Category Archives: Japan’s home policy and society

Japan’s home policy and society

16 FEBRUARY 2018

Abe’s constitutional change no cause for fear

Many analysts believe that 2018 will be the year Abe makes a push to revise Article 9, which outlaws war and offensive forces. Abe is buoyed by the October 2017 electoral victory of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But Abe’s ruling coalition may become an obstacle to his plans

10 FEBRUARY 2018

Ishimure, key figure in Minamata battle, dies at 90

Japanese activist Michiko Ishimure, who won acclaim for her literary works about Minamata mercury poisoning disease patients, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease here Feb. 10. She was 90

23 JANUARY 2018

Lacking manpower, Japanese firms court women

Japan’s population is aging and its workforce is shrinking, so more and more companies are wooing female workers with subsidised childcare and flexible hours, while promoting women to management positions. Find out more and hear from the women themselves in this episode of Spotlight


Japan’s Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30, 2019, government announces

Akihito, who will be succeeded by Crown Prince Naruhito, will be the first emperor to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne in about 200 years

20 NOVEMBER 2017

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refuses to relax immigration rules despite shrinking population

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has insisted his administration has “no intention” of loosening the country’s strict immigration policy despite warnings about its fast shrinking – and ageing – population

1st NOVEMBER 2017

Japan’s Shinzo Abe re-elected prime minister after big election win

Japan’s Shinzo Abe was re-elected prime minister on Wednesday after his ruling bloc’s big election win last month and days before a visit by US President Donald Trump that is expected to be dominated by concerns over a volatile North Korea

31 OCTOBER 2017

Japan’s Democratic Party taps Upper House member Kohei Otsuka as new party president

The Democratic Party elected Upper House member Kohei Otsuka as new party president on Tuesday following the formal resignation of Seiji Maehara the previous day

22 OCTOBER 2017

Coalition retains two-thirds majority in victory for Japan’s PM Abe

The ruling coalition regained a two-thirds majority in the Oct. 22 Lower House election, giving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe another victory in his bid to stay in power

3 OCTOBER 2017

In Japan, Yukio Edano’s liberal party officially launched

The new party formed by Yukio Edano of the Democratic Party submitted a notice of establishment to the internal affairs minister on Tuesday morning


Japan’s Lower House dissolved, new general election on October 22

Japan’s Lower House of the Diet has been dissolved for a snap election. Japan’s Cabinet has set the date for a snap general election on October 22nd. The campaign will begin on October 10th


Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike forms ‘Party of Hope’ before Japanese election

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is set to reshape national politics with the formation of a new party and a new attack on the status quo


Japan’s Abe announces snap election amid worries over North Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would dissolve parliament’s lower house on Thursday for a snap election, seeking a mandate to stick to his tough stance towards a volatile North Korea and rebalance the social security system

1st SEPTEMBER 2017

Japan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party, selects former foreign minister Seiji Maehara as its new leader

Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party selected former foreign minister Seiji Maehara as its new leader on Friday amid its struggle to become a viable alternative to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)

29 AUGUST 2017

Kim Jong-un’s latest provocation may strengthen Shinzo Abe’s hand at home because ‘it looks like he’s doing something’

In a break with a long-running cautious defence stance, members of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party have called for Japan to arm itself with long-range offensive weapons

28 AUGUST 2017

Tsutomu Hata, known for brief stint as prime minister, dies at 82

Former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, who served 14 terms in the Lower House, died Monday morning at the age of 82

8 AUGUST 2017

 Haruo Nakajima, actor who played the original Godzilla, dies aged 88

 Haruo Nakajima, the actor who stomped in a rubber suit to portray the original 1954 Godzilla, helping to make the Japanese monster an iconic symbol of the nuclear era, has died. He was 88

3 AUGUST 2017

Japan’s new top diplomat Taro Kono is son of official who wrote landmark 1993 apology to ‘comfort women’

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Taro Kono is known as an outspoken, reform-minded politician unafraid of questioning the party line

28 JULY 2017

Japan defense minister quits amid plunging support for PM

Embattled Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Friday said she was resigning, after a series of gaffes, missteps and a cover-up at her ministry that have contributed to a sharp plunge in public support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s-resignation-Kishida-to-run-Defense-Ministry

27 JULY 2017

Renho resigns as main opposition Democratic Party leader

Democratic Party leader Renho said Thursday she will step down as the head of Japan’s largest opposition party following its poor performance in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election earlier this month

3 JULY 2017

Yuriko Koike: 10 things about the Tokyo governor who just trumped Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s new party and its allies scored a sweeping victory against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Sunday’s Tokyo metropolitan assembly election

2 JULY 2017

Japan PM’s party suffers historic defeat in Tokyo poll, popular governor wins

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party suffered an historic defeat in an election in the Japanese capital on Sunday, signalling trouble ahead for the premier, who has suffered from slumping support because of a favouritism scandal

15 JUNE 2017

Japan passes controversial anti-terror law despite protests

Japan has passed a controversial law targeting conspiracies to commit terrorism and other serious crimes, despite a warning by the UN that it could be used to crack down on civil liberties

9 JUNE 2017

Japanese parliament passes law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate

Japan’s parliament passed a law on Friday that clears the way for its ageing Emperor Akihito to step down, in what would be the first imperial abdication in more than two centuries

2 JUNE 2017

Japan lower house OKs bill allowing emperor to abdicate

Japan’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Friday that allows ageing Emperor Akihito to step down and calls for a rare debate on the role of women in the male-dominated monarchy

19 MAY 2017

Emperor Akihito: Japan’s government approves abdication bill

The Japanese government has approved legislation that will permit Emperor Akihito to abdicate the Chrysanthemum throne, becoming the first emperor to step down in more than two centuries

3 MAY 2017

Abe declares 2020 as goal for new Constitution

In an unprecedented declaration, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he hopes to see a revised Constitution take effect in 2020, revealing the clearest goal yet of his long-held ambition to amend the national charter, which has remained untouched since its inception seven decades ago

5 APRIL 2017

The Rise of Women in Japanese Politics

Japanese women are making great strides in Japan’s political arena. Notable milestones include the emergence of a female leader in the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ)

5 MARCH 2017

New rules give Japan’s Shinzo Abe chance to lead until 2021

Japan’s ruling party on Sunday (March 5) extended term limits for its leaders, a change that gives Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a shot at becoming Japan’s longest-serving post-war leader

13 FEBRUARY 2017

Cult Japanese director Seijun Suzuki dies aged 93

 Celebrated Japanese film director Seijun Suzuki, best known for cult 1960s yakuza films Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, has died at the age of 93. Suzuki died on 13 February, with the cause given as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a statement from Nikkatsu film studios

11 FEBRUARY 2017

Jiro Taniguchi, Japanese manga visionary who ‘bridged two worlds of cartoon art’, dies aged 69

Jiro Taniguchi, a legend in Japan’s comic art of manga, died in Tokyo on Saturday at the age of 69, leaving behind an international following for his exquisite line drawing of scenes from everyday life


Does contemporary Japan need religion?

By Michael Hoffman the author of “In the Land of the Kami: A Journey into the Hearts of Japan” and “Other Worlds.”

