US - Japan

Chronology from Sep 2012 to Dec 2012

: Yomiuri Shimbun survey indicates a 65 percent approval rating for the Abe Cabinet.  When asked to choose among nine issues, with multiple answers allowed, 93 percent of respondents said recovery from the March 11 disasters and economic growth should be a top priority of the new government, followed by 81 percent who selected diplomacy and national security.  56 percent favored social security and tax reform.  The LDP approval rating stood at 38 percent, with the DPJ and JRP tied at 8 percent.

: Kyodo News survey posts a 62 percent approval rating for the Abe Cabinet.

: Abe Shinzo is elected prime minister in a special session of the Diet.

: US House of Representatives and the Senate pass the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013, which includes $26 million for the transfer of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

: Bank of Japan expands its asset purchase program by ¥10 trillion to ¥101 trillion.

: According to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 58 percent of the public views the LDP election victory favorably.  When asked about the reason for the landslide, 55 percent cited disappointment with the DPJ and 29 percent said the LDP is better than the other parties.

: Defense Secretary Panetta announces plans for the first overseas deployment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Iwakuni in 2017.

: President Obama calls LDP President Abe to congratulate him on the results of the Lower House election.

: Public opinion survey conducted jointly by Asahi Shimbun and the University of Tokyo shows 89 percent of newly elected lawmakers in the Lower House support revising Japan’s constitution, and 79 percent favor revising the government interpretation of the constitution to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

: LDP returns to power with a landslide victory in the Lower House election, winning 294 seats and, together with the Komeito’s 31 seats, securing a two-thirds majority in the chamber.  The DPJ wins 57 seats and the JRP 54.

: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane attends the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on nuclear safety.

: Kyodo News survey finds 22 percent of the public likely to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation portion of the Lower House election, with 11 percent support for the DPJ and 10 percent for the JRP.    

: North Korea launches a long-range Unha-3 rocket and claims to have put a satellite into orbit.

: Mainichi Shimbun survey projects the LDP and its coalition partner, the Komeito, could win over 300 seats in the Lower Election, with the DPJ falling from 308 to under 80.  The JRP is projected to secure as many as 50 seats.

: Jiji Press survey indicates 32 percent of the public favors eliminating nuclear power from Japan’s energy mix, while 54 percent suggest Japan should reduce its reliance on nuclear power but not eliminate it completely.

: In the event North Korea follows through on its rocket launch, Defense Minister Morimoto orders the Self-Defense Forces to intercept it should it threaten Japanese territory.       

: Official campaigning begins for Japan’s Lower House election.

: Japan’s Self Defense Forces begin preparations to deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile interceptors to Okinawa in preparation for North Korea’s missile launch.

: Yomiuri Shimbun survey finds 19 percent of voters likely to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation portion of the Lower House election, with the DPJ and JRP tied at 13 percent.

: North Korea announces its intention to launch an “Earth observation satellite” between Dec. 10 and 22.

: Japanese government gives $5 million to the US government as a gesture of goodwill with respect to tsunami debris from the March 11, 2011 disaster.

: Noda Cabinet approves another stimulus package of approximately $10 billion.

: US Senate approves an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 noting that the US takes no position on the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands but that it acknowledges the administration of Japan over them; reaffirming the US commitment to the defense of territories under the administration of Japan.

: Kada Yukiko, governor of Shiga Prefecture, establishes a new political party, the Tomorrow Party of Japan, and forms an alliance with Ozawa Ichiro’s People’s Livelihood First Party to compete in the Lower House election.

: Yomiuri Shimbun survey finds 25 percent of respondents inclined to vote for the LDP in the proportional representation portion of the ballot in the next election.  The JRP comes in second at 14 percent, followed by the DPJ at 10 percent.

: President Obama and PM Noda discuss the TPP trade negotiations and other issues on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh.

: Former DPJ President Ozawa Ichiro is formally acquitted of charges that he was involved in falsifying political fund reports.

: Mainichi Shimbun survey finds 41 percent of the respondents support Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, 18 percent opposed, and 35 percent undecided.       

: Ishihara Shintaro of the Sunrise Party and Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru of the JRP agree to merge their parties and establish a “third force” for the Lower House election.

: PM Noda dissolves the Lower House of the Diet and calls for Dec. 16 election.

: Diet passes legislation authorizing the government to issue deficit-covering bonds through fiscal year 2015.

: PM Noda congratulates President Barack Obama on his reelection in a telephone call and the two leaders pledge to further strengthen the US-Japan alliance.

