INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 10/30/06

Published: Mon 30 Oct 2006 10:33 PM
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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 10/30/06
INDEX:
(1) Poll: 51% oppose reinstatement of LDP rebels
(2) Let's regain Okinawa prefectural politics; High expectations for
candidate Itokazu
(3) Special report on US Marines' training exercises in Okinawa:
Battlefields inside US base fences; Antiterror warfare on white
sandy beach
(4) Okinawa Marines engaged in mop-up operations in Iraq war for
Al-Qaeda suspect
(5) Second nuke test would constitute a regional contingency:
Masuzoe
(6) Declassified US document: Washington refused to notify Japan of
coolant discharge by nuclear powered warship
(7) Update report by Japanese NGO on Iraqi children's incidence of
cancer: 30% of pharmaceuticals in short supply with dwindling
international aid
(8) Editorial -- Kono statement on military comfort women: A survey
and a review both necessary
ARTICLES:
(1) Poll: 51% oppose reinstatement of LDP rebels
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
October 30, 2006
According to a poll conducted by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 51% of
respondents opposed the Liberal Democratic Party's idea of
reinstating former its members, who had left the party as they
opposed then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's postal privatization
bill, while 33% favored it. More than 50% gave positive evaluation
to the one-month-old cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, citing
his visits to China and South Korea. The Abe administration seems to
have made a fairly good start, but if it fails to handle the issue
of whether to let the former rebels rejoin the party, on which the
views are divided in the party, the issue will likely become an
obstacle for Abe's management of the government in the future.
Among the supporters of the LDP, 47% objected to the reinstatement
of the former rebels, while 38% supported it. Among those supporting
the New Komeito, which is the junior coalition party of the LDP, 65%
opposed the reinstatement, with 31% favoring it. Among the
supporters of the main opposition party Minshuto (Democratic Party
of Japan), those who opposed the LDP letting them to return reached
71%, while only 22% supported the move. Among those who are not
affiliated with any party, 47% opposed and 32% supported the move.
Based on the thinking that the LDP will not win the Upper House
election next summer if it cannot gain broad cooperation, the LDP
members in the House of Councillors have strongly urged the party
leadership to allow the former rebels to rejoin as early as
possible. Prime Minister Abe ordered Secretary General Hidenao
Nakagawa to study the matter. However, Koizumi and other members
have maintained a cautious stance. Opposition parties have
criticized the move, noting, "The reinstatement of the former rebels
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is aimed at winning next summer's Upper House election."
Appearing on a Fuji TV talk show yesterday, Nakagawa stated on
conditions for letting the rebels to return to the party:
"They should promise to support the prime minister's policies and to
never take anti-party actions in order to gain the understanding of
the public. They must take litmus tests."
Asked about how to treat the freshman lawmakers who represent the
same electoral districts as the postal revels, Nakagawa clearly
responded: "The party leadership will protect all of them
responsibly."
The LDP executive intends to carry out full-scale coordination on
the matter after the Fukushima gubernatorial elections in Fukushima
on Nov. 12 and in Okinawa on the Nov. 19. They will closely watch
the trend of public opinion, while advocating the fundamental
principle.
According to the poll, 53% gave positive assessment to Abe cabinet,
while 28% did not give positive evaluation. Some 38% cited Abe's
trips to Beijing and Seoul as the reason for their positive
assessment, followed by 28% who cited his cabinet's response to
North Korea's nuclear test, and 17% appreciated the cabinet's effort
for educational reform.
Regarding the reasons for not appreciating the Abe cabinet, 32%
responded that the government lacked efforts for fiscal
reconstruction and economic policies, followed by 18% saying that
the government's response to the North's nuclear test was not
enough, and 16% citing the appointments of cabinet members and LDP
executives as unsatisfactory.
(2) Let's regain Okinawa prefectural politics; High expectations for
candidate Itokazu
By Ginowan City Mayor Yoichi Iha
AKAHATA (Page 3) (Full)
October 28, 2006
I am determined to let the governments of Japan and the United
States know about Okinawan people's intention on the US military
bases issue by supporting Keiko Itokazu, a candidate backed jointly
by five opposition parties, to win the Nov. 19 gubernatorial
election.
The US military has been using the land expropriated from Okinawan
people 61 years ago because Japan lost the Battle of Okinawa.
