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Nov 15, 2012

Ex-Japan PM in line for old job; will pragmatism top nationalism?

TOKYO (Reuters) – Five years after ending a brief tenure marked by nationalist rhetoric tempered with pragmatic diplomacy, scandals in his cabinet and a devastating election loss, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is poised for another shot at Japan’s top job.

That prospect is raising concerns that the 58-year-old grandson of a prime minister would worsen already chilly ties with China, while at home pressuring Japan’s central bank to take extraordinary steps such as negative interest rates to rescue the economy from recession, a policy prescription that on Thursday sent the yen tumbling.

Nov 15, 2012

Critics ask if Japan ex-PM learnt from mistakes as eyes top job again

TOKYO, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Five years after ending a brief
tenure marked by nationalist rhetoric tempered with pragmatic
diplomacy, scandals in his cabinet and a devastating election
loss, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is poised for another
shot at Japan’s top job.

That prospect is raising concerns that the 58-year-old
grandson of a prime minister would worsen already chilly ties
with China, while at home pressuring Japan’s central bank to
take extraordinary steps such as negative interest rates to
rescue the economy from recession, a policy prescription that on
Thursday sent the yen tumbling.

Nov 12, 2012

Japan PM eyes snap election after backing U.S-led trade pact

TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Under growing opposition pressure
to keep a promise to call an election “soon”, Japanese Prime
Minister Yoshihiko Noda looks to be leaning toward calling a
vote as early as next month, after pledging backing for a
controversial U.S.-led free trade pact.

The unpopular Noda may be hoping to emulate charismatic
leader Junichiro Koizumi’s bold election gamble in 2005 and use
a call for a major economic reform to ease the bashing his
Democratic Party is expected to suffer at the hands of
disappointed voters.

Nov 2, 2012

Japan’s parties seek to end playing chicken on fiscal cliff edge

TOKYO, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Japan looks poised to avoid falling
off its own version of a ‘fiscal cliff’ after the main
opposition party signalled it will no longer hold a critical
deficit financing bill hostage to its push for an early
election.

The government has warned that without the bill needed to
borrow nearly $480 billion and cover some 40 percent of budget
spending, it will run out of cash by the end of this month just
as the economy stands at risk of sliding into recession.

Sep 19, 2012

Analysis: Mistrust, rivalry and bad timing fan Japan-China row

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Japan’s central government confirmed a media leak on July 7 that it was considering buying islands at the core of a feud with Beijing, the timing could hardly have been worse given the symbolism in China, where a 1937 incident on that date is seen as the start of Tokyo’s full-fledged invasion of the country.

“To China, it looked as if Japan had done this on purpose with evil intentions,” said a Japanese source familiar with Tokyo’s stance on the row, adding the timing was accidental.

Sep 14, 2012

China surveillance ships near islands disputed with Japan

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) – Six Chinese surveillance ships briefly entered waters near disputed islands claimed by Tokyo and Beijing on Friday, raising tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies to their highest level since 2010.

Japan protested to China and urged that the situation not be allowed to escalate – an outcome neither side would welcome given the two countries’ tight economic links.

Sep 14, 2012

Japan seen exiting nuclear power by 2030s

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is expected on Friday to propose abandoning nuclear power by the 2030s, a major shift from policy goals set before last year’s Fukushima disaster that aimed to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply.

But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s unpopular government, which could face an election this year, also looks set to call in the meantime for the restart of reactors idled after the 2011 disaster if they are deemed safe by a new atomic regulator.

Sep 14, 2012

Japan seen exiting nuclear by 2030s under new policy

TOKYO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Japan is expected on Friday to
propose abandoning nuclear power by the 2030s, a major shift
from policy goals set before last year’s Fukushima disaster that
aimed to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half
of electricity supply.

But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s unpopular government,
which could face an election this year, also looks set to call
in the meantime for the restart of reactors idled after the 2011
disaster if they are deemed safe by a new atomic regulator.

Sep 12, 2012

Japan Osaka mayor seeks national power with new party

TOKYO (Reuters) – Popular Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto formally launches a bid for national power on Wednesday with a new political party that critics say taps simmering nationalist sentiment just as Japan faces increasingly strained ties with China and South Korea.

That tension has been growing in recent weeks as Beijing and Seoul both clash with Tokyo over rival claims to islands in the region, disputes that trace back to lingering resentment over Japan’s wartime rule in the region.

Sep 10, 2012

Japan energy deadlock deepens; government fails to announce policy mix

TOKYO (Reuters) – Deadlock in Japan between anti-nuclear activists and advocates of atomic power deepened on Monday as the government failed to produce an expected proposal to reduce the role of nuclear power in the country’s energy porfolio after the Fukushima disaster.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government had been widely expected to announce a decision on energy policy and a reduction of the share of nuclear power to 15 percent or less by 2030.

    • 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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