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Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 29, 2023

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) speaks to reporters at the premier’s office in Tokyo on Aug. 28, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan hints at complaint to WTO over China’s seafood import ban

TOKYO – Japanese ministers indicated Tuesday the government might file a complaint to the World Trade Organization over China’s decision to ban all Japanese seafood imports after treated radioactive water began being released into the sea from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Economic security minister Sanae Takaichi told a press conference, “We are entering a stage where we should consider countermeasures” against the import restrictions imposed by China, including filing a complaint to the global trade body, if “lodging a protest through a diplomatic channel is not effective.”


U.S. approves potential sale of air-to-surface missiles to Japan

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government has approved the potential sale to Japan of air-to-surface missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $104 million, the State Department said Monday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the plan regarding the extended-range missiles, also known as JASSM-ER, earlier in the day.


Operations at 14 Toyota plants to be halted after system failure

NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday operations at all 14 of its group’s vehicle assembly plants in Japan would be halted due to a computer system failure, adding it did not know when they would restart.

Operations at the Miyata plant in Fukuoka Prefecture and Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Kyoto plant, the two factories which had been unaffected in the morning, would also be suspended in the afternoon, it said. The issue was under investigation, but the problem is unlikely to have been caused by a cyberattack, according to the automaker.


North Korea’s Kim says nuclear weapons to be deployed to navy

BEIJING – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country’s navy would become “a component of the state nuclear deterrence” as he visited the service’s command, state-run media said Tuesday.

In a speech delivered Sunday commemorating Navy Day which fell the following day, Kim denounced the leaders of Japan, the United States and South Korea as “gang bosses” and stressed the need for the navy to “get prepared to break the enemy’s will for war,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported.


Japan has better chance of seeing end to deflation: gov’t white paper

TOKYO – Japan stands a better chance of finally breaking with deflation that has “shackled” the nation for a quarter of a century, amid recent strong wage growth and broadening price hikes, the government said Tuesday in its annual economic and fiscal policy report.

The government has yet to formally declare an end to deflation because current rising prices are largely due to higher import costs and there is still uncertainty over the sustainability of wage growth, a key factor in determining whether deflation is a thing of the past.


Japan’s July jobless rate rises to 2.7% as more women seek employment

TOKYO – Japan’s jobless rate rose to 2.7 percent in July from 2.5 percent a month earlier, deteriorating for the first time in four months, as more women sought employment amid higher living costs, government data showed Tuesday.

The job availability ratio inched down 0.01 point from June to 1.29, falling for the third straight month, as more people looked for employment while job offers remained at roughly the same level, according to separate data.


Biden to visit Hanoi on Sept. 10 for talks with Vietnamese leaders

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Hanoi on Sept. 10 to meet with Vietnamese leaders and discuss ways to increase peace and stability around the Southeast Asian country, the White House said Monday, amid China’s maritime assertiveness.

The leaders Biden is set to meet in the Vietnamese capital to “deepen the cooperation” will include the chief of the country’s ruling Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong, according to White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.


U.S., China agree to exchange info on export control enforcement

BEIJING – The United States and China agreed Monday during Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s trip to Beijing to exchange information on export control enforcement, the Commerce Department said, with semiconductors and advanced technology such as artificial intelligence expected to be covered.

Raimondo reached an accord with her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao on the launch of a platform to “reduce misunderstanding of U.S. national security policies,” amid intensifying rivalry between the world’s two largest economies over trade in high-tech sectors.


Video: Rare blue bee in western Japan


Read More:Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 29, 2023