Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 01/28/10

DE RUEHKO #0181/01 0280804
P 280804Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) MOFA official denies non-mention of Japan in President Obama's
state-of-the-union address sign of "taking Japan lightly" (

(2) PM Hatoyama: President Obama might have misunderstood his words
"trust me" (

(3) Former Deputy National Security Advisor Crouch worries important
issues being put on the back burner (Asahi)

(4) Commentary on Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano's remarks on local
consent, legal procedures in relation to Futenma relocation site

(5) On Futenma relocation issue, chief cabinet secretary says
"agreement" is unnecessary but seeks "understanding" (Mainichi)

(6) Indictment of U.S. Army soldier: Three months too long; support
for the bereaved family necessary (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(7) Interview with next Nippon Keidanren chairman Hiromasa Yonekura

(8) Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, informally
picked as next Nippon Keidanren chairman; cooperation with
government holds key to climbing out of deflation (Nikkei)

(9) DPJ ahead of all other parties for upper house election (Nikkei)


(1) MOFA official denies non-mention of Japan in President Obama's
state-of-the-union address sign of "taking Japan lightly"

12:58, January 28, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama's first state-of-the-union address
placed emphasis on employment, economic measures, and other domestic
issues, as well as the "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan and did not
mention Japan, with which the gap over the issue of the relocation
of U.S. Forces' Futenma Air Station is widening. Commenting on this
on Jan. 28, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official
denied that this is a sign of the U.S.'s "taking Japan lightly." He
said: "The state-of-the-union address is focused on domestic issues
in the U.S. This has nothing to do with the Futenma issue."

This MOFA official cited the President's strong warning to North
Korea and Iran on their ongoing efforts to develop nuclear arms and
stressed that "he did not mention regions where there are no
outstanding issues, which means that Japan is not a problem."
Another senior MOFA official pointed out that "the President's
interest is in the domestic employment issue."

The government notes that the President indicated his intent to
tackle global issues such as world economic recovery, prevention of
global warming, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and
plans to deepen Japan-U.S. cooperation in these areas. A government
source said: "Japan will also cooperate for the success of the

TOKYO 00000181 002 OF 008

nuclear security summit (to be held in Washington in April)."

(2) PM Hatoyama: President Obama might have misunderstood his words
"trust me"

13:21, January 28, 2010

At the House of Councillors Budget Committee on the morning of Jan.
28, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama commented on his words "trust me,"
which he told President Barack Obama at their summit meeting last
November. He said: "I meant to ask him to trust me, but I am not
sure how he interpreted it. I might have sowed a certain degree of
misunderstanding." This was in response to a question from the
Liberal Democratic Party's Ichita Yamamoto.

President Obama demanded the early implementation of the Japan-U.S.
agreement on the issue of the relocation of U.S. Forces' Futenma Air
Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa) at the summit. The U.S. side
reportedly interpreted Hatoyama's words to mean his acceptance of
the existing relocation plan and has been increasingly disappointed
with his efforts to reconsider the relocation site.

(3) Former Deputy National Security Advisor Crouch worries important
issues being put on the back burner

ASAHI (Page 10) (Full)
January 28, 2010

Jack D. Crouch, former deputy U.S. presidential assistant (for
national security affairs), now visiting Japan at the invitation of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave an interview to the Asahi
Shimbun yesterday. During the interview, Crouch said that the
Futenma issue should be resolved as quickly as possible because
there will be "an opportunity cost (loss of an opportunity)" if
important issues between the two countries are put on the back
burner. Crouch also said, "Compared with the question of how to
respond to the rise of China, the base issue is a small matter." As
tasks to which Japan and the United States should give priority, he
cited building a lasting security framework in Asia including China,
preparing for change on the Korean Peninsula, global-scale
humanitarian-aid activities, and the like.

Crouch said that for resolving the Futenma issue "patience and the
reaffirmation of the positions of both sides are required." He
added: "Experts from the two countries, rather than politicians,
should hold discussions to chose the best of option ."

(4) Commentary on Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano's remarks on local
consent, legal procedures in relation to Futenma relocation site

SANKEI (Top play) (Full)
January 28, 2010

Hiroyuki Kano

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano is under fire for talking
repeatedly about the possibility of a legal solution if the consent
of the local government is not obtained for the relocation of the
U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station. It is believed that this is meant
to retain the current plan to relocate the Futenma base to the
coastal area of Camp Schwab (in Henoko, Nago City) as an option

TOKYO 00000181 003 OF 008

after an opponent to the relocation won in the Nago mayoral election
in Okinawa and to keep a free hand for Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama. Yet, it is not clear if Hatoyama is aware of the trouble
his top aide is going through. He simply kept repeating at the House
of Councillors Budget Committee on Jan. 27 that he will "definitely
identify a relocation site by the end of May." It remains uncertain
if this controversy can be settled.

