US - Japan

Chronology from Apr 2010 to Jul 2010

: Prime Minister Kan stresses the government should lead nonpartisan discussions on a possible increase in the consumption tax.

: The State Department announces the acceptance of an offer from Japan to provide skimmers and a containment boom for use in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill response.

: Ozawa Ichiro criticizes the DPJ leadership for changing the party manifesto for the Upper House election and backtracking on policies such as child allowances, the elimination of highway tolls, and direct subsidies to farmers.

: Prime Minister Kan and President Obama meet during the G20 Summit in Toronto to discuss the Futenma issue, bilateral economic cooperation, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, climate change, and nuclear disarmament/non-proliferation.

: The US House of Representatives passes Resolution 1464 “Recognizing the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the United States-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and expressing appreciation to the Government of Japan and the Japanese people for enhancing peace, prosperity, and security in the Asia-Pacific region.”

: Former DPJ Secretary General Ozawa criticizes the Kan administration’s discussion of a possible increase in the consumption tax.

: Gen. Oriki Ryoichi, chief of staff of the SDF Joint Staff, meets Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen at the Pentagon.

: Prime Minister Kan visits Okinawa and promises to reduce the burden of the US troop presence on the local population but reiterates a commitment to the May 28 agreement on Futenma relocation.

: Finance Minister Noda Yoshihiko suggests in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the Kan government might consider tax increases on high earners to raise revenue and promote income redistribution.

: Prime Minister Kan calls for a nonpartisan dialogue on pension reform during a debate with the leaders of other political parties.

: Foreign Minister Okada and Secretary Clinton discuss issues including Futenma during a telephone call.

:   Japan’s Environment Ministry announces the “Morning Challenge” campaign to reduce emissions by encouraging households to consume less energy at night and rise early.

: Prime Minister Kan’s approval rating is 50 percent according to a poll published by Asahi Shimbun.

: The Kan administration unveils a long-term economic growth strategy.

:   Japan hosts the APEC Energy Ministerial meeting in Fukui.   

: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos visits Okinawa to meet with government officials, community leaders and students.

: The DPJ unveils its manifesto for the July 11 Upper House election.

: DPJ lawmaker Kobayashi Chiyomi resigns because of a funding scandal.    

: Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Nagashima addresses a conference on the US-Japan alliance in Washington.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Tokyo to confer with Kan administration officials.

: Prime Minister Kan addresses the Diet and describes the US-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy.

: Financial Services Minister Kamei Shizuka resigns to protest the decision not to extend the Diet session and pass a postal reform bill he championed.

: Prime Minister Kan enjoys a 62 percent approval rating according to a poll by Kyodo News.

: Prime Minister Kan announces his Cabinet and retains 11 ministers from the Hatoyama administration.

: Mainichi Shimbun poll finds 63 percent of the public has high expectations of Prime Minister Kan.

: President Obama calls Kan to congratulate him on his election as prime minister.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa and Defense Secretary Gates confer on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Security Dialogue in Singapore. They later meet South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young.

: Japan hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum trade ministers’ meeting in Sapporo.

: Kan Naoto is elected prime minister.

: Finance Minister Kan holds a press conference and states the US-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy.

: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) releases a new industrial policy, “Industrial Structure Vision,” as a component of a comprehensive growth strategy to be released by the government.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama and DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro resign.

: The White House issues a statement expressing respect for the political process in Japan and resolve to work with Japan’s next leader across a range of issues.

: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases a poll on Japan’s image in the US in which 56 percent of opinion leaders considered China to be the most important partner in Asia for the US, followed by Japan at 36 percent.  Forty-four percent of the general population considered Japan and China equally important.  Ninety percent of opinion leaders and 79 percent of the general public considered Japan a dependable ally.

: A postal reform bill to scale back the privatization of the Japan Post passes the Lower House of the Diet.

: The Social Democratic Party bolts the ruling coalition with the DPJ.

