Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/17/07

DE RUEHKO #4856/01 2902226
P 172226Z OCT 07





E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Diet debate (Asahi)

(2) Lower House dissolution looming over refueling debate (Asahi)

(3) Former Burmese diplomat who resigned over crackdown: Military
regime aims to bring about terror and division into embassy; Japan
thinks too much in making response (Asahi)

(4) Does Prime Minister Fukuda have a secret strategy for North
Korea policy? Fukuda's line may be extremely risky (Sankei)

(5) Global warming preventive measures: Each sector has its own way

(6) FTC's outlined amendments to Antimonopoly Law calls for
broadened scope of acts subject to fines (Mainichi)

(7) Seiron Column: Antiterror law; MSDF refueling operations
constitutional international contribution; DPJ head Ozawa's argument
for abandoning sovereign power is weird (Sankei)

(8) Open letter to Mr. Kiwataka Kawabata on how to view the SDF's
refueling operations at sea: Now is the time to establish principles
for international security (Sekai)

(1) Diet debate

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
October 17, 2007

The following is a gist of questions and answers in a meeting
yesterday of the House of Councillors Budget Committee.

Refueling issue

Natsuo Yamaguchi (New Komeito): The Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law, which is currently in effect, was set for two years when the
law was first enacted (in 2001). There was a change from the initial
period of two years to one year (when the law was revised in 2005
and 2006). Did this change cause any unexpected trouble to the
international community?

Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura: We have changed the law's period
to one year so we can respond to situational changes in an adequate
manner. Speaking from our experience in the past, and whether it was
for two years or one year, there was nothing inconvenient-not only
from the perspective of (the Maritime Self-Defense Force's fueling)
operations (in the Indian Ocean) but also from the perspective of
(Japan's) foreign policy. That's our judgment.

Yamaguchi: If we are to extend (the MSDF's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean), the question is how the Diet will check it. That
matters a lot. It looks like the new legislation will not require
the government to ask the Diet for approval. However, I think even
stronger civilian control will work with the Diet's annual check.

Prime Minister Fukuda: There were suggestions from that perspective
in the ruling parties, so we're considering that.

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Akira Koike (Japanese Communist Party): The government says the
MSDF's refueling assistance is limited to (foreign vessels engaged
in) maritime interdictions. However, US forces are not only
operating in Iraq and Afghanistan but also operating at sea. Their
operations are linked. You may tell them to use Japanese fuel for
maritime interdictions only. But that's impossible for them.

Defense Minister Ishiba: You probably want to emphasize that Japan
is participating in the American war. At present, however, 80
PERCENT (of all fuel provided by Japan to foreign vessels in the
Indian Ocean) is not for the United States in the number of times
fueled, and 70 PERCENT is not for the United States in the amount
of fuel supplied.

Koike: If Japan assisted their operations, that really means
assistance to the Afghan air campaign that caused the proliferation
of terrorism. Is this allowable to Japan as a country that has
Article 9 (of the Constitution)?

Foreign Minister Komura: The new legislation allows Japan's
assistance for maritime interdiction operations only. We trust the
United States.

Koike: This is a serious problem for Japan. You said you trust the
United States. Your word is not enough to settle this problem.

Ishiba: It doesn't mean blind trust in the United States. We check
our fuel supplies on the spot. We have concluded an exchange of
notes and confirmed for what purpose our fuel would be used. I
cannot understand why this is called blind trust.

Fukuda: I wonder why you won't make efforts to understand. No matter
how much we may discuss, you won't say yes in the end, will you? You
may want to say Japan takes part in the US military's Afghan air
campaign. But that's not true. Japan is backing up the international
community's antiterror mop-up operations.

(2) Lower House dissolution looming over refueling debate

ASAHI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 17, 2007

Prime minister irritated

In a House of Councillors Budget Committee session last evening,
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda unusually lost his cool at one point.

Asked by Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Akira Koike about the
refueling operation in the Indian Ocean, Fukuda said in a strong
tone: "No matter how hard we discuss the matter, you won't support
it, will you?"

There is every reason for the prime minister to feel irritated. The
government and ruling parties presented the opposition camp with the
outline of new antiterrorism legislation ahead of submitting it to
the Diet and called for talks, even disclosing some US military
data. Despite that, major opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto or DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa did not show any signs of
making any compromises. Fueled by low public support for the
refueling mission, the Liberal Democratic Party is becoming
increasingly impatient, as is seen in a Diet Affairs Committee
member's comment, "The need for the refueling operation is not

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widely recognized."

The current session of the Diet will adjourn on Nov. 10, which is
only a little over three weeks away. During that period, the
government and the ruling parties must determine whether to postpone
the planned enactment of the envisaged new legislation without
extending the current session, or to aim at the enactment of the new
legislation by even using a two-thirds majority after substantially
extending the current session.

