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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - President Obama's Asia Trip

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 002635

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 - PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ASIA TRIP

1. LEAD STORIES: Top stories on Monday morning included yesterday's
Asia policy speech by Prime Minister Hatoyama in Singapore, in which
he explained his policy of moving forward with the East Asian
Community initiative while stressing that the U.S.-Japan alliance is
the central pillar of Japanese diplomacy.

2. "U.S.-Japan Alliance Is Cornerstone for Asia Strategy" On
President Obama's Asia policy speech in Tokyo on Saturday, the
top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri stated in an editorial (11/15):
"The speech reflected President Obama's eagerness to ensure
stability and prosperity in Asia under the U.S. leadership.... The
President made it clear that the U.S.-Japan alliance will be a
foundation for Washington's deeper engagement in Asia. President
Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama agreed during the summit to
'deepen' the bilateral alliance. The premier must exercise
leadership in order to rebuild bilateral relations, which have begun
to show signs of strain."

3. "Demonstrate Presence in 'Historic Turning Point' in Pan-Pacific"
The business-oriented Nikkei editorialized (11/15): "President Obama
stated in his speech that we have now reached 'one of those rare
inflection points in history.' What has happened in Asia during the
20 years following the end of the Cold War is indeed a dynamic
change that could be called historic.... In his address, the
President underscored his desire to change the flow of trade from
Asia to the U.S. by increasing exports from the U.S. to Asia. The
address reflected his strong desire to use the dynamism of Asia to
rebuild the U.S. economy, as well as Washington's frustration with
its declining national strength."

4. "Speech Implies Strong Request for Japan" The liberal Mainichi
argued (11/15): "Since the speech was delivered in Tokyo, the
President's consideration toward Japan was noticeable. He
underscored the value of the U.S.-Japan alliance and praised Japan's
international contributions.... However, the most important message
in the speech was his expression of determination for the U.S. to
become much closer to Asia and strengthen its leadership in the
region. He also stated that the U.S., as a nation of the Pacific,
will join discussions on deciding the future of the region and take
part in regional organizations to be created in the future. This
reference can be taken as a message that Washington will not accept
an East Asian Community that does not include the U.S."

5. "Concrete Ideas on 'Pacific State' Should Be Presented" The
liberal Tokyo Shimbun insisted (11/15): "President Obama's foreign
policy speech in Tokyo was somewhat different from his two earlier
speeches [in Prague and Cairo] in that he did not put forward a
great vision and spoke primarily about realistic elements throughout
the speech. As he stated in the speech, the U.S. has been disengaged
from many regional organizations in recent years, and during this
period when U.S. engagement in Asia was minimal, a variety of
regional consultation frameworks have been implemented.... As the
first 'Pacific President,' who was born in Hawaii and raised in
Indonesia, the President promised to exercise leadership. His
challenge for the time being will be whether he can offer specific
ideas by the time he chairs the APEC summit in 2011."

6. "U.S.'s Return to Asia Welcomed" The liberal Asahi wrote in an
editorial (11/15): "The President's statement that he is America's
first Pacific President caught us by surprise. It was an expression
referring to his childhood days in Hawaii and Indonesia. It also
represented his strong determination for the U.S. to engage deeply
with the growing Asia-Pacific region.... It is apparent that this
region, which includes China and India, will be an engine for world
growth in the 21st century. His view that the future of the U.S.

TOKYO 00002635 002 OF 002


economy depends on this region is convincing. America's political
and security presence is still unparalleled, and [regional]
expectations are high for Washington as a proponent of peace and
democracy."

ROOS

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