Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/09/09

DE RUEHKO #2814/01 3430828
P 090828Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) PM Hatoyama stepping up coordination on Futenma relocation
policy, to make final decision himself (Nikkei)

(2) Talks with U.S. reach impasse: Gulf over Futenma airfield
relocation remains wide open; Momentum toward holding bilateral
alliance talks losing steam (Nikkei)

(3) Hirano talks of possible delay in USFJ realignment road map,
need to repair dilapidated facilities on Futenma base (Mainichi)

(4) Former Vice Defense Minister: business interests one factor
behind confusion over the Futenma issue (Yomiuri)

(5) U.S. breaks its own promise to carry out U.S. force realignment;
Relocation of I Corps to Camp Zama likely to be cancelled (Tokyo

(6) Ceremony kicking off Japan-U.S. war game held in Chitose
(Hokkaido Shimbun)

(7) Nikkei-CSIS symposium: Strong Japan-U.S. alliance is cornerstone
of international cooperation (Nikkei)

(8) Dark clouds hanging over Japan-U.S. alliance (Part 2): DPJ has
no policy toward U.S. (Yomiuri)

(9) Secret Okinawa deal: Foreign Ministry told Finance Ministry
Japan would shoulder costs that U.S. should have borne (Yomiuri)

(10) I want Japan to teach U.S. "respect" (Yomiuri)


(1) PM Hatoyama stepping up coordination on Futenma relocation
policy, to make final decision himself

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
Evening, December 9, 2009

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told reporters in front of his
official residential quarters on the morning of Dec. 9 that with
regard to the relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station in
Okinawa, "since it is already mid-December, we will finalize our
policy on the points for negotiation with the U.S.," indicating that
coordination will be stepped up ahead of Dec. 18, which he has set
as the deadline for deciding on the government's policy. Discussions
among cabinet ministers have failed to reach a conclusion. Hatoyama
stated that, "I am aware that the situation is very difficult, but I
think there will be an answer and a solution. I will make the
decision in the end."

Replying to a question from reporters that the U.S. side has
expressed concerns about the deterioration of the bilateral
relationship, Hatoyama said: "The negotiation process is ongoing, so
the other party might express such an opinion." He further stressed
that, "This is not a statement they have made during the
negotiations. Since this is a major issue affecting the livelihood
of the people of Okinawa and Japan, we need to make a decision

TOKYO 00002814 002 OF 009

(2) Talks with U.S. reach impasse: Gulf over Futenma airfield
relocation remains wide open; Momentum toward holding bilateral
alliance talks losing steam

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
December 9, 2009

Now that the government has given up on the idea of reaching a
settlement on the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma
Air Station, talks with the U.S. have come to an impasse. With the
U.S. taking a tougher stance, the cabinet-level working group talks
between the two countries have been suspended. The momentum to
launch government-to-government talks designed to deepen the
bilateral alliance in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the
amendment to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty next year is losing

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
held talks on the Futenma issue on the 8th. However, they put off
making a decision for the second day in a row. The prime minister
wants to press ahead with efforts to remove the danger the Futenma
base is imposing on residents in the vicinity. The U.S. gives top
priority to deciding to relocate the Futenma facilities to the
coastal area of Camp Schwab in accordance with the bilateral
agreement reached in 2006. Since the two countries are wide apart in
their perceptions of the issue, they remain unable to find a
settlement line.

The Futenma issue has repercussions for Japan-U.S. relations as a
whole. The foreign minister had no other choice but to announce at a
press conference on the 8th that the ministerial-level working group
meeting had been suspended for the time being. Regarding
comprehensive talks to deepen the alliance, too, Okada said, "I do
not feel like discussing the nature of the alliance myself, without
settling the Futenma issue." He stressed that the Japan-U.S.
alliance is now faltering.

Deputy Chief of Mission Zumwalt of the American Embassy in Tokyo
visited DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka on the
same day in the Diet building. He asked for Yamaoka's cooperation in
settling the Futenma issue before the end of the year. However,
Yamaoka simply said, "Rushing to a conclusion will not result in a
swift settlement."

