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


Japan's Princess Mako meets emperor, empress before marriage

TOKYO - Japanese Princess Mako met with her uncle Emperor Naruhito and aunt Empress Masako on Friday before her controversial marriage to her commoner boyfriend Kei Komuro scheduled for next week.

The princess visited the couple at the Imperial Palace alone in lieu of the "Choken no Gi" rite, an official meeting with the emperor and empress on the occasion of a marriage involving a member of the imperial family. She skipped a series of ceremonies amid public concern over an unresolved financial dispute involving Komuro's mother.


Higher energy prices push up Sept. core CPI, 1st rise in 18 months

TOKYO - Japan's core consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in September, the first year-on-year gain in 18 months, pushed up by higher energy prices at a time when the economy remains fragile as a result of the spread of COVID-19, government data showed Friday.

But the gain in the nationwide core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh food items, is unlikely to change the view that the Bank of Japan will need to maintain its monetary easing as it is still far off achieving its 2 percent inflation target.


Tokyo confirms 26 daily COVID-19 cases, fewest since June 2020

TOKYO - Tokyo confirmed 26 daily coronavirus cases Friday, the fewest since June 2020, as the downward trend in infections continues across Japan.

The figure released by the Tokyo metropolitan government was the lowest since June 17 last year, when the capital reported 16 new infections.


U.S. committed to defending Taiwan if China attacks: Biden

WASHINGTON - The United States is committed to defending Taiwan if China mounts an attack on the self-ruled democratic island, President Joe Biden said Thursday, apparently contradicting Washington's long-standing policy to keep its stance on the matter ambiguous.

His remarks came as concerns grow over the increased pressure Beijing is applying on Taiwan, which it regards as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. The White House said there was no change in policy toward the island.


Power outage at Universal Studios Japan leaves riders stranded

OSAKA - A number of people were left stranded on a roller coaster at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka on Friday afternoon after a power outage caused the ride to stop, but no injuries have been reported, according to the park's operator.

Staff are currently working to rescue those stuck on the "Hollywood Dream - The Ride" rollercoaster, which stopped near the highest point on its tracks, the park said.


Melbourne people cheer as city exits world's longest lockdown

SYDNEY - Residents of Australia's second-largest city Melbourne gathered at pubs and restaurants early Friday morning after it exited from a total of 262 days of lockdown, the longest cumulative period of stay-at-home orders in the world.

Loud cheering, applause and the honking of car horns rang out across the city as Melbourne exited the lockdown at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, local media reported, after the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, achieved full inoculation for 70 percent of residents aged 16 and above.


Death penalty sought for ex-nurse over murders of 3 patients

YOKOHAMA - Prosecutors on Friday demanded the death penalty for a former nurse, accused of killing three patients by putting a disinfectant into their intravenous drips at a Yokohama hospital near Tokyo in 2016.

Ayumi Kuboki, 34, has admitted to premeditatedly mixing an antiseptic solution into the drip bags, causing the patients to die, in a high-profile lay judge trial at the Yokohama District Court.


G-7 trade ministers meet to discuss forced labor, digital rules

TOKYO - Trade ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations began a virtual meeting Friday to discuss the establishment of international rules on digital trade and ways to counter the use of forced labor.

The meeting comes as the United States and other Western countries step up their criticism of China's treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.