Cablegate: Dpj Senses Usg Flexibility On Frf Renegotiation

DE RUEHNH #0067/01 2780930
P 050930Z OCT 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 NAHA 000067


USFJ FOR J00/J01/J4/J5

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/5/2019

CLASSIFIED BY: Raymond F. Greene, Consul General .
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) Summary: The Hatoyama administration is working towards
an early decision over implementation of the 2006 Futenma
Replacement Facility (FRF) plan, but deep rifts remain between
the Defense and Foreign Ministry leadership. Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa's September 25-26 visit to Okinawa has
solidified his view that implementing the package as negotiated
remains the best option for both Okinawa and the Alliance.
Strong statements in favor of the current FRF plan from Okinawan
leaders, including the Governor, have undermined the political
argument within the DPJ government for revising the bilateral
agreement. Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
continues to harbor doubts over the cost and environmental
impacts. Furthermore, senior Japanese officials say that he is
confident the U.S. government will instead accept the merger of
Futenma MCAS and Kadena Air Base, while continuing to implement
the relocation of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Okinawan
leaders have forcefully pressed back against the Kadena merger
option, while Japanese bureaucrats have warned that the U.S.
will not accept a delinking of the FRF and Guam moves. Both
groups urge the U.S. to be clear on its position over FRF
implementation during private meetings with Hatoyama Cabinet
officials. End Summary.

2. (C) Senior Ministry of Defense (MOD), Foreign Ministry
(MOFA), and Cabinet Office officials say that the Hatoyama
government is intent on reaching a consensus on implementation
of the Alliance Transformation package before the President
visits Tokyo in November at the very latest. Foreign Minister
Okada, Defense Minister Kitazawa, Okinawa Affairs Minister Seiji
Maehara, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirafumi Hirano held their
first joint meeting on October 2 in an effort to formulate a
common position. Osamu Izawa, Foreign Policy Assistant to CCS
Hirano, said that the ministers have decision-making authority
on the issue -- as long as they agree, Prime Minister Hatoyama
will go along with their recommendation. Izawa added that
Hirano will then be charged with selling the decision to
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa
and the two coalition partners, likely a tougher task than
bringing the PM on board. The most immediate challenge, he
added, will be to bridge the wide gap that has emerged between
Defense Minister Kitazawa, who favors implementing the current
package, and Foreign Minister Okada, who continues to harbor
doubts about both the contents of the package and the level of
U.S. commitment to implementing it.

3. (C) MOD Parliamentary Vice Minister Akihisa Nagashima told
the Consul General on September 30 that his ministry's focus now
is on finding a quick way to back away from the DPJ's campaign
pledges to reopen the realignment package. ""We need to just get
this FRF discussion over with and turn our attention to more
positive-sum issues in the Alliance"", he added. Nagashima said
that the September 25-26 visit by Defense Minister Kitazawa
(accompanied by Nagashima and top MOD bureaucrats) was critical
to forming the MOD's position in support of the existing plan.
He commented that Okinawan leaders made clear they want the
Schwab FRF plan -- as the most pragmatic solution to the Futenma
issue -- to proceed as scheduled and strongly oppose the ""Kadena
option"" espoused by FM Okada and Okinawan Affairs Minister
Maehara. Nagashima noted that he reversed his position on the
Kadena option after meeting with Okinawan leaders, some of whom
assailed him personally over his past support for collocating
USAF and USMC aircraft at Kadena Air Base.

Internal Divisions


4. (C) MOD Defense Policy Bureau Director-General Nobushige
Takamizawa confirmed to the Consul General on October 1 that
Nagashima has had a change of heart on Kadena, but added that
Nagashima has still tasked the Ministry to do a study on Kadena

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as a backup in case the Camp Schwab FRF plan fails to happen.
Takamizawa said that Nagashima's concerns are fueled by the
continued reluctance of Foreign Minister Okada to implement the
current FRF plan. In internal meetings, Okada has cited both
the negative environmental impact and cost, especially at a time
when the DPJ is seeking to scale down major public works
projects. In addition, Okada is convinced that the U.S. is
flexible, especially if Japan were to offer a concession related
to Afghanistan. Takamizawa said that Okada also believes that
the proposal to draw down 12 USAF F-15s at Kadena will open the
door to reconsidering the collocation of Marine aircraft there.
MOFA Foreign Policy Bureau Deputy Director General Masafumi
Ishii offered a similar assessment, adding that Okada seems
confident he can get the U.S. to accept the Kadena merger in
exchange for a continuation of the Maritime Self-Defense Force
(MSDF) refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

5. (C) MOFA U.S.-Japan Security Division Director Takei
Funakoshi said that Okada's calculations are based in large part
on input from Okinawan-elected People's New Party (PNP) Policy
Chief Mikio Shimoji. He said Shimoji has assured Okada that 1)
there are only 25 aircraft currently at Futenma MCAS, thus it
would not impose a significant burden on the airfield; 2) there
are senior U.S. officials who are sympathetic to the Kadena
merger plan; and 3) the U.S. is willing to trade additional
assistance in Afghanistan for concessions on the FRF. Funakoshi
added that Okada has rejected assertions by bureaucrats that the
U.S. will never accept delinking the FRF from the Marine Guam
relocation, which the Hatoyama government has informally agreed
internally to keep funding. ""We tell him that there is no way
Congress will fund Guam without the FRF,"" Funakoshi stated, ""but
he won't believe that until he hears it directly from the

