Cablegate: Inr Assistant Secretary Fort Consults With

Published: Fri 24 Oct 2008 08:37 AM
DE RUEHKO #2980/01 2980837
R 240837Z OCT 08
S E C R E T TOKYO 002980
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2016
Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer for reasons 1.4(b) and (d
1. (S) SUMMARY: During a visit to Tokyo October 7, INR
Assistant Secretary Randall Fort consulted with counterparts
from MOFA's Intelligence and Analysis Service, the Prime
Minister's Cabinet and Intelligence Research Office (CIRO),
the Ministry of Justice's Public Security Information Agency
(PSIA), and with uniformed and civilian officials at the
Ministry of Defense. Discussions focused on Japan's views of
recent events in Georgia, the health of Kim Jong-il and the
stability of North Korea, the state of the Chinese economy
and society, Pakistan, and cyber security. The Director of
CIRO also discussed his efforts to develop the capabilities
of the Japanese intelligence community. A/S Fort was
accompanied by INR analysts John Merrill and Gregory Knight,
who provided briefings on North Korea and China. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Director General Jiro Kodera, A/S Fort's direct
counterpart, shared Japan's perspectives on the following
3. (C) Japan believes that, from Russia's standpoint, recent
military operations against Georgia were a success, achieving
three of four strategic objectives Moscow had set: retaining
influence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia; destroying Georgia's
military; and damaging Georgia's economy in order to create
internal instability. Its fourth objective, regime change,
was not realized. Kodera termed Georgia's experience as
""disastrous"" due largely to serious miscalculations made by
President Saakashvili concerning Russia's intent to resist
Georgian attempts to assert territorial claims and the West's
willingness to come to Georgia's aid. As a consequence,
Georgia will now find it almost impossible to regain control
of the two breakaway regions or to move forward on accession
to the EU and NATO. However, Kodera believes the
consequences for Russia could prove equally dire, both in
terms of soured relations with the West and being tainted
with a ""bad guy"" image that will be difficult to shake.
4. (C) Looking ahead, Kodera predicted that Russia would be
ready to move back into any of its former territories if it
felt there were a chance of success. The key for the West,
he said, is to avoid creating openings for Moscow by giving
the impression that it lacks concern. Russia is realistic,
he believes, and will not move into former territories if it
sees that the cost, particularly in terms of public backlash
in the West, is too high. Further, he thinks that reluctance
to incur further international criticism will prevent Russia
from moving on Ukraine.
5. (C) In Japan's view, the recent experience in Georgia
shows that Prime Minister Putin is clearly in charge. Kodera
described Putin as more assertive, aggressive and emotional
than President Medvedev, who he characterized as more
reserved. Putin remains essentially expansionist with regard
to the former Soviet republics and is willing to sacrifice
the well-being of the Russian people to regain ""lost""
territory, Kodera observed, adding that Russians tend to be
less assertive towards their neighbors when they perceive
their international prestige to be at stake. He opined that
Russia's ""DNA"" has yet to change from one that focuses on an
authoritarian, security-oriented government preoccupied with
outdated notions of spheres of influence.
6. (C) With regard to Pakistan, Kodera said that his main
focus continues to be on terrorism. He blamed the country's
ingrained anti-Americanism and a worsening economic situation
for the lack of progress in rooting out Al-Qaida and the
Taliban from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
He wondered whether the two organizations weren't actually
becoming better organized and supported, pointing to the
recent attack on the Islamabad Marriott Hotel. He agreed
with A/S Fort's assessment of the situation and said that
there is a need for the Pakistanis to shift away from the
political system and structure that has historically
prevailed in the tribal areas.
North Korea
7. (C) Japan's concerns about North Korea, Kodera said,
relate mostly to Kim Jong-il's health and a range of
succession issues - including the potential for a dynastic
succession versus some form of temporary collective
leadership, sources of legitimacy for a new leadership, and
China's preferences in the matter including how strongly it
intends to press them. Kodera and his colleagues were very
interested in U.S. views on the possibility that Chang
Song-taek would play a leading role in a future government
and whether he might lead an effort to modernize the country
as a North Korean version of Deng Xiaoping. INR analyst John
Merrill briefed Kodera on our views of the North Korean
leadership situation and on Kim Jong-il's leadership style.
