Japan - China
Chronology from Jan 2006 to Mar 2006
: Heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations, including former PM Hashimoto, visit Beijing to exchange views on how to increase nongovernmental exchanges and promote bilateral growth. President Hu tells them he will agree to summit if Japan PM refrains from Yasukuni visits.
: Group of 40 Chinese sue Japanese government in Tokyo District Court for wounds/loss of life suffered during Japanese bombing of Chongqing.
: Defense Agency releases 2006 East Asian Strategic Review, which cites North Korea’s nuclear challenge and China’s striking military modernization as continuing sources of instability
: Koizumi again expresses his inability to understand why, because of a single issue [Yasukuni], China and South Korea continue to refuse summit meetings, professes himself to an advocate of friendly relations with both countries.
: Japanese and Chinese Finance Ministers meet in Beijing.
: Nakagawa Hidenao, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, calls for mutual efforts to surmount the Yasukuni issue and for leaders in both countries to take risks toward that end.
: China’s national Development and Reform Commission announces funding to support rehabilitation and expansion of Harbin’s Unit 731 Germ Warfare Exhibition Hall into a peace park.
: Foreign Ministry Blue Book calls attention to lack of transparency in China’s military budget and modernization.
: Foreign Ministry postpones consideration of fiscal year 2005 ODA yen loans to China.
: Former DPJ leader Okada meets President Chen Shui-bian during visit to Taiwan.
: Koizumi, in speech to Defense Academy graduates, critical of lack of transparency in unspecified countries’ military expansion, does not single out China.
: Defense Agency is reported to be considering allowing Air Self-Defense Force to provide covering fire in the event Maritime Self-Defense force ships are fired on in Japan’s air defense identification zone; the zone extends beyond the median-line boundary in the East China Sea.
: FM Aso in op-ed in Wall Street Journal urges China to learn from Japan’s missteps with regard to “extreme nationalism “and to embrace its democratic future which Aso finds “imminent.”
: FM Aso tells Diet that Japan would have to consider countermeasures should China develop other gas fields.
: FM Aso expresses dissatisfaction with China’s assistance to North Korea.
: Premier Wen in press conference cautions that unless the Yasukuni issue is resolved relations will be difficult with a post-Koizumi government.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe reaffirms one China policy; observes that he believes FM Aso understands Japan’s position.
: Nagano District Court rejects suit for compensation filed by wartime conscripted Chinese laborers and their families; appeal filed on March 16.
: LDP approves legislation to protect Japanese companies engaged in resource exploration in Japan’s EEZ.
: FM Aso again refers to Taiwan as “a country” in remarks before Upper House Budget Committee; later amends his statement acknowledging Beijing as the “only legitimate government.”
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe announces that Japan cannot accept Beijing’s proposal and asserts Japan’s right to carry out exploration activities.
: METI Minister Nikai calls for continuation of diplomatic efforts to resolve East China Sea issues.
: China’s FM Li asserts that Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni are the equivalent of Germany’s leaders honoring Hitler.
: Director general-level talks on East China Sea resume in Beijing. China advances joint development proposal. Japan and China agree to early resumption of Six-Party Talks.
: Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda calls for improving relations with Japan’s Asian neighbors, including China and South Korea.
: Chinese companies establish fund to support lawsuits of Chinese citizens seeking compensation for wartime forced labor.
: Miyamoto Yuji, China-school diplomat, named ambassador to China.
: Nikai meets Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang.
: Nakagawa delivers speech in Beijing offering proposals for a future-oriented relationship.
: Association to Consider National War Memorial opens Diet study group under chairmanship of LDP’s Yamasaki Taku.
: METI Minister Nikai arrives in Beijjng.
: FM Aso backtracks on suicide charge saying he was offering a hypothetical scenario.
: Delegation of Ruling Coalition members, led by Nakagawa Hidenao, head of LDP’s Policy Research Council, visits China; meets Li Zhangchun, Standing Committee member of Political Bureau; Li calls Yasukuni visits “most serious difficulty” since normalization.
: FM Aso charges official Chinese involvement in 2004 suicide of Japanese cipher clerk in Shanghai Consulate.
: Noda quotes Tang’s remarks in speech to Tokyo audience; China’s ambassador Wang calls for removal of “political impediments” in obstacles in bilateral relations and asserts PLA raison d’etre is to defend China not threaten others.
: Tokyo District Court dismisses lawsuit by three Japanese women left in China at end of World War II, seeking damages from government for lack of support.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe meets in Tokyo with Jing Dunquan, vice chairman of the China-Japan Friendship Association; Jing meets FM Aso Feb. 14.
: Vice ministerial-level talks in Tokyo on East China Sea again fail to make progress.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe calls Tang’s remarks “inappropriate.”
: LDP leader Noda meets in Beijing with State Councilor and former Foreign Minister Tang; Tang writes off expectations of progress for Koizumi government.
: Japan Trade Union Confederation and All China Federation of Trade Unions agree to strengthen exchanges.
: FM Aso back-peddles on Taiwan remark, claiming “I’m not that stupid.”
: FM Aso tells Fukuoka audience that imperial Japan was responsible for present-day Taiwan’s high educational standards; is reported to have referred to Taiwan as “a country.”
: Koizumi government adopts position paper stating that China is not a threat to Japan.
: FM Aso tells reporters that he only intended to raise the issue as to how best to pay homage to those who died for their country.
: Abe tells reporters that Aso was simply expressing a personal opinion.
: FM Aso suggests that the emperor should visit the shrine and thus resolve issue of prime minister’s visits.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo and FM Aso tell Diet that it is wrong for China to use Yasukuni as a diplomatic instrument.
: Koizumi tells Diet that only China and South Korea are critical of his visits to Yasukuni; reiterates interest in building future-oriented relationship and summit meeting.
: Mainichi Shimbun public opinion poll shows public evenly divided on question of whether next prime minister should visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: DPJ adopts view that China is an “actual threat” to Japan.
: Foreign Minister Aso Taro in foreign policy address to Diet “welcomes” China’s peaceful development, assures China that Japan has learned lessons of history, and seeks to build a future-oriented relationship.
: Agriculture Minister Nakagawa in speech to Foreign Correspondents Club warns Japan is facing military threats from North Korea and China.
: LDP party convention adopts platform promising continued party members’ visits to Yasukuni.
: JDA Director General Nukaga visits Moscow; asks Russian counterpart to consider impact on regional balance of Russia arms exported to China.
: Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Maehara Seiji reiterates view that China is an “actual threat.”
: China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and the U.S. meet in Sydney to discuss global warming.
: Director general/working-level informal discussions in Beijing on East China Sea fail to make progress.
: China’s director general for Asian affairs is reported to have criticized Japanese media for only reporting negative aspects with regard to China.
: Ground Self-Defense Forces conduct joint exercises with U.S. Marines in California; exercises focus on defense of remote islands.
: Keidanren Chairman Okuda tells news conference that economic relations, with one or two exceptions, were not been affected by political tensions during 2005.
: Ronza magazine publishes Asahi-Yomiuri editorial dialogue critical of Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni.
: Prime Minister Koizumi visits Ise Shrine; afterward in nationally televised news cast, says he cannot understand foreign governments attempting to turn matter of the heart (Yasukuni) into a diplomatic issue.