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


Japan gov't overstated data on construction orders for 8 years

TOKYO - The Japanese government overstated monthly data on construction orders for about eight years, officials said Wednesday, raising the possibility that the practice may have led to miscalculating the country's gross domestic product figures.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism had double counted some of the data it received from the same businesses when compiling its monthly construction orders data since fiscal 2013, according to the officials.


Japan, U.S. to hold ministerial security talks on Jan. 7

TOKYO - Japan and the United States have decided to hold a meeting of their foreign and defense ministers on Jan. 7 in Washington to discuss major security issues, officials familiar with the plan said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi are likely to confirm with their U.S. counterparts Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin that the two countries' security alliance should be bolstered in new areas such as space and cybersecurity in the face of China's military modernization and expansion.


Japan gov't panel OKs Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine as booster

TOKYO - A Japanese health ministry panel approved Wednesday the administration of U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine as booster shots.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which is in charge of sales and distribution of the Moderna vaccine in Japan, applied for approval last month to administer the third shot with a shortened interval of at least six months after the second jab.


Putin willing to join opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics

BEIJING - Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed willingness to attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics during his summit on Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Russia's TASS news agency reported.

Putin's remarks come as the United States and some other democratic countries such as Britain and Australia intend to stage a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games slated for February next year.


Japan lower house OKs record 36 tril. yen extra budget for stimulus

TOKYO - Japan's House of Representatives Wednesday approved a record 36.0 trillion yen ($320 billion) supplementary budget for fiscal 2021 to partially fund an economic package to ease the fallout from the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.

The extra budget, approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet late last month