Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 01/15/10

DE RUEHKO #0094/01 0150802
P 150802Z JAN 10




E.O. 12958: N/A



(1) Withdrawal from refueling mission in Indian Ocean today to make
sharing of terrorism information difficult (Mainichi)

(2) Editorial: End of refueling mission in Indian Ocean - foolish
decision that will undermine national interests (Sankei)

(3) Editorial: Come up with alternative manpower contributions to
replace MSDF refueling mission (Yomiuri)

(4) Editorial: Government is urged to resume refueling mission in
Indian Ocean (Nikkei)

(5) Editorial: Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial talks - Solving
Futenma relocation issue by May is now public pledge (Mainichi)

(6) At minimum, Japanese, U.S. foreign ministers sought to stabilize
bilateral relations (Nikkei)

(7) Current situation must be correctly perceived before deepening
Japan-U.S. security relations (Mainichi)

(8) Land Minister Maehara says DPJ's Ozawa should give explanation
on his fund organization's land deal scandal; finance, justice
ministers also comment (Sankei)


(1) Withdrawal from refueling mission in Indian Ocean today to make
sharing of terrorism information difficult

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
January 15, 2010

Tetsuya Hioka, Yasushi Sengoku

The Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) will withdraw from its
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean on Jan. 15 and put an end to
operations that were part of the "war against terrorism" which
continued for about eight years. While this mission has been
referred to cynically as a "free gas station at sea," it has also
demonstrated to a certain extent the presence of Japan, which is
striving to make international contributions not only in cash, but
also by providing personnel contributions. There are concerns that
the termination of this operation may impact Japan's national

A former MSDF chief of staff points out that as a result of the
withdrawal from the Indian Ocean, Japan "will have less access to
information on terrorism, and this is a great loss for its national

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has sent liaison officers to
coordinate with the navies of other countries for the refueling
mission in the Indian Ocean and the anti-piracy operations in waters
off Somalia in East Africa to Tampa, Florida, where the U.S. Middle
East Command responsible for the Middle East area is located, and to
Bahrain, where the headquarters of the multinational task force is
located. Japan has thus been able to share terrorism-related
information in the world with more than a dozen fellow countries
participating in the war against terrorism, as well as Afghanistan,

TOKYO 00000094 002 OF 010

Iraq and other countries.

However, with the withdrawal, some of the liaison officers will have
to be sent home. There is persistent concern in the MOD that "there
might be a sharp decline in information critical for Japan's

The anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan started after the 9/11
terrorist attacks in the United States.

For the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), whose activities are strictly
constrained, the refueling mission has very little risk of being
embroiled in active combat, but is highly appreciated
internationally. It is a "low risk, high return" international
contribution, according to a senior MSDF officer.

On the other hand, the duration of the mission, including the travel
time to and from the site of operation, lasts from four to five
months. Some MSDF members have been sent on this mission seven
times, and it has indeed been a great burden on the MSDF. While the
total cost of fuel for military vessels was about 24.4 billion yen
(as of October 2009), the frequency of refueling operations has been
dwindling, sometimes taking place only once a month. A MOD official
says: "If you think of the cost-effectiveness..."

Ruling parties mulling alternative international contributions

Under the previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-New Komeito
administration, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) had opposed the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for procedural reasons,
asserting that it did not have the prior approval of the Diet.
However, it was not negative about the refueling mission per se, so
the reason it gives for the withdrawal is "diminishing needs." The
DPJ declared in its manifesto (campaign pledges) that Japan will
"participate in UN peacekeeping operations and other activities and
play a role in building peace." Many DPJ Diet members are positive
about deploying the SDF under the framework of a UN resolution.

On the other hand, the DPJ's coalition partner Social Democratic
Party (SDP) regards the refueling mission as "rear support for armed
attacks (by the U.S. forces and others)" and openly demands the
MSDF's withdrawal. This party asserts that international
contribution should be limited to nonmilitary areas and continues to
take a cautious attitude on sending the SDF overseas.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has decided on the withdrawal under
such a situation in the ruling coalition. Giving priority to
maintaining the coalition, he has decided to provide civilian aid
totaling 5 billion dollars in five years as alternative assistance
for Afghanistan in place of the refueling mission.

Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, who was involved with the
refueling mission under the LDP-New Komeito administration, stated
in a speech in Tokyo on Jan. 9: "We were in the final stage of
coordination to send CH-47 helicopters or C-130 transport planes
(for the transport of supplies) in Afghanistan under the Yasuo
Fukuda cabinet," revealing that in addition to the refueling
mission, Japan was about to deploy the Ground and Air Self-Defense
Forces in Afghanistan.

