US - Japan

Chronology from Oct 2003 to Dec 2003

: USDA officials convene with their Japanese counterparts to discuss the first case of “mad cow” disease in the U.S.; the Japanese government rejects U.S. request to lift import ban on beef.

: PM Koizumi tells U.S. special envoy James Baker that Japan will forgive a “vast majority” of Iraq’s $4.1 billion debt on the condition that other nations from the Paris Club do the same.

: Japan sends advance team of 23 Japanese air force personnel to the Middle East to prepare for the deployment of about 1,000 noncombat personnel in Iraq.

: The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo announces that all U.S. beef imports to Japan are safe; Japan’s Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Watanabe Yoshiaki, states that a team will be sent in January to gather information on mad cow disease.

: Okinawa Prefectural police announce that the number of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel or members of their families reached 103 from January through November, exceeding 100 for the first time in nine years.

: Japan halts all U.S. beef imports after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its first case of “mad cow” disease in the U.S.

: Japan announces plans to buy an American-made missile defense system and continued participation with the U.S. in the joint-development of a missile defense system. Partial introduction of the system will begin in early 2007 and be fully operational by 2011.

: Lost in Translation, a film about two Americans visiting Japan, is nominated for best picture for the 2003 Golden Globe Awards.

: Tokyo will spend nearly $1 billion on missile defense in 2004. The proposed system will utilize Patriot missiles and intercept missiles deployed aboard Aegis-equipped destroyers.

: According to a Yomiuri-Gallup poll on U.S.-Japan relations, 54 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Japanese think relations are in good shape, a drop of 13 percent from a year ago in both countries. 71 percent of Americans think Japan can be trusted, down 7 percent from 2002 and 41 percent of Japanese trust the U.S., down 8 percent.

: Matsui Kazuo, former Seibu Lions baseball shortstop, signs a three-year, $20.1 million contract with the New York Mets.

:   Japanese Cabinet approves sending troops to Iraq.

: U.S. Department of Defense announces that Japan and other countries that support U.S. efforts in postwar Iraq can bid for $18.6 billion worth of 26 reconstruction projects in Iraq as prime contractors.

: The Last Samurai, a movie about 19th century Japan starring Tom Cruise, opens in U.S. theaters.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda welcomes complete removal of U.S. steel tariffs, stating that Japan will withdraw its retaliation against $100 million worth of U.S. goods on Dec. 17.

: Ambassador Baker praises PM Koizumi’s commitment to send Japanese troops to Iraq despite the recent deaths of two Japanese diplomats.

: U.S., Japan, and South Korea meet in Washington, D.C. to prepare for the next round of six-party talks.

: A Ginowan city sponsored symposium adopts declaration calling for the return of land used by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station to commemorate the spirit of the 1996 Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa.

: FM Kawaguchi tells Secretary Powell via telephone that Japan will continue to help the U.S.-led coalition on Iraqi reconstruction efforts, despite the death of two Japanese diplomats.

: Two Japanese diplomats killed in an ambush in Tikrit, Iraq.

: Japanese Supreme Court dismisses an appeal by Okinawa landowners of a lower court ruling, which stated damages can’t be collected from the government, which forced them to lease their land to the U.S. military.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda welcomes the U.S. decision to revise its military posture in Japan “so that an envisaged new alignment will help improve peace and stability in the world.”

: FM Kawaguchi criticizes U.S. plan to develop small, low-yield nuclear weapons, saying that the program “must not interfere” with nonproliferation efforts.

: Hawaiian Gov. Linda Lingle and Ehime Gov. Moriyuki Kato sign a sister-state agreement in Honolulu to increase exchanges.

: Japan announces a 30 percent rise in tariffs on U.S. steel products and gasoline as retaliatory measures if the U.S. does not retract its steel import curbs that were declared “illegal” by the WTO.

: U.S., Japanese, and Australian ambassadors for counterterrorism meet in Canberra, Australia to informally discuss a regional strategy against terrorism.

: Koizumi Junichiro re-elected PM of Japan, wining 281 votes from the 479 votes cast at the 480-seat House of Representatives; 186 votes went to DPJ head Kan, and nine to Shii Kazuo, head of the Japanese Communist Party, while 3 votes were left blank.

: Secretary Rumsfeld visits U.S. troops in Okinawa and meets with Okinawa Gov. Inamine, who strongly urges that U.S. bases and troops in Okinawa be realigned and reduced.

: Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly meets with Japan’s FM Asia chief Yabunaka Mitoji and FM Kawaguchi in Tokyo to discuss North Korea’s nuclear arms program; Kelly also endorses Japan’s plan to bring up the issue of abductions at the next round of six-party talks.

