Japan Timeline

Timeline for November 2015

Politics Economy Science Technology Society

Prime Minister Abe meets with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet makes its maiden flight, and the Osaka Restoration Association enjoys double success in local elections. These are the top Japan-related stories of November 2015.


Prime Minister Abe Shinzō meets in Seoul with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Premier Li Keqiang of China. It is the first time the tripartite talks have been held since May 2012, due to issues including increased tensions related to the disputed Senkaku Islands. The leaders agree to resume regular meetings and to work toward completing a three-way free trade deal.


Prime Minister Abe and President Park meet in Seoul. It is the first formal summit between the two leaders and the first time talks have been held between the two countries since May 2012. Regarding the “comfort women” issue, seen by Korea as the largest stumbling block to better ties, Abe says that the leaders agreed “to speed up negotiations with the aim of reaching an early resolution.”


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency of the US Department of Transport, fines Japanese auto supplier Takata up to $200 million for delaying recalls of defective airbags that have been linked to eight deaths and more than 100 injuries and failing to provide it with adequate information. Japan’s major automakers announce that they will not use Takata airbag inflators in future models.


Nishimuro Taizō, president of Japan Post, rings a bell at the Tokyo Stock Exchange during a ceremony to mark the listing of the three companies in the group on November 4, 2015. (© Jiji)

Japan Post Holdings and its subsidiaries Japan Post Bank and Japan Post Insurance are listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Following privatization, the combined market value of the three companies is more than ¥15 trillion, making it Japan’s second largest IPO ever after the ¥25 trillion raised for NTT in 1987.


Toyota posts record profits of ¥1.6 trillion for the first half of fiscal 2015 (April–September 2015), up 17.1% on the record set during the same period last year. Sales for the period rose 8.9% to top ¥14 trillion for the first time and net profits increased 11.6% to ¥1.3 trillion, setting a record for the third successive year.

The cities of Shibuya and Setagaya in Tokyo start issuing partnership certificates for same-sex couples. Although the municipal documents are not legally binding, it is hoped that they will lead to greater acceptance. Shibuya issues one certificate and Setagaya seven.


Japan’s first passenger jet, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, takes off from Nagoya Airport in Aichi Prefecture and returns 90 minutes later to complete its maiden test flight. The jet, developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft, is Japan’s first domestically built passenger plane since the propeller-driven YS-11 around 50 years ago.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet over Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, on its maiden test flight on November 11, 2015. (© Jiji)


The Cabinet Office announces that GDP fell 0.2% and the economy shrank by 0.8% on an annualized basis in the third quarter of 2015, for a second consecutive quarter of negative growth. Factors include reduced business investment and insufficient consumer spending and exports.


The Japanese government files a lawsuit with the Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court as it seeks to overturn Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi’s decision to revoke approval for reclamation of land off Henoko. Its dispute with the prefecture regarding its efforts to relocate US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to Henoko in Nago will now become a legal battle.


Japan is ranked 101st out of 145 countries in the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum. It rises three positions from 104th last year, but remains one of the lowest-ranking developed countries on the list.

Prime Minister Abe meets US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila. He expresses support for freedom of navigation operations by US vessels in the South China Sea, where China is building artificial islands, and states that Japan will continue to cooperate with the United States on the issue.


In simultaneous elections, Matsui Ichirō is elected governor of Osaka Prefecture and Yoshimura Hirofumi is elected mayor of the city of Osaka. Both are members of Osaka Restoration Association. They announce that they will make a further attempt to reorganize the city administration after an earlier plan was defeated by voters in a May referendum.


An H-IIA rocket carrying a communications and broadcast satellite for Telesat of Canada is launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. It is the first time a Japanese rocket has carried a commercial satellite.


Fast Retailing, which owns the Uniqlo clothing chain, announces that it will work together with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to boost its support for displaced people. It intends to provide internships to 100 refugees, mainly in Europe, adding to the 13 refugees currently employed in Uniqlo shops in Japan, and to donate $10 million to UNHCR over a three-year period.

A young Hara Setsuko. Date of photograph unknown. (© Jiji)

It is announced that Hara Setsuko, an iconic star of Japanese cinema, died of pneumonia on September 5 at the age of 95. She is best known for appearing in classic films directed by Ozu Yasujirō, including Banshun (Late Spring), Bakushū (Early Summer), and Tōkyō Monogatari (Tokyo Story).

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission raids the home of Murakami Yoshiaki on suspicion of market manipulation. Murakami, a well-known activist investor, was previously convicted of insider trading in 2007. The home of his daughter Aya, who runs a fund for him, is also searched in connection with the investigation.


The Tokyo High Court acquits former Aum Shinrikyō cult member Kikuchi Naoko of aiding attempted murder in a 1995 parcel bomb attack on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office. The judge states that there is “reasonable doubt as to whether the defendant intended to assist the perpetration of the crime,” overruling a five-year sentence passed by a lower court. Kikuchi was on the run for 17 years before her 2012 arrest.


Hanyū Yuzuru becomes the first skater to score more than 300 points, with an extraordinary 322.40 total score, as he wins the NHK Trophy in Nagano. The 2014 Olympic champion scores 216.07 in the free skate program, also a new world record.


Manga artist Mizuki Shigeru, most famous for the Gegege no Kitarō series based on yōkai spirits from Japanese folklore, dies of heart failure at the age of 93.

Japan Timeline