Japan Timeline

Timeline for October 2017

The Liberal Democratic Party wins a landslide victory in the lower house election, Japanese companies reveal improper work practices, and a US military helicopter crashes in Okinawa. These are the major Japan-related stories of October 2017.


Democratic Party Deputy President Edano Yukio announces the formation of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. While the DP had decided to merge with Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko’s Party of Hope, some members from its liberal wing were rejected for their views on issues like revising the Constitution. The new party includes 15 lower house lawmakers seeking to retain their seats in this month’s general election.

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The Nuclear Regulation Authority decides that reactors 6 and 7 at TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture meet new standards, effectively approving their restart. It is the first time since the new standards were introduced for boiling water reactors like those at Fukushima Daiichi to receive approval, as well as the first accreditation for a TEPCO plant.


The Swedish Academy announces that Kazuo Ishiguro is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017. The Japanese-born British author is known for works including The Remains of the Day

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Tokyo Summary Court orders Dentsu to pay a fine of ¥500,000 in a trial over the suicide of a young employee that was recognized as having been caused by overwork.

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Kobe Steel announces that data in inspection certificates for some of its aluminum and copper products were falsified, meaning that they did not meet specifications agreed with clients. It also states that managers had covered up the problem.

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Murakami Mai wins the gold medal in the women’s floor event at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montreal, Canada. She is the first Japanese woman competitor to win this event and the second ever to win a championship gold medal in any gymnastics event at the world championships.

Murakami Mai performing in the floor event at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montreal, Canada, on October 8, 2017. (© Jiji)


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully launch the fourth government satellite for Michibiki, a Japanese system to complement and reinforce the functions of the Global Positioning System.

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The Fukushima District Court orders the national government and TEPCO to pay total damages of ¥500 million to residents of Fukushima and neighboring prefectures in compensation for the 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The plaintiffs had sought ¥16 billion. Their accompanying demand for a return to former radiation levels was dismissed.

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The volcano Shinmoedake in the Kirishima mountain range between Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures erupts for the first time since September 2011.

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A US military transport helicopter crashes and bursts into flames near a US training area in the village of Higashi, Okinawa Prefecture. None of the seven crew members or local residents are injured in the accident. Governor Onaga Takeshi expresses protest and strong concern about repeated accidents involving US aircraft in the prefecture.

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The Ministry of the Environment announces that at least one Eurasian otter inhabits Tsushima in Nagasaki Prefecture in the results of a survey conducted on the island after a wild otter was spotted there for the first time in 38 years. It states that it is highly unlikely to be a Japanese river otter, as the two species are distantly related genealogically.

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Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Asō Tarō meets with US Vice President Mike Pence in the second round of economic talks between the two countries in Washington. Pence shows strong interest in starting negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, according to Japanese government officials.

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An international research team, including JAXA members, announces that it has discovered a 50-kilometer-long cave under the Marius Hills on the surface of the moon. The find was based on observation data from JAXA’s Kaguya (Selene) lunar orbiter.

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Nissan announces that inspections of completed vehicles by unqualified workers continued at four plants after the discovery of such improper activities at six of its Japanese plants. It decides to halt domestic shipping and sales of all vehicles produced at the six plants.


The Liberal Democratic Party wins 284 seats in the House of Representatives election. Together with Kōmeitō, the ruling coalition secures 313 seats (dropping slightly from 324), or just over the two-thirds majority of 310 required to propose revision of the Constitution. The newly formed Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan more than triples its seats, winning 55 to become the largest opposition party. The Party of Hope, unable to maintain its pre-election strength, falls to 50 seats.

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The powerful Typhoon Lan, the twenty-first cyclone of the season by the Japanese count, makes landfall near the Omaezaki Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. The storm sweeps the Kantō area around Tokyo before heading back to sea along the Fukushima Prefecture coast. Regions of Japan from Kinki in the west to Tōhoku in the northeast see torrential rainfall and a total of eight people are killed in six prefectures, including a woman found in a submerged car in Osaka.


The Japan Meteorological Agency announces that it will aim to release its assessment of tremors or abnormal phenomena along the Nankai Trough a minimum of two hours after they are observed. A hypothetical major earthquake in the Nankai Trough, off the Pacific coast of Japan’s main island of Honshū, could result in a devastating tsunami.

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The Democratic Party convenes a meeting of all its members in both houses of the National Diet, rescinding its pre-election decision to join with the Party of Hope and formally deciding to remain a political party, maintaining the chapters in its regional organization. Maehara Seiji indicates his willingness to step down as president to take responsibility for the Hope merger decision that fractured the party before the election. At its convention on October 31, the DP selects Ōtsuka Kōhei, a member of the House of Councillors, as its new president.

Subaru announces that, like Nissan, it used unqualified workers to inspect completed vehicles at its main plant in Ōta, Gunma Prefecture. It will recall all 255,000 of the affected vehicles.
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Portions of nine dismembered corpses are discovered in an apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture. The next day, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrest the 27-year-old man living in the apartment on charges of discarding a body. The suspect has admitted to the murder of a 23-year-old woman from Hachiōji, Tokyo, who was reported missing earlier this month.

Japan Timeline