A Chronology of Japanese History

Mythology
Yamato Period (300-550) & Asuka Period (550-710)
Nara Period (710-794)
Heian Period (794-1185)
Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
Muromachi Period (1338-1573)
Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600)
Edo Period (1603-1868)
Meiji Period (1868-1912)
Taishō Period (1912-1926)
Shōwa Period (1926-1989)
December 18, 1926 Death of Taishō and enthronement of Hirohito (Shōwa).
1927 A severe depression hits Japan. Many Japanese commercial banks collapse and it soon becomes a world depression.
April 1927 As the Kuomintang gradually consolidates its control over China, Japan begins to lose market share for its products. A combination of the zaibatsu, the bureaucrats, and the Seiyūkai forces an end to the WAKATSUKI cabinet. TANAKA Giichi (an army general and president of the Seiyūkai) becomes Prime Minister. Japanese foreign policy formally switches from noninterference to intervention.
Japan sends troops to the Tientsin International Concession at Shantung to "protect" Japanese residents.
June 1927 Seiyuhonto and Kenseikai merge to form the Minseito Party (Minseito is financially supported by the Mitsubishi zaibatsu while the Seiyukai is ssupported by the Mitsui zaibatsu)
December 1927 A Manchurian-based Japanese Kwangtung Army staff officer and activist dynamites a bridge on a Manchurian railway line. The damage is attributed to "bandits." This is repeated several more times over the next few months.
April 1928 Japanese troops from the Tientsin International Concession (sent to protect Japanese civilians) clash with Nationalist Chinese troops (under Chiang kai-shek) in Tsinan. (Japanese commanders claim more than 300 Japanese were massacred but, in fact, only 13 had died.)
May 8, 1928 Japan sends troop reinforcements to Tsinan and launches a major assault, killing at least a thousand Chinese soldiers and civilians.
March 1928 The government begins the long process of crushing Japan's communist party by arresting, torturing (and allowing to die) communist party members and sympathizers.
June 1, 1928 Japanese Kwangtung Army members assassinate Chang Tso-lin, the warlord of Manchuria, in an attempt to create a reason for Japanese troops to enter into his territory. The effort fails as the warlord's son assumes control, keeps peace, and sides with Chaing Kai-shek.
November 11, 1928 Hirohito is officially enthroned in ceremonies which take place at the Imperial palace in Kyōto.
July 1929 The TANAKA cabinet is defeated in national elections. HAMAGUCHI Osachi of the Minseitō becomes Prime Minister and tries to swing foreign policy back towards international cooperation.
1929 Several radical Army officers form the One Evening Society (Issekikai) to discuss political issues.
October 1929 The U.S. stock market crashes and the world slips into depression. The Japanese economy tumbles.
1930 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 64,450,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 46.9 (m, 1935), 49.6 (f, 1935); Real GNP - ¥13,500,000,000
1930 The Five Power Naval Treaty signatories (1921) meet in London and extend the original treaty. Japan accepts limits of 10:10:6 for cruisers and 10:10:7 for destroyers while getting equality with the US in submarines. The navy is unhappy with this and appeals directly to the Emperor, but the government forces ratification through the Diet
1930 The Cherry Blossom Society (Sakurakai) is formed by radical military officers advocating an overthrow of the government and the establishment of a military regime.
November 14, 1930 Prime Minister HAMAGUCHI is shot and seriously injured by a right-wing nationalist for his part in ratifying the Naval Treaty. SHIDEHARA acts as Prime Minister while HAMAGUCHI recovers. (HAMAGUCHI does return to office, but dies nine months later. The man who shot him spent three months out on bail, was sentenced to death, and then released three months later. He lived the rest of his life on a pension provided by nationalists.)
March 1931 A plot is hatched among key army staff officers and members of the Cherry Blossom Society to overthrow the government with a military coup and reinstall a government led by the emperor and run by the military. The coup is never carried out.
Apirl 1931 WAKATSUKI Reijiro of the Minseito becomes Prime Minister
September 18, 1931 The Japanese Kwantung Army in China blows up a section of the South Manchurian Railroad in Mukden (The Mukden Incident) and claims that the Chinese had done it and then attacked the Japanese. This is then used to justify the subsequent Japanese takeover of Mukden and move into southern Manchuria.
