Highlights of Japan-related events for April 15-21:
April 15 (MON)
— Japan and the United States to start the first round of new bilateral trade talks in Washington through Tuesday. The two countries will discuss the scope of negotiations, with Washington hoping for a pact that would cover a range of areas such as goods, services, investment and Japan aiming for a deal on goods only.
— Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing. Kono is visiting China for a high-level economic dialogue, which is expected to lay the groundwork for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Japan in June to attend the Group of 20 summit.
— Fukuoka High Court to hand down ruling on lawsuit filed by two chronic hepatitis B sufferers seeking compensation.
April 16 (TUES)
— Third anniversary of one of the two powerful quakes that successively hit Kumamoto Prefecture. The jolts registered the highest level of 7 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale in the town of Mashiki, killing 50 people.
— Naha branch of Fukuoka High Court to hand down ruling on lawsuit filed by Okinawa residents seeking compensation over U.S. military aircraft noise near Futenma base.
April 17 (WED)
— Finance Ministry to release preliminary customs-cleared trade statistics for March, fiscal 2018.
— Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko to visit Mie Prefecture, central Japan through Friday. It will likely be the couple’s last trip to a local region before the emperor abdicates on April 30.
April 18 (THURS)
— Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko to pay respects at Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture.
— Cabinet Office to release monthly economic report for April.
April 19 (FRI)
— Japan to send two Ground Self-Defense Force officers to the headquarters of an international organization monitoring the cease-fire between Egypt and Israel in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Their dispatch is based on controversial security legislation that expanded the role of the Self-Defense Forces overseas.
— Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to release nationwide consumer price index for March, fiscal 2018.
April 20 (SAT)
— Fukushima soccer facility J-Village, used as operational base for dealing with 2011 nuclear disaster, to fully reopen.
April 21 (SUN)
— Lower house by-elections in Osaka No. 12, Okinawa No. 3 constituencies to be held. The elections are seen as a prelude to the upper house election this summer.
— Elections to be held to choose mayors of 11 of Tokyo’s wards, dozens of cities across the nation.
— Yasukuni Shrine’s three-day spring festival to begin.
— World Table Tennis Championships to be held in Budapest through April 28. Japanese players including Tomokazu Harimoto, Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito are expected to take part.