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Cablegate: Japanese Press in Unison Affirms Bilateral

VZCZCXRO1358
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0024 0060415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060415Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8545
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5//
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RHMFIUU/USFJ //J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 0524
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8180
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1993
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5288
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8679
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2524
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9189

UNCLAS TOKYO 000024

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC; SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR; CINCPAC
FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PGOV PREL PINR JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE PRESS IN UNISON AFFIRMS BILATERAL
ALLIANCE'S IMPORTANCE

1.SUMMARY: The new year witnessed a spate of newspaper
editorials and analytical articles affirming the
importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and calling for
resolution of the Futenma-relocation issue. Noteworthy
is a rare unanimity of opinion by major newspapers on
the left, in the center, and at the right of the
political spectrum. END SUMMARY

2. Left of center: In an editorial on January 1 the
Asahi affirmed that "the Japan-U.S. alliance
relationship will continue to play an important role"
and that the U.S. is needed to enhance political
stability in Asia. While not criticizing the Hatoyama
administration for delaying a decision on Futenma
relocation, the daily said his government's "inept
diplomacy" was partly to blame for strained U.S.-Japan
relations. The editorial concluded with a call for a
"grand vision for using the bilateral alliance for the
benefit of Asia and the rest of the world."

3. Center: On January 4, the Yomiuri ran an editorial
lamenting the "precarious" state of U.S.-Japan
relations and describing as a most urgent task the
resolution of "the issue of the relocation of U.S.
Marines Corps' Futenma Air Station." On January 3 the
Nikkei, Japan's influential business daily, published
an editorial saying, in part: "Japan-U.S. relations are
no longer "equal" or "close" owing to Hatoyama's words
and deeds concerning the issue of relocating the
Futenma base. The alarm bell was rung, but the Prime
Minister could not hear it." The Nikkei further noted
in an analytic piece published on the same day: "The
Japan-U.S. discord over the Futenma issue also has the
potential of tipping the military balance in East Asia.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the revision of
the Japan-U.S. security treaty. China and the other
Asian countries are closely watching where an 'equal
Japan-U.S. relationship' is heading."

4. Right of center: A January 4 editorial in the
Sankei, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-Japan
relationship, opined that under the Hatoyama government
dark clouds are beginning to gather over the bilateral
alliance. Waffling on the Futenma relocation issue
resulted in a decision being deferred until next year,
the paper said. The editorial concluded with the
warning that "there is no guarantee the turmoil over
Futenma and other issues will not become the first step
in the hollowing out of the alliance."

5. COMMENT: The seeming contradiction in the DPJ
government's various ideas has given rise to concern
among editorial writers, and they have felt compelled
to sound a warning about possible damage to U.S.-Japan
relations. The near unanimity on the security issue at
newspapers across the political spectrum indicates the
breadth of anxiety over the direction, or lack of
direction, of Japan's security policy on the eve of the
50th anniversary of the revision of the U.S.-Japan
security treaty. END COMMENT

ROOS

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