September 30, 1931 Japanese emmisaries go to Tientsin and tell Henri Pu'yi, the ex-emperor of China, that if he would go to Manchuria they were prepared to restore the Manchu dynasty there.
October 1931 Another military coup is plotted, intending to overthrow the diet and to murder the entire cabinet. This time Prince Chichibu (Hirohito's brother) is implicated. Once again, the plot is never carried out and, even though it was discovered and a few people were arrested, it is hushed up by all.
October 1931 The League of Nations calls for Japan to withdraw from Mukden and Manchuria but the Kwangtung Army ignores the demand and expands further.
December 1931 INUKAI Tsuyoshi of the Seiyukai becomes Prime Minister.
January 1932 Japan sends troops to Shanghai to "protect" Japanese residents. The Japanese navy bombs the city. (The Shanghai Incident)
February 7, 1932 The Finance Minister is assassinated by a member of the Ketsumeidan (Blood Brotherhood League). Thus begins a plan to assassinate political and business leaders in order to overthrow political order in Japan and return the country to an agrarian society led by the emperor.
March 5, 1932 DAN Takuma, a banker, is assassinated by a member of the Ketsumeidan outside his offices in Tōkyō.
March 1932 The Kwangtung Army establishes the independent state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. Former Chinese Emperor Pu Yi is made the head of state but in reality it is controlled by Japanese army and civilian officials.
May 15, 1932 Prime Minister INUKAI is assassinated for attempting to curb army actions in Manchuria. This effectively ends party government and ends the chances of anyone trying to oppose the military. (All of the conspirators, including the gunmen, were out of jail by 1940, most were out by 1935.)
(Admiral) SAITO Makoto becomes Prime Minister
August 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister.
September 1932 The Japanese government recognizes the legitimacy of Manchukuo. (Germany and Italy are the only other two countries that recognize it in the future)
September 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate late prime minister WAKATSUKI.
November 1932 The police discover and stop a plot to assassinate Count Makino.
Early 1933 According to Joseph GREW, then US ambassador to Japan, by early 1933, maps of the Far East in Japanese primary schools showed (now) South Vietnam, Thailand, the Straits Settlements, the Philippines, and (now) Indonesia all under the Japanese flag.
February 1933 The Kwangtung Army moves into Inner Mongolia and then towards the south. They obtain a treaty from China recognizing it's presence in, and control of, this territory.
March 1933 The Leaguer of Nations releases the Lytton Report stating that Manchukuo is not a legitimate state and call for the withdrawal of Japanese troops. It recommends the creation of an autonomous regime in Manchuria under Chinese sovereignty. Japan (on the army's insistence) withdraws from the League in protest.
July 1933 Police discover and stop a planned military coup similar to the planned March 1931 coup.
December 1933 Empress Nagako finally gives birth to a male heir to the throne - Crown Prince Akihito. (This after three previous daughters and serious talk in Japan of once again using an Imperial concubine if necessary)
1934 Japan releases the Amau Statement stating that it will take full responsibility for peace in East Asia and will exert a protectorate over China's relations with the Western powers. (Sometimes called the Asiatic Monroe Doctrine)
July 1934 (Admiral) OKADA Keisuke becomes Prime Minister
September 1934 A reorganization of local administration in Manchuria puts Manchukuo under the overall supervision of the Japanese military police.
December 1934 Japan abrogates the Washington and London Naval Treaties when the US and Great Britain refuse to accept parity with Japan.
March 1935 Russia sells Chinese Eastern Railway in northern Manchuria to Japan, thus easing tensions and improving relations between the two countries.
August 1935 Kōdō-ha (Imperial Way Faction) army officer assassinates General NAGATA (Tosei-ha member and head of the Military Affairs Bureau) for his role in removing General MAZAKI as Director of Military Education and removing General Araki and other of his supporters from power.
Frbruary 20, 1936 In Diet elections, the more liberal Minseito wins 205 seats (out of 296 candidates) and the more right leaning Seiyukai wins only 174 seats (out of 336 candidates).
