Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 11/16/09

Published: Mon 16 Nov 2009 11:26 PM
DE RUEHKO #2643/01 3202326
P 162326Z NOV 09
E.O. 12958: N/A
(1) In Singapore speech PM Hatoyama declares Asia-focused foreign
policy based on Japan-U.S. alliance (Yomiuri)
(2) Editorial: Obama speech: Japan-U.S. axis is the "foundation of
stability" (Sankei)
(3) Editorial: Obama speech - U.S.'s return to Asia welcomed (Asahi)
(4) Editorial: U.S. President Obama's speech in Tokyo: We should
view his Asia policy as weighty request (Mainichi)
(5) Great variety of guests invited to Obama's speech on November 14
(6) Former Foreign Ministry bureau chief says cost to remove nuclear
weapons for reversion of Okinawa was set groundlessly (Asahi)
(1) In Singapore speech PM Hatoyama declares Asia-focused foreign
policy based on Japan-U.S. alliance
YOMIURI (Top play) (Full)
November 16, 2009
Mieko Kawashima in Singapore
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made a speech in English on Asian
policy at a hotel in Singapore in the afternoon of Nov. 15. He
expounded on the Hatoyama administration's basic policy of focusing
on Asia and indicated that the concept of an East Asian Community,
which he has long been advocating, will be the pillar of this
policy. With regard to relations between Asia and the United States,
he stressed that "the presence of the United States plays an
important role."
The Prime Minister cited the economy, global warming prevention,
disaster prevention, public health, and anti-piracy as some of the
areas for possible cooperation in Asia. In the economic field, he
said that negotiations for economic partnership agreements (EPA)
with South Korea, India, and Australia will be accelerated. As to
the membership of the East Asian community, he said "I would like to
see an active debate on the ideal framework of the community,"
indicating his desire to discuss this with other countries.
With regard to the U.S., Hatoyama pointed out that "U.S. presence
plays an important role for peace and prosperity in Asia." He
explained that the Japan-U.S. summit on Nov. 13 agreed on further
deepening the bilateral alliance and stressed that "the Japan-U.S.
alliance continues to be the linchpin of Japan's foreign policy."
As part of efforts to support disaster relief and such other
activities, he announced the start of a "yuai (fraternity) boat"
project next year, using Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to
support medical and other activities of civilians and NGOs.
Responding to a question from the audience after the speech,
Hatoyama said: "We are not thinking of going into conflict areas to
conduct activities. This will require legal procedures." He
indicated that for the time being, the project will be limited to
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activities such as medical services in the aftermath of natural
With regard to global warming, he called for developing countries to
use Japanese companies' energy-saving technologies and to set
concrete targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
(2) Editorial: Obama speech: Japan-U.S. axis is the "foundation of
SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 15, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama made his first comprehensive speech on
policy toward Asia during his visit to Japan. He expressed his
determination for the United States to play a leading role in Asia
as a "Pacific nation" based on its "enduring alliance" with Japan.
We welcome this as an indication of the U.S.'s determination to
strengthen its involvement with Asia and tackle the issues of
China's rise, North Korea, Myanmar (Burma), and so forth through the
alliance. We also welcome his statement on the abduction of Japanese
nationals that "there can be no normalization of (North Korea's)
relations with the neighboring countries without resolving the
abduction issue." Japan should respond positively to the Obama
administration's efforts on Asian diplomacy and further reinforce
unity in the bilateral alliance.
Mr. Obama said that he is the "first Pacific president" since he was
born in Hawaii and grew up in Indonesia. This was out of his
awareness of concerns both at home and abroad about the "decline in
U.S. presence and influence" in Asia.
There is also growing concern in Southeast Asia about the rapid
expansion of China's influence. The President spoke of strengthening
U.S. involvement in Asia and giving importance to close cooperation
with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and other countries in the
region. He stressed once again that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the
"foundation of stability in Asia."
While making efforts toward realizing a "world without nuclear
weapons," the President also promised a strong and effective nuclear
umbrella (extended deterrence) for Japan and South Korea. On the
North Korea issue, he said that "we will not be intimidated by
threats" and called for the implementation of the UN resolutions and
the Six-Party Talks agreements and for full and verifiable
denuclearization. He also demanded a full accounting of the
abduction issue from the DPRK. This is a most reasonable approach.
On the military junta in Myanmar, the President said that the U.S.
is communicating directly with the leadership but warned that the
"unconditional release of political prisoners is essential."
