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May 18, 2015

Osaka’s colourful mayor and potential ally of Japan PM says to quit politics

TOKYO (Reuters) – A potential ally for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to revise the post-war, pacifist constitution – and one of Japan’s most colourful politicians – has said he’ll leave politics after his party suffered defeat in a local referendum.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, founder of Japan’s second largest opposition party and perhaps best known abroad for his 2013 comments that appeared to excuse Japan’s “comfort women” system of wartime military brothels, said late on Sunday that he would leave politics when his term as mayor expires in December.

May 14, 2015

Abe’s cabinet approves Japan security bills; voters wary, confused

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s cabinet approved on Thursday bills to implement a drastic shift in security policy allowing the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two, although the public is divided and wary over the changes.

The planned changes, reflected in new U.S.-Japan defense guidelines unveiled last month, set the stage for Japan to play a bigger role in the bilateral alliance as Tokyo and Washington face challenges such as China’s growing military assertiveness.

Apr 27, 2015

PM Abe’s party eyes revision of Japan pacifist constitution by late 2018

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party wants to revise Japan’s constitution by late 2018 to remove constraints on his defense strategy, a key party lawmaker said, an ambitious target since the charter has not been changed since Americans drafted it after World War Two.

Abe has already stretched the post-war pacifist constitution with a dramatic shift in security policy that ends a ban on Japan’s military fighting overseas.

Apr 24, 2015

PM Abe’s message to U.S.: Japan no free-rider on defense, so be there for us

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send a clear message to the United States when he visits Washington next week: Japan is ready to take more responsibility for security on the world stage.

Behind that message, the conservative leader will want fresh assurances that America will show up if needed in any clash with China, conversations with politicians and experts show.

Apr 22, 2015

Japan says PM Abe will meet China’s Xi in Indonesia

TOKYO/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia on Wednesday, a Japanese government official said, the latest sign of a thaw in relations between the Asian rivals.

Sino-Japanese ties have chilled in recent years due to feuds over the two neighbors’ wartime past as well as territorial rows and regional rivalry. A meeting on Wednesday between the two leaders could promote a cautious rapprochement that began when Abe and Xi met at a summit in Beijing late last year.

Apr 22, 2015

Japan says PM Abe hopes to meet China’s Xi in Indonesia

TOKYO (Reuters) – Final arrangements are being made for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia on Wednesday, Japan’s top government spokesman said.

Sino-Japanese ties have chilled in recent years due to feuds over the two neighbours’ wartime past as well as territorial rows and regional rivalry. A meeting on Wednesday between the two leaders could promote a cautious rapprochement that began when Abe and Xi met at a summit in Beijing late last year.

Apr 21, 2015

Japanese PM Abe makes ritual offering at Yasukuni shrine

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering on Tuesday to a controversial Tokyo shrine for war dead, a senior spokesman said, a day before he hopes to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Jakarta.

Abe sent an evergreen shrub in honor of Japan’s war dead, a gesture likely to anger China, though the timing of the offering – a day before it is traditionally made – was seen as an attempt to avoid a diplomatic embarrassment at Wednesday’s summit.

Apr 20, 2015

Japan’s Abe says ready to meet China’s Xi at Jakarta summit

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he was ready to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at an Asian-African summit in Jakarta this week if the chance arises, the latest sign of hope for a further thaw in Tokyo’s troubled ties with Beijing.

Abe is expected to make brief remarks on Wednesday at the summit, which will be closely watched for his stance on Japan’s wartime aggression amid concerns he wants to tone down past apologies. The tenor of his comments could determine whether he gets face time with the Chinese leader, some experts said.

Apr 15, 2015

Japan ruling party panel summons media bosses over news shows

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ruling party is summoning officials from two major media organizations for questioning about news shows, an aide to a lawmaker said, the latest in what some experts say is a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to quell criticism.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) information and telecommunications strategy panel will question officials from broadcaster TV Asahi and NHK public TV on Friday, an aide to lawmaker Jiro Kawasaki, who heads the committee, told Reuters.

Apr 12, 2015

Japan Abe’s bloc wins two key governor races, bolstering policy push

TOKYO (Reuters) – Candidates backed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc won two key governor elections on Sunday, setting the stage for him to push through divisive policies to boost defense and restart nuclear reactors shut after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Exit polls showed incumbent governors backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and smaller coalition partner Komeito were assured victory in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido and in Oita in the south, Japanese media reported.

    • 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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