: Secretary Rumsfeld meets with FM Kawaguchi to discuss North Korea, the U.S.-Japan security alliance, and criminal procedures under the U.S.-Japan SOFA.

: Tokyo District Court sentences U.S. Navy serviceman Rick Miller to eight years in prison after being found guilty for robbery and battery.

: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld meets with PM Koizumi in Tokyo to discuss Japan’s troop dispatch to Iraq, while hundreds of demonstrators in Okinawa protest outside the U.S. Marine base calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq.

: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice states that the U.S. understands Japan’s delay in sending its troops to Iraq and appreciates Japan’s financial contribution to Iraqi reconstruction efforts.

: Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s head Nakagawa calls for the U.S. to “immediately terminate its steel safeguard measures in accordance with the recommendations of the (WTO) panel, and as upheld by the appellate body.”

: Japan decides to postpone December 2003 deployment of SDF to Iraq citing security concerns.

: In Lower House elections, DPJ raises its total by 40 seats to 177 while the LDP loses 10 seats from 247 to 237 seats. Koizumi’s ruling coalition maintains control with 275 seats in the 480-member chamber.

: PM Koizumi’s foreign policy advisor, Okamoto Yukio, meets with U.S. and Iraqi officials in Baghdad, Iraq to discuss Japan’s role in postwar reconstruction efforts. Okamoto states “Japan cannot avoid becoming a target of terrorism unless we pull out of Iraq completely.”

: Maritime Self Defense Forces announces a 10-day, joint exercise drill with the U.S. Navy in the Sea of Japan, Pacific Ocean, and East China Sea.

: U.S. supports PM Koizumi’s “bold action” pledge of doubling Japan’s foreign direct investment in five years.

: 40th Annual U.S.-Japan Business conference opens in Washington. Talks revolve around bilateral economic conditions, promotion of foreign direct investment, and economic recovery in Japan.

: PM Koizumi says Japan’s SDF in Iraq will need to be protected by U.S. and British coalition forces; he also indicated the need to review the country’s constitution to “legitimize” the SDF as a “National Military.”

: DPJ head Kan states that “security in the Far East can be maintained without U.S. bases in Okinawa and the marines stationed there,” and will urge the marines to leave Okinawa if his party wins the Nov. 9 election.

: Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that U.S. and Japan are revising a bilateral tax treaty that will go into effect 2005 – the first revision in 30 years.

: DPJ Leader Kan Naoto states that the U.S.-Japan alliance would remain firm, even if his party opposes the dispatch of SDF to Iraq.

: Suzuki Takashi, director general of METI’s Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau, chairs first meeting on export controls in Asia in Tokyo; Japan, U.S., China, South Korea, and other Pacific Rim nations agree to implement measures that prevent indirect exports of illegal products to North Korea.

: U.S. Trade Representative Zoellick and Japanese Trade Minister Nakagawa meet in Bangkok on the APEC sidelines to discuss joint efforts to urge China to enforce intellectual property rights.

: President Bush meets with PM Koizumi in Tokyo to discuss North Korean nuclear issue, Iraq’s reconstruction, and foreign exchange rates.

: Japanese FM Kawaguchi tells Secretary of State Powell via telephone that Japan will support the new U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution on Iraq and urges other Asia-Pacific nations to cooperate in Iraq’s postwar reconstruction.

: Japan announces $1.5 billion in grants in 2004 for Iraq’s postwar reconstruction; PM Koizumi states, “We just cannot afford to see Iraq’s reconstruction end in failure.” President Bush applauds Japan’s “bold step” in a written statement.

: President Bush states that China and Japan should stop intervening in the currency markets to give themselves an unfair trade advantage during a press conference on his nine-day Asian trip.

: Japan’s Lower House clears a bill to extend noncombat support for U.S. antiterrorism efforts until November 2005.

: Japan announces that 100 Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) will be deployed to Nasiriya, Iraq.

: State Dept. spokesman Richard Boucher, in response to North Korea’s decision to exclude Japan from nuclear talks, states that “Japan clearly must, and will, continue to be a participant” because it has “vital interests at stake.”

: PM Koizumi asks South Korea, China, and ASEAN neighbors to cooperate with the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) during ASEAN meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

: Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker states the U.S. would carry out a “cautious” review of the U.S. military presence in Japan.

: U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals from former prisoners of war seeking compensation from Japanese companies for World War II forced labor.

: Defense Agency chief Shigeru Ishiba states that Japan is not dispatching Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Iraq because it was requested to do so by the U.S., but because Japan’s interests are involved.

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