Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/15/08-2

DE RUEHKO #3402/01 3500816
P 150816Z DEC 08




E.O. 12958: N/A



(9) Enactment of refueling bill; Next contribution in Afghanistan
not in sight (Mainichi)

(10) Failure of Bush's North Korea policy: No concession cards

(11) Interview with former prime ministerial advisor Yukio Okamoto;
Refueling mission helps curbs terrorism and piracy; Japan should
consider joining PRT in Afghanistan (Asahi)

(12) University of Shizuoka Prof. Hajime Izumi: Significance of
Japan-U.S. cooperation will increase (Yomiuri)

(13) Stray bullet possibly fired by U.S. military hit auto in
parking spot of private home 500 meters from base in Okinawa

(14) Aso announces emergency economic package, with revenue sources
left vague (Mainichi)

(15) Gist of Japan-China-ROK summit (Yomiuri)

(16) Former ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami speaks his mind;
U.S. forces must withdraw from Japan, Japan must discuss nuclear
option (Part 2) (Shukan Gendai)


(9) Enactment of refueling bill; Next contribution in Afghanistan
not in sight

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 13, 2008

A bill amending the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law to extend
the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean cleared the Diet yesterday by an override vote in the House of
Representatives. The Aso administration managed to avoid a
suspension of the refueling mission, as the previous administration
did last year. Given that the security situation in Afghanistan
remains serious, however, the international community is calling on
Japan to come up with another contribution. But there are few
options for assistance that Japanese troops can make in Afghanistan
because operations there are fraught with danger. Prime Minister
Taro Aso, who is losing political ground, has no power to decide to
dispatch troops to mainland Afghanistan, either. Japan's diplomacy
has reached an impasse.

The said law contains the same measures as those in the New
Antiterrorism Special Measures Law enacted this January. Since the
Democratic Party of Japan accepted the government's plan to enact
the law in exchange for an early dissolution of the Lower House, its
draft amendment cleared the Lower House in late October. But Aso
would not pledge to dissolve the Diet, and because it was possible
to use "the 60-day rule" allowing the government to use an override
vote in the Lower House, momentum for using the new legislation as a
bargaining chip over Diet dissolution waned in the ruling and
opposition camps.

During that period, Barack Obama, who has pledged to withdraw U.S.

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troops from Iraq and shift priority from Iraq to Afghanistan, was
elected in the U.S. presidential election. But Defense Minister
Yasukazu Hamada only said yesterday: "Japan has not considered other
activities (than the refueling operation). The plan to dispatch
troops to mainland Afghanistan also has been returned to a clean

Security situation lying as problem

Nearly 1,000 troops from various countries have been killed in
Afghanistan. The security situation there remains the biggest
obstacle to Japan's dispatch plan. If SDF troops are dispatched to
that country, it is highly likely that fighting will cost some
lives. Tokyo is also concerned that dispatched troops might have to
take action that violates Article 9 of the Constitution that bans
them from using weapons overseas. According to a senior government
official, the fact-finding team that was dispatched in June by the
previous Fukuda administration had been aware of the conclusion that
any other operations than the refueling service would be difficult.

Under the politically divided Diet situation, it would not be easy
to push through the controversial plan of dispatching Japanese
troops to mainland Afghanistan. The Aso administration, busy with
preparing emergency economic measures, had no other choice but to
devote itself just to having the one bill pass the Diet.

(10) Failure of Bush's North Korea policy: No concession cards

YOMIURI (Page 6) (Full)
December 13, 2008

Takeo Miyazaki, Beijing

The six-party head-of-delegation meeting on North Korea's nuclear
program, held for the first time in five years, ended on Dec. 11
without reaching an agreement. This means that dialogue with North
Korea, which had been led by U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill,
was unable to produce the result that had been expected. The Bush
administration's diplomatic efforts in the end have failed to
prevent North Korea from possessing nuclear weapons.

Returning to Washington before watching the end of the meeting, U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Hill severely criticized Pyongyang,
which remained firmly (opposed to the codification of a verification
protocol), saying: "North Korea is a country that finds it difficult
to cooperate with other countries."

