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Cablegate: Media Reaction - Isg Report - Tokyo

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UNCLAS TOKYO 006903

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 REPORT - TOKYO


LEAD STORIES: Friday morning's Yomiuri front-paged an
exclusive interview Thursday with Okinawa Governor-elect
Nakaima in Naha, during which he expressed flexibility
toward a GOJ plan to relocate the functions of Marine
Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Schwab.

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1. "President Bush Should Immediately Act on ISG Report"
The liberal Asahi editorialized (12/8): "While pointing
out numerous US policy mistakes committed since the start
of the war, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG)
proposed that President Bush should change his policy in
that country.... We agree with the report's proposal.
Robert Gates, who won Senate approval as the next defense
secretary on the same day the ISG submitted the report to

SIPDIS
President Bush, admitted that the Bush administration
mismanaged some US operations in Iraq. The president
should now move to substantially change his Iraq policy.
We also agree with the basic direction of the ISG report.
Although the report did not touch on specific procedures
regarding a US withdrawal, it specified the goal of
recalling troops and a timetable for doing so. This is
significant in that the continued presence of US troops
is worsening the situation rather than improving it. A
declaration that the US will not remain in the country
forever will be effective in alleviating anti-American
sentiment both in and outside Iraq."

2. "ISG Report a Map out of Iraq Chaos?" An editorial in
the top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (12/8):
"...Saying that present US policy in Iraq is not
functioning, former Secretary of State Baker and other
members of the bipartisan ISG came up with 79
recommendations to break the Iraq deadlock. President
Bush said he would consider the recommendations in a
serious manner and come up with a new policy in several
weeks. The question is what the contents of a new Iraq
policy will be.... If the Bush administration follows the
ISG's proposals, the phased withdrawal of 140,000 US
troops in Iraq will start as early as next year. This is
tantamount to accepting calls from Democrats for an early
withdrawal. Nevertheless, the administration has rejected
calls for an immediate pullout, saying that this would
lead to further bloodshed or anarchy."

3. "US Exit Strategy Needs Multilateral Modifications"
The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (12/8):
"...The recommendations from the ISG were just proposals
for discussion. In reality, it is the Bush administration
that will decide how to change US policy in Iraq....
President Bush needs to realize that it is difficult to
give shape to and implement some of the ISG policy
options submitted to him.... It will be worth seriously
considering a proposal that the US build a multilateral
framework, invite Iran and Syria to take part, and engage
these countries in a serious manner. The reconstruction
of Middle East peace is imperative to improve the
regional environment surrounding Iraq. Inasmuch as former
Secretary of State Baker said there was no 'magic

SIPDIS
formula' to resolve the situation, the US should resort
to as many policy options as possible to break the
stalemate."

SCHIEFFER

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