Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/30/08

DE RUEHKO #3033/01 3042254
P 302254Z OCT 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Prime minister made three miscalculations about Lower House
dissolution due to support rates and stock prices (Nikkei)

(2) DPJ in total war against ruling coalition as wind of Diet
dissolution stops blowing (Sankei)

(3) JCP's new election strategy seen to favor DPJ (Asahi)

(4) Interview with UNVIE DCM Pyatt: U.S.-Indian Nuclear Agreement
beneficial both on political and environment fronts (Hokkaido

(5) Japan should rebuild its diplomacy for nuclear nonproliferation

(6) Column -- Japan's Renaissance: Japan without a strategy faces a
crisis in the Japan-U.S. alliance (Shukan Shincho)


(1) Prime minister made three miscalculations about Lower House
dissolution due to support rates and stock prices

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 30, 2008

Prime Minister Aso Taro will hold a press conference today in which
he is expected to announce that he will not dissolve the Lower House
for a snap general election anytime soon. He had three options for
dissolving the Lower House: at the beginning of the current Diet
session, after a supplementary budget clears the Diet, and after the
enactment of a bill extending the Indian Ocean refueling activities
law. The prime minister seems to have missed the chance due to
sluggish support ratings and tumbling stock prices. With a decline
in the effectiveness of the "dissolution card," the Aso
administration might lose momentum.

Early dissolution plan failed

The prime minister had a secret meeting with New Komeito
Representative Akihiro Ota in Tokyo on Oct. 26. In the session, Ota
urged Aso to call a general election at an early date, saying: "Even
if the election is put off, we don't have a winning strategy." Aso
did not give his nod in approval, insisting, "I must give priority
to economic stimulus measures."

His initial plan was quite different. "Seeking the people's verdict
is my first mission," Aso wrote in his contribution to a monthly
magazine after being elected LDP president on Sept. 22. The
statement alluded to dissolving the lower chamber at the outset of
the current extraordinary Diet session. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
resigned, assuming that his successor would dissolve the Lower House
by taking advantage of the momentum of the LDP presidential race.
Aso, who was serving as LDP secretary general under the Fukuda
administration, must have been acutely aware of such a strategy.

Aso's first miscalculation was support ratings. Opinion polls
conducted shortly after his cabinet's inauguration showed
unexpectedly low rates. The Aso cabinet was also hit hard by the
resignation of Land and Transport Minister Nariaki Nakayama over his

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harsh comments on the Japan Teachers Union and others. This prompted
Aso to adopt the new strategy of raising popularity independently to
create a chance for the dissolution.

Priority given to supplementary budget

The prime minister then decided to play up his efforts to prop up
the economy and dissolve the Lower House after additional stimulus
measures reflecting his policy identity cleared the Diet.

Aso's economy-first policy ended up tying his own hands. On Oct. 10,
the Nikkei Stock Average fell below the 9,000 level for the first
time since June 2003. "A party in power is different from an
opposition party," Aso snarled on the same day at the DPJ which had
been pressing him for an early dissolution. Stock prices rallied at
one point after the G-7 meeting of finance ministers and central
bank governors but again plummeted later on.

November 30 plan fizzled

On the night of Oct. 16, after the supplementary budget was enacted,
Prime Minister Aso asked Finance and Financial Services Minister
Shoichi Nakagawa, Administrative Reform Minister Akira Amari, and
others, "What do you think of calling the election on November 30?"
Sometime between late October when the refueling legislation is
expected to clear the Diet and early November was the last chance to
dissolve the Lower House in a way not to negatively affect the
compilation of a fiscal 2009 budget.

Aso issued instruction after instruction to no avail, and the key
Nikkei index briefly fell below the 7,000 line on Oct. 24. In a news
conference on Oct. 25, after the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Aso had
to declare: "I am going to prioritize the international role over
the domestic political situation."

When the key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell below its
post-bubble low on Oct. 27, the prime minister said: "I don't
fluctuate between optimism and pessimism." The day before, he had
begun secretly indicating to party leaders that he would forgo the
dissolution plan for the time being.

(2) DPJ in total war against ruling coalition as wind of Diet
dissolution stops blowing

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
October 29, 2008

With Prime Minister Taro Aso's decision to delay a dissolution of
the House of Representatives and snap election, the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) yesterday shifted its approach from
a cooperative stance to a confrontational one. Since the House of
Councillors Foreign and Defense Affairs Committee refused to take a
vote on a bill amending the new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law
to extend by one year the Maritime Self-Defense Forces' refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean, the passage of the legislation before
the end of October is now not possible. Although the committee
launched deliberations on a bill revising the Financial Functions
Strengthening Law to wipe away financial unrest, there is no
prospect for the legislation to be enacted. The DPJ appears to be
heightening its pressure on the government and ruling coalition by
taking advantage of the divide Diet. The Diet has rushed into a
dense fog with no exit in sight.

