Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 01/06/10

Published: Wed 6 Jan 2010 08:05 AM
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(1) "Final coordination" underway for FM Okada to meet U.S.
Secretary of State Clinton before Jan. 18 (Yomiuri)
(2) PM Hatoyama's visit to Nanjing in June, PRC President Hu
Jintao's visit to Hiroshima in November mulled (Yomiuri)
(3) Interview with Deputy USTR Marantis: "Pacific Rim FTA will
become core of Asian economy" (Nikkei)
(4) Interview with Joseph Nye: The Japan-U.S. alliance is the
cornerstone of stability (Yomiuri)
(5) Editorial: Japan should take action while looking outward to
enhance its value (Nikkei)
(6) LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shigeru Ishiba:
Politicians' clear vision brings out the best in bureaucrats
(7) Quest for rare metals: Far short of achieving reserve goal due
to delayed formulation of strategy (Tokyo Shimbun)
(1) "Final coordination" underway for FM Okada to meet U.S.
Secretary of State Clinton before Jan. 18
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, January 6, 2010
Satoshi Ogawa in Washington
Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka met U.S. Deputy Secretary of
State James Steinberg at the Department of State in the late
afternoon on Jan. 5 (early morning on Jan. 6, Japan time).
After the meeting, Yabunaka told reporters that "final coordination"
is underway for Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada to visit the U.S.
shortly to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Okada hopes to
travel to the U.S. before the regular Diet session convenes on Jan.
According to Yabunaka, at his meeting with Steinberg, he explained
the government's policy in relation to the Futenma relocation issue
and informed him that the committee for the examination of the
Okinawa base issues of the government and the ruling parties will
consider new relocation sites. The U.S. side reportedly "listened
fully and intently."
(2) PM Hatoyama's visit to Nanjing in June, PRC President Hu
Jintao's visit to Hiroshima in November mulled
YOMIURI (Page 1) (Full)
Evening, January 6, 2010
Satoshi Saeki in Beijing
It was learned that China has made unofficial inquiries with a
Japanese government source on an invitation for Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama to visit Nanjing in Jiangsu Province around June in
exchange for a visit by President Hu Jintao to Hiroshima in November
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in order to improve the nations' feelings toward each other. This
was revealed by several sources on Japan-China relations on Jan. 6.
By realizing the first visit by an incumbent Japanese prime minister
in the postwar period to Nanjing, where the "Nanjing incident"
occurred, China intends to grab the initiative in relations with
Japan without resolving such issues as the joint development of gas
fields in the East China Sea and the incidents of poisoned gyoza
An exchange of visits between the leaders of the two countries is
being planned, with a visit to Japan by Premier Wen Jiaobao around
April, a visit to China by Hatoyama around June 12 to coincide with
Japan Day at the Shanghai Expo, and a visit to Japan by Hu during
the APEC Summit in Yokohama in November. Hatoyama's visit to Nanjing
is reportedly likely to be combined with his visit to Shanghai.
According to the above sources, China believes that the "improvement
of popular feelings on both sides is indispensable" for
strengthening the "mutually beneficial strategic relationship" with
the Hatoyama administration. Since the administration has adopted a
stance of giving importance to China after its inauguration, China
hopes to use Hatoyama's visit to Nanjing and expression of "deep
remorse" for the past war to improve the Chinese people's feelings
toward Japan.
On the other hand, China reckons that Hu's visit to atomic-bombed
Hiroshima to indicate understanding for Japan's position as a victim
of the war will contribute to the improvement of Japanese feelings
toward China.
A Japanese government source looks at this development with caution,
saying: "The number of casualties in the Nanjing incident is a
contentious issue between the two countries. Whether the Prime
Minister's visit will materialize depends on a political decision."
(3) Interview with Deputy USTR Marantis: "Pacific Rim FTA will
become core of Asian economy"
NIKKEI (Page 7) (Full)
January 4, 2010
Takashi Osumi, Washington
In an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Deputy U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis said, "The free trade
agreement (FTA) in the Pacific Rim (in which eight countries
including the United States, Singapore, and Australia will
participate) is one of the core frameworks for economic integration
in Asia. We will hold the first meeting of participating countries
in March (in order to conclude a FTA)."
The deputy USTR also said, "We will develop the Pacific Rim FTA into
a large-scale agreement in the Asian region in the long term." With
regard to Japan's participation, he indicated, "We are open to it.