: Several Japanese media outlets release public opinion polls with Prime Minister Hatoyama’s approval rating falling between 17 and 20 percent and his disapproval rating between 67 and 75 percent.

: The US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) issues a joint statement reiterating a commitment to relocate MCAS Futenma.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama dismisses Consumer Affairs Minister Fukushima from the Cabinet for refusing to support his decision on Futenma relocation.

: The Senate Armed Services Committee completes the mark-up of the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act and cuts $300 million associated with the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam, “as the funding was requested ahead of need.”

: President Obama transmits the National Security Strategy (NSS) to Congress.

: The US-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation conducts its first meeting in Tokyo.

: The Ministry of Finance releases data showing exports in April increased 40 percent compared to the previous year.

: Fukushima Mizuho, minister for Consumer Affairs and head of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), visits Okinawa to reiterate her support for removing bases from the prefecture and tells the press she will not approve Prime Minister Hatoyama’s relocation plan if presented at a Cabinet meeting.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi meets Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon to discuss the Futenma relocation plan.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama tells reporters the sinking of a South Korean vessel west of the Korean Peninsula in March factored into his decision to largely accept the existing agreement on the Futenma relocation.

: US Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Michael Plunke and European Union (EU) Chargé d’Affaires John Clarke meet Japanese Ambassador Kitajima Shinichi in Geneva to express concerns regarding the lack of a level playing field between Japan Post and private sector companies in the insurance, banking, and express delivery sectors.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama visits Okinawa for the second time to apologize to the governor of Okinawa for breaking a pledge to remove MCAS Futenma off Okinawa and explain his decision to largely accept the existing plan adopted in 2006.

: Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) vessel Kunisaki leaves port with medical personnel from all three branches of the SDF to participate in Pacific Partnership 2010, a humanitarian and civic assistance effort led by the US Navy.

: Foreign Minister Okada and Secretary Clinton meet in Tokyo to discuss the relocation of MCAS Futenma, the sinking of a South Korea vessel, North Korea, Iran, and the Hague Convention on child abduction.  Clinton also meets Prime Minister Hatoyama.

: The Japanese government announces the economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the fourth quarterly gain in a row.

: A senior Toyota official testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the company has not received any evidence linking electronic throttles to unintended acceleration in vehicles.

: Toyota agrees to pay a $16.4 million fine assessed by the US Transportation Department amid allegations it was slow to act on vehicle recalls.

:  Approximately 17,000 people surround MCAS Futenma, calling for the land to be returned to the prefecture and protesting plans to relocate the facility within the prefecture.

: Prosecutors question DPJ Secretary General Ozawa for third time regarding a funding scandal.

:  Jiji News poll shows a 19 percent approval rating for the Hatoyama government with 42 percent of respondents citing a lack of leadership as the proximate cause and 49 percent suggesting he should step down if unable to resolve the Futenma issue by the end of May.

: An Asahi Shimbun poll finds 76 percent of Okinawa residents disapprove of a reported plan to relocate most of the functions of MCAS Futenma within the prefecture, and 53 percent supported relocating all bases in the prefecture to other areas of Japan.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama suggests his government might not be able to resolve the impasse over Futenma by the end of May as he promised.

: US and Japan resume working-level talks on Futenma in Washington.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Hernandez visits Tokyo to discuss US-Japan economic ties including the potential for cooperation in the areas of entrepreneurship, energy, agriculture, and health care.

: US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pledges to scrutinize safety measures introduced by Toyota in response to a large-scale recall after meeting the company’s chairman in Toyota City, Japan.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama states during a trip to Okinawa that it would be difficult to relocate all Futenma functions off the island, contradicting a previous pledge to do so.

: The US and Japanese governments conduct working-level talks on the Futenma issue in Tokyo.

:   Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications reports that children under the age of 15 comprised 13.3 percent of the population, a record-low for the 29th consecutive year.  Secretary Clinton issues a statement in recognition of the May 5 Children’s Day holiday in Japan.

: Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fukuyama Tetsuro addresses the United Nations Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in New York.

