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Cablegate: Japan: Minister Fukushima Discusses Hague

VZCZCXRO5843
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2433 2940947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 210947Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6971
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 7020
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 4287
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 9375
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 0838
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 7532
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TOKYO 002433

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR JIM LOI
STATE PASS TO USTR WENDY CUTLER AND MICHAEL BEEMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON CASC ETRD EAGR PREL KOCI JP
SUBJECT: JAPAN: MINISTER FUKUSHIMA DISCUSSES HAGUE
CONVENTION, OKINAWA, AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS WITH AMBASSADOR

REF: TOKYO 2410

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: State Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food
Safety, Declining Birthrate, and Gender Equality Mizuho
Fukushima discussed the Hague Convention and Okinawa in
addition to her various portfolios during a courtesy call by
Ambassador Roos on October 19. Fukushima explained that her
basic aim as a member of a coalition government is to find
ways to reflect the views of the Social Democratic Party of
Japan in the policies of the Hatoyama government. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) Hague Convention: Fukushima opened the meeting by
conveying a word of thanks from the Japanese Lawyers
Federation for the Obama administration,s cooperation with
non-governmental organizations on the prevention of torture.
Reflecting on recent media coverage of cases of international
child abduction in light of her own experience as a lawyer,
Fukushima also noted that she believes Japan should consider
whether to sign the Hague Convention, from the point of view
of what is best for the child. Acknowledging MOFA,s
jurisdiction, she emphasized that an increase in
international marriages has made the visitation rights for
children of divorced parents a pressing issue, in part
because access to visitation is not traditionally granted to
the parent without custody.

3. (SBU) Okinawa: Fukushima praised Ambassador Roos for
visiting Hiroshima with his family and urged that he visit
Okinawa, particularly Henkoko, at an early date.
Highlighting the issue of environmental protection, she
pressed the Ambassador to reconsider Futenma relocation.
(Note: The October 20 morning NHK television news reported
that Minister Fukushima exchanged opinions about Okinawa with
the Ambassador. End note.)

4. (SBU) Declining Birthrate Countermeasures: Fukushima
reiterated the Hatoyama government,s commitment to provide a
child allowance and free high school as countermeasures to
the problem of Japan,s low birthrate. Additionally, she
expressed the hope that the government will be able to boost
budgetary support for child care facilities to increase
availability of after-school care for elementary school
children (especially grades 1-3). She described such
policies as steps toward implementation of a &Human New
Deal8 that emphasizes investing in people.

5. (SBU) Consumer Affairs and Food Safety: Fukushima said
that her aim as minister is to show results during the newly
launched Consumer Affairs Agency's first year. She also
welcomed any assistance the United States may be able to
provide with respect to administration of such an agency.
Referring to a recent incident where spinal material was
found in U.S. beef, she reiterated the request of Minister of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Akamatsu for an
inquiry into the matter reported in reftel. In response, the
Ambassador reaffirmed the safety of U.S. beef and underscored
how the existence of many different standards gives rise to
this problem; a universal high standard would solve it.

6. (SBU) Personal Note: At one point in the conversation,
Fukushima mentioned that her grandmother and grandfather
emigrated to Hawaii 90 years ago, and that her father and his
siblings were born in Hawaii. She added that her
grandfather,s younger brother and wife were sent to an
internment camp during the Second World War.
ROOS

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