Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/13/07-2

Published: Mon 13 Aug 2007 08:20 AM
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(12) In response to request by representatives of Liaison
Association of Prefectural Governors for a review of the SOFA, US
ambassador says: "No problem with our measures dealing with the
(13) Ambassador, Aso discuss an extension of Antiterrorism Law
(14) Antiterrorism committee members to visit SDF units engaged in
operations in Middle East
(15) DPJ discusses an extension of Antiterrorism Law
(16) Foreign minister's itinerary for round of visits to Middle
East, Latin America announced
(17) Maher questions police investigation into helo crash
(18) The US' trump card in nuclear negotiations: Taking North Korea
off the list of state sponsors of terrorism
(19) Collective self-defense: Government gives up on plan to
reinterpret the Constitution at fall Diet session
(20) Expert panel on collective self-defense proposes adopting
international standards on use of force while carrying out PKO
(21) Koike vs. Moriya on replacing the vice defense minister
(22) Jiji poll: 27% want to see grand coalition between LDP and DPJ;
12% want LDP-New Komeito coalition to continue
(12) In response to request by representatives of Liaison
Association of Prefectural Governors for a review of the SOFA, US
ambassador says: "No problem with our measures dealing with the
RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 5) (Full)
August 11, 2007
Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa and Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima,
chair and vice chair respectively of the Liaison Association of
Prefectural Governors, called on United States Ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer at the US Embassy in Tokyo's Minato Ward on the
afternoon on Aug. 10. They asked for a review of the Japan-US Status
of Forces Agreement (SOFA), particularly these three points: (1)
observation of domestic laws, including environmental laws and
ordinances, and thorough implementation of environmental measures;
(2) through implementation of safety measures to prevent incidents
and accidents; and (3) establishment of a system to respect the
wishes of local communities. According to Matsuzawa, Ambassador
Schieffer avoided direct mention of a review of SOFA, only saying,
"We have put into practice our environmental policy, fully conscious
of the environment, so no problems exist." Schieffer thus indicated
that there was no problem about the US Forces Japan's (USFJ)
environmental measures.
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In the meeting, Matsuzawa suggested: "If it is difficult to review
(the SOFA) immediately, how about forming a special agreement
focusing on the environment issue?" Schieffer refrained from
directly answering him, saying only this: "I can't say anything at
present because I have yet to fully examine the details of SOFA."
Gov. Nakaima said: "(The public) is becoming increasingly conscious
of the environment. A number of problems have occurred. We hope to
see (the US side) firmly deal with them."
After making the request to the US side, Gov. Matsuzawa told
reporters: "We've made a request every year, but the governments of
Japan and the US have paid no attention to us. I think one idea (to
deal with this situation) is to sign a special agreement focusing on
the environment problem, aside from SOFA. I want to further study
this idea along with the Okinawan governor."
(13) Ambassador, Aso discuss an extension of Antiterrorism Law
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 11, 2007
Foreign Minister Aso met with United States Ambassador to Japan
Schieffer yesterday to discuss an extension of the Antiterrorism
Special Measures Law. Aso said: "This will be the most controversial
issue in the next Diet session. The government will make utmost
efforts to extend the law." Schieffer stated: "Japan's (Self-Defense
Force's) continued refueling operations in the Indian Ocean (by
extending the Antiterrorism Law) is important. The US would like to
provide necessary information on the war so that persons concerned
can understand the importance of the extension of the law."
(14) Antiterrorism committee members to visit SDF units engaged in
operations in Middle East
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 11, 2007
Members of the House of Representatives' Antiterrorism Special
Committee, chaired by Yasukazu Hamada, from both the ruling and
opposition parties will visit Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates on
Aug. 21-24. They aim to visit the unit of the Maritime Self-Defense
Force engaged in refueling naval ships from the United States,
Britain, and other countries based on the Antiterrorism Special
Measures Law, which expires Nov. 1, and the unit of the Air
Self-Defense Force that has continued airlift assistance in Iraq.
(15) DPJ discusses an extension of Antiterrorism Law
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 11, 2007
In a meeting yesterday of its foreign and defense sections, the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) started discussing an extension of
the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which is to expire on Nov.
1. Officials from the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry
explained the current state of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's
refueling operations based on the said law. But many DPJ members
voiced dissatisfaction calling the ministries to disclose more
detailed information. House of Councillors member Hideo Watanabe
said: "The explanations by the government offices leave a lot to be
desired. We cannot approve the extension of the law, if nothing is
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done." Policy Research Council Vice Chairman Akihisa Nagashima
argued: "The government should disclose more detailed information,
such as how much oil has been supplied."
(16) Foreign minister's itinerary for round of visits to Middle
East, Latin America announced
YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
August 11, 2007
The Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that Foreign Minister Aso
will visit Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territory, Mexico, and
Brazil. He will leave Japan tomorrow and return to Japan on Aug. 24.
