Official campaigning begins in Japan for Upper House races
Japan Times -- Jul 04
Official campaigning got under way Thursday for the Upper House election later this month in a key test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership over the past seven months.
Abe has set the goal of wresting control of the chamber from the opposition parties in the July 21 election and solidifying the Liberal Democratic Party's power base so he can achieve his key policy objectives, including firing all three of his economic policy "arrows" and rewriting the pacifist Constitution.
The opposition camp is struggling to erode Abe's relatively high support rate, which he has enjoyed since the LDP trounced the Democratic Party of Japan in the December general election and returned to power.
Half of the 242 seats in the Upper House are up for grabs every three years under a combination of districts and proportional representation. About 430 candidates are expected to vie for the 121 seats at stake.
The annual "kanji" Chinese character of the year in Japan went to "ring" on Thursday, after Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, often referred to in local print media as "five rings." (Straits Times )
Two death-row inmates were hanged Thursday in the fourth round of executions since the launch last December of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said. (Japan Times )
South Korea has condemned Japan for publishing a video in 10 languages challenging its sovereignty over a tiny group of islets at the heart of a territorial dispute, demanding Tokyo remove it. (channelnewsasia.com )
Japan's Supreme Court has upheld the petition of a female-to-male transgender man to be recorded on the official family registry as the father of a boy born to his wife after the use of semen from a donor, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
A 12-year battle for justice took an enormous financial, emotional and physical toll, says Catherine Jane Fisher. But for the Australian teacher of English and mother of three, it's time to savor a landmark court victory. (womensenews.org )
The number of shoplifting cases accounted for nearly 10 pct of all criminal offenses recognized by Japanese police, with the rate increasing, a National Police Agency survey showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press )