Timeline for October 2023
Ohtani Shōhei of the Los Angeles Angels wins the American League home run title with 44 home runs, becoming the first Japanese player to do so.
At a press conference for Johnny and Associates, responding to a scandal over sexual abuse by its founder Johnny Kitagawa, President Higashiyama Noriyuki announces that the company will change its name to Smile-Up on October 17 and be dissolved after it has completed paying compensation to abuse victims.
A self-employed delivery driver who was injured while delivering parcels for Amazon Japan and his legal team announce that he was recognized as an Amazon worker by the Yokosuka Labor Standards Office, and is thereby eligible for workers’ compensation. The ruling was made that he was equivalent to other workers based in part on his delivery duties.
The national government files a suit against Okinawa Prefecture, seeking to win the right to approve necessary design changes at the replacement facility in Nago for the US Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, also in the prefecture.
Japan loses 39–27 to Argentina in its final match of the Rugby World Cup pool stage. It finishes third in Pool D with two wins and two losses and does not progress to the quarterfinal stage.
Singer-songwriter Tanimura Shinji dies at the age of 74. He was a member of the folk group Alice and had solo hits with “Subaru” and “Ii hi tabidachi” (Leaving on a Good Day).
The nationwide payment clearing system suffers a glitch, meaning it is impossible to use to transfer funds between MUFG and 10 other Japanese banks. It takes two days to solve the problem.
Fujii Sōta wins the Ōza tournament to become the first shōgi player ever to hold all eight titles.
Sapporo and the Japan Olympic Committee announce the withdrawal of the city’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. Corruption and bid-rigging scandals connected to the Tokyo Olympics meant it was difficult to win support from citizens to host the event.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology requests a court order to disband the Unification Church due to its illegal acts under the Civil Code. This is the third such request to dissolve a religious body, with earlier cases including Aum Shinrikyō.
The Supreme Court rules that the results of the July 2022 House of Councillors election were constitutional, despite disparities of up to 3.03 times between the relative value of votes in sparsely populated rural electoral districts and high-population urban areas.
In by-elections for the Nagasaki 4th district House of Representatives seat and the Tokushima and Kōchi district House of Councillors seat, the Liberal Democratic Party holds on to the former, but loses control of the latter. This is a tough result for Prime Minister Kishida Fumio as he seems to be preparing for a general election.
The Japan Fair Trade Commission announces a probe of Google, which is suspected of having violated the Antimonopoly Act by putting unreasonable pressure on smartphone manufacturers to give prominence to its search app.
Prime Minister Kishida stresses the importance of the economy in his policy speech to mark the extraordinary Diet session that started on October 20, emphasizing measures to increase wages and tackle high prices.
The Supreme Court hands down an unconstitutional ruling on a law stating that people cannot change their gender on their family register from what it was at birth without surgery that results in them becoming infertile. The decision is unanimous among the court’s 15 justices.
The Japan Mobility Show, the new name for the Tokyo Motor Show, takes place for the first time under its refreshed name, featuring flying cars and other modes of transport that prompted the change.
Prime Minister Kishida announces plans to reduce taxes by ¥40,000 for all citizens and to provide ¥70,000 each to low-income households falling below the threshold required to pay local resident tax.
The retrial of Hakamada Iwao, who was sentenced to death for killing four people in 1966, begins at the Shizuoka District Court. His sister Hideko pleads not guilty on his behalf.
Prime Minister Kishida says that he will not increase taxes to boost defense spending in fiscal 2024.
At its monetary policy meeting, the Bank of Japan decides to make the cap on long-term interest rates more flexible, allowing yields to rise above 1%, which had previously been an effective limit. This follows the bank’s policy change in July. It maintains its negative interest rate policy.
(Banner photo: A Subaru flying car at a Japan Mobility Show press day on October 25, 2023. © Jiji.)