: Finance Minister Kan suggests a tax increase may be inevitable to cope with Japan’s public debt.

: The Bank of Japan holds a monetary policy meeting and leaves guidelines for money market operations unchanged.

: Kyodo News poll finds a 20 percent approval rating for Prime Minister Hatoyama and a disapproval rating of 64 percent.

: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Tokyo for consultations on the relocation of MCAS Futenma.

: Japanese media outlets report the Hatoyama government will propose modifications to the 2006 agreement on the relocation of MCAS Futenma including alternate construction methods for a key runway and the transfer of some training functions to Tokunoshima Island.

: A judicial review panel calls for DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro to be indicted over a fundraising scandal, requiring prosecutors to revisit an earlier decision not to charge Ozawa.

: A Nikkei Shimbun poll shows 68 percent of voters disapprove of the Hatoyama government with just 24 percent in favor.  Sixty percent think he should resign if he fails to resolve the Futenma issue by the end of May.

: In a Fujisankei poll on government policy, 72.4 percent of respondents suggest the debate over the relocation of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma is having a negative impact on US-Japan relations, and 87.5 percent consider Prime Minister Hatoyama’s self-imposed May 2010 deadline to resolve the issue impossible.

: Over 90,000 Okinawans rally to oppose the relocation of MCAS Futenma within the prefecture.

: The Washington Post reports the Hatoyama government indicated it would broadly accept an agreement reached in 2006 to relocate MCAS Futenma within Okinawa prefecture, citing an April 23 meeting in Tokyo in which Foreign Minister Okada presented a plan to US Ambassador to Japan John Roos.

: During an appearance in the Diet Prime Minister Hatoyama repeats his pledge to resolve the MCAS Futenma relocation issue by the end of May.

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance reports exports in March 2010 increased 43.5 percent compared to a year ago.

: Former Health Minister Masuzoe Yoichi quits the LDP and announces plans to form a new party, the Renaissance Party.

: Finance Minister Kan visits Washington to meet Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and to attend a G7 finance ministers’ meeting and the spring gatherings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

: The Hatoyama government releases details of a plan to reverse the privatization of Japan Post and strengthen its position in the financial services industry.

: US Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman visits Japan to coordinate on regional assistance issues with Japanese officials.

: A survey by Asahi Shimbun shows only a quarter of the public supports the Hatoyama government.

: Parliamentary Vice Minister for Defense Nagashima Akihisa tells the Financial Times the Ministry of Defense seeks to ease the ban on arms exports to boost the competitiveness of Japan’s defense industry.

: Former local government officials launch the Spirit of Japan Party with an aim toward competing for seats in the July 2010 Upper House election.

: Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya visits New York to chair a United Nations Security Council debate on post-conflict peace building.

:  In his Washington Post column In the Loop, reporter Al Kamen dubs Prime Minister Hatoyama “the biggest loser” at the Nuclear Security Summit and notes some Obama administration officials consider Hatoyama “hapless” and “increasingly loopy.”

: A Tax Commission established by the Hatoyama government begins deliberations on tax reform including a possible increase in the consumption tax.

: President Obama confers with Prime Minister Hatoyama during a working dinner at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  Hatoyama pledges to settle the issue of MCAS Futenma relocation by the end of May.

: Yosano Kaoru and Hiranuma Takeo, both Cabinet ministers in previous LDP governments, announce the formation of a new political party, the Sunrise Party of Japan.

: The Bank of Japan votes unanimously to keep monetary policy unchanged with overnight interest rates held at 0.1 percent.

: The Obama administration releases the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues its annual Bluebook on foreign policy.

: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visits Japan to discuss various issues including US beef exports.

: A survey released by Yomiuri Shimbun posts a 33 percent approval rating for the Hatoyama government and suggests 50 percent of voters do not support any political party.  The approval rating for the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) stood at 24 percent compared to 16 percent for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

: Okinawa Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu meets Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi in Tokyo and expresses opposition to the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma within Okinawa prefecture.

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