Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 12/29/09

DE RUEHKO #2936/01 3632256
P 292256Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) DPJ's Ozawa "indebted" to SDP over Diet Law amendment; SDP hopes
for quid pro quo on Futenma issue (Yomiuri)

(2) U.S. State Dept. disavows Crowley's statement that the
ambassador visited of his own accord (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(3) Interview with Hiroshi Nakanishi, Kyoto University professor, on
gravity of Japan-U.S. alliance - It was a serious mistake for the
Hatoyama administration to allow the Futenma relocation to develop
into a political issue (Yomiuri)

(4) Editorial: Futenma relocation: Make serious efforts to look for
relocation site outside Okinawa (Asahi)

(5) Poll on Hatoyama cabinet, political parties (Tokyo Shimbun)

(6) Editorial: Japan should adopt FTA strategy involving China and
Taiwan as well (Nikkei)


(1) DPJ's Ozawa "indebted" to SDP over Diet Law amendment; SDP hopes
for quid pro quo on Futenma issue

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 29, 2009

The outline of a bill to amend the Diet Law, an issue Democratic
Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa feels strongly about,
obtained the approval of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the
People's New Party at a meeting of the secretaries general and Diet
Affairs Committee chairmen of the three ruling parties on Dec. 28,
thus gaining momentum for its submission to and enactment at the
regular Diet session. So far, the amendment of the Diet Law has in
principle required unanimous approval by the Diet. It is unclear
whether the bill can obtain the approval of the opposition parties.

The meeting held at the Diet lasted about 30 minutes. Secretary
General Yasumasa Shigeno of the SDP, which had been cautious about
amending the Diet Law, made the demand that "(the amendment) should
also give consideration to the smaller parties" but did not oppose
the bill.

The SDP had been against the amendment because the bill Ozawa
envisions will no longer designate the director general of the
Cabinet Legislation Bureau as a "special adviser to the government,"
which "may enable the government to revise the constitution through
interpretation at will." The main reason behind its shift to
accepting the bill is that its demand for the creation of a
"hearing" system to solicit the opinions of bureaucrats will be

Shigeno told Ozawa at the meeting: "I hope the Prime Minister will
keep in mind that this is a coalition government when he speaks."
Ozawa reportedly hit his own head a few times and said: "I will put
your words here (in my head)."

The SDP is concerned that Hatoyama has said that the relocation of
the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station to Guam, which the party is
advocating, will be difficult. Therefore, it appears that the SDP is

TOKYO 00002936 002 OF 008

trying to make Ozawa owe them one over the Diet Law and enlist him
as an ally on the Futenma issue in order to draw concessions from
the Prime Minister."

In reaction to this move of the ruling parties, the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) is opposing the legal amendment because "free
deliberations in the Diet may be restricted" (according to a senior
party official). It seems that because the debate on the amendment
was initiated by Ozawa, the LDP "does not want to allow Ozawa to
take the credit."

Ozawa said at a news conference on Dec. 7: "If we fail to reach
agreement (with the opposition parties), the only option is to pass
the bill with a majority vote. That is a principle of democracy,"
indicating his intention to pass the bill even at the expense of
going against convention. The debate on Diet Law amendment is likely
to become a contentious issue between the ruling and opposition
parties at the regular Diet session.

(2) U.S. State Dept. disavows Crowley's statement that the
ambassador visited of his own accord

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 3) (Full)
December 25, 2009


U.S. Secretary of State Clinton reportedly summoned Japanese
Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki to the State Department about
the issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma airfield. In
this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, having inquired of the
department about the facts, indicated on Dec. 24 that department
spokesperson Philip Crowley's statement was incorrect. Crowley said
in a press briefing on the 22nd that Clinton did not summon
Fujisaki, but the ambassador visited the department.

A Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Division official explained this to
Lower House members Kantoku Teruya and Ryoichi Hattori, who
requested an explanation of the circumstances behind the
ambassador's visiting the State Department.

According to Hattori, when the Foreign Ministry asked the State
Department for confirmation of the statement in question, it
explained that Crowley's statement was incorrect and that Fujisaki
visited the department at Clinton's behest. However, the Foreign
Ministry did not answer when asked who confirmed the facts or when
and how.

Hattori said: "The Foreign Ministry explained, 'Because the State
Department is dealing with problems around the world, it probably
made a mistake. Although the Futenma issue is said to have created a
crisis in Japan-U.S. relations, a mistake of this sort was made.
Questions remain."

