US - Japan

Chronology from Jul 2009 to Oct 2009

: A U.S. interagency delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg arrives in Japan for consultations on bilateral, regional, and global issues.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama directs his Cabinet to submit fresh budget proposals for fiscal year 2010 by Oct. 15.

: LDP President Tanigaki appoints Oshima Tadamori as secretary general.

: Tanigaki Sadakazu is elected LDP president and opposition leader.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa says during a visit to Okinawa that relocating Futenma Air Station outside of Okinawa will be difficult and would take a long time.

: Okinawa Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu meets Defense Minister Kitazawa and suggests that altering the realignment plan for U.S. forces on Okinawa would be difficult.

: MLIT Minister Maehara announces the formation of a special task force to produce a revitalization plan for Japan Airlines.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano Hirofumi states that the members of the ruling coalition will study closely the issue of a moratorium on loan repayments for small- and medium-sized businesses.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama attends the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.

: MLIT Minister Maehara tells Japan Airlines its revitalization plan is insufficient.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama addresses the UN General Assembly and cites global economic recovery, climate change, nonproliferation, development, and his vision for an East Asian Community as foreign policy priorities.

: President Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama meet in New York and discuss the U.S.-Japan relationship, North Korea, Afghanistan, and nuclear nonproliferation.

: Foreign Minister Okada states during a G8 foreign ministers’ meeting in New York that there are limits on Japan’s ability to dispatch Self-Defense Forces to Afghanistan.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama addresses a UN conference on climate change and announces the “Hatoyama Initiative” for Japan to assume a leadership role in bridging the divide between the developed and the developing world.

: Finance Minister Fujii announces a decision to abandon a ceiling for budget requests adopted by the Aso administration and focus instead on reducing wasteful spending.

: Secretary of State Clinton and Foreign Minister Okada meet in New York and discuss the U.S.-Japan alliance, Japan’s support for Afghanistan, the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, and North Korea.  The two also participate in a trilateral strategic dialogue with Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.

: Prime Minister Hatoyama orders a reexamination of the supplementary budget passed by the previous government and formally calls for the establishment of a National Strategy Bureau in the Cabinet Office.

: Mainichi Shimbun reports a 77 percent approval rating for the Hatoyama administration.

: Foreign Minister Okada orders an investigation of the classified agreements in the 1950s and 1960s between the U.S. and Japan regarding U.S. nuclear policy.

: MLIT Minister Maehara Seiji states that Japan Airlines cannot be allowed to collapse, signaling government consideration of financial support for the troubled carrier.

: U.S. Assistant Secretary Campbell meets senior members of the government including counterparts in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense.

: Hatoyama Yukio is elected prime minister in a special session of the Diet and later introduces his Cabinet.

: Finance Minister Fujii Hirohisa states that the Hatoyama administration will move to abolish the gasoline tax in fiscal year 2010.

: In his first press conference, Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya states several foreign policy priorities including U.S.-Japan relations, North Korea, and climate change.

: Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi says at his first press conference the Hatoyama government would not extend the MSDF Indian Ocean refueling mission and would discuss the realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa “based on a realistic view of the situation.”

: The DPJ elects former party president Ozawa as secretary general.

: Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure Transport and Tourism (MLIT) reports that the elimination of highway tolls would result in a 57.5 percent annual increase in automobile passengers and a 33 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

: Ambassador Roos meets DPJ Secretary General Okada.

: The DPJ, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the People’s New Party (PNP) sign an agreement to form a coalition government which states that it would propose a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement for U.S. forces in Japan and move towards reexamining the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan to reduce the burden on the residents of Okinawa.

: Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says the U.S. would “very much encourage” Japan’s new government to extend the MSDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

: DPJ President Hatoyama delivers an address on climate change and announces a midterm emissions reduction target of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

: Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth visits Tokyo and reconfirms U.S. commitment to sanctions on North Korea in line with UNSC resolutions.

: Ambassador Roos calls on DPJ President Hatoyama.

: DPJ member Maehara Seiji states in an appearance on NHK television that a decision by the new government not to extend the MSDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean would have little impact on the U.S.-Japan relationship.

: President Obama makes a congratulatory call to DPJ President Hatoyama, who stresses the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly states that the U.S. has no intention of renegotiating the Futenma replacement facility plan or Guam relocation plan with the new Japanese government.

: Asahi Shimbun exit polls find that 30 percent of voters who identified themselves as LDP supporters voted for the DPJ instead.

: Exit polls by Yomiuri Shimbun suggest disenchantment with the Aso government as a main driver in the election.  Forty-six percent of respondents cite disaffection with the Aso Cabinet as the reason for the DPJ victory, followed by 37 percent citing expectations from a change in government, 10 percent with hopes for the DPJ election platform, and 3 percent with expectations of Hatoyama as prime minister.

: DPJ President Hatoyama states that an article outlining his political philosophy is not anti-American.

: The DPJ records a landslide victory in the Lower House election, securing 308 of 480 seats.

: A Kyodo News poll finds the public inclined to support the DPJ over the LDP on the proportional representation ballot by a margin of 35.9 percent to 17.9 percent.  The poll also finds 36 percent of respondents favoring the DPJ in single-seat constituencies compared to 22 percent for the LDP.

