Russia rejects territorial talks with Japan
Japan Today -- Jul 15
Russia has rejected starting talks with Japan on the return of two disputed islands despite an agreement last year, in a move that could further delay the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

Russia is concerned that a falling support rate for President Vladimir Putin may drop further if it cedes two of the four contested islands off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, the sources said.

Moscow has been reluctant to return the islands, saying the presence of U.S. military forces in Japan remains a threat.

The two countries had sought to resolve the prolonged territorial dispute as it remains a sticking point preventing them from concluding a peace treaty more than 70 years after the end of World War II.

Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last November to step up talks on a peace treaty based on a key 1956 joint declaration.

The declaration mentions Moscow handing over two of the four disputed islands -- Shikotan and the Habomai islet group -- once a peace treaty is concluded.

Opposition lawmakers in Japan condemned the latest agreement as a shift in the Abe government's policy on the islands, to now seek the return of two of them rather than all four.

News source: Japan Today
Jan 18
Japan kept unchanged its timing for balancing the primary budget on Friday, but expects to see a much smaller excess than previously thought when it hits a budget surplus, underlining the government’s struggle to rein in massive public debt. (Japan Times)
Jan 18
Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, a potential future prime minister according to some opinion polls, said he became the father of a baby boy on Friday. (Kyodo)
Jan 16
Japan's Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi will take childcare leave after the upcoming birth of his first baby. (NHK)
Jan 13
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz that Japan will make every diplomatic effort it can to stabilize the situation in the Middle East. (NHK)
Jan 10
Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono will order the dispatch of a Self-Defense Force mission to the Middle East on Friday amid heightened tensions in the region. (NHK)
Jan 08
The government will develop a smartphone app to easily identify if residence cards, which are issued to foreign nationals, have been forged in an attempt to crack down on visa law violations, government officials have said. (Japan Times)
Jan 07
Former lower house lawmaker Yukiko Miyake was found dead at a waterfront in Tokyo several days ago, with police suspecting she might have committed suicide, investigative sources said Monday. (Japan Today)
Jan 02
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday pledged to promote reforms in Japan, ranging from social security to the Constitution, while expressing his hope the country will successfully host the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics later this summer. (Japan Times)
Dec 28
Japan's Cabinet approved on Friday the dispatch of Maritime Self-Defense Force units to the Middle East, for the first time since the country enacted security-related bills in 2015, which were aimed at easing requirements for dispatching the MSDF. (Nikkei)
Dec 27
Japan hanged a Chinese death-row inmate on Thursday convicted of killing four people in 2003, the Justice Ministry said, in the country's first execution since August. (Japan Today)