Chronologies

US - Japan

Chronology from Jan 2011 to May 2011


: The Lower House of the Diet votes unanimously to approve a $49 billion supplementary budget to support earthquake relief efforts.

: FM Matsumoto meets Secretary Clinton in Washington to discuss earthquake relief efforts, security cooperation, regional issues, and developments in the Middle East.

: Standard and Poor’s revises its outlook on Japan’s credit rating from “stable” to “negative” citing the potential for increased deficits after the March 11 earthquake.

: A Fujisankei poll finds a 21 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet with 79 percent of respondents suggesting Kan did not display leadership in response to the nuclear crisis.  When asked who would be most desirable as prime minister, Ozawa Ichiro tops the list with 9.2 percent of the responses.

: The DPJ suffers additional setbacks in the second round of unified local elections, losing a Lower House by-election in Aichi prefecture and winning only three of 10 city and ward mayoral elections in which it went up against the LDP.

: Kan government approves a $49 billion supplementary budget to support earthquake relief efforts.

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance reports a 2.2 percent decline in exports in March compared to a year earlier, the first decline in 16 months, leading to a 78.9 percent decline in the country’s trade surplus.

: Secretary of State Clinton meets PM Kan, FM Matsumoto, and the Emperor and Empress of Japan during a visit to Tokyo.

: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announces a six- to nine-month timetable for stabilizing the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

: Japan’s Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko meets Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Washington to express thanks for the March 18 G7 intervention in financial markets to stabilize the yen and for US support of Japan’s recovery efforts.   

: State Department lifts the travel warning for Tokyo and the voluntary authorized departure status, allowing dependents of US government employees to return to Japan.    

: Finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 convene in Washington, and issue a communiqué including a message of solidarity with the Japanese people and confidence in the resilience of the Japanese economy and financial sector.        

: Japanese government raises the severity level of the emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from level five to the maximum seven on an international scale.

: A message of thanks from PM Kan to the international community appears in several Western newspapers.

: The DPJ suffers a setback in the first round of unified local elections, losing three key gubernatorial races and faring poorly in prefectural assembly elections.

: The Bank of Japan keeps interest rates unchanged at 0-0.1 percent and creates a special lending facility to offer low-interest loans to financial institutions in areas hardest hit by the March 11 disaster.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun poll finds 64 percent of the public supports a grand coalition between the DPJ and LDP.  Sixty-one percent expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  The Kan Cabinet’s approval rating stood at 31 percent with a disapproval rating of 56 percent.

: Approximately 18,000 SDF and 7,000 US military personnel begin a three-day joint operation to find people missing since the March 11 disaster.

: NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko travels to Tokyo to meet Japanese counterparts and assess the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

: Cabinet Office estimates damage from the March 11 disaster of up to $300 billion.

: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos, US Pacific Command Commander Adm. Robert Willard, and US Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Director Mark Bartolini travel to the area devastated by the tsunami.

: Secretary of State Clinton signs a book of condolence messages for the victims of the March 11 disaster at the Embassy of Japan in Washington.

:   The US and Japanese governments establish a joint working group on the Fukushima Daiichi accident comprised of officials from various government agencies.

: The US Food and Drug Administration bans imports of milk, milk products, and produce from six prefectures in Japan due to concerns about radioactive contamination.

: The World Bank estimates that the March 11 disaster caused up to $235 billion in damage.

: PM Kan reportedly calls Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Tanigaki Sadakazu and invites him to join the Cabinet and form a grand coalition government between the DPJ and LDP.

: The Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations conduct a joint intervention in currency markets to help stabilize the yen.       

: A US Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle and U2 spy planes fly over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to survey damage.         

: Defense Secretary Robert Gates authorizes $35 million in initial Defense Department funds for humanitarian assistance to Japan.

: President Obama signs a book of condolence messages for the victims of the March 11 disaster at the Embassy of Japan in Washington and delivers remarks on the situation in Japan, summarizing US relief efforts and explaining the decision to recommend an evacuation of US citizens around the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

: Emperor Akihito delivers a message to the public in his first-ever nationally televised address.

: Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the NRC, offers the first US government assessment of the emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and announces an evacuation zone for US citizens four times larger than that issued by the Japanese government.

: The USS Ronald Reagan and the Carrier Strike Group reposition to the north but operate out of the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

: President Obama discusses the latest developments in Japan’s response to the earthquake and tsunami in a telephone call with PM Kan.

:   State Department issues a travel warning advising US citizens against traveling to Japan, those in Japan to consider departing, and authorizing the voluntary departure from Japan of eligible family members of US government personnel in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Yokohama.

: USS Ronald Reagan and the Carrier Strike Group move further away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to radiological concerns.
March 15, 2011: FM Matsumoto and Secretary Clinton meet on the margins of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Paris to discuss efforts to respond to the earthquake and tsunami and other bilateral issues.

