Search

 

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/22/10

VZCZCXRO0207
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0343/01 0532303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 222303Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9528
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/USDOJ WASHDC PRIORITY
RULSDMK/USDOT WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 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 1267
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 8935
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 2753
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5935
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 9421
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3175
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9856
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 9202

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 000343

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 02/22/10

INDEX:

(1) Okinawa alarmed at settling the Futenma relocation issue in
defiance of its wishes; government shifting weight to a site within
prefecture (Asahi)

(2) Anti-U.S. position of pro-U.S. advocates (Mainichi)

(3) "Kazamidori (Weathercock)" column: Did Mr. Campbell make a
mistake in inviting Ozawa to visit U.S.? (Nikkei)

(4) DPJ Secretary General Ozawa's intention in "lecturing" U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Campbell (Weekly Bunshun)

(5) Political scene - Power of DPJ: Ozawa style gains ground through
battles (Yomiuri)

(6) Recommended plan to cut base workers' salaries up in the air
(Tokyo Shimbun)

(7) Japan-hosted APEC to get underway: Working-level meeting to
start on Feb. 22 (Asahi)

ARTICLES:

(1) Okinawa alarmed at settling the Futenma relocation issue in
defiance of its wishes; government shifting weight to a site within
prefecture

ASAHI (Page 3) (Abridged)
February 21, 2010

Akira Uchira, Tsukasa Kimura, and Atsushi Matsukawa

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano's Feb. 20 comment that the
government might end up making a better choice (not the best choice)
than the existing plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma
Air Station, now located in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, is creating
a stir. The reason is because Hirano's comment can be taken to mean
that the government intends to pick a site within Okinawa. Okinawa
is especially alarmed at the government and the ruling parties that
are looking into such plans as relocating Futenma to the inland area
of Camp Schwab in Nago in the prefecture and the continued use of
the Futenma base. In his talks with Hirano, Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu
Nakaima warned the government not to make a decision in defiance of
local wishes.

With a bitter experience in mind Nakaima warned Hirano on Feb. 20.

Meeting the press after his talks with Hirano, Nakaima said
regarding the process that led to Tokyo's decision in 2006 to
relocate Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago: "I felt that
Okinawa was forced to accept the central government's decision."
Nakaima emphasized that the government should take Okinawa's wishes
into full consideration before making a decision.

In 2006 then Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine presented such conditions
as a 15-year time limit on the use of a Futenma replacement facility
and the joint military-civilian use of the new base. But none were
accepted by Japan and the United States. People in Okinawa seethed
with discontent and, in the end, disrupted an environmental impact
assessment and other procedures.

TOKYO 00000343 002 OF 010

This time around the prospects are also poor that the government
will give priority to local wishes. Seeking local consent will be
the last step, according to a senior official of the Prime
Minister's Official Residence (Kantei). Some in the Hatoyama
administration have begun talking about the sequence of events to
occur - monitoring Washington's reaction and then seeking the
consent of the ruling parties and the affected municipalities. "No
matter where the government decides to move the base, the candidate
site opposes it," another Kantei official said. "Unless people of
the candidate site oppose the plan tooth and nail, their wishes will
not be reflected."

Some in the cabinet think relocation to the inland area of Camp
Schwab, an existing U.S. military base, will not draw strong local
objections. "When the U.S. Navy's Sobe Communications Site (commonly
called the "elephant cage," in Yomitan Village) was moved to Camp
Hansen (in Kin Town), there wasn't a major opposition movement,"
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said on Feb. 19. Nevertheless, it
is inappropriate to compare an airfield, associated with noise and
the danger of crashes, to a telecommunications site.

In response to Nakaima who said that it would be best if the Futenma
base were relocated outside Okinawa, Hirano also said, "We are
looking for the best option, but we might end up only making a
better choice (than the existing plan)." Hirano's comment, which can
be interpreted as the government's public indication that it may
come up with a plan to relocate the Futenma facility within the
prefecture, is certain to draw s strong backlash from the people in
Okinawa.

Asked about Hirano's remarks by the press corps on Feb. 20, Prime
Minister Yukio Hatoyama explained: "We will seek the best option,
not a better one. The three ruling parties will cooperate in mapping
put a plan that is acceptable to Okinawa and the United States."

