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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 09/29/09

DE RUEHKO #2274/01 2720652
P 290652Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


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(1) Government-ruling coalition panel set up, secretaries general
included as members (Yomiuri)

(2) Editorial: Gov't must face up to reality for Futenma relocation

(3) Okinawa's Futenma relocation site environmental assessment body
demands re-investigation, re-assessment, including scrapping project
(Ryukyu Shimpo)

(4) PM Hatoyama torn between DPJ's campaign pledge, Japan-U.S.
agreement: No solution in sight for Futenma relocation; time running
out (Mainichi)

(5) Hatoyama diplomacy; No solution in sight for U.S. force
relocation (Yomiuri)

(6) Japanese, Chinese, South Korea foreign ministers agree to
cooperate in promoting concept of East Asian Community but have
different motives (Nikkei)

(7) U.S. reacts strongly to East Asian community concept, suspects
it is being excluded (Sankei)


(1) Government-ruling coalition panel set up, secretaries general
included as members

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
September 29, 2009

A government-ruling coalition panel comprising the leaders and
secretaries general of the three ruling parties was hastily set up
yesterday. Reportedly the establishment of the panel was the
government's idea. It comprises Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
(president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)), National
Strategy Minister Naoto Kan (deputy prime minister), Consumer
Affairs Minister Mizuho Fukushima (chairperson of the Social
Democratic Party (SDP)), Financial Affairs Minister Shizuka Kamei
(leader of the People's New Party (PNP)), and the secretaries
general of the three parties, including DPJ Secretary General Ichiro
Ozawa. The panel's first meeting was held at the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei) ahead of a meeting of the cabinet
committee on basic policies. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano
also attended the first meeting.

At the meeting, Hirano explained the compilation of a budget for
fiscal 2010 after Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's report on his
visit to the United States. Kamei said, "It is good to eliminate
wasteful spending, but we should compile an expansionist budget."
Fukushima stressed the importance of the employment issue. Hirano
stated at a press briefing yesterday, "We will hold a meeting at any
time," revealing that meetings will be held as needed.

The establishment of the panel was decided all of sudden. According
to informed sources, the idea emerged on Sept. 27. The government
told the SDP and the PNP about the panel around noon on Sept. 28.
The secretaries general of the two parties were unavailable for the
first meeting. Therefore, SDP Policy Research Council Deputy

TOKYO 00002274 002 OF 009

Chairman Masamichi Kondo and PNP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman
Mikio Shimoji attended the session on behalf of their secretaries
general. Only Ozawa took part as secretary general.

There has been concern about the creation of the panel because the
consultations between the government and ruling parties under the
Hosokawa coalition administration brought about a two-tire structure
in which Ozawa took the initiative in the ruling camp. Both Hatoyama
and Ozawa joined the Hosokawa coalition government. However,
Hatoyama told the press corps last night, "It is not good that the
government does not at all convey its views to the ruling parties."

In order to avoid being blindsided by the DPJ, which has more than
300 seats in the House of Representatives, both the SDP and the PNP
had called for a consultative body. Some DPJ members have welcomed
the panel, with one member saying, "It is better to hear our
coalition partners' views in the panel rather than from outside the

Meanwhile, there is also the view the panel was established for
Ozawa. That would mean Hatoyama determined he would find it
difficult to steer his administration unless he put in place a forum
for the views of Ozawa, who controls party and Diet affairs. Prior
to the formation of the panel, Hirano visited Ozawa to seek his
concurrence. This fact also supports this view. Some in the DPJ are
concerned that Fukushima and Kamei, who rely on relations with
Ozawa, might object to Hatoyama's policy, although some other DPJ
members take the view that it is good to have Ozawa join the panel.

(2) Editorial: Gov't must face up to reality for Futenma relocation

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 28, 2009

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa made his first official visit to
Okinawa Prefecture over the Hatoyama government's advocacy of moving
the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station there out of the

Kitazawa met with Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima. During the meeting,
Nakaima raised a question about the feasibility of relocating
Futenma airfield outside Okinawa Prefecture. Local officials from
Okinawa Prefecture's base-hosting municipalities involved in the
Futenma relocation voiced concerns, wondering if a solution to the
Futenma issue would be delayed as a result of reviewing the Futenma
relocation plan.

