US - Japan

Chronology from Jan 2010 to Mar 2010

: Secretary Clinton and FM Okada release a joint statement on US-Japan cooperation in APEC.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano states during a press conference that the government is working on relocation plans for Futenma within Okinawa Prefecture.

: A Nikkei Shimbun poll reports a 36 percent approval rating for the Hatoyama Cabinet.

: FM Okada meets Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Washington and later with Secretary Clinton on the margins of the G8 foreign ministers meeting in Canada regarding the Futenma relocation issue.

: House Ways and Means Committee members including Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) send a letter urging the Obama administration to address barriers to US exports including restrictions on beef imports and unfair competition in Japan’s insurance market.

: FM Okada meets Ambassador Roos to discuss alternatives for the relocation of Air Station Futenma.

: The Diet passes Hatoyama government’s record $1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010.

: PM Hatoyama emphasizes the importance of the US-Japan alliance in an address to the National Defense Academy of Japan.

: PM Hatoyama instructs his Cabinet to develop specifics on the East Asian Community concept by the end of May.

: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Donovan and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Michael Schiffer testify before the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment during a hearing on US-Japan relations.

: In an appearance before the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee, FM Okada says Japan might allow the introduction of nuclear weapons by the US in an emergency but that the Hatoyama government would uphold Japan’s three non-nuclear principles.

: The Bank of Japan eases monetary policy by voting to inject an additional $110 billion into a $112 billion lending facility for commercial banks.

: Former Internal Affairs Minister Hatoyama Kunio, brother of PM Hatoyama, resigns from the LDP.

: A panel of experts submits a report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding confidential agreements reached between Japan and the US in the 1960s on the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun poll posts a 41 percent approval for the Hatoyama Cabinet and a disapproval rating of 50 percent.  Seventy-eight percent of respondents said Ozawa should resign as DPJ secretary general because of an alleged fundraising scandal and 79 percent felt that Hatoyama has not adequately explained his fundraising irregularities.  The DPJ approval rating was 31 percent compared to 20 percent for the LDP.

: The Washington Post publishes an editorial critical of Fujita Yukihisa, a DPJ member of Japan’s House of Councilors (Upper House).

: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg visits Tokyo for meetings with FM Okada and other officials.

: The US Chamber of Commerce, the US-Japan Business Council, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and 10 other organizations issue a joint statement expressing concerns about the Hatoyama administration’s preliminary draft bill to scale back the privatization of the postal service (Japan Post).

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano meets Ambassador Roos to discuss relocation plans for Futenma.

: Former Health and Welfare Minister Masuzoe Yoichi threatens to leave the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), citing weak leadership since the DPJ election victory last year.

: Four trade union members are arrested on suspicion of violating the Political Funds Control Law with regard to donations allegedly received by the election campaign office of DPJ Lower House member Kobayashi Chiyomi.

: Finance Minister Kan tells a Diet committee he hopes the consumer price index will turn positive by the end of 2010.

: The Hatoyama Cabinet’s approval rating stands at 43 percent according to a Nikkei Shimbun poll.

: Japan’s Ministry of Environment releases an outline of a draft bill on climate change policy.

: FM Okada meets US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth in Tokyo to discuss efforts at resuming the Six-Party Talks.

: PM Hatoyama tells reporters he is considering Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

: Toyota Motors President Toyoda Akio testifies before Congress regarding concerns about consumer safety resulting from a large-scale recall.

: Japan hosts the first Senior Officials Meeting for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

: Finance Minister Kan advocates an inflation target and reiterates a government commitment to strengthen domestic demand while calling on the Bank of Japan to take steps to counter deflation.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano visits Okinawa a second time to consider options for the relocation of Marine Air Station Futenma.

: Japanese officials meet with Brad Roberts, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, to discuss extended deterrence.

: PM Hatoyama appoints an advisory board to offer recommendations for the National Defense Program Guidelines to be finalized by the end of 2010.

