Order Code RL33436
Issues for Congress
September 27, 2007
Emma Chanlett-Avery (Coordinator)
Analyst in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Mark E. Manyin
Specialist in Asian Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
William H. Cooper
Specialist in International Trade and Finance
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
The post-World War II U.S.-Japan alliance has long been an anchor of the U.S.
security role in East Asia. The alliance, with its access to bases in Japan, where
about 53,000 U.S. troops are stationed, facilitates the forward deployment of U.S.
military forces in the Asia-Pacific, thereby undergirding U.S. national security
strategy. For Japan, the alliance and the U.S. nuclear umbrella provide maneuvering
room in dealing with its neighbors, particularly China and North Korea.
The Bush Administration has made significant strides in its goals of broadening
U.S.-Japan strategic cooperation and encouraging Japan to assume a more active
international role. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Japan made
its first-ever military deployments in non-combat support of U.S. and allied forces
in Afghanistan. In 2004 Tokyo sent non-combat troops to Iraq, despite considerable
domestic opposition. In 2005 the United States and Japan announced a sweeping
new agreement to strengthen military cooperation. The plan calls for U.S. forces to
be realigned and Japan to take on a more active (non-combat) role in maintaining
regional and global security. The ruling party has drafted a new constitution that
would eliminate most of the clauses prohibiting participation in collective security
arrangements, a move the United States has supported.
The ruling party’s historic defeat in Upper House elections in July 2007 may
slow some of this cooperation. As new leader Yasuo Fukuda attempts to restore his
party’s leadership, some of Koizumi and Abe’s platform may be placed on hold. If
political jockeying weakens Tokyo’s focus on U.S.-Japan relations as an aging
Japanese population demands more attention to domestic economic issues, the U.S.Japan relationship may struggle to maintain its momentum of the past several years.
Japan is one of the United States’ most important economic partners. Outside
of North America, it is the United States’ largest export market and second-largest
source of imports. Japanese firms are the United States’ second-largest source of
foreign direct investment, and Japanese investors are by far the largest foreign
holders of U.S. treasuries, helping to finance the U.S. deficit and reduce upward
pressure on U.S. interest rates. Bilateral trade friction has decreased in recent years,
partly because U.S. concern about the trade deficit with Japan has been replaced by
concern about a much larger deficit with China. The exception was U.S. criticism
over Japan’s decision in 2003 to ban imports of U.S. beef, which have since resumed.
Most Recent Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Abe Resigns, Fukuda Elected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Political Struggle over Japan’s Participation in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . 1
House Passes “Comfort Women” Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Role of Congress in U.S.-Japan Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Major Diplomatic and Security Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Global Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Counterterrorism Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Support for U.S. Policy Toward Iraq . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
North Korea and the Six-Party Talks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
United Nations Security Council Reform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Regional and Historical Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Territorial Conflicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Military Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Agreements to Deepen Cooperation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Loss of Momentum? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Afghanistan Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
New International Security Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Article 9 Restrictions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Proposed Command Structure Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
U.S. Bases on Okinawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Burden-Sharing Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Cooperation on Missile Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Economic Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Overview of the Bilateral Economic Relationship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Bilateral Trade Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Japan’s Ban on U.S. Beef . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
U.S.-Japan FTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
The Byrd Amendment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
The Doha Development Agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Japanese Political Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
The Political Situation in September 2007 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Abe’s Fall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Constitutional Revision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Japan’s Demographic Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Recent Legislation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
110th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
109th Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Figure 2. Map of Military Facilities in Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
List of Tables
Table 1. U.S. Trade with Japan, Selected Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress
Most Recent Developments
Abe Resigns, Fukuda Elected. On September 12, Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe resigned from office, just weeks after he refused to step down following
his Liberal Democratic Party’s historic defeat in the July parliamentary elections.
Due to a stronger-than-expected showing by the opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ), the LDP lost control of the Upper House for the first time in its postwar
history, depriving it of control of the weaker chamber in Japan’s bicameral
legislature. On September 23, the LDP selected Yasuo Fukuda, a 71-year old veteran
lawmaker and former Chief Cabinet Secretary, to succeed Abe. Fukuda faces the
challenge of restoring credibility in the face of voter anger at the ruling party and a
stubborn and empowered opposition movement. With pressure for a Lower House
(the more powerful chamber) election growing, Japanese politics is unlikely to
stabilize in the near future.
Political Struggle over Japan’s Participation in Afghanistan.
Japanese support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan
has emerged as a key issue of contention. Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the ascendant
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), publicly vowed to oppose the extension of a
provision that allows the Maritime Self Defense Forces (the official name for Japan’s
navy, known as the MSDF) to provide fueling services to military operations in
Afghanistan. Although the Lower House, still controlled by the LDP, can overrule
a rejection of the bill by the DPJ-led Upper House, procedurally Ozawa has the
power to delay the renewal of the “Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law” beyond its
expiration date of November 1, 2007. Abe cited Ozawa’s unwillingness to meet with
him to discuss the issue as the primary reason for resigning. Fukuda has pledged to
work to extend the deployment, but many analysts think that Ozawa is unlikely to
compromise. U.S. officials, including President Bush and U.S. ambassador to Japan
Thomas Schieffer, have publicly requested that lawmakers extend the law.
House Passes “Comfort Women” Resolution. The day after the
Japanese Upper House elections, the House passed Resolution 121, calling on the
government of Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical
responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner” for its treatment of women forced
to serve as prostitutes for the Japanese military during its colonization and occupation
of Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. The resolution passed by voice vote and attracted
167 co-sponsors, reportedly driven in part by a June Washington Post advertisement
signed by several Japanese legislators and academics rejecting the historical basis of
the resolution. On September 5, the House also passed H.Res. 508, which praised
the U.S.-Japan alliance and Japan’s contributions to the effort against international
terrorism. The bill was widely seen as an attempt to blunt the negative diplomatic
impact of the former resolution.
Figure 1. Map of Japan
The Role of Congress in U.S.-Japan Relations
Congressional powers, actions, and oversight form a backdrop against which
both the Administration and the Japanese government must formulate their policies.
In the 109th Congress, members showed a renewed interest in U.S.-Japan relations.
