Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/30/09

DE RUEHKO #2516/01 3030617
P 300617Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


(1) Uru association proposes to defense minister relocating Futenma
base to Iwo Jima (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(2) Poll of heads of Okinawa municipalities on Futenma Air Station
relocation: Thirty-four opt for relocation outside prefecture or
nation (Okinawa Times)

(3) "Ronten" column: Give consideration to U.S. reaction to East
Asian community concept (Mainichi)

(4) Editorial: Japan's indecisiveness on Afghanistan policy pushing
its allies into a tighter corner (Sankei)

(5) Prime Minister intends to reexamine Japan-U.S. alliance to build
an equal alliance (Nikkei)

(6) "Seiron" column: Too big a price to pay for "equal Japan-U.S.
relationship" (Sankei)

(Corrected copy): Government to lead review of JAL rebuilding plan


(1) Uru association proposes to defense minister relocating Futenma
base to Iwo Jima

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Full)
October 30, 2009

TOKYO - On Oct. 29 the "Uru no Kai (Uru Association)," which is
formed of seven Upper and Lower House members, elected from Okinawa
Prefecture, from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the Social
Democratic Party (SDP), and the People's New Party (PNP), and an
independent, met with Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa in the Diet
building and proposed relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air
Station in Okinawa to Iwo Jima (Ogasawara Village, Tokyo). The Uru
Association is chaired by Upper House member Shokichi Kina. After
the meeting, Kina quoted Kitazawa as saying, "We are looking into
various options. I regard your proposal as one of them."

All seven association members attended the meeting with Kitazawa.
With regard to the relocation site for the Futenma base, Foreign
Minister Katsuya Okada is considering a plan to integrate it with
Kadena Air Base, while Kitazawa has expressed his intention to
accept the current plan to transfer it to the Henoko district.

The seven association members have become increasingly alarmed as
they believe that government officials are mulling relocating the
base within the prefecture. The Uru Association, therefore, proposed
the idea of relocating it out of Okinawa. This is the first time the
association has made to the government a specific proposal citing
the candidate relocation site by name. However, some association
members are skeptical of the feasibility of the proposal.

Iwo Jima is an island located 1,380 kilometers east of the mainland
Okinawa. It has an area of about 22 square kilometers. The island
has a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) base with a 2,600-meter
runway and no residents. Carrier-based aircraft from U.S. Naval Air
Facility Atsugi have temporarily been conducting night-landing
practice (NLP) on Iwo Jima.

TOKYO 00002516 002 OF 009

In 2005 Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga proposed the idea of relocating the
Futenma base to Iwo Jima. The predominant view is that the U.S. side
is negative about the idea from the standpoint of living conditions
on the island.

In January 2006, Onaga met with and proposed the idea to Tokyo Gov.
Shintaro Ishihara and Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa.

(2) Poll of heads of Okinawa municipalities on Futenma Air Station
relocation: Thirty-four opt for relocation outside prefecture or

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 1) (Full)
October 30, 2009

The Okinawa Times conducted by Oct. 29 a poll of heads of 41
municipalities in Okinawa Prefecture on a relocation site for the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station prior to the November 8
Okinawan Residents Rally to Oppose the Construction of a New
Military Base in Henoko and the Relocation of Base Functions within
the Prefecture. Of 41 municipal heads, 34 responded "outside the
prefecture or the nation is desirable." Among those who in the
previous poll accepted the idea of shifting the relocation site
offshore by reviewing the present plan (relocation to Henoko, Nago
City), four gave the answer "outside the prefecture" or "outside the
nation." Among those who suspended judgment in the previous poll,
six opted for "outside the prefecture" this time. Municipal heads'
opinions have changed due to the uncertainty surrounding the
relocation issue as a result of the change of administration.

To a question about relocation site, the largest number, 15, opted
for "outside the prefecture." Nine responded "outside the nation."
The answer "either outside the prefecture or the nation" was given
by 10 pollees. Only three supported the option of moving the site
offshore, as sought by Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, by revising the
current plan, which Japan and the U.S. agreed to. No pollees called
for integrating the Futenma functions into existing base facilities
such as Kadena Air Base in the prefecture.

