U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Hradcany Square in Prague in April 5, 2009. He said, "I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." (AP Photo)
Online campaign spreading worldwide urging Obama to visit Hiroshima, Nagasaki
More than 10,000 people worldwide have sent a message urging U.S. President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki by using a simple online form letter provided by a U.S. nongovernmental organization.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, (Asahi Shimbun file photo) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Korea News Service)
Pyongyang drags heels on release of report on Japanese abductees
The Foreign Ministry criticized North Korea on July 3 for delaying the release of the report of its reinvestigation into the status of Japanese nationals abducted decades ago, leading to calls for stronger economic sanctions against the isolated state.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions in a Diet session on security legislation on July 3. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Abe apologizes over LDP group's remarks to avoid delay in security bills
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized in the Diet on July 3 over controversial remarks made in a study group meeting of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party against the media and Okinawa Prefecture.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, third from left, greets the leaders of five Mekong region nations before their July 4 meeting in Tokyo. The other leaders are, from left, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Myanmar President Thein Sein, Thai Interim Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. (Pool)
Japan to provide 750 billion yen in ODA to Mekong region
Japan will provide 750 billion yen ($6.1 billion) in official development assistance for the construction of infrastructure in five nations in the Mekong region under the "New Tokyo Strategy 2015.”
Kazuhiko Taketomi, left, editor in chief of The Okinawa Times, and Yoshikazu Shiohira, editor in chief of The Ryukyu Shimpo, speak before the Japan National Press Club on July 2. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
Okinawa editors, FCCJ lambaste LDP study group comments
The top editors at two Okinawa newspapers said the “arrogant” comments made at a meeting of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers were “baseless slander that cannot be overlooked” and affect all media in Japan.
Demonstrators carrying banners and hurling insults at ethnic Koreans march through Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward in December 2014. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan plans 'full-scale investigation' into hate speech
The government said it will conduct a nationwide survey on the growing problem of hate speech targeting specific races and ethnic groups ahead of a series of high-profile international events hosted by Japan.
Sakie and Shigeru Yokota attend a news conference in Tokyo on July 1 along with Shigeo Iizuka, right, the head of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea. (Wataru Sekita)
Frustration grows after year of Pyongyang's reinvestigation into abduction issue
A slim ray of hope that appeared a year ago has dimmed for Japanese families who have been waiting decades for word about their loved ones taken away by North Korea.
LDP Lower House member Seiichiro Murakami (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
One lone voice in LDP opposes security legislation
Seiichiro Murakami is like a single dove in a sky filled with squawking hawks.
Hideo Onishi attends the June 30 Lower House plenary session. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Disciplined LDP lawmaker once again calls for punishing media
In another potential headache for the ruling party, a lawmaker said he felt there was nothing wrong with his comment about punishing media organizations, despite being told to show restraint by a party executive.
The front pages of major Japanese daily newspapers carry articles about comments made at an LDP study group calling for pressure against media organizations. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
Media groups protest LDP study group comments; Abe expresses 'regret'
Media associations on June 29 issued protest statements while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “regret” over a ruling party study group meeting that called for punishing media that criticize the administration.
Satoshi Kamata (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
1.65 million signatures submitted to Diet to oppose security bills
A citizens group submitted a petition with about 1.65 million signatures to both chambers of the Diet on June 29 to express opposition to security legislation now under deliberation.
Officers from the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Philippine Navy walk on Palawan Island in the western Philippines on June 23 after flying over the South China Sea on an MSDF P-3C patrol aircraft. (Manabu Sasaki)
Joint exercise in South China Sea reflects Japan's 'strong concern' about Beijing
PALAWAN ISLAND, Philippines--Tokyo’s growing partner in the field of security appeared impressed by the equipment of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Thousands of protesters hold up signs expressing their opinion on security legislation now before the Diet at a demonstration held on June 27 in Tokyo's Shibuya district. (Tetsuro Takehana)
Broadcast officials express anger at LDP study group call for media pressure
Disciplinary action taken against an official in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party could not quell anger in the broadcasting sector, which was threatened with the pulling of advertising for being critical of the LDP's policies.
Members of the Rohingya ethnic group demonstrate near the United Nations University in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on June 20. (Rei Kishitsu)
Justice Ministry eyes tighter screening for refugee status
The Justice Ministry plans to introduce a prescreening procedure to weed out refugee status applications from clearly ineligible people amid the recent surge in foreigners seeking asylum in Japan.
Minoru Kihara, director of the Liberal Democratic Party's Youth Division (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
LDP to dismiss division leader amid uproar over study group session
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party decided to dismiss Minoru Kihara as director of the party’s Youth Division after comments made at a study group he heads sparked outrage across Japan.
The Henoko district of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, the site for a planned U.S. military base (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Okinawa moves forward on ordinance to stall U.S. base construction
NAHA--The Okinawa prefectural assembly started discussing a proposed ordinance to regulate dirt and sand brought into the prefecture, an initiative that could hinder construction of a U.S. military base.
People offer silent prayers in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2014, the anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Hiroshima gets nod to host G-7 foreign ministers' meeting
Hiroshima has been chosen as the venue for next year’s Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting to emphasize Japan’s support of nuclear-weapon nonproliferation and eventual universal disarmament.
Naoki Hyakuta delivers a speech at a meeting of young Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers at the party's headquarters in Tokyo on June 25. (Shinichi Iizuka)
Pro-Abe lawmakers offer plan to 'punish' media; Hyakuta wants Okinawa papers closed
Young ruling party lawmakers and a best-selling novelist close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lambasted the two leading dailies in Okinawa Prefecture for opposing the government’s U.S. military base relocation plan in the prefecture.
The P-1 patrol aircraft is shown to media representatives at Atsugi Base on June 25. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
MSDF shows off latest patrol aircraft
The Maritime Self-Defense Force on June 25 unveiled the P-1 fixed-wing patrol aircraft, the latest entry into its air fleet, at Atsugi Base in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing in November 2014. (Pool)
Officials arranging Abe-Putin summit for September
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September in New York to confirm a visit to Japan by the Russian leader and push efforts on resolving the Northern Territories dispute.

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