The scenario of using the two-thirds rule for enacting the
legislation appeared a real possibility following former Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement to resign if he failed to extend
the antiterrorism law. But since Abe was replaced by
dialogue-oriented Fukuda, there have been voices that the
antiterrorism law is not a subject for the prime minister to stake
his job.

The new legislation is closely associated with the timing for
dissolving the Lower House for a snap general election that might
bring about a change of government.

An LDP executive predicted that the forcible enactment of the new
law would result in an early general election. The ruling bloc,
which is still suffering from the aftermath of the July House of
Councillors election, cannot afford to gamble on the new law.

In his inaugural press conference, Prime Minister Fukuda said that
the Lower House must not be dissolved at a time that would adversely
affect people's lives, alluding to next spring after the FY2008
budget clears the Diet.

Relatively high support rates for the cabinet of Prime Minister
Fukuda in its early days pushed the government and ruling parties
toward a hard-line approach to the new legislation, coupled with an
observation that the Lower House would be dissolved early. But given
the recent declining rates, the prevalent view in the ruling bloc is
that there is only about a 10 PERCENT chance for Lower House
dissolution before the end of the year and that the government must
play it safe.

In the event the government decided to put off the new legislation
to next year's regular Diet session, the FY2008 budget would take
precedence over the antiterrorism law, thereby forcing Japan to
suspend the refueling operation for nearly six months. Concerned
about relations with the United States, some in the government and
ruling camp are calling for a slight extension of the session to
make a final decision on the matter while closely monitoring public

Dissolution of the Lower House next spring would overlap with the
collation of unidentified pension records, scheduled to be completed
by the end of March. The pension issue that caused the ruling camp
to suffer a crushing defeat in the Upper House election might flare
up again. Aware of the New Komeito's desire for ample time to make
preparations for the next election, a cabinet minister pointed to
Lower House dissolution after the G8 Summit. LDP Election Strategy
Council Chairman Makoto Koga, too, spoke of latest possible Diet
dissolution on behalf of the ruling parties.

DPJ to limit ISAF participation to civilian assistance

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In an executive meeting yesterday, DPJ President Ozawa indicated
that his party's counterproposal to the government plan would be
limited to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in
Afghanistan. He said: "Japan will not join the security operations
of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Japan's
effort will be limit to assistance to civilians."

At a press conference, he also said: "Conflicts come from poverty.
Taking steps for a stable food supply is most important." This
comment seemingly reflects his consideration to Defense Minister
Shigeru Ishiba's statement that ruled out Japan's participation in
the ISAF involving the use of armed force and cautious views within
the party.

The DPJ's counterproposal is likely to center on the elimination of
landmines, restoring farmland, and farming technology assistance. A
plan is also in the pipeline to send an ambassador
plenipotentiary-led term of 10-20 civilians to the Afghan
government's security sector reform (SSR) program to rebuild the
employment and training system by reforming the police structure
dominated by military cliques.

Junior members are also calling for sending armed SDF troops for
providing protection to the civilian group. The leadership is
considering the possibility of dispatching the SDF.

Views split at the executive meeting over whether to present the
Diet with the party's counterproposal in the form of a bill. Diet
Affairs Committee Chair Kenji Yamaoka said: "We have already
presented a livelihood-based bill. The focus of another bill might
be blurring." Another member said that a bill would help clarify the
party's standpoint. The decision was left to President Ozawa in the

The DPJ initially aimed at Lower House dissolution and general
election next spring when the ruling and opposition blocs would lock
horns over the budget bill. Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama noted
in a speech on Oct. 15: "We though the question of continuing the
refueling operation might trigger (Lower House dissolution), but the
Fukuda cabinet is devoid of the eagerness to settle the matter in
the ongoing Diet session. Around next April would be the best timing
for dissolution."

The DPJ intended to focus on realizing Upper House campaign pledges,
such as a bill banning the diversion of pension premiums in order to
play up its ability to assume political reins. But aware of the
danger of losing public support as a result of adamantly opposing
the refueling mission, the party is now set to come up with its
counterproposal against the government and ruling bloc.

(3) Former Burmese diplomat who resigned over crackdown: Military
regime aims to bring about terror and division into embassy; Japan
thinks too much in making response

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, October 15, 2007

Shigeo Tosa, London

A diplomat (37) at the Burmese Embassy in London resigned from the
military regime on Oct. 9 in protest over its violent suppression of
pro-democracy protests. In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, he

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said: "I wanted to show that in the regime, there are also persons
who believe the military government is wrong." The former diplomat
for the first time explained to a foreign news company how confused
the situation was in the embassy. He stressed: "The second act of
the revolution is about to unfold now. I want my colleagues to make
the same decision."

The former diplomat is Ye Min Tun. He has hidden himself for
security reasons, so he responded to questions by e-mail and mobile

After studying international relations at Yangon University and a
university in the US, Tun joined the Burmese Foreign Ministry in
1998. In 2004, he began to work at the embassy in London as a second
secretary. He reportedly was eager to negotiate with anti-government

groups, as he said: "I believed there must be a role in the regime
to deepen the dialogue with the people and obtain their
understanding, even though the military regime has committed
human-rights abuses."