(2) Anti-U.S. position of pro-U.S. advocates

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
Evening, February 18, 2010

Hidetoshi Kaneko, special editor

For some reason, both newspapers and TV stations adopt the viewpoint
of the prosecutors when reporting on Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa. While this is not surprising for
reports on the investigation (into Ozawa's fund scandal), taking the
same approach even in political reporting will result in losing
sight of important points.

During a recent visit to Japan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Kurt Campbell, accompanied by Ambassador to Japan John Roos, paid a
visit to the DPJ secretary general's office at the Diet. They met
with Ozawa for one hour. While the substance of the conversation has
not been revealed, the U.S. officials went home satisfied with this
"good discussion."

After returning to the U.S., Campbell said that he asked Ozawa to
visit Washington in May at the head of a DPJ delegation and also
told him that he will make efforts to set up a meeting with
President Barack Obama.


TOKYO 00000343 003 OF 010


The timing of this meeting is significant. This was two days before
the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office made a formal decision on
whether or not to indict Ozawa. If Ozawa had been prosecuted, this
would have been a serious blunder detrimental to the U.S.'s
credibility. It is also unthinkable that the Japanese prosecutors
would leak (the decision on the indictment) to foreign diplomats
ahead of time. Even if the U.S. side had had a sense from contacts
with related sources, there was always the possibility of "what if."
It must have been very risky for senior U.S. officials representing
their government to meet with Ozawa at that stage. Yet, Campbell
went to see Ozawa.

The relocation of the Futenma Air Station has been the sticking
point in Japan-U.S. relations. The channel for negotiations is
Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. The coordinator on the Japanese side
is Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano. Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama is the one who will make the final decision.

Yet, Campbell requested that the secretary general of the ruling
party meet with the President. Ozawa has been invited to visit the
U.S. in May, just at the time Prime Minister Hatoyama will be making
his decision.

U.S. economic friction with China is intensifying, so the U.S. does
not want to be in dispute with Japan over the Futenma issue.

Although Prime Minister Hatoyama said "trust me" last November, the
present situation is such that the ruling coalition barely controls
a majority in the House of Councillors. If the DPJ loses seats in
the Upper House election in July, the Diet will not approve any
relocation site the Prime Minister picks. President Obama is also
one seat short of controlling a majority in the U.S. Senate. He
understands this situation very well.

It is the job of the ruling party's secretary general to pass bills
in the Diet. If the ruling parties lose control of a majority in the
Upper House, some extraordinary political maneuvering, such as the
realignment of the coalition government or a grand coalition with
the Liberal Democratic Party, will be necessary. The U.S. has judged
that Ozawa is the only person capable of doing that, so it placed
its bets on him. That must have been how things looked from the U.S.
standpoint.

Pro-U.S. newspapers advocating the importance of the Japan-U.S.
alliance are now strongly demanding Ozawa's resignation as secretary
general. This is a position that runs counter to the U.S.'s
interest. Have they not overlooked this contradiction?

(3) "Kazamidori (Weathercock)" column: Did Mr. Campbell make a
mistake in inviting Ozawa to visit U.S.?

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
February 21, 2010

Hisayoshi Ina, editorial staff member

It was probably a mistake U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for
East Asian and Pacific Affairs) Kurt Campbell made from impatience.
I'm referring to his extending to Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa at a meeting with him at the Diet on
Feb. 2 an invitation to visit the U.S. before prosecutors had
decided whether or not to prosecute him over a money scandal.

TOKYO 00000343 004 OF 010

Campbell holds a position equivalent to the director general of the
Asian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan.
Yet, when he comes to Tokyo, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada meets
him as if he were his U.S. counterpart. On this point, the
Japan-U.S. relationship under the Hatoyama administration is far
from "equal." For sure, there is significance in according Campbell
special treatment so that Japanese circumstances are accurately
understood. Yet it appears that the result is different than
expected.

The Japan-U.S. relationship is strained over the Futenma issue. So
it is natural to think that bringing around Japan's political
kingpin, Ozawa, would be a shortcut to a solution. U.S. Ambassador
to Japan Michael Armacost approached then Liberal Democratic Party
Secretary General Ozawa for the same reason.

