Timeline for May 2023
A private ship salvages the wreckage of a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter, including its flight recorder, from the bottom of the sea after it went missing on April 6 off Miyakojima in Okinawa.
An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.5 centered near the tip of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture causes shaking of upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale in the city of Suzu. Amid damage to buildings, there is one fatality and dozens of injuries.
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio meets with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul. As part of shuttle diplomacy, the two leaders agree to an on-site inspection of water treatment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station by South Korean specialists.
The government downgrades COVID-19 from category 2 to category 5 under Japanese legislation, placing it at the same level as seasonal influenza. There are no more legal constraints on activities, and measures to prevent infection are left to individuals to decide.
Masked robbers seize more than 100 luxury watches at a store in Ginza, Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolitan Police officers arrest four teenage boys the same day.
Toyota announces that its profits fell by 14.0% in fiscal 2022 to ¥2.45 trillion, in the first drop for four years, as material and fuel costs continue to soar. This comes despite record sales of ¥37.15 trillion, up 1.84%.
Group of Seven ministers of finance and the heads of central banks agree in a joint statement to take appropriate actions to maintain financial stability and the resilience of the global financial system.
President Fujishima Julie Keiko of Johnny & Associates expresses her “deepest apologies” in a video and written message concerning allegations of sexual abuse by the talent agency’s founder Johnny Kitagawa. However, she does not acknowledge the truth of individual cases and avoids taking personal responsibility.
The government endorses plans by seven major power utilities to raise household electricity rates from June by between 14% and 42%.
Japan’s gross domestic product grows by 1.6% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2023, rising for the first time in three quarters.
Prime Minister Kishida meets with US President Joe Biden in Hiroshima, ahead of the G7 Summit in the city.
The kabuki actor Ichikawa Ennosuke and his parents are found collapsed at their home in Meguro, Tokyo. His father, the kabuki actor Ichikawa Danshirō, and his mother are dead after having overdosed on psychotropic drugs. Ennosuke is taken to the hospital by ambulance, but his condition is not serious. Tokyo Metropolitan Police officers find notes written by Ennosuke and continue to investigate.
The G7 Summit begins in Hiroshima. G7 leaders visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum together for the first time.
The Nikkei index rises to finish the day at 30,808.35, its highest level since August 1990.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Hiroshima and meets with G7 leaders. A joint statement by G7 leaders affirms continued support for Ukraine and the strengthening of disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.
After visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, President Zelenskyy says pictures of the destroyed city remind him of Bakhmut and other Ukrainian cities attacked by Russia, expressing a hope to rebuild like Hiroshima did.
The G7 Summit comes to an end. Prime Minister Kishida says at a press conference that it preserved the ideal of a world without nuclear weapons, and promoted momentum toward disarmament.
Honda announces that it will return to the Formula One World Championship in 2026 as a supplier of power units for Aston Martin.
Four people, including two police officers, are killed in a gun and knife attack in Nakano, Nagano Prefecture. The suspected perpetrator, the son of the city assembly speaker, barricades himself in his home before surrendering in the early hours of May 26.
Yakusho Kōji wins the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Perfect Days, directed by Wim Wenders. Sakamoto Yūji wins the best screenplay award for Monster, directed by Koreeda Hirokazu.
North Korea notifies Japan that it will launch a satellite between May 31 and June 11. Japan sees this as a de facto ballistic missile launch and instructs the Self-Defense Forces to be ready to shoot it down if it enters Japanese territory. On May 31, the Ministry of Defense announces the launch of what may be a North Korean missile, and the J-Alert system issues a warning for Okinawa Prefecture. North Korean media report the failure of a military satellite launch.
Hino and Mitsubishi Fusō Truck and Bus reach an agreement to integrate their operations.
Nagoya District Court rules that Civil Code provisions that do not permit same-sex marriage are ruled unconstitutional, in a case brought against the government by a same-sex couple in Aichi Prefecture. This is the second district court to rule that the provisions are unconstitutional. Claims for compensation are denied.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: G7 leaders return from making offerings of flowers at the Cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 19, 2023. © Jiji; pool photo.)