[Wikileaks/Japan] DPJ SHOWS PRE-ELECTION AMBIGUITY TOWARDS THE

Viewing cable 09TOKYO1811, DPJ SHOWS PRE-ELECTION AMBIGUITY TOWARDS THE

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TOKYO1811 2009-08-07 07:31 2011-05-04 00:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tokyo

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TOKYO 001811

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/J

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/05/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL JA
SUBJECT: DPJ SHOWS PRE-ELECTION AMBIGUITY TOWARDS THE
UNITED STATES

REF: A. TOKYO 1755
¶B. TOKYO 1731
¶C. TOKYO 1706

TOKYO 00001811 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: A/DCM RON POST, REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: Media portrayals of the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) as pro-U.S. and the opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) as less friendly to our
interests are overly simplified. While DPJ politicians have
been more vocal in questioning issues related to the
U.S.-Japan Alliance than their LDP counterparts, domestic
political considerations and the presence of DPJ leaders with
American experience and favorable attitudes towards the
United States make the reality more nuanced. The DPJ
encompasses a wide spectrum of political ideologies and must
unify its membership and possible partners under a common
foreign policy agenda vis–vis the United States if it wins
the general election on August 30. Recent statements from
DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama calling for a more independent
foreign policy, while attaching “”utmost importance to the
U.S.-Japan alliance,”” typify the DPJ’s current ambiguity on
U.S.-Japan relations. However, Hatoyama clearly seeks to
work quickly to build a “”relationship of trust”” with
President Obama. END SUMMARY.

——————————————-
RECENT DPJ POSITIONS ON U.S.-RELATED ISSUES
——————————————-

¶2. (C) As part of its campaign for “”political change,”” the
DPJ has sought to differentiate its policies from those of
the LDP, and DPJ leaders have made public statements that
seem to indicate hesitation and ambivalence concerning
various aspects of U.S.-Japan relations. Perhaps the
broadest — and least well understood — pronouncement has
been the DPJ’s call for a more “”equal relationship”” between
the two countries. President Hatoyama said Japan should be
more independent from the United States, particularly in
foreign policy and security issues. Although not anti-U.S.
himself (Hatoyama has strong personal ties to the United
States, including graduate work at Stanford, and is
politically conservative), Hatoyama has to portray his party
as one that will emphasize a foreign policy different from
the LDP’s as well as maintain his credibility with party
members who harbor doubts about security cooperation with the
United States.

¶3. (C) DPJ members have focused on a number of alliance
initiatives as easy political targets for attacking the
LDP-led government and its defense and security policies.
Many have expressed displeasure about the Japanese
government’s commitment to finance parts of the bilateral
plan to relocate U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam, both in
terms of actual funding and the perceived lack of
transparency and unwillingness to disclose detailed
information by the Japanese government. They have also
criticized the roadmap agreement for relocating Futenma Air
Station to a replacement facility elsewhere in Okinawa.
Finally, many DPJ members have criticized Japan’s host nation
support for maintaining U.S. forces, often citing as a
problem the inadequate disclosure of information by the
Japanese government, as well as the notion that Japan should
not fund programs that focus more on the morale and welfare
of U.S. personnel than on operational and capabilities
aspects of the alliance.

¶4. (C) Without a majority in the Upper House and no guarantee
that it will carry a majority on its own in the August 30
election, the DPJ also has to consider the stances of smaller
parties including the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which in
particular is ideologically opposed to various aspects of
U.S.-Japan security cooperation. After DPJ Secretary General
Katsuya Okada announced that the Indian Ocean refueling

TOKYO 00001811 002.2 OF 003

mission by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF)
would continue under a new DPJ administration, President
Hatoyama was forced to respond to the SDP’s strong opposition
to Okada’s statement by clarifying that although the mission
would not be terminated immediately upon the DPJ’s accession
to power in September, it would not be renewed when it
expires in January 2010. (Refs A and B).

¶5. (C) That said, as the Lower House election has drawn
closer, and the prospects for a DPJ victory have grown
increasingly favorable, the party has noticeably toned down
its often strong rhetoric on a number of these issues. The
absence of some of the DPJ’s more anti-U.S. stances in its
recently released “”manifesto”” (party platform), for example,
indicates a shift to a more pragmatic line on alliance
issues. “”This is a reflection of our party’s realization
that we actually might win and thus must make our policy
positions more responsible,”” DPJ policy planning advisor
Kiyoshi Sugawa told Embassy Tokyo August 6.