Nago Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro, who supported an option for
shifting the relocation site offshore in the previous poll,
refrained from giving any reply, saying, "I want the government to
formulate a policy direction so that the plan can be realized at an
early date."

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada has proposed integrating the Futenma
facilities into Kadena Air Base. Kadena Mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi
changed his answer from "other option given in the previous poll" to
"outside the prefecture." For the first time he took the position of
supporting the idea of relocating the facilities outside the
prefecture, saying, "Since it is a pledge made by the government,
from now I will call for relocation outside the prefecture."

As reasons for his shift in stance, he said, "The people of Okinawa
elected the candidate who called for the relocation of the base
outside the prefecture. Their selection carries special weight. I
cannot accept the idea of integrating the functions into Kadena Air
Base, either."

Many municipal chiefs called for relocating the facilities outside
the prefecture or the nation. However, only 14 announced their

TOKYO 00002516 003 OF 009

intention to attend the rally.

As reasons for not taking part in the rally, many gave the answer
"due to other official business." Some municipal heads were
skeptical about the meaning of holding such a rally with Urasoe City
Mayor Mitsuo Gima, noting, "There is a lack of discussion for
shaping a consensus among the people," or, as Miyakojima City Mayor
Toshihiko Shimoji said, "The government should present its view to
the people of Okinawa first." Itoman City Mayor Hirotsune Uehara
said, "We cannot oppose relocation within the prefecture when the
government has yet to come up with its policy."

(3) "Ronten" column: Give consideration to U.S. reaction to East
Asian community concept

MAINICHI (Page 12) (Full)
October 30, 2009

Koji Murata, Doshisha University professor specializing in
international relations

In his recent policy speech to the Diet, Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama termed the four seas surrounding Japan "fruitful seas (of
friendship and solidarity)" and defined his proposed East Asian
community concept as a highly transparent community for cooperation
for an "economy for the people" and in the area of "people's lives
and culture."

It is easy to imagine that the above will be criticized as honorable
but abstract. However, the Prime Minister also talked about concrete
issues, such as disaster prevention and relief and public health.
These are all important areas. For sure, one may say that
enumerating these topics and calling them the concept of an East
Asian Community is an exaggeration. However, exaggerated expressions
do sometimes influence people's mental images, thus transforming
them into reality.

Furthermore, those who claim that the East Asian Community will not
be realized may be looking only at the goal and not paying attention
to the process of reaching the goal. The process is probably more
important than the goal in this type of debate. This is because this
process will serve to enhance a relationship of trust,
predictability, and transparency. The same is true with the ideal of
a "world without nuclear weapons" advocated by President Barack

Nevertheless, the Asia-Pacific region is a vast area characterized
by diversity. If the concept is not supported by meticulous
coordination efforts, the East Asian Community may end up as a
spur-of-the-moment idea or a grand pipe dream.

The membership of this community is also important. Prime Minister
Hatoyama says that he does not intend to exclude the U.S. For sure,
the United States has, at times, overreacted to the East Asian
Community concept. However, it is also undeniable that when regional
cooperation in Asia was discussed in the past, there had often been
a latent tendency to eliminate or reduce U.S. influence. Showing a
certain measure of understanding and consideration for the U.S.'s
overreaction is in line with and does not contradict the spirit of
yuai (fraternity) advocated by the Prime Minister.

Certain Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) members are particularly

TOKYO 00002516 004 OF 009

keen on demonstrating the party's difference from the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) in foreign and security policy. However, if
they only mean pursuing the strengthening of relations with Asia and
reinforcing the Japan-U.S. relationship at the same time, the LDP's
Fukuda cabinet had already championed a synergy of diplomacy with
Asia and America. In the first place, emphasis on the Japan-U.S.
relationship, Japan's role in Asia, and a UN-centric diplomacy have
long been the three basic principles of Japan's foreign policy.

If Hatoyama diplomacy intends to broaden the scope of past diplomacy
by proposing such slogans as the East Asian Community or a "close
and equal Japan-U.S. relationship," it should present a
comprehensive vision. If it is merely enumerating various topics
under the East Asian Community and is unable to make any alternative
proposals for the refueling mission of the Maritime Self-Defense
Force in the Indian Ocean or the plan to relocate the U.S. forces'
Futenma Air Station, this is far from a comprehensive vision of
foreign affairs.

