out amakudari as the
conventional method of installing retired civil servants in high
posts at private companies or public corporations through the use of
good offices; (2) introduction of a dual career-ladder system that
allows government employees to work until the mandatory retirement
age; and (3) proactive promotion of personnel exchanges between the
bureaucracy and the private sector.

Existing restrictions on amakudari by national government employees
include a ban on former bureaucrats finding a new private-sector job
for two years after retirement, and restrictions on the number of
officials that can be dispatched to public interes corporations as
executives.

Under the new plan, those regulations will be strictly implemented.
Restrictions on the conduct of civil servants will also be adopted.
These rules are intended to ban former government officials who went
onto jobs at private companies from working on incumbent bureaucrats
for the purpose of obtaining licenses, approvals and contracts.
Violations of these regulations are subject to punishment. In
particular, career-track officials are likely to be cautious about
contacting retired officials, fearing such would likely affect their
promotions.

A plan is being mulled to regulate the conduct of civil servants

TOKYO 00004305 005 OF 010


under the National Civil Service Law, a revised National Public
Official Moral Law or a new law to be created anew.

The regulation of conduct of civil servants will be indeed effective
in stopping retired government officials from acting as influence
peddlers. However, under this regulation, it is not possible to
punish those other than government employees when they take improper
actions. Private companies employ retired government employees in
the hope of their exercising influence. It is also necessary to
consider extending the duration of the ban on the reemployment of
former government employees after retirement as well as strengthen
regulations on amakudari.

It is important to abolish the practice of encouraging senior
officials to take early retirements. Private companies, public
utility corporations and government-affiliated organizations employ
sidetracked government officials, serving as settings for the
emergence of collusive ties, which lead to bid-rigging.

The Administrative Reform Promotion Headquarters is now looking into
the possibility of establishing a personnel system that enables
government employees to work until the mandatory retiring age. Under
this system, side-tracked senior officials would be given a
positions as experts on research, education or other areas. This is
reasonable, but all government agencies need to make sure that they
fully utilize the new system.

Exchanges between the bureaucracy and the private sector are also
important. If fledgling bureaucrats have an experience of working at
private companies, it would help them find the right job well before
retirement. This should not be for the sake of bureaucrats securing
after-retirement jobs well in advance.

There is criticism that administrative reform and setting of
amakudari regulations has been left up to the bureaucracy to manage.
It is not acceptable if strengthened regulations fail to produce
effects and instead benefit bureaucratic interests. We would like
the next administration to make sure that it displays strong
leadership as well as establish a monitoring system.

(4) Opinion column -- Yasukuni and Class-A war criminals: How do we
read the "heart" of Emperor Showa (Hirohito)?

ASAHI (Page 9) (Abridged)
July 31, 2006

Hirofumi Wakamiya, managing editor of the Asahi Shimbun

When I had a discussion with students at Tsinghua University in
Beijing in May 2005, a certain student asked me in an accusing tone:
"Prime Minister Koizumi repeatedly visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Does
he offer a prayer for thanks to Japan's past militarist leaders who
treated Chinese inhumanely?"

This question stunned me. I told the student, "No." But the students
appeared unconvinced. So I added: "Aside from the prime minister,
the Emperor has never visited the shrine even once since the Class-A
war criminals were enshrined there together with the war dead. Do
you know this fact?"

At that moment, applause broke out. Of the 200 students there, only
a dozen clapped, but that was enough to completely change the mood
in that classroom. I felt then as if the trouble caused by the prime

TOKYO 00004305 006 OF 010


minister was being resolved by the Emperor.

In late July, a memo of former Imperial Household Agency Grand
Steward Asahiko Tomita was revealed in which Emperor Showa was
quoted as expressing displeasure at the enshrinement of the Class-A
war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine. In the memo, the Emperor stated,
"From that time on, I have stopped visiting the shrine. That is how
my heart feels." The memo clarified the reason why the Emperor had
stopped visiting the shrine.

