Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/04/09

DE RUEHKO #2545/01 3080820
P 040820Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A




(1) Agitated public opinion on Futenma relocation (Part 1): Kadena
town forms united front with U.S. forces to oppose merger plan

(2) Editorial: Concerns over foreign and security policies linger on

(3) Editorial: We would like to see a concerted effort to support
the New Afghanistan administration (Sankei)

(4) Senior U.S. State Department official's emphasis on APEC's
importance and cooperation with Japan seen as attempt to counter
East Asian Community concept (Jiji Com)

(5) Editorial: 63rd anniversary of proclamation of Constitution -
Discussion on constitutional revision should not be suppressed


(1) Agitated public opinion on Futenma relocation (Part 1): Kadena
town forms united front with U.S. forces to oppose merger plan

MAINICHI (Top play, page 24) (Full)
November 4, 2009

Mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi, 73, was talking face-to-face with Brig. Gen.
Ken Wilsbach, commander of Kadena Air Base (KAB), which straddles
the town of Kadena and two other municipalities in Okinawa, at the
commander's office in the late afternoon on Oct. 5. Miyagi handed
the commander a document entitled "scenario for the relocation of
the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station out of Japan." Miyagi told him
that "the parliamentary secretary for defense will go to Washington
with this document shortly."

This document is about the proposal on merging the Futenma base with
KAB, which calls for merging the Futenma base in Ginowan City with
KAB with a time limit of 15 years, after which Futenma will be moved
to Guam or the U.S. mainland; transferring 28 F-15 fighters on KAB
to other bases and banning exercises by non-KAB-based aircraft to
reduce noise; and the return of bases south of KAB. These items are
included in the charts and graphs.

The commander laughed. "Is the Japanese government trying to poke
its nose into U.S. military affairs?" Miyagi responded in all
seriousness: "You should watch out and notify Washington before the
parliamentary secretary goes there." Wilsbach began to change to a
serious expression. "This is unacceptable. I will notify
(Washington) immediately."

Miyagi obtained a copy of the document on the previous day, Oct. 4.
People's New Party policy chief Mikio Shimoji, 48, who was elected
from the first district of Okinawa, reportedly brought the proposal
to him.

Shimoji asked Miyagi to "look at the big picture when making a
decision" and told him that Parliamentary Secretary of Defense
Akihisa Nagashima would be taking this plan to Washington soon.

TOKYO 00002545 002 OF 007

Shimoji has refused to comment on the meeting on Oct. 4 but stated
that the United States' position on U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ)
realignment is "not that the Kadena merger plan will not work, but
that it is set on relocation to Henoko, no matter what, and is
applying considerable pressure."

The Kadena integration plan also emerged once back in 1996, when the
Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on the complete return of
Futenma. However, this plan fizzled out because of the opposition of
the local communities in Kadena and the other municipalities, and
the USFJ disapproved of the joint use of KAB, where the Air Force's
fighters are stationed, with the Marines, which mostly use

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada revived the proposal on the KAB
merger plan as an option for Futenma relocation on Oct. 23, 18 days
after the meeting between Miyagi and Wilsbach. Miyagi, who is
against the merger plan, took preemptive action immediately after he
received the document. He chose the USFJ, the target of his frequent
protests about noise, as his partner in this "united front."

Miyagi explains that, "The commander, and not the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA), is the best party to convey the local
community's opposition to the Kadena merger plan accurately." The
USFJ is preferred over MOFA. Behind this decision is deep-rooted
distrust of the Japanese government.

The noise generated by KAB has long been a problem for the local
communities. There has been a long history of the remedies taken by
the government either being rendered toothless or unenforced.

The KAB integration proposal has suddenly emerged as a relocation
option for the Futenma Air Station located in the center of Ginowan
City. It is said that the reason why Mayor Miyagi, who wants to
block this plan, chose the KAB commander as his united front partner
is because the Japanese government has "betrayed" him with regard to
measures to deal with noise generated by KAB. A recent joint public
opinion poll by Mainichi Shimbun and Ryukyu Shimpo shows that over
70 percent of respondents were opposed to the Kadena merger plan.
Public opinion in the localities hosting the largest U.S. Air Force
base in the Far East is becoming agitated.

