Japan Timeline

Timeline for December 2018

Legislation is passed to allow more foreign workers into Japan, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is rearrested, and the government decides to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission. A roundup of Japan’s big stories in December 2018.

4

JR East announces that its new station under construction on the Yamanote Line between Tamachi and Shinagawa will be called Takanawa Gateway. The station is scheduled to open in spring 2020.

Related article

5

The Liberal Democratic Party abandons plans to present a draft of constitutional reforms during the current parliamentary session, even though amending the Constitution is a long-held ambition of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō.

Related articles

8

Legislation to allow more foreign workers into the country is approved at the House of Councillors with the support of the LDP, Kōmeitō, and other parties. The government aims to make necessary preparations and adopt new measures to facilitate this influx by April 2020.

Related articles

10

Kyoto University Professor Honjo Tasuku, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, receives an official medal and diploma at the award ceremony in Stockholm.

Related article

The government announces that ministries and agencies will not procure equipment with malicious functions for its communications systems. Although not directly mentioned by name, the action is taken with reference to Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE, which have been banned for US government usage. Japanese mobile firm Softbank states that it will follow the government’s lead at its key facilities.

Related articles

Japan Investment Corporation President Tanaka Masaaki says that he and eight other board members of the public-private investment fund will resign after disagreements with the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, its supervisory governmental entity, over remuneration and investment policies.

Related articles

12

The Japan Kanji Aptitude Foundation announces that the Kanji of the Year for 2018 is 災 (wazawai or sai), meaning “disaster” or “misfortune.” It refers to disasters including heavy rain in western Japan, earthquakes in Osaka and Hokkaidō, and Typhoon Jebi.

Related article

14

The government begins placement of soil in landfill work in Nago, Okinawa, for the replacement facility for the US military’s Air Station Futenma in Ginowan.

Landfill work for the US military replacement facility pictured in front of the US base Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa. Photograph taken on December 14, 2018. (© Jiji)

Related article

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology releases the final report of its emergency investigation following revelations about rigged entrance examinations at Tokyo Medical University. It announces that it has discovered unfair practices, such as marking down of female candidates and those retaking exams, or strong suspicion of such wrongdoing at 10 of the country’s 81 universities with medical schools.

Related article

Ishibashi Kazuho is sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Yokohama District Court for a road-rage incident in June 2017 in which he caused the deaths of a couple on the Tōmei Expressway in Kanagawa Prefecture, when he forced them to stop their car in the passing lane, where it was subsequently rammed in the rear by a truck.

Related article

The LDP and Kōmeitō decide on a tax reform package for fiscal 2019 including bigger tax breaks for vehicle and housing purchases ahead of the planned consumption tax hike in October.

Related articles

16

An explosion causes severe damage to a two-story building in Sapporo, Hokkaidō. The Hokkaidō Prefectural Police announce that 42 people were injured, including 1 seriously. The explosion was caused by the release of gas during disposal of a large number of air freshener spray cans at a real-estate office in the building.

Firefighters at work on the site of an explosion in Sapporo on December 16, 2018. (© Jiji.)

Related articles

17

Hitachi announces its acquisition of Swiss heavy electric machinery maker ABB’s power-grid business for ¥700 billion. The move is set to boost Hitachi’s consolidated annual sales to over ¥10 trillion, matching German company Siemens, presently the second-largest company in the sector worldwide.

Related article

18

The government reaches agreement on a five-year defense buildup program from fiscal 2019 with a record budget of ¥27.5 trillion. The program includes a plan to upgrade the Maritime Self-Defense Force's destroyer, the Izumo, to a de facto aircraft carrier.

Related articles

19

Softbank makes its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section. Its initial public offering is estimated at ¥2.6 trillion, exceeding the previous IPO record of ¥2.3 trillion set by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1987. However, the debut share price of ¥1,463 falls below Softbank’s IPO price of ¥1,500. Based on this price, the company’s total market capitalization is ¥7.35 trillion.

Related article

21

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is rearrested by Tokyo prosecutors on suspicion of violations of the Companies Act. On December 20, the Tokyo District Court had rejected a request from prosecutors to extend the detention of both Ghosn and his aide, former representative director Greg Kelly.

Related articles

Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi announces that a South Korean destroyer aimed fire-control radar at an MSDF P-1 patrol aircraft in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan off the Noto Peninsula. On December 28, the Ministry of Defense releases a video of the incident.

Related articles

At a cabinet meeting, the government adopts a budget plan for fiscal 2019 stipulating general-account spending of ¥101.5 trillion. The figure is up 3.8% from the previous year, setting a new record for the seventh consecutive year.

Related article

23

Marking his last birthday as emperor of Japan before stepping down from the throne next spring, Akihito turns 85. At an earlier press conference, he spoke of his relief that the Heisei era had been a period of peace.

Related article

26

The government announces Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission and plan to resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Japan will catch minke and Bryde’s whales within its territorial waters and EEZ, and cease whaling for scientific research.

Related article

28

The TSE closes the trading year with the Nikkei average at 20,014.77, a drop of 62.85 from the previous day. Share prices fall ¥2,750, or 12%, short of the end of 2017, as the index records its first year-end annual loss in seven years.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Kyoto University Professor Honjo Tasuku, center left, at the Nobel Prize award ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, 2018. © Jiji.)

Japan Timeline