Tomita might have informed the late former Chief Cabinet Secretary
Masaharu Gotoda this anecdote, because I heard of a similar story
from him in the latter years of his life.

The disclosed memo brought a new question to my mind: Why did
Emperor Showa respond so severely to the enshrinement of the Class-A
war criminals at Yasukuni?

The Tokyo Tribunal, which put on trial and sentenced the Class-A war
criminals, was closely related to the Emperor, having been given
immunity from prosecution of any war responsibility. There was even
a record that Emperor Showa expressed gratitude for the Tokyo Trials
to General Douglas MacArthur when he left Japan. So some may assume
that there is no wonder that Emperor Showa disliked the enshrinement
of the Class-A war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine, but the Emperor's
attitude was not at all related to his having saved himself.

That is because what the acceptance of the Tokyo Trial's judgment
ensured were not only the continuation of the emperor system but
also the fresh start of a postwar Japan. The Emperor was even more
aware than anyone else that under the new Constitution, he was
required to play a new role to rebuild Japan.

The Emperor should have various feelings toward each individual war
criminal executed, but those would be personal. If the spirits of
soldiers who were sent to battlefields at the state's order and lost
lives honored at the shrine together with those who led the war,
Japan's regret over the war as the Emperor keenly expressed and
Japan's resolution to rebuild itself would be blurred. Following
this way of thinking, I can easily understand why the Emperor
stopped visiting the shrine. Supposedly, it is not each Class-A war
criminal but the enshrinement itself of the Class-A war criminals at
Yasukuni Shrine that the Emperor could not accept.

Prime Minister Koizumi will definitely be torn this year between
visiting the shrine on Aug. 15 and staying home. Koizumi brushed
aside the impact of the recently revealed memo by Tomita,
commenting, "This is the matter of each person's feeling. It is a
matter of the heart," but I wonder if those are the correct words to
say.

Today, the Emperor does not have absolute power, and consequently
the Emperor and the prime minister would have separate feelings. But
the Emperor is the symbol of the unity of the people and is most
responsible for offering respect to the war dead in view of past
circumstances. He is a public figure whose words and behavior draw
public attention. The Emperor has not visited the shrine since that
enshrinement. Is there anybody who can overtly disregard such
behavior by the Emperor?

The current Emperor (Akihito) also is in a difficult position.
Considering his responsibility to console the souls of the war dead,
he has visited Okinawa and Saipan, but he avoids Yasukuni Shrine.

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Presumably, Emperor Akihito has taken over the "heart" of Emperor
Showa.

The prime minister insists on going in accord with his own "heart",
but shouldn't he consider the "heart" of the Emperor, too? Setting
aside place for the Emperor -- the symbol of the unity of the people
-- to visit to pay homage to the war dead is essential. Securing
such a place is a task for politicians. This is not taken to mean
that the Emperor be used for political purposes.

A week or so ago, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda
announced his intention not to run in the LDP presidential race. His
announcement has helped Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe to come
closer to reach the seat of the prime minister. Recently, Abe as
chief cabinet secretary, led the move for adoption of a resolution
by the United Nations denouncing North Korea for its recent missile
launches. This behavior may be seen as if a prelude to his reaching
the seat of power soon. But if he wants to create international
cooperation under the slogan of freedom and democracy, he should not
create more controversy over Yasukuni Shrine, which is far from an
abstract symbol, and destroy that international cooperation.

There is a clear difference between Emperor Showa's words found in
the memo about Yasukuni and China's criticism of Japanese leaders'
visits to Yasukuni. The memo seems to bring with it a good chance
for both Koizumi and Abe to rethink the Yasukuni issue.

(5) Editorial: 2006 LDP presidential race: Candidates must aim at
rebuilding Asia policy

NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
July 31, 2006

Undeniably, Japan's strained relations with China and South Korea
will become one of the negative legacies left behind by the Koizumi
administration. A relationship that does not allow the leaders of
Japan and China to hold summit talks seems quite unusual
internationally, although Japan alone is not the blame. Those
candidates aiming to run in the race to become the next prime
minister must spell out ways to rebuild relations with other Asian
countries. The entire world and not just a domestic audience in
Japan will be watching intently what transpires next.

