Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pours sake for visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on April 23 at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district. (Provided by Cabinet Public Relations Office)
Senkakus issue to be included in joint statement to be issued after Abe-Obama meeting
The Senkaku Islands issue will be included in the joint statement to be issued on April 24 after the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting U.S. President Barack Obama.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he departs Air Force One at Haneda Airport in Tokyo at 7:06 p.m. on April 23. Obama will stay in Japan until the morning of April 25, when he will depart for South Korea on the second leg of his four-nation Asia swing.  (Satoru Semba)
UPDATE: Obama lands in Japan, will push TPP, security issues on 4-nation Asian swing
U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Japan on April 23 as part of four-nation Asian swing to push negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal and strengthen U.S. security ties to counter China's influence.
Ichiro Fujisaki, the former ambassador to the United States, during an interview in Tokyo on April 22 (Izumi Sakurai)
Former ambassador to U.S.: Abe, Obama must send message on strength of alliance
Despite growing doubts, the Japan-U.S. alliance remains on solid ground ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s state visit to Japan, Ichiro Fujisaki, the former ambassador to the United States, said.
Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe during an inspection tour of the Sochi Winter Olympics in February (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe hopeful Tokyo governor's Beijing visit will help mend ties with China
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is counting on a visit to Beijing by Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe to pave the way for an upturn in Japan’s soured relations with China.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso answers questions from reporters after a G-20 meeting in Washington on April 10. (Hidefumi Nogami)
Nine utilities buy fund-raising party tickets for Aso
Nine operators of nuclear plants have bought tickets to Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso’s fund-raising parties for at least 10 years but avoided having their names listed in his political fund reports, The Asahi Shimbun learned.
An Osprey transport aircraft flies toward a training field in Shiga Prefecture on Oct. 16. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe seeks 'after-the-fact' Diet approval for collective self-defense action
The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to allow the government to exercise the right to collective self-defense without prior Diet approval in some instances, sources said April 21.
Hidehisa Otsuji, former health minister, second from right in front row, Sanae Takaichi, chairwoman of the LDP Policy Research Council, third from right in front, and other Diet members visit Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on April 22. (Wataru Sekita)
Cabinet member, 150 lawmakers visit Yasukuni before Obama's arrival
Internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo and around 150 lawmakers flooded Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine during its spring festival on April 22, a day ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s arrival in Japan for a summit.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he offered prayers at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Dec. 26 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
2nd lawsuit filed against Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine
Bereaved family members of fallen Japanese soldiers sued Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying his visit to Yasukuni Shrine last December aggravated relations with neighboring nations and resulted in their emotional distress.
The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Pacific accord on maritime code could help prevent conflicts
QINGDAO, China--More than 20 countries with interests in the western Pacific signed up to a framework maritime communication deal on April 22 in what could be a step toward ensuring that miscommunication between naval vessels does not develop into a conflict.
The Baosteel Emotion, a Mitsui O.S.K. Lines iron ore carrier, which has been seized by the Shanghai Maritime Court (Provided by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.)
Shanghai court seizes Japanese ship over unpaid wartime compensation
BEIJING--A Japanese iron ore carrier has been seized by the Shanghai Maritime Court in a Chinese port after its owner failed to respond to a compensation order stemming from a 1930s wartime contractual dispute.
Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe skips Yasukuni visit, makes symbolic offerings instead ahead of Obama visit
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signaled that he is not visiting Yasukuni Shrine during its spring festival this week and instead offered a “masakaki” sacred tree branch, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit, which starts on April 23.
An E-2C early warning aircraft, one of four restationed to the Air Self-Defense Force's Naha Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture, on April 20 (Shinobu Imano)
Airborne early warning unit set up at Okinawa base to bolster surveillance
NAHA--A new unit of early warning aircraft has been permanently assigned to an Air Self-Defense Force base here to bolster Japan's surveillance capabilities over its southwestern islands, including the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Chinese admiral to snub Japan at regional meeting
SHANGHAI--The commander of the Chinese navy will refuse to meet Japanese military officials one-on-one at a regional naval symposium in China this week, a navy spokesman was quoted as saying on April 20, citing what he called hurtful actions by Japanese leaders.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama meet on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5, 2013. (Pool)
Abe, Obama to discuss stronger alliance, China at talks in Tokyo
WASHINGTON--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama will reaffirm their commitment to a strengthened bilateral alliance when the two leaders meet in Tokyo next week.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye before a trilateral summit meeting in The Hague on March 25 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
DRIFTING ALLIANCE: Obama wants concession on TPP to offset Abe's Yasukuni visit
After the trilateral summit of Japan, the United States and South Korea at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in The Hague in March, President Barack Obama, who coordinated the meeting, asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stay in the room for a private head-to-head.
Seen in this photo taken during the Group of Seven summit meeting in The Hague on March 24 is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, third from right, who is seated next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. To Merkel’s right is U.S. President Barack Obama. The Crimea crisis and its impact on the geopolitical situation in Asia were of primary concern during the meeting.  (Pool)
DRIFTING ALLIANCE: Crimea crisis shines spotlight on allies' concerns over U.S. protection
During the Group of Seven summit of leading industrial nations in The Hague on March 24, the Crimea situation was a top priority, but another topic of discussion also dominated the meeting--China.
A tram runs in Kochi carrying a message calling for the protection of Article 9 and Article 25 of the Constitution in April 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Peace advocates given cold shoulder ahead of Constitution Day
With the Abe administration poised to revise the interpretation of the pacifist Constitution to enable the nation to exercise the right to collective self-defense, some municipalities and private sector concerns have begun silencing critics of the effort ahead of Constitution Day on May 3.
Yasuhiro Okudaira, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, and other scholars of Save Constitutional Democracy Japan 2014, speak of a crisis facing democracy in Japan at a news conference on April 18 at the Diet members' office of the Lower House in Tokyo.  (Izumi Sakurai)
Scholars form ‘Save Constitutional Democracy’ to challenge Abe's 'omnipotence'
Concerned scholars have formed a group to protest the Abe government’s "aggressive campaign" to make it easier to amend the pacifist Constitution, vowing to "restore constitutional democracy in Japan."
Horses graze at a ranch on Yonagunijima island in Okinawa Prefecture in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan to arm remote western island, risking more China tension
Japan is sending 100 soldiers and radar to its westernmost outpost, a tropical island off Taiwan, in a deployment that risks angering China with ties between Asia's biggest economies already hurt by a dispute over nearby islands they both claim.
Junichi Ihara, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, is swarmed by reporters in Seoul on April 16 after his meeting with Lee Sang-deok, the director-general of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, to discuss the "comfort women" issue. (Akihiko Kaise)
'Comfort women' issue again open for discussion between Japan, South Korea
SEOUL--Japan and South Korea moved to ease the deep chill in their relations by holding talks here April 16 on the "comfort women" issue and agreeing to another meeting on the subject in Tokyo in May.

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