Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to questions about national security legislation at a Lower House special committee session on May 27. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe 'in general' allowing more exceptions for collective self-defense
When stressing the limits on overseas deployment of the Self-Defense Forces, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe frequently uses the term “in general,” creating more exceptions to the rule under proposed national security legislation.
Mike Rogers, chairman of the strategic subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, replies in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on May 26. (Provided by the U.S. Embassy)
U.S. House subcommittee chairman: China’s upgraded nuclear missiles 'another indication of aggression”
China has upgraded its long-range nuclear missiles by equipping them with multiple warheads, according to a U.S. congressman who presides over the subcommittee that oversees nuclear weapons and missile defense systems.
Donald Tusk, left, president of the European Council, responds to an interview question while Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, looks on. (Michiko Yoshida)
European Council president raises concerns about Chinese advances into South China Sea
BRUSSELS--The chief executive of the European Union directed rare criticism at China's recent efforts to strengthen its presence in the South China Sea.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh during an interview with The Asahi Shimbun (Takashi Watanabe)
Jordan ruled out swap as Islamic State offered no proof of life, says foreign minister
AMMAN, Jordan--Jordan did not agree to a hostage-prisoner swap with Islamic State because at no stage did it have proof that the Japanese national or Jordanian pilot held by the group were alive.
The Takahama nuclear power plant (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Nuclear power crucial as renewable energy too costly, ministry says
The high cost of renewable energy means Japan has no choice but to rely on nuclear power to provide between 20 and 22 percent of its energy by 2030, according to an industry ministry report.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enters the Lower House chamber on May 26. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Diet debate on security bills starts with confusion over limits on collective self-defense
Remarks by Abe administration officials on the possibility of Japan attacking enemy bases sparked confusion before nuts-and-bolts deliberations on national security legislation began in the Diet on May 26.
Representatives of 16 history organizations announce a statement on May 25 about the "comfort women" issue. (Jun Sato)
Historians' groups emphasize need to see full picture of 'comfort women' issue
Sixteen organizations consisting of Japanese historians issued a statement May 25 calling on politicians and the media to sincerely face up to the damage Japan inflicted on “comfort women” and their suffering.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Taiwan offers South China Sea peace plan to avert 'major conflict'
TAIPEI--Taiwan proposed a peace initiative on May 26 to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea that it says will reduce tensions that have put Beijing at odds with its neighbors and the United States.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on May 25 (The Asahi Shimbun)
Japan and Malaysia bolster defense ties, with eyes on China
Japan and Malaysia agreed to bolster security ties and start talks on transfers of defense equipment and technology, their leaders said May 25, as both separately wrangle with China over territorial spats.
Kunio Hatoyama, center background, congratulates himself in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Dec. 14 after his Lower House election victory became certain. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Lower House members' assets rise to average 34.63 million yen
The 475 Lower House members own assets worth an average 34.63 million yen (about $284,687), excluding stocks, up by 2.35 million yen from 2013, according to Asahi Shimbun calculations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's General Council, shake hands on May 23. (Nozomu Hayashi)
China's Xi offers hand in friendship toward visiting Japanese delegation
BEIJING--In a further sign of China’s willingness to improve ties with Japan, Chinese President Xi Jinping greeted a private delegation of 3,000 Japanese visitors on May 23 and called for friendly cooperation between Asia’s two largest economies.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a keynote speech at the plenary session of the seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 23. (Satoru Semba)
Abe pledges massive aid package to Pacific nations to build 'two-way' relations
IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 23 pledged aid worth more than 55 billion yen ($460 million) over the next three years to Pacific island nations to help deal with the impact of climate change and natural disasters.
Jun Shinmi, director-general for cultural affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, left, and Choi Jong-moon, special envoy of South Korea’s foreign minister, greet each other ahead of their meeting in Tokyo on May 22. (Pool)
Rift remains after Tokyo, Seoul meet over World Heritage sites
Japan and South Korea failed to iron out their differences over Tokyo’s bid to list a group of prewar industrial sites for UNESCO World Heritage status, but will continue talks on the issue.
Sergey Naryshkin, chairman of Russia's State Duma, speaks in Tokyo on May 21. (Taro Nakazaki)
Japan pursues top-level talks with Russia despite U.S. concern
Japan will continue high-level political dialogue with Russia despite a warning from Washington to keep Moscow at arm's length, the government’s top spokesman said May 22.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, second from right, addresses a panel of government bureaucrats tasked with looking into the central government response to the kidnapping of two Japanese nationals in Syria last year. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Panel: No errors in government's response to IS hostage situation
The government did nothing wrong in its handling of the hostage crisis that ended with the slayings of two Japanese by the Islamic State extremist group this year, a panel of government bureaucrats concluded.
Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party, during question time in the Diet on May 20 (The Asahi Shimbun)
JCP's Shii: Abe has never read the Potsdam Declaration
Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii took another shot at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his apparent unfamiliarity with the 1945 Potsdam Declaration by pointing to his “misunderstanding of facts” a decade ago.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on May 21 in Tokyo (Akiko Suzuki)
Mahathir tells Japan to use words--not force--to settle disputes
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called on Japan to refrain from needlessly offending neighboring countries and to pursue dialogue to resolve issues over territory and history.
China's Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei, left, delivers a speech next to other representatives of founding member countries at the signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding on establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing on October 24, 2014. (AP Photo)
China, India likely to be biggest shareholders in AIIB
SINGAPORE--China is likely to hold a 25 to 30 percent stake in the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank while India will be the second-biggest shareholder, delegates said May 22 after a three-day meeting of the bank's founding member nations in Singapore.
Deputy Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama delivers a speech May 18 at a session of the review conference for the U.N. Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (Ichiro Matsuo)
Bilateral dispute with China derails Japanese proposal in NPT review
NEW YORK--A proposal for world leaders to visit the A-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was dropped from the draft of a statement about a United Nations nuclear nonproliferation treaty under review because of the spat between Japan and China over interpretations of history.
Katsuya Okada, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a one-on-one debate in the Diet on May 20. (Kazuhiro Nagashima and Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe: SDF will be deployed to safe areas, minesweeping an exceptional case
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said May 20 the Self-Defense Forces will only be dispatched to safe areas and will not land on territory and use force in their expanded roles under proposed security legislation.

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