Kyodo News Digest: Jan. 18, 2021

An installation featuring Beijing Winter Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen (L) and Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon is seen in the departure lobby of Beijing Capital International Airport on Jan. 17, 2022, just weeks ahead of the start of the Olympics. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.


N. Korea says Mon.’s launches were tactical guided missiles

BEIJING – North Korea test-fired tactical guided missiles that accurately hit a marine target in Monday’s launches, state media reported Tuesday.

The report from the official Korean Central News Agency came a day after South Korea and Japan said North Korea launched two suspected short-range ballistic missiles. It was Pyongyang’s fourth test-firing of missiles this year.


Japanese, French ministers to hold security talks on Thursday

PARIS – The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and France will hold security talks virtually on Thursday, with cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, where China’s rise has stocked concern among many countries, expected to top the agenda.

The French Defense Ministry announced Monday the schedule of the so-called two-plus-two talks, which last took place in January 2019.


Top U.S. military officer Milley tests positive for COVID-19

WASHINGTON – Top U.S. military officer Gen. Mark Milley tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Sunday, but his symptoms are “very minor” and have not affected his performance of duties, a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said.

Milley’s most recent contact with President Joe Biden was on Wednesday at a funeral of a retired Army general. He tested negative every day following contact with the 79-year-old president until Sunday, Col. Dave Butler said in a statement Monday.


Japan to halt vaccine-and-test scheme amid Omicron variant spread

TOKYO – Japan will halt implementation of a government system combining COVID-19 vaccination and testing in a bid to restart economic activities in the wake of breakthrough infections, as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

Restrictions for purposes such as dining are eased under the system that checks whether visitors have been vaccinated twice or have proof of having tested negative for the virus. A spectator attendance limit for large-scale events such as concerts is also eased under the scheme.


Japan looks to expand COVID quasi-emergency to Tokyo, 10 prefs.

TOKYO – Japan is considering placing Tokyo and 10 prefectures under a COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency to curb rapidly spreading coronavirus cases, government sources said Monday.

Any declaration of a quasi-emergency hinges on requests made by the administrative areas, but the Japanese government is preparing to make a decision as early as Wednesday, the sources said, as the highly transmissible Omicron strain continues to spread.


Tickets for Beijing Olympics not to be sold to general public

BEIJING – Tickets for the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics will not be sold to the general public, organizers said Monday, as community infections of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant have been expanding in China.

Spectator tickets for the sporting event, slated to start Feb. 4, are expected to be distributed to a limited number of people through government organizations and state-run companies to prevent the further outbreak of COVID-19 at home.


Japan likely to delay launch of new flagship H3 rocket again

TOKYO – Japan is set to further delay the launch scheduled by the end of March of its new flagship H3 rocket due to some defects, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

The first flight of the H3 rocket had been postponed for a year from the launch date initially scheduled for some time in fiscal 2020 ended March last year.


Vietnamese trainee in Japan demands apology for 2 years of abuse

OKAYAMA, Japan – A Vietnamese man who had worked as a technical trainee at a construction company in western Japan said Monday he was violently abused by Japanese colleagues for around two years and is demanding an apology and compensation from the company and supervising organization that arranged the placement.

Speaking at a press conference in Okayama with a representative from his labor union Fukuyama Union Tampopo, the 41-year-old claimed that he suffered injuries including broken bones as a result of the abuse, which began around a month after he started working at the company. He arrived in Japan in the fall of 2019.

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