The Japanese and U.S. governments agreed on measures to regulate
aircraft noise in March 1996 with the aim of reducing noise
generated by KAB and the Futenma base. The agreement calls for
restrictions on flights and ground operations between 10:00 p.m. and
6:00 a.m., but this does not apply in cases where the USFJ has
"operational needs." Night and early morning flights have taken
place on KAB based on this exception. The town government has
monitored 2,000-3,000 instances of noise in the early morning and at
night annually.

Furthermore, the 2006 final report on USFJ realignment calls for
"reducing the burden imposed by the KAB" by sending one to five F-15
fighters based on KAB to conduct exercises on six Air Self-Defense
Force (ASDF) bases on the Japanese mainland for one to seven days 12
times in a year and sending 6-12 F-15 fighters for exercises on ASDF
bases for 8-14 days three times a year. However, 39,359 instances of
noise were still monitored in the Yara district in fiscal 2008, up
from 32,549 instances in FY2007. This noise is mainly caused by
non-KAB-based aircraft flying to the base for exercises.

TOKYO 00002545 003 OF 007

Miyagi says: "We were betrayed with regard to noise regulation, as
well as USFJ realignment. Our expectations for the government have
turned into disappointment. Noise will be reduced after Kadena
merger? That's nonsense. We cannot believe in such talk," chortled
the mayor, who approves of the Japan-U.S. security arrangements "to
a certain extent."

Sunabe district in the town of Chatan is a seaside community lying
on the extension line from KAB's runways. It suffers from the
highest level of noise among the neighborhoods in the vicinity of
KAB. Shoji Matsuda, 64, the district chief still remembers the
deafening noise during the B-52 bomber crash 41 years ago. "The W
index (weighted equivalent continuous perceived noise, or WECPN
level) recorded was 95." Window panes rattled loudly. "It's not just
the noise. I can understand that the Futenma Air Station is
dangerous, but why are they moving this base to dangerous Kadena,
where accidents have not ceased to occur? Isn't this absurd?"

At a news conference on Oct. 27, Okada cited the merit of the Kadena
merger plan, saying: "I think there is great merit in merging the
two major bases on Okinawa." It seems that there is a huge gap
between the mainland and Okinawa and between Tokyo and the local
officials with regard to the reduction of the burden on Okinawa that
the government is talking about.

(2) Editorial: Concerns over foreign and security policies linger

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 3, 2009

Full-fledged question-and-answer sessions were launched at meeting
of the House of Representatives Budget Committee (held yesterday).
Taking up mainly the foreign and security policies of the Hatoyama
cabinet, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) asked questions about
its handling of the issue of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan
and other matters. There were scenes in which Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama avoided giving specific answers. If the administration's
basic policies remain ambiguous, concerns will continue to linger

LDP Secretary General Tadamori Oshima pressed the Prime Minister to
explain how his administration is going to review the existing plan
to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station (in the city
of Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture) to the Henoko district (in the city
of Nago in the prefecture).

The Prime Minister expressed a plan to seek common ground from the
viewpoint of reducing the gravity of the Japan-U.S. agreement and
the burden on local residents. He also indicated that nothing has
been decided on the matter, saying that the government is exploring
various options. The Prime Minister also avoided announcing a clear
deadline for reaching a conclusion by repeatedly noting, "I'm not
saying it's a good idea to postpone the deadline irresponsibly."

Oshima repeatedly criticized the Hatoyama cabinet's responses,
saying, "Although the cabinet has indicated that the Japan-U.S.
alliance is the cornerstone (of Japan's foreign policy), the
situation raises serious concerns." Oshima also pointed out that the
Prime Minister's statements expressing eagerness to review the
existing plan and to postpone considering alternatives might
increase the distrust of people concerned. We agree with Oshima.