But seeing defenseless monks and citizens attacked by the military,
Tun was driven to despair. He said: "In my homeland, Buddhism has
gained an influence that is the most remarkable in the world. Its
reputation has been tarnished now. I felt it would be difficult to
continue my duty as a professional diplomat, representing the
military junta." He added that he had come to the decision on his
own, without consulting anybody.

In reaction to the crackdown, Burmese in London and others staged a
protest demonstration in front of the Burmese Embassy in London.
Although the staff of the embassy pretended to be calm, Tun said:
"The embassy was is a state of disruption."

Embassy members linked to the military regime were calling the monks
"sham priests," but the diplomats were looking at the demonstrations
favorably. Tun said: "I also have a love of our nation, like the
demonstrators. I was calling for freedom from within the

But embassy staffers remained silent. Tun said: "As the saying goes,
'walls have ears.' The staff of the embassy cannot trust each other.
The military regime is aiming to bring about fear, and it divided
the embassy community."

According to Tun, the military government distributed to each
Burmese embassy in the world a note reading that since Tun had been
greatly affected by the foreign media, he decided to resign. The
note also warned that those who followed him would be deprived of
their citizenship and would become unable to return home. Despite
such a situation, he received e-mails of encouragement from several
of his colleagues after quitting his job.

To remedy the current situation, Tun believes it is necessary to
shake up the military regime from within. He said: "We should apply
pressure on the regime to sit down at the negotiating table with
anti-government groups. This must be the sole way to lead our nation
onto the right path."

The former diplomat also seeks the Japanese government's
cooperation. He is critical of the response it has made so far,
remarking: "Japan thinks too much of strategy in terms of national
interest. Since Japan has a major impact, the government might be

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hesitant to take a quick action." He added: "I want Japan to work on
the military regime to promote dialogue."

(4) Does Prime Minister Fukuda have a secret strategy for North
Korea policy? Fukuda's line may be extremely risky

SANKEI (Page 1&3) (Slightly excerpts)
October 14, 2007

Japan's independent economic sanctions on North Korea, invoked last
October in response to the North's nuclear test, was extended on
Oct. 13 for six months. Oct. 15 will mark the fifth anniversary for
the repatriation of five Japanese abductees from North Korea. With
no signs yet of a solution to the abduction issue, Prime Minister
Yasuo Fukuda has indicated that he will assume a stance of placing
emphasis on "dialogue" rather than "pressure," which former Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe applied. With inter-Korea harmony and US-North
Korea rapprochement, circumstances surrounding Japan-North Korea
talks have become severe. If Fukuda makes easy concessions, he will
definitely come under public criticism. He said: "I will resolve the
abduction issue on my own." Does he have any secret strategy for
resolving the issue?

Continued sanctions and resumption of assistance

In an interview by Kyodo News, Ambassador of North Korea to
Normalization Talks with Japan Song Il Ho praised Prime Minister
Fukuda, saying, "His stance of placing importance on dialogue rather
than pressure is noteworthy."

When asked by reporters about Ho's comment, Fukuda responded on the
night of Oct. 1: "Dialogue and pressure. Since the two sides will be
meeting, I would like to hold dialogue that can satisfy both

Fukuda explained the reason for the extension of sanction measures
to ban all North Korean ships to enter Japanese ports, saying,
"There is no change in the situation (over the abduction issue)."

Although the Abe government decided not to offer any assistance to
the North, the Fukuda government is now looking into the possibility
of resuming humanitarian assistance, which has been suspended since
December 2004, as a condition for the North's reinvestigation on
Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents.

The Fukuda government appears to be trying to get North Korea go to
the negotiation table by hinting at continued economic sanctions and
at a resumption of humanitarian aid. Some in the government consider
lifting part of the economic sanctions, which were extended on the
13th, if Pyongyang implements the six-party agreement by the end of

At beginning of New Year or after

Fukuda appears to have determined that he has no choice but to
change Abe's policy of attaching top priority to resolving the
abduction issue by applying pressure on the North.

Analyzing that Japan-North Korea relations are at a cul de sac,
Fukuda has stressed that various approaches are necessary for
(negotiations with Pyongyang). In a session on the 12th of the Lower
House Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration, he stated:

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"It is important to resolve the abduction, nuclear and missile
issues all together." He did not meet the families of the missing
abductees, who called at the Prime Minister's Official Residence on
the 5th. This highlighted differences between Fukuda and Abe, who
met with them just four days after he assumed the prime minister's

A mid-level LDP lawmaker, who has been involved in North Korea
diplomacy, said:

"If the situation is consolidated by making improvement in bilateral
negotiations, the prime minister could visit Pyongyang to hold talks
with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il next year or later."