He was also scheduled to visit France, but he will be returning home
one day earlier by cancelling the trip to France, eyeing the planned
reorganization of the lineup of the cabinet and Liberal Democratic
Party executive members slated for the 27th.
(17) Maher questions police investigation into helo crash
RYUKYU SHIMPO (Page 1) (Abridged)
August 10, 2007
On Aug. 13 three years ago, a US military helicopter based at the US
Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station crashed on the campus of Okinawa
International University. Ahead of the accident's third anniversary,
US Consul General Okinawa Kevin Maher responded yesterday to a
Ryukyu Shimpo interview. The US military has not disclosed the names
of four maintenance service crewmembers who were in charge of the
crashed helicopter. Okinawa prefectural police have therefore sent
papers to prosecutors on the four with their names unknown. "They
should know the United States has jurisdiction in the case of an
accident that took place on duty (under the Japan-US Status of
Forces Agreement or SOFA for short)," Maher said in the interview.
The consul general added: "We investigated this case, and now we
know what caused the accident. Even so, they (local police) ask the
names of maintenance service crewmembers. I wonder what they want to
investigate. It's more important to make efforts to prevent
accidents." With this, he underscored efforts for training to cope
with aircraft accidents.
In the wake of the helicopter crash, the Japanese and US governments
have been holding discussions to review the current perimeter
traffic pattern of Futenma-based choppers. In this regard, Maher
said the Futenma base has now introduced some systems to improve
safety. "But," he added, "there will be no big change (in the
current flight routes of Futenma-based aircraft)."
Meanwhile, the Defense Facilities Administration Agency's Naha
bureau presented Okinawa Prefecture on Aug. 7 with a procedural plan
to conduct an environmental impact assessment for the planned
relocation of Futenma airfield's functions to a coastal area of Camp
Schwab in the prefecture's northern coastal city of Nago. "It's also
my understanding that they have now entered into formal procedures
for an assessment," Maher said.
The Okinawa prefectural government has been calling for the Japanese
government to lay down a Futenma alternative at a site in waters off
the coast of Nago City's Henoko district. In addition, the Okinawa
prefectural government has been demanding that Futenma airfield be
effectively closed within three years. As it stands, Okinawa has yet
to accept the environmental assessment plan. "We don't want the
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current state to continue," Maher said. He then noted that the
Japanese government conducted a preliminary survey in waters off the
coast of Henoko so that the relocation plan will not fall behind
schedule. "If the work is likely to be delayed, the realignment plan
will be affected in its entirety," he said. With this, he issued a
warning to Okinawa Prefecture against its stance.
(18) The US' trump card in nuclear negotiations: Taking North Korea
off the list of state sponsors of terrorism
YOMIURI (Page 7) (Full)
August 11, 2007
At a lecture on August 9 by former Special Envoy to North Korea
Charles "Jack" Pritchard, it became clear that the US, in order to
encourage North Korea to denuclearize, is attempting to use the
removal of North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism
as a trump card in negotiations, without any consideration given to
Japan's abduction issue. While the "next step" of the six-party
talks, the shutdown of DPRK nuclear facilities, has been agreed on,
the details must now be fleshed out. At this stage, the reappearance
of the different stances of the US and Japan towards the abduction
issue seem unavoidable.
In the summer of 2003, the US added the Japanese abduction issue as
a reason for North Korea's designation as a state sponsor of
terrorism. According to the Pritchard, with the "special
relationship" between then Prime Minister Koizumi and President Bush
in the background, Japan was able to persuade and "successfully win
a concession" from the US. Pritchard said that the Clinton
administration had rejected Japan's request.
Pritchard, who served as special envoy until August 2003 and
participated in US-DPRK negotiations, emphasized: "North Korea fully
understands why it was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism,
how those reasons have changed, and how to get the designation
lifted." Towards the end of the Clinton administration, the US and
North Korea were moving forward with talks about removing the
After North Korea conducted a nuclear test in October 2006, US-DPRK
talks became an important concern for the Bush administration, and
the lifting of North Korea's designation as a state sponsor of
terrorism once again became a trump card for the US government.
For the US, the Japanese abduction issue is ultimately a Japan-DPRK
bilateral issue and therefore, a secondary issue. For North Korea,
getting its name off the list of state sponsors of terrorism would
open up access to international financial institutions, such as
banks, and allow it to acquire loans.
Thus, if the US removes North Korea from its list of state sponsors
of terrorism, North Korea will get substantial rewards for its
According to Pritchard, the US, in response to Japan's discontent
over the start of the process to remove the DPRK from the list of
state sponsors of terrorism, stressed that the joint statement
issued during six-party talks in February says: "One working group's
progress must not affect the progress of another working group."
