US - Japan

Chronology from Jul 2010 to Oct 2010

: A Fujisankei poll reveals 80 percent of the Japanese public feels the image of China has deteriorated in the wake of the Sept. 7 Senkaku incident and 71 percent considers China a threat to Japanese security.

: The Bank of Japan’s quarterly tankan survey shows business confidence improved for the sixth straight quarter.

: The House of Representatives passes Resolution 1326 calling on the Government of Japan to address the growing problem of abduction to and retention of minor children in Japan who are US citizens and to adopt the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

: An anonymous senior State Department official speaks to a group of reporters and expresses concern about a possible reduction in host nation support for US forces.

: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos visits Nagasaki.

: President Obama and PM Kan meet in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji meet on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen reaffirm the US-Japan security treaty during a press conference in response to questions regarding Japan’s dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands.
Sept. 24, 2010: PM Kan addresses the United Nations General Assembly and identifies development assistance, the global environment, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and peacekeeping as priorities for Japan’s contributions to the international community.

: PM Kan announces the “Kan Commitment,” an $8.5 billion pledge over five years in the fields of health and education to support the Millennium Development Goals.

: The approval rating for the Kan cabinet stands at 64 percent according to a Mainichi Shimbun poll.

: Vice President Joseph Biden addresses the US-Japan Council in Washington, DC, and notes that US efforts to improve ties with China must “go through Tokyo.”

: PM Kan reshuffles his Cabinet, appointing Okada Katsuya as DPJ secretary general and naming Maehara Seiji foreign minister.

: Japan ranks fourth behind China, Great Britain, and Canada on the list of countries considered “very important” to the US in a survey published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

: The Bank of Japan conducts a $12 billion foreign exchange intervention in an attempt to weaken the yen.

: US Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) expresses concern about Japan’s intervention on behalf of the yen during a hearing on China’s exchange rate policy.

: Kan Naoto is reelected president of the DPJ and remains prime minister after defeating Ozawa Ichiro by a margin of 721 points to 491.

:   The US and Japanese governments hold technical working-level meetings in Burlingame, California, regarding bilateral trade in beef and beef products.

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

: Yomiuri Shimbun poll finds 66 percent of the public supporting Kan in the DPJ presidential race with just 18 percent backing Ozawa.  The approval rating for the Kan Cabinet stood at 59 percent.

: Government of Japan approves fresh sanctions on Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.  The Obama administration applauds the decision in a joint statement by Secretary of State Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

: Japanese government announces a $10.9 billion stimulus package. Bank of Japan announces the extension of a short-term lending program for banks initiated in December 2009.

: Respondents to a Yomiuri Shimbun poll favored Kan over Ozawa, 67 to 14 percent.  Kan’s approval rating stood at 54 percent, but 82 percent said the Kan Cabinet had not responded to falling stock prices and a rising yen.  Fifty-eight percent said a consumption tax increase was necessary to shore up Japan’s finances, while 35 percent demurred.

: The Council on National Security and Defense Capabilities in a New Era, an advisory panel, submits a report to PM Kan featuring recommendations for the National Defense Program Guidelines due in December.

: Ozawa Ichiro declares his intention to challenge Prime Minister Kan for the DPJ presidency in September.

: Former DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro refers to Americans as “simple-minded” during a speech on politics.

: The Government of Japan decides to dispatch SDF helicopter units in support of flood relief efforts in Pakistan.
Aug. 23, 2010: Ambassador Roos meets Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi in Tokyo to discuss the relocation of MCAS Futenma and host nation support for US forces.

: Financial Services Minister Jimi Shozaburo meets Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs Lael Brainard in Washington to address US concerns about postal reform legislation in Japan.

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance reveals public debt is equivalent to 190 percent of gross domestic product.

: In a speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, PM Kan states Japan as the only country to have suffered nuclear bombings has a “moral responsibility” to assume a leadership role in nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

: US Ambassador to Japan John Roos represents the US at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony.

: The Japanese government decides to extend SDF participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights until March 2011.

: During an appearance before the Upper House Budget Committee, PM Kan states he has no plans to revise the official interpretation of the constitution prohibiting Japan from exercising the right of collective self-defense.  He also vows to uphold Japan’s three non-nuclear principles (not to produce, possess, or introduce nuclear weapons on Japanese territory) and limits on the exports of arms.

: The US military publishes the first issue of a Japanese-language comic book series on the US-Japan alliance.

: State Department Special Adviser for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn and Treasury Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser meet Japanese government officials in Tokyo to discuss sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

: PM Kan hints that Japan will not press forward on a final resolution to the Futenma relocation issue until after the Okinawa gubernatorial election in late November.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Wallace Gregson, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations and Environment, Jackalyne Pfannenstiel testify before the House Armed Services Committee on security developments in Japan.

: A Mainichi Shimbun survey declares a 40 percent approval rating for the Kan cabinet, with 80 percent of respondents stating Kan should not have to step down for the defeat suffered by the DPJ in the Upper House election.

: The Ministry of Defense decides to postpone appropriations requests for the next generation FX fighter, excluding it from the fiscal 2011 budget.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku states during a press conference that a coalition with the LDP might be possible to avoid a deadlock in the Diet.

: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya discuss Futenma relocation, North Korea, Iran, and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in a meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Hanoi.

: Japan’s Ministry of Defense announces it will send Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) staff to observe US-ROK joint military exercises scheduled for July 25-28.

: The US and Japanese governments begin working-level negotiations over the special measures agreement authorizing host nation support for US forces.

: Secretary Steinberg visits Japan to meet Japanese officials and lead the US delegation in a trilateral strategic dialogue with Japanese and Australian counterparts.

: The government of Japan decides to extend Self-Defense Force (SDF) participation in an anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia for one year.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito announces that the National Policy Unit, established by the DPJ in 2009 to play a central role in the policymaking process, would instead take on a consulting role to the prime minister.

: A joint survey by Asahi Shimbun and the University of Tokyo suggests 53 percent of Upper House members either support or are leaning toward supporting a consumption tax hike by 2015.

: The International Monetary Fund recommends Japan increase the consumption tax to 15 percent to improve the country’s finances, beginning with a modest increase in fiscal year 2011.

: State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Takemasa Koichi Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg in Washington to discuss issues including the relocation of Marine Core Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, North Korea, and Iran.

: Prime Minister Kan, commenting on the results of the Upper House election, states he will stay on as prime minister and will not dissolve the Diet.

: An exit poll conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun and Nippon Television finds 29 percent of unaffiliated voters supported the DPJ in the proportional representation portion of the ballot for the Upper House election, compared to 52 percent in the 2009 Lower House election and 51 percent in the previous Upper House election in 2007.

: The DPJ secures 44 seats in the Upper House election for a total of 106, falling 16 seats short of a majority in the chamber.  The LDP picks up 51 seats for a total of 84.  The newly formed Your Party wins 10 seats.  The People’s New Party (PNP), a coalition partner of the DPJ, wins no seats.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun survey shows a 45 percent approval rating for PM Kan, with 39 percent disapproving of his performance.  Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they wanted the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to retain a majority in the Diet and 48 percent did not.  Sixty-five percent supported an increase in the consumption tax but 89 percent suggested Kan had not adequately explained its necessity. Thirty-four percent supported the DPJ, 18 percent favored the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and 33 percent were undecided.

: A poll published by Asahi Shimbun finds Prime Minister (PM) Kan’s disapproval rating exceeds his approval rating by a margin of 40 percent to 39 percent.

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