Fukuda has not denied the possibility of a trip to Pyongyang,
saying, "(A visit to North Korea) will not occur for now, but such
might occur depending on progress in the negotiations."

Under such a situation, Fukuda and his aides have paid attention to
public opinion. A government high official with close ties with
Fukuda, said: "The prime minister is unhappy with being labeled as
lenient toward North Korea." The Fukuda government needs to produce
concrete results such as improvement in the abduction issue, in
addition to explanations that can convince the public so that it
will not be criticized.

Change in North Korea's response?

Since the Abe cabinet invoked economic sanctions last October, North
Korea has repeatedly criticized Abe for taking "overreaching words
and actions." The North had tried to force Japan to withdraw from
the six-party talks.

However, after the inauguration of the Fukuda cabinet, Pyongyang has
stopped blatantly criticizing the Japanese government. Kim Jong Il
reportedly said in the inter-Korea summit in early October: "I will
wait and see what is Japan's attitude."

Therefore, the view is prevailing that Pyongyang has strengthened a
stance of responding to negotiations because of the inauguration of
the Fukuda cabinet, which places importance on dialogue.

Few card of dialogue

There are no prospects in sight to resolve the abduction issue
because North Korean leader Kim reportedly said: "There are no
Japanese abductees in North Korea." This means that there is no
change in Pyongyang's position that the abduction issue has already
been resolved.

Japan has a limited number of cards to urge North Korea to hold
serious dialogue, however. The issue of settling past accounts for
Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula is regarded as a trump
card. Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura stated: "North Korea
desperately wants" Japan's economic cooperation under the pretext of
a "settlement of past accounts" worth as much as 1 trillion yen.

In case economic cooperation projects agreed in the inter-Korea
summit are implemented as planned, there is an estimate that South
Korea's investment would total approximately 1.3 trillion yen. Some
have contended that the significance of the settlement of past
accounts may decrease.

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The observation has grown that the United States will delist North
Korea as state sponsor of terrorism before the end of this year.
This is a source of concern for Japan. Since the abduction issue is
included in the reasons for the US listing the North as sponsor of
terrorism, Tokyo has called on Washington not to delist before the
abduction issue is resolved. Should the US delist, North Korea will
not see it necessary to deal with the abduction issue in a positive

A Japanese diplomat familiar with North Korean affairs said:

"The aim of North Korea, which has been trying to reconcile with the
United States, is to put an end to the abduction issue for good and
to make Japan a cash dispenser. Japan needs flexible bargaining
capability similar to North's brinkmanship diplomacy. Tokyo must be
adamant about its principle of resolving the abduction issue.
Therefore, the Fukuda policy line is extremely dangerous."

(5) Global warming preventive measures: Each sector has its own way

ASAHI (Page 9) (Full)
October 17, 2007/10/17

Industry sector raises CO2 reduction goal by 2.6 million tons a

It has been learnt that four industries, such as the home
electronics and auto industries, will raise their goals set under
their respective voluntary action programs in order to achieve the
target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide
(CO2), stipulated under the Kyoto Protocol. They will add
approximately 2.6 million tons a year (in CO2 terms. estimate by the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)). Their proposal will
be reported at a joint council meeting of the Environment Ministry
and METI.

The home electronics sector will raise its target of reducing CO2
emitted from a certain amount of economic activities from 28 PERCENT
, compared with the 1990 level, to 35 PERCENT . This would be
equivalent to an additional cut of approximately 2.3 million tons.
The auto industry will increase its reduction amount from the
current target of 10 PERCENT to 12.5 PERCENT or additional 200,000
tons or so.

Business circles split: Keizai Doyukai calls for mandatory goal

Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai)
Representative Director Masamitsu Sakurai yesterday noted that a
post-Kyoto Protocol framework to be adopted in 2010 should stipulate
mandatory greenhouse gas emissions targets. He thus made the
organization's difference from Nippon Keidanren clear. Sakurai also
expressed his support for the introduction of an environment tax and
an emissions trading system, indicating that business circles are
not monolithic on the post-Kyoto framework.

Keizai Doyukai will come up with proposals for a post-Kyoto protocol
at the end of the year. Sakurai revealed that the organization is
now discussing the issue with focus on the following three points:
(1) An absolute amount is important for a reduction of global
warming gases; (2) participation by the US, China and India is
essential: and (3) setting a mandatory reduction goal.

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Battle in government circles; "Introducing an environment tax will
leave problems," says METI minister

Commenting on an environment tax, which the Environment Minister has
proposed as one measure to combat climate change, METI Minister
Amari indicated a negative stance. He said, "Introducing such a tax
will leave problems in terms of Japan's international

Amari pointed out drawbacks, "Competition between a country with an
environment tax and a country without one would not be fair." He
also said, "An environment tax tends to become an industrial duty.
However, the industrial sector has produced more results than other
sectors in terms of a cut in global warming gases." Vice METI
Minister Takao Kitabata also noted that the environment tax would
produce no results and would have no meaning, which was rebutted by
Environment Minister Kamoshita. Coordination of views in the
government is bound to encounter difficulty.