Furthermore, Pritchard said that the US asserted that even if the
working group dealing with the normalization of relations between
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Japan and North Korea stalls over the abduction issue, the US and
North Korea can still work towards normalizing relations.
The biggest reason that the US still officially says that "it will
take a long time before (North Korea) is removed from the list of
state sponsors of terrorism" is because President Bush has a
friendly personal relationship with former premier Koizumi and the
current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As the foundation beneath the Abe
administration wavers, it appears that in the future, we will be
entering a phase where agreement between Japan and the US is even
more difficult to achieve.
Pritchard is currently the president of the Korea Economic Institute
(KEI). He occasionally visits North Korea with US nuclear
specialists and officials involved with talks. When he visited North
Korea in October 2006, he met with Li Gun, deputy director general
of the American Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Ministry, among
(19) Collective self-defense: Government gives up on plan to
reinterpret the Constitution at fall Diet session
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
August 11, 2007
The government decided on Aug. 10 to give up on a plan to
reinterpret the Constitution during the extraordinary Diet session
that starts in September. The purpose of the
constitutional-reinterpretation exercise is to allow Japan to
exercise at least part of the right of self-collective defense. The
government for the time will not start drafting legislation related
to constitutional reinterpretation. Due to the present political
situation of the opposition camp having traded places with the
ruling bloc in the House of Councillors through the recent election,
the government has determined that it would be difficult now to
continue with the constitutional-reinterpretation effort.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his enthusiasm about
changing the interpretation of the Constitution since last September
when he assumed office. He established in April a blue-ribbon panel,
chaired by Shunji Yanai, charged with discussing the legal
foundation for national security, The group has discussed four
scenarios, including whether a Self-Defense Force vessel can strike
back when a warship from the US alongside it is attacked on the high
In a meeting on the evening of Aug. 10, the panel discussed whether
the right of the use of weapons by SDF personnel dispatched overseas
to assist UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) and other missions should
be expanded so that they would be able to guard other countries
units. Abe stressed: "Japan neither can win other countries'
confidence nor carry out effective operations unless it closely
cooperates with other countries' personnel." The panel reached an
agreement with an eye on reviewing the possibility of constitutional
Based on such a discussion, the panel plans to submit to the
government in the fall a final report calling for allowing the SDF
to exercise the right of collective defense. In consideration of the
New Komeito, which has now been more cautious about constitutional
reinterpretation since the Upper House election, the government
intends not to change the interpretation immediately. With the
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ruling and opposition camps in the Upper House having traded places,
revising the SDF Law and the PKO Cooperation Law has now become
(20) Expert panel on collective self-defense proposes adopting
international standards on use of force while carrying out PKO
YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 11, 2007
The government's "Council for discussing ways to rebuild the legal
framework for national security" held its fourth meeting at the
Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei) yesterday. The experts
panel, chaired by former Ambassador to the US Junji Yanai, is tasked
with studying specific cases concerning the use of the right to
collective self-defense. The focus of discussion in the meeting was
on the pros and cons of whether the Self-Defense Force (SDF) can
counterattack when other countries' troops are attacked while on UN
peacekeeping operations with Japan. Many participants suggested that
the government should allow SDF troops to go to the aid of their
allies by changing the standards on the use of armed force to
conform them to those of the United Nations for its peacekeeping
operations (PKO).
Under the current UN PKO Cooperation Law and the Iraq Humanitarian
Reconstruction Support Special Measures Law, SDF personnel are
banned from using weapons in any other cases than self-defense and
emergency evacuation. The government's interpretation does not allow
SDF troops to go to help other countries' troops, citing the reason
that such operations might come under the category of the use of
force overseas, which is prohibited under the Constitution.
In the meeting, the members shared the view that the government
should approve of SDF's allies-rescue activities, regarding them as
part of collective security aimed to restore peace by UN members in
cooperation, instead of viewing them as an issue linked to
collective self-defense. A number of members stressed the need for
Japan to ease its weapon-use standards. One member said: "It is a
lack of common sense for troops to do nothing when other countries'
troops are attacked while on the same mission with Japan;" and
another member remarked: "It should be a basic stance to act in
accordance with international rules."
The panel intends to recommend in its report due out in November
that the government should change its interpretation of the
Constitution, which forbids the nation from exercising the right to
collective self-defense. It remains uncertain, though, whether Prime
Minister Abe, whose political standing is weak due to his party's
crushing defeat in the July Upper House election, will be able to
translate such recommendations into action.
The prime minister told reporters at the Kantei last night: "I
understand that I will face more difficulties in promoting my
policies, but I decided to stay in power all the more because I need
to push ahead with the policies."