However, there is also cause for concern about U.S. policy toward
China. Discussing relations between Japan, the U.S., and other
countries on the one hand and China on the other, the President
said: "We do not seek to contain China, nor does U.S.-China
cooperation signify a weakening of our bilateral alliances," but he
did not go into a discussion of the rapid expansion of China's
military power and its lack of transparency. While pointing out the
need for human rights and freedom, he did not touch on the Tibet
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It goes without saying that China should play a responsible role in
such issues as the economy, the environment, and North Korea, but
human rights and the military and security aspects should not be
It is the role of Japan as an ally to fill in such gaps. Yet, the
Yukio Hatoyama administration has aroused concerns about the
exclusion of the United States with his concept of an East Asian
community. It is looking at Asian diplomacy from a completely
different vector. We reiterate that Prime Minister Hatoyama should
realize that what is needed for Asia and the Pacific is leadership
by the Japan-U.S. axis.
(3) Editorial: Obama speech - U.S.'s return to Asia welcomed
ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
November 15, 2009
The United States has returned to Asia - that is what we felt when
we listened to U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Tokyo.
We were surprised that President Obama described himself as
America's first Pacific President. The expression seems to have
pointed to the fact that he grew up in such places as Indonesia and
Hawaii. At the same time, it can be taken as an indication of the
United States' strong determination to become deeply involved in the
Asia Pacific region.
Following Japan, the President will visit China and South Korea
after holding a meeting with leaders of the 10-member Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the sidelines of an annual summit
of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Singapore.
The Tokyo speech was intended to play up the new U.S.
administration's basic stance during (President Obama's) first Asian
It was an important speech comparable to the one he delivered in
April in Prague in which he outlined a vision of a nuclear-free
world and the one he made in June in Cairo in which he urged the
Islamic world to make efforts toward dialogue and reconciliation.
This time around, the message was also clear: The United States as a
Pacific nation wants to engage with discussions shaping the future
of the region and to join an appropriate forum - specifically, it
wants to engage more formally with the East Asia Summit composed of
ASEAN and six countries, including Japan, China, South Korea, and
During the era of President Clinton, the United States showed the
stance of increasing its involvement in the Asia Pacific region, but
during the Bush administration that followed, the main focus of the
country's foreign policy shifted to the "war on terror," rapidly
diminishing its presence in Asia as a result. The view is gaining
ground in Asia that the unipolar dominance of the United States is
ending due to the war in Iraq, the financial crisis, and other
The United States apparently wants to reverse such a trend. It is
certain that such countries as China and India will grow into powers
that drive the global economy of the 21st century. The view that the
future of the U.S. economy hinges on this region is convincing.
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The United States still holds a predominant position in terms of
politics and security, and expectations are high for Washington as a
proponent of peace and democracy.
The United States' deep involvement in Asia is something Japan
should welcome. For the stability and prosperity of the region, it
is essential for the United States to build cooperative relations
with China not only in the economy but also in other areas,
including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the
battle against global warming. Asian countries are also expected to
enjoy various benefits from (cooperative relations between the
United States and China).
The President conveyed his idea for the United States to advance its
Asia policy centering on cooperative relations with Japan. His plan
struck a chord with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who advocates the
multilayered development of the Japan-U.S. alliance although he is
tackling with the issue of bases in Okinawa. Japan should offer
support for the United States' plan to join the East Asia Summit and
other forums.
The President expressed his eagerness to achieve breakthroughs in
the North Korean nuclear and abduction issues and in the
democratization of Myanmar (Burma) through direct dialogues. We
support this direction. We hope to see the United States address
these matters earnestly so that the relevant countries, including
Japan, can make combined efforts.
(4) Editorial: U.S. President Obama's speech in Tokyo: We should
view his Asia policy as weighty request
MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
November 15, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama started off his speech with his
childhood memory of his mother bringing him to Kamakura, where he
liked the matcha ice cream more than the giant statue of Buddha. His
words of gratitude to the citizens of Obama City, Fukui Prefecture,
who are like self-proclaimed supporters for Mr. Obama, created a
warm laughter. It was a splendid speech that won the hearts and
minds of the Japanese people.
However, the speech was not light at all. It was a speech on a
comprehensive Asia policy that carries weight similar to that of the
Prague speech in April, in which the President called for building a
world without nuclear weapons, and the Cairo speech in June, in
which he advocated a new beginning in relations with the Muslim
world. It is based on his thoughts. His requests included ones to
Japan that will likely turn out to be burdens on it. We must be
fully aware of this.
Since it was delivered in Tokyo, the speech was full of
consideration to Japan. It stressed the value of the Japan-U.S.
alliance and praised Japan's international cooperation. He not only
called for North Korea to abandon its nuclear development programs
and return to the Six-Party talks but alto urged that country to
settle the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea.