There are several factors behind the lack of progress in the talks
with the U.S. One is the prime minister's view of the U.S. He has
been advocating a Japan-U.S. security system without the permanent
presence of U.S. forces. His proposal for relocating the Futenma
facilities to Guam is viewed as being close to his own personal
opinion rather than a public position. Some associate the prime
minister, who openly claims that he has his grandfather's DNA, with
his grandfather former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama's argument
calling for independent defense. Another factor for the lack of
progress is that DPJ Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa and others are
making no moves to coordinate with the SDP, which is opposed to the
existing Futenma relocation plan. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano set up a meeting on the 4th between the prime minister and
Ozawa at the Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei). However,
Ozawa reportedly attended the meeting only briefly.

Speaking of prospects for the Futenma issue to the press corps, the
prime minister on the evening of the 8th said, "I think I am getting

TOKYO 00002814 003 OF 009

closer to making a decision." However, it is hard to imagine any
bright idea that will be acceptable to the U.S., the SDP, and

There is not much time left before the 15th session of the
Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change (COP15) summit
meeting on Dec. 18, which is the deadline for the prime minister to
convey his government's decision to the U.S.

(3) Hirano talks of possible delay in USFJ realignment road map,
need to repair dilapidated facilities on Futenma base

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, December 9, 2009

Ai Yokota

At a news conference on the morning of Dec. 9, Chief Cabinet
Secretary Hirofumi Hirano commented on the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ)
realignment road map, including the relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines
in Okinawa to Guam in relation to the question of the relocation of
the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa). He
said: "If the Futenma issue requires more time to resolve and we are
unable to proceed to the next action plan, there might be some
changes in the timeline," mentioning the possibility of delays.

Hirano had indicated at his news conference on Dec. 4 that the
government intends to keep discussions on Futenma relocation and the
Marines' relocation to Guam separate in order to avoid delays. His
latest statement shows that this has become difficult due to the
U.S. side's objection.

With regard to the repair of dilapidated facilities on the Futenma
base in case its relocation, which is scheduled to be completed in
2014 under the road map, is delayed, Hirano said that, "We will have
to think of remedial measures for the absolutely necessary

(4) Former Vice Defense Minister: business interests one factor
behind confusion over the Futenma issue

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 9, 2009

In connection with the issue of the relocation of the U.S. forces'
Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa), former Vice Minister
of Defense Takemasa Moriya, who was involved with the
decision-making process for the current plan to relocate the base to
the coastal area of Camp Schwab (in Nago City), pointed out in the
edition of the monthly magazine Chuo Koron that goes on sale on Dec.
10 that business interests relating to land-reclamation work are a
factor behind the confusion over the relocation issue.

Moriya gave an interview to the magazine in which he criticized
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and others who are insisting on
moving the runways under the current plan farther offshore, which
would require the reclamation of more land, saying: "To me, this is
nothing but an attempt to delay the issue." With regard to the
business interests, he stressed that "a credible rumor is
circulating in Okinawa that powerful politicians, both from the
ruling and the opposition parties, have been buying up mountains in
anticipation of the demand for earth and sand."

TOKYO 00002814 004 OF 009

He also expressed the opinion that "the majority of the Okinawan
people actually want the central government to be responsible for
handling this issue."

Moriya has been charged with taking bribes in relation to the
procurement of defense supplies and for violating the Diet Testimony
Law (perjury). He received a prison sentence in the first trial and
is in the process of appealing the verdict.

(5) U.S. breaks its own promise to carry out U.S. force realignment;
Relocation of I Corps to Camp Zama likely to be cancelled

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 3) (Full)
December 9, 2009

Shigeru Handa, senior writer

In May 2006 Japan and the United States reached an agreement on the
realignment of U.S. forces, including the relocation of the U.S.
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. It has become likely
that the plan to relocate the U.S. Army's I Corps (from Fort Lewis,
Washington) to Camp Zama (straddling Sagamihara and other cities in
Kanagawa Prefecture) -- which must have proceeded smoothly -- will
be derailed due to the circumstances in the United State. The U.S.
side is pressuring Japan to implement the realignment of U.S. forces
as part of the "package." But the U.S. might end up breaking the
"package deal" by interpreting it to suit its own convenience.

"A story from the past"

& Reorganization of the U.S. Army

On Dec. 7, the Japan-U.S. joint military exercise (code named
Yamasakura) kicked off at snow-covered Ground Self-Defense Force
Camp Higashi-Chitose in Hokkaido after participants had been
instructed to emphasize "good Japan-U.S. relations." The
computer-aided mock joint exercise is designed for Japan and the
United States to jointly repel a hypothetical enemy that invaded

This year's joint exercise is the 57th of its kind. There has been a
major change since the last one. The commander of I Corps, which is
responsible for the security of the entire Asia-Pacific region, has
been replaced by the commander of the Army Pacific (Honolulu,
Hawaii), a regional army group, to serve as the operational maneuver
director, who is in charge of the U.S. side.

