Kyodo News Digest: March 29, 2024

Movie enthusiasts flock to a preview of Japanese anime giant Hayao Miyazaki’s U.S. Academy Award-winning film “the Boy and the Heron” at a movie house in Shanghai on March 28, 2024, ahead of its release to the general public on April 3. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Kobayashi Pharma confirms 5th death linked to its supplements

OSAKA – Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. said Friday that it has confirmed a fifth death possibly linked to its red yeast rice dietary supplements, but has yet to determine the substance that may be responsible for causing health problems amid hundreds of reports of people falling ill.

The five people who have died include those in their 70s to 90s, according to the company, which has recalled its “beni-koji choleste help” supplements.


Japan rail operator gives up plan to launch maglev train in 2027

TOKYO – Central Japan Railway Co. said Friday it has given up its plan to launch a new high-speed maglev train between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027, amid long-running environmental opposition in Shizuoka Prefecture.

“While we cannot predict the new opening date at this point, we will continue to aim to launch it as soon as possible,” the company said in a document released ahead of a meeting of experts at the transport ministry.


Nikkei stock index finishes up 44% in FY 2023

TOKYO – Tokyo stocks advanced on the final day of Japan’s 2023 fiscal year on Friday, with the Nikkei marking a 44 percent increase, a record largest point gain from the previous year boosted by a weaker yen that raised prospects of favorable performances by exporters.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 201.37 points, or 0.50 percent, from Thursday at 40,369.44. The broader Topix index finished 17.81 points, or 0.65 percent, higher at 2,768.62.


Economic impact of 2025 Expo raised to $19 bil. amid inflated costs

TOKYO – The Japanese government said Friday it now estimates the economic impact of the 2025 World Expo to reach about 2.9 trillion yen ($19 billion), up 400 billion yen from the previous projection, due to inflated costs.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revised its calculation for the new estimate, based on Japan’s planned spending of up to 235 billion yen for constructing the expo venue in Osaka amid high material and labor costs, for example.


Japan court allows 5 aging nuclear plants to continue operations

FUKUI, Japan – A Japanese court decided Friday to allow five aging nuclear reactors to continue operations at plants in central Japan run by Kansai Electric Power Co., rejecting local residents’ safety concerns that led to demands for suspensions.

The Fukui District Court denied injunctions to halt the No. 3 reactor at the Mihama plant and Nos. 1-4 reactors at the Takahama plant, both in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast. The reactors started commercial operations between 1974 and 1985.


Japan adds driver, railway roles to skilled foreign worker visa

TOKYO – he Japanese government on Friday added four new industries to its foreign skilled worker visa program as it moves to address the nation’s driver shortage by allowing more people access to stays of up to five years.

The Cabinet decision brings the eligible industries under the Specified Skilled Worker No. 1 visa to 16. The expansion, covering road and railway transportation as well as the forestry and timber sectors, is the first since the system was introduced in 2019.


Cherry blossom season arrives across Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto

TOKYO – Cherry blossoms bloomed Friday across Japan including Tokyo and Kyoto, coming slightly later than usual following relatively low temperatures seen in many areas through March, the weather agency said.

In Tokyo, the “Somei Yoshino” variety at Yasukuni Shrine, used for the Japan Meteorological Agency’s observation in the capital, came into bloom. The year’s bloom in Tokyo came five days later than average and 15 days later than last year.


Indonesian President-elect Prabowo to visit China from Sun.

BEIJING – Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto will make a three-day visit to China from Sunday and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang during his trip, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Prabowo, the incumbent defense minister, won the presidential election in February. The upcoming trip to China will be his first overseas trip since the election and fully reflects high-level bilateral relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said.

Video: Open air salons set up for evacuees in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture

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