27 JANUARY 2017

Foreign workers in Japan hit 1 million for the first time

The number of foreign workers in Japan surpassed 1 million for the first time last year, as the labour-strapped country struggles to find enough Japanese workers

11 JANUARY 2017

Japan’s Emperor Akihito ‘to abdicate on New Year’s Day 2019’

Japan’s emperor will abdicate and allow his eldest son to ascend the chrysanthemum throne on New Year’s Day 2019, media reports said, as the government prepares legal changes for the country’s first abdication for two centuries

22 DECEMBER 2016

Japan’s 2016 births likely fell below 1 mln for 1st time

The number of annual births in Japan is set to fall below 1 million this year for the first time since data became available in 1899, reflecting a fast-ageing society and the high cost of childcare, Japanese media reported on Thursday

27 OCTOBER 2016

Emperor Hirohito’s younger brother, Prince Mikasa, dead at 100

The uncle of Emperor Akihito has died at age 100. The death of Prince Mikasa leaves only four heirs to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne, amid questions about the future of the 2,600-year-old monarchy

17 OCTOBER 2016

Japan begins discussions on emperor’s abdication

A six-member advisory panel holds its first meeting on Monday (Oct 17) to discuss a critical issue facing the Imperial system: Emperor Akihito’s wish to abdicate in a few years’ time due to his old age

3 OCTOBER 2016

Japanese microbiologist Yoshinori Ohsumi wins Nobel in medicine for autophagy research

Japanese microbiologist Yoshinori Ohsumi on Monday won the 2016 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his work on cell autophagy, a process that helps the body remove unwanted proteins


Weak opposition is a cancer in Japan’s political system

For close to 40 years after 1955, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) dominated Japan’s competitive party system. Opposition parties were not able to mount a successful challenge to LDP rule at the national level, but they had an important impact on policy and the political process. Japan had one dominant party but not a one-party system


Half-Taiwanese Renho becomes first woman to lead Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party

 Japan’s Democratic Party selected acting leader Renho as its new leader Thursday, making the 48-year-old the first woman to head the nation’s main opposition party

8  AUGUST 2016

In a moving video message, Japanese Emperor signals wish to abdicate in near future

In an unprecedented prerecorded video message aired Monday, Emperor Akihito expressed concern about how his advanced age is affecting the performance of his public duties. The speech was widely interpreted as conveying his wish to abdicate in the near future

31 JULY 2016

Tokyo elects Yuriko Koike as first woman governor

Former environment minister Yuriko Koike of the Liberal Democratic Party was elected the capital’s first female governor on Sunday by a wide margin

24 JULY 2016

Can Abe revise Japan’s peace constitution?

 Since the 10 July upper house election in Japan there has been widespread speculation that the government will move to formally revise the country’s constitution including the Article 9 ‘peace clause’. This now appears possible since the Abe-led Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), along with its junior coalition partner Komeito and sympathetic micro-sized right-leaning opposition parties, controls the two-thirds majorities in both houses needed to take constitutional amendments to a referendum

13 JULY 2016

Japan’s Emperor Akihito plans to step down, according to report

The Japanese Emperor Akihito, who has spent much of his time on the throne trying to heal the wounds of the second world war, intends to abdicate in a few years’ time, public broadcaster NHK has reported, a step that would be unprecedented in modern Japan

10 JULY 2016

Ruling bloc scores big in Japanese Upper House, bringing Constitution closer to amendment bid

The Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling coalition scored a sweeping victory in the Upper House election Sunday that gave the Diet’s pro-revision forces the two-thirds majority needed to initiate Japan’s first constitutional referendum, early media projections showed

19 JUNE 2016

Thousands protest US military presence on Okinawa

Thousands of demonstrators have rallied on the Japanese island of Okinawa against the heavy US military presence and violent crimes by American personnel that have angered residents for décades

15 JUNE 2016

Tokyo governor resigns amid allegations of lavish personal spending

The reports say Governor Yoichi Masuzoe submitted the resignation Wednesday morning. The resignation is said to take effect on June 21

7 JUNE 2016

Japan and its immigration policies are growing old

Japan is experiencing a serious demographic crunch. About 27 per cent of the Japanese population is over the age of 65 and there are 1.4 million fewer people today than there were in 2007

26 APRIL 2016

Japan eyes more foreign workers, stealthily challenging immigration taboo

Desperately seeking an antidote to a rapidly aging population, Japanese policymakers are exploring ways to bring in more foreign workers without calling it an « immigration Policy »

19 APRIL 2016

Japan plans final push to bring home its war dead

From the icy wastes of Siberia to the jungle-clad interior of the Solomon Islands, and from the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean to the border of India and modern-day Myanmar, more than 2.4 million Japanese who were killed during World War II remain unaccounted for

28 MARCH 2016

Largest opposition party formed in Japan

The largest Japanese opposition party since the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration formed in late 2012 was established here on Sunday, eyeing confrontation with the Abe-led ruling bloc in the summer’s upper house election.

4 MARCH 2016

Japan to suspend construction for US base relocation in Okinawa

Japan’s government will accept a court-mediated settlement plan and suspend construction work for the planned relocation of a US airbase in Okinawa and will begin a new round of talks with local authorities who want the base moved off the island

26 FEBRUARY 2016

Japan’s population shrinks for the first time on census record

Japan’s population declined in 2015 for the first time since the national census began in 1920, but Tokyo is still growing, according to preliminary figures released by the internal affairs ministry on Feb. 26.

24 FEBRUARY 2016

DPJ, Japan Innovation Party to merge ahead of Upper House election

The Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Innovation Party have agreed to merge in the latest–and boldest–move by the opposition camp to battle the ruling coalition in the Upper House election.


Reforming Japan’s labour market

Japan’s labour market situation is improving. The unemployment rate of 3.1 per cent in October 2015 was the lowest for 20 years. And, although improvement has been slow, wage growth has een accelerating. But Japan’s labour market still faces several serious issues.

31 JANUARY 2016

Labor shortage fuels record influx of foreign workers in Japan

Japan’s labor shortage has led to companies recruiting a record number of foreign workers, with 908,000 in the nation at the end of October 2015, labor ministry figures revealed Jan. 29

28 JANUARY 2016

Japan’s embattled economy minister Amari resigns over graft claims

Embattled economic minister Akira Amari on Thursday resigned over a graft scandal involving the misappropriation of funds within his office, dealing a hard blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.

20 JANUARY 2016

The Battle for Okinawa

The Forgotten Island Has Its Say

10 DECEMBER 2015

Japanese scientists receive Nobel prizes

Two Japanese scientists, Takaaki Kajita and Satoshi Omura, have received Nobel Prizes. Kajita, a winner in physics, and Omura, a laureate in physiology or medicine, attended the award ceremony in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, on Thursday

Japan needs immigrants to boost population or could lose to China – minister

Japan should craft an « integrated » immigration policy to cope with its shrinking population, or risk losing out to an ageing China in competition for vital foreign workers, the cabinet minister for administrative reform said on Thursday (December 10)


30 NOVEMBER 2015

Manga fans around the world are mourning the death of famed Japanese artist Shigeru Mizuki

Known for having popularised horror manga globally, Mr Mizuki was best known for his series Gegege no Kitaro, about a young boy fighting monsters based on Japanese folklore. It was also made into an animated series that ran for several years

26 NOVEMBER 2015

Setsuko Hara, star of Ozu’s ‘Tokyo Story,’ dies at age 95

Screen legend Setsuko Hara, who starred in several films by internationally acclaimed director Yasujiro Ozu before stunning the Japanese movie world by retiring at age 42, has died of pneumonia. She was 95

31 OCTOBER 2015

Hashimoto’s new national party inaugurated with 18 Diet members

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s new national party held its inaugural ceremony here on Oct. 31 with 18 Diet members from the embattled Japan Innovation Party

29 OCTOBER 2015

Japanese government. restarts landfill work in Okinawa

The Okinawan bureau of Japan’s Defense Ministry has restarted work to reclaim land for a new US military base in the prefecture, despite strong opposition from the governor and residents

