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Dec 22, 2014

Sony hack puts Japan’s Abe in bind over North Korea abductee talks

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. accusations that North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures could force Japan to choose between backing its ally Washington and keeping talks on track with Pyongyang about Japanese citizens abducted decades ago.

Washington is weighing how to punish North Korea after the FBI concluded Pyongyang was responsible, including possibly returning North Korea to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea has denied that it was to blame.

Dec 20, 2014

Japan, South Korea condemn Sony hack; Chinese paper says movie is senseless

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan and South Korea condemned a hacking attack on Sony Pictures that the United States has blamed on North Korea and said they would cooperate in international efforts against cyber-crime as asked for by Washington.

The government of China, North Korea’s only major ally, has yet to respond to the U.S. call, but a state-run newspaper denounced Sony’s comedy woven around a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as senseless and arrogant.

Dec 14, 2014

Abe coalition secures big Japan election win with record low turnout

TOKYO, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s coalition cruised to a big election win on Sunday,
ensuring he will stick to reflationary economic policies and a
muscular security stance, but record low turnout pointed to
broad dissatisfaction with his performance.

NHK public TV said Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and junior
partner the Komeito party were assured more than the 317 seats
in the 475-member lower house required to maintain a two-thirds
“super-majority” that smoothes parliamentary business.

Dec 14, 2014

PM Abe’s ruling party eyes big gains in snap Japan election

TOKYO, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party
looks set for a huge win on Sunday in an election that will
allow the conservative leader to claim a fresh mandate for his
reflationary policies to revive Japan’s long-stagnant economy.

Voting began at 7 a.m. for an election that the premier has
cast as a referendum on his “Abenomics” strategy to end
deflation and generate growth. Media exit polls, which have
proved reliable in the past, will come out at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT).

Dec 13, 2014

PM Abe’s ruling party eyes big gains in low-voltage Japan vote

TOKYO, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party
looks set for a huge win on Sunday in a low-voltage election
that will allow the conservative leader to claim a fresh mandate
for his reflationary policies to revive Japan’s long-stagnant
economy.

Voting began at 7 a.m. (2200 GMT) for an election that the
premier has cast as a referendum on his “Abenomics” strategy to
end deflation and generate growth. Media exit polls, which have
proved reliable in the past, will come out at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT).

Dec 11, 2014

Japan PM Abe’s base aims to restore past religious, patriotic values

TOKYO (Reuters) – As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promises voters a bright future for Japan’s economy, key parts of his conservative base want him to steer the nation back toward a traditional ethos mixing Shinto myth, patriotism and pride in an ancient imperial line.

Proponents say such changes are needed to revive important aspects of Japanese culture eradicated by the U.S. Occupation after World War Two and to counter modern materialism.

Dec 4, 2014

Japan PM Abe’s coalition may keep super-majority in election-media projections

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party may increase its seats and his coalition keep its two-thirds majority in parliament’s lower house, media projections showed, allowing him to claim a fresh mandate for his economic revival policies.

The conservative premier called the Dec. 14 election after just two years in office as a referendum on his “Abenomics” strategy, following his decision last month to postpone a planned rise in the sales tax to 10 percent from 8 percent.

Dec 2, 2014

Japan opposition, too weak to take power, aims to dim Abe’s luster

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s main opposition party, its image still tarnished two years after losing power, isn’t even pretending to have a shot at ousting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition in a Dec. 14 election. It does hope to give him a black eye, though.

Abe’s ruling bloc is virtually assured of keeping power in a vote he has dubbed a referendum on his “Abenomics” recipe to end entrenched deflation and generate growth.

Nov 30, 2014

In fading Japan hinterland, scepticism doubt ‘Abenomics’ will cure ills

AKITA CITY, Japan (Reuters) – Mihoko Asaka wants to know how candidates in this month’s election in Japan will create jobs and halt the drastic population decline that is bleeding her home region of youth and vitality, but has little hope they will offer real solutions.

Like many of his age group, her 25-year-old son left the largely rural prefecture of Akita in northeastern Japan to find work after graduating from college.

Nov 24, 2014

Low voter turnout could erode Japan PM Abe’s call for fresh mandate

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese voters, puzzled as to why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is calling an election now and unimpressed by opposition alternatives, may shun a Dec. 14 election in record numbers.

That could help Abe’s ruling coalition win the poll for parliament’s lower house, but also erode any claim of a new, strong mandate for his economic revival plan.

    • 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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