Chronography of Japan, post World War Two
modified 24 October 2023
Demography of Japan
also China, Japan, Korea
also Japan pre 1891
8 July 2022, Shinzo Abe, former Japanese PM,
was shot and killed by a disaffected Japanese naval veteran.
28 August 2020, Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, resigned,
having broken the previous length of service record by four days.
14 March 2011, Fears of a
meltdown at Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan. See Japan earthquake.
11 September 2005, Japanese
Prime Minister Junchiro Koizumi
called a general election 2 years early after Bills to privatise Japan Post
were voted down in the Upper House.The incumbent Liberal Democratic Party were
re-elected this day with a landlide victory.
2003, Japan sent troops to support the USA in the invasion of Iraq. This was
the first time Japanese soldiesr had operated in a war zone since World war
two, and it drew protests from those who felt this violated Japan�s pacifist
2001, Japan�s Liberal Democratic Party appointed populist
Koizumi as Prime Minister. Controversially, he paid homage at a
memorial to Japan�s war dead. Tanaka Mikiko became Japan�s first female
2000, Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi fell into a coma
and was replaced by Yoshiro Mori. The Liberal Democratic Party
remained in power, with its coalition oartners, after the 6/2000 general
elections. Unemployment rose above 5% for the first time since World War Two.
26 November 1998, Japan and China signed a joint declaration of
friendship and economic development.
19 May 1998, Uno
Sosuke, Japanese Prime Minister, died.
23.0, Japan 1974-96
1996, Japan repealed its Eugenic
Protection Laws, under which females deemed to have� mental disabilities could be forcibly
April 1996, The USA returned some of its bases
to Japan and promised to enforce better discipline amongst its troops,
following a scandal in 1995 in which a child was raped. See 4 September 1995.
16 May 1995, Japanese
police besieged the headquarters of the Aum
Shrnrinko cult near Mount Fuji, and arrested the leader Shoko Asuhara.
4 September 1995, The alleged rape of a
12-year-old girl in Japan by three US servicemen caused widespread resentment
against the US military presence in Japan. See 15 April 1996.
20 March 1995. Nerve gas was released on the Tokyo
Subway by the Ayum Shrinkyo religious cult.� Five separate trains were
affected; 12 died and 5,500 were injured.
17 January 1995. 5.46 am, local time, earthquake
in Kobe, southern Japan, killed 6,433, and injured 27,000. The quake measured
7.2 on the Richter Scale and made 300,000 homeless. Cost of damage was
estimated at �63 billion. It was the worst quake to hit Japan since Tokyo,
18 July 1993, In Japan the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost power after a
38-year rule. Corruption scandals were a major factor in this defeat. Morihiro
Hosokawa, leader of the Japan New Party, formed a coalition that dod not
include the LDP.
8 September 1992, The Japanese Cabinet
approved sending peacekeeping troops to Cambodia. This was the first overseas
deployment of Japanese forces since 1945.
15 June 1992, The Lower House of Japan�s
Diet (Parliament) approved the participation of up to 2,000 Japanese
peacekeeping personnel in UN missions across the world. This would involve the
deployment of armed Japanese personnel abroad, a major change to the military
1 February 1992. Japanese Liberal Democratic Party politician Fumio
Abe was formally charged with bribery. His indictment further damaged a Party
already harmed by other financial scandals.
1990, Japan amended its immigration law, opening up the labour market to
foreign workers. This was in response to chronic labour shortages caused by a
rapidly falling birth rate and ageing population.
12 November 1990, Crown Prince Akihito became the 125th Japanese
monarch and Emperor.
21 October 1990, Japanese coastguard
vessels repulsed two Taiwanese ships seeking to assert a Taiwanese claim on the
Senkaku Islands. Anti-Japanese protests ensued in Hong Kong.
23 December 1989, The Bank of Japan announced a major interest rate rise, leading to the
peak and bursting of the Japanese �bubble� economy.
24 July 1989, Japan�s Liberal Democratic Party suffered its first defeat in 30
years, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister Sosuke Uno. A scandal
involving Uno�s former mistress ruined his career.
7 January 1989. Emperor Hirohito of Japan died, aged 87. He had ruled for more than
62 years. 500,000 people lined the streets for his funeral on 24 February 1989;
US & British war veterans protested that their countries should not honour
a war criminal. Hirohito had opposed war
with the USA in the 1930s, he was also against the Japanese invasion of
Manchuria and Japan�s alliance with Nazi Germany. In 1941 he proposed peace
with Washington, but was persuaded by the War Minister and his generals to hit
Pearl Harbour. He was buried near his father�s mausoleum in the Imperial Palace
Gardens in Japan; his son Akihito, 55, �succeeded him.
6 August 1985, In Hiroshima, tens
of thousands marked the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the city.
17 March 1985, Expo '85, World's Fair, opened at Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. It ran
until September 16.
15 April 1983, The first
non-American Disney theme park opened, near Tokyo.
7 October 1979, In Japanese general
elections, the Liberal Democrat Party won a narrow victory.