(21) Koike vs. Moriya on replacing the vice defense minister
SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
August 11, 2007
A war of nerves that extends to the government and Liberal
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Democratic Party (LDP) has developed between Defense Minister Yuriko
Koike and Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya over Koike's
decision to have Moriya retire in September. Having been in his post
over four years, Moriya, who had been saying, "I will decide when I
should retire," feels that his reputation has been besmirched, and
he is moving now to block the appointment of a former senior police
official picked by Koike as his successor.
On the morning of Aug. 7, Moriya, who first heard of the way he
would be treated from a newspaper report, stormed into Koike's
office to protest: "There are supposed to be consultations first
about personnel changes. But this was not the case at all." But
Koike coolly replied, "It is as the newspaper stated."
Since the passage of the bill to extend the Anti-terrorism Special
Measures Law will be the hottest item of the Diet agenda during the
extraordinary session this fall, Moriya has been telling everyone,
"I will be busy in the fall." He has extensive channels of
communication to both the ruling and opposition camps, and in the
view of one government source, "He is more like a politician type
than a bureaucrat." He has absolute confidence in being able to
operate in political circles. When Koizumi was prime minister,
Moriya was even able to dig into territory of Koizumi's private
secretary, Kaoru Iijima, and last year in June, when Koizumi visited
the US, Moriya accompanied him, which is unusual for an
administrative defense minister.
Moriya, since his appointment in Aug. 2003, has a record
accomplishments that have led to strengthening the ministry's
authority, such as the dispatch of SDF troops to Iraq, the
realignment of US forces in Japan, and the elevation of the Defense
Agency to a ministry. A senior ministry official confided, "If it
were not for the presence of Mr. Moriya, we would still have a
third-rate agency."
However, it has been pointed out that he built a long-term
administration by demoting those who did not agree with his views.
As a result, he created a situation in which, according to a former
Defense Agency chief, "there is no talented official suitable to be
vice minister down to the level of Kohei Masuda, who is four years
junior to Moriya (who entered the agency in 1971)."
Defense officials could always tell by looking at the color of
Moriya's face whether another disgraceful matter, such as the
leaking of classified information, had occurred. Regarding Moriya
himself, gossip would not go away that he has connections with
defense contractors. There were growing calls in the ministry for
him to retire soon.
Moriya probably has no intentions of clinging on to his position,
but the name mentioned for his successor is Chief of the Secretariat
Tetsuya Nishikawa, who hails from the National Police Agency
(entered that agency in 1972). For Moriya, who had expected someone
hailing from the Defense Ministry, that person will be hard to
accept. He is developing a strategy to roll back the appointment.
Already criticism toward Koike has broken out in the government and
ruling camp for her having departed to the United States without
having fully set the groundwork ahead of time.
The one who was kept completely out of the loop in this whole
personnel affair was Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who
could not hide his displeasure about it when he told an aide, "The
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final decision will be made by a meeting of the cabinet
secretariat." Former LDP Vice President Taku Yamasaki stated on Aug.
9: "The leak about the change in vice minister came before the trip
to the US, but it could not have been done without the approval of
the prime minister."
Koike will begin to coordinate after she returns from the US on Aug.
11, but this uproar has suddenly changed the mood of welcome inside
the ministry toward the first female defense minister. One senior
ministry official spit out these words: "Koike aimed at completely
cleaning out Moriya's imprint with a coup d'etat triggered by
Nishikawa. I absolutely don't want Nishikawa to become vice
(22) Jiji poll: 27% want to see grand coalition between LDP and DPJ;
12% want LDP-New Komeito coalition to continue
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
August 13, 2007
According to an opinion poll conducted by Jiji Press Aug. 3 - 5, the
largest number, or 27% , cited a coalition between the Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or
Minshuto) as a desirable framework for administration. The result
apparently reflects the concern about the political situation
destabilizing due to the twist caused by the trading of places
between the ruling LDP and the DPJ in the Upper House following the
recent election.
Those who replied that it is desirable for the LDP and the New
Komeito to continue the present coalition government reached stood
at 11.9% . If this number is combined with 10.8% , who replied that
a single-party administration by the LDP is desirable, 22.7% of
respondents hoped for an LDP-led administration.
In the meantime, 22.8% replied that an administration led by the DPJ
is desirable. The breakdown comes down to a DPJ-led single-party
administration desired by 11.0% , a non-LDP coalition government
excluding the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) favored by 6.6% , and
an administration including the JCP, supported by 5.2% .
To the question of whom they would like to be LDP president, 17.1% ,
or the largest number, cited former Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi, followed by Foreign Minister Taro Aso at 14.9% and former
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda at 8.3% . The number of
respondents who cited incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fourth
at 7.4% .
The survey targeted 2,000 men and women based on individual
interviews. The rate of valid replies came to 67.3% .
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