Okinawan residents have said "no" to this situation, but the
Japanese government has forced US bases on Okinawa by creating
various laws.
Even after ten years have passed since the governments of Japan and
the United States agreed to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air
Station from the center of Ginowan City, the Futenma base has
remained in the same place. Two years ago, a US military helicopter
crashed on the grounds of Okinawa International University. It goes
without saying that the US military, which has continued its drills
in the airspace above the urban area, and the Japanese government
that has allowed the US military to do so, have no sense of
responsibility.
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Since the current prefectural government of Gov. Kenichi Inamine has
blindly served the central government, it has not credibility to
pursue the responsibility of Tokyo and Washington. I'm sure that it
will be impossible for Mr. Hirokazu Nakaima, the candidate backed by
the LDP and New Komeito who has vowed to take over the policy of the
current prefectural, to resolve this issue.
The US administration has announced that the US Marines in Okinawa
will be relocated to Guam as part of the realignment of US forces in
Japan. In view of US military strategy, it is unnecessary now to
construct a new base facility in the Henoko district. If Ms. Itokazu
wins the election, she will push forward to have Futenma base
immediately closed and returned to Japan.
While serving at the prefectural assembly for seven years, I worked
together with Ms. Itokazu to oppose the construction of a new US
base, as well as the reclamation of Awase tideland flat. We also
worked together to build a children's hospital. She is the best
candidate to serve as Okinawa governor to improve the livelihoods of
prefectural residents and protect the peace and environment of the
prefecture.
We can feel at ease when we entrust the administration of the
prefecture to her. I intend to support her all my might.
(3) Special report on US Marines' training exercises in Okinawa:
Battlefields inside US base fences; Antiterror warfare on white
sandy beach
ASAHI (Page 37) (Full)
October 29, 2006
Shunichi Kawabata, Asahi Shimbun
Soldiers in camouflaged fatigues jumped out of landing rafts. A
fierce shootout broke out on an outlying island... Last month, the
US Marine Corps conducted large-scale training exercises in Japan's
southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa for special operations.
The US military is planning to realign its troop deployment on
Okinawa, and its presence on the island prefecture would become a
major issue in its upcoming gubernatorial election slated for this
November. I saw their training exercises inside the fences of bases
and ranges that crowd the small island.
Ahead of local communities and sugarcane fields were US servicemen.
They were in the Kin Blue Beach Training Area in the town of Kin,
Okinawa Prefecture. Under the nets looking like trees, there were
soldiers with their machineguns at the ready. They belong to the
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31MEU).
Across the gate were a white sandy beach and a deep-blue sea. The
training area occupies an area of 38 hectares on the cape of Kin
jutting out into the sea. Local communities regard this area as a
potential resort spot. However, the US military is not yet expected
to return the area.
There were 18 large rubber rafts on the beach. They were landing
crafts for combat troops and scouts. Some 100 fully armed soldiers
were grouped into eight in each craft pulling out to sea. Their
landing drill set in. The first contingent of eight soldiers swam to
the shore and scouted around. All other rafts closed in, and the
soldiers jumped out on the shore and hided themselves with their
TOKYO 00006292 004 OF 010
submarine guns at the ready.
The drill was intended to infiltrate into the enemy's land and
detain a key figure. This training was in anticipation of an
antiterror war.
Late at night, Marine troops as terrorists held one of the barracks
in Camp Schwab, which is 14 kilometers northeast of Kin and is
located on the cape of Henoko in the island prefecture's northern
coastal city of Nago, where a V-shaped pair of airstrips is planned
to be built as an alternative for Futenma airfield in the city of
Ginowan. Soldiers landed on the nearby beach under cover of
darkness, and they approached the barrack with their night-vision
goggles on.
The soldiers suddenly fired blanks in the dark and then broke into
the barrack. Enemy troops fell down one after another with their
shouts. On the nearby level ground, there were several helicopters
from Futenma airfield and a medical team on standby. The choppers
took off with wounded soldiers on board.
"It's a very difficult task to infiltrate into the enemy's land from
the sea," one of 31MEU's officers said. The Marines were conducting
training exercises at a location not so far from local communities
in anticipation of fierce battles overseas.
Iejima, an isle outlying off the northern part of Okinawa's main
island, is where the US military's Iejima auxiliary airfield is
located on its western side. This airfield suddenly became a
battlefield.