The six-party head-of-delegation meeting was aimed to enter the
final stage of the North's commitment to abandoning its nuclear
programs, once the verification protocol issue was resolved. The
meeting reflected President Bush's strong intention to produce
diplomatic results while he was still in office. The President held
summit meetings that discussed the issue with the leaders of Japan,
China and South Korea on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) forum in November in Lima. However, Hill was
unable to find common ground in a meeting with his North Korean
counterpart held in Singapore prior to the meeting of the chief
negotiators of the six-party talks. Hill announced that Washington
would not hold any bilateral meeting with Pyongyang on the
verification issue, admitting that the negotiating style that until
now had moved the six-party talks forward was no longer effective.

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The Bush administration had earlier shifted to a policy of placing
emphasis on dialogue with the North, having learned a bitter lesson
in its first term. In his State of Union Address Bush in 2002, Bush
described North Korea as part of an "axis of evil." He refused to
hold direct talks with the North and took a strategy of containing
that country, after Pyongyang had admitted to its nuclear weapons
program using highly enriched uranium.

The Bush administration, however, changed its position to attaching
priority to dialogue when North Korea conducted nuclear testing in
October 2006. Hill held direct talks with the North Koreans in
January 2007 in Berlin. The six-party talks led by the United States
and North Korea became established. Since Hill made many
concessions, including one accepting a toothless nuclear
declaration, a strict verification protocol was required. Therefore,
the six-party talks were certain to face difficulties.

The reason for the failure of the latest round of the six-party
talks is that the United States had used up its major concession
cards toward North Korea. When Pyongyang backpedaled on its
commitment to disable its nuclear facilities because the talks had
reached a dead end, Washington decided to delist the North as a
state-sponsoring state, the final trump card. North Korea, having
obtained a reward, has not made any concession since. It now aims to
secure more rewards from the Obama administration.

A high official of the Bush administration played up its achievement
in the six-party talks, noting: "We let the North blast the cooling
tower of its main nuclear power plant. Plutonium (material for
nuclear bombs) will not increase." However, North Korea calls itself
a nuclear power and can restore within about one year the nuclear
facility that has been undergoing the disabling process.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan indicated that
Pyongyang has ditched the Bush administration, saying after the last
U.S.-DPRK meeting: "The United States now feels that there is not
enough time."

(11) Interview with former prime ministerial advisor Yukio Okamoto;
Refueling mission helps curbs terrorism and piracy; Japan should
consider joining PRT in Afghanistan

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 13, 2008

By Keiichi Kaneko

A bill extending Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean has
cleared the Diet. I interviewed Yukio Okamoto, a former prime
ministerial advisor and foreign affairs commentator, to hear his
views on the legislation's possible impact on support for
Afghanistan and relations between Japan and the United States.

The refueling mission in the Indian Ocean carries substantial
significance. The number of suspicious vessels has decreased
markedly owing to maritime patrols by multinational naval vessels
that have been refueled by Japan. Terrorists' navigation has been
blocked and piracy at sea has been curbed considerably.

Islamic fundamentalist forces are on the sharp rise in Africa,
including Somalia. Without losing power, the forces of the
international terrorist group Al Qaeda have linked up extensively.

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If worst comes to worst, part of Africa could become a breeding
ground for terrorists. That makes the maritime patrols in waters off
Somalia even more vital.

Japan refers itself as a peace fostering nation, but there is
frustration in the international community, wondering, "What is it
going to do specifically?" The economic cooperation budget has
shrunk noticeably. If Japan remains inactive regarding international
contribution, the country is certain to meet with criticism and
insult harsher than those during the Gulf War of 1991.

With the inauguration of Barack Obama of the Democratic Party as the
President, the United States is expected to apply greater pressure
on Japan. To build new Japan-U.S. relations, the Obama
administration might honestly lend an ear to Japan's explanation for
about six months. Japan's international cooperation capability will
be tested. Without it, Japan might be pressed for financial
contribution. The size of it might be greater than the 13 billion
dollars Japan contributed (during the Gulf War).

