Timeline for July 2019
Japan resumes commercial whaling in the waters around the country after a 31-year hiatus. The Fisheries Agency sets a quota of 227 whales for the rest of 2019.
The government announces the tightening of controls on exports of semiconductor materials to South Korea. The controls will affect resists, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorinated polyimide used in organic electroluminescent displays for smartphones and other products. Representatives from the two countries hold their first discussions of the issue in Tokyo on July 12.
- Japan to Tighten Controls on Exports of Semiconductor Materials to South Korea
- Seoul Urges Tokyo Not to Restrict Chip Material Exports
- Japan, South Korea Apart in Talks on Tokyo's Tighter Export Controls
A seasonal rain front brings heavy downpours of more than 80 millimeters per hour in some parts of southern Kyūshū. Evacuation orders are given to 1.09 million residents of Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures.
- Evacuation Orders Issued for 1.09 Million People in Southwestern Japan
- Heavy Rains Cause Landslides in Japan
Seven & I Holdings announces that 900 users of its new 7pay barcode payment service have lost a total of ¥55 million as a result of unauthorized access.
- ¥55 Million Stolen from Seven-Eleven Mobile Payment Users
- Seven-Eleven Japan under Fire for Insufficient Mobile Payment Security
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee announces the official registration of the Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan on its World Heritage list. It is the first World Heritage site in Osaka Prefecture.
- Ancient Burial Mounds Added to UNESCO List: An Overview of World Heritage Sites in Japan
- World Heritage Sites in Japan
The government decides not to appeal against the June judgement of Kumamoto District Court that it is responsible for discrimination suffered by the relatives of people with Hansen’s disease. On July 24, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō directly apologizes to relatives of former and current patients at the Kantei.
- Japan Government Not to Appeal against Damages Ruling in Leprosy Suit
- Abe Apologizes to Ex-Leprosy Sufferers' Kin
- Abe Offers Direct Apology to Kin of Leprosy Patients
Johhny Kitagawa, known for managing boy bands like SMAP and Arashi through his talent agency Johnny & Associates, dies in Tokyo of a stroke at the age of 87.
Japan Post Insurance President and Chief Executive Officer Uehira Mitsuhiko and Japan Post President and CEO Yokoyama Kunio hold a press conference apologizing for problematic insurance sales. The also announce revisions of excessive sales quotas aimed at preventing the issue from arising again.
- 22,000 Double Premium Cases Found at Japan Post Insurance
- Japan Post Units Vow to Correct Excessive Sales Quotas
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announces that there were 127,443,563 Japanese citizens as of January 1, 2019, a year-on-year drop of 433,239 or 0.35%. This was the tenth successive decline and the largest decrease on record in terms of both population and percentage.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency probe Hayabusa2 makes its second successful landing on the Ryūgū asteroid. JAXA also confirms that a projectile for collecting samples was successfully launched.
Mochizuki Shintarō wins the Wimbledon boys’ singles title, his first tournament victory. The 16-year-old is the first Japanese singles winner at Wimbledon since Sawamatsu Kazuko won the girls’ competition in 1969, and the first Japanese male winner ever.
Imamura Natsuko wins the Akutagawa Prize for Murasaki no sukāto no onna (The Woman in the Purple Skirt) and Ōshima Masumi wins the Naoki Prize for Uzu, imoseyama onna teikin, tamamusubi (Whirlpool, An Example of Noble Womanhood, Spirit-Binding).
An arson attack leading to an explosion at a Kyoto Animation studio results in 35 deaths as of July 27. Kyoto police say that 74 people were in the building at the time of the attack. On July 20, police say they have obtained an arrest warrant for a man named Aoba Shinji on charges including murder, and that they plan to arrest him after he has recovered from full-body burns.
- At Least 16 Killed, Over 35 Injured in Explosion at Kyoto Animation Studio
- Suspect Says Animation Company Stole His Novel
- One-Sided Grudge Suspected Behind Kyoto Studio Attack
At the annual meeting of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission, Japan and the other seven members agree to introduce an annual cap of about 550,000 tons on saury catches in the area to prevent overfishing.
- Japan, Others Agree on Saury Catch Cap in Northern Pacific
- Japan Fishing Industry Worried About Saury Competition
The ruling coalition secures a majority of contested seats in the House of Councillors election, winning 71 of the 124 available seats. However, forces supporting changes to the Constitution fall below the two-thirds total of 164 seats necessary to propose revisions, stopping short at 160.
- Abe’s Ruling Bloc Falls Short of Securing Two-Third Majority in Upper House Election
- Constitution Reformists Lose Upper House Two-Thirds Majority
- Record-Tying 28 Women Elected in Japan Upper House Poll
Yoshimoto Kōgyō President Okamoto Akihiko holds a press conference in Tokyo and apologizes for the agency’s comedians receiving money for performances for yakuza-connected audiences. Taking responsibility for the various problems, he says that he and Chairman Ōsaki Hiroshi will return 50% of their salaries for one year.
- Unstable Incomes behind “Underground Business” of Comedians in Japan
- Yoshimoto Withdraws Punishment for Scandal-Hit Comedian
Japan marks one year until the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games. The design of the Olympic medals is unveiled, featuring the games logo, the words “Tokyo 2020,” and the five Olympic rings, surrounded by a rose-like swirl pattern.
Nissan announces that its operating profit for April to June 2019 dropped 98.5% year-on-year from ¥109.1 billion to ¥1.6 billion, due to slumping sales in its key markets of the United States and Europe. The company says that it will cut more than 12,500 jobs at 14 of its locations around the world by fiscal 2022, including around 880 in Japan.
Minister of Defense Iwaya Takeshi says that two projectiles fired by North Korea on July 25 were short-range ballistic missiles, in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Japan Post announces in relation to recent problems at Japan Post Insurance that it may have mishandled some 183,000 insurance policies, and that it will examine all 30 million contracts from the past five years.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Weightlifter Miyake Hiromi [left, at front] and former soccer player Sawa Homare [right, at front] are among those at the unveiling of 2020 Olympic medal designs in Tokyo on July 24, 2019. © Jiji.)