Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/13/07-1

DE RUEHKO #3696/01 2250144
P 130144Z AUG 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) DPJ vs. US on the anti-terror law, with basis of confrontation
being interpretation of UN resolution

(2) Japan, US sign GSOMIA for smooth exchange of classified
information on MD system and the like

(3) DPJ eyes countermeasures to Antiterrorism Law, focusing on new
legislation including humanitarian aid

(4) Defense Ministry to strengthen information-safeguard system,
giving consideration to US concerns 4

(5) Coordination underway for Chinese defense minister to visit
Japan on Aug. 29

(6) Extra Diet session closes, DPJ lawmaker elected as Upper House
president; DPJ to submit many bills to Diet session in fall 5
(7) An unusual situation - entire Abe cabinet to forgo visiting
Yasukuni Shrine on anniversary of the end of the war

(8) Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki to be replaced in upcoming
cabinet reshuffle; Foreign Minister Aso most likely to be named LDP
secretary general


(9) LDP Upper House to recommend Tetsuro Yano be appointed as new
cabinet member in planned cabinet shuffle; Fuyushiba, Koike likely
be retained

(10) Government, LDP float deputy prime minister plan: Foreign
minister or other key cabinet minister likely to double; Faction
leader to be appointed

(11) Helo flights rerouted only slightly for Futenma airfield


(1) DPJ vs. US on the anti-terror law, with basis of confrontation
being interpretation of UN resolution

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
August 11, 2007

A United Nations resolution adopted after the September 11, 2001,
terrorist attacks on the United States form the legal basis for
operations based on the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law. The US
expects the law to be extended by Diet action in order for the
Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) to continue refueling activities
for US and other countries' warships in the Indian Ocean, but it has
come up against Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
President Ichiro Ozawa, who has expressed opposition to the law. The
root of their confrontation lies in the interpretation of a related
United Nations resolution. Although the law has been extended to
last close to six years, because of the trading of places in the
Upper House between the ruling and opposition camps, an ambiguous
point at issue placed on the shelf at the time of the law's
enactment in 2001 has once more come back into the spotlight.

US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer stressed: "Terrorism could happen
in Japan, so it is important that the extension of the
Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law be properly dealt with."

TOKYO 00003696 002 OF 011

Foreign Minister Aso replied: "It will be the most debated item in
the next Diet session. I would like to put in my best efforts to
extend it."

The exchange between the two occurred two days after the
confrontational scene between the ambassador and Ozawa. Schieffer on
Aug. 10 met the foreign minister at the ministry and transmitted
again the US' position.

The Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law passed by the full Upper
House in Oct. 2001 with majority approval of the three ruling
parties - Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), New Komeito and (the now
defunct) Conservative Party. The majority of the DPJ voted against
the bill. Ozawa's current assertion overlaps with the argument then
used by the opposition parties when they voted against the bill:
"The UN Security Council's resolution does not allow the use of
force by the US. In order for Japan to support (the US-led action),
another UN resolution would be necessary."

The current Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law was written based on
such grounds as UNSC Resolution 1368, which was adopted right after
the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. The resolution
criticizes terrorist acts by international terrorist organizations
as a "threat to international peace and security," and states the
resolve: "In order to deal with such acts, all means are

After that, the US did not base its own military actions on the UN
resolution by instead treated it separately as exercising
self-defense. However, NATO, which joined the anti-terrorist
campaign in Afghanistan, ranked it as the exercising of collective
defense with the US.

Ozawa aimed his argument on this point, saying, "The (Afghan)
operation, centered on the US, cannot be seen as approved by the

Japan is not permitted under the Constitution to exercise the right
of collective self-defense. The government premised the drafting of
the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law on its contents being within
the scope of the Constitution. Regarding refueling activities of the
MSDF in the Indian Ocean, the government has given such replies as:
"It agrees with the purpose of the UN Charter"; and, "Since the MSDF
will not be using armed force, this is not a case of the use of
collective self-defense."

On the other hand, Ozawa has referred to the point that UN
Resolution 1386 was adopted in order to approve the establishment of
the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to
preserve peace in Afghanistan, and that there is some leeway for
Japan, too, to join the ISAF. However, the ISAF is engaged in
mop-up operations against the insurgent Taliban forces. Their work
is quite different from peace-keeping operations.

Ambassador Schieffer said: "(The war on terror) is an international
problem and not just an American one." By bringing up the question
of international cooperation (against terrorism), he is trying to
persuade the DPJ to reconsider its stand.