But if Campbell were an expert on Japan, he would have noticed the
difference in Ozawa's position then and now. Opinion polls by
various media organizations have shown that 70 percent of the people
want Ozawa to resign as secretary general. This raises the question
of Campbell's sensitivity to the gravity of this fact.

The media is also speculating that Ozawa may resign as secretary
general before the House of Councillors election in July. Was
Campbell unaware of this?

Last year, Ozawa resigned as DPJ president and took charge of the
election campaign, bringing about the DPJ's victory in the House of
Representatives election. At that time, the DPJ was an opposition
party. Public opinion at present wants him to leave his position of
power, both in name and reality. It now seems that a pro forma
resignation like last year will no longer be sufficient.

If that is the case, even if Ozawa makes a visit to the U.S., which
reportedly will take place in May, no agreement he concludes would
have any teeth. This is because even if Ozawa is able to withstand
the pressure of public opinion and cling to power after the visit,
the legitimacy of any agreement would be questioned in Japan.

The opposition parties would criticize an Ozawa agreement with the
U.S. as proof of his "control" of the Hatoyama administration. The
Hatoyama administration can only refute that accusation in one of
two ways:

One is to distance itself from the agreement on the grounds that an
agreement reached between Mr. Ozawa and the U.S. is not an agreement
between governments. The agreement would be a private one, and it
would be politically difficult for the Japanese government to
implement.

The other way is not to make the agreement public, keeping it
secret. Neither would such an agreement be binding on the
government, since Foreign Minister Okada abhors secret agreements
("they undermine the credibility of Japanese diplomacy").

Ozawa is concealing his true intentions, saying "policy
consultations should take place between governments; the purpose (of
the trip) is friendship and goodwill." He is asserting that even if
he meets President Barack Obama, which would be nearly tantamount to
a Japan-U.S. summit, policies will not be discussed.


TOKYO 00000343 005 OF 010


There was a similar case in the past. In September 1972, when Prime
Minister Kakuei Tanaka went to China to normalize diplomatic
relations between Japan and China, he met Communist Party of China
(CPC) Chairman Mao Zedong after he wrapped up negotiations with
Premier Zhou Enlai. Mao started off the meeting by stating: "Are you
done quarreling?" That remark seemed to reflect a condescending
attitude toward Tanaka and Zhou.

Did Ozawa remind Campbell of the Chinese leader? Did he think that
as a result of the change of administration, Japan is no longer
ruled by the government and has shifted to a political regime
similar to the CPC's rule of China?

The world was astounded by the unusually large delegation Ozawa led
to China last December. His leading a similar delegation to
Washington would probably revive the theory that Japan is a peculiar
country.

If an Ozawa-Obama meeting fails to take place, Ozawa will
increasingly lean toward China, and this will not be in the U.S.'s
interest. Campbell's shift from "strategic patience" with Japan to
requesting Ozawa's visit to the U.S. is understandable.

However, people in Japan, who are fed up with Ozawa and abandoning
him, take a cynical view of this affair. By the way, Campbell's
predecessor was Christopher Hill, who was known for bungling North
Korean policy.

(4) DPJ Secretary General Ozawa's intention in "lecturing" U.S.
Assistant Secretary of State Campbell

WEEKLY BUNSHUN (Page 50) (Full)
February 25, 2010

The U.S. government, which has been troubled by its worsening
relations with Japan, is trying to woo Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa, who has won his "last war"
with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special
investigation team. The reason is because in order to settle the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma relocation issue and other bilateral
issues with Japan, the United States has no other option but to pin
high hopes on Japan's most influential lawmaker who is known for his
high-handed approach.

"The United States is considering a format (for a visit by Ozawa) in
which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will extend an
invitation and talks will be held with Vice President Biden at the
White House," a U.S government source said. "It has been decided
that President Obama will drop by and hold talks with him then."

This plan was mapped out by Assistant Secretary of State Kurt
Campbell, who is responsible for East Asia, including Japan and
China. Since sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Japan
last February, the Obama administration has been making moves to
create communication channels to Japan, setting up talks with Ozawa,
who was an opposition leader back then. It was decided that Ozawa
would visit the United States during the Golden Week holiday period
last year to hold talks with Secretary Clinton. But a meeting with
President Obama was not set, and Ozawa's U.S. visit was called off
as a result.

