Chief Correspondent, Political and General News
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Jun 19, 2013

“No, we can’t”-Japan’s conservative values collide with plan to mobilise women for economy

TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) – Days after Kaoru Shimada and
other Japanese mothers rallied in Tokyo this year to press for
more public daycare, she was shocked to read a local
politician’s blog blasting their “shameless” demands and
asserting kids should be raised at home.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to take steps, including
expanding daycare, to help mobilise women power as part of his
“Abenomics” plan to end economic stagnation and engineer growth
in a country beset by an ageing, shrinking population.

May 29, 2013

Japan must show path to fiscal reform: coalition partner

TOKYO (Reuters) – A recent rise in Japan’s long-term interest rates to around 1 percent is within a tolerable range, but it is necessary to avoid a marked further rise in bond yields, the secretary-general of Japan’s junior ruling coalition party said on Wednesday.

Yoshihisa Inoue, secretary-general of the New Komeito party, also said that it was necessary for Japan to show a clear path for fixing its tattered state finances. Japan’s public debt is more than twice the value of its 500 trillion yen ($5 trillion) economy.

May 27, 2013

Japan’s Mayor Hashimoto denies he meant to excuse wartime brothels

TOKYO (Reuters) – Outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, seeking to quell an international furor, denied on Monday that he had ever meant to excuse Japan’s wartime military brothels and said Japan should apologize to the Asian and other women forced to work there.

Still, in comments likely to keep the controversy alive, Hashimoto said historical research was needed to determine whether Japan “as a state” was directly involved in human trafficking of the “comfort women”, as those who worked in the brothels are euphemistically known in Japan.

May 24, 2013

Special Report: The deeper agenda behind ‘Abenomics’

TOKYO (Reuters) – When ill health and political gridlock forced Shinzo Abe to quit after one dismal year as Japan’s prime minister, his pride was dented and his self-confidence battered.

One thing, however, was intact: his commitment to a controversial conservative agenda centered on rewriting Japan’s constitution. Conservatives see the 1947 pacifist charter, never once altered, as embodying a liberal social order imposed by the U.S. Occupation after Japan’s defeat in World War Two.

May 24, 2013

The deeper agenda behind “Abenomics”

TOKYO, May 24 (Reuters) – When ill health and political
gridlock forced Shinzo Abe to quit after one dismal year as
Japan’s prime minister, his pride was dented and his
self-confidence battered.

One thing, however, was intact: his commitment to a
controversial conservative agenda centered on rewriting Japan’s
constitution. Conservatives see the 1947 pacifist charter,
never once altered, as embodying a liberal social order imposed
by the U.S. Occupation after Japan’s defeat in World War Two.

May 23, 2013

Japan’s wartime brothels were wrong, says 91-year-old veteran

SAGAMIHARA, Japan (Reuters) – When Masayoshi Matsumoto joined the Japanese army in 1943 and was sent to occupied China as a medic, he thought he was taking part in a righteous war to free Asia from the yoke of Western imperialism.

Seven decades later, the 91-year-old retired Christian pastor says it’s his mission to speak out about the injustice of the war and the sufferings of women, mostly Asian and many Korean, forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

May 16, 2013

U.S. stresses coordination after Japan PM’s aide visits North Korea

TOKYO (Reuters) – A U.S. envoy for North Korea sidestepped questions on Thursday on the nature of a surprise visit to Pyongyang by an aide to Japan’s prime minister, but said all sides tackling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions should coordinate closely.

Isao Iijima’s trip to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and his talks with senior officials there have irritated South Korea and analysts said possibly the United States as well, although China has been more positive about it.

May 16, 2013

Japan PM’s “Third Arrow” reforms seen short of overhaul

TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) – Anyone expecting a broad overhaul
of Japan’s economy that would remove barriers to competition
will likely be disappointed when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
launches his “Third Arrow” policy next month, but those with
more modest expectations may be pleased.

Abe has promised to make structural reform and deregulation
a key part of his growth strategy, the third tranche of his
“Abenomics” prescription after hyper-easy monetary policy and
big spending.

May 1, 2013

Japan PM’s “stealth” constitution plan raises civil rights fears

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shinzo Abe makes no secret of wanting to revise Japan’s constitution, which was drafted by the United States after World War Two, to formalize the country’s right to have a military – but critics say his plans go deeper and could return Japan to its socially conservative, authoritarian past.

Abe, 58, returned to office in December for a second term as prime minister and is enjoying sky-high support on the back of his “Abenomics” recipe for reviving the economy through hyper-easy monetary policy, big spending and structural reform.

Apr 24, 2013

Japan PM’s plans to break with past threaten more friction ahead

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a ceremony on Sunday to mark a day in history that few voters give much thought, he will also be quietly pushing his agenda to break free from Japan’s post-war pacifism that could risk inflaming regional tensions.

This week’s friction with China and South Korea over disputed territory and history showed once more that the past still looms large over diplomacy in East Asia.

    • 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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