Okinawan Views Take Back Seat


6. (C) Funakoshi said that, after Defense Minister Kitazawa's
Okinawa visit, Okada now understands that the DPJ will pay a
political price in Okinawa by pursuing the Kadena option. The
impact would be mitigated, however, if the U.S. agreed to
implement the other elements of the realignment package. For
their part, local leaders are becoming increasingly concerned
over the direction of DPJ thinking and the Hatoyama government's
tin ear to local realities. During an October 3 public meeting
with Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, Okinawa Minister Maehara stated
that doubted that the FRF could be successfully completed and
said that the DPJ government would study other options. Nakaima
strongly insisted back that the Hatoyama government should
implement the plan now in light of the willingness of Nago
leaders to host the facility. Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro
expressed exasperation to the Consul General over the DPJ's
efforts to tamper with the Nago relocation plan, something he
has personally worked towards for 13 years. ""After all that
time and here we are just months away from success,"" he stated,
""and they are putting it all at risk for no reason."" He added
that ""no one around Kadena wants those aircraft, but we do --
this should be easy."" Kadena Mayor Atsusane Miyagi separately
echoed this sentiment, asserting that ""moving Futenma to Kadena
isn't burden reduction, it is just burden reallocation.""

Sending a Clear Message


7. (C) Local press in Okinawa speculated that Maehara's
confident public statements about changing the FRF plan
reflected DPJ success in recent high-level consultations with

NAHA 00000067 003 OF 004

the U.S. government. Under a front page headline ""Opening
Pandora's Box,"" the Ryukyu Times on October 5 asserted that the
U.S. government has signaled to Foreign Minister Okada a
willingness to renegotiate the FRF. Reacting to this sort of
media speculation, Okinawan leaders as well as MOFA and MOD
officials have urged the U.S. government to lay down a firm
marker with DPJ Cabinet officials on Kadena specifically and the
FRF more generally. The Cabinet Office's Izawa said that the
U.S. should not overestimate the ability of the new government
to come to the right conclusion on its own. ""We are in the
midst of a very chaotic policy process and ministers have very
little time to digest complicated information,"" he added, ""it is
important that senior U.S. officials be respectful, but very
clear when it comes to your positions if you want them to make
the right decisions."" MOD Vice Minister Nagashima suggested to
the Consul General that explicit U.S. statements over the
problems with Kadena, including in public, are helpful in
shaping the internal discussion.

MOD Seeking a Positive-Sum Solution


8. (C) Nagashima said that MOD is trying to find a way to shift
the focus of discussions from changing past agreements to
creating new momentum in the Alliance. ""We used the FRF to
differentiate ourselves from the LDP [Liberal Democratic Party]
during the campaign, but we know now this is too costly in terms
of our relations with both the U.S. and Okinawa,"" Nagashima
commented. He added that ""what we need to do instead is to
insert some positive-sum ideas to show that we are different.""
Nagashima said that he will push for a shift in public focus
from base realignment to expanded roles, missions, and
capabilities (RMC) for the SDF. ""We should also press for joint
training between the GSDF and the U.S. Marine Corps to show the
value of the Marine presence in Okinawa,"" he added. Nagashima
highlighted these themes during a public symposium in Tokyo on
October 1, stating that rather than getting wrapped up in
renegotiating the FRF, the DPJ government should demand that we
implement our past RMC agreements with equal vigor. Among a
list of initiatives, Nagashima said that Japan should ""insist""
on the SDF's right to train and operate in Guam given the
billions it is investing there for USMC facilities. Nagashima
also suggested that the DPJ review LDP decisions that left MOD
paying for most of a realignment bill that really should be
funded out of the central budget.

9. (C) MOD's Takamizawa outlined a similar strategy he is
pushing with the political leadership for keeping the FRF on
track while allowing the DPJ to show progress on implementing
past commitments to the public and coalition partners. ""We
should compile a package that includes implementing the FRF,
expanding joint training, training relocation measures within
Okinawa, and starting a dialogue on environmental issues related
to U.S. bases,"" he added. MOD Local Cooperation Bureau Director
General Inoue separately emphasized to the Consul General that
the environmental concerns raised by the base-hosting Governors
like Kanagawa's Matsuzawa (DPJ) and Okinawa's Nakaima should not
be dismissed out of hand. ""They are not seeking SOFA
revisions,"" he continued, ""but rather practical transparency
measures to address real public concerns over the impact of
environmental accidents within base areas."" DG Inoue noted that
base-hosting governors are strong supporters of the realignment
package, and potential allies in the effort to walk the DPJ down
from their manifest. Takamizawa said that the U.S. side need
not feel pressure to agree right away to any specifics if the
Japanese side presents a ""package"" of initiatives to support FRF
implementation. ""If the U.S. side just agrees to a process to
discuss these issues, it will provide the DPJ significant
political cover to continue the FRF.""

NAHA 00000067 004 OF 004

Comment: Keeping Up the U.S. Front


10. (C) The DPJ government will be actively probing for U.S. red
lines in the coming days so they can formulate at least a
general policy direction ahead of the Defense Secretary visit
later this month. They will likely focus on our level of
flexibility on Kadena and willingness to delink the FRF from
other elements of the realignment package. Advocates of the
Kadena merger are calculating that the reaction from Okinawa to
their plan will be tempered if the U.S. agreed to maintain the
course on the Guam relocation and base consolidation.
Maintaining clear linkages will significantly raise the
political bar for the DPJ government to make any changes to the
existing plan. More broadly, local Okinawan leaders and Tokyo
bureaucrats have taken considerable political risks by endorsing
the current FRF plan as the only viable option from an
operational perspective. A clear confirmation from the U.S.
side that this is indeed the case will help them make the case
that the current plan is the best one for both the Alliance and
for Okinawa.

© Scoop Media

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