A number of choppers came flying and circled over the airfield as if
to watch the ground. The choppers made an assault landing with
soldiers on board. Soldiers as enemy troops fought back from behind
buildings or hollows. Their machineguns barked with casings bursting
out. I knew they were firing blanks. Even so, I was filled with the
fear of gunfire.
The heliborne troopers brought the whole area under their control.
Their commander told them to check the bodies of fallen enemy
troops. It was about 15 minutes' battle. Staff Sgt. Joshua Gutieretz
says he experienced actual warfare in Kosovo. "Basically," he said,
"we must be quick in landing and leaving."
Next, a group of soldiers in blue protective suits appeared. They
were training for detecting biochemical weapons or radioactive
substances and identifying contaminants. Their appearance tells that
they are ready to combat around the world, anticipating worst-case
situations.
The next day, two Harrier jets came flying to Iejima from Iwakuni
Marine Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture for training purposes.
The Harrier is a vertical/short takeoff and landing or V/STOL
fighter attacker that backs up MEU troops from the sky. The Harrier
pads in the airfield were demarcated with a white line in the shape
of an assault landing craft's deck. The Harriers slowly circles and
halted right over the pads. Their turned down their jet nozzles and
touched down. Their roaring sounds could be heard even through
earplugs.
According to a local resident, cows jumped over of a fence when the
pads were installed there. Capt. Torrey Delpizzo (TN: phonetic), a
Harrier pilot, said: "I don't want make the local residents feel
TOKYO 00006292 005 OF 010
bad. I'm happy that I can work on this beautiful island."
Nagahiro Kuniyoshi, a former reporter for the Okinawa Times, has
covered US military bases since the 1960s. The US Marines in
Okinawa, Kuniyoshi says, used to conduct large-scale landing drills
before Okinawa's return to Japan, with landing crafts filling up the
shore and soldiers passing through public roads and hills to cross
the island. In recent years, the Okinawa Marines have downscaled
their maneuvers along with actual combats. "They can do that
training in Guam, and there's no reason that they must do such
training in Okinawa," Kuniyoshi noted.
Japan and the United States have finalized their report on their
intergovernmental talks over the realignment of US forces in Japan,
incorporating an agreement to redeploy some of the Okinawa-based
Marine troops to Guam or elsewhere by 2014. However, the US Marine
Corps will retain almost all of its combat and heliborne troops on
Okinawa. "Even after their redeployment (to Guam), there would be no
big change in their field training," a Defense Agency official
says.
(4) Okinawa Marines engaged in mop-up operations in Iraq war for
Al-Qaeda suspect
ASAHI (Page 37) (Full)
October 29, 2006
Capt. Burrell Palmer, public affairs officer of the 31st Marine
Expeditionary Unit (31MEU) in Okinawa, said: "Japanese people really
don't know what we're doing. They're only looking at base relocation
or Guam relocation."
The US Marine Corps has been intensifying its training exercises for
special operations since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Marine
officer says 31MEU covers the Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific
region. However, its troops were sent to the Iraq war from 2004
through the spring of 2005. He explains that they took part in
mop-up operations with the Army's special troops for Al Qaeda's
Zarqawi, who died in June this year.
"In the spring of 2005, we could have arrested him if it had been
one hour earlier," the officer said.
A total of 50 31MEU troops died in a battle in Fallujah, Iraq, or in
a helicopter crash in that country. Okinawa Marines were training
for escaping from a crashed helicopter in a swimming pool of Camp
Hansen, a US military base located across the town of Kin.
(5) Second nuke test would constitute a regional contingency:
Masuzoe
NIOHN KEIZAI (Page 2) (Full)
October 26, 2006
The following is an interview with Yoichi Masuzoe, chairman of the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party's policy board in the House of
Councillors, on North Korea's nuclear test:
The reason why Pyongyang went ahead with a nuclear test is that it
wanted to draw the United States to the negotiating table. The
leaders might be thinking that the ultimate means to achieve that
purpose is possession of a nuclear arsenal. This time as well,
they're probably thinking to themselves that their country has
TOKYO 00006292 006 OF 010
became an object of attention in the world with their nuclear test,
and in that sense it was successful. Japan's financial sanctions
against North Korea are working well to a considerable extent. Kim
Jong Il is calling for Japan to stop such sanctions in order to keep
his regime going. However, there's no political reason for him to
stop testing nuclear bombs.