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In yesterday's Upper House committee meeting, Masahisa Sato, a
member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who headed the
first MSDF unit to Iraq, said:

"Among those attending this committee session, Prime Minister Aso
and I have been the only ones who visited Baghdad to give words of
encouragement to a Grand Self-Defense unit. If you don't know about
the actual situation, you won't be able to make any changes in the

Sato's remarks only gave the DPJ an excuse to prolong

In an informal meeting of the committee directors, directors from
the opposition camp protested vehemently, with one director saying:

"Since we don't know about the MSDF's refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean, we will ask that MSDF officers, who are now deployed,
to be called back to testify before the Diet as unsworn witnesses."

If such comes to fruition, it will take at least one week for MSDF
officers to return home. If they take a sea route, it would take
them about three weeks to return home. A ruling coalition director
sighed as he said: "The opposition intends to prevent taking a vote
at any cost."

The DPJ initially agreed with the ruling camp to hold a second vote
on the refueling bill on Oct. 31 in the Lower House after it voted
it down in the Upper House on the 29th. However, the largest
opposition party has now hardened its stance, since the ruling bloc
is now delaying Lower House dissolution. Diet Affairs Committee
Deputy Chairman Jun Azumi said: "Our party has now assumed a
confrontational stance (against the government and ruling camp)."

DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka said in a meeting
on the 28th of the party's Lower House members: "We have changed
neither our policy nor strategy. The party has essentially entrusted
the Upper House with the matter." He was not altogether displeased
with the ruling camp's dismay. He told reporters:

"The fact that the government and ruling coalition are unreliable is
reflected in the stock prices. (The markets) do not trust a
government unless fundamental measures are compiled by it."

He spoke indirectly the need for a dissolution of the Lower House.
The DPJ's confrontational stance is increasingly become stronger in
the Lower House, as well. On the afternoon of Oct. 28 in a Lower
House plenary session, Masaharu Nakagawa, a DPJ member, stated:

"Market players have completely given up on the Prime Minister. This
means the same as if a no-confidence motion against the cabinet was
passed. In order to break the present political deadlock, the Prime
Minister should ask for the people's vote of confidence on his
government and its policies by dissolving the Lower House and
calling for a snap election."

However, the DPJ's do-or-die resistance could be a double-edged
sword. If the DPJ unnecessarily prolongs deliberations on the bill
to strengthen financial functions, stock prices will further drop,
just like it did in the U.S. after it issued its financial
stabilization measure. As a result, the DPJ could be criticized by

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the public. Should the opposition further delay deliberations on the
new antiterrorism bill, it will give an excuse to the Prime Minister
to put off dissolution until late December, when Article 59 of the
Constitution can be applied on the legislation. (Article 59 allows
for a bill to be sent back to the Lower House if rejected by the
Upper House or if the bill has not been voted on within 60 days
after being presented to the upper chamber.) This is the reason that
Seiji Suzuki, chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee of the LDP
caucus in the Upper House, simply backed down in a meeting with his
DPJ counterpart Susumu Yanase, just saying: "Let's leave it to those
who are in charge."

However, there is a possibility that Aso will be pressed to make a
decision on calling for a vote of confidence of the people, if the
Upper House passes a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister
because of market turmoil caused by confusion in the Diet. Which
side -- the ruling bloc or the opposition -- will the public support
then? The psychological war is still long from over.

(3) JCP's new election strategy seen to favor DPJ

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
October 29, 2008

The next House of Representatives election will be in effect a fight
between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ). However, there will be a major change in it from
past contests. Based on the Japanese Communist Party's (JCP) new
policy of ending its conventional practice of fielding a candidate
in all single-seat constituencies, it will halve the number of
candidates running in the election. Citing the need to address the
ongoing financial crisis, Prime Minister Aso has decided to delay a
general election to next year. But since many of the votes that
would have ordinarily gone to the JCP are expected to go to the DPJ
due to the JCP's new election strategy, observers see this gloomy
expectation as another reason for Aso's decision to delay the

In the previous general election in 2005, LDP candidate Takashi
Sasagawa, chairman of the Executive Council, won a 7th term in the
Gunma No. 2 district. Sasagawa garnered 99,919 votes, followed by
DPJ candidate Takashi Ishizeki with 98,497 and JCP candidate
Yoshiyuki Fujikake with 12, 832. The JCP has decided not to field a
candidate in this district in the next general election. If 20
PERCENT of the votes for the JCP are cast for Ishizeki, Sasagawa
would be defeated.

