The World This Week

JAPAN'S Prime Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, fights this week to restore authority over his country's government and its ruling party, both battered by scandal. Coming days see important hearings on the Sagawa money-and-mobsters affair, the announcement of a political reform package and a cabinet reshuffle to revive the fortunes of his unpopular government.

Noboru Takeshita, the former prime minister and grandee of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), appears before parliament today for the second time to face interrogation about his alleged links to organised crime. He is followed tomorrow by two former executives of Sagawa Kyubin, the trucking company at the heart of the scandal. On Friday, an aide to the disgraced LDP powerbroker Shin Kanemaru is to be questioned on what happened to the dollars 4m ( pounds 2.5m) his boss took in illegal donations from Sagawa Kyubin.

The LDP meanwhile announces on Wednesday measures to clean up the political system and prevent more illegal funding scandals - three of which have rocked the party since 1988 - undermining confidence in the party that has ruled Japan since 1955.

And on Saturday Mr Miyazawa reshuffles his cabinet. The appointments will be scrutinised for evidence of the Prime Minister's reforming intentions. He is expected to appoint a new finance minister, probably Yoshiro Mori, to deal with Japan's economic downturn. Keenly awaited by the public is the appointment of justice minister: after the uproar at the casual way state prosecutors handled the Sagawa scandal, Mr Miyazawa is under intense pressure to appoint a Mr Clean. This could be Hyosuke Kujiraoka, a party veteran who recently declared he was disillusioned by factional manoeuvring and corrupt practices.

Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, visits Rome today on a European tour that brings him to London tomorrow. On Wednesday he lunches with John Major and addresses MPs. The trip comes as the Middle East peace talks resume in Washington today for two weeks. Palestinians want the United States to intervene more forcefully and put more pressure on Israel, but serious attempts to make progress are likely to be put on ice until Bill Clinton takes office in January.

Nato defence ministers meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday and are expected to make a final decision on the European Fighter Aircraft project. And European heads of government meet for an EC summit in Edinburgh on Friday and Saturday.

Thursday is Human Rights Day, the day when the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo to Guatemala's indigenous rights activist Rigoberta Menchu.

Elections take place today for 12 seats in the House of Assembly in Tobago. The island has been linked with Trinidad in a unitary state since 1889, but Tobagonians complain they are being neglected by the central government, prompting talk of secession among the 44,000 islanders.

Giorgio Strehler, Italy's greatest theatre director, appears in court in Milan on Thursday accused of embezzling pounds 300,000 of an EC grant he was given to fund courses for aspiring actors and theatre technicians at his Piccolo Teatro in Milan. The maestro is accused not of pocketing the money, but of frittering it away on telephone bills, cleaning the theatre and costumes for a recent production of Faust.

Another example of a show- business initiative turning sour is the 42nd Miss World contest on Saturday at Sun City, the gamblers' pleasure resort in the South African 'homeland' of Bophuthatswana. Eighty-four contestants will take part - though none from the homeland itself. The African National Congress says it will disrupt the event unless free political activities are allowed in Bophuthatswana.

Also kicking out against intolerance, Italy's football players are to carry banners denouncing racism on to the pitches before matches on Sunday. They are alarmed by a rise of right-wing violence orchestrated on the terraces by shaven- headed 'naziskins'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy