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Japan, Iran agree to cooperate in tackling environmental challenges

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar agreed Thursday to expand cooperation in tackling environmental challenges such as energy-saving and air pollution. "The environment is one of the key areas for furthering cooperation," Abe told Ebtekar, who also heads Iran's Environment Department, at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's office. "Japan and Iran have close relations and have great potential," Abe said.

Japan, Iran agree to cooperate in tackling environmental challenges

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar agreed Thursday to expand cooperation in tackling environmental challenges such as energy-saving and air pollution. "The environment is one of the key areas for furthering cooperation," Abe told Ebtekar, who also heads Iran's Environment Department, at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's office. "Japan and Iran have close relations and have great potential," Abe said.

Abe, U.N. assembly chief Ashe agree to push Security Council reform

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.N. General Assembly president John Ashe agreed Wednesday to push for reform of the Security Council as the international body marks its 70th anniversary in 2015. During talks at the prime minister's office, Abe expressed appreciation for Ashe's leadership in trying to reform the 15-member council. "Japan has always placed importance on U.N. diplomacy, and would like to work with the United Nations to contribute to global peace and prosperity," Abe said.

Japan moves to expand controversial foreign worker scheme

By Antoni Slodkowski TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is considering expanding a controversial program that now offers workers from China and elsewhere permits to work for up to three years, as the world's fastest-aging nation scrambles to plug gaps in a rapidly shrinking workforce. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday submitted a proposal to let workers to stay for up to five years, relax hiring rules for employers and boost the number of jobs open to them.

Japan lifts own blanket arms export ban

Japan on Tuesday lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, introducing new rules covering the arms trade in a move supporters say will boost Tokyo's global role, but which unnerved China. The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a new plan that replaces the 1967 blanket ban, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. Under the policy, arms sales are banned to conflict-plagued countries or nations that could undermine international peace and security, the sales must contribute to international peace and boost officially pacifist Japan's security.

Australian PM Abbott to visit Japan from April 5 to 8

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will visit Japan from April 5 to 8 and hold summit talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan's Foreign Ministry said Friday. Abe and Abbott will hold talks on April 7 to reaffirm their goal of reaching a free trade agreement at an early date. The Australian prime minister is also scheduled to meet with Japanese Emperor Akihito the same day.

Your Party chief Watanabe denies will step down over loans

Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe said Thursday he has no intention to step down as head of the small opposition party, denying any foul play in his unaccounted 800 million yen ($7.8 million) borrowing from a corporate executive. Watanabe, who has been widely seen as approaching Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for possible policy cooperation, apologized for having caused trouble. But he also told reporters, "I'm not at all aware of any illegality," adding he will fulfill his responsibility by thoroughly explaining the issue.

Abe, Obama agree to speed up bilateral talks on Pacific free trade

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed Tuesday to speed up bilateral talks toward signing a Pacific free trade pact, Abe said. Abe told reporters after a brief one-on-one meeting with Obama that they agreed to "accelerate negotiations toward concluding a Trans-Pacific Partnership pact and tell working-level officials in each government to work" to that end.

Park to hold three-way talks with Obama, Abe

By Chang Jae-soon THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye planned to hold talks Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of an international nuclear conference in The Hague. The three-way meeting will mark the first formal talks between Park and Abe since they took office more than a year ago, and it could signal a thaw in relations between Seoul and Tokyo that have frayed badly over issues related to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.

Abe hails Obama's efforts to address Ukraine crisis

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his appreciation to U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday for his efforts to defuse tensions over the crisis in Ukraine, the Japanese government said. Abe also agreed with some European leaders to cooperate in addressing problems stemming from Russia's annexation of Ukraine's southern Crimea region in defiance of international criticism.
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