If the administration continues to buy time on key issues without
any underlying strategy, it will not be possible to pursue a "close
and equal Japan-U.S. relationship." And, if the bilateral
relationship becomes unstable, Japan's status and presence in Asia
and the Pacific will be seriously undermined.

(4) Editorial: Japan's indecisiveness on Afghanistan policy pushing
its allies into a tighter corner

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 30, 2009

A terrorist group stormed a guesthouse being used by UN staff in
Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, killing more than 10 people. In
the run-up to the presidential runoff election set for Nov. 7, the
security situation is rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan. In its
neighbor, Pakistan, too, terrorist attacks are intensifying

The international community can no longer be a passive onlooker.
Despite such a situation, Japan, an ally of the U.S., remains unable
to come up with effective countermeasures.

A spokesman for the Taliban, an anti-government Islamic
fundamentalist group, claimed responsibility for the guesthouse
attack, calling it "the first attack" to block the runoff election.
The Afghan military should make utmost efforts to prevent terrorist
attacks in cooperation with U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The election must be carried out without fail so that a new
government can end the current culture of corruption and have
legitimacy. To that end, it is important first to restore public
order in the nation. In the election in August, a total of 300,000
persons, including U.S. military troops, ISAF members, and Afghan
national troops, were mobilized to prevent terrorist attacks.
Despite such efforts, many attacks targeting polling stations took
place across the nation. The attacks took a heavy toll in lives.

An unprecedentedly large number of troops and citizens have been
killed in Afghanistan. Under such a situation, the upcoming runoff
vote will indisputably become a crucial stage in the war on terror.
U.S. President Barack Obama will soon announce plans to send more

TOKYO 00002516 005 OF 009

troops to Afghanistan. We expect the measure will have a deterrent

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that Britain will send
500 more troops to Afghanistan on the condition that other NATO
(North Atlantic Treaty Organization) members assume a burden
commensurate with their status. Britain has dispatched 9,000 troops
- the second largest number after the U.S. - to that nation. The
prime minister believes that "the stable situation in Afghanistan
will contribute to ensure the security of Britain."

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also should also be alarmed. In his
policy speech, he specified three civilian support measures for the
Afghanistan: agricultural support; vocational training for former
soldiers; and reinforcement of police functions. In view of the
security situation in that nation, however, these measures are
considered unrealistic.

Since the security situation has deteriorated to this extent in
Afghanistan, if civilians are dispatched, they will always have to
be guarded by military personnel. The plans involving the dispatch
of civilians will have to be postponed.

The U.S. and Britain have greatly appreciated Japan's refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean, but the government has said it would
not simply extend the mission. This policy stance is still
incomprehensible to us.

During his recent round of visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan,
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told his Pakistan counterpart, "Japan
is considering what approach it should take after the expiration of
the law (endorsing the refueling mission)." This inarticulate remark
shows that the government remains unable to devise any appropriate
measures. Japan's indecisiveness is pushing its allies into a
tighter corner.

(5) Prime Minister intends to reexamine Japan-U.S. alliance to build
an equal alliance

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
October 30, 2009

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama yesterday unveiled a plan to
comprehensively reexamine the Japan-U.S. alliance, including Japan's
burden sharing (omoiyari yosan or literally "sympathy budget", i.e.,
host nation support) for U.S. forces stationed in Japan. Hatoyama
apparently has in mind such issues as the relocation of the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa and revision of the
Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that have been
advocated by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The announcement
also reflects his firm determination to build an equal Japan-U.S.
alliance under the new administration. His statement that might end
up overturning what was agreed upon between the two countries is
certain to draw a backlash from the United States. His announcement
has also caused a stir in the Japanese government.

"I want to carry out a comprehensive review of the modalities of the
Japan-U.S. alliance," Hatoyama said in response to a question during
a House of Councillors plenary session yesterday. "We were an
opposition party, so we couldn't have full access to information,"
Hatoyama said later to the press corps at the Prime Minister's
Official Residence (Kantei). "With the Japan-U.S. alliance as a

TOKYO 00002516 006 OF 009

basis, we would like to examine such issues as host nation support,
SOFA, and Futenma in a comprehensive manner. It takes time to
examine those issues."

