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Jun 3, 2014

Japan’s Abe follows heart in N.Korea abductions, but must stay in tune with US

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shinzo Abe’s tough stance over Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea decades ago helped catapult him to a first, brief stint as Japan’s prime minister.

Back in office for well over a year, Abe is now pushing for answers in an issue that has dominated his career, but must ensure he does not fall out of step with Japan’s biggest ally, the United States.

May 29, 2014

As Asia frets over China, warmer welcome likely for Japan PM’s push

SINGAPORE/TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s message of a bigger global security role for Japan when he speaks at a regional forum this week is likely to find a receptive audience as concerns grow in Asia about China – although some will refrain from clapping too loud for fear of offending Beijing.

While Japan has a festering dispute with China over islands in the sea between the two Asian economic giants, tensions have also spiked between Beijing and several Southeast Asian nations over rival claims to the oil and gas-rich South China Sea.

May 22, 2014

Vietnam eyes Philippine court case while weighing options on China row

TOKYO (Reuters) – Vietnam is closely watching how the Philippines fares in an international court over its maritime territorial dispute with China, as Hanoi seeks to resolve peacefully its row with Beijing in the South China Sea, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Dam repeated Hanoi’s demand that China withdraw a huge oil rig deployed by Chinese state oil company CNOOC 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam in waters also claimed by Hanoi. But he said Vietnam was not setting a deadline for Beijing to meet its demand.

May 15, 2014

Japan PM Abe: should review interpretation of legal limits on military

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a review of legal limits on the military’s ability to fight overseas on Thursday, signalling a potential landmark change in a security policy long constrained by the pacifist, post-war constitution.

Seeking to address concerns among Asian neighbours such as rival China as well as wary Japanese voters, the conservative Japanese leader also pledged that Japan would stick to a peaceful path and not again become a “country that wages war”.

May 15, 2014

Japan PM eyes landmark change on limits to military combat abroad

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a review of legal limits on the military’s ability to fight overseas on Thursday, signaling a potential landmark change in a security policy long constrained by the pacifist, post-war constitution.

Seeking to address concerns among Asian neighbors such as rival China as well as wary Japanese voters, the conservative Japanese leader also pledged that Japan would stick to a peaceful path and not again become a “country that wages war”.

May 14, 2014

Japan PM to pitch security change to divided voters, wary partner

TOKYO (Reuters) – Would Japan send its military to defend the Philippines if it was attacked by China? That’s the kind of question Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could well face as he pushes for a landmark change to security policy.

Abe’s private advisers will on Thursday present him with a report urging a loosening of legal limits on Japan’s military, including an end to a decades-old ban on helping allies under attack that has kept Japanese forces from fighting abroad since World War Two.

May 7, 2014

Japan PM adviser says revision of pacifist constitution vital

TOKYO (Reuters) – The idea that Japan can improve its security without dropping a long-standing ban on aiding friendly countries under attack is a miracle that just won’t happen, the acting head of an advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

Abe has made clear that he wants to lift the ban on so-called collective self-defense to bolster security ties with the United States as China expands its military and North Korea develops its nuclear capabilities.

Apr 27, 2014

U.S., Japan unlikely to wrap up trade deal by May TPP talks-Japan official

TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) – Japan and the United States have
found “common ground” to forge a two-way trade deal, but may
not be able to resolve remaining sticking points in time for a
mid-May meeting of top negotiators seeking a broad regional
deal, a senior Japanese official said.

Marathon talks during U.S. President Barack Obama’s state
visit to Tokyo last week yielded progress – hailed by the two
sides as a “key milestone” – but the two sides stopped short of
announcing a deal vital to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),
a 12-nation bloc that would extend from Asia to Latin America.

Apr 25, 2014

Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama wrapped up a state visit to Japan on Friday during which he assured America’s ally that Washington would come to its defense, but failed to clinch a trade deal key his “pivot” to Asia and to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reforms.

Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been seeking to display the alliance was strong in the face of a rising China, but their success in putting recent strains behind them was partly marred by a failure to reach a trade deal seen as crucial to a broader regional pact.

Apr 24, 2014

Obama to use Japan visit to reassure Asian allies

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that his real aim is to contain Beijing’s rise.

Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America’s security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats.

    • 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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