However, Japan does not appear to be ready to join, given (the issue
of whether to liberalize) its agricultural sector."
On the East Asian community initiative proposed by the Hatoyama
administration, Marantis said, "I would like to hear from the
Japanese government on what it is planning to do and how. We have a
strong interest in the creation of a framework in the Asian region,"
expressing a sense of wariness about an Asian community initiative
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minus the participation of the United States.
The deputy USTR made the following comment on Japan's review of
postal privatization: "U.S. companies are concerned about whether a
level playing field will be ensured. We have conveyed this to the
Japanese government. We will continue to raise this issue (with the
Japanese side) at every possible opportunity."
(4) Interview with Joseph Nye: The Japan-U.S. alliance is the
cornerstone of stability
YOMIURI (Pages 1, 2) (Full)
January 4, 2010
Interviewer: Michiro Okamoto, chief of General Bureau for America
There is no doubt that the U.S. government, especially the
Department of Defense, is annoyed by the delay of a solution to the
Futenma relocation beyond 2009. I am not worried if Prime Minister
Yukio Hatoyama is merely postponing a conclusion until the House of
Councillors election in summer. However, if the Prime Minister is
against the Japan-U.S. alliance per se, that will be a cause of
If the Futenma issue remains unresolved and the Japan-U.S.
relationship deteriorates, in the worst case, it is possible that
U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) may be downsized and the reconfirmation of
the Japan-U.S. alliance on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of
the current bilateral security treaty may not get much attention. I
think Prime Minister Hatoyama needs to make a greater effort to
reassure the U.S.
However, the Prime Minister has had little time after achieving the
change of administration, and he has not consolidated his position.
That, I think, is the reason for the present discord between Japan
and the U.S. You could say that this is quite natural under a
democratic system.
Therefore, I disagree with the view that the Japan-U.S. alliance is
in "crisis." The Japan-U.S. alliance carries much more weight than
the Futenma issue. If you ask if the maintenance of the alliance for
the next 20-30 years is in the interest of both countries, the
answer is clearly "yes."
The necessity of the Japan-U.S. alliance should also be quite
evident to the Japanese people. If Japanese politicians ask the
people whether Japan should deal with North Korea's nuclear threat
single-handedly and without an ally or whether it should face rising
China without an ally, the people will surely say "with an ally."
Prime Minister Hatoyama once advocated a "security alliance without
the permanent stationing of troops." If that is what Japan wants, we
will withdraw. But I think that would be a big mistake for Japan.
Japan has no desire to develop its own nuclear weapons as it faces
up to the nuclear arms of North Korea, China, and Russia. If so, it
needs the security guarantee of the United States, and the
stationing of the USFJ makes that guarantee more credible. This is
because any country that attacks Japan will not only be killing
Japanese people, but also the Americans there.
Militarily, if the Marines withdraw completely from Okinawa, it will
not be possible to deal with a contingency in North Korea
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I believe that on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the
security treaty this year, a declaration designating the Japan-U.S.
alliance as the "cornerstone of stability in the 21st Century,"
similar to the 1996 Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security, should
be drawn up. Japan and the U.S. need to coordinate their policies
today not only on security, but also in a broad range of areas,
including climate change and energy.
The Japan-U.S. security treaty has been in existence for only 50
years. We are looking ahead to another 50 years in the future.
I think the fact that President Obama made Japan the first stop on
his tour of Asia last November and made a policy speech in Tokyo is
of great significance. Although he stayed longest in China on the
trip, that is probably because America had more pending issues with
China than with Japan.
Japan is the U.S.'s most important ally. I think it is wrong to
compare China and Japan in importance to America. While Japan is a
U.S. ally, China is not. One reason I am optimistic about the future
of the bilateral alliance is that both countries will have to deal
with the rise of China.
In my opinion, the notion of G-2, consisting of the U.S. and China,
is a bad idea. There is no way the U.S. and China alone can solve
the myriad problems the world is facing. There should at least be
G-4, taking in Japan and Europe, and it would be meaningless if
issues are not considered within the G-20 framework.
The assessment of Prime Minister Hatoyama's concept of an "East
Asian community" will depend on what this concept means. It will not
be a problem if the concept pertains to the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asian Summit, or such other existing
bodies. However, if it means the exclusion of the U.S. from the East
Asian economy, it will pose a serious problem. This is because, as
President Obama stated, the U.S. is an "Asia Pacific nation" and is
increasingly leaning toward trade with Asia.