———————————–
BROAD RANGE OF VIEWS WITHIN THE DPJ
———————————–

¶6. (C) Among the DPJ’s foreign and security policy experts,
there are a number of heavyweights who generally exhibit
favorable attitudes towards the United States and the
Alliance. Among them are Ichiro Ozawa (former DPJ President
and current Acting Vice President in charge of election
strategy), who throughout his career has been a friend of the
Alliance but occasionally uses anti-U.S. foreign policy
pronouncements to score domestic political points. Current
DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama (Stanford alum),
Secretary-General Katsuya Okada, and Vice President Seiji
Maehara also have conservative backgrounds and generally
espouse pro-Alliance lines. Other DPJ leaders who have close
ties with and sympathies towards the United States include
Akihisa Nagashima (DPJ Deputy Secretary-General, former
Council of Foreign Relations Fellow, and SAIS alum), Shu
Watanabe (DPJ Deputy Secretary-General, Columbia alumi),
Yoshinori Suematsu (Chairman of the Lower House Committee on
Youth Affairs, Princeton alum), Kazuya Shimba (Middle East
expert, Oberlin alum), and Shinkun Haku (Shadow Vice Foreign
Minister, former President of Chosun Ilbo Japan office,
frequent official and personal travel to the U.S.).

¶7. (C) While not security and foreign policy experts, a
number of DPJ leaders and up-and-coming members maintain
favorable views of the Alliance and the United States, and
are thus well positioned to help advance our goals behind the
scenes. They include: Kenji Yamaoka (DPJ Diet Affairs
Committee Chairman), Jun Azumi (DPJ Diet Affairs Committee
Principal Deputy Chairman), Yukio Edano (former DPJ Policy
Research Committee Chairman), Koichiro Genba (former DPJ
Acting Secretary General), Yoshito Sengoku (former DPJ Policy
Research Committee Chairman), Yoshihiko Noda (former DPJ
Secretary General), Sakihito Ozawa (DPJ National Movement
Committee Chairman), Yorihisa Matsuno (DPJ Shadow Vice
Finance Minister), and Tetsuro Fukuyama (DPJ Upper House
Policy Research Council Chairman). Yamaoka, Azumi, and
Fukuyama are known for their ability to negotiate with the
current LDP-New Komeito ruling coalition. Edano, Genba,
Sengoku, and Noda all enjoy the confidence of DPJ Secretary
General Okada. Ozawa (Sakihito) and Matsuno serve as key
advisors to DPJ President Hatoyama and are also close
contacts of Embassy Tokyo.

¶8. (C) Because of their sometimes antagonistic stances on
some issues of importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance, some
DPJ members are often seen as anti-U.S. However, the reality
of their positions is more complex. For example, Tsuyoshi
Yamaguchi (former DPJ Shadow Vice Foreign Minister) walks a
fine line between being pro-U.S. on the one hand and strongly
suspicious of U.S. policy and intentions on the other. A

TOKYO 00001811 003.2 OF 003

former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Yamaguchi served in Washington, D.C., Beijing, and London,
where he met Ichiro Ozawa and decided to run for a Diet seat.
Yamaguchi sees the current U.S.-Japan alliance as an unequal
relationship between a “”big brother”” and “”little brother,””
and would like to see an expanded Japanese role. He has
argued forcefully for revision of the Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Japan, as well
as against the current plan for Futenma relocation. Other
DPJ members in this grouping include Yoshio Hachiro (DPJ
Shadow Foreign Minister) and Takahiro Yokomichi (former Lower
House Vice Speaker), both former Socialist Party members who
oppose overseas missions by the Japanese Self Defense Force
(SDF). Hirotaka Akamatsu (Chairman of DPJ Election Strategy
Headquarters), Seiichi Kaneta (DPJ Deputy Director General of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Organizations Bureau), and
Katsuhiro Yokomitsu (former Social Democratic Party member
who left the SDP in August 2005) are others who have spoken
out against certain aspects of the Alliance.

——————————————— ———
HATOYAMA WANTS CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA
——————————————— ———

¶9. (C) Despite the range of stances within the DPJ towards
U.S.-related issues, DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama and other
party leaders have made it clear that a DPJ government would
continue to value and work with the United States while
striving to develop a “”more independent”” foreign policy for
Japan. In a July 31 interview with domestic media, Hatoyama
said, “”While we attach utmost importance to the Japan-U.S.
alliance, it is necessary not to rely on the U.S. and develop
a more independent foreign policy. A diplomatic posture of
giving importance both to Asia and the U.S. is required. It
is possible that we may seek an appropriate ‘distance’ in
security.”” This first part of Hatoyama’s statement seemed to
indicate a shift away from the United States in terms of
security and foreign policy, but the conclusion of his
remarks showed otherwise: “”The most important thing is how
to build a relationship of trust with President Obama. Based
on this relationship, we will gather information and conduct
a comprehensive review. I have no intention to change the
basic policy line.”” Further supporting the DPJ leader’s
desire to engage with the United States, media reported
August 1 that Hatoyama expressed his eagerness to attend UNGA
and the Pittsburgh Summit. “”The DPJ sees these two events as
good opportunities for Hatoyama to start building a personal
and early relationship with President Obama,”” Sugawa told
Embassy Tokyo.
ZUMWALT

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