: A translated summary of a journal article by DPJ President Hatoyama appears in the online edition of the New York Times.

: Ambassador Phillip Goldberg meets Saiki Akitaka, director general, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874.

: Ambassador Roos meets Foreign Minister Nakasone.

: Ambassador Roos meets Prime Minister Aso and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nikai Toshihiro.

: A Nikkei Shimbun poll reveals a 20 percent approval rating for the Aso administration. Regarding public interest in Aug. 30 election, a combined 95 percent of respondents either would “definitely” or “probably” vote.

: U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos arrives in Japan.

: Official campaigning for the Aug. 30 election begins.

: John Roos is sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

: The Cabinet Office announces that the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in the second quarter.

: A Kyodo News poll shows 32 percent favoring the DPJ on the proportional representation ballot for the Lower House election, with 16 percent supporting the LDP.

: DPJ President Hatoyama says if elected he will establish an investigative team in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and dispatch members to the U.S. in an attempt to declassify documents regarding U.S. nuclear weapons policy in the 1950s and 1960s.

: The DPJ revises sections of its policy platform referring to a U.S.-Japan FTA and economic partnership agreements (EPA) with Asian countries, adding that duties on rice and other products would not be abolished and that any negotiations would not jeopardize Japan’s agricultural industries and rural communities.

: DPJ Secretary General Okada declares the party’s intention to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the U.S. in four years.

: John Roos is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

: DPJ President Hatoyama suggests that a DPJ government would codify Japan’s three non-nuclear principles into law.

: DPJ President Hatoyama states that a DPJ government would work closely with the Obama administration on the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world.

: The Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, publishes a report with several recommendations including the reinterpretation of the constitution to exercise the right of collective self defense.

: The Labor Ministry reports wages in Japan fell 7.1 per cent from a year earlier in June, the 13th consecutive decline and the largest since 1990 when the data was first reported.

: The LDP unveils its policy platform for the Aug. 30 election.

: Japan’s unemployment rate reaches a six-year high of 5.5 percent.

: Eight agricultural organizations issue a statement opposing a section in the DPJ election platform regarding the promotion of a U.S.-Japan free trade agreement (FTA).

: DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio states that the MSDF refueling mission in the Indian Ocean will not be extended if the DPJ wins the Aug. 30 election.

: The DPJ unveils its policy platform for the Aug. 30 election.

: Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of U.S. forces in Japan, states that U.S.-Japan security ties will remain strong regardless of which party prevails in the Aug. 30 election.

: U.S. Ambassador to Japan-designate John Roos testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a confirmation hearing.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Nakasone confer on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Thailand.

: Prime Minister Aso dissolves the Lower House of the Diet and officially calls an election for Aug. 30 with campaigning set to begin on Aug. 18.

: The Senate votes against additional funding for the F-22 fighter.

: A Mainichi Shimbun poll shows 56 percent favors the DPJ in the next general election with just 23 percent backing the LDP.  An Asahi Shimbun poll shows 42 percent supporting the DPJ and 19 percent the LDP.

: The Japanese Diet passes an antipiracy law that provides a basis for ongoing antipiracy operations by the Maritime Self-Defense Forces off the coast of Somalia.

: Campbell and Wallace Gregson, assistant secretary of defense, Asian and Pacific security affairs, lead a delegation to the bilateral Security Subcommittee Meeting in Tokyo.

: LDP leaders decide against a party meeting to sack Aso Taro and pick a new leader for the next Lower House election.

: Japan’s Ministry of Defense releases its annual White Paper.

: Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, meets Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi and other officials in Tokyo.  He also meets DPJ Secretary General Okada Katsuya.

: A Jiji Press poll shows a 16.3 percent approval rating for the Aso administration.

: The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee votes to fund $369 million for parts to build 12 F-22 fighters.

: Deputy Policy Chief Fukuyama Tetsuro outlines DPJ policies on climate change including a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas reductions below 1990 levels by 2020, a carbon tax, and a domestic emissions trading system with compulsory emission caps.

: The DPJ and three other opposition parties submit a no confidence motion against the Aso Cabinet to the Lower House of the Diet.  The motion is defeated the next day.

: President Obama, in letters to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, vows to veto any defense spending bill that includes additional funding for the F-22 aircraft.

: The DPJ scores a victory in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, becoming the largest party in that chamber by securing 54 of 127 seats.

: Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the U.S. James Zumwalt and Japanese Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi exchange notes pertaining to the transfer of funds provided by Japan to the U.S. in accordance with the Agreement on the Relocation of United States Marine Corps Personnel from Okinawa to Guam.

: President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Aso meet on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Italy to discuss the global economic crisis, North Korea, and climate change.

: Two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers, Harusame and Aragiri, depart Japan as the second unit in an antipiracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

: The U.S. and Japanese governments release the results of the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative.

: Japanese media public opinion polls show Aso administration’s approval rating averages close to 20 percent with a disapproval rating close to 70 percent.

: Amano Yukiya is appointed as the next director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), beginning in December 2009.

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