Japan politics - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Japan politics


Japan trade minister resigns over donation scandal

Oct 25, 2019 - 10:15 AM

'I bear responsibility in having appointed him. I deeply apologize to the Japanese people,' says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after accepting the resignation of the official accused of violating election law by offering voters money and gifts

Japan's Trade Minister Isshu Sugawara speaks to the media at the parliament in Tokyo on October 25, 2019. - Sugawara has submitted his resignation after being accused of violating election law by offering voters money and gifts, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on October 25, 2019. (Photo by STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT

Japan's Abe cruises to party vote win, to stay as prime minister

Sep 20, 2018 - 1:51 PM

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's win sets him on course to become Japan's longest-serving premier

STILL PRIME MINISTER. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Canada on June 9, 2018. File photo by  Geoff Robins/AFP

Japan's Abe 'not involved' in doctoring documents – key official

Mar 27, 2018 - 3:24 PM

Nobuhisa Sagawa says only his office took part in altering key documents relating to a controversial land sale, potentially easing the pressure on the embattled Abe

ABE. In this file photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the state guest house in Tokyo on August 31, 2017. File photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japan, Australia push for defense pact amid regional tension

Jan 18, 2018 - 3:56 PM

Diplomats are putting the finishing touches to the proposed defense pact, which would be the first of its kind for Japan and would make Australia Tokyo's closest military partner after the United States

INSPECTING HARDWARE. Visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (2nd L) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) listen to a briefing on the PAC-3 surface-to-air missile launcher while visiting the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces' Narashino camp in Funabashi, Chiba on January 18, 2018. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Japan says China sent nuclear-powered sub to disputed isles

Jan 15, 2018 - 4:07 PM

Tokyo's statement comes on the same day that China announced 3 of its 'Coast Guard vessels conducted a patrol in territorial waters off the Diaoyu Islands'

DISPUTED. This photo taken on October 13, 2011 shows a P-3C patrol plane of Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force flying over the disputed islets known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu islands in China, in the East China Sea. Japan pool via Jiji Press / File /AFP

Moon calls for 'heartfelt' Japan apology for WWII sex slavery

Jan 10, 2018 - 3:12 PM

South Korean President Moon Jae-In calls for a 'heartfelt apology;' from Japan to the victims of wartime sex slavery, condemns a 2015 agreement as a 'wrongful' solution

CONTROVERSIAL STATUE. Protestors sit next ot the statue (L) of a teenage girl symbolizing former 'comfort women,' who served as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II, during a weekly anti-Japan rally near the Japanese embassy in Seoul on January 10, 2018. Jung Yeon-Je/AFP

Japan to beef up missile defense system against North Korea

Dec 19, 2017 - 11:16 AM

Japan's government approves the introduction of the US military's land-based Aegis missile interceptor system

THREAT. In this file photo, a pedestrian walks in front of a television screen displaying file news footage of a North Korean missile launch, in Tokyo on November 29, 2017, following a new missile launch. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Dozens of Japan MPs visit controversial war shrine

Dec 05, 2017 - 11:48 AM

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refrained from sending an offering, as he has done in the past, a shrine official says

HONORING WAR DEAD. A Shinto priest (R) leads Japanese lawmakers visiting the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on December 5, 2017. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Trump opens door to North Korea talks as Asia trip begins in earnest

Nov 06, 2017 - 7:59 AM

(UPDATED) US President Donald Trump kicks off his Asia tour in earnest as he holds talks with Japanese leaders about tackling the threat posed by nuclear-armed North Korea

US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at Yokota Air Base, November 5, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Japan's Abe triggers snap election amid North Korea crisis

Sep 25, 2017 - 3:21 PM

(UPDATED) The prime minister did not give a date for the election but it will reportedly be on October 22

In this file photo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waits for a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly September 21, 2017 in New York City. Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Japan says North Korea poses 'new level of threat'

Aug 08, 2017 - 2:03 PM

Japan s white paper also reiterates Tokyo s concerns about China s efforts to expand its military influence and territorial claims particularly in waters around Japan

MILITARY PARADE. Musudan-class missiles are displayed during a military parade in honor of the 100th birthday of the late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2012. File photo by Ed Jones/AFP

Beleaguered Japan PM seeks new start with cabinet revamp

Aug 03, 2017 - 12:24 PM

UPDATED Shinzo Abe has seen public support rates plummet in the past few months over an array of political troubles

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Manila on January 12, 2017. Noel Celis/AFP

