Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada visited war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo Thursday, her first visit there since she became the country's top defense official in August.
Inada's move drew protests from Beijing and Seoul. In China and South Korea, the shrine is regarded as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, because Class-A World War II criminals are enshrined.
The visit by Inada, known for her conservative historic and political views, may affect Japan's security cooperation with South Korea to deal with North Korea's missile and nuclear development. Tokyo's defense exchanges with Beijing may also be affected.
Inada was the first defense minister to visit the shrine since Japan launched the Defense Ministry in January 2007 by reorganizing the Defense Agency. Gen Nakatani, who visited Yasukuni Shrine as defense head on Aug. 15, 2002, is believed to be the most recent predecessor of Inada that made such a visit.
The United States, Japan and other countries surrounding North Korea are on high alert over the nation's provocative actions, including the possibility it would conduct its sixth nuclear test, as Tuesday marked the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army. (the-japan-news.com)
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to appoint Masayoshi Yoshino, a former State Minister of the Environment, as the new minister in charge of rebuilding areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. (NHK)
Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber, 23, will perform at Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium on Sept 23 and 24. It will be Bieber's fourth concert tour in Japan and his first visit since last August. (Japan Today)
Despite the initial excitement among major financial institutions, the Bank of Japan's push for exchange-traded funds tracking companies that actively raise employee pay or invest in new equipment has run aground. (Nikkei)
Japan's growing labor shortage threatens the nation's ubiquitous convenience stores, whose business model relies on an army of part-timers packing bento lunch boxes, manning cash registers and delivering goods 24/7. (Japan Today)
The labor ministry referred advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and three officials from its offices in Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto to prosecutors on Tuesday on suspicion of violating the Labor Standards Law by making employees work overtime beyond legal limits. (Japan Times)