February 26, 1936 The army First Division, in order to overthrow the government and effect the Showa Restoration, mutiny and take over the Police Headquarters, the War Ministry, the General Staff Headquarters, and the Diet Building. (The Ni·Niroku Jiken.) Several top politicians, government, and military leaders are killed. The rebellion is put down after three days and this time the participants are punished. Some now realize that radical troops are getting out of control.
March 1936 HIROTA Koki becomes Prime Minister. (He would later be sentenced to death and hanged as a Class A war criminal after WWII)
August 1936 The government releases The Fundamental Principles of National Polity stating, as national objectives, the consolidation of Japan's empire in East Asia and a Japanese advancement into the South Pacific.
February 1937 (General) HAYASHI Senjuro becomes Prime Minister
March 1937 Ministry of Education releases the Cardinal Principles of the National Entity of Japan (Kokutai no Hongi) which describes the unique characteristics of Japan and sets out the only acceptable ideology of Japan.
June 1937 KONOE Fumimaro becomes Prime Minister
July 5, 1937 The Kuomintang and the Chinese Communists sign a pact agreeing to set their differences aside and declaring that the Japanese are their common enemy.
July 7, 1937 A minor skirmish takes place between Japanese and Chinese troops near Peiking (The Marco Polo Bridge Incident). The Japanese government tells military commanders to settle the issue locally but mobilizes troops in Manchuria and Korea just in case the problem expands.
August 1937 As fighting continues to spread in China, Japan sends troops to Shanghai. Fighting commences between Japanese and Chinese troops, and the Chinese government orders full mobilization of its military.
September 1937 Japan mobilizes military and entire country. Begins major military expansion throughout northern and central China.
December 1937 Japan takes control of the Chinese capital of Nanking, killing over 200,000 civilians and POWs, raping tens of thousands of women, and looting the entire town.
January 1938 Japanese government announces an end to all talks with Chinese Nationalist government and continues military expansion in both northern and central China.
February 1938 Government enacts National Mobilization Act.
July 1938 Japanese and Russian troops fight along the border between Korea, Manchuria, and Siberia. Japanese troops defeated.
January 1939 HIRANUMA Kiichiro becomes Prime Minister
May 1939 Japanese and Russian troops clash along the border between Manchuria and Outer Mongolia. The incident expands into a major Russian mobilization and conflict between the Russian and Japanese armies.
June 1939 The Russian army defeats the Japanese. The Kwantung Army asks Tōkyō for reinforcements but these are denied.
August 1939 HIRANUMA resigns for "giving the Emperor bad advice." ABE Nobuyuki becomes Prime Minister.
Germany signs a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union.
September 1939 Hitler attacks Poland. Japan and the Soviet Union agree to a cease-fire.
1940 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 71,933,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 50 (m, estimated), 53 (f, estimated); Real GNP - ¥20,800,000,000
January 1940 Major shortages of foods and other goods in Japan. Prices already rising. (Admiral) YONAI Mitsumasa becomes Prime Minister
March 1940 A puppet Japanese government is established in Nanking under WANG Ching-wei.
June 1940 Japane sends military advisors to French Indochina to stop war materiel from flowing to China.
July 1940 KONOE Fumimaro becomes Prime Minister.
The cabinet approves Major Principles of Basic National Policy which sets out Japan's intention to build a new (Japan dominated) order in East Asia. The decision is made at this time to expand to the south even if this means war with Great Britain and the U.S.
September 27, 1940 Japan signs a military alliance with the Axis powers. Japan completes its occupation of northern French Indochina. In retaliation, the U.S. embargoes iron and steel scraps and British reopens Burma Road.
October 1940 All political parties are dissolved and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association is established with KONOE as "party" head.
March 1941 Japan and the U.S. begin negotiations in Washington, D.C. to settle disputes between them.
April 1941 Japan and the Soviet Union sign a neutrality pact providing for neutrality if either party is attacked by another country.
June 22, 1941 Germany invades the Soviet Union.
July 26, 1941 In order to remove MATSUOKA from his position as Foreign Minister, KONOE resigns with his entire cabinet and then retakes office on the 28th with the exact same cabinet - but with a new foreign minister. (MATSUOKA had become a virtual puppet of Hitler and KONOE couldn't agree with or accept that. By this time KONOE wasn't at all sure that war with the U.S. was winable.)
