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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Relocation of Futenma Air Station

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2436 2950510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 220510Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6981
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N541// PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA// PRIORITY
RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7029
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9384
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4296
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7541
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 0847
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1510
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 3059
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8168
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7696
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 002436

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 - RELOCATION OF FUTENMA AIR STATION

1. LEAD STORIES: Top stories on Thursday morning included a Yomiuri
report claiming that Secretary of Defense Gates urged Foreign
Minister Okada during their meeting on Tuesday in Tokyo to make a
decision on Futenma relocation by the time President Obama visits
Japan on November 12-13.

2. "Hatoyama Administration Should Finalize Its Policy on Futenma
Relocation" The liberal Asahi editorialized (10/22): "The relocation
of MCAS Futenma functions to Henoko in Nago City in Okinawa was
agreed upon by the previous administrations of the U.S. and
Japan.... The DPJ has been calling for relocating the Futenma
functions either outside Okinawa or outside Japan. It is reasonable
for the Japanese side to request that the U.S. give it time to
review the issue, including new possibilities. However, the Hatoyama
administration should not simply put off its decision.... The U.S.
and Japan should avoid heading toward a situation in which their
differences of opinions over the Futenma issue undermine the overall
bilateral relationship.... The Hatoyama administration should
promptly finalize its basic policy on Futenma relocation."

3. "Futenma Issue Must Not Be Put Off" The moderate Yomiuri argued
in an editorial (10/22): "Concerning the relocation of MCAS Futenma
functions, the USG has taken a step forward. It is time for the GOJ
to come to a compromise instead of putting off the issue....
Postponing the decision will not only delay the schedule but also
weaken the momentum in the U.S. and Okinawa for relocating the base,
causing the whole plan to fall apart."

4. "'Security Friction' Might Jeopardize U.S.-Japan Alliance" The
business-oriented Nikkei contended in an editorial (10/22):
"Although it is natural for policies to change after a new
administration takes the helm, international commitments are
different. For example, the Bush administration maintained the 1996
U.S.-Japan agreement on the return of Futenma that was agreed to
under the Clinton administration. If the U.S. had broken the
agreement, the Japanese side might have lost its trust in U.S.
foreign policy.... The U.S.-Japan friction over security issues that
has become evident through Secretary Gates's visit to Japan should
be limited to a temporary phenomenon associated with a change of
government. If Japan continues to be unable to resolve the
outstanding issues, President Obama's visit to Japan in November
could actually end in failure even if Japan tries to present an
appearance of success with words alone."

5. "Warning on Alliance Should Be Taken Seriously" The conservative
Sankei editorialized (10/22): "Secretary of Defense Gates stressed
to the Japanese side, which has failed to provide a clear response,
that there will be no transfer of Marines to Guam without Futenma
relocation. This statement should be taken to signify disappointment
with the Hatoyama administration, which continues to postpone the
U.S. force realignment, and a warning that the U.S.-Japan alliance
could collapse if Japan fails to deal with the issue in a proactive
manner."

6. "All Possible Options Should Be Studied" The liberal Tokyo
Shimbun opined in an editorial (10/22): "Secretary of Defense Gates,
while visiting Japan, strongly called for relocating MCAS Futenma
functions within Okinawa. Although the agreement between the two
governments is important, all possible options, including relocating
outside Okinawa or outside Japan, should be studied."


ROOS

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