• A U.S. fleet forces Japan to open its market to foreign influence, ending 200 years of self-imposed isolation.

  • The Empire of Japan is proclaimed and the country enters a period of rapid industrialization and trading dominance over East Asia.

  • China cedes Taiwan to Japan and permits Japan to trade on the mainland after being defeated by Japan in a war lasting nine months.

  • After three years of fighting, Japan annexes Korea. Japan is now among the world's leading powers.

  • Japan declares war on China, invading the country and capturing Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing. Japan occupies China until the end of World War II.

  • Japan attacks a United States naval fleet in the Pacific, prompting the U.S. and their main allies to declare war on Japan.

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki are devastated by atomic bombs dropped by the United States; Emperor Hirohito and Japan surrender. 

  • Japan regains its independence after being controlled by the U.S. military government since 1945.

  • Japan's economy enters a severe recession amidst the Asian financial crisis. 

  • A trade dispute with China occurs after Japan imposes import tariffs on Chinese agricultural products. China retaliates with import taxes on Japanese manufactured goods.

  • A deal is reached with China for the joint development of a gas field in the East China Sea.

  • Japan faces its worst economic crisis since World War II after the economy shrank by over 3% in the final quarter of the year due to the steep fall in external demand. 

  • Japan is overtaken by China as the world's second-largest economy.

Sources:

BBC News open_in_new
Britannica open_in_new