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Kyodo News Digest: January 7, 2022

Hachiko statue in Tokyo’s Shibuya district is covered in snow on January 6, 2022. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

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


Japan, US express concern over Chinese attempt to undermine rules-based order

TOKYO – The Japanese and US foreign and defense chiefs on Friday expressed concerns over China’s attempts to “undermine the rules-based order” and the challenges they pose to the region and the United States. world, promising to cooperate to deter and respond to “destabilizing activities”.

In a joint statement issued after their virtual “two plus two” talks, ministers stressed “the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” while opposing any threatening unilateral action. the Japanese administration of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan but claimed by China.


Japan decides to place 3 prefects. in a COVID near emergency

TOKYO – Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday that three Japanese prefectures affected by the increase in COVID-19 cases would be placed in a quasi-state of emergency, in line with demands from their governors, who have linked the recent large gains to US military bases.

The quasi-emergency declarations for Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima will be effective from Sunday to January 31, allowing prefectures to strengthen anti-coronavirus measures and ask catering establishments to shorten their opening hours as experts from the health warn of Japan’s sixth wave of COVID -19 pandemic.


Cambodian PM becomes first foreign leader to visit Myanmar since coup

PHNOM PENH / YANGON – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen arrived in Myanmar on Friday, marking the first visit by a foreign leader to the Southeast Asian country since the military overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power in February 2021.

As this year’s president of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cambodia seeks progress to end political unrest in the member country as military authorities appear in no rush to release their hold on power.


Nearly 400 in Tokyo sent to hospitals after fall due to snow, ice

TOKYO – Nearly 400 people in Tokyo were hospitalized Thursday and Friday after slipping and falling due to ice and snow on the streets as the capital experienced its first heavy snowfall in four years, said authorities.

Central Tokyo had 10 centimeters of snow Thursday evening, with disrupted traffic returning to normal on Friday. The mercury fell to minus 3.5 ° C in central areas of the capital on Friday morning, although temperatures rose again in the afternoon due to the sunny weather and traffic conditions gradually returned to the normal.


North Korea to skip Beijing Winter Olympics, accuses US

BEIJING – North Korea said on Friday it had decided not to participate in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing, accusing the United States of trying to prevent “the successful opening of the Winter Games” .

North Korea also said the global spread of COVID-19 motivated it to skip the sporting event. He did not send a team to the Tokyo Games last summer, citing the coronavirus pandemic.


Japanese billionaire Maezawa to explore the Mariana Trench

TOKYO – Yusaku Maezawa, the billionaire entrepreneur who last month became the first Japanese civilian to visit the International Space Station, said on Friday he was now planning a trip to the Mariana Trench, the deepest place of the earth.

Maezawa revealed the exploration project during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, saying that “it has almost been decided what type of submarine will be used and how long the trip will last.” . Details of the plan will be announced later, he added.


Japan’s 7-Eleven in China fined for portraying Taiwan as a country

BEIJING – The 7-Eleven convenience store of Chinese-based Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. has been fined for describing Taiwan as an independent country on its website, Chinese authorities said on Friday.

Authorities also criticized the company for displaying maps that did not contain Chinese names for the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, claimed by Beijing, as well as for several islets in the South China Sea.


Japan’s parliament to convene regular session on January 17

TOKYO – Japan’s parliament is expected to convene an ordinary Diet session from Jan. 17, lawmakers, ruling and opposition parties set to debate the 2022 tax budget, among other laws, said on Friday ahead of chamber elections high this summer.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno forwarded the government’s proposed timetable for the session to senior members of the steering committees of both chambers. Unless there is an extension, the session will run until June 15.