July 29, 1941 Japan moves troops into southern French Indochina. In retaliation, the U.S. freezes Japanese assets in the U.S. and imposes a total embargo on exports to Japan (including oil, but excluding cotton and food). Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies also freeze Japanese assets in their countries. (This severs Japan from all major sources of oil imports with only a two year reserve on hand for the Navy)
August 1941 ROOSEVELT and CHURCHILL meet and agree to issue a warning to Japan that any further encroachment to the south would force the U.S. and Great Britain to take countermeasure even if these would inevitably lead to war.
October 16, 1941 Prime Minister KONOE resigns. He is unable to support the drive towards war with the U.S. and the Army is unwilling to make the concessions required by the U.S. in order to secure a diplomatic solution.
(General) TŌJŌ Hideki becomes Prime Minister - while still retaining the War and Home Ministry portfolios.
November 1941 Imperial conferences finalize plans to go to war in early December. Negotiations with the U.S. continue in Washington, but both sides know that this is a ruse and a stall for time. In preparation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, a naval task force is brought together off Etorofu Island (one of the Kuril Islands).
December 1, 1941 A final imperial conference (gozen kaigi) is held and Hirohito approves all military preparations and plans and December 7th as the date to start hostilities.
December 7, 1941 (December 8th in Japan) The Japanese navy attacks Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii as well as Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Malaya. War with the West has begun.
April 18, 1942 The first of many air raids are carried out by the US on Tōkyō, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kōbe.
Early 1942 US cryptanalysts break Japan's naval code, giving the US access to Japan's strategic planning.
June, 1942 Japan loses the Battle of Midway, and a lot of her Navy.
April 18, 1943 The plane carrying Admiral YAMAMOTO, the head of Japan's Navy and the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, is shot down. YAMAMOTO is killed.
May 1943 The U.S. and Great Britain formulate a three-offensive plan to defeat Japan: 1) Army's recapture of Aleutian Islands near Alaska, 2) MacArthur led army drive northward through South and Southwest Pacific Islands, and 3) Nimitz led naval drive through Central Pacific Islands.
December 1943 Cairo Declaration proclaims that Japan will be stripped of all land seized or occupied since the beginning of WW1 in 1914.
July 13, 1944 TŌJŌ resigns as Army Chief of Staff, although he keeps his hats a Army Minister and Prime Minister. He is also forced to fire SHIMADA Shigetaro who had been serving as Navy Chief of Staff and Navy Minister.
July 18, 1944 TŌJŌ resigns as Prime Minister and is soon forced to resign as Army Minister. KOISO Kuniaki becomes Prime Minister.
November 1, 1944 Allied air raids begin over Tōkyō on a major scale.
February 1945 Stalin secretly pledges to CHURCHILL and ROOSEVELT at Yalta that he will enter the war against Japan when Germany is defeated.
March 9, 1945 Air raids over Tōkyō kill over 100,000 people and burn down most of the city.
April 2, 1945 KOISO is forced to resign as Prime Minister when Hirohito learns that he had been negotiating with China to end hostilities there in order to bring those troops back to Japan. (Retired Admiral) SUZUKI Kantaro becomes Prime Minister.
April 1945 American troops land on Okinawa Island. The Soviet Union informs Japan that it will not renew the Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact when it expires.
SUZUKI Kantaro becomes Prime Minister. Harry TRUMAN becomes President of the U.S.
May 7, 1945 Germany surrenders to the allies.
June 20, 1945 Okinawa falls to the Allies. In addition to the military casualties, some 120,000 civilians also died.
Late June 1945 Japan approaches the Soviet Union offering concessions in return for a non-aggression pact. The offer is politely refused.
Mid July 1945 Japan asks the Soviet Union to mediate an end to the war in any way short of an unconditional surrender. Due to a secret promise made by Stalin to the Allies at Yalta, this is refused, but only after stalling for weeks.
July 26, 1945 The U.S., Great Britain, and China issue the Potsdam Declaration calling for Japan to immediately and unconditionally surrender or to suffer prompt and utter destruction.
CHURCHILL looses to ATTLEE in Great Britain general elections.
