Japan Timeline

Timeline for February 2018

Princess Mako’s wedding is postponed, Kuroda Haruhiko is nominated for a second term as Bank of Japan governor, and Japan wins a record number of medals at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. These were the top stories of February 2018 in Japan.


Shōgi’s youngest professional player Fujii Sōta becomes the first junior high school student promoted to the rank of fifth dan. On February 17, he wins his first major competition, the Asahi Cup, and is promoted to sixth dan.

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Former yokozuna Takanohana loses his position on the Japan Sumō Association board of directors after receiving just two votes in the selection ballot. He was previously criticized for failing to report the assault on Takanoiwa, a wrestler in his stable, by Harumafuji, who retired in the wake of the scandal.

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The Financial Services Agency raids Tokyo virtual currency exchange Coincheck under the revised Payment Services Act after ¥58 billion worth of the NEM cryptocurrency was stolen in January.


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully launches the fifth rocket in its SS-520 series. It is one of the world’s smallest satellite-carrying rockets.

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A Ground Self-Defense Force attack helicopter crashes into private housing in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, and bursts into flames. Two crew members are killed and an 11-year-old girl living in the house is slightly injured.

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The heaviest snowfall in 37 years brings 1,500 vehicles to a standstill on National Route 8 in Fukui Prefecture. Traffic begins moving again in the early hours of February 9.

Trucks stranded by heavy snow on National Route 8 in Awara, Fukui Prefecture, on February 6, 2018. (Photo taken from the website of the Fukui Office of Rivers and National Highways, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism; © Jiji)

The Imperial Household Agency announces that the engagement ceremony and wedding of Princess Mako and her university classmate Komuro Kei have been postponed.

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The Nikkei index falls 1,071.84 points to 21,610.24 following the previous day’s plunge in the US markets. It is the largest drop since the index fell 1,286.33 points on June 24, 2016, after Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.


Prime Minister Abe Shinzō holds talks with US Vice President Mike Pence. The two agree to continue applying maximum pressure on North Korea as it continues to develop nuclear and ballistic missiles.

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The 2018 Winter Olympic Games begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Prime Minister Abe speaks briefly with Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea. It is the first meeting between Abe and a senior official of Kim Jong Un’s regime.

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Author Ishimure Michiko dies at the age of 90. She is known for her work Kugai jōdo (trans. Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow) about the sufferings of patients with Minamata disease, caused by industrial pollution.

Ishimure Michiko in May 1970. (© Jiji)

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The National Police Agency announces that of almost 2 million drivers aged over 75 who received dementia checks in 2017, a total of 54,072, or 2.8%, were suspected of having dementia.


The government nominates Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda Haruhiko for a second five-year term. Waseda University Professor Wakatabe Masazumi and BOJ Executive Director Amamiya Masayoshi are nominated for deputy governor positions.

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A US F16 fighter jet dumps two fuel tanks into Lake Ogawara in Aomori Prefecture after developing an engine fire following its take-off from Misawa Air Base. Nearby boats were fishing for shijimi clams when the tanks were dropped.

Kaneko Tōta, a leading light of the postwar haiku movement who was honored as a Person of Cultural Merit, dies at the age of 98.


The government announces that the first Group of 20 summit chaired by Japan will be held in Osaka in the summer of 2019.

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Actor Ōsugi Ren, known particularly for regular appearances in yakuza films directed by Kitano Takeshi, dies at the age of 66.


The Ministry of Finance announces that it will produce five varieties of commemorative coin to mark the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, including one worth ¥10,000.


As, the Pyeongchang Olympics come to an end, Japan has amassed a total of 13 medals (4 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze), a record high for the country in Winter Olympic competition.

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The mascots for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are announced after Japan’s elementary school students voted on three pairs of candidates selected by the organizing committee. Names for the mascots will be announced around August.

The winning mascots are announced in Tokyo on February 28, 2018. (© Jiji)

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