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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 02/24/10

DE RUEHKO #0366/01 0550818
P 240818Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: N/A



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(1) PM Hatoyama says negotiations with Okinawa, U.S. on Futenma
relocation should start simultaneously (Sankei)

(2) Okinawa assembly to adopt nonpartisan opinion paper against
relocation of Futenma base within prefecture today (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(3) "Reporter's Eye" column: Nago citizens have given their answer
on Futenma relocation, now it's Prime Minister Hatoyama's turn

(4) DPJ-led administration was optimistic that it would be able to
overturn existing Futenma relocation plan (Yomiuri)

(5) Record high noise level for this fiscal year of 106 dB confirmed
at U.S. Kadena Air Base (Ryukyu Shimpo)

(6) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet, political parties (Asahi)


(1) PM Hatoyama says negotiations with Okinawa, U.S. on Futenma
relocation should start simultaneously

11:20, February 24, 2010

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stated on the morning of Feb. 24 that
with regard to the issue of the relocation of the U.S. forces'
Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan City, Okinawa), "efforts to
negotiate with and seek the understanding of Okinawa and the U.S.
need to start simultaneously," thus indicating that he intends to
coordinate with the local authorities and the U.S. on Futenma's
relocation site at about the same time.

As to when the negotiations will begin, he said: "Since we will make
a decision by the end of May, needless to say, we will need to take
action at the appropriate stage." The above was in response to
questions from reporters in front of his official residential

(2) Okinawa assembly to adopt nonpartisan opinion paper against
relocation of Futenma base within prefecture today

RYUKU SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
February 24, 2010

The Okinawa prefectural assembly yesterday held a meeting of its
Special Committee on Affairs of U.S. Military Bases, chaired by
Kiyoko Tokashiki. In the meeting, the assembly unanimously decided
to submit a draft opinion paper calling for the early closure and
return to Japan of U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, as well
as for constructing an alternative facility outside the prefecture
or outside the nation. The floor group of the Japanese Communist
Party (JCP) was threatening to walk out of the session up until the
day before the meeting, but the group expressed its support for the
paper yesterday. It is now likely that the opinion paper will be
adopted with the support of all assembly members at the plenary
session. With support also from the groups of the Liberal Democratic
Party and the New Komeito, which had approved of the existing plan
to relocate the Futenma base to the Henoko district of Nago City, it

TOKYO 00000366 002 OF 009

will be an opinion paper supported by all political parties. The
Okinawa assembly will express its opposition to the relocation of
the base within the prefecture as a collective opinion for the first
time since the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO)
issued in 1996 its final report that incorporated the existing

Strong demand for relocation outside prefecture, nation

For Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima and the central government,
which is looking for new relocation sites, the assembly's move will
be a major change in the political environment surrounding the
Futenma issue in the prefecture, following the anti-base candidate's
victory in the Nago mayoral election in January. A harsh demand for
the base to be moved out of the prefecture and the nation has been
imposed on the prefectural government.

The opinion paper points out:

"The people in Ginowan and in Okinawa Prefecture are calling on the
Japanese government to urge the U.S. to return the Futenma airfield,
which is the world's most dangerous base, to Japan's control at an
early date and to decide on how the vacated land should be used,
along with other details. The Nago mayor has opposed the
construction of a new U.S. base either at sea or on land in Henoko.
The assembly strongly demands that the governments of Japan and the
U.S. close down the Futenma base and return it to Japan at an early
date and construct an alternative facility outside the prefecture or
outside the nation."

The committee also confirmed that once the opinion paper is approved
at the plenary session, the panel will make the request directly to
the prime minister, the foreign minister, and the defense minister.