Although we all want North Korea to become a democracy, this ideal
is too high to attain for now. First of all, the Japanese government
should think of how to prevent North Korea from exploding another
nuclear weapon. Indeed, the six-party talks no longer are
functioning. But there's no other choice except for this framework
to ease the current state of tension.
Pyongyang has a blind eye when it comes to China, South Korea, and
Japan. It's possible for the United States to carry out pinpoint
airstrikes in North Korea. But it's difficult to conduct two-front
operations in Iraq and North Korea. The United States can't easily
go ahead, when thinking of occupying and administering North Korea
after that and also when thinking of paving the way to the Korean
Peninsula's reunification. However, we'll have to take action as
soon as we sensed that North Korea is likely to be capable of
loading its missiles with nuclear warheads.
If there's a second nuclear test, it should be recognized as a
regional contingency under the Law Concerning Measures to Ensure
Japan's Peace and Security in the Event of Situations in Areas
Surrounding Japan. It would not be easy for the Diet to create a
special measures law or a permanent law. If Japan conducts cargo
inspections beyond its capability, it may cause trouble for the
United States and other countries. Rather than that, it would be
better for Japan to support them in the rear.
It would never be in the interests of Japan to argue about going
nuclear. It's all in vain-just like arguing about what would happen
if Godzilla came and crushed Tokyo Tower under his feet. It would be
better for LDP Policy Council Chairman Shoichi Nakagawa to think
about something more realistic-like how to rescue people in the
event of an earthquake. That's his job.
(6) Declassified US document: Washington refused to notify Japan of
coolant discharge by nuclear powered warship
AKAHATA (Pages 1 and 4) (Abridged slightly)
October 29, 2006
Even if a US nuclear-powered warship discharged primary coolant in a
Japanese port, the US government would not report it to the Japanese
government, according to a declassified US government document. In
May 1968, an abnormally high level of radioactivity was detected in
waters near the USS Swordfish while it was moored in Sasebo Harbor
in Nagasaki Prefecture. The above was in response to the Japanese
government's query about whether or not the US would report such an
accident to Japan.
US nuclear-powered warships have reportedly entered Japanese ports
on over 1,200 occasions. The incident has deepened suspicion that US
naval vessels have discharged primary coolant in Japanese ports
without the knowledge of the Japanese government and the Japanese
public. It also exposed risks associated with the planned deployment
of a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base.
The document in question is a cable sent on October 22, 1968, to US
TOKYO 00006292 007 OF 010
Secretary of State Dean Rusk from US Ambassador to Japan U. Alexis
SIPDIS
Johnson. It was among copies of a series of declassified US
government documents obtained in the US by International affairs
analyst Shoji Niihara.
In the wake of the Swordfish incident, the Foreign Ministry released
on October 22, 1968, a memorandum of understanding on radioactivity
associated with US nuclear vessels docked at Japanese ports, signed
by Foreign Minister Takeo Miki and Ambassador Johnson. The
memorandum indicated that a US nuclear vessel (anchored at a
Japanese port) could discharge first-stage coolant as an exceptional
case. The telegram discussed what had been discussed between Miki
and Johnson immediately before they signed the memorandum.
According to it, assuming that Japan would allow discharge of
primary coolant in its port as an exceptional case, Miki asked in
the event coolant was discharged, would the United States
subsequently report it to the Japanese government?
Memorandum read Johnson's response: "I told him I could say only
what was in the memorandum. This question had not been put to
Washington, and if it were, I felt certain answer would be 'no.' I
said I thought it best for the Japanese government to back down from
this territory."
This conversation indicated that the US was fixated on secret
discharge of first-stage coolant. Japan and the US have not since
released any agreements denying the memorandum. Although the US
government has explained that discharging primary coolant in
Japanese ports was prohibited, its credibility is highly
questionable.
(Commentary)
On May 6, 1968, radioactivity 10 to 20 times higher than the normal
level was detected in the vicinity of the USS Swordfish, moored in
the harbor of Sasebo, causing a major sensation. International
affairs analyst Shoji Niihara has obtained copies of a series of
declassified US documents vividly portraying subsequent Japan-US
talks on the incident.
Although the US did not ascribe the abnormally high level of
radioactivity to discharge by the Swordfish, the Atomic Energy
Commission of Japan released a report on May 29, 1968, saying that
it was extremely regrettable that the commission was not able to
determine the cause scientifically due to a lack of data from the
US. The report also urged the Japanese government to ensure in order
to dispel public anxieties that nuclear vessels docked at Japanese
port would not discharge first-stage coolant from their nuclear
reactor.
