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Cablegate: Japan's Steps to Conclude Enhanced Bilateral

VZCZCXRO0526
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3463 3540817
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190817Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9613
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 1553
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 9495
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 3910
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 5344
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 2119
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TOKYO 003463

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB/TRA (DAS JOHN BYERLY AND K GUSTAVSON) AND
EAP/J
STATE PASS FAA FOR DI REIMOLD AND LIZ MULLIKAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR PGOV ELTN JA
SUBJECT: JAPAN'S STEPS TO CONCLUDE ENHANCED BILATERAL
AVIATION SAFETY AGREEMENT

1. (SBU) Summary: Japanese officials assert they are making
progress to finalize the text of a Bilateral Aviation Safety
Agreement (BASA), and MLIT officials reiterate their desire
to finalize the document. The U.S. and Japan have been
working for more than three years to conclude a BASA to
enhance aviation safety and certification cooperation. The
BASA would replace an outdated Bilateral Airworthiness
Agreement (BAA) signed in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we
anticipate further potential delays when MOFA takes the
document for its final -- and needed -- approvals in the
Cabinet Legal Office. End summary.

2. (SBU) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Legal
Department is reviewing Washington's suggested edits and
explanations submitted December 5 in response to GOJ
questions about the draft text. Once MOFA accepts these
changes, the Cabinet Legal Office will initiate a detailed
review of the document, according to MOFA North American
Affairs Bureau First North America Division Deputy Director
Takeomi Yamamoto. Yamamoto told Emboffs December 10 he does
not anticipate further GOJ changes to the text, but could not
say so definitively. He also noted MOFA will provide a
Japanese translation of the document.

3. (SBU) The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), which falls
under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and
Tourism (MLIT), is concerned the USG might discontinue BASA
negotiations due to frustrations with the slow pace of
finalizing the four-page document. A JCAB official reported
December 12 MLIT does not plan to make any further revisions.
He argued that a USG withdrawal from negotiations at this
late juncture would be imprudent.

4. (SBU) The JCAB has reiterated on several occasions its
eagerness to conclude the BASA, a quid pro quo for FAA to
work with JCAB on certification oversight of the Mitsubishi
Regional Jet (MRJ), officially launched by the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in March 2008. (Note:
GOJ officials have told us separately they view the MRJ as
key to Japan's efforts to develop a civil aviation aircraft
manufacturing sector, which they hope to eventually sell in
the U.S. Japan has not produced a large aircraft for
commercial use since the 1960s. End Note.)

Comment
-------

5. (SBU) We continue to raise with MOFA and MLIT officials
our desire to conclude a bilateral BASA. However, the
eagerness expressed from some corners of the GOJ to move
forward on an agreement has yet to manifest into a
coordinated call to action. While JCAB notes it expects no
further revisions, we need to anticipate possible further
delays when MOFA presents the BASA draft text to the Cabinet
Legal Office, which is known for its assiduous attention to
detail.
ZUMWALT

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