US - Japan

Chronology from Sep 2011 to Dec 2011

: Noda government reaches a compromise with the ruling DPJ on a proposal for tax increases, including language suggesting the possibility of a delay based on a review of economic conditions and promising to submit separate legislation to the Diet to reduce the size of the legislature and cut civil servant salaries.

: Pentagon issues statement welcoming the submission of the environmental impact statement on Futenma relocation and cites it as an example of progress on the realignment plan.

: Japanese government submits an environmental impact statement for the Futenma relocation plan to the Okinawa prefectural government.

: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu announces revision of the three principles on arms exports.

: US Treasury Department in its semiannual currency report urges Japan to increase the dynamism of the domestic economy and criticizes a recent foreign exchange market intervention to stem the appreciation of the yen.

: Committee established by the Japanese government to investigate the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident issues an interim report critical of the initial response.

: PM Noda apologizes to Okinawa Gov. Nakaima for Tanaka Satoshi’s remarks about Futenma.

: The government decides to decrease funding for the relocation of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam by 85 percent in the draft budget for fiscal year 2012.

: Noda Cabinet approves draft budget for FY 2012, down 2.2 percent from 2011 (excluding a special account for post-March 11 reconstruction and basic pension benefits).

: Japanese government downgrades its growth forecast for FY 2011, suggesting the economy will shrink 0.1 percent compared to 0.5 percent growth predicted previously.  The government also lowers its economic growth forecast for 2012 to 2.2 percent from the 2.7-2.9 percent range estimated earlier in the year due to the strong yen and the euro zone debt crisis.

: Secretary Clinton issues statement congratulating the Emperor of Japan on his 78th birthday and reiterating US support for Japan and its global leadership in recognition of Japan’s National Day holiday.

: The Bank of Japan leaves the overnight interest rate unchanged and notes that the economic recovery has stalled due to the global economic downturn and appreciation of the yen.

: The Japanese government approves a draft supplementary budget totaling $32 billion to support economic recovery, the fourth of the fiscal year.

: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko visits Japan to consult with Japanese officials on efforts to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

: Noda Cabinet approves plans to dispatch Ground Self-Defense Force personnel to South Sudan for peacekeeping activities under the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).

: Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Gemba meet in Washington to discuss the evolving situation on the Korean Peninsula with the death of Kim Jong-il and other issues.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake co-chair the first-ever trilateral dialogue between the US, Japan, and India at the State Department in Washington.

: Government of Japan selects the F-35 as its next-generation fighter and announces plans to purchase four of the planes in fiscal year 2012.

: President Obama and PM Noda discuss the evolving situation on the Korea Peninsula in a telephone call.

: PM Noda announces that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has achieved “cold shutdown conditions.”

: Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides visits Japan to discuss Japan’s post-earthquake recovery plans with officials including Foreign Minister Gemba, Reconstruction Minister Hirano Tatsuo and Environment/Nuclear Minister Hosono Goshi.

: Assistant US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler visits Japan for consultations regarding Japan’s interest in the TPP negotiations.

: Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy issues a statement encouraging the Japanese government to submit an environmental impact statement on Futenma relocation to the Okinawa prefectural government by the end of the year and reiterating a commitment to work closely with Congress on the realignment plan.

: A poll by Asahi Shimbun reveals a 31 percent approval rating for the Noda Cabinet and a disapproval rating of 43 percent.  Fifty-nine percent of respondents disagreed with Noda’s decision to retain Defense Minister Ichikawa and Consumer Affairs Minister Yamaoka despite the passage of a censure motion against them in the Upper House.

: According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, the Noda Cabinet’s approval rating stands at 42 percent with a disapproval rating of 44 percent.

: The Senate Armed Services Committee completes its conference on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2012, electing to cut approximately $150 million for projects associated with the relocation of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

: LDP Secretary General Ishihara Nobuteru suggests in an address in Washington that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces should be deployed to the Senkaku Islands.

: US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies and Clifford Hart, US special envoy for the Six-Party Talks, visit Japan to exchange views with Japanese officials and pledge support for Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in a meeting with an association of families of abductees.

: Derek Mitchell, US special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, visits Tokyo to brief Japanese officials on the relationship with Burma.

: Upper House passes nonbinding censure motions against Defense Minister Ichikawa and Consumer Affairs Minister Yamaoka Kenji.

: Diet passes bill establishing a reconstruction agency to organize earthquake recovery efforts.

: Diet passes bill establishing special economic zones in the Tohoku region to support reconstruction.

: Defense Minister Ichikawa visits Okinawa and apologizes to Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu.

: Defense Minister Ichikawa confesses to being unaware of the details surrounding the 1995 rape of a school girl by US servicemen stationed in Okinawa.

: PM Noda apologizes for Tanaka’s remarks.

: Defense Minister Ichikawa apologizes for Tanaka’s remarks and announces his dismissal as director general of the Okinawa bureau.

: Japanese media reports allege that in a private session with reporters during a visit to Okinawa, Tanaka Satoshi, director general for Okinawa in the Ministry of Defense, compared the relocation of MCAS Futenma to a rape.