Prime Minister Hatoyama underscored his position during his recent
visit to the United States, saying, "I won't change our basic policy
(of moving Futenma airfield out of Okinawa Prefecture)." Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada clarified that he would look into past
circumstances. Both Hatoyama and Okada intend to review the
currently planned relocation of Futenma airfield to a coastal area
of Camp Schwab in the island prefecture's northern coastal city of

However, this review could not only undermine the bilateral alliance
between Japan and the United States but could also put a settlement
of the Futenma issue on hold.

Japan and the United States reached an intergovernmental agreement
on the Futenma relocation 13 years ago. The Japanese and U.S.

TOKYO 00002274 003 OF 009

governments reviewed this and concurred again three years ago.
Nevertheless, the Futenma relocation issue remains stagnant.

The Liberal Democratic Party government failed to make sufficient
efforts to implement the intergovernmental agreement. However, the
Democratic Party of Japan government, even though it is now in
office, must not override it without careful consideration.

Nakaima said (in his meeting with Kitazawa): "Relocating Futenma
airfield outside Okinawa Prefecture or outside Japan would be the
best possible option, but it wouldn't be easy to do so given past
circumstances. If Nago City accepts the Futenma relocation, then we
will accept the relocation even though it's within the prefecture."
The DPJ government should take this view seriously.

Kitazawa also said, "It would be difficult to translate the ideal
into reality within the limited time frame." As seen from this
remark, Kitazawa also deems it difficult to relocate Futenma
airfield outside Okinawa Prefecture. Kitazawa will meet with
Hatoyama and Okada shortly to report on his Okinawa visit. On that
occasion as well, we hope that Kitazawa will adhere to his stance of
maintaining and strengthening Japan's bilateral security
arrangements and alliance with the United States. U.S. Secretary of
Defense Gates is set to visit Japan in late October, so the
government should rush to complete its internal coordination.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry is considering the option of
deploying Ground Self-Defense Force troops to Japan's westernmost
island of Yonaguni-jima and other outlying islands. However,
Kitazawa expressed a cautious view on this option.

Kitazawa explained that troop deployment to these outlying islands
would "unnecessarily alarm Japan's neighbors." This explanation is
totally incomprehensible. Given such factors as the increasing
activity of China's navy, we must face the fact that Japan is
defenseless there.

The defense minister is responsible for national defense. We urge
him to rethink the situation.

(3) Okinawa's Futenma relocation site environmental assessment body
demands re-investigation, re-assessment, including scrapping

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
September 29, 2009

Okinawa's Environmental Impact Assessment Council (chaired by
University of the Ryukyus Professor Emeritus Seiko Tsukayama) held a
meeting in Ginowan City on September 28 to draft its recommendations
to the governor on the environmental impact assessment preparatory
documents for the construction of the replacement facility for
Futenma Air Station. The Council recommended a re-investigation of
dugongs over several years and demanded that projections and
assessments be made anew in the actual environmental assessment,
deeming the projections and assessments in the preparatory documents
to be insufficient. It also demanded that the discontinuation of the
construction project be considered as one option if the impact on
the environment cannot be fully reduced, as well as a
reconsideration of the location of the facility in order to preserve

TOKYO 00002274 004 OF 009

Based on the Council's recommendations, the governor will submit his
opinion to the Okinawa Defense Bureau by October 13. Since this will
be governor's first official comments to be submitted to the
Hatoyama administration, there is great interest in how far the
Council's recommendations will be reflected in the governor's

While the preparatory documents claim that the construction project
will have "insignificant overall" impact on the environment, the
Council asserted that "the impact is expected to be very
significant." It also pointed out that the governor's previous
opinion on the document on the environmental assessment methodology
was inadequate.

The Council also noted that no measures for environmental
conservation relating to aircraft flying over residential areas are
included in the preparatory documents and demanded that such
measures, including the signing of a facility-use agreement banning
flight over residential areas, be considered. It also demanded
projections on the impact of flights between military bases used for

The Council also demanded the listing of specific models of aircraft
to be used, having in mind the planned deployment of Osprey
transports in Futenma.

Additional helipads and other new functions of the replacement
facility that were revealed by the preparatory documents have been
criticized for deliberate withholding of information, so the Council
demanded that no new functions should be added from now on. Although
there had been repeated demands during the Council's deliberation
for an explanation on how the enormous amount of materials to be
used for land reclamation are to be procured, the recommendation did
not go into details on this issue.