A/S Fort cautioned that it is difficult to speculate on what
might come to pass, given the dearth of information available
to analysts.
8. (C) Kodera agreed that China will play little role in the
succession process, although there is clearly a split within
the North Korean military between generals who fought
together with China and those who take a more nationalistic
view. Kodera does not think China will risk a blow to its
international prestige -- particularly within the Non-Aligned
Movement -- by attempting to intervene in a North Korean
succession. If it were to do so, it would only be under cover
of some form of ""international cooperation."" China repeatedly
assures Japan, said Kodera, that there will be a smooth
transition but it is difficult to tell if this is merely
self-serving talk. China could send troops to stabilize
North Korea if faced with chaos on its border but would
likely couch the move as a form of humanitarian assistance to
deflect accusations of meddling or of harboring territorial
9. (C) Kodera admitted to having few insights on Kim's
current condition but said he thought he might be recovering
and would soon return to ""invitational diplomacy"" and restart
the Six-Party Process. He lamented that Japan's own ""quiet
negotiations"" with Pyongyang were not going well at all and
hoped that Kim would recover enough to direct a promised
re-investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens abducted
by the DPRK. Japanese economic assistance provides a strong
incentive to the DPRK to fulfill its pledge on abductions,
but Japan is also demanding simultaneous resolution of the
nuclear and missile issues, Suzuki noted. Sequencing is very
important, Kodera observed. Japan is ready to extend
assistance upon denuclearization, but may not be able to meet
DPRK expectations. Looking beyond denuclearization,
negotiations over sales of missile technology could be
another stumbling block, he noted, since it is one of the
only means for North Korea to secure hard currency. Japan is
unlikely to change its policy on humanitarian assistance to
the DPRK, even in the event of a serious famine, but might
participate in a multilateral approach through one of the
many international organizations it helps support, such as
UNICEF or UNDP. Aid to North Korea remains an extremely
sensitive issue in Japan, Kodera noted, and hardliners in the
Diet had become more prominent since the end of the Koizumi
Administration in 2006.
10. (S) CIRO Director Hideshi Mitani briefed A/S Fort on
progress being made within the Japanese intelligence
community and his major priorities for the future. Mitani,
who has been in his position for roughly two and a half
years, was recently reappointed and is now serving as
Director under his third prime minister. He said that he is
very proud of Japan's new Community Intelligence Officer
(CIO) program, which is modeled after our National
Intelligence Officer system. Japan has five CIOs and they
have recently begun to issue national intelligence estimates
(NIEs). So far, Mitani is quite pleased that despite the
small size of his operation, the quality of the analysis
provided is quite high. He is happy that more of his staff
is now coming from MOFA, but pointed out that his oldest and
most experienced CIO is from the private sector.
11. (S) Mitani also reviewed the makeup of the Joint
Intelligence Committee (JIC). The JIC is comprised of
representatives from CIRO, MOFA, the Ministry of Defense, the
National Police Agency (NPA), and the Ministry of Justice's
Public Security Intelligence Agency (PSIA) -- who make up the
""core JIC"" -- and, more recently, representatives of the
Customs Service, the Coast Guard, the Finance Agency, and the
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which is
interested in gathering intelligence to prevent the theft of
Japanese trade secrets. Taken together, he referred to the
whole group as the ""expanded JIC."" One role the JIC plays is
to approve all NIEs before they are distributed.
12. (S) With regard to ongoing priorities, Mitani said his
first one is to assure the passage of legislation to protect
national security information. The fate of this bill, he
explained, depends on the outcome of domestic politics which,
at this point is difficult to predict. His second priority
is the establishment of a human intelligence collection
capability. The decision has been made to go very slowly
with this process as the Japanese realize that they lack
knowledge, experience, and assets/officers. A training
process for new personnel will be started soon. A/S Fort
agreed that it is prudent to go slowly and urged that a few,
highly capable people be selected at first, rather than
rushing things.
13. (S) A/S Fort urged Mitani to think about how Japan might
be able to cooperate with us in the field of cyber security.