July 27, 1945 Japan's Supreme War Guidance Council meets to discuss the Potsdam Declaration. They decide to do nothing as they had still not heard from the Soviet Union about their request for mediation. On government orders, the Asahi Newspaper calls the declaration "a thing of no great value."
August 6, 1945 The US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Shock freezes the Japanese government into complete inaction.
August 8, 1945 The Soviet Union declares war on Japan and its troops enter Manchuria. They also take over the Kuril Islands, four small islands just north of Hokkaido.
August 9, 1945 The US drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Japan's Supreme War Guidance council meets and splits 3 in favor of immediate acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and three against. The War Minister and the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff argue that all is not yet lost and that they should hold out in attempts to get more favorable conditions from the allies. In a gozen kaigi later that night, the emperor decides that it is time to surrender. After a meeting of the cabinet, telegrams are sent to the Allies signaling their acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration.
August 14, 1945 Hirohito records his surrender speech late at night. Later still, one last attempt to halt the surrender was made with a coup by Junior army officers. It is finally put down early the the next morning.
August 15, 1945 The Emperor's surrender speech is broadcast by radio message, telling the people for the first time that Japan will end the war for humanitarian reasons. (He never actually admits that Japan is surrendering.)
August 16, 1945 HIGASHIKUNI Naruhiko becomes Prime Minister.
1945 Japan Communist Party holds its first legal Congress after the war.
September 1945 Prewar women's movement leaders petition the government to grant woman suffrage.
September 2, 1945 Japan formally surrenders aboard the USS Missouri. Occupation under Douglas MACARTHUR as SCAP begins. (SCAP offices open in Tokyo on October 18th)
September 8, 1945 General MACARTHUR arrives in Tōkyō
September 27, 1945 MACARTHUR and Emperor Hirohito meet for the first time in MacArthur's personal residence. (They meet 10 times over the years)
October 4, 1945 MACARTHUR orders the government to remove all restrictions on political, cival, and religious liberties.
October 5, 1945 When SCAP tells HIGASHIKUNI to dismiss his Interior Ministry because he had been (was) a militarist, HIGASHIKUNI refuses and resigns from office. SHIGEMITSU Mamoru becomes Prime Minister.
October 1945 Minister of Agriculture and Forestry proposes land reform plan.
Diet passes Trade Union Law which guaranteed right to organize, bargain collectively, and to strike.
November 1945 Japan Socialist Party is formed. First nationwide woman's organization is established.
November 13, 1945 Emperor Hirohito reports the 'end of the war' to the Grand Shrine of Ise, to Emperor Jimmu's mausoleum in Unebi, Nara Prefecture, and to Emperor Meiji's mausoleum in Momoyama, Kyōto Prefecture.
November/
December 1945
The Japan Liberal Party, the Japan Progressive Party, and the Japan Cooperative Party formed
December 15, 1945 Disestablishment of State Shinto.
December 1945 First Land Reform Act passed by Diet at the end of the month (although it proved defective).
1946 Adoption of popular elections to elect provincial governers instead of appointment by the central government.
Abolition of the Ministry of Interior.
January 1, 1946 The Rescript to Promote the National Destiny, a message from the emperor to the people, is printed in newspapers nationwide. In it, the emperor affirms the ideals of the 1868 Charter Oath and denounces his divinity (kind of, sort of, depending on how you read it).
January 1946 Many prewar conservative politicians are purged from government and barred from holding political office. This includes HATOYAMA Ichirō, founder and first president of the Liberal Party.
February 19, 1946 Emperor Hirohito make his first, of many, trips out to mingle with the people. On this trip he tours a factory and black market in Yokohama.
March 6, 1946 A draft of a new constitution, rewritten and based on Anglo-American legal traditions, is presented to the public. Both Japanese government and non-government groups had been preparing drafts since October but the final government version was deemed by SCAP to contain nothing but superficial changes to the original Meiji Constitution. SCAP, therefore, wrote their own version and presented it to the public as having been written by the Japanese government.
April 3, 1946 The Far Eastern Commission exempts Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal
April 10, 1946 The first Diet elections in which women are empowered to vote takes place. 79 women entered as candidates; 39 were elected. Four communist party members also won Diet seats. In total, voters had to choose between 2,770 candidates (95% of which had never held public office) representing 363 different political parties.