7 OCTOBER 2015

Abe Cabinet gets 9 first-time members; main ministers retained

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed nine lawmakers to their first posts as Cabinet ministers in a reshuffle on Oct. 7 but retained most of the key figures of his administration

6 OCTOBER 2015

Takaaki Kajita wins 2015 Nobel physics prize for breakthrough in neutrino research

Japanese physicist Takaaki Kajita was named a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics on Oct. 6 for the discovery of oscillations in atmospheric neutrinos, which indicate that the elusive subatomic particles have mass


Scuffles as Japan security bill approved by committee

A controversial bill to expand the role of Japan’s armed forces has cleared another hurdle in parliament, but sparked scuffles among lawmakers


Japanese goverment resumes work on controversial U.S. base in Okinawa

The Japanese government on Saturday resumed work on a controversial new U.S. military base in southern Okinawa following a month-long suspension, officials said, even as talks with local officials opposed to the project remained deadlocked


Abe re-elected unopposed as LDP president

 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won a rare second consecutive term on Tuesday as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), pledging to retain focus on reviving the world’s third-biggest economy and deepen debate on revising its pacifist constitution

30 AUGUST 2015

Japanese protesters rally against controversial security bills that could see troops fighting abroad

Tens of thousands have rallied outside Japan’s parliament to protest against planned new laws that could see troops in the officially pacifist nation engage in combat for the first time since World War II

15 AUGUST 2015

Reflecting strong belief in peace, emperor refers to ‘deep remorse’ over war

Emperor Akihito broke new ground in his address to the memorial service for the war dead held Aug. 15 at Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

14 AUGUST 2015

Japan PM expresses Second World War remorse, but says next generation need not apologise

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, expressed « profound grief » on Friday for the « immeasurable damage and suffering » the nation’s military caused before and during the Second World War, but emphasised that future generations should not have to keep saying sorry

8 AUGUST 2015

Most Japanese believe US should apologize for atomic bombings

The majority of Japanese (61%) believe the United States should apologize for the atomic bomb attacks it carried out on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while 74% of respondents said that the attacks could not be justified by the war because the civilian death toll they inflicted was disproportionate

6 AUGUST 2015

Hiroshima marks 70 years since atomic bomb

Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park has seen the entire Japanese political class and friends from abroad turn out for a memorial service for the city, one of only two to ever suffer an atomic Attack.

20 JULY 2015

Mitsubishi apologizes to WWII Japanese prisoners of war

As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, one of its largest corporations has given a long-awaited apology for wartime atrocities.

23 JUNE 2015

Japan PM Shinzo Abe jeered at Battle of Okinawa ceremony

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was heckled Tuesday at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa, the bloodiest episode in the Pacific War, as anger flared over the U.S. military’s continuing presence

17 JUNE 2015

Japan lowers voting age to 18

Japan passed legislation to lower the voting age to 18 from its current 20 on Wednesday, allowing teenagers into polling booths for the first time

24 MAY 2015

 Most Japanese wary of security reform

Most Japanese neither support the passage of new defense legislation this Diet session nor feel that the government has adequately explained the proposed changes, a weekend poll by Nikkei Inc. and TV Tokyo shows.

17 MAY 2015

Thousands protest against US airbase in Japan’s Okinawa

Thousands of people have protested in Okinawa against a controversial US marine airbase in the southern Japanese island, as a two-decade-long row over the relocation of the site deepens.

30 APRIL 2015

Why US military bases divide Okinawa and mainland Japan

For the past 70 years, the bases have helped deter external attacks on Japan, including on Okinawa. But with over 25,000 US military personnel in Okinawa, and about 18 per cent of its land area being used by the US military, the presence of the bases endangers the lives and properties of the local people

23 APRIL 2015

Japan ministers go to Yasukuni hours after China talks

Just hours after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat down for his first substantial talks with China’s Xi Jinping, two of his cabinet ministers Thursday visited the war shrine that Beijing sees as a symbol of Tokyo’s violent past

21 APRIL 2015

Japanese maglev train sets new world speed record, hits 603kph in test run

Bullet train tops 603kph, with officials confident new technology is likely to shape a new global generation of trains

12 APRIL 2015

Japan’s ruling camp wins local polls in ‘Abenomics’ litmus test

Candidates backed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and junior coalition partner Komeito were elected in all of the 10 gubernatorial polls held on Sunday across the nation, according to public broadcaster NHK and other reports

9 APRIL 2015

Emperor, empress mourn war dead on Palau’s Peleliu isle

The Emperor and Empress offered flowers at a monument for the war dead on Palau’s Peleliu Island during their commemorative visit to the Pacific island nation 70 years after World War II

24 MARCH 2015

51% support revision of Japan’s Constitution

A nationwide mail-back survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun found 51 per cent of respondents support revising the Constitution and 46 per cent oppose revising it

23 MARCH 2015

Okinawa governor orders halt to work related to U.S. base relocation

The governor of Okinawa on Monday ordered a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work in the area where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated, in a growing confrontation between the island and the central government

24 February 2015

Japanese media self-censorship grows in PM Abe’s reign

Worries are growing in Japan about a trend of media self-censorship as journalists and experts say news organisations are toning down criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for fear of sparking ire and losing access to sources

23 FEBRUARY 2015

Japan prince urges ‘correct’ history told

Japan’s crown prince has warned of the need to remember World War II « correctly », in a rare foray into an ideological debate as nationalist politicians seek to downplay the country’s historic crimes.

31 JANUARY 2015

Islamic State group beheads Japanese journalist

An online video released on Jan. 31 purported to show an Islamic State group militant behead Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, ending days of negotiations by diplomats to save the man.

20 JANUARY 2015

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe demands that Isis release hostages

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe demands the immediate release of two Japanese men taken hostage by Islamic State (Isis). Speaking following the release of a video demanding a $200m ransom he says: ‘It is an unacceptable act to threaten us in exchange for human lives’


Japan’s natural population decline hits record 268,000 in 2014

Japan’s natural population decline – the number by which deaths exceed births – came to an estimated 268,000 in 2014, the largest drop on record, according to data compiled by the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry

24 DECEMBER 2014

Abe reelected PM, forms 3rd Cabinet

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his third Cabinet on Wednesday night after he was reelected as the nation’s 97th prime minister in votes held in both chambers of the Diet earlier in the day. Abe retained all ministers except for Defence Minister Akinori Eto, who is embroiled in a political funds scandal. Eto was replaced by Gen Nakatani, former director general of the Defence Agency, the predecessor of the Defence Ministry

15 DECEMBER 2014

Unseated Japanese opposition leader Kaieda steps down

Banri Kaieda, who led the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to its third consecutive thrashing at the polls, was among the casualties on a dreary night for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s main opponents.

14 DECEMBER 2014

Japanese PM Abe comfortably re-elected in low-turnout polls

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won comfortable re-election Sunday in a snap poll he had billed as a referendum on his economic policies, but a record low voter turn-out threatened to cloud any mandate.

10 DECEMBER 2014

Japan secrecy law takes effect amid protests

Organizations representing journalists, legal experts and the entertainment industry issued statements calling for the abolishment of the state secrets protection law that they say will trample on the people’s right to know.


Japan launches asteroid-hunting spacecraft

Japan’s space agency has launched an ambitious space mission which aims to mine an asteroid and hunt for clues about the birth of the solar system.


