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Feb 24, 2015

Japanese media self-censorship grows in PM Abe’s reign

TOKYO (Reuters) – Worries are growing in Japan about a trend of media self-censorship as journalists and experts say news organizations are toning down criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for fear of sparking ire and losing access to sources.

No one is accusing Abe’s administration of overt meddling in specific news coverage, but media insiders and analysts say the government’s message is getting through.

Feb 10, 2015

Japan global PR message could misfire with focus on wartime past

TOKYO (Reuters) – A push by Japan to correct perceived bias in accounts of the country’s wartime past is creating a row that risks muddling the positive message in a mammoth public relations campaign to win friends abroad.

The PR campaign, which has a budget of over half a billion dollars, comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to adopt a less apologetic stance on Japan’s actions before and during World War Two and ease the fetters imposed on defense policy by Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution.

Feb 2, 2015

Working with global community only way to fight terrorism – Japan PM

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he wanted to debate the possibility of Japan’s military rescuing Japanese citizens abroad, a day after Islamic State militants said they had beheaded a Japanese journalist.

The militants said on Sunday they had beheaded Kenji Goto, a veteran war reporter, after international efforts to secure his release through a prisoner swap failed. They killed another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, a week before.

Feb 1, 2015

Japan to debate rescue missions after Islamic State executions

TOKYO (Reuters) – The beheading of two Japanese citizens by Islamic State militants is fanning calls to allow Japan’s long-constrained military to conduct overseas rescue missions as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for a more muscular security posture.

Even some advocates of legal changes to make rescues possible, however, say Japan’s military faces big hurdles to acquiring the capacity to conduct such missions, while critics say sending troops overseas would just increase the risk.

Jan 30, 2015

Jordan still holding prisoner demanded by Islamic State as deadline passes

AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) – Jordan said on Thursday it was still holding an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber as a deadline passed for her release set by Islamic State militants who threatened to kill a Jordanian pilot unless she was handed over by sunset.

An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist also captured by the insurgents said the pilot would be killed unless Jordan freed Sajida al-Rishawi, who is on death row for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack that killed 60 people in Amman.

Jan 29, 2015

Japan checking purported message on new deadline set by IS

AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) – An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist being held by Islamic State militants said a Jordanian air force pilot also held by the group would be killed unless an Iraqi female prisoner in Jordan was released by sunset on Thursday.

The message appeared to postpone a previous deadline set on Tuesday in which the journalist, Kenji Goto, said he would be killed within 24 hours if the Iraqi was not freed.

Jan 25, 2015

Japan condemns IS execution, demands remaining hostage release

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called the killing of a Japanese captive by Islamic State militants “outrageous” and again demanded the group release a second Japanese national they are holding.

Abe, speaking to public broadcaster NHK, said chances were high that a recording and an image of what appeared to be the decapitated body of captive Haruna Yukawa, which emerged late on Saturday, were authentic.

Jan 25, 2015

Japan condemns apparent IS execution, demands hostage release

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called the apparent killing of a Japanese captive by Islamic State militants “outrageous and impermissible,” and again called for the group to release a second Japanese national they are holding.

Abe, speaking to public broadcaster NHK, said chances were high that a recording and an image of what appeared to be the decapitated body of captive Harman Yukawa, which emerged late on Saturday, were authentic.

Jan 23, 2015

Corrected – Islamic State threat could stiffen Japan PM Abe’s stance on security

TOKYO (Reuters) – (In Jan 21 story, corrects Abe’s age in 9th para)

A purported Islamic State threat to kill two Japanese captives unless it gets $200 million in ransom could harden Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resolve to break with Japan’s pacifism and boost Tokyo’s global security role – even as it intensifies debate over his polarising policy.

In an online video released on Tuesday near the end of a tour by Abe to the Middle East, a black-clad figure holding a knife and standing between two kneeling men in orange clothes, gave Japan 72 hours to respond to the ransom demand, which he linked to Abe’s Jan. 17 pledge of $200 million in non-military aid for countries battling the Islamic State.

Jan 23, 2015

Islamic State threat could stiffen Japan PM Abe’s stance on security

TOKYO (Reuters) – (This January 21 story was corrected to fix Abe’s age in ninth paragraph)

A purported Islamic State threat to kill two Japanese captives unless it gets $200 million in ransom could harden Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resolve to break with Japan’s pacifism and boost Tokyo’s global security role – even as it intensifies debate over his polarizing policy.

    • About Linda

      "I direct a team of reporters responsible for covering politics, diplomacy, social and security policies in the world's second-biggest economy, as well as natural disasters, entertainment and lifestyle trends. I have been in my current position since April 1999 and prior to that was Chief Economics Correspondent, Japan."
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