Environmental assessment for land reclamation is covered by the law
on environmental assessment. The Council ends its deliberations with
this meeting.

(4) PM Hatoyama torn between DPJ's campaign pledge, Japan-U.S.
agreement: No solution in sight for Futenma relocation; time running

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
September 27, 2009

Teruhisa Mimori, Nakae Ueno, Yasushi Sengoku

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama gave a news conference in Pittsburgh
at the end of his first visit to the U.S. on September 25 (morning
of September 26, Japan time). With regard to reviewing the plan for
the relocation of the Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City,
Okinawa), he indicated that "there is no time to lose" and that a
solution must be found promptly. U.S. President Barack Obama will be
visiting Japan in November. Whether a solution can be found will be
a litmus test for Hatoyama diplomacy, which aims to achieve a "close
and equal Japan-U.S. relationship." If he stands by the Democratic
Party of Japan's (DPJ) campaign pledge to relocate Futenma out of
Okinawa, there is concern that relocation will be delayed
indefinitely. The new administration will be facing some tough

TOKYO 00002274 005 OF 009

Hatoyama stressed at the news conference that he gave priority to
building a relationship of trust with the President over discussing
pending issues, including Futenma relocation and the revision of the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), during his U.S. trip.

In other words, these are difficult issues that might undermine the
relationship of trust between the two countries. With regard to
Futenma in particular, there is a serious contradiction between the
U.S. position of pressing for the implementation of the U.S. Forces
Japan (USFJ) realignment plans agreed upon by the two governments
and the Prime Minister's pledge before the House of Representatives
election to relocate the base out of Okinawa. Although Hatoyama
asserts that "it is possible to find a mutually-beneficial solution
in the process of building trust," this issue has come to an impasse
requiring concessions from one side or the other for a solution.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, who stated at his first news
conference after taking office that "(relocation) out of Okinawa or
out of Japan would be quite difficult" - which was then taken as
hinting at going back on the DPJ's pledge - further said on
September 26 after visiting the relevant sites in Okinawa that this
would be "extremely difficult."

October 13 will be the deadline for Okinawa's governor to comment on
the environmental assessment report of the Ministry of Defense based
on the existing relocation plan to relocate Futenma to Camp Schwab
(in Henoko, Nago City). After this date, the government will have to
make a decision on whether it will proceed with the plan.

If the plan is changed to make way for relocation outside Okinawa,
Hatoyama will have to seek President Obama's understanding when he
comes in November. It will take tremendous time and effort to select
a new relocation site, seek the local residents' consent, and
implement the plan. During his U.S. visit, Hatoyama indicated that,
"We will have to make a decision before the end of this year,"
hinting at deferring the issue. On September 25, however, he changed
his tack and said, "Considering the Okinawan people's sentiments,
there is no time to lose." The Prime Minister is also wavering.

The Futenma base, which sits right in the middle of a residential
area, is said to be "the most dangerous military base in the world."
The birth of a DPJ administration championing relocation out of
Okinawa has raised the hopes of the people, especially the
anti-military base groups, of realizing their long-cherished dream
of moving this base out of the prefecture. On the other hand, it is
feared that a review of the current relocation plan may further
delay the return of the base. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima expressed
this concern to Kitazawa. Feelings are mixed in Okinawa, since it
has been at the mercy of the condition of relocation within the
prefecture being set for the return of Futenma after the two
governments reached agreement in 1996.

Kiyoko Tokashiki (Social Democratic Party), chair of the Okinawa
Prefectural Assembly's special committee on U.S. military base
affairs, pressed Kitazawa to realize relocation out of Okinawa at
their meeting on September 25.

However, at a meeting right before that, the governor asked
Kitazawa: "Relocation out of Okinawa or out of Japan is best. But is
that realistic? From our experience in this matter, it will not be
easy," expressing his doubts about the DPJ's position.