Japan PM defends « Abenomics » after Moody’s downgrade

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, gearing up for the Dec. 14 lower house election, defended his economic policy on Tuesday after Moody’s Investors Service cut Japan’s debt rating, saying foreigners’ confidence in »Abenomics » remains solid

21 NOVEMBER 2014

Japan PM Shinzo Abe dissolves parliament for election

Mr Abe is seeking a new mandate for economic reforms and is delaying an unpopular increase in sales tax.

18 NOVEMBER 2014

Japan PM Shinzo Abe calls snap election in December

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called an early election, two years ahead of schedule.

16 NOVEMBER 2014

Okinawa elects anti-U.S. base governor, in rebuke to Abe

Opponents of a new U.S. Marine Corps base in Okinawa delivered a fresh rebuke to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as former Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga won the prefecture’s gubernatorial contest Sunday night in an election closely followed by Tokyo and Washington.


What’s the score on Japan’s Abenomics

The December 2012 election gave Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party control of both houses of the Diet as the electorate sought positive, decisive, energetic leadership out of the malaise of the past two decades. Shinzo Abe offered himself as that leader, with Abenomics as his program


Can Japan’s feed-in tariff continue to promote growth in renewable energy?

The effects of Japan’s feed-in tariff (FIT) for renewable energy have been impressive. Since 2011, Japan has seen a massive expansion of solar photovoltaics (PV). The size of the domestic market increased from 1GW in 2010 to almost 7GW in 2013.

22 OCTOBER 2014

Why ‘womenomics’ is the way forward for Japan

‘Womenomics’ is a key pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic growth strategy. In 2013, just 64 per cent of Japanese women aged 15–64 were participating in the labour force Abe has set a target to increase the ratio of female managers to over 30 per cent by 2020. In response, several large firms have set similar numerical targets.

20 OCTOBER 2014

In Japan, two female ministers quit, dealing a blow to Abe and ‘womenomics’

Two female Japanese cabinet ministers, appointed last month as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to let women “shine,” resigned their posts Monday amid allegations of financial impropriety.

7 OCTOBER 2014

Japanese trio win Nobel Prize in physics for blue LEDs

Three Japan-born scientists — Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura — won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source.

5 OCTOBER 2014

Princess Noriko marries son of Izumo Taisha priest, relinquishes royal status

Princess Noriko on Sunday married the eldest son of the head priest of the Izumo Taisha grand shrine in Shimane Prefecture, thereby relinquishing her Imperial status.


Japan’s Shinzo Abe appoints pro-China MPs in bid to mend fences with Beijing

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has signalled a rare attempt to mend fences with China when he appointed two MPs considered friendly towards Beijing to two senior posts in his governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP).

27 AUGUST 2014

Abe sent message to ceremony honoring war criminals

A message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was read out at a ceremony in April memorializing Japanese war criminals, who had, he wrote, “dedicated their souls to become the foundation of our homeland,” an organizer of the event has said.

15 AUGUST 2014

Japanese politicians visit controversial war shrine

More than 80 politicians — including three cabinet ministers — went to the leafy Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stayed away, after a visit in December drew an angry reaction from Japan’s neighbours

1 JULY 2014

 Japan to ease army ban on fighting overseas

Japan’s cabinet has agreed on a proposal to end a ban on its military fighting abroad, a major shift away from the country’s post-war pacifism and a move that is riling China

30 JUNE 2014

Thousands protest greater Japanese military role

Thousands of people protested outside the Japanese prime minister’s office Monday in anticipation his government will reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan’s military a larger international role.

28 JUNE 2014

Official role eyed for women who lose Imperial family status

The government might let female members of the Imperial family continue to engage in official activities after they lose their Imperial status by marrying, it was learned Saturday

4 JUNE 2014

Japan acts on child porn possession

Japan edged closer to banning the possession of child pornography on Wednesday, the last major developed country to do so, but paedophilia portrayed in the country’s popular anime comics will be exempt

13 MAY 2014

New status for foreigners in strategic zones planned

The government will start considering increasing the number of foreign workers in national strategic special zones, where regulations will be drastically eased.

4 MAY 2014

Japan’s population continues to age as number of children hits new low

The number of children in Japan has fallen to a new low, while the amount of people over 65 has reached a record high as the population ages and shrinks, the government said

1 MAY 2014

Thousands languishing in Japan children’s homes: Human Rights Watch

Almost nine out of 10 children taken from their families in Japan end up in institutions rather than foster care, a rights group said Thursday, a rate it said was the highest among developed nations

28 APRIL 2014

Japan cabinet minister visits controversial war shrine

Tomomi Inada, a Japanese cabinet minister known for her outspoken nationalistic views on Monday visited a controversial Tokyo war shrine, in a move certain to aggravate tensions with neighbours China and South Korea

27 APRIL 2014

Japan’s first lady Akie Abe joins gay parade

Japan’s first lady Akie Abe joined the annual gay parade in Tokyo on Sunday to show her support for sexual minorities

25 APRIL 2014

Tokyo consumer price growth at 22-year high

Consumer prices in Tokyo rose at their fastest pace in 22 years in April, surging 2.7% from a year earlier, according to preliminary data

22 APRIL 2014

Japanese MPs visit controversial war shrine

Nearly 150 Japanese politicians have paid homage at the Yasukuni shrine which honours the nation’s war dead including a number of senior military and political figures convicted of war crimes after World War II

15 APRIL 2014

Japan population shrinks as elderly make up a quarter

Japan’s population has shrunk for the third year running, with the elderly making up a quarter of the total for the first time, government data showed today

12 APRIL 2014

Japan minister visits controversial war shrine

Television footage showed Yoshitaka Shindo, minister for internal affairs and communications, paying homage Saturday morning at the Yasukuni shrine.

8 APRIL 2014

Japan lawmaker resigns over $8 mn loan scandal

Yoshimi Watanabe, the latest lawmaker to be felled by a cash scandal, said he was stepping down from the helm of the small but influential Your Party to try to contain the fallout from the incident

1 APRIL 2014

8% consumption tax rate takes effect nationwide

The consumption tax rate was raised from 5 percent to 8 percent on Tuesday, with the 3 percentage point increase added to prices of many commodities and services

20 MARCH 2014

Japan passes record $1.2 trillion budget

Japan on Thursday passed its biggest-ever budget, a S$1.2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up growth as consumers brace for the country’s first sales tax hike in over 15 years

11 FEBRUARY 2014

Former Japanese Prime Minister meets ‘comfort women’

Tomiichi Murayama, the former Japanese prime minister known for his 1995 apology over wartime aggression, met Tuesday with three South Korean « comfort women » who served as sex slaves to Japanese troops.


Pro-nuclear candidate Yoichi Masuzoe wins Tokyo’s race for governor

Yoichi Masuzoe, a former health minister backed by Japan’s ruling party, won Tokyo’s election for governor on Sunday, defeating two candidates who had promised to end nuclear power.


Japanese broadcaster’s board member praised ritual suicide of rightwinger

A woman picked last year by the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, for the management board of the public broadcaster NHK has praised the ritual suicide of a high-profile rightwinger, saying his self-sacrifice made Japan’s emperor a living god.


NHK governor campaigns for revisionist in Tokyo election

A Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) governor handpicked by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Nanking Massacre was a fabrication designed to cancel out U.S. atrocities during speeches supporting a like-minded candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election.

19 JANUARY 2014

Japan’s Abe suffers setback with Okinawa election loss

A city mayor opposed to a plan to relocate a controversial US airbase on Japan’s Okinawa island was re-elected on Sunday, Kyodo news agency said, creating a political headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and threatening friction with Washington

13 JANUARY 2014

Abe Cabinet rating recovers to 62%

The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet rose to 62 percent, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun poll, up seven percentage points from the previous poll conducted Dec. 6-8.

