Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/10/07

Published: Fri 10 Aug 2007 08:30 AM
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(1) A message from General Secretary Kim Jong Il against the
backdrop of the US' conciliatory line: "I want to be the US'
partner"; China, alarmed by US taking lead, moving closer to Japan
(part one of two)
(2) A message from General Secretary Kim Jong Il against the
backdrop of the US' conciliatory line: "I want to be the US'
partner"; China, alarmed by the US taking lead, moving closer to
Japan (part two of two)
(3) Editorial: How does the rest of the world view DPJ's Ozawa?
(4) Editorial: Antiterror law-Political wrangling must not hurt
national interests
(5) Opposition-controlled Upper House: Lawmakers must conduct
fruitful debate on Japan-US alliance
(6) Era of Diet with opposition holding majority in Upper House
(Part 2): Interview with Hirohisa Fujii, former DPJ deputy
president; Party employs no uncanny scheme
(1) A message from General Secretary Kim Jong Il against the
backdrop of the US' conciliatory line: "I want to be the US'
partner"; China, alarmed by US taking lead, moving closer to Japan
(part one of two)
SANKEI (Top play) (Full)
August 10, 2007
According to what a Chinese strategic-related source (Chugoku
senryaku-kankei suji) in Beijing told the Sankei Shimbun, North
Korea's General Secretary Kim Jong Il, following the testing of a
nuclear weapon last October, sent a message to US President Bush in
which the message was transmitted: "With the normalization of
relations between the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)
and the United States, we will become a closer partner to the United
States than South Korea is." The same source acknowledged that this
became the opportunity for the US to change its stance toward the
DPRK, and expressed strong alarm about such a development in US-DPRK
relations. China, in response, decided to build a strategic mutually
beneficial relationship with Japan, according to the source.
The informed source who revealed this information is a high-ranking
individual who can access classified material. It appears that there
is a high level of reliability in the information not only on the
interpretation of the intentions of both the DPRK and the US as well
as on the message itself. The information explains not only why
there has been recent cooperation between the US and North Korea but
also why China now has a policy of moving closer to Japan. There is
a possibility of these developments having a delicate influence on
future six-party talks and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as
well as on Japan-US relations.
According to the source, the message was transmitted from the DPRK
side late last October just after the nuclear-weapons test at the
time when six-party talks, including Assistant Secretary Hill and
Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-kwan, were being held in Beijing. The
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US changed to a dialogue line toward the DPRK starting with the
six-party talks last December, and the two delegates this January
met each other in Berlin. As a result, the issue of the DPRK's
frozen accounts at the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) in Macao headed toward
resolution, and this led into an agreement at the February six-party
talks for "steps in an initial phase" premised on eventual
There have been frequent dialogues, with the DPRK delegate Kim
visiting the US in March, and the US delegate Hill visiting
Pyongyang in June. In July, IAEA inspectors began their work, and it
was decided at the six-party talks to provide the DPRK with a fair
amount of aid, 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil.
The US has abandoned its principle of not negotiating singly with
North Korea as a "terrorist-sponsoring state" and not compromising
on the BDA issue. The informed source noted that the springboard for
that change was the message from Kim Jong Il. The source said that
the Berlin talks, which began an important turning point, occurred
at the initiative of the US, and that all expenses for the North
Korea delegate, such as the air fare, was picked up by the US side.
In addition, this June, Hill, at a press conference, proposed a
four-party meeting of the US, China, the ROK and North Korea,
excepting Russia and Japan, to discuss a permanent peace settlement
of the Korean War. The background of this was South Korea's
concurrence with the agreement by the US and North Korea.
The same source stressed that China was opposed to the four-party
proposal. The reason, the source said, was "it would turn into three
(the US, ROK and DPRK) against one (China)." According to another
informed source, when Hill visited Pyongyang in June, he announced:
1) The US had no intention of toppling the Kim Jong Il regime; 2)
the US would like to build friendly ties between the US and the
DPRK; and 3) the US would like to sign a peace treaty. Upon hearing
this briefing from Hill, the Chinese side added this request: 1)
China would like a high level of transparency in the US-DPRK
relationship; and 2) the signing of a peace treaty should not damage
the interests of a third countries - those countries reportedly
including Japan. According to the Chinese strategic-related source,
China's senior party and military officials are alarmed. The source
said: "North Korea is asking the US to guarantee the regime's
continued existence and to be its national security authority. The
US is about to make North Korea its Israel (strategic stronghold)."
Reportedly, the normalization of US-DPRK relations originally was
analyzed as helping speed up the unification of North and South
under the US lead.