Paying homage at Yasukuni Shrine must be avoided

In discussing Japan's foreign policy, people tend to fall in the
meaningless argument on whether to put priority on Asia or the
United States. Japan, an international player, cannot chose between
Asia and the US. The reason is clear in national security. If
tensions arise in North Korea or over the Taiwan Strait, Japan would
be forced to get involved there directly. The presence of the United
States based on the Japan-US alliance has been preventing just that.
Measures for China are also vital.

There is no question that Japan should continue with the Koizumi
administration's policy course of attaching importance to the
Japan-US alliance, while rebuilding its policy toward Asia. The
close relationship between the United States and Japan, the world's
largest and second-largest economies, is a prerequisite for global
economic activities, contributing to the stability of the world.
Asia is also important in view of the rise of China and India.

Establishing a solid relationship with the dynamically growing Asia

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is an important task for Japan of the early 21st century. It is
imperative for Japan to improve relations with China. Beijing has
repeatedly rejected Japan-China summit talks because of Prime
Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

Japan has recently received China's signals expressing its eagerness
to improve relations with the next Japanese administration.
Lawmakers eager to become the next prime minister must not ignore
those signals.

We have repeatedly urged the prime minister to stop visiting
Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines Class-A war criminals along with
the war dead. That was not because China thinks his shrine visits
are inappropriate. Rather, it was because we think problems lie
there when history is viewed from the standpoint of the Japanese
people. Although the Yasukuni issue does not fall in the realm of
foreign policy, it has great implications internationally. That is
why there are a variety of opinions in the Liberal Democratic Party,
such as those calling for unenshrining Class-A war criminals from
Yasukuni Shrine, reorganizing Yasukuni, building a new facility, and
upgrading the Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery.

Japan-China relations are enormous. According to the Chinese
Commerce Ministry, trade between the two countries marked a record
184.4 billion dollars in 2005. Despite Japan's concern over
Beijing's warning against a bilateral relationship that is cold
politically and cool economically in the wake of massive anti-Japan
demonstrations, economic exchanges continued to grow in 2005. The
Yasukuni issue and economic exchanges are only part of Japan-China
relations. Historians think the current relationship between the two
countries is unique.

Both are regional major powers with growing economic interdependence
but with no common enemies. One is a democracy and the other is a
communism with no shared values. Such an amicable bilateral
relationship has rarely existed in the world. Japan and China are
required to exercise self-restraint as major powers in the
globalized world. Prime ministerial candidates must heed this
point.

Japan and China are saddled with mounting issues that require mutual
cooperation, such as historical issues besides Yasukuni, China's
military buildup, the energy struggle epitomized by the development
of gas fields in the East China Sea, and environmental destruction.
The two countries have conducted area-specific working-level talks.
The lack of summit talks must not prevent working-level talks from
making progress.

Japan-US alliance as basis

The year 2007 marks the 35th anniversary of normalization of
diplomatic relations between Japan and China and the year 2008 the
30th anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan-China Peace and
Amity Treaty. With that in mind, those who want to become Prime
Minister Koizumi's successor must consider a great agreement
stipulating a new Japan-China relationship. During the
Reagan-Gorbachev era in the closing days of the Cold War, the United
States and the Soviet Union established area-specific taskforces
under summit talks to resolve issues.

Japan and China are not in a cold war. We believe the two countries
can accomplish what the US and the Soviet Union achieved during the
Cold War era with ease.

TOKYO 00004305 009 OF 010

The new LDP president will be selected by the LDP lawmakers are
rank-and-file members who seem more conservative than the general
public. Many of them are believed to have severe views toward China,
as well. Sooner or later, the general public will also make
decisions on the next prime minister through national elections. The
expression, "Only Nixon was able to go to Beijing," is occasionally
heard in the world of international politics. It means that Nixon
was able to visit China because he was conservative.

