Shintaro Ishihara announces his retirement from politics at a news conference in Tokyo on Dec. 16. (Tatsuya Shimada)
Retiring Ishihara to speak his mind 'until the day I die'
Retiring politician Shintaro Ishihara lambasted China, compared a former political partner to a young Adolf Hitler, and showed no regrets for uttering comments that have offended countries and segments of Japanese society for decades.
The Oma nuclear power plant under construction in July 2014 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
J-Power applies for safety check of Oma nuclear plant under construction in Aomori
Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) applied Dec. 16 for safety screenings for its Oma nuclear power plant, currently under construction in Aomori Prefecture.
Lawyers prepare to file a lawsuit demanding the results of the Dec. 14 Lower House election be annulled at the Tokyo High Court on Dec. 15. (Tatsuya Shimada)
Lawyers upbeat after seeking to invalidate election results over vote disparity
Lawyers across Japan filed lawsuits to nullify the results of the Dec. 14 Lower House election on grounds a disparity in the value of votes made the poll unconstitutional.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a request for salary increases during a meeting with representatives of business and labor on Dec. 16. (Shogo Koshida)
Abe, Keidanren agree to seek salary increases to further push Abenomics
Fresh off his election victory, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of the business world signed an agreement Dec. 16 to make efforts to raise salaries next year.
Opponents of amending the Constitution call for voters to cast their ballots in the Dec. 14 Lower House election in Tokyo on Dec. 8. (Keiichiro Inoue)
POLL: 84% of newly elected lawmakers favor constitutional revision
More than 80 percent of the newly elected Lower House members support amending the pacifist Constitution, according to a recent Asahi Shimbun poll.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki at the party headquarters in Tokyo on Dec. 14. (Shinichi Iizuka)
INSIGHT: With landslide victory, Abe to push for constitutional amendment
While the ruling coalition primarily sought a mandate on “Abenomics” economic policies during campaigning, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now plans to push for other issues, including his long-cherished goal of amending the Constitution.
Chinese newspapers on Dec. 15 carry stories detailing the Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in the Dec. 14 Lower House election. (Nanae Kurashige)
Chinese, S. Korean newspapers warn LDP's victory could adversely impact ties
Major newspapers in China and South Korea expressed concern a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory in the Dec. 14 Lower House election and warned about the implications for relations in Asia.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives an interview to the media as his Liberal Democratic Party heads for victory in the Dec. 14 Lower House election. (Shinichi Iizuka)
UPDATE: Abe's ruling coalition captures two-thirds majority in Lower House election
The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe captured a two-thirds majority in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, giving his administration the power to push legislation through the Diet.
Seiken Akamine of the Japanese Communist Party, center, celebrates victory with a traditional Okinawan dance in Naha on Dec. 14. (Haruki Morishita)
2014 CHOICE: LDP suffers crushing defeat in Okinawa, a blow to base relocation
Opposition candidates won in all of Okinawa's four single-seat constituencies in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, a sign of growing frustration among voters over the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.
Japanese Communist Party Chairman Kazuo Shii places a flower over his name at the party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Dec. 14. (Naoko Kawamura)
2014 CHOICE: Communist Party makes headway with surprising 21-seat harvest
While the Dec. 14 Lower House election dealt a major blow to most opposition forces, the Japanese Communist Party enjoyed significant gains, more than doubling its pre-election strength of eight seats to 21.
Banri Kaieda, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, has little to smile about as he responds to reporters' questions on Dec. 14. (Satoru Semba)
DPJ leader Kaieda to step down after being ousted from Lower House
Opposition leader Banri Kaieda went down to defeat in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, even though his Democratic Party of Japan added 11 seats to its pre-election strength.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe celebrates with LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki and other party executives as they receive reports of LDP victories in the Dec. 14 Lower House election. (Teruo Kashiyama)
UPDATE: Ruling coalition captures more than 300 seats in Lower House election
The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured more than 300 seats in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, according to partial returns and exit polls.
The Asahi Shimbun
2014 CHOICE: Ruling coalition could maintain two-thirds majority in Lower House
The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could maintain its two-thirds majority in the Lower House in the Dec. 14 election, exit polls showed.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gives a speech in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Dec. 11. (Ryo Ikeda)
2014 CHOICE: Ruling, main opposition camp stay cool toward nuclear issue despite heated public interest
Although the public is strongly divided over the Abe administration's pro-nuclear stance, the main opposition camp along with the ruling party are avoiding turning it into a campaign issue for the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Statement tells ruling party to butt out of TV broadcast programming
Journalists and media researchers issued a statement Dec. 11 calling on the ruling party to stop trying to control content on TV programs.
Members of the Ground Self-Defense Force board a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft during a training session in Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Dec. 7. (Satoru Semba)
With an eye on China, defense spending set to rise for 3rd year in row
Japan's defense spending in fiscal 2015 is set to rise for the third consecutive year, reflecting efforts to monitor the movement of Chinese vessels encroaching in territorial waters in the East China Sea.
Protesters march in front of the prime minister's office on Dec. 9 to voice their opposition to the state secrets protection law. (Naoko Kawamura)
ANALYSIS: Secrecy law in force after scant effort to alleviate public concerns
After the Abe administration sought public opinion about the state secrets protection law, concerns, complaints and outrage poured in.
Movie director Yoji Yamada helped to organize a group opposed to the state secrets protection law. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Protest statements issued as state secrets law takes effect
Organizations representing journalists, legal experts and the entertainment industry issued statements calling for the abolishment of the state secrets protection law that they say will trample on the people’s right to know.
Zaitokukai members criticize a Kyoto District Court ruling that ordered compensation payments over activities described as racial discrimination. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Supreme Court upholds compensation ruling against 'hate speech' group
The Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings ordering a right-wing group and some of its members to pay compensation for blaring racist “hate speech” toward ethnic Koreans, including children, in Kyoto.
Voters listen to a candidate's speech in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, on Dec. 6. (Yosuke Fukudome)
2014 CHOICE: Ruling coalition likely to secure two-thirds majority in Dec. 14 vote
A new poll by The Asahi Shimbun shows the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito likely winning two-thirds of the seats in the Dec. 14 Lower House election.

More AJW