A high school student sits in a waiting area while being monitored for possible acute side effects after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, on Sept. 12, 2021. (Kyodo) 

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


North Korea fires 2 ballistic missiles into waters off east coast

TOKYO/SEOUL - North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast on Wednesday, the first such launches in nearly six months, Japanese and South Korean authorities said.

The launches came just days after the North said it had tested a new long-range cruise missile, raising fresh alarm in Japan and other countries, including the United States, which has tens of thousands of troops stationed across Japan.


Ex-defense chief Ishiba not to run in LDP leader race, to back Kono

TOKYO - Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said Wednesday he will back vaccination minister Taro Kono in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election on Sept. 29, formally giving up joining the race that effectively picks the country's next leader.

Ishiba, who was the public's No. 2 pick as successor to outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in opinion polls after Kono, had been considering running in the election, but he conveyed his decision to his faction members after Kono asked for Ishiba's support in bringing the party together.


Shinsei Bank seeks help from Sony to counter SBI's takeover bid

TOKYO - Shinsei Bank has asked Sony Group Corp. to help counter a takeover bid by online financial firm SBI Holdings Inc., sources with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.

If Sony agrees to become a so-called white knight, it would lead to a bidding war for Shinsei, which has strengths in the consumer loan and credit card businesses with some 3 million retail bank accounts.


Japan, Vietnam affirm cooperation after N. Korea fires missiles

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed close cooperation between their countries in phone talks Wednesday after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its eastern coast, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

Suga condemned the launches as violating U.N. Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from testing ballistic missile and nuclear technology, while Phuc replied that the resolutions should be obeyed, the ministry said.


Nuclear reactor in Shimane prefectural capital passes safety review

TOKYO - A reactor in western Japan, installed in the country's sole nuclear plant built in a prefectural capital, cleared a national safety screening on Wednesday.

The No. 2 unit of Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s nuclear plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, became the 17th reactor across a total of 10 nuclear plants nationwide to pass stricter safety standards introduced after the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011.


Japan visitors down 99% in Aug. from 2019 as border controls kept

TOKYO - The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in August was down 99.0 percent from the same month in the pre-pandemic year of 2019 on continued strict travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Wednesday.

But the figure nearly tripled to 25,900 from 8,658 in August 2020 due to the Tokyo Paralympics, which opened on Aug. 24 and ran for about two weeks, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.


Japan's top COVID-19 adviser wary of easing restrictions

TOKYO - Japan's top COVID-19 adviser Shigeru Omi on Wednesday warned against hastily easing anti-pandemic restrictions on people's lives and called for relaxing measures only after the state of emergency is lifted.

His remarks came as the government seeks to ease restrictions around November, when it aims to complete vaccinating all people who wish to be inoculated. The plan includes letting eateries provide alcohol and allowing people to travel across prefectural borders and hold big events with more attendees even if the state of emergency is still in force.


Jail term to be finalized for 90-year-old over fatal Tokyo car crash

TOKYO - A 90-year-old former top bureaucrat has decided not to appeal a recent court ruling that sentenced him to five years in prison without suspension for negligence over a fatal Tokyo car accident in 2019, sources close to him said Wednesday.

The decision effectively finalizes the Tokyo District Court's Sept. 2 ruling that convicted Kozo Iizuka, a former chief of the now-defunct Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, of negligence resulting in the deaths of a woman and her 3-year-old daughter as well as injuries to nine others.