Japan defense chief resignation blow to PM Abe

Jul 28, 2017 - 11:37 AM

UPDATED Tomomi Inada s nearly year long stint has been characterized by repeated controversy including increasing criticism of the ministry s handling of log reports filed by Japanese peacekeepers in South Sudan showing worsening security

RESIGNATION. Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada bows at the end of her press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on July 28, 2017. Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Japan PM Abe stung by huge loss in Tokyo assembly vote

Jul 03, 2017 - 11:38 AM

UPDATED The polls seen as a bellwether for national political sentiment come as Abe is buffeted by a series of setbacks and scandals that have driven down his popularity

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to the media upon arrival at his official residence in Tokyo on July 3, 2017. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japan enacts controversial anti-terror law

Jun 15, 2017 - 7:39 AM

Rights groups Japan s national bar association and numerous academics have opposed the bill saying it is so broad it could be abused to allow wiretapping of innocent citizens and threaten privacy and freedom of expression

OPPOSITION. Anti-government protesters stage a demonstration against a controversial anti-terror bill near parliament in Tokyo on June 14, 2017. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japanese nationalist claims cash from Abe as scandal deepens

Mar 23, 2017 - 6:35 PM

Yasunori Kagoike whose purchase of government land is under scrutiny tells lawmakers he received 9 000 from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

JAPAN'S LEADER. In this file photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman on June 23, 2015. Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Trump, Abe retreat to Florida for golf diplomacy

Feb 12, 2017 - 7:59 AM

UPDATED US President Donald Trump: I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan its great ally 100

President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International airport as they prepare to spend part of the weekend together at Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

One-off abdication law eyed for Japan emperor

Jan 23, 2017 - 7:21 PM

UPDATED The option is one of several presented by the group of experts charged with sorting out the thorny issue They are expected to make a final recommendation in March

Japanese Emperor Akihito (C) waves to well-wishers next to Empress Michiko (R) on the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on January 2, 2017. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Japan cabinet approves biggest defense budget

Dec 22, 2016 - 11:53 AM

It marks the fifth straight annual increase and reflects the hawkish Abe s attempt to build up Japan s military which since World War II has been constitutionally limited to self defense

In this file photo, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a working lunch with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) in Tokyo on December 16, 2016. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool/AFP

Japan's top court backs Tokyo in bid to relocate Okinawa base

Dec 20, 2016 - 3:59 PM

UPDATED Japan s Supreme Court rules in favor of the central government in its bid to relocate a US airbase on Okinawa dealing a significant blow to opponents of the plan led by the island s governor

This photo taken on November 14, 2014 shows multi-mission tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft at the US Marine's Camp Futenma in a crowded urban area of Ginowan, Okinawa prefecture. Toru Yamanaka/AFP

South Korea, Japan sign controversial intelligence deal

Nov 23, 2016 - 1:40 PM

South Korea s defense ministry says the accord is necessary in the face of growing military threats from Pyongyang

This handout photo taken on November 23, 2016 and released by South Korea's Defense Ministry shows South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-Koo (R) and Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine (L) during a signing ceremony of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) at the defense ministry in Seoul. South Korea Defense Ministry/Handout/AFP

Dozens of Japan lawmakers visit controversial war shrine

Oct 18, 2016 - 9:10 AM

UPDATED A group of 85 politicians visited Yasukuni shrine in downtown Tokyo during a 4 day autumn festival

A Shinto priest (R) leads a pack of lawmakers at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on October 18, 2016. Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Japan eyes record defense budget to develop anti-ship missiles

Aug 31, 2016 - 2:47 PM

The ministry announced it is seeking 5 168 trillion yen 50 12 billion in spending for the fiscal year starting April 2017 up 2 3 from the initial budget for the current fiscal year

In this file photo, Japanese soldiers listen to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the military review at the Ground Self-Defence Force's Asaka training ground on October 27, 2013. Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Japan monarchy roiled over abdication reports

Jul 14, 2016 - 10:50 AM

UPDATED The Imperial Household Agency the government body that runs royal affairs offers a categorical denial

NOT STEPPING DOWN. This file picture taken on January 2, 2016 shows Japanese Emperor Akihito waving to well-wishers gathered for the annual New Year's greetings at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japan voters seen boosting Abe in parliament vote

Jul 07, 2016 - 1:04 PM

Analysts predict the aging and conservative electorate will back Abe as the only viable choice faced with an opposition widely criticized as ineffectual

