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Feb 20, 2014

Aides give Japan’s Abe a headache on history, U.S. alliance

TOKYO (Reuters) – Remarks by aides to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about U.S.-Japan ties and the wartime past are giving the Japanese leader a political headache as he seeks to soothe strains with key ally Washington amid rising regional tensions.

Investors have begun to worry that Abe, who took office in December 2012 pledging to revive the economy, is shifting more attention to his conservative agenda to bolster Japan’s military and recast history with a less apologetic tone.

Feb 15, 2014

Japan PM keen to cut corporate tax rate – chief cabinet secretary

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is determined to cut Japan’s corporate tax rate, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, a step experts say could boost the global competitiveness of Japanese companies and make the country more attractive to foreign investment.

Suga, who serves as the government’s top spokesman and is one of Abe’s most trusted aides, also said Japan’s participation in talks on a U.S.-led free trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was a vital part of Abe’s growth strategy, the “Third Arrow” in his “Abenomics” policy that also includes hyper-easy monetary policy and fiscal spending.

Feb 15, 2014

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary rejects charges country lurching toward militarism

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most influential aide on Saturday rejected criticism from China that Japan is lurching toward militarism and said Tokyo would keep seeking dialogue with both Beijing and Seoul, ties with which have been badly strained by rows over territory and wartime history.

Sino-Japanese ties, long plagued by China’s bitter memories of Tokyo’s wartime aggression, have worsened since a feud over disputed East China Sea islands flared in 2012. Relations with South Korea are also badly frayed by a separate territorial row and the legacy of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization.

Feb 12, 2014

Japan on backfoot in global PR war with China after Abe shrine visit

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japan risks losing a global PR battle with China after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial shrine for war dead and comments by other prominent figures on the wartime past helped Beijing try to paint Tokyo as the villain of Asia.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by territorial rows, regional rivalry and disputes stemming from China’s bitter memories of Japan’s occupation of parts of the country before and during World War Two. Relations chilled markedly after a feud over disputed East China Sea isles flared in 2012.

Feb 9, 2014

Japan ruling party candidate elected Tokyo governor, aiding Abe

TOKYO, Feb 9 (Reuters) – A candidate backed by Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe won Sunday’s election for governor of Tokyo,
frustrating a rival’s efforts to make the vote a referendum on
the Japanese leader’s pro-nuclear energy policy nearly three
years after the Fukushima disaster

The widely-expected victory by former health minister Yoichi
Masuzoe comes as a relief for Abe, who had suffered a rare
setback in another local election last month.

Feb 8, 2014

Japan PM-backed candidate seen ahead as Tokyo voters go to polls

TOKYO (Reuters) – Voters in Japan’s capital go to the polls on Sunday with a candidate backed by the ruling party likely to win the race to become governor, frustrating rivals’ efforts to make the vote a referendum on the prime minister’s pro-nuclear energy policy.

Media surveys have shown a former health minister, Yoichi Masuzoe, backed by ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), far ahead of ex-prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who has made opposition to nuclear power the top of his platform.

Feb 4, 2014

Insight: Japan unease over U.S. alliance adds fuel to Abe’s security shift

TOKYO (Reuters) – In public, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government lists a more assertive China and a volatile North Korea as its top security concerns.

Behind the scenes, though, another concern is growing: that the United States may one day be unable or unwilling to defend Japan, interviews with Abe advisers, politicians and security experts show. The worries are adding momentum to Abe’s drive to beef up Japan’s air and naval forces while loosening constitutional limits on action its military can take abroad.

Feb 4, 2014

Japan unease over U.S. alliance adds fuel to Abe’s security shift

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) – In public, Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe’s government lists a more assertive China and a
volatile North Korea as its top security concerns.

Behind the scenes, though, another concern is growing: that
the United States may one day be unable or unwilling to defend
Japan, interviews with Abe advisers, politicians and security
experts show. The worries are adding momentum to Abe’s drive to
beef up Japan’s air and naval forces while loosening
constitutional limits on action its military can take abroad.

Jan 22, 2014

Japan’s former PM challenges Abe’s energy policy in Tokyo race

TOKYO (Reuters) – Former Japanese premier Morihiro Hosokawa pledged on Wednesday to push the nation to abandon nuclear power if elected governor of Tokyo next month in a race that could affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policy and political clout.

Hosokawa, 76, backed by charismatic former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, is billing the February 9 vote as a referendum on Abe’s efforts to restart reactors taken offline after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and to make atomic energy a key power source.

Jan 20, 2014

Japan’s Abe suffers setback with Okinawa election loss

TOKYO (Reuters) – A city mayor opposed to a plan to relocate a controversial U.S. airbase on Japan’s Okinawa island was re-elected on Sunday, creating a political headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and threatening friction with Washington.

Delays in relocating the U.S. Marines’ Futenma air base, a move first agreed between Tokyo and Washington in 1996, have long been an irritant in U.S.-Japan ties and Abe is keen to make progress on the project as he seeks tighter ties with the United States in the face of an assertive China.

    • 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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