US - Japan

Chronology from Jul 2006 to Oct 2006

: Abe delivers his first policy speech in the Diet and announces his plan to study the possibility of exercising the right of collective self defense; set up a Japanese version of the United States National Security Council (NSC); strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance; and mend Japan’s ties with China and South Korea.

: Asahi Shimbun survey showed that 63 percent of voters support Abe administration. It was the third highest rating for a new administration in postwar Japan.

: Abe and President Bush hold first telephone conference and agree to meet in November on the occasion of APEC in Hanoi.

: President of the LDP Abe Shinzo is elected prime minister by both houses of Parliament.

: Nikkei reports Japan and the United States decided to jointly develop a nuclear reactor that makes plutonium extraction difficult, part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership framework proposed by President Bush.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe wins a convincing victory in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election to replace PM Koizumi. Of the 703 votes cast, Abe captured 464, Aso 136, and Tanigaki 102.

: The Japanese government bans withdrawal and overseas remittances from accounts held in Japan by organizations and individuals suspected of being linked to North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction.

: Ozawa Ichiro, president of the Democratic Party of Japan, Japan’s largest opposition party, is reelected without a contest.

: LDP presidential election is announced with three candidates: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe, FM Aso, and Finance Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe declares candidacy for the LDP presidential election.

: Mainichi reports that USS Shiloh, an Aegis-equipped cruiser with an advanced missile defense system, docked in Yokosuka, Japan, as concerns lingered over North Korea’s missile program.

: Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases results of the 2006 Image of Japan Study, which showed that 91 percent of U.S. opinion leaders and 69 percent of the general public considered Japan a dependable ally. The positive evaluation marks the highest level ever measured by the study.

: The government of Japan decides to extend a special anti-terrorism law, set to expire in November 2006, that has allowed Japan’s Self Defense Force to support refueling operations in the Indian Ocean.

: FM Taro announces candidacy for the LDP presidential election.

: Yomiuri Shimbun conducts a poll on Koizumi’s Yasukuni visit: 53 percent of respondents (including those generally favorable) support the visit, and 39 percent did not.

: Nikkei reports that the governor of Kanagawa prefecture stated that the prefectural government would tolerate the deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier to Yokosuka, where a U.S. Navy base is located.

: PM Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine. This visit is his sixth and first on the anniversary of the end of World War II.

: Asahi Shimbun reveals FM Aso’s plan to reform Yasukuni Shrine. Aso called on the Shinto shrine to voluntarily disband as a religious entity and become a secular, state-run national memorial.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine in April 2006 revealed.

: FM Aso makes surprise visit to Baghdad, Iraq, and holds talks with Hoshyar Mahmud Zebari, minister of foreign affairs, and then PM Nuri al-Maliki.

: The Defense of Japan 2006 White Paper is adopted by the cabinet.

: Minister for Foreign Affairs Aso Taro and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) ministerial and other meetings. They reaffirm their commitment to coordinate consideration of financial measures against North Korea based on UNSC Resolution 1695.

: Finance Minister Tanigaki Sadakazu declares candidacy for the LDP election to choose a successor to party President Junichiro Koizumi.

: The resumption of U.S. beef exports to Japan is officially announced.

: Some 280 Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) personnel return to Japan upon completing Iraq mission.

: According to a public opinion poll conducted by Mainichi Shimbun, 70 percent of respondents support harsher sanctions on North Korea.

: The Doha Development Agenda negotiations suspended because gaps between key players remain too wide. WTO Director General Pascal Lamy does not suggest how long the talks would be suspended.

: Fukuda Yasuo, former chief Cabinet secretary, announces that he will not run in the LDP presidential election.

: Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that the U.S. government would deploy Patriot PAC-3 missiles to Kadena Airbase. The relocation of personnel and equipment begins August 2006 and the initial operational capability is expected to be achieved by the end of the year. Washington formally notified Tokyo of its decision on the morning of July 19.

: The government of Japan decides to expand the Air Self-Defense Force’s airlift mission between Kuwait and Iraq.

: The 10th Ground Self Defense Force contingent ends humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and completed its withdrawal from Iraq.

: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 1695, which condemns North Korea’s missile launches. The resolution deleted mention of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which China had strongly opposed because it would lead to sanctions or military action.

: G-8 Summit held in St. Petersburg, Russia. Prime Minister Koizumi and Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh meet on the sidelines of the summit.

: Bank of Japan decides to lift the zero interest rate policy.

: During his trip to the Middle East, Prime Minister Koizumi sets forth his proposal to create a “Corridor of Peace and Prosperity” and conduct four-party consultations with Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Japanese Defense Agency Chief Nukaga Fukushiro, in response to North Korea’s missile launches, said the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) should have the capability to attack foreign countries’ missile bases. In addition, Kyodo News reports Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that Japan must study and debate building the capability for counterattack against foreign bases in the event of a missile attack upon Japan.

: Japan, together with the U.S., the UK, and several other countries, officially proposes a UNSC resolution that would impose sanctions on North Korea in response to its missile launches. However, China and Russia insist upon adopting a much weaker statement.

: PM Koizumi Junichiro discusses the North Korean missile issue with President Bush over the telephone and they agreed on the need for a strong and unified response at the UN.

: North Korea fires seven missiles, including its long range Taepodong-2. The missile launch coincides with the Fourth of July in the U.S.

: Japan presents a proposal for a UNSC resolution condemning the missile test, urging North Korea to return immediately to talks on its nuclear program, and threatening sanctions if it did not move to irreversibly dismantle its nuclear program.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Tokyo decided to impose economic sanctions on North Korea in response to its missile launches.

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