PM hopeful says may need help:
Japanese prime minister hopeful Yoshihide Suga said Saturday that he lacks the kind of diplomatic skills that outgoing leader Shinzo Abe has, including Abe’s personal friendship with President Donald Trump, and that he will need his assistance if he assumes the top job.
Abe in late August announced his intention to step down as prime minister due to health problems. He has led Japan since he returned to power in December 2012 for a second stint as prime minister.
Suga, the chief Cabinet secretary, is expected to win Monday’s party election and then be endorsed in a parliamentary vote on Wednesday because of the majority held by the ruling bloc.
Abe has traveled to 80 overseas destinations during his tenure, bringing stability and consistency to Japanese diplomacy and raising the country’s profile in the international community, experts say. He was noted especially for developing a personal friendship with Trump. (AP)
❑❑❑ China announces new restrictions:
China has announced new restrictions on the activities of U.S. diplomats working in mainland China and Hong Kong, in what it called a justified response to similar measures imposed on Chinese diplomats in the U.S. last year.
In a statement posted online late Friday, a foreign ministry spokesperson said the rules would apply to senior diplomats and all other personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and consulates throughout China.
However, the spokesperson said that China supported “normal exchanges and cooperation between all sectors of the two countries,” and that the restrictions could be lifted if the U.S. were to revoke the measures it imposed last October. (AP)
❑❑❑ Abe seeks pre-emptive strike:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that Japan should make a major change to its defense policy by developing a first-strike capability on enemy bases to defend against imminent attacks amid rising missile and nuclear threats in the region.
Abe, who is stepping down next week for health reasons, said the ability to intercept missiles after they are launched may not be enough and Japan should seek greater deterrence. He said the new government will compile a revised defense policy by the end of the year. (AP)