US - Japan
Chronology from Jan 2003 to Mar 2003
: According to the Sankei Shimbun, a Cabinet Office survey finds that 75 percent of respondents fear Japan’s involvement in a conflict caused by North Korea and more than 70 percent rely on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and its bilateral security arrangements to protect Japan.
: PM Koizumi denies in a Diet hearing that Tokyo intends to possess offensive weapons.
: Japan’s first two of four spy satellites are launched from Tanegashima Space Center.
: During a Diet debate JDA head Ishiba says that Japan might need to acquire weapons capable of a preemptive attack on North Korea.
: A Yomiuri Shimbun poll finds that 92 percent of respondents fear “very much” or “slightly” a North Korean missile attack.
: Ambassador Baker states in his meeting with the secretaries general of the three ruling parties that in addition to Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, PM Koizumi is one of the world’s great leaders.
: Miyazaki Hayao, director of “Spirited Away,” wins Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
: President of the Democratic Party of Japan Kan Naoto suggests that Japan should consider introducing MD.
: FM Kawaguchi announces that Japan will provide $104.2 million to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority in grants and food aid respectively.
: At a graduation ceremony at the National Defense Academy, PM Koizumi emphasizes that the Japan-U.S. alliance is “invaluable” for Japan.
: President Bush thanks PM Koizumi for publicly supporting U.S. action on Iraq in a telephone conversation and both leaders agree to collaborate in reconstructing Iraq with help from the international community.
: The government agrees to strengthen security at 650 key facilities, including U.S. bases, embassies, and nuclear power plants.
: FM Kawaguchi announces that Japan will contribute $5.03 million to UNHCR, UNICEF, and the World Food Program.
: Concerned about possible North Korean provocation, Tokyo orders increased air surveillance over the Sea of Japan, letting the ASDF AWACS join similar U.S. flights.
: Ambassador Baker acknowledges in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Daily Yomiuri that Japan’s unwavering support for the U.S. is a “high point” in the 50-year Japan-U.S. relationship.
: The U.S. State Department publishes a list of 30 countries supporting the U.S. in the war against Iraq; Japan is identified as a contributor for “postwar” reconstruction, but not for military action.
: Cabinet Secretary Fukuda rebuffs Vice President Cheney’s March 16 comment that North Korea could force Japan to develop nuclear weapons.
: PM Koizumi gives total support to a U.S. announcement to take military action against Iraq unless Saddam Hussein surrenders within 48 hours.
: More than 20,000 people in Japan march to protest war against Iraq.
: Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Tokyo will airlift relief materials and offer medical services to Syria as a part of UN PKO.
: Lt. Gen. Thomas Waskow, commander U.S. Forces Japan, confirms that U.S. protection in the event of a North Korean crisis is independent of Japan’s contribution to an attack on Iraq and any decision regarding the Iraq campaign is up to the Japanese government.
: Cabinet agrees to expand MSDF refueling operations in the Arabian Sea to other coalition warships as part of its logistic support for the military operation in Afghanistan.
: The Nikkei average sinks to 20-year low, hitting 7,800-level.
: PM Koizumi and FM Kawaguchi begin contacting six representatives of nonpermanent members of the UNSC by phone to win support for the British-U.S.-sponsored resolution.
: Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, offers support to family members of Japanese abductees in seeking help with the North Korean abduction issue after meeting them in the U.S.
: JDA head Ishiba tells Diet that the SDF cannot protect Japanese people from North Korean ballistic missiles and can only minimize the damage.
: U.S. announces plans to review the defense of Japan, including strengthening of interoperability with the SDF along with the assumption of Japan’s deployment of MD.
: Tokyo notifies Washington that it will not support the military expenses of Iraqi war, but it will shoulder the burden of Iraqi reconstruction after Saddam Hussein is ousted.
: Secretary Armitage tells visiting members of the Democratic Party of Japan that a North Korean missile attack on Japan would trigger immediate U.S. “countermeasures.”
: U.S. and Japan hold working-level meeting of Security Consultative Committee in Tokyo.
: PM Koizumi nominates Fukui Toshihiko, former Bank of Japan deputy governor, as governor of the BOJ.
: Powell visits Tokyo for talks with PM Koizumi and FM Kawaguchi on plans for North Korea and Iraq.
: JDA spokesman reveals that the agency conducted a study on the development of nuclear weapons in 1995, and concluded that nuclear weapons options were not worth pursuing.
: JDA head Ishiba states that Japan plans to ask for ¥20 billion for MD tests during both FY 2004 and FY 2005.
: Defense Agency spokesman says Japan and the U.S. have agreed to begin ballistic missile defense (MD) tests off Hawaii in the spring of 2004.
: JDA head Ishiba says that Japan will use military force in self-defense if Tokyo finds evidence that North Korea is about to attack Japan with a ballistic missile, adding that the loading of fuel is enough to justify use of force. He also stresses the need for parliamentary approval of “crisis legislation” to broaden Japan’s ability to act militarily.
: Fourteen governors of prefectures hosting U.S. military bases call on the LDP to revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.
: About 450 people attend memorial services in Honolulu on Feb. 9 and in Japan on Feb. 10 to mark the second anniversary of the Feb. 9, 2001 Ehime Maru accident.
: Vice Foreign Minister Takeuchi meets Secretary Armitage, saying that any U.S. led military action against Iraq should be backed by a UN resolution.
: PM Koizumi states at a Diet session that Japan must respond as “a responsible member of international society” and an ally of the United States if Iraq will not implement UN Security Council Resolution 1441.
: Secretary Armitage dispels speculation that Japan could develop nuclear weapons in a Senate hearing, emphasizing the importance of close U.S.-Japan ties to prevent Tokyo from going nuclear.
: Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) landing ship Shimokita leaves to offer rear-area support for U.S.-led antiterror efforts in Afghanistan.
: N.C. Rep. Howard Coble says that Japanese Americans were interned for their safety during World War II, generating anger among Japanese Americans and Arab Americans.
: The last of the nine families who lost kin in the Feb. 9, 2001, collision between the Ehime Maru and a U.S. submarine reaches a settlement with the U.S. Navy.
: PM Koizumi vows to make annual pilgrimages to Yasukuni Shrine as long as he is in office.
: PM Koizumi and President Bush talk on the phone and agree to work closely to resolve issues surrounding Iraq and North Korea. They emphasize the need for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean issue.
: JDA head Ishiba tells Diet that Japan could launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if Pyongyang begins preparations for a missile attack.
: California federal court dismisses 28 lawsuits against a Japanese company by former U.S. POWs taken prisoner by Japan during World War II.
: California State Court of Appeals rules that the state constitution allows a private lawsuit brought against private Japanese companies by former Korean World War II POWs to proceed, despite State Department protests.
: Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Oshima arrives in U.S. for meetings with USTR Robert Zoellick, Agriculture Secretary Veneman, and Deputy Secretary of State Armitage. Oshima tells reporters that “a considerable gap” exists between the two countries.
: Japan’s Aegis-equipped destroyer Kirishima arrives on station in Indian Ocean to back up U.S. forces under the antiterror law.
: Ariz. Sen. John McCain insists that the U.S. should allow Japan to develop nuclear weapons.