Japan Data

Japan in 2024: Key Events in the Year Ahead

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The Tokyo gubernatorial election will take place in July 2024, while Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s term as Liberal Democratic Party leader is set to expire in October. Meanwhile, cultural icon Hello Kitty will turn 50 in November.

At the start of 2024 Prime Minister Kishida Fumio faces an ongoing kickback scandal in the Liberal Democratic Party, hampering his hopes of being reelected as party president. Tokyo will hold a gubernatorial election in July, in which the incumbent, Governor Koike Yuriko, is expected to seek a third term.

It will be a big year for the artist Hokusai. An auction of a complete set of his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji will draw attention in March, while his The Great Wave off Kanagawa will appear on the reverse side of the new ¥1,000 bill, issued in July. Hello Kitty, a more recent cultural icon, will celebrate 50 years since her creation or “birth” in 1974.

Below we look ahead to these and other developments on the Japanese calendar for 2024.


During January: Start of ordinary Diet session.

25: Sentencing at Kyoto District Court of Aoba Shinji, who killed 36 people in an arson attack at Kyoto Animation.


19: Conference on Ukraine recovery held in Tokyo.


1: Seventieth anniversary of radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru by fallout from hydrogen bomb testing at Bikini Atoll.

11: Thirteenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

16: Opening of line connecting Kanazawa with Tsuruga in Fukui Prefecture, extending the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

16: Opening of the Valley of Witches area, based on Kiki’s Delivery Service, at Ghibli Park in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture.

During March: A complete set of original prints of Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, including 10 additional prints for a total of 46, to be auctioned at Christie’s in New York.


1: Overtime cap introduced for medical doctors.

1: Annual overtime cap of 960 hours introduced for truck drivers. The expected labor shortage in logistics, triggered in part by this new measure, is known as the “2024 problem.”


8: First anniversary of the downgrading of the category for COVID-19, bringing an end to related restrictions.

15: Fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Japan’s first 7-Eleven convenience store, in Tokyo’s Toyosu district.


27: Thirtieth anniversary of the Aum Shinrikyō sarin attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.


3: Issuance of new ¥1,000, ¥5,000, and ¥10,000 banknotes.

4: Fortieth anniversary of start of operations by no. 1 reactor at Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, operated by Kyūshū Electric Power Company.

7: Tokyo gubernatorial election.

8: Second anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzō.

26: Start of Paris Olympics, to continue until August 11.


28: Start of Paris Paralympics, to continue until September 8.


6: Prince Hisahito’s eighteenth birthday.

30: Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party expires.


4: Three years since Kishida Fumio became prime minister.

20: Empress Emerita Michiko’s ninetieth birthday.


1: Fiftieth anniversary of the “birth” of Hello Kitty.

5: Tokyo Stock Exchange to extend trading hours by 30 minutes, until 3:30 in the afternoon.

14: Fiftieth anniversary of start of operations by no. 1 reactor at Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, operated by Kansai Electric Power Company.


7: Eightieth anniversary of the 1944 Tōnankai Earthquake that triggered a tsunami along Honshū’s southern Pacific coast, causing more than 3,000 fatalities.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Hello Kitty shinkansen Kishida Fumio overtime