US - Japan

Chronology from Apr 2009 to Jul 2009

: DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio apologizes after reports that as many as 90 deceased individuals were listed as donors on Hatoyama’s funding reports going back to 2005.

: The government of Japan reports that the unemployment rate rose to 5.2 percent in May 2009, a five-and-a-half year high.

: The government of Japan reports that industrial output rose for the third straight month in May 2009, up 5.9 percent from April.

: The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association reports a 55.9 percent decline in car, truck, and bus exports in May 2009 compared to a year earlier, the eighth straight month of decline.

: Murata Ryohei, a former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, states in interviews with Japanese media that Japan and the U.S. reached a secret agreement in 1960 allowing port calls by U.S. vessels carrying nuclear weapons.

: Japan’s Financial Services Agency orders Citibank Japan to suspend sales at its retail banking division for one month due to lax oversight.

: Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate move to continue funding the F-22 stealth fighter and an alternative engine for the Joint Strike Fighter F-35.  Both houses also include provisions calling for a report on a possible export version of the F-22.

: Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy meets Vice Defense Minister Masuda Kohei and Defense Minister Hamada in Tokyo to discuss North Korean issues and the realignment plan for U.S. forces in Japan.

: The Ministry of Finance reports that both exports and imports fell by more than 40 percent in May 2009.

: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects 0.7 percent growth for the Japanese economy in 2010.

: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommends President Obama veto the 2010 defense appropriations bill if it contains funding for the F-22 stealth fighter and an alternative engine for the Joint Strike Fighter F-35.

: Japan adopts annual economic policy guidelines, abandoning previous proposals to cut social security spending and close the budget deficit by fiscal year 2011.

: The LDP asks Miyazaki Gov. Higashikokubaru Hideo to run in the upcoming Lower House election.

: An Asahi Shimbun survey finds that 71 percent of local business leaders throughout Japan believe their regional economies are contracting.

: The Diet passes an antipiracy bill allowing Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) vessels to protect Japanese and foreign vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

: PM Aso and DPJ President Hatoyama conduct their second debate in the Diet, sparring over economic policy.

: The government of Japan bans all exports to North Korea and tightens other unilateral sanctions following the passage of UNSC Resolution 1874.

: The Bank of Japan upgrades its economic outlook in a monthly report, citing improved export and investment numbers.

: The House Armed Services Committee votes to add funding in the 2010 defense appropriations bill for the continued production of the F-22 stealth fighter.

: Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Hatoyama Kunio resigns after PM Aso rejects his suggestion to fire the head of Japan Post for alleged noncompetitive bidding in the sale of real estate holdings.

: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Finance Minister Yosano Kaoru meet on the sidelines of a G8 preparatory meeting in Italy, agreeing to pursue sanctions on North Korea and sharing updates on their respective economies.

: The UNSC adopts Resolution 1874 condemning North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and outlining measures including financial sanctions and maritime interdiction.

: Finance Minister Yosano Kaoru expresses confidence in U.S. treasuries, easing concerns about diversification.

: PM Aso announces a midterm emissions reduction target of 15 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020.

: Saiki Akitaka, director general, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meets with Special Envoy Stephen Bosworth and other officials in Washington to discuss the situation with North Korea.

: An LDP panel adopts proposed changes to Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (to be issued at the end of 2009) including support for preemptive strike capability, a relaxation of Japan’s limits on arms exports, and an increase in the defense budget.

: A draft economic assessment by the Cabinet Office suggests a 12 percent consumption tax would be required for Japan to reach a primary balance surplus in 10 years.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggests that the Obama administration might consider reinstating North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

: The government of Japan approves a space policy including research on the use of space for defense purposes (sensors for early warning satellites).

: Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg leads a delegation to Tokyo for consultations on North Korea, including meetings with PM Aso, Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka Mitoji, and DPJ President Hatoyama.

: Defense Secretary Gates, Defense Minister Hamada, and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-Hee participate in a trilateral dialogue on the margins of the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore.

: North Korea launches a short-range missile from its east coast.

: The Diet passes the Aso government’s $150 billion stimulus package including spending and tax cuts totaling three percent of GDP.

: President Obama nominates John Roos for ambassador to Japan.

: PM Aso and DPJ President Hatoyama square off in their first debate in the Diet with Hatoyama criticizing the government for wasteful spending and Aso highlighting the funding scandal that forced Ozawa Ichiro to resign.

: North Korea fires two short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan.

: The Lower House of the Diet passes a resolution condemning North Korea’s nuclear test and calling for fresh unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang.  The Upper House passes a similar measure the next day.

: North Korea conducts a second nuclear test and fires three short-range missiles.

