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Kyodo News Digest: July 30, 2023

Combined photos taken on July 29, 2023, show fireworks and Tokyo Skytree in the Japanese capital. (Kyodo)

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


Major Tokyo fireworks festival resumes with a bang after COVID hiatus

TOKYO – One of Tokyo’s most famous fireworks festivals returned for the first time in four years on Saturday following the lifting of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, lighting up the sky over the Sumida River with a staggering display of 20,000 fireworks.

A record-high 1.04 million people showed up for the event, according to organizers, who were vigilant against crowd crushes and other potential accidents following years of such large festivals being canceled.


Japan police officer drunk driving cases up over 2-fold for Jan.-June

TOKYO – The number of police officers in Japan disciplined for drunk driving in the first six months of this year surged 2.4-fold from a year earlier to 12, recent police data showed, with an increase in social drinking following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions likely to be a factor behind the rise.

The figure, which represents a sharp rise from last year’s five, was included among the total 117 police officers and officials who faced disciplinary action, such as suspension or dismissal. It marks a slight increase from the 116 cases logged during 2022’s January-June period.


U.S. to help Australia develop guided missile systems by 2025

SYDNEY – The United States said Saturday it will help Australia produce guided multiple-launch rocket systems by 2025, with the two countries stepping up cooperation in the face of China’s growing influence over Pacific island nations.

The commitment is among “several mutually beneficial initiatives” that the Pentagon is pursuing with Australia’s defense industry, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a press conference following bilateral security talks in Brisbane.


Rugby: Japan produce glimpses of magic in win over Tonga

HIGASHIOSAKA, Japan – Japan got back to winning ways Saturday night as they beat Tonga 21-16 in the second round of the Pacific Nations Series at Hanazono Rugby Stadium.

More than a year since their last test win — against Uruguay on June 25, 2022 — the Brave Blossoms looked more creative with ball in hand and better organized in defense than in recent games. But there is still plenty to work on, especially around restarts and discipline, as the clock counts down to the start of the Rugby World Cup in September.


S. Korea first country to submit plan for pavilion at 2025 Osaka Expo

OSAKA – South Korea has become the first foreign country to submit a basic plan for building its own pavilion at the 2025 World Exposition in western Japan, a source familiar with the matter said Saturday, amid concerns about the slow progress being made by overseas participants concerning preparations for the event.

It is expected some 50 countries will build their own pavilions for the expo, to be held in Osaka, but the city had not received a basic design plan from any participating country, a requirement before seeking construction permission, until it received South Korea’s on Friday.


Football: Bayern Munich beat J-League’s Kawasaki 1-0 on Stanisic goal

TOKYO – German champions Bayern Munich claimed a 1-0 win against J-League side Kawasaki Frontale in an energetic international club football friendly Saturday at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

Croatia international Josip Stanisic’s 57th-minute goal proved the difference between two attacking sides looking to play on the front foot at the Tokyo Olympic Games venue.


Video: Firework festival in Tokyo

Read More:Kyodo News Digest: July 30, 2023