Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama backtracked from a campaign promise to close a controversial US Marine base on Okinawa. He said he was bowing to strategic reality, but the reversal is costing him support at home.
President Bush holds a crying baby handed to him from the crowd as he arrived for an outdoor dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Trinwillershage, Germany, in July 2006.
In Japan, labor reforms approved last Friday to protect temporary workers – now about one-third of the workforce – were met with criticism on both sides. Firms say they need a flexible workforce, while laborers say too many loopholes remain.
Japan's Hatoyama, the new prime minister, is carrying out a campaign promise to push aside bureaucrats and shift more power to the politicians. The effort is playing to favorable reviews – though budging an entrenched bureaucracy will take time.
Japan may try again to relocate the Futenma US base in Okinawa to the fishing village of Henoko, ahead of a May deadline to resolve the issue. But both antibase activists and the US have voiced objections to that plan.
Two Greenpeace activists in Japan face up to 10 years in prison for tactics used in exposing black market sales of whale meat. Anti-whaling groups hope Monday's trial helps turn Japanese public opinion against the whale harvest.
The Prius recall by Toyota is another wake-up call for the Japanese to shift their corporations, government, and society to a new economic strategy.
Two Greenpeace Japan activists will go to trial Feb. 12 after trying to expose illegal sales of whale meat. In a departure from the confrontational tactics of Sea Shepherd and its "Whale Wars," Greenpeace is trying to quietly convince Japan to end whaling.
The ruling Democratic Party of Japan vowed to shake up the country's powerful bureaucracy. Instead it's bogged down in a corruption probe against key strategist Ichiro Ozawa.