(2) Japan, US sign GSOMIA for smooth exchange of classified
information on MD system and the like

TOKYO 00003696 003 OF 011

SANKEI (Page 3) (Slightly abridged)
August 11, 2007

Foreign Minister Taro Aso and United States Ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer on Aug. 10 signed at the Foreign Ministry a General
Security of Ministry Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which contains
a framework for the prevention of leakage of defense secrets. The
accord took effect immediately. Japan and the US concluded the
accord out of the necessity of smoothly exchanging classified
information on the state-of-art Aegis system and the missile defense
(MD) system. This agreement puts a restriction on those who are
allowed to access "classified military information" and requires
that the information be kept safe.

Under the legislation for the protection of secrets pertaining to
the Japan-US Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA), the two countries have
obligated the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and defense-related firms to
protect defense secrets about equipment provided by the US. This
legislation, however, does not assume cases of joint studies and
development to be conducted through technologies provided by Japan
and the US, and tactical intelligence.

The GSOMIA classifies documents and images concerning technologies,
operations, and training as "classified military information" and
obligates the Japanese and US governments and all private-sector
firms to keep them confidential. In order to put a restriction on
any transfer of classified military information to third countries,
as well as on any use of such information for other purposes, the
two countries have stipulated, for instance: (1) restricting those
who are allowed to access the information; (2) handling the
information with special care and keeping it safe; and (3) taking
every safeguard measure when the information is sent. However, no
domestic laws in this regard will be tightened.

The US has signed GSOMIAs with some 60 countries, most of which are
NATO members. With the signing of the GSOMIA between Japan and the
US, Japan's reliability in terms of protecting intelligence will be
enhanced, and the US military will accordingly make it easy to place
orders with Japanese firms for repairing or upgrading cutting-edge
weapons, such as the Aegis ship. The two countries also can shorten
the time for consultations on the memorandum of understanding (MOU),
which they have concluded separately on every item, and hold
consultations efficiently. In addition, they will be able to promote
joint studies and development.

(3) DPJ eyes countermeasures to Antiterrorism Law, focusing on new
legislation including humanitarian aid

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 12, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has started a discussion on the
possibility of submitting new legislation that would include new
humanitarian aid in Afghanistan as countermeasures to the
Antiterrorist Special Measures Law prior to its expiration on Nov.
1. Views in the party are being unified after President Ichiro Ozawa
expressed opposition to the said law, but many members are worried
that if the party remains opposed to the said law, questions might
be raised about its ability to grab political power. The party's
move reflects its desire to dodge such criticism by presenting an
alternative to the law. Based on the law, the Maritime Self-Defense
Force (MSDF) has offered refueling and water-supply services to

TOKYO 00003696 004 OF 011

naval vessels from the United States, Britain and other countries.
But Ozawa has opposed Japan's continued cooperative services, on the
grounds that "President Bush initiated the war in Afghanistan
without obtaining approval from the international community."

Humanitarian assistance, such as medical and food assistance, as
well as education and vocational training mainly by the private
sector are floating as countermeasures up for consideration. In
addition, the main opposition party is also considering as a future
option logistic support for reconstruction support activities by
such international groups as provisional reconstruction teams (PRT)
joined by 27 countries, including the US and Britain, based on UN
Security Council Resolution 1510. The party's "next cabinet" will
make a final decision by October.

In this connection, Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama said in a press
conference on Aug. 10:

"We are working out upgraded measures. It is not true to think that
we are just disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. International
cooperation carries more risks than refueling operations. Although
it is not easy to conclude that Japan should immediately take
action, there are ways for Japan to render cooperation, including
rear support."

In the DPJ, however, many take the view that the SDF should not join
other operations than peacekeeping operations (PKO) by the UN. One
senior official said: "Ongoing operations by PRT or under other
frameworks are not PKO, even though they are based on UN
resolutions. SDF troops are not allowed to participate in such
frameworks even for rear support." As it stands, it is uncertain
whether the opposition party will be able to come up with specific
assistance measures.

(4) Defense Ministry to strengthen information-safeguard system,
giving consideration to US concerns

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
August 12, 2007

The Defense Agency has decided to integrate the intelligence units
in the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces next April as
part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the leak of classified
information on the Aegis system by a MSDF seaman. The ministry's
decision stemmed in part from its consideration to the United
States' concerns about Japan's loose handling of defense secrets.