In support for Afghanistan, there are a variety of means to send
personnel without enacting new legislation. Japan should consider
joining the military-civilian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT).
Steps against piracy in waters off Somalia should also be considered
as part of antiterrorism measures. In such a case, how to defend
non-Japanese commercial ships is quite difficult. I believe if an
escort ship steps in between pirates and a commercial vessel, the
pirates will flee. If attacked, the right to collective self-defense
should be exercised.

It is regrettable that security is regarded only as a bargaining
tool to use in the Diet. Japan's security policy has matured with
the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean and the mission in Iraq,
following the PKO Cooperation Law, the Guidelines (for Japan-U.S.
Defense Cooperation), and the amended SDF Law. We must not allow it
to collapse like a house of cards.

Japan riled the United States during the Gulf War. The operation of
Japan's unique Export Trade Control Ordinance and the three
principles banning weapons exports has been out of tune with the
commonsense of the international community. There have been a couple
of episodes in which U.S. uniformed officers were outraged to an
extent that they might send troops to Japan by halting the operation
to topple Saddam Hussein. They are partly responsible for chilly
Japan-U.S. relations of the 1990s.

Seeing Japan's passive attitude toward international cooperation,
the United States might think, "We are fed up with Japan," like
during the Gulf War. I am concerned about future Japan-U.S.

(12) University of Shizuoka Prof. Hajime Izumi: Significance of
Japan-U.S. cooperation will increase

YOMIURI (Page 6) (Full)
December 13, 2008

It is not surprising that the six-party talks wrapped up without
reaching an agreement. This is because there is a gap between the
U.S. Bush Administration, which wants to produce results before its
term ends on Jan. 20, and the five other member countries.

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It is impossible to reach an agreement on the codification of a
verification protocol on North Korea's declaration of its nuclear
programs, unless the North agrees to accept a compromise to
stipulate in a separate informal document sampling of nuclear
materials from nuclear facilities. It is only natural for Pyongyang
to choose the incoming Obama administration as a negotiating partner
rather than the outgoing Bush administration. Although there is a
possibility that the United States will sound out other six-party
talks member countries on the holding of a next round, it will
probably be difficult to draw out a compromise from North Korea.

In negotiating with North Korea, the incoming Obama administration
should press for a comprehensive resolution on such issues as
nuclear, missiles, and human rights, while taking over the dialogue
policy that the outgoing Bush administration has carried out for the
last two years. Since the Obama administration's policy is
coincident with Japan's position, Japan-U.S. cooperation in the
six-party talks may become more important than at present.

(13) Stray bullet possibly fired by U.S. military hit auto in
parking spot of private home 500 meters from base in Okinawa

MAINICHI (Page 10) (Abridged)
Eve., December 15, 2008

Around 7:30 pm on Dec. 13, the male owner (25) of a car parked
outside his home in Igei district of Kin Town in Okinawa Prefecture
dialed 110 to report that his lighted number plate on the front of
his car had been smashed by a bullet that penetrated the vehicle. An
investigation by the Ishikawa police discovered a bullet that was
approximately 4.5 centimeter long and approximately 1 centimeter in
diameter. Igei district is adjacent to Camp Hansen, where
approximately 500 meters to the northeast of the incident is a
live-fire range. The police see a high probability that the bullet
strayed from the U.S. military, and are investigating the charge of
damaging property. The Okinawa Defense Bureau and Kin Town
authorities confirmed the damage on the 14th. The possibility is
high that a stray bullet passed over a local highway adjacent to
Camp Hansen.

(14) Aso announces emergency economic package, with revenue sources
left vague

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
December 13, 2008

Prime Minister Taro Aso announced an emergency package to protect
people's livelihoods yesterday. This move is aimed at reinstating
his policy stance of giving priority to economic growth, which has
been overshadowed by his decision to put off submitting a fiscal
2008 second supplementary budget bill to the next ordinary Diet
session. Regarding the fiscal resources to finance the package,
however, he just said: "The government will show the entire picture
by the end of the year." Some observers, focusing on a conflict
having arisen in the government and the ruling camp over revenue
sources in compiling a fiscal 2009 budget, have expressed concern
about the feasibility of the proposed emergency measures.

