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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Futenma Relocation

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0145 0250656
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250656Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8918
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI//N541// PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA// PRIORITY
RUHBANB/OKINAWA FLD OFC US FORCES JAPAN CP BUTLER JA PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/USFJ PRIORITY
INFO RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8468
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 0809
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5547
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8964
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2284
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2771
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 3149
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9443
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8844
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 000145

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 - FUTENMA RELOCATION

1. LEAD STORIES: All Monday morning papers gave top or
front-page play to the victory of an anti-U.S. base
candidate in the mayoral election in Nago, Okinawa, on
Sunday.

2. "Henoko Plan Still the Best Option" The moderate
Yomiuri argued in an editorial (1/25): "The resolution
of the Futenma relocation issue has become more
difficult following the victory in the Nago mayoral
election of a candidate who is opposed to the existing
relocation plan and calls for relocating the base out
of Okinawa.... Compared to other options and despite
the election result, the existing relocation plan is
the most viable option. The GOJ should not give up on
the existing plan, as it has made a pledge to the U.S.
to settle the issue by May.... If Japan fails to find
an alternative site, the serious noise pollution and
dangerous situation at MCAS Futenma will remain
unchanged for years. U.S.-Japan relations will likely
deteriorate and reach crisis level.... In order to
improve the current situation, the GOJ must search for
a plan that may not be perfect but is agreeable to the
relevant parties."

3. "Local Opinion against Henoko Plan Carries Weight"
The liberal Mainichi editorialized (1/25): "The victory
of a candidate who has clearly stated his opposition to
the Henoko plan will likely have a great political
impact on the Futenma relocation issue.... There is an
argument that diplomatic and security issues should not
be affected by the results of local elections because
those issues involve basic policies of the state.
However, the reality of politics is that the GOJ will
have to respect the opinion of the local residents who
reject the existing relocation plan in its review of
the agreed upon plan.... If the Hatoyama administration
fails to fulfill the pledge to reach a conclusion by
May that it made during the recent U.S.-Japan foreign
ministerial meeting, U.S.-Japan relations might
deteriorate further."

4. "Process to Select Alternative Site outside Okinawa
Must be Accelerated" The liberal Asahi wrote in an
editorial (1/25): "The issue of Futenma relocation is
related to national security, thus the GOJ should take
full responsibility for its judgment on the issue.
However, Prime Minister Hatoyama should take the result
of the mayoral election seriously because he has stated
that he would respect not only the significance of the
U.S.-Japan agreement but also the sentiments of the
people of Okinawa. The prime minister, who has pledged
that he will settle the Futenma issue by the end of
May, must do everything within his power to find a new
candidate site."


ZUMWALT

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