Japan. On April 30, Emperor Akihito abdicated. He was
succeeded by his eldest son, 59-year-old Crown Prince
Naruhito. According to the law, Japan's emperor is supposed
to be dead, but Parliament approved a law in 2017 that made
exceptions for Akihito. He was born in 1933 and had been
sitting on the so-called chrysanthemum throne since 1989.
The law was added after Akihito in a rare TV broadcast in
August 2016 talked about his high age, which was interpreted
as a desire to abdicate. According to
CountryAAH, Naruhito, whose reign period is
called Reiwa ("beautiful harmony"), conducted the ceremony
on October 22, corresponding to a coronation.
In the elections to the House of Parliament held in July,
the ruling coalition, consisting of the Liberal Democratic
Party and Komeito, prevailed. The coalition retained the
majority in the upper house but failed to get a qualified
majority. This means that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is
having a harder time getting through changes in the
constitution. In September, Abe stewarded the government and
appointed 13 new ministers. Among the changes to the heavy
items can be mentioned that Taro Kono took over as Minister
of Defense and succeeded as Foreign Minister by Toshimitsu
In October, the strongest typhoon - an intense tropical
cyclone - pulled over Japan for several decades. Hurricane
force winds hit large parts of the country. The wind, in
combination with abundant rainfall, caused floods and
landslides. The typhoon, called Hagibis, cost at least 43
people its life.
In an advisory referendum on Okinawa in February, 72% of
voters said no to the US military base Futenma to be moved
to another location on the island. The turnout was
approximately 52%. Those who voted no want no military base
at all. Despite the opposition among the residents, the
relocation of the base would continue, according to Prime
Japan-South Korea relations continued to deteriorate
during the year. In early July, Japan imposed restrictions
on the export of three chemical substances needed for the
manufacture of semiconductors and mobile phone screens.
According to Japan, South Korea had not handled the imported
substances in a way that guaranteed that they could not
benefit North Korea. The substances can also be used for
military purposes. However, appraisers claimed that the
conflict was basically about South Korea's demands for
financial compensation for people or relatives of people who
were employed as forced laborers by Japan during the Second
In August, Japan decided to remove South Korea from the
so-called white list of countries that receive special trade
benefits. South Korea took the same measure in September.
Already at the end of August, the South Koreans responded by
terminating a defense agreement on the exchange of
intelligence information of a military nature. However, in
October Japan signed two trade agreements with the United
States. Through one, countries lowered tariffs on
agricultural goods, while the other applied to abolished
tariffs on digital products such as film, ebooks and music.
Only in April 2001 did Mori acknowledge that he had lost
all public support and resigned. He was replaced at the post
by Junichiro Koizumi, who promised to speed up the economy
and cleanse the government's spotty image. Among the
government's 17 ministers, they were 5 women. Including the
Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka. Japan's first female
foreign minister. The government's high representation of
women made several observers designate it as a Hollywood
government whose only goal was popularity. By its accession,
Koizumi was also supported by 90% of the population.
At the beginning of the month, China and South Korea
criticized history books approved by the Japanese
authorities and World War II events. Acc. Seoul and Beijing
downplay the books the atrocities the Japanese army
committed during the war. The books had been authored by a
group of nationalist historians whose position was that the
earlier history books had "gone very far" to "please" the
views of Japan's former enemies. They also believed that the
countries of Southeast Asia benefited from the Japanese
occupation during the war because it prepared them for
independence after the war. At the same time, they believed
that the Nanking massacre of 1937 that cost 300,000 civilian
lives "was very far from being called the Holocaust."
Following protests from neighboring countries, the Japanese
Ministry of Education declared that there would be 137
changes to the text.
However, new diplomatic problems quickly emerged in
relation to China and South Korea when Koizumi visited the
Yasukuni temple in August, which is a memorial of honor for
$ 2.4 million. Japanese soldiers - including several war
criminals such as the executed Prime Minister Hideki Tojo,
who led the country during the war. China and South Korea
criticized Koizumi for visiting a temple that "to them is a
monument to militarism". In a communique, the Chinese
government declared that the visit had violated the Chinese
people's feelings, and in a park in Seoul, 20 South Koreans
cut off the tip of their little finger in protest. In
October, Koizumi visited Seoul and apologized for the
suffering South Korea had to suffer during the Japanese
Koizumi's popularity waned as a result of a series of
scandals, down to 40% in April 2002. In January, he had
replaced Tanaka, who had been accused of lying at a meeting.
Following the firing of Tanaka, several other ministers
resigned in solidarity, and in April Yutaka Inoue resigned.
He was the mayor of the ruling party in the upper house.
In May 2002, Japan and the EU ratified the Kyoto Protocol
of 1997. Thus, it was ratified by so many countries that it
entered into force - despite US opposition.
It helped to improve the relationship between Japan and
South Korea that the two countries jointly hosted the World
Cup in June 2002 - the first to be conducted in this part of
In September 2002, Koizumi visited North Korea, becoming
the first Japanese Prime Minister to make such a visit.
During his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, he
received apologies for the kidnappings of Japanese nationals
that occurred in the 1970s and '80s and was informed that
eight of them had died. The following month, 5 of the
abducted Japanese returned to Japan to reunite with their