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Japan PM Abe sings national anthem as a step to "take back Japan"

Published on Jan 7, 2013 3:05 PM
 
Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo on Dec 26, 2012. Mr Abe and his ruling party kicked off their first full working day of 2013 by singing the national anthem, seen by critics as a symbol of past imperialism and militarism. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling party kicked off their first full working day of 2013 by singing the national anthem, seen by critics as a symbol of past imperialism and militarism.

The return of the 58-year-old to the premiership following his conservative Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) landslide win in an election last month has raised concerns at home and abroad about a shift to the right in Japanese politics.

"We have returned the government to a party that can stoutly sing 'Kimigayo' at the start of business and truly been able to take a first step to 'take back Japan'," the Sankei newspaper quoted Mr Abe as saying after he and other LDP members sang the anthem at a meeting.

"Take back Japan" was one of the LDP's slogans in the campaign for the Dec 16 election that returned the long-dominant party to power just three years after a huge defeat at the hands of the novice Democratic Party of Japan.

 
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