12 JANUARY 2014

Ex-premier Hosokawa eyes Tokyo governor role

Former prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa is ready to contest the high-profile post of Tokyo governor, as the city eases into preparations to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

11 JANUARY 2014

Actress Keiko Awaji, best known for role in ‘The Bridges at Toko-Ri,’ dies at age 80

Actress Keiko Awaji, known for her role as the girlfriend of a U.S. Navy airman in the 1954 Hollywood movie “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” about the Korean War, died of esophageal cancer at a Tokyo hospital Saturday, her talent agency said. She was 80.

1 JANUARY 2014

Japan’s population falls ‘by record 244,000’ in 2013

Japan’s population declined by a record 244,000 people in 2013, according to health ministry estimates.

Abe says Japan’s pacifist constitution may be revised by 2020

Japan’s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the country’s pacifist post-World War II constitution which limits its military to self-defence could be amended by 2020.

28 DECEMBER 2013

In Textbook Fight, Japan Leaders Seek to Recast History

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government has begun to pursue a more openly nationalist agenda on an issue that critics fear will push the country farther from its postwar pacifism: adding a more patriotic tone to Japan’s school textbooks.

27 DECEMBER 2013

Japan’s deflation era is not yet a thing of the past

There are still risks from a consumption tax increase and foreign investment pushing up the yen. Shinzo Abe will take no chances

23 DECEMBER 2013

Japanese Emperor Akihito turns 80

Thousands of people thronged Japan’s Imperial Palace Monday to celebrate Emperor Akihito’s 80th birthday, as he lauded his wife for standing by him in his « lonely » pursuit of leading the world’s oldest monarchy.

19 DECEMBER 2013

Tokyo governor resigns amid financial scandal

The governor of Tokyo has stepped down after receiving nearly $500,000 from a Japanese hospital tycoon ahead of his election. Facing mounting pressure to quit, Governor Naoki Inose, who helped Tokyo secure the 2020 Olympic Games just a few months ago, formalised his resignation on Thursday.

12 DECEMBER 2013

Is Abe threatening Japan’s democracy?

After his political resurrection in December 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has campaigned on the promise to ‘take Japan back’ from the institutional constraints of the country’s ‘post-war regime’.


Japan’s secrecy bill condemned by Nobel academics

Japan’s controversial new state secrets law was condemned Saturday as « the largest ever threat to democracy in postwar Japan » by a group of academics, including two Nobel prize winners, reports said.

19 NOVEMBER 2013

Japan’s economy: can the remedy be found in its culture than Abenomics ?

Nearly a year has passed since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was elected with much europium in the 2012 general election.  Upon his re-election, PM Abe introduced a series of reforms, dubbed “Abenomics” to revitalise Japan’s faltering economy.  Japan has remained in the doldrums since the bursting of its bubble economy in 1985.  Abenomics stands on a platform of looser monetary policy; a mammoth fiscal stimulus and the devaluing of the Yen. These policies are bound as Keynesian styled packages of reform.


Japanese politician breaks taboo by giving letter to emperor

A Japanese politician has caused a stir after handing a letter about the health impact of the Fukishima nuclear disaster to the Emperor.

28 OCTOBER 2013

Rhetoric not enough for Japan’s working women

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be keen to tout Japan’s untapped labor force, but will he go beyond the rhetoric?

20 OCTOBER 2013

Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?

Arm’s length: 45% of Japanese women aged 16-24 are ‘not interested in or despise sexual contact’. More than a quarter of men feel the same way. Photograph: Eric Rechsteiner

17 OCTOBER 2013

Japanese cabinet minister Shindo visits shrine to war dead

The visit came a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his third ritual offering to the shrine since returning to office in December. Abe has not visited the shrine in person to avoid further straining ties with China and South Korea.


Yusai Sukai, the monk who explained Buddhism to the pope, is dead

A kamikaze who converted to the Buddhist religion after the war, he was received by Pope John Paul II in 1995. He became famous throughout the world for twice performing the Sennichi Gyo, a 1,000-day pilgrimage on a Japanese mountain.,-the-monk-who-explained-Buddhism-to-the-pope,-is-dead-29110.html


Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi dies aged 85

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who ran Nintendo for more than 50 years, overseeing the creation of Super Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda, has died aged 85.


Japan switches off last nuclear reactor

Japan has started the process of switching off its last working nuclear reactor for a scheduled inspection with no restart in sight due to public hostility towards atomic power.The move on Sunday leaves the world’s third largest economy without atomic energy for the second time since the Fukushima crisis erupted in March 2011.


Japan launches ‘affordable’ Epsilon space rocket

Japan has launched the first in a new generation of space rockets, hoping the design will make missions more affordable.


Consumption tax fears risk stalling Abe’s ‘three arrows’

Abenomics is Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s policy package consisting of three ‘arrows’: aggressive monetary easing, flexible fiscal policy, and growth strategies. Together, they are aimed at lifting Japan’s economy from chronic deflation and stagnation to a normal economy with 2 per cent inflation and strong growth. But will they succeed?


Tokyo wins to host 2020 Olympics

Cheers and shouts of “Banzai!!” echoed across Tokyo just after sunrise as thousands of people started celebrating the city’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, beating rivals Istanbul and Madrid despite concerns about a nuclear plant leaking radioactive water.

31 AUGUST 2013

Don’t write the Democratic Party of Japan off just yet

Japan’s opposition is in complete disarray. After gaining just 17 seats of the 121 contested in July’s upper house election, a record low for the party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has descended into infighting and could face years in the political wilderness.

27 AUGUST 2013

Acclaimed anti-war manga earns reprieve in Japan

Restriction on the availability to children of Hadashi No Gen (Barefoot Gen), Keiji Nakazawa’s anti-war classic, has been reversed after protests

24 AUGUST 2013

Woman takes on Yakuza godfather over protection racket

Restaurant owner in Nagoya is seeking £120,000 from crime boss in landmark case

21 AUGUST 2013

Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level

Japan’s nuclear agency has upgraded the severity level of a radioactive water leak at the Fukushima plant from one to three on an international scale.

5 AUGUST 2013

Communist Party makes a comeback … in Japan

July’s elections were the first in Japan in which online campaigning was permitted, and it was Japan’s Communist Party that is widely seen as having made best use of it.

1st AUGUST 2013

Japan should follow Nazi route on revising constitution, minister says

The Japanese deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, has retracted comments suggesting that Japan should follow the Nazi example in how to change the country’s constitution, following protests by neighbouring countries and human rights activists.

In Japan, 25% of pregnant workers experienced harassment

So-called pregnancy harassment, which involves treating female employees unfavorably because of being pregnant or having children, sometimes to the point of making them quit their jobs, has been attracting attention, especially since a recent labor federation survey showed one in every four pregnant workers were made the target of such harassment.

21 JULY 2013

Japan ruling bloc ‘wins’ upper house poll

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc has won majority of seats in the upper house of parliament in elections, giving it control of both chambers for the first time in six years, according to exit polls.

27 JUNE 2013

Japan: Return of the Communists

‘The only true opposition party’

23 JUNE 2013

Shinzo Abe’s LDP wins Tokyo elections

Tokyo voters appeared to give their support to the economic policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday, with his party winning a landslide victory in local elections in the capital.