The same source pointed out that such a situation would destroy the
strategic balance in East Asia. So it was viewed as indispensable
for China and Japan to form a strategic mutually beneficial
relationship in order to stabilize peace in the region. It appears
that Japan is being placed in a difficult position, sandwiched in
between the US and China.
(2) A message from General Secretary Kim Jong Il against the
backdrop of the US' conciliatory line: "I want to be the US'
partner"; China, alarmed by the US taking lead, moving closer to
Japan (part two of two)
SANKEI (Top play) (Full)
August 10, 2007
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"If this is true then it is a shock bigger than the Nixon Shock."
Upon hearing the information from the Chinese source, a Japanese
diplomatic official expressed his surprise by referencing former
President Nixon's 1971 trip to China, of which Japan had no prior
This newspaper obtained this information on August 7. The
information is highly classified and has not been confirmed, but it
explains why after Hill and Kim, the six-party representatives of
the US and the DPRK, respectively, had direct meetings in Beijing at
the end of last October, the US has pursued a conciliatory line
towards North Korea, irritating the Japanese government.
A meeting between North Korea and the US in mid January 2007 in
Berlin provided a breakthrough for the stalled six-party talks.
During this meeting, the US worked toward resolving the issue of the
DPRK's frozen accounts, and control over the six-party talks shifted
from China, the host country, to the US and North Korea.
According to the Chinese strategic-related source, Chinese leaders
view the normalizing of relations between the DPRK and the US as
inevitable. They are extremely wary of the possibility that the US
and the DPRK will become strategic partners and take the initiative
in reuniting North and South Korea. The planned meeting between the
heads of North and South Korea, announced on August 8, fits into
this picture.
The Chinese source said that the impetus for the change in relations
between the DPRK and the US was a message sent by General Secretary
Kim Jong Il to President Bush. A Beijing diplomatic official said
that while the information had not yet been confirmed, "with falling
popularity ratings as a result of Iraq, the Bush administration
probably felt that this was its chance to leave a mark on history by
resolving the nuclear dilemma and reuniting the Korean peninsula."
The Chinese strategic-related source sees US Secretary of State Rice
and Assistant Secretary Hill as being the architects of the US
strategy of becoming friendly with North Korea. Within the US
Department of State, those who support a hard-line stance towards
North Korea have been phased out over the past year, paving the way
for a shift towards a new conciliatory stance.
The big dilemma for China is that its efforts to encourage US-DPRK
relations and support of normalizing relations between the two
countries in order to achieve a peaceful resolution to the nuclear
issue have had certain negative results. Access to North Korea was a
powerful diplomatic card for China, but now that card is falling
into the hands of the US.
After North Korea's nuclear tests last October, China approved a UN
Security Council sanction against North Korea and refused to act as
a point of transfer by receiving funds from a Macao bank when the US
was trying to resolve the issue of the frozen bank accounts. Even
before that, relations between China and the DPRK were not as
friendly as they seemed on the surface, but after the nuclear test,
relations between the two countries cooled considerably.
When State Council Member Jiaxuan Tang visited North Korea in mid
October of last year to urge a halt to further tests and a return to
six-party talks, General Secretary Kim Jong Il told him of President
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Kim Il Sung's "Last Words" but expressed a strong desire to talk
with the US.
Kim Il Sung's "Last Words" are made up of three points: 1) the
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula 2) normalizing relations
with the US and 3) the reunification of North and South Korea.
General Secretary Kim Jong Il included these points in his message
to President Bush but also emphasized that "(North Korea) will
become a close partner of the US."
There are doubts about whether North Korea will really become a
strategic partner of the US, as China fears. This may be another
tactic to manipulate the great powers, just as North Korea did
before with China and the USSR, extracting material support and
managing to maintain the existing regime.
However China has rapidly increased the size of its military and
economy, becoming a major world player. Amidst China's strengthening
ties with Russia, the Korean peninsula is of high strategic value
for the US. On the flip side, China also values the peninsula, and
this is why the Chinese official expressed an almost excessive
amount of wariness.
In the future, China will unmistakably seek to strength ties with
Japan. There are many who question the future of Japan-US relations
amidst tension over the comfort women issue, the state-of-the-art
F-22 fighter, and the North Korea abduction issue.
(3) Editorial: How does the rest of the world view DPJ's Ozawa?
