2012 in Japan

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See also: Other events of 2012
List of years in Japan

Events in the year 2012 in Japan.



Tokyo Skytree, which opened in March 2012
  • January 1 – A strong (magnitude 7.0), but very deep (370 km) earthquake shakes large parts of Eastern Japan at a JMA-intensity of 4. The quake with an epicenter about 500 km South of mainland Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean near Torishima, Tokyo doesn't cause any reported serious damage or injuries, but can be felt (intensity≥1) from Southern Hokkaidō to Chūgoku.[2][3]
  • January 4 – Nagakute town in the former Aichi county of Aichi became a city.[4]
  • January 13 – In a cabinet reshuffle, prime minister Noda replaces five ministers, including two who had been subject of censure motions by the opposition dominated upper house in December 2011; Katsuya Okada becomes deputy prime minister.[5][6]
  • late January and early February – At least 50 people die in heavy snow and record low temperatures across the country.[7][8]
  • February 5 – Kyoto City mayoral election: In the traditional Communist stronghold, incumbent mayor Daisaku Kadokawa won re-election with support from the major parties against JCP-supported Kazuo Nakamura by 54 to 46 percent of the vote.
  • February 10: The central government sets up the reconstruction agency (fukkō-chō) to coordinate the reconstruction efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 with a central budget, replacing the previous reconstruction headquarters (fukkō taisaku honbu) at the Cabinet Secretariat. Tatsuo Hirano becomes reconstruction minister; Masaharu Nakagawa returns to the cabinet to take over some responsibilities from Katsuya Okada and Tatsuo Hirano.[9][10]
  • February 29: Construction of Tokyo Skytree is completed.[11]
  • March 1 - Cheap airline company, Peach start in service.[citation needed]
  • March 11 - Japan commemorates the first anniversary of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
  • March 25 – Kumamoto gubernatorial election, incumbent Ikuo Kabashima sought re-election with support from the three largest parties DPJ, LDP and Kōmeitō.[12] He easily beat Communist challenger Keisuke Kuboyama. Turnout hit a record low at 38.4 percent.[13][14]
  • March 31 - Analogue television broadcasts are terminated in the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate as Japan completed its digital switchover since it was started last July 24, 2011.
  • April 1 – Kumamoto City, the capital of Kumamoto, became a City designated by government ordinance.
  • April 12 - At least eight, including a driver are killed and eleven injured, when many walking person, following a car hit a pole and many person in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto. This road accident is worst traffic accident since 1996, and a driver epilepsy symptoms, with he did not apply for symptoms to local authorities.[15]
  • May 22 - The Tokyo Skytree, which was completed on 29 February 2012, officially opened to the public.
  • June 5 – In a cabinet reshuffle, prime minister Noda replaces five ministers, including two who had been subject to censure by the opposition dominated upper house in April 2012; Satoshi Morimoto becomes the first non-parliamentarian defence minister.[16]
  • June 10 – In the Okinawa prefectural election governor Hirokazu Nakaima's centre-right supporters (LDP, Kōmeitō and independents) fail to win a majority in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly.[17]
  • July 8 – Kagoshima gubernatorial election: Incumbent governor Yūichirō Itō supported by the major prefectural parties (LDP, DPJ, Kōmeitō, PNP)[18] beats anti-nuclear activist Yoshitaka Mukohara to win a third term.[19][20]
  • July 29 – LDP-Kōmeitō-supported former Cabinet Secretariat and MLIT bureaucrat Shigetarō Yamamoto wins the Yamaguchi gubernatorial election to succeed retiring four-term governor Sekinari Nii. Defeated candidates are energy researcher Tetsunari Iida, ex-Democratic national Representative Tsutomu Takamura and former prefectural bureaucrat Shigeyuki Miwa.[21]
  • September 19 – The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA, Genshiryoku Kisei Iinkai, lit. "Atomic Power Regulation Commission") and its subordinate agency (Genshiryoku Kisei-chō) launched as an independent atomic regulator supervised by the Ministry of the Environment. They replace the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of METI, the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission of the Cabinet Office and departments of other ministries.[22]
  • September 21 – Yoshihiko Noda is reelected as president of the Democratic Party for a full term, now changed to three years, against challengers Kazuhiro Haraguchi, Hirotaka Akamatsu and Michihiko Kano.[23]
  • September 22:[24] Party president Natsuo Yamaguchi of Kōmeitō is re-elected unchallenged as no other candidate has filed a candidacy before the official campaign start on September 14.[25]
  • September 26 - Shinzo Abe succeeds Sadakazu Tanigaki as president of the Liberal Democratic Party (official campaigning started on September 14).
  • October 1 – Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda reshuffles his cabinet for the third time;[26] newly appointed justice minister Keishū Tanaka soon faces calls to resign over a report about an (illegal) political donation from a foreigner and contacts to Yakuza members.[27]
  • October 21 – Niigata governor Hirohiko Izumida, supported by the major non-communist parties (DPJ, LDP, LF, Kōmeitō, SDP),[28] is reelected for a third term against Communist challenger Shijio Hiwatashi and perennial Smile Party candidate Mac Akasaka.[29]
  • October 28 – Gubernatorial elections in Okayama and Toyama and by-election for the House of Representatives in Kagoshima 3rd district: In Toyama, incumbent Takakazu Ishii is reelected for a third term; in Okayama, former Tenmaya department store president Ryūta Ibaragi succeeds retiring Masahiro Ishii; Kazuaki Miyaji wins the by-election to replace Tadahiro Matsushita, further reducing prime minister Noda's coalition majority after a string of defections.[30][31]
  • November 18 – In the Tochigi gubernatorial election, incumbent Tomikazu Fukuda is reelected for a third term.[32]
  • December 16 – Liberal Democratic Party and Kōmeitō win a two-thirds majority of seats in the 46th general election of members of the House of Representatives, Naoki Inose wins the Tokyo gubernatorial election, referendum for ten judges on the Supreme Court, by-elections for several prefectural assemblies.

