Kyodo News Digest: March 24, 2024

A Kyushu Railway Co. train led by steam locomotive Hitoyoshi, built over 100 years ago, runs in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, on March 23, 2024, for its final commercial service. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo


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


Japan imperial couple state visit to Britain planned for June

TOKYO – The Japanese government is making preparations for Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to conduct a state visit to Britain in late June, a source connected to the Imperial Household Agency said Sunday.

The imperial couple’s visit to Britain is expected to last around a week. Arrangements are under way for welcoming events at Buckingham Palace, the London home of the British monarchy, as well as a state banquet hosted by King Charles III, the source said.


Sumo: Top-division debutant Takerufuji wins historic championship

OSAKA – Top-division debutant Takerufuji overcame fellow rank-and-file wrestler Gonoyama to claim a historic championship Sunday at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

The 24-year-old from Aomori Prefecture compiled a 13-2 record at Edion Arena Osaka to become the first wrestler since Ryogoku in 1914 to win his maiden 15-day competition in the elite makuuchi division.


Swimming: Olympic champion Ohashi qualifies for Paris in 200 IM

TOKYO – Yui Ohashi, winner of two swimming gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, earned a chance to defend her Olympic 200-meter individual medley title in Paris on Sunday.

On the final day of Japan’s qualifying trials at Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Ohashi won the 200 IM in 2 minutes, 9.17 seconds, well inside the qualifying time of 2:10.70.


Taiwan Vice President-elect Hsiao visits European countries

TAIPEI – Taiwan Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim has recently visited Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the European Parliament in Brussels, the island’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday, in a move aimed at garnering their support before she takes office in May.

Her trip to the countries, including the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland, marked the first time for a Taiwan vice president-elect to be invited to the region before being inaugurated, demonstrating that the self-ruled democratic island and the European Union are “partners” who share values, the ministry added.


LDP considers serious punishments for 4 members over funds scandal

TOKYO – Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering imposing severe punishments on four of its senior members over their involvement in a political funds scandal, with non-endorsement in elections among the possible penalties, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The four members in question are former education minister Ryu Shionoya, former LDP policy chief Hakubun Shimomura, former trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura — all House of Representatives members — and Hiroshige Seko, former LDP secretary general in the House of Councillors.


133 killed in concert hall attack in Moscow suburb

TOKYO – At least 133 people were killed and dozens were injured when gunmen stormed a concert hall in a Moscow suburb on Friday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said, while Tass news agency said four people suspected of direct involvement were detained.

The attack by several people clad in fatigues at Crocus City Hall, where explosions and a fire were reported, prompted the country’s federal authorities to launch a terrorism investigation, according to media reports.


Driver shortages a concern for Amao premium strawberry growers

FUKUOKA – When an overtime cap hits Japan’s logistics industry next month, exacerbating an existing shortage of drivers, producers of the premium Amao strawberry will be among those counting the potential cost.

Grown in the southwestern prefecture of Fukuoka, the large, rounded strawberry is known for its bright red color and sweet yet slightly tart flavor. About 70 percent of the crop is currently shipped by truck to areas around Tokyo and Osaka and sold just a few days after being picked.


Football: FIFA cancels North Korea vs Japan World Cup qualifier

TOKYO – FIFA announced Saturday it has canceled the World Cup qualifier between North Korea and Japan originally scheduled for next week in Pyongyang.

Football’s international governing body decided that the Asian Group B qualifier “will not be played or rescheduled” because of difficulty finding an alternative venue or match date.

Video: Steam locomotive makes last run in Fukuoka Prefecture


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