Senior Correspondent, Japan Political and General News
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Jul 9, 2010

Japan’s first lady jokes about PM’s econ expertise

TOKYO (Reuters) – First lady Nobuko Kan may have been engaging in a traditional Japanese put-down of her nearest and dearest, but she touched a sore spot when she said what many are thinking — her husband is no economic expert.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has made fixing Japan’s tattered finances a top priority since taking office last month, but his hint at a possible sales tax rise eroded support ahead of an election on Sunday, in which voters may deliver his party a stinging rebuuke.

Jul 7, 2010

Whaling protester gets suspended jail term in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – A New Zealand activist who boarded a Japanese whaling vessel in an attempt to stop an annual whale hunt was given a two-year suspended sentence, a Japanese court said on Wednesday.

Regular attempts by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a hardline anti-whaling group, to block the annual whale hunt have sparked anger in Japan, where the government says whaling is an important cultural tradition.

Jul 4, 2010

Q+A-Japan’s politically touchy debate on sales tax hike

TOKYO, July 4 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto
Kan, who has made fiscal reform central to an election campaign
for a July 11 poll, wants to debate a future rise in the
politically touchy consumption tax to curb the nation’s soaring
public debt. [ID:nTOE66200S]

Kan’s call last month to discuss possibly doubling the 5
percent sales tax was a major shift from his Democratic Party’s
stance under his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, who had vowed not
to raise the tax for four years after taking power in 2009.

Jul 2, 2010

Celebrity candidates face tough road in Japan poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ruling party is hoping Olympic medallist Ryoko Tani will strike gold at the polls in a July 11 election, but fame alone may not be enough for her and other celebrity candidates trying to woo independent voters.

“If they think voters will cast ballots because of how famous candidates are, that would be very insulting,” said Naomi Saito, a 31-year-old employee at a music company.

Jun 24, 2010

Q+A-Japan’s politically touchy debate on sales tax hike

TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Naoto
Kan, who has made fiscal reform a top priority since taking
office two weeks ago, wants to debate a future rise in the
politically touchy consumption tax to curb the nation’s soaring
public debt.

Kan’s call last week to discuss doubling the 5 percent
sales tax was a major shift from his Democratic Party’s stance
under his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, who had vowed not to
raise the tax for four years after taking power in 2009 with
pledges to cut waste and give consumers more cash to boost
demand.

Jun 21, 2010

Japan PM eyes sales tax hike, voters divided

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Naoto Kan renewed his call on Monday for tax reform including a possible doubling of the sales tax to rein in Japan’s huge debt, as ratings agency Fitch warned the country needed a credible fiscal reform plan.

Support for Kan’s new government has fallen since he floated the idea of raising Japan’s 5 percent sales tax, surveys released on Monday showed as his party heads into a July 11 upper house election it needs to win to avoid policy deadlock.

Jun 21, 2010

Japan govt support drops amid sales tax debate

TOKYO, June 21 (Reuters) – Support for Japan’s government
fell after its new prime minister raised the prospect of a
future sales tax hike, polls showed on Monday, as ratings
agency Fitch warned the country needed a credible plan to cut
its huge debt.

But the ruling Democratic Party, which swept to power last
year promising change, kept its lead over its main opposition
rival ahead of an upper house election on July 11, which the
party needs to win to avoid policy deadlock.

Jun 4, 2010

Japan’s Kan set to become PM before election

TOKYO (Reuters) – Finance Minister Naoto Kan, a fiscal conservative once best known for battling bureaucrats, looked set to become Japan’s next premier on Friday, in a ruling party vote ahead of an upper house election next month.

Kan, 63, would become Japan’s fifth prime minister in three years, taking the helm as the country struggles to rein in a huge public debt, engineer growth in an ageing society, and manage ties with security ally Washington and a rising China.

Jun 3, 2010

Japan’s ruling Democrats manoeuvre before picking PM

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese ruling Democratic Party lawmakers manoeuvred on Thursday to pick a new leader, and hence premier, after fiscally conservative Finance Minister Naoto Kan threw his hat in the ring to replace unpopular Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who quit a day earlier ahead of an election.

The Democrats will vote on Friday to pick a new leader, but the political turmoil could delay efforts to thrash out plans set to be announced this month to cut Japan’s bulging public debt and craft a strategy to engineer economic growth in an ageing society.

Jun 2, 2010

Japan PM quits before election, yen sinks

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Wednesday he and his powerful party No. 2 would resign after a slide in the polls threatened their party’s chances in an election expected next month.

The yen sank to a two-week low against the dollar after Hatoyama became the fourth Japanese leader to leave office in a year or less, with some investors worried that political instability would make Japan’s weak economy more dependent on the Bank of Japan’s easy monetary policy.

    • About Yoko

      "I am based in Tokyo, covering Japan's political and general news, ranging from politics, diplomacy/defence to cultural and social issues. Before moving to my current position, I specialised in Japan's economic policy and macroeconomic news for about 10 years, with a concentration in reporting daily policy developments at Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Japan and other economic agencies."
      Joined Reuters:
      1996
      Languages:
      English, Japanese
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