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Dec 27, 2013

Analysis: Japan’s Abe bets U.S. alliance, ratings can weather shrine visit

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a shrine for war dead outraged China and South Korea, and also upset Washington and his government coalition partner – but he appears confident the alliances and his popularity will not be affected.

On Thursday, Abe became the first Japanese premier in seven years to pay his respects at Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with those who died in battle.

Dec 26, 2013

Japanese PM Abe visits shrine for war dead, China angered

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday, a temple seen as a symbol of Japan’s World War Two militarism, prompting a swift and sharp rebuke from China.

The first serving prime minister to visit the shrine in seven years, Abe however said he had no intention of hurting the sentiments of Japan’s neighbors.

Dec 26, 2013

Japan PM Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine for war dead

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead on Thursday, a move likely to anger Asian neighbors China and South Korea.

Tokyo’s relations with Beijing and Seoul are already strained by territorial rows and disputes stemming from Japan’s wartime occupation of large parts of China and its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean peninsula.

Dec 17, 2013

Japan to bolster military, boost Asia ties to counter China

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will boost its military spending in coming years, buying early-warning planes, beach-assault vehicles and troop-carrying aircraft, while seeking closer ties with Asian partners to counter a more militarily assertive China.

The planned 2.6 percent increase over five years, announced on Tuesday, reverses a decade of decline and marks the clearest sign since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office a year ago that he wants a bigger military role for Japan as tension flares with Asia’s other big power over islands both claim.

Dec 15, 2013

Japan PM to push security agenda next year with fresh urgency

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely push with fresh urgency next year a bid to ease legal limits on the Japanese military’s ability to fight shoulder to shoulder with allies overseas, a goal that eluded him in his first troubled term.

Lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defence would mark a major turning point for Japan’s post-war security policy and could increase tensions in the region, where a row over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea encapsulates growing Sino-Japanese mistrust.

Dec 15, 2013

Analysis: Japan PM to push security agenda next year with fresh urgency

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely push with fresh urgency next year a bid to ease legal limits on the Japanese military’s ability to fight shoulder to shoulder with allies overseas, a goal that eluded him in his first troubled term.

Lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense would mark a major turning point for Japan’s post-war security policy and could increase tensions in the region, where a row over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea encapsulates growing Sino-Japanese mistrust.

Dec 9, 2013

Japan PM Abe’s ratings slide after state secrets act

TOKYO (Reuters) – Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slid in opinion polls after his ruling coalition steamrolled through parliament a tough secrecy act that critics fear could muzzle media and allow officials to hide misdeeds.

Shrinking support could push Abe, who took power last year pledging to revive a stagnant economy, to softpedal his security policies until next year’s budget is enacted and a sales tax hike from April is safely navigated, some analysts said.

Dec 6, 2013

Japan enacts strict state secrets law despite protests

TOKYO, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Japan enacted a state-secrets law
toughening penalties for leaks on Friday, despite public
protests and criticism that it will muzzle the media and help
cover up official misdeeds.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, keen to beef up Japan’s security
amid rising concerns about China’s military assertiveness, has
said the law is needed to the smooth operation of a new National
Securities Council and to persuade foreign countries such as
close ally the United States to share intelligence.

Dec 5, 2013

Japan state secrets bill on track to become law despite protests

TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) – A Japanese state secrets bill
toughening penalties for leaks came a step closer to becoming
law on Thursday when ruling parties forced it through a
parliamentary panel amid protests it will muzzle the media and
help cover up official misdeeds.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to pass the law coincides
with a worldwide debate on secrecy after former U.S. National
Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents on
intelligence agencies’ extensive collection of data about
ordinary citizens and a U.S. Army private leaked masses of
sensitive documents to anti-secrecy group Wikileaks.

Nov 29, 2013

With new air zone, China tests U.S. dominance in East Asia

HONG KONG/TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s new air defense zone, stretching far into East Asia’s international skies, is an historic challenge to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.

For years, Chinese naval officers have told their U.S. counterparts they are uncomfortable with America’s presence in the western Pacific – and Beijing is now confronting strategic assumptions that have governed the region since World War Two.

    • 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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