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Sep 17, 2010

Japan PM rejigs cabinet; juggles yen, debt, economy

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan kept allies in key posts in a cabinet reshuffle on Friday, signalling he plans to press ahead with efforts to curb a huge public debt as he struggles with a strong yen and weak economy.

He also appointed a new foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, who faces tense ties with China over a territorial dispute and strains with ally the United States over a U.S. airbase.

Sep 17, 2010

Japan PM rejigs cabinet and juggles yen

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan kept allies in key posts in a cabinet reshuffle on Friday, signalling he plans to press ahead with efforts to curb a huge public debt as he struggles with a strong yen and weak economy.

He also appointed a new foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, who faces tense ties with China over a territorial dispute and strains with ally the United States over a U.S. airbase.

Sep 14, 2010

Japan PM wins party vote but faces more challenges

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will keep his job after an unexpectedly strong victory in a ruling party leadership vote on Tuesday, but must now strive to unify his party and forge deals with the opposition to pass laws in a divided parliament.

Kan, 63, who has promised to curb spending and cap borrowing, is already struggling with a strong yen, a fragile recovery and public debt that is twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy.

Sep 13, 2010

Factbox: Policy challenges facing Japan’s government

TOKYO (Reuters) – The winner of a ruling party vote this week to decide Japan’s prime minister faces a raft of challenges, including huge public debt, a rising yen and an aging population.

Following are challenges facing the government:

ECONOMY

Japan’s economy slowed to a crawl in the April-June quarter and analysts see more weakness ahead given a yen near 15-year highs, sluggish domestic demand and flagging growth in major export destinations such as the United States and China.

Sep 6, 2010

Japan fiscal targets need review: PM candidate’s aide

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan needs fiscal reform targets to tackle its massive debt but existing goals heavily influenced by bureaucrats should be reviewed, said an aide to the ruling party powerbroker challenging Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Party heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, challenging Kan in a party leadership election on September 14, has promised to put politicians, not bureaucrats, in charge of policies, but has also prompted worries about expanding Japan’s already huge debt.

Sep 6, 2010

BOJ can do more on deflation: PM candidate aide

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan is doing too little to fight deflation, but the central bank’s policies alone cannot solve the problem, an aide to a ruling party powerbroker challenging Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Monday.

Ichiro Ozawa is challenging Kan in a Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leadership election on September 14 in a race that is too close to call. The winner will likely be prime minister by virtue of the DPJ’s majority in the powerful lower house.

Sep 2, 2010

Japan’s Ozawa pledges bold fix for economy if PM

TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Ruling party powerbroker Ichiro
Ozawa pledged bold steps on Thursday to fix Japan’s flagging
economy if he becomes premier, floating tax cuts and
threatening to intervene in currency markets to curb the yen’s
rapid rise.

Ozawa would likely become prime minister if he defeats
Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a Sept. 14 Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) leadership vote, but the outcome is at present too
close to call.

Sep 1, 2010

Japan PM Kan, rival Ozawa clash over fiscal policy

TOKYO, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Naoto Kan and
rival Ichiro Ozawa clashed over fiscal priorities on Wednesday
in a battle for party leadership that threatens a policy vacuum
as Japan struggles to tackle a strong yen and weak economy.

The strife in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which
swept to power a year ago promising change, underscores a
policy rift that could derail Kan’s efforts to curb a public
debt already twice the size of the $5 trillion economy.

Aug 31, 2010

Japan PM faces challenge from party kingpin Ozawa

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa said on Tuesday he would stick to his plan to challenge Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a party election, setting up a showdown that threatens to create a policy vacuum as Japan struggles with a strong yen and a fragile economy.

The strife in the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) coincides with policymakers’ efforts to curb a rise in the yen that is threatening the economic recovery.

Aug 31, 2010

Japan PM, powerbroker Ozawa to meet to avert clash

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa were to meet at 5 p.m. (0800) on Tuesday, Jiji news agency said, as the party tried to avoid a clash in a leadership race that could create a policy vacuum as Japan struggles with a strong yen and fragile economy.

But even if a confrontation is averted, big questions would remain about how the rivals would resolve differences over Kan’s drive to cut Japan’s huge public debt, and how much clout Ozawa will wield over policy and personnel matters in general.

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