Kyodo News Digest: March 19, 2024

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter shows the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse aerobatic team on March 18, 2024, flying over Nanao in the central Japan prefecture of Ishikawa, hit hard by a strong earthquake on Jan. 1. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


BOJ ends negative rate, shifts from unprecedented monetary easing

TOKYO – The Bank of Japan on Tuesday scrapped its negative interest rate policy in its first rate hike in 17 years, overhauling the central bank’s unprecedented monetary easing framework of the past decade that aimed to end deflation.

The BOJ decided at a two-day meeting to guide short-term interest rates within a range of zero and 0.1 percent, judging that its goal of attaining stable 2 percent inflation is “in sight.”


Gov’t to require sex offense checks when applying to work with kids

TOKYO – Japan’s Cabinet endorsed on Tuesday a bill aimed at stopping convicted sex offenders from working with children by creating a system requiring schools and other employers to have 20-year background checks conducted on candidates.

Parents and child support groups have been calling for the introduction of the system, dubbed the “Japanese DBS,” similar to the British government’s Disclosure and Barring Service, following a series of cases in which children have been sexually abused by authority figures.


Japan PM Kishida describes BOJ’s policy shift as “appropriate”

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday described the Bank of Japan’s overhaul of its unorthodox monetary easing framework as “appropriate,” promising to keep working with the BOJ to stabilize prices.

The central bank’s policy shift “has stepped into a new phase to generate positive economic outcomes” while “maintaining an accommodative environment,” Kishida told reporters at his office after meeting with BOJ governor Kazuo Ueda.


LDP heavyweights urged to speak as sworn witnesses over funds scandal

TOKYO – Japan’s opposition bloc on Monday urged heavyweights of the Liberal Democratic Party to testify as sworn witnesses in parliament as part of investigations into a political funds scandal that has significantly eroded public trust in the ruling LDP.

At a House of Representatives ethics committee session, Hakubun Shimomura, a key lawmaker of the LDP’s biggest faction, said he was not aware when the group began handing portions of its fundraising party revenue back to its members, regarded as a slush fund for them.


Baseball: South Korean fans express powerful respect for Shohei Ohtani

SEOUL – Local South Korean fans at games ahead of Major League Baseball’s season-opening series in Seoul have all but adopted Japanese two-star Shohei Ohtani as one of their own.

It is a shift that would have seemed improbable 18 years ago, when Korean fans taunted Japan’s biggest star, Ichiro Suzuki, during the hotly contested 2006 World Baseball Classic.


Appropriate interest rate levels to depend on economy: BOJ chief Kazuo Ueda

TOKYO – Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said Tuesday further rate hikes will depend on how the economic and price situations develop, but that aggressive hikes will be unlikely given the current environment.

Speaking at a press conference after the BOJ decided to end its negative interest rate policy with its first increase in 17 years, Ueda said the decision to depart from unorthodox monetary policy reflects the BOJ’s growing confidence about the prospect of the 2 percent inflation target being achieved stably and sustainably.


Visitors to Japan surge in February as post-pandemic rebound continues

TOKYO – The number of foreign visitors to Japan rose 89.0 percent in February from a year earlier to about 2.79 million as it continued to rebound from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Tuesday, although visitors from mainland China only showed a limited recovery.

The figure represents a 7.1 percent rise from the same month in 2019 when there was no impact from the pandemic, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.


Japan, Pacific islands begin 2nd defense ministerial talks in Tokyo

TOKYO – Japan on Tuesday began its second ministerial-level defense meeting with Pacific island nations in Tokyo, aiming to counter China’s expanding military clout and maritime assertiveness in the region.

At the two-day talks through Wednesday, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and his counterparts will reaffirm the importance of a free, open and sustainable maritime order based on the rule of law, according to his ministry.

Video: Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Blue Impulse flies over quake-hit Ishikawa


Source link