"Agreement with whom?"

After Susumu Inamine, an opponent of Henoko relocation, won in the
Nago election on Jan. 24, Hirano has been bombarded with questions
on the "popular will" expressed in the mayoral election at his news
conferences day in and day out. When asked at a news conference on
Jan. 27 about his earlier statement that the relocation process will
be possible even without the consent of the local government, he
reached the height of his irritation, stating: "You talk about
agreement with the local government, but agreement with whom? This
is not an issue that requires the consent of every single party to
carry out."

Hirano, who chairs the Okinawa base issues examination committee of
the government and the ruling parties, is now painfully aware of the
difficulty of finding a new relocation site as an alternative to the
existing relocation plan.

The U.S. forces' Kadena Air Base (straddling the towns of Kadena and
Chatan and Okinawa City) and Shimojishima (in Miyakojima City) have
emerged as possible choices, but these are not feasible plans due to
local opposition.

Democratic Party of Japan House of Representatives member Seishu
Makino, who is close to Hatoyama, has been visiting the island of
Tokunoshima in the Amami islands in Kagoshima Prefecture since
November, sounding out the three town mayors there on accepting
Futenma's relocation. However, the mayors reportedly conveyed their
rejection of the plan on Jan. 27.

Even if a relocation site can be found, it is unlikely that the U.S.
government, which is demanding the implementation of the current
plan, will readily accede to a new one.

A simple fact

Hirano has mentioned taking legal steps for the relocation
regardless of the local government's wishes because he now realizes
the simple fact that Futenma relocation is "an issue affecting
Japan's security" (in his own words). If relocation becomes
impossible due to local opposition, the Japan-U.S. security alliance
will become unstable.

On the other hand, there is growing criticism in the ruling parties
that "(Hirano's) repeating his statements on purpose is
unacceptable. The Prime Minister should reprimand him," according to
Social Democratic Party House of Representatives member Kantoku

Aware that he has drawn a lot of flak, when Hirano was asked about
the proposal to relocate the Futenma base to Tokunoshima at his news
conference, he said: "I am keenly aware of the weight my words
carry, so I will refrain from making comments."

TOKYO 00000181 004 OF 008

Unlike Hirano, the Prime Minister continued to wag his tongue rather
freely on Jan. 27. He said in the morning that he "has no intention
to deny" the Tokunoshima proposal, which could be interpreted as an
admission (that the proposal is being pushed). However, he went back
on his own words in the evening, perhaps out of realization that the
proposal was opposed by the local mayors.

He said: "I have no knowledge of this matter. I should refrain from
mentioning any particular island or town."

(5) On Futenma relocation issue, chief cabinet secretary says
"agreement" is unnecessary but seeks "understanding"

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
January 28, 2010

Over the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in
Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi
Hirano has made controversial remarks, evoking criticism in
succession despite Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's effort to calm
down the situation. Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that Hirano
was secretly considering the island of Tokunoshima in Kagoshima
Prefecture as a possible relocation site for the Futenma facility.
The victory in the recent Nago mayoral election of the candidate who
opposes the existing Futenma plan has sown discord in the Hatoyama

Reporter: "No matter which location is picked as the relocation
site, I think it is necessary to obtain consent from the local
government to host the alternative base."

Hirano: "It is absolutely necessary to seek understanding (from the
concerned local governments)."

Reporter: "Do you mean (it is unnecessary to elicit) consent from
the city mayor or town mayors involved?"

Hirano: What is your definition of consent?

In a press conference yesterday morning, the exchange of words
between Hirano and reporters over "consent" and "understanding" went
on and on. The exchange finally ended with Hirano saying, "you may
interpret it in that way," in replying to a question by a reporter
asking if Hirano has used the expression "consent" for a plan that
legally requires approval (from the concerned persons, including the
Okinawa governor) and "understanding" for a plan that does not.

Bearing in mind necessary legal procedures for relocating the
facility, Hirano has been overly obsessed with the difference in
meaning between "consent" and "understanding." If the existing plan
to move the facility to a coastal area of U.S. Camp Schwab in the
Henoko district of Nago City is implemented, the Okinawa governor's
approval for reclamation work will become necessary under the Public
Water Body Reclamation Law, but approval from the Nago mayor will be
unnecessary. In the case of building the facility on land, approval
from neither the mayor nor governor is necessary.

Hirano said on the 26: "The issue could be settled by law (without
local consent)." Many people criticized this remark as high-handed,
but Hirano was keeping legal steps in mind. In the press conference
on the 27th, Hirano said: "There are (such forcible means as
expropriation of land) as a general argument." On the night of the

TOKYO 00000181 005 OF 008

26th, a senior government official ruled out the possibility of
resorting to forcible means, saying: "(If the government takes
forcible steps,) the dispute between both sides will develop into
one similar to the battle over Narita and will end miserably."

