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

DE RUEHKO #2591/01 3130822
P 090822Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(14) Japan-Mekong summit: Japan aims to retain leverage (Mainichi)

(15) Interview with Tokyo University Professor Shinichi Kitaoka:
Avoid weakening the Japan-U.S. alliance (Nikkei)

(16) Base representatives apologize to Tsugaru city for car accident
in Nakadomari that killed driver; "Vehicle is connected with the
U.S. military" (Too Nippo)

(17) USFJ "civilian employee" dies in car accident, suspected of
driving under the influence of alcohol (Too Nippo)

(18) Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano comments on
USFJ-related hit-and-run incident in Yomitan, Okinawa (Mainichi)

(19) Man found dead in Yomitan; Hit-and-run involving a U.S.
military vehicle? (Okinawa Times)


(14) Japan-Mekong summit: Japan aims to retain leverage

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 8, 2009

Yudai Nakazawa, Hideyuki Nishio (Bangkok)

Japan and five nations of the Mekong river region (Thailand,
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) held their first Japan-Mekong
summit in Tokyo on Nov. 6-7. At the meeting, the nations adopted a
Tokyo Declaration that includes official assistance development
(ODA) worth more than 500 billion yen to be provided to the five
Mekong nations by Japan over the next three years and agreed to hold
the summit on a regular basis. Japan is hoping to use the summit to
work toward realizing Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's Initiative for
East Asian Community in the future by supporting the development of
Mekong countries. However, rivalry toward China, whose presence is
growing in the Mekong River region, is also discernible in Japan's

Prime Minister Hatoyama, during a joint press conference with
participants from the five Mekong countries held after the meeting
on Nov. 7, underscored the meaning of the East Asian Community
Initiative: "(The Mekong countries) form an important region that
holds the key to realizing the East Asian Community Initiative in
terms of how it can rectify regional disparities and achieve joint
development." He has secured the participating countries'
cooperation with the inclusion of the wording "(The Mekong
countries) will contribute to the building of the East Asian
Community as a long-term vision."

What Japan had in mind at the summit was the presence of China,
which is making efforts to strengthen its ties with the Mekong
nations through economic support. The prime minister indicated a
stance of seeking cooperation at the Japan-China Mekong Policy
Dialogue, which Japan and China established in 2008, pointing out,
"It is not a matter of Japan being put at a disadvantage because of
China focusing its efforts on Mekong countries. It is important for
both countries to cooperate."

TOKYO 00002591 002 OF 007

Japan's presence in the region has been declining as it has reduced
its ODA in recent years. All the more for that reason, the prime
minister wants to regain the lost ground by demonstrating his stance
of attaching importance to Asia by providing large amounts of ODA
and forming of an East Asian Community.

These Mekong countries, excluding Thailand, joined the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the 1990s. They are known as
the least developed ASEAN members. They are lagging behind in the
development of transportation infrastructure, such as the building
of roads, ports, harbors, and airports. They are pinning high hopes
on Japan's financial support. Laotian Prime Minister Bouasone during
the press conference said, "The meeting was a complete success. We
would like to materialize the Tokyo Declaration by developing a
detailed plan.

However, a fierce confrontation occurred between Thailand and
Cambodia about former Thai Prime Minister Taksin right before the
summit this time. The momentum for Indochinese nations to jointly
achieve economic development is lacking due to economic disparities
and differences in the political systems. The true feeling of Mekong
countries is that they do not want to be involved in a leadership
struggle between Japan and China.

China builds track record by moving southward

Joji Uramatsu, Beijing

Backed by its economic power, China has been strengthening its
transportation links with Mekong countries and using them as
stepping stones in its southward advance to Southeast Asia. The key
route for its southward advance is the Kunming-Bangkok Expressway,
which opened in April last year. Vice Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at
the Economic Forum with ASEAN held on Oct. 20 underscored, "We will
promote the building of expressways and a railway system linking
China and its neighbors on a top priority basis."