"Conversely, the U.S. side got the impression that Mr. Ozawa would

TOKYO 00000343 006 OF 010


visit the United States if he could hold talks with the President,"
a source familiar with Japan-U.S. relations explained. "It took one
year to plan for the upcoming U.S. visit." The U.S. side has
suggested Ozawa's U.S. visit because Japan-U.S. relations are taking
a turn for the worse and being used as a political tool.

A Washington Post correspondent offered this view: "The Obama
administration is struggling with sagging support ratings and is
also expected to face an uphill battle in the upcoming midterm
elections. Even former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was a Republican
vice presidential candidate in the presidential race two years ago,
began criticizing the Obama administration, saying, 'U.S.-Japan
relations are in bad shape because the administration's foreign
policy has failed.' The prevailing view in the United States is that
the relationship with Japan is so bad that even Sarah Palin, who is
sexy and charismatic but is hopeless at foreign policy, has
described it as the Obama administration's mistake.

The U.S. side pins high hopes on Ozawa, who helped open up the
Japanese market through the liberalization of the construction
market and telecommunications talks in the past. To Assistant
Secretary of State Campbell, who invited him to visit the United
States, Ozawa issued a warning, saying: "If an unstable situation
occurs in Far East Asia, it will be nothing like the situation in
Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan. The United States should deal with the
region more firmly." He also made a request about his meeting with
President Obama, saying, "Please make sure that a sufficient amount
of time is set aside." Will the talks take place at the Oval Office
in accordance with Ozawa's intentions?

(5) Political scene - Power of DPJ: Ozawa style gains ground through
battles

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
February 19, 2010

We were optimistic - an aid to Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
Secretary General Ozawa's Ozawa made this comment, reflecting on the
allegation Ozawa's political fund management body "Rikuzan-kai
violated the Political Funds Control Law in connection with a land
purchase, in which three former secretaries of Ozawa were indicted.
Ozawa was exempted from indictment.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Jan. 5 asked Ozawa
to respond to voluntary questioning on the case. Ozawa told his
aides on Jan. 9. "I have already submitted documents requested by
public prosecutors. They are convinced. All that remains is to put
the matter to rest." He had expected that the investigation would
end with the submission of documents, such as bank account numbers
recording resources used for the purchase of land. He had also
fathomed that Lower House member Tomohiro Ishikawa could be indicted
but without arrest. Ozawa's aides examined his submitting to
questioning by prosecutors during the three-day holiday from Jan. 9
through 11. However, unable to fathom the prosecutors' aims, they
postponed a decision. Ozawa's optimism was a further reason for
their postponing a decision.

However, the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office on Jan. 13 opened a
criminal investigation into Rikuzan-kai for the first time since
March last year. When he consulted with sources connected with
Rikuzan-kai and his defense team, Ozawa explained: "The 400 million
yen used for the purchase of the land in question includes my wife's

TOKYO 00000343 007 OF 010


money. I will also explain that at the party convention." His aides
views were split between a hard-line stance -- that it would be a
serious problem if public prosecutors indict (Mr. Ozawa), with one
saying, "We should crack down on them" -- and a soft-line stance of
calling on Ozawa to submit to questioning by public prosecutors,
without stonewalling them. In the end, Ozawa determined to cooperate
with the investigation and submit a written statement.

Ishikawa was arrested right after that. "I cannot believe this,"
Ozawa groaned. "I cannot possibly quit under these circumstances."
Ozawa attended the DPJ Convention on Jan. 16, the following day, in
a high emotional state. He skipped a sentence ("I am sorry that I
have caused trouble and so much concern") in the text of his speech.
He instead began, "The prospects for Japanese democracy are gloomy."
The audience exploded with applause. A female Upper House member
echoed Ozawa's stance, saying: "This is a total war between the
bureaucracy and the DPJ administration, which represents the
people."

However, Ozawa suddenly became discouraged. He said to his aides, "I
have not broken the law. However, if a case were built against me,
it would be the will of Heaven."

He submitted to questioning on Jan. 31, following questioning by
prosecutors on Jan. 23. He was to hold a regular press conference on
Feb. 1. Ozawa could not decide whether he should mention on that
occasion that his responsibility would be heavy if he were
criminally charged. He consulted his attorneys. He was not confident
that he would be exempted from indictment, as he said to his aides
who hinted at the possibility of his being indicted, "Perhaps you
are right."