: Senator Jim Webb, Chairman of the East Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, visits Tokyo, Okinawa, and Guam.

: President Obama tells Bloomberg Businessweek that Toyota has an obligation to act decisively in response to concerns about safety after a global recall.

: PM Hatoyama selects Edano Yukio as minister for Government Revitalization, succeeding Sengoku Yoshito, who was tapped to run the National Strategy Office in the Cabinet.

: Tokyo prosecutors announce a decision not to indict Ichiro Ozawa in connection with a funding scandal.

: US Trade Representative Ron Kirk issues a statement lamenting Japan’s release of a limited list of US automobiles eligible under Japan’s eco-friendly car purchase program.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell and Ambassador Roos pay a courtesy call to DPJ Secretary General Ozawa.

: Assistant Secretary Campbell urges Japan to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abduction after meeting with affected families at the US Embassy in Tokyo.

: 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 visit Tokyo for a meeting of the bilateral Security Subcommittee.

: Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis visits Tokyo and urges Japan not to discriminate against US firms in banking, insurance, and express mail services as it considers reorganizing the postal service (Japan Post).

: The Department of Defense publishes the Quadrennial Defense Review.

: PM Hatoyama addresses the Diet and states the US-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy.

: Japan’s Finance Ministry announces that exports increased for the first time in 15 months due to robust demand in Asia.

: Standard & Poor’s cuts Japan’s sovereign credit rating outlook to negative based on concerns about government debt.

: Susumu Inamine, an opponent of the relocation plan for Futenma, wins Okinawa’s Nago City mayoral election.

: A poll by Yomiuri Shimbun and Waseda University shows 35 percent of the public wants the DPJ to win an outright majority in the Upper House election; 54 percent do not.

: During a session of the Lower House Budget Committee, PM Hatoyama states the US-Japan-China relationship is not an “equilateral triangle” and notes the alliance with the US is the foundation of Japanese foreign policy.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa dispatches a Self-Defense Force International Disaster Relief Medical Support Unit to Haiti to assist with earthquake relief efforts.

: The Government of Japan announces that automobiles imported under the Preferential Handling Procedure (PHP) could be eligible for inclusion in a program offering subsidies for the purchase of eco-friendly vehicles.

: Japan Airlines files for bankruptcy.

: PM Hatoyama and President Obama each issue statements to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the US-Japan Security Treaty.  The bilateral Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) also reaffirms the importance of the US-Japan alliance.

: The Hatoyama Cabinet posts a 41 percent approval rating in a Kyodo News poll.  A Yomiuri poll released the same day lists a 45 percent approval rating with 70 percent saying Ozawa should resign as DPJ secretary general because of an alleged funding scandal.

: Three current and former aides to Ozawa Ichiro are arrested and charged with falsifying political funding reports in connection with a land purchase in Tokyo.

: The Special Measures Law authorizing Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) refueling operations in the Indian Ocean expires.

: In an interview with Reuters, FM Okada dismisses the idea that the Hatoyama government is promoting relations with China at the expense of the alliance with the US.

: Prosecutors search the office of a funding group for Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro in a probe into possible political funding irregularities.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister (FM) Okada Katsuya meet in Honolulu to discuss issues including US-Japan relations, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma, and nonproliferation.

: Yomiuri Shimbun poll reveals a 56 percent approval rating for the Hatoyama Cabinet.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano Hirofumi visits Okinawa to consider relocation options for Futenma.

: Six members of Congress sign a letter to PM Hatoyama expressing support for the Guam International Agreement.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi meets US Ambassador to Japan John Roos to discuss relocation of Futenma and the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan Security Treaty.

: Finance Minister Fujii Hirohisa resigns, citing poor health, and is replaced by Kan Naoto.

: Prime Minister (PM) Hatoyama Yukio holds a New Year’s press conference and stresses the importance of reaching a decision on the relocation of Marine Air Station Futenma.

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