Aso emphasized in a press conference yesterday: "I am determined to
make every possible effort in order for Japan to emerge from the
recession as more quickly than any other industrialized countries.
In implementing emergency economic measures, though, there is the

TOKYO 00003402 006 OF 010

question of where the fiscal resources would come from. Aso
categorically said that the government would not float
deficit-covering bonds to finance the additional economic package
announced on Oct. 30, but he made no reference to revenue sources
for other areas. The prime minister aimed to increase the tobacco
tax in the fiscal 2009 budget, but the proposal has been derailed
due to opposition from some ruling party members. Given this, Aso
appears to have judged it unwise to refer to any specific fiscal

The government and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic
Party and the New Komeito have also been at loggerheads over a
mid-term program regarding social security and tax and fiscal
policy. The ruling coalition has decided not to give any specific
timeframe for hiking the consumption tax, while the government has
aimed at specifying the timing. Only one week is left until the
Finance Minister presents its draft budgetary bill for fiscal 2009
on Dec. 20. If the Diet falls into deeper disarray over revenue
resources to finance the emergency economic package, the Aso
administration's political footing might weaken even more.

(15) Gist of Japan-China-ROK summit

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 14, 2008

(Trilateral relations)

Prime Minister Taro Aso: It is necessary for the three countries to
jointly tackle such issues as the global financial crisis and the
North Korean issue.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: Three countries should cooperate in such
areas as distribution, industry, and financing.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak: We would like to cooperate in
promoting exchanges among young people and the like.

(Economic and monetary situations)

Three leaders: Now that the financial crisis is growing serious,
cooperation among the three countries is essential and necessary. We
welcome an agreement reached to expand currency swaps. It is
important to strengthen the roles of the Chiang Mai Initiative and
Asia Development Bank.

(North Korean issue)

Each leader: It is regrettable that no agreement was reached on a
nuclear verification protocol in the latest six-party talks. We will
continue to join hands in the six-party talks.

Aso: I would like to ask for your understanding and support of our
effort to improve relations with North Korea, including a settlement
of the abduction issue.

Wen and Lee: We will understand and support Japan's effort.

(UN reform)

Aso: Reforming the UN Security Council is necessary. I hope Japan
will hold a constructive dialogue with China and South Korea.

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Wen: I will attend negotiations on UN reform in a responsible

Lee: I agree on a reform plan that will serve to benefit Asian and
all other countries.

(Climate change)

Aso: In a session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change in late 2009, it is necessary
to form a mechanism that involves all major greenhouse gas emitters.

Lee: Japan, China, and South Korea in cooperation should submit the
same opinion.

(Disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation)

Aso: I would like to seek your cooperation in spreading the nuclear
non-proliferation effort and the treaty banning cluster bombs.

Wen: I have given heed to Japan's position.

Lee: I agree to and support Japan's position.

ASTERISK Japan-China summit

(Japan-China relations)

Aso: I am determined to pour my energy into promoting exchanges
between young peoples and in the security area.

Wen: I highly evaluate the leaders' frequent visits to each other's
countries. I appreciate Japan's assistance on the occasion of the
Great Sichuan Earthquake and the Beijing Olympics.

(Senkaku Islands)

Aso: Operations by Chinese oceanographic research vessels are
regrettable. They will not have a favorable impact on Japan-China

Wen: This district is China's inherent territory from ancient times.
This position is consistently clear and firm. We would like to
properly resolve the issue through talks. I hope the issue will not
negatively affect our favorable bilateral relationship.

Aso: The Senkaku Islands are Japan's inherent territory, and there
is no doubt about it historically and in view of international law.
I ask you to take proper preventive measures.

(Development of the East China Sea)

Aso: I hope the two countries will hold talks at an early date to
translate our political agreement into action.

Wen: I expect working-level talks to be continued.

(Food safety)

Aso: I would like your country to pin down the causes of a series of

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incidents, including Chinese-made frozen dumplings found
contaminated with pesticides.

Wen: I want to continue to communicate and cooperate with Japan.

(North Korean issue)

Aso: I expect the role to be played by China.

ASTERISK Japan-ROK summit

(Japan-ROK relations)

The two leaders: We make efforts to establish a mature partnership.

