Chief Correspondent, Political and General News
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Jun 2, 2015

Japanese government seeks to reassure public over pension data leak

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government sought on Tuesday to assure the Japanese public their pensions were not at risk after a big data leak, an incident with echoes of a scandal that helped oust Abe during his first term in office.

The leak, underscoring what critics have long charged is Japan’s vulnerability to cyber attacks, coincide with Abe’s push to legislate a big shift from post-war pacifism, keep a nascent recovery on track and craft plans to rein in public debt.

May 26, 2015

China-led lender adds urgency to Japan’s pursuit of pan-Pacific trade pact

TOKYO, May 26 (Reuters) – China’s drive to create a
Beijing-led Asian development bank seen as a threat to U.S. and
Japanese regional clout is adding to a sense of urgency among
Japanese officials keen to get a 12-nation pan-Pacific trade
pact off the ground.

Japan hopes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help
anchor ally Washington in Asia and create a rule-based regime
that would eventually draw in China. Beijing, for its part, is
seeking to reshape Asia’s economic architecture with
institutions such as the new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB).

May 21, 2015

Japan unveils $110 bln plan to fund Asia infrastructure, eye on AIIB

TOKYO, May 21 (Reuters) – Japan unveiled a plan on Thursday
to provide $110 billion in aid for Asian infrastructure
projects, as China prepares to launch a new institutional lender
that is seen as encroaching on the regional financial clout of
Tokyo and its ally Washington.

The amount of Japanese funds, to be invested over 5 years,
tops the expected $100 billion capitalisation of the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Beijing-sponsored
lender scheduled to begin operations next year.

May 19, 2015

Western scholars press Japan’s Abe on war history

TOKYO (Reuters) – More than 450 mostly Western scholars have signed a letter urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to confront boldly Japan’s wartime past, the latest sign that the conservative leader has not erased concern that he wants to dilute past apologies.

During a high-profile trip to the United States last month, Abe expressed “repentance” over Japan’s role in World War Two in a speech to Congress. But the scholars’ letter suggests his public contrition has not eased foreign misgivings.

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.

    • 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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