Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/13/06-2

DE RUEHKO #6492/01 3170742
P 130742Z NOV 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


(17) Schieffer: (Rumsfeld's departure) will not affect US force

(18) Japan-US relations: US will lose interest in Asia policy due to
Democratic victory in midterm elections

(19) Framework for Asian partnership: APEC to take up FTA proposed
by US; Washington aims to block Japan

(20) US military aircraft's touch-and-go training to be relocated to
site outside 180 kilometers of Iwakuni; Gov't rejects US request

(21) Minshuto to partially embrace right to collective defense

(22) Editorial: Deliberations on raising JDA to ministry status -
National defense must take priority over party interests

(23) Questions for town meetings on educational reform found to have
been "prearranged"; Another trick behind "Koizumi theater"


(17) Schieffer: (Rumsfeld's departure) will not affect US force

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
November 10, 2006

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer gave an interview to an
Asahi Shimbun reporter at his official residence on Nov. 9.
Regarding former CIA chief Robert Gates, nominated by President
George W. Bush to replace Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,
Schieffer said: "He understands the importance of Japan in US
diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region, and he will contribute to
US-Japan relations." The exit of Rumsfeld will also not change the
planned realignment of US forces in Japan or the ongoing deployment
of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ground-to-air missile
defense system in Okinawa and mainland Japan against North Korean
ballistic missiles, the ambassador said.

Schieffer explained Tuesday's US midterm elections, in which the
Democrats gained control of Congress: "In the United States, it has
been rare for the same party to control the administration and
Congress at the same time. If the Democrats and Republicans have to
reach out to each other, that's not necessarily a bad thing."

The ambassador also expressed hope for the new defense secretary to
come up with a new approach to Iraq policy, the major issue in the
campaign. He indicated that the election results would not lead to
an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, saying, "I don't think either the
Democrats or the Republicans want to leave Iraq in a mess."

Concerning North Korea, Schieffer indicated that calls in Congress
for a direct dialogue with North Korea have dwindled with
Pyongyang's announcement that it would return to the six-party
talks. He also said, "I don't think the election results will bring
about any change," adding, "North Korea will not be allowed to drive
a wedge between the United States and its allies." The ambassador
also indicated that the governments of the United States and Japan
would continue working closely in the field of missile defense,
stating: "The great majority of the Japanese people are hoping to

TOKYO 00006492 002 OF 009

see PAC-3 missiles deployed not only in Okinawa but also mainland
Japan, as well. They will bring greater security to Japan."

Touching on the nuclear debate in Japan, the ambassador said: "The
answer to this question is not whether Japan needs to go nuclear but
how to strengthen the US-Japan alliance." He thus stressed that the
bilateral security treaty obliges the United States to defend Japan
under its nuclear umbrella.

(18) Japan-US relations: US will lose interest in Asia policy due to
Democratic victory in midterm elections

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
November 10, 2006

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was dismissed. A huge
aftershock of the US midterm congressional elections, in which the
Democratic Party scored big gains, has already come to the
relationship between Japan and the United States.

In response to the will of voters, the Bush administration has
finally taken action to revise its Iraq policy led by Rumsfeld.
President Bush's seeming admission of a failure in his Iraq policy
will give a major blow to the Japanese government, which has
completely supported the US Iraq policy by dispatching Self-Defense
Forces troops to Iraq.

Moreover, the resignation of Rumsfeld, who led bilateral
negotiations on the realignment of US forces in Japan, will give
great concern to the Japanese government. Especially the costs for
the realignment plan, regarding which Japan reportedly will bear 26
billion dollars, "There is a possibility that the US Congress, in
which the Democratic Party has power, will demand that Japan incur
more costs," said James Schoff, associate director of the
Asia-Pacific Studies of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis
(IFPA), a US think-tank.

The rising power of the Democratic Party in the United States will
gradually come down hard on the Bush administration regarding its
North Korea policy. During the midterm election campaign, the
Democratic Party criticized the administration, saying that North
Korea conducted a nuclear test because the US had refused to hold a
direct dialogue with it. The Democrats urged a policy shift. If the
Bush administration assumes a flexible policy stance, the Japanese
government will lose its strong backer.

