Chief Correspondent, Political and General News
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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.

Nov 28, 2013

Japan defense update to stress air, sea safety amid China worries

TOKYO (Reuters) – An update of Japan’s long-term defense policy to be unveiled next month will call for stronger air and maritime surveillance capabilities and the improved ability to defend far-flung isles as concerns rise about China’s growing military assertiveness.

The policy review, in the works since hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office last December, is being finalised as tensions mount between Japan and China over tiny islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

Nov 26, 2013

Japan moves to enact strict secrets act despite press freedom fears

TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday moved closer
towards a law that would expand the definition of state secrets
and raise penalties for leaks, a provision critics say will
block access to information on sensitive areas, including the
nuclear industry.

Parliament’s lower house approved the state secrets act
after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party
agreed last week to revisions with small, conservative
opposition parties.

Nov 6, 2013

Japan collective self-defense should include others, not just U.S.: adviser

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan should change the interpretation of its constitution to allow its military to defend not only its ally, the United States, but also other countries whose interests are closely intertwined with Tokyo, a key security adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

The proposed change would represent a further stretching of the limits of Japan’s post-war, pacifist constitution and go beyond proposals that the country should only exercise its right of collective self-defense to aid forces of the United States, with which it has a formal alliance.

Oct 24, 2013

Japan secrecy act stirs fears about press freedom, right to know

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years.

Sep 10, 2013

Insight: Japan ponders Fukushima options, but Tepco too big to fail

TOKYO (Reuters) – Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco Electric’s response to the world’s worst atomic disaster in a quarter century has been called ad hoc and more concerned with cost than safety, but 30 months later, the utility is still in charge.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in the centerpiece of Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, said he would be personally responsible for a plan to cope with the legacy of the March 2011 disaster in which a massive earthquake and tsunami caused triple meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing some 160,000 residents to flee their homes.

Sep 10, 2013

Japan ponders Fukushima options, but Tepco too big to fail

TOKYO, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Fukushima nuclear plant operator
Tepco Electric’s response to the world’s worst atomic disaster
in a quarter century has been called ad hoc and more concerned
with cost than safety, but 30 months later, the utility is still
in charge.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in the centrepiece of Tokyo’s
successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, said he would be
personally responsible for a plan to cope with the legacy of the
March 2011 disaster in which a massive earthquake and tsunami
caused triple meltdowns, spewing radiation and forcing some
160,000 residents to flee their homes.

Sep 1, 2013

Japan government abandons hands-off approach to Fukushima clean-up

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government is moving to take a more direct role in the clean-up of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, as concerns grow over the ability of embattled operator Tokyo Electric to handle the legacy of the worst atomic disaster in a quarter century.

The concerns have also revived debate about the future of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) itself, including early-stage proposals to put its toxic nuclear assets under government control and leave the rest of the company as a provider of power to the nation’s biggest economic region.

Sep 1, 2013

Japan govt abandons hands-off approach to Fukushima clean-up

TOKYO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Japan’s government is moving to
take a more direct role in the clean-up of the wrecked Fukushima
nuclear plant, as concerns grow over the ability of embattled
operator Tokyo Electric to handle the legacy of the worst atomic
disaster in a quarter century.

The concerns have also revived debate about the future of
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) itself, including
early-stage proposals to put its toxic nuclear assets under
government control and leave the rest of the company as a
provider of power to the nation’s biggest economic region.

Aug 28, 2013

Interview: Japan’s Kono urges PM Abe to stop being coy over war dead shrine

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should clarify whether he will visit a Tokyo shrine seen in much of Asia as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism if he really wants to improve ties with China, a former moderate leader of Abe’s party said on Wednesday.

Chinese anger over Japanese politicians’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal are honoured, has strained ties already fraught over a dispute over tiny islands in the East China Sea.

    • 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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