Politics

EU-Japan trade deal clears hurdle on way to 2019 start

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European Union and Japanese plans to form the world's largest free trade area cleared a significant hurdle on Monday when EU lawmakers specialising in trade backed a deal that could enter force next year. The European Parliament's international trade committee voted 25 in favor to 10 against to clear the… Read

Politics

Abe says he won't force sales tax hike if economic conditions worsen

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Japan's prime minister on Friday warned against forcing through a proposed sales tax hike next year if economic conditions worsened, a sign he was open to postponing the increase for a third time if circumstances required it. Shinzo Abe has already pushed back an increase in the domestic consumption tax… Read

Politics

Asia eyes U.S. midterm elections with anxiety, hope

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Hope and anxiety hang over Asia — and north Asia in particular — ahead of Tuesday's U.S. midterm election. President Donald Trump has shaken up Asia, as he has much of the world. Now Beijing, Seoul and other Asian capitals are waiting to see if the Democrats wrest control of… Read

Politics

In major policy shift, gov't OKs draft bill to open door wider for foreign workers

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet approved draft legislation on Friday to open the door to more overseas blue-collar workers in sectors grappling with labour shortages, a controversial policy shift in immigration-shy Japan. Immigration has long been taboo as many Japanese prize ethnic homogeneity, but the reality of an aging, shrinking… Read

Politics

Work resumes at disputed Okinawan site for U.S. base relocation

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Japan's central government resumed work at a disputed U.S. military base relocation site on Thursday even though Okinawa residents overwhelmingly see the project as an undemocratic imposition on the small southern island. The initial stage of landfill work at Henoko on Okinawa's east coast resumed Thursday morning, following the central… Read

Politics

Public opinion, legal hurdles cloud outlook for Japan-S Korea forced labor row

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Japan and South Korea will try to keep a row over World War II forced laborers from spiraling into a crisis, after a court ruling forced the U.S. allies to confront hardening public opinion and divergent views of history. South Korea's top court ruled on Tuesday that Japan's Nippon Steel… Read

Politics

Okinawa governor to visit U.S. and tell Americans to stop building disputed military base

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The bicultural, newly elected governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa plans to visit the United States with a message to the American people: Stop building a disputed military base and build peace instead. Denny Tamaki took office Oct 4 after campaigning for a disputed U.S. Marine air base… Read

Politics

Pacific trade pact to start on Dec 30 after six members ratify it

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A landmark 11-member deal that will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific will come into force on Dec 30, New Zealand said on Wednesday, a rare bright spot for global commerce as the U.S.-China trade war intensifies. The deal moved forward after Australia become the sixth nation to formally… Read

Politics

S Korean Supreme Court orders Nippon Steel to compensate wartime forced laborers

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South Korea's top court ruled on Tuesday Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp must compensate four South Koreans for their forced labor during World War II, a verdict Japan denounced as"unthinkable" while expressing hope that the uneasy neighbors' cooperation on North Korea would not be hurt. In a landmark… Read

Politics

China, Japan pledge to forge closer ties at 'historic turning point'

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China and Japan on Friday pledged to forge closer ties as both countries stood together at an "historic turning point", signing a broad range of agreements including a $30 billion currency swap pact, amid rising trade tensions with Washington. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also… Read

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