(6) FTC's outlined amendments to Antimonopoly Law calls for
broadened scope of acts subject to fines

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
October 17, 2007

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) released a report outlining its
basic plans to amend the Antimonopoly Law. The report proposes
expanding the scope of acts that could be defined as violating the
Antimonopoly Law and be subject to administrative surcharges. The
newly added acts include false or ambiguous labeling of products;
major companies abusing their dominant positions against suppliers
or subcontractors; and companies slashing prices of their products
in an attempt to shut out competitors from the market. By
introducing stricter regulations, the FTC aims to protect consumers,
small to mid-sized companies, and subcontracting firms.

Under the current law, the FTC can impose fines only on such
practices as bid-rigging or dango and cartel. For other illegal acts
such as false labeling, the FTC is just allowed to issue a warning
or an action-correction order. The report also refers to extending
the duration of force of reprimands from the current three years to
five years, the same as in the United States.

The report calls for heavier fines on companies mainly responsible
for bid-rigging arrangements or other illegal practices and also for
improving the leniency system under which immunity from criminal
prosecution or a reduction in surcharge payments is applied to
companies that voluntarily report illegal activities to

Under the current law, the FTC is authorized to make judgments on
complaints handed down by the FTC itself. The business world is
calling for a review of this system, one insisting that judgments
should be made in accordance with legal procedures. But the FTC
report specifies that "the system will be maintained for the time

The FTC intends to submit a bill amending the Antimonopoly Law to
the Diet next March, but some Liberal Democratic Party members and
business circles are fiercely opposed to the proposal, citing that
the report, though calling for tightened regulations, leaves the

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judgment system unchanged. Given this, it might be coordinate views
in drawing up a bill.

(7) Seiron Column: Antiterror law; MSDF refueling operations
constitutional international contribution; DPJ head Ozawa's argument
for abandoning sovereign power is weird

SANKEI (Page 19) (Slightly abridged)
October 17, 2007

Tomomi Inada, Lower House member and attorney

If MSDF refueling operations are unconstitutional,

The cabinet will adopt at its meeting new legislation that will
replace the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law, which expires on
Nov. 1. The objective of new legislation will be limited to allowing
the Maritime Self-Defense Force to refuel vessels of countries
engaging in the Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) with the aim
of monitoring movements of terrorists. The term of the new law is
one year.

As is well known, Ichiro Ozawa, president of the Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ or Minshuto), is opposing the new legislation as well. He
said he would not respond to the ruling camp's call for talks. The
problem is the reason he has given.

Ozawa claims that MSDF refueling operations in the Indian Ocean is
unconstitutional. If that is the case, it would mean that Japan has
continued an unconstitutional practice of supplying fuel for the
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)-MIO, signing an exchange of notes
with 11 countries, including the US, Britain, Germany, France and
Pakistan, since December 2001, for six years. Furthermore, the
Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law itself, which serves as the
basis for the MSDF operations, is an unconstitutional law.

If that is so, the necessity for prior Diet approval as called for
by the DPJ would become an unnecessary argument. Further, provided
that the DPJ argument that MSDF refueling operations in the Indian
Ocean are unconstitutional is legitimate, the new legislation as
well as the Anti-terrorism Law would become unconstitutional. That
is why the DPJ continues to oppose it. This is a stance that is easy
to understand.

However, the matter is not so simple. That is because Mr. Ozawa also
insists that the major problem is that there is no resolution
endorsing the SDF's assistance activities adopted by the United
Nations Security Council.

If one tries to explain these points made by Mr. Ozawa in a
consistent way, one would have to say that even if the overseas
dispatch of SDF personnel involves the use of armed force, it would
not be unconstitutional if only there were a UNSC resolution, and
that the use of armed force, an unconstitutional practice, would be
permissible if only there were a UNSC resolution.

Ozawa's interpretation of Article 9 peculiar and weird

As a matter of fact, Mr. Ozawa openly said that if the DPJ takes the
reins of government, it would bring about Japan's participation in
the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) within
Afghanistan. That is because there is a UNSC resolution 1386, which

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authorizes ISAF operations in Afghanistan in concrete terms.

For the time being, he takes the position of limiting participation
to assistance for basic human needs. However, according to the logic
of his argument, it would become possible to use armed force in
assistance activities by the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF). It
would also become possible to actively dispatch SDF troops abroad
for assistance activities involving the use of armed force. He would
say that there would be no constitutional problem involved in those
operations, because there are USNC resolutions.

Since he wrote "Blueprint for a New Japan," he has claimed that it
is not against Article 9 of the Constitution or rather in line with
the sprit of the Constitution for Japan to take part in overseas
activities involving the use of armed force, by establishing a UN
standby force for cooperation for US peace-keeping operations. He
appears to see the UN as ranking above the state and surpassing a
country's sovereign power.

