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Reuters in Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition on Thursday approved legislation in the lower house of parliament that could strengthen the military’s role to counter China’s growing presence in the region, despite thousands of protesters overnight chanting and holding up placards reading "No War, No Killing".

Japan warned on Friday that a volcano on the southwestern island of Kyushu, roughly 64 kilometres from a nuclear plant, was showing signs of increased activity and warned people to stay away from the peak.

China’s foreign ministry expressed serious concern on Friday after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine.

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Hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands of people advised to evacuate as a powerful typhoon lashes Japan on Monday with heavy rains and high winds, leaving at least one person dead before moving out to sea.

Japan prepares to ease some sanctions on North Korea in return for its reopening of a probe into the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by the reclusive state decades ago.

Meet the ultra-conservative women, organising online, who are calling for Japan to take a tougher line in response to demands for apologies for its actions in the second world war.

A Japanese cabinet minister and some 150 lawmakers on Tuesday visited Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, in a move that could further strain regional ties.

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Japan will set up a new amphibious military unit and deploy unarmed surveillance drones in its southwest, where it faces a row with China over disputed islands, according to drafts of the nation’s latest defence plans seen on Wednesday.

Japan will dramatically raise its warning about the severity of a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, its nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, its most serious action since the plant was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

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Japan lifted a tsunami warning issued for northeastern Japan after a strong earthquake centred off the coast shook buildings as far away as Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK said.

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A new Japanese party that hopes to become a force to contend with the December general election called for more defence spending on Thursday to protect national interests.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Tuesday, standing its ground for now in the face of calls from the country’s likely next prime minister to pursue “unlimited” easing.

Struggling Japanese TV maker Sharp warned it might not be able to survive on its own, as it doubled its full-year net loss forecast to US$5.6 billion.

Senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats met on Tuesday to discuss a dispute over East China Sea islets that both countries claim, underscoring a willingness to talk despite uneasy ties.

Japanese mobile operator Softbank Corporation said on Monday it will buy up to 70 per cent of Sprint Nextel, the third-largest US carrier, for about US$20.1 billion.

China’s central bank governor will not lead the Chinese delegation at the IMF meeting this week, in what appeared to be a snub to host Japan.

Three Chinese ships briefly entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, prompting an official protest from Tokyo.