NIHON KEIZAI (Page 2) (Abridged)
August 10, 2007
It was just like Ichiro Ozawa, president of the major opposition
Democratic Party of Japan whose party won the recent Upper House
election and who is now riding on the crest of a wave. We mean the
way he met recently with the United States Ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer. The ambassador called on Ozawa and asked for his
understanding about an extension of the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law. Schieffer tried to persuade Ozawa with logic, but
Ozawa responded somewhat emotionally to him with his United
Nations-oriented policy. Every scene of the meeting was
unprecedentedly open to the media.
Given that the DPJ until now has been opposed the law, it would have
been unnatural if the party had turned around soon after the first
meeting between its president and the ambassador. It was also not
surprising and understandable that Ozawa was not convinced by the
We welcomed that the meeting was made open to the media. Although
Ozawa may not have made all past meetings of this kind open to the
media, we hope he will continue to open them to the public in the
future, as well.
If he treated the session this time with Schieffer as a special case
and did not open other sessions of this kind to the public, the US
side would naturally deem him as impolite in a diplomatic sense. If
that happens, we wonder how other countries' governments that have
sent their envoys to Japan think of him.
In the session, Schieffer mentioned the United Nations Security
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Council (UNSC) Resolution No. 1746 adopted in March, and as he
mentioned, the war on terror in Afghanistan, unlike the Iraq war,
has been clearly endorsed by an UNSC resolution. This is common
sense in the international community. Ozawa's position is a minority
in the international community.
Pakistan is among the countries to receive refueling service from
the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) in the Indian Ocean. If Japan
put an end to its refueling services, Pakistan would be forced to
suspend its patrolling in the Indian Ocean. The Islamic nation,
Pakistan's participation in the war on terror has helped prevent the
war from turning into the war between the Islamic world and the rest
of the world. Japan's refueling operations in this sense has been
We deem it is necessary for Japan to continue to be engaged in
refueling operations in the Indian Ocean, but if the DPJ insisted on
opposing the extension of the antiterrorism law, we think the
governing coalition should secure time to override the Upper House's
rejection of a bill extending the law by two-thirds of votes in the
Lower House. Otherwise, public opinion reflected in the second
chamber of the Diet will prevail over that in the first chamber.
(4) Editorial: Antiterror law-Political wrangling must not hurt
national interests
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 9, 2007
The Diet is expected to focus on the Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law in its extraordinary session to be called this fall. Ichiro
Ozawa, president of the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ or Minshuto), met with US Ambassador to Japan Schieffer. In the
meeting, Ozawa clarified his intention to oppose a legislative
measure that is intended to extend the antiterror law.
The ambassador also indicated that the United States is ready to
provide classified information about the war on terror, thus
encouraging the DPJ to cooperate in extending the antiterror law.
However, the opposition leader did not respond.
Ozawa-as is evident from what he has been saying and doing on this
issue-is apparently aiming to drive Prime Minister Abe and his
cabinet into a tight corner in the area of foreign and security
policies, using his party's majority in the House of Councillors as
Japan, as a member of the international community, has made it clear
that Japan will never cave in to the war on terror. Letting the
anti-terror law to expire would mean that Japan has broken away from
the international community. Ozawa says his party is a responsible
political party aiming to take over the reins of government. If that
is the case, Ozawa should then consider how to ensure Japan's
national interests are protected.
Ozawa has been saying he is against the legislation to extend the
antiterror law. He insists that it is because President Bush
launched the war on Afghanistan as a US war for self-defense. In
addition, Ozawa also claimed that relations with the United States
for Japan are more than just ratifying the Bush administration's
policies toward Afghanistan or Iraq.
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However, the international community's war on terror is based on a
resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council in the
wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Multinational forces are conducting interdictions in the Indian
Ocean to block terrorists. This is also a part of the war on terror.
Their naval fleets are tasked there with blocking the sea traffic of
weaponry and ammunition as well as contrabands like drugs as funding
sources for terrorists. Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force is
refueling their vessels under the antiterror law.
The antiterror campaign in the Indian Ocean is under way with the
participation of naval forces from a total of eight countries,
including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and the
Islamic state of Pakistan. The MSDF's continued activities there are
highly appreciated by these countries.
On land in Afghanistan are troops from more than 40 countries. They
are engaged in sweeping up terrorists and working to maintain the
nation's security. Their military command has now been transferred
from US forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF
for short, is now operating under the command of NATO. One of ISAF's
mainstay members is Canada, which has sent 2,500 troops to
Afghanistan. Canadian forces there have lost 66 lives. This is the
largest number of casualties among ISAF's members other than the
UNSC's permanent members. Even so, Canada stays on.
