Akira Amari, left, the state minister in charge of the TPP negotiations, attends a news conference in Atlanta on Oct. 5 along with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, right. (Hitoshi Kujiraoka)
COMMENTARY: Next step for TPP is to bring China into the picture
Even though China was absent from the picture, a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement is in reach that will create a vast, new economic zone.
The prime ministers of Japan and France, Shinzo Abe and Manuel Valls, at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Oct. 5 (Shinichi Iizuka)
Japan, France pledge tight cooperation in nuclear and defense
Japan and France agreed to bolster their cooperation in the fields of nuclear and defense technology at a meeting in Tokyo on Oct. 5.
Representatives from 12 countries participating in the Trans Pacific Partnership meet reporters in Atlanta on Oct. 5. (The Asahi Shimbun)
UPDATE: U.S., 11 other Pacific Rim countries reach sweeping trade deal
ATLANTA/ WASHINGTON--The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries have agreed to an ambitious and contentious trade pact that cuts trade barriers, sets labor and environmental standards and protects multinational corporations' intellectual property.
Pacific trade negotiators reach landmark deal, fight for approval to follow
ATLANTA--Pacific trade ministers have reached a deal on the most sweeping trade liberalization pact in a generation that will cut trade barriers and set common standards for 12 countries, an official familiar with the talks said on Oct. 5.
Akira Amari, minister in charge of TPP negotiations, speaks to reporters in Atlanta on Oct. 4. (The Asahi Shimbun)
After 5 years of negotiations, Pacific free trade talks near deal
ATLANTA--A dozen Pacific nations closed in on a sweeping free trade pact on Oct. 4 in Atlanta after a breakthrough over how long a monopoly pharmaceutical companies should be given on new biotech drugs.
Prime Minister Eisaku Sato responds to Diet questioning in 1967. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Nixon administration urged Japan to delay ratifying NPT
Despite being the only nation victimized by an atomic bomb, Japan took six years to ratify the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in the 1970s due partly to diplomatic machinations started by U.S. President Richard Nixon.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto speaks at a news conference on Oct. 1 in Osaka. (Eijiro Morii)
Hashimoto establishes national party, slams 'fake' innovation group
OSAKA--Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto formed a national party, denounced his former party as a “fake” and vowed to stay out of political affairs.
Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Despite more doubts about GDP target, Abe remains upbeat
The chief of a major business lobby joined the list of skeptics who say the government’s economic growth target is a pipe dream, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe remained optimistic about reaching the lofty goal.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Japanese economy minister Akira Amari meet reporters in Atlanta on Oct. 1. (The Asahi Shimbun)
Pacific trade ministers vow to reach deal but extra time needed
ATLANTA--Trade ministers from a dozen Pacific nations meeting in Atlanta extended talks on a sweeping trade deal until Oct. 3 in a bid to get a final agreement on the most ambitious trade pact in a generation.
Cyclists ride past the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Sept. 30. (AP Photo)
Beijing says it arrested 2 Japanese for spying; Tokyo denies sending agents to China
China announced Sept. 30 it has arrested two Japanese citizens for spying, but Tokyo flatly denied it had sent agents to China.
Tanks used by the Self-Defense Forces are displayed during a parade in Hokkaido in 2014. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
New defense agency to front Abe's security policy
The Defense Ministry established an agency Oct. 1 to promote weapons development, along with procurement and exports, as part of Japan's new security policy.
U.S. Marines and Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force members participate in Dawn Blitz on San Clemente Island off the California coast on June 17, 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan, U.S. rewriting rules for logistic support in warfare
Japan and the United States are revising a written agreement to better coordinate their military forces in logistic support in a possible conflict with a common enemy.
Shinjiro Koizumi leaves a Diet committee session May 16, 2014. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in the foreground. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Koizumi's son has harsh words for LDP and Abe regime
The lawmaker son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi mounted a scathing attack on his own party and the Abe administration over highly unpopular security legislation that was rammed through the Diet last month.
Daichi Suzuki, chief of the Japan Sports Agency, is welcomed by officials of the newly established government agency in Tokyo on Oct. 1. (Tetsuro Takehana)
Chief of new Japan Sports Agency calls for teamwork to promote policies
An extra-ministerial bureau was established in the education ministry on Oct. 1 to integrate the government’s sports policies and smooth the arrangements for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a news conference in New York on Sept. 29 (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe: Japan must put its own house in order before accepting refugees from Syria
NEW YORK--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan needs to attend to its own demographic challenges posed by falling birthrates and an aging population before opening its doors to refugees.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 29. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe pledges $810 million for refugees
NEW YORK--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to triple Japan’s financial support for refugees on Sept. 29 at the U.N. General Assembly, but he remained noncommittal on recognizing and accepting more asylum seekers in Japan.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a summit meeting of the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta in April (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan loses Indonesian high-speed rail link to China
JAKARTA--China outmaneuvered Japan in efforts to win a huge contract to build a high-speed rail link in Indonesia by offering to shoulder the entire financial burden of the project, sources said.
Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, the chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) (The Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Keizai Doyukai chief: No way to achieve Abe's GDP goal
The chairman of Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) said it will be impossible for Japan to reach Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of expanding gross domestic product to 600 trillion yen ($5 trillion).
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in New York on Sept. 28. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe, Putin agree to coordinate visit by Russian president to Japan
NEW YORK--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to continue working toward the realization of a long-awaited visit to Japan by Putin by year-end.
A Ground Self-Defense Force member fires a recoilless rifle during a drill at the Higashi-Fuji training range in Shizuoka Prefecture on Aug. 20. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Defense Ministry starts revising rules of engagement for new SDF missions
Defense Agency officials on Sept. 28 began revising the Self-Defense Forces’ rules of engagement covering weapons use and other actions to deal with a wider range of duties under recently enacted security legislation.

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