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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.

Japan's Abe: Continue to gain understanding of his Yasukuni visit

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that he will continue to explain his visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead to gain understanding from neighboring Asian countries. Last December Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, sparking anger from China and South Korea.

Abe eager to promote merit-based pay system in Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday instructed a government panel to come up with a new payment system under which some workers are awarded not for how long they work but what they achieve. "We need to diversify regulations on limiting regular work hours" of private sector employees, Abe said during a joint meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy and the Industrial Competitiveness Council.

Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine, to refrain from visiting

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday sent an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on the occasion of its spring festival, a move that suggests he will refrain from visiting it before meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week, given Washington expressed concern after the premier's visit last year. Abe's visit also triggered criticism from China and South Korea, the major victims of Japan's past militarism. The Shinto shrine honors Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals, along with millions of war dead.

Activists sue state over Abe's "unconstitutional" Yasukuni visit

A group of activists filed a lawsuit Monday with the Tokyo District Court against the state and a war-linked shrine in Tokyo, claiming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last December to the Shinto shrine was unconstitutional. The 273 plaintiffs including relatives of the war dead, religious people and South Koreans argued Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine violated the constitutional principle of the separation of state and religion, and sought damages of 10,000 yen for each.

Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine, but to refrain from visiting

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday sent an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a move that suggests he will refrain from visiting it before meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this week given the concern Washington expressed over the premier's previous visit last year. It also triggered criticism from China and South Korea, the major victims of Japan's past militarism. The Shinto shrine honors Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals along with millions of war dead.

S. Korea denounces Abe's offering to war-related shrine

South Korea on Monday denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sending an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, calling it "very deplorable." The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, called Abe's move an "anachronistic act of hampering friendly ties among neighboring countries and stability in the region." The ministry also criticized some of Japan's Cabinet members for recently visiting the Shinto shrine in person.

S. Korea denounces Abe's visit to war-related shrine

South Korea on Monday denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's sending an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, calling it "very deplorable." The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, called Abe's move an "anachronistic act of hampering friendly ties among neighboring countries and stability in the region." The ministry also criticized some of Japan's Cabinet members for recently visiting the Shinto shrine in person.

Abe, Biden agree on Japan-U.S. cooperation over TPP, Ukraine

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday agreed with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to enhance bilateral cooperation to successfully conclude multilateral talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement as well as to address tensions in Ukraine. Abe and Biden held a telephone conversation for about 20 minutes in response to a U.S. request, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. The talks came ahead of a summit between Abe and President Barack Obama, who will visit Japan next week.

Abe aims to overcome gaps with U.S. to conclude TPP talks

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday Japan will address differences with the United States to successfully conclude multilateral talks for a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. "We intend to overcome our mutual differences and together forge a sturdy economic order for Asia and the Pacific in the 21st century," Abe said in a speech delivered at a forum in Tokyo. "We wish to create an unshakable foundation for growth."
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