Timeline for March 2023
The Supreme Court dismisses an appeal by fishing industry representatives seeking to open floodgates built as part of a land reclamation project at Isahaya Bay, Nagasaki Prefecture. This brings an effective end to more than 20 years of legal disputes.
Wheelchair tennis player Kunieda Shingo becomes the first parasports athlete to receive the People’s Honor Award.
Ōe Kenzaburō, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, dies at the age of 88.
The South Korean government announces a plan to pay compensation via a foundation on behalf of Japanese companies sued over wartime labor by Koreans. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says that the plan can restore healthy bilateral relations.
The next-generation H3 rocket launched from Tanegashima Space Center by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries self-destructs after its second-stage engine does not ignite following the first-stage separation. The launch of the rocket’s earth observation satellite thus ends in failure.
Japan begins its World Baseball Classic campaign with an 8–1 pool victory against China at Tokyo Dome.
The House of Councillors approves the appointment of economist Ueda Kazuo as the next governor of the Bank of Japan. He will take over from Kuroda Haruhiko on April 9.
Japan marks 12 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake led to a combined total of more than 20,000 fatalities and missing persons. Memorial services are held in areas affected by the disaster.
The Tokyo High Court grants a retrial to Hakamada Iwao, who was sentenced to death for murder in 1966 and released in 2014. On March 20, prosecutors decide not to make a special appeal, increasing the likelihood that Hakamada will be found innocent in the retrial.
The House of Councillors expels lawmaker Higaashiya Yoshikazu, known as GaaSyy, for not attending any Diet sessions and refusing to apologize for his absence.
In spring wage talks taking place amid record price rises, large companies lead the way in fully meeting wage demands from unions.
Prime Minister Kishida meets in Tokyo with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who becomes the first South Korean leader to come to Japan for a summit since 2011. The two leaders agree on measures to improve relations, including the revival of regular mutual visits.
Prime Minister Kishida sets a target of allowing 85% of male workers to take paternity leave by fiscal 2030, and announces plans to provide full pay during childcare leave.
Prime Minister Kishida meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tokyo, and the two leaders agree to engage in stronger cooperation on economic security.
Fujii Sōta wins the Kiō title, becoming the youngest shōgi player ever to hold six major titles, at the age of 20 years and 8 months.
After a visit to India, Prime Minister Kishida makes a surprise trip to Kyiv. He meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and pledges to supply $30 million (¥4 billion) for the purchase of nonlethal equipment. Zelenskyy will take part online in May’s Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima.
Japan defeats the United States 3–2 in the WBC final in Miami to win the tournament for the third time. Ohtani Shōhei is chosen as the competition’s most valuable player.
Campaigning begins for the first half of the unified local elections, including nine gubernatorial elections.
Toshiba decides to accept a takeover bid from the investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, which plans to acquire all shares for ¥2 trillion and take the company private.
The Supreme Court finds a former technical trainee from Vietnam not guilty of abandoning the bodies of her stillborn twins, overturning verdicts from lower courts.
The Cultural Affairs Agency moves from Tokyo to Kyoto in the first full-fledged relocation of a government agency away from the capital.
The Diet enacts a record ¥114.4 trillion budget.
The Japan Fair Trade Commission fines the Chūgoku, Chūbu, and Kyūshū Electric Power Companies ¥101 billion for forming a price cartel.
The government announces new plans for tackling the decline in births, including removing the income limit for parents to receive child allowances and making it easier to use nurseries.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Japanese players celebrate defeating the United States in the World Baseball Classic final in Miami on March 21, 2023. © Reuters.)