In his Diet reply, Hatoyama also said that the government will
examine various options for the relocation of Futenma Air Station.
Although the cabinet is in disarray over the relocation site for
Futenma, the Prime Minister apparently expressed a plan to examine
all possibilities based on his and DPJ's calls for moving Futenma
out of Okinawa or even Japan.

The Japan-U.S. alliance was strengthened under the administrations
of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). In April 1996, Prime Minister
Ryutaro Hashimoto and President Bill Clinton issued the Japan-U.S.
Joint Declaration on Security. Based on this, the governments of
Japan and the United States established the Special Action Committee
on Okinawa (SACO) to discuss the realignment/reduction of U.S. bases
and basically agreed to return Futenma Air Station. The two
governments subsequently decided to relocate Futenma to the coastal
area of Camp Schwab.

"We created that situation in a democratic, kind, and transparent
fashion," Fukushiro Nukaga said at yesterday's meeting of the LDP
Nukaga faction, highlighting the validity of the existing relocation
plan. Nukaga was serving as defense chief when the Japan-U.S.
agreement was reached.

Meanwhile, the DPJ, in its campaign pledge for the 2007 House of
Councillors election, criticized the existing plan, saying that the
LDP-New Komeito administration's approach of prioritizing the
intergovernmental agreement will undermine public trust, the
foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance. On Oct. 26 Prime Minister
Hatoyama delivered a policy speech in which he again underlined his
intention to build "a close and equal Japan-U.S. alliance."

Hatoyama's statement (on reviewing the Japan-U.S. alliance) is
likely to create a sensation at home and abroad. (In 2005), then
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld managed to adopt the existing
Futenma relocation plan in defiance of U.S. Forces Japan's
opposition to moving the air station. "If the agreement is
overturned, everything will return to square one," according to a
source with intimate knowledge of Japan-U.S. relations and familiar
with the bilateral talks that led to the agreement. The source spoke
with a concerned look.

The Foreign Ministry, which plays a central role in talks with the
United States, also fears that the Hatoyama statement might alter
the country's foreign/security policy. "It is difficult to review
(the Japan-U.S. alliance), including the SOFA, when Tokyo and
Washington are already at odds over the Futenma relocation," a
senior ministry official said disapprovingly.

(6) "Seiron" column: Too big a price to pay for "equal Japan-U.S.

SANKEI (Page 7) (Full)
October 30, 2009

Naoyuki Agawa, professor at Keio University

Japan has spoken up in the past

TOKYO 00002516 007 OF 009

Forty days have passed since the inauguration of the Hatoyama
administration. While I pray for the success of this government
elected by an overwhelming majority of voters, there are many things
about this administration that I do not understand. The policy of
"building a close and equal relationship" in the Democratic Party of
Japan's manifesto is particularly incomprehensible to me.

During his recent visit to the United States, the Prime Minister did
not discuss an "equal" relationship in his meeting with President
Barack Obama. The explanation given was that the trip was meant to
build a relationship of trust and specific issues would not be

However, the policy of an "equal Japan-U.S. relationship" is not a
concept that refers to specific issues, but one that governs the
basic conduct of bilateral relations. In that sense, the substance
of the domestic pledge made by the DPJ administration has not been
conveyed to the all-important other party in this relationship.
Moreover, the Prime Minister stated at a subsequent summit meeting
with the leaders of China and South Korea that Japan will cease
being over-dependent on the U.S. and give greater attention to Asia.
This must leave the U.S. side wondering what is meant by an "equal
Japan-U.S. relationship."

In the first place, this pledge to "build an equal Japan-U.S.
relationship" rests on the assumption that heretofore the
relationship has been unequal. This pledge has been depicted
ambiguously with expressions such as "we will build a relationship
under which both sides are able to speak up candidly from now on,"
but as far as I know, recent prime ministers have all spoken up
"candidly." The more fundamental question is how the Japan-U.S.
relationship has been "unequal."

The issue is what to do in the future

To begin with, the bilateral relationship is not a relationship of
countries equal in size or physical resources. The United States has
a larger territory, bigger population, higher GNP, and most of all,
overwhelmingly stronger military power. Before World War II, Japan
tried to match U.S. national power through disarmament negotiations,
territorial expansion, a military buildup, and pan-Asianism. It
failed. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama undoubtedly does not have in
mind a Japan-U.S. relationship of equals in this sense.

