Chief Correspondent, Political and General News
Linda's Feed
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.

Mar 27, 2013

History casts doubt on bold Japan economic reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – If past is precedent, optimists hoping Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will defy vested interests to take bold action to open the country to more competition as a way to spur growth could well be in for disappointment.

Japan’s list of reports urging reforms date back almost three decades and have rarely led to the bold action that critics say is needed to dig the economy out of stagnation.

Mar 26, 2013

Analysis: History casts doubt on bold Japan economic reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – If past is precedent, optimists hoping Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will defy vested interests to take bold action to open the country to more competition as a way to spur growth could well be in for disappointment.

Japan’s list of reports urging reforms date back almost three decades and have rarely led to the bold action that critics say is needed to dig the economy out of stagnation.

Mar 26, 2013

Japan election rulings show influence of elderly on policy

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese court rulings declaring December’s election invalid in some districts are highlighting an electoral system that critics say gives the rural elderly excessive influence compared with younger urbanites at elections.

That inclines politicians to push policies that favor welfare and protectionism at the expense of measures to boost economic growth, the critics say, and so could act as a drag on efforts to reform the economy and lower barriers to trade.

Mar 13, 2013

Japan needs competition, not industrial policy: Rakuten CEO

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government should steer clear of picking industrial winners and losers and focus on opening the economy to trade and competition as the best way to boost growth, but not all those advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agree on which strategy to stress, a member of a panel on industrial competitiveness said.

“We don’t have explicit confrontations and we don’t yell at each other in meetings, but I am sure that there are different philosophies about how, and how much, the government should be involved in creating the strategy and reforming particular industries,” Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of e-commerce operator Rakuten Inc (4755.OS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

    • 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."
    • Follow Linda