The Supreme Court on Nov. 26 rules that the 2013 Upper House election was held in “a state of unconstitutionality.” (Reina Kitamura)
Top court says 2013 Upper House election unfair, demands corrections by 2016
The Supreme Court ruled Nov. 26 that last year’s Upper House vote was held in a “state of unconstitutionality” and ordered the Diet to correct the vote-value disparity in the chamber’s electoral system by 2016.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responds to questions in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun. (Shogo Koshida)
Abe: Further interpretation change not possible on collective self-defense
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a further change in the government’s constitutional interpretation regarding collective self-defense would be impossible and that an actual revision of the pacifist Constitution would be difficult.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Banri Kaieda, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (Asahi Shimbun file photos)
LDP, DPJ have one thing in common for election: Keeping manifestos vague
When the underdog Democratic Party of Japan was looking for an edge in the 2003 Lower House election, party leader Naoto Kan turned to the British political playbook and decided to use a manifesto.
Policy chief Tomomi Inada announces the campaign platform for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Nov. 25. (Nobuhiro Shirai)
LDP platform boasts achievements, offers vague policy promises
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign platform released on Nov. 25 highlighted the achievements of the Abe administration over the past two years but offered very little in the way of specific policy promises.
Yoichi Miyazawa (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Industry minister sets summer deadline for energy policy
With pressure growing from both anti-nuclear activists and proponents of nuclear power, the industry minister said Nov. 25 that Japan’s energy policy will be determined by next summer.
Yasuhiro Okudaira, co-representative of the “Save Constitutional Democracy Japan 2014” group of scholars and lawyers, speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 26. (Izumi Sakurai)
Scholars urge voters to examine Abe's non-economic policies in casting ballots for snap vote
With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeking a mandate on his Abenomics economic policies in the upcoming Lower House election, a group of prominent legal and political experts is urging voters to also scrutinize his security, social and energy policies.
Japanese government representatives speak at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia in September. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan official compares opposition to whaling program to 'eco-imperialism'
Opposition to Japan's whaling program is a kind of "eco-imperialism" that imposes one value system on another and is based on emotion, not science, much the way killing elephants is now opposed, Japan's top whaling official said on Nov. 26.
Workers set up a poster board for the Dec. 14 Lower House election in Osaka's Tsurumi Ward on Nov. 24. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
Huge decrease expected in Lower House election candidates
Cooperative efforts among opposition parties to avoid a repeat of their 2012 campaign disaster will likely lead to a drastic decrease in candidates running in the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
The front cover of the Democratic Party of Japan's manifesto for the Dec. 14 snap election (Provided by the Democratic Party of Japan)
DPJ election platform opposes Abe’s policies, lacks numerical targets
The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan promised to shift away from “Abenomics,” reverse the government’s stance on collective self-defense and abolish nuclear plants in its manifesto for the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
Voters listen to a speech from an expected candidate in Osaka's Suminoe Ward on Nov. 21. (Tetsuro Takehana)
ASAHI POLL: LDP en route for election win despite poor support for Abenomics
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is heading for victory in the Dec. 14 Lower House election, although less than half of voters support “Abenomics” and other key policies, an Asahi Shimbun survey shows.
Naoto Kan, a former DPJ prime minister, stands on an empty beer case while speaking to voters in Tokyo on Nov. 21. (Taichi Kobayashi)
Former DPJ prime ministers return to humble beginnings in reaching out to voters
Once leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan is now just one of many politicians standing outside train stations around the nation vying for attention.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing on Nov. 11. (Pool)
Even on agreement document, Japan, China quarreled over English phrasing
BEIJING--Japan and China immediately engaged in a war of words--English words, that is--over a document released Nov. 7 to smooth the way for a summit between the leaders of the two nations.
Kenji Eda, co-leader of the Japan Innovation Party, left, and Banri Kaieda, head of the Democratic Party of Japan (Photos by Satoru Semba and Shogo Koshida)
Opposition parties seek unity, find disarray, ahead of election campaign
Opposition parties are trying--but struggling--to form a united front for the Lower House election campaign to focus voter attention away from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s self-proclaimed “public mandate” on Abenomics.
Former industry minister Yuko Obuchi at a news conference in Maebashi on Nov. 21 (Nobuhiro Shirai)
Scandal-tainted former ministers seek mandates in election
Two female politicians who resigned from the Cabinet over money-related scandals asked for forgiveness from supporters as they announced their candidacies for the Dec. 14 Lower House election.
Lower House members throw their arms in the air at a plenary session on Nov. 21, in a longtime practice when the chamber is dissolved. (Shogo Koshida)
Lower House dissolved for Dec. 14 snap election; campaigning opens Dec. 2
The Lower House was dissolved on Nov. 21 for a snap election, with the postponement of the consumption tax hike and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "Abenomics" economic policy at the center of debate.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces his decision to postpone the consumption tax rate hike and dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 18. (Shogo Koshida)
ASAHI POLL: Cabinet support rate falls below nonsupport rate after Abe calls snap election
Forty percent of voters do not support the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after he decided to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed, the first time that the figure has dipped below the support rate.
Reporters question Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Nov. 18 news conference in which he announced he would postpone a second consumption tax hike. (Shogo Koshida)
INSIGHT: Tax hike delay puts social welfare programs in financial bind
In postponing a sales tax hike, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that he wanted to avoid hurting prospects for economic growth. But his decision could negatively affect a number of important policy objectives, particularly the “enriching” of social welfare programs.
Banri Kaieda, head of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, delivers a speech in front of JR Shinbashi Station in Tokyo's Minato Ward on Nov. 18. (Ryutaro Abe)
Opposition leaders rip Abe's 'twisted logic' in holding vote on tax hike delay
Opposition leaders took turns blasting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to dissolve the Lower House, questioning the logic of holding an election on a decision that voters and political parties already generally accept.
Lawyers who are demanding that lawmakers correct vote-value disparities in national elections hold a news conference on Nov. 17 in Tokyo. (Satoru Semba)
Lawyers file suit to stop December Lower House poll over vote-value disparities
A group of lawyers filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 18 demanding that December's planned Lower House election be suspended because of existing vote-value disparities in national elections.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces the postponement of the consumption tax hike and dissolution of the Lower House at a news conference at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Nov. 18. (Shogo Koshida)
Abe to delay consumption tax hike, dissolve Lower House on Nov. 21 for snap election
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Nov. 18 he will dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 21 to seek a voter mandate for his economic policies, including his decision to delay the consumption tax hike scheduled for October 2015.

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