After holding two Japan-specific public hearings from 2001 through 2004, Congress
held four in 2005-2006. Members of Congress were particularly critical of Japan’s
two-year ban on imports of U.S. beef and of the Bush Administration’s handling of
the beef dispute. On security issues, members have expressed concern that steps
taken by the Japanese government are harming U.S. interests in East Asia by
worsening Sino-Japanese and South Korean-Japanese relations. Former Chairman
of the House International Relations Committee Henry Hyde suggested in an April
2006 letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert that Prime Minister Koizumi should not
address a joint session of Congress unless he pledged to stop visiting Yasukuni
Shrine, which enshrines the names of several Class A war criminals from World War
II, and convened a hearing on Japan’s “history problem” in September 2006.
The “comfort women” controversy in the 110th Congress reignited
congressional concern about revisionist views of history in Japan. The question of
historical truth and memory has emerged as a prominent theme in congressional
relations with Japan. (See the “Legislation” section.)
Major Diplomatic and Security Issues1
Japan Country Data
Population: 127.5 million (July 2006 est.)
% of Population over 64: 20% (U.S. =
Following the terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001, the Koizumi government initiated
Area: 377,835 sq km (slightly smaller
a series of unprecedented measures to
protect American facilities in Japan and
Life Expectancy: 81.2 years (2006)
Per Capita GDP: $31,600 (2005 est.)
provide non-lethal, “rear area” logistical
purchasing power parity
support to U.S. military operations against
Primary Export Partners: US 22.9%,
Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
China 13.4%, South Korea 7.8%,
The latter mainly took the form of at-sea
Taiwan 7.3% (2005)
replenishment of fuel oil and water to U.S.,
Primary Import Partners: China 21%,
US 12.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.5%, UAE
British, French, and other allied warships
4.9%, Australia 4.7%, South Korea
operating in the Indian Ocean. The
dispatch of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense
Yen:Dollar Exchange Rate: 110.2
Forces (MSDF) was the first such
(2005), 108.2 (2004), 115.9 (2003),
deployment since World War II. A small
Exchange Reserves: $835.5
flotilla of Japanese transport ships, oilers,
and destroyers has provided about 30% of
the fuel used by U.S. and allied warships,
Source: CIA World Factbook, December 2006
and Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force
(ASDF) conducted hundreds of airlift
support missions for U.S. forces. In June 2005, and again in October 2006, the
Japanese government decided to extend its anti-terrorism law for an additional year.
After the victory of the opposition party in Upper House elections in July 2007, a
further extension is in doubt. Japan also has been the third-largest donor country for
Afghan relief and reconstruction.
Support for U.S. Policy Toward Iraq. While strongly preferring a clear
United Nations role in resolving the U.S./British confrontation with Iraq, Japan
nonetheless gave almost unqualified support to the Bush Administration’s position.
This section was written by Emma Chanlett-Avery.
During an open debate in the U.N. Security Council, Japan was one of only two out
of 27 participating countries (the other being Australia) to support the U.S.
contention that even if the U.N. inspections were strengthened and expanded, they
were unlikely to lead to the elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Since
2003, Japan has provided $1.5 billion in grant assistance to Iraq, has pledged to
provide $3.5 billion in yen loans, and has agreed to a phased cancellation of 80% of
the approximately $7.5 billion in debt Iraq owed Japan. In addition, in January 2004,
the Koizumi government deployed about 600 military personnel — mainly ground
troops — to carry out humanitarian aid and reconstruction activities in Iraq. The
ground troops were withdrawn from the southern area of Samawah in June-July
2006, but the air division of the Self Defense Forces (the official name of Japan’s
military) has expanded its mission of airlifting multinational troops and their supplies
from Kuwait into Iraq. The Lower House of the Diet approved a two-year extension
of the air force transport mission in May 2007.
North Korea and the Six-Party Talks. As the Bush Administration has
moved aggressively to reach a deal on denuclearization with North Korea in the SixParty Talks, distance has emerged between Washington and Tokyo. Former Prime
Minister Abe rose to prominence based on his hardline position on Pyongyang’s
responsibility to disclose the fate and/or whereabouts of several Japanese citizens
abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. Japan pledged that it will
not provide economic aid to North Korea without resolution of the abductees’ issue.
U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill and President Bush have given rhetorical
support for Japan’s position, but some observers worry that the stalemate in the
Japan-North Korea working group — one of five established by the February 13,
2007 Six-Party agreement — could hamper further progress on the nuclear issue.
The abductee issue remains an emotional topic in Japan, and Tokyo likely will
continue to insist that North Korea provide more clarity on the fate of the remaining
abductees. Prime Minister Fukuda has indicated his intention to engage more
actively in the negotiations and with Pyongyang directly to discuss normalization.
Supporters of the negotiations see promise that Fukuda will help establish a
“roadmap” that lays out how progress might unfold on the abductees issue.
Until the shift toward negotiation in Washington, Japan’s policy toward North
Korea aligned closely with the U.S. position in the Six-Party Talks. Japan has
insisted on North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons, has taken steps to squeeze
North Korea economically, and participates in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security
Initiative (PSI). After North Korea test-fired several missiles in July 2006 and tested
a nuclear device in October 2006, Japan strongly supported punitive United Nations
Security Council resolutions that condemn the actions and call for trade restrictions.
In addition, Japan imposed unilateral sanctions more stringent than the UNSC
resolutions, including a ban on all North Korean ships in Japanese ports, restrictions
on imports and most North Korean nationals from entering Japan, and a freeze on
bank remittances to North Korea from the ethnic Korean community in Japan.
United Nations Security Council Reform. In 2004, Japan accelerated its
longstanding efforts to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security
Council by forming a coalition with Germany, India, and Brazil (the so-called “G-4”)
to achieve non-veto membership for all four countries. Though the Bush
Administration has backed Japan’s bid, it did not support the G-4 proposal and
opposed taking a vote on expanding the Security Council until a “broader consensus”
on reforming the entire organization can be reached. To become a member, Japan
must obtain support from two-thirds (128 countries) of all U.N. member countries.
Japan is the second-largest contributor to the U.N. regular budget, paying more than
20% of the total, more than twice the percentage paid by the third-largest contributor.
Kyoto Protocol and Climate Change. Abe has sought to highlight Japan’s
leadership on environmental issues. Ahead of the G-8 summit in May 2007, he
proposed an international pact to halve the amount of emissions worldwide by 2050.
Japan is the fourth-leading producer of greenhouse gases after the United States, the
Russian Federation, and China. Under the Kyoto Protocol, which Tokyo ratified in
2002, Japan is obligated to reduce its emissions to 6% below its 1990 levels by 2010.
