Timeline for November 2021
The government removes the 10,000 upper limit on spectators at events in Tokyo and 26 other prefectures, but maintains the restriction of only up to 50% of total capacity.
There are no reports of new fatalities resulting from COVID-19 for the first time since August 2, 2020.
The government introduces new criteria for assessing the spread of COVID-19, which will be used in decisions relating to potential future states of emergency. They consist of five levels defined based on the pressure on medical services.
Astronaut Hoshide Akihiko is among four passengers on a Crew Dragon capsule that splashes down off the coast of Florida. He returns to Earth after six months at the International Space Station.
Setouchi Jakuchō dies at the age of 99. Known for writings including novels, biographies, and history, she became a Buddhist nun in 1973 and received the Order of Culture in 2006.
Kishida Fumio names a largely unchanged cabinet after being confirmed to continue as prime minister following his party’s House of Representatives win on October 31.
Japan, the United States, China, and Germany are among those who do not agree to sign a COP26 pledge, signed by 24 countries, to phase out sales of new gasoline cars and sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2040. On November 13, the conference ends with the joint adoption of a resolution to phase down the use of coal power.
Abe Shinzō succeeds Hosoda Hiroyuki as the leader of what becomes known as the Abe faction of the Liberal Democratic Party. The move precedes Hosoda’s expected departure from the faction as he has been elected as speaker of the House of Representatives.
The government decides a general outline of its measures against a potential sixth wave of COVID-19. It includes a plan to secure 37,000 hospitals beds, or some 30% more than at the height of the fifth wave in summer 2021, and major restrictions on public transportation services if the medical system comes under severe strain.
Fujii Sōta defeats Toyoshima Masayuki to become the youngest player to hold four major shōgi titles at the age of 19 years and three months.
Academy Award–winning costumer designer Wada Emi dies at the age of 84.
Emperor Naruhito’s niece Komuro Mako and her husband Kei leave Japan to begin a new life in the United States.
The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare approves the use of public funds to cover the cost of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used as third shots for residents aged 18 and over. It plans to administer the boosters around eight months after the second shots, although local authorities may administer them a minimum of six months after the second shots at their discretion.
Senior diplomats from Japan, the United States, and South Korea meet in Washington DC and affirm close cooperation on the complete denuclearization of North Korea. However, due to a visit by the South Korean police chief to Takeshima, a disputed territory with Japan, on November 16, a joint press conference is canceled.
Ohtani Shōhei of the Los Angeles Angels is chosen unanimously as the winner of the American League MVP.
The reappointment of Jerome Powell as chairman of the US Federal Reserve leads to the rise of the dollar above the ¥115 level for the first time since March 2017.
The government decides to release some of its oil reserves as part of an international effort to counter a surge in prices. It is the first time that the government will use state reserves.
Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny says he will not approve a change in design for the construction of a planned US military base to be relocated from Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago, and calls for an end to construction work.
The Financial Services Agency issues a second business improvement order to Mizuho Bank and its parent Mizuho Financial Group after a number of system failures at the bank. Mizuho Financial President Sakai Tatsufumi and Mizuho Bank President and CEO Fujiwara Kōji will resign as of April 2022. Mizuho Financial Chairman Satō Yasuhiro will step down at the same time and resign as a board member at the end of June.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issues an administrative order to NTT Docomo following the company’s October system failure, ordering it to implement measures to prevent a recurrence and to improve its communication in such circumstances.
After reports of a new COVID-19 Omicron variant in South Africa, the government announces the closure of borders to nonresident foreign nationals from November 30 until the end of the year. On November 30, the first case of the Omicron variant in Japan is confirmed.
Tokyo prosecutors arrest Nihon University Chairman Tanaka Hidetoshi on suspicion of evasion of ¥53 million in income tax.
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan elects Izumi Kenta as its new leader.
(Originally published in Japanese: Banner photo: Ohtani Shōhei of the Los Angeles Angels at a Tokyo press conference on November 15, 2021. © Reuters.)