: Upper House of the Diet approves the third supplementary budget for FY 2011.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun survey finds 51 percent of the public supports PM Noda’s decision to express interest in joining TPP negotiations.  The Noda Cabinet posts a 49 percent approval rating and 86 percent of respondents believe Noda has not explained his policies adequately to the public.

: PM Noda and President Obama meet on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Hawaii.

: PM Noda announces Japan’s intent to enter discussions with the countries concerned toward Japan’s participation in TPP negotiations.

: The Lower House of the Diet approves a $158 billion supplementary budget, the third of the fiscal year.

: The leaders of the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee send a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk expressing concerns about Japan’s reported interest in joining TPP negotiations and urging the Obama administration to consult closely with Congress and stakeholders about whether to conduct trade talks with Japan should it apply.

: Noda Cabinet garners a 58 percent approval rating in a Nikkei Shimbun survey.  Forty-five percent of respondents support Japan’s participation in TPP with 32 percent opposed.  Fifty-eight percent support tax increases to support reconstruction from the March 11 earthquake but only 47 percent favor an increase in the consumption tax from 5 to 10 percent by 2015.

: Japan conducts an intervention in foreign exchange markets to weaken the yen estimated at $127 billion.

: The Bank of Japan leaves the overnight interest rate unchanged and expands its asset purchase program from 50 to 55 trillion yen.

: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns visits Japan to consult with Japanese officials on a range of bilateral and regional issues.

: Thousands of Japanese farmers rally in Tokyo to encourage the government not to participate in TPP negotiations.

: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meets PM Noda, Foreign Minister Gemba and Defense Minister Ichikawa Yasuo in Tokyo.

: Over 100 lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties hold a rally at the Diet and pass a resolution against Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

: In an interview with public broadcaster NHK, PM Noda says that the government will spend at least $13 billion to decontaminate areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

: Noda Cabinet announces establishment of a national strategy council composed of government officials and private citizens to focus on energy strategy and economic revival.

: Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro visits Okinawa to discuss the realignment plan for MCAS Futenma with Gov. Nakaima Hirokazu and other officials.

: The Noda Cabinet approves an outline for a third supplementary budget totaling $156 billion to support reconstruction efforts and help revive the economy.

: The Bank of Japan leaves the overnight lending rate unchanged and extends for six months loan program to support financial institutions in areas affected by the March 11 disasters.

: Former DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro pleads not guilty to charges of violating fundraising laws during an appearance in Tokyo district court.

: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Tokyo to confer with Japanese officials on a range of issues including Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Middle East, North Korea, China, and the relocation of MCAS Futenma.

: Japan’s Minister for National Policy Furukawa Motohisa meets US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke in Washington.

: Japan’s Ministry of Finance announces that fiscal year 2012 budget requests from government ministries totaled ¥98.47 trillion, a record high due mainly to projected costs associated with reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku region.

: The Noda Cabinet posts a 54 percent approval rating in a poll conducted by Kyodo News.  Fifty percent of respondents oppose Noda’s plans to increase taxes with 46 percent in favor.  The support rate for the ruling DPJ is 27 percent compared to 23 percent for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

: Japan’s Defense Ministry announces that its budget request for fiscal year 2012 is essentially unchanged from the actual budget for the current year with a proposed increase of 0.6 percent.

: PM Noda and DPJ leaders agree on a plan proposed by the government tax commission to generate approximately $145 billion in revenue by raising taxes over a 10-year period beginning as early as fiscal year 2012.

: Three former aides to DPJ member Ozawa Ichiro are found guilty of falsifying political funding reports for the former party leader’s fund management organization.

: PM Noda and President Obama meet on the sidelines of the UNGA and discuss the bilateral alliance, trade, continued US support for Japan’s recovery from the March 11 disasters, and their respective plans to boost economic growth.

: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announces it was the victim of a cyber-attack.

: Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meet on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss bilateral issues including the realignment plan for Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma on Okinawa.

: A Yomiuri Shimbun survey finds 43 percent of the public supports revising the constitution while 39 percent disapprove.

: PM Noda addresses the Diet and refers to the US-Japan alliance as the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy and national security.

: PM Noda appoints Edano Yukio to succeed Hachiro as Trade Minister.

: Hachiro resigns as trade minister.

: Japanese media reports quote Trade Minister Hachiro Yoshio as having referred to the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as a “town of death.”  Some reports also suggest he joked with members of the press about radiation on his clothing being contagious.

: The Bank of Japan leaves the overnight call rate unchanged at between 0 and 0.1 percent; notes that supply-side constraints caused by the March 11 disasters have mostly been resolved and states that production and exports have almost recovered to pre-quake levels.

: The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) announces party executive posts including Koshiishi Azuma as secretary general and Maehara Seiji as chair of the Policy Research Council.

: Several media outlets publish surveys on the approval rating for the Noda Cabinet including Nikkei Shimbun (67 percent), Yomiuri Shimbun (65 percent), Mainichi Shimbun (56 percent) and Asahi Shimbun (53 percent).

: Prime Minister (PM) Yoshihiko Noda officially announces his Cabinet after a ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

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