Chief Correspondent, Political and General News
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Dec 15, 2013

Analysis: Japan PM to push security agenda next year with fresh urgency

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely push with fresh urgency next year a bid to ease legal limits on the Japanese military’s ability to fight shoulder to shoulder with allies overseas, a goal that eluded him in his first troubled term.

Lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense would mark a major turning point for Japan’s post-war security policy and could increase tensions in the region, where a row over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea encapsulates growing Sino-Japanese mistrust.

Dec 9, 2013

Japan PM Abe’s ratings slide after state secrets act

TOKYO (Reuters) – Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slid in opinion polls after his ruling coalition steamrolled through parliament a tough secrecy act that critics fear could muzzle media and allow officials to hide misdeeds.

Shrinking support could push Abe, who took power last year pledging to revive a stagnant economy, to softpedal his security policies until next year’s budget is enacted and a sales tax hike from April is safely navigated, some analysts said.

Dec 6, 2013

Japan enacts strict state secrets law despite protests

TOKYO, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Japan enacted a state-secrets law
toughening penalties for leaks on Friday, despite public
protests and criticism that it will muzzle the media and help
cover up official misdeeds.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, keen to beef up Japan’s security
amid rising concerns about China’s military assertiveness, has
said the law is needed to the smooth operation of a new National
Securities Council and to persuade foreign countries such as
close ally the United States to share intelligence.

Dec 5, 2013

Japan state secrets bill on track to become law despite protests

TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) – A Japanese state secrets bill
toughening penalties for leaks came a step closer to becoming
law on Thursday when ruling parties forced it through a
parliamentary panel amid protests it will muzzle the media and
help cover up official misdeeds.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to pass the law coincides
with a worldwide debate on secrecy after former U.S. National
Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents on
intelligence agencies’ extensive collection of data about
ordinary citizens and a U.S. Army private leaked masses of
sensitive documents to anti-secrecy group Wikileaks.

Nov 29, 2013

With new air zone, China tests U.S. dominance in East Asia

HONG KONG/TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s new air defense zone, stretching far into East Asia’s international skies, is an historic challenge to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.

For years, Chinese naval officers have told their U.S. counterparts they are uncomfortable with America’s presence in the western Pacific – and Beijing is now confronting strategic assumptions that have governed the region since World War Two.

Nov 28, 2013

Japan defense update to stress air, sea safety amid China worries

TOKYO (Reuters) – An update of Japan’s long-term defense policy to be unveiled next month will call for stronger air and maritime surveillance capabilities and the improved ability to defend far-flung isles as concerns rise about China’s growing military assertiveness.

The policy review, in the works since hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office last December, is being finalised as tensions mount between Japan and China over tiny islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Nov 26, 2013

Japan moves to enact strict secrets act despite press freedom fears

TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday moved closer
towards a law that would expand the definition of state secrets
and raise penalties for leaks, a provision critics say will
block access to information on sensitive areas, including the
nuclear industry.

Parliament’s lower house approved the state secrets act
after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party
agreed last week to revisions with small, conservative
opposition parties.

Nov 6, 2013

Japan collective self-defense should include others, not just U.S.: adviser

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan should change the interpretation of its constitution to allow its military to defend not only its ally, the United States, but also other countries whose interests are closely intertwined with Tokyo, a key security adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

The proposed change would represent a further stretching of the limits of Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution and go beyond proposals that the country should only exercise its right of collective self-defense to aid forces of the United States, with which it has a formal alliance.

Oct 24, 2013

Japan secrecy act stirs fears about press freedom, right to know

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.

Sep 10, 2013

Insight: Japan ponders Fukushima options, but Tepco too big to fail

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco Electric’s response to the world’s worst atomic disaster in a quarter century has been called ad hoc and more concerned with cost than safety, but 30 months later, the utility is still in charge.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in the centerpiece of Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, said he would be personally responsible for a plan to cope with the legacy of the March 2011 disaster in which a massive earthquake and tsunami caused triple meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing some 160,000 residents to flee their homes.

    • 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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