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Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 20, 2022

Children gather at the Temple of Confucius in China’s Qufu, the birthplace of the founder of Confucianism, on July 29, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan to keep interest in Russia’s Sakhalin 2 gas project

TOKYO – Japan plans to retain its interest in the Sakhalin 2 oil and gas project and will notify Russia of its intention by the early September deadline, with two major Japanese energy companies set to sign on, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

The likely participation of Jera Co., a Tokyo-based power generator, and Tokyo Gas Co. would help Japan procure liquefied natural gas from Russia, the sources said.


Japan posts fresh record of over 260,000 daily COVID-19 cases

TOKYO – Japan posted more than 260,000 daily coronavirus infections on Friday, setting a new record high for a second straight day.

The figure apparently reflected increased movements by people during Japan’s Bon summer holidays in mid-August. Of the country’s 47 prefectures, 19 reported record high numbers of daily infections.


Xi’s 3rd term most likely endorsed at conclave of China’s top echelon

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping appears to have secured an endorsement from other Communist Party leaders during their annual summer conclave to stay in power for an unprecedented third term, according to sources close to the matter.

But while there were no objections to Xi serving as general secretary for five more years, there was little support for reviving the title of party chairman for him among the current and retired leaders at the secretive gathering in the seaside resort of Beidaihe, held ahead of the party’s twice-a-decade congress this fall, the Chinese sources said.


Xi, Putin may hold talks in Central Asia in Sept.: WSJ

WASHINGTON – Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to travel to Central Asia and meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in mid-September, The Wall Street Journal said Friday.

Quoting “people familiar with the planning,” the business daily reported that Xi may attend the Sept. 15-16 annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in person and meet with Putin there.


Islamic State man gets life over Syria deaths of U.S., Japan hostages

WASHINGTON – A U.S. court sentenced an Islamic State militant fighter to life in prison Friday over charges including those related to the deaths of U.S., British and Japanese hostages in Syria, according to U.S. media reports.

El Shafee Elsheikh, originally from Britain, was convicted in April of the charges for his involvement in the plot that led to the deaths of the victims such as U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa.


Police to revise rules for VIP protection after Abe shooting

TOKYO – The National Police Agency will revise its general rules for VIP protection for the first time in around 30 years, after flaws in protecting former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month led to his fatal shooting, police sources said Friday.

The agency is also considering expanding training for security personnel and increasing the number of officers assigned to protect dignitaries, with the revisions to be finalized and announced as early as next week, the sources said.


Japan gov’t investigating mistreatment of pregnant foreign trainees

TOKYO – The Japanese government is conducting a survey to determine whether foreign technical trainees have been forced by employers or intermediary groups to leave the country because they fell pregnant or gave birth.

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare are working together on what appears to be the first survey of its kind, amid increased attention over a growing number of cases of harassment and abuse of trainees.


Court recognizes trans woman as parent of girl born before transition

TOKYO – A Tokyo court on Friday acknowledged the parent-child relationship between a transgender woman and her daughter conceived using her frozen sperm and born to her female partner before legally transitioning, partially overturning an earlier family court decision.

The Tokyo High Court, however, did not recognize the woman in her 40s, who was assigned male at birth and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2018, as the parent of a second daughter born to her partner in 2020, after she had legally changed her gender to female on her family registry.

Read More:Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 20, 2022