The rumor has been floated in the US that Ambassador to the United
Nations Bolton, who supported Japan's bid to impose sanctions on
North Korea, may be replaced.

There is also growing concern that if the Bush administration begins
a review of its Iraq policy, it will have little energy to spend for
security in Northeast Asia. A source familiar with the Japanese
government asserted, "There will be no big change in the US Asia
policy as long as the Bush administration continues." But for Japan
it is a serious issue if the United States loses interest in North

A ranking Japanese official grumbled: "We will have a difficult time
in dealing with various matters because we have negotiated only with
the Bush administration for a long time."

The question is how the Japanese government, which has tilted toward

TOKYO 00006492 003 OF 009

the Bush administration and the Republican Party, will be able to
cooperate with the US in which the Democratic Party has power. The
ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is unfamiliar with the US
Democratic Party, which is more sensitive about the issue of
visiting Yasukuni Shrine than the Republican Party.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold his first meeting with President
Bush in Hanoi next weekend. Abe hopes to discuss North Korea policy
and USFJ realignment with Bush. However, it will be difficult for
the two leaders to reach a consensus, since there appear to be gaps
between them.

(19) Framework for Asian partnership: APEC to take up FTA proposed
by US; Washington aims to block Japan

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
November 13, 2006

Prospects have now become stronger that the feasibility of a free
trade agreement (FTA) involving the entire Asia-Pacific region
consisting of 21 countries and territories will be discussed for the
first time at ministerial and summit meetings at the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) forum. The US is strongly
calling for such a debate. The realization of the US proposal would
mean the formation of a huge economic bloc that would account for
approximately 60% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).
However, there is little chance of such a framework materializing
anytime soon. The proposal was made in large part to block the East
Asia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) proposed by Japan. A
struggle for leadership of the fast-growing East Asian region is
about to start.

According to an informed source, the US has used such occasions as
the preparatory APEC meeting in September to propose looking into
the feasibility of an Asia-Pacific FTA. Following the US proposal,
participating countries are now undertaking final coordination of
views with the possibility of mentioning in a summit declaration and
a ministerial statement that consideration will be given to the US

However, the feasibility of the US proposal is doubtful. APEC is
characterized as having diversity with its membership including
industrialized and developing countries. The sizes of the economies
of member nations and the degree of their development differ. Under
the Bogor Declaration, the deadline set for industrialized countries
to achieve the target of liberalizing trade and investment is 2010
and that for developing countries is 2020. The initiative proposed
by the US, which targets economic liberalization in a wider region,
is taken as an issue to be tackled in the distant future, as a
senior official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry put

Nevertheless, the US has proposed this initiative out of wariness
about economic bloc initiatives involving East Asia proposed by
Japan and China. China has proposed an economic bloc under the
framework of ASEAN+3. In rivalry with China, Japan has come up with
an East Asia EPA involving 16 countries - ASEAN+3 plus India,
Australia, and New Zealand. The plan is to launch concrete studies
on its feasibility with concerned countries starting next year.

With trade liberalization talks under the World Trade Organization
(WTO) stalemated, strengthening relations with East Asian countries,
which are achieving high growth, has become a major goal for leading

TOKYO 00006492 004 OF 009

countries. The US has expressed strong dissatisfaction with those
two plans that do not involve US participation, saying that they
would draw a demarcation line between East and West right in the
middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is now trying to drive a wedge
between Japan and other countries by revealing at APEC, its only
stepping stone into East Asia, its own economic bloc initiative that
includes Washington. Economy, Trade, and Industry Minister Akira
Amari hopes to dodge the US move, noting, "I support the US plan as
one direction, but the East Asia EPA consisting of 16 countries is
necessary as a base for such an initiative."

However, since the US proposal as a major power carries weight, it
will be taken up at APEC as a future agenda item.