However, it is unreasonable to interpret Article 9 as allowing the
use of armed force, if it is in order to cooperate for UN
peace-keeping operations. The current Constitution only authorizes
the use of armed force in the use of force in self-defense (it is
arguable whether it includes the exercise of the right to collective

Whether the details of the UN resolution were sufficient to
authorize overseas assistance activities by the SDF or not is not a
constitutional issue but a matter of political judgment. A special
view of the UN that the use of armed force becomes constitutional if
there is a UN resolution, as Ozawa's, the specifics of a UN
resolution would become an issue directly linked to the
interpretation of the Constitution.

National interest of securing marine traffic

It makes no sense to nervously rebut Ozawa's argument as a legal
issue, when the DPJ-led by Ozawa, which recognizes the UN ranking
above Japan's sovereignty, argues that there are no grounds provided
by a UN resolution. As long as the arguments are pursued, based on
the premise that Japan is a sovereign nation, the issue should be
whether it is politically right or wrong in light of the
international situation and Japan's interest to decide to dispatch
SDF troops for operations that do not involve the use of armed
force. It would suffice to consider that the contents of UN
resolutions are one of the considerations to be taken into account
when making a decision.

It is a politically correct option for the MSDF to continue
refueling operations in the Indian Ocean in the sense that Japan
fulfills international responsibility by contributing to the fight
against terrorism as a member of the international community and in
the sense that such a practice is in line with Japan's interest of
securing marine traffic in the Indian Ocean.

(8) Open letter to Mr. Kiwataka Kawabata on how to view the SDF's
refueling operations at sea: Now is the time to establish principles
for international security

By Ichiro Ozawa, President, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)


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November 2007
(Full translation)

To: Mr. Kiwataka Kawabata,
Political officer, Department of Political Affairs, United Nations

Dear Mr. Kawabata:

The other day, I read your article in the monthly journal Sekai
(World) titled, "The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law and United
Nations Resolutions." I here lay out my own opinions regarding your
probe into the "distortions" that exist in Japan's foreign policy
and about what you wrote about my own assertions.

First, if I may start with my conclusion about the "distortion" you
pointed out that exists between Japan's principle of centering
foreign policy on the United Nations and the Japan-US alliance, I
think that the distortion can be removed depending on how Japan
handles matters. You, like many Japanese, have been led to the
conclusion that the Japan-US alliance must be maintained at all
costs, if it comes to a debate over which to choose in the final
analysis as a practical matter. But in my view, there is no
contradiction between a UN-centered principle and the Japan-US
alliance. Instead, I argue that by balancing both, the security of
Japan can be guaranteed.

In actuality, it has already become impossible for the United States
alone to maintain world peace or in other words to play the role of
the international community's policeman. The situations in
Afghanistan and in Iraq today testify to that result. The Bush
administration in the United States started the Afghan war by using
these caustic words: "This is America's war, a self-defense war.
Consequently, we don't need a United Nations resolution." But in
reality, although it was only natural, practicality stepped in, for
the US, not being able to handle it on its own, had to seek the help
of the international community.

As a result, in logical and practical terms, there is not other way
to protect international peace than for everybody to join hands,
based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, and for
Japan, based also on the principles of the Constitution. I would
like here to explain clearly my views toward the problems in the
international community today. The issue is same whether it be the
repelling of an invasion, as in the past Gulf war, or the ongoing
war against terrorism today. However, the United States is always
overconfident of its own unilateralism, and it does not notice that
its actions are disrupting the international community, starting
with the United Nations. If Japan is to really be an ally of the US
(and it is the same for other allies), it should hold its head up
high and strive to give proper advice to the US. In order to do
that, it is indispensable for Japan to be willing to make efforts to
take initiatives on its own in the protection of peace in the world
by resolving to share the responsibility for peacekeeping.

From long ago, I have continued to say this to the Japanese people
every chance I have had. Especially, during the Gulf war, I strongly
made that assertion. But at the time, I, as secretary general of the
Liberal Democratic Party, was a minority of one. Even now in Japan
among the public, I think there is still insufficiency, if we only
speak about having a consciousness or awareness of the times.

At any rate, putting it crudely, the problem (of inconsistency)

TOKYO 00004856 013 OF 016

between the principle of being UN-centered and that of relying on
the Japan-US alliance can be eliminated, depending on the resolve of
the Japanese people themselves to carry out peacekeeping in the
international community. Moreover, I am convinced that balancing the
two would build a Japan-US alliance relationship in the way that it
originally should have been made.

Next, I would like to present my view of our country's national
security principles. In Japan, throughout the postwar period, there
have been various views about the interpretation of the
Constitution, especially Article 9. That has been the greatest
problem in setting our national security policy. The problem still
remains. Consequently, I will first explain the central point of my
interpretation of the Japanese Constitution. I will explain my views
along the line of the problem areas that you presented in your
critique of me.