Japanese Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe answers a question during a debate with eight other party leaders at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on June 21, 2016. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Protesters rally against US military on Okinawa

Jun 19, 2016 - 10:49 AM

UPDATED The protesters demand the removal of US military bases from Okinawa and condemn crimes by American personnel

epa05377047 Thousands of protesters hold placards reading 'Our anger is off limits' during a large rally in Naha, Okinawa island, southern Japan, 19 June 2016. According to the organizers, more than 65,000 participants gathered to protest against repeated crimes by US military personnel and after a young woman was killed by a US base worker in May 2016. EPA/HITOSHI MAESHIRO

Tokyo governor resigns over spending scandal

Jun 15, 2016 - 10:18 AM

4th UPDATE News of the resignation comes as Tokyo is set to host the 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe (R) walks past journalists at the Tokyo Metropolitan government headquarters in Tokyo on June 14, 2016. Jiji Press/AFP

2016 campaign spending, China vs Japan, ISIS leak | 12PM wRap

Mar 11, 2016 - 12:35 PM

Watch Rappler’s 12PM newscast with Maria Ressa

Emperor Akihito turns 82 urging Japan to remember war

Dec 23, 2015 - 1:18 PM

Akihito: I think for the sake of the future of Japan it is extremely important to be fully aware of the war and deepen our thought

JAPANESE ROYALTY. Japan's Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (R) wave from the balcony of the Imperial Palace during their annual new year greeting in Tokyo on January 2, 2015. Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

Japan lowers voting age to 18

Jun 17, 2015 - 11:52 AM

The move will bring Japan into line with other developed countries and will extend the franchise to an extra 2 4 million 18 and 19 year olds

Pedestrians cross the scramble intersection in shopping district of Shibuya, central Tokyo, Japan, 17 June 2009. Dai Kurokawa/EPA

More than 100 Japanese lawmakers visit Tokyo war shrine

Apr 22, 2015 - 9:55 AM

A cross section of parliamentarians pay their respects at the shrine in central Tokyo as part of the spring festival

CONTROVERSIAL VISIT. A group of Japanese lawmakers visit the Yasukuni Shrine after they paid respect to war deads during the annual spring festival in Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2015. Franck Robichon/EPA

Japan PM offers gift to controversial war shrine

Apr 21, 2015 - 8:57 AM

Abe donated a sacred masakaki tree to coincide with the start of the 3 day spring festival at the shrine in central Tokyo a shrine official says

An elderly visitor takes pictures of Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2014. Franck Robichon/EPA

Japan rebuffs international outcry over new history textbooks

Apr 08, 2015 - 8:59 AM

It comes at a particularly sensitive time as the region readies to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and with a rising tide of nationalism in Japan China and South Korea

In this file photo, magazines and books sit on a rack at the Fusosha Publishing offices in Tokyo, April 6, 2005. EPA file

Abe pledges Japan constitution rewrite after election win

Dec 15, 2014 - 7:28 PM

Shinzo Abe s victory takes him a step closer to reviving his controversial a plan to rewrite Japan s pacifist constitution

VICTORY. Japanese Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe (C) and party members gesture during election campaigning in Tokyo on December 13, 2014. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Japan's Abe re-elected easily despite low turnout

Dec 14, 2014 - 7:22 PM

UPDATED A low turnout from unenthusiastic voters beset by a heavy snowfall could cast doubt on the endorsement he will claim for Abenomics – his signature plan to fix the country s flaccid economy

VICTORY. Japanese Prime Minister and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader Shinzo Abe (C) and party members gesture during election campaigning in Tokyo on December 13, 2014. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

China ships pay first post-Japan summit visit to disputed isles

Nov 25, 2014 - 12:52 PM

Three Chinese coastguard vessels sail into the 12 nautical mile zone around the Japanese controlled Senkaku islands which China claims and calls the Diaoyus

SENKAKU. A file picture dated 27 April 2005 shows an aerial view of Uotsuri Island, one of the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Hiroya Shimoji/EPA

Abe's party takes lead in polls ahead of Japan election

Nov 24, 2014 - 1:35 PM

A large number of votes were still up for grabs with the poll showing 45 of the 1 031 households surveyed as undecided

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 17th ASEAN-Plus Three Summit in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, 13 November 2014. Photo by Bagus Indahono/EPA

Japan minister in S&M bar scandal hit by fresh allegations

Oct 24, 2014 - 3:05 PM

Japan s usually staid political scene has been left reeling from the S M club scandal and the resignations of two other newly appointed cabinet ministers who quit this week in the wake of misspending accusations

