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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Afghanistan and North Korea

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P 040407Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS TOKYO 002542

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 - AFGHANISTAN AND NORTH KOREA

1. LEAD STORIES: Wednesday morning's Tokyo Shimbun led with the
finding that a senior SDF officer assigned to the MOD Defense
Intelligence Headquarters divulged information to his colleagues in
April concerning the dates of unannounced inspections of the
headquarters by a special MOD unit.

2. "Concerns in U.S. about Afghanistan Becoming Second Vietnam" The
top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri wrote (11/4): "Confusion in
Afghanistan that lasted two and a half months came to an end
following the victory declaration by President Karzai. But since the
Taliban concurrently 'declared victory' by effectively preventing a
runoff presidential election from taking place, the new
administration got off to a bitter start. President Obama is
considering committing additional troops despite mounting concerns
[in the U.S.] that Afghanistan is becoming another 'Vietnam,' given
the stalemate that has lasted for the past 8 years."

3. "Utmost Support Should Be Provided to Assist Reconstruction" The
conservative Sankei editorialized (11/4): "It is regrettable that
the runoff election was canceled because it would have been evidence
of the legitimacy of a new administration.... Now is the time for
the international community to unite and support the reconstruction
of Afghanistan.... President Karzai stated clearly that he aims to
'forge a government based on national unity.' What is required on
the part of Afghanistan is not words, but governing capabilities
that can live up to the support and expectations of the
international community."

4. "North Korea Ups the Ante with Negotiations in Mind" On the
recent DPRK announcement that it successfully completed the
reprocessing of some 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods in August, the
business-oriented Nikkei stated in a correspondent's report from
Seoul (11/4): "The announcement means that North Korea has extracted
enough plutonium to assemble one nuclear weapon. Given that the DPRK
declared in June 2008 that it had extracted some 30 kilograms of
plutonium, the latest announcement did not significantly alter the
nuclear crisis [on the Korean Peninsula]. As North Korea appears to
be moving toward dialogue with Japan and South Korea while pleading
for negotiations with the U.S., the chances are high that it was
using 'brinkmanship' in order to win negotiating leverage."
5. "North Korea Trumpets Capabilities to Produce More Nuclear
Weapons" The moderate Yomiuri reported from Seoul (11/4): "The
announcement [concerning the completion of reprocessing] came
immediately after the meetings between the U.S. and the DPRK in the
U.S. It was clear that the purpose of the declaration by North Korea
was to set the stage for direct negotiations with the U.S.
Displaying its capability to assemble additional nuclear weapons,
North Korea underscored the urgent necessity for U.S.-DPRK
consultations, and appears set to press Washington to promptly come
to the negotiating table."

ROOS

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