Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/28/09

DE RUEHKO #2494/01 3012147
P 282147Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Futenma Air Station relocation issue further meandering off
track with the defense minister hinting at readiness to approve
present plan, the foreign minister proposing integration of Futenma
functions into Kadena Air Base, and the prime minister intending to
take time to reach a decision (Nikkei)

(2) Futenma relocation issue: Careless statements by ministers,
strong pressure from U.S. undermining Japan-U.S. alliance (Yomiuri)

(3) Letter to the editor: Listen to Okinawa's voice on Futenma
relocation (Asahi)

(4) Op-ed column: Concerns about the negative synergism of mutual
"passing" in Japan and the U.S. (Sankei)

(5) MSDF destroyer, South Korean container ship collide; Hatoyama
administration's crisis management capability tested for first time


(1) Futenma Air Station relocation issue further meandering off
track with the defense minister hinting at readiness to approve
present plan, the foreign minister proposing integration of Futenma
functions into Kadena Air Base, and the prime minister intending to
take time to reach a decision

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
October 28, 2009

With the U.S. President's arrival in Japan on Nov. 12 just ahead,
the Hatoyama administration is increasingly wavering over security
policy. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada referred to a plan to
integrate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan
City, Okinawa Prefecture, into Kadena Air Base in Kadena Town,
Okinawa Prefecture. In the meantime, Defense Minister Toshimi
Kitazawa said that implementing the present relocation plan will not
break an election pledge. Prime Minister Hatoyama repeatedly said
that he wanted to take time (to reach a decision). The U.S.'s
hard-line stance has thus highlighted differences in the sense of
crisis felt by cabinet ministers and the absence of anyone to
coordinate their views.

"I have been calling for moving the Futenma functions out of the
prefecture or the nation," said the prime minister. "I understand
how the defense minister feels. However, I don't necessarily agree
with him." Thus the prime minister brushed aside the defense
minister's statement on the Futenma base issue.

The present plan agreed to by Japan and the U.S. is to relocate
Futenma facilities to near the coast of Camp Schwab in Nago City.
The defense minister takes the position that this plan is not in
breach of the DPJ's election pledge, because the Japan-U.S.
agreement also mentions the relocation of part of Futenma functions
outside the prefecture, including the transfer of 8,000 Marines to
Guam and the relocation of the carrier-based aircraft unit to
Iwakuni Air Station.

However, the DPJ's manifesto for the August Lower House election,

TOKYO 00002494 002 OF 007

which it won by a landslide, mentions that the party will deal with
U.S. military bases with the possibility of taking a second look at
them. Given the fact that the prime minister himself said during the
election campaign, "at the least relocation outside the prefecture,"
the defense minister's statement clearly contradicts the manifesto.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano was frantic about hushing up the
statement, noting, "That is not the government's view."

The government has decided to terminate the Maritime Self-Defense
Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in January next year,
when the operation is set to end. The defense minister revealed his
stance of looking into refueling vessels of countries that are
taking part in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. The prime
minister denied such an option straight off, saying, "I do not have
such an idea in my mind." Even a number of ruling party members
criticized the defense minister's statement with Social Democratic
Party (SDP) Secretary General Yasumasa Shigeno saying, "Why is he so
eager to do a favor for the United States?"

The foreign minister and the defense minister were about to come to
a decision on the transfer of the Futenma functions within the
prefecture. However, the defense minister reportedly did not
communicate to the foreign minister his decision to make such a
statement. The defense minister told the press corps, "Logically
speaking, such an option is a little bit difficult." When the
foreign minister proposed a plan to integrate Futenma Air Station
into Kadena Air Base, the defense minister rebutted him, saying,
"That will not sit well with the government's stance."

The Hatoyama administration is caught on the horns of dilemma
between consideration to the U.S., which is applying pressure on
Japan over the Futenma relocation issue, and upholding the manifest.
Statements made by various cabinet ministers indicate differences in
their feelings of distance with the U.S. There is also an aspect
that the prime minister and the Prime Minister's Official Residence
(Kantei) have a weak sense of the crisis facing the present state of
Japan-U.S. relations, compared with the foreign ministry and the
defense ministry, which are engaged in tough diplomatic

At a press conference on the 27th Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano
warned, "Statements made by various cabinet ministers are reportedly
causing concern in the U.S. If that is the case, I would like them
to refrain from making such statements."