12 August 1978, China and Japan signed a
10-year friendship treaty. In April 1978, Chinese fishing boats had been
operating near the Japanese held, but Chinese/Taiwan claimed, Senkaku Islands.
These boats were withdrawn before the treaty was signed.
23(a), Japanese Lockheed bribery scandal 1974-76
26 July 1976, The former Prime Minister
of Japan, Kakuei
Tanbaka, was arrested on charges that he accepted bribes from the
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.
9 December 1974, Miki Takeo became Japanese Prime
26 November 1974, Kakuei Tanaka resigned as Prime
Minister of Japan after financial scandals emerged.
18 November 1974, US President Ford made the first
ever visit by a US President to Japan.
Japanese soldiers from World War Two, 1972-74
6 September 1974. At least one Japanese soldier was reported to be still roaming the
forests of the central Philippines, left behind after World War Two.
10 March 1974, A Japanese soldier was found hiding on Lubang Island
in the Philippines;
he believed World War Two was ongoing and was waiting for relief by his own
24 January 1972, A Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, was found on Guam, unaware that
World War Two had ended. His last two surviving companions had died in 1964. He
lived until 1997.
14.0, Japan 1969-76
5 December 1976, In Japan, the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party suffered losses in the general election.
3 June 1975, Eisaku Sato, Japanese politician, died aged
13 April 1974, End of a strike by 6
million Japanese workers, which had begun on 11 April 1974.
29 September 1972, Japan and China formally ended the state of
war between them that had existed since 1937.
14 May 1972, A
treaty between the USA and Japan returned the Ryukyu and Senkaku Islands to
Japanese sovereignty. However the US retained rights to operate a military base
on Okinawa, with possible nuclear use, which the Japanese objected to.
13 May 1972, A fire devastated a department store in Osaka,
Japan, killing 115 people.
17 February 1972,
Japan protested to Taiwan after Taiwan formally announced the incorporation of
the Senkaku islands into Taiwanese territory.
5 October 1971, Emperor Hirohito of
Japan arrived in Britain on a tour
of Europe.� He was the first Japanese sovereign to leave Japan for
over 2,000 years.� He left the UK on
7 October 1971.
30 December 1971, China claimed the Senkaku
islands, following Taiwan�s claim of 11 June 1971, as part of greater China.
11 June 1971, Taiwan claimed the Senkaku
Islands, which had been occupied by Japan in 1895 (after Japan had overrun the
larger Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. The Ryukyu Islands had been an
independent kingdom until overrun by China in the 7th� century and then by Japan in the 17th
century. China had relinquished its claims to the Ryukyu Islands in 1874. From
1945 the Ryukyu and Senkaku Islands had been under US occupation.
25 November 1970, The Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima harangued 1,000 troops on the
disgrace of losing World War Two, then tried to persuade them to form a private
army and launch a military coup. When he realised this was not going to happen,
committed seppuku, ritual suicide.
30 March 1970, Japanese students hijacked a Boeing 727 and flew to North
9 July 1969, Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka, Japanese Imperial Navy fleet
commander during World War II, died aged 77.
13 August 1965, Ikeda Hayato, Prime Minister of Japan, died.
22 June 1965, The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the
Republic of Korea was signed in Tokyo, almost twenty years after South Korea
had been liberated from the Japanese Empire.
1964, Japan joined the OECD. Tokyo
hosted the 1964 Olympics.
1 September 1963, About
100,000 people in two Japanese cities demonstrated against the presence of
American nuclear submarines.
20 November 1960, In Japanese elections the Liberal
Democratic Party increased its majority in the 467 member House of
Representatives, gaining 13 seats for a total of 296; the Japan Socialist Party
gained 23 for a total of 145. The leftist Democratic Socialists fell from 40 to
told a news conference that the results showed that the Japanese people
approved the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty that had been violently protested
against in the Spring
12 October 1960, Inajiro Asanuma, leader of the Japanese
Socialist Party, was assassinated because of his support for an anti-Communist
Treaty with the USA, see 19 January 1960.
19 January 1960, President Eisenhower of the USA signed a Treaty of Mutual
Co-operation and Security with Japan in Washington. This confirmed Japan as an
integral member of the anti-Communist alliance. However there was popular anger
against the USA, against the perceived growth of US influence over Japan, and
the Japanese Government advised US President Eisenhower to cancel a planned
visit. See 12 October 1960.
22 October 1959, Rioting broke out in San'ya, a deprived
area of Tokyo, as a crowd of about 300 attacked the local police station.
12 January 1958, Elections in Naha, capital of Okinawa,
Japan, returned an independent Left-wing Mayor, indicating strong opposition to
continued US occupation.
becomes self-governing nation again, 1951-57
9 February 1957, Poland and Japan
resumed diplomatic relations.
18 December 1956. Japan joined the United Nations.
1955, In Japan,
The Liberal Democratic Party was set up.
8 May 1955. Hiroshima victims arrived in the USA
for plastic surgery.
16 February 1955, Nearly
100 died in a fire at a home for the elderly in Yokohama, Japan.
5 November 1954, Burma and
Japan signed a peace treaty.