Lee: We would like to change our bilateral ties from the remote
relations between close countries to a close relationship between
close countries.


Aso: It is necessary to quickly resume talks on concluding an
economic partnership agreement.

Lee: In working-level talks, it will be possible to find ways that
will benefit both sides.

(North Korean issue)

The two leaders: Strengthening cooperation with the U.S. Obama
administration is imperative.

(16) Former ASDF Chief of Staff Toshio Tamogami speaks his mind;
U.S. forces must withdraw from Japan, Japan must discuss nuclear
option (Part 2)

December 20, 2008

Regarding the question of reducing U.S. bases, Japan has not been
able to say anything to the United States which has vested interests
in remaining. Japan has been paying the U.S. military the so-called
sympathy budget worth over 200 billion yen annually. It would be
nice to earmark that much money for the SDF, but the government
cannot mention that, either. Once a final decision is made on the
relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Japan would be
forced to foot a large portion of the bill for it. The incoming
Obama administration, scheduled to be inaugurated in January, seems
enthusiastic about the Afghanistan issue, so there is a possibility
that Japan will be forced to send SDF troops to Afghanistan, which
is far more dangerous than Iraq.

There is only one way that can prevent the United States from acting
arbitrarily in talks with Japan. That is for Japan to actively
disclose what was discussed with the United States. That would
prompt the public to raise objections, saying, "That's absurd."
Public protests would not allow the government to be at America's
beck and call.

Japan must discuss its nuclear option as early as possible

Going nuclear would be the most effective way for Japan to become an

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independent country. In international politics, non-nuclear weapon
states have to be subservient to the wishes of nuclear powers in the
end. Opting to arming itself with nuclear weapons is the fastest way
for a country to break away from a position of subordination.

Let's say there are two countries at odds with their military
strength 10 to 1. The country with 10 wins in a conventional war. If
the country with military strength 1 possesses nuclear weapons,
there would be no winner. That is because with a threat to use
nuclear weapons by the country with 1, the country with 10 would not
be able to launch an attack for fear of a counterattack. In that
sense, nuclear weapons are arms that would never be used. Nuclear
weapons are so powerful that (a country) can demonstrate their
effectiveness by just declaring it will go nuclear.

Fully aware of such a principle of nuclear weapons, the nuclear
powers have created the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty)
regime so as to prevent further increases in the number of nuclear
powers. Even so, India and Pakistan have become nuclear powers in

North Korea, too, conducted a nuclear test the year before last. The
six-party talks to put an end to the North's nuclear development
have been underway for over five years, but no substantial results
have been achieved. The North has no intention of abandoning its
nuclear ambitions, so it is no surprise that the talks have not
moved forward.

Once the North possesses a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the
United States, the situation in Northeast Asia would change
drastically. As I just mentioned earlier, the United States would
not be able to attack the North and its guarantee to defend Japan
from the North would disappear. If Japan wants to maintain its
deterrence, the country must arm itself with nuclear weapons.

But the subject of nuclear arming is taboo in Japan, and people are
discouraged from even discussing the option.

But being a party to the NPT, it is difficult in reality for Japan
to go nuclear right away. So the second-best option is to have
America allow us to use its nuclear weapons in time of a

I'm talking here about an introduction of the nuclear-sharing
arrangements that exist already among Germany, Italy, Belgium, the
Netherlands, and Turkey, all members of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO). Routinely conducting training using America's
nuclear weapons (nuclear-powered submarines, etc.), the five
countries are allowed to have the wartime use of some of
American-owned nuclear weapons. Tokyo should ask Washington to let
Japan have the same arrangement. The system could bring about the
same effect as possessing nuclear weapons without Japan having to
build it own nuclear arsenal.

Japan must consider having an independent deterrence capability,
while considering a variety of means, including such a system. I
will reiterate that we cannot ensure the security of Japan by
leaving everything to the United States.

As a first step, it is important to begin discussions without
taboos. I have been treated as a dangerous individual by some
lawmakers and the news organizations. I would be satisfied if I can

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create a stir by stimulating extensive national debate on defense.


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