However, the most important message is probably his resolve to have
the U.S. approach Asia and strengthen its leadership. In the speech,
he also mentioned that the U.S. as a nation in the Asia-Pacific
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region, will take part in discussions to set the future of this
region as well as to participate in an organization to be set up.
This could be taken to mean that the U.S. will not approve the
initiative of an East Asian Community without the U.S.
Regarding the economic field, the President indicated his view that
exports of U.S. products to Asia will create jobs in the U.S.,
pointing out the limitation of the structure of Asian countries
growing through exports of their products to the U.S. It is clear
that he is attaching importance to national interests. This is
nothing but a very heavy request to Asian countries, including
Japan. It probably indicates that the U.S. is also in a difficult
A stance of positive engagement in Asia was never seen when the
previous Bush administration was in office. The President made his
debut at the summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum, which the former President used for his war on terror
and political appeal on the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issue.
As a result, he was described as slighting Asia.
On the other hand, President Obama is highly popular in Asia as well
because of his background that he was born in Hawaii and spent his
boyhood in Indonesia. If his engagement policy, including holding a
direct dialogue with Myanmar's (Burma) military junta, which is
already under way, comes to fruition, China's ever-increasing
presence in this region might be staved off.
The President indicated a policy of continuing to work together with
China, because the nation will play a key role in pulling (the
world) out of the economic doldrums and dealing with the North Korea
issue, even though he noted that it has such issues as the human
rights issue. The U.S. and China would inevitably deepen their
relations. However, they must not decide the future of the region,
based only on their own national interests and power struggle. This
is what Japan should request.
(5) Great variety of guests invited to Obama's speech on November
ASAHI (Page 13) (Full)
Evening, November 14, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama made his first speech in Japan on Nov.
14. The names of the guests invited to the speech had not been
announced in advance. It turned out that among them were the mayor
of atomic-bombed Nagasaki City, families of the abductees,
entertainers, and so forth. There is an opinion that the variety of
guests itself was part of the President's message.
Fourteen Japanese and American flags stood in the background of the
podium at the Suntory Hall in Minato Ward, Tokyo.
Emerging from the hall, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Tanoue remarked
that, "I was deeply moved." Hiroshima City Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba
could not attend because he was occupied with official duties, so
Taue came as the representative of the atomic-bombed cities. He
said: "The history of nuclear weapons is a path created by distrust.
The President talked clearly about building the future of mankind
based on hope and trust and on human dignity, and not on distrust
and fear."
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The relocation of the U.S. forces' Futenma Air Station remains a
pending issue (between Japan and the U.S.). The Japan-U.S. summit
deferred a conclusion on this issue, but Mayor Yoichi Iha of Ginowan
City, where the Futenma base is located, was invited to the speech.
He came with the thought: "I might be able to send out a message on
the Futenma issue from the standpoint of the people of Okinawa and
of the citizens of Ginowan." He said: "The President asserted that
respect for human rights leads to security. I hope he starts in
Shigeo Iizuka, head of the association of families of the abductees
and Mr. and Mrs. Shigeru and Sakie Yokota also attended the speech.
Shigeru Yokota said: "North Korea is also suffering from poverty.
The President said that the international community needs to make
concessions. He also said that a solution to the abduction issue is
important. I think this is a clear message to North Korea." Sakie
Yokota commented, "He is a person with a strong commitment to human
rights. I hope things will move in a positive direction (toward a
solution to the abduction issue)."
Mr. and Mrs. Yokota reportedly went to the U.S. Embassy on Sept. 30
for a meeting with Ambassador John Roos, where they made a request
to meet the President in person.
Other guests invited to the speech included:
Movie director Takeshi Kitano gave the President's speech a score of
50 points because "it was predictable." However, he was impressed
with the President's eloquence. (For Kitano) the attention grabber
was Obama's memories of eating matcha ice cream when visiting the
Great Buddha in Kamakura. "Compared to the Japanese prime minister,
his presentation was brilliant, coming from America, the home of
entertainment. If I were him, I would have had the national anthem
played at the beginning to perk up the event. Well, he is admirable
for doing all this despite his really busy schedule."
Mayor Koji Matsuzaki of Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, who has
supported the President because he has the same name as the city,
said: "When he addressed the citizens of Obama at the beginning the
speech, I raised my right hand in spite of myself. I really hope he
can visit Obama City."
Masaru Sato, former chief analyst of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MOFA) who was convicted of breach of trust and other offenses
against MOFA-affiliated international organizations, said he had no
idea why he was invited. An inquiry came from the U.S. Embassy four
days ago. Sato said: "President Obama, who was elected through a
democratic process, pins high hopes for change on Prime Minister
Hatoyama, who was also elected democratically. Great changes,
including the review of the Futenma issue, can be expected through
Japan's response."
