Protesters opposing the deployment of Osprey aircraft at Saga Airport rally in front of the prefectural government building in Saga on July 22. (Nozomi Matsukawa)
Plan to station Osprey in Saga part of Abe's political power play
With its sudden interest in temporarily stationing MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Saga Airport, the Abe administration has shown its desperation in ensuring victory for Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima in the fall gubernatorial race.
MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft arrive at the Self-Defense Forces Okadama camp in Sapporo on July 19. (Eiji Hori)
SDF to deploy 17 Osprey aircraft at Saga Airport
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera confirmed his decision to base MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft at Saga city’s commercial airport in northwestern Kyushu, in proximity to other Self-Defense Forces facilities.
The Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Chubu Electric built 250 million yen slush fund to win over politicians
A former director of Chubu Electric Power Co. said the regional utility had its contractors pony up 250 million yen ($2.46 million) over 20 years for a secret fund to buy the support of politicians for nuclear power and other utility-related concerns.
The tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Saga Airport eyed as key base for protection of islands in East China Sea
The Defense Ministry intends to transform Saga city's commercial airport into a key military hub to protect outlying islands and counter China’s maritime advances in the East China Sea.
The surface-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile (Provided by Defense Ministry)
Japan approves first weapons transfer after arms ban relaxed
The Abe Cabinet on July 17 gave the green light for sales of missile parts to the United States, the first approval since the government eased Japan’s long-standing ban on weapons exports in April.
Banri Kaieda, left, president of the Democratic Party of Japan, meets with Chinese leader Liu Yunshan, right, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 16. (Ryutaro Abe)
DPJ leader Kaieda gets the cold shoulder in Beijing
BEIJING--The visiting head of Japan's main opposition party got a chilly reception in Beijing, reflecting China's anger with the Democratic Party of Japan for exacerbating a territorial row.
Takichi Nishiyama, a former Mainichi Shimbun reporter, criticizes the Supreme Court ruling on July 14 concerning secret documents related to the return of Okinawa to Japan. (Takuya Isayama)
INSIGHT: Supreme Court puts burden on plaintiffs seeking information disclosure
The Supreme Court on July 14 placed what could be an impossible hurdle for plaintiffs to overcome in seeking information disclosure from the central government.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question from an opposition lawmaker during a session of the Lower House Budget Committee on July 14. (Shogo Koshida)
MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Abe offers 1st explanation in Diet, but many not buying it
Groans filled the public gallery in the Diet as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the floor on July 14 to give his first explanation to politicians about his Cabinet's decision to allow the Self-Defense Forces to engage in battles far from Japan's shores.
Japanese navy commander Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, left, and U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Harry Harris listen to a reporter's question in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on July 14. (AP Photo)
Japan, U.S. admirals say naval cooperation deepening
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii--U.S-Japan naval cooperation is deepening, top U.S. and Japanese admirals said July 14 as they met on the sidelines of the world's largest maritime exercises.
Taizo Mikazuki, center, celebrates his victory in the Shiga gubernatorial election with the outgoing governor, Yukiko Kada, left, in Otsu on July 13. (Eijiro Morii)
INSIGHT: Shiga election delivers setback for Abe government
OTSU--Anti-nuclear candidate Taizo Mikazuki won the Shiga gubernatorial election on July 13, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the first major vote since his Cabinet reinterpreted the war-renouncing Constitution.
An Indian Navy corvette, foreground, joins ships from the Maritime Self-Defense Force for the first bilateral training exercise in Sagami Bay in 2012. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Abe's proactive pacifism an exercise in 'military power in diplomacy'
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's strategy of "proactive pacifism" is starting to take shape with recent changes made to long-standing national security policy.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on July 14 (Shogo Koshida)
Abe wants to hold summit with China at APEC
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on July 14 he wanted to hold a summit with China at the APEC leaders meeting in Beijing in November to improve relations strained by territorial and security issues, but drew a cool response from China.
Members of citizens groups hold a public protest near the Japanese ambassador’s official residence in Seoul on July 11. (Akihiko Kaise)
Annual SDF ceremony in Seoul forced to change venue
SEOUL--A ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces was held at the Japanese ambassador’s residence here July 11 after a local hotel venue backed out of the event.
South Korean citizens rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on July 1 to protest the Abe administration’s move to reinterpret the pacifist Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. (Akihiko Kaise)
MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: S. Korean lawmakers slam Japan's shift in defense policy
SEOUL--South Korean lawmakers adopted a resolution denouncing the Abe Cabinet’s decision to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist Constitution to allow it to exercise the right to collective self-defense, saying the move threatens peace in Northeast Asia.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel welcomes Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera during an honor cordon at the Pentagon July 11.   (AP Photo)
MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: U.S. defense chief hails 'historic' move by ally Japan to loosen restrictions on its military
WASHINGTON--Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on July 11 hailed as "historic" a Japanese government decision to loosen restrictions on its military.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera prepares for a test flight on an Osprey at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on July 10. (Shinobu Konno)
Defense minister says Osprey purchase planned for new SDF unit
WASHINGTON--The Defense Ministry intends to purchase several U.S. Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft in the next fiscal year as part of a plan to establish an amphibious Self-Defense Forces unit capable of recapturing outlying islands.
A South Korean man holds up a banner that says, "We say no to the revival of Japanese militarism" in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Survey: More than half of Japanese have negative impression of S. Korea
SEOUL--Some 54.4 percent of Japanese people hold a negative impression of South Korea, up by 17.1 percentage points from last year and reflecting the ongoing confrontations over historical and territorial issues, a joint survey showed.
Yoshihide Suga (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan seeks talks with China at November summit
Japan's top government spokesman said July 11 that an Asian regional summit in Beijing this November would be a good opportunity for the leaders of Japan and China to hold their first talks ever amid sour relations.
Gui Yongtao, an associate professor of international relations at Peking University's School of International Studies (Nozomu Hayashi)
MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Pacifism key to improving Japan's relations with China, scholar says
The recent decision by the Abe Cabinet to change the government interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense has ramifications that will be felt far beyond these shores.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan protests China newspaper's map showing atomic clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Japan protested on July 9 to China over a newspaper's depiction of exploding mushroom clouds in a map of Japan, calling it offensive.

More AJW