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Oct 19, 2014

In blow to Abe, Japan minister to quit as soon as Sunday over funds scandal – media

TOKYO (Reuters) – In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s new trade and industry minister will resign as soon as Sunday over allegations that groups backing her misused political funds, Japanese media said.

Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister, plans to report on her investigation of the questionable funding on Monday and then submit her resignation to Abe, the Nikkei and Sankei newspapers said on Sunday.

Oct 17, 2014

Japan PM sends offering to war dead shrine, angering China

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine on Friday, prompting sharp rebukes from China and South Korea even as Abe seeks meetings with their leaders to improve strained ties.

The shrine is seen by critics such as China, parts of which were occupied by Japan before and during World War Two, and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization persist, as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, because it honors wartime leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals along with millions of war dead.

Oct 17, 2014

Japan PM Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Friday, a move that might complicate his push for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to improve frayed ties between the world’s second and third-biggest economies.

A group of other Japanese lawmakers paid their respects at the shrine – seen by critics at home and abroad as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – on Friday, the start of the country’s autumn festival, a Reuters witness said.

Oct 16, 2014

Japan’s trade minister apologises over reports political funds misused

TOKYO (Reuters) – In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his newly appointed trade minister was ensnared in controversy on Thursday after reports that her political funds were spent buying theatre tickets for supporters and goods from relatives’ businesses.

Abe picked Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister, to head the powerful ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI) in a cabinet reshuffle in early September. She was among five women given top jobs, as Abe sought to bolster his government’s popularity with voters.

Oct 10, 2014

Japan PM Abe’s growth plan hits new obstacle: Daycare NIMBY

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to help women juggle work and family are hitting a roadblock: opposition to building new daycare centers from residents who fear noise from children playing will spoil their quiet neighborhoods.

The number of Japanese children is falling due to a low birth rate but many pre-schoolers are nonetheless on daycare waiting lists because of a shortage of facilities. Abe has vowed to fix the problem as part of plans to get more women working to offset a shrinking, aging population and boost economic growth.

Oct 8, 2014

Japan sees growing chance of Abe holding talks with China’s Xi

TOKYO (Reuters) – Expectations are growing in Japan that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for an ice-breaking chat next month, while an aide signaled Abe may postpone visits to a shrine for war dead that have infuriated Beijing in the past.

Any talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders gathering in Beijing in November would likely be well-choreographed, but without the trappings of a formal summit, a Japanese diplomatic source said.

Oct 2, 2014

Japan’s Obuchi: Political “princess” could be first female PM

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) – With a telegenic presence, powerful
ruling party mentors and a talent for avoiding making political
enemies, Japan’s new trade and industry minister, Yuko Obuchi,
may have what it takes to become the country’s first female
prime minister.

In Tokyo’s male-dominated corridors of power, where
seniority still matters, Obuchi’s gender and youth would in the
past have made her a long-shot – at best – to succeed Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sep 26, 2014

U.S.-Japan trade talks hit new farm exports snag

WASHINGTON/TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) – U.S.-Japan trade talks
hit a rough patch this week with both sides blaming the other
for a stalemate over farm exports, a major hurdle in concluding
an ambitious 12-nation trade pact.

Bilateral talks between U.S. Trade Representative Michael
Froman and Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari in Washington
broke up early on Wednesday, midway through the second day,
according to people close to the talks.

Sep 16, 2014

Japan PM’s liberal newspaper critic is humbled by errors

TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) – It was a rare role reversal for
Japan’s influential Asahi newspaper, which is known for exposing
wrongdoing in high places, when its president stood before
cameras to bow, apologise and pledge to restore his
organisation’s credibility.

Tadakazu Kimura told more than 100 reporters packed into a
second-floor room at Asahi headquarters that the newspaper was
withdrawing a controversial article on the Fukushima nuclear
crisis that it now said was erroneous. It was also apologising
for belatedly retracting decades-old articles on wartime
atrocities based on an account later found to be fictitious.

Sep 4, 2014

Japan’s First Lady speaks out on sales tax, nuclear power

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japanese First Lady Akie Abe –
often called the “domestic opposition” for her penchant to speak
out – said on Thursday the country should consider cutting
wasteful spending and boosting the economy before going ahead
with a rise in the sales tax to 10 percent, as her husband
wrestles with just that decision.

Mrs. Abe is a rarity among Japan’s First Ladies, most of
whom have stayed in the background. While her outspokenness wins
praise from fans, some cynics suspect that Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s aides welcome her role as softening the image of a leader
seen by detractors as a nationalist with pro-business policies.

    • 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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