If the spirit of "yuai (fraternity)," which forms the basis of the
Prime Minister's East Asian community concept, means good relations
with Japan's neighbors, that is a good thing. If the U.S.'s ally,
Japan deepens its relations with other countries and enhances its
soft power, it will also be good for the United States. This is
because the Japan-U.S. alliance will be the linchpin of the U.S.'s
involvement in multilateral frameworks in Asia.
With regard to whether the Prime Minister's idea of an "equal
Japan-U.S. alliance" is possible, it will depend on what is meant by
"equal." If it means that Japan should become a superpower
possessing nuclear weapons, I don't think that is what the Japanese
people want.
Japan has not opted to take a path to "equality" in military
capability. However, it is more advanced than the U.S. in certain
aspects in areas such as measures to deal with climate change and
energy. You could say that the two countries have an absolutely
equal relationship.
In my opinion, what Japan needs to do from now on is to maintain the
Japan-U.S. alliance in order to create stability in East Asia. There
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can be no economic prosperity without stability. Furthermore, it
should lead the world in the areas of climate change and energy
together with the U.S. and China. Additionally, it should stimulate
its own economy, restore rapid economic growth, and cooperate with
other countries to maintain an open international economy for the
sake of the stability of the world economy after the financial
crisis. I believe this is precisely what Japan can contribute to the
world's public property.
(5) Editorial: Japan should take action while looking outward to
enhance its value
NIKKEI (Page 2) (Slightly abridged)
January 3, 2010
Looking at a world globe, we can see that Japan is a small island
country. The huge Eurasian continent is above Japan and the Korean
Peninsula is situated diagonally to the left. Way on the other side
of the vast Pacific Ocean is the North American Continent. Based on
its geographical conditions, Japan would not be able to survive if
it were isolated in the international community. But there are many
causes for concern.
Japan, U.S. should guide "growing China" in the right direction
The year 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the revision of the
Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. Under the Hatoyama administration,
however, dark clouds are hanging over Japan-U.S. relations. This
year also marks the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of the
Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty. Historical issues in the 20th century
will inevitably cast a pall over Japan-South Korea relations this
year. The current strained bilateral relations between Japan and the
U.S. and between Japan and South Korea are making it difficult for
the international community to deter North Korea from continuing to
pose a nuclear threat to its neighbors.
Considering the global situation as a whole, what sort of dynamics
is the world operating on at present? The 15th session of the
Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (COP15) in Copenhagen about three weeks ago demonstrated the
inner workings of the current global dynamics.
In reality, it is difficult to reach a consensus under the principle
of one vote per nation. China, which considers itself a
representative of the group of developing countries, effectively had
the right of veto. For Japan to try to persuade China (to accept an
ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), cooperation
with the U.S. is absolutely necessary. Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama, however, could not even meet with President Barack Obama
in Copenhagen.
At a banquet hosted by the Queen of Denmark, U.S. State Secretary
Hillary Clinton sat next to Hatoyama, and they exchanged words.
After returning to Washington, Clinton summoned Japanese Ambassador
to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki to the State Department and expressed
her protest against what Hatoyama later told reporters about the
contents of his conversation with Clinton.
Japan-U.S. relations are no longer "equal" or "close" because of
Hatoyama's words and actions concerning the issue of relocating the
U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station. Although the alarm bell was
rung repeatedly, the prime minister was oblivious to it.
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According to an estimate by the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
China's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to surpass Japan's
and move into second place. If interdependent relations are deepened
between Japan and China particularly in the economic area, both
nations will benefit, although this view might give Japanese people
mixed feelings.
Viewed in a historic light, rapidly emerging countries tend to cause
friction with other countries. This was the main source of the two
world wars in the 20th century. China, which has been rapidly
growing, has created external friction over military expansion,
environmental protection, and human rights. Efforts to have China
blend into the international community are indispensable in order to
stabilize global society in the 21st century.
The Hatoyama administration has adopted the policy of distancing
itself from the U.S. while approaching China. Will this foreign
policy contribute to guiding China in the right direction? At the
conference in Copenhagen, this approach did not work effectively.
There are two problems with the Hatoyama administration's foreign
policy. One is the tendency to make light of national security and
Japan-U.S. relations. An aide to Hatoyama has emphasized that the
value of trade between Japan and the U.S. accounted for 13 PERCENT
of the total while that between Japan and Asia, including China,
made up about 50 PERCENT .