The number of candidates sponsored by the JCP in single-seat
districts was 299 in the 1996 general election, 300 in 2000, 300 in
2003, and 275 in 2005. The party in the past always aimed to field
one candidate in every one of the 300 single-seat districts, but
only two of its candidates won a Lower House seat in the 1996
election: the Kyoto No. 3 and in Kochi No. 1 districts. JCP's share
of the total votes cast was less than 10 PERCENT , and the party had
to forfeit deposits (3 million yen per person) it had paid for 223
candidates in 2005.

Given the heavy financial burden on it, the JCP last September
devised a new formula for fielding candidates in single-seat
constituencies: (1) A candidate should be fielded in a district
where the JCP attained at least 8 PERCENT of the votes in the
proportional representation bloc in the Upper House election in

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2007; (2) on active, powerful candidates should be fielded; and (3)
at least one candidate in each of the 47 prefectures should be
fielded. As of Oct. 28, the party has announced the names of 147
approved candidates for the next general election, but the number is
expected to be around 150 in the end. The JCP intends to let its
members vote for the candidate of their choice in districts in which
the party is not fielding a candidate. A party source said: "If
asked, I will reply to our members, 'I suggest you vote for the DPJ
candidate,' although I will not eagerly recommend them to do so,"
adding: "The view that the change of government is necessary is
gaining influence among our supporters."

In the by-election in the Yamaguchi No. 2 district for a Lower House
seat this April, which was a one-on-one fight between the LDP
candidate and the DPJ candidate, more than 90 PERCENT of the
supporters for the JCP voted for the DPJ candidate, according to an
exit poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun. The dominant view among
those affiliated with the JCP is that 60 to 70 PERCENT of the votes
that would go to the JCP will likely be cast for the DPJ in the next
general election. If 70 PERCENT of the votes originally intended
for the JCP go to the DPJ, what would happen?

Among the 153 constituencies in which there is no JCP candidate for
now, the DPJ candidate is expected to beat the LDP candidate in
seven constituencies - Gunma No. 2 district; Hokkaido No. 3
district; Aichi No. 5, 6 & 8 districts; Hyogo No. 11 district; and
Yamaguchi No. 2 district - according to a tentative calculation
worked out based on the outcome of the 2005 general election.

According to a calculation based on the 2003 general election, the
DPJ candidate would defeat the LDP candidate in 12 districts -
Hokkaido No. 5 district, which is former Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura's electoral district; Miyagi No. 3 district;
Ibaraki No. 3 district; Saitama No. 9 & 13 districts; Chiba No. 13
district; Gifu No. 3 district; Aichi No. 10 & 13 districts; Hyogo
No. 5 & 12 districts; and Okayama No. 2 district. In Aichi No. 9
district, in which former Prime Minister Kaifu ran in the 2003
election, the LDP candidate and the DPJ candidate is expected to run
neck-and-neck in the next election.

The JCP's new election strategy has made senior members of LDP
headquarters nervous. One member grumbled: "Of the votes for the
JCP, 80 PERCENT would go to the DPJ. JCP's new policy will
inevitably affect election results in the districts where the LDP
and DPJ candidates had an evenly matched contest in past elections.
We cannot do anything, because we are unable to approach supporters
of the JCP."

(4) Interview with UNVIE DCM Pyatt: U.S.-Indian Nuclear Agreement
beneficial both on political and environment fronts

October 29, 2008

India is a nuclear weapons state, and yet it has not yet joined the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. has lifted a ban on
nuclear exports to that nation, by signing the U.S.-Indian Nuclear
Agreement (UINA). The signing of such a pact by the U.S. has invited
criticism from various countries as applying a double standard. This
newspaper interviewed Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Geoffrey Pyatt
of the United States Mission to International Organizations in
Vienna (UNVIE) , who promoted the talks between the two countries.

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Interviewer Tomoya Ishii

-- The U.S. came under fire as having undermined the NPT.

