1997 in Japan
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List of years in Japan
- Emperor: Akihito
- Prime Minister: Ryutaro Hashimoto (L–Okayama)
- Chief Cabinet Secretary: Seiroku Kajiyama (L–Ibaraki) until September 11, Kanezō Muraoka (L–Akita)
- Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Toru Miyoshi until October 30, Shigeru Yamaguchi from October 31
- President of the House of Representatives: Sōichirō Itō (L–Miyagi)
- President of the House of Councillors: Jūrō Saitō (L–Mie)
- Diet sessions: 140th (regular, January 20 to June 18), 141st (extraordinary, September 29 to December 12)
- January 2 – Oil spill in Sea of Japan near the Oki Islands from the Russian crude oil tanker, Nakhodka.
- February 1 – 1997 Aisin fire
- March 1 – Osaka Dome, a baseball stadium in Osaka, is completed.
- April 1 – The consumption tax rate is raised from 3 to 5%.
- May 8 – The Japanese Diet passes the Ainu Culture Law and repeals the Ainu Protection Act.
- July 10 – Debris blown by heavy rain in Harihara, Izumi, Kagoshima, kills 21, injures 13.
- July 12 – Hayao Miyazaki's anime film Princess Mononoke is released in cinemas.
- October 1 – Nagano Shinkansen open between Takasaki to Nagano, with Tokyo to Nagano direct high-speed rail train start.
- October 11 – The mixed martial arts organization PRIDE Fighting Championships holds its inaugural event at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. In the main event Rickson Gracie defeats Nobuhiko Takada by armbar.
- November – Financial institutions bankruptcy is linked, include Yamaichi Securities, Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Sanyo securities and Tokuyo City Bank.
- December 11 – Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties held in Kyoto. As a result of the meeting, the Kyoto Protocol to impose greenhouse gas emission reduction targets was adopted.
- December 16 – "Dennō Senshi Porygon", an episode of the Pokémon TV series, is aired in Japan, inducing seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.
- December 18 – Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line opens.
- The Toyota Prius, the first hybrid vehicle to go into full production, is unveiled in Japan on October 24, and goes on sale in Japan on December 9. It comes to U.S. showrooms on July 11, 2000.
- January 7 - Ayumi Ishida, singer
- January 10 - Ayuri Konno, actress
- February 4 - Ayami Nakajō, actress and model
- March 7 - Miki Honoka, actress
- March 8 - Jurina Matsui, singer
- April 9 - Haruna Suzuki, figure skater
- April 27 - Sayuki Takagi, singer
- May 7 - Irori Maeda, singer
- June 4
- July 7 - Erina Ikuta, singer
- July 10 - Rena Katō, singer
- July 19 - Ohga Tanaka, actor
- August 10 - Sara Takatsuki, actress, model and singer
- September 6 - Tsukushi, professional wrestler
- November 14 - Ibuki Kido, actress
- November 23 - Akari Takeuchi, singer
- December 17 - Shoma Uno, figure skater
- December 20 - Suzuka Nakamoto, singer (Babymetal)
- May 9 - Kazumi Kawai, actress
- July 23 - Chūhei Nambu, athlete
- August 1 - Norio Nagayama, spree killer and novelist
- September 30 - Nobuo Fujita, conducted only wartime aircraft-dropped bombing on continental United States of America
- October 4 - Gunpei Yokoi, creator of Game Boy and Game & Watch handheld systems
- November 18 - Un'ichi Hiratsuka, print-maker
- December 19 - Masaru Ibuka, electronics industrialist, co-founder of Sony
- December 20 - Juzo Itami, film director
- December 24 - Toshiro Mifune, actor
- Takushoku Bank
- CNN (December 17, 1997). "Cartoon-based illness mystifies Japan". Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Bay Aqua-Line
- Alex Taylor III (2006-02-24). "The Birth of the Prius - March 6, 2006". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2011-11-08.