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Apr 24, 2013

Japan PM’s plans to break with past threaten more friction ahead

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a ceremony on Sunday to mark a day in history that few voters give much thought, he will also be quietly pushing his agenda to break free from Japan’s post-war pacifism that could risk inflaming regional tensions.

This week’s friction with China and South Korea over disputed territory and history showed once more that the past still looms large over diplomacy in East Asia.

Mar 27, 2013

History casts doubt on bold Japan economic reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – If past is precedent, optimists hoping Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will defy vested interests to take bold action to open the country to more competition as a way to spur growth could well be in for disappointment.

Japan’s list of reports urging reforms date back almost three decades and have rarely led to the bold action that critics say is needed to dig the economy out of stagnation.

Mar 26, 2013

Analysis: History casts doubt on bold Japan economic reform

TOKYO (Reuters) – If past is precedent, optimists hoping Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will defy vested interests to take bold action to open the country to more competition as a way to spur growth could well be in for disappointment.

Japan’s list of reports urging reforms date back almost three decades and have rarely led to the bold action that critics say is needed to dig the economy out of stagnation.

Mar 26, 2013

Japan election rulings show influence of elderly on policy

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese court rulings declaring December’s election invalid in some districts are highlighting an electoral system that critics say gives the rural elderly excessive influence compared with younger urbanites at elections.

That inclines politicians to push policies that favor welfare and protectionism at the expense of measures to boost economic growth, the critics say, and so could act as a drag on efforts to reform the economy and lower barriers to trade.

Mar 13, 2013

Japan needs competition, not industrial policy: Rakuten CEO

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government should steer clear of picking industrial winners and losers and focus on opening the economy to trade and competition as the best way to boost growth, but not all those advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agree on which strategy to stress, a member of a panel on industrial competitiveness said.

“We don’t have explicit confrontations and we don’t yell at each other in meetings, but I am sure that there are different philosophies about how, and how much, the government should be involved in creating the strategy and reforming particular industries,” Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of e-commerce operator Rakuten Inc (4755.OS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Mar 11, 2013

Japan PM Abe vows nation to emerge stronger from 2011 triple disasters

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Monday to speed up rebuilding from the huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that struck Japan’s northeast two years ago, promising that the nation would emerge stronger from its worst disaster since World War Two.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m., triggering tsunami waves as high as 30 meters (100 feet) that swept away residents and their homes. Nearly 19,000 people died and some 315,000 evacuees were stranded, including refugees from radiation spewed from the devastated Fukushima atomic plant.

Mar 11, 2013

Japan honours victims of 2011 quake, tsunami, nuclear disasters

TOKYO, March 11 (Reuters) – Japan honours the victims of its
worst disaster since World War Two on Monday: the March 11, 2011
earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that killed almost 19,000
people and stranded 315,000 evacuees, including refugees who
fled radiation from the devastated Fukushima atomic plant.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan at 2:46
p.m., triggering tsunami waves as high as 30 metres (100 feet)
that swept away residents and their homes.

Mar 7, 2013

Two years after Fukushima, Japan’s nuclear lobby bounces back

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) – The crowds of anti-nuclear
protesters have dwindled since Japan’s “Summer of Discontent”
last year, and a new government is keen to revive the country’s
atomic energy industry, but Morishi Izumita says he is not about
to throw in the towel.

“We can’t give up. I’m here every week,” said 64-year-old
Izumita, one of hundreds gathered outside the prime minister’s
office one Friday nearly two years after a huge earthquake and
tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since
Chernobyl in 1986 at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Feb 28, 2013

Japan PM Abe cites Thatcher reflections on Falklands war

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is embroiled in a row with China over tiny islands, on Thursday quoted former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s reflections on the 1982 Falklands war with Argentina to stress the importance of the rule of law at sea.

“Our national interests have been immutable. They lie in making the seas, which are the foundation of our nation’s existence, completely open, free and peaceful,” Abe said in a wide-ranging policy speech to parliament in which he also urged Japan to seek to become “No.1″ as an economic power.

Feb 27, 2013

Japan’s Abe aims to polish reform credentials with TPP trade decision

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears poised to raise the curtain on Act Three of his “Abenomics” drama with a decision to join talks on a U.S.-led free trade pact, seen by some as a test of his appetite for vital economic reform.

Abe’s first two acts – big spending and a push for hyper-easy monetary policy aimed at reviving the economy – have met little political opposition, since few vested interests are harmed.

    • 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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