All floor groups of the ruling and opposition parties, excluding the
JCP, initially intended to aim at unanimously adopting the opinion
paper after the JCP walked out of the session as planned. The JCP,
however, informed each group yesterday afternoon of its policy
switch to support the opinion. JCP member Sogi Kayo said: "Although
we cannot agree with the idea of relocating the facility outside the
prefecture or outside the nation, the draft put together by the
floor groups through hard work merits appreciation," indicating that
the party gives priority to proceeding at a common pace in the

(3) "Reporter's Eye" column: Nago citizens have given their answer
on Futenma relocation, now it's Prime Minister Hatoyama's turn

MAINICHI (Page 9) (Full)
February 24, 2010

Yoshichika Imoto, Western Japan News Center

The government and the ruling parties continue to drift on the
relocation site of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station (in Ginowan
City, Okinawa). The Henoko district of Nago City in northern Okinawa
emerged as the relocation site more than 13 years ago. Nago
citizens, who have long been at the mercy of the national
government, have pronounced a clear verdict of "no" to Futenma
relocation in the mayoral election on Jan. 24. The government and
ruling parties are now saying that relocation to the inland area of
Henoko might work if runways can't be built off-shore. Such talk

TOKYO 00000366 003 OF 009

angers many people.

Over the past 13 years one referendum and four mayoral elections
were held. Futenma relocation was the issue in all the elections.
The election campaigns were all hotly contested and except for the
most recent one, candidates who accepted Futenma relocation were
elected. However, it would be rash to think that there are many Nago
citizens in favor of relocation. The national political situation
then and now are completely different.

There is no doubt that what swayed the popular will in Okinawa
toward opposing relocation was Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's
advocacy of Futenma's relocation out of Okinawa during the House of
Representatives election last summer.

Okinawa Prefectural Assembly member Yoshikazu Tamaki, a supporter of
Mayor Susumu Inamine, 64, who campaigned on a platform of opposing
relocation, had foreseen victory during the election campaign,
partly based on his own experience with losing the Nago mayoral
election by a narrow margin in 1998. He said: "In the past,
opponents to relocation doubted whether they could resist strong
pressure from the national government. With the change of
administration, there was no pressure from Tokyo. The conditions for
expressing the popular will were in place." For me his remarks
clarified the reason why relocation opponents failed to win in the
past three mayoral elections.

Before the change of administration, popular will in Okinawa was
suppressed by the carrot-and-stick method of using money (government
spending for Okinawa's economic development) and force (Tokyo's
pushing its agenda). Hatoyama's words liberated (the Nago people)
from this yoke. My feeling is that after the mayoral election, Nago
has reached a point of no return. One indication is the fact that
the Liberal Democratic Party Okinawa chapter, which supported
defeated candidate Yoshikazu Shimabukuro, 63, submitted a letter to
the February session of the Prefectural Assembly demanding the
relocation of the Futenma Air Station out of Okinawa.

I would also like to point out that in this 13-year period, mixed
feelings have developed between Nago and the national government. I
learned that when I interviewed former Mayor Yutoku Toguchi, 80,
during the mayoral election. Toguchi is opposed to Futenma's
relocation, but he said: "If the national government had dealt with
this matter in good faith, the military base would have been built a
long time ago."

Toguchi cited as one example the U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ)
realignment subsidies. As of FY2009, the Tokyo government has spent
some 23 billion yen on local governments accepting USFJ realignment
projects in order to promote the realignment process. Whenever Tokyo
reckoned the relocation process was not moving forward, it would
stop paying out the subsidies.

Behind such an approach is the blatant attitude that you should obey
orders because we are paying you a lot of money. Toguchi offered the
analysis that "even people who accept (USFJ realignment) are not all
that happy deep down inside. The present situation is the result of
the accumulation of such things." I cannot help feeling that even
the present government and ruling parties are in another sense
taking the popular will in Okinawa lightly.

The popular will aroused by the Prime Minister's words is beginning

TOKYO 00000366 004 OF 009

to move in a different direction. At the mass rally held in Ginowan
City on Nov. 8 last year, a pupil at an elementary school in Nago
asked the Prime Minister to keep his promise. At that time, Hatoyama
still elicited a mixture of expectation and doubt. However, at the
moment there has been a ground swell of doubt and anger.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano's remarks after the Nago
election were a turning point. He said: "There is no reason why we
should take (the results of the mayoral election) into
consideration." The opponents of relocation were, of course,
furious. Even Shimabukuro said Hirano was "toying with (the feelings
of) the people of Okinawa and Nago."

