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Tokyo governor in Beijing for 1st time since 2008 amid chilly ties

Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe arrived in Beijing on Thursday, the first visit by a head of the Japanese capital since 2008, with the hope of thawing ties between the two countries' central governments chilled over territorial and historical issues. The three-day visit by Masuzoe comes at a time of almost no high-level political contacts for several years between Asia's two biggest economies, due to a territorial row over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea reignited by a former Tokyo governor.

Obama urges Japan to take 'bold steps' in huge trade deal

US President Barack Obama urged Japan Thursday to take "bold steps" to seal a Pacific-wide trade deal after Washington failed to wrest key concessions from Tokyo. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a vast agreement that would cover about 40 percent of the global economy, is a key plank in Obama's bid for a renewed focus on Asia. It is also seen as crucial for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pledge to shake up his country's long-lumbering economy.

Obama vows U.S. will defend Japan over Senkakus

U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday the Senkaku Islands fall under the Japan-U.S. security treaty in a show of U.S. commitment to defending the Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea against any attempt by China to seize them by force. "Let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan's security is absolute, and Article 5 covers all territories under Japan's administration, including the Senkaku Islands," Obama said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after a summit in Tokyo.

Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies

By Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory.

Japan PM Abe and U.S. President Obama - what's in a name?

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may have hoped to demonstrate his personal ties with President Barack Obama during the U.S. leader's state visit to Tokyo - but if how they addressed each other in public was any gauge, the effort fell a little short. Ronald Reagan and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone set the gold-standard for chummy relations between leaders of the two allies back in the 1980's, when they famously called each other by the nicknames "Ron" and "Yasu".

Obama backs Abe's push for collective self-defense

U.S. President Barack Obama gave backing to Japan's move toward lifting its self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday as he called the bilateral alliance "unshakable." "I explained (to Obama) that Japan is debating how to rework the legal framework on security to make contributions to global peace and stability based on an effective bilateral alliance," Abe said at a joint press conference with Obama after their summit.

Abe, Obama stress security pact, standoff on free trade remains

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama on Thursday stressed that the Japan-U.S. alliance will help secure peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, while Obama urged Tokyo to improve market access for foreign companies under a Pacific free trade accord.

Abe, Obama affirm Japan-US alliance at summit

Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe were Thursday discussing the future shape of the Japan-US security alliance as they met for talks at the start of the president's tour of a tense Asia. Both men praised the alliance, which Obama called the "foundation" of stability in the Asia-Pacific, a region where Tokyo and Beijing are facing off over territory, North Korea is threatening a nuclear test and Japan and South Korea are squabbling over history.

Japan PM Abe: Agreed with Obama on broad range of security cooperation

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday the United States and Japan have agreed to cooperate on a broad range of security and defense issues, adding that U.S. President Barack Obama had welcomed Tokyo's efforts to review its exercise of collective self-defense. Abe is seeking to lift Japan's self-imposed ban on the actual exercise of the right of collective self defense, or aiding an ally under attack.

Japan, U.S. to continue TPP talks at ministerial level: NHK

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to continue bilateral talks on an Asia-Pacific regional free trade pact at the ministerial level, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday. NHK did not indicate the timing or location for the next meeting between the two nations. (Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Edmund Klamann)
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