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Cablegate: Media Reaction to President Obama's Tokyo Speech

VZCZCXRO9686
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #2641 3202325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 162325Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7559
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7440
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9795
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 4630
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7956
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1259

UNCLAS TOKYO 002641

SIPDIS

STATE FOR, EAP/PD, EAP/J, EAP/P, CA
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S TOKYO SPEECH

1. SUMMARY: On November 14 President Obama delivered a speech on
Asian policy in Tokyo. The speech was the major news item of the day
and received nearly universal praise for its consideration of Japan
and for signaling a vigorous reengagement of the U.S. with Asia.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, which carried the
speech live, the speech attracted nearly three times NHK's normal
Saturday morning audience on its terrestrial channel and potentially
reached up to 14 million households on its domestic satellite
channel. END SUMMARY

2. President Obama's speech delivered in the morning of November 14
was carried live by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and was the
top news story, reported by all broadcasters the same afternoon and
front-paged by all the evening editions of the major dailies.
According to NHK, the speech attracted 3.7 million viewers on its
terrestrial channel, a 5.7 percent audience share and nearly three
times NHK's normal Saturday morning audience. Additionally, NHK's
domestic satellite broadcast reached a potential audience of 14
million households. All of Japan's five national daily newspapers,
with the exception of Sankei Shimbun, subsequently carried full
Japanese translations of the speech, with Mainichi's translation
appearing only on its website.

3. The choice of Tokyo as the venue of the speech was interpreted as
part of the message that Japan remains an important ally of America.
The liberal Mainichi noted in an editorial published on November 15,
"the President underscored the value of the U.S.-Japan alliance and
praised Japan's international contributions." The moderate Yomiuri
said: "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."

4. All local media outlets focused on President Obama's description
of the U.S. as a "nation of the Pacific," noting that the address
marked a clear departure from the former Bush administration's
"disregard" of Asia, which in turn damaged America's presence in the
region. The dailies treated the foreign policy address as equally
significant as his two previous speeches in Cairo and Prague,
although the liberal Tokyo Shimbun said it was different in not
enunciating a grand vision.

5. Local media also echoed the view that the President would like to
engage more deeply with Asia by using the U.S.-Japan alliance as a
foundation, although the Hatoyama administration's initial policy
toward the U.S., reflected by a delayed decision on Futenma
relocation and the apparent exclusion of the United States in his
East Asian Community initiative, appears to be complicating
Washington's pursuit to re-emphasize its relationship with Asia. In
fact, the media noted that the President's speech contained warnings
for Japan. NHK, on its 7 p.m. news, said the President did not
forget to send Japan a warning on the Futenma relocation issue by
saying that the new bilateral working group will bring a swift
resolution of the issue. The Asahi, in its evening edition for
November 14, interpreted the President's statement that the U.S.
expects to be involved in discussions that shape the future of Asia
and to participate fully in relevant organizations as a warning
against the U.S.'s exclusion. The Mainichi editorial said: "The
premier must exercise leadership in order to rebuild bilateral
relations, which have begun to show signs of strain."

6. The media also argued that U.S. policy emphasis on Asia is a
reflection of President Obama's diplomatic realism, noting that the
President is well aware that Washington needs Chinese cooperation in
dealing with mounting challenges such as global warming and that he
sees Asia as imperative to restoring U.S. economic growth. The
business-oriented Nikkei editorialized on November 15: "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."

7. The media noted that the guests invited to the speech ranged from
the mayor of Nagasaki and families of Japanese abducted by North
Korea to members of the entertainment world. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa
Tanoue, who attended, was reported as saying he "was deeply
touched." Sakie Yokota, mother of abductee Megumi Yokota, remarked
that the President "is a person with a strong commitment to human
rights." The Asahi noted in an article on November 14 that the
"variety of guests itself speaks for the President's message."

Roos

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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