Japanese industry shares many of the concerns of U.S. industry about the cost and
feasibility of the plan, but the Japanese government has expressed dismay over the
Bush Administration’s opposition to the protocol. In 2005, Japan joined with the
United States, China, India, South Korea, and Australia in the non-binding
Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which calls for
cooperation on the development and diffusion of technology to combat climate
change, reduce pollution, and promote energy security. Some environmentalists have
criticized the arrangement for its absence of mandates — particularly on greenhouse
gas emissions — and for being a part of a suspected U.S. strategy to prevent the
Kyoto Protocol from being renewed after it expires in 2012.
Regional and Historical Issues
Under Koizumi, Japan’s relations with China and South Korea suffered, largely
because of the former leader’s annual visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
The Shinto shrine honors Japanese soldiers who died in war, including fourteen Class
A war criminals who were convicted by the International Military Tribunal for the
Far East following Japan’s defeat in World War II. After Abe’s fence-mending visit
to Beijing in October 2006 and a reciprocal April 2007 visit by Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao, relations appeared to improve, in contrast to the political friction that
characterized the previous several years. In concert with the leadership in Beijing,
which has been keen to shore up its foreign relations before the 2008 Summer
Olympics, the Sino-Japanese relationship has demonstrated a solid upward trajectory.
Fukuda and DPJ politicians alike are likely to continue this trend; Fukuda has
pledged not to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. In general, amiable relations among
Northeast Asian states serve the U.S. interest by providing a stable security
environment, advancing economic ties and trade flows, and increasing the chances
for success of multilateral initiatives, such as the Six-Party Talks and any Northeast
Asian security mechanism that may grow out of the negotiations.
Territorial Conflicts. South Korea and China have challenged Japan on a
series of territorial disputes. Beijing and Tokyo have clashed over the territorial
rights of areas in the East China Sea, which is potentially rich in oil and gas reserves.
Japan considers the area surrounding the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands to be part of its
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Japanese Self Defense Force has detected
periodic Chinese military activities in the area, including a submarine incursion in
2004 close to Okinawa and a fleet of warships near a disputed gas field. China began
production at Pinghu field in November 2006, despite Japan’s opposition. Officials
have failed to reach agreement through multiple rounds of talks.
A long-standing dispute over ownership of two islets in the sea between Japan
and South Korea reignited in 2005 after a local government celebrated “Takeshima
Day,” referring to the Japanese name for the islands (known as “Dokdo” in Korean).
Tension flared again in 2006 when South Korea dispatched two armed vessels to
respond to a Japanese team surveying the islands. A diplomatic compromise defused
the standoff, but the fundamental question of ownership has not been resolved.
Japan and the United States are military allies under a security treaty concluded
in 1951 and revised in 1960. Under the treaty, Japan grants the United States military
base rights on its territory in return for a U.S. pledge to protect Japan’s security. In
recent years Japan has edged closer to a more independent self-defense posture in
both practice and in published security strategies. In December 2006, J apan’s
Defense Agency was formally upgraded to a ministry for the first time since World
War II, giving the ministry more clout in budget and policy-making decisions.
Agreements to Deepen Cooperation. A series of Security Consultative
Committee meetings (SCC, also known as the “2+2” meeting) of the Japanese and
U.S. foreign and defense ministers have outlined plans to expand the alliance beyond
its existing framework. As U.S. personnel and facilities in Japan are realigned as part
of the broader Pentagon strategy of deploying a more streamlined and mobile force,
Japan is slated to take a more active role in contributing to global stability, primarily
through increased coordination with the U.S. military. Key features of the
arrangement include a reduction in the number of U.S. Marines in Japan, the
relocation of a problematic air base in Okinawa, the deployment of an X-Band radar
system in Japan as part of a missile defense system, expanded bilateral cooperation
in training and intelligence sharing, and Japan’s acceptance of a nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier in the Yokosuka Naval Base.
A statement from the latest “2+2” session in April 2007 reiterated many features
of previous meetings, with an emphasis on intelligence sharing and ballistic missile
defense cooperation. Implementation of the plan to relocate 8,000 Marines to Guam
and to replace the controversial Futenma Marine Air Station in Okinawa remains
slow. Many of the agreement’s most controversial elements are likely to face
continued obstacles, particularly from local Japanese politicians in the areas
identified to host new facilities and troops. U.S. officials say Japan will pay an
estimated $26 billion overall for the realignment initiative. Some military officials
in Japan are concerned that the high cost of the realignment could result in decreased
Japanese capabilities because of budgetary restraints.
Loss of Momentum? The recent political uncertainty in Japan may have
slowed some of the of increased cooperation in the U.S.-Japan alliance. Although ties
For more information on the U.S.-Japan alliance, see CRS Report RL33740, “The
Changing U.S.-Japan Alliance: Implications for U.S. Interests,” by Emma Chanlett-Avery.
remain strong fundamentally, the Bush Administration shift on North Korean nuclear
negotiations, the July 2007 House resolution criticizing the Japanese government for
past “comfort women” policies, and the apparent decision not to consider exporting
the F-22 to Japan may have undermined to some degree Japanese confidence in the
robustness of the alliance. Koizumi and Abe’s platform of enhancing Japan’s role
in global affairs had been encouraged by U.S. officials who saw Japan’s strategic
interests aligning with their own. Implementation of the “2+2” agreements depends
on Tokyo providing the necessary resources and political capital. Because the
realignment and transformation initiatives involve elements that are unpopular in the
localities affected, successful implementation depends on leadership from the central
government. If the ruling party continues to struggle to re-establish itself, details of
the hard-fought agreements designed to sustain the alliance politically may falter.
Afghanistan Operations. While Japanese refueling is helpful to coalition
forces in the Indian Ocean, Japanese military officials have stated publicly that the
contribution is not essential to maintaining operations. Rather, the symbolic gesture
of Japanese participation in a conflict of global importance is considered the broader
and more significant issue. Despite his opposition to the re-authorization, DPJ leader
Ozawa historically has been a strong supporter of a more robust military role for
Japan and played a prominent role in securing Japan’s mainly financial contribution
to the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. Ozawa insists, however, that Japan should only
participate in military operations authorized by the United Nations in order to abide
by its pacifist constitution. The U.N. is significantly involved in Afghanistan,
particularly in the creation of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF), but Japan’s current role falls under the U.S.-led OEF. In September 2007,
Japanese officials successfully lobbied for the U.N. Security Council Resolution
extending the mandate of ISAF to include a specific mention of the importance of the
maritime interdiction component of OEF coalition.
