US - Japan

Chronology from Oct 2004 to Dec 2004

: President Bush announces that the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India will form an international coalition to lead relief efforts after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that claimed more than 150,000 lives. The U.S. has already pledged $35 million and sent its navy to help the aid effort.

: FM Machimura and Secretary Powell agree in a telephone conversation to establish a structure for international cooperation to help victims of the powerful earthquake and tsunamis.

: Defense Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency reports that Japan is No. 2 arms buyer for U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. Japan spent $1.3 billion (about ¥135 billion) on U.S. arms last year.

: Daily Yomiuri reports that Japan and U.S. agree on joint use of U.S. military bases in Japan by the U.S. military and SDF. Details of what the phrase “transfer of jurisdiction” entails will depend on future bilateral consultations.

: Japan and U.S. hold meeting of working-level officials in Tokyo to discuss realigning U.S. Forces Japan.

: Japan to reduce defense spending by 1 percent next fiscal year, marking the third annual cut in a row, while increasing investment in the development of a U.S.-led missile defense system.

: Japan agrees to contribute $60 million (¥66 billion) as additional support for the Middle East peace process.

: Japan and the U.S. sign MOU to improve cooperation in their missile defense programs and related projects. The agreement was signed by the Japanese defense chief, Yoshinori Ono, and the U.S. ambassador, Howard Baker.

: Ambassador Baker says he is “stepping down and would leave Japan Feb. 17, 2005.”

: Japan adopts new National Defense Program Outline to pursue “multifunctional, flexible and effective” defense buildup to deal with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as well as other threats to security.

: Cabinet and coalition approve extension of SDF deployment in Iraq for one more year.

: U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker backs Japan’s bid for United Nations Security Council seat with veto power.

: Deputy Secretary Armitage urges Japan to avoid economic sanctions on North Korea because Pyongyang could use such a move as a tool to “outmaneuver” its adversaries.

: Japan Security Council and Cabinet approves of the “National Defense Program Guideline for FY 2005 and After” (the new NDPG) and the “Mid-Term Defense Build-up Plan (FY2005-FY2009)”(the new MTDBP).

: Defense Agency chief Ono hints SDF could be out of Iraq by December 2005.

: U.S. deserter Sgt. Charles Jenkins released ahead of Dec. 3 scheduled release date.

: Koizumi and Bush discuss military realignment, strong dollar, Iraq, and North Korea during APEC summit in Santiago.

: Japan proposes easing of weapons export ban to allow exports of weapons jointly developed and manufactures with either the U.S. or a multinational project centered on the U.S.

: Defense head Ono meets with Secretary Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney, and Deputy Secretary Armitage in Washington to discuss security issues. Ono tells Cheney that there is a close relationship between Japan’s review of the National Defense Program Outline and the transformation of U.S. forces.

: U.S. dollar hits seven-month low against yen (USD $1= ¥104), after Treasury Secretary John Snow’s says that the U.S. government is comfortable with the dollar’s decline. Japanese officials warned they would take action against the yen’s excessive rise against the dollar.

: Japan says U.S. hasn’t asked it to keep the SDF in Iraq, following comments by Ambassador Baker in which he said the U.S. hopes Japan will keep its troops there.

: Koizumi says troops in Iraq are still in a “noncombat zone,” despite the Iraqi government declaring a state of emergency for most of the nation. (The noncombat zone designation is a prerequisite for SDF troops to operate in Iraq under a special law authorizing the mission.)

: SDF camp in Iraq comes under attack again; no injuries sustained.

: Democratic Party of Japan leader Okada Katsuya tells U.S. Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker of party’s opposition to SDF presence in Iraq.

: U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Jenkins found guilty of desertion, and sentenced to 30 days confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

: Rocket attack on Japanese forces in Samawah.

: Japan condemns brutal slaying of Koda, but vows to keep SDF in Iraq.

: Japan refuses terrorists’ demand to withdraw SDF from Iraq even though terrorists have threatened to behead 24-year-old Shosei Koda, a Japanese hostage.

: The government decides effective Nov. 1 to extend the current deployment of MSDF vessels in the Indian Ocean until May 1, 2005, under an antiterror special measures law.

: Japan hosts Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Maritime Interdiction Exercise. Japan, U.S., France, and Australia participate in the exercise while 18 other countries send observers.

: House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono expresses concern about U.S. military command transfer to Japan.

: Japan agrees to partially resume imports of U.S. beef from animals with birth records of up to 20 months after a 10-month ban.

: Powell said the U.S. has “never asked Japan for any change in the interpretation of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Article 6” (the “Far East” clause).

: FM Machimura meets Secretary Powell in Tokyo.

: Japan and U.S. consult on the bovine spongiform encepthalopathy (BSE) issue related to the resumption of U.S. beef exports to Japan.

: Defense Agency chief Yoshinori Ono says that relocating the headquarters of a U.S. military unit to Japan would not violate the Japan-U.S. security treaty – even if the range of the unit’s activity goes beyond the Far East.

: Chief Cabinet secretary Hosoda says Japan intends to maintain a clause in security alliance that limits operations of U.S. forces stationed in Japan to the Far East.

: Koizumi provokes tempest from Japan’s opposition parties with comment that he is close to Bush and “would like him to do well.”

: LDP Secretary General Takebe Tsutomu says there will be trouble if Kerry wins U.S. presidency.

: Japan unofficially proposes relocation of U.S. Marine Corp artillery unit from Okinawa to Hokkaido.

: Cities hosting Camp Zama oppose plan to relocate U.S. forces.

: Japan hosts 3rd Donor Committee Meeting for Iraq in Tokyo.

: Okinawa assembly adopts resolution protesting F-15 accident.

: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeuchi Yukio reconfirm that the Six-Party Talks are the best way to resolve the crisis over DPRK’s nuclear ambitions, and DPRK must return to the Talks without conditions.

: Japan approves restart of U.S. CH-53D helicopter flights, ending ban that followed August crash in Okinawa.

: U.S. and Japanese officials meet for regular talks on U.S.-Japan security strategy. Items include U.S. force realignments North Korea and reconstruction of Iraq.

: Japan decides to develop components for interceptor missiles for antiballistic missile system with the U.S. According to The Japan Times, Japan will have to pursue a “politically sensitive review” of its ban on weapons exports.

: Koizumi raises possibility of relocating U.S. troops from Okinawa to overseas bases.

: U.S. forces in Okinawa resume F-15 training flights after Oct. 4 F-15 midair collision.

: New Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka makes first official visit to Washington to meet Secretary of State Colin Powell. They reaffirm U.S.-Japan alliance and the realignment of the U.S. troops in Okinawa.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda Hiroyuki proposes U.S. move some military units out of Okinawa.

: Keidanren calls on the government to ease weapons export ban.

: Prime Minister’s Defense Advisory panel (Araki Commission) presents “The Vision for Future National Security and Defense Capabilities.” It recommends bolstering U.S. ties, easing arms exports, and enacting a permanent law on Self Defense Force (SDF) deployments overseas.

: Koizumi comments on possible shift of U.S. bases in Okinawa to other parts of Japan.

: Over 3,000 Okinawans call for closure of U.S. Marine Corps base in Futenma.

Date Range