(3) Interview with Hiroshi Nakanishi, Kyoto University professor, on
gravity of Japan-U.S. alliance - It was a serious mistake for the
Hatoyama administration to allow the Futenma relocation to develop
into a political issue

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
December 29, 2009

TOKYO 00002936 003 OF 008

The issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station
will probably not destroy the Japan-U.S. alliance itself. But it
could trigger the deterioration of the bilateral alliance. It was a
huge mistake for the Hatoyama administration to allow the Futenma
relocation to develop into a political issue. The administration
should have pushed ahead with the relocation plan while listening to
the views of the local leaders to achieve the removal of the
dangerous airfield by setting aside what (the Democratic Party of
Japan) used to call for when it was an opposition party.

The United States thought that Japan was becoming its global partner
through such events as the 1996 Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on
Security and the dispatch of Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq and
the Indian Ocean. But the Hatoyama administration has pressed
Washington for a review of the Futenma relocation plan, citing
public opinion and the circumstances of (the DPJ's) coalition
partner. This is certain to prompt Washington to earnestly reexamine
Japan's role in U.S. military and security strategy.

I think the United States will reduce its military presence in Japan
if Tokyo requests that. In such a case, there are only two options
for Japan in maintaining its alliance with the United States: either
to continue providing funds to support America's foreign policy or
to make international contributions actively by reviewing its
self-imposed restrictions on the use of force.

To begin with, the significance of the presence of U.S. forces in
Japan lies in its deterrent effect, with the United States regarding
an attack on Japan as an attack on itself. I do not think that at
present there is any country that is planning to attack and occupy
Japan. But other countries might think that if the support of the
United States is gone, it will be easier to apply pressure on Japan.
To put it bluntly, there will be a greater possibility of Japan
being looked down upon and pressed for concessions. Is Japan going
to deal with matters with a readiness to face disputes and friction
or back off by practicing patience? There will be many situations in
which Japan will be pressed to make difficult decisions.

The Philippines required the United States to withdraw most of its
troops from the country. But Japan's situation is different from
that of the Philippines because it is situated in close proximity to
Russia, China, and North Korea, which are all armed with nuclear

The Prime Minister has declared that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the
cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy. Despite that, he has failed
to make a decision on the Futenma issue. It has now apparently
become difficult to implement the existing relocation plan. Then
again, I do not think the government can come up with a new proposal
in several months. Japan's lack of ability to make political
decisions is a true concern for the Japan-U.S. alliance.

(4) Editorial: Futenma relocation: Make serious efforts to look for
relocation site outside Okinawa

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
December 29, 2009

The working team of the government and the ruling parties to look
for a new relocation site for the U.S. Marines' Futenma Air Station
has been launched.

TOKYO 00002936 004 OF 008

This is a fresh start for the new administration that has been
zigzagging on this issue for over 100 days after its inauguration.
While relocation to Henoko in Nago City under the Japan-U.S.
agreement reached three years ago has not been ruled out as an
option, utmost efforts should be made to look at the possibility of
relocation out of Okinawa.

It will not be easy to come up with an alternative proposal.
Considering the noise problem and the risks of crime and accidents
involving U.S. service personnel, it is improbable that a local
government willing to accept a U.S. military base can be found with
little effort.

Even if the Hatoyama administration identifies a new candidate
relocation site, there is no guarantee that it will be acceptable to
the U.S. side, which insists that relocation to Henoko is the only
feasible option. The negotiation process will be fraught with

The Hatoyama administration probably wants to do what it can to
correct the abnormal situation wherein 75 percent of U.S. military
bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa in full awareness of such
difficulties and even to the extent of taking the risk of reviewing
the agreement between the two governments. It is meaningful that the
Hatoyama administration is taking up this formidable challenge after
the historic change of administration.

However, there is one important issue here: It is necessary to
compensate for the deterrence the U.S. Marines in Okinawa provide
for Japan's defense and regional stability. Recognition of that
necessity is probably the basis of the deliberation process from now

With regard to this, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's statement last
weekend that it will be difficult to relocate all the Marines on the
Futenma base to Guam is a meaningful clarification of the issue.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano, who chairs the working
team, has also indicated that he will attach importance to such a
point of view.

How the Japanese mainland should share the heavy burden the bases
impose on Okinawa has been a serious problem since the time of the
Liberal Democratic Party administrations. Osaka Governor Toru
Hashimoto recently pointed to the fact that Okinawa served as a
shield for the defense of the mainland during the Pacific War, thus
becoming the scene of devastating ground fighting, and indicated
that he will not reject discussions on the relocation (of some of
Futenma's functions) to Kansai Airport.