When Hirano met Governor Hirokazu Nakaima on Feb. 20, he clarified
his previous remarks, claiming: "That was a complete
misunderstanding," but he also said to the governor, who called for
relocation out of Okinawa: "We will strive for the best solution,
but the result could turn out to be not the best solution." Many
Okinawans probably take this as an indication that Futenma will be
relocated within Okinawa.

Before the change of administration, Nago was pressured into
accepting Futenma relocation with a carrot and stick. Now that the
Nago citizens' have expressed their popular will, discussions seem
to ignore the popular will. If the government eventually adopts the
plan to relocate Futenma to the inland area of Henoko, there will be
a backlash, inasmuch as the citizens were encouraged to have great
expectations. This would be an even worse case of bad faith than the
past administrations.

In the first place, it was the Tokyo government that decided to
delay a decision on Futenma relocation until after the Nago
election. Also, Hatoyama has said that he will make a decision on
the relocation site "that will also be acceptable to the people of
Okinawa." The Prime Minister has often been criticized for his loose
tongue. Now that the Nago citizens have given their answer, it is
his turn to take responsibility for his own words.

(4) DPJ-led administration was optimistic that it would be able to
overturn existing Futenma relocation plan

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Abridged slightly)
February 24, 2010

The government was in chaos in late January over the issue of
relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa.
Appearing on a TV program around that time, Senior Vice-Minister of
Internal Affairs and Communications Shu Watanabe, who had played a
central role in compiling the Democratic Party of Japan's "Okinawa
Vision," argued that it was possible to review the relocation site.
"If we leave the Futenma plan as is, noting that the country's
security policy will not change despite the change of government, we
will pass up a golden opportunity," Watanabe said.

Some DPJ lawmakers take the view that a country's security policy
and its promises to other countries should change with a change of

Mid-ranking DPJ lawmakers, including Watanabe, were looking for a
way out of the Futenma issue from long before the time their party
took power. Last February when the United States was trying to find
out about the DPJ's thinking, Watanabe, Parliamentary Secretary of

TOKYO 00000366 005 OF 009

Defense Akihisa Nagashima, Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Kazuya
Shimba, and others assembled in Tokyo. "What is the point of a
change of administration if we chose Henoko?" one attendee said.

The existing plan to relocate Futenma to the coastal area of Camp
Schwab in the Henoko district in Nago was agreed upon in 2006 by the
Koizumi administration and the Bush administration following an
agreement reached in 1996 between the Hashimoto and Clinton
administrations to return the base to Japan. To what extent was the
lawmaker (who suggested jettisoning the Henoko plan) aware of the
difficulties involved in overturning the existing relocation plan
that so much time and energy had been expended on?

In the meeting, the alternative idea of integrating Futenma with
Kadena Air Base came up. This idea had been looked into but was
rejected by Washington and Tokyo earlier.

Some in the group ascribed the rejection of the Kadena integration
idea to the discord between the U.S. Air Force that uses Kadena and
the U.S. Marine Corps that uses Futenma. Their view led to the
optimistic idea that the U.S. military would accept the Kadena plan
if Tokyo told Washington that the waters in Henoko should not be
reclaimed and allowed the U.S. Marines to use Shimojishima Airport
in Miyako City for training. They also regarded the launch of the
Obama administration as a fortunate tailwind, with one saying, "The
President, who spent his childhood in Indonesia, takes an
accommodating view toward Asia." Shortly before the House of
Representatives election last July, Watanabe and others explained
the Kadena integration idea to Secretary General Katsuya Okada
(currently foreign minister), while avoiding making the idea public
for fear of a local backlash. Okada showed interest in the idea,
saying, "It is worth studying."

