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Kyodo News Digest: Sept. 15, 2023

Fans cheer from the stands during the Hanshin Tigers’ Central League title-clinching game against the Yomiuri Giants at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Japan, on Sept. 14, 2023. (Kyodo)

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


No women appointed as vice ministers under Japan’s reshuffled Cabinet

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida’s government approved on Friday a list of new senior and parliamentary vice ministers, devoid of any female members, in stark contrast to the reshuffled Cabinet lineup with a record-tying five women.

There are 26 senior vice ministers and 28 parliamentary vice ministers on the list, all of whom are male lawmakers belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party or its junior coalition partner Komeito.


China checks seawater loaded on Japan ships amid row over Fukushima

BEIJING – China began checking ballast water loaded on cargo ships arriving from Japan at some key ports, likely for radiation level inspections, at roughly the same time the neighboring country began releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, trade sources said Thursday.

The monitoring of ballast water — seawater used to provide stability and maneuverability during a voyage — began as Beijing voiced its strong opposition to Japan’s release of the treated water into the Pacific Ocean, which commenced on Aug. 24. China also suspended all seafood imports from Japan due to safety concerns.


Centenarians in Japan hit record 92,139, women account for 88%

TOKYO – The number of centenarians in Japan is estimated at a record 92,139, led by women, who account for 88.5 percent of the total with the world’s longest life expectancy, welfare ministry data showed Friday.

The number of those aged 100 or older as of Sept. 15 was up 1,613 from a year earlier for the 53th consecutive annual rise, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said ahead of the Respect for the Aged Day holiday next Monday.


Police search Bigmotor headquarters amid scandal over withered trees

TOKYO – Police on Friday searched the headquarters of used car dealer Bigmotor Co. in Tokyo on suspicion of property destruction, investigative sources said after roadside trees near its dealership outlets were found to have withered unnaturally.

The search is another blow to the company’s reputation, already battered by a recently revealed scandal over insurance fraud. As part of efforts to turn around the business, Bigmotor has closed some outlets and scrapped plans to open new stores. It is also considering selling itself out to potential sponsors, industry sources said.


U.S. believes China defense chief Li under investigation: FT

BEIJING – The U.S. government believes Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu is under investigation and has been stripped of his responsibilities, the Financial Times reported Thursday, as the general has not been seen in public for more than two weeks.

Reuters said Thursday that Li abruptly pulled out of a meeting with Vietnamese defense leaders last week. Li’s disappearance from public view follows the removal of Qin Gang as Chinese foreign minister in July after a mysterious one-month absence from public duties.


Death toll in Libya floods surpasses 11,000 with 20,000 still missing

JERUSALEM – The death toll in eastern Libya has topped 11,000 people four days after devastating flooding caused by storms, with around 20,000 people still missing, local media reported Thursday, citing the Libyan Red Crescent.

Neighbors including Egypt and Tunisia have rushed to offer help with rescue efforts, including in worst-hit Derna, the media reports said.


China congratulates Kamikawa on assuming foreign minister post

BEIJING – China on Friday congratulated Yoko Kamikawa on assuming the post of Japan’s foreign minister earlier this week, expressing Beijing’s hope that the two Asian neighbors will step up dialogue and cooperation while managing differences and disputes.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference that Kamikawa once traveled to China as a member of a delegation and participated in an activity at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo as a senior vice minister of internal affairs and communications.


Japan to give $3 mil. in emergency aid to quake-hit Morocco

TOKYO – Japan will extend around $3 million in emergency aid to Morocco through humanitarian organizations after it was hit by a deadly earthquake last week, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday.

Separately, Japan will provide relief supplies and food aid to Libya following the recent massive floods in the country, Kamikawa told a press conference.


Video: Fans celebrate as Hanshin Tigers clinch pennant


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