Japan lost everything through defeat in the war and was placed under
U.S. occupation. This was the period when the bilateral relationship
was most unequal. However, even after the restoration of
independence, Japan made a conscious choice to be unequal with the
U.S. in military power, with the result it had a weak national
defense, so it concluded a security treaty with the U.S. and
sheltered under America's nuclear umbrella. That is the basic
structure of the present Japan-U.S. security arrangement.

However, relying on another country for defense is incompatible with
an equal relationship between independent countries. Therefore,
Japan has striven to improve its own defense capability, contribute
to world security, and provide bases in Okinawa (of great
geopolitical value to the U.S. global strategy), to ensure
reciprocity without taking up mutual defense obligations, and to
maintain the security alliance. Despite various constitutional,
legal, and political constraints, Japan has striven to realize an
equal bilateral relationship in real terms. I believe that as a

TOKYO 00002516 008 OF 009

result, the present Japan-U.S. relationship is equal.

If Prime Minister Hatoyama and the new administration still think
that the current Japan-U.S. relationship is unequal and needs to be
rectified, the question is what they are going to do about it.

The manifesto states on the one hand that Japan will "share roles
with the U.S." and "positively fulfill" its responsibility, but
suggests the revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA) and a "review" of the USFJ realignment plans and U.S.
military bases in Japan. The latter specifically refers to the
relocation of the Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa and the
discontinuation of the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, while
the former is limited only to abstract expressions. Pursuing only
the latter under the present circumstances may even incur the risk
of destabilizing the Japan-U.S. relationship.

Indifference to the other party's position is unacceptable

The other party certainly deserves to be heard on whether the
Japan-U.S. relationship is equal or not. Some U.S. observers contend
that Japan and the U.S. are unequal in their shares of the cost of
the security arrangement -- a contention of which the Japanese are
not fully aware. If discussions about ending the refueling mission
and relocating the Futenma base out of Okinawa continue, it would
not be surprising if Japan were asked to play a bigger role and
assume greater responsibility in security.

If Japan agrees to this, it may have to bear a heavier burden than
at present. On the other hand, if it objects or resists, Japan will
be widely perceived as a country that is shifting its focus from the
Japan-U.S. alliance to Asia, abhors U.S. military bases and hopes to
step out from under nuclear umbrella, and advocates banning the
first use of nuclear weapons, but is reluctant to do its share for
the maintenance of world security. Like in Japan, public opinion is
also influential in America. Congress may well demand a drastic cut
in the United States' commitment to the defense of a country that
refuses to shoulder its share of the responsibility. In that case a
Japan-U.S. relationship that has been close and practically equal
might cease to be either.

The relocation of the Futenma base out of Okinawa and the
discontinuation of the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean should
not be Japan's foreign policy goals. Rather, their effectiveness as
means to achieve Japan's security and prosperity should be reviewed.
Likewise, the building of an equal bilateral relationship per se
should not be a goal. Rather the purpose of striving for equality
and Japan's concrete goals should be clarified. The administration
will not be able to convince the people if it is only driven by the
emotional impulse for independence since the twilight of the
Tokugawa Shogunate and the dawn of the Meiji government.

Certain officials in the administration already know this well. But
there are those who don't. So that the Japan-U.S. relationship isn't
set adrift, I hope discussions of these issues will be a little
closer to a conclusion before President Obama visits Japan.

(Corrected copy): Government to lead review of JAL rebuilding plan

NIKKEI (Top play) (Lead para.)
October 30, 2009

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Transport Minister Seiji Maehara on Oct. 29 formally announced a
policy of using the Enterprise Turn around Initiative Corporation
(ETIC) a public organization, for the corporate rehabilitation of
Japan Airlines (JAL). JAL will formulate a rebuilding plan under the
ETIC. Support measures will possibly be set in January next year.
The ETIC will look into reinforcing the company's capital base using
public money and substantively cutting the corporate pension. A task
force under the transport ministry has been leading the work of
turning around JAL. However, from now on, the JAL rehabilitation
plan will be reviewed with the government proactively involved in
the process.


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