Japan Timeline

Timeline for November 2017

President Trump comes to Japan, yokozuna Harumafuji retires, and a North Korean ICBM lands in the Japan Sea. A roundup of the top Japan-related stories of November 2017.


Abe Shinzō is formally selected as prime minister by both houses at the opening of the 195th extraordinary diet session. His cabinet remains unchanged from the August reshuffle.

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US President Donald Trump makes his first visit to Japan since being elected. He and First Lady Melania Trump meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the imperial palace on the morning of November 6. At a meeting with Prime Minister Abe that afternoon, the two leaders agree to maximize pressure on North Korea, responding to its continued development of nuclear and ballistic missiles. During his visit, President Trump spends time discussing America’s trade deficit with Japan.

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Japan adopts additional unilateral sanctions against North Korea, freezing the assets of 35 organizations and individuals linked to the country, following approval at a cabinet meeting.

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Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Nikkei Index closes at 22,937.60, its highest level for more than 25 years.


Party of Hope elects Tamaki Yūichirō in its first vote to select a coleader. On November 14, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko resigns as coleader and Tamaki becomes sole leader of the party.

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Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher and star batter Ōtani Shōhei officially announces his wish to move to the US Major Leagues.

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The 11 remaining countries discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership—following US rejection of the deal—settle on a broad framework for agreement at a meeting of ministers in Vietnam. They decide to freeze 20 intellectual property and other requirements until the United States potentially rejoins the bloc at a later date.


Prime Minister Abe meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Manila. The two agree to boost efforts to improve their countries’ relationship as this year marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations and next year the fortieth anniversary of their Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

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An exposed rock face in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, is named the most promising site for a “golden spike,” or Global Boundary Stratotype Section Type and Point (GSSP), used as a global reference designating the boundary between two geological ages. If the International Union of Geological Sciences selects this point as the official marker, it will lead to the naming of the geological era beginning 770,000 years ago and ending 126,000 years ago as the “Chibanian,” after the Chiba location.


Minister of Education Hayashi Yoshimasa approves a Kake Educational Institution plan to build a veterinary medicine faculty in a specially designated strategic district in Imabari, Ehime Prefecture. The institution’s Okayama University of Science aims to establish the faculty there in April 2018. Opposition parties raise questions in the Diet over whether institution owner Kake Kōtarō’s friend Prime Minister Abe and his staff influenced the approval.

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Sumō yokozuna Harumafuji makes a public apology after news emerges that he assaulted junior wrestler Takanoiwa during an October tour in Tottori Prefecture. He drops out of the Kyūshū Grand Sumō Tournament. On November 29, he announces his retirement from professional sumō.

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Japan marks the fortieth anniversary of the abduction of Yokota Megumi, then 13, by North Korean agents near her Niigata Prefecture home. At a press conference in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, her mother, Yokota Sakie, expresses the hope that her daughter will come home one day.

Yokota Sakie speaks at an event in Niigata, Niigata Prefecture, on November 18, urging swift resolution to the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens. (© Jiji)


Public support for Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet rises 8.3 percentage points from October to 45.4%, according to a Jiji Press opinion poll. The disapproval rate falls 4.7 percentage points to 37.1%, dropping below the approval rate again.

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Toshiba announces plans to raise ¥600 billion in capital by issuing new shares for third-party allotment on December 5. This is a precautionary measure in case it cannot sell its semiconductor subsidiary Toshiba Memory before the end of March 2018. By doing so, it is likely to avoid delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange due to two consecutive years of negative net worth.

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Tokyo police rearrest Shiraishi Takahiro on suspicion of the murder of a woman from Hachiōji, Tokyo, as part of their investigation of the discovery of the dismembered remains of nine people at his Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, apartment. Shiraishi had been in touch with the woman, who expressed suicidal wishes, via Twitter; he admits to inviting her to his apartment and killing her, rather than aiding her own suicide.

A November 10 photo of the Zama apartment where remains of nine missing people, including three high-school students, were discovered. (© Jiji)


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development announces that Japanese students ranked second in collaborative problem solving in a global academic achievement survey for 2015. The Program for International Student Assessment tested 15-year-old students from 52 economies. Japan finished first among the OECD’s 32 members.

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The Board of Audit of Japan publishes its findings related to the sale of a state-owned land plot to educational body Moritomo Gakuen at an ¥800 million discount. It says it cannot find convincing evidence for the estimated amount of waste buried under the land, which was the reason given for the lower price.

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Mitsubishi Materials announces that two subsidiaries falsified product data and shipped products that did not meet client and internal requirements.

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Eight men claiming to be from North Korea wash ashore on a wooden ship at Yurihonjō, Akita Prefecture, and are taken into custody. On November 27, a ship with eight bodies is discovered in Oga, also in Akita. During November, several wooden ships thought to be North Korean fishing boats are found off the Japanese coast.
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Toray announces that its subsidiary manipulated tire quality data. The problem was detected in July 2016, but not disclosed for over a year. The data falsification began while current Keidanren Chairman Sakakibara Sadayuki was Toray president.
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North Korea launches a newly-developed Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile. It is believed to have reached an altitude of about 4,500 kilometers and traveled 960 kilometers before falling into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, about 250 kilometers west of Aomori Prefecture. Prime Minister Abe blasts the launch as “an unacceptable act of violence” in comments to the press.
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North Korea Fires ICBM into Sea of Japan (News)

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