This statement is not logical even in economic terms. The value of
Japan's trade with China also includes trade with companies in which
the U.S. has invested. In addition, many of the goods produced in
China are eventually exported to the U.S.
The second problem is the danger of the administration's
antagonistic sentiment toward pro-U.S. policy. (The Democratic Party
of Japan) has fostered this sentiment since it was an opposition
party. The DPJ was looking at (the Liberal Democratic Party's)
foreign policy from the viewpoint of domestic politics and opposed
the LDP government's policy toward the U.S.
The People's Daily has reported that Japan-U.S. relations are
deteriorating. China is probably paying attention to this situation.
Some people have suggested that China is apprehensive that Japan
could lean toward the right. Southeast Asian countries, which fear
that China might have more influence, are also worried about the
current state of Japan-U.S. relations.
Political speculations shrinking foreign policy
In place of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in
the Indian Ocean, which costs less than 10 billion yen annually,
Japan has decided to disburse 90 billion yen annually for
Afghanistan for five years. This checkbook diplomacy is a typical
case in which political speculations have distorted the nation's
foreign policy.
The aid package will make it difficult for Japan to offer
non-reimbursable aid to other developing countries. As a result,
Japan's profile will weaken in the international community. This
financial aid stemming from domestic political motives will reduce
Japan's international influence.
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Some people in Japan are praising the Hatoyama administration's U.S.
policy. This stance might be reflecting their distorted feelings
caused by the recession.
According to data released by the U.S. Institute of International
Education, the number of foreign students in the U.S. was the
highest on record in 2008. The number of students from India was
highest, followed by China, South Korea, Canada, and Japan. Students
from China increased by 21.1 PERCENT over the previous year and
those from India rose by 9.2 PERCENT . Students from South Korea and
Canada grew by 8.6 PERCENT and 2.2 PERCENT , respectively. But the
increase rate of Japanese students was minus 13.9 PERCENT .
Ironically enough, while Japan is heading toward Asia more eagerly
than toward the U.S., Asia is heading toward the U.S. Under this
situation, Japan might find itself becoming isolated in the
international community in the future.
The hollowing out of the Japan-U.S. alliance under the Hatoyama
administration is reminiscent of the 25-year period from the
abolishment of the Japan-Britain alliance in 1921 through Japan's
defeat in World War II. In November, the importance of the
Japan-U.S. alliance is expected to be reaffirmed (between the U.S.
president and the Japanese prime minister). This occasion should be
made into a turning point. As we think deeply about historical
issues in the 20th century, we should take a closer look at the
(6) LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shigeru Ishiba:
Politicians' clear vision brings out the best in bureaucrats
MAINICHI (Page 3) (Full)
January 4, 2010
(Comments by Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Policy Research Council
Chairman Shigeru Ishiba as summarized by Takahiro Hirata)
While they call for political leadership, what is happening is
bureaucrats are using politicians to grab the initiative. A typical
example is government project screening. The mass media got involved
and this was very popular among the people. The Ministry of Finance
wrote the script. I think without the project screening, the cabinet
support rating would have dropped to the 30 percent level.
The politicians have also started to run out of control in the name
of political leadership. The issue of the relocation of the U.S.
forces' Futenma Air Station is a case in point. The bureaucrats of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense and the
Self-Defense Force officers are aghast at this whole process. Think
of the extent of damage to the Japan-U.S. relationship of trust and
how much the regional security environment has been weakened.
The young senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries of the
Hatoyama administration give the people the impression that they are
working very hard, and this props up the approval rating of the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Under the LDP administration, Diet
members serving second terms were appointed as parliamentary
secretaries while those serving third or fourth terms became senior
vice ministers, and those serving fifth terms were named cabinet
ministers for organizational reasons. Since the number of positions
was limited, these officials had to be rotated frequently. Even
people with the most outstanding expertise and sense of mission were
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unable to accomplish their duties in such short periods.
When I was agriculture minister, people openly called for my
dismissal at the LDP Agriculture and Forestry Division. This was
because I did not build my career in that division. During the House
of Councillors election of 2007, when I argued at the division that
"agricultural administration from now on should work toward shifting
the cost from the consumers to the taxpayers," I was condemned by my
colleagues who asked, "Are you a DPJ member?"
