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Oct 2, 2014

Japan’s Obuchi: Political “princess” could be first female PM

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) – With a telegenic presence, powerful
ruling party mentors and a talent for avoiding making political
enemies, Japan’s new trade and industry minister, Yuko Obuchi,
may have what it takes to become the country’s first female
prime minister.

In Tokyo’s male-dominated corridors of power, where
seniority still matters, Obuchi’s gender and youth would in the
past have made her a long-shot – at best – to succeed Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sep 26, 2014

U.S.-Japan trade talks hit new farm exports snag

WASHINGTON/TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) – U.S.-Japan trade talks
hit a rough patch this week with both sides blaming the other
for a stalemate over farm exports, a major hurdle in concluding
an ambitious 12-nation trade pact.

Bilateral talks between U.S. Trade Representative Michael
Froman and Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari in Washington
broke up early on Wednesday, midway through the second day,
according to people close to the talks.

Sep 16, 2014

Japan PM’s liberal newspaper critic is humbled by errors

TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) – It was a rare role reversal for
Japan’s influential Asahi newspaper, which is known for exposing
wrongdoing in high places, when its president stood before
cameras to bow, apologise and pledge to restore his
organisation’s credibility.

Tadakazu Kimura told more than 100 reporters packed into a
second-floor room at Asahi headquarters that the newspaper was
withdrawing a controversial article on the Fukushima nuclear
crisis that it now said was erroneous. It was also apologising
for belatedly retracting decades-old articles on wartime
atrocities based on an account later found to be fictitious.

Sep 4, 2014

Japan’s First Lady speaks out on sales tax, nuclear power

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japanese First Lady Akie Abe -
often called the “domestic opposition” for her penchant to speak
out – said on Thursday the country should consider cutting
wasteful spending and boosting the economy before going ahead
with a rise in the sales tax to 10 percent, as her husband
wrestles with just that decision.

Mrs. Abe is a rarity among Japan’s First Ladies, most of
whom have stayed in the background. While her outspokenness wins
praise from fans, some cynics suspect that Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s aides welcome her role as softening the image of a leader
seen by detractors as a nationalist with pro-business policies.

Sep 4, 2014

Japan’s First Lady speaks out ahead of sales tax decision

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese First Lady Akie Abe said on Thursday the country should consider cutting wasteful spending and boosting the economy before going ahead with a rise in the sales tax to 10 percent, as her husband wrestles with just that decision.

“Considering the falling birth rate and ageing society, it probably can’t be helped,” Akie Abe told Reuters in an interview on Thursday at the prime minister’s official residence, referring to an eventual rise in the sales tax.

Sep 3, 2014

Japan PM Abe appoints China-friendly lawmakers to key posts

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked two veteran lawmakers with friendly ties to China for top party posts on Wednesday in an apparent signal of hope for a thaw in chilly ties with Beijing and a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The change in executives in Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is part of a broad leadership rejig, including a cabinet reshuffle, which is aimed at strengthening party unity and polishing Abe’s image.

Sep 2, 2014

Japan’s Abe to co-opt rival, draft more women in cabinet reshuffle

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to co-opt a rival and draft more women to spruce up his image while keeping key ministers when he reshuffles his cabinet on Wednesday, a rejig dictated more by political dynamics than policy matters.

Abe has not revamped his cabinet since returning to office in December 2012, a record for a post-World War Two premier. That means dozens of veterans in his male-dominated Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are eager to be tapped for a post.

Sep 2, 2014

Japan’s ‘Abenomics’ feared in trouble as challenges build

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan for Japan’s economy to generate self-sustained growth on the back of his three policy “arrows” of massive monetary easing, spending and reform appears to be faltering – but no magic solution is in sight.

Abe’s aides and advisers are promising to forge ahead with painful structural reforms, while spreading the benefits of “Abenomics” to regional areas and drafting a long-term vision for addressing Japan’s shrinking population.

Aug 28, 2014

Japan’s Abe eyes more women in cabinet; ministers may struggle to make mark

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to boost the number of female ministers when he reshuffles his cabinet next week in a show of commitment to promoting women, but the appointees may struggle to convince skeptics they are more than tokens.

Abe has made a push to get more women into the workforce to fill gaps due to an aging, shrinking population a linchpin of his “Abenomics” growth plan. His growth strategy, unveiled in June, set a target of raising the proportion of women corporate managers to 30 percent by 2020 from 7.5 percent last year.

Aug 19, 2014

Japan’s polarising PM Abe learns the long game

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shinzo Abe is one of Japan’s most polarizing prime ministers in decades. He may also have a good shot at becoming that rarity in Japanese politics – a long-serving leader.

Whether that proves to be the case depends on whether Abe, who surged back to power 20 months ago for a second shot at Japan’s top job, can temper his conservative ideology with pragmatism and keep his pledges to end two decades of economic stagnation.

    • 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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