In the international community, Japan is called to act in concert
with its members. Some people say Japan is kowtowing to the United
States. Such criticism fails to strike home.
(5) Opposition-controlled Upper House: Lawmakers must conduct
fruitful debate on Japan-US alliance
NIKKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
August 10, 2007
By Hiroyuki Akita, Nikkei senior writer
A military strategist connected with the Pentagon's long-term
strategy planning is attentively watching the future of Japan
following the July House of Councillors election.
He said:
"If the country's birthrate continues to decline combined with a
rapidly aging population, Japan would inevitably face obstacles in
many areas, such as the economy, national defense, and international
contribution. How will Japan deal with China, which is aiming to
grow into a superpower?"
He is paying particularly close attention to how China's rise might
affect the dynamics of Asia. He also indicated that the most
important variable was whether Japan would deal with a "powerful
China" through the Japan-US alliance or opt for a different path.
Major powers are not watching Japan's post-election situation merely
as its domestic affair. They are paying attention to see how it
would affect peace and stability in Asia.
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A Chinese security official noted: "Sooner or later, the United
States would have to reduce its military involvement in Asia. We are
watching how Japan would move when the time comes."
The Upper House election is not necessarily an election to determine
Japan's foreign and security policy course. The ruling and
opposition parties must not forget that major countries, such as the
United States and China, are keeping close tabs on the diplomatic
debate in Japan following the Liberal Democratic Party's crushing
defeat in the recent Upper House election with the aim of
forecasting the country's future course.
Needless to say, the first test would be the question of extending
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, staled to expire on November
1. The government's failure to extend the law would result in the
withdrawal of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, which has been on the
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean for naval vessels of the
United States, Britain, and other countries that are engaged in
mop-up operations against terrorists.
Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa has reiterated his
opposition to the law's extension, making a clear distinction with
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders must keep in mind that
the success or failure of the law's extension would determine not
only the extent to which Japan would go along with the United States
but also the future course of the Japan-US alliance.
The former Koizumi cabinet was oriented toward a US-UK-type
alliance. Britain has pursued its national interests by sharing
information and strategy and taking concerted action with the United
States despite some difference in views. Although Japan's
relationship with the United States is nowhere near the "special
relationship" between the United States and Britain, Japan sent SDF
troops to Iraq and the Indian Ocean in the hope of bringing the
Japan-US alliance closer to the US-UK alliance.
If Ozawa continues his move to scrap the antiterrorism law, it would
end up dragging Japan away from the United States, halting the trend
since the Koizumi administration. In Ozawa's term, that would be
replacing the Japan-US alliance with the United Nations' seal of
approval as Japan's behavioral baseline.
As a matter of course, the US-UK alliance has both advantages and
A British diplomatic official explained:
"Britain has benefited from its solid alliance with the United
States in so many ways. At the same time, because Britain does not
openly lash out at the United States, it has a risk of being
criticized as 'blindly following the United States.'"
Achieving what Ozawa calls "UN-centered diplomacy" seems difficult.
As was exposed through the Iraq war, there is a limit to the ability
of the United Nations, the international body representing
diversified national interests.
If Ozawa is serious about achieving a Japan-US relationship based on
equality and a UN-centered diplomacy, he must realize that would
require Japan to be able to defend its national interests
independently, even when it is exposed to a serious threat. Japan
would be pressed not only to enhance its diplomatic capability but
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also to fundamentally review its defense system, as well.
There was concern in Washington that a meeting between Ozawa and US
Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer would be counterproductive.
Despite that, the US envoy met Ozawa on August 8 with the aim of
feeling out the opposition leader's view on the Japan-US alliance,
in addition to asking for his support for the law's extension.
The international environment surrounding Japan is hazy. China is
rising and the future course of Russia led by President Putin
remains murky. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is becoming
complex, as seen in Seoul and Pyongyang's plan to hold a second
South-North Korea summit.
What type of bilateral alliance is most desirable for defending
Japan's national interests? Lawmakers must conduct fruitful debate
without being engulfed in a political battle.
(6) Era of Diet with opposition holding majority in Upper House
(Part 2): Interview with Hirohisa Fujii, former DPJ deputy
president; Party employs no uncanny scheme
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 10, 2007
Hirohisa Fujii: Fujii, since he left the LDP, has acted together
with Ichiro Ozawa. Some people say Ozawa is a shrewd man, and others
say he is the prince of disorder. But Fujii defends Ozawa, saying:
"Such reputations stems from his stance of pursuing his own ideals."