China has held summit meetings with Mekong countries every three
years since 2002 to discuss a Greater Mekong Area Economic
Cooperation Program. It has thus built up cooperation with Mekong
countries in areas other than transportation, such as electric power
and communications, as well. The Kunming-Bangkok Expressway, which
could be considered China's southward advance route, and the
East-West highway connecting Vietnam and Myanmar, for which Japan
provides assistance, cross in the Mekong River region.

Likening the leadership battle between Japan and China to China's
Warring States Period, diplomatic sources in Beijing predict that
alignments among Mekong countries will progress as the
Kunming-Bangkok Expressway and the East-West highway are built.

Gist of Tokyo Declaration adopted at Japan-Mekong states summit

Q Highly praise self-supporting efforts by Mekong states and welcome
the role of Japan and Thailand in the region.
Q Japan and Mekong states will establish a common, prosperous new
partnership for the future.
Q Mekong states will proactively contribute to the strengthening of
the integration of ASEAN and the establishment of the East Asian
Community as a long-term vision.
Q Japan will extend ODA worth more than 500 billion yen to the
Mekong River region as a whole over the next three years.

TOKYO 00002591 003 OF 007

(15) Interview with Tokyo University Professor Shinichi Kitaoka:
Avoid weakening the Japan-U.S. alliance

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
November 7, 2009

(Interview conducted by Hiroyuki Akita, editorial staff member)

Akita: While the Hatoyama administration advocates a "close and
equal Japan-U.S. relationship," it has brought about various
conflicts on such issues as U.S. military bases in Japan.

Kitaoka: The Japan-U.S. alliance is beneficial for stability in East
Asia. It would be fine for Japan to upgrade its role in security to
make the relationship more equal, but it is undesirable to do so by
downgrading the United States' role. This will not constitute a
"close and equal" relationship. East Asia has to deal with the issue
of a nuclear North Korea and the challenge of China's steady
military buildup. Against this background, policies should be made
from the standpoint of how to maintain East Asian stability and
Japan's security.

If the Hatoyama administration continues to defer decisions on the
U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) realignment and other issues, a sense of
distrust will grow on both sides. This will result in a "weak and
equal Japan-U.S. relationship."

Remaining trustworthy

Akita: There is concern that if things go on like this, the
Japan-U.S. relationship may deteriorate further.

Kitaoka: The emergence of differences of opinion during a change of
administration is inevitable. I have heard the criticisms of the
Hatoyama administration by the Republicans in the U.S. I think their
opinions are a bit exaggerated.

Akita: You are saying that it is not only in Japan that a certain
amount of confusion arises during a period of change in

Kitaoka: The United States itself has without qualms revoked
agreements it has signed several times in the past. It did not join
the League of Nations after World War I, and the U.S. sometimes
acted unreasonably during the period of Japan-U.S. trade friction in
the 1980s. However, Japan should more faithfully abide by past
agreements and remain more trustworthy than the U.S. The fact is
Japan cannot do things that are unacceptable for the U.S. to do as a

Akita: The top pending issue is the U.S. forces' Futenma base in
Okinawa. How should this be tackled?

Kitaoka: It is truly a shame that the people of Okinawa have to bear
the burden. However, geopolitically speaking, Okinawa is in a
critical location. When Commodore Perry came to Japan toward the end
of the Edo Period, he first set eyes on Okinawa and attempted to
bring it under America's sway. From Okinawa's viewpoint, its
location is truly unfortunate. Therefore, the Japanese government
should treat Okinawa with the utmost respect and provide various
forms of aid to compensate for the burden imposed on the local

TOKYO 00002591 004 OF 007

communities. The Prime Minister should visit Okinawa personally to
persuade the people to accept the replacement base.

Akita: There seems to be a mood in the Hatoyama administration that
since the government has changed, it is a matter of course that
policies should also change.

