Kyodo News Digest: Nov. 18, 2023

Locals show their excitement at news of hometown hero Shohei Ohtani winning his second American League MVP award during a public viewing event held at the city office in Oshu in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Nov. 17, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Australia rips China over “unsafe, unprofessional” naval interaction

SIDNEY – Australia said Saturday it had expressed serious concerns to China over an “unsafe and unprofessional” interaction between Australian naval divers and a Chinese warship earlier this week, which resulted in minor injuries.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said in a statement the incident occurred Tuesday when Australia’s Toowoomba, a long-range frigate, was conducting diving operations to clear fishing nets from its propellers in international waters inside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.


APEC leaders’ declaration makes no reference to Israel-Hamas conflict

SAN FRANCISCO – Asia-Pacific leaders on Friday made no reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or the Israel-Hamas war in their joint declaration released after an annual summit, laying bare their disunity over the two ongoing conflicts even as they sought to boost economic cooperation.

The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum reaffirmed in San Francisco the importance of the rules-based multilateral trading system and market-driven economic integration, and said they “remain committed to improving the quality of life for all our people, and to creating a resilient and sustainable future.”


Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist group leader Ikeda dies at 95

TOKYO – Daisaku Ikeda, the longtime leader of the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, one of the largest religious groups in Japan, died of old age on Wednesday at his home in Tokyo, the group said. He was 95.

Ikeda became the third president of Soka Gakkai, with a claimed membership of over 8.27 million households, in 1960. The group backs Komeito, the junior coalition partner of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party.


Japan to keep urging China to lift food import ban: PM Kishida

SAN FRANCISCO – Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that Japan will continue urging China to lift its import ban on Japanese seafood following the oceanic discharge of treated radioactive water from a nuclear power plant, calling for a “cool-headed,” science-based judgment on the issue.

Speaking at a press conference held before wrapping up his visit to San Francisco, Kishida said it is not clear when the import restriction will be removed, a day after he called on Chinese President Xi Jinping during their summit to abolish it immediately.


TSMC founder says Biden, Xi had “good meeting” to ease tensions

SAN FRANCISCO – The founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., who represented the island at an Asia-Pacific economic summit, said Friday the sit-down this week between the presidents of the United States and China was a “good meeting” that he hopes will help ease regional tensions.

Morris Chang, founder of chip giant TSMC, also said he had informal interactions with U.S. President Joe Biden and other high-ranking officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in San Francisco but not with Chinese President Xi Jinping.


Taiwan opposition parties fail to agree on joint presidency bid

TAIPEI – Taiwan’s two main opposition parties failed Saturday to agree on a joint presidential bid for the January leadership election, casting doubts over their chance to beat the current front-runner of the ruling party as the clock ticks toward the formal registration deadline.

The main opposition Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang, and the second-largest opposition Taiwan People’s Party, had been expected to announce candidates for president and vice president under a joint ticket based on poll results on Saturday, but they disagreed over how to use polling data.


Japan cracking down on illegal taxis as tourism boom drives demand

CHIBA, Japan – Japanese authorities are stepping up surveillance of unlicensed taxis at Narita airport near Tokyo, as a spike in the number of arrivals increases demand for transport into the capital.

Transport ministry officials handed out hundreds of fliers stating “Beware! Unlicensed taxis are illegal and unsafe!” in English and Chinese to arriving international visitors in early November at the airport in Chiba Prefecture.


Japan, Australia eye closer ties in Indo-Pacific after China summits

SAN FRANCISCO – Japan and Australia on Friday stressed the need for close coordination in confronting challenges in the Indo-Pacific region after their respective summits with China, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese also vowed support for Pacific island nations, the ministry said, as China expands its economic presence in the area.


Video:  Shohei Ohtani’s hometown hails his AL MVP award

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