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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 08/01/07-2

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003496

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: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 08/01/07-2


Index:

US-Japan relations:
14) Another blow for Abe administration: US House of Representatives
passes comfort-women resolution that calls on Japanese government to
apologize
15) House resolution a sign of US distrust of Japan's "excuses"
about comfort-women issue
16) Congressman Honda calls on Japan to now make an "official
apology"
17) Bilateral friction over comfort women as historical issue
reflects deep-seated doubts toward Japan within American society
18) Japanese government on surface reacts calmly to House passing
comfort-women resolution but deep-seated anger lies below
19) Reaction of Japanese broadcaster protesting House comfort-women
resolution: "Our efforts to stop it were insufficient"
20) House passes resolution praising Japan as ally to "balance" the
comfort-women resolution

Articles:

14) US House passes "comfort women" resolution calling for Japanese
government's formal apology, another blow to Abe government

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Top Play) (Full)
Eve. July 31, 2007

Yasuyuki Oguri, Washington

The US House of Representatives on the afternoon of July 30 (early
on July 31, Japan time) passed a resolution calling on the Japanese
government to formally apologize to the wartime comfort women. This
is the first time that such a resolution has been approved in the
history of the United States. Following the Abe administration's
setback in Sunday's House of Councillors election, the House's
approval of the comfort-women resolution is another blow to Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, who had hoped the resolution would not be
adopted.

The resolution, which was submitted in January by Representative
Mike Honda (California), urges the Japanese government to accept the
historical fact in a clear manner and to apologize to the comfort
women, pointing out that the Japanese government entrusted others to
recruit young women for the purpose of making them sex slaves for
the Japanese Imperial army.

Support for the resolution increased in the US House of
Representative in protest against Abe's comment in March that there
was no proof the government coerced women to work in brothels. The
House of Representative Foreign Affairs Committee passed the
resolution on June 26 with an overwhelming majority. The resolution
was sponsored by a total of 167 Democratic and Republican members.

The House took a vote on the resolution by acclamation on June 30.
The resolution was unanimously approved as no objection was raised.

Prior to the vote, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the
committee, criticized Japan, saying, "Moves in Japan to distort and
deny history and to criticize the victims are nauseating." He sought
a formal apology from the Japanese government.

The House of Representatives had planned to take a vote in the

TOKYO 00003496 002 OF 006


middle of July, but it delayed it to on July 30 soon after Japan's
Upper House election in order to avoid a negative impact on the
outcome of the poll.

The expectation is that the House will t vote on a resolution
playing up the importance of Japan-US alliance also on the 31st, as
a gesture of giving a certain level of consideration to the Japanese
government.

15) US House rejects Japan's "excuses," approves "comfort women"
resolution

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
Eve., July 31, 2007

Yasuyuki Oguri, Washington

Analysis

The United States House of Representatives approved a resolution
calling on Japan to offer an apology over the so-called comfort
women issue involving its military during World War II. This move
presumably reflects the House's irritation at the Japanese side's
hesitation in offering a formal apology.

The Japanese government has explained that it has already apologized
to former comfort women through a statement issued in 1993 in the
name of then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono. But this
explanation was simply taken by the House as an "excuse" to refuse
to apologize. Besides, there is no doubt that Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe's remarks denying any "coercion" by the former Imperial Japanese
Army helped the US side to become even further distrustful of
Japan's attitude toward the historical issues. An opinion
advertisement placed in the Washington Post by a group of Japanese
lawmakers and intellectuals also fanned the flames of anger in the
House.

Furthermore, the fact that the Democratic Party, which is sensitive
to human rights issues, took control of the House after last year's
midterm election by defeating the Republican Party, which had given
consideration to the Japanese government's position, paved the way
for the resolution to be approved. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the
Democratic Party was positive about adopting the resolution. One
Democrat said, "The key lay with Speaker Pelosi."

There are many Korean- and Chinese-American voters in the electoral
district of Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), who submitted the resolution
to the House. Apparently, Honda introduced the resolution to ensure
their support for him. In addition, he obstinately refused to take
the chief cabinet secretary statement as an official apology.
Emotionally affected by these factors, the House held debate on the
resolution. This way of debating appeared problematic.

The Japanese government tried to persuade the House not to approve
the resolution by mentioning Japan's contributions to the US
government like dispatching Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops to
Iraq, but failed. There was also a tendency found in the House to
think of the wartime "comfort women" issue separately from the
importance of the Japan-US alliance.

