Japan’s Abe renews claim to disputed islands in China Sea

Updated 18 July 2013
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Japan’s Abe renews claim to disputed islands in China Sea

TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister appealed to nationalism during a campaign stop Wednesday near disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying China’s increased activity in the area challenged Japan’s security in territory that Tokyo would never compromise over.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the remarks in Ishigaki, an island about 150 km southeast of the Japanese-controlled islands called Senkaku, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu. Abe is known for his hawkish security policy and nationalistic remarks, comments that have hurt Japan’s relations with Asian neighbors.
“Today, we face a continuing provocation to our country’s territorial land, sea and airspace,” Abe said in an address to about 50 coast guard officers during his visit to Ishigaki, where he campaigned ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
Abe said incursions by Chinese ships into the area around the disputed islands made “our country’s territorial security environment an extremely challenging one.” He urged the coast guard to boost their watchfulness.
Abe also took to the streets to make his campaign appeal to Ishigaki voters.
“Senkaku is undoubtedly Japan’s inherent territory. Clearly, there is no territorial problem here. We will not make any compromise, not even a step, on this matter,” he said.
Abe made a similar address Wednesday to soldiers stationed on Miyako island. Tougher territorial defense has been part of the campaign platform for Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Japan nationalized the Senkaku in September to strengthen its territorial claims, leading to a diplomatic row between Tokyo and Beijing. Since then, official Chinese vessels have entered Japanese-claimed waters around the islands on 52 days, according to Japan’s coast guard.
With the economy showing signs of improving under Abe’s policies, his party is expected to win a comfortable majority in the upper house, allowing the governing coalition to regain control of both houses.


Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

Updated 22 April 2018
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Trump’s travel ban faces US Supreme Court showdown

  • The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban.
  • The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims.

WASHINGTON: The first big showdown at the US Supreme Court over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies is set for Wednesday when the justices hear a challenge to the lawfulness of his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.
The case represents a test of the limits of presidential power. Trump’s policy, announced in September, blocks entry into the US of most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad previously was on the list but Trump lifted those restrictions on April 10.
The high court has never decided the legal merits of the travel ban or any other major Trump immigration policy, including his move to rescind protections for young immigrants sometimes called Dreamers brought into the US illegally as children. It has previously acted on Trump requests to undo lower court orders blocking those two policies, siding with him on the travel ban and opposing him on the Dreamers. Trump’s immigration policies — also including actions taken against states and cities that protect illegal immigrants, intensified deportation efforts and limits on legal immigration — have been among his most contentious. 
The conservative-majority Supreme Court is due to hear arguments on Wednesday on the third version of a travel ban policy Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January 2017, and issue a ruling by the end of June. 
The lead challenger is the state of Hawaii, which argues the ban violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.
“Right now, the travel ban is keeping families apart. It is degrading our values by subjecting a specific set of people to be denigrated and marginalized,” Hawaii Lt. Governor Doug Chin said in an interview.
The Supreme Court on Dec. 4 signaled it may lean toward backing Trump when it granted the administration’s request to let the ban go into full effect while legal challenges played out.
In another immigration-related case, the justices on April 17 invalidated a provision in a US law requiring deportation of immigrants convicted of certain crimes of violence. Trump’s administration and the prior Obama administration had defended the provision.
'Politically correct'
Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the US from terrorism by militants. Just before the latest ban was announced, Trump wrote on Twitter that the restrictions “should be far larger, tougher and more specific — but stupidly that would not be politically correct!“
The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims, pressing that point in lower courts with some success by citing statements he made as a candidate and as president. As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The Justice Department argues Trump’s statements as a candidate carry no weight because he was not yet president. The policy’s challengers also point to views he has expressed as president, including his retweets in November of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political figure.
In a court filing last week, US Solicitor General Noel Francisco, representing Trump in court, said those retweets “do not address the meaning” of the travel ban policy.
Francisco cited Trump statements complimentary toward Muslims and Islam, including in a May 2017 speech in Saudi Arabia.
In defending the ban, the administration has pointed to a waiver provision allowing people from targeted countries to seek entry if they meet certain criteria. The State Department said that as of last month 375 waivers to the travel ban had been granted since the policy went into effect on Dec 8.