US - Japan

Chronology from Jan 2005 to Mar 2005

: FM Machimura and DM Ohno meet with prefectural governors to discuss the review of U.S. forces in Japan, realignment of U.S. forces, and problems related to USFJ facilities.

: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns urges Japan to accelerate “enormously slow” domestic process to lift its import ban on U.S. beef.

: Japan’s Food Safety Commission approves excluding cattle 20 months or younger from the current system of testing all cattle for mad cow disease.

: Kyodo News reports that the U.S. demands Japan ease barriers on 12 farm products that include wheat, pork, beef, oranges, apples, and dairy products.

: After Iceland grants him citizenship, Japan releases chess champion Bobby Fischer and allows him to go to Iceland despite U.S. request for extradition.

: Japan Times reports that Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda said Japan is fed up with pressure from the U.S. to lift the 15-month-old ban on beef imports.

: Secretary Rice meets in Tokyo with PM Koizumi and FM Machimura. They discuss the Six-Party Talks, Middle East, U.S.-Japan relations, and the resumption of U.S. beef imports.

: Ten bipartisan senators submit resolution urging the U.S. Trade Representative to “immediately impose retaliatory economic measures” against Japan over its failure to lift its import ban on U.S. beef. A bipartisan group of House members proposed a similar measure March 3.

: U.S. Senate confirms Thomas Schieffer as ambassador to Japan.

: Ambassador-Designate Schieffer testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee that U.S. and Japan must resolve beef issue.

: U.S. ROK Ambassador Hill meets FM Machimura to discuss restarting Six-Party Talks. The two agreed that it was necessary for China to persuade North Korea to rejoin the Six-Party Talks.

: President Bush telephones PM Koizumi to discuss North Korea, the resumption of U.S. beef exports to Japan, and the Middle East peace process.

: Food safety head Yasufumi Tanahashi denies political pressure on food panel over U.S. beef.

: China’s FM Li Zhaoxing warns Japan, U.S. not to include Taiwan within the scope of their military alliance saying, “Beijing would not permit interference in what it considers an internal matter.”

: Some 130 U.S. Marines return to Okinawa from Iraq.

: PM Koizumi says he seeks Washington’s understanding on Tokyo’s efforts to ensure the safety of U.S. beef before lifting Japan’s import ban on the meat.

: More than 55 U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers submit a resolution to seek sanctions over Japan’s beef import ban, urging U.S. trade negotiators to “immediately” impose economic measures on Japan.

: Japan confirms 15th case of mad cow disease.

: Some 20 U.S. senators threaten sanctions over Japan’s import ban on U.S. beef due to mad cow disease. The senators hinted seeking sanctions equal to the amount of beef exported to Japan before the ban was imposed in December 2003.

: Japan and the U.S. agree to start providing tsunami warning to countries around the Indian Ocean in March 2005 until the region establishes its own alert system.

: Secretary Rice and FM Machimura reconfirm policy toward North Korea and reiterate commitment to a diplomatic resolution of the crisis through Six-Party Talks.

: FM Machimura and Defense Agency head Ohno meet with Secretary Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at the Security Consultative Committee. They produce a joint declaration on common strategic objectives, Washington’s global military realignment and new roles and missions for the U.S. and Japanese forces.

: Outgoing Ambassador to Japan Baker says Japan should refrain from single-handedly imposing economic sanctions on North Korea, and should urge countries, including China and Russia, to take joint action.

: Former Defense Agency head Ishiba Shigeru urges Japan and the U.S. to study returning all U.S. bases in Japan back to Japan and place them under SDF control.
Feb. 15, 2005: FM Machimura urges U.S. to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol aimed at curbing global warming, which goes into effect Feb. 16, and calls on China and India to join.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japanese Cabinet has finalized SDF bill and the Defense Agency is able to “respond to an attack at any time” in the event of a missile attack on Japan without a mobilization order issued by the prime minister.

: U.S. Navy to deploy two Aegis destroyers, the USS Stethem and USS Lassen, to Yokosuka to strengthen missile defense system.

: Under Secretary of State Bolton says that the U.S. will work closely with Tokyo to try to rein in arms trade with China.

: LDP approves SDF Law amendments that allow the SDF to intercept intruding missiles and shoot down missiles targeted at the U.S. while missiles are in Japanese airspace.

: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare accept U.S.-proposed method of identifying cattle age based on the quality of meat in order to resume U.S. beef imports. The date when imports can be resumed remains unclear.

: President Bush telephones PM Koizumi, they discuss the war in Iraq, North Korea, and the appointment of Ambassador Schieffer.

: Liberal Democratic Party Acting Secretary General Abe Shinto meets with NSC Senior Asia Director Green. Vice FM Yachi discusses North Korea with Green, who expresses understanding of Japan’s possible sanctions against North Korea.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda Hiroyuki meets National Security Council Senior Asia Director Michael Green.

: FM Machimura telephones Secretary of State Rice to congratulate her on her appointment. They discuss the Middle East, UN reform, transformation of U.S. forces, and North Korea, and agree to closely cooperate.

: Some 4,300 Ground SDF personnel and 1,500 U.S. Army personnel take part in Japan-U.S. military drill in Hokkaido.

: President Bush names Thomas Schieffer next ambassador to Japan.

: Kyodo News reports that 55 percent of poll respondents say that SDF should withdraw from Iraq by March 2005.

: PM Koizumi reiterates that Japan-U.S. alliance is key to the security of Japan and the peace and stability of the world at the Diet. Japan will press for early implementation of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa Final Report, including the relocation and return of Futenma Air Station.

: Defense Agency head Ohno says government will amend the Self-Defense Forces Law to stipulate procedures for intercepting ballistic missiles targeting Japan under an envisaged missile defense system.

: U.S. dollar hits five-year low against yen (US$1= ¥101.7).

: Defense Agency Director General Ohno Yoshinori calls for upgrading Defense Agency into a ministry.

: At tsunami summit in Jakarta, FM Machimura and Secretary of State Powell agree that Six-Party Talks on North Korea should be resumed as soon as possible, and they discuss realignment of U.S. forces in Japan and Japan’s import ban on U.S. beef.

: Japan pledges $500 million for tsunami relief effort.

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