TOKYO 00002545 004 OF 007

Former Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, who took the floor as a
questioner after Oshima, asked, "What exactly does your statement
that Japan was too dependent on the United Statement mean?" In
response, the Prime Minister cited the refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean and Japan's support for the United States in the Iraq
war. Machimura rebutted that Japan decided them on its own as a
member of the international community.

Machimura urged the government to continue the refueling mission
beyond its expiration in January 2010, stressing that there is no
other activity that is as safe and cost effective and is highly
regarded by the international community.

Voters are supportive of the policies that the Democratic Party of
Japan places priority on, such as shifting power away from
bureaucrats and cutting administrative wasteful spending. Many in
the opposition camp are also showing their understanding of them. At
the same time, it goes without saying that the government is
required to give consideration to its relations with the
international community, including the United States, when shifting
the country's foreign and security policies.

The Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers' inconsistent
statements might give the impression that Japan is in turmoil and
undermine the country's national interests as a result. The Prime
Minister should take steps to bring the situation under control,
including the U.S. force realignment and support for international
efforts to combat terrorism, before being urged to do so by the
opposition camp.

There were hardly any questions about the issue of money and
politics on the first day. We hope to see the overall picture of the
falsified donations reported by Prime Minister's fund management
organization uncovered through future debates.

(3) Editorial: We would like to see a concerted effort to support
the New Afghanistan administration

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 4, 2009

Afghanistan's election commission decided to cancel the runoff for
president slated for Nov. 7 and proclaimed the reelection of
incumbent President Karzai, who came in first in the first round of
the election in August.

This exceptional decision was made following former foreign minister
Abdullah's announcement he was pulling out. Another element
contributing to the decision was that major terrorist attacks by the
Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group, had been expected.

The cancellation of the runoff was regrettable in the sense of
clarifying the legitimacy of the new administration. However, the
U.S. administration has announced its stance of continuing support
to the nation. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, now in Afghanistan,
categorically said, "A new administration must be launched
promptly." The international community should make an all-out effort
to support the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

The U.S. military caused the collapse of the Taliban administration,
which was harboring Al-Qaeda, an international terrorist group that

TOKYO 00002545 005 OF 007

carried out the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, 2001. However, the
Taliban militants are gradually regaining strength. In the past
several months victims of terrorist attacks have increased at the
worst pace.

Deteriorating security in Afghanistan is hampering the rebuilding of
the nation through support by various countries. The Taliban
militants, the root cause of terrorism in Afghanistan, must be
rooted out in order to cut off the negative spiral of terrorism.

U.S. President Obama will announce a plan to reinforce U.S. military
personnel stationed in Afghanistan to 68,000 before the year end.
However, it would be logical to shift leadership for the brunt of
maintaining security from the U.S. military to the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO), and later to Afghanistan's national military.

Upon hearing the reelection of President Karzai, President Obama,
referring to the collusive nature of the Karzai administration in
the past, called for a serious effort to eradicate bribery and a
joint effort for the strengthening of the training of a security
force. This is only natural.

Once security is restored, people's livelihood must be stabilized.
South Korea's Lee Myung Bak administration, which advocates
strengthening its alliance with the U.S., has decided to re-send
about 300 soldiers to protect civilians of the Provincial
Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. The South Korean administration
makes a sharp contrast with the Hatoyama administration, which has
decided to end refueling operations in the Indian Ocean in January
next year. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has stressed civilian
support to Afghanistan. However, he also said that he would not
dispatch Self-Defense Force personnel. If that is the case, it would
be impossible for Japan to extend effective support.

President Karzai categorically said that he would aim for an
all-nation cabinet. However, Afghanistan doesn't need words. It
needs support from the international community and the ability to
govern so that it can live up to expectations.