Predicted and scheduled events[edit]

Electoral calendar[edit]

  • December 26 – Designation election of the prime minister in the National Diet[33]

Administrative mergers and status changes[edit]



Births in 2012[edit]

Deaths in 2012[edit]





  1. ^ House of Representatives: Diet sessions (Japanese)
  2. ^ The Japan Times, January 2: New year begins with strong quake
  3. ^ Japan Meteorological Agency: Magnitude, depth and intensity report 2012/1/1 14.34 JST
  4. ^ Nagakute town: 市制施行準備(平成24年1月4日「長久手市」誕生に向けて)
  5. ^ The Japan Times, January 14: New Noda Cabinet on tax push. Okada to be point man in quest to hike the sales levy
  6. ^ The Japan Times, January 14: Noda hoping latest reshuffle bucks trend of dismal failures. Always a gamble, shakeups in last six years have mostly backfired
  7. ^ The Japan Times, February 2: 51 deaths laid to blizzards; more snow forecast
  8. ^ The Japan Times, February 4: Record lows recorded at 38 locations. Well below zero from Kyushu to Hokkaido and more cold looms
  9. ^ Website of the reconstruction agency
  10. ^ The Japan Times, February 10: 11 months on, Reconstruction Agency makes official debut
  11. ^ Tokyo Sky Tree Completed Japan Times, Wednesday, February 29, 2012
  12. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun Kyūshū, December 24, 2011: 熊本知事選で民主も現職支持、事実上の与野党相乗り
  13. ^ Kumamoto prefectural electoral commission: Result
  14. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun, March 25, 2012: 熊本知事選、現職・蒲島氏が再選
  15. ^ ja:京都祇園軽ワゴン車暴走事故
  16. ^ The Japan Times, June 5: Noda replaces censured ministers. Five new members recruited in bid to get LDP to back sales tax hike
  17. ^ The Japan Times, June 11, 2012: Pro-governor bloc fails to gain majority in Okinawa election
  18. ^ Jiji Tsūshin, July 9: 現職伊藤氏が3選=反原発の新人破る-鹿児島知事選
  19. ^ The Japan Times, July 9: Kagoshima governor beats antinuclear challenger, secures third term
  20. ^ The Wall Street Journal, July 9: Japan Pro-Nuclear Official Wins Vote
  21. ^ The Japan Times, July 31: Ex-bureaucrat wins Yamaguchi governor race
  22. ^ The Japan Times, September 20: New atomic regulator launches, vowing no more disasters
  23. ^ The Japan Times, September 21: DPJ re-elects Noda as chief despite rifts. Leader vows to rebuild feuding party, seek end to nuclear power
  24. ^ Kōmeitō: 党代表選挙を公告 9月22日の党大会で選出
  25. ^ The Wall Street Journal September 14, 2012 公明・山口代表が無投票3選=井上幹事長ら留任へ
  26. ^ The Japan Times, October 2, 2012: Noda shakes up Cabinet third time. Latest lineup includes Tanaka for education, Maehara for policy
  27. ^ The Japan Times, October 19, 2012: Tanaka's exit likely as scandal outcry grows. Justice minister enters hospital after ducking Diet summons
  28. ^ msn/Sankei News, October 22, 2012: 新潟知事選、泉田氏が3選 マック赤坂氏ら退ける
  29. ^ The Japan Times, October 22, 2012: Izumida clinches third term as Niigata governor
  30. ^ The Japan Times, October 30, 2012: Okayama elects ex-store boss; Toyama picks incumbent
  31. ^ The Japan Times, October 29, 2012: By-election a setback for Noda. LDP tipped to win race in Kagoshima
  32. ^ The Japan Times, November 18, 2012: Incumbent Fukuda easily wins Tochigi gubernatorial election
  33. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun, December 17, 2012: 安倍総裁、26日に首相指名…石破幹事長は続投
  34. ^ Kokudo Chiri Kyōkai/Japan Geographic Data Center: Scheduled municipal mergers
  35. ^ Shiraoka town: 市制に向けて
  36. ^ [1] (Japanese)
  37. ^ Matsutani, Minoru. "Three hanged; executions are first since ’10". The Japan Times. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  38. ^ The Japan Times, September 10: Japan minister Matsushita found dead at home in possible suicide: police
  39. ^ "Newly appointed Japanese ambassador to China dies: Kyodo". chinadaily.com. 16 September 2012.