Timeline for May 2019
Emperor Naruhito ascends to the throne and the Reiwa era begins. In his first speech, he says, “When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity.” On May 4, he makes his first appearance before visitors to the Imperial Palace.
- Emperor Naruhito Ascends to the Throne
- People in Japan Hope for Peace in New Era
- New Emperor Makes First Appearance Before Palace Visitors
Interstellar Technologies becomes the first Japanese private company to successfully launch a rocket into space by its own efforts alone. The small observation rocket Momo-3 took off from a launch site in Taiki, Hokkaidō.
A minicar hits a group of nursery children waiting at a traffic light in Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture. Thirteen children and three teachers are taken to hospital, but two of the children are confirmed dead on the way.
Toyota announces that its group sales in fiscal 2019 rose by 2.9% to ¥30.2 trillion, although its net profit fell by 24.5% to ¥1.9 trillion. Robust international performance helped it become the first Japanese company to achieve sales of more than ¥30 trillion.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide travels to the United States, where he meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. On May 10, he talks with Vice President Mike Pence, and the two agree to work together toward achieving early resolution of the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
Online lottery applications for tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics begin in Japan. High usage initially results in site access difficulties. The lottery application period for people living in Japan ends on May 28, with results due to be announced on June 20.
A bill to revise the childcare support law to make preschool education free of charge passes at a plenary session of the House of Councillors with support from the ruling coalition and opposition Democratic Party for the People. From October 1, education and daycare will be free at certified nurseries and some kindergartens for all children aged three to five and younger children from low-income families that are exempt from paying residential tax. There will also be subsidies at other preschool facilities that are not certified under the program.
Actress Kyō Machiko, known for appearances in classic films like Rashōmon and Ugetsu, dies of heart failure in Tokyo at the age of 95.
The Cabinet Office announces that a key index of Japan's economic indicators for March is "worsening," the first time this assessment has been given for six years and two months.
At its general meeting in Kyoto, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases new guidelines for countries to calculate their greenhouse emissions. The United Nations panel aims for greater accuracy and transparency in the calculations to better meet the goals established in the Paris agreement.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs announces that the Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun group of ancient burial mounds has been recommended by the International Council on Monuments and Sites to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The group includes the burial mound said to be the tomb of the early ruler Emperor Nintoku.
Nippon Ishin no Kai expels lawmaker Maruyama Hodaka from the party after he suggests Japan could go to war with Russia to win control over the disputed Northern Territories. On May 17, a group of six opposition parties including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai submits a motion urging Maruyama to resign his seat.
- Nippon Ishin Expels Lawmaker Maruyama Over War Gaffe
- Maruyama Hodaka’s “War with Russia” Quip and Its Impact on Russo-Japanese Relations
The government announces a plan to increase employment for seniors. It will aim to secure work for citizens until 70 by asking companies to offer continuing employment and support for entrepreneurship. It plans to submit and enact an amendment to the Act on Stabilization of Employment of Elderly Persons at next year’s regular session of the Diet.
Record rainfall at Yakushima in Kagoshima Prefecture causes landslides, stranding more than 300 visitors to the island. All are rescued without serious injury on May 19.
KDDI and Softbank announce that they will postpone launches of new smartphones manufactured by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. NTT Docomo stops accepting preorders of a Huawei-made smartphone planned for a summer release.
Japanese police arrest 15 Japanese men detained on suspicion of operating a telephone-based scam from a base in Pattaya, central Thailand.
US President Donald Trump arrives in Japan as a state guest. After meeting Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on May 27, he has a summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. The two leaders agree to target an early conclusion to discussions over a bilateral trade agreement and to work closely to push forward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
- Trump Meets Japan Emperor as First State Guest in Reiwa
- Trump Wants to See Japan-US Trade Deal in August
- Abe, Trump Inspect MSDF Destroyer Kaga
The Osaka Prefecture chapter of Kōmeitō agrees to support the Osaka metropolis plan advocated by local party Osaka Ishin no Kai.
Saroma in Hokkaidō records a temperature of 39.5ºC, which is Japan’s highest ever for the month of May and the highest temperature marked in Hokkaidō in any month. Eastern Hokkaidō in particular is affected by a heat wave that sweeps the country.
An 11-year-old schoolgirl and the father of another child are killed in a mass stabbing attack on a group waiting for a school bus near Noborito Station in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. A total of 19 people, mainly children, were stabbed. The attacker also stabbed himself in the neck and died on the way to the hospital.
- Mass Stabbing Near Tokyo Leaves Child Dead, Others Injured
- Schoolgirl Among Dead in Stabbing Rampage Near Tokyo
The Sendai District Court rules that the now-defunct Eugenic Protection Act was unconstitutional and trampled on individual dignity in a lawsuit filed by two women who were forcibly sterilized under the act. However, the court does not find the government liable to pay compensation.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Prime Minister Abe Shinzō, US President Donald Trump, US First Lady Melania Trump, and First Lady Abe Akie watch a match on the final day of the summer Grand Sumō Tournament at Ryōgoku Sumō Hall in Tokyo on May 26, 2019. © Jiji.)