This prompted the Japanese government to begin talks with the US.
But on June 1, 1968, Ambassador Johnson sent a cable to Secretary
Rusk reading: "Technically and operationally speaking, it is not
possible for nuclear-powered vessels to never discharge (coolant)
while docked in Japanese ports." Consequently, Foreign Minister Miki
and Ambassador Johnson signed the memorandum of understanding on
Oct. 22 allowing coolant discharge in Japanese ports as exceptional
cases.
The Japanese government remained concerned to the end. Miki, in his
talks with Johnson before releasing their memorandum, asked that in
the event primary coolant was discharged in a Japanese harbor,
TOKYO 00006292 008 OF 010
whether the US government would report it to Japan. Furthermore,
Johnson's cable to Rusk on Oct. 22 read: "Miki also asked if he
could tell the Japanese government for certain that in the event
(primary coolant) was discharged, the US would notify Japan about
(the fact) and offer cooperation." But Johnson rejected both
requests.
The US has kept insisting on allowing US vessels to secretly
discharge coolant in Japanese ports. As was officially agreed upon
with the US, Japanese ports accommodating to US nuclear vessels are
constantly exposed to radioactive contamination.
On Sept. 14 this year, radioactive substances that do not exist in
nature were detected in seawater in Yokosuka Nava Base after the USS
Honolulu, a nuclear-powered submarine, had left. The US has ruled
out the submarine as the cause without presenting any concrete
evidence.
On April 17, the US government also released a fact sheet on US
nuclear powered warship safety in connection with the planned
deployment of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Yokosuka. The
report read: "U.S. policy prohibits discharge of radioactive
liquids, including primary coolant, from US nuclear powered warships
within 12 miles of shore, including in Japanese ports." But the US
governments is required to offer a clear explanation consistent with
the Miki-Johnson memorandum allowing discharge of primary coolant.
(7) Update report by Japanese NGO on Iraqi children's incidence of
cancer: 30% of pharmaceuticals in short supply with dwindling
international aid
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 28) (Slightly abridged)
October 20, 2006
The Japan Iraq Medical Net (JIM-NET), a nongovernmental organization
engaged in medical assistance to children in Iraq who are cancer
patients, held a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 19, in which
JIM-NET Representative Minoru Kamata, a physician, and others
reported on the current state of treatment for children with cancer.
Even after the end of the Iraq War, the country remains in turmoil.
What is happening to such cancer patients?
JIM-NET was established by seven domestic organizations in 2004.
Because of worsened security conditions in Iraq, it opened an office
in Jordan, from which it sends pharmaceuticals to four hospitals
with facilities capable of treating children with cancer in Iraq.
199 children added to new cancer patients in a half-year
At the press conference, JIM-NET released a report showing the
results of a meeting on Sept. 20 in Jordan with five pediatricians
working in Iraq. According to the report, during the six-month
period March through August of this year, a total of 199 children
were found to suffering from cancer at four hospitals in Baghdad,
Basra, and Mosul.
80% of acute leukemia patients recovering
Of those patients, 121 suffered acute lymphocytic leukemia.
According to an analysis of the treatment given to them, some 80% or
89 children attained a complete remission. If remission continues
five years from now, they will be regarded as fully recovered from
lymphocytic leukemia and unlikely to have a relapse. At the time
TOKYO 00006292 009 OF 010
when JIM-NET began medical assistance, the complete remission rate
was no more than 40%. Representative Kamata highlighted the effect
of assistance this way: "If the rate rises another 10%, it will be
the same level as those of the advanced countries. This result is
excellent, given the severe situation there."
Meanwhile, a number of tasks cropped up. Of the 121 patients, 15
died. One of them was discovered in critical condition with the
advancement of illness because the patient was forced to stay home
because of danger outside. Nine of them could not have received
treatment because of poverty or other reasons even though they were
diagnosed as suffering this or that illness."
Pharmaceuticals were also in severely short supply. The shortage in
supply of medicine reached nearly 30% in Baghdad. During the period
from 2003 through 2004, Iraq received medical supplies from NGOs
outside the country, but since the start of this year, JIM-NET has
become the only supplier.