The intelligence units, placed under the defense minister, are
tasked with monitoring SDF members' activities and outside contacts.
About 670 members are assigned to the intelligence unit of the GSDF,
about 100 to the MSDF unit, and about 160 to the ASDF unit. The
Defense Ministry plans to place each unit under an intelligence
headquarters (tentative name) to be newly established.

It was also revealed yesterday that the US had temporarily stopped
providing highly confidential software and parts last month for the
MSDF Aegis destroyer Kongo, which is being outfitted with a defense
shield to intercept incoming ballistic missiles.

Although the US resumed the supply of parts in early August, a
senior Defense Ministry official said: "The Pentagon's temporary
suspension of supply might represent its concerns about a leak of

TOKYO 00003696 005 OF 011

information." In the process of Japan's selection of an FX
(next-generation fighter) model, as well, the US has been reluctant
about providing Japan with information. Keeping this in mind,
Defense Minister Yuriko Koike said: "It is an imminent task for
Japan to strengthen its information-safeguard system.

(5) Coordination underway for Chinese defense minister to visit
Japan on Aug. 29

MAINICHI (Top play) (Full)
Eve., August 11, 2007

Ryuko Tadokoro

The governments of Japan and China are making arrangements for
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan to visit Japan from Aug. 29,
sources revealed this morning. If realized, Cao will be the first
Chinese defense minister to visit Japan since Chi Haotian, who
visited Japan in February 1998, and he will discuss with his
Japanese counterpart mutual port calls by both countries' vessels
and other matters. Japan-China defense exchange, which was suspended
because of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits
to Yasukuni Shrine, will now likely resume.

During his visit to China in last October, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
agreed with his Chinese counterpart on the promotion of mutual trust
through the promotion of bilateral defense exchange. During the
Japan-China summit in April of this year, the Chinese side came up
with a plan for Defense Minister Cao to visit Japan. According to a
Japanese Defense Ministry official, Cao is to be staying here in
Japan for five days starting on Aug. 29. On Aug. 30, a Japan-China
defense summit is planned, and visits to the Self-Defense Forces
(SDF) and Kyoto are also planned. In the defense summit, both
defense leaders are expected to arrange a timetable for People's
Liberation Army's vessels to make their first port call at a
Japanese ports this fall. They also are expected to discuss an idea
of laying a military hotline between Japan and China. In September
2003 former Defense Agency Director-General Shigeru Ishiba traveled
to China and met with Cao.

Whether military exchange plans will be actually implemented is
still unclear, however. The two governments have been discussing the
plan to lay the hotline, which cropped up when Abe visited China
last fall, to date, but the plan has yet to take shape. Meanwhile,
on its military exchange with the United States, China declared in
June that it would in September decide on laying a hotline between
the US and China. A senior Japanese Defense Ministry official noted:
"China attaches importance to the US. I'm afraid that a timetable
for Japan-China military exchange may not be fixed until just before
the event."

(6) Extra Diet session closes, DPJ lawmaker elected as Upper House
president; DPJ to submit many bills to Diet session in fall

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 11, 2007

A four-day extraordinary Diet session closed on Aug. 10. Satsuki Eda
of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), which has now become the
largest party in the House of Councillors, was elected as Upper
House president. The DPJ immediately submitted to the Diet a bill on
the pension record fiasco in a gesture of playing up its adversarial

TOKYO 00003696 006 OF 011

stance against the ruling coalition. Although the party did not
present any censure motions, future Diet sessions will be

The extra Diet session convened on Aug. 7 started with the elections
of president and vice president of the upper chamber. When Eda was
elected as president unanimously, the plenary session was filled
with cries of joy from the opposition members. Eda stated: "Since
the structure of the Upper House has been changed substantially, we
are now facing a political situation which we have never
experienced." Akiko Santo of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the
second largest party in the chamber, was elected as vice president.
Takeo Nishioka of the DPJ assumed the post of the Upper House
Steering Committee, a key post in parliamentary procedure. The DPJ
submitted a bill banning pension premiums to be used for other
purpose than to pay pension benefits, as well as a bill to freeze
the postal-privatization program, which the party submitted along
with the Social Democratic Party and the People's New Party. The two
bills were killed. The opposition intends to resubmit them to an
extraordinary Diet session to be held in the fall.

