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


Nearly 200,000 could die if M9 level quake hits northern Japan

TOKYO - The Japanese government on Tuesday released new damage estimates under the scenario of a magnitude-9 level earthquake hitting off the Pacific coast of northeastern and northern Japan, warning up to 199,000 people in seven prefectures, including Hokkaido and Aomori, could die.

The Central Disaster Management Council predicts that most of the fatalities will be caused by the resulting tsunami, and a maximum of 220,000 buildings could be destroyed if such a quake occurs along the Japan Trench. The potential economic fallout for the region and country as a whole could be roughly 31.3 trillion yen ($275.4 billion).


Japan to pay 75 bil. yen more under new 5-yr deal to host U.S. troops

TOKYO - Japan's government said Tuesday it will increase its financial support for U.S. forces stationed in the country to 1.05 trillion yen ($9.2 billion) in five years starting in fiscal 2022, up 75 billion yen from the previous deal.

Raising the sum from the total of 980.1 billion yen for the five years through fiscal 2020 that ended in March, Japan's latest deal with the United States means that Tokyo's so-called host nation support will average out at 211 billion yen per year.


China scuttles Japan embassy event over Abe comments on Taiwan

BEIJING - China tried to force Japan's embassy in Beijing to cancel its cultural exchange event earlier this month after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made remarks on Taiwan, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

On Dec. 1, Abe, an influential lawmaker who still heads the largest faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said at a virtual event that any emergency concerning Taiwan would be an emergency for Japan and for the Japan-U.S. security alliance.


Japan to keep strict border controls for the time being: PM Kishida

TOKYO - Japan will maintain its strict border control measures "for the time being" amid uncertainty over the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Kishida said Japan has not seen a community spread of Omicron, but it needs to strengthen its preparedness by accelerating booster shot rollouts and promoting orally administered COVID-19 drugs.


Woman attacks 2 passengers with blunt instrument on train near Tokyo

YOKOHAMA - A woman attacked two passengers with a blunt instrument on a subway train in Yokohama near Tokyo on Tuesday, causing slight head injuries to the female victims, police said.

The perpetrator fled following the attack, which took place around 2 p.m. on the Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line bound for Shonandai Station, and remains on the run, the police said, adding they suspect the weapon used was a hammer.


Suburban Tokyo city rejects proposal allowing foreigners to vote

TOKYO - A city assembly in suburban Tokyo rejected Tuesday a proposed ordinance that would have allowed foreign residents to vote in local referendums, amid concern voiced by some conservatives that it could give foreigners a say in national security matters.

When first submitted in November, the proposal divided opinions in the assembly of the Musashino city with a population of nearly 150,000 including some 3,000 foreign residents. It also drew flak online, with critics saying it could be a step toward granting foreigners the right to vote in national elections.


Japan airs grave concern over controversial Hong Kong election

TOKYO - Japan on Tuesday expressed its grave concern over Hong Kong's recent legislative election that was held despite an international outcry over controversial Beijing-led electoral changes.

Elections must be carried out fairly involving candidates representing "a wide range of political opinions," and Japan will continue to urge China to take concrete steps to address international concerns, Japanese government spokesman Seiji Kihara told a press briefing.


Japan hangs 3 death-row inmates in 1st executions in 2 yrs

TOKYO - Three death-row inmates were hanged Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice said, in Japan's first executions since December 2019 and first under the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The three were identified as Yasutaka Fujishiro, 65, who killed seven of his relatives in Hyogo Prefecture in 2004, and Tomoaki Takanezawa, 54, and Mitsunori Onogawa, 44, who were convicted of killing two employees at two separate pachinko parlors in Gunma Prefecture in 2003.


Suspect in Osaka clinic fire may have copied animation studio arson

OSAKA - The suspect in a fatal fire at a mental health clinic in Osaka last week may have intended to copy a deadly 2019 arson attack on an animation studio in Kyoto, which also involved the purchase of gasoline ahead of time, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Discovered in the house where Morio Tanimoto was believed to be living in Osaka's Nishiyodogawa Ward was a newspaper article about the animation studio fire that claimed 36 lives, prompting police to believe he might have decided to use a similar method, the sources said.