US - Japan

Chronology from Apr 2007 to Jul 2007

: The Honda Resolution (HR. 121) addressing “comfort women” passes in a 39-2 vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution will now proceed to a full House vote, slated for sometime before the August recess.

: Japan’s ruling party leaders approve plans to extend the current parliamentary session, delaying next month’s Upper House elections and giving the administration more time to push through legislation it hopes will boost its popularity.

: Japan’s Parliament passes legislation approving a two-year extension of the country’s air force transport mission in Iraq, despite criticism of Tokyo’s involvement in the increasingly unpopular war.

: Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill visits Japan to exchange views on North Korean issues including the Six-Party Talks with Sasae Kenichiro, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

:   In a speech delivered at an economic conference sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer calls on Japan to deregulate and open its market to greater foreign investment.

: The U.S. and Japan begin two-week long bilateral military exercises over Guam, with the participation of Japan’s F-2 jets for the first time outside Japan.

: A full page advertisement in the Washington Post – running under the header “The Facts” – is taken out by Japanese Diet members and commentators, disputing claims that Japan engaged in “forceful coercion” of “comfort women.”

: PM Abe, while visiting Germany to attend the G-8 Summit in Heiligendamm, holds a summit with President Bush for approximately 50 minutes on the sidelines. The agenda includes: climate change, North Korea, UN Security Council reform, Iraq, U.S. beef imports, and the WTO Doha Rounds.

: Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations held in Tokyo.

: The U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan release the “United States-Japan 2007 Investment Initiative Report” prepared for President Bush and PM Abe.

: G-8 foreign ministers meeting in Potsdam, Germany.

: The Japanese Supreme Court dismisses a lawsuit against aircraft noise around the U.S. Yokota Air Base, refusing to award compensation for “future noise.”

: Matsuoka Toshikatsu, Japan’s agriculture minister who came under fire over money scandals, commits suicide at his Tokyo residence.

: North Korea test-fires missiles into the Sea of Japan which prompt a threat of sanctions by Abe. Abe states that his country’s patience “isn’t limitless” and Japan retains the option of further sanctions against North Korea.

: The U.S. and Japan hold annual U.S-Japan Consultations on the Civil Use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and release the Joint Announcement of the conference in Washington, D.C.

: On the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum’s security policy dialogue, U.S., Japan, Australia, and India meet for the first “exploratory meeting” to discuss security issues.

: The Act to Promote the Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan passes in the National Diet.

: A National Referendum Bill is passed in Japan, establishing a process for public referenda on any constitutional changes.

: Regarding Japan’s support of the 2003 U.S. invasion in Iraq, Japanese DM Kyuma states: “It’s always important to examine the past sincerely…Japan didn’t have its own information on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Japan was not sure if weapons of mass destruction existed.”

: President Bush has a phone conversation with Abe in which they reaffirm demands for North Korea’s abandonment of nuclear arsenal development and settlement of the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens. Abe urges Bush to keep North Korea on its list of states sponsoring terrorism until the abduction issue is resolved and Bush responds that he would take it into consideration.

: Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shimomura Hakubun announces that Secretary Rice explained to Japanese lawmakers that the U.S. does not consider the abductees issue to be a prerequisite for the removal of Pyongyang from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

: The U.S. government terminates the deployment of U.S. Air Force F-22s at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

: The sixth Japan-Republic of Korea Politico-Military Talks are held in Tokyo. On the North Korean nuclear issue, Japan and the ROK share the view that it was necessary to implement the “initial actions” at the earliest date possible, and they confirm that they will continue to closely coordinate with each other.

: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa announces that PM Abe sent an offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine in late April in his “private capacity.” China responds to this action by commenting that “Yasukuni is an important and sensitive political issue” and asks that the Japanese government act appropriately. South Korea responds angrily by blasting the move as “very regrettable” and calling on Japan to adopt a “correct perception of history.”

: A joint statement is issued at the conclusion of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting, attended by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Minister for Foreign Affairs Aso, and Minister of Defense Kyuma Fumio.

: DM Kyuma asks for more information on F-22 during his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

: Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio visits U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Headquarters in Tampa and meets Vice Adm. David Nichols.

: FM Aso travels to Washington to meet with officials to discuss a variety of bilateral and regional topics. He attends the “Strategic Leadership Program” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

: PM Abe visits Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Egypt. He also visits members of the Self-Defense Forces operating with the U.S. and the U.K

: PM Abe visits Camp David and meets with President Bush. They discuss North Korea, Iraq, collective self-defense, energy cooperation, and global warming.

: PM Abe visits the U.S. and has dinner with President Bush and his wife at the White House. Abe also meets with 11 Congress members and explains the position of the Japanese government regarding the contentious “comfort women” issue.

: Japanese government announces establishment of a study group under former Ambassador to the U.S. Shinji Yanai to examine options for execution of the right of collective self-defense.

: The Cabinet approves a six-month extension of Japan’s naval mission in the Indian Ocean in support of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan.

: The Upper House by-elections are held in Fukushima and Okinawa. The LDP wins in Okinawa and the DPJ wins in Fukushima.

: Agricultural Minister Matsuoka Toshikatsu holds a teleconference with U.S. counterpart Mike Johanns about the U.S. beef import issue.

: The U.S. and Japan sign U.S.-Japan Joint Nuclear Energy Action Plan.

: India-Japan-U.S. Joint Naval Exercises are conducted in Guam.

: The U.S. Treasury Department announces the complete lifting of a freeze on $25 million in North Korean assets being held in the Banco Delta Asia in Macao.

: North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister, Kim Gye-gwan states the implementation of the Feb. 13 six-party agreement, specifically the suspension of nuclear facilities in Yongbyon within the agreed time period, is moving slower than expected. U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill has a meeting with Japanese Director General Sasae Kenichiro to reaffirm that the U.S. and Japan will closely cooperate with each other in order to ensure that North Korea implements the Feb. 13 agreement.

: Incumbent Ishihara Shintaro (supported by Liberal Democratic Party/New Komeito) wins a third term as governor of Tokyo with 51 percent of the vote. The main opposition candidate, Asano Shiro, supported by the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party, receives only 31 percent of the vote.

: Foreign Minister Aso Taro attends the 14th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.

: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo holds a teleconference with President Bush in which they discuss issues including North Korea and the dispute over “comfort women.”

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