In the past exercises, the Army Pacific was responsible for logistic
support in Hawaii. But with the deployment of I Corps to such
countries as Iraq and Afghanistan, combat forces have disappeared
from the continental United States. Around that time, the Department
of Defense restructured the Army and empowered the Army Pacific
Command to direct the exercise.

Because the Army Pacific Command is allowed to direct a combatant
command, the Navy and the Air Force are also taking part in this
year's exercise. "Defense Secretary Gates's goal is to turn the U.S.
forces into a unified command," a U.S. Army field officer said. "The
realignment of U.S. forces promoted by former Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld is a story of the past."

TOKYO 00002814 005 OF 009

& Contradictory explanations

Such changes in the U.S. Army have also emerged at Camp Zama, where
the U.S. Army Japan headquarters is located.

According to (the October 2005 agreement) on the realignment of U.S.
forces, Camp Zama was scheduled to be turned into a tactical
operation center capable of carrying out joint tasks by the 2008
U.S. fiscal year, and the relocation of U.S. Army I Corps was
determined. Following this, the I Corps forward command was
established at Camp Zama in December 2007. It became operational
this March.

But a large part of the 90 personnel are concurrently serving at the
U.S. Army Japan headquarters and only three I Corps members are
working at (the forward command) full time. This situation conflicts
with the (now-defunct) Defense Facilities Administration Agency's
explanation (back then) that some 300 personnel would be added as a
result of the realignment of the headquarters.

Further, the I Corps' main force, including Commander Lt. Gen.
Jacoby, is now stationed in Iraq and they are expected to withdraw
next year. But another field officer said, "They will return to the
continental United States. They will not be posted to Camp Zama."

Grounds for rejecting a review of Futenma shaky

& Opportunism

To begin with, it was the U.S. side that proposed the relocation of
I Corps to Camp Zama. At the same time, plans were presented to: (1)
relocate the Fifth Air Force headquarters form Yokota Air Base to
Guam; and (2) shift the post of the commander of U.S. Army Japan to
the I Corps command to be moved to Camp Zama. An agreement was
reached only on the relocation of I Corps to Camp Zama.

In the wake of this agreement, the Japanese side said that "it is
unnecessary to have two ground-based forces (Army and Marines), so
the Marine Corps should be moved from Okinawa to Guam," and the U.S.
side accepted this request, according to a Japanese source connected
with the matter. The reason to keep at least one ground force is to
maintain the deterrent.

During his stay in Japan this past October, Defense Secretary Gates
pressed Tokyo hard to implement the Futenma relocation plan, as was
agreed upon, saying that is part of the package, while indicating
that the U.S. Marines Guam relocation plan is inseparable from the
Futenma relocation.

But if the planned relocation of I Corps is reviewed for
cancellation, there will be no reason not to review the planned
relocation of Futenma Air Station to the offing of the Henoko
district in Nago.

(6) Ceremony kicking off Japan-U.S. war game held in Chitose

December 8, 2009

Chitose - A ceremony marking the start of the "Yamasakura," a war
game of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and the U.S. forces
conducted by the joint Japan-U.S. command post, was held at the

TOKYO 00002814 006 OF 009

Higashi-chitose base in Chitose City on Dec. 7. Commanding General
Takeshi Sakai of the GSDF's Northern Army and Lieutenant General
Benjamin Mixon, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific (in Hawaii)
gave speeches and emphasized closer collaboration in preparation for
the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S. security
treaty next year.

At a news conference, Sakai pointed out that "the war game is of
great significance for enhancing the reliability of the Japan-U.S.
security arrangements." Regarding the downsizing of the SDF in
Hokkaido, he said: "It is necessary to continue to maintain the
current troop level in order not to create any vacuum in defense."

The war game is being held on the assumption of a contingency in
areas near Japan. Simulation exercises are conducted using maps and
computers to check the command systems and information transmission
for actual joint combat operations.

This is the 13th time that the war game is being conducted in
Hokkaido and the first in five years. There are 4,500 participants
from the Japanese side and 1,200 from the U.S. forces. The war game
is scheduled to end on Dec. 14.