(2) Futenma relocation issue: Careless statements by ministers,
strong pressure from U.S. undermining Japan-U.S. alliance

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
October 28, 2009

Discord in the Hatoyama government over the issue of relocating the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture is
becoming increasingly serious. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and the
cabinet ministers do not seem to be fully aware of the weight of
their statements. They are sticking to the Democratic Party of
Japan's campaign pledge for the latest House of Representatives
election to review the existing Futenma-relocation plan, but they
are also being "pressed by the U.S.," as described by a source
connected to Japan-U.S. relations, to quickly implement the plan to
relocate the Futenma facility to the coastal area of U.S. Camp
Schwab. Under such circumstances, Japan-U.S. relations are becoming

TOKYO 00002494 003 OF 007

more strained.

"Although cabinet ministers can be easily replaced, it is impossible
to replace the prime minister. You can leave (the Futenma issue) in
our hands." Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has been making this
remark whenever he meets Hatoyama. Okada has said, "Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa and I will take full responsibility," apparently
bearing in mind Hatoyama's inconsistent remarks made in the past
over the deadline for reaching a conclusion on the Futenma issue. On
Oct. 20, Okada, Kitazawa and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano
exchanged views on the issue.

However, remarks by Okada and Kitazawa in press conferences
yesterday exposed that there is a wide gap between their views.
Kitazawa indicated that he would approve the existing plan, bearing
in mind U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Japan in
November, but Okada expressed his eagerness to push ahead with a
plan to integrate the functions of Futenma with Kadena Air Base.

Some persons connected with the Defense Ministry take this view:
"The defense minister's remarks might have come out in response to
advice from an aide to the prime minister." The aide reportedly told
Kitazawa that the plans to transfer U.S. Marines to Guam and
refueling aircraft to the Iwakuni Marine Air Station - in the
Japan-U.S. agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan -
are in accordance with the party's campaign pledge to move personnel
or facilities outside the nation or the prefecture. When U.S.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Japan recently, he
strongly urged Kitazawa to implement the existing plan. Given this,
it is said that Kitazawa is now eager to bring about a solution to
the Futenma issue at an early date.

Okada was at a loss for words yesterday when he heard Kitazawa's
remarks. Meanwhile, aides to the defense minister have expressed
displeasure at Okada's reference to the Kadena-Futenma integration
plan, with one official remarking: "I wonder why (Mr. Okada) has
proposed the plan at his own discretion."

When the DPJ was an opposition party, the party strongly criticized
inconsistent remarks made by cabinet ministers, pointing out a lack
of unity in the government led by the Liberal Democratic Party. In
the upcoming extraordinary Diet session, the DPJ will be inevitably
grilled over the lack of unity in the party.

LDP Secretary General Oshima told reporters at party headquarters
yesterday: "Under the pretext of politician-led politics, senior
government members have asserted themselves. This situation reflects
that the prime minister has not exerted leadership."

The government's miscalculation of U.S. moves appears to have caused
the ongoing turmoil. Many government officials had anticipated that
the U.S. government would show understanding for the new Japanese
government's policy switch, as shown by Hatoyama's remark to
reporters at the Prime Minister's Official Residence on Oct. 23:
"The U.S. has made a major policy change toward Iraq since the new
government was launched."

The U.S. newspaper Wall Street Journal (online), however, carried an
article on Oct. 26 noting: "The crack in the Japan-U.S. security
alliance is widening." Even media outlets have begun to take a tough
stance (toward Japan). A senior Foreign Ministry official expressed
concern: "The current Japan-U.S. relationship is in the worst shape

TOKYO 00002494 004 OF 007

it has been in for the past several dozen years."

Speaking before reporters yesterday, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu
Nakaima denounced the Hatoyama administration's wavering responses,
saying: "The government is trying to resolve the base issue with
rhetoric, but such an approach is careless."

