Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa of Germany on Wednesday announced an air cargo tie up as they look to fight off intense competition from budget airlines on passenger routes. The airlines said they had won regulatory approval for the agreement, which will see them integrate network planning, pricing, sales and handling on all routes between Japan and Europe. "The two carriers aim to introduce the joint approach on shipments originating from Japan to Europe in winter 2014/2015 and for shipments from Europe to Japan in mid-2015," they said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked two veteran lawmakers with friendly ties to China for top party posts on Wednesday in an apparent signal of hope for a thaw in chilly ties with Beijing and a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The change in executives in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is part of a broader leadership rejig, including a cabinet reshuffle, which is aimed at strengthening party unity and polishing Abe's image. Abe's new line-up faces a number of challenges, including how to repair ties with China that have been frayed by rows over disputed territory and Japan's wartime history, and whether to go ahead with a planned sales tax rise next year despite signs the economy is faltering. In a bid for party unity, the hawkish Abe tapped outgoing Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, his predecessor as LDP leader, for the key party post of secretary-general, the LDP's de facto election campaign chief.