Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing on Nov. 11. (Pool)
Even on agreement document, Japan, China quarreled over English phrasing
BEIJING--Japan and China immediately engaged in a war of words--English words, that is--over a document released Nov. 7 to smooth the way for a summit between the leaders of the two nations.
Kenji Eda, co-leader of the Japan Innovation Party, left, and Banri Kaieda, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (Photos by Satoru Semba and Shogo Koshida)
Opposition parties seek unity, find disarray, ahead of election campaign
Opposition parties are trying--but struggling--to form a united front for the Lower House election campaign to focus voter attention away from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s self-proclaimed “public mandate” on Abenomics.
Former industry minister Yuko Obuchi at a news conference in Maebashi on Nov. 21 (Nobuhiro Shirai)
Scandal-tainted former ministers seek mandates in election
Two female politicians who resigned from the Cabinet over money-related scandals asked for forgiveness from supporters as they announced their candidacies for the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
Lower House members throw their arms in the air at a plenary session on Nov. 21, in a longtime practice when the chamber is dissolved. (Shogo Koshida)
Lower House dissolved for Dec. 14 snap election; campaigning opens Dec. 2
The Lower House was dissolved on Nov. 21 for a snap election, with the postponement of the consumption tax hike and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "Abenomics" economic policy at the center of debate.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces his decision to postpone the consumption tax rate hike and dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 18. (Shogo Koshida)
ASAHI POLL: Cabinet support rate falls below nonsupport rate after Abe calls snap election
Forty percent of voters do not support the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he decided to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed, the first time that the figure has dipped below the support rate.
Reporters question Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Nov. 18 news conference in which he announced he would postpone a second consumption tax hike. (Shogo Koshida)
INSIGHT: Tax hike delay puts social welfare programs in financial bind
In postponing a sales tax hike, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that he wanted to avoid hurting prospects for economic growth. But his decision could negatively affect a number of important policy objectives, particularly the “enriching” of social welfare programs.
Banri Kaieda, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, delivers a speech in front of JR Shinbashi Station in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Nov. 18. (Ryutaro Abe)
Opposition leaders rip Abe's 'twisted logic' in holding vote on tax hike delay
Opposition leaders took turns blasting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to dissolve the Lower House, questioning the logic of holding an election on a decision that voters and political parties already generally accept.
Lawyers who are demanding that lawmakers correct vote-value disparities in national elections hold a news conference on Nov. 17 in Tokyo. (Satoru Semba)
Lawyers file suit to stop December Lower House poll over vote-value disparities
A group of lawyers filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 18 demanding that December's planned Lower House election be suspended because of existing vote-value disparities in national elections.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces the postponement of the consumption tax hike and dissolution of the Lower House at a news conference at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Nov. 18. (Shogo Koshida)
Abe to delay consumption tax hike, dissolve Lower House on Nov. 21 for snap election
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Nov. 18 he will dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 21 to seek a voter mandate for his economic policies, including his decision to delay the consumption tax hike scheduled for October 2015.
A Chinese military vessel receives fuel in the Pacific Ocean about 400 kilometers north of Okinotorishima island in July 2013. (Provided by Defense Ministry)
ANALYSIS: Hotline with China only first step toward avoiding military incident
One positive development from last week’s meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping was their agreement on the need to prevent an unexpected military encounter in the East China Sea.
Takeshi Onaga speaks to media representatives in Naha on Nov. 17, a day after he won the Okinawa gubernatorial election. (Koichi Ueda)
Onaga: Orderly approach needed to cancel reclamation work for U.S. base
NAHA--Okinawa Governor-elect Takeshi Onaga said he will take a step-by-step approach with the central government in his plan to rescind approval of a land reclamation project for the construction of a U.S. military airbase.
A whaling ship leaves Shimonoseki Port in Yamaguchi Prefecture for the Antarctic Ocean in 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan plans new Antarctic whale hunt, but vows to slash quota
Japan on Nov. 18 unveiled plans to resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean despite an international court ruling that previous hunts were illegal, but said it would slash the quota for the so-called scientific whaling program.
Takeshi Onaga, center, celebrates his victory in the Okinawa gubernatorial election on Nov. 16 with his supporters in Naha. (Azumi Fukuoka)
UPDATE: Futenma relocation opponent wins Okinawa gubernatorial election
NAHA--Takeshi Onaga, the victor in the Nov. 16 Okinawa governor’s election, vowed to fight the central government’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the southern prefecture.
Voters holding up signs opposing new military bases listen to a candidate in the Okinawa gubernatorial campaign outside the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. (Koichi Ueda)
INSIGHT: Onaga faces uphill battle in stopping Futenma relocation
Takeshi Onaga, winner of the Okinawa governor’s election, declared that the people have spoken, and plans to keep a U.S. military air station within the prefecture should be scrapped. Central government officials, however, say the law is on their side.
Henoko, the planned relocation site of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture in July (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Onaga's win could throw wrench in Washington's troop redeployment plan
WASHINGTON--The results of the Nov. 16 Okinawa gubernatorial election could threaten to derail the U.S. plan on troop redeployment in Japan that was fueled by the actions of the now-ousted incumbent governor.
Takeshi Onaga, center, celebrates his projected victory in the Okinawa gubernatorial election on Nov. 16. (Azumi Fukuoka)
Onaga, opponent of Futenma relocation plan, set to win Okinawa governor election
NAHA--Former Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga, a staunch opponent of relocating a U.S. military air base within Okinawa Prefecture, was heading toward victory in the Nov. 16 gubernatorial election, exit polls showed.
Finance Minister Taro Aso (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan, China to resume dialogue between finance ministers
BRISBANE, Australia--Japan and China agreed here Nov. 15 to resume top-level finance talks that have been suspended since 2012 over deteriorating bilateral relations.
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, center, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the start of their meeting in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 16. (AP Photo)
With eye on China, Obama seeks closer security ties with Japan, Australia
BRISBANE, Australia—Eyeing Chinese aggression, President Barack Obama and the prime ministers of Japan and Australia committed on Nov. 16 to deepen their military cooperation and work together on strengthening maritime security in the Asia Pacific.
World leaders attend the 2008 G-8 Summit in the town of Toyako, Hokkaido. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Race to host 2016 G-7 summit intensifies among 7 candidate municipalities
Seven municipalities across the nation are busily promoting themselves as the race heats up for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to select a host site for the 2016 Group of Seven nations summit.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Government to delay consumption tax rate hike to 2017
The government is planning to postpone the second stage of raising the consumption tax rate scheduled for October 2015 by a year and a half, sources said Nov. 14.

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