(7) Nikkei-CSIS symposium: Strong Japan-U.S. alliance is cornerstone
of international cooperation

NIKKEI (Page 1) (Full)
December 9, 2009

The sixth joint symposium by Nihon Keizai Shimbun and the U.S.
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on "The Obama
Administration's Asia Policy and the Japan-U.S. Relationship in the
New Era" was held at the Nikkei Hall in Otemachi, Tokyo on Dec. 8.
Several participants from the U.S. side expressed the opinion that
the bilateral alliance should be maintained and strengthened to
coincide with the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-U.S.
security treaty next year. John Podesta, former White House chief of
staff, said that "a strong Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of
cooperation in the international community." Many of them asked
Japan to provide additional cooperation to Afghanistan.

CSIS President John Hamre indicated his expectations, stating: "I am
confident that Japan and the United States will work together as
equal partners in resolving world issues."

Meanwhile, Michael Green, former U.S. presidential assistant,
expressed dismay at recent developments in bilateral relations. He
said: "While Japan has become a trustworthy ally (in the past decade
or so), a debate on whether Japan and the U.S. are equal or not
suddenly emerged after the Democratic Party of Japan took power."

Richard Armitage, former U.S. deputy secretary of state, made the
remark that, "We do not have sufficient information on the new
Japanese administration and do not quite understand what is meant by
'equal'." He also cited the fact that the ratio of Japan's defense
spending to its GDP is low compared to other countries and pointed
out that, "Japan and the U.S. can become equal if Japan makes
greater sacrifices (by increasing its defense budget)."

(8) Dark clouds hanging over Japan-U.S. alliance (Part 2): DPJ has
no policy toward U.S.

TOKYO 00002814 007 OF 009

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
December 6, 2009

Delivering a speech at a community center in Nago City, Okinawa
Prefecture, on the afternoon of Dec. 5, Foreign Minister Katsuya
Okada said with a distressed look on his face: "Since (the
Democratic Party of Japan) assumed the reins of government more than
two months ago, I as foreign minister have been seriously
considering how to translate its campaign pledges into action."

In Nago City, where Japan and the U.S. agreed in 2006 to relocate
the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, Okada admitted it is
actually impossible to deliver on the campaign pledge (related to
the Futenma issue) made in the previous House of Representatives

The DPJ manifesto noted: "The party will move in the direction of
reviewing the planned realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and future
options for the presence of U.S. military bases in Japan." But the
U.S. repeatedly applied pressure on Okada, with one official saying:
"It is impossible to change the agreed plan. Don't you value the
Japan-U.S. alliance?"

Whenever Okada mentioned "dilemma," about 90 local residents at the
gathering in Nago booed him, with one shouting: "The issue will be
settled if the U.S. stops (operating) the Futenma airfield," and
another claiming: "Is the U.S. more important than the people in
Okinawa?" Foreign Minister Okada experienced firsthand the harsh
reality of violating the manifesto.

Foreign Minister Okada was apparently aiming to make the visit to
Okinawa this time an opportunity to make a policy switch in a bid to
resolve the Futenma issue based on the existing relocation plan. For
the past several days, he was apparently showing signs of
impatience, grumbling: "Unless we take action quickly, the
relationship of trust between Japan and the U.S. might be

In actuality, in a meeting of the foreign affairs and defense
ministerial-level Japan-U.S. working group on Dec. 4, there was a
scene in which when a Japanese negotiator informed the U.S. side of
Japan's policy of delaying a settlement, a U.S. negotiator
criticized the Hatoyama administration as "insincere".

Despite the intensifying situation, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano continued to say: "We
should not be scared even if the U.S. gets angry." The
administration's posture, which can be taken as both tough and
making light of the U.S., exposes a lack of coordination within the

In formulating its manifesto, the DPJ did not formulate its foreign
and security policies or strategies, reasoning that the party is a
hodge-podge group. Now, the party has been pressed to pay the price
for this negligence. In particular, after the Social Democratic
Party (SDP), which is against the existing plan, hinted at leaving
the coalition, an increasing number of government officials, without
carrying out full coordination, began to call for putting off a
conclusion. Okada did not make efforts to lay the groundwork to
bring about an early settlement to the Futenma issue, either, just
saying: "The prime minister will make the final decision."

