Shinzo Abe

Briefs, January 2, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 6:11am

Abe seeks improved relations with Seoul

TOKYO - Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday told his special envoy to Seoul to work towards improving ties with South Korea, describing it as Tokyo's most important neighbour. Abe plans to send lawmaker and former finance minister Fukushiro Nukaga to Seoul to meet president-elect Park Geun-hye on Friday, in an attempt to improve relations soured by a rumbling row over disputed islands. AFP


Rape victim's ashes scattered on Ganges

The ashes of the 23-year-old victim of the gang rape in Delhi that provoked a global outcry and three weeks of protests in India have been scattered on the surface of the river Ganges. The medical student, who died last weekend of injuries sustained in the hour-long assault in a moving bus, was cremated on Sunday in the Indian capital, close to where she had lived with her family. Guardian


India starts handing out welfare cash

NEW DELHI - India's government is rolling out the first phase of its hugely ambitious plans to hand out cash to welfare claimants in what it considers a "game-changer" policy 18 months ahead of elections. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said that 20 out of India's 629 districts would change over to the new system, with a further 23 to follow next month and in March. In all, money for 23 separate welfare schemes - mostly education funds previously disbursed to third parties by the central government - will now be paid directly into the bank accounts of an estimated 200,000 beneficiaries. AFP


Fireproofing flaw found at nuclear reactors

TOKYO - Japanese regulators have found inadequate fireproofing at more than one-fifth of the nuclear reactors that went offline after the 2011 Fukushima crisis. The finding could delay their restart by several years in some cases, Mainichi newspaper said. More than 10 of Japan's 50 reactors, excluding those at Fukushima, have flaws in fireproofing, sources at the industry ministry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority said. AFP


Record drop in Japan's population last year

TOKYO - Japan's population last year declined by 212,000, the biggest drop on record, according to an estimate by the nation's health ministry. That's the largest reduction since the ministry started recording the data in 1947 and a sixth straight year of declines. The number of births fell 18,000 to a record low of 1.03 million. Bloomberg