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Apr 21, 2015

Japanese PM Abe makes ritual offering at Yasukuni shrine

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering on Tuesday to a controversial Tokyo shrine for war dead, a senior spokesman said, a day before he hopes to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a leaders’ summit in Jakarta.

Abe sent an evergreen shrub in honor of Japan’s war dead, a gesture likely to anger China, though the timing of the offering – a day before it is traditionally made – was seen as an attempt to avoid a diplomatic embarrassment at Wednesday’s summit.

Apr 20, 2015

Japan’s Abe says ready to meet China’s Xi at Jakarta summit

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he was ready to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at an Asian-African summit in Jakarta this week if the chance arises, the latest sign of hope for a further thaw in Tokyo’s troubled ties with Beijing.

Abe is expected to make brief remarks on Wednesday at the summit, which will be closely watched for his stance on Japan’s wartime aggression amid concerns he wants to tone down past apologies. The tenor of his comments could determine whether he gets face time with the Chinese leader, some experts said.

Apr 15, 2015

Japan ruling party panel summons media bosses over news shows

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ruling party is summoning officials from two major media organizations for questioning about news shows, an aide to a lawmaker said, the latest in what some experts say is a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to quell criticism.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) information and telecommunications strategy panel will question officials from broadcaster TV Asahi and NHK public TV on Friday, an aide to lawmaker Jiro Kawasaki, who heads the committee, told Reuters.

Apr 12, 2015

Japan Abe’s bloc wins two key governor races, bolstering policy push

TOKYO (Reuters) – Candidates backed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc won two key governor elections on Sunday, setting the stage for him to push through divisive policies to boost defense and restart nuclear reactors shut after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Exit polls showed incumbent governors backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and smaller coalition partner Komeito were assured victory in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido and in Oita in the south, Japanese media reported.

Apr 9, 2015

Japan Emperor mourns Japanese, U.S. war dead on Pacific isle

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two this year, offered flowers and prayers on Thursday at a memorial to those who died in a fierce fighting on the Pacific isle of Peleliu.

About 10,000 Japanese defenders, fighting in the name of Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, died in a two-month battle in 1944 on Palau’s tiny Peleliu island along with about 1,600 American troops. Unaware Japan had surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, 34 Japanese soldiers hid in the jungle until April 1947.

Apr 8, 2015

Japan emperor heads for WW2 battlefield as war memories haunt Asia

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Emperor Akihito heads on Wednesday for the island nation of Palau where he will visit a World War Two battlefield, the latest journey in his efforts to soothe the wounds of a conflict that haunts Asia 70 years after its end.

Some 10,000 Japanese defenders, fighting in the name of Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, died in a two-month battle in 1944 on Palau’s tiny Peleliu island along with about 1,600 American troops. Unaware Japan had surrendered on Aug. 15, 1945, 34 Japanese soldiers hid in the jungle until April 1947.

Apr 1, 2015

Japan PM Abe to craft war history comments with eye on U.S.

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses Japan’s wartime past in a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, the reaction of ally Washington will likely be as much, if not more, on his mind than that of Asian nations that suffered from Japanese military aggression.

U.S. officials have welcomed Abe’s push to strengthen the alliance and give Japan a bigger global security role less constrained by its pacifist constitution. But they have also made clear they are loath to see Abe stir regional tensions with comments that critics could construe as whitewashing history.

Mar 23, 2015

Indonesian president says China’s main claim in South China Sea has no legal basis

JAKARTA/TOKYO (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo says one of China’s main claims to the majority of the South China Sea has no legal basis in international law, but Jakarta wants to remain an “honest broker” in one of Asia’s most sensitive territorial dispute.

Widodo’s comments in an interview with a major Japanese newspaper come as he embarks on a visit to Japan and China and is the first time he has taken a position on the issue since coming to power in October.

Mar 20, 2015

Seventy years on, Japan, U.S. remember epic Iwo Jima battle

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Yoshitaka Shindo was a boy, he did not hear much from his family about his grandfather Tadamichi Kuribayashi, commander of the Japanese troops who fought and died in the bloody battle of Iwo Jima.

The battle, in which nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines and almost 22,000 Japanese defenders died, was etched in America’s memory by an Associated Press photo of six soldiers raising the U.S flag on the small volcanic island’s Mount Suribachi.

Mar 17, 2015

Japan ex-ruling party chief urges Abe to erase doubts over war history

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must erase doubts – sparked by his own words and deeds – that he wants to water down accounts of Japan’s wartime wrongs, a former leader of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party said on Tuesday.

Yohei Kono, who as chief cabinet secretary issued a landmark 1993 apology over women forced to work in wartime military brothels, said one source of such doubts was Abe’s push for a more muscular military unfettered by the pacifist constitution.

    • 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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