Kamata revealed: "The social status of local doctors is high, so
they tend to be the targets of terrorism. Some of them are said to
have received intimidating letters. Because going out is dangerous,
some doctors go to hospital only a few days a week or some stay at
hospital."
Impact of depleted uranium bombs indicated
There are indications that depleted uranium weapons used by the US
and other countries' forces during the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq
War are linked to the occurrence of cancer among children, but there
are no scientific data to support the suspicions.
The US has so far denied any damage to health caused by depleted
uranium ammunition, but Toshi Inoshita, a doctor at the Tokushima
Prefectural Kaifu Hospital who had engaged in medical assistance as
a JIM-NET medical coordinator in Jordan, commented: "I have a
feeling that depleted uranium bombs have had some effect. Cancer is
found in every country, and it's not accurate to say that all
children suffering from cancer in Iraq got sick because of depleted
uranium weapons, but the use of depleted uranium no doubt
contributes to the occurrence of cancer. Assuming that the cancer
rate rises 5% a year, the number of children suffering cancer might
double over those with such sicknesses in the Gulf War."
Inoshita continued: "Proving the linkage between depleted uranium
ammunition and cancer is not a priority task for JIM-NET, so such
agencies as the World Health Organization need to conduct a proper
survey."
JIM-NET Secretariat Chief Maki Sato said, "(Local) doctors stay in
hellholes in Iraq, and somehow give treatment to children with the
medicines we provide, though the quantity is insufficient, and try
to protect the children. Given this, we must continue our help to
them." Sato calls for donations. A contact phone number is
0263-46-4218.
(8) Editorial -- Kono statement on military comfort women: A survey
and a review both necessary
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
October 30, 2006
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura's recent remarks
TOKYO 00006292 010 OF 010
referring to the need to review Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono's
statement concerning the issue of military comfort women, released
in 1993, is causing a stir. The opposition parties are gearing up to
pursue the government as representing "discord in the cabinet," but
we don't think his remarks were problematic.
The remarks in question emerged in a speech given by Shimomura in
Tokyo. In the remarks, Shimomura, noting that this was his personal
opinion, stated: "We need to study facts more carefully and to take
time to collect objective and scientific knowledge so that we can
think of the issue." His remarks are quite natural as a politician.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe does not regard Shimomura's remarks as a
problem. In fact, Abe noted, "I, too, made various remarks in my
capacity as a lawmaker when serving as deputy chief cabinet
secretary."
SIPDIS
The opposition parties point to a discrepancy between "Shimomura's
remarks" and Prime Minister Abe's Diet replies. True, Abe reiterated
at a plenary session of the Upper House and a meeting of the Lower
House Budget Committee that his cabinet follows the Kono statement.
However, Abe stated at the Lower House Budget Committee meeting:
"After hearing of the then chief cabinet secretary's statement, I
wondered why there was a discrepancy with what was reported at the
time." "On the question of whether there was conclusive evidence for
'enforcement in a narrow sense,' at that point I stated that there
were many questions. Later, this argument shifted to the one on
'enforcement in a broad sense.'" Abe added.
Abe's replies touched on the heart of the problem the Kono statement
has. The then deputy chief cabinet secretary referred to by Abe was
Nobuo Ishihara, and "enforcement in a narrow sense" meant
transportation of people for forced labor by the military and police
authorities.
The Kono statement admitted to "transportation of women for forced
labor as military comfort women or sex slaves." But no conclusive
evidence about such transportation was found in official documents
collected by Japan. However, only based on the results of an
interview with former military comfort women conducted in Seoul
immediately before the release of the statement, Kono noted that it
was a fact that there had been "transportation of women for forced
labor as sex slaves". This episode was afterwards revealed by
Ishihara in his testimony. Later, segments of the media, as is
widely known, switched the argument point to "enforcement in a broad
sense."
It is strange for the cabinet to be shackled by the government view
that was formed based on incorrect perception of the facts. A review
of the government's view is necessary by carrying out a survey. The
government has turned around its view in the past, as well. For
example, on the question of the prime minister's visits to Yasukuni
Shrine, the government view announced in 1980 was this: "such visits
are highly suspected of being unconstitutional," but that view was
modified in 1985 to the one viewing official visits to Yasukuni
Shrine as constitutional.
Given all this, we hope to see a review of the Kono statement
conducted at the parliamentary level with experts so that a right
course will be shown.
SCHIEFFER
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