In the past, live ammunition exercises by U.S. forces in Okinawa
have been transferred to five locations on the mainland, including
Hokkaido and Miyagi Prefecture. Kanagawa, Yamaguchi, Aomori, and
other prefectures also host U.S. military facilities.

The great significance of Japan as a whole setting a goal of the
relocation of U.S. bases (not just Futenma) out of Okinawa should
not be forgotten.

The Prime Minister has clearly stated that a decision on the
relocation site will be made by May. There are doubts about whether
a decision will really be made because the House of Councillors
election is taking place next summer.

TOKYO 00002936 005 OF 008

The U.S. government has been dismayed by the Prime Minister's
wavering in his statements on this issue and the discrepancy in the
views expressed by cabinet ministers, which render the
administration's diplomatic intentions ambiguous.

If the administration continues to zigzag, it will lose credibility,
and domestic coordination on relocation out of Okinawa will be
jeopardized. Any further procrastination is absolutely
impermissible. The administration's credibility is at stake.

(5) Poll on Hatoyama cabinet, political parties

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
December 27, 2009

Questions & Answers
(Figures are percentages. Parentheses denote the results of the last
survey conducted Nov. 28-29.)

Q: Do you support the Hatoyama cabinet?

Yes 47.2 (63.7)
No 38.1 (25.1)
Don't know (D/K) + no answer (N/A) 14.7 (11.2)

Q: (Only for those who answered "yes" to the previous question) What
is the primary reason for your approval of the Hatoyama cabinet?
Pick only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is trustworthy 11.3 (5.1)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Democratic Party of Japan,
Social Democratic Party, and People's New Party 7.5 (7.8)
The prime minister has leadership ability 0.6 (1.8)
Something can be expected of its economic policies 7.6 (10.2)
Something can be expected of its foreign policy 1.3 (2.6)
Something can be expected of its political reforms 22.0 (37.2)
Something can be expected of its tax reforms 5.3 (6.1)
Something can be expected of its administrative reforms 17.1 (13.7)
There's no other appropriate person (for prime minister) 25.6
Other answers (O/A) 0.3 (---)
D/K+N/A 1.4 (1.6)

Q: (Only for those who answered "no" to the first question) What is
the primary reason for your disapproval of the Hatoyama cabinet?
Pick only one from among those listed below.

The prime minister is untrustworthy 16.5 (20.2)
Because it's a coalition cabinet of the Democratic Party of Japan,
Social Democratic Party, and People's New Party 12.4 (12.9)
The prime minister lacks leadership ability 24.1 (9.2)
Nothing can be expected of its economic policies 20.4 (33.4)
Nothing can be expected of its foreign policy 8.2 (2.0)
Nothing can be expected of its political reforms 5.3 (5.9)
Nothing can be expected of its tax reforms 5.4 (4.6)
Nothing can be expected of its administrative reforms 1.6 (2.5)
Don't like the prime minister's personal character 4.0 (7.2)
O/A 0.1 (---)
D/K+N/A 1.0 (2.1)

Q: Which political party do you support?

TOKYO 00002936 006 OF 008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 36.1 (45.0)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Jiminto) 23.7 (16.2)
New Komeito (NK) 1.9 (4.1)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 1.3 (2.4)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1.8 (2.1)
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 1.7 (1.4)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 1.1 (0.3)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) --- (---)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0.6 (0.4)
Other political parties, groups --- (---)
None 30.5 (27.8)
D/K+N/A 1.3 (0.3)

Q: Prime Minister Hatoyama's fund-managing body has falsified its
political fund reports. In this regard, Prime Minister Hatoyama
explained in a press conference that he had entrusted everything to
his secretary. Is this account convincing?

Yes 17.8
No 76.1
D/K+N/A 6.1

Q: Prime Minister Hatoyama's secretary has been indicted without
arrest. What do you think Prime Minister Hatoyama should do?

Resign as prime minister to take responsibility 21.1
Fulfill his public accountability and take steps to improve the
situation while staying on as prime minister 64.3
Dissolve the House of Representatives to seek the judgment of the
people 6.3
No need to take responsibility since his former secretary is to
blame 3.8
D/K+K/A 4.5

Q: The DPJ, in its manifesto for this summer's general election,
pledged to abolish gasoline and other road-related provisional
surcharges. However, the government has decided to retain these
surcharges due to severe fiscal conditions. What do you think?

Approve 13.0
Approve to a certain degree 38.1
Don't approve very much 26.5
Don't approve 18.9
D/K+N/A 3.5

Q: The government has decided not to set an income limit for child
allowances to be provided next year. What do you think?