TOKYO 00002814 008 OF 009

Regarding the strained relations between Japan and the U.S. over the
Futenma relocation issue, a cabinet minister said in a tone of
self-mockery during a meeting in Tokyo on Dec. 5: "The DPJ has no
policy toward the U.S. This is the main reason for the current
situation, not the fact that the SDP is a member of in the

(9) Secret Okinawa deal: Foreign Ministry told Finance Ministry
Japan would shoulder costs that U.S. should have borne

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
December 9, 2009

In connection with the issue that Japan paid costs for restoring
returned U.S. military base land to its original state, which the
United States was actually supposed to bear,
in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun on Dec. 8 Hajime Morita,
former transport minister, 75, revealed that the Foreign Ministry
told him, "Japan will secretly shoulder the costs."

At the time when Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, Morita was
assistant director of the Finance Ministry's Legal Division, which
examines the legality of budget spending. According to Morita, he
discussed with Foreign Ministry officials the cost of restoring land
to its original state before the return of Okinawa. After visiting
Okinawa he estimated more than 3 million dollars would be needed.
The Finance Ministry's position was that the U.S. side should pay
the cost. Morita met with Foreign Ministry officials seven or eight
times to discuss the issue. A Foreign Ministry official told Morita,
"Since the U.S. side said they won't be able to convince Congress,
Japan will secretly pay the cost. My superiors have approved it."
Morita said that he had accepted the Foreign Ministry's view that
Japan should pay the cost, assuming that the foreign minister had
already approved the idea.

On Dec. 1 in a lawsuit filed by a former Mainichi Shimbun reporter
and other plaintiffs asking the government to disclose documents on
this secret deal, Bunroku Yoshino, former director general of the
Foreign Ministry's American Affairs Bureau, who was responsible for
the negotiations with the U.S. side over the return of Okinawa,
acknowledged that Japan had paid 4 million dollars to cover the cost
of restoring land used for U.S. military facilities to its original

At the direction of Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, the Foreign
Ministry has been examining internal documents on four secret
agreements, including this secret Okinawa accord, and a committee of
experts, set up in the ministry, is now pressing ahead with analysis
on the results of the examination.

(10) I want Japan to teach U.S. "respect"

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
December 5, 2009

Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iranian Ambassador to Japan

Since the Islamic revolution was accomplished in Iran in 1979, the
United States has constantly imposed sanctions against Iran, viewing
it as an enemy. Iran is a big country, however. It has the
capability to produce whatever it needs. The sanctions have not
weakened Iran; rather they have helped it strengthen its presence in

TOKYO 00002814 009 OF 009

the Middle East.

President Barack Obama is the first American president who called my
country by its formal name, the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has
used comparatively favorable words toward Iran. Regrettably,
however, the Obama administration has strengthened sanctions and
pressure against Iran, and has strengthened its negative image. Iran
has kept close watch on whether President Obama can translate his
words into action.

If the United States shows goodwill toward and respect for Iran, it
will be possible for the two countries to reach a mutual
understanding that can dispel the various concerns of the
international community. The two countries will be able to achieve
mutual understanding on such issues as nuclear nonproliferation,
Middle East reconciliation, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Iran can definitely play an important role regarding the Afghan
issue, which is the U.S.'s highest priority. Stability in the region
would benefit Iran as well. The Afghan people have a strong allergy
to foreign troops. History shows that Afghanistan drove out Britain
and the former Soviet Union (which aimed to rule Afghanistan).
Military power alone is insufficient to stabilize Afghanistan. Soon
or later foreign troops will withdraw and the country will be
required to establish its own military and administrative organs.

To that end, priority should be given to assistance for Afghanistan.
Aid measures for Afghanistan by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
government are the correct choice. Japan and Iran have a basis for
cooperating to support Afghan reconstruction. Japanese companies
lost rights and interests in Iran regarding the Azadegan oil field
because the previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government
imposed sanctions against Iran after America did. This was
tantamount to the LDP's imposing sanctions on Japanese corporations.
I hope that the DPJ administration will revise the previous
government's Iran policy.

If President Obama is wise, he will discard sanctions, the
played-out way of dealing with Iran, and strike a path for
constructive dialogue with it on an equal footing. I desperately
want Japan and its people, who have a sense of propriety, to teach
the U.S. the meaning and importance of holding with others a
dialogue that shows them respect.


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