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Abe bets he can break Japan sales tax jinx with April 1 rise

By Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - Shinzo Abe has already ensured himself a place in Japan's history books with his comeback as prime minister five years after a brief, troubled first term. Now he aims to break another jinx by implementing a sales tax increase, a move that has been the downfall of previous leaders.

New Komeito wary of limited exercise of collective self-defense

A senior lawmaker of the New Komeito party, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, expressed caution Sunday about the government's plan to allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense under certain conditions. Yoshihisa Inoue, secretary general of New Komeito, said in a television program that even a limited exercise of collective self-defense would equate to permitting Japan's use of force overseas.

New Komeito wary of limited exercise of collective self-defense

A senior lawmaker of the New Komeito party, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, expressed caution Sunday about the government's plan to allow Japan to engage in collective self-defense under certain conditions. Yoshihisa Inoue, secretary general of New Komeito, said in a television program that even a limited exercise of collective self-defense would equate to permitting Japan's use of force overseas.

Your Party chief sought 500 mil. yen loan in e-mail to DHC chairman

Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe sent an e-mail to a corporate executive asking him for a loan of 500 million yen (about $4.9 million) shortly before the December 2012 general election, the businessman said Friday. Watanabe explained his party's campaign difficulties in the e-mail seeking the loans, Yoshiaki Yoshida, chairman of cosmetics firm DHC Corp., told Kyodo News. Watanabe, a sixth-term House of Representatives member, has been reported to have borrowed 800 million yen in total from Yoshida.

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, Park to meet in U.S.-brokered trilateral summit

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun Hye will have their first formal encounter Tuesday in a trilateral summit arranged with the help of U.S. President Barack Obama. The three-way summit was arranged in the hope that face-to-face talks between Abe and Park will help the two countries ease tensions and work together with the United States on dealing with regional problems such as North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Japan pledges up to 150 bil. yen in aid to Ukraine

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Monday the country will provide an aid package worth up to 150 billion yen (about $1.5 billion) to help Ukraine out of its economic quagmire. Abe told reporters he revealed the plan to other leaders of Group of Seven major nations in a summit which convened in The Hague on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit to discuss Russia's annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine.

Japan economic package lacks strengths, Japan ex-Premier Noda says

Japan's former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in Hong Kong on Monday the economic stimulus package launched by the incumbent leader lacks strengths and he hopes a transpacific trade deal could be reached soon. A keynote speaker at the five-day Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference, Noda of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan told hundreds of participants the "three-arrow Abenomics" launched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lift Japan's economy from a decade-long slump needs to take bolder steps.

Japan to uphold apology for wartime sex slavery: spokesman

Japan will uphold its 1993 statement of apology for forcing women into sexual slavery during World War II, the top government spokesman reiterated Monday, rejecting a call by an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to issue a new political statement. "We will verify (how the apology was made) but there is no way we will revise" it, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference in response to South Korea's protest over any move to alter the existing statement.

Japan, Russia hold investment forum amid Ukraine turmoil

Japan and Russia held an investment forum in Tokyo as scheduled Wednesday, with leaders of the two countries not referring to Moscow's move to absorb the Crimea region of Ukraine that has drawn international criticism. In their messages read at the event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the momentum for boosting bilateral economic exchanges has been rising, while Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the bilateral economic relationship is expanding dynamically and he hopes business leaders will propose constructive projects.
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