Mitani replied that he has discussed this with Ambassador
Schieffer and, as a result, his Information Technology Center
will soon begin to collaborate with the National Security
Agency. He noted that while Japan has the knowledge and
experience to play a major role in this field, the challenge
is to educate the public and politicians about why this is
14. (S) Mitani was interested in A/S Fort's views on North
Korea and the health of Kim Jong-il. He said the Japanese
are skeptical about North Korean press reports that Kim is
well, saying that a recent press release about Kim watching a
soccer match says just that, that he ""watched"" the match,
without specifically saying that he was there in person.
Japan believes Kim is well enough to make decisions but is in
the dark about how he is passing them along for
implementation. Mitani also said the Japanese had closely
studied the book by ""Mr. Fujimoto,"" Kim's former Japanese
sushi chef, which they think holds many keys to understanding
Kim's behavior.
15. (C) Director General Toshio Yanagi of the Ministry of
Justice's Public Security Information Agency (PSIA) told A/S
Fort that his major areas of focus are on China and North
Korea, as well as on collecting intelligence information to
prevent terrorist attacks, with a major focus on the
Southeast Asia region. The major question with regard to
China, now that the Olympics are over, is the country's
evolving social and economic conditions. PSIA believes that
widening income gaps, problems with agricultural production,
and issues of corruption are having serious impacts on social
and economic conditions and bear close watching. Of the
three, corruption may be the main destabilizing factor, said
Yanagi. Corruption plays a major role in ongoing power
struggles and has also led to a situation where prominent
state-owned companies have become family businesses packed
with relatives of officials with sway. A further major
corruption scenario involves the taking of private land by
officials who then sell it to developers. These actions are
serving to discredit the government and may lead to unrest.
Another destabilizing factor is the immigration into the
cities by rural farmers who are seeking better lives.
16. (C) Another major issue that could potentially create
rifts between the people and the government in China is
pollution, according to Yanagi. He said that the Chinese are
anxious to receive Japanese technology for both pollution
clean-up and for clean industry. Beijing is seeking Japanese
ODA and private investment, but Japanese businesses are wary
of the Chinese, fearing that they will steal technology and
become rivals of the Japanese firms who provided it in the
first place. So despite Chinese interest in forging closer
relations with Japan, particularly in the steel, iron, and
auto manufacturing sectors, there is very little technology
transfer taking place.
17. (C) With regard to North Korea, PSIA is closely watching
this year's harvest. Japan does not believe the situation is
as dire as it was in the 1990's, although they do not have
enough information to formulate a solid opinion. Yanagi said
he thinks there are still over 300 food markets in operation,
but that attempts to impose firm regulations on them are
creating friction with the people. PSIA, said Yanagi, also
closely watches the volume of exports from China to North
Korea for clues to understanding the situation in the North.
The Japanese believe the North Korean economy is crippled by
a lack of energy resources and crumbling, outdated
18. (C) PSIA does not believe North Korea will abandon its
nuclear capabilities, said Yanagi. Tokyo views that Kim
Jong-il sees nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, a card
on the diplomatic table, and as a means to retain the support
of his people. He will not give these up. Furthermore,
while China also claims it would like to see a nuclear-free
Korean peninsula, it cannot take actions that will
potentially destabilize North Korea. Finally, neither the
North or China trusts each other, he concluded.
19. (C) A/S Fort also visited the Ministry of Defense where
he met separately with Defense Intelligence Headquarters
Director Lt.Gen. Hokazono and Defense Policy Bureau Chief
Takamizawa. Hokazono commented on Taiwan-China relations,
which he noted appear to be stable at this time. He believes
this is particularly impressive in light of the many
challenges of the past year, including unrest in Tibet, the
earthquake in Sichuan, and final preparations for the
Olympics. However, Japan watches this relationship very
closely and is concerned that it could change at any time.
With regard to North Korea, Hokazono echoed other officials
in expressing concern for the health of Kim Jong-il and any
potential instability this might cause, particularly due to
the fact that the North has missile and nuclear capabilities.
He was very grateful for information shared by the U.S. on
North Korea and on other issues as well.
20. (C) Takamizawa, like Kodera, discussed Russia and
Georgia, saying that the recent conflict raises serious
questions about Russia's potential for misconduct in the
future, so much so that some are debating whether Japan needs
to reevaluate force structure plans. A/S Fort also discussed
with Takamizawa the role Japan might consider playing in
protecting against cyberspace attacks.
21. (C) This cable was cleared by Assistant Secretary Fort.
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