The opposition negatively reacted to the setting up research
councils on the Constitution in both chambers of the Diet, which
stipulates in the national referendum law, which was approved in the
previous Diet session, arguing that the opposition won't be able to
approve of the idea as long as the Abe cabinet, which has interfered
in the Diet, exists. Therefore, the Upper House was unable to make
rules stipulating the fixed number of committee chairmen and

The DPJ has prepared to submit to the extra Diet session in the fall
about ten bills, including a bill to re-revise the Political Funds
Control Law and a bill creating an income compensation system for
individual farmers. The party plans to submit its manifesto
(campaign pledges) for the latest election, to the Upper House, in
which the opposition camp holds majority seats.

(7) An unusual situation - entire Abe cabinet to forgo visiting
Yasukuni Shrine on anniversary of the end of the war

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 11, 2007

On August 10, it became clear that all 16 members of the Abe cabinet
intend to forgo visiting Yasukuni Shrine on August 15. This is an
unusual situation, as it is probably the first time since 1955, when
many cabinet members began to visit the shrine, that no cabinet
members will visit the shrine on the anniversary of the end of the
war. Although the cabinet members have given various reasons for not
visiting the shrine, such as schedule conflicts or political
philosophy, consideration for China also appears to be a factor.
Some expressed disgust, such as former Agricultural Minister
Yoshinobu Shimamura, who called the cabinet members "spineless."

Various cabinet members have explained why they will not visit
Yasukuni Shrine: "This is something I always decide to do based on
my beliefs" (Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki); "It is to
show fairness as the minister who oversees religious affairs"
(Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Bunmei Ibuki); "It is not my religion" (Transport Minister Tetsuzo

TOKYO 00003696 007 OF 011

Foreign Minister Taro Aso and State Minister in charge of Okinawa
and Northern Territories Sanae Takaichi have said they cannot visit
because they will be away on official business. A lukewarm mood is
floating around this year - a big difference from last year when
then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the shrine on August
15 for the first time, sending the media into a frenzy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been vague, saying, "I will not say
whether or not I am going to visit (Yasukuni Shrine)," and this is
probably because he has even stronger feelings about visiting
Yasukuni Shrine than Koizumi. The weakened position of the Abe
administration after the ruling coalition's big loss in the recent
Upper House election may have been another factor, as the
administration does not wish to make waves within the party or
attract criticism from the outside.

Yet even China, the interventions of which have verged on
interfering with Japan's domestic affairs, does not seem to have a
problem with cabinet members other than the premier, chief cabinet
secretary, and foreign minister visiting Yasukuni Shrine. It is

unnatural for no cabinet members, then, to visit the shrine on the
anniversary of the end of the war.

From the perspective of those involved with Yasukuni Shrine, it
would be better if cabinet members visited during the spring and
autumn festivals. By being fixated on August 15, the negative aspect
of Yasukuni - its ties to previous wars - cannot be ignored.

However in April 1982, the government designated August 15 as a "day
to remember the war dead and pray for peace." August 15, the
anniversary of the end of the war, is unmistakably one of the best
days for the prime minister and his cabinet to visit Yasukuni

In fact, a bipartisan group of Diet members continues to visit
Yasukuni on August 15, as well as during the spring and autumn

Prime Minister Abe visited Yasukuni on August 15 when he was the
deputy chief cabinet secretary and the Liberal Democratic Party
secretary-general, but those around him say that visiting on August

15 was meant to support Koizumi, who was committed to visiting on
that day, and that Abe himself has no fixation on that day.

However, in the face of the interest in remembering the war dead
that Koizumi stirred up with his visits to Yasukuni, an anniversary
of the end of the war where neither the prime minister nor any
members of his cabinet visit the shrine will be a sad day indeed.

(8) Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki to be replaced in upcoming
cabinet reshuffle; Foreign Minister Aso most likely to be named LDP
secretary general


NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
August 11, 2007

Following the end of the short extraordinary Diet session, Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe began coordination on Aug. 10 to shuffle the
lineups of his cabinet and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
executive. He plans to carry out the shuffle on Aug. 27. The
likelihood is that Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki will be
replaced. Shiozaki, who is serving in his first cabinet post, has

TOKYO 00003696 008 OF 011

played a pivotal role in the cabinet, but he also has symbolized the
new cabinet which has been criticized for being made up mainly of
Abe's close friends. Abe seems to have decided that he has no choice
but to replace Shiozaki, although he has strong confidence in him.
Foreign Minister Taro Aso will most likely succeed LDP Secretary
General Hidenao Nakagawa.

