Members of an LDP panel on communications strategy hear from TV executives seated at the table on the left. (Hikaru Uchida)
LDP panel targets TV station that aired criticism of Abe's office
A ruling party committee summoned executives from two major TV stations April 17, but it was clear the members were targeting only TV Asahi over a program that drew the ire of the Abe administration for its critical content.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga shake hands at the start of their first talks in Tokyo on April 17. (Shiro Nishihata)
Abe, Onaga both refuse to budge in meeting on Futenma relocation
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 17 finally met with Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga over a U.S. military base issue that has created a deep split between the central government and Japan’s southernmost prefecture.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin before their summit in Beijing in November 2014 (Pool)
Putin blames Japan for deadlock in talks over Northern Territories
MOSCOW--Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tokyo’s sanctions against Moscow concerning its military intervention in Ukraine have upset negotiations over the disputed Northern Territories.
From left, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong at a news conference after their meeting in Washington on April 16 (Atsushi Okudera/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Japan, S. Korea put brave face on historical differences in U.S. meeting
WASHINGTON--U.S. allies Japan and South Korea put a brave face on their bitter differences over wartime history, saying it should not prevent cooperation between them.
Japanese citizens gather in front of the prime minister's office to call for the government's efforts to release Kenji Goto on Jan. 30. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Goto's wife left to negotiate with Islamic State on her own
Although the government had a direct channel of communication with the Islamic State, it left the task of negotiating the release of hostage Kenji Goto to his wife.
The Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, in September 2014 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Risk probability of major nuclear accident to be cut by half
The industry ministry intends to cut the risk probability of a major nuclear accident occurring to once in 80 years, half that of the once-in-40-years rate contrived just after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, left, shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before a meeting on April 14 in Beijing. (AP Photo)
Chinese premier: Past apologies should be basis for Japan's perceptions of history
BEIJING--China’s premier told former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that the statement of apology to wartime “comfort women” made under his name is a foundation for Japan to properly understand history.
SDF members unload vehicles from a hovercraft that landed on Ukujima island during a joint training exercise on April 14. (Sunao Gushiken)
SDF holding third joint amphibious landing exercise on outlying island
SASEBO, Nagasaki Prefecture--Ground and Maritime Self-Defense Force members are holding joint landing exercises to prepare for the eventual establishment of an amphibious mobile landing unit with improved capabilities to defend Japan’s outlying islands.
Russian Ambassador Evgeny Afanasiev lays flowers before the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims in Hiroshima on April 14. (Yoshihisa Aoyama)
Russian envoy shrugs off concern about Putin's nuclear weapons comment
HIROSHIMA--The Russian ambassador was anything but diplomatic in brushing aside indignation in Japan over Russian President Vladimir Putin's reported willingness to use nuclear weapons during last year's Crimean crisis.
An Air Self-Defense Force pilot climbs into the cockpit of an F-15 fighter following a scramble order at the ASDF base in Naha on April 13. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan scrambling fighter planes as often as during Cold War era
Japanese government said April 15 that the number of scrambles by the country's warplanes has surged in recent years to levels nearly matching the Cold War era amid growing activity by China and Russia in the region.
China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China says 57 countries to be founding members of AIIB
BEIJING--A total of 57 countries will be founding members of the new Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China's finance ministry said on April 15, throwing together countries as diverse as Iran, Israel, Britain and Laos.
A voter casts her ballot in Aomori during the unified local elections on April 12. (Naho Sotome)
Voter turnout hits record low in 4 gubernatorial polls, 38 assembly contests
With a lack of competitive races, the average voter turnout for 10 gubernatorial elections held April 12 hit a record-low 47.14 percent, marking a major drop from the previous low of 52.63 percent in the 2003 unified elections.
Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui, secretary-general of Osaka Ishin no Kai, responds to a question in an interview with a TV broadcaster on April 12 in Osaka. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
Elections cast a shadow on Hashimoto’s plan to dissolve Osaka city
OSAKA--Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s political party remained the dominant force in both prefectural and city assemblies here after the April 12 local elections.
Incumbent Harumi Takahashi celebrates along with her supporters after being declared the winner of the Hokkaido governor election on April 12 in Sapporo. (Kotaro Ebara)
UPDATE: All 10 ruling coalition-backed incumbents re-elected in governor races
Incumbents triumphed in all 10 gubernatorial elections held nationwide on April 12, sending a sigh of relief through the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, which backed them.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe campaigns in the December 2014 Lower House election. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
LDP targeted TV program on 'Abenomics' while calling for neutrality
The ruling party sent a letter to a TV station complaining about a news program's report on "Abenomics" after it called for neutrality in reporting during the run-up to the 2014 Lower House election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Russian envoy rejects Hiroshima nuclear protest letter, says U.S. is better target
HIROSHIMA--Russia’s ambassador to Japan has rebuked a letter of protest sent by the mayor of Hiroshima that criticized Vladimir Putin’s statement he was ready to deploy nuclear weapons during the Crimean crisis, which the envoy says was misinterpreted.
The Asahi Shimbun
Tokyo hesitant to join AIIB, although some ruling lawmakers call for membership
The government explained its hesitation in joining a China-led financial institution, citing its intent to use possible membership as a political bargaining chip, but some ruling party members say the nation has no choice but to participate.
Ji Bingxuan, a vice chairman of the standing committee of China's National People's Congress, center left, shakes hands with Lower House Speaker Nobutaka Machimura at the Diet building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on April 9. (Shogo Koshida)
Chinese delegates meet Lower House members after 3-year hiatus
The soured diplomatic relationship between Japan and China is showing signs of sweetening as delegates of China's National People's Congress met with Japanese Lower House members for the first time in three years in Tokyo on April 9.
Education minister Hakubun Shimomura, second from left, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an Upper House Budget Committee session on April 9 (Shogo Koshida)
Ministry pressures universities to follow Abe's wish to raise national flag, sing anthem
In line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's desires, state-run universities will be urged to raise the Hinomaru national flag and sing the “Kimigayo” national anthem at entrance and graduation ceremonies, according to the education minister.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, right, meets with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on April 8 at the Defense Ministry. (Pool)
Operations in Strait of Hormuz to come under new defense guidelines
Japan and the United States are using discussions on revisions to defense cooperation guidelines to address their respective domestic and security concerns.

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