He criticizes the lawmakers who departed from Ozawa and joined the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), saying: "They were attracted by the
ruling party's advantageous position and gave up their ideals."
After graduating from the University of Tokyo Law Faculty, he joined
the Finance Ministry. After serving as a secretary to the chief
cabinet secretary and other key posts, he ran as a candidate
supported by the LDP in the House of Councillors election in 1977
and was elected for the first time. Later, he was elected to the
House of Representatives six times. Fujii served as finance minister
in the Hosokawa and Hata cabinets, secretary general of Jiyuto
(Liberal Party), and secretary general of the Democratic Party of
Japan. He is 75 years old.
-- Prime Minister Abe decided to stay in power despite many LDP
members having called for his resignation.
His staying on is based on a considerably aggressive judgment, and
the public have not positively accepted it. The method the prime
minister has employed is high-handed. Former cabinets took the way
of holding thorough discussion and then voting (on bills on the Diet
agenda), based on the view that voting is necessary under the rule
of democracy. But Prime Minister Abe repeatedly forced a vote on a
bill before its faults could be exposed through debate. He is
holding onto power probably because he is strong-armed and has a
narrow field of vision about public views.
-- The Diet has entered an age of the opposition camp holding a
majority in the Upper House.
The DPJ is now a ruling party in the Upper House. We must be a
responsible party.
-- What Diet strategy has the party envisioned in preparation for
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grabbing political power?
We will submit a number of bills (to realize the DPJ's policy
measures) in the Upper House. We will also ask government agencies
to produce records and exercise the full range of administrative
investigation rights to call witnesses to the Diet. We remained
unable to conduct investigations that the LDP did not approve of,
but we will carry out investigations into overseas operations by
Self-Defense Force (SDF) troops, as well as into the pension mess.
The demonstration of the DPJ's ability to hold the reins of
government will lead to its victory in the next Lower House
-- The DPJ won a victory in the Upper House election in 1998. At
that time, the opposition party took a moderate policy stance,
saying, "We will not use financial issues to force the government to
dissolve the Lower House for a snap election." As a result, the
party was unable to seize political power.
We are not allowed to repeat the same mistake. Mr. Ozawa, Jiyuto
president at that time, has also the same feeling. If we are
unsuccessful this time, we will miss the last chance to grab
political power. It is undesirable to take the stance of opposing
whatever the government and the ruling camp submit, but when we have
to have a showdown with them, we must do so.
-- The focus of discussion in the extraordinary Diet session in the
fall will be on whether to extend the Antiterrorism Special Measures
Law authorizing the Maritime Self-Defense to engage in refueling
operations in the Indian Ocean.
(The DPJ) has so far opposed the extension of the law. We will take
the same stance in the upcoming session. The situation has changed
from that of six years ago, when (the fight against terrorism) was
launched based on the United States' individual self-defense right.
The focus is now on the issue of security in Afghanistan.
-- Mr. Ozawa rejected US Ambassador Thomas Schieffer's request to
extend the Antiterrorism Law. Won't the tough stance toward the US
work negatively to your effort to pursue political power?
The US is a big-hearted country. Our opposition to the law probably
will evoke criticism from the press secretary and other officials in
the Bush administration. But some Americans have different views
from their's.
-- Views are sometimes split in the DPJ over the party's response to
the Antiterrorism Law, diplomatic and security policies, as well as
constitutional revision.
We have told junior members to stop their antagonism while taking
into account the some 20 million ballots cast for us in the Upper
House proportional representation segment. We will hammer out a
policy platform by the time of the next Lower House election in
preparation for our party seizing power. We will refer to issues
related to the Constitution and national security in the platform.
If the platform specifies that Japan should abide by the principle
of international cooperation and participate in US peace operations
and that Japan will be allowed to use its self-defense right in a
restrictive way, there will be no conflict of opinion.
-- Do you think Mr. Ozawa, in a drive to grab political power, will
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launch a move to reorganize the political world?
We employ no uncanny scheme. Mr. Ozawa has accepted everyone who
comes to him and has let them go away from him if they want. It
should be the rule of right for a party to aim to seize political
power in the next Lower House election by playing up the ability to
take over the reins of government, instead of reorganizing the
political world.
-- It is unlikely for the Lower House, in which the ruling coalition
holds an overwhelming majority, to be dissolved at an early date,
isn't it?
That might be true from a commonsense viewpoint. In such a case, we
will walk the high road in a calm manner. While making efforts to
submit legislation drafted by House members and increasing local
assembly members, we will do our best to have the voters understand
the DPJ's policies.
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