Students and grade school pupils were also present. Eight female
students of Tsuda College were given invitations to the speech as a
"present" from officials of the college when they attended a
briefing for overseas study programs a few days ago. Mana Takai, 11,
a fifth grader at the Third Hino Elementary School in Shinagawa
Ward, Tokyo, who lived in the U.S. for three years, attended the
speech with her father. She listened to the speech without using the
transceiver for simultaneous interpretation.
Professor Yasuharu Ishizawa of Gakushuin Women's College, author of
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the book "The President and Media," was also invited. He said: "The
Obama administration monitors media reporting in Japan constantly.
The guests were no doubt invited for a purpose. He can boost his
popularity yy inviting students and children, and the statements of
former MOFA officials are more influential than those of the
incumbent ones. They probably want to hear the comments of people
from all walks of life and from different generations to gauge
public opinion in Japan."
(6) Former Foreign Ministry bureau chief says cost to remove nuclear
weapons for reversion of Okinawa was set groundlessly
ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 13, 2009
Tokyo and Washington signed an agreement (in 1971) on returning
Okinawa to Japan in 1972 specifying that Japan pay the United States
320 million dollars, including 70 million dollars for the removal of
nuclear weapons. Bunroku Yoshino, 91, a key negotiator with
Washington in the 1972 transfer of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty,
has indicated that the cost of removing the nuclear weapons was set
at 70 million based solely on Japan's rough estimate without a clear
basis for the calculation. Yoshino was serving as director-general
of the Foreign Ministry's American Affairs Bureau at the time. The
aim, according to Yoshino, was to play up the significance of the
return of Okinawa to the public, which was calling for the removal
of nuclear weapons, by giving the impression that the removal of
nuclear weapons was a huge undertaking.
Yoshino will be summoned as a witness to a trial on December 1 over
information disclosure regarding the existence of "secret documents"
on the reversion of Okinawa. The former Foreign Ministry official
revealed the above information in an interview with the Asahi
Shimbun ahead of his appearance before the court.
The Hatoyama administration has been investigating four Japan-U.S.
secret pacts, including one that says transit and port calls in
Japan by U.S. warships carrying nuclear weapons do not constitute
the "introduction of nuclear weapons" into Japan. Yoshino played a
major role in concluding the secret pact designed Japan to pay the
cost of restoring U.S. military sites to their original states, such
as farmland. It has already become clear that the compensation of 4
million dollars, which was supposed to be borne by the United
States, was included in the cost of removing nuclear weapons.
Placed under the control of the U.S. government, there were no
restrictions on the introduction of nuclear weapons into Okinawa,
and nuclear bombs, Mace B mid-range guided nuclear missiles, and
other weapons, were deployed on the island. Given the situation,
"returning Okinawa with all the nuclear weapons removed as on the
mainland soil of Japan" was a long-cherished wish. According to
Yoshino, he consulted with (then) vice-finance minister for
international affairs Yusuke Kashiwagi on the breakdown of the total
cost of 320 million dollars. Yoshino said: "We said to each other,
'Why don't we compile the breakdown for the total cost exclusively
by ourselves? We have to handle the matter tactfully to keep it just
between ourselves. Let's drastically inflate the (cost of removing)
the nuclear weapons. The opposition parties are making a great fuss
about it.'"
"We decided on the breakdown to ensure that the United States would
remove its nuclear weapons from Okinawa. We did it as a Diet
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measure," Yoshino said, reflecting on those days. Although the
actual removal cost remains unclear, Yoshino noted: "All (the U.S.
military) had to do was to go to the port and load (the nuclear
weapons) onto their vessels. By anybody's standards, it did not cost
70 million dollars."
In 2000, the Asahi Shimbun and other parties obtained U.S.
government documents prepared for Congress that specified such items
as the cost of acquisition of assets, such as the water supply and
electricity systems built by the U.S. side, inflated labor costs due
to the reversion of Okinawa, and the cost of restoring U.S. military
sites to their original states, with no mention of the cost of
removing the nuclear weapons. "(We knew) that the other side
wouldn't care about (the breakdown)," Yoshino said. "(The removal)
wouldn't cost the United States a thing. The entry of the 'cost of
removal of the nuclear weapons' would make the United State smile
and please Japan."
University of the Ryukyus Professor Masaaki Gabe, who is well versed
on the secret pacts on the reversion of Okinawa, commented: "There
were no signs that Japan consulted with the U.S. side on the grounds
for calculating the cost of the removal of the nuclear weapons, and
I have been wondering all along about how this king of figure came
about. The fact that (the government) has repeatedly offered a false
explanation in the knowledge that it was not true is significant."
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