(3) Letter to the editor: Listen to Okinawa's voice on Futenma

ASAHI (Page 18) (Full)
October 28, 2009

Yasuo Fujikawa, 52, national government employee from Chigasaki
City, Kanagawa Prefecture

At his meeting with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa on Oct. 21,
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that any plan other than
relocation to Henoko is unacceptable for Futenma relocation and that
the plan to relocate Marines to Guam will be scrapped, pressing for
the implementation of the Japan-U.S. agreement. It is not surprising
that the U.S. made such a statement.

However, all the Liberal Democratic Party candidates in favor of
Henoko relocation lost in all four districts of Okinawa in the
recent House of Representatives election, and candidates opposed to
Henoko relocation won. The election outcome shows that a majority of
the people of Okinawa, where 75 percent of U.S. military facilities
in Japan are concentrated, desire the relocation of the Futenma base
out of the prefecture. It is very understandable for the Okinawan
people, who have had to endure U.S. aircraft accidents and incidents
of assaults by U.S. soldiers for a long time, to demand the
relocation of this military base with an airfield that is said to be
the most dangerous in the world.

While it is important to maintain good relations with Japan's ally,
the United States, is it not more important for Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama to listen to Okinawa's voice as the leader of a sovereign
country? The Obama administration in the United States has reversed
many of the policies of the previous administration. Prime Minister
Hatoyama should take seriously the people's voice as expressed
through the election results and negotiate with the U.S.

(4) Op-ed column: Concerns about the negative synergism of mutual
"passing" in Japan and the U.S.

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
October 24, 2009

Akio Takahata, deputy chief commentary writer

I recently heard the expression "Washington passing" at a meeting of
U.S. scholars of Japan. This was a meeting to discuss the new
Hatoyama administration's policy toward the United States.

A controversy over "Japan passing" occurred between Japan and the
U.S. in 1998, or 11 years ago. At that time, U.S. President Bill
Clinton made a nine-day visit to China to showcase close cooperation
with Chinese leaders but did not stop in Japan. The Japanese side
reacted with anger and resentment for his "passing" by Japan, a U.S.

TOKYO 00002494 005 OF 007

Similar to gardening

Perhaps this time the U.S. side is wondering if the Hatoyama
administration is going to bypass Washington. Former Ambassador to
the U.S. Ryozo Kato once compared the alliance to a garden in need
of daily care. If there are widespread concerns in America about
Japan breaking away from the U.S., the alliance relationship indeed
needs daily tending.

Mr. Kato pointed out in January 2008 that "compared with other
gardens, beautiful flowers bloom and the grass is green in the
garden of the Japan-U.S. relationship. But the garden needs to be
tended to. We should handle specific issues with great care while
keeping our focus on the overall picture." Since then a change of
administration has taken place both in the U.S. and Japan, and the
environment surrounding the garden has changed drastically.

While Prime Minister Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
have paid lip service to "developing the Japan-U.S. relationship
further to mark the 50th anniversary of the revision of the
Japan-U.S. security treaty next year," Secretary of Defense Robert
Gates bluntly stated that "rather than celebrating what the two
countries have achieved in the past, the more important thing is
what we will achieve in the future."

It is obvious that what the Secretary meant by "future" is the
question of the relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station
(in Ginowan City, Okinawa) in particular. The Futenma issue dates
back many years, to 1996. In the aftermath of the gang rape of a
schoolgirl by U.S. soldiers in 1995, a solution to the
over-concentration (75 percent) of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) bases in
Okinawa became a political issue. Subsequently, the report of the
bilateral Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) called for the
complete return of the Futenma base.

But 13 years after the decision the base has yet to be returned.
During this time the sentiments of the local leaders and the
Okinawan people fluctuated in complicated ways. The Hatoyama
administration is deferring a decision for domestic political
reasons, but the U.S. side, which has experienced a similar change
of administration, thinks if America has made a decision, why can't

Delicate dominoes

If the Japanese side is thinking of relocating the Marines to Guam
and moving Futenma out of Okinawa, it is seriously mistaken. Guam
relocation and Futenma relocation are dominoes in a delicate
relationship. They are elements of a closely-linked package
agreement. If the parts are tampered with willfully, the whole
package will come under stress and prove undoable.

