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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06TOKYO1886
2006-04-07 08:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

MOFA REORGANIZES SOUTH ASIA DEPARTMENT; SIGNALS

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  IN  JA 
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VZCZCXRO5418
OO RUEHDBU RUEHDT
DE RUEHKO #1886/01 0970825
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 070825Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0665
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0367
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0108
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0009
RUEHBD/AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 0901
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1585
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0149
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0573
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0617
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 0909
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1866
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 4092
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0329
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0539
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 1645
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 7937
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 0565
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 7765
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 6593
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0172
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0380
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001886 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL IN JA
SUBJECT: MOFA REORGANIZES SOUTH ASIA DEPARTMENT; SIGNALS
STRATEGIC THINKING TOWARD INDIA, REGION


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Joe Donovan. Reasons: 1.4 b/d

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001886

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL IN JA
SUBJECT: MOFA REORGANIZES SOUTH ASIA DEPARTMENT; SIGNALS
STRATEGIC THINKING TOWARD INDIA, REGION


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Joe Donovan. Reasons: 1.4 b/d


1. (C) Summary. Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is
creating a South Asia Department by merging parts of the
Southwest Asia, First Southeast Asia and Second Southeast
Asia divisions of the Asian Affairs Bureau. The move stems
from a perceived organizational need to devote more resources
to India and ASEAN, MOFA sources tell us. It also signals
more strategic thinking by MOFA on the region, and while not
the idea of FM Aso, it fits into his forward thinking agenda
on India and provides the U.S. with perhaps a more
streamlined method of working trilaterally. End Summary.


2. (C) On April 6, MOFA Southwest Asia Division's Naoshige
Aoshima confirmed press reports that the ministry is creating
a new "South Asia Department," that will merge parts of the
existing Southwest Asia, and First and Second Southeast Asia
divisions of the Asian Affairs Bureau. Aoshima said the move
stems from an organizational lack of resources to handle the
growing -- and higher priority -- India portfolio, i.e., MOFA
could not simply go out and hire more bodies, so instead it
is reassigning from within. In addition to India and the
South Asia region, the new department will also take on the
ASEAN portfolio; Aoshima did not believe Central Asia would
be included. The department head will be at the Director
General level, ("shingikan" in Japanese; equivalent to
Assistant Secretary) level, but on the organizational chart
will still fall under the Director General for Asian Affairs.
While no one has been named yet to head the new department,
Aoshima speculated it would be Asian Affairs Bureau Deputy
Director General Toshihisa Takata.


3. (C) On April 6, Japan Institute for International Affairs
Senior Research Fellow Nobumasa Akiyama, recently returned
from a non-proliferation conference in India, told Poloff he
was surprised by the speed at which the new department came
into being (at least in concept), noting that Japan has been
a bit slow in reacting to an India which is speeding forward.
In Akiyama's analysis, the move indicates a huge change in
MOFA's perception of the region, moving away from simply the
Pacific Rim countries closest geographically to Japan, to
indicate more strategic thinking regarding Japan's
interests/role in the broader Asian region. Akiyama suggested
to Poloff Japan would like to serve as a role model for
India's civilian nuclear program, but, as the only victim of
a nuclear bomb, the Japanese psyche is still resistant to
accepting any initiative which could damage the NPT or the
non-proliferation regime in general.


4. (C) MOFA UN Policy Division Deputy Director Aya Yoshida,
who accompanied FM Aso to New Delhi in January, told us April
6 that while she understood the idea to create the new
department arose before Aso took over as FM last October, it
fits well into his agenda of placing a higher priority on
Japan-India relations. The success of the Aso visit, along
with PM Koizumi's April 2005 trip, helped create the
atmosphere and demonstrate the necessity to old-school
bureaucrats resisting the change. She also said the ministry
is responding to "huge pressures" from Japanese business,
which has been urging MOFA to strengthen the bilateral
relationship for quite some time. Finally, she said that she
believed the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative
was a key impetus for getting MOFA to move quickly on
reorganizing the bureau.


5. (C) COMMENT. The new South Asia Department's creation
reinforces what contacts here tell us, i.e., that Japan is
hurrying to respond to India's rise and its implications for

TOKYO 00001886 002 OF 002


Japan's interests in the region, particularly vis-a-vis
China. It can also be interpreted as a signal that Japan is
almost ready to catch up to the pace of change taking place
in the subcontinent and the greater Asia region.
SCHIEFFER