22 MAY 2013

The Hashimoto Controversy and Japan’s Failure to Come to Terms with its Past

15 MAY 2013

Japan Posts Surge in Economic Growth

Japan’s economic growth accelerated swiftly at the beginning of this year, the most concrete sign yet that new stimulus policies sparking euphoria in financial markets are starting to lift companies and consumers as well.

13 MAY 203

Is Japan’s economy at risk?

The Abe administration in Japan swung quickly into action with policies aimed at lifting the economy out of its long lasting doldrums. Prime Minister Abe appointed Haruhiko Kuroda, after eight years distinguished service at the Asia Development Bank, to implement a strong reflationary program through the Bank of Japan (BOJ): the first arrow of his three arrow revival strategy.

6 MAY 2013

Can Japan turn to foreign workers?

Japan is the only developed industrial democracy to have become rich without heavily relying on foreign workers during its period of advanced economic growth. The government has followed two basic immigration principles: it welcomed specialised and technical labour while examining carefully the admission of unskilled labour. In practice, this meant Japan welcomed relatively few immigrants.

5 MAY 2013

Population of children at record low

The estimated number of Japanese under the age of 15 hit a new low of 16.49 million as of April 1, down 150,000 from a year ago, government data showed Saturday.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

20 APRIL 2013

Japanese should establish own constitution

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also president of the Liberal Democratic Party, advocates revising the Constitution. He said he wants to make the issue of reviewing Article 96 of the Constitution, which stipulates conditions for proposing amendments, a central plank of the LDP’s pledges for this summer’s House of Councillors election.                                                                                                                                                                  

28 MARCH 2013

Japan’s Workforce: Women Underutilized

Japan’s demographic trends are grim, but the Japanese make it harder on themselves by not better using the people they have. Women in particular are famously underutilized.

24 MARCH 2013

Cabinet’s approval rate slips to 71%

The approval rating for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slipped 1.7 points from the previous opinion poll but remains sky-high at 71.1 percent, according to a Kyodo News survey                                                                

16 MARCH 2013

Japan joins Pacific trade talks at last

Japan has finally decided to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, just half a year before negotiations for the free trade pact are due to end, despite strong objections by farmers and from within the ruling party                                                              

8 MARCH 2013

Child porn cases up 10% in ’12 / Record-high 1,596 cases found due to increased awareness, efforts

Police data collected by the agency indicated child pornography is spreading via the Internet, with about 20 percent of distribution cases involving images and videos that have been circulating on websites and DVDs for five years or longer.

21 FEBRUARY 2013

Japan executions resume with three hangings

Japan has carried out three executions – the first since the country’s conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was elected last December, and a sign that Tokyo will defy international pressure to abolish the death penalty.                 


Japan’s demographic disaster

Japan is faced with an unprecedented population challenge that will have social, economic, and political consequences for years to come.


Japan ‘may revisit Second World War statement’

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, intends to release a new statement on Japan’s attitude to the Second World War, a day after unveiling plans to revamp the US-imposed pacifist constitution.                             

31 JANUARY 2013

Japan PM says to change post-war constitution

Hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers Thursday he intends to change the post-WWII constitution that imposed pacifism on Japan, in a move likely to stir suspicion in China and beyond.                                                                 

16 JANUARY 2013

Japan’s suicide problem: Serching for answers

For the last fourteen years at least 30,000 Japanese have killed themselves annually. Why?

15 JANUARY 2013

Death of Nagasi Oshima, Japanese film-maker, born on March 3, 1932                                                               

8 JANUARY 2013

Japanese destroyer could be modified into aircraft carrier

After purchasing F-35 Lighting II aircraft from the United States, the 22DDH class destroyer currently being built by Japan could be easily modified into an aircraft carrier, according to Duowei News, an outlet operated by overseas Chinese.        

31 DECEMBER 2012

Japan PM Abe wants new nuclear reactors: reports

Japan’s new prime minister Shinzo Abe has voiced his willingness to build new nuclear reactors, reports said Monday, despite widespread public opposition to atomic energy in light of the Fukushima crisis      

27 DECEMBER 2012

Nationalism takes back seat to the economy

The lineup of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet seems to underline his determination to learn from his mistakes.                             

26 DECEMBER 2012

Abe formally named as Japan’s prime minister

Japan’s lower House of parliament has formally elected Shinzo Abe, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, as country’s prime minister after he swept to power on a hawkish platform of getting tough on diplomacy while fixing the economy.

26 DECEMBER 2012

Abe Cabinet (Formed December 26, 2012)

23 DECEMBER 2012

Imperial birthday as Emperor Akihito turns 79

Japanese Emperor Akihito has turned 79 and reassured thousands of well-wishers that he is in good health, following his heart bypass surgery last February.

18 DECEMBER 2012

Abe to appoint cabinet Dec. 26 / LDP head to launch coalition with New Komeito

Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe took steps toward forming his own cabinet Monday, a day after the party won 294 seats in a landslide victory in the House of Representatives election.

17 DECEMBER 2012

The rise and fall of Japan’s Democratic Party

When the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ascended to governance in 2009, analysts predicted a « sea-change » in the country’s politics. But with the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) strong showing in Sunday’s election, Japan appears to have again embraced the centre-right values that have dominated the nation for much of the past six decades.

16 DECEMBER 2012

Japan’s Abe says party ‘must achieve results’ after poll win

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party won almost 300 seats and, with its coalition partner, looks set for a two-thirds majority in the lower house.


‘Third force’ parties crowd Japan’s political scene

In the lead-up to the elections, political leaders are busy forming, re-forming, disbanding and merging political parties. Two new ‘third force’ political parties have emerged recently: the Japan Restoration Party and the Japan Future Party. These parties have been created to challenge the two established political parties, which many believe have been unable to address some of the most pressing social, political and economic issues facing Japan today.


Kabuki actor Kanzaburo Nakamura dies at age 57

Kabuki actor Kanzaburo Nakamura, who helped boost the popularity of the traditional Japanese art form, has died. He was 57

30 NOVEMBER 2012

Ishihara left behind a mixed legacy

Tokyo is about to get its first new governor in almost 14 years, and whoever wins the Dec. 16 election will have to fill the shoes of Shintaro Ishihara, who leaves behind a legacy both positive and negative.

20 NOVEMBER 2012

Japanese politics drift to the polls

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last Friday dissolved the lower house of Japan’s parliament and called a general election for December 16, some eight months shy of its four-year term. While prime ministers in the past have dissolved the house before the full term for snap elections, their actions were carefully timed to gain advantage at the ballot box. This time, the polls indicate that Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is set to lose.

16 NOVEMBER 2012

Japan PM dissolves lower house for election Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda dissolved the lower house of parliament Friday for an election next month, in a political gamble widely expected to strip his centre-left party of power

14 NOVEMBER 2012

Japan to hold general election on December 16

Japan will hold a general election on December 16, a senior governing party official confirmed Wednesday, putting an end to months of speculation over the date of polls

13 NOVEMBER 2012

Can Japanese politics be saved?

Political leadership presupposes that there are leaders, that they know where they want to lead, and that they are able to communicate their ideas to voters and obtain their support. Political leadership in Japan falls short on all these measures.

12 NOVEMBER 2012

Japan high court clears Ichiro Ozawa of funding case

A high court has cleared influential Japanese politician Ichiro Ozawa of wrongdoing in connection with a political funding case.


The gender fault-line in Japan

The economic, demographic and environmental shocks of recent years that have so profoundly shaped contemporary Japanese society have distinctive gendered dimensions.

31 OCTOBER 2012

Former Tokyo governor gets ageing party’s chair

Firebrand Japanese conservative Shintaro Ishihara, who resigned as governor of Tokyo, has become the leader of a small right-leaning party whose lawmakers have an average age of 73.