Although the DPJ was leaning heavily in the direction of a review of
the existing plan, the party avoided mentioning Futenma in its
manifesto (a set of campaign pledges). The reason was because Seiji
Maehara (currently land and transport minister) and others who have
gained the trust of the U.S. side insisted that the foreign minister
and the defense minister need to keep their options open. Maehara
and others' intentions to look for new relocation sites while
leaving the door open for a settlement under the existing plan
incurred misunderstandings at home and abroad that ended up
augmenting the turmoil.

On Oct. 20 Okada held talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert
Gates for the first time as foreign minister. In response to Gates,
who emphasized that it had taken a long time to arrive at the
existing plan, Okada rebutted, "We opposed the plan throughout that
period as an opposition party." Gates also expressed his reluctance
to accept the Kadena plan to Defense Minister Kitazawa and others.
Despite that, Okada mentioned the Kadena integration idea at a press
conference three days later, which drew strong objections from local
governments and the Social Democratic Party. Persons close to Okada
also regretted this action, describing it as jumping the gun. They
believed that if the idea was announced at the right time, the U.S.
side would make concessions and accept it. Okada later began
expressing his willingness to accept the existing plan, but he began
to lose his assertiveness.

On Feb. 2, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell asked DPJ
Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa to visit the United States.
Campbell's visit with Ozawa before prosecutors decided not to

TOKYO 00000366 006 OF 009

prosecute him in connection with a scandal involving his
fund-management body, Rikuzan-kai, resulted in speculation that the
United States has given up on the Hatoyama cabinet's ability to
resolve problems. Okada, Maehara, and others are alarmed at the
possibility of two-track diplomacy by the cabinet and the ruling
parties. The cabinet is even more alarmed because that might become
a reality with Ozawa's U.S. visit. Then again, this situation was
caused by the inconsiderateness of the Hatoyama cabinet that
believed it would be able to overcome the gravity of Tokyo's
agreements with other countries once it took power.

Lawmakers and bureaucrats are in a state of confusion with the power
shift partly because there have been only a few changes of
government since the so-called 1955 system in Japanese politics
(symbolized by the LDP dominated system dating back to 1955 when the
party was formed). "The first Japan-U.S. talks (under the Hatoyama
administration) were as shocking as encountering a black ship," a
lawmaker close to Okada noted. "We were not fully aware of the basic
idea that diplomatic talks involve two parties."

(5) Record high noise level for this fiscal year of 106 dB confirmed
at U.S. Kadena Air Base

RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 33) (Full)
February 24, 2010

Kadena - During joint Japan-U.S. training exercises on Feb. 23 at
the U.S. Kadena Air Base, also used by non-Okinawa-based aircraft,
the noise level was 106.2 decibels (dB) (equivalent to the noise
level measured along railroad tracks as a train passes by), which
was the highest level in this fiscal year. The measurement of this
noise level was taken in Hirara, Kadena Town, at around 9:34 a.m.
The highest noise level recorded last year was 106.7 dB. The Kadena
Town Office received numerous complaints about an increase in noise
levels due to the joint training exercises, with one resident
saying, "It's too noisy."

Non-Okinawa-based F-16 fighters and Kadena-based F-15 fighters began
taking off and landing one after another at around 9:00 a.m.
yesterday. Instances of noise levels over 100 dB occurred frequently
from the morning that day in the town of Kadena. In Hirara between
9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., there were 115 instances of a noise level
over 70 dB recorded, exceeding the daily average of 110 instances of
noise recorded in fiscal 2008. On Feb. 22, there were 124 instances
of noise levels over 70 dB.

Yesterday the Kadena Town office in charge of handling complaints
and damage related to U.S. bases received complaints from residents
such as: "We can't live under these conditions" and "We are
suffering psychologically." One male resident of the town
complained: "It is too noisy. My grandchild often cries. U.S. forces
should consider the lives of residents in Kadena."

Kadena Town Base Affairs Section Chief Tokashiki pointed out: "As
base noise has increased due to the joint training exercise program,
we have received many complaints from residents. Residents in our
town won't be able to experience any easing of the burden of U.S.
military bases through the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan."

