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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Japan-Rok Territorial

VZCZCXRO0838
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2114 2140207
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 010207Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6247
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA PRIORITY
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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
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 9159
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 1533
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 7353
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9742
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2889
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4673
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2447
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0662
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1047
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 002114

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 - JAPAN-ROK TERRITORIAL
ROW

1. LEAD STORIES: All Friday morning papers led with
Prime Minister Fukuda's decision to shuffle his cabinet
today.

2. "U.S Should Provide Convincing Explanation" On the
USG decision to reinstate an earlier description of the
Liancourt Rocks in the Sea of Japan as South Korean
territory, the liberal Mainichi argued in an editorial
(8/1): "This is a matter connected to national
sovereignty. It should not be treated as a 'gift' to
South Korea from President Bush. Washington's expedient
approach is unacceptable.... The reinstatement of the
description was reportedly made after President Bush
instructed Secretary of State Rice to look into the
matter. If this is the case, doubts will inevitably
arise as to whether the President and the Secretary
correctly understand the magnitude of the issue.... If
the U.S. insists that it will not side with either
Japan or South Korea, it should explain its neutral
position with clear-cut wording, rather than playing
around with statements on a website."

3. "Mature Response Called for on ROK's Part" The
conservative Sankei insisted in an editorial (8/1): "It
is a matter of course for any party involved in a
territorial dispute to present its case in its schools.
South Korea has done this.... That is why Japan, though
not pleased with South Korea's unilateral control of
the disputed islets and having protested it, has never
tried to stir up a nationwide movement, nor has it
stalled diplomatic relations. A mature state would not
do these things."

4. "South Korea Urged to Exercise Restraint" The
liberal Tokyo Shimbun editorialized (7/1): "...It is
regrettable that South Korean society, incited by the
government, is engulfed with anti-Japanese
sentiment.... It is more important than ever for Japan
and South Korea to cooperate in order to create a
stable order in Northeast Asia. Both countries will
lose greatly if they remain at odds over an issue that
cannot be resolved in the near future. At any rate,
America's opportunism went too far.... The U.S.
maintains that it is neutral on the territorial
dispute, but it would be more accurate to say that it
has no fixed principles. To recall, a USG letter
addressed to the ROK government in 1951 stated clearly
that Takeshima was not included in the Korean territory
that Japan surrendered as part of the 1951 San
Francisco Peace Treaty."

SCHIEFFER

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