[Wikileaks]Japan: A/S CAMPBELL, GOJ OFFICIALS DISCUSS PM HATOYAMA’S

Viewing cable 09TOKYO2377, A/S CAMPBELL, GOJ OFFICIALS DISCUSS PM HATOYAMA’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TOKYO2377 2009-10-15 06:48 2011-05-04 00:00 SECRET Embassy Tokyo

VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKO #2377/01 2880648
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 150648Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6816
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
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RHMFISS/USFJ  IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T TOKYO 002377

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/J
NSC FOR RUSSELL
DOD FOR OSD/APSA –
GREGSON/MITCHELL/SCHIFFER/HILL/BASALLA/HAMM
PACOM FOR J00/J01/J5
USFJ FOR J00/J01/J5

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2029
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS JA
SUBJECT: A/S CAMPBELL, GOJ OFFICIALS DISCUSS PM HATOYAMA’S
COMMENTS ON U.S./CHINA/SOUTH KOREA

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission James P. Zumwalt; Reasons 1.4 (B
) and (D)

¶1. (S) Summary: EAP A/S Kurt Campbell underscored in his
October 11-12 meetings with senior-level Japanese officials
the U.S. Government’s concern regarding Prime Minister
Hatoyama’s remarks during the October 10 Japan-China-ROK
Summit in Beijing on U.S.-Japan relations. He strongly urged
Japanese leaders not to seek to improve relations with other
governments at the expense of the United States. He pointed
out that public comments by U.S. officials that the U.S.
Government ought to focus on China at the expense of Japan
would lead to a crisis in bilateral relations.

¶2. (S) Parliamentary Vice-Minister Akihisa Nagashima assured
A/S Campbell that Hatoyama did not mean to imply that Japan
would seek to improve relations with China and South Korea at
the expense of the United States. Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MOFA) Director General for Asia and Oceanic Affairs
Akitaka Saiki noted MOFA’s surprise at Hatoyama’s comments,
adding that the new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
Government was still in the process of organizing itself in
the foreign policy realm. A/S Campbell pointed out to Saiki
that the U.S. Government was also concerned about Foreign
Minister Okada’s recent remarks indicating the exclusion of
the United States from a new East Asian regional
architecture. Saiki, acknowledging Okada’s “”stubbornness”” on
the issue, highlighted that MOFA officials deemed it
“”unthinkable”” to exclude the United States. He asserted,
however, that only China benefited if the United States and
Japan were to debate membership in the East Asia Community
(EAC) and that China would never allow for Japan to take the
lead in creating the regional architecture. All Japanese
interlocutors stressed to A/S Campbell the primacy of Japan’s
relations with the United States. In earlier meetings on
October 11 with A/S Campbell, former Japanese Cabinet advisor
Yukio Okamoto and MOFA Director General for North American
Affairs Kazuyoshi Umemoto highlighted Hatoyama’s personality
shortcomings as a possible source for the problematic
comments and urged that A/S Campbell raise the U.S.
Government’s concerns at higher levels. End Summary.

USG Concern at Hatoyama’s Comments
———————————-

¶3. (C) During October 11-12 discussions with senior-level
Japanese officials, visiting EAP A/S Campbell repeatedly
noted the U.S. Government’s concern regarding public remarks
by Prime Minister Hatoyama at the October 10
Japan-China-South Korea Summit in Beijing, in which he stated
that Japan had focused excessively on its relations with the
United States, as opposed to Asia. A/S Campbell observed
that the U.S. Government supported the new Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ) Government in efforts to build a strong
relationship with South Korea and China. He cautioned,
however, that Prime Minister Hatoyama’s comments in Beijing
drew surprise from the highest levels of the U.S. Government.
“”Imagine the Japanese response if the U.S. Government were
to say publicly that it wished to devote more attention to
China than Japan,”” A/S Campbell asked his interlocutors
hypothetically. Such remarks would create a crisis in
U.S.-Japan relations, from which recovery would be difficult,
he explained. He continued that the United States would
continue to underscore its commitment to robust relations
with Japan and would refrain from commenting publicly on
Hatoyama’s remarks. He nevertheless urged that Japanese
leaders avoid phrasing their desire for better Chinese and
South Korean relations at the expense of the United States.

