Kyodo News Digest: March 25, 2024

Japanese ice dancers Misato Komatsubara (R) and Takeru Komatsubara perform their free dance at the world figure skating championships in Montreal on March 23, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo


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


Japan PM Kishida conveys intent to meet North Korea’s Kim: KCNA

BEIJING – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has conveyed his intention to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang’s state-run media reported Monday, quoting a statement by the leader’s sister who called on Tokyo to make a “decision” on improving bilateral ties.

Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency that Kishida recently proposed an in-person summit to meet with her brother “as soon as possible” through “another channel,” referring to one other than those that have been used for bilateral communication.


U.S. military to strengthen functions of Japan command headquarters

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military plans to strengthen the functions of its command headquarters in Japan, as it aims for smoother cooperation with the Asian nation’s Self-Defense Forces in tackling security threats posed by China and North Korea, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

Japan and the United States are expected to agree on the review of their command and control operations when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Joe Biden hold talks in Washington in April, the sources said, adding it would be included in a joint statement.


Scandal-hit LDP heavyweight Nikai not to run in next general election

TOKYO – Toshihiro Nikai, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight, said Monday that he will not run in the next general election to take responsibility for his intraparty faction’s involvement in a political funds scandal.

Announcing his decision before Prime Minister Fumio Kishida makes a final decision on disciplinary steps over the scandal, Nikai, 85, a former party secretary general who has worked for better ties with China and South Korea, apologized for the scandal, saying, “It is entirely my responsibility” as head of his faction.


26 hospitalized after taking Japan drugmaker’s health supplements

OSAKA – At least 26 people have been hospitalized after taking dietary supplements produced by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co., which are being recalled due to reports of kidney and other health problems, the Osaka-based drugmaker said Monday.

The company said last week that 13 people developed health problems after taking supplements from a line of products containing “beni-koji” red yeast rice, with six of them being hospitalized and seven receiving outpatient treatment. One of them received dialysis.


Japanese chocolate snack-shaped translator earphones to go on sale

TOKYO – Wireless translator earphones in the shape of the beloved Japanese mushroom-shaped chocolate snack “Kinoko no Yama,” sold as “Chocorooms” in the United States, will hit the shelves this week, food manufacturer Meiji Holdings Co. said Monday.

Only 3,500 units of the devices, which can translate 74 languages alongside having conventional earphone functions such as enabling users to listen to music, will go on sale at noon Tuesday on “Makuake,” a website that promotes new merchandise, at the price of 29,800 yen ($190).


Baseball:Shohei Ohtani to address former interpreter’s gambling allegations

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani will speak to the media Monday for the first time since his long-time interpreter was fired amid allegations of illegal gambling, according to the club.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday. “I’m happy he’s going to speak and speak to what he knows and give his thoughts on the whole situation. I think it will give us all a little bit more clarity.”


Japan imperial family to make Instagram debut in April

TOKYO – Japan’s imperial family will begin posting activities of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on Instagram in an attempt to deepen public understanding of the household, especially among young people, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday.

The agency’s official Instagram account will be made public on April 1. It will initially post photographs of events held between January and March, such as the Imperial New Year’s Poetry Reading.


IAEA assessing antiterrorism steps at central Japan nuclear plant

NIIGATA, Japan – International Atomic Energy Agency experts on Monday began assessing strengthened counterterrorism measures implemented at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in central Japan, with the plant operator hoping a positive outcome will persuade local officials to approve a restart.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. requested the five-person IAEA delegation conduct the inspection, which runs through April 2, at the seven-reactor complex in Niigata Prefecture to determine whether the operator’s preventative measures meet international standards after a series of safety flaws came to light, resulting in a two-year operational ban that ended in December.

Video: Farewell to “58654,” Class 8620 steam locomotive 


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