Abe defends shrine visits amid tensions with China and South Korea

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday there is no problem for his Cabinet members to visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, even if there is criticism from China or South Korea.

“My ministers will not yield to any kind of intimidation,” Abe said during a session of parliament. “It’s a matter of course to secure the freedom to express one’s respect and worship to precious souls of the war dead.”

Abe made the remarks at a time when China and South Korea, which see Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, have sternly protested against the visits to the Tokyo shrine by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and two other Cabinet members last weekend, as well as Tuesday’s mass homage there by 168 Japanese lawmakers.


Abe says BOJ should have Kuroda at helm

The Liberal Democratic Party-led government will nominate Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda as the next Bank of Japan governor and scholar Kikuo Iwata as one of two deputy governors, official sources said Monday.Both prospective nominees back Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s focus on aggressive monetary easing to defeat deflation.During a meeting, Abe informed Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of New Komeito, of his intention to nominate Kuroda, 68, as BOJ chief, and Gakushuin University professor Iwata, 70, and BOJ Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso, 59, as the central bank’s two deputies, the sources said.

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Shinzo Abe: Japan’s True PM for the People – Going Where no PM has Gone Before – Finally

Shinzo Abe in his second round as Prime Minister of Japan, has drawn a line in the sand, grown a backbone, and turned around a pathetically apologetic image of Japan. He’s taken the prosperity of Japan and but it back into the hands of its people and its government. He’s also taken pride in what it is to be Japanese. He’s done this all in the name of the Japanese people, who have needed in the wake of increasing aggression and slanderous misinformation from both Korea and China to once again take pride in themselves and in their country. The values of the people of Japan today have not anything to do with the apologies of the past, despite the fuel that is leading to continued hostility — see the latest missteps of the New York State Senate passing laws on comfort women for Korea to the latest actions of both China and Korea to still try to extract and more importantly expect money and apologies for war crimes of WWII that are over 70 years past all while questioning claims to territory and testing boundaries.

What a wondrous Prime Minister to bring pride to his country once again and to stand up to ridiculous ridicule. There is no more time for apologies or for compensation for past accusations or aggressions. The time is now, and now is hostile and abusive carelessness in it’s recurring and regressive nature. Peace should be what these countries should be offering future generations. Change should be what matters, not the past. Abe is delivering this. He’s delivering great change.

However, there’s no reason for Japan to ever doubt its ability to change or it’s place in the world. They are a major player on the world stage and can have top billing, if they so care to take the role. Shinzo Abe has spoken for the people of Japan and has cast himself into a new era of change that Japan and its people will have to recognize. May the people of Japan be with him as he continues to lead them into the future.

If the rest of asia wishes to continue down the road they are paving, then what of tomorrow? Are they doomed to repeat the past since they seem to not be able to move past it?

Will Abe end the cycle of 1-year PM’s in Japan? Will his support and the new found strength of Japan continue and last?

Abe’s Done It! Japan PM Demands Apology from China Over Weapons-locked Radar

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, angrily rejected Chinese denials that it had engaged military radars in the area as the escalating dispute between Tokyo and Beijing forced the Japanese foreign ministry call in the Chinese ambassador for a dressing down.

Statements issued in Beijing flatly denied its forces had engaged the offensive radar systems, dismissing the Japanese claims about the incident, which took place last month, as “against the facts”.

“We wish China to acknowledge it, apologise for it and make efforts to prevent it from recurring,” he said. “We have confirmed visually and by photographs and other means such details as whether the radar was directed this way.”

Mr Abe told parliament that China’s increasing aggression in the East China Sea around the Senkakus was forcing his government to adopt a “robust diplomatic response”.

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Abe urges Japanese companies to raise wages for workers to beat deflation

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is urging business leaders to raise wages, saying it could help stimulate domestic demand and beat chronic deflation.

“We’ll ask for the cooperation of companies whose performance is improving” in a bid to boost national income through wage increases, Abe said during a meeting Tuesday of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the government’s key economic panel.

It is rare for a prime minister to directly put pressure on business circles to raise wages. Pay is usually determined through negotiations between management and labor.