(4) Senior U.S. State Department official's emphasis on APEC's
importance and cooperation with Japan seen as attempt to counter
East Asian Community concept

12:08, November 4, 2009

Washington - The State Department's Kurt Tong, deputy U.S.
representative in charge of preparations for the APEC summit in
Singapore on Nov. 14-15, gave a news conference in Washington on
Nov. 3. He emphasized the importance of APEC and said that Japan and
the U.S., which will host the APEC summit in 2010 and 2011,
respectively, will cooperate to achieve the best possible results.

The U.S. government has concerns about the concept of the East Asian
Community advocated by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. It appears
that Tong's remark may be aimed at countering this concept.

Tong rated APEC very highly, calling it "extremely beneficial." With
Japan and the U.S. hosting the APEC summit in 2010 and 2011, he
stressed that "we have great expectations for what APEC can
accomplish in two years."

TOKYO 00002545 006 OF 007

Tong also announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S.
Trade Representative Ron Kirk will participate in the ministerial
meeting to be held before the APEC summit, and Secretary of the
Treasury Timothy Geithner will participate in the finance ministers'

(5) Editorial: 63rd anniversary of proclamation of Constitution -
Discussion on constitutional revision should not be suppressed

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 3, 2009

Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the proclamation of the
Constitution of Japan. Although Japan faces such threats as North
Korea's nuclear and missile development and China's military
buildup, discussion on the Constitution, which stipulates the rules
of the nation, is being suppressed.

In the current Diet session, the Constitution Research Councils of
both houses have not been launched yet. The Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) and other opposition parties moved to block the
activities of standing panels set up in August, 2007 under the Diet
Law. The agreement reached by the DPJ and the other ruling parties
to form their coalition government only mentioned confirming
principles such as pacifism, but stopped short of mentioning how the
government should deal with the research councils.

Social Democratic Party President Mizuho Fukushima, who insisted in
talks on forming a coalition government on the need to freeze
activities by the councils, has begun to emphasize: "The SDP will
never allow the Constitution Research Councils to be put into
operation as long as the party is in the administration."

The referendum law will come into effect on May 18 of next year.
Under this law, it will become possible for lawmakers to present
proposals for revising the Constitution. The Diet takes
responsibility for presenting a clear vision for the nation based on
due legal procedures. If the DPJ intends to try to prevent such
efforts by the Diet in line with the SDP's position, it is extremely

The DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have the big
responsibility of launching constitutional debate to enable
lawmakers to present draft proposals for amending the Constitution.

The DPJ is now urged to consider whether resolving numerous thorny
issues facing Japan is possible under the terms of the Constitution,
which the Allied Occupation's General Headquarters (GHQ) forced on
Japan immediately after the end of the war.

"We must bring about a change of government and make the political
situation stable so that politicians can discuss constitutional
issues," Yukio Hatoyama noted in the DPJ's email magazine this
March, when he was secretary general of the party. In his book
titled: "A New Constitution Draft," Hatoyama expresses a willingness
to maintain the Self-Defense Force and to reorganize the governing
system. After coming into office, however, the prime minister has
indicated no intention to address constitutional problems. On the
issue of whether the existing government interpretation of the
Constitution should be changed to enable Japan to exercise the right
to collective self-defense, as well, Hatoyama revealed that he has

TOKYO 00002545 007 OF 007

no intention to change the interpretation during a meeting of the
House of Representatives' Budget Committee yesterday. This reflects
his priority to maintain the coalition government over considering
the future of the nation. Based on this stance, Hatoyama has allowed
the SDP to openly advocate the need to prevent revisions to the

Why has the LDP refrained from pursuing the spirit adopted when the
party advocated constitutional reform and established a conservative
government in 1955? The LDP probably remains inactive toward this
challenge because LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki remains cautious
about changing the government interpretation.

The LDP needs to draft a basic plan for how this nation should be
reformed. The party must also prepare itself to implement its plan
as a conservative party and develop its ability to think on the
grand scale. Demonstrating these abilities is the only way the LDP
will be able to revive itself.


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