New International Security Partnerships. In early 2007, Japan signed a
bilateral agreement with Australia that pledges cooperation on counterterrorism,
maritime security, peace-keeping operations, and disaster relief. The pact, though
short of a formal military alliance, may help to establish a framework of security
cooperation among Japan, Australia, the United States, and, potentially, India. Such
partnerships adhere to the stated goal of “values-based diplomacy,” in which Japan
plans to strengthen ties with other democracies with similar political and economic
freedoms. Continuing this trend, in September 2007 Japan joined a multinational
naval exercise with the United States, Australia, Singapore, and India in the area west
of the Malacca Straits. The exercise reinforced two interrelated trends in AsiaPacific defense dynamics: the U.S.-led campaign of strengthening security ties
among democratic allies and the strategic countering of Chinese military power. On
the sidelines of the 2007 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Japan,
Australia, and the United States held their first trilateral meeting.
Article 9 Restrictions. In general, Japan’s U.S.-drafted constitution remains
an obstacle to closer U.S.-Japan defense cooperation because of a prevailing
constitutional interpretation of Article 9 that forbids engaging in “collective selfdefense”; that is, combat cooperation with the United States against a third country.
Article 9 outlaws war as a “sovereign right” of Japan and prohibits “the right of
belligerency.” Whereas in the past Japanese public opinion strongly supported the
limitations placed on the Self-Defense Force (SDF), this opposition has softened
considerably in recent years. Abe has indicated his intention to amend some of these
restrictions by reinterpreting the right of collective self defense and, eventually,
amending the constitution itself. (See “Constitutional Revision.”) Since 1991, Japan
has allowed the SDF to participate in non-combat roles in a number of United
Nations peacekeeping missions and in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
Proposed Command Structure Changes. Successive “2+2” statements
have outlined major command changes agreed to by Japanese and U.S. officials. One
would shift 300 soldiers from the 1st Army Corps headquarters from Washington
State to Camp Zama to establish a deployable headquarters. The Ground Self
Defense Forces would also base a rapid-response headquarters at Camp Zama. A
bilateral and joint operations center is to be built at Yokota Air Base (about 23 miles
northwest of Tokyo) to enhance coordination between the Japanese and U.S. air and
missile defense command elements. The headquarters of the 3rd Marine
Expeditionary Force, meanwhile, would be moved from Okinawa to Guam, reducing
the number of marines in Okinawa by about 8,000.
U.S. Bases on Okinawa. The reduction of marines on Okinawa seeks to
quell the political controversy that has surrounded the presence of U.S. forces on the
island for years. Public outcry against the bases has continued since the 1995 rape
of a Japanese schoolgirl by American servicemen , which galvanized underlying
resentments. Though constituting less than 1% of Japan’s land mass, Okinawa
currently hosts 65% of the total U.S. forces in Japan. Okinawan politicians have
called for a renegotiation of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and
a reduction in U.S. troop strength . The U.S. and Japanese governments oppose
revising the SOFA, but have acknowledged the political demand to alleviate the
burden of military presence in Okinawa. As part of the realignment of U.S. bases,
U.S. officials agreed to move most aircraft and crews constituting the marine air
station at Futenma to expanded facilities at Camp Schwab, located in Nago, a lesscongested area of Okinawa. In an indication of more political challenges ahead, both
candidates in the November 2006 gubernatorial election for Okinawan governor
opposed the Nago relocation plan. However, LDP-backed Hirokazu Nakaima, the
winner in the closely-fought election, has indicated a willingness to talk with the
central government and the city of Nago to adjust the plan.
Burden-Sharing Issues. The United States has pressed Japan to increase
its share of the costs of American troops and bases. According to Pentagon reports,
Japan provides over $4 billion annually in direct and indirect Host Nation Support
(HNS), which is about 75% of the total cost of maintaining troops in Japan. In recent
years, Japanese officials have reportedly suggested that HNS be reduced on grounds
that Japan is now making a greater direct contribution to the alliance. In January
2006, Japan renewed its pledge to provide $1.2 billion in direct support for each of
the next two years to U.S. forces amid controversy over how much of the cost of
relocating forces will be shouldered by Japan. In May 2006, Japan agreed to
shoulder 59% (over $6 billion) of the estimated cost of relocating forces from
Okinawa to Guam. Renewal of the HNS agreement is anticipated to be contentious
in the early 2008 Diet session.
Cooperation on Missile Defense. A U.S.-Japan program of cooperative
research and development of anti-ballistic missiles began in 1999. The decision to
acquire the ground-based U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system and
the ship-based U.S. Standard Missile-3 system was justified largely on the basis of
North Korea’s missile program. In December 2005, Japan’s Defense Agency agreed
that Japan will pay over $1 billion for the project over nine years. Following North
Korean missile tests in July 2006, officials announced that the deployment of the
PAC-3 system to Okinawa would accelerate.
Figure 2. Map of Military Facilities in Japan
Trade and other economic ties with Japan remain highly important to U.S.
national interests and, therefore, to the U.S. Congress.4 By the most conventional
method of measurement, the United States and Japan are the world’s two largest
economies,5 accounting for around 40% of world gross domestic product (GDP), and
their mutual relationship not only has an impact on each other but on the world as a
whole. Furthermore, their economies are intertwined by merchandise trade, trade in
services, and foreign investments.
Overview of the Bilateral Economic Relationship
Although Japan remains important economically to the United States, its
importance has slid as it has been edged out by other trade partners. Japan is the
United States’s third-largest merchandise export market (behind Canada and Mexico)
and the fourth-largest source for U.S. merchandise imports (behind Canada, Mexico,
and China) as of the end of 2006. At one time Japan was the largest source of foreign
direct investment in the United States, but by 2006 had fallen behind the United
Kingdom. It was the ninth-largest target for U.S. foreign direct investment abroad
as of the end of 2005. The United States remains Japan’s largest export market and
second-largest source of imports as of the end of 2006.
Japan’s domestic economic conditions have influenced the U.S.-Japan economic
agenda. Except for some brief periods, Japan had incurred stagnant or negative
economic growth in the 1990s and the first few years of this decade. However, Japan
has shown signs of achieving sustained economic recovery during the last three years.