A senior MOD official says, "Even with the withdrawal, manpower
contribution in Afghanistan will not be terminated." The process to

TOKYO 00000094 003 OF 010

look for ways to use the SDF will continue, taking into account the
SDP's reaction.

(2) Editorial: End of refueling mission in Indian Ocean - foolish
decision that will undermine national interests

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 15, 2010

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean, which lasted for about eight years with one interruption
since December 2001, ends today.

The termination of the MSDF's refueling operation means that Japan
is giving up on the war on terror. Japan will also no longer be
securing the safety of an essential sea-lane for Japan. It goes
without saying that the Japanese government's decision not to take
part in the international community's anti-terrorism operations will
undermine national interests and that this is a foolish decision.

A new package of aid measures to Afghanistan, which the government
drew up last November, symbolizes that foolishness. The government
has decided to extend up to 5 billion dollars (approximately 450
billion yen) over five years as assistance for basic human needs,
including paying the salaries of Afghan police officers, costs for
vocational training to former Taliban soldiers, and support for

The government will provide 90 billion yen annually in grants, but
the aid might become handouts to the Karzai government, which has
failed to eliminate corruption. However, the government has not yet
disclosed the details of its aid measures. Is it possible to provide
civilian assistance in Afghanistan, where the public security
situation has deteriorated?

The MSDF refueling mission cost only about 7 billion yen in 2008.

From the beginning, the government excluded personnel contributions
by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) from the new aid package. It has no
intention to share the costs and risks with the international
community in the war on terror. It will be difficult to obtain high
marks from the international community for the new aid package. It
might instead draw criticism as checkbook diplomacy.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has not come up with any alternative
support plans comparable to the refueling mission. When the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was headed by Ichiro Ozawa, it
asserted that the refueling mission is unconstitutional and proposed
that Japan participate in the International Security Assistance
Force in Afghanistan (ISAF). However, the DPJ held very few
discussions on the specifics of this idea. The Afghan assistance
bill that the DPJ submitted to the Diet lacked feasibility because
it was premised on a cease-fire agreement or a stabilized public
security situation.

The termination of the refueling mission will make it more difficult
to obtain information on the Indian Ocean region, which Japan has
been securing through the refueling operation. The Japan-U.S.
alliance has been undermined. We want the prime minister to consider
what will be lost as a result, and then start looking into a
permanent law on the overseas dispatch of the SDF.

TOKYO 00000094 004 OF 010

Meanwhile, MSDF personnel, who have put their highly specialized
skills to use in steadily carrying out the refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean under the scorching sun, have been highly praised and
earned the confidence of the international community. We wish to
express our profound esteem and deepest appreciation for their

(3) Editorial: Come up with alternative manpower contributions to
replace MSDF refueling mission

YOMIURI (Page 3) (Full)
January 15, 2010

The war on terror by the international community will continue into
the future over a long period of time. Japan should now seriously
consider how to continue its commitment to the joint operation.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean, which lasted for more than eight years, is set to end
today, when the antiterrorism special measures law endorsing the
operation expires. That is extremely regrettable.

The MSDF refueling operation started following the 2001 terrorist
attacks on the U.S. For Japan, the mission was a new international
peace operation that required a new legal framework different from
that for conventional UN peacekeeping operations. There was a high
hurdle for Japan to clear to launch the mission both legally and

With no casualties caused among MSDF troops engaged in the refueling
mission, the operation won a high appreciation in the international
community and was of great significance for Japan's security

The refueling operation also contributed to ensuring the safety of
the vital sea lanes between Japan and the Middle East. In addition,
Japan has been able to access information about international
terrorism, with the MSDF enhancing its presence there and working
with the naval forces of other countries on stage.

The annual cost for the refueling operation was no more than 5 to 7
billion yen. Even in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), some point
out that the mission is far more cost-effective than the financial
aid of 5 billion dollars, or approximately 460 billion yen, which
the government has promised to provide to Afghanistan over five

Why is it necessary to put an end to this significant operation? The
government has yet to explain why.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said: "The operation has not had
sufficient significance in recent years;" and "there should be other
ways for Japan to make contributions." But the refueling operation
is a maritime interdiction operation watching out for the movement
of terrorists and the trafficking of weapons and drugs. It is not
direct assistance for Afghanistan.

