The No. 3 reactor, left foreground, and No. 4 reactor, background, shortly after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 (Provided by TEPCO)
Japan to ratify international convention on nuclear accident compensation pact
Japan intends to ratify an international convention that sets a global uniform standard for compensating victims of nuclear accidents.
Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Former Japan PM Fukuda to meet China's Xi next week--source
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping Oct. 29 in Beijing, a source familiar with the matter said, setting the stage for a possible meeting between the leaders of Japan and China in November.
A man in Gunma Prefecture says he received these bottles of wine from an aide to Yuko Obuchi. (Masafumi Ueda)
Voter says Obuchi aide provided gifts of wine
Exacerbating the scandal surrounding former trade minister Yuko Obuchi, a voter in her constituency said he received two bottles of wine from an aide to the Lower House member.
Yoichi Miyazawa, the new minister of economy, trade and industry, meets reporters on Oct. 23. (Kuniaki Nishio/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Support group of Japan's new trade minister spent funds at S&M bar
Japan's new trade minister, installed this week to replace a minister caught in a funding scandal, said on Oct. 23 a political support group of his spent money at a racy bar, a potential new headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
A coal-fired power plant in Yokohama (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan coal power plant export push hits U.S. resistance
The United States has challenged the Japanese government over moves to ramp up exports of coal-fired power technology and to offer cheap loans to lure buyers, according to a U.S. source with direct knowledge of the matter.
Senior officials of the U.S. Department of Defense visit the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Tsukuba Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture on Oct. 10. (Yusuke Fukui)
Japan, U.S. to strengthen cooperation in space under revised defense guidelines
The revised Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation will not only take the security alliance around the world, but they will also bolster the partnership in outer space.
Then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono attends a news conference to announce Japan's apology to former wartime comfort women in August 1993. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Suga: Kono's 1993 remarks on 'comfort women' cause 'major problem'
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said former top government spokesman Yohei Kono created a “major problem” for Japan by saying at a 1993 news conference that wartime “comfort women” were forcibly taken away.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Oct. 22 explains plans to send a government delegation to North Korea from Oct. 27 to 30. (Shogo Koshida)
Japan team heading to N. Korea to pressure it on abductees, Abe says
Japan is sending officials to reclusive North Korea to keep up pressure for an investigation into the fate of its citizens kidnapped decades ago to train spies, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Oct. 22.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to reporters’ questions at the prime minister’s office on Oct. 20 after two of his Cabinet ministers resigned. (Shogo Koshida)
ANALYSIS: Abe's ‘money in politics’ nightmare resurfaces
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration had been sailing along relatively scandal-free until questions surfaced this month about two of his “star” Cabinet members.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the abduction issue at the prime minister's office on Oct. 20. (Shogo Koshida)
Abductees association skeptical about Abe's plan to dispatch team to North Korea
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to send officials to North Korea to confirm the status of Pyongyang’s reinvestigation into the abduction of Japanese, but family members of victims doubt the move will produce results.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto during a debate with Makoto Sakurai at the Osaka city office on Oct. 20 (Gen Hashimoto)
'Hate speech' debate turns ugly between Osaka mayor, anti-Korean leader
OSAKA--A "hate speech" debate between Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and the leader of an anti-Korean group on Oct. 20 stopped short of a brawl as security guards were forced to separate the two men.
Yuko Obuchi, left, and Midori Matsushima (The Asahi Shimbun)
UPDATE: In blow to Abe, 2 female Cabinet ministers resign over scandals
Two female Cabinet members resigned over scandals on Oct. 20, less than two months after they were promoted to ministerial posts to help lift the popularity of the government.
Participants in a disaster drill pass relief supplies delivered by a U.S. Osprey aircraft in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, on Oct. 19. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
U.S. Ospreys join earthquake drill in Wakayama
WAKAYAMA--For the first time, U.S. military Osprey transport aircraft took part in a local government’s disaster drill in Japan.
Yoichi Miyazawa arrives at the prime minister's office on Oct. 20. (Shogo Koshida/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Abe names successors to Obuchi, Matsushima
Acting quickly to replace two Cabinet members who resigned earlier in the day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Oct. 20 tapped Yoichi Miyazawa, acting chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party Policy Research Council, and Yoko Kamikawa, a former gender equality minister, as their replacements.
Junichi Ihara, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, right, and Song Il Ho, North Korean ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan, before their meeting in Beijing on July 1 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tokyo tells Seoul it will dispatch officials to Pyongyang for abduction-issue talks
Japan informed South Korea of its plans to send officials to North Korea as early as this month to determine Pyongyang’s earnestness in its reinvestigation of abducted Japanese citizens, diplomatic sources said Oct. 18.
Internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, center, visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Oct. 18. (Naoko Kawamura)
3 Cabinet members visit Yasukuni Shrine as Tokyo tries to improve ties with China
Three Cabinet members visited the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Oct. 18 as the government is seeking a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
South Korean vice defense minister Baek Seung-joo is interviewed by The Asahi Shimbun at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul on Oct. 16. (Toru Higashioka)
S. Korea hopes Pyongyang will participate in Seoul security talks
SEOUL--A top South Korean defense official said his nation is hoping to have North Korea participate in regional security talks that Seoul hosts annually.
U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Washington denies agreement exists to end Futenma operations in 2019
WASHINGTON--No agreement has been reached between Japan and the United States to end operations at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma by February 2019, despite recent statements by Japanese officials.
Lawmakers from various parties make a mass visit to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Oct. 17, the start of its autumn festival. (Takuya Isayama)
Abe makes symbolic offering to Yasukuni, likely to forgo autumn festival visit
Intent on holding his first summit with his Chinese counterpart in November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will apparently not visit the war-related Yasukuni Shrine during the autumn festival.
Trade Minister Yuko Obuchi talks to reporters about allegations of misuse of political funds on Oct. 17. (Shogo Koshida)
New trade minister in hot water after reports of alleged misuse of political funds
Trade Minister Yuko Obuchi faced growing criticism on Oct. 17 after allegations emerged that her political funds were used to purchase theater tickets and meals for her supporters, a possible elections law violation.

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