(6) Poll: Hatoyama cabinet, political parties

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)

TOKYO 00000366 007 OF 009

February 23, 2010

Questions & Answers
(Figures are percentages, rounded off. Bracketed figures denote
proportions to all respondents. Figures in parentheses denote the
results of the last survey, conducted Feb. 5-6.)

Q: Do you support the Hatoyama cabinet?

Yes 37 (41)
No 46 (45)

Q: Which political party do you support now?

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) 32 (34)
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 18 (18)
New Komeito (NK) 4 (3)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 2 (2)
Social Democratic Party (SDP or Shaminto) 1 (1)
Your Party (YP or Minna no To) 2 (1)
People's New Party (PNP or Kokumin Shinto) 0 (0)
Reform Club (RC or Kaikaku Kurabu) 0 (0)
New Party Nippon (NPN or Shinto Nippon) 0 (0)
Other political parties 0 (0)
None 37 (37)
No answer (N/A) + don't know (D/K) 4 (4)

Q: There will be an election this summer for the House of
Councillors. If you were to vote now, which political party or which
political party's candidate would you like to vote for in your
proportional representation bloc?

DPJ 32 (34)
LDP 23 (27)
NK 4 (3)
JCP 4 (3)
SDP 1 (1)
YP 3 (2)
PNP 0 (0)
RC 0 (0)
NPN 0 (0)
Other political parties 1 (1)
N/A+D/K 32 (29)

Q: Would you like the DPJ to occupy a single-party majority of the
seats in the House of Councillors after the forthcoming election for
the House of Councillors?

Yes 31
No 55

Q: On the problem of Prime Minister Hatoyama's political funds,
Prime Minister Hatoyama has filed an amended return of donation
taxes, explaining that he was completely unaware that he had
received a huge amount of money from his mother. Do you approve of
his handling of this problem so far?

Yes 16
No 75

TOKYO 00000366 008 OF 009

Q: On the problem of DPJ Secretary General Ozawa, prosecutors have
now dropped his case and Mr. Ozawa says there is no need for a
further explanation. Meanwhile, the opposition parties are calling
for Mr. Ozawa to give a further explanation of the problem. Do you
think Mr. Ozawa should explain this problem in the Diet?

Yes 81
No 15

Q: Do you think Mr. Ozawa should resign from his party post to take
responsibility for the problem?

Yes 64 (68)
No 25 (23)

Q: Do you approve of Mr. Hatoyama's handling of the problem of Mr.
Ozawa's political funds so far?

Yes 14
No 77

Q: When you vote in this summer's election for the House of
Councillors, do you think you will attach importance to the problem
concerning Mr. Ozawa's political funds?

Yes 41 (44)
No 48 (48)

Q: The opposition parties have presented a resolution recommending
that House of Representatives member Ishikawa, who has been indicted
over the problem of Mr. Ozawa's political funds and left the DPJ,
resign from the Diet. The DPJ has refused to deliberate on this
resolution. Do you approve of this?

Yes 17
No 69

Q: Prime Minister Hatoyama has appointed House of Representatives
member Edano to the post of state minister for administrative
reform, which will be tasked with budget screening and other
relevant issues. Do you approve of Mr. Hatoyama's appointment of Mr.

Yes 53
No 20

Q: Finance Minister Kan said he would like to start discussions in
March on tax reforms, including the consumption tax. Do you approve
of the government's starting discussions now on the consumption

Yes 48
No 42

Q: The next question concerns the issue of relocating the U.S.
military's Futenma airfield from its current location in Okinawa
Prefecture. According to an intergovernmental agreement reached
between Japan and the United States, Futenma airfield will be
relocated to the city of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture. However, the
Hatoyama cabinet is now looking for a candidate site from scratch.
Do you approve of the Hatoyama cabinet's handling of this problem?

TOKYO 00000366 009 OF 009

Yes 38
No 46

Polling methodology: The survey was conducted Feb. 20-21 over the
telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis.
Respondents were chosen from among the nation's voting population on
a three-stage random-sampling basis. Households with one or more
eligible voters totaled 3,557. Valid answers were obtained from
2,161 persons (61 PERCENT ).


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