Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enters the prime minister’s office on the morning of Nov. 21. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Abe’s snap election is not a ‘reset button’ to make money scandals disappear
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 21 for a snap election.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in November 2012. Noda proposed dissolving the Lower House to call a general election if Shinzo Abe, then president of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, agreed to a “painful” reduction in the number of Diet seats.  (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Abe calls election after breaking promise on electoral reform
In the Nov. 18 news conference to announce his decision to dissolve the Lower House for a snap election, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeatedly said he will “ask for a fresh mandate from the public.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a news conference on Nov. 18 (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Abe's patently self-serving, short-circuited election move
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 18 announced he will postpone the additional consumption tax hike scheduled for October next year and dissolve the Lower House on Nov. 21.
Akira Amari, minister in charge of economic revitalization, center, attends a meeting to hear experts' opinions about trends in the nation's economy at the prime minister's office on Nov. 17. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: Government needs to adjust economic policy after weak GDP data
Japan’s economy shrank for two consecutive quarters. The nation’s real gross domestic product fell by an annualized 1.6 percent in the July-September quarter following a sharp 7.1-percent contraction in the previous three months, when the consumption tax hike in April depressed consumer spending.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Postponed tax hike should not derail social security reform
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has decided to postpone the additional hike in the consumption tax rate to 10 percent slated for October next year. The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has accepted the decision.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing on Nov. 11. (Pool)
EDITORIAL: No one wants to see U.S., China compete for hegemony in Asia
The United States and China exert decisive influence on the fate of the world in the 21st century. But the contours of the relationship between the two leading powers still remain blurred.
The leaders of the nations taking part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations hold a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. on Nov. 10 (Pool)
EDITORIAL: Deadline needed so TPP will not be cast adrift
This year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, held recently in Beijing, stressed the group’s commitment to promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a regional free trade pact that is APEC’s key goal.
The National Diet building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: No good rationale for calling a snap election
First, there were just low whispers that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was considering dissolving the Lower House for a snap election. But before we knew it, the powerful winds of dissolution started whipping up in Japanese political circles.
A 32-year-old woman meets reporters on Sept. 18 after a family court allowed her to register her birth. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Japan's undocumented citizens need help
At least 279 individuals around Japan are not on any “koseki” family register, according to a Justice Ministry report released for the first time on Oct. 24. These are people whose parents were unable to register their births for various reasons.
A Chinese patrol vessel, foreground, and a Japan Coast Guard ship cruise side by side off Uotsurishima of the Senkaku Islands on Aug. 15, 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: The hard part begins for Abe, Xi
Just after “ritto,” or the first day of winter in the traditional Asian calendar, the air in Beijing, whose wintry sharpness was slightly tempered by the sunlight of balmy autumn weather, felt as if it symbolized the current state of relations between Japan and China.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting in Beijing on Nov. 10 (Pool)
EDITORIAL: Japan-China summit should mark fresh start of relations
Following an unusual twist of developments, Japan and China have decided that their leaders will meet formally for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Protesters in front of the Diet building in Tokyo on Nov. 7 oppose the restart of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
EDITORIAL: Sendai nuclear plant should not be model for reactor restarts
Kagoshima Governor Yuichiro Ito agreed on Nov. 7 to allow Kyushu Electric Power Co. to restart operations at its Sendai nuclear power plant. Ito said his decision was based on the opinions of the Kagoshima prefectural assembly, the mayor and the municipal assembly of Satsuma-Sendai, where the plant is located.
Various anti-racism messages are displayed during last year's March on Tokyo for Freedom in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on Sept. 22, 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Politicians should lead the way in rejecting hate speech
On Nov. 2, the middle day of three consecutive holidays, legions of demonstrators marched in Tokyo’s busy Shinjuku district, chanting, “The world doesn’t need hate speech.”
A flotilla of ships believed to be from China is seen in the vicinity of Torishima, an islet in the Izu island chain south of Tokyo on Nov. 1. (Satoru Semba)
EDITORIAL: China needs to crack down on coral poachers in Japanese waters
Red coral, also called precious coral, which is known for its brightly colored red or pink skeleton, has been loved and valued around the world since ancient times.
Hideo Iwakiri, mayor of Satsuma-Sendai in Kagoshima Prefecture, announces his consent to restarting two reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant on Oct. 28 after the municipal assembly voted in favor of the restarts on the same day. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Proper evacuation plans needed before reactor restarts
From Nov. 5 through 7, an extraordinary session of the Kagoshima prefectural assembly will deliberate on whether to agree to restart nuclear reactors at the Sendai power plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co.
The Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
EDITORIAL: Measures needed to reduce financial fears over decommissioning reactors
Japanese power companies are under increasing pressure to decide whether to expand the service period of reactors that have been operating for more than 40 years.
Junichi Ihara, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, after a meeting with North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Oct. 29 (Pool)
EDITORIAL: Despite frustration, Japan should continue talks with N. Korea over abductions
A Japanese delegation that recently visited Pyongyang has returned home after two days of talks with North Korean officials mainly over their reinvestigation into Japanese abducted to the country in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at a news conference on Oct. 31 (Reina Kitamura)
EDITORIAL: BOJ should have reviewed inflation target before further monetary easing
In a surprise move on Oct. 31, the Bank of Japan opened up the monetary taps further to shore up the sagging economy.
Voters in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, listen to a candidate for the gubernatorial election on Oct. 30, the start of official campaigning. (The Asahi Shimbun)
EDITORIAL: For Okinawa voters, Futenma relocation not an ‘issue of the past’
The official campaign period for the Nov. 16 Okinawa gubernatorial election began on Oct. 30.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions during a Lower House plenary session on Oct. 28 about revisions to the worker dispatch law. (Shogo Koshida)
EDITORIAL: Equal treatment principle must also apply to dispatched workers
The Diet on Oct. 28 began debating a bill to revise the law governing the temporary staffing industry.

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