Some long-standing trade disputes continue to irritate the relationship. The U.S.
bilateral trade deficit with Japan reached $81.3 billion in 2000. However, in 2001,
the U.S. trade deficit declined 15%, primarily because of the slowdown in the U.S.
economy, but increased moderately to $70.1 billion in 2002. The trade deficit
decreased slightly to $66.0 billion in 2003 but increased to $75.2 billion in 2004, and
to $82.7 billion in 2005, breaking the record set in 2000. In 2006 the U.S. trade
deficit with Japan hit another record at $88.4 billion. (See Table 1.)
This section was written by William Cooper.
For a more complete treatment of U.S.-Japan economic ties, see CRS Report RL32649,
U.S.-Japan Economic Relations: Significance, Prospects, and Policy Options, by William
China’s economy is now larger than Japan’s by another method of measurement:
purchasing power parity.
Table 1. U.S. Trade with Japan, Selected Years
Source: U.S. Commerce Department, Census Bureau. FT900. Exports are
total exports valued on a free alongside ship (f.a.s.) basis. Imports are general
imports valued on a customs basis.
The continuing rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Japan has generated complaints
from U.S. industry, especially the auto sector, and some Members of Congress about
Japan’s exchange rate policy. They have argued that the yen is undervalued, giving
Japanese exports a price advantage in the United States. The yen has depreciated
against the dollar on average over the last three years. In January 2004, the exchange
rate averaged $1= ¥106.31 and averaged $1=¥120.78 in May 2007.
Some Members have raised the issue in the 110th Congress in the wake of the
record-breaking level of imports of Japanese cars in 2006. On February 8, 2007, the
Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Energy and
Commerce Committee, and the Finance Committee, along with the Chairman of the
Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to
Secretary of the Treasury Henry M. Paulson to raise the issue of the weak yen at a
February G7 meeting in Germany. The Chairmen had expressed concern that the
Treasury Secretary indicated in testimony at a hearing earlier in the week before the
Ways and Means Committee that the issue would not be raised. The communique
from the G7 meeting stated that the participants “reaffirm that exchange rates should
reflect economic fundamentals” and that they are “monitoring exchange rates
closely.” The yen issue apparently was not raised directly. The Bush Administration
asserts that Japan has not intervened to dampen the value of the yen since 2004 and
that its value is determined by market forces. On March 28, 2007, S. 1021
(Stabenow) was introduced “to address the exchange-rate misalignment of the
Japanese yen with respect to the United States dollar, and for other purposes.”A
companion bill, H.R. 2886 (Knollenberg), was introduced in the House on June 27,
2007. Other legislation has been introduced to address currency manipulation in
China and in other countries.6
Despite some outstanding issues, tensions in the U.S.-Japan bilateral economic
relationship have been much lower than was the case in the 1970s, 1980s, and early
1990s. A number of factors may be contributing to this trend: Japan’s economic
For more information on the currency issue and Japan, see CRS Report RL33178, Japan’s
Currency Intervention: Policy Issues, by Dick K. Nanto.
problems in the 1990s and in the first few years of this decade changed the general
U.S. perception of Japan as an economic “threat” to one of a country with problems;
the rise of China as an economic power has caused U.S. policymakers to shift
attention from Japan to China as a source of concern; the increased use by both Japan
and the United States of the WTO as a forum for resolving trade disputes has
de-politicized disputes and helped to reduce friction; and the emphasis in the bilateral
relationship has shifted from economic to security matters.
Bilateral Trade Issues
Japan’s Ban on U.S. Beef. 7 In December 2003, Japan imposed a ban on
imported U.S. beef in response to the discovery of the first U.S. case of bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) in Washington state. In the
months before the diagnosis in the United States, nearly a dozen Japanese cows
infected with BSE had been discovered, creating a scandal over the Agricultural
Ministry’s handling of the issue (several more Japanese BSE cases have since
emerged). Japan had retained the ban despite ongoing negotiations and public
pressure from Bush Administration officials, a reported framework agreement (issued
jointly by both governments) in October 2004 to end it, and periodic assurances
afterward by Japanese officials to their U.S. counterparts that it would be lifted soon.
In December 2005 Japan lifted the ban after many months of bilateral
negotiations but reimposed it in January 2006 after Japanese government inspectors
found bone material among the first beef shipments to have arrived from the United
States after the ban was lifted. The bone material violated the procedures U.S. and
Japanese officials had agreed upon. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns
expressed regret that the prohibited material had entered the shipments.
In July 2006, Japan announced it would resume imports of U.S. beef from cattle
20 months old or younger; the first shipments arrived in August 2006. While
praising the decision, some officials have called on Japan to broaden the procedures
to include beef from older cattle. Members of the 110th Congress may press Japan
to lift restrictions on imports of U.S. beef further. In February 2007, Japan
suspended beef shipments from a Tyson’s plant in Nebraska after Japanese inspectors
discovered beef from cattle older than 30 months. To date, the action has not
affected other shipments of U.S. beef from Japan. In May 2007, the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE) announced that the United States was a
“controlled risk” regarding BSE, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture urged Japan
to allow U.S. boned and boneless beef from cattle older than 20 months to enter
Japan. The Japanese government has replied that it needs to verify the results of
audits of U.S. meat-packing facilities and obtain findings from the Japanese
government Food Safety Commission. On August 3, 2007, Japanese officials notified
their U.S. counterparts that Japan is considering allowing imports of U.S. beef from
cattle up to 30 months of age. The government’s recommendation would have to be
approved by the independent Japan Food Commission before it could go into effect.
For more information, see CRS Report RS21709, Mad Cow Disease and U.S. Beef Trade,
by Charles Hanrahan and Geoffrey Becker.
The Japanese officials did not say how long this process would take.8 The change
could have a major impact on U.S. exports to beef to Japan, by increasing the share
of cattle eligible for export to Japan from 10% of the herd to 90%, according to one
analysis. A major concern of Japanese agricultural officials is the ability to trace the
origin of beef to ensure compliance with Japanese safety regulations.9
U.S.-Japan FTA. With the conclusion of negotiations on a U.S.-South Korean
free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) on April 1, 2007, and the formation of FTAs
among other East Asian countries, interest seems to have increased in the possibility
of a U.S.-Japan FTA. Japanese business leaders are concerned about being adversely
affected by the trade preferences that South Korean exporters would gain under the
proposed KORUS FTA. In May 2007, a Japanese government advisory panel
recommended that Japan undertake the formation of an economic partnership
agreement (EPA), Japan’s version of an FTA, with the United States. During their
late April 2007 summit meeting, President Bush and Prime Minister Abe touched on
the issue. According to a White House fact sheet, they agreed to exchange
information about one another’s FTAs and EPAs with third countries. U.S.
Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer stated in a May speech before the Asia
Society that the United States would welcome an FTA with Japan as long as
agricultural trade is a part of it. A number of observers have argued that Japan’s
restrictions on agricultural imports would be a major stumbling block to an FTA.
Insurance. Market access in Japan for U.S. and other foreign insurance
providers has been the subject of bilateral trade agreements and discussion for some
time. Current U.S. concerns center around making sure that Japan adheres to its
agreements with the United States, especially as Japan’s domestic insurance industry
and government regulations of the industry are restructured. Specifically, American
firms have complained that little public information is available on insurance
regulations, how those regulations are developed, and how to get approval for doing
business in Japan. They also assert that government regulations favor insurance
companies that are tied to business conglomerates — the keiretsu — making it
difficult for foreign companies to enter the market.
The United States and Japan concluded agreements in 1994 and 1996 on access
to the Japanese market for U.S. providers of life and non-life insurance and also on
maintaining competitive conditions for foreign providers in the specialty insurance
market — cancer insurance, hospitalization, nursing care, and personal accident
insurance. U.S. and Japanese officials continue to meet under those two agreements,
and U.S. providers have been able to expand their presence in Japan under them,
according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
However, the United States has raised concerns about Kampo, the
government-owned insurance company under the Japan Postal Service, which offers
insurance services that directly compete with U.S. and other privately owned
providers. The United States has also raised questions about the activities of
regulated and unregulated insurance cooperatives, kyosai, claiming that these entities
International Trade Daily. August 6, 2007.
Feedstuffs. August 13, 2007.
do not have to adhere to the same regulations that bind traditional private insurance
companies, creating an unfair competitive advantage. A Japanese government
privatization framework released in July 2006 generated statements from the
American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and from the American Council of
Insurers arguing that the privatization plan would allow Kampo to compete with
foreign insurance providers by offering new products before it has been completely
privatized. In February 2007, the Japan Post board announced that the privatization
of Japan Post will go ahead as planned on October 1, 2007.
The Byrd Amendment. Japan, together with other major trading partners,
challenged U.S. trade laws and actions in the World Trade Organization (WTO). For
example, Japan and others challenged the so-called Byrd Amendment (which allows
revenues from countervailing duty and antidumping orders to be distributed to those
who had been injured). The WTO ruled in Japan’s favor. In November 2004, the
WTO authorized Japan and the other complainant-countries to impose sanctions
against the United States. In September 2005, Japan imposed 15% tariffs on selected
imports of U.S. steel products as retaliation, joining the EU and Canada. It is the first
time that Japan had imposed punitive tariffs on U.S. products. In the meantime, a
repeal of the Byrd Amendment was included in the conference report for S. 1932, the
Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, that was signed by the President into law (P.L. 109171) on February 8, 2006. The measure phases out the program over a period ending
October 1, 2007.10 Although Japan has praised the repeal of the Byrd Amendment,
it criticized the delayed termination of the program and has maintained the sanctions
on imports from the United States. Consequently, Japan announced in August 2006
that it would maintain the tariff sanctions until October 1, 2007, and again extended
the sanctions for another year in August 2007.
The Doha Development Agenda. Japan and the United States are major
supporters of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), the latest round of negotiations
in the WTO. Yet, the two have taken divergent positions in some critical areas of the
agenda. For example, the United States, Australia, and other major agricultural
exporting countries have pressed for the reduction or removal of barriers to
agricultural imports and subsidies of agricultural production, a position strongly
resisted by Japan and the European Union. At the same time, Japan and others have
argued that national antidumping laws and actions that member countries have taken
should be examined during the DDA, with the possibility of changing them, a
position that the United States has opposed.
In July 2006, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy suspended the negotiations
because, among other reasons, the major participants could not agree on the
modalities that negotiators would use to determine how much they would liberalize
their agricultural markets and reduce agricultural subsides. Negotiators have been
meeting in smaller groups to try to restart the talks. The resumption of negotiations
will depend in large part on whether the United States and Japan, along with the
European Union and developing countries, can resolve their differences.
For more information on the Byrd Amendment, see CRS Report RL33045, the Continued
Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (“The Byrd Amendment”), by Jeanne J. Grimmett and
Vivian C. Jones.
Japanese Political Developments11
The Political Situation in September 2007. On September 12, Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned from office, just weeks after he refused to step
down following his Liberal Democratic Party’s historic defeat in parliamentary
elections. Due to a stronger-than-expected showing by the opposition Democratic
Party of Japan (DPJ), the LDP lost its status as the largest party in the Upper House,
depriving it of control of the weaker chamber in Japan’s bicameral legislature. The
LDP remains the ruling party by virtue of its majority in the more powerful Lower
House. The DPJ’s victory appears attributable to Abe Cabinet’s political scandals and
perceived incompetence, as well as to the DPJ’s prioritization of economic issues
during the campaign. Public opinion polls indicate growing worries over personal
economic security issues such as concerns over the country’s ageing population, the
health of the Japanese pension system, and the growing gap between rich and poor
that occurred under the Koizumi-era reforms. Although Lower House elections are
not required to be held until 2009, the DPJ will continue to press for snap elections,
apparently by using its control of the Upper House to paralyze the legislature.
On September 23, the LDP selected Yasuo Fukuda, a 71-year old veteran
lawmaker and former Chief Cabinet Secretary, to succeed Abe. Two days later, he
was sworn in as Prime Minister and quickly announced his cabinet, a line-up of
experienced LDP officials with strong factional ties. With these appointments,
Fukuda appears to be emphasizing a stable and united policy team as he tries to
restore LDP credibility. Fukuda’s success will depend on his ability to work with the
empowered opposition, starting with his two stated priorities of reforming the
pension system and renewing the anti-terror legislation that allows Japan to
participate in military operations in Afghanistan.
