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On possible trilateral summit, White House requests dialogue between Seoul, Tokyo

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, March 19 (Yonhap) -- Amid some signs that a trilateral meeting of the leaders of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan may be imminent, the White House re-emphasized the importance of dialogue between the Asian nations Wednesday. "We believe good relations between our key allies are in everyone's best interests, and we expect they will work together to resolve their differences through dialogue," National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell told Yonhap News Agency in an emailed comment.

On possible trilateral summit, White House requests dialogue between Seoul, Tokyo

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, March 19 (Yonhap) -- Amid some signs that a trilateral meeting of the leaders of South Korea, the U.S., and Japan may be imminent, the White House re-emphasized the importance of dialogue between the Asian nations Wednesday. "We believe good relations between our key allies are in everyone's best interests, and we expect they will work together to resolve their differences through dialogue," National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell told Yonhap News Agency in an emailed comment.

Abe's patriotic holiday message may harden attitude of neighbors

The government on Monday released Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's message to mark Japan's National Foundation Day on Tuesday, the first such move by a Japanese administration that could possibly be seen by neighboring countries as adding to his nationalist image. "As we observe National Foundation Day, I feel keenly once again the responsibility to make the nation we love, Japan, a more beautiful nation that has pride, and I have renewed my determination in this regard," Abe said in the message.

Abe's legal aide hospitalized, effect on defense overhaul possible

The government said Friday the chief of its legal advisory body has been hospitalized with an unknown illness, fueling speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's planned overhaul of Japan's defense capabilities could be delayed. Ichiro Komatsu, who heads the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, is expected to remain in hospital for about a month, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a press conference, adding that Komatsu's deputy will be in charge in his absence.

China's culture minister sees hope for resumed exchanges with Japan

China's Culture Minister Cai Wu on Friday expressed hope for a resumption of friendly exchanges with Japan in the wake of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit last month to a war-linked shrine that has chilled bilateral ties. "We often say that winter has come and spring is not far away," Cai told a press conference. "The two countries will be able to resume friendly exchanges between our people," he said, adding, "We need to have confidence."

Japan PM Abe's ratings slide after state secrets act

By Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - Support for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slid in opinion polls after his ruling coalition steamrolled through parliament a tough secrecy act that critics fear could muzzle media and allow officials to hide misdeeds. Shrinking support could push Abe, who took power last year pledging to revive a stagnant economy, to softpedal his security policies until next year's budget is enacted and a sales tax hike from April is safely navigated, some analysts said.

Japan leader set to announce crucial sales tax hike

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was expected Tuesday to announce a sales tax hike seen as crucial to cutting Tokyo's massive national debt, but that could derail a fledgling economic recovery. The move marks a big political gamble for Abe -- previous hikes have proved career-ending for his predecessors -- with the 59-year-old leader likely to announce a stimulus spending package to help soften the blow.

Indonesian newspaper welcomes LDP's election victory

A leading Indonesian newspaper on Tuesday welcomed the sweeping victory of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner in Sunday's upper house election. In its editorial, the Indonesian-language Kompas daily said the LDP's victory will bring positive impacts "not only for Abe's administration, but also for Japan's economy, global monetary markets and stability in East Asia in the forthcoming years."

Japan PM to unveil more economic growth measures

Japan's Prime Minister was expected Friday to unveil growth strategies aimed at perking up the economy, the latest steps in a policy blitz that has rallied stocks and boosted his popularity. Shinzo Abe will showcase his plans in a major press address as his controversial big-spending, easy-money policies -- dubbed "Abenomics" have fuelled optimism in an economy that has struggled for two decades.

Alliance in focus as Japan PM meets Obama

Japan's new premier Shinzo Abe will meet US President Barack Obama this week for the first time since taking power, seeking to breathe new life into a key alliance at a time of heightened tensions across Asia. Abe will be keen to get the reassurance of strong US support on a visit to Washington that comes amid an escalating row with China over disputed islands, and in the same month that North Korea carried out its third nuclear test.
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