At this point in time, many take the view that the passage of the
resolution will not rock Japan-US relations. But should the Japanese

TOKYO 00003496 003 OF 006


government again make a rebuttal denying coercion, the situation
could turn sour and Japan-US relations would rapidly deteriorate.
The Abe administration needs to deal with this situation in a
cool-headed manner.

16) Rep. Honda: "I hope to see debate on official apology begin in
Japan"

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
Eve., July 31, 2007

Yasuyuki Oguri, Washington

The US House of Representatives approved a resolution calling on the
Japanese government to offer an official apology over the issue of
wartime comfort women. After the session, Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA),
the sponsor of the resolution, said to reporters in Congress, "The
approval this time sends a strong message to political leaders in
Japan." He then called on the Japanese government to offer an
official apology in line with the resolution.

Honda emphasized, "We hope Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listens to our
friendly advice." Expressing his hope for an official apology, Honda
said, "I hope to see debate start in Japan."

"I don't think this has put an end to the issue," Honda said,
indicating his intention to continue his efforts for the issue until
an official apology is realized.

Meanwhile, Honda stressed, "The resolution is not something to
denounce the Japanese public." He asked for the Japanese public's
understanding, saying, "If Japan apologizes, Japan-US relations will
be further buttressed, and the Japanese people and the Japanese
government will receive more praise."

17) "Comfort women" resolution approved by US House; Disputes over
historical views likely to continue

MAINICHI (Page 8) (Abridged)
Eve., July 31, 2007

Masaya Oikawa, Washington

The US House of Representatives approved a resolution for the first
time calling on Japan to apologize for the issue of wartime comfort
women. This fact implies that American people's concerns over
Japan's historical perceptions are growing now. Japan and the US are
likely to face disputes caused by the differences in historical
views in the future as well.

The US government has firmly taken the position that the issue of
the "comfort women" resolution has been already settled between the
governments of Japan and the US as President George W. Bush said, "I
accept" an apology made by Prime Minister Shinzo during his visit to
the US in this April. However, there are still concerns heard in the
US about Japan's historical views.

Bush did not interfere in former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's
repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine, but he reiterated his strong
hope that the historical issue between Japan and China would be
resolved. Among the Democrats, who have taken control of the House
since last year's midterm election in the US, some are strongly

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concerned about Japan's historical perceptions. The adoption this
time of the "comfort women" resolution by the full House may be
proof that doubts about Japan's way of dealing with the historical
issue exist in the US.

In the US, the so-called comfort women issue is likely to be settled
for now, but this does not mean that Japan will not be pursued for
its historical issues.

This December will mark the 70th anniversary of the 1937 Nanjing
Incident. The Washington Post in its July 12 edition again carried
an opinion advertisement endorsing the "comfort women" resolution.
The ad, sponsored by pro-Chinese organizations in the US, said, "No
good future will come from revisionists' visions." The Chinese
society in the US may stage a campaign against Japan.

Meanwhile, there is the concern in the US that the hawks in Japan
may gain momentum over the issue of former Defense Minister Fumio
Kyuma's controversial comment that America's use of atomic bombs on
Japan "couldn't be helped" and may retaliate against the US in
connection with the "comfort women" issue, as a congressional source
said, "They may call on the US to apologize (over the use of atomic
bombs) on the pretext of the human rights issue."

Should protests against the dropping of atomic bombs or air raids on
Tokyo during World War II erupt in Japan, that would cast a blight
on Japan-US relations. All the more for this reason, the US
government is indeed nervous about historical issues involving
Japan.

18) US House passes comfort women resolution: Government outwardly
remains cool

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 1, 2007

The United States House of Representatives approved a resolution on
July 30 calling on the Japanese government to officially apologize
for the so-called comfort women issue. The government has outwardly
remained cool, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki remarking: "It
is a resolution passed by the legislature of a foreign country." But
it fears that this issue could trigger a new dispute between Japan
and the US. The government is now careful so as not to allow the
situation to grow complicated.

Prime Minister Abe told the press corps at the Kantei (Prime
Minister's Official Residence) last night: "I need to explain to the
US Congress my own view and the response measures the Japanese
government has so far taken."

During his visit to the US in April, Abe offered an apology to
former comfort women. The apology appeared to ward off criticism of
Japan. But Japanese suprapartisan likeminded lawmakers ran an
advertisement refuting the US resolution in the Washington Post in
mid-June. This move prompted Congress to adopt the resolution.

In response to the passage of the resolution, there have been no
major moves seen in the government and the ruling camp. Diet members
critical of the resolution have also refrained from making any
reaction.

