US - Japan
Chronology from Jan 2007 to Mar 2007
: Tokyo adopts the Missile Contingency Guideline, which enables the defense minister to mobilize ballistic missile defense without Cabinet approval when Japan is under attack.
: Defense Minister Kyuma and Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace meet in Tokyo and come to agreements on close cooperation on Iraq and Futenma airbase relocation issues.
: The first phase of the sixth round of the Six-Party Talks is held in Beijing. North Korea says that it will not start discussions on denuclearization until the remittance of money from BDA is confirmed.
: Director General of the IAEA Mohamed Elbaradei holds a meeting in Beijing with U.S., Japanese, and South Korean ambassadors in charge of North Korean nuclear issues to report on his visit to North Korea from March 13 to 14.
: Ambassador Schieffer describes “comfort women” as the victims of serial rape by the Japanese military during World War II.
: Ambassador Schieffer tells reporters in Tokyo that the burdens of the U.S. and Japan were not equal in relation to GDP ratio of defense spending, and he hoped that Japan would increase defense spending.
: Ambassador Schieffer hopes PM Abe’s recent remarks to uphold the 1993 Kono Statement to express the remorse of the Japanese government over wartime sex slavery will reduce the international criticism of Abe’s earlier remarks questioning the existing evidence.
: U.S. Treasury announces lifting of de facto sanctions on North Korea. It also announces that treatment of the North Korean Banco Delta Asia (BDA) account will be left to the discretion of the Macau authority.
: Australian Prime Minister John Howard visits Japan. On March 13, PM Abe and PM Howard hold a summit meeting in Tokyo, and sign the Japan-Australia Joint Declaration of Security Cooperation that provides for diplomatic and military cooperation, including periodical dialogues and joint exercises.
: U.S. Ambassador Schieffer tells Japanese reporters a move away from the 1993 Kono Statement would have a significant negative impact on the American people. “It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact of this issue in the United States,” he said. “Engaging women in trafficking or the sex trade against their will is something that is going to find no constituency in the United States,” he added.
: Japan and North Korea hold bilateral six-party working group talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, to discuss normalization of diplomatic relations and the abduction issues. No new developments are reported.
: BBC World Service poll ranks Japan as the most positively judged country with an average of 54 percent positive responses (20 percent negative) among 27 countries. The U.S. receives 31 percent positive and 51 percent negative responses.
: The U.S. and North Korea hold working group meetings in New York to discuss North Korean nuclear arms programs, removal of North Korea from the U.S. list of state-sponsor of terrorism, and normalization of trade relations.
: Prime Minister Abe says that the Japanese government will not apologize again even if the House of Representatives passes the nonbinding resolution requesting Tokyo to apologize for the “comfort women” issue. He reiterates that the Japanese government did not backtrack from the Kono Statement which offered “sincere apologies and remorse” to former comfort women.
: Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte visits Japan to exchange views on the U.S.-Japan alliance and East Asia security environment with Japanese officials. Japan is the first destination for Negroponte after being confirmed as deputy secretary of state.
: Deputy National Security Advisor J. D. Crouch visits Japan to meet FM Aso and VFM Yachi.
: Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Cheney pay an official working visit to Japan. The vice president receives an audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and then meet Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
: Asahi Shimbun public opinion polls of the Abe administration show approval rate drops to 37 percent and disapproval rate increases to 40 percent, the first time the disapproval rating exceeded the approval rating since his September 2006 inauguration.
: “The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Getting Asia Right through 2020,” co-authored by Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, highlights major trends in Asia, provides analyses at the security and economic situation, and policy recommendations.
: The U.S. House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment holds hearing on “comfort women” issues and protection of human rights.
: President Bush and Prime Minister Abe hold a summit teleconference on the North Korean nuclear issue.
: Koike Yuriko, special adviser to the prime minister for national security affairs, gives a speech on Abe’s foreign and national security policy at CSIS.
: The fifth round of Six-Party Talks resumes in Beijing and issues a joint statement that includes closing the Yongbyon reactor, normalizing the U.S.-DPRK diplomatic relationship, and resuming Japan-North Korea normalization of diplomatic relations and the abductees issue.
: Assistant Secretary Hill pays courtesy calls on Vice Foreign Minister Yachi Shotaro and FM Aso.
: FM Aso delivers a speech on the WTO Doha Round. He says Japan agrees with President Bush’s statement, which reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a successful Doha Round and would request that Congress extend the Trade Promotion Authority.
: U.S. Rep. Michael M. Honda introduces a bipartisan resolution that calls for the Japanese government to formally and unambiguously apologize for and acknowledge the tragedy of “comfort women” endured by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
: Nihon Keizai Shimbun public opinion polls on the Abe administration show approval rate drop to 48 percent; the disapproval rating was 41 percent. [ The approval rate was 71 percent in September 2006.]
: FM Aso gives a speech to the 166th Session of the Diet. He argues that it is time to enhance the credibility of Japan-U.S. security arrangements in facing with the nuclear threat from North Korea.
: Tokyo hosts the fourth Asian Senior-level Talks on Nonproliferation to discuss Iranian and North Korean nuclear developments and cooperation on nonproliferation. Participants include Australia, Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States, and ASEAN.
: Defense Minister Kyuma Akio comments on the Iraq war saying that the U.S. decision to fight a war with Iraq was a mistake. The U.S. expresses displeasure through diplomatic channels. Kyuma again criticizes the U.S. (Jan. 27) on U.S. attitude toward the Futenma Base transfer issue.
: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill holds talks on North Korea issues in Tokyo with Sasae Kenichiro, director general of the Asia and Oceania Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
: Defense Minister Ishiba orders the MSDF to resume its naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean based on the new special measures law.
: The Second East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Cebu, the Philippines, following ASEAN Plus Three, Japan-China-South Korea, and Japan-ASEAN summits. In the EAS, the leaders agree to the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security. The EAS chairman’s statement also expresses concern about the North Korean abduction issues.
: After the U.S. announcement of a new policy on Iraq, Foreign Minister Aso Taro states that Japan will promote assistance through airlift service by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and yen loan projects to Iraq up to a total of ¥79.837 billion.
: Tokyo upgrades the Japan Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo attends the commemorative ceremony for the inauguration of the Ministry of Defense.