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|Abe Says China and Japan 'Need Each Other'
by Naharnet Newsdesk
China and Japan "need each other", Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday as he called for the Asian neighbors to press ahead with tentative efforts to put deep hostility behind them.
"Japan and China, we need each other. We are in a way inseparably bound with each other," Abe told reporters in Beijing after an Asia-Pacific summit.
"Japan and China both have responsibility for peace and prosperity of the region and of the world."
Beijing and Tokyo's historically frosty relations have plunged to their lowest in decades over competing claims to Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea, and Tokyo's 20th-century history of aggression.
But Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Abe on Monday in Beijing on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit hosted this year by China.
The rare encounter -- the first by leaders of the world's second- and third-largest economies in three years -- has raised hopes of a possible thaw.
"Many countries of the world are expecting to see an improvement of the relationship between Japan and China," Abe said.
Earlier Tuesday, the United States welcomed the Xi-Abe meeting.
"We welcome the meeting yesterday between President Xi and PM Abe. It's an opportunity to reduce the tensions between the two countries," deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing.
SourceAgence France Presse
Japan's Okinawa Elects Governor Opposed to US Air Base
Residents of Japan's Okinawa on Sunday elected a governor opposed to relocating a controversial air base, home to a bulk of the U.S. military forces in the country, local news media reported.
Kyodo news agency and other news media reported that exit poll projections showed former Mayor Takeshi Onaga was certain to defeat incumbent Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who was backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party.
Delays in relocating the U.S. Marines' Futenma air base in Okinawa have long been an irritant in U.S.-Japan relations. Abe is keen to make progress on the project as he seeks tighter ties with Washington in the face of an assertive China.
Politics in Okinawa, where many residents associate the U.S. military bases with crime, accidents and noise pollution, often operate on different dynamics than elsewhere in Japan. Many want the base removed entirely, rather than simply relocated about 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the north of its current location.
Nakaima, who ran with the backing of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, had approved a U.S.-Japan plan to relocate Futenma to a less populous part of the island.
Critical of Abe's politics
Onaga, a conservative who once supported the base move to coastal northern Okinawa, later changed his mind to say he wanted it out of the prefecture. His platform was also critical of other Abe policies, such as the use of nuclear power.
Onaga's apparent victory is a significant blow to the central government because the governor can veto the landfill work needed for a new base to be built.
In his first comments, the 64-year-old indicated he would do just that. Onaga, quoted by Jiji Press, said he would "act with determination" toward retracting approval for the landfill work, according to the French news agency AFP.
Nakaima's loss is a headache for Abe, but was unlikely to affect his expected decision to postpone an unpopular sales tax hike and call a snap election to try to secure his grip on power while his voter support is still relatively robust.
Okinawa is home to more than half of the 47,000 U.S. service personnel stationed in Japan.
Cameron announces powers to target jihadists
British jihadists who go abroad to fight in places such as Syria and Iraq could be prevented from returning home, under tough new anti-terrorism laws announced by the Prime Minister.
The measures will be put forward in a parliamentary bill in January.
The government estimates that 500 Britons have joined the militant group, Islamic State.
In a speech to the Australian parliament in Canberra, David Cameron said extremism "must be confronted in all its forms" and outlined his plans to deal with it.
Charity Commission ‘targets’ Muslim orgs – report
More than a quarter of British charities under investigation by UK authorities are Islamic organizations, according to a report. Muslim leaders and activists have criticized the government for what they see as ‘excessive’ surveillance.
Analysis conducted by the think tank Claystone found that of the 76 charities currently being investigated by the UK’s Charity Commission, 20 were known to be Muslim-led organizations.
“[The commission] has labeled 55 charities with the issue code ‘extremism and radicalization’ without their knowledge, in the period 5 December 2012 to 8 May 2014. These charities were/are being monitored as a potential concern for matters relating to extremism and radicalization,” Claystone’s research director Adam Belaon told the Guardian.
READ MORE: HSBC terminates Gaza-linked Islamic charity’s bank account and others
“There are no written criteria for applying or removing this label and thus it lends itself to non-evidence based targeting of particular groups. We don’t know the criteria used to apply these extremist tags by the commission. It’s all very subjective for a quasi-judicial body.”
Claystone, along with other Muslim advocacy organizations, have criticized what they see as the Charity Commission’s “targeting” of Islamic organizations, which they claim has intensified since Sir William Shawcross took the helm.
Shawcross, who once told the conservative Henry Jackson Society think tank that “Europe and Islam” were among the world’s most “terrifying” problems, has previously highlighted the threat of extremists operating through Islamic charities.
However, the Charity Commission claims it does not target particular groups, and that its investigations are based on its own risk assessment framework.
“The commission does not target Muslims, any other religion or type of charity. All our casework is prioritized and assessed for action against the risk framework, published on the website,” a commission spokesperson said.
“A full analysis of the commission’s compliance work including investigative and monitoring work for the last financial year will be in this year’s publication ‘Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement’.”
A number of British Muslim organizations, which have been subject to investigations and sudden bank account closures, have come out in support of the think-tank’s findings.
CAGE, an Islamic advocacy organization founded by former Guantanamo detainee Moazzamm Begg, said that abstract uses of the term “extremism” had resulted in some charities being under “perpetual investigation,” which provokes suspicion towards Muslim activist groups.
READ MORE: Anti-Muslim trolling ‘rampant’ on UK Twitter – report
“The report raises key evidence that Shawcross’s appointment is part of a string of appointments where Conservative-backed figures were placed in offices that are supposed to be non-partisan, thereby threatening civil liberties,” said CAGE spokesperson Cerie Bullivant.
“CAGE has had its own bank accounts shut down and funders investigated without being given any clear proof to justify why this is happening. This is taking place in a sector where experts have clearly stated that there are no clear links between charities and extremism.”
“The British government must seriously review its counter terror laws, not add more. Our domestic policy is increasingly marginalizing people so that they are more likely to commit violence,” he added.
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