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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - President Obama's Decision to Cancel

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P 180258Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 002186

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 - PRESIDENT OBAMA'S DECISION TO CANCEL
MD DEPLOYMENT IN EASTERN EUROPE

1. LEAD STORIES: Top stories on Friday morning included the results
of opinion surveys by various national dailies, all pointing to 70
percent or more support for the Hatoyama administration - the second
highest approval rating ever for a new cabinet.

2. "Eastern Europe Could Become Concerned" On President Obama's
decision to drop the missile defense deployment plan in Eastern
Europe, the top circulation, moderate Yomiuri reported (9/18): "It
is certain that there will be a strong reaction from U.S.
hardliners, who consider Iran's nuclear program to be a serious
threat. There is also a possibility that the decision could spread
concern among Eastern European countries that the U.S. will abandon
them."

3. "U.S. Uses 'Trump Card' to Improve Ties" The liberal Mainichi
wrote from Washington (9/18): "By using a review [of the planned MD
deployment] as a 'trump card,' President Obama placed top priority
on the nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation that will result
from improved ties with Russia."

4. "Russia Gives Positive Appraisal" The business-oriented Nikkei
stated in a Moscow correspondent's report (9/18): "The Medvedev
administration welcomed the U.S. decision to drop the MD plan for
Eastern Europe. Because a concession was drawn from the U.S., it
constitutes a 'diplomatic victory' domestically. The U.S. decision
can also be regarded overseas as a reflection of Russia's solid
presence in a multipolarized world."

5. "Russia Views Cancellation as Positive Sign" The conservative
Sankei argued (9/18): "Russia is likely to call domestic and
international attention to the U.S.'s major policy shift as a
'diplomatic victory' for Moscow. Russia is expected to bring up
various issues and draw maximum concessions from the U.S."

6. "U.S. Tightens the Net on Iran over Nuclear Development" The
liberal Asahi speculated (9/18): "President Obama apparently hopes
to secure cooperation from Russia in order to prevent Iran from
possessing nuclear weapons. His decision will also provide
additional momentum to progress on nuclear disarmament talks and on
overall bilateral relations with Russia. The U.S. played its trump
card in order to make progress on the nonproliferation and arms
reduction fronts with the goal of creating a 'world without nuclear
weapons.'"

ROOS

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