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Cablegate: Hatoyama Confidante On Futenma, Nago Election

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C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 000164

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/26/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR JA
SUBJECT: HATOYAMA CONFIDANTE ON FUTENMA, NAGO ELECTION

REF: TOKYO 151

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission James P. Zumwalt per 1.4 (b/d)

1. (C) Summary: The Nago election result will not be a
decisive factor in resolving the Futenma issue and a variant
of the current plan remains on the table, Deputy Chief
Cabinet Secretary and PM confidante Matsuno told Embassy
Tokyo January 26. Hinting at current Kantei (Prime
Minister's Office) thinking, Matsuno mused whether a move to
an existing facility on Okinawa, such as within or adjacent
to Camp Schwab, or in the Northern Training Area, would be
acceptable to the USG if the new plan were operationally
sound and could be implemented as quickly as the currently
envisioned plan. He emphasized that the Camp Schwab landfill
option is ""dead."" The Kantei quietly pulled for the pro-base
candidate in the Nago election ""because this would have
preserved more options for us,"" Matsuno revealed, but added
that Mayor-elect Inamine might accept a modified version of
the current plan. End Summary.

2. (C) Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and PM Hatoyama
confidante Yorihisa Matsuno told Political M/C and Pol Deputy
January 26 that the PM's resolve to settle the Futenma issue
by May remains ""unshaken"" by the results of the Nago mayoral
election (reftel). While the results to some extent reflect
the ""will"" of the citizens of Nago, the vote was nearly
evenly split between the candidate who opposes the Futenma
move to Henoko (52%) and the incumbent who supports it (47%).
""Even the citizens of Nago aren't unified on this issue,""
Matsuno observed.

3. (C) Japan's national security will not be decided by local
governments, Matsuno continued. The election result will
thus not be a critical factor in the PM's ultimate decision,
and a variant of the current Futenma plan remains one option
on the table. ""PM Hatoyama continues to have a 'free hand,'""
Matsuno said several times. In response to Pol M/C's
statement that the current Futenma plan remains the best and
most viable option, Matsuno wondered aloud whether a new plan
that had no operational downsides and could be implemented as
quickly as the current Futenma option would be acceptable to
the USG. Hinting at current Kantei thinking, Matsuno mused
that perhaps the Northern Training Area or inside/adjacent to
Camp Schwab would be suitable options (Note: presumably,
""adjacent to"" refers to the Central Training Area), noting
that these could be ""quick"" choices because they don't
involve moving people or tearing down houses. Matsuno
stressed that the Camp Schwab landfill option was ""dead,""
citing the likelihood of protests in and around the
construction area.

4. (C) PM Hatoyama and the Okinawa Working Group will have to
consider ""for form's sake"" Futenma options outside of
Okinawa, but the only realistic options are to move Futenma
to Camp Schwab or another ""existing facility,"" Matsuno
continued. Even though Mayor-elect Inamine has expressed his
opposition to the current Futenma plan, he might accept a
modified version. In truth, Matsuno and the PM's office had
been quietly pulling for the incumbent's victory in Nago, ""as
this would have preserved more options for us,"" Matsuno said.
To his knowledge, no senior government official supported
Inamine's campaign.
ROOS

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