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Jan 15, 2013

Japan’s Abe turns to South East Asia to counter China

TOKYO/JAKARTA (Reuters) – The last time he was prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe’s inaugural foreign trip was to China. In the job again 7 years later and relations with Beijing now chilly, Abe is turning first this time to the rising economic stars of Southeast Asia.

A hawkish Abe wants them to help counterbalance the growing economic and military might of China at a time when Japan needs new sources of growth for its languishing economy and is debating whether to make its own military more muscular.

Jan 14, 2013

Japan’s Abe rolls out strategic PR, policy campaign

TOKYO (Reuters) – Buoyed by a December election landslide, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rolling out a comprehensive PR strategy mixing Facebook, public appearances and policy announcements to prop up voter ratings ahead of a crucial July poll in an effort to avoid becoming just the latest of the country’s short-term leaders.

Backed by media-savvy advisers, Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) hope to stay in power long enough to implement a broader agenda going well beyond reviving a stagnant economy to altering a pacifist constitution, seeking a bigger global security role and revising Japan’s take on its wartime history.

Jan 13, 2013

Analysis: Japan’s Abe rolls out strategic PR, policy campaign

TOKYO (Reuters) – Buoyed by a December election landslide, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rolling out a comprehensive PR strategy mixing Facebook, public appearances and policy announcements to prop up voter ratings ahead of a crucial July poll in an effort to avoid becoming just the latest of the country’s short-term leaders.

Backed by media-savvy advisers, Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) hope to stay in power long enough to implement a broader agenda going well beyond reviving a stagnant economy to altering a pacifist constitution, seeking a bigger global security role and revising Japan’s take on its wartime history.

Jan 11, 2013

Analysis: Glimmer of Japan reform hope among clouds of skepticism

TOKYO (Reuters) – Doubting politicians’ commitment to economic reform is a tough habit for Japan experts to kick, so the air of cautious optimism around the appointments of dynamic CEOs to advise on boosting industrial competitiveness comes as a bit of a surprise.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who returned to power last month after his business-friendly Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) big election win, has prescribed a potent mix of government spending and easy money to revive a stagnant economy. But critics question whether he will also tackle the more painful structural reforms needed for longer-term growth.

Jan 11, 2013

Glimmer of Japan reform hope among clouds of scepticism

TOKYO (Reuters) – Doubting politicians’ commitment to economic reform is a tough habit for Japan experts to kick, so the air of cautious optimism around the appointments of dynamic CEOs to advise on boosting industrial competitiveness comes as a bit of a surprise.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who returned to power last month after his business-friendly Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) big election win, has prescribed a potent mix of government spending and easy money to revive a stagnant economy. But critics question whether he will also tackle the more painful structural reforms needed for longer-term growth.

Jan 8, 2013

Japan needs women power to galvanize economy: party

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan must put more women in key posts to boost its economy and to prove its ruling party has changed its hidebound ways, the party’s top spokeswoman said on Tuesday, just days after two female party executives clashed over quotas for women managers.

“To mobilize women would create a breakthrough in Japan’s economy. This itself would change the paradigm of Japan’s economy and ought to be ensconced as part of our growth strategy,” said Yuriko Koike, a multilingual former defense minister who was appointed head of the LDP’s public relations headquarters after the party surged back to power last month.

Dec 26, 2012

Japan Abe taps allies for cabinet, pledges deflation fight

TOKYO, Dec 26 (Reuters) – New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe vowed on Wednesday to battle deflation and a strong yen, and
bolster ties with the United States as he kicked off a second
administration committed to reviving the economy while coping
with a rising China.

A hawk on security matters, Abe, 58, has promised aggressive
monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and big fiscal spending by
the debt-laden government to slay deflation and weaken the yen
to make Japanese exports more competitive.

Dec 26, 2012

Japan’s Abe set for second term, to tap allies for cabinet

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shinzo Abe will be voted in as prime minister by parliament’s lower house on Wednesday, giving the hawkish lawmaker a second chance at Japan’s top job as the country battles deflation and confronts a rising China.

Abe, 58, whose party surged back to power in this month’s election, has promised a two-pronged policy of aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and big fiscal spending by the debt-laden government to slay deflation and rein in the strong yen that makes Japanese exports more costly.

Dec 21, 2012

Analysis: Japan’s new cabinet likely to be long on loyalty, short on reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet looks likely to be heavy on close allies, with a few party rivals added to fend off criticism of cronyism, but few see signs that the line-up will produce creative reform policies.

Abe, who will be voted in as prime minister on Wednesday following his conservative Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) sweeping election win, has made clear his top priority is to slay deflation with a huge dose of monetary easing and spending.

Dec 19, 2012

Aristocratic ex-Olympic shooter tipped as Japan finance minister

TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Three years after suffering a
crushing election defeat, former Prime Minister Taro Aso – a
one-time Olympic skeet shooter – is back in government with a
new enemy in his sights: the persistent deflation that is
dragging down Japan’s economy.

Prime Minister-to-be Shinzo Abe, another former premier, is
set to tap the 72-year-old Aso for the key finance portfolio,
domestic media said, after their conservative Liberal Democratic
Party (LDP) surged back to power in a lower house election on
Sunday that turned the tables on the ruling Democratic Party.

    • 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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