The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.
TOKYO - Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is on course to retain its majority in the House of Representatives in the Oct. 31 general election, according to a Kyodo News survey conducted through Wednesday.
Such an outcome would likely see new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida claim a mandate to pursue his COVID-19 and economic policy, under which he has pledged to realize growth and redistribute wealth to the middle class.
TOKYO - The Tokyo metropolitan government will lift restrictions on restaurants and bars over the coronavirus pandemic from Monday as the capital has seen a steady decline in the number of infections, officials said Thursday.
Some 102,000 eateries certified as taking anti-virus measures have currently been asked to stop serving alcohol by 8 p.m. and to close by 9 p.m.
TOKYO - Shinsei Bank on Thursday decided to reject a tender offer from major online financial group SBI Holdings Inc., setting the stage for a rare hostile takeover attempt in the Japanese financial industry.
Shinsei criticized SBI's plan to effectively control the management without acquiring a majority stake, warning that it would be "detrimental" to the remaining shareholders because their investments may be used for the benefit of SBI.
SEOUL - South Korea launched its first domestically developed space rocket on Thursday, but President Moon Jae In said a dummy satellite separated from the rocket did not go into orbit as planned.
The 200-ton liquid fuel rocket Nuri lifted off from the Naro Space Center in Goheung, a county on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, at 5 p.m.
New Zealand, Britain strike free trade deal
SYDNEY - New Zealand and Britain have sealed a free trade deal that will reduce tariffs on a wide range of goods, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday.
The agreement in principle was secured in a video call between Ardern and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Wednesday, following 16 months of negotiations.
Taiwan foreign minister to visit Slovakia, Czech Republic next week
TAIPEI - Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu will visit Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which do not have official ties with the self-ruled island, next week, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, immediately drawing a backlash from the mainland government.
Wu will deliver a keynote speech at a conference organized by a think tank in the Slovakian capital Bratislava on Tuesday and then travel to the Czech capital Prague where he will visit its mayor, Zdenek Hrib, a strong supporter of Taiwan who scrapped his city's sister-city agreement with Beijing in October 2019 over Chinese pressure to recognize the "one China" policy.
WASHINGTON - U.S. Ambassador to Japan nominee Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday vowed to enhance bilateral ties as China seeks to "conquer through division," while welcoming a potential increase in Japan's defense spending.
Calling the bilateral partnership the "cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific," Emanuel, who served as a top aide to former President Barack Obama, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "If confirmed, my top priority will be to deepen these ties."
TOKYO - Former Japanese Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai on Thursday accepted a three-year prison term for buying votes for his wife in the 2019 upper house election, dropping his appeal in the high-profile case that has rocked the country's major ruling party.
Kawai, who held the ministerial post under then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is the first former Japanese Cabinet member in over 10 years to have a prison term finalized.