Abe’s Fall. Abe’s abrupt resignation capped a year of falling approval ratings
based on his competence and reformist credentials. Most significantly, it was
revealed that the government had lost the records of over 50 million individuals’
payments into public pension plans. Abe also was hurt by his decision to readmit
into the LDP several former “postal rebels” whom Koizumi had expelled from the
party after they had rejected his plan to reform Japan’s massive postal system (which
includes one of the world’s largest financial institutions). Abe’s decision to readmit
the rebels tainted the LDP’s image as a reformist party, a perception that Koizumi
had created. A series of other scandals and gaffes from Cabinet members further
contributed to the downturn.
Abe did achieve two of his goals: upgrading the Japan Defense Agency into a
full-fledged ministry and passing a sweeping education reform law, which among
other things requires schools to teach “patriotism.” Both initiatives were carry-overs
from the Koizumi Administration, in which Abe was Chief Cabinet Secretary. Abe
also has made some incremental gains in pushing along the process to amend Japan’s
constitution, another of his stated goals.
This section was written by Mark Manyin.
Background. In general, Japan’s political peculiarities both constrain and
enhance U.S. influence over Japanese policy. Compared to most industrialized
democracies, the Japanese parliament is structurally weak, as is the office of the
prime minister and his cabinet. Though former Prime Minister Koizumi and his
immediate predecessors increased politicians’ influence relative to Japan’s
bureaucrats, with important exceptions Japan’s policymaking process tends to be
compartmentalized and bureaucratized, making it difficult to make trade-offs among
competing constituencies on divisive issues. The result is often paralysis or
incremental changes at the margins of policy. On some issues this can provide an
opening to use foreign pressure (gaiatsu) to break policy logjams.
On the other hand, the nature of Japan’s policymaking process often makes it
difficult for Japanese leaders to reach controversial agreements with foreign
countries. Japan’s structural debilities also have tended to retard its ability to act
decisively and proactively in the international sphere — often to the frustration of the
United States — though this characteristic is less pronounced today than the 1990s.
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). With its victory in the Upper
House, the DPJ has re-emerged as a viable candidate to defeat the LDP and created
an opening for a two-party system in Japan. The LDP has ruled almost continuously
since its formation in 1955. The results represent a sharp reversal from the DPJ’s
showing in the 2005 Lower House elections, when the DPJ lost more than one-third
of its strength. With this win, the DPJ hopes to build on its earlier progress: in
several elections in the early part of the decade, the DPJ steadily increased its
strength in the Diet by winning over reform-minded urban and independent voters.
In the September 2005 election, however, many of these voters opted for Koizumi’s
LDP, in part because Koizumi was able to establish himself — rather than the DPJ
— as the symbol of reform. In the July 2007 elections, however, the DPJ was able
to capitalize on widespread discontent with Abe by emphasizing economic and social
security issues, and succeeded in winning over large numbers of voters from the rural
areas of Japan, usually an LDP stronghold.
Much of the credit for the DPJ’s victory has been accorded to the electoral
strategy of its leader, Ichiro Ozawa (63). Ozawa was once a top LDP leader before
he defected to the DPJ in mid-1993 to press for sweeping reform in the Japanese
political system. Since leaving the LDP, Ozawa has pushed for reforming Japan’s
political and economic systems, as well as adopting a more assertive and independent
foreign policy. Following his selection, Ozawa stated that he would push for “a
U.N.-centered national security policy” that has the Japan-U.S. alliance “as a pivot,
but emphasizes Asia.” In the past, Ozawa has been hampered by what many see as
his top-down management style and his political opportunism.
Constitutional Revision. Japan’s constitution was drafted in 1946 by the
U.S. Occupation authorities, who then imposed it on a reluctant Japanese legislature.
Since the early 1990s, previously strong public opposition to revising the constitution
has gradually weakened and public opinion polls now show widespread support for
some sort of revision. In October 2005, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP) released its long-awaited draft revision of the Japanese constitution. The most
notable changes reduce many — though not all — of the provisions in the
war-renouncing clause (Article 9) that set limits on Japan’s military activities. After
renouncing war and the “threat or use of force as a means of settling international
disputes,” the proposed revision explicitly states that Japan “shall maintain armed
forces for self-defense” that operate under the prime minister and are subject to the
Diet’s approval and direction. The explicit mention of a military force is designed
to rectify the disconnect between the current constitution — which says that “land,
sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” — and
the reality that Japan possesses a Self Defense Force. More importantly, the LDP’s
draft appears to allow Japan to participate in collective security arrangements by
stating that the armed forces “may act in international cooperation to ensure the
international community’s peace and security.”
Both the LDP and the DPJ are split — with the DPJ’s internal divisions much
deeper — between relatively hawkish and pacifist wings that appear to be sparring
over the question of whether or not conditions (such as United Nations backing)
should be attached to the right to join collective security arrangements. In other
words, the issue is not whether, but how, Article 9 should be revised, a development
that is due in part to increased concerns about North Korea and China. In March
2005, Japan’s House of Representatives Research Commission on the Constitution,
composed of representatives from various parties, released a report indicating that
over two-thirds of members generally favor constitutional provisions allowing Japan
to join U.N. collective security arrangements, stipulating the Self-Defense Forces’
existence, and maintaining some portion of the war-renouncing clause of Article 9.
A wide majority of the commission also favored allowing women to serve as
emperor, establishing stronger privacy and environmental rights, creating a
constitutional court, and revising Japan’s federalist system.
Constitutional amendments must be approved by two-thirds of each chamber of
the Diet, after which they are to be “submitted to the people” for majority approval.
In May 2007, after over a year of debate, the Diet passed legislation detailing how a
national constitutional referendum would be conducted. However, the bill was
passed without any significant DPJ support. Indeed, the LDP-led coalition and the
DPJ proposed separate referendum bills, dampening hopes for the two camps to
cooperate on constitutional revision. Notably, according to the timetable outlined in
the bill that passed, the soonest that a national referendum could be held would be
three years after a referendum law is passed, i.e. 2010.
Japan’s Demographic Challenge
Japan’s combination of a low birth rate, strict immigration practices, and a
rapidly-ageing population present policymakers with a significant challenge. Polls
suggest that Japanese women are avoiding marriage and child-bearing because of the
difficulty of combining career and family in Japan; the birthrate has fallen to 1.25,
far below the 2.1 rate necessary to sustain a population size. Japan’s current
population of 128 million is projected to fall to about 100 million by mid-century.