(20) US military aircraft's touch-and-go training to be relocated to
site outside 180 kilometers of Iwakuni; Gov't rejects US request

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)
November 12, 2006

Japan and the United States have agreed to redeploy carrier-borne
fighter jets from the US Navy's Atsugi Air Facility in Kanagawa
Prefecture to the US Marine Corps' Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi
Prefecture in line with the realignment of US forces in Japan. On
this issue, the government decided yesterday to select a permanent
site over 180 kilometers of the Iwakuni base for their night landing
practice (NLP). The government has concluded that there is no
suitable place in the Inland Sea or in the northeastern part of
Kyushu. The government will present its new plan to the United
States soon and will come up with several candidate sites over a
wide area, including the southern part of Kyushu, by the end of
March next year.

Atsugi-based US carrier-borne fighter jets are currently conducting
NLP and other drills on Iwo Jima. However, Iwo Jima is far from the
Atsugi base. Moreover, there is no place for US fighter jets to make
emergency landings on their way to that island if and when there is
something wrong with them. The US government has therefore asked
Japan to set up a permanent training site.

In May, Tokyo and Washington finalized a report on US force
realignment, specifying their agreement to redeploy the Atsugi-based
wing of carrier-borne fighter jets by 2014. Meanwhile, the two
governments have gone no further than to say they will select a
training facility by July 2009 or at the earliest possible date

The United States, before releasing the final report, proposed
conducting NLP at the Iwakuni base. However, Japan rejected the
proposal due in part to local opposition. The United States has
therefore asked to pick a site within about 100 nautical miles-or
180 kilometers-of the Iwakuni base.

Normally, in case a carrier-borne jet refueled enough to fly for
about an hour and 30 minutes takes off from a base, it can return to
that base after carrying out touch-and-go-training more than 10
times at a training site located within about 180 kilometers. As it
stands, an area of up to about 180 kilometers is an efficient
distance for training, according to a staff officer of the
Self-Defense Forces.

The government has so far looked into the feasibility of some
candidate sites situated within 180 kilometers of Iwakuni base,

TOKYO 00006492 005 OF 009

including Okurokamijima, an uninhabited island in Hiroshima
Prefecture, and the Air Self-Defense Force's Tsuiki base in Fukuoka
Prefecture. In 2003, Okurokamijima once surfaced under its local
mayor's initiative. However, the government, factoring in local
opposition and geographical constraints, concluded that neither
Okurokamijima nor the Tsuiki base would be appropriate for the
touch-and-go training of US carrier-borne fighter jets.

The government plans to select a candidate site over a wider area.
In selecting a candidate site, the government is required to
consider preconditions, such as: 1) there are no surrounding
precipitous mountains; 2) neighboring local residents will not have
to suffer great amounts of noise; and 3) the weather is
comparatively stable throughout the year. The government will face
rough going in the process of selecting a candidate site.

(21) Minshuto to partially embrace right to collective defense

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
November 10, 2006

An outline of a basic policy on security, now under study by the
Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) administration and policy
committee, was unveiled on Nov. 9. The outline calls for rejecting
the conventional idea of distinguishing collective and individual
self-defense. Based on the new idea of exercising the right of
self-defense per se, the largest opposition party has come up with a
position that it is possible for Japan to fight back by exercising
its right to self-defense in the event a US naval vessel came under
an armed attack by a third country during Japan-US joint operations
in the Sea of Japan. The committee's basic policy embracing some
actions the government has identified as constituting collective
self-defense is likely to affect debate in the Abe administration,
as well.

Running in the Minshuto presidential race in September, President
Ichiro Ozawa unveiled what was called the "Ozawa vision" allowing
Japan to exercise the right of collective or individual self-defense
when facing the imminent danger of being attacked. The committee has
been studying the matter in line of this policy course.

The committee has confirmed the policy direction to deal with the
idea of self-defense instead of drawing a line between individual
and collective self-defense. A senior Minshuto lawmaker has
described the committee's view as a commonsense interpretation of
the right of self-defense. A Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel's
assistance for a US ship attacked by North Korea during a
contingency on the Korean Peninsula constitutes an exercise of the
right of collective self-defense, according to the government's
interpretation. Minshuto's view is intended to interpret the same
step simply as an act of self-defense.

