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Cablegate: Media Reaction - Isg Recommendations - Tokyo

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UNCLAS TOKYO 006883

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 - ISG RECOMMENDATIONS - TOKYO


LEAD STORIES: Most Thursday morning papers front-paged
the compilation of recommendations by the bipartisan Iraq
Study Group for President Bush proposing that a majority
of US troops be recalled in the spring of 2008.

1. There were no immediate editorials or commentaries on
the ISG recommendations.

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2. "Early Withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq Difficult"
Washington correspondent Yasuyuki Oguri of the moderate
Tokyo Shimbun wrote (12/7): "In its recommendations
submitted Wednesday to President Bush, the bipartisan
Iraq Study Group (ISG) proposed a gradual withdrawal of
US troops from Iraq. In response to growing antiwar
sentiment in the US, as was reflected in the midterm
elections, the recommendations call on President Bush to
substantially change his Iraq policy. Nonetheless, there
are still major obstacles standing in the way of the
president ordering an immediate withdrawal.... The
question now is whether Bush will comply with the group's
proposals and change his Iraq policy.... Outwardly, the
president remains negative about a phased withdrawal,
saying that the troops will not leave before the 'mission
is complete.' On top of that, with the escalating
sectarian conflict in the country, a quick withdrawal
would only plunge Iraq deeper into chaos. There are even
voices within the US military calling for troop levels to
be increased for the time being. Assuming that the
president does agree to a phased withdrawal, the
consensus is that it will still be some time before one
takes place."

SCHIEFFER

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