However, placing the burden on the consumers to protect agriculture
is no longer tenable in present-day international trade. The LDP did
not listen to such an argument. Still, the LDP administration was
able to survive by just listening to the briefings of the
I do not deny that the LDP's Policy Research Council went too far in
certain aspects of its relations with the bureaucrats. Some people
summoned the bureaucrats to the LDP divisions and berated them. On
the other hand, the bureaucrats were smart, so they were obedient on
the surface but defiant at heart. They would throw out some sort of
bait and go ahead and implement policies as they liked. If the
politicians do not have a clear vision and do not exercise
leadership, the bureaucracy will become corrupt no matter how
capable the bureaucrats are.
My approach to dealing with the bureaucrats was developed during my
days in the opposition (as a member of the (defunct) New Frontier
Party). The bureaucrats will not tell you anything. You need to read
books and listen to people in the field and think for yourself.
If the LDP returns to power, it should absolutely not adopt the
attitude of "taking it easy and leaving things in the hands of the
bureaucrats." The DPJ's style of not involving the bureaucrats and
doing everything by themselves is also wrong. I would like to build
a new type of relationship between politicians and bureaucrats under
which politicians with a clear vision provide leadership to a
bureaucracy with a sense of mission.
(7) Quest for rare metals: Far short of achieving reserve goal due
to delayed formulation of strategy
TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
January 6, 2010
Rare metals are essential for manufacturing high-technology
products, such as automobiles and IT equipment - Japan's strong
assets. The Democratic Part of Japan (DPJ) in its policy manifesto
for the Lower House election stated that it will establish a system
to secure a stable supply of rare metals and promote the
establishment of a system for reuse and diplomacy toward
resource-rich nations. However, there have been few media reports on
its specific actions. What policy course does the government
envision for securing rare metals?
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) last July
compiled a strategy for securing rare metals, which includes four
policies: (1) securing overseas resources; (2) recycling; (3)
development of alternative materials; and (4) stockpiling. Only the
stockpiling policy has been put into force. In fiscal 1983, the
government launched a national rare metal stockpiling system.
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U.S., China, and South Korea ahead of Japan
Japan's stockpiling system targets nine rare metals, including
nickel and tungsten. The goal is to stockpile a 60-days' worth of
the metals in terms of domestic consumption. Of that amount, the
state stockpiling goal is to cover a 42-days' worth. However, the
stockpiles as of the end of March 2009 stood at a 22.2-days' worth
on average. Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC),
an independent administrative agency, is storing the state
stockpiles at a warehouse in Takahagi City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The U.S. started adopting a stockpiling system for minerals
containing rare metals in 1939. China also started a similar system
in 1953. South Korea started one in 1967 with the aim of stabilizing
the domestic market.
Japan has at long last stepped up its efforts to tackle the issue,
following an increase in the importance of stockpiling rare metals
as a result of a sharp rise in their prices in recent years. The
government added indium and gallium to the above-mentioned strategy
to secure rare metal resources.
The recycling project introduced in the article on page 1 was
launched as the Koden (disused small consumer-electronic appliances)
Project in fiscal 2006. At first, it was started as an independent
project by Akita Prefecture. The area for collecting such products
was at first limited to Odate City. However, the project was later
expanded to cover the entire prefecture. The state at last became
serious about the project with the Ministry of Trade, Economy and
Industry (METI) and the Environment Ministry adopting it as a model
project to collect disused electronic products. The number of
regions adopting this system grew to seven throughout the nation.
Under the project, disused small consumer-electronic appliances,
such as digital cameras and cell phones, are collected at
supermarkets, electronics retail stores and community centers. The
types and amounts of products collected are surveyed, and the
contents of the rare metals in each product item are also
investigated to gather useful data for designing a recycling
Rare metal worth 100 yen contained in one cell phone
Last November, METI launched a disused cell phone collection project
(Tansu-Keitai Atsumetai project). The campaign will continue until
the end of February this year. The purpose of the campaign is to
encourage consumers to bring in disused cell phones by giving away
gift certificates worth up to 50,000 yen to contributors by lottery,
so as to survey the amounts and types of cell phones collected.
According to METI, one cell phone contains rare metal worth 100 yen.
Approximately 88,000 disused handsets were brought in in the first
10 days of the campaign. Some electronics retailers collected about
40 times the amount of cell phones collected in the previous year.
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