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Features Japan Timeline
Timeline for April 2018
[2018.05.01]

Vice Finance Minister Fukuda Jun’ichi resigns after sexual harassment allegations, the cabinet approval rating drops amid ongoing scandals, and anime director Takahata Isao and baseball player Kinugasa Sachio pass away. Look back at the major news stories of April 2018.

2

Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori announces that daily activity reports of Ground Self-Defense Force troops dispatched to Iraq have been found, despite government claims that they did not exist. On April 16, when the Ministry of Defense makes the activity logs public, it becomes clear that they include the words sentō (battle) and jūgekisen (gun battle).

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3

Ōtani Shōhei scores a home run on his Major League Baseball home debut for Los Angeles Angels against the Cleveland Indians in Anaheim, California. This is the first of three consecutive games in which he scores home runs, as he becomes the first Japanese player to do so since Matsui Hideki batting for the New York Yankees.

Ōtani Shōhei (center) celebrates with Los Angeles Angels teammates after scoring a three-run homer against Cleveland in Anaheim, California, on April 3, 2018. (© Jiji)

5

Five CV-22 Osprey transport aircraft arrive at Yokota Air Base in suburban Tokyo after having traveled from a US military facility in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first deployment of Ospreys to a US base in Japan outside Okinawa.

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Anime director Takahata Isao, known for works including Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) and Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko (Pom Poko) dies of lung cancer in a Tokyo hospital at the age of 82.

Takahata Isao smiles at the French embassy in Tokyo in April 2015 after receiving the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government. (© Jiji)

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9

The Japan Football Association announces that technical director Nishino Akira will replace Vahid Halilhodzic as national soccer team coach.

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Ōta Mitsuru, director-general of the Ministry of Finance’s Financial Bureau, tells a House of Councillors meeting that a bureau official asked private school operator Moritomo Gakuen to lie about receiving a discount on a state land sale.

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Defense Minister Onodera tells a meeting of the House of Councillors Audit Committee that more than one year of daily reports of GDSF troops dispatched to peacekeeping operations in South Sudan have been newly discovered.

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10

Ehime Governor Nakamura Tokihiro admits that a prefectural official created a document related to a plan by the educational outfit Kake Gakuen to open a university veterinary school in the prefecture. The document states that Yanase Tadao, former executive secretary to Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, said the plan was a “matter related to the prime minister.” On April 13, another document with the same phrase is found at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.

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The approval rate for Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet drops 6 percentage points to 38%, according to NHK’s April public opinion poll. The disapproval rate rises by 7 points to 45%, climbing above the approval rate for the first time since October 2017.

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11

A landslide engulfs four households in Nakatsu, Ōita Prefecture. By April 23, six missing people are confirmed as dead.

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12

Toyota subsidiary Hino and German company Volkswagen agree to discuss a comprehensive strategic partnership in the field of commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses. They plan possible cooperation focusing particularly on electric vehicles and other environmental technologies and information technology applications, such as autonomous driving.

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14

Two years after the start of a series of earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture, a memorial service is held in the prefecture. More than 300 people attend, including bereaved relatives.

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15

Foreign Minister Kōno Tarō talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Tokyo. The two agree to improve bilateral relations through mutual visits of the countries’ leaders and to work closely in dealing with North Korea.

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World Boxing Association middleweight champion Murata Ryōta becomes the first Japanese boxer to defend his title in the division

16

Kawauchi Yūki wins the Boston Marathon amid heavy rain with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 58 seconds. He is the first Japanese winner in 31 years.

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17

Prime Minister Abe meets US President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida. The two leaders agree to maintain the highest pressure on North Korea, targeting its verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. They also discuss the US trade deficit with Japan.

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18

Administrative Vice Finance Minister Fukuda Jun’ichi submits his resignation to Finance Minister Asō Tarō after alleged sexual harassment of a female journalist. Asō formally accepts his resignation on April 24. This is the first time a vice finance minister has resigned before completing his term in some 20 years.

Vice Finance Minister Fukuda Jun’ichi (center) announces his resignation at the Ministry of Finance, Tokyo, on April 18, 2018. (© Jiji)

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19

The Japan Meteorological Agency announces the eruption of a peak in the Kirishima mountain range, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures.

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24

It is announced that baseball star Kinugasa Sachio died on April 23 at the age of 71. Nicknamed the “iron man,” he set what was then a world record by playing 2,215 consecutive games for the Hiroshima Carp.

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The Democratic Party and Party of Hope agree to merge to form a new party with the Japanese name Kokumin Minshutō.

25

Takeda Pharmaceutical reaches a provisional agreement to buy Irish drug maker Shire for £46 billion (¥7 trillion). If completed, it will be the largest foreign acquisition by a Japanese company.

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27

Sendai High Court orders the Miyagi prefectural and Ishinomaki municipal governments to pay ¥1.4 billion in damages after agreeing with a lower court that they were negligent in the deaths of 23 children at the city’s Ōkawa Elementary school in the 2011 tsunami. Families of the deceased had sought ¥2.3 billion.

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28

Prime Minister Abe talks with President Trump on the telephone. They welcome the April 27 meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea as a historic step.

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29

Prime Minister Abe talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the telephone. Moon tells Abe that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is ready to talk with Japan.

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  • [2018.05.01]
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