Japan ex-defense minister to challenge Abe as party chief

Former Japanese defence minister and member of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shigeru Ishiba speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018
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Japan ex-defense minister to challenge Abe as party chief

  • Ishiba has expressed surprise at the dearth of challengers to Abe
  • Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda has reportedly considered running, but lacks support from enough party members

TOKYO: Former Japanese defense minister Shigeru Ishiba on Friday announced a long-shot bid to unseat Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as leader of the country’s ruling party in elections next month.
Abe is widely expected to win another term as head of the Liberal Democratic Party with Ishiba likely to be his only challenger.
Polls suggest the premier is supported by around 70 percent of LDP members and winning the vote would put him on the path to becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister ever.
Despite the odds, 61-year-old Ishiba said he had decided to challenge Abe to “restore confidence in the government, which should be at the service of citizens.”
Earlier this year, Abe’s popularity ratings slumped with his administration mired in two cronyism scandals.
But he has recovered from the rows, and is viewed as a shoo-in to win the internal election next month, which is held every three years.
In 2015 he ran unopposed, and in 2012 he beat four other contenders, including Ishiba, who was then seen as the front-runner.
Ishiba has expressed surprise at the dearth of challengers to Abe.
“It’s a chorus of ‘I won’t run. I support Abe’,” he told a local television station this week.
A defense hawk, Ishiba favors a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution along more radical lines than Abe, and has even controversially suggested Japan should consider having nuclear weapons.
He may well end up being Abe’s sole rival, with another potential challenger, former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, already ruling out a bid.
Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda has reportedly considered running, but lacks support from enough party members.


Taiwan says it won’t bow to pressure amid China tension

Updated 17 January 2019
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Taiwan says it won’t bow to pressure amid China tension

  • Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016
  • New pressure tactics included rising Chinese scrutiny over how companies from airlines to retailers refer to Taiwan
TAIPEI: Taiwan will not bow to Chinese pressure and called for international support against Beijing’s “out-of-control actions,” a presidential spokesman said on Thursday, after Beijing urged companies to change the way they refer to the self-ruled island.
“As for China’s related out-of-control actions, we need to remind the international community to face this squarely and to unite efforts to reduce and contain these actions,” Alex Huang, the spokesman for President Tsai Ing-wen, told reporters in Taipei.
Companies including Apple and Amazon have “wrongly labelled” Taiwan and should take immediate actions to correct it, the state-run Legal Daily reported on Wednesday, citing a report released by Chinese government think tanks.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai, from the pro-independence ruling party, took office in 2016. That has included rising Chinese scrutiny over how companies from airlines, such as Air Canada, to retailers, such as Gap , refer to the democratic island in recent months.