Approve 17.9
Approve to a certain degree 23.3
Don't approve very much 26.5
Don't approve 30.5
D/K+N/A 1.8

Q: The government decided to retain the already-existing childcare
benefits as local burdens, which the government had planned to
abolish with the introduction of child allowances. What do you

Approve 7.9
Approve to a certain degree 25.3

TOKYO 00002936 007 OF 008

Don't approve very much 34.9
Don't approve 25.9
D/K+N/A 6.0

Q: The government has deferred its conclusion on the issue of
relocating the U.S. military's Futenma airfield to next year. What
do you think?

Approve 8.2
Approve to a certain degree 20.0
Don't approve very much 33.2
Don't approve 34.7
D/K+N/A 3.9

Q: What do you think the government should do about the Futenma

Relocate Futenma airfield to a coastal area of the U.S. military's
Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, in line with the agreement
reached between Japan and the U.S. 31.1
Review the Japan-U.S. agreement and look for another relocation site
outside Okinawa Prefecture and in Japan 18.3
Review the Japan-U.S. agreement and relocate Futenma airfield
outside Japan 41.0
O/A 0.1
D/K+N/A 9.5

Q: Concerning the recent audience of Chinese Vice President Xi
Jinping with H.M. the Emperor, the Imperial Household Agency
rejected the proposal of this imperial audience, maintaining that it
was against the rule that requires all requests to be made at least
a month in advance. This exceptionally granted audience has been
criticized as a practice of using the Emperor for political
purposes. What do you think?

The criticism is correct 54.7
The criticism is incorrect 37.9
D/K+N/A 7.4

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted across the nation on
Dec. 25-26 by Kyodo News Service on a computer-aided random digit
dialing (RDD) basis. Among randomly generated telephone numbers,
those actually for household use with one or more eligible voters
totaled 1,470. Answers were obtained from 1,030 persons.

(6) Editorial: Japan should adopt FTA strategy involving China and
Taiwan as well

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 28, 2009

China and Taiwan have agreed to aim at concluding an economic
cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), equivalent to a free trade
agreement. They will likely to do so as early as the first half of
next year. An ever-expanding Asian trade zone calls into question
Japan's FTA strategy.

Chairman Chiang Pin-kung of the Straits Exchange Foundation,
Taiwan's point of contact with China, and Chairman Chen Yunlin of
the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits from the
Chinese side on Dec. 22 met in Taichung in central Taiwan and agreed
to launch talks on an ECFA.

TOKYO 00002936 008 OF 008

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou stressed the necessity for a
China-Taiwan ECFA, noting, "Once an FTA between China and the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comes into effect on
Jan. 1 next year, Taiwan's products could lose competitiveness on
the mainland market." He thus explained that signing an ECFA with
China is an inevitable option, because 40 percent of Taiwan's
exports are China-bound.

Taiwan is also motivated by the desire to make an FTA with China
lead to an FTA with ASEAN and Japan. Taiwan joined the World Trade
Organization (WTO) right after China. Since then, it has been
searching for the opportunity to sign FTAs with various countries.
However, it has been unable to receive favorable responses from
countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

For Taiwan, the China-Taiwan ECFA will be the first free trade
agreement with an Asian country. It could represent a breakthrough
for Taiwan. The Philippines has already expressed a desire to join
the China-Taiwan ECFA in regions close to Taiwan. It is time for
Japan, which is conspicuously lagging in FTA strategy, to reverse
this situation with a multilateral initiative involving China and

Chances are that Japanese companies could face fiercer competition
with Taiwanese companies in the Chinese market and with Chinese
companies in the Taiwanese market. On the other hand, using capable
Taiwanese personnel, they would find it easier to set up businesses
in the Chinese market and to make inroads into the Taiwanese market
by exploiting their production bases in China. They will require a
broad-based strategy.

The Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan's largest opposition party,
which is very wary of China, sees risk in excessive integration of
the Taiwanese economy with the Chinese economy. It criticizes the Ma
administration as moving ahead with talks with China in an unclear

There is also rising concern about competition with Chinese products
becoming fiercer and Taiwanese industries hollowing out.

When Chairman Chen visited Taichung, there were major demonstrations
against his visit. This is seen as one reason that the Kuomintang,
the Ma administration's ruling party, was defeated in local
elections earlier in the month. The Ma administration has been
rapidly promoting relations with China since its launch in May last
year. However, it would behoove the administration to slow down the
pace of talks and carefully explain its intentions for the sake of
increasing transparency.

China's Community Party administration is characterizing an ECFA
with Taiwan as part of its unification strategy. We also must keep
an eye on the impact of the development of China-Taiwan relations on
Japan's security.


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