Akira Amari, economic and fiscal policy minister, said at a news conference after the meeting that the government has also started to consider effective measures to promote business spending and to bolster employment of women, as well as young and elderly people.

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Japan PM Urges Chinese Restraint After Radar Lock-on

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged China on Wednesday not to stoke tension over disputed East China Sea isles, a day after Japan said a Chinese vessel directed radar normally used to aim weapons at a target at a Japanese navy ship.

A Chinese government spokeswoman said she was not aware of the details of the incident, and focused instead on China’s stance that Japan should stop sending its ships into what China considers its territorial waters around the islands.

“The incident is a dangerous conduct that could have led to an unforeseeable situation. It is extremely regrettable that China carried out such a one-sided, provocative act when signs are emerging for dialogue,” Abe told parliament.

“I ask the Chinese side to return to the spirit of mutually beneficial, strategic relations and prevent the recurrence of an incident like this. I strongly ask them for restraints so that the situation will not escalate further.”

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U.S. to Abe: Collective self-defense off agenda for U.S. summit

Washington does not want Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to bring up the issue of collective self-defense at the Japan-U.S. summit to be held later this month, diplomatic sources said.

The U.S. reaction comes as Abe hopes to bolster bilateral security ties by gaining President Barack Obama’s support for lifting Japan’s self-imposed ban on the right, which conflicts with Article 9 of the Constitution.

Washington has told Tokyo that if Obama openly welcomes Abe’s drive to allow Self-Defense Forces troops to engage in collective self-defense — the right to come to the defense of an ally under armed attack — it risks upsetting Beijing, which might interpret the gesture as an attempt by Japan and the U.S. to increase pressure on China, according to the sources.

U.S. officials also said during preparatory talks for the summit, set to be held Feb. 21 or 22, that heightening Sino-Japanese tensions with Washington’s close involvement could damage regional stability and harm the interests of Japan and the U.S., they said.

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Shinzo Shrugs Off Global Criticism of Stimulus Steps

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waded into the growing global debate about currency wars for the first time on Wednesday, shrugging off criticism that Tokyo was trying to intentionally weaken the yen with its monetary and fiscal stimulus measures.

“The measures taken by the government and the BOJ are aimed at beating deflation and achieving sustainable economic growth,” Abe said, when asked by an opposition party leader in parliament about criticism from some overseas policymakers that the steps were attempts by Tokyo to directly weaken the yen.

It was his first public comment on the issue.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week singled out Japan as a source of concern following recent moves by its central bank to quicken the pace of money-printing.

South Korea has also been vocal in recent days, with the governor of the central bank saying on Saturday that Japan’s latest monetary easing had “created problems.

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Abe Opens Diet with Economy, Reconstruction, Security in Focus

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered his inaugural policy speech Monday to kick off the 150-day Diet session, focusing on how he will “revitalize” the economy but omitting his contentious, right-leaning diplomatic and historical rhetoric.

Abe emphasized his determination to overcome the country’s decades-old economic slump, reconstruct the disaster-hit Tohoku region, strengthen Japan’s security alliance with the United States and enhance diplomatic ties with Southeast Asia.

“The biggest and most urgent agenda item for our country is revitalization of the economy,” Abe said in the speech.

“I will focus most on the economic revitalization because I believe prolonged deflation and appreciation of the yen’s value have rocked the foundation of the social belief that ‘people who work hard will be rewarded.’ ”

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Bank of Japan Doubling Its Inflation Target to 2 Percent

The Bank of Japan set an ambitious 2 percent inflation target and pledged to ease monetary policy “decisively” by introducing open-ended asset purchases, following intense pressure from the country’s audacious new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has made beating deflation a national priority.

In a joint statement with the government, the central bank said it was doubling its inflation target to 2 percent and said it would “pursue monetary easing and aim to achieve this target at the earliest possible time.”

The Bank of Japan also said that it intended to purchase assets indefinitely, promising to stick to a program that has allowed the bank to pump funds into the Japanese economy, even with interest rates at virtually zero. The bank’s board voted to keep its benchmark rate at a range of zero to 0.1 percent.

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