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Cablegate: Japanese Media Reaction to Talks Between

VZCZCXRO0984
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0096/01 0182257
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 182257Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8754
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 0692
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8354
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2167
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5442
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8847
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2679
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9343

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 000096

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 MEDIA REACTION TO TALKS BETWEEN
SECRETARY CLINTON AND FOREIGN MINISTER OKADA IN
HONOLULU ON JANUARY 13

1.SUMMARY: Japanese media outlets gave extensive
coverage to the meeting between Secretary Clinton and
Foreign Minister Okada in Honolulu on January 12. The
Japanese media noted that no progress was made on
resolving the issue of Futenma relocation, but welcomed
the meeting as the starting point of talks to deepen
the bilateral alliance. They did, however, caution that
strengthening the alliance will be difficult in the
absence of a solution to the Futenma issue. END SUMMARY

2.Media outlets extensively covered the meeting between
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Okada in
Honolulu on January 12. All networks reported on the
meeting in their morning, noon, and evening news
programs, and newspapers published front-page stories
in their evening editions, followed by editorials and
inside-page analytical pieces on the next day.

3. Media outlets were unanimous in reporting that the
meeting failed to bridge the rift between the two
countries over the Futenma issue. It "has merely been
shelved," said a news article with commentary in the
Asahi. Still, news organizations stressed the
commitment Okada made in the meeting that the Japanese
government would reach a decision on the relocation of
the airfield by May of this year. Apropos of this
commitment the Mainichi newspaper editorialized that
"settling the Futenma issue by May has now become a
formal promise between the governments of Japan and the
United States."

4. Nevertheless, the Japanese media welcomed the
meeting for several reasons. Foremost was that the two
nations' top diplomats agreed to launch consultations
to deepen the bilateral alliance. "That was
diplomatically wise to prevent bilateral relations from
deteriorating further," wrote the Nikkei in an
editorial. Another reason was the ministers'
confirmation that the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative
Committee would meet in the first half of the year and
that both nations would issue statements marking the
50th anniversary of the bilateral security treaty's
revision. These were, according to a Mainichi
editorial, "measures to prevent the alliance from
becoming even shakier." One commentator, journalist
Ryuichi Teshima, even found significance in the simple
fact that the meeting was held. He said on a TV-Asahi
infotainment program on January 13 that the U.S. agreed
to hold the meeting because of the danger other nations
would attempt to exploit a situation in which dialogue
between the world's two largest economies was frozen.
"Holding a foreign ministers' meeting in Hawaii now is
significant in and of itself," he concluded.

5. But the media cautioned that "deepening" the
bilateral alliance will be difficult in the absence of
an agreement on a replacement for the Futenma airfield.
An Asahi editorial noted: "The Futenma issue is only
one part of the alliance, but if the Hatoyama
administration does not undergo the difficult process
of finding a solution acceptable to both sides, it will
be difficult to discuss the alliance's future." The
same Asahi article cited earlier said that "the Futenma
issue is closely linked to USFJ realignment plans. ...It
is unclear whether the talks to deepen the Japan-U.S.
alliance that were launched in effect at the Okada-
Clinton talks will lead to a new security declaration."

TOKYO 00000096 002 OF 002


On a similar note Fuji-TV opined that unless the thorny
issue of Futenma is resolved, holding talks on
deepening the alliance will be tantamount to just going
through the motions.

ZUMWALT

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