: President Obama and PM Aso agree to push for a new UNSC resolution condemning North Korea’s nuclear test.  Obama reiterates the U.S. commitment to defend Japan.

: PM Aso proposes a Pacific Environment Community at a conference among Asia-Pacific island nations held in Hokkaido and pledges $680 million in aid for solar power generation and sea water desalination.

: The Cabinet Office announces that GDP in the first quarter of 2009 fell 4 percent, and at an annual rate of 15.2 percent.

: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases a poll conducted in the United States, which found that 80 percent of the public trusts Japan as an ally.

: Hatoyama names Okada Secretary General of the DPJ.

: A joint public opinion poll by Nikkei Shimbun and TV Tokyo finds Hatoyama more favorable than PM Aso by a margin of 29 percent to 16 percent.  Fifty-two percent favored neither.  The DPJ was more popular than the LDP by a margin of 38 percent to 33 percent.

: PM Aso has an approval rating of 27 percent and a disapproval rating of 56 percent, according to a poll by Asahi Shimbun.

: Hatoyama defeats Okada in the DPJ presidential race, capturing 124 out of 219 votes cast by DPJ Diet members.

: The Ministry of Defense issues a report on the North Korean missile threat, noting that North Korea had improved its long-range ballistic missile technology and could enhance the accuracy of the Nodong medium-range missile.

: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshitada Konoike resigns after a magazine exposé accused him of visiting his mistress with a free train pass issued to lawmakers.

: Keidanren issues a statement calling for a midterm emissions reduction target of 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

: DPJ President Ozawa announces his resignation after fallout from the indictment of his chief aide in a political fundraising scandal.

: U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth confers with Vice Foreign Minister Yabunaka Mitoji, Sasae Kenichiro, deputy minister for foreign affairs, and Saiki Akitaka, director-general, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding North Korea.

: PM Aso is more popular than opposition leader Ozawa Ichiro by a margin of 40 to 25 percent, according to a Yomiuri poll.  Aso’s approval rating stands at 28 percent.

: Sixty-four percent of the Japanese population opposes the revision of Article 9 of the constitution, according to an Asahi Shimbun poll.

: Defense Minister Hamada and Defense Secretary Gates meet at the Pentagon in Washington and agree to strengthen bilateral alliance cooperation including missile defense.

: The Bank of Japan issues an economic outlook and revises its GDP projection for 2009 to minus-3.1 percent, down from a previous projection in January of minus-2 percent.

: Honda reports a 77-percent drop in profit for fiscal year 2008.

: Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi announces an 11-point plan for global nuclear disarmament, including nonproliferation measures, initiatives for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and an offer to host an international conference in 2010.

: A Nikkei Shimbun survey reports PM Aso’s approval rating at 32 percent.

: President Obama and PM Aso agree in a telephone conversation to strengthen bilateral cooperation on North Korea and nuclear nonproliferation.

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance reports a trade deficit for 2008, the first in 28 years.

: Environment Minister Saito Tetsuo unveils an environmental policy dubbed the “Green New Deal” for its focus green technology and reductions in carbon emissions.

: Nakagawa Shoichi, a member of the ruling LDP, reportedly argues in a speech that Japan should possess nuclear weapons to counter the threat from North Korea.

: The U.S. and Japan each pledge $1billion in aid to Pakistan at an international donors conference held in Tokyo.

:   A poll by Jiji Press shows a 25-percent approval rating for the Aso Cabinet.

: Defense Minister Hamada orders the dispatch of two P-C3 aircraft in support of antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

: A bilateral agreement on the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam is passed by the Lower House of the Diet.

: PM Aso’s approval rating stands at 30 percent according to a poll by public broadcaster NHK 

: The United Nations releases a statement by the president of the Security Council condemning North Korea’s April 5 missile launch.

: Japan renews unilateral sanctions against North Korea for one year.

: PM Aso unveils a stimulus package worth approximately $150 billion.

: Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ozawa Ichiro meets a U.S. congressional delegation including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance announces that the February 2009 current account surplus fell 55.6 percent compared to a year earlier.

: The Lower House of the Diet adopts a resolution condemning the North Korean missile launch and calling on the government to impose new sanctions against the regime and call for a new UNSC resolution.

: Defense Secretary Gates announces defense budget recommendations for fiscal year 2010, including a suggestion to end production of the F-22 stealth fighter.

: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile over Japan.

: A Yomiuri poll indicates a 24.3 percent approval rating for the Aso Cabinet.

: A survey by Yomiuri Shimbun reveals that 51.6 percent of the population supports constitutional revision.

: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu agree in a telephone conversation that a test launch of a satellite or missile by North Korea would violate United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.

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