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Cablegate: Ambassador Roos's Meeting with Minister Maehara

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DE RUEHKO #2822/01 3440510
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O 100510Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8117
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 002822

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR JA
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ROOS'S MEETING WITH MINISTER MAEHARA

TOKYO 00002822 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador John V. Roos, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S/NF) Summary: During a one-hour meeting, Minister
Maehara outlined the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
government's plan to ultimately accept the existing Futenma
relocation plan, with or without the support of its coalition
partners. Maehara cautioned that his government must first
pass the 2010 budget, and that late April to early May was
when the DPJ could forge ahead with the Futenma plan even if
it meant breaking up their coalition with the Social
Democratic Party (SDP) and People's New Party (PNP). Maehara
said that Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada will deliver this
message to the USG at an unspecified date. (Note: The
Ambassador promised Maehara we would keep close the following
information so please protect. End Note) End Summary.

2. (S/NF) Ambassador Roos met Minister of Land,
Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism and State Minister for
Okinawa, Northern Territories, and Disaster Prevention Seiji
Maehara on December 9 at the Ambassador's Residence. Maehara
told the Ambassador that five DPJ cabinet members (Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, Defense Minister
Toshimi Kitazawa, and Maehara) met on the evening of December
8 and agreed that they could not accept moving forward with
the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) because of opposition
from the DPJ's coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party
(SDP). However, Maehara said, CCS Hirano was tasked with
working to get SDP and the DPJ's other coalition partner, the
People's New Party (PNP), on board with the following four
points of a ""plan of action"" regarding the FRF:

1: The GOJ would continue with the environmental impact
survey for the FRF plan at Henoko.

2: The DPJ government would earmark funds needed to fund
FRF in the upcoming budget based on the premise that
relocation to Henoko would happen (to be called ""yobi yosan,""
or ""reserve budget"").

3: The GOJ would explore ""alternative options"" to the
existing FRF plan that are acceptable to both the U.S. and
Okinawan people. The coalition partners would be involved in
this process. (Note: We have heard that the DPJ does not
expect USG involvement in this process of eliminating
alternatives. End Note)

4: If no alternative options are accepted, then SDP and
PNP would agree to accept the Henoko option. The two
coalition parties would have to agree to be responsible for
this coalition decision.

3. (S/NF) Maehara continued that even if the SDP and PNP do
not agree to this four-point plan now, once the DPJ coalition
government passes the 2010 budget and other budget-related
bills, it will be closer to the Upper House election and
because the DPJ values the U.S.-Japan alliance, it could then
drop the SDP and PNP from its coalition before the election.
People have been criticizing the two smaller parties, saying
they voted for the DPJ, not the SDP or PNP, Maehara pointed
out. Thus, it could be politically advantageous for the DPJ
to drop the two parties.

4. (S/NF) Under this scenario, if the U.S. does not agree to
any alternative to the existing FRF plan, the DPJ would be
prepared to go ahead with the current relocation plan and let
the coalition break up if necessary after Golden Week (April
29 to May 5 in 2010).

5. (S/NF) The Nago City election in Okinawa is likely to be
won by a candidate opposing the current relocation plan, but
it's not the Nago mayor who would grant permission for the
landfill project, Maehara reminded the Ambassador. Instead,
it would be the Governor of Okinawa who would sign the
agreement.

TOKYO 00002822 002.2 OF 002

6. (S/NF) Ambassador Roos explained that the U.S. side had
its own problems with Congress as well as a problem with
Hatoyama telling POTUS to trust him but not following
through. Probed whether there was any way to get the deal
done this year, Maehara said he was 100% sure that the SDP
would not agree to go forward this year. Maehara also
acknowledged that the odds of finding a viable alternative to
the existing FRF plan were ""virtually zero"" but said his
government needed to go through the process despite further
damage it might do in Okinawa in getting Okinawans stirred up
even more.

7. (S/NF) Maehara said that there were only two countries who
enjoyed watching what was currently happening to the
U.S.-Japan alliance-China and the DPRK. He revealed that
while at APEC in Singapore recently, he heard from
journalists that many ASEAN leaders told POTUS they were
concerned about what was happening to the alliance.

8. (S/NF) Ultimately, Maehara concluded, PM Hatoyama is
absolutely committed to the alliance. People may think
Hatoyama may be setting the stage for a plan to have U.S.
troops stationed in Japan only in emergency situations, but
this is not the case at all, said Maehara. When asked how
and when this message (of the DPJ's four-point plan on FRF)
will be officially delivered, Maehara said the current
intention is for the Foreign Minister to travel to Washington
DC to deliver the message. Exactly when it would happen was
unclear.

9. (SBU) Participants:

Ambassador Roos
Yumiko Miyazaki (interpreter)

Minister Maehara
Jun Nakahara (interpreter, Maehara's secretary)

10. (U) Ambassador Roos has cleared this cable.
ROOS

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