May 3, 1946 IMFTE War Crimes trials begin in Tōkyō. Neither Hirohito nor anyone associated with Unit 731 (the biological and chemical weapons unit) are indicted.
May 22, 1946 YOSHIDA Shigeru (of the Liberal Party) becomes Prime Minister.
June 18, 1946 Prosecuters at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East publicly announce their exemption of Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal.
June 21, 1946 The emperor formally submits the new constitution to the Diet for consideration. It is submitted by the emperor as an 'amendment' to the Meiji constitution - even though the emperor had no involvement in the drafting of it and even though it was not an amendment, but a complete rewriting.
August 1946 Two labor federations are established: the Sōdōmei (All Japan General Federation of Trade Unions), an anti-communist, socialist-led organization, and the Sanbetsu (National Congress of Industrial Unions), a communist-led organization.
September 20, 1946 Diet passes the Labor Relations Adjustment Law.
October 21, 1946 Revised land reform enacted with passage of the second Land Reform Act by the Diet.
November 3, 1946 The emperor announces the promulgation of the new constitution.
January 31, 1947 An ongoing campaign for a strike by all government workers forces the end of the YOSHIDA cabinet (although SCAP intervened and forbid the strike before it actually occured) .
March 1947 The US announces the Truman Doctrine.
March 31, 1947 The Diet passes the Fundamental Law of Education, which liberalized the curriculum and promoted coeducational egalitarianism.
April 1947 General elections are held.
May 3, 1947 The new constitution takes effect.
May 1947 KATAYAMA Tetsu (of the Socialist Party) becomes Prime Minister. (Coalition cabinet with socialist prime minister)
September 1947 The Ministry of Labor is established.
December 1947 The Diet passes the Law for Elimination of Excessive Concentration of Economic Power, thus giving the Holding Company Liquidation Commission (HCLC) the power to dissolve the Zaibatsu.
January 1948 Decentralization Review Board (DRB) set up to review HCLC orders and corporate reorganization plan. (This in effect started the end of the decentralization and corporate dissolution plans)
February 1948 HCLC designates 325 companies as chargeable under the new liquidation law and order their dissolution.
February 10, 1948 Cabinet falls when head of the budget committee in the Diet rejects Supplementary Budget. KATAYAMA resigns.
March 1948 ASHIDA Hitoshi (of the Socialist Party) becomes Prime Minister.
June 1948 Diet votes to annul the Imperial Rescript on Education.
July 1, 1948 After much political maneuvering and back room negotiations, HCLC ammends previous list and reduces the number of companies to be dissolved to 100 and excludes all banks from the list entirely. (Thus begins the "reverse course")
October 1948 ASHIDA is implicated in a major government-wide (and SCAP) corruption scandal involving a fertilizer company (The Shōwa Denkō Scandal). He resigns and is arrested.
YOSHIDA Shigeru (of the Liberal Party) becomes Prime Minister.
November 12, 1948 The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal announces its verdict. While the final verdict was unanimous, several justices submitted individual dissenting opinions.
December 1948 All but nine companies are removed by the DRB from the HCLC list of companies subject to deconcentration.
December 19, 1948 The US National Security Council issues the Nine-Point Program. These are nine principles of economic stabalization that were to be imposed on Japan and its economy.
1949 In general elections, the Communist Party increases the number of seats they hold from 4 to 35.
February 1, 1949 Joseph DODGE (a Detroit banker) is appointed by Washington and sent to Japan to implement the Nine-Point Program.
April 23, 1949 DODGE unilaterally announces a single fixed exchange rate of 360 yen/dollar (and then leaves the country in a week).
May 1949 The Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Board of Trade are merged to create the Ministry of Internatiional Trade and Industry (MITI).
1950 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 83,200,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 59.6 (m), 63.0 (f);
Real GNP - ¥1,611,500,000,000
1950 Alarmed at the growth of Communist power, SCAP purges leaders of the Communist Party and ban the publication of their party paper, Akahata (Red Flag).
June 25, 1950 Outbreak of the Korean War as North Korea attacks the South.