Sandwiched between those who opposed his making such a statement,
because it would be conveying an intention to step down to the
anti-Ozawa group in the party, and those who supported his making
such a statement, because it would reinforce the impression of his
innocence, Ozawa in the end used the phrase "my own responsibility."
Ozawa might have been confused about where supreme power lies.

Ozawa's stance that elections are all about (politics) is the flip
side of a stance that an electoral victory confers carte blanche to
do as one pleases. Some say that Ozawa does not know the meaning of
the restrained use of power. He even declared (on Jan. 16) that he
wanted to confront head on the way public prosecutors use their
power as they did toward him. And yet when he turned defiant to
public opinion seeking his resignation after public prosecutors
decided not to indict him he hid behind their authority. He said (on
Feb. 14), "An Impartial and fair investigation by public prosecutors
has found that there were no irregularities." He possesses a
versatility that allows him to use power as he pleases.

At a meeting the DPJ held on Feb. 14 in Kurume City, Fukuoka
Prefecture, in the run-up to the Upper House election, Ozawa said:
"We have no majority in the Upper House. We must eliminate major
resistance in order to realize a stance that can be truly described
as revolutionary." The words "eliminate resistance" indicate that he
is honing his political stance through the fight against public
prosecutors.

Concern that Ozawa's behavior will have a negative impact on the
upcoming Upper House election is smoldering in the DPJ. However,
their concern has not been manifest as overt criticism of Ozawa.

TOKYO 00000343 008 OF 010


Prime Minister Hatoyama recently said again he would restore the
essence of the DPJ. However, asked to explain that essence, he
evaded a reply, giving the abstract answer: "It's something like the
clear-cut stance of the DPJ as an opposition party."

The Rikuzan-kai scandal has forced the DPJ to ask itself what is the
proper way to exercise power. The DPJ has yet to find an answer to
that question.

(6) Recommended plan to cut base workers' salaries up in the air

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 24) (Full)
February 22, 2010

The government has decided to reduce the salaries of Japanese
workers on U.S. military bases across the nation, including Yokosuka
and Okinawa, given the nation's poor fiscal condition, but their
salaries have been left unchanged. It is stipulated that base
workers' salaries be set at the same level as national government
employees and were scheduled to be slashed starting this January,
based on a recommendation by the National Personnel Authority. But
with no agreement from the U.S. military, the wage-cut plan has been
left up in the air for two months.

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the U.S.
military uses base workers and the Japanese government is the
employer who pays their salaries. Both sides must agree to a change
in the workers' wage structure.

In 1963, the Japanese government, the U.S. government, and All Japan
Garrison Forces Labor Union (Zenchuro) agreed to set salaries for
Japanese base workers at the same level as national government
employees. It is stipulated that the wage system be revised based on
a recommendation on public servants' salaries by the National
Personnel Authority.

Comparing with the average wage level at private firms, the National
Personnel Authority recommended last August that salaries and
bonuses for rank-and-file national civil service positions for
fiscal 2009 be cut by 0.2 PERCENT and by an amount equivalent to
0.35 months' pay, respectively. The decreased portion was deducted
starting from their winter bonuses paid on Dec. 10.

But since the day of bonus payment for base workers was Dec. 2, the
procedures necessary for changing the wage system were not completed
by that day. The Defense Ministry also intended to deduct the
decreased portion -- about 60,000 yen on average -- from their
salaries starting in January, but the government has failed to
obtain agreement from the U.S. military. Both the Defense Ministry
and the headquarters of the U.S. Forces in Japan have not explained
why the negotiations are deadlocked, merely remarking that since
this is a diplomatic issue, it is inappropriate to comment while
negotiations are in progress.

A senior Zenchuro member grumbled: "Setting aside bonuses, if their
monthly salaries are reduced by tens of thousands of yen, workers'
morale will flag. I guess the U.S. military is worried about that
possibility." The union member added: "The strained relations
between Japan and the U.S. over the Futenma relocation issue might
be behind the protracted negotiations over the wage issue."