When the DPJ was an opposition party, it claimed the refueling
mission was unconstitutional. If the party decided to end the
mission only in light of its compatibility with the campaign pledge,
Japan's national interests will be significantly undermined.

TOKYO 00000094 005 OF 010

The war on terror is directly linked to the peace and security of
Japan. The terrorist attacks on the U.S. killed 24 Japanese
nationals. Terrorists could target Japan in the future.

It is true that refueling U.S. naval ships has contributed to
strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance, but the mission was initially
intended for Japan to fulfill its responsibility as a member of the
international community.

In Afghanistan, military troops from more than 40 countries have
engaged in the task of maintaining security and helping reconstruct
that country under difficult conditions, without flinching from the
fact that they have sustained more than 1,500 casualties. Japan also
should share the risk with these countries and offer personnel

Even if we extend only financial aid while staying in a safe place,
we will not be respected, although we might receive thanks. The
Hatoyama administration, which has been saying "the government will
not simply extend" the refueling mission, is urged to come up with
specific alternative support measures.

(4) Editorial: Government is urged to resume refueling mission in
Indian Ocean

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 15, 2010

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's (MSDF) refueling operations in the
Indian Ocean will end on Jan. 15 due to the expiration of the
special measures law for refueling assistance that has been serving
as the basis for the MSDF mission. Foreign Minister Katusya Okada
has been persistently saying that the government "will not simply
extend" the refueling mission, instead of "will not extend" it. If
we are to believe his statement, it is time for the Hatoyama
administration to consider resuming the operation again, now that
the law has expired.

The Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US became the catalyst
for the U.S. to launch the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.
The operation has been continuing for almost eight years from 2001
through today, although there was a time when the MSDF pulled out of
the operation due to the expiration of the law.

It is most fortunate that the MSDF is able to end its mission
without being involved in conflicts or sustaining any casualties. We
would like to pay our respects to the MSDF personnel who have been
engaging in the dangerous operations amid extreme heat.

We have been calling for the continuation of the refueling
operations. The battle in Afghanistan is an effort based on
international cooperation and Japan's mission has been highly
praised in the international community.

Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been
suffering the loss of many soldiers in battles in Afghanistan. The
refueling operation is an effective activity, which Japan can engage
in within the limitations of the Japanese Constitution.

Plainly speaking, pulling out of the mission can be taken as
withdrawing from international cooperation efforts. However, since
the Hatoyama administration decided in November 2009 to provide

TOKYO 00000094 006 OF 010

civilian aid worth 5 billion dollars to Afghanistan over five years,
it has stopped discussing the refueling mission issue. It appeared
to be simply waiting for the law to expire.

To some extent, it is understandable that the DPJ, when it was an
opposition party, opposed the Iraq War, based on the reasoning of
domestic politics. Now that it has actually taken the reins of
government, it should be possible for it to consider the issue from
a different perspective. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what
it did on the provisional gas tax issue. Unfortunately, however, the
Hatoyama administration is showing no signs of giving such
consideration to this issue.

Although U.S. President Obama was opposed to the Iraq War during the
presidential election campaign, he visited Iraq as the supreme
commander of the national military forces. Secretary of State
Clinton also visited Iraq. However, none of the members of the
Hatoyama administration, whether it be the prime minister, the
foreign minister or the defense minister, visited the site of the
refueling operation. We would like the government to put an end to
its current failure to think logically and start looking into
resumption of the operation.

(5) Editorial: Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial talks - Solving
Futenma relocation issue by May is now public pledge

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
January 14, 2010

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada agreed with U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton in their meeting in Hawaii to begin
government-to-government talks on deepening the bilateral alliance
on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the revision of the
Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Okada then informed Clinton of the
Japanese government's policy of reaching a decision by May on the
relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

As a result, the Japanese government has pledged to the U.S.
government that it will make a decision on the Futenma relocation
issue by May. This means that the Hatoyama administration has sealed
off its escape route of saying that the Futenma relocation was
agreed on by the Liberal Democratic Party-government. In order to
promote talks on the bilateral alliance, the Hatoyama government
should keep its pledge to resolve the issue by May. "The Japan-U.S.
alliance is the cornerstone of Japan's foreign policy," said Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama. U.S. President Barack Obama stated: "(The
U.S.-Japan alliance) is a cornerstone not only of the two countries
but also for the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific
region." The two leaders confirmed the importance of the bilateral
alliance just two months ago.