Observers are concerned about a huge shortfall in the labor force, particularly as the
elderly demand more care. Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social
Security Research projects that the working-age population will fall from 85 million
in 2005 to 70 million by 2030. Japan’s immigration policies have traditionally been
strictly limited, but policy adjustments have allowed for an expanding foreign labor
force. Over 68,000 foreign workers came to Japan in 2006 under a government-
sponsored training program, in addition to 80,000 on an extended program. 12 With
Japanese government encouragement, some private companies have also offered
incentives to employees with children.
S. 1686, Sec. 6 (Landrieu). Establishes a United States-Japan Interparliamentary Group to meet once per Congress with representatives of the Diet of
Japan for discussion of common problems in the interest of relations between the
United States and Japan. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General
Orders on 6/25/2007.
S. 1021 (Stabenow). Addresses the exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese
yen with respect to the United States dollar, and for other purposes. Referred to
Senate Committee on Finance on 3/28/2007.
H.Res. 121 (Honda). Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that
the Government of Japan should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept
historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner for its Imperial Armed
Force’s coercion of young women into sexual slavery, known to the world as
“comfort women,” during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific
Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II. Referred to the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs on 1/31/2007.
H.Res. 122 (Honda). Recognizes the significance of the 65th anniversary of
the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and
supporting the goals of the Japanese American, German American, and Italian
American communities in recognizing a National Day of Remembrance to increase
public awareness of the events surrounding the restriction, exclusion, and internment
of individuals and families during World War II. Passed/agreed to in House on
H.Res. 109 (Costa). Recognizes the historical significance of the Pinedale
Assembly Center, the reporting site for 4,823 Japanese Americans who were unjustly
interned during World War II. Passed/agreed to in House on 2/12/2007.
H.R. 662 (Becerra). Establishes a fact-finding Commission to extend the study
of a prior Commission to investigate and determine facts and circumstances
surrounding the relocation, internment, and deportation to Axis countries of Latin
Americans of Japanese descent from December 1941 through February 1948, and the
impact of those actions by the United States, and to recommend appropriate
remedies, and for other purposes. Referred to House committee on the Judiciary on
“Foreign Labor Works for Japan,” Wall Street Journal Asia. May 25, 2007.
H.R. 1570 (Mica). Provides compensation for certain World War II veterans
who survived the Bataan Death March and were held as prisoners of war by the
Japanese. Referred to House committee on Armed Services on 3/19/2007.
S. 125 (Allard). Establishes the Granada Relocation Center National Historic
Site, where more than 10,000 Japanese-Americans were interned between August
1942 and October 1945, as an affiliated unit of the National Park System. Referred
to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on 1/4/2007.
P.L. 109-5 (S. 384). Extends the existence of the Nazi War Crimes and
Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group for two years.
Passed by both houses and signed into law by President Bush in March 2005.
P.L. 109-97 (H.R. 2744). The Agriculture Appropriations Act of 2006. Signed
into law (P.L. 109-97) November 10, 2005. The Senate-passed version included two
amendments, adopted on September 20, 2005, that would have denied funds to
implement a rule to lift the U.S. ban on Japanese beef until Japan has lifted its ban
on imports of U.S. beef (S.Amdt. 1732 agreed to by a vote of 72-26); and that
expressed the sense of the Senate that the U.S. ban on imported Japanese beef should
remain in place until Japan has lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef (S.Amdt. 1738,
agreed to by voice vote). House and Senate conferees did not include either
amendment in the final bill, though the conference report (H.Rept. 109-255) says
Congress “clearly reserve[s] the right to impose restrictions similar to those
suggested by the Senate if there is not a swift resolution to this issue.”
P.L. 109-114 (H.R. 2528). Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2006.
Section 118 requires the Defense Department to report by February 15 on U.S. efforts
to encourage Japan and other allied countries to increase their share of the allied
defense burden. Became public law on November 30, 2005.
P.L. 109-171 (S. 1932). The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The conference
report includes a repeal of the Byrd Amendment. Received final congressional action
on February 1, 2006, and was signed by the President into law on February 8, 2006.
The measure phases out the program over a period ending October 1, 2007.
H.Con.Res. 68 (Evans). Expresses the sense of Congress that the Government
of Japan should formally issue a clear and unambiguous apology for the sexual
enslavement of “comfort women” during the colonial occupation of Asia. Introduced
March 17, 2005; referred to House Asia Pacific Subcommittee.
H. Res. 759 (Evans). Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that
the Government of Japan should formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for
its sexual enslavement of young women, known to the world as “comfort women,”
during its colonial occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through
the duration of World War II, and for other purposes. Committee Agreed to Seek
Consideration Under Suspension of the Rules (Amended) by Unanimous Consent.
H.Con.Res. 168 (Hyde). Condemns the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea for the abductions and continued captivity of citizens of the Republic of Korea
and Japan. Passed by the House (362-1) on July 11, 2005; referred to Senate Foreign
H.Con.Res. 191 (Hyde). Commemorates the 60th anniversary of the
conclusion of the War in the Pacific and reaffirms the judgments rendered by the
International Military Tribunal for the Far East of 1946-1948, including the
conviction of certain individuals as war criminals. Passed by the House (399-0) on
July 14, 2005; referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
H.Con.Res. 311 (Ramstad)/S.Con.Res. 67 (Coleman). Urges Japan to honor
its commitments under a 1986 bilateral agreement on medical equipment and
pharmaceuticals. House bill introduced December 7, 2005; referred to House Ways
and Means Committee. Senate bill introduced November 18, 2005; referred to
Foreign Relations Committee.
H.Res. 137 (Moran)/S.Res. 87 (Thune). Expresses the sense of the respective
Houses of Congress that the U.S. government should impose economic sanctions
against Japan , if Japan does not lift its ban on U.S. beef. Neither resolution has seen
H.Res. 321 (Leach). Expresses support for a “regionally balanced expansion”
of the membership of the United Nations Security Council, which would include
adding Japan, India, Germany, Brazil, and an African country. Introduced June 15,
2005; referred to the House Committee on International Relations.
H. R. 4179 (Salazar) and S. 1922 (Conrad). Require the President to impose
extra tariffs on various Japanese products beginning on January 1, 2006, if Japan has
not lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef. H.R. 4179 introduced October 28, 2005;
referred to House Ways and Means Committee. S. 1922 introduced October 26,
2005; referred to Senate Finance Committee.
S. 377 (Lieberman). Requires negotiation and appropriate action with Japan,
China, and other countries that have engaged in currency manipulation. Introduced
February 15, 2005; referred to Senate Finance Committee.