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Mar 15, 2012

Exclusive – Japan’s Ozawa warns PM against sales tax hike

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese ruling party heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa threatened to vote against bills to increase the sales tax, the latest sign of trouble for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his battle to fix the nation’s tattered finances.

Analysts say if the proposals are voted down, Noda, Japan’s sixth leader in five years, will be under pressure to resign.

Mar 7, 2012

Insight: Japan missed tsunami wake-up call for change

TOKYO (Reuters) – Three months after Japan’s March 11 triple disaster, a long-time expert on the country arrived in Tokyo to research a book he intended to entitle “Rebirth of a Nation.”

Months later, Richard Samuels is calling his work “The Rhetoric of Crisis.”

Mar 7, 2012

Japan missed tsunami wake-up call for change

TOKYO, March 7 (Reuters) – Three months after Japan’s
March 11 triple disaster, a long-time expert on the country
arrived in Tokyo to research a book he intended to entitle
“Rebirth of a Nation.”

Months later, Richard Samuels is calling his work “The
Rhetoric of Crisis.”

Mar 5, 2012

Japan near deal with U.S. on Iran oil, wary of China on defense

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan and the United States are close to an agreement on cuts in Japanese imports of Iranian oil that will allow Tokyo to avoid U.S. sanctions, and may conclude a deal this month, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told Reuters on Monday.

But Gemba said the two sides might not make public the size of the cuts because of the possible impact on markets.

Feb 22, 2012

Japan mayor’s call for a “dictator” strikes chord with voters

TOKYO (Reuters) – “What Japan needs most now is a dictator.”

Toru Hashimoto, a lawyer and TV celebrity-turned politician,

was quick to add when he made that widely publicized remark last year that a Hitler-style dictatorship was neither desirable nor possible given Japan’s democratic checks and balances.

But the call for strong leadership from the charismatic mayor, whom some believe has ambitions to be Japan’s next premier, is resonating with voters frustrated by years of political deadlock that has kept the country from tackling the deep-rooted problems of a fast-ageing society.

Feb 17, 2012

Nuclear crisis turns Japan ex-PM Kan into energy apostle

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nearly a year after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the spectre of an even bigger crisis forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence.

“Having experienced the 3/11 nuclear disaster, I changed my way of thinking. The biggest factor was how at one point, we faced a situation where there was a chance that people might not be able to live in the capital zone including Tokyo and would have to evacuate,” Kan told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Feb 17, 2012

Nuclear crisis makes Japan ex-PM Kan an energy apostle

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nearly a year after a huge quake and tsunami sparked Japan’s Fukushima nuclear crisis, then-premier Naoto Kan is haunted by the specter of an even bigger disaster forcing tens of millions of people to flee Tokyo and threatening the nation’s existence.

“Having experienced the 3/11 nuclear disaster, I changed my way of thinking. The biggest factor was how at one point, we faced a situation where there was a chance that people might not be able to live in the capital zone including Tokyo and would have to evacuate,” Kan told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Feb 13, 2012

Japan minister threatens to block Tepco bailout

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) – Japan’s trade minister
threatened on Monday to block a plan to rescue Tokyo Electric
Power Co with a $13 billion injection of public funds unless the
government gets more say in running the struggling operator of
the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Fukushima plant was wrecked by a quake and tsunami last
March, triggering the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years
and swamping the firm with huge clean-up, compensation and
decommissioning costs, as well as a big fossil fuel bill.

Feb 13, 2012

Japan atomic power defenders: keep ability to build nuclear weapons

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO, Feb 13(Reuters) – Japan’s nuclear power
advocates have pulled out all the stops since the Fukushima
crisis, even arguing that the only nation to suffer an atomic
attack needs to keep its ability to build its own nuclear
weapons.

Once, merely the public suggestion that Japan should debate
ending its ban on such weaponry was enough to get a politician
fired. But worries about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and an
expanding Chinese military are eroding that taboo .

Feb 1, 2012

Analysis:Nuclear crisis bolsters Japan push for utilities reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mayor Nobuto Hosaka had more than saving taxpayers’ money on his mind when he recently invited bids from rivals of giant utility Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to supply power to his ward in Japan’s capital.

Hosaka, like other advocates of reform, hopes altered public sentiment after the nation suffered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a 25 years will spur reforms of an electricity oligopoly dominated for decades by regional utility fiefdoms.

    • 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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