Timeline for August 2015Politics Economy Science Technology Society
The Imperial Household Agency releases the original recording of Emperor Shōwa’s speech announcing Japan’s surrender, first broadcast on the radio on August 15, 1945. The sound quality is superior to the recording previously made publicly available by US Occupation forces.
Toyota reports an operating profit of ¥756.0 billion (up 9.1%) and net profit of ¥646.3 billion (up 10%) for the April–June period. Both are quarterly records for the automaker.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide announces that work related to the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko will be suspended for one month from August 10 for negotiations with Okinawa prefectural representatives who oppose the move.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony is held in the Peace Memorial Park to commemorate the passage of 70 years since the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Around 55,000 survivors and relatives attend, along with Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, and representatives from over 100 countries. At Nagasaki’s corresponding Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 9, representatives from 75 countries attend.
The House of Representatives passes legislation to reform the criminal justice system, introducing mandatory recording of criminal interrogations and plea-bargaining. It is expected to become law after deliberation in the upper house. Recording of interrogations will only, however, be required for the most serious crimes and special investigations led by prosecutors alone, amounting to 3%–4% of all interrogations.
Kyūshū Electric Power Company restarts Reactor 1 at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant. This is the first restart of any Japanese nuclear power plant under a new safety regime instituted after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of March 2011. All of Japan’s nuclear plants have been inactive for nearly two years, since the Ōi Nuclear Power Plant shut down in September 2013.
A ceremony is held in the village of Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of a Japan Airlines crash that killed 520 passengers in the nation’s deadliest aviation accident. Damage to a pressure bulkhead caused the aircraft to lose control during a flight from Haneda to Osaka before crashing into a ridge south of Mount Osutaka within the village. There were just four survivors.
A US Army H-60 helicopter crashes while attempting to land on an American vessel during a training exercise off the island of Ikeijima in Okinawa Prefecture. Six people are injured and transferred to a US navy hospital.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes a statement to mark the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War II. He says that “Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war,” and that the “position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakable into the future.” His statement also uses such keywords as “aggression” and “colonial rule.”
Olivier Debie files a suit in Belgium aiming to get the International Olympic Committee to stop the use of the planned official 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo due to plagiarism of his design for the Théâtre de Liège logo. Sano Kenjirō, the Tokyo logo designer, denies plagiarism, and the IOC states that there is no problem.
At a Tokyo ceremony commemorating the war dead, Emperor Akihito states: “Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the last war, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated.” It is the first time the words “deep remorse” have been used at the annual ceremony.
Due to increased seismic activity, the Japan Meteorological Agency raises the alert level for the volcano Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture to four on its five-point scale, indicating “Prepare to evacuate.”
The Cabinet Office announces that Japan’s economy shrank by 1.6% during the second quarter of 2015, the first period of negative growth in three quarters. This was due to falling exports and stagnant consumer spending.
The unmanned Kōnotori spacecraft, transporting supplies to the International Space Station, is launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. On August 24 it reaches the ISS, where it is secured by astronaut Yui Kimiya using the space station’s robotic arm.
Tōkai University Sagami beats Sendai Ikuei 10–6 to win the 2015 summer Kōshien high school baseball pennant for the second time, 45 years after its first victory. This year the tournament celebrates the centennial of its inception in 1915.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev travels to the disputed Northern Territories for the third time, making his first visit to the island of Etorofu. Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio summons Russian Ambassador Evgeny Afanasiev to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest the action, which may affect plans to invite President Vladimir Putin to Japan for a summit before the end of the year.
The Nikkei average tumbles to the 18,000 level following a drop in worldwide share prices triggered by fears of a Chinese and global economic slowdown. Japanese shares continue to fall on August 25, and the Nikkei closes at 17,806, its lowest level in six months.
Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Tōru and Osaka Governor Matsui Ichirō announce that they are leaving the Japan Innovation Party, resigning their roles as advisers. This follows disagreement with JIP leader Matsuno Yorihisa over his increasing opposition to the Abe administration. After Hashimoto reports on August 29 that he will soon form a new party, a split in the JIP appears inevitable.
A major demonstration takes place in Nagatachō, Tokyo, in protest against security legislation that would allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense. Tens of thousands of participants pack the streets around the National Diet in the largest demonstration so far against the legislation. Similar protests take place at more than 300 locations around the country.