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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Taliban Release Of

VZCZCXRO3873
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #4027 2420500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300500Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7079
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N541// PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA// PRIORITY
RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2884
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 5311
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1881
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3631
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 6510
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8709
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1862
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4768
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5689
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 004027

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: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - TALIBAN RELEASE OF
SOUTH KOREAN HOSTAGES - TOKYO


LEAD STORIES: Thursday morning's Asahi gave top
coverage to a DPJ plan to put forward an alternative
proposal for helping in the reconstruction in
Afghanistan.

1. "Hard Lessons from Hostage Crisis" The liberal Asahi
editorialized (8/30): "It is a good thing that the
South Koreans taken hostage by the Taliban are starting
to be released and can now return home. The incident,
however, is bound to have grave effects on
reconstruction in Afghanistan and has left 'hard
lessons' for aid workers.... The South Korean
government may have paid a large amount of ransom
money. Given the number of hostages, it may not have
been possible to completely rule out ransom
negotiations, but paying money to kidnappers will
encourage similar incidents. There is concern about the
safety of UN and NGO workers operating in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, the international community must not
allow assistance for reconstruction to stall, as that
country is in the frontline in the war on terrorism.
Afghanistan must be rebuilt as a free and peaceful
country.... For the time being, there is little choice
but to rely on the International Security Assistance
Force and the US-led 'coalition of the willing' in
order to maintain security and order. Swift rebuilding
of the Afghan military and police are imperative so
that aid workers can move around the country freely."

2. "No Time for Unreserved Joy" The top-circulation,
moderate Yomiuri wrote (8/30): "...The ROK Blue House
announced that it accepted two conditions to win the
release of the hostages: the withdrawal of its troops
from Afghanistan by year's end and the suspension of
missionary work there by South Korean Christians....
The decision to withdraw troops by the end of the year
was essentially made prior to the incident.... This
announcement, however, leaves the impression that this
was a concession made in the course of negotiations
with the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Afghan government
steadfastly rejected demands for the release of Taliban
prisoners. This may have prolonged the hostage
standoff, but the position of not negotiating with
terrorists is in line with international norms and is a
matter of course.... Afghanistan must not be allowed to
become a failed state, so enhanced international
assistance is imperative. Japan must also continue its
support, and an extension of the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law is necessary."

DONOVAN

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