There are concerns in the government that blanket approval of the
right of collective self-defense would end up prodding Japan to
extend assistance to US forces even on the other side of the globe.
Minshuto's view is also aimed at dispelling such concerns by
eliminating the existing conception of collective self-defense.

Minshuto's basic policy is expected to incorporate the phrase
"actively take part in peace-building activities centering on the
United Nations."

The basic policy also specifies that joining enforcement measures

TOKYO 00006492 006 OF 009

under UN Charter Article 41 stipulating economic sanctions and
Article 42 specifying military sanctions is consistent with the
constitutional principle of playing an active international role.
"Such an act is distinct from exercising the right of self-defense
of a sovereign state," a government official explained.

The committee plans to obtain approval at a meeting of all Minshuto
lawmakers before the end of this year.

Once the policy is approved, the party plans to include it in its
manifesto (campaign pledges) for the Upper House election next

Government's study made little progress

Prime Minister Abe intends to have his administration study the
right of collective self-defense, which the country possesses but is
not allowed to exercise, according to the government's
interpretation of the Constitution. But the government has yet to
make any specific moves. In the meantime, discussion on the matter
has been gathering momentum reflecting drastic changes in the
environment surrounding East Asia, evidenced by North Korea's
ballistic missile launches and nuclear test.

In the wake of the UN Security Council's adoption of a sanctions
resolution, including cargo inspections, against North Korea, the
government has been studying support activities, such as refueling
US vessels at sea under the Regional Contingency Law. Although the
law requires Self-Defense Force troops to halt their activities in a
state of war, can they really withdraw while leaving US troops
behind? The answer depends on the government's view on the right of
collective self-defense.

Abe asked in the Diet, "In the event a US vessel navigating on the
high seas alongside a Japanese ship was attacked, can't Japan assist
it?" Defense Agency Director General Fumio Kyuma said: "During
refueling activities, it's hard to determine which vessel - Japanese
or US - was attacked. In reality, Japan must fight back under an
arms protection provision in the SDF Law." But what if US forces
were clearly targeted? Questions still remain.

The government's standpoint on the right of collective self-defense
is also a bottleneck to the operation of a missile defense system
against North Korean ballistic missiles.

The SDF might not be allowed to intercept a ballistic missile headed
for the United States.

"The United States would be obligated to knock down a missile
whether it was headed for Japan or the US, but Japan does not
necessarily have the same obligation to America," US Ambassador to
Japan Thomas Schieffer said in a speech in Tokyo in October, urging
the Japanese government to reexamine its view.

Abe, who thinks the Japan-US alliance must function effectively as a
deterrent in East Asia, delivered a policy speech in September in
which he said: "We will thoroughly study individual, specific cases
to identify what kind of case falls under the exercise of the right
of collective self-defense, which is forbidden under the
Constitution." But the government's study has not made headway.

(22) Editorial: Deliberations on raising JDA to ministry status -
National defense must take priority over party interests

TOKYO 00006492 007 OF 009

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
November 10, 2006

Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), in addition to the Social
Democratic Party (SDP), has resorted to a strategy of boycotting
deliberations over a package of legislative measures that will
affect Japan's national defense.

The House of Representatives Security Council finally started
substantive deliberations on bills related to elevating the Defense
Agency (JDA) to ministry status yesterday. But Minshuto and the SDP
both boycotted the meeting, claiming that the bid-rigging scandal
involving the Defense Facilities Administration Agency (DFAA) has
not been fully discussed.

Two weeks have already passed since an explanation of the bills was
given in a Lower House plenary session.

Minshuto demanded intensive deliberations on the DFAA scandal as a
precondition for discussing the bills. In response, the Security
Council conducted intensive deliberations on the bid-rigging case
for 12 hours over three days. Holding the deliberations contributed
to delaying the start of discussion on the bills.

Whether to elevate the JDA status and the DFAA scandal are two
separate matters.

