File photo taken June 23, 2021, shows Japan's Supreme Court in Tokyo. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan's top court says forcing couples to share surname constitutional

TOKYO - Japan's top court on Wednesday again ruled legal provisions forcing married couples to use the same surname are constitutional, upholding a Supreme Court judgment from 2015.

The latest decision on a more than century-old provision based on the Civil Code and the family register law dismissed requests filed by three couples in 2018 to keep their separate surnames after local governments refused to accept their marriage registrations.


Alcohol banned at Tokyo Olympics as 1-month countdown starts

TOKYO - Tokyo marked one month until the start of the Olympics on Wednesday, with organizers banning the drinking of alcohol at games venues as they set out measures they hope will allow a safe event to be held amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The organizing committee of the Olympics and Paralympics released safety guidelines for ticket holders, including banning loud cheering, the giving of high-fives and towel waving, in addition to prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages in venues and explicitly stating spectators must not bring their own.


Hong Kong's Apple Daily to publish last paper Thurs., shut down

HONG KONG - Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, which has had its assets frozen and its executives indicted under a sweeping national security law, will publish its last print edition Thursday and shut down its online news page by midnight, its management said Wednesday.

The outspoken paper, which has long been a target for the authorities with its liberal stance, was seen as a beacon of press freedom in Hong Kong as its existence showed that diversity was tolerated, if not embraced, under the city's semiautonomous status.


2nd Ugandan Olympic team member in Japan tests positive for COVID

OSAKA - Another member of the Ugandan Olympic delegation has tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan for next month's Tokyo Games, a western city hosting the team said Wednesday.

It was the second positive test among the nine-member team, which arrived in Japan on Saturday. One team member tested positive upon arrival at Narita airport, east of Tokyo. On Sunday, the remaining eight members of the delegation checked into their hotel in Izumisano in Osaka Prefecture.


Fukui nuclear unit becomes Japan's 1st to operate beyond 40-yr limit

FUKUI, Japan - An aging nuclear reactor in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture was restarted Wednesday, becoming the country's first nuclear unit to operate beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period introduced under new rules set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Kansai Electric Power Co. said it began operating the No. 3 unit at the Mihama plant for the first time in about 10 years, after completing final inspections. The reactor had stopped operations after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.


Okinawa marks 76th anniv. of WWII ground battle

NAHA, Japan - Okinawa on Wednesday marked the 76th anniversary of the end of a major World War II ground battle between Japanese and U.S. troops, with a memorial service downscaled for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who was not invited to the event amid the pandemic, called on people "not to forget the deep scars" left in the island prefecture, saying in a video message, "The peace and prosperity we enjoy (today) were built on the precious lives lost and an indescribably distressing history lived by the people of Okinawa."


Volcano erupts on southwestern Japan island, alert level raised

KAGOSHIMA, Japan - A volcano on a southwestern Japan island erupted early Wednesday, sending large rocks almost 1 kilometer from the crater, and prompting the weather agency to raise its alert level to restrict people's entry to the area surrounding mountain.

The eruption occurred at the crater of Mt. Otake on Suwanose Island of Kagoshima Prefecture at around 12:04 a.m. There were no immediate reports of injuries according to local authorities, despite there being a small residential area some 4 kilometers from the crater.


Giant panda gives birth to twins, 1st time in Tokyo zoo

TOKYO - Two giant panda cubs were born Wednesday at Tokyo's Ueno Zoological Gardens, the metropolitan government said, marking the first time twin cubs have been born at Japan's oldest zoo.

Mother panda Shin Shin, 15, gave birth early Wednesday to the twins, whose sex remains unknown, the zoo said.