However, bilateral relations have become strained. When the Japanese
government decided to give up on its policy of reaching a conclusion
by the end of 2009, Okada said, "There could be a serious loss of
mutual trust in the relationship between Japan and the United
States. The Japan-U.S. alliance is now being shaken." It is unusual
for an incumbent foreign minister to point out that the bilateral
alliance is being shaken. The U.S. government has had similar
concerns, with Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell saying,
"If the stalemate over the Futenma issue continues for a long period
of time, the credibility of the bilateral alliance will be lost."

TOKYO 00000094 007 OF 010

There is little doubt that a sense of alarm in both governments
prompted them to hold the foreign ministerial meeting this time
around. Okada and Clinton also agreed to hold a meeting of the
Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2-plus-2) during the
first half of the year, and to release a statement by the foreign
and defense ministers of the two countries on the occasion of the
anniversary of the revision of the security treaty (on Jan. 19). One
aspect of the agreement is that it will prevent any further damage
to the bilateral alliance. This action by the two nations can be
taken as a "mature" response.

In connection with the talks on deepening the bilateral alliance,
Okada brought up the idea of forming an accord to replace the 1996
Japan-U.S. security joint declaration. The aim of the 1996
declaration was to maintain security in the Asia-Pacific region and
to reduce Japan's burden of U.S. bases. If Okada is hoping to
designate the latest talks as replacing the 1996 declaration, he
will have to put an end to the discord in the government. On the
Futenma issue, Hatoyama said: "The ruling parties will not make a
decision that ignores the U.S.'s views." However, the committee
consisting of members of the government, the Social Democratic Party
(SDP), and the People's New Party (PNP) has been looking for
alternative relocation sites in place of the existing plan to
relocate Futenma to the coastal area of Camp Schwab. However,
Clinton told Okada that the existing plan is the best option.
Efforts by both Tokyo and Washington will be required to bridge the
gap between them.

(6) At minimum, Japanese, U.S. foreign ministers sought to stabilize
bilateral relations

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
January 14, 2010

During their recent talks, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and
Department of State Hillary Clinton searched for ways to stabilize
bilateral relations at the very least. They each expressed their
views on the Futenma airfield relocation issue, and at the end of
the talks they were still far apart. However, they agreed to launch
talks to deepen the alliance. That was probably a diplomatically
wise decision in order to prevent the bilateral relations from being
undermined any further.

Concerning the Futenma issue, the Japanese side's basic policy is to
reach a conclusion in May. However, since moves in the ruling
parties are complicated, the development of the matter is nowhere in
sight. The U.S. side stands firm on its position that the existing
Japan-U.S. alliance is the best way forward. Since no progress was
expected from the talks, they did not try to reach a settlement.

This is reminiscent of the first bilateral summit between Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama and President Obama in New York in September
2009. At that meeting, too, the two top leaders orchestrated a
diplomatic success by only discussing issues for which it was
considered possible for both sides to reach agreement, while
avoiding issues, such as the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean
or the Futenma issue, over which confrontation was expected.

As a result, the pending issues were effectively put off. Since
then, Japan-U.S. relations have made no headway at all. On the
contrary, based on the process leading up to the foreign ministerial
meeting, what happened was just the opposite. Vice Foreign Minister

TOKYO 00000094 008 OF 010

Mitoji Yabunaka visited the U.S. before Clinton's departure and the
meeting between Okada and Clinton was materialized in the form of
Okada meeting up with her in Hawaii on her way to Oceania. This is

The U.S. agreed to Japan's request to hold a meeting. Clinton
appears to have indicated the stance that the Japan-U.S. alliance
transcends such individual issues as the Futenma relocation issue.
It is naive for the Japanese side to view this position as a
diplomatic achievement.

This is obvious when the situation is considered with the two
countries' positions reversed. What if the leader of the other side
said, "Trust me," and yet it failed to take any action to back up
its words? It would be only natural for this side to be
disappointed. Japan and the U.S., however, have controlled
themselves, realizing that if they continue to lock horns, they will
be hurt on an international level. The outcome of this situation was
the recent foreign ministerial meeting.

The current Japan-U.S. relationship is in a state that requires
damage control measures to be taken. This sort of situation does not
normally happen between allies. The situation will change completely
if the thorn (the Futenma issue) in the alliance is removed, as
Parliamentary Defense Secretary Akihisa Nagashima put it.

Prime Minister Hatoyama is responsible for pulling out this thorn,
as he is the one who pushed it deep down inside.