In a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee yesterday
afternoon, New Komeito President Natsuo Yamaguchi pointed out:
"(Hirano's) remarks related to the popular will in the Nago mayoral
election have been creating a stir. He should be more humble."
Hirano replied: "The outcome of an election represents the popular
will. We must seek understanding from the concerned local
governments and push ahead with the issue." He thus was hard pressed
to explain the true intention of his earlier remarks.

(6) Indictment of U.S. Army soldier: Three months too long; support
for the bereaved family necessary

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 31) (Full)
January 28, 2010

On receiving the news that a U.S. Army staff sergeant, a suspect in
a hit-and-run incident in Yomitan Village, was indicted yesterday on
an additional charge of violation of the Road Traffic Law
(hit-and-run), friends of Masakazu Hokama, 66, who died after the
staff sergeant hit him while driving, looked relieved, with one
friend saying, "Masakazu now can rest in peace." The indictment of
the U.S. serviceman came after about three months after the accident
occurred. Local residents and victims of incidents involving U.S.
service personnel are saying that the process took too long, and are
calling for a review of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA). An official of the crime victims support organization
pointed out the importance of providing support to the bereaved
family in preparation for the trial.

Kiyoko Taira, 71, who grew up with Hokama, said as she mourned for
him, "I can finally tell Masakazu about the indictment. It took a
really long time. Whenever I passed by his house, I said in my head,
'Wait a little longer.' Masakazu now can rest in peace."

Yomitan Village Mayor Keizo Yasuda praised prosecutors, saying,
"Overcoming the heavy barrier of the SOFA, I praise (prosecutors)
for their efforts to be able to indict the U.S. soldier." At the
same time, the mayor emphasized: "I want (suspect Clyde Gunn) to
honestly admit his guilt and offer an apology to the bereaved
family. A review of SOFA is absolutely necessary because hit-and-run
incidents could occur in the future as well."

A company employee, 24, who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run
incident by a U.S. military personnel last April in Urasoe City,
voiced his doubts about the SOFA, saying, "Regardless of who - a
Japanese or a U.S. soldier - commits a hit-and-run, the victim is
hurt in a similar way. I wonder why it takes so much time for
indictment only when a U.S. service personnel commits a hit-and-run.
If Japanese people run down U.S. military personnel, we can't take
refuge in the base. If they considered the SOFA from our point of
view, they would understand that the agreement is unfair."

Yumi Kawamitsu, representative of the Okinawa Hidamari Association
to Support Crime Victims, complained, saying, "I think the bereaved
family has suffered for more than two months. They might have been
overcome by a sense of helplessness because they couldn't do
anything even though they knew who the perpetrator was. I wonder to

TOKYO 00000181 006 OF 008

what extent we are able to support the bereaved family. The U.S.
serviceman was arrested and indicted, but the question is how the
trial will turn out. The (suspect) must pay for his crime in which
he took the life of a man."

(7) Interview with next Nippon Keidanren chairman Hiromasa Yonekura

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
January 28, 2010

Takeshi Fujita, Davos

Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, who has been
informally selected as the next chairman of the Japan Business
Federation (Nippon Keidanren), on Jan. 27 submitted to an interview
with the Nikkei in Davos (in eastern Switzerland), where he is
currently visiting. He said, "Japan's human resources are unusually
excellent. We must realize a technology-oriented country, taking
advantage of such resources." The following is the exchange of
questions and answers.

-- What is your view of the government's growth strategy?

"It has yet to be fleshed out. I want the government to think about
the possibilities for the future vision of Japan. Japan, which has
no natural resources and which imports most of food it consumes,
only has technology and ingenuity. We will work more boldly toward
realizing Japan's growth strategy."

-- How are you going to build a relationship with the Democratic
Party of Japan's (DPJ) administration?

"It is said that we were too close to the previous (Liberal
Democratic Party = LDP) administration and now we too distant from
the current (DPJ) administration. However, we have established
(channels for) exchanges with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and many
cabinet ministers. We are not distant from the DPJ administration.
The principle for dealing with political parties should be
policy-oriented. We will donate political funds to political parties
with which we share the same views."

-- What is your view on the government goal of cutting greenhouse
gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020?

"It is like trying to make the impossible possible. I wonder whether
it can be achieved. Such a goal cannot be met unless unprecedented
technology is developed. I am worried that adopting such goal might
force the people to make wasteful efforts."

