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Kyodo News Digest: Sept. 6, 2022

Photo taken from a drone on Aug. 30, 2022, shows a condominium partially destroyed by Russian missiles in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Russia scraps visa-free visits to islands disputed with Japan

TOKYO – Russia said Monday it has scrapped an agreement with Japan to allow Japanese former residents to visit disputed islands off Hokkaido without visas, triggering a protest from Tokyo as tensions between the two nations remain high over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Under the reciprocal program, visas are also waived for travel to Japan by residents of the Russian-held, Japan-claimed islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.


Cost of Abe’s state funeral to total over 1.6 bil. yen: Japan gov’t

TOKYO – Japan said Tuesday it will allocate an additional 1.4 billion yen ($9.97 million) for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to cover costs for security and the welcoming of foreign dignitaries, bringing the total price tag to over 1.6 billion yen.

With opposition to Abe’s state funeral growing given his divisive political stances and various scandals, the government’s decision to spend more than one-and-a-half billion yen of taxpayers’ money on the event will trigger a strong backlash from the public, observers said.


Powerful typhoon Hinnamnor moves north after nearing southwest Japan

TOKYO – Powerful typhoon Hinnamnor on Tuesday moved northward along the Sea of Japan, after coming close to the country’s southwestern main island of Kyushu and bringing torrential rain and strong wind to the area.

The season’s 11th typhoon has crossed the Tsushima Strait, and as of 9 a.m. it was located around 210 kilometers northwest of Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, moving northeast at 55 km per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.


Ex.-Tokyo Olympic exec. to face fresh bribery charge

TOKYO – Prosecutors plan to serve a fresh arrest warrant on Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic Organizing committee executive already embroiled in suspected corruption cases, for allegedly accepting bribes from Kadokawa Corp., sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

The publishing company gave 70 million yen ($500,000) in 10 installments to a consulting firm run by an acquaintance of Takahashi, and prosecutors are investigating to determine whether the acquaintance asked Takahashi, 78, to help Kadokawa be chosen as a sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the sources said.


Death toll from major quake in China’s Sichuan rises to 65

BEIJING – The death toll from a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit China’s southwestern province of Sichuan the previous day has risen to 65, with more than 200 people injured, Chinese media reported Tuesday.

Rescue work continued through the night and into the morning following the quake that struck Luding County in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture at 12:52 p.m. Monday at a depth of 16 kilometers, under President Xi Jinping’s order to make all-out efforts to minimize casualties.


Japan, India to hold ministerial security talks Thurs. in Tokyo

TOKYO – Japan and India will hold security talks involving their foreign and defense ministers later this week in Tokyo to strengthen bilateral ties, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday.

Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada will meet their Indian counterparts Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh at the so-called two-plus-two talks on Thursday to exchange views on security and defense cooperation, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.


Japan’s July household spending gains 3.4% amid no COVID-19 curbs

TOKYO – Household spending increased a real 3.4 percent in July from a year earlier, helped by the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions that prompted a rise in recreational and dining expenditure, government data showed Tuesday, in a fresh sign of a gradual return to normalcy.

Average spending by households with two or more people stood at 285,313 yen ($2,031), up for the second straight month, but the figure was still lower than pre-pandemic levels, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.


FEATURE: Tokyo aims to make practical use of artificial rain technology

TOKYO – With the world facing the prospect of more extreme weather events including droughts, Japan is one of a number of countries making efforts to advance artificial rain technology to help mitigate water shortages when rainfall is sparse.

In Tokyo, metropolitan authorities set up artificial rain generators on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics last year with the aim of increasing the amount of water stored in dams during dry spells.

Read More:Kyodo News Digest: Sept. 6, 2022