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Kyodo News Digest: Jan. 26, 2023

Photo taken in Tokyo on Jan. 25, 2023, shows “hina” traditional Japanese dolls unveiled by doll maker Kyugetsu Co., featuring Yakult Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami (bottom R), figure skater Kaori Sakamoto (bottom L), competitive swimmer Rikako Ikee (upper R), judoka Uta Abe (upper C) and table tennis player Mima Ito (upper L). (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Germany, U.S. to give battle tanks to Ukraine

BERLIN/WASHINGTON – Germany and the United States said Wednesday they will provide battle tanks to Ukraine to help the war-torn country strengthen its capabilities in the war against Russia.

Berlin said it will provide 14 of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine and permit other countries that have purchased the model for their armed forces to do the same, with the one-year mark since Russia launched its invasion less than a month away.


Cargo ship with 22 aboard sinks in East China Sea, 2 dead, 9 missing

FUKUOKA – A Hong Kong-registered cargo ship with 22 people aboard sank in the East China Sea off Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture early Wednesday, killing two crew members and leaving nine others missing, the coast guard said.

The deaths were among 13 who had been rescued following a distress call the previous night from the 6,551-ton Jintian, which was carrying 14 Chinese and eight Myanmar nationals as crew members.


National treasure-class mirror, sword found in 4th-century tomb in Japan

NARA, Japan – The largest bronze mirror and largest “dako” iron sword in Japan were discovered from a late-fourth century tomb mound in the western city of Nara, its board of education and an archeological institute that supported the excavation said Wednesday.

The twin findings from the Tomio Maruyama Tumulus last November can be classified as national treasures, experts say, with the discovery of the shield-shaped mirror being the first of its kind.


Cold snap brings disruption across Japan as heavy snow continues

TOKYO – Heavy snow continued Wednesday across much of Japan as the country grapples with the most severe cold snap of the season so far, with trains and vehicles stranded and at least one person left dead as winter storms caused difficulties.

Record cold temperatures were seen in parts of Japan, with snow falling on the Sea of Japan coast stretching from the country’s north to west. Amid concerns of further snowfall, including in low-lying areas on the Pacific coast, the weather agency is calling for vigilance against blizzards, rough seas and icy roads.


Japan’s top court rules 2021 vote disparity constitutional

TOKYO – Japan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled the vote disparity of up to 2.08-fold in the 2021 lower house election was constitutional.

The top court decision followed 16 conflicting rulings from lower courts, with plaintiffs demanding that the outcome of the House of Representatives election held on Oct. 31, 2021, be nullified.


Presumed mastermind of Japan burglaries may be in Philippines: source

TOKYO – The presumed mastermind of a spate of burglaries that occurred across Japan since last year may be in the Philippines, an investigative source said Wednesday.

The person is believed to have instructed online groups to carry out the robberies, including one incident that resulted in the suspected murder of 90-year-old Kinuyo Oshio, whose body was found at her home in the suburban Tokyo city of Komae on Thursday.


China confirms record 6.94 mil. daily COVID cases in late December

BEIJING – Chinese health authorities said Wednesday it confirmed 6.94 million new coronavirus cases on Dec. 22, marking the highest number of daily infections as the country’s reversal of its “zero-COVID” policy strategy sparked a massive wave of cases.

The number of new cases has since fallen to 15,000 as of Monday with 896 deaths, compared with a record 4,273 deaths on Jan. 4, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. The official death count does not include those who died at home.


Japan’s ex-PM Mori casts doubt on excessive support for Ukraine

TOKYO – Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, known as a gaffe-prone veteran politician, on Wednesday urged the government against excessive support for Ukraine, saying Russia will not lose its ongoing war in the Eastern European nation.

“I wonder why” Japan has put in “such a big effort to support Ukraine,” the 85-year-old member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said in a speech at a reception, adding that Tokyo “had built relations” with Moscow, which invaded its neighbor in February 2022.


Video: Traditional Japanese dolls featuring newsmakers

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