(8) Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, informally
picked as next Nippon Keidanren chairman; cooperation with
government holds key to climbing out of deflation

NIKKEI (Page 3) (Full)
January 28, 2010

The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) on Jan. 27 held an
informal meeting between the chairman and the vice chairmen.
Participants informally decided to appoint Hiromasa Yonekura (72),
chairman of Sumitomo Chemical and chairman of Nippon Keidanren's
board of trustees, as successor to the incumbent Chairman Fujio
Mitarai (74). Commenting on the appointment, Chairman Mitarai after

TOKYO 00000181 007 OF 008

the meeting told reporters, "(Mr. Yonekura) is an international
figure who is in step with the times." Yonekura will take on the
heavy responsibility of lobbying the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
administration, which distances itself from Nippon Keidanren, on
Japan's growth strategy from the private sector's viewpoint. He will
face many challenges, including formulating measures to curb global

Yonekura will formally assume the post after a plenary meeting in
late May. He will serve in the post for two terms or four years.
Mitarai on the morning of the 20th telephoned him at home to ask him
to take over the chairmanship. Yonekura's rich experience abroad and
the length of his service in business circles were reportedly the
deciding factors in his appointment. Mitarai said that he would,
above all else, like to see him put the Japanese economy on a
self-reliant recovery track driven by the private sector promptly.
He then said, "To achieve that end, a growth strategy is important.
I would like him to make progress on economic diplomacy in Asia."
Stressing that Nippon Keidanren is a policy group, Mitarai pointed
out, "The chairman's responsibility will also include drawing up
policies on taxation reform, and fiscal and social security systems,
which form the foundation of the state."

Business circles have been suffering a setback since the change in
government last summer. Nippon Keidanren has been involved in
policy-setting through the council on economic and fiscal policy
during the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) administration. However,
(since the change in government), there have been an increasing
number of cases in which the government passed over the Nippon
Keidanren chairman when formulating growth strategies.

Tomijiro Morita, vice chairman and chairman of Dai-ichi Mutual Life
Insurance Co. cited a challenge facing the Yonekura-led Nippon
Keidanren: "Regardless of who becomes chairman, it will be difficult
to handle relations with the new administration. However, it is
necessary for the public and private sectors to work together in
order to climb out of deflation." It is also important for the
Nippon Keidanren chairman to rebuild channels with political and
bureaucratic circles as well as to coordinate views within his own
organization. For instance, the chairman will face the test of
demonstrating leadership to unify economic circles regarding
measures to curb global warming that cause discord among member
companies with different interests.

(9) DPJ ahead of all other parties for upper house election

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Abridged)
January 28, 2010

Despite the declining popularity of the Hatoyama cabinet and the
ruling Democratic Party of Japan in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun's
latest public opinion survey, the leading opposition Liberal
Democratic Party's public support rating was 24 PERCENT , almost
unchanged from the 23 PERCENT rating in the last survey conducted
last December. In the popularity ranking of political parties for
this summer's election for the House of Councillors, the DPJ scored
31 PERCENT , with the LDP at 23 PERCENT . The poll results also
revealed that the DPJ has sustained a blow from its
"money-and-politics" problems, whereas the LDP was not prepared to
respond to the public's criticism of the DPJ administration.

Among those in their 30s to 60s, more than 30 PERCENT said they

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would vote for the DPJ. Among those in their 20s and those aged 70
and over as well, the DPJ-oriented proportion was in the upper 20
PERCENT range. The LDP-oriented proportion was between 17 PERCENT
and 19 PERCENT among those in their 20s to 50s, 26 PERCENT among
those in their 60s, and 33 PERCENT among those aged 70 and over,
showing that there is a tendency among older generations to support
the LDP.

Among those with no particular party affiliation, 10 PERCENT
answered that they would vote for the LDP, with 3 PERCENT saying
they would vote for the DPJ. However, those "still undecided"
accounted for 42 PERCENT . The future course of the swing votes is

Questions & Answers
(Figures are percentages. Parentheses denote results from the last
survey conducted in December last year.)

Q: Do you support the Hatoyama cabinet?

Yes 45 (50)
No 47 (42)
Can't say (C/S) + don't know (D/K) 8 (8)

Q: Which political party do you support or prefer?

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 42 (46)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 24 (23)
New Komeito (NK) 3 (4)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 4 (2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 2 (2)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (1)
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 5 (2)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 1 (1)
None 15 (15)
C/S+D/K 5 (5)

(Note) Percentages may not add up to 100 PERCENT in some cases due
to rounding.

Polling methodology: The survey was taken Jan. 26-27 by Nikkei
Research Inc. over the telephone on a random digit dialing (RDD)
basis. For the survey, samples were chosen from among men and women
aged 20 and over across the nation. A total of 1,370 households with
one or more eligible voters were sampled, and answers were obtained
from 886 persons (64.7 PERCENT ).


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