July 8, 1950 MACARTHUR orders the Japanese government to create a 75,000-man Police Reserve Corps (most countries called it an army) and to add 8,000 men to the already existing Maritime Safety Corps. (Washington was secretly asking Japan to build an army of between 300,000-350,000 but YOSHIDA refused)
April 11, 1951 MACARTHUR is dismissed by President TRUMAN. General Matthew RIDGEWAY is appointed as his relacement as Supreme Commander Allied Powers (SCAP).
April 15, 1951 MACARTHUR leaves Japan.
June 1951 Political purges end and prewar conservatives flood back into government. These newly returned politicians, led by HATOYAMA, find it hard to work with the YOSHIDA led faction. Eventually they break off and form the Democratic Party with Hatoyama as its president.
September 8, 1951 International Peace Treaty, signed by forty-eight nations in San Francisco, brings Japan back into the international family. WWII officially ends for Japan, and Japan regains its status as an independent country. Necessity for Japan to pay any further reparations is abolished. At the same time, the U.S. and Japan sign a mutual Security Treaty.
October 1951 Socialist Party splits into Left and Right Socialist Parties. (Left party opposed both the Peace Treaty and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty while the Right party approved the Peace Treaty but opposed the Security Treaty.)
April 28, 1952 U.S. occupation of Japan officially ends. Security Treaty (with attached administrative agreements) goes into effect.
June 2, 1952 Emperor Hirohito travels to the Grand Shrine at Ise to report the signing of the peace treaty and Japan's sovereignty to Amaterasu.
July 1952 Diet passes the Prevention of Subversive Activities Law.
July 28, 1953 Ceasefire agreement signed in P'anmunjom, Korea.
July 1, 1954 Mitsubuishi completes process of rebuilding Mitsubishi Shoji from companies that had been part of the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu.
December 1954 YOSHIDA loses vote of confidence in Diet and resigns. HATOYAMA Ichiro (of the Democratic Party) becomes Prime Minister.
October 1955 Left and Right Socialist Parties reunite and form single party (Nihon Shakaitō).
November 1955 Conservatives (the Liberal and the Democratic parties), now faced with a united Socialist party and under pressure from the corporate world, merge to form the Liberal Democratic Party (Jiminto). Thus, for the first time in the postwar period, Japan has a two party political system.
April 1956 Mitsui Bussan completes process of reassembling into one all of the companies that had originally been part of the Mitsui Zaibatsu (a process started in February 1949).
December 1956 HATOYAMA resigns. ISHIBASHI Tanzan becomes Prime Minister. Japan admitted into the United Nations.
February 1957 ISHIBASHI resigns due to bad health. KISHI Nobusuke becomes Prime Minister. It is interesting to note that after WWII Kishi had been imprisoned as a Class A war criminal, but never went to trial.
1960 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 93,419,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 65.3 (m), 70.2 (f);
Real GNP - ¥65,145,400,000,000
January 1960 U.S. and Japan renegotiate 1952 security treaty and replace it with new, revised Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation. Forty moderate socialists leave the Japan Socialist Party (Shakaito) to form the Democratic Socialist Party (Minshu Shakaito).
June 23, 1960 Treaty of Mutual Security and Cooperation goes into effect after US Senate ratification. President EISENHOWER trip to Japan canceled due to the large number of violent student demonstrations in Tōkyō against the treaty.
July 1960 IKEDA Hayato becomes Prime Minister.
September 1960 Announcement of IKEDA's income doubling plan for the decade.
April 1964 Japan joins the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
October 1964 Summer Olympic Games held in Tōkyō.
November 1964 Soka Gakkai (lay Nichiren Buddhist organization) forms Clean Government Party (Komeito).
November 1964 IKEDA diagnosed with cancer and resigns from office. SATO Eisaku becomes Prime Minister.
October 1968 KAWABATA Yasunari awarded Nobel Prize for Literature.
1970 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 103,720,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 69.3 (m), 74.7 (f);
Real GNP - ¥171,292,600,000,000
July 1971 Japan suffers the first "Nixon Shock" as President NIXON announces that he will make a sate visit to China.
August 1971 Japan suffers the second "Nixon Shock" as he announces that the dollar is no longer convertible into gold and imposes a 10% surcharge on all imports into the U.S.