(7) Current situation must be correctly perceived before deepening
Japan-U.S. security relations

MAINICHI (Page 10) (Full)
January 15, 2010

Yukio Okamoto, President, Okamoto Associates Inc.

The Japan-U.S. relationship can be strained with just one wrong
move. The United States has accepted the relocation of Futenma Air
Station for the sake of local residents on the condition Japan
provide an alternative facility. But the local residents are saying
that they will not accept the Futenma relocation plan unless the
airfield is moved outside Okinawa. In other words, the relocation of
the facility is a Japanese domestic issue. It is lamentable that
Tokyo is at loggerheads with Washington because Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama made the comment "trust me" to President Barack Obama. The
two sides must come to their senses. For now, nothing can come from
a pledge to deepen security relations.

The U.S. Seventh Fleet is home-ported at Yokosuka. That Japan can
only lightly arm itself has been made possible by the United States'
determination to continue to deploy to Japan warships and aircraft
worth trillions of yen, and 50,000 troops with their 40,000
dependents. Major powers spend nearly 2 PERCENT of their GDP on
defense on average, while Japan spends half that much. All together
the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces total 230,000
personnel. Both Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) have larger militaries.
Thanks to the U.S. nuclear deterrent, Japan does not have to arm
itself with nuclear weapons despite the fact that it is surrounded
by nuclear states. The U.S. deterrent also enables the Japanese to
engage in a frivolous debate on prohibiting such terms as
"military," "tank, "and "bomber."

TOKYO 00000094 009 OF 010

The Japan-U.S. security arrangements do not constitute a special
privilege "allowing the United States to station its troops in
Japan." The arrangements are necessary for Japan's security. Some
are saying that the United States must keep its promise to defend
Japan and at the same time withdraw its Marines. If Japan asked, the
United States would probably withdraw its Marines from Okinawa to
Guam. The United States will not be exposed to threats as a result.
The United States withdrew from the Philippines in 1992 after that
country requested a hike in base fees. Since then China has taken an
aggressive approach to the Spratly Islands near the Philippines. The
Philippines are no longer a match for China.

The call for moving Futenma Air Station out of Japan might end up
sending a message that Japan is no longer in need of security
arrangements with the United States. That could encourage Japan's
neighbors to intensify their activities free from anxiety. In 1992
China included the Senkaku Islands in its territory, along with the
Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands. Japan is the sole country
in the world that has border disputes with all of its neighbors:
Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, and Taiwan. Against that
background how can anyone argue that weakening the Japan-U.S.
security arrangements would not be cause for alarm?

Security relations can be deepened only after those points are
recognized. But that will not be easy. At present, over 40 countries
deploy troops in Afghanistan. Those countries have not withdrawn
from Afghanistan even though they have lost dozens of troops in
battle. But the Japanese have not accepted the idea that
international contribution entails a considerable number of
casualties. Should Japan resort to money? If it does, Japan will be
asked for a huge amount of money. But given its tight financial
situation, it will be difficult for Japan to make further financial
contributions. If Japan finds it difficult to make contributions in
money or manpower, the country will have only a few options. The
bottom line is to reduce the burden on the United States by
strengthening Japan's own defense capabilities, maintain close
defense cooperation, and then engage in international cooperation in
a peaceful manner. China has sent more than 2,000 personnel to
conduct UN peacekeeping operations, but Japan less than 40. If Japan
boldly increases the number to 1,000, the international community is
certain to look at Japan in a different light.

(8) Land Minister Maehara says DPJ's Ozawa should give explanation
on his fund organization's land deal scandal; finance, justice
ministers also comment

13:10, January 15, 2010

At a news conference held after the cabinet meeting on Jan. 15,
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Seiji
Maehara commented on the problem regarding a land purchase made by
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa's
fund management organization. He said: "The people are watching if
the media reports are true. It is important for a politician to
answer clearly questions regarding suspected wrongdoings
personally," demanding that Ozawa take the responsibility of giving
an explanation.

Maehara also stressed that: "The passing of large sums of money into
the hands of politicians in relation with public work projects

TOKYO 00000094 010 OF 010

amounts to receiving a kickback from tax money. This is
unacceptable. If the reports are not true, it is important to
fulfill the responsibility of giving an explanation."

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Naoto Kan
admitted that this affair may have "some" impact on Diet
deliberations. Justice Minister Keiko Chiba said: "The cabinet
should unite as one and work harder (so that this affair will not
affect the Diet)."


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