: During a debate in the Diet with LDP President Abe, PM Noda declares his intention to dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 16 and call a snap election.

: Ishihara Shintaro officially launches his new political party, The Sunrise Party, for a run in the next Lower House election.

: Japanese government announces that gross domestic product shrank 3.5 percent on an annualized basis in the third quarter of 2012.

: Prosecutors on Okinawa indict two US sailors on charges of assaulting and raping a Japanese woman the morning of Oct. 16.

: US military and Japan Self Defense Forces begin biennial exercises near Okinawa.

: LDP President Abe calls on PM Noda to dissolve the Lower House of the Diet and call a general election by the end of year.

: Bank of Japan expands its asset purchase program from ¥80 trillion to ¥91 trillion and issues a statement with the government emphasizing a commitment to combat deflation.

: Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake visits New Delhi for the third round of the US-Japan-India Trilateral Consultations.

: Noda government convenes an extraordinary session of the Diet to try to pass pending legislation including a bill to allow the government to issue deficit-covering bonds.

: Noda Cabinet approves a $5.3 billion economic stimulus package.

: Assistant Secretary of State Campbell meets Vice Foreign Minister Kawai Chikao and other senior officials in Tokyo to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

: Ishihara Shintaro announces his intention to resign as governor of Tokyo and form a new political party for the next Lower House election.            

: Justice Minister Tanaka Keishu resigns three weeks after his appointment amid allegations of links to organized crime.

: Bipartisan group of former US national security officials visits Tokyo and Beijing to discuss tensions over the Senkakus.

: Asahi Shimbun poll reveals an 18 percent approval rating for the Noda Cabinet; 49 percent of respondents believe a general election should be held before the end of the year.

: US and Japan issue a joint statement at the conclusion of a policy coordination dialogue on the Internet economy.

: US military imposes a curfew on uniformed personnel in Japan after two sailors were arrested for allegedly raping a Japanese woman on Okinawa.

: LDP President Abe Shinzo visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

: ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Issues Lim Sung-nam joins Sugiyama and Davies in Tokyo for a trilateral meeting on North Korea.

: Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies meets Sugiyama Shinsuke, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Tokyo to discuss North Korea.

: Okinawa prefectural police arrest two US servicemen in the alleged rape of a Japanese woman.

: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns visits Tokyo and meets Foreign Minister Gemba, Defense Minister Morimoto, and other officials.

: International Monetary Fund issues its growth forecast for the Asia-Pacific region and encourages the Bank of Japan to further ease monetary policy to combat deflation.

: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meets PM Noda and Finance Minister Jojima Koriki to address a range of economic issues including the strength of the yen and Noda’s efforts to pass legislation authorizing deficit-covering bonds.

: Japan hosts annual meetings of International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

: Bank of Japan leaves interest rates and the size of its asset purchase program unchanged and issues a statement indicating that the economy is leveling off.

:   Kyodo News survey posts a 29 percent approval rating for the Noda Cabinet.  The DPJ approval rating is 12 percent compared to 39 percent for the LDP.

: PM Noda reshuffles his Cabinet.

: Public opinion survey by Nikkei Shimbun indicates 35 percent of respondents would vote for the LDP in the next election, compared to 14 percent for the DPJ and 12 percent for the JRP.

: Secretary of State Clinton meets Foreign Minister Gemba and ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.

: Former PM Abe Shinzo is elected president of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

: PM Noda addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

: PM Noda is reelected as leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

:   Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs regarding maritime territorial disputes and sovereignty issues in Asia.

: Japan formally launches a new Nuclear Regulation Authority charged with setting new safety standards and disaster response guidelines.

: Bank of Japan expands an asset purchase program from ¥70 trillion to ¥80 trillion to support monetary easing.

:   Noda government backs off a pledge to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s in favor of further consultations on the issue.    

: US and Japan agree on safety measures for the deployment of the V-22 Osprey aircraft to Japan.

: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visits Japan to discuss alliance matters with Defense Minister Morimoto Satoshi and Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro.

: PM Noda announces a plan for Japan to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s.    

: Seven Diet members resign from their respective parties to join the JRP.

: Sasae Kenichiro is appointed Japanese ambassador to the US to succeed Fujisaki Ichiro.

: Japanese government nationalizes three of the Senkaku Islands by purchasing them from a private owner.

: Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru announces his intention to form a national political party, Japan Restoration Party (JRP), with an eye toward the next Lower House election.

: Prime Minister (PM) Noda Yoshihiko meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the margins of the APEC forum in Vladivostok to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.

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