December 1971 Exchange rate of Yen changed to 308 yen/dollar in Smithsonian Agreement
February 1972 Winter Olympic Games held in Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.
May 1972 The United States returns control of Okinawa to Japan. Okinawa becomes the 47th prefecture.
July 1972 TANAKA Kakuei becomes Prime Minister (after bribing all possible LDP Diet members so that they would elect him as party president)
October 73-/
January 1974
Japan suffers the first "oil shock" as the price of oil increases four-fold over four months.
November 26, 1974 TANAKA resigns as Prime Minister after months of public charges of corrupt politics. While he resigns as prime minister, LDP party president, and LDP party member, he refuses to give up his seat in the Diet. He continues to control the party and succeeding prime ministers from behind the scenes until just before his death.
December 1974 MIKI Takeo becomes Prime Minister. Ex-Prime Minister Sato Eisaku awarded Nobel Peace Prize.
June 1976 KONO Yohei and other LDP members leave the party to form the New Liberal Club (NLC) in response to Tanaka's continually scandal ridden government.
July 27, 1976 TANAKA Kakue is arrested for accepting bribes from the Lockheed Corporation. He spends 21 days in the Tokyo Detention House before being released on bail.
December 1976 MIKI suffers from an internal LDP coup and is ousted from the Prime Ministership because many LDP members felt he should have done more to protect TANAKA. FUKUDA Takeo becomes Prime Minister.
January 1977 Trial opens for former Prime Minister TANAKA - charged with accepting bribes from the Lockheed Corporation.
1978 A group of right-wing socialists leave the Japan Socialist Party (Shakaito) to form the United Social Democratic Party (USDP)
October 1978 Japan suffers from second "oil shock" as price of oil increase dramatically overnight.
December 1978 ŌHIRA Masayoshi becomes Prime Minister
January 1979 Institution of the first uniform national university entrance exams.
May 1979 ŌHIRA suffers defeat in a no confidence vote presented in the lower house by the Socialist Party. He dissolves the lower house and a campaign begins for new elections. ŌHIRA dies during the campaign.
1980 Statistical Interlude:
Population - 117,060,000; Avg. Life Expectancy - 73.4 (m), 78.8 (f);
Real GNP - ¥266,633,500,000,000
July 1980 SUZUKI Zenko becomes Prime Minister
November 1982 NAKASONE Yasuhiro becomes Prime Minister (his cabinet is frequently referred to as the 'Tanakasone Cabinet.').
October 12, 1983 Former Prime Minister TANAKA found guilty of accepting bribes in his long running court case. He is given a sentence of 4 years in prison and a 500 million yen fine, but he immediately appeals the sentence and is released on bail. He again refuses to give up his seat in the diet.
November 1983 Since opposition Diet members couldn't force TANAKA to resign his Diet seat, and the LDP was unwilling to pressure him into doing so, national elections are called for to make the voters decide what to do with TANAKA.
December 1983 The LDP loses its majority in the lower house in elections. However, TANAKA is reelected by a record landslide vote in Niigata Prefecture and the overall power of TANAKA's gundan in the Diet increased. The LDP and NAKASONE form coalition with the New Liberal Club (NLC) and adds one NLC member to the cabinet.
January 1985 TAKESHITA Noboru, KANEMARU Shin, & ŌZAWA Ichiro (of the Tanaka faction of the LDP) announce their intentions of breaking away from TANAKA by establishing the Future Creative Society (Sōsei-kai).
February 26, 1985 TANAKA suffers a stroke. This debilitates him enough that he loses all power to the TAKESHITA, KANEMARU, ŌZAWA team. The Tanaka faction in the Diet effectively becomes the Takeshita faction - with KANEMARU, TAKESHITA, and ŌZAWA as the behind the scene power brokers and controlling the Diet until 1993.
1986 New Liberal Club disbanded and members rejoin the LDP
November 1987 TAKESHITA Noboru becomes Prime Minister
1988 A 3% consumption tax is instituted.
January 7, 1989 Death of Hirohito (Shōwa) and enthronement of Akihito (Heisei).
Heisei Period (1989-Present)


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