Nobutaka Machimura, who heads a LDP faction (to which Abe used to
belong), is being rumored as a candidate to fill the chief cabinet
secretary's post. Although there is a rumor that Shiozaki will be

moved laterally to other cabinet post, his fate remains an
uncertainty due to the public's severe view of his performance.

The reason Aso is the most likely candidate for the LDP secretary
general's post is because he supported Abe to stay on as prime
minister in meeting they had soon after the July 29 House of
Councillors election. As candidates for the LDP policy chief and
General Council chairman, the names of Fukushiro Nukaga of the
Tsushima faction, Makoto Koga, chairman of the Koga faction,

Sadakazu Tanigaki, chairman of the Tanigaki faction, and Diet
Affairs Committee Chairman Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the Nikai
faction, are being mentioned.

(9) LDP Upper House to recommend Tetsuro Yano be appointed as new
cabinet member in planned cabinet shuffle; Fuyushiba, Koike likely
be retained

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
August 12, 2007

The executive of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) caucus in the
House of Councillors has decided to ask Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to
appoint two Upper House members, including Tetsuro Yano, as new
cabinet ministers when he shuffles his cabinet on Aug. 27. Abe
intends to accept the request from the Upper House caucus, but
whether he will give two cabinet posts as before remains
unpredictable. Chances are that Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba of New Komeito and Defense Minister
Yuriko Koike, who assumed her post in July, will be retained in
their current posts.

Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who is regarded as the most
likely candidate to serve as LDP secretary general, started
coordination to pick new cabinet and LDP executive members. Aso
appears to have made that a condition for accepting the prime
minister's offer to serve as LDP secretary general. The names of
such persons as Internal Affairs and Communications Minister
Yoshihide Suga are being mentioned as candidates for acting
secretary general. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki will

step down from his post. The focus is now on whether he will be
moved laterally to another cabinet post.

The expectation is that Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo
Yanagisawa; Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister Bunmei Ibuki; Finance Minister Koji Omi; National Public
Security Commission Chairman Kensei Mizote; and Environment Minister
Masatoshi Wakabayashi, who is now concurrently serving as
agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, will be replaced. The
LDP Policy Research Council and General Council chairmen will likely
be picked from among faction leaders in the party. Some expect that
Tadamori Oshima of the Komura faction will be named chairman of the
Diet Affairs Committee.

TOKYO 00003696 009 OF 011

(10) Government, LDP float deputy prime minister plan: Foreign
minister or other key cabinet minister likely to double; Faction
leader to be appointed

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 11, 2007

A plan to create a post of deputy prime minister in a cabinet
reshuffle on Aug. 27 has surfaced in the government and the LDP. A
faction-leader-class veteran lawmaker will be appointed to the post,
which will be characterized as a watchdog of the cabinet. The aim is
to orchestrate a solid all-party cabinet lineup, aware of the
criticism that the current cabinet. The government and the LDP will
work out specifics in parallel with cabinet reshuffling and Prime
Minister Abe will decide on the propriety of establishing such a

Solid cabinet lineup to be orchestrated

Tanigaki likely to be nominated as candidate

The government and the LDP will have a key cabinet minister, such as
a foreign minister or a finance minister, double as a deputy prime
minister in order to indicate that the deputy prime minister is the
number-two person in the cabinet. If the plan is materialized,
Sadakazu Tanigaki, chairman of the Tanigaki faction, and Yasuo
Fukuda of the Machimura faction will likely be nominated as

Tanigaki contended with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the
premiership in the LDP presidential election last year. No members
of the Tanigaki faction have been given a portfolio. The faction has
taken this selection of the cabinet ministers as open retaliation.
Fukuda was also expected to run in the presidential election.
However, he gave up doing so, because of the fact that Abe was a
member of the same faction to which he belongs. He also gave
priority to the unity of the party.

If a person like Tanigaki or Fukuda were appointed deputy prime
minister, the government would be able to make an appeal to party
members that it has given consideration to party members' opinion
that cooperation should be sought from as many people as possible,
as former Prime Minister Yoshiro put it. It will also be taken as
proof that the new cabinet lineup is an all-party setup, which
forces that keep their distance from the Abe cabinet would respect.