"We are in an age in which close cooperation with India, an immense
nation, is indispensable in settling issues that the world faces,
including terrorism by Islamic extremists. India hinted at a stance
of refusing to cooperate on such issues as the climate change issue,
seeking the abolition of international sanctions over nuclear power,
by claiming such as an impediment to the building of a cooperative

"India is expected to become the third largest economic power in the
world, following the U.S. and China, by around 2025. It is consuming
a great deal of energy, and yet it still depends on fossil fuels.
The ratio of nuclear power generation in that country is only 2
PERCENT . The U.S. thought it would be beneficial both on the
political and environment fronts, if it cooperated with that nation
by supplying energy to it."

-- Isn't it the U.S. aim to take part in India's nuclear power
business, which is worth about 15 trillion yen?

"Since India is not an autocratic state, the construction of nuclear
facilities will not progress as fast as expected. However, some U.S.
companies are eager to advance into India. The accord signed this
time will open the door to business in India. Assisting India by
supplying energy will supposedly boost opportunities for foreign
companies to sell such products as electronic products to 300
million people in the mid-income bracket."

-- Isn't it the case that the Bush administration rushed to sign the
pact in an effort to make strengthened relations with India his
diplomatic achievement with an eye on the rise of China?

"The talks with India started during the previous Clinton
administration. In India, there are arguments for and against the
idea of increasing targets of inspection by the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). However, the Singh administration indicated a
stance of accepting stronger IAEA inspections, so the U.S. held out
hope that it will join the NPT in the future.

"This pact is a special one only applied to India, which has
maintained nonproliferation. Such a pact will not be applied to
Pakistan, which has allegedly transferred nuclear technology to
other countries, or North Korea and Iran, which are uncooperative
toward nonproliferation efforts. The criticism that the U.S. has
applied a double standard is not correct."

(5) Japan should rebuild its diplomacy for nuclear nonproliferation

SANKEI (Page 11) (Full)
October 30, 2008

Masashi Nishihara, president of the Research Institute for Peace and
Security (RIPS)

The U.S.-India nuclear deal, signed by the U.S. Bush administration
with India on Oct. 10, will extremely weaken the nuclear
nonproliferation regime, which was created as an outcome of efforts
made by many countries after the international community signed the

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Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 that came into effect
in 1970.

The deal is based on the United States' decision to provide India,
which refused to join the NPT and carried out nuclear tests in 1974
and 1998, with nuclear energy technology to be used for peaceful
purposes only.

Though hesitatingly, Japan also accepted this deal as a member of
the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This will cause Japan to lose its
moral influence in its future diplomacy for nuclear nonproliferation
and leave a stain. I regret the weakness of Japan's diplomacy, which
failed to hold out against the U.S.-India deal.

India and Pakistan have not joined the NPT regime. The United
States, Japan, and many other countries therefore implemented such
sanction measures as prohibiting technology transfer to both India
and Pakistan when the two countries carried out nuclear tests in
1974. However, the situation changed completely after the 9/11
terrorist attacks. The United States and other countries needed
cooperation from India and Pakistan for the war on terror and called
off their sanctions. At that point, the nuclear nonproliferation
regime was already being undermined.

The recent nuclear deal between the United States and India is an
extension of that trend. According to the United States' account,
India is the largest democracy on earth and has been treated as an
exception to the NPT regime because it is a responsible nuclear
power that has been without nuclear nonproliferation. Moreover, all
the 45 NSG members have confirmed it. Given this fact, we should say
the nuclear nonproliferation regime has become hollowed out or has
changed in nature.

The United States approached India, a nuclear heretic. What lies
behind that is the potential existence of huge commercial interests
that can be expected by providing India with high-level nuclear
energy technology for nuclear power generation. There is backing not
only from U.S. businesses but also from such countries as Britain,
France, and Russia attempting to make inroads into India's nuclear
market. France, as well as the United States, entered into a
cooperative pact with India in late September. The idealism of
nuclear nonproliferation caved in to commercial interests.

The United States has another expectation. That is a strategic
calculation to constrain China and Russia by attracting India, which
is a big democratic power. However, India is pushing ahead with its
joint development of weapons and systems. As seen from this fact,
India is tough, carrying through its nonaligned diplomacy. India is
satisfied while thinking to itself that its nuclear policy has now
been proved correct with the 45 NSG members' confirmation. India
played up its deal with the United States as a diplomatic victory.
Moreover, India takes the position that this agreement will not
preclude future nuclear testing.