(7) Japan-hosted APEC to get underway: Working-level meeting to

TOKYO 00000343 009 OF 010


start on Feb. 22

ASAHI (Page 11) (Full)
February 20, 2010

A meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) will
be held in Japan after a hiatus of 15 years. The first senior
working-level officials' meeting is set to be held in Hiroshima City
on Feb. 22-23. This is the first official meeting leading up to the
summit talks to be held in Yokohama City in mid-November. This year
marks the Bogor Goal year of achieving the liberalization of trade
in industrialized countries and areas, adopted in 1994. The APEC
meeting in Japan will likely become a venue for member nations to
search for a new goal.

Senior officials of Japan's Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will serve as the co-chairmen of
the senior working-level meeting. Working-level officials
responsible for economic and foreign affairs from various countries
and areas will discuss issues to be taken up in a summit
declaration.

Issues Japan envisages include assessing the achievement of the
Bogor Goals. With focus on ten countries and areas in the region, it
plans to submit a draft report noting that trade liberalization has
been advanced as a whole, although efforts fell short of the
commitments in some sectors, such as agriculture."

A stance of aiming at trade liberalization within the region had
been dominant until the mid-1990s, when the Bogor Goals were set.
However, with APEC itself losing its unifying force, as it was
unable to come up with an effective means to deal with the Asian
currency crisis, in 1997 and 1998, calls for liberalization have
disappeared, as Waseda University Graduate School Professor Shujiro
Urata explained.

Even after that APEC's major focus of attention continued to shift
away from economics due to the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks on
the US. As a result, the Bogor Goals will not be completely achieved
by their target year of 2010.

In the meantime, economic measures have once again shot into the
limelight since the financial crisis in 2008. Discussions for
forging a fresh vision to succeed the Bogor Goals will likely make
headway. The Japanese government has made growth strategy a key
theme.

The Japanese government wants to put forward a common vision for the
growth of both industrialized countries and areas, and developing
countries and areas, citing the promotion of upgraded energy saving
and environmental policies, measures to help small- and medium-sized
businesses enter foreign markets or introduce new technologies, and
the standardization of intellectual property.

Free trade zone initiative likely to become topic of discussion

A potential region-wide Free Trade Area in the Asia Pacific, or
FTAAP, will be defined as a framework for post-Bogor Goal trade
liberalization.

The Japanese government in the outline of the Growth Strategy, which
it formulated late last year, mentioned that the goal is to achieve

TOKYO 00000343 010 OF 010


FTAAP by 2020. As a stepping stone for the realization of the
initiative, it sees the APEC meeting this year as a golden
opportunity, according to a senior METI official.

While the future of the multilateral trade liberalization talks
(Doha Round) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) is unclear,
the signing of bilateral or multilateral free trade agreements is
gaining momentum in the Asia-Pacific region as well. A senior
Foreign Ministry official said: "The base for discussion on the free
trade zone initiative is more consolidated than several years ago."

However, there already exist some free trade initiatives in the APEC
region. Leadership struggles to realize FTAAP will likely become
fierce.

In ASEAN plus three (Japan, China and South Korea) and ASEAN plus
six (the further addition of India, Australia and New Zealand) it
was confirmed last August that there will be a shift from private
sector research to official inter-government talks.

In the meantime, the U.S. in 2008 proclaimed its decision to enter
into talks with the Trans-Pacific Economic Strategic Partnership
(TPP) formed by Singapore, New Zealand, Chile and Brunei. At
present, Australia, Peru and Vietnam are also hoping to join. The
first round of talks is to be held in March.

Hitotsubashi University Honorary Professor Ippei Yamasawa pointed
out: "One possible way is for countries that can do so, such as
Japan and South Korea, is to take part in discussions to enhance
calls for trade liberalization in the region. The starting point of
APEC is, after all, advancing trade liberalization, which is its
major role."

ROOS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Euro-Med Monitor: Updated Report On The Israeli Massacres During The Military Attack On The Gaza Strip

Geneva – The Israeli forces has killed and maimed many Palestinians in deliberate targeting of unprotected homes with families inside in inhumane military operations, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said. Since the beginning of the current ... More>>

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

ILO Voices: A Future With Hope, Free From Bonded Labour

By Padma Kumari Tamata Formerly in bonded labour, Padma Kumari Tamata is now a farmer, and grows and sells her own vegetables in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal. My name is Padma and I come from Vashi, a small hamlet in Nepal’s far-west Kanchanpur district. ... More>>

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>