Deputy prime minister plan aimed at containing criticism of Abe
cabinet as being cabinet of close allies

Behind the proposal is the desire to contain criticism that the
upcoming cabinet reshuffle could bring about. Foreign Minister Taro
Aso is viewed as the most promising candidate for secretary general.
He is very close to the prime minister. It is in reality difficult
to exclude all personnel close to the prime minister in the next
cabinet reshuffle.

The government and the LDP conjecture that if Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki is appointed to another ministerial post

or if Deputy Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara is appointed for a
key post, objections can be contained if an influential person is

TOKYO 00003696 010 OF 011

installed as deputy prime minister.

Among past deputy prime ministers, some were rivals of the prime
ministers, and others were influential veteran lawmakers. Some such
cases are Takeo Miki in the Tanaka cabinet, Kiichi Miyazawa in the
Takeshita cabinet, Michio Watanabe and Masaharu Gotoda in the
Miyazawa cabinet, and Tsutomu Hata in the Hosokawa cabinet.

However, amid the prime minister's power base further declining due
to the crushing defeat in the Upper House election, to what extent a
deputy prime minister can serve as a man of weight is not known.
Another problem is whether those nominated as candidates will accept
such an offer. The deputy prime minister plan will likely become one
of the focal points in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, which the
prime minister hopes to change the current political climate.

(11) Helo flights rerouted only slightly for Futenma airfield

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
August 10, 2007

Japan and the United States have now basically reached an
intergovernmental agreement on a new perimeter traffic pattern of
helicopters for the US Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa
Prefecture. The Japanese and US governments have reviewed the
current flight routes of Futenma-based choppers in the wake of the
August 2004 crash of a US military helicopter on the campus of
Okinawa International University. The Defense Facilities
Administration Agency has informed Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan
City of a plan that sets up new flight routes for helicopters to and
from Futenma airfield, officials said yesterday. The plan sets up
two northerly inbound routes, one of which is away from Okinawa
International University and skims the University of the Ryukyus. In
the case of southward outbound helicopters, however, the plan sets
up a west coast route and does not limit their flights to two
routes. This is not a big change in the current traffic pattern. The
US military still conducts heliborne training over urban areas, so
the plan will not drastically get rid of danger.

The DFAA sent Facilities Planning Division Director Masayoshi
Tatsumi to Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan City on Aug. 7 to convey
the new perimeter traffic pattern of helicopters. Meanwhile, three
years has passed since the accident. Nevertheless, the current
flight routes of Futenma-based choppers have yet to be reviewed.
This may come under fire, and the DFAA is therefore thinking to
announce the rerouting plan before Aug. 13. The Japanese and US
governments are expected to announce it today.

The DFAA has explained to Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan City that
the US military will conduct its on-base training inside the fence
as ever. As a safety measure, the US military plans to remove
on-base obstacles so helicopters can manage to reach the base before
crashing. The US military has already improved some of the base's
air traffic control system, according to the DFAA.

Basically, helicopters to and from the northern training area will
use two routes. The northerly route of Futenma airfield is from a
fishing port in the Atta district of Kitanakagusuku Village to the
north of Futenma airfield's runway. The southerly route is set away
from some densely populated areas and Okinawa International
University. This route passes over the University of the Ryukyus
from a point near a fishing port in the Hama district of Nakagusuku

TOKYO 00003696 011 OF 011

Village and enters the south of Futenma airfield's runway.

The DFAA also says touch-and-go and other training exercises will be
conducted inside the fence as ever. However, touch-and-go training
was seen all over the city even after the accident, according to the
city's municipal government.

As a safeguard, the US military has now changed Futenma airfield's
air traffic control system. Inbound aircraft used to approach the
runway with their pilots' eyes. However, the Futenma base has
introduced necessary equipment. With its helicopter's crash on the
campus of Okinawa International University as a lesson, the US
military plans to remove Futenma airfield's trees and steel towers
so its aircraft can fly into the base in the event of emergencies.


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The end of the pandemic is in sight but we must not let our guard down, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, as he welcomed the news that the global vaccine partnership COVAX has lined up almost two billion doses of existing ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>

UN Rights Office: Iran Execution Of Child Offender Breaks International Law

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial. In a statement released on Thursday, ... More>>

UN News: Fighting Displaces Over 500,000 In Northern Mozambique, Reports UN Refuge Agency

Attacks by armed groups in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces have displaced more than 530,000 people, many of whom have been forced to move multiple times, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. According to ... More>>