25 OCTOBER 2012

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara quits to form new party

23 OCTOBER 2012

Japan minister quits after mob ties scandal

Japan’s justice minister quit on Tuesday because of ill health, a cabinet official said, after calls for his resignation over past ties to an organized crime syndicate. The announcement dealt another blow to unpopular Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

Okinawa legislators protest alleged US rape

Asembly of the Japanese island passes a protest resolution following the arrests of two US sailors accused of rape.

15 OCTOBER 2012

The missing piece in the puzzle of Japan’s lost decades

Japan’s average GDP growth rate was around 9.5 per cent between 1955 and 1970, and 3.8 per cent between 1971 and 1990

2 OCTOBER 2012

Shinzo Abe and the dream of a conservative Asia

His unprecedented return to the presidency of the LDP marks the culmination of a careful and deliberate political campaign waged within the LDP policy councils, conservative research institutes and monthly magazines over the course of the last three years by Abe and his supporters on the ideological right

1 OCTOBER 2012

Noda adds new faces to Cabinet / Reshuffled lineup aimed at strengthening DPJ ahead of next election

The new Cabinet is the fourth Noda has formed since he took office in September last year.

What an Abe prime ministership would mean for Japan

Abe has already been in the job once before — for just under one year in 2006–07. Not short by Japanese standards, but the manner of his departure left the strong impression that he did not have the necessary physical and mental toughness to withstand the vicissitudes of being prime minister.


Ex-PM wins Japan opposition party vote

Japan’s main opposition party has chosen former premier Shinzo Abe as its new leader, a victory likely to see him reinstated as prime minister in general elections expected this year.

Noda faces uphill battle for party, Diet unity

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s reelection by a large margin as the Democratic Party of Japan’s president was partly accomplished because many DPJ members simply felt there was no better choice.


Japan’s PM re-elected ruling party leader

Yoshihiko Noda beat three other contenders, winning more than 60 per cent of points available in vote by party member


Japan’s central bank has announced new measures to try to spur economic growth there.

It is an admission that the near-term recovery in the world’s third largest economy is fading as exports weaken and growth in China slows.


Japan aims to phase out nuclear energy by 2040

Japan announced in a non-binding policy proposal Friday that it would aim to phase out nuclear power by 2040 in the wake of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, which renewed concerns over the safety of nuclear energ

15 AUGUST 2012

Japan ministers in controversial shrine visit

In a move sure to raise regional tensions, two Japanese cabinet members have visited the Yasukuni shrine to mark the anniversary of the country’s World War II surrende

6 AUGUST 2012

Japans remembers Hiroshima bombing

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Japan to mark the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the US.

21 JULY 2012

Japan has launched a rocket with an unmanned cargo transporter to the International Space Station

11 JULY 2012

Japan’s Ichiro Ozawa forms rival political party

Veteran Japanese politician Ichiro Ozawa, who resigned from the ruling party over plans to raise sales tax, has formed a new opposition party


5 JULY 2012

Japanese panel calls Fukushima meltdowns a ‘manmade disaster’

Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdowns were a “manmade disaster,” a parliamentary panel of experts concluded Thursday, when it issued a final report 15 months after the nation’s nuclear accident.

2 JULY 2012

Dozens of MPs quit Japan party over tax rise

Less than a week after Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s prime minister, won approval for a controversial sales tax increase, 52 politicians have decided to quit his governing party in protest.

1 JULY 2012

Japan restarts first nuclear plant after post-Fukushima shutdown

Japan restarted nuclear power production Sunday for the first time since shutting down all the country’s reactors in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown after last year’s devastating tsunami.

30 JUNE 2012

Large rare earth deposits discovered / Valuable cache found within nation’s EEZ

Large and rich rare earth deposits, equaling at least 220 times the country’s annual consumption, have been discovered near Minami-Torishima island in the Ogasawara Islands, a research team has said.

26 JUNE 2012

Japanese lawmakers approve sales tax increase amid political turmoil

Japanese lawmakers approved a contentious plan to double the country’s sales tax Tuesday even as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda battled to contain an uprising in his own party over the issue that could bring about his downfall.

15 JUNE 2012

Japan police arrest final Tokyo gas attack fugitive

Japanese police on Friday arrested the final fugitive member of a religious cult that launched nerve gas attacks on Tokyo’s subway in 1995, killing 13 people and injuring thousands. The capture of Katsuya Takahashi brings to an end a police hunt for those behind the coordinated release of Nazi-developed sarin, an incident that sowed panic throughout the capital.

8 JUNE 2012

Japan PM: Restart nuke reactors for ‘survival of society’

Japan’s prime minister said on Friday that two idled nuclear reactors in western Japan must be restarted to protect jobs and ensure the « survival of society », risking a voter backlash given safety fears more than a year after the Fukushima crisis.

4 JUNE 2012

Japanese PM shakes up cabinet

Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s prime minister, has reshuffled his cabinet, bowing to opposition pressure for ministerial scalps as he looks to secure cross-party support for a sales tax increase

3 JUNE 2012

Suspect in 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack arrested in Japan

A member of the Japanese religious cult responsible for releasing a nerve agent that killed 13 people in Tokyo’s subway system has been arrested after 17 years as a fugitive, Japanese news services reported Sunday

Phoenix-like Ozawa set to re-ignite Japan

The former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) chief is about to rise, phoenix-like, to power again in Tokyo. Ichiro Ozawa, 69, a long-time heavyweight in Japanese politics, was found not guilty of breaking political funding laws. Under investigation, he was forced to resign as party leader in May 2009

17 APRIL 2012

Japan to be without nuclear power after May 5

Japan will within weeks have no nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years, after the trade minister said two reactors idled after the Fukushima disaster would not be back online before the last one currently operating is shut down

6 APRIL 2012

Japan approves US$1.1 trillion budget

Japan’s record 90.3 trillion yen (US$1.1 trillion) national budget was belatedly approved yesterday 5 April after it had been voted down by the opposition-controlled Upper House of Parliament

29 MARCH 2012

Japan executes first three prisoners since 2010

Japan is one of the few advanced industrialised nations to retain the death penalty. It is usually reserved for multiple murders

23 MARCH 2012

Tokyo prepares a defence system, in response to North Korean missile

The Japanese defence minister ordered the preparation of a « missile defense system », which will be located near the island of Okinawa. The international community is concerned about the escalation of tension. Ban Ki-moon: a launch could discourage international donors and stop humanitarian aid to Pyongyang,-in-response-to-North-Korean-missile-24315.html

3 MARCH 2012

Prime Minister Noda says tax hike essential for Japan’s sustainability

During a 30-minute group interview with 19 members of the international media, Noda appealed for opposition cooperation on his tax plan, which would help the country pay for its escalating social security costs and ease global concerns about its massive debt

18 FEBRUARY 2012

Japan says Emperor heart bypass surgery is ‘successful’

Japanese Emperor Akihito underwent heart bypass surgery Saturday and the operation was successful, government officials said

16 JANVIER 2012

Japanese cabinet’s approval rating down to 24 per cent

The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet fell to 24.9 per cent, down 3.5 percentage points from a month earlier, a poll released by Jiji Press found Thursday

14 FEBRUARY 2012

Japan to pump $130bn into economy

Japan’s central bank is to pump an additional 10 trillion yen ($130bn) into the economy through a new asset purchase programme, in an effort to boost the economy and tackle deflation

