The United Nations headquarters building in New York (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
U.N. states agree on post-2015 sustainable development agenda
UNITED NATIONS--The 193 member states of the United Nations agreed Aug. 2 on an agenda for the world's sustainable development over the next 15 years that pledges to leave no one behind. It is now due to be formally adopted by world leaders at a summit in September.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga speaks to reporters in Tokyo on July 31 after a meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Okinawa governor to rescind approval for U.S. base relocation project
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said he will nullify his predecessor’s approval of land reclamation work off Nago, eliminating the legal basis for the central government’s project to build a U.S. military base in the prefecture.
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Nagasaki mayor to refer to security bills in annual peace declaration
NAGASAKI--Mayor Tomihisa Taue will warn the government that rigorous debate of deeply unpopular security legislation is necessary when he delivers his annual Nagasaki Peace Declaration on Aug. 9.
Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari, left, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman participate in a press conference in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii July 31. (Daisuke Igarashi/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Pacific Rim free trade talks fall short of deal
LAHAINA, Hawaii--Pacific Rim trade ministers failed to clinch a deal on July 31 to free up trade between a dozen nations after a dispute flared up over auto trade between Japan and North America, New Zealand dug in over dairy trade and no agreement was reached on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga gives the keynote speech at a July 29 symposium in Tokyo sponsored by The Asahi Shimbun. (Tetsuro Takehana)
Okinawa plays two more cards to block U.S. base relocation
Okinawa's governor has gained ground in his fight against the relocation of a U.S. base after the prefecture's government released a report finding "legal defects" relating to land reclamation and dismissed a crucial document due to a lack of details.
Fomer Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa during an interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo on July 29 (Mitsuyoshi Amata)
Ex-envoy to China urges Abe to express regret in war anniversary statement
A former Japanese ambassador to China called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to fully reflect on Japan’s wartime deeds in his war anniversary statement to “avoid misinterpretation” among Chinese.
Kim Young-ho, a former South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, in 2010 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Intellectuals urge Abe to retain spirit of previous war anniversary statements
SEOUL--A group of intellectuals from Japan, South Korea and Western countries have urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stick to the spirit of the statements of previous Japanese leaders when he makes his own presentation to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in August.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question July 29 from a member of the Upper House at a special committee where the government’s security bills are being debated. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe signals possible minesweeping in South China Sea, a shift from his previous stance
Japan could conduct minesweeping operations in the South China Sea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said July 29 in an about-turn which suggested a desire to expand collective self-defense to other areas.
Setagaya Ward Mayor Nobuto Hosaka (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Another Tokyo ward to recognize same-sex couples
Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward will become the second local government in Japan to issue certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships, but the program will not include an ordinance stipulating penalties against businesses that discriminate against gay couples.
The Asahi Shimbun
Diet passes seat-redistribution plan for Upper House elections
The Lower House on July 28 approved a seat-redistribution plan to improve voter equality in Upper House elections, but the maximum vote-value disparity between the most populous and least populous prefectures is still 2.97.
Education minister Hakubun Shimomura (Photo by Shinichi Iizuka)
Calls grow for education minister to step down over Olympic snafu
Demands for the education minister’s resignation intensified after he was seen as “sacrificing” a subordinate to evade responsibility for the fiasco over the scrapped stadium plan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Yosuke Isozaki, special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in charge of national security (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Abe's special adviser under fire for remarks on Constitution, security bills
The Abe administration found itself battling a politically damaging brush fire of its own making even before deliberations began July 27 in the Upper House on contentious security legislation.
Part of the area in front of Himeji Station where the event organized by the labor union federation was held on July 24. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Unions cry foul after festival canceled over criticism against Abe
HIMEJI, Hyogo Prefecture--A federation of local labor unions expressed outrage after the city government here abruptly canceled a cultural festival because fliers and a skit criticized the Abe administration.
Mothers holding up signs and their children march through the streets of Tokyo's Shibuya district on July 26 in protest of the security legislation now before the Upper House. (Miako Ichikawa)
Mothers, students, others march against security legislation as SNS unites opposition
About 2,000 mothers with their children in tow marched through Tokyo's Shibuya district on July 26 to express opposition to controversial security legislation a day ahead of the start of deliberations in the Upper House.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Medvedev to land on Northern Territories, putting Putin visit to Japan in doubt
MOSCOW--Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he will visit the Northern Territories in the near future to bolster security, a move that is expected to derail Tokyo’s efforts to mend relations with Moscow.
One of the newly confirmed offshore gas drilling structures in the East China Sea (Provided by the Defense Ministry)
Japan accuses China of unilaterally developing gas projects near median line
The government released maps and aerial photos of 16 offshore gas drilling structures as evidence of China's unilateral development of resources near to the median line between its shoreline and that of Japan in the East China Sea.
Cheng Yonghua, China's ambassador to Japan (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China envoy warns Japan not to backtrack on expressions of World War II remorse
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs to clearly express remorse for his nation's World War II actions or risk "rubbing salt in the wounds" of those who suffered, China's ambassador to Japan said on July 23.
An entry in an international robot contest sponsored by the U.S. military (Hisatoshi Kabata)
Universities to get Defense Ministry funding for 'national security' research
The Defense Ministry is set to pump cash into Japan's universities in a direct funding program that heralds a new era of cooperation in research.
A model of a maritime platform used for petroleum exploration in the South China Sea is one of the items on display at a defense industry exhibition held in Beijing. (Nanae Kurashige)
Beijing lashes out at defense white paper depiction of 'Chinese threat'
China's foreign and defense ministries went on the offensive late on July 21 for what they criticized as needless provocations in Japan's defense white paper, released only hours earlier.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani responds to Diet questioning. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Criticism of China a constant in annual defense white paper
Although criticism of China loomed large in this year's Defense Ministry's white paper, which was released July 21, the report also mentions the importance of direct dialogue between Japan and its Asian rival.

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