In time, India is highly likely to get ahead of China-both in
military power and in economic power. If that is the case, India
would become a hegemonic power in South Asia. The international
tendency of nuclear nonproliferation is being rocked because India
is powerful as an exception to the NPT regime. North Korea and Iran
would argue back and ask why only India is exceptional. In the
future, it would be difficult to stop Brazil and South Africa from
going nuclear.

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As mentioned above, Japan has now lost its moral force to advocate
stepping up nuclear nonproliferation due to its acceptance of the
U.S.-India nuclear deal in the NSG. In the meantime, the Diet
avoided discussing Japan's diplomacy for nuclear nonproliferation.
The negligence of politicians also led to its giving up of
opportunities to display its international moral power.

Japan has annually presented a resolution to the United Nations
General Assembly First Committee for the total abolition of nuclear
arms. Japan has now distorted its basic standpoint. This will
greatly affect Japan on the diplomatic front. Is it possible for
Japan to introduce such a resolution from now on while taking the
same position? How will Japan develop its diplomacy toward the NPT
Review Conference in 2010?

Japan nodded to the U.S.-India deal under the condition that India
freezes its nuclear testing. Accordingly, if and when India carried
out a nuclear test, Japan should then take strict sanctions.
However, I wonder if Japan, which is stressing its strategic ties
with India, can really take strict measures against that country.

In the meantime, another question is how Japan will respond if and
when its nuclear-related businesses are asked by the United States
to provide their technologies to India. In that case, Japan's
technology transfer to India should be preconditioned at least on
India's acceptance of the obligation to cut its greenhouse gas
emissions. Japan should make diplomatic efforts to persuade the
United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
(CTBT) after the next administration comes into office in January
next year. That is because the United States' prompt ratification
thereof can be expected to pressure India into halting its nuclear

Now is the time Japan should seriously consider what it should do to
rebuild the weakened, deteriorated nuclear nonproliferation regime.
One of the possible steps for that is to develop and spread
technologies for nuclear nonproliferation around the world.

(6) Column -- Japan's Renaissance: Japan without a strategy faces a
crisis in the Japan-U.S. alliance

SHUKAN SHINCHO (Pages 164-165) (Full)
October 30, 2008

By Yoshiko Sakurai, journalist

In the evening of Oct. 19, four Chinese military ships transited the
Tsugaru Strait from the Japan Sea to the Pacific.

The four ships included a Russian-made Sovremenny-class destroyer,
Chinese-made latest frigates Jiangkai I and Jiangkai II, and a
refueling vessel. A Sovremenny-class destroyer is loaded with
missiles that travel at two times the speed of sound which even the
U.S. fears. It is difficult to detect by radar a missile that
travels as low as six meters above sea level.

In 2000, a Chinese ship conducting an intelligence-gathering
operation passed the Tsugaru Strait from the Japan Sea to the
Pacific and back. The vessel was probably engaged in gathering
information on the radio waves used by the U.S. Armed Forces and the
Japan Self-Defense Forces, in addition to the sea current, water

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temperature, and the topography of the seabed.

After eight years, Chinese warships navigated through the Tsugaru
Strait for the first time. The Chinese Navy's area of deployment has
obviously expanded.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) believes that threat with no
substance behind it is not threat at all, so a threat always has to
be real. The PLA thinks the benefit of its naval-power buildup is
that it enables China to pose a political threat to other countries
just by navigating through the waters of the world. The PLA believes
that, once it can successfully make other countries aware of the
power of its Navy, China's political and diplomatic power will
naturally increase.

The PLA Navy with 260,000 personnel is comprised of three fleets of
the North Sea, the East Sea, and the South Sea, each of which has
waterborne ship units, submarine units, aviation units, ground
battle units, and coastal artillery units, and has become a pillar
to support the country's arms race into the space.

U.S. Pacific Commander Keating testified before the Senate Military
Committee on March 12 about the PLA Navy's tough attitude. According
to the Commander, when he visited China, a PLA Navy key officer
suggested the Pacific should be divided in two "with you (the U.S.)
acquiring the area to the east of Hawaii and with us acquiring the
area to the west of Hawaii."

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Schieffer relayed this information to the
Japanese press on the next day of Commander Keating's testimony. The
Ambassador must have felt the deep message.

The meaning (of the Ambassador's message) is that the situation may
develop into the course described in China's scenario unless Japan
builds up a strong foundation. It means a U.S. partner in Asia is
not limited to Japan forever.