7/1954, Defence of Hokkaido Island, excepting air and radar
units, passed from the US to the Japanese military. The size limit of the
Japanese military was raised from 120,000 to 165,000, and a ban on the
employment of former officers of the Japanese Imperial Army was removed.
8 March 1954,
The US and Japan signed a mutual defence pact.
September 1953, Japan established a national defence force.
April 1953, Japan regained the right to
self-governmemnt, which had been lost at the end of World War Two.
1 October 1952, The
Liberal Party won Japanese elections.
5 August 1952, Japan and China resumed
8 September 1951, The San Francisco Treaty
of Friendship between the US and Japan was signed.
2.0, Aftermath of
World War Two; Japanese war crimes trials, 1945-49
July 1949, Evacuation of Japanese civilians from the Kuril Islands (Etorofu,
Kunashir), and their relocation on Hokkaido, was now complete.
January 1949, General elections were held in Japan. The Democratic
Liberal Party won 269 of the 466 seats.
23 December 1948, Hideki
Tojo, Japanese Prime Minister
1941-44, who attacked Pearl Harbour
and so provoked the entry of the USA into the War, was hanged as a war
criminal. The following day US General
McArthur terminated all other Japanese war crimes trials and
released the defendants. Many Japanese believed a large number of these were as
guilty as Tojo
December 1948, South Korea formed a Department of National
November 1948, The main War Crimes trials ended in Japan. Hideki Tojo
and 6 others were sentenced to death by hanging; 16 received life imprisonment,
and 2 were given shorter prison terms. The hangings were carried out on 23
7 October 1948, In Japan, Shigeru Yoshida
formed a Democratic-Liberal Government.
July 1947,Evacuation of� Japanese families
living on the islands of Etorofu and Kunashir, Japanese territory before World
War Two but now occupied by Soviet troops. Families were given 24 hours notice
to pack and leave. They were taken by ship to Sakhalin, another larger island
once divided between Japan and Russia but now entirely Russian-occupied, then
relocated on the Japanese northernmost island of Hokkaido. Many of these
families buried valuable items in their gardens, expecting to return soon to
May 1947, Tetsu Katayama replaced Shigeru Yoshida as Prime
Minister of Japan.
3 May 1947, A new
Constitution was approved in Japan by means of a referendum. Women voted in Japan for the first time. The Emperor�s
powers were limited, and the country renounced the use of war.
:Land reforms curbed the power of absentee landlords and land was
March 1947, Japan adopted a new Constitution, renouncing war.
January 1947, The prosecution rested in the war crimes trial of Hideki Tojo
and 24 other Japanese wartime leaders.
December 1946, Russia began relocating several thousand settlers to the southern
portion of Sakhalin, formerly Japanese
territory but now Soviet-occupied.
November 1946, Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced a new anti-war Constitution,
renouncing the maintainance of armed forces.
October 1946, Major land reform in Japan. The Law for the Special Establishment of Independent Cultivators
reduced the percentage of Japanese farmland rented by sharecroppers from
landlords from 46% to 10%.
April 1946, Japanese General Hideki Tojo and 27 other members of
the military were formally indicted by an Allied war crimes Court. There was
international pressure to also try the Japanese Emperor, but the US feared that
this would precipitate the disintegration of Japan as a nation and thereby
require the continued� prolonged presence
of a large US occupation force.
10 April 1946, Japan held
elections for the new Diet (parliament). Under US influence, women now had the
vote, transforming traditional Japanese hierarchies, and 34 women were elected.
April 1946, The eleven nation Far Eastern Commission exempted
Japan's Emperor Hirohito from being tried for war crimes.
23 February 1946, Lt. Gen.
Tomoyuki Yamashita, who led the Japanese conquest of Singapore and
the Philippines, was executed by hanging in Manila for war crimes, followed by Lt. Col. Seichi
Ohta, who headed security for Japan's �thought police� (kempei tai),
also interpreter Takuma Higashigi.
11 February 1946, The appeal by
Masaharu Homma against his death sentence was rejected by the US
4 February 1946, The US Supreme
Court rejected the appeal by Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita against his
death sentence by 2 to 6.
27 January 1946, In the Far East, more than 2,000 airmen went on
strike at the slow pace of demobilisation.
January 1946, The Far East International War Crimes Tribunal was
established. This enabled countires such as India and The Philippines, which
had not been signatories to the surrender of japan, to be represented in the
war crimes trials.
January 1946, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander
of the Allied Powers during the occupation of Japan, began a purge of the
Japanese government, with the goal of removing �undesirable personnel� from
office. Over two and a half years, 210,287 people were removed or barred from
December 1945. The Japanese General Yamashita was sentenced to death as a
war criminal � on the anniversary of Pearl Harbour � and was hanged the
19 November 1945, General
MacArthur ordered the arrest of 11 Japanese wartime leaders,
including ex-Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka and General Sadao Araki.
September 1945, Emperor Hirohito of Japan claimed he did not
want war and blamed Tojo for Pearl harbour. Tojo had attempted suicide on 8
September 1945 to avoid arrest by US forces.
22 September 1945, MacArthur
issued instructions for setting up an International War Tribunal to try major
Japanese war criminals.
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