Kitaoka: Generally speaking, a review of policies will naturally
take place after a change of administration. However, it is absurd
to regard doing things differently from the previous administration
as a goal in itself. It is hoped that decisions will be made based
on what is the best option under the present circumstances.

Make constitutional interpretation the key

Akita: It is also necessary to accept the corresponding
responsibility in order to achieve equality.

Kitaoka: In the first place, Japan does not play a role equal to the
U.S. under the bilateral security treaty. Japan provides military
bases to compensate for such inequality. That is the reason why some
Japanese think that the bases are not needed during peacetime. On
the other hand, the U.S. side thinks that why should we shed blood
in an emergency for a big country like Japan? We need to look at the
big picture.

Akita: What needs to be done in concrete terms?

Kitaoka: It is necessary for Japan to play a bigger role in
supporting the U.S. forces' operations in order to preserve peace
and stability in Japan and East Asian. For this purpose, a certain
degree of revision of the constitutional interpretation banning the
exercise of the right of collective self-defense will be the key.
Another important thing is that Japan should further beef up its
defense capability. Doing so will bring it one step closer to a
close and equal relationship.

(The Japan-U.S. relationship is in flux with many issues pending.
How should the bilateral relationship be steered? We interviewed
experts in Japan, the U.S., China, and South Korea ahead of U.S.
President Barack Obama's first visit to Japan on Nov. 12.)

(Part one of an ongoing series)

(16) Base representatives apologize to Tsugaru city for car accident
in Nakadomari that killed driver; "Vehicle is connected with the
U.S. military"

TOO NIIPPO (Page 25) (Full)
November 3, 2009

Late in the night on Oct. 30, a car struck the rail of the Tsugaru
Ohashi Bridge on the prefectural road in Tamogi-Wakamiya in the town
of Nakadomari and burst into flames. The driver died. In this
connection, Capt. Kirby J. Atwell and others of the U.S. Army
Shariki Communications Site in the city of Tsugaru visited the city
office on Nov. 2 and offered an apology to Mayor Hiroyoshi
Fukushima, saying, "Although the man in question has yet to be
identified, the vehicle that caused the accident was driven by a
person connected with the base." Although the Goshogawara Police
Station had indicated that the identification of the man in question
was still under investigation, it acknowledged on Oct. 30 that the

TOKYO 00002591 005 OF 007

vehicle was connected with the U.S. military.

According to the police station, the man's body was badly
disfigured, making identification difficult. The police station also
indicated that a DNA test is being conducted and that the man would
be identified within several days.

"As we saw the license plate, we thought that someone connected with
(the base) was involved in the accident, so we have come here to
offer an apology," Capt. Atwell said. "The investigation is
continuing, so we cannot answer any questions about the person who
died. We would like to enhance safety measures in the future." In
response, Mayor Fukushima said: "I have asked the U.S. base not to
cause any further traffic accidents. I request that people connected
with the base thoroughly comply with the law and raise their
awareness of traffic safety."

(17) USFJ "civilian employee" dies in car accident, suspected of
driving under the influence of alcohol

TOO NIPPO (Page 25) (Full)
November 5, 2009

The Goshogawara Police Station announced on Nov. 4 that the man who
died in the accident late in the night of Oct. 30 on the prefectural
highway in Tamogi, Nakadomari-machi (Aomori Prefecture), in which a
car crashed into the railing of the Tsugaru bridge and went up in
flames, was Greg A. Williams, 48, a civilian employee of the U.S.
Army's Shariki Communications Site. The police also announced that
traces of alcohol were detected in Mr. Williams's body. Another male
civilian employee of the Shariki base had just been arrested for
driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in July. Local citizens
are saying that it's a miracle there have been no serious accidents
until now and that such incidents will undermine the relationship of

According to the Goshogawara police, the body was badly disfigured,
and the prefectural police's criminal investigation laboratory
finally identified the deceased as Mr. Williams through DNA
examination on Nov. 3. It was also learned that he was burned to

Furthermore, it was also learned that an alcohol level well above
the 0.15 milligram per liter of breath, at which a driver is
considered to be DUI, was detected in his blood. The Goshogawara
Police Station is continuing with its investigation, with the
possibility of filing charges for violation of the Road Traffic Law
provisions on safe driving.