Secretary Gates's statement that "there can be no relocation of the
Marines to Guam without Futenma relocation, and there will also be
no returning other bases and facilities" was probably based on his
knowledge of the extreme complexity of the negotiation process for
USFJ realignment. If Japanese policy regarding this issue continues
to drift, Okinawans' long-cherished dream for the return of the
Futenma base will be delayed and the burden bases impose on local
communities will not be lightened.

More importantly, USFJ realignment is an indispensable component of

TOKYO 00002494 006 OF 007

the ongoing global military realignment by the U.S. to adapt to the
military and security needs and changes in the 21st Century.

While this is not written into the Japan-U.S. agreement out of
diplomatic considerations, realignment is also a precaution against
China's military expansion and the threat of North Korea's nuclear
arms and missiles. If realignment is delayed, this will not only
seriously undermine Japan's defense, but also U.S. force deployment
in Asia and the Pacific, as well as global U.S. strategy. It will
also seriously undermine the deterrence of the alliance.

Need for good gardeners

Hatoyama's risky diplomacy is not only evident in the Futenma issue.
There are also numerous contradictions and questionable points in
his remark that Japan "has been over dependent on the U.S." and in
the thinking of those regarded as advisers to the administration.

While the administration claims to value the bilateral military
alliance, the call for a "security treaty without stationing
troops," first made over 10 years ago, has re-emerged. Although the
administration says it will not ostracize the U.S., there are
lingering concerns about the exclusion of the U.S. from the East
Asian Community. The notions of an "equilateral triangular
Japan-U.S.-China relationship" or Japan serving as a "bridge for the
world" are similar to the concept of a "balancer in East Asia"
advocated by the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration of South Korea
-- a concept that was somehow unrealistic.

President Barack Obama has decided to shorten his visit to Japan to
two days and to visit China for four days. This was probably based
on the judgment that the Japan visit will bear no fruit.

There was a time in the 1990s when Japan and the U.S. failed to give
the garden adequate attention, resulting in the drifting of the
alliance. If once again there is the negative synergism of the two
countries on opposite sides of the Pacific passing each
there is no guarantee the alliance will not be set adrift a second
time. The present Hatoyama diplomacy requires not lip service to the
proposition that the alliance is the linchpin of foreign policy, but
rather good gardeners capable of making it flourish.

(5) MSDF destroyer, South Korean container ship collide; Hatoyama
administration's crisis management capability tested for first time

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 28, 2009

A collision between the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer
Kurama and a civilian container ship was the first incident in which
the Hatoyama administration was tested its crisis management

On the night of Oct. 27, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama ordered
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management Tetsuro Ito to
quickly gather information and learn what really happened in the
collision. Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said, "I hope that
optimum precautions are taken to prevent the spread of fire on the

At 8:11 p.m., 15 minutes after the collision, the Cabinet
Information Aggregation Center at the Prime Minister's Official

TOKYO 00002494 007 OF 007

Residence (Kantei) received the first report of the incident. On
receiving the report, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano
immediately reported the incident to the Prime Minister. Hatoyama
was in his office on the fifth floor at the Kantei when the
collision occurred, but he left at 8:37 p.m. for his private
residence in Denenchofu, Tokyo. He ordered Ito to thoroughly gather
information before leaving the Kantei.

According to the Defense Ministry, Kitazawa received the report at
08:10 p.m. and arrived at the ministry at 08:50 p.m. He sent Senior
Vice Defense Minister Kazuya Shinba to the site. At the same time,
he held a press conference at the ministry and apologized, saying,
"It is extremely regrettable that the incident has caused concern
and trouble for the public." He also said, "I apologize to the
public for shutting down the Kanmon Strait."

When the MSDF Aegis ship Atago collided with a fishing boat in
February 2008 when Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was in office, it
took 90 minutes before Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba received the
first report, exposing an inadequate communication network for
emergencies. In 2001 Ehime Prefecture's long-line tuna fishing
training ship Ehime Maru sunk after being struck by a U.S. Navy
nuclear submarine off Hawaii. Then Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori came
under severe criticism for continuing to play golf even after he had
received a report on the collision.

Kitazawa received the report 14 minutes after the collision. This
means that the Hatoyama administration applied the lessons learned
in the Atago incident. The information transmission system has been


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