U.S. displeasure

Japan kept falling short of expectation in responding to the
information conveyed by Ambassador Schieffer seven months ago, Jim
Auer told me. Auer, a former U.S. Navy officer, served as Pentagon's
Japan Desk director under Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Auer has been described as Richard Armitage's right-hand man at the
Defense Depart. In 1988, Auer retired to establish the Center for
U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at Vanderbilt University. He now
serves as director of the center. Auer, a close observer of
Japan-U.S. relations for 20 years, said: "The U.S.-Japan
relationship is in a far serious condition than the Japanese people

The Japanese government is unhappy with President George W. Bush,
who removed North Korea from the list of state sponsors of
terrorism, because the delisting means that the United States has
recognized North Korea as a nuclear power, which means that Japan is
exposed to the threat of nuclear attack from that country. Since
there are other nuclear powers -- Russia, India and Pakistan -
surrounding Japan, Japan, too, should prepare the environment for
possessing its own nuclear weapons to protect its national security.
There is a way to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance further that
would help the U.S. nuclear umbrella function better. This can be
achieved by Japan allowing the entry of nuclear weapons by changing

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the present three no-nuclear principles (neither make nor possess
nuclear weapons, and not to allow their entry into Japan) into two
no-nuclear principles.

Meanwhile, Japan should continue its refueling and water supply
mission in the Indian Ocean to support the war on terror in and
around Afghanistan. Japan should allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF)
to exercise the right of collective defense. Ultimately, it may be
necessary for Japan itself to guarantee its own security.
Eventually, Japan should press ahead with debate on whether it
should possess nuclear weapons or not.

When Auer was told there was such thinking in Japan, he noted that
the thinking on the U.S. side was even more severe than that in
Japan. Auer, being an American who knows Japan very well, stated:

"I know that the Diet is discussing a bill to extend the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operation in the Indian Ocean.
But frankly the situation has been created that the United States
will not be able to directly receive oil that Japan will supply. The
Japanese side has questioned whether the fuel the MSDF had supplied
to be used for Afghanistan had been diverted for use toward Iraq, as
well. Both countries are a part of the war on terror. The moves of
U.S. warships depend on the situation. If it is said that the fuel
should be used for Afghanistan alone, it will be very difficult to
use it. That is why people are beginning to think in the United
States that it is difficult to get along with Japan."

In October 2007, (then) Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba questioned
the United States whether the nearly 800 times that Japan provided
refueling services were used for purposes other than the original
intent. He promised in the Diet to investigate it. (Auer said that)
even though the United States disclosed that information, it was
displeased by the experience.

Japan-U.S. alliance should be further strengthened

Japan has continued to provide China with an incommensurable amount
of official development assistance (ODA). Although the government
has said that ODA is provided to support the people's livelihood, it
has yet to question China how it has been used. What has been so far
not been disclosed is that ODA has contributed to China's military
buildup. Still, China opposed Japan's bid for a permanent UNSC seat
and influenced leading Asian and African countries to do the same.
China used its own ODA to manipulate those Asian and African
countries. There is a possibility that China may have slipped in its
own ODA to Asia and Africa, replacing Japan's aid, but Japan has
never questioned China about it. When seeing such a situation from a
viewpoint of national interests and an ally, there is a clear
contradiction. The U.S. displeasure is understandable.

The primary reason for the United States being unhappy with Japan is
that no matter how hard the MSDF troops have worked, they have never
fought alongside the U.S.-led multinational force. The MSDF's
refueling mission is not a military operation; it is a commercial
activity. The Ground Self-Defense Force's activities in the southern
Iraqi city of Samawah were not military operations. It is only
natural that the United States may conclude it should find more
reliable ally if Japan always says it will not make any military

That is how little Japan's refueling mission is appreciated.

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However, both Auer and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer -
the one who informed Japan of China's proposal to the U.S. to share
control of the Pacific -- are asking Japan whether it wants to
become a dependable ally. If Japan has no intention to do so, there
is even a possibility that the United States will change to another
partner. That possibility will probably become stronger if
Democratic candidate Barack Obama is elected president.

Japan must make better efforts. The first matter to attend to is to
effectively strengthen the alliance that is particularly vital to
meet the threats from China and North Korea. In order to become a
normal country, Japan should allow itself to use the right of
collective self-defense. Japan then should approach the United
States with confidence to query whether it is appropriate for China,
which has a different set of values, to ever become the U.S.' ally.
Japan should stress to the U.S. that there should be no other
country but Japan qualified to be America's ally.


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ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

UN: Michele Bachelet On Inter-religious Clashes In Ethiopia

I am deeply distressed by the recent violent clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia in which at least 30 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 others injured... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>