Vice-Minister Nagashima: Misinterpretation
——————————————

¶4. (C) In his October 12 meeting with A/S Campbell, Ministry
of Defense (MOD) Parliamentary Vice-Minister Akihisa
Nagashima said the Prime Minister did not mean to imply that

Japan should put more emphasis on China and South Korea than
on the United States. Rather, Hatoyama solely intended to
signal his intent to strengthen the Japan-China-South Korea
trilateral relationship as an initiative going forward.
Nagashima added that he wished to reassure U.S. officials
that Japan did not aim to build East Asian relations at the
expense of the United States.

¶5. (C) A/S Campbell expressed appreciation for Nagashima’s
assurances and noted that the Japanese government could take
steps to demonstrate the closeness of U.S.-Japan relations.
One “”wonderful gesture”” would be for the DPJ Government to
invite to Japan U.S. veterans who had been involved in the
World War II campaigns in Corregidor and Bataan. A decision
by the Japanese government to welcome these veterans, most of
whom were in their 70s and 80s, would have great significance
in the United States and would demonstrate how far the two
countries had come since the war, explained A/S Campbell.

DG Saiki: MOFA Surprised
————————

¶6. (C) MOFA Director General for Asia and Oceanic Affairs
Akitaka Saiki stressed that the Prime Minister’s comments in
front of the press had surprised MOFA, which believed that it
was inappropriate to characterize Japan as excessively
dependent on the United States. He explained to A/S Campbell
that the DPJ Government was still in the process of
organizing itself as to “”who spoke on which issues.”” Saiki
continued that U.S.-Japan relations remained central and that
the Japanese government did not intend to emphasize Asia at
the expense of the Alliance.

¶7. (S) In his meeting with Saiki, A/S Campbell also cited
U.S. concern at Foreign Minister Okada’s recent remarks
suggesting the exclusion of the United States from a new East
Asian architecture. Saiki acknowledged that Foreign Minister
Okada had been obstinate about not including the United
States in such proposals. He offered his view as a MOFA
bureaucrat, however, that “”it was unthinkable to exclude the
United States,”” adding that the participants to the
trilateral summit had not discussed proposals for an East
Asia Community in any detail. Okada, Saiki pointed out, was
“”only thinking five to ten years in the future about
contiguous countries”” when propounding EAC ideas. Hatoyama,
for his part, aspired mainly to form a core of countries in
East Asia with shared values. If the United States and
Japan, however, were to debate EAC membership, only China
would benefit, Saiki asserted. China, moreover, would never
allow Japan to take the lead in creating an East Asian
architecture. He recounted that when Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao had expressed interest in pursuing the EAC proposal
through the ASEAN Plus 3 process, Hatoyama had countered that
the “”3 Plus ASEAN”” would be a way for Northeast Asia to take
the lead. Wen did not reply, noted Saiki.

State Secretary Takemasa: Japan a Sovereign Nation
——————————————— —–

¶8. (C) Later on October 12, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(MOFA) State Secretary Koichi Takemasa responded to A/S
Campbell’s points by noting that U.S.-Japan relations
remained the basis of Japanese security policy. Takemasa
observed that Hatoyama’s comments were “”mere lip service”” to
China, as the Prime Minister regards Japan’s relations with
the United States as “”primary.”” He added, however, that
Japan “”had pride as a sovereign nation”” and recognized that
it must improve relations with China.

Okamoto and DG Umemoto: Hatoyama’s Personality
——————————————— –

¶9. (S) In an October 11 discussion with A/S Campbell, former
Japanese Cabinet advisor Yukio Okamoto said that the comments
on China and South Korea showed that the Prime Minister was

weak when speaking with strong-willed individuals. Okamoto
added that the Prime Minister usually voiced his opinion
based on the last strong comments he had heard. In a similar
vein, MOFA DG for North America Kauyoshi Umemoto told A/S
Campbell over lunch on October 12 that Prime Minister
Hatoyama had “”the habit of telling people what they wished to
hear.”” He also confirmed that Hatoyama’s remarks in Beijing
had not been planned, and he recommended that A/S Campbell
raise the U.S. Government’s concern at higher levels.

¶10. (U) A/S Campbell has cleared this message.
ROOS

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