In response to Too Nippo's queries regarding the fact that Mr.
Williams was a civilian employee of the U.S. military base and that
he was DUI, the Shariki Communications Site said: "We are unable to
comment because we have not received an official report."

The U.S. Army's Shariki Communications Site has been in operation
for only three years from September 2006. In April 2008, a male
civilian employee was charged with trespassing, and another male
civilian employee was involved in a car crash on the prefectural
highway in Kizukuri, Tsugaru City in July and was arrested for DUI.

Shiro Hayashi, head of the neighborhood association in the Shariki
district, said angrily: "A DUI incident again? It is extremely

TOKYO 00002591 006 OF 007

regrettable because we are trying to build friendly relations with
the U.S. forces. We hope they will exercise the greatest caution."

A man, 50, who witnessed the accident on the prefectural highway in
July, was appalled at the latest incident. He said: "U.S. military
people drive recklessly at high speed. I think it's a miracle there
have been no serious accidents until now."

In light of the recent incident, a representative from the Shariki
base visited the Tsugaru City Hall on Nov. 2 to apologize to Mayor
Hiroyoshi Fukushima. However, the city's general affairs chief
Arihiko Yamamoto says: "It is truly regrettable that this has caused
great anxiety among the citizens and undermined the relationship of
trust. We would like to demand that they obey traffic rules and make
thorough efforts to raise traffic safety consciousness."

(18) Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano comments on
USFJ-related hit-and-run incident in Yomitan, Okinawa

MAINICHI (Page 10) (Full)
Evening, November 9, 2009

Shinichiro Nishida

At a news conference on the morning of Nov. 9, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Hirofumi Hirano indicated that since the car believed to
be involved in the hit-and-run incident in Sobe, Yomitan Village,
Okinawa Prefecture, has a Y number plate, the owner "must be related
to the U.S. forces." He also said, "It is extremely regrettable if
this is (an incident) involving a person related to U.S. forces."

(19) Man found dead in Yomitan; Hit-and-run involving a U.S.
military vehicle?

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 1) (Full)
November 9, 2009

On Nov. 7 a man with blood on his head was found dead in a wooded
area alongside a street in Sobe, Yomitan Village. Kadena police who
were investigating the man's death concluded on Nov. 8 that he was
run down by a hit-and-run driver from shards of automobile glass
strewn in the area where the body was found. Concluding that it is
highly possible that a U.S. military vehicle brought to a repair
shop near the site after the man's body was found caused the
accident, the police impounded the vehicle. This was learned through
interviews with investigation sources.

According to those sources, the U.S. military vehicle, which is
likely to be the hit-and-run car, is a white passenger car with a
smashed windshield. The Kadena police are attempting to identify the
person who brought the vehicle to the repair shop, while conducting
an investigation that includes an inquiry placed with the U.S.
military. The Okinawa prefectural police will conduct next week a
DNA test to see whether the hair that adhered to the windshield is
that of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the man was later identified by a relative as Masakazu
Hokama, 66, a resident in Yomitan Village. A forensic autopsy
disclosed the cause of his death was the fracture of the cervical

The wooded area where Hokama's body was found is located three to

TOKYO 00002591 007 OF 007

five meters from the road along the former site of Yomitan auxiliary
airport near the U.S. military's Torii Station. Few people pass
through that area, where there are only scattered apartment

Hokama's wake was held by his relatives at his home on the evening
of Nov. 8. A man in his 50's said in a low voice, "What happened to
him?" According to the man, Hokama enjoyed taking a walk every day,
and from around 5:00 am he set off in the direction of Zanpa point.


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