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


Baseball star Shohei Ohtani turns down top Japan government award

TOKYO - Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani has turned down the Japanese government's offer to award him one of its top honors, saying it is "still too soon" for him to receive the decoration, the government's top spokesman said Monday.

Ohtani rejected the People's Honor Award after last week being unanimously voted the American League's Most Valuable Player for his performances this season with the Los Angeles Angels both as a pitcher and batter.


Chinese tennis star breaks silence in video call with IOC president

GRENOBLE, France - The International Olympic Committee said Sunday Chinese female tennis professional Peng Shuai, who recently accused one of China's former vice premiers of sexual impropriety, held a video call with its president Thomas Bach.

The call came as fears mounted internationally over Peng's safety since she aired allegations about the conduct of politician Zhang Gaoli early this month. Earlier on Sunday, a tennis tournament organizer in Beijing said Peng attended its event.


China, ASEAN hold summit, upgrade ties amid tensions with U.S.

BEIJING/SINGAPORE - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have upgraded their ties to a "comprehensive strategic partnership," President Xi Jinping said in a rare appearance at a special online summit on Monday.

The meeting commemorating the 30th anniversary of dialogue between China and ASEAN this year was held with Beijing eager to boost its clout in the region with security tensions with the United States escalating in nearby waters.


Tokyo logs 6 daily COVID-19 cases, fewest since May last year

TOKYO - Tokyo reported six new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the fewest since May 31 last year when five cases were confirmed, the metropolitan government said.

The figure fell below this year's record low of 7 on Nov. 15. More than 76 percent of Japan's population is now fully vaccinated.


Japan, India foreign ministers affirm Quad cooperation

TOKYO - The foreign ministers of Japan and India held phone talks on Monday and affirmed their resolve to work with the other members of the "Quad" -- the United States and Australia -- to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The call between Yoshimasa Hayashi and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar came as the group has stepped up cooperation to counter China's growing military and economic clout.


Australia to reopen to travelers from Japan, foreign visa holders

SYDNEY - Australia will allow eligible foreign visa holders and travelers from Japan and South Korea to enter the country from December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday.

Australia has largely restricted foreigners from entry since March 2020 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But on Sunday the country hit 85 percent of its population aged 16 and over having received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.


U.S., Britain, Australia sign AUKUS information-sharing agreement

SYDNEY - Australia on Monday signed an agreement with the United States and Britain formalizing access to classified nuclear submarine information under their so-called AUKUS security partnership.

The Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement is the first embodiment of the three-way arrangement announced in September under which Australia looks to acquire nuclear-powered submarines amid China's growing maritime power.


Tokyo "Joker" train attacker served new attempted murder warrant

TOKYO - A man arrested following a knife attack on a Tokyo train on Halloween night was served a fresh arrest warrant Monday on suspicion of attempted murder and arson, police said.

Kyota Hattori, 25, who wore a costume resembling that of the Batman villain the Joker during the attack, is suspected of trying to kill passengers, including a 60-year-old woman, by sprinkling approximately 3 liters of oil around the train and igniting it, the police said.