The war on terrorism is the first issue that I will bring up.
Regarding that, I have never said such things as that Japan should
not join the war on terror. Japan in the past has submitted to
terrorists a number of times, even paying ransom and freeing
criminals, including those on death row. You undoubtedly remember
the incident of the Japan Red Army's hijacking of a JAL airliner.
There is no other country that would have submitted to those
terrorists in that way. That is why we Japanese must have the
resolve and attitude to fight terrorism. However, that should not be
by dispatching without principle our country's military overseas.
Needless to say, Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits Japan from
exercising the right of the use of armed force.

The Constitution forbids Japan from exercising the right of
self-defense as a means of settling international disputes, in order
words, the use of armed force. Consequently, we interpret the
Constitution as limiting (the right of the use of armed force) to
only the case of our country coming under direct attack or if there
is fear of Japan being attacked.

However, on the other hand, the Constitution highly extols the
principle of peace, stating that Japan by aspiring for world peace
would be able to occupy an honorable place in world society. In
order to do so, we must actively joint peacekeeping centered on the
United Nations. I believe that such a goal is in harmony with the
principle contained in our Constitution.

Here, let me enter into discussion a while about the Constitution.
The Liberal Democratic Party-led government (Cabinet Legislation
Bureau) even now interprets that UN operations are equivalent to the
use by Japan of the right of collective self-defense, and
consequently, for Japan to join any activity (including peacekeeping
operations (PKO) and multinational forces recognized by the United
Nations) which involves the use of armed force, based on Chapter 4,
Article 2 of the UN Charter, is a violation of Article 9 of the

If that is so, then how can the SDF support forces of the US, which
is leading Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan? Japan
should not be able to support anything to do with the use of the
right of collective self-defense, as long as this limitless
prohibition exists. In reality, even though other countries like
Canada and Australia have joined the OEF, almost all participants
other than Japan cooperate with the US by using their right to
collective self-defense.

TOKYO 00004856 014 OF 016

But the Japanese government even now asserts that under the
Constitution, the use of the right of collective self-defense is
prohibited. You, too, should recall that at the time of the Gulf
war, when I was secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP), I made a strong pitch, arguing that since was no need then to
send combat troops, at least Japan could provide services at field
hospitals or transport goods in supply ships. The Cabinet
Legislation Bureau, however, as well as every responsible ministry,
was against my view. The interpretation of the Constitution at the
time was that such contributions would be the same as the use of
armed force, even it were logistical support for UN operations. That
is why there was the argument that joining the Gulf war effort would
come up against Article 9 of the Constitution.

Logistical support - or in other words, the supply line - is the
largest factor in deciding the outcome of a war. In that sense, it
is correct to take the view that logistical support and the use of
armed force are one and the same when it comes to war. However, if
that is so, what kind of sophistry is now coming from the tongues at
the Cabinet Legislation Bureau regarding the SDF's supplying
logistical support for OEF -- or in other words, providing such
support for the US and other armed forces engaged in an operation
that does not come under UN activities?

Whether you speak of logistical support for Afghanistan or in Iraq,
it is all the same. The LDP says that such logistical support is not
the use of armed force and not the carrying out of warfare, so there
is no problem. Really, even a child would not accept such sophistry.
Yet, in reality, the government is dispatching troops overseas with
such logic. Is there any other country in the world that is so

Speaking from my point of view about Japan's Constitution, I
interpret it as not allowing Japan to cooperate by dispatching
troops overseas for the sake of another country's use of the right
of self-defense, whether it is America or another country. At the
same time, actively participating in UN operations, even if such
involves the use of armed force as a result, I think, does not come
up against the Constitution in any way, but is rather in agreement
with the principles found in our Constitution.

I will explain in easy to understand terms. The right of
self-defense an also be called legal self-defense. The words are
used interchangeably in English. For example, is a policeman allowed
to carry a weapon, use force, and use the weapon in times of need,
based on his own individual right to self-defense?

That is not so. A policeman must function in the end as an officer
of the law, carrying out a role in society, not as an individual
using the right of legal defense. If I may give another example, if
before your eyes, a person has been murdered, you as an ordinary
citizen cannot kill that criminal. That would be the same as
lynching him, and completely unacceptable under the law.

If we apply that principle to the international community, it will
be easily understood. As long as there is no agreement obtained from
the international community, the willful use of armed force is the
same as a lynching. If we recognize that, we can maintain order and
peace in the world society. In other words, the right to
self-defense that individual states can use is completely different
essentially from the operation of the United Nations for the sake of

TOKYO 00004856 015 OF 016

the peace and security of the entire international community. The
two concepts are in different dimensions. The peacekeeping
operations of the UN transcend the self-defense right that is
sovereign to each state. Even if such UN activities involve the use
of armed force, my interpretation is that such would come up the

In that connection, regarding that issue, there is a constitutional
scholar who has explained it clearly. He is Kisaburo Yokota, a
professor at Tokyo University who later became the head of the
Supreme Court. If you read his work, I think you will understand
more clearly what I am saying here.

