US - Japan

Chronology from Oct 2010 to Dec 2010

: Ozawa Ichiro announces his intention to appear before the Diet to answer questions about a funding scandal after the next session of the Diet opens in January.

: Kan Cabinet approves record-high $1.11 trillion draft budget for fiscal year 2011.

: Secretary of State Clinton issues a statement honoring the Emperor of Japan’s birthday on Dec. 23.

: A joint survey by Gallup and Yomiuri Shimbun finds 40 percent of the Japanese public thinks US-Japan relations are “poor” or “very poor” but a record 52 percent said they trust the United States “very much” or “somewhat.”  Forty-nine percent of US respondents said relations with Japan are “good” or “very good.”

: Foreign Minister Maehara visits Okinawa to meet with Gov. Nakaima.

: Ozawa Ichiro meets Prime Minister Kan and rejects a plea to answer questions about a funding scandal in the Diet.

: Prime Minister Kan visits Okinawa to discuss Futenma issue with Gov. Nakaima and other officials.

: Government of Japan releases National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Plan.

: Fifty-nine percent of the population thinks Japan should renegotiate the Futenma relocation plan according to a nationwide survey conducted by Asahi Shimbun.

: The US and Japanese governments reach an agreement on host-nation support for US forces in Japan for the next five years.

: Prime Minister Kan announces a 5 percent cut in the corporate income tax rate as part of a package of tax measures for fiscal year 2011.

: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen visits Tokyo to meet several officials including Defense Minister Kitazawa.

: Yomiuri Shimbun survey posts a 25 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet.  Eighty-three percent of respondents were dissatisfied with Kan’s approach to the economy and 86 percent said the government was mishandling the Ozawa funding scandal.

: The Kan Cabinet decides to exclude the relaxation of the three arms non-export principles from the National Defense Program Guidelines.

: Secretary of State Clinton, Foreign Minister Maehara, and ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan conduct trilateral ministerial in Washington and issue a joint statement.

: Prime Minister Kan announces plans to strengthen ties with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People’s New Party (PNP) before the next Diet session.

: US military personnel and the Japanese Self Defense Forces participate in a bilateral training exercise titled Keen Sword 2011.

: Foreign Minister Maehara states there is no deadline for resolving Futenma relocation, de-linking that issue from the expected visit of the prime minister to Washington in spring 2011.

: Nakaima Hirokazu is reelected governor of Okinawa.

: Upper House of the Diet passes non-binding censure motions against Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku and Transportation Minister Mabuchi for their handling of a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands in September.

: The Diet approves a $61 billion stimulus package.

: Kyodo News poll shows the Kan Cabinet’s approval rating fell to 23 percent and support for the DPJ fell below that of the LDP for the first time by a margin of 22 to 24 percent.

: Mainichi Shimbun survey reports 26 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet.

: Justice Minister Yanagida resigns after criticism of his remarks about Diet deliberations.

: US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Ohata Akihiro issue a joint statement on technological cooperation on clean energy summarizing progress of a bilateral initiative launched in November 2009.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku refers to the SDF as an “instrument of violence” during a session of Upper House Budget Committee in the Diet.

: A DPJ panel on foreign policy and national security submits to the government recommendations for the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) due in December.  Suggestions include a permanent law for the dispatch of SDF forces and a relaxation of Japan’s three principles on arms exports.

: Asahi Shimbun poll indicates a 27 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet with 77 percent of respondents disapproving of Kan’s foreign policy.

: Japanese Justice Minister Yanagida Minoru reportedly questions his appointment in remarks to constituents and makes light of deliberations in the Diet.

: APEC leaders adopt a joint declaration entitled “Yokohama Vision: Bogor and Beyond” outlining steps toward FTAAP.

: Prime Minister Kan and President Obama meet on the margins of the APEC forum in Yokohama and discuss several issues including Afghanistan, bilateral security issues, United Nations Security Council reform, APEC, and TPP.  The two governments issue a fact sheet on bilateral initiatives on economic, energy, and nuclear security issues.

: The leaders of the nine TPP countries including President Obama meet on the margins of the APEC forum in Yokohama.  Prime Minister Kan participates as an observer.

: Foreign and trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum member countries meeting in Yokohama adopt a joint statement denouncing protectionism and supporting efforts toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

: The Kan Cabinet approves a trade liberalization policy including discussions of agricultural reform but defers a decision on whether to join TPP to June 2011.

: The Kan Cabinet’s disapproval rate exceeds its approval rate by a margin of 48 to 32 percent according to a survey by Kyodo News.  Seventy-four percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the Kan government’s foreign policy; 46 percent supported Japan joining TPP; and 58 percent wanted Ozawa Ichiro summoned to the Diet to answer questions about an alleged funding scandal.  A similar poll by Yomiuri Shimbun shows an approval rate of 35 percent and a disapproval rate of 55 percent with 61 percent in favor of Japan joining TPP.

: Video footage of the Sept. 7 collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands is leaked to YouTube.

: Ozawa Ichiro meets DPJ Secretary General Okada Katsuya and refuses to testify in the Diet about a funding scandal.

: Secretary Clinton offers to host trilateral talks with her Chinese and Japanese counterparts during a press conference on the margins of the East Asian Summit in Hanoi.

: Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) and the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conduct a successful Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) flight intercept test off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii.

: The Bank of Japan revises downward its forecast for economic growth in fiscal year 2010 to 2.1 percent compared to an estimate of 2.6 percent in July.  The central bank leaves interest rates unchanged and releases details of a $61 billion asset purchase program.

: Secretary Clinton delivers remarks about US engagement in the Asia-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Maehara meet in Honolulu, Hawaii to discuss security and economic issues including rare earth metal supplies.

: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos and Transportation Minister Mabuchi Sumio sign a memorandum of understanding regarding a bilateral open skies agreement.

: Former Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wins a by-election in Hokkaido for a seat in the Lower House of the Diet.

: Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Kaieda Banri argues during a press conference that Japan should join the TPP trade liberalization initiative.

: In a monthly economic report, the Government of Japan declares economic momentum in a lull.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji declares Japan should enter negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalization initiative (TPP) at a conference hosted by Nikkei Shimbun and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Tokyo.

: Japan submits a nuclear disarmament resolution to the United Nations General Assembly for the 17th straight year.

: Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Sasae Kenichiro meets with US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg at the State Department in Washington.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito tells a news conference the government will discuss whether to revise Japan’s three arms exports principles. That evening Prime Minister Kan states he has no intention of changing said principles.

: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi discuss the East China Sea issue and the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the sidelines of the inaugural ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus 8 in Hanoi.

: A Kyodo News poll indicates a 47 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet.  Fifty-four percent of respondents suggested Ozawa Ichiro should resign from the Diet due to an alleged funding scandal and 63 percent said Ozawa should resign from the DPJ.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Tokyo for consultations with Japanese officials.

: The Bank of Japan announces a monetary easing policy, lowering the overnight call rate to between 0 and 0.1 percent and introducing a plan to purchase various financial assets such as government securities and commercial paper.

: Yomiuri Shimbun poll posts a 53 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval rating for the Kan Cabinet.  Seventy-two percent of respondents considered “inappropriate” the decision to release the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel that collided with two Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku Islands in September; 90 percent said the government needs to clearly demonstrate that the Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory; 71 percent said Japan should deepen its alliance with the US; and 84 percent said they do not trust China.

: A citizens’ panel orders indictment of Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lawmaker Ozawa Ichiro in connection with a funding scandal.

: Mainichi Shimbun poll indicates a 49 percent approval rating for the Kan Cabinet.

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