: Japanese government announces a 20-km evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

: White House issues a press statement on the US response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan including the dispatch by the US Agency for International Development of a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Japan including nuclear experts from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the positioning of the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Japan to support the SDF in search-and-rescue and refueling efforts.

: Prime Minister Kan visits Fukushima Prefecture to take stock of the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

: PM Kan acknowledges that his campaign office unknowingly received donations from a foreign national and refuses to resign.

: A magnitude-9.0 earthquake strikes off the northeast coast of Japan, generating a tsunami that devastates coastal areas and damages the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture.

: President Obama issues a statement sending condolences to the people of Japan and pledging US assistance.

: State Department issues a travel alert advising US citizens to avoid travel to Japan.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Wallace Gregson discuss a range of issues related to the US-Japan alliance with FM Matsumoto, Defense Minister Kitazawa, and other senior officials.

: During a media roundtable in Tokyo Campbell expresses regret for the controversy surrounding alleged statements concerning the people of Okinawa and announces that Rust Deming would return to the State Department to serve as Director of Japan Affairs.

: PM Kan appoints Matsumoto Takeaki to succeed Maehara Seiji as foreign minister.

: US Ambassador John Roos calls Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano to express regret that news reports about controversial remarks attributed to a senior US official had caused offense in Okinawa.

: Yomiuri Shimbun issues a survey in which 51 percent of voters think PM Kan should resign and 56 percent say they would blame the government and the DPJ if bills to enact the budget for fiscal year 2011 are not passed.

: FM Maehara resigns for accepting donations from a foreign national to his political office, a violation of the Political Funds Control Law.

: Kyodo News publishes a story alleging that State Department Director of Japan Affairs Kevin Maher made disparaging remarks about the people of Okinawa during a meeting with a group of students in December 2010.

: The Lower House of the Diet passes a record ¥92.4 trillion ($1.1 trillion) budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2011, and sends it to the Upper House for consideration.

: Kenko Matsuki resigns as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries to protest PM Kan’s management of the government.

: Moody’s Investors Service changes its outlook on Japan’s Aa2 credit rating to “negative” from “stable” citing concerns about public debt.

: Kan Cabinet’s approval rating falls to a low of 17.8 percent according to a Jiji News survey.

: Japanese government confirms that China had surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy in 2010.

: Okinawa newspaper Ryukyu Shimpo publishes an interview with former PM Hatoyama Yukio in which he states that his justification for the agreement between the US and Japan regarding the relocation of US forces on Okinawa was an expedient excuse (hōben).

: A Kyodo News poll finds the Kan Cabinet approval rating at 19.9 percent.

: US National Military Strategy 2011 is released and references work with the SDF to improve their out-of-area operational capabilities.

: US Department of Transportation releases the results of a study on unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, which found no electrical flaws in Toyota vehicles that would create high-speed unintended acceleration incidents.

: Fifty-six percent of the Japanese public believes Ozawa should resign according to a survey published by the Yomiuri Shimbun.

: DPJ Secretary General Ozawa is indicted for alleged involvement in a political funding scandal.

:   FM Maehara meets Gov. Nakaima in Okinawa and asks residents to accept a US-Japan agreement on the relocation of Futenma within in the prefecture.

: Standard and Poor’s downgrades Japan’s sovereign debt due to concerns about the fiscal deficit.

: Opposition lawmakers demand that former DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro deliver unsworn testimony in the Diet over his alleged involvement in a funding scandal.

: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg meets FM Maehara and other senior officials to discuss issues including regional security and developments on the Korean Peninsula.

: Adm. Robert Willard, commander, US Pacific Command, visits Japan and meets Gen. Oriki Ryoichi, chief of staff, Joint Staff, Japan Self Defense Forces (SDF).

: PM Kan introduces the theme “Heisei-Era opening of Japan” and outlines policy priorities including trade liberalization and social security reform in an address to the Diet.

: FM Maehara and US Ambassador to Japan John Roos sign a five-year agreement on host nation support for US forces in Japan.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio visits Okinawa and meets Gov. Nakaima to discuss US basing issues and economic development.

: PM Kan refers to the US-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of Japanese foreign policy in a speech on diplomacy in Tokyo.

:   Defense Minister Kitazawa visits Okinawa and meets Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu to discuss US basing issues.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun poll posts a 34 percent approval rating for the new Kan Cabinet.  Asahi Shimbun reports 26 percent approval and Nikkei Shimbun records 31 percent.

:   PM Kan reshuffles his Cabinet.   

: Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with Prime Minister (PM) Kan Naoto, FM Maehara, and Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi in Tokyo and delivers remarks at Keio University.

: Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Okada Katsuya hints at revisions in the party’s policy platform in announcing that party leaders would reexamine the 2009 election manifesto.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth meets Vice Foreign Minister Sasae Kenichiro to discuss next steps on the Korean Peninsula.

: FM Maehara meets Vice President Joe Biden in Washington.

: Foreign Minister (FM) Maehara Seiji meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington to discuss bilateral security cooperation and addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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