Koizumi diplomacy has cemented relations with the United States. The
next prime minister must find a breakthrough in relations with
China. It will be a starting point for Japan's policy toward Asia.
Post-Koizumi contenders are expected to come up with innovative
ideas.

(6) Bush and Koizumi -- the fate of the strengthened alliance (Part
1): Japan-US security cooperation to cover the entire world, beyond
regional bounds of the Far East

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
July 31, 2006

Yoichi Toyoda

Receiving a 19-gun salute at a welcoming ceremony held on the South
Lawn of the White House on June 29, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
expressed his hopes for his talks with President George W. Bush:
"The good personal relationship between the leaders of the two
countries is good not only for two of us. As an ally, I'd like to
discuss bilateral relations as well as how to tackle various issues
around the world."

That was the 13th bilateral summit between Bush and Koizumi. The
meeting between the two leaders and a few of their officials lasted
for 90 minutes.

Most of the time was devoted to the topic of how to respond to North
Korea's missile launches. After the meeting, the two leaders summed
up the previous five years of Japan-US ties as the most mature
bilateral relationship and released a statement titled "The Japan-US
Alliance of the New Century," which declared global cooperation.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, who has supported Koizumi since his
administration came into being, depicts the current Japan-US ties
this way: "Bilateral relations are stronger than they were a decade
ago or five years ago. The two countries have become equal partners.
The United States is now transforming itself as an ally attentive to
Japan's views."

Back on Sept. 12, 2002, a Japan-US summit meeting took place in New
York. In the meeting, Koizumi began by saying to Bush, who had then
assumed a hard-line stance toward attacking Iraq even
single-handedly: "I'd like you to behave like a sumo grand
champion."

Likening the only superpower US to a sumo grand champion, Koizumi
urged Bush to exercise self-restraint in striking without cause.

Unable to understand Koizumi's words, Bush remained silent. One of
the officials who was present in the meeting explained: "The Iraq
issue won't go like a sumo match." Despite Koizumi's advice, Bush
launched a preemptive attack on Iraq on March 20, 2003.

TOKYO 00004305 010 OF 010

Since then, four years have passed. Immediately after North Korea's
missile launches in July, Abe met with US Ambassador to Japan Thomas
Schieffer, who rushed to the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei), and the two officials analyzed the situation and discussed
how to respond.

When the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) dealt with the
question of a resolution on North Korea, the US sided with Japan,
which called for a sanctions resolution. Although China rejected
hinted that it would veto any resolution that imposed sanctions,
Japan succeeded in soliciting flexibility from China and finally put
the resolution to a vote and got it approved unanimously.

One ranking government official murmured: "This is indeed what is
expected of the alliance."

As a factor that enhanced Japan's voice, Abe cited the overseas
dispatch of Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops the Koizumi
administration has promoted.

Koizumi dispatched Maritime Self-Defense Force troops to the Indian
Ocean to refuel US forces engaged in the war on terror in
Afghanistan, and after the Iraq war sent Ground and Air Self-Defense
Force troops to Iraq for reconstruction assistance.

The Japan-US security arrangement, whose scope had been previously
limited to the defense of Japan and the Far East, has now expanded
globally under the honeymoon relations between Bush and Koizumi. The
Self-Defense Forces' (SDF) activities are becoming integrated with
those of the US military, and the overseas dispatch of SDF troops is
no longer a surprising event.

Japan has increased its say with regard to the US. In return, Japan
is required to join hands with the US to face common enemies.
Bilateral relations are being shaped into what the Bush
administration has hoped for.

The honeymoon between Bush and Koizumi will come to an end in
September, when Koizumi steps down from his post. The Japan-US
relationship is viewed as having deepened thanks to the relationship
of trust between the two leaders over the past five years. How will
this relationship change in the coming years and where will it go?
This column will look into the fate of the alliance.

SCHIEFFER

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