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


Japan to restrict travel from S. Africa over variant

TOKYO - Japan will tighten restrictions on travelers from South Africa and five nearby countries after the discovery of a new coronavirus variant there, the government's top spokesman said Friday.

Travelers who have recently been to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe will be required to spend 10 days in a government-designated facility upon their arrival, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference.


China military integrates conventional, new domain forces: Japan

TOKYO - The Chinese military has integrated its land, sea and air conventional forces with new space, cyber, electromagnetic and cognitive domains to enhance its joint operations capabilities and will aim to equal or surpass the United States in 2050, a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday.

The annual report on China's security strategy by the National Institute for Defense Studies was released as the rivalry between Washington and Beijing has been intensifying, and attention is growing on the timeline for a possible Chinese invasion of self-ruled Taiwan.


Mizuho slapped with business improvement order after system flaw

TOKYO - Japan's financial authorities ordered Mizuho Bank and its parent Mizuho Financial Group Inc. Friday to improve their operations and clarify management responsibility for a series of system failures, in punitive actions that promoted the major financial institution to replace top executives.

The Financial Services Agency ordered them to present measures to prevent a recurrence, while the Finance Ministry ordered the bank to take corrective action, judging that proper anti-money laundering procedures were not implemented for foreign currency remittances in the wake of a system glitch on Sept. 30.


Japan Cabinet OKs record 36 tril. yen extra budget for stimulus steps

TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet approved Friday a record 36.0 trillion yen ($314 billion) supplementary budget for fiscal 2021 to fund the government's latest economic stimulus to put the coronavirus pandemic-stricken economy on a steady recovery track.

The first extra budget for the current fiscal year from April entails new government bond issuance worth 22.1 trillion yen. It means most of the extra budget will be financed by debt, adding a further blow to the country's fiscal health.


Nikkei plunges to 1-month low on concerns over COVID variant

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks plummeted Friday, with the Nikkei index ending at a one-month low, as concerns were raised following reports of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa and its potential impact on the global economic recovery.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 747.66 points, or 2.53 percent, from Thursday at 28,751.62, its lowest close since Oct. 25. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 40.71 points, or 2.01 percent, lower at 1,984.98.


Bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers meets Tsai in Taiwan

TAIPEI - A bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, including five House of Representatives members, held talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday after arriving in Taipei the previous day, immediately triggering a backlash from China.

In her opening remarks, Tsai said self-ruled Taiwan will "continue to step up cooperation with the United States to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and ensure peace and stability in the region."


Japan, Canada foreign ministers air wariness over China

TOKYO - Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly expressed a shared sense of caution about China's increasing military and economic clout in a teleconference on Friday, the Japanese government said.

"As for China, the two ministers agreed to continue to strongly oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China seas and to oppose coercive economic pressure," Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a press release following their approximately 35-minute conversation.


PM Kishida encourages businesses to hike wages by more than 3%

TOKYO - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday he hopes businesses that have recovered to pre-pandemic levels will raise employee wages by more than 3 percent next spring as he tries to realize a virtuous cycle of economic growth and redistribution of wealth.

Kishida made the remarks during a meeting on putting his vision of a "new capitalism" into motion and was joined by the leaders of three major business lobbies as well as Rengo, Japan's largest labor organization, formally called the Japanese Trade Union Confederation.