Former Education and Science Minister Nariaki Nakayama, chairman of

TOKYO 00003496 005 OF 006


the Liberal Democratic Party's "parliamentary group to consider the
Japanese future and history education," said: "I think it is quite a
regrettable resolution." But he indicated no intention of making a
counterargument for the time being. The group has called on the
government to review the 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yohei Kono.

SIPDIS

The Kantei has ordered lawmakers to keep silent on the resolution. A
government source disclosed: "We have been told that other persons
than the prime minister and the chief cabinet secretary should not
make any comment."

Behind this instruction, there seems to be concern that reaction
could negatively affect the Japan-US alliance. The LDP's crushing
defeat in the July 29 House of Councillors election also appears to
be working to discourage LDP members from taking any radical
action.

After the advertisement refuting the US resolution was carried in
the US paper, the Dutch House of Representatives president sent a
letter referring to the comfort women issue to Speaker Kono of the
House of Representatives. As it stands, the issue could develop into
an international problem. Now that the Abe administration is losing
momentum due to the devastating defeat in the election, the
government is aiming to swiftly put an end to the comfort women
issue.

19) Leader who filed a letter of protest: "Our efforts were
inadequate"; Doctor who treats PTSD: "Support the comfort women's
psychiatric treatment"

ASAHI (Page 22) (Abridged)
July 31, 2007

The US House of Representatives approved a resolution calling on the
prime minister to officially apologize over the wartime "comfort
women" issue. This newspaper asked a few of the persons involved how
Japan should respond.

Upon hearing that the House approved the resolution, Satoru
Mizushima (58), president of Nihon Bunka Channel Sakura, commented:
"Our efforts were inadequate. We were thwarted by forces that want
to divide the US from Japan." On July 13, after the resolution was
approved by the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign
Affairs, Mizushima visited the US Embassy in Tokyo to file a letter
of protest in hopes of preventing the approval of the resolution by
the full House.

Mizushima, along with some Diet members, formed the "Ianfu Mondai no
Rekishiteki Shinjitsu o Motomeru Kai" (Committee Seeking the Truth
Regarding the Comfort Women Issue). Their protest letter said,
"There were women around the military who serviced the soldiers, but
there were no sexual slaves."

Mizushima asserts, "If we do not say anything, it means that we have
accepted what the resolution says."

This past June, Professor Masaaki Noda of Kwansei Gakuin University
(psychopathology) examined 6 women on Hainan Island who were
suffering from psychological trauma. He said, "The US resolution is
simply an extension of the resolutions calling for Japan's apology
approved by the legislatures of Asian countries."

TOKYO 00003496 006 OF 006

Regarding the six women he examined, Noda explained that he saw
signs of extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He says the
women's traumatizing experiences 60 years ago of having Japanese
soldiers break into their homes, take them away, and continuously
rape them have caused them to have repeated nightmares and
personality changes. "The former comfort women are still suffering
today. Japan has a responsibility to support their treatment. Japan
cannot continue to ignore the admonishments of other countries."

Regarding the fact that Japanese-American representatives, such as
Rep. Mike Honda, were pushing for the approval of the resolution,
Akihiko Reizei (48), who lives in the US and is knowledgeable about
US societal trends, explained: "(Japanese-Americans) who have
cultural roots in Japan feel that they must raise the alarm. They
are desperately trying to bring Japan, South Korea, and China to an
understanding." Americans of Japanese descent battled against
prejudice to reach positions of trust, and along the way, they
befriended Americans of Chinese and Korean descent. Reizei comments,
"They (Japanese-Americans) are afraid that the trust between them
and their Korean- and Chinese-American friends will be lost because
of comments by Prime Minister Abe and others regarding comfort
women."

Reizei saw the House approve the resolution on live television. "It
was very striking to me that several representatives said, 'It is
because Japan and the US have unparalleled good relations that we
want to point out our good friend's mistakes.'"

20) US House passes resolution praising Japan to balance it with
comfort women resolution

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 1, 2007

Igarashi, Washington

The United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution
praising Japan, stressing the importance of Japan's status as an
ally of the US. Republican Jim Saxton submitted the resolution with
the aim of balancing it with the resolution calling for Japan's
apology over the so-called comfort women issue - passed on July 30 -
and underscoring the US Congress's stance of placing importance on
the Japan-US alliance. The resolution designates Japan as one of the
most reliable security partners of the US, praising Japan's
international contributions in Iraq and the Indian Ocean.

In reference to the House's passage of the comfort women resolution,
White House Press Secretary Snow said on July 31: "It is not a
question about which to support (the House of Representatives or
Japan). Japan is an important ally of the US."


SCHIEFFER

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