TOKYO 00002274 006 OF 009

Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro also demanded revisions to the
current plan on the premise of accepting this plan on September 26.
A senior Okinawa official explained: "Since 1996, we have been told
by the government that Henoko is the only option, so we accepted it
reluctantly. We cannot possibly agree to relocation out of the
prefecture without an alternative relocation site and a timetable."
He conveyed his apprehension at the prospect of the return of
Futenma being delayed under the slogan of relocation out of

(5) Hatoyama diplomacy; No solution in sight for U.S. force

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Abridged slightly)
September 29, 2009

A strange paradigm has emerged among Tokyo, Washington, and Okinawa.
Defense Minister Yoshimi Kitazawa, who toured U.S. Camp Schwab and
the city of Nago where it is located on Sept. 26, must have sensed

During his stay in Okinawa starting Sept. 25, Kitazawa met with
Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, the Nago major, and others, in addition
to the visit to the coastal area of Camp Schwab, which Washington
and Tokyo agreed to designate as the relocation site for the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan).

Nakaima and others said to Kitazawa that moving the air station out
of Okinawa or out of Japan would be the best option, but they wonder
if it would be feasible. As such, they eventually told the defense
minister that relocation within the prefecture would be inevitable.

Complicated work to reduce the excessive burden on Okinawa falls
under the realm of diplomatic negotiations between Japan and the
United States. At the same time, it has become essential to reach a
consensus among the Japanese government, the U.S. government, and
local governments in Okinawa.

In the past, local governments used to oppose what was agreed upon
between the Japanese and U.S. governments. At present, the U.S.
government and the local governments are generally supportive of
building a replacement facility within Okinawa, while the Hatoyama
administration is insisting on moving the air station out of the
prefecture or out of the country. A solution is nowhere in sight.

Kitazawa expressed his candid opinion at a news conference in Naha
on the night of Sept. 26, saying, "(The reality) is quite different
from what I have learned from the documents and blueprints." On the
night of Sept. 24, the day before his departure for Okinawa,
Kitazawa received a severe report on the situation in a telephone
call from Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in the United States who
indicated that he had in-depth talks with Secretary of State Hillary

The United States, too, wants to implement what was agreed upon with
Japan. A U.S. government source explained the reason this way: "To
begin with, the U.S. Marine Corps did not want to give up Futenma
and was opposed to its relocation. Although the White House and the
Defense Department have managed to hold back the opponents, they
have regained momentum thanks to the Japanese government's
reluctance to relocate the air station to Nago."

TOKYO 00002274 007 OF 009

The source also quipped: "Is the Hatoyama administration going to
pull the rug out from under President Obama and Secretary of Defense

Prime Minister Hatoyama has described the establishment of a
Yukio-Barack relationship with President Obama as an accomplishment
gained from his recent visit to the United States. To further deepen
the relationship of trust, it is important for him to lend an ear to
the voice of his partner.

At a news conference on Sept. 25, the Prime Minister indicated that
he will "show his understanding of the thoughts of the people of the
United States and Okinawa" as well as of the DPJ manifesto that
pledged to move "in the direction of reexamining" the realignment of
U.S. forces in Japan. How is he going to fill the gap between the
two countries? His real ability to build a relationship of trust is
being tested ahead of President Obama's visit to Japan in November.

(6) Japanese, Chinese, South Korea foreign ministers agree to
cooperate in promoting concept of East Asian Community but have
different motives

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
September 29, 2009

(Nahoko Yamauchi, Shanghai)

With the trilateral foreign ministerial meeting of Japan, China and
South Korea held on Sept. 28, the Hatoyama administration's Asia
diplomacy has been set in motion. The foreign ministers agreed to
cooperate in promoting the concept of an East Asian Community, but
they have different motives. Although China and South Korea are
pinning high hopes on the Hatoyama administration because of its
policy of placing emphasis on Asia, there are numerous of thorny
pending issues among the three countries. They will soon begin
maneuvering in pursuit of actual benefits.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has proposed forming an East Asian
Community, but the specifics of the concept have yet to be
disclosed, such as the topics to be discussed and the framework of
participants. It might be said, though, that Chinese Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi and South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade
Minister Yu Myung-Hwan promised to offer cooperation to Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada after he briefed the community concept in
their meeting on the 28th for the very reason that the specifics of
the concept have not been revealed yet.

For the Democratic Party of Japan, which criticized the Liberal
Democratic Party's (LDP) administration as "blindly following the
U.S.," forming an East Asian Community is a symbolic concept showing
that its diplomatic policy differs from the LDP's. The concept is
also intended to supplement the prime minister's assertion of "a
close and equal Japan-U.S. alliance."

