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WikiLeaks: Jap scholar implies contrast with NZ-US relations

WikiLeaks cable: Highlighting Japan-US alliance, Japanese scholar implies contrast with NZ-US relationship

March 31, 2005 Highlighting Japan-US alliance, Japanese scholar implies contrast with NZ-US relationship


Classified by: Charge d'affaires, a.i., David R. Burnett. Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) At a seminar in Wellington, a respected Japanese scholar extolled the strength and benefits of the Japanese-U.S. alliance -- a strength that exists despite Japan's steadfast anti-nuclear and anti-war policies. Implicit in her speech was a contrast with New Zealand, whose vociferously stated anti-nuclear policy has constrained its relationship with the United States for nearly two decades. The Japanese Embassy sponsored the seminar at post's suggestion. It is an example of the indirect means the U.S. mission in New Zealand has had to employ to get our message across here.

2. (U) The scholar spent much of her speech at the seminar March 22 describing the Japanese-U.S. alliance, although the seminar was billed as covering Japanese-New Zealand relations. The scholar -- Akiko Fukushima, director of policy studies at the National Institute for Research Advancement in Tokyo -- said the alliance was based not just on the two countries' defense needs, but also on "common good." She cited as an example the joint statement released February 19 after the "two-plus-two" Japan-U.S. talks in Washington, which called for the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Straits.

3. (C) Hidehiko Hamada, the Japanese Embassy's DCM, told post's DCM that he had counseled Fukushima on how she should describe the Japanese-U.S. relationship for a New Zealand audience. About 60 people attended the seminar.

4. (U) Fukushima told the audience that she first visited New Zealand in 1997 to study its anti-nuclear policy. She concluded that, because of Japan's different security environment, it could not emulate New Zealand. However, she said, Japan could not become a nuclear power because it would spark an arms race in the region and be strongly opposed by the Japanese public, which harbors lasting memories of the World War II bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fukushima noted the strong links between Japan and the United States, especially their shared concern about China. Except for a disagreement over Japan's restrictions on U.S. beef because of BSE, she said the alliance was in the "best shape" it has been in years. At the same time, she said, Japan needed to formulate its own vision for the alliance's future.

5. (U) Fukushima said the move to revise the Japanese Constitution's Article 9 -- the so-called no-war clause -- should not be seen as imposed from outside but as a shift from passive pacifism to proactive pacifism, or "keeping peace by doing something." Fukushima's institute is an independent think tank funded by both the public and private sectors.

6. (C) Comment: We have encouraged Japanese DCM Hamada to sponsor this type of program as a way to highlight to New Zealanders the fact that Japan recognizes the benefits of the U.S. military and non-military roles in the Pacific and has worked to facilitate our presence by making Japan's defense policies more flexible. Post hopes that such communications by our allies will remind the New Zealand government and public that their country's anti-nuclear policy negatively affects U.S. interests in Asia and is detrimental to the New Zealand-U.S. relationship. Burnett


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