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Oct 20, 2014

Setback for Japan PM as trade minister quits, media say another resign

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suffered his biggest setback since taking office in 2012 on Monday as his new trade and industry minister resigned over questionable political spending and media said the justice minister had also decided to quit.

The blows could complicate tough decisions on key policies, including whether to go ahead with an unpopular plan to raise the national sales tax and planned restarts of nuclear reactors that were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Oct 19, 2014

Japan METI minister expected to resign in blow to PM Abe: media

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s new trade and industry minister was expected to resign on Monday, domestic media said, over allegations that her support groups misused political funds, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he faces tough policy decisions including whether to raise an already unpopular sales tax.

Yuko Obuchi, 40, the daughter of a prime minister and tipped as a future contender to become Japan’s first female premier, was one of five women appointed by Abe in a cabinet reshuffle less than two months ago. The appointments were intended to boost his popularity and show his commitment to promoting women as part of his “Abenomics” strategy to revive the economy.

Oct 19, 2014

Resignation of Japan minister over scandal seen imminent -media

TOKYO, Oct 19 (Reuters) – In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe, Japan’s new trade and industry minister will resign as soon
as Sunday over allegations that groups backing her misused
political funds, Japanese media said.

Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime
minister, plans to report on her investigation of the
questionable funding on Monday and then submit her resignation
to Abe, the Nikkei and Sankei newspapers said on Sunday.

Oct 19, 2014

In blow to Abe, Japan minister to quit as soon as Sunday over funds scandal – media

TOKYO (Reuters) – In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s new trade and industry minister will resign as soon as Sunday over allegations that groups backing her misused political funds, Japanese media said.

Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister, plans to report on her investigation of the questionable funding on Monday and then submit her resignation to Abe, the Nikkei and Sankei newspapers said on Sunday.

Oct 17, 2014

Japan PM sends offering to war dead shrine, angering China

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine on Friday, prompting sharp rebukes from China and South Korea even as Abe seeks meetings with their leaders to improve strained ties.

The shrine is seen by critics such as China, parts of which were occupied by Japan before and during World War Two, and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization persist, as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, because it honors wartime leaders convicted by an Allied tribunal as war criminals along with millions of war dead.

Oct 17, 2014

Japan PM Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Friday, a move that might complicate his push for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to improve frayed ties between the world’s second and third-biggest economies.

A group of other Japanese lawmakers paid their respects at the shrine – seen by critics at home and abroad as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism – on Friday, the start of the country’s autumn festival, a Reuters witness said.

Oct 16, 2014

Japan’s trade minister apologises over reports political funds misused

TOKYO (Reuters) – In a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his newly appointed trade minister was ensnared in controversy on Thursday after reports that her political funds were spent buying theatre tickets for supporters and goods from relatives’ businesses.

Abe picked Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former prime minister, to head the powerful ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI) in a cabinet reshuffle in early September. She was among five women given top jobs, as Abe sought to bolster his government’s popularity with voters.

Oct 10, 2014

Japan PM Abe’s growth plan hits new obstacle: Daycare NIMBY

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to help women juggle work and family are hitting a roadblock: opposition to building new daycare centers from residents who fear noise from children playing will spoil their quiet neighborhoods.

The number of Japanese children is falling due to a low birth rate but many pre-schoolers are nonetheless on daycare waiting lists because of a shortage of facilities. Abe has vowed to fix the problem as part of plans to get more women working to offset a shrinking, aging population and boost economic growth.

Oct 8, 2014

Japan sees growing chance of Abe holding talks with China’s Xi

TOKYO (Reuters) – Expectations are growing in Japan that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for an ice-breaking chat next month, while an aide signaled Abe may postpone visits to a shrine for war dead that have infuriated Beijing in the past.

Any talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific leaders gathering in Beijing in November would likely be well-choreographed, but without the trappings of a formal summit, a Japanese diplomatic source said.

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.

    • 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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