Meanwhile, China appears to be aiming to use the idea to take the
initiative in East Asia. The country also expects that the East
Asian community concept will effectively work to apply pressure to
the U.S. South Korea remains silent probably based on the judgment
that it would not be wise to object to the idea in the stage of
discussing an outline.

In promoting the concept of an East Asia Community, the focus of

TOKYO 00002274 008 OF 009

attention in discussion is likely to be on: (1) free trade in the
region; (2) a framework of security; and (3) a common currency in
the region. However, a clear blueprint has yet to be laid out, with
details such as when the idea will be realized left undecided. In a
sense, the lack of specifics has allowed countries to interpret the
concept according to their own convenience. The Japanese and Chinese
foreign ministers also held a bilateral meeting on the 28th, during
which Chinese Foreign Minister Yang said: "This concept goes along
with the views China has supported and has taken. We would like to
exchange views with East Asian countries and promote cooperation
with them in the energy and environment areas."

An atmosphere of rapport was detected in the Japan-China meeting and
in the Japan-South Korea meeting following the favorable atmosphere
created during Prime Minister Hatoyama's visit to the U.S. Hatoyama
has revealed his intention of forgoing visiting Yasukuni Shrine. He
also pledged in his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao to
support a 1995 statement by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
(expressing deep regret for Japan's past colonial rule and military
aggression). As it stands, Hatoyama has made it clear that he will
not allow historical issues to become a source of trouble.

In the bilateral summit and foreign ministerial meetings between
Japan and China and between Japan and South Korea, however, no major
progress was made on numerous of pending issues.

In the meeting on the 28th, the Japanese and Chinese foreign
ministers failed to find common ground on the issue of the
development of gas fields in the East China Sea. Regarding the
food-poisoning cases in Japan triggered by Chinese-made frozen
dumplings, too, Okada called for China's cooperation in a full
investigation into the cases, remarking, "The cases have made
housewives skeptical of the safety of Chinese foods," but he
received no clear-cut reply from his counterpart, Yang.

Japan and South Korea have not held negotiations on an economic
partnership agreement (EPA) since November 2004. A way out of the
impasse is nowhere in sight. Other thorny issues are also pending
between the two countries, such as suffrage for foreigners and the
Takeshima (Dokdo) islets dispute.

(7) U.S. reacts strongly to East Asian community concept, suspects
it is being excluded

SANKEI (Page 3) (Full)
September 29, 2009

Takashi Arimoto (Washington)

It was learned on September 28 that a senior U.S. government
official had conveyed to Japan the U.S.'s strong opposition to the
"East Asian Community" concept in Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's
speech during general debate at the UN General Assembly on the
grounds that it excluded the United States. The protest was
disclosed by someone familiar with Japan-U.S. relations. This shows
that although the Prime Minister is confident he was able to build a
relationship of trust with President Barack Obama during his visit
to the U.S. right after assuming office, concerns about his foreign
policy have actually been aggravated.

According to the above source, U.S. opposition to and concerns about
the concept were conveyed to a senior Japanese government official

TOKYO 00002274 009 OF 009

by a senior U.S. official immediately after the UN speech on
September 24.

At his first meeting with President Obama on September 23, while
Hatoyama emphasized that Japan's Asia policy is untenable without
the Japan-U.S. alliance, he did not explain the "East Asian
community" concept.

However, on the next day, he expressed a strong desire to realize
this concept in his UN speech, stating, "I look forward to an East
Asian community taking shape as an extension of the accumulated
cooperation built up step by step among partners who have the
capacity to work together, starting with fields in which we can
cooperate-Free Trade Agreements, finance, currency, energy,
environment, disaster relief and more."

Hatoyama had also discussed the "East Asian community" concept at
his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in New York on
September 21. "Japan and China, while recognizing their differences,
should overcome differences to build trust," he said.

Hatoyama had said at his news conference after assuming office on
September 16: "We have no intention to exclude the United States
(from this concept). I also do not think we can do everything
without the U.S." However, the U.S. had been wary of the concept,
and it was not able to verify the Prime Minister's "true intent" at
the Japan-U.S. summit. It is believed that the U.S. came to have
greater distrust and stronger concerns because this amounted to not
being given an explanation.

The U.S. government has been clearly against the concept of an East
Asian community ever since the Bush administration, because, in the
words of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, "this
notion excludes the U.S. from East Asia."


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