Minshuto President Ozawa has repeatedly expressed approval of the
idea of raising the JDA to ministry status. As seen from the
presence of a parliamentary league in Minshuto supporting just that,
a number of party members are in favor of the JDA-upgrade idea.

Despite this, Minshuto has yet to determine its stance over the
bills. It is strange for the primary opposition party, which aims to
take power, to remain undecided on its stance toward such key

Minshuto and other opposition parties have fielded a united
candidate for the upcoming Okinawa gubernatorial election. The party
apparently deems it necessary to take joint steps with the Japanese
Communist Party and the SDP, both of which are against the bills,
through Nov. 19, the voting date for the election.

Such a stance is similar to that taken by the Japan Socialist Party
(JSP) under the so-called 1955 setup, when the Liberal Democratic
Party was in power and the JSP was the perennial opposition party,
one that was not at all responsible.

Under the JDA, the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces
protect the peace and safety of Japan. The agency is also
responsible for mapping out security policy.

The JDA is now an external agency of the Cabinet Office, so the JDA
director general has no authority to call for a cabinet meeting to
adopt key defense issues or to present the finance minister with a
budgetary request.

In all other countries, including Japan's neighbors, a ministry is
responsible for national defense. Japan is the only exception.

The environment surrounding Japan's national security has been
greatly undermined due to the North Korean nuclear threat. It is

TOKYO 00006492 008 OF 009

necessary for Japan to clarify who holds responsibility and
authority by raising the JDA to ministry status and to arrange a
system to enable a quick response to national emergencies, as well
as to any changes in the security environment.

It is important to discuss the bills in a sincere manner from the
viewpoint not of party interests but national interests. We expect
Ozawa to demonstrate leadership in unifying views in the party to
support the bills.

(23) Questions for town meetings on educational reform found to have
been "prearranged"; Another trick behind "Koizumi theater"

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Almost full)
November 10, 2006

Hideharu Hiramoto

It was discovered just recently that government officials had
prearranged questions for town-hall meetings on educational reform
initiated by the government. This discovery has forced the
government to investigate all 174 such meetings held to date, but
the repercussions seem likely to expand even further in the weeks
ahead. The town-meeting system was adopted by the former Koizumi
administration as a forum for direct dialogue between the government
and the public and served as a stage for "theater politics" (led by
former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi). But prearranging
questioners and questions in line with the government's reform
policy appears to be information manipulation. In other words, one
aspect of Koizumi politics is being brought into the open. The
government is desperate to restore public trust in the town-meeting
system, but no prospects for a restart are in sight, putting its
future in doubt.

"Participants must be very displeased, and there will inevitably be
criticism that the system lacks transparency," Administrative Vice
Minister Shunichi Uchida of the Cabinet Office said at a press
conference on Nov. 9, wholly admitting the government's inept
behavior and offering an apology.

The government's investigations conducted through Nov. 9 revealed
that five town meetings had involved prearranged questions. One such
question prepared by government officials for the town meeting in
Ehime Prefecture's Matsuyama City in May 2004 was, "The Basic
Education Law needs to be revised so as to meet the new era."
Another question prepared for the town meeting in Wakayama
Prefecture's Wakayama City in October of the same year was, "The
concern is that if the fiscal resources for compulsory education are
transferred to local governments, regional disparities in education
could emerge." These questions reflected the wishes of the Ministry
of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In some cases
such notes as "use your own words as much as you can" or "please do
not mention 'by request,'" were attached.

The town meeting was one of the pledges made by Koizumi when he
assumed office as prime minister. A total of 174 town meetings were
held from June 2001 through September 2006. It was a showcase of the
Koizumi administration, and 11 million yen on average was spent for
each town meeting last year, but the meetings are now suspected of
having been staged PR events for government policy.

The government intends to refrain from holding town meetings until
the results of the investigation come out. Chief Cabinet Secretary

TOKYO 00006492 009 OF 009

Yasuhisa Shiozaki, when asked about when they would resume, went no
further than to say: "Please give us a little more time." After
drastically reviewing the present town-meeting system, the
government plans to restart it, but it still remains unable to find
a way to regain the public's confidence.


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