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


Germany to observe nuke ban talks in policy shift under new gov't

BERLIN/VIENNA - Germany's incoming three-party government is set to join as an observer the first meeting of signatories to a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, a coalition agreement showed Wednesday, signaling a policy shift for the influential European nation.

Coming at the end of the longstanding German administration led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the shift would make the country the only Group of Seven member to attend the conference set to be held in Vienna next March, and potentially put pressure on Japan, which relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella for protection, to do the same.


Okinawa gov. refuses to approve change to U.S. base transfer plan

NAHA, Japan - Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki said Thursday he will not approve the central government's planned design change for the relocation of a key U.S. military base within the southern island prefecture, a decision that could lead to a legal battle.

Tamaki has been calling for dialogue with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the controversial transfer plan for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, located in a residential area of Ginowan, to the less populated coastal area of Henoko in Nago, but the central government has shown no signs of responding.


Taliban asks Japan envoy to reopen embassy in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD - A deputy prime minister of the Taliban's interim government in Afghanistan called on Japan's ambassador to reopen the country's embassy in Kabul when the two met in the capital of the war-torn nation on Wednesday.

The request was made when Abdul Ghani Baradar met Ambassador Takashi Okada, the Taliban said. Japan temporarily closed its embassy in Kabul on Aug. 15, the day the Taliban took effective control of the country as the United States prepared to withdraw its forces.


Japan, Vietnam foreign chiefs vow to promote free, open Indo-Pacific

TOKYO - Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi agreed Thursday with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son to promote cooperation to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific," the Japanese Foreign Ministry said, apparently with China's military buildup in the region in mind.

During their roughly 75-minute "in-depth" talks in Tokyo, Hayashi expressed his "strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China seas," with the two ministers agreeing on the importance of dealing with the issue based on international law, the ministry said.


Japan gov't keeps economic view in Nov., wary of material costs hike

TOKYO - Japan's government on Thursday retained its view that the economic recovery from the coronavirus fallout is showing "weakness," while expressing wariness over the impact ahead of recent higher raw material costs including crude oil prices.

"The Japanese economy continues to show weakness in picking up, although the severe situation due to the novel coronavirus is gradually easing," the Cabinet Office said in its overall assessment for November, retaining its view for the second straight month.


Australia considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics: report

SYDNEY - Australia is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics slated for next February amid concerns for the welfare of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.

According to the report, Canberra is mulling not sending any government officials to the Winter Games as calls for a diplomatic boycott are growing among lawmakers. The measure, however, would not prevent Australian athletes from competing.


Asia, Europe leaders meet virtually as China looms large

PHNOM PENH - Leaders from about 50 Asian and European countries started a two-day virtual summit meeting on Thursday with Cambodia playing host, as China looms large over issues ranging from trade to human rights and to Taiwan.

Speaking at the opening session, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called the gathering a "timely opportunity" for the leaders of the two continents "to reaffirm the importance of the Asia-Europe partnership and cooperation in addressing regional and global issues of common concerns."


14-year-old who stabbed schoolmate in Japan held "grudge" against victim

NAGOYA - A 14-year-old boy who stabbed to death a fellow student at a junior high school in central Japan on Wednesday said he had troubles with the victim and held a grudge against him, according to investigative sources.

The alleged attacker, whose name has been withheld as he is a minor, also told investigators he bought a 20-centimeter-long kitchen knife online in advance, the sources said Thursday. He is believed to have used it to stab Yuzuki Ito, also 14, in the stomach.