12 FEBRUARY 2012

Japanese emperor to undergo heart bypass surgery

Japanese Emperor Akihito will undergo heart bypass surgery this week after a detailed examination found a heart problem had worsened, the Imperial Household Agency was quoted as saying on Sunday 12


Japan, U.S. agree to move 4,700 marines to Guam

Japan and the United States reached a broad agreement to transfer 4,700 U.S. marines stationed in Okinawa Prefecture to Guam, scaling down from the originally planned 8,000, Japanese government sources have said

Phoenix-like Ozawa set to re-ignite Japan

The former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) chief is about to rise, phoenix-like, to power again in Tokyo. Ichiro Ozawa, 69, a long-time heavyweight in Japanese politics, was found not guilty of breaking political funding laws. Under investigation, he was forced to resign as party leader in May 2009

17 APRIL 2012

Japan to be without nuclear power after May 5

Japan will within weeks have no nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years, after the trade minister said two reactors idled after the Fukushima disaster would not be back online before the last one currently operating is shut down

6 APRIL 2012

Japan approves US$1.1 trillion budget

Japan’s record 90.3 trillion yen (US$1.1 trillion) national budget was belatedly approved yesterday 5 April after it had been voted down by the opposition-controlled Upper House of Parliament

29 MARCH 2012

Japan executes first three prisoners since 2010

Japan is one of the few advanced industrialised nations to retain the death penalty. It is usually reserved for multiple murders

23 MARCH 2012

Tokyo prepares a defence system, in response to North Korean missile

The Japanese defence minister ordered the preparation of a « missile defense system », which will be located near the island of Okinawa. The international community is concerned about the escalation of tension. Ban Ki-moon: a launch could discourage international donors and stop humanitarian aid to Pyongyang,-in-response-to-North-Korean-missile-24315.html

3 MARCH 2012

Prime Minister Noda says tax hike essential for Japan’s sustainability

During a 30-minute group interview with 19 members of the international media, Noda appealed for opposition cooperation on his tax plan, which would help the country pay for its escalating social security costs and ease global concerns about its massive debt

18 FEBRUARY 2012

Japan says Emperor heart bypass surgery is ‘successful’

Japanese Emperor Akihito underwent heart bypass surgery Saturday and the operation was successful, government officials said

16 JANVIER 2012

Japanese cabinet’s approval rating down to 24 per cent

The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet fell to 24.9 per cent, down 3.5 percentage points from a month earlier, a poll released by Jiji Press found Thursday

14 DECEMBER 2012

Japan to pump $130bn into economy

Japan’s central bank is to pump an additional 10 trillion yen ($130bn) into the economy through a new asset purchase programme, in an effort to boost the economy and tackle deflation

12 FEBRUARY 2012

Japanese emperor to undergo heart bypass surgery

Japanese Emperor Akihito will undergo heart bypass surgery this week after a detailed examination found a heart problem had worsened, the Imperial Household Agency was quoted as saying on Sunday 12

30 JANUARY 2012

Japan’s population to drop by 1 million each year in coming decades, experts say

Japan’s rapid aging means the national population of 128 million will shrink by one-third by 2060 and seniors will account for 40 percent of people, placing a greater burden on the shrinking work force population to support the social security and tax systems

25 JANUARY 2012

Japan posts $32bn trade deficit

Tokyo has reported its first trade deficit in more than three decades, explaining the downturn as the result of last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami that caused an energy crisis, and weak global demand for Japanese exports. The $32bn deficit for 2011 reflected a 2.7 per cent decline in the value of Japan’s exports, which fell to $843bn, according to the Ministry of Finance figures released on Wednesday

13 JANUARY 2012

Japan’s prime minister reshuffles cabinet

Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, has replaced five members of his cabinet and appointed a veteran former foreign minister to push unpopular tax reforms through parliament

30 NOVEMBER 2011

Japan Prince Akishino wants emperor ‘age limit’ debate

Prince Akishino, who is second in line to the Japanese imperial throne, has called for debate on whether a retirement age should be set for the country’s head of state.

21 NOVEMBER 2011

Tokyo 1995 sarin attack: Aum Shinrikyo cult trials end

Japanese judges have upheld the death sentence against the final member of a doomsday cult to be charged over the 1995 sarin gas attack on Tokyo’s metro.


Japan emperor to be hospitalised with cold, fever

Akihito, who will turn 78 next month, will be admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital as a precaution because the fever worsened the bronchitis symptoms and he appeared fatigued and has lost some resistance to fight his illness, Kyodo said.

23 OCTOBER 2011

China, Japan need global view: Wen Jiabao

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday urged China and Japan to develop a « global vision » while shaping their bilateral ties.


Japan tsunami: 10m yen donation found in Tokyo toilet

An anonymous donor in Japan has left 10m yen ($131,000; £83,000) to charity by dumping it in a public toilet. The money was found with a letter saying it should be donated to victims of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March.


Japan’s political class really has only one good option left if it hopes to rescue the country — namely, to take a page from the Liberal Democrats’ former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, whose mantra was « destroy the LDP. »


Noda Cabinet approval rate polled at 65%

The new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has scored an approval rating of 65 percent in a Yomiuri Shimbun survey, the fifth-highest figure since the Yomiuri began polling the popularity of just-formed cabinets in the late 1970s.


Noda launches Cabinet / Lineup balances groups; PM vows to speed up disaster reconstruction

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda launched his Cabinet on Friday, offering an olive branch to a Democratic Party of Japan group that opposed him during the recent party presidential election and pledging to accelerate reconstruction of areas hit hard by the March 11 disaster.

31 AUGUST 2011

Japan’s Political Dysfunction

Is America partially to blame for Naoto Kan’s becoming the fifth Japanese prime minister to resign in the same number of years? At the risk of joining the “blame America first” crowd, let me say that a case can be made that the political institutions created by the American occupation laid
the seeds for Japan’s current dysfunction

6 AUGUST 2011

Japan’s New Women

Tanako Nakayama, a 61-year-old librarian, says that when she was young, woman rarely went to college. If they graduated, they became teachers or telephone operators. Single women in their 30s were called « loser dogs ».

« I was one of the few special women who went on to university, » Nakayama says. « After I graduated, I worked as a teacher in a private school owned by a big company. There was a lot of discrimination between men and women. Women could never become managers or section chiefs. »

Most of them still can’t. In Japan, where tradition has lasted far longer than in much of the industrialized world, the glass ceiling is said to be bullet-proof. According to a 2009 survey by the Japanese government, women held only 8 percent of the managerial jobs in the country,
compared with 43 percent in the United States

4 JULY 2011

Japan finds rare earths in Pacific seabed

Vast deposits of rare earth minerals, crucial in making high-tech electronics products, have been found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and can be readily extracted, Japanese scientists say.

29 June 2011

Japan agrees to double consumption tax

After fierce internal debate, Japan’s government and ruling parties agreed a plan to progressively double the 5 per cent consumption tax by the middle of this decade in order to fund a reformed social security system.

21 JUNE 2011

Japanese women kept out of top government, business posts

Japan saw the percentage of women in its House of Representatives rise in the past six years, but its world ranking for female representation is still a mere 121 out of 186 countries

26 APRIL 2011

Taiga Ishikawa, the first openly gay politician in Japan to win an election, Tuesday hailed the result as a victory for the rights of sexual minorities.

19 FEBRUARY 2011

Kurils Islands: growing tension between Moscow and Tokyo

Establishment of Sino-Russian joint ventures to create fish farms on the Kurils, disputes between Russia and Japan. Moscow also wants
to create a modern military base there. But Tokyo has no intention of giving up the islands, rich in fish, oil and gas.