Japan's newly appointed Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yoichi Miyazawa delivers a press conference at his ministry in Tokyo, Japan, 21 October 2014. Franck Robichon/EPA

New Japan minister hit by S&M bar scandal

Oct 23, 2014 - 2:16 PM

Japan s new industry minister – whose predecessor resigned in disgrace over misspending – admits that his underlings spent office cash at a sex bar but says he was not present

Japan's newly appointed Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yoichi Miyazawa delivers a press conference at his ministry in Tokyo, Japan, 21 October 2014. Franck Robichon/EPA

Japan PM Abe loses two female ministers over cash scandals

Oct 20, 2014 - 8:37 AM

UPDATED Their loss reduces to three the number of women in the cabinet after Abe s widely praised move in September to promote a record tying five to his administration

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi leaves her office in Tokyo on October 18, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP

China marks WWII victory over Japan

Sep 03, 2014 - 9:30 PM

The ceremony was the first since Beijing earlier this year declared September 3 as a national day to mark Japan s defeat

In this file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia 04 September 2013. Alexey Kudenko/EPA/Pool

Japan PM names five women to new cabinet

Sep 03, 2014 - 2:09 PM

UPDATED Abe has repeatedly spoken of the need to get more women into the workforce to plug a growing gap in the labor market

NEW CABINET. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front C) with his new cabinet members during a photo session at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 03 September 2014. Franck Robichon/EPA

Japan PM to reshuffle cabinet to re-energize economic agenda

Sep 03, 2014 - 8:06 AM

The reshuffle will be the first major surgery Abe has performed since coming to power making the present cabinet one of the longest serving collectives since the end of World War II

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe speaks at a joint press conference with his New Zealand counterpart John Key (not pictured) at Government House in Auckland, New Zealand, 07 July 2014. Stringer/EPA

China's Xi visits South Korea in snub to North

Jul 03, 2014 - 7:36 AM

UPDATED It will be Xi Jinping s first trip as head of state to the perennially volatile Korean peninsula and his second summit with South Korean President Park Geun Hye

TO SEOUL. In this file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping stands by his wife Peng Liyuan at the Schloss Bellevue presidential residency in Berlin on March 28, 2014. Johannes Eisele/AFP

Tokyo governor election puts nuclear power to test

Feb 09, 2014 - 1:33 PM

A crowded field of 16 men fought an uninspiring two week campaign to become chief executive of one of the world s biggest cities

WHO WILL SUCCEED INOSE? In this file photo, Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose speaks during a press conference after the presentation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic candidature in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07 September 2013. EPA/Daniel Jayo

Controversial Japan mayor to seek new mandate

Feb 03, 2014 - 4:19 PM

Toru Hashimoto who caused an international stir last year when he said women forced into sexual slavery by Japan s imperial army served a necessary purpose said he wanted to face the voters

RUNNING AGAIN. In this file photo, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on May 27, 2013. Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Tokyo to elect new governor on February 9

Dec 25, 2013 - 11:20 PM

Millions of voters in Tokyo will elect their new governor in February the mega city says after the resignation of the previous incumbent over a money scandal

RESIGNING. In this file photo, Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose speaks during a press conference after the presentation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic candidature in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07 September 2013. EPA/Daniel Jayo

Tokyo governor resigns over money scandal

Dec 19, 2013 - 10:08 AM

UPDATED The governor of Tokyo submits his resignation after admitting receiving 500 000 from a hospital tycoon ahead of his election

RESIGNING. In this file photo, Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose speaks during a press conference after the presentation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic candidature in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 07 September 2013. EPA/Daniel Jayo

Abe bids for stronger hand as Japan votes

Jul 21, 2013 - 9:14 AM

Half of the 242 seats in the upper legislative chamber are up for grabs in what is expected to be the last national election for three years

MORE ABENOMICS? Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raises his fist to appeal support to his party during the final campaign of the Upper House election in Tokyo, Japan, 20 July 2013. Photo by EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Japan marks second tsunami anniversary

Mar 11, 2013 - 12:33 PM

The government will host a national ceremony in Tokyo attended by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to mourn 15 881 people who died and 2 668 others who remain unaccounted for

TWO YEARS. Sumiko Yoshida (R, w/glasses) and her sister Katsue Nagano (L) pray at the tomb during the prayers for five of their family members who were killed in the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Rikuzentakata city one day before the second anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, in Rikuzentakata on March 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA