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Features Japan Timeline
Timeline for November 2018
[2018.12.03]

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is arrested, Osaka wins its bid for the 2025 World Expo, and Ōtani Shōhei is named the American League Rookie of the Year. These are the major Japan-related stories of November 2018.

1

The Ministry of Defense resumes landfill work on the Henoko coast in Nago, Okinawa, the planned site for relocation of the US air base at Futenma. The national and prefectural governments arrange talks lasting around a month, but fail to reach agreement. On November 27, Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny announces the prefecture will hold a referendum on the base relocation on February 24.

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2

Journalist Yasuda Junpei holds his first press conference in Tokyo following his release from three years and four months of captivity after he went missing in Syria.

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Hitachi Chemical announces it has discovered new cases of inspection fraud on products including materials for semiconductors. Failing to conduct promised inspections and falsifying data were among the fraudulent practices that took place at seven of its Japanese plants. On November 22, it publishes a report by a special investigation committee.

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4

Author Murakami Haruki announces a plan to donate his manuscripts, books, and other materials to his alma mater, Waseda University in Tokyo. The university intends to establish a new center by March 2020 for studying Murakami’s works, which have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Murakami Haruki answers questions at a press conference at Waseda University, Tokyo, on November 4, 2018. To his right is then president of Waseda University, Kamata Kaoru. (© Jiji)

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5

Subaru announces that it will recall a further 100,000 vehicles related to its discovery of improper inspections at the company since last autumn. It will reduce production by more than 20,000 vehicles around the world to ensure thorough quality control and revise downward its performance expectations for this fiscal year.

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7

The Nuclear Regulation Authority approves a 20-year extension of the operational life of Japan Atomic Power’s aging Tōkai Daini nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, which has been in operation for almost 40 years. It is the first approval for this kind of boiling water reactor, which is the same as those at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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Tokyo Medical University holds a press conference to announce that it will grant admission to 101 passing students whose entrance examination scores were inappropriately marked down by examiners.

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8

Toshiba releases its five-year business plan from fiscal 2019, under which it will cut 7,000 jobs or 5% of its group workforce by the end of March 2023. Alongside these cost-cutting measures, it aims to increase profitability through active investment in growth fields.

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9

Kyoto University announces that it has conducted a clinical trial in which nerve cells created from iPS cells were transplanted into the brain of a Parkinson’s disease patient in his fifties. It is the world’s first transplant of this kind.

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko host their final autumn garden party at the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo before next year’s abdication. The spring 2019 garden party will not take place due to scheduling issues connected with the imperial succession.

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12

Ōtani Shōhei of the Los Angeles Angels is named the American League Rookie of the Year. The two-way star is the fourth Japanese player to win the award.

Ōtani Shōhei approaches the microphone at a Tokyo press conference on November 22, 2018. (© Jiji)

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Suruga Bank announces that it has filed a lawsuit at Shizuoka District Court, seeking ¥3.5 billion in damages from nine members of its former management team, including Okano Mitsuyoshi, its former chairman. It accuses them of causing losses by overlooking irregular lending practices.

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13

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō holds talks at his official residence in Tokyo with US Vice-President Mike Pence. The two men agree to cooperate on issues relating to North Korean nuclear and missile development and abduction of Japanese citizens. They also concur on plans to expand bilateral trade and investment for mutual benefit through new trade talks to start in January.

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14

Prime Minister Abe meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Singapore hotel, agreeing to work toward a peace treaty on the basis of the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration, which states that the Habomai and Shikotan Islands will be handed over to Japan.

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A mortar shell accidentally flies out of the Ground Self-Defense Forces’ Aibano base in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, during a training exercise. Prefectural police and the GSDF say that the shell hit a road and asphalt fragments broke the window of a car parked nearby, but that the occupant was not injured.

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19

Investigators from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrest Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn on suspected violation of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by underreporting his executive remuneration by ¥5 billion. They also arrest Nissan director Greg Kelly. On November 22, Nissan directors vote unanimously to remove Ghosn as chairman at an extraordinary board meeting. On November 26, Mitsubishi’s board follows suit, removing Ghosn as chairman and stripping him of his right to represent the company.

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20

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism announces that there have been 37 cases since 2013 where pilots for Japanese airlines have been found to be over the limit in alcohol tests performed by their companies, affecting 7 out of the country’s 25 carriers. The report came in response to incidents including one high-profile case in which a Japan Airlines copilot was detained by local police in Britain.

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23

Osaka is chosen as the host city for the 2025 World Expo at a general assembly meeting of the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris. The city previously hosted the event in 1970.

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26

Police discover six bodies at a farmhouse in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, and launch a murder investigation.

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27

The House of Representatives passes a bill revising the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act to accept more foreign workers. Support from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Kōmeitō, as well as other parties, overcomes opposition from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and others.

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29

Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi hold the first talks among their top executives since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn. They agree to a new management system in which the group is led by all three CEOs.

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30

It is learned that Emperor Akihito’s second son Fumihito, Prince Akishino, expressed opposition to the government’s plan to use public funds for the Shintō ceremony Daijōsai to be performed by the new emperor in May 2019. Fumihito made the comments to reporters before his fifty-third birthday on November 30.

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(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Nissan President Saikawa Hiroto addresses a press conference in Yokohama on November 19, 2018, following the arrest of Chairman Carlos Ghosn. © Jiji.)

  • [2018.12.03]
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