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Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 15, 2022

The four-day Awa dance festival begins in Tokushima, western Japan, on Aug. 12, 2022, the first time in three years that the traditional festival has had spectators in the outdoor stands amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan’s April-June GDP grows annualized real 2.2%

TOKYO – Japan’s economy in the April-June period grew a real 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, or an annualized 2.2 percent, government data showed Monday.

Japan saw growth in three consecutive quarters of real gross domestic product, or the total value of goods and services produced in a country adjusted for inflation, according to the preliminary report released by the Cabinet Office.


Japan marks 77th anniversary of WWII end as Russia’s war continues

TOKYO – Japan on Monday marked the 77th anniversary of its surrender in World War II as Russia’s nearly six-month-old invasion of Ukraine brings renewed attention to the importance of peace.

A government-sponsored ceremony to mourn the about 2.3 million military personnel and 800,000 civilians who perished in the war on the Japanese side is set to start before noon in Tokyo, though in a scaled-back manner for the third straight year as the country faces another wave of the coronavirus pandemic.


Travelers returning from Japan’s summer break crowd trains, airports

TOKYO – Japanese train stations, airports and expressways were crowded Sunday as the majority of travelers returned from their summer vacation.

Although many visited their hometowns or elsewhere for the first summer holiday season in three years without COVID-19 restrictions on domestic travel in place, the operators of some transport networks reported sluggish sales as the country continues to grapple with a seventh wave of infections.


Leadership race for opposition Japan Innovation Party begins

TOKYO – Three candidates entered the race for the leadership of the Japan Innovation Party on Sunday to succeed Ichiro Matsui, as the party steps up efforts to become the country’s biggest opposition force after significantly increasing its parliamentary seats in the last two national elections.

The conservative party’s co-leader Nobuyuki Baba is seen as the most likely winner of the Aug. 27 election, ahead of the other candidates Yasushi Adachi and Mizuho Umemura.


U.S. Vice President Harris to attend slain ex-Japan PM Abe’s state funeral

WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris plans to attend a state funeral for slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next month in Tokyo, a diplomatic source said Sunday.

Her visit to Japan for the Sept. 27 ceremony, which she will be attending in place of U.S. President Joe Biden, will be her first since she was sworn in as vice president in January 2021.


Drunk Japan police officer fell asleep on street, lost case docs

KOBE – An investigator in western Japan lost documents containing the names of a crime suspect and around 400 other people related to a case he was working on after he became intoxicated and slept on the street, police said.

The investigator started drinking with two subordinates at a Japanese-style izakaya bar at around 8:30 p.m. Friday in Nishinomiya, consuming about seven drinks including beer and shochu distilled liquor, and fell asleep on the street while going home on foot after seeing the subordinates off at a train station at around 11 p.m., the police said.


Olympic scandals put marketing giant Dentsu’s business in spotlight

TOKYO – Allegations of corruption in Olympic sponsorships involving former Dentsu director Haruyuki Takahashi have put the firm’s overwhelming grip on Japan’s sports marketing sector in the spotlight.

Through its role as the exclusive agent, Dentsu secured a record of around 370 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in marketing revenue for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, where Takahashi was an executive.


FOCUS: Tofu shops facing fight for survival amid rising costs

TOKYO – Many tofu shops in Japan are struggling amid higher prices for imported soybeans following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, although demand remains solid for the Japanese staple.

A tofu shop run by Takashi Kurosawa in Tokyo’s Minato Ward is among the around 42 percent of medium-sized and small stores that remained in the red in the fiscal year ended March, with 47 percent incurring losses in the previous year, according to a recent survey by credit research firm Teikoku Databank Ltd.

Read More:Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 15, 2022