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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09TOKYO1739 2009-07-30 06:51:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

Japanese Media Spins U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue

Tags:   PREL KPAO JA CH 
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O 300651Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5000
INFO SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMCONSUL NAHA 
AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 
AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 
AMCONSUL NAGOYA 
AMCONSUL SAPPORO
					  UNCLAS TOKYO 001739 


DEPT FOR EAP/J, EAP/C, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA/PRS;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO JA CH

SUBJECT: Japanese Media Spins U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue



1. Summary. The Japanese press gave the U.S.-China Strategic and
Economic Dialogue (July 27-28) detailed coverage that has yet to
abate. While much of the press reaction has been positive and
supportive of the initiative, segments of the Japanese media have
(possibly deliberately) distorted the President's message at the
forum about the U.S.-China relationship being "as important as any
bilateral relationship in the world" to being "more important than
other bilateral relations." Some dailies also have misread the U.S.
policy to more closely engage China as being at the expense of the
U.S.-Japan Alliance. End summary.



2. Although President Obama's speech opening the two days of
bilateral ministerial-level talks with China was accurately reported
in the English press and some segments of the Japanese media, an
egregious mistranslation appeared in other media segments. Kyodo
filed an English report correctly quoting the President as saying,
"The relationship between the United States and China will shape the
21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral
relationship in the world." Perhaps intentionally, the conservative
Sankei, in a Washington-filed report by Hideya Yamamoto, quoted the
President -- in the headline and the text -- as saying, "U.S.-China
relations are more important than any other bilateral relationship
in the world." The Sankei went on to conclude, "The G-2 argument,
in which the two major powers determine the world order, is looming
behind the statement."



3. The same translation error appeared in TV-Asahi's morning and
evening news and TBS's morning and noon news on Tuesday. Although
TV-Tokyo made the same error in its morning news, the station later
aired a corrected translation of the President's statement. NTV and
Fuji-TV only noted that the President called U.S. relations with
China "important."



4. As a result of misreading the President's words and U.S.
intentions, misleading articles appeared on July 30 in some dailies,
fed by the fears of unnamed Foreign Ministry sources. The Mainichi
was the worst offender, with an analytical report of the "G-2 system
now in motion" that stated, "The Japanese government is alarmed,
suspecting that a closer U.S.-China relationship might end up
creating a chance for the two countries alone to handle a variety of
issues in Asia." The article even called a proposed trilateral
dialogue "a double edged sword that might end up forcing Japan to
blindly follow in the footsteps of the U.S. and China." It noted
that worried senior MOFA officials preferred the status quo: "They
want to maintain the two versus one paradigm of facing up to China
based on the Japan-U.S. alliance."



5. To set the record straight and curb the press frenzy, the liberal
Tokyo Shimbun in a July 30 editorial chided as incorrect those media
reports that claimed President Obama referred to the U.S.-China
relationship as being "the most important." After correctly quoting
the President, the editorial went on to say, "Such meticulous
wording was done out of consideration for Japan and other allies,
and because the President has no illusion that the U.S. and China
will agree on every issue." The editorial, after correctly
assessing the U.S. motives and intentions for setting up the
dialogue, concluded with this caution: "If these two
countries....clash, there will be no hope for the 21st century. In
that sense, we welcome the start of the dialogue."

ZUMWALT