Timeline for September 2023
Japan marks the centenary of the Great Kantō Earthquake, which left 105,000 people dead or missing. There are memorial services for the disaster victims and ethnic Koreans massacred in the aftermath.
Tamaki Yūichirō is reelected as leader of Democratic Party for the People ahead of Maehara Seiji, meaning a continued party line of potential cooperation with the Liberal Democratic Party.
Japan defeats Cape Verde at the Men’s Basketball World Cup to secure qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024. It is the first time the team has qualified through its own efforts, rather than as a host country, since 1976.
Iwate Governor Tasso Takuya, backed by the Constitutional Democratic Party and other opposition parties, is reelected for a fifth term.
The Supreme Court rules that the national government has the authority to instruct Okinawa Prefecture to approve reinforcements to soft ground at the replacement facility in Nago for the US military’s Futenma Air Station. This brings an end to the prefectural government’s bid to halt action through the courts.
At Kyoto District Court, Aoba Shinji admits starting a fire that killed 36 people at Kyoto Animation in July 2019. His lawyer enters a plea of not guilty for charges including murder and attempted murder, saying that the defendant is not mentally competent.
Tokyo prosecutors arrest House of Representatives lawmaker Akimoto Masatoshi on suspicion of receiving bribes from the former president of Japan Wind Development, which was seeking to join offshore wind power projects. On September 27 prosecutors indict Akimoto, who is suspected of having received ¥72 million in exchange for raising questions in the Diet. He denies the charges.
President Julie Fujishima of Johnny and Associates announces her resignation, acknowledging sexual abuse by agency founder Johnny Kitagawa and apologizing. She is succeeded by singer and actor Higashiyama Noriyuki.
Sompo Japan Insurance announces the resignation of President Shirakawa Giichi. At a press conference, Shirakawa expresses his regret at the “rash action” of resuming business ties with used car dealer Bigmotor despite recognizing the possibility that the company was submitting fraudulent insurance claims. There is no designated successor at the time of his resignation.
At the G20 summit in India, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio explains to other leaders about the release of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and asks for their understanding.
Hamaguchi Ryūsuke’s Evil Does Not Exist wins the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
Prime Minister Kishida reshuffles his cabinet and the LDP leadership. Key members like Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu, Minister of Finance Suzuki Shun’ichi, and Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi remain in place. New Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamikawa Yōko, who previously served as minister of justice, is among a record-equaling five women in the cabinet.
The Hanshin Tigers defeat the Yomiuri Giants to win the Central League pennant for the first time since 2005. Manager Okada Akinobu was also in charge for the 2005 win in an earlier stint at the team. On September 20, the Orix Buffaloes secure first place in the Pacific League for the third consecutive year.
The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announces that the centenarian population is now a record 92,139.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announces that the senior population aged 65 and over now numbers 36.2 million, representing a record 29.1% of the total population.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism announces that as of July 1 overall land prices increased by an average of 1.0% year on year, with residential land rising by 0.7% and commercial land 1.5%. This was the second consecutive year of increases. Residential land prices outside the three major metropolitan areas centered on Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya climbed by 0.1% in the first increase for 31 years.
Due to a ligament tear, Ohtani Shōhei of the Los Angeles Angels has surgery on his right elbow. He previously had surgery on the elbow in 2018.
Toshiba announces that the takeover bid by private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners is successful. JIP will spend ¥2 trillion to acquire Toshiba and is expected to delist the company later this year.
Despite the weakening of the yen, the Bank of Japan decides at its policy meeting to continue with monetary easing. Governor Ueda Kazuo dismisses the possibility of an early change to BOJ policy.
Ōzeki Takakeishō wins his fourth title at the autumn Grand Sumō Tournament, defeating 21-year-old rikishi Atamifuji.
Prime Minister Kishida informs the LDP and Kōmeitō policy chiefs of an economic package for October centered on measures to tackle price rises and encourage wage increases.
The Osaka District Court rules that 128 plaintiffs not covered by Minamata disease relief measures should be recognized and orders the national government, the Kumamoto prefectural government, and the corporation Chisso to pay them compensation.
Hitakatsu Naoki, mayor of Tsushima in Nagasaki Prefecture, rejects a national government survey to see if the municipality is suitable to host a site for final disposal of waste from nuclear power plants. This decision overrules a petition by the city assembly to accept the survey.
The government conveys its plans to start the autumn extraordinary Diet session on October 20 to the ruling coalition parties, the LDP and Kōmeitō.
Government and political party sources report that Hosoda Hiroyuki, speaker of the House of Representatives, will step down from the chamber’s top post due to health concerns that have kept him in and out of the hospital since earlier in the month.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Hanshin Tigers players throw manager Okada Akinobu into the air to celebrate winning the Central League pennant for the first time in 18 years at Kōshien in Hyōgo Prefecture on September 14, 2023. © Jiji.)