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29 Indonesian, Filipino applicants pass nurse exam in Japan

A total of 29 applicants from the Philippines and Indonesia have passed an annual national examination to qualify to work as nurses in Japan, the health ministry said Tuesday. They accounted for 10.4 percent of 280 applicants from the two Southeast Asian countries, a slightly higher pass rate than 9.6 percent in the previous year.

67% opposed to relaxing Japan's arms export controls: Kyodo poll

A total of 66.8 percent of respondents in a Kyodo News opinion poll said they are opposed to relaxing Japan's arms export controls, while 25.7 percent expressed support, in a sign that many voters are cautious about the government's move to change Japan's self-imposed restrictions on arms exports. The nationwide telephone survey conducted over the weekend showed those opposed to relaxation of arms controls exceeded those in favor in all age groups. Among women, 74.7 percent said they are opposed to such a move.

67% opposed to relaxing Japan's arms export controls: Kyodo poll

A total of 66.8 percent of respondents in a Kyodo News opinion poll said they are opposed to relaxing Japan's arms export controls, while 25.7 percent expressed support, in a sign that many voters are cautious about the government's move to change Japan's self-imposed restrictions on arms exports. The nationwide telephone survey conducted over the weekend showed those opposed to relaxation of arms controls exceeded those in favor in all age groups. Among women, 74.7 percent said they are opposed to such a move.

Japan speeds up stimulus as tax hike looms

Japan said Friday it is moving to speed up the impact of a $50 billion stimulus package aimed at countering any slowdown from a looming sales tax hike. The rare move -- which sets out a timeline for spending a big chunk of the special budget -- comes days before the release of fourth-quarter growth figures. They will mark the first annual data since Shinzo Abe swept to power on a ticket to restore Japan's fading status as a global economic superpower.

Japan's housing starts in 2013 climb to highest level in 5 years

Japan's housing starts in 2013 climbed to their highest level in five years, government data showed Friday, on the back of last-minute buying before the consumption tax hike in April as well as improved economic conditions. The figure rose for the fourth straight year in 2013, up 11.0 percent from the previous year to 980,025 units, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Last-minute orders came a few months before Japan's sales tax will be raised to 8 percent on April 1 from the current 5 percent.

Over half oppose Japan exercising right of collective self-defense

A Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 53.8 percent of respondents oppose allowing Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense -- or coming to the aid of an ally under attack -- against 37.1 percent who support it. The nationwide telephone survey, conducted over the weekend, was released after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday in a policy speech at the Diet that Japan will review its self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense to seek a greater security role abroad.

Over half oppose Japan exercising right of collective self-defense

A Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 53.8 percent of respondents oppose allowing Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense -- or coming to the aid of an ally under attack -- against 37.1 percent who support it. The nationwide telephone survey, conducted over the weekend, was released after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday in a policy speech at the Diet that Japan will review its self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense to seek a greater security role abroad.

Japan, France to discuss trade of goods with potential military use

Japan and France are expected to agree on bilateral consultations concerning the export of equipment with military potential at their first meeting of foreign and defense ministers later this week in Paris, Japanese officials said Tuesday. The so-called "two-plus-two" security talks on Thursday come as Japan is concerned about a French defense company's recent exports to China of helicopter-landing devices for ships, which the firm says are for "civilian use."

Japan's industrial output up for 3rd straight month in Nov.

Japan's industrial production grew 0.1 percent in November from the previous month for the third consecutive monthly rise, partly supported by increasing demand for cars and other products ahead of a sales tax hike in April, government data showed Friday. Amid expectations that such last-minute demand may continue to shore up production, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry maintained its basic assessment of output in the preliminary report, saying it "continues to show an upward movement."

Japan's defense plans focus on China and islands dispute

By Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its southwest, where it faces a row with China over disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation's latest defense plans seen on Wednesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the defense policy review after returning to office last December, pledging to strengthen the military and boost Japan's global security role.
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