You also wrote that I had suggested the possibility of Japan
participating in ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in
Afghanistan. My view, however, was not as vague as that. I have been
saying that Japan's participation in UN peacekeeping operations
authorized by a UN resolution, whether it be ISAF or something else,
does not come up against the Constitution at all. Of course, in
concrete terms, in what area and in what form and who should
participate all depend on the judgment of the government in power at
the time. However, the Japanese government until now has rejected
participation in all kinds of UN operations, citing as the reason
the Japanese Constitution. I repeat here my view that such a stance
should be changed.

In addition, you wrote regarding the interpretation of the right of
collective self-defense and the use of weapons overseas that the
legal preparations had not been made. But I have trouble
understanding that sort of argument as a problematic point. I think
the use of weapons should go along with international conventional
wisdom, and I do not think there is any problem with Japan's legal
system. You also wrote that the views of the DPJ have yet to be
unified, but I would like to strongly object to your defaming the
name of my party. If you were overseas, you probably would not know
about the conclusion of debates in the DPJ, but at the end of over
two months of party debate starting late last year, what I explained
above was decided (third chapter of the party's basic policy line).
I would like you to correctly recognize that fact.

Regarding my second point, I will not say any more, for I think you
understand it by now, but the war on terror is not just cooperating
with the US in its military operations. In actuality, it starts with
border entry and exit controls, as well as financial controls. In
many areas, the war can be waged by taking a resolute stand against
terrorism. Of course, regarding Afghanistan today, I think that I
would like to bring about Japan's participation in ISAF if I were in
the seat of power and setting foreign and security policies. In
addition, recently, the UN secretary general said he would like to
send an unprecedentedly large PKO unit to Sudan (Darfur), so since
this is completely a UN operation, naturally, I think we should join

Further, in the preamble to the UN resolution that extends the ISAF
mission that was adopted on Sept. 19, there is included an
"appreciation" for the contributions of each country toward OEF,
which was the result of the government's lobbying. Although the
government and ruling parties proclaimed that the operation of the
SDF had received the seal of approval of the United Nations, such a
tactic was just too dishonest. The operation of the MSDF to the end
is nothing but support for the US' launching of its right to
self-defense, and it is not an activity that falls under the UN

TOKYO 00004856 016 OF 016

framework. The new resolution cannot become at all the basis for
dispatching the SDF. I am saying that we should separate ourselves
from the framework of the US' military operations, and that we
should join instead what is clearly a United Nations activity, such
as ISAF.

The third point is that if we actively join a UN activity based on
the agreement of the international community, it would be a mistake
for such to have two meanings, namely, to say that there is no
problem with the SDF's cooperation based on the Iraq Special
Measures Law, since the multinational occupying forces have the
approval of a UN resolution on the face of it. First of all, UN
Resolution 1483 (adopted May 2003) that forms the basis for the Iraq
Special Measures Law only requires a US and British-led force to
maintain law and order. It does not authorize the creation of a
multinational force. Next, as I explained above, my assertion is
that participation in activities based on a UN resolution does not
come up against the Constitution, but even if it is in agreement
with the Constitution, that does not mean we can do anything. Even
if there is a UN resolution, there has to be a political decision as
whether Japan should or should not join, or else, in which area we
should participate. The government of the time must make such a
comprehensive political decision. That is the basic function of

The Iraq war was carried out by the US and British forces launching
strikes. In the UN, France, supposed to be an ally, was opposed.
Russia also was opposed, and so was China. In spite of that, the US
and Britain on their own accord launched the Iraq war. Moreover, it
was revealed later that there was no truth to Iraq possessing
weapons of mass destruction, claimed as the reason for the war. Both
the US and Britain had no choice but to admit that their
justification for the Iraq had been lost.

In addition, as a result of the failure of the occupation policy,
the Iraqi society was thrown into turmoil. That is why the US
apparently felt it had no choice but to seek the cooperation of the
international community, even though it had willfully begun that war
on its own. The series of UN resolutions related to Iraq
reconstruction were adopted under such circumstances. If there is
later a proper resolution that is adopted, we can make a political
judgment as to whether to approve an SDF dispatch to that country.
Even in the US, many Americans are opposed to the Iraq war, as you
know full well.

If I may repeat myself, Japan until now has consistently taken
negative positions about the use of force, citing the Constitution.
I think that was a big mistake. But at the same time, there is no
need to change our thinking about Article 9 of the Constitution. I
think we should carry it out faithfully. Consequently, my conclusion
is that we must actively contribute internationally in various areas
in accordance with our constitutional principles and with a UN


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