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Mar 8, 2011

Japan ruling party MP calls on embattled PM to quit

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) – An aide to a powerbroker in Japan’s ruling party publicly called for unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to quit on Tuesday, adding to the leader’s woes as he faces pressure to step down or call a snap election.

The vice farm minister also floated the possibility of the premier resigning, media said, as Kan struggles to get a divided parliament to enact a $1 trillion budget from April while keeping his party from splintering.

Mar 2, 2011

Japan wants new CO2 offset scheme to complement U.N.

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s idea for a new carbon offset scheme would complement an existing U.N. mechanism and make it easier for developing countries to access clean-energy technology from Japan, a senior climate envoy said on Wednesday.

Japan has pressed ahead with plans for bilateral deals in which it invests in clean energy projects in developing countries, in exchange for credits to meet part of targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home.

Mar 1, 2011

Japan lower house passes budget, PM’s outlook bleak

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government pushed through a $1 trillion budget for the year from April in the lower house on Tuesday, but some MPs from Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s own party boycotted the vote in a sign of his weakening clout.

Kan faces growing calls, including within his own ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), to step down and break a deadlock in a divided parliament where opposition parties have threatened to block bills needed to make the 2011/12 budget work.

Feb 28, 2011

Japan PM struggles to overcome budget deadlock

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s government was trying to enact on Monday a $1 trillion budget for the fiscal year starting in April but had no prospect of passing bills needed to implement the spending in a divided parliament.

Kan wants parliament’s lower house, where the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) holds a big majority, to approve the budget for 2011/12 later on Monday but plans to hold off on submitting related bills.

Feb 14, 2011

Japan’s ruling party proposes suspending powerbroker Ozawa

TOKYO (Reuters) – Executives of Japan’s ruling Democratic Party proposed suspending the party membership of powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa over a funding scandal on Monday, a move that risks deepening divisions in the party.

Ozawa’s scandal-tainted image has helped slice Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s support rate, but punishing him risks angering his backers in the party at a time when their votes in parliament are crucial to pass bills to implement the 92.4 trillion yen ($1 trillion) budget for the fiscal year from April 1.

Feb 8, 2011

Japan army reservists at ready for gun-shy defense

By Chisa Fujioka

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Reuters Life!) – Growing up in Japan, Yusuke Tsuge never imagined he’d run around in military fatigues or carry a rifle in a country that has not engaged in armed conflict since its defeat in World War Two.

But on a recent sunny day, Tsuge, a magazine editor, was among 42 Japanese taking part in training to join the military reserve force, in which ordinary people with day jobs stand by to help out the military when it is mobilized to defend the country.

Feb 8, 2011

Japan army reservists at ready for gun-shy defense

By Chisa Fujioka

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Reuters Life!) – Growing up in Japan, Yusuke Tsuge never imagined he’d run around in military fatigues or carry a rifle in a country that has not engaged in armed conflict since its defeat in World War Two.

But on a recent sunny day, Tsuge, a magazine editor, was among 42 Japanese taking part in training to join the military reserve force, in which ordinary people with day jobs stand by to help out the military when it is mobilized to defend the country.

Feb 7, 2011

Japan PM hit by party’s local election losses

TOKYO (Reuters) – Candidates backed by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s ruling party lost two weekend local elections, in a blow to the premier who is struggling to unite the party and break deadlock in a divided parliament.

Independents won both a gubernatorial and a mayoral election in central Japan on Sunday, seen as a bellwether for a series of nationwide regional elections in April that will be a major test for Kan after nearly a year in office.

Jan 31, 2011

Japan kingpin Ozawa charged in funding scandal

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese ruling party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa was charged on Monday over a funding scandal, adding to Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s woes as he struggles to survive in the face of a divided parliament and sagging support.

Ozawa’s indictment will give fresh ammunition to opposition parties who control parliament’s upper house and are refusing to join multiparty talks on tax reform to curb Japan’s huge debt and opposing the government-sponsored budget for the year from April.

Jan 14, 2011

Japan govt signals new fiscal reform push

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s new economics minister warned on Friday that the country faced a fiscal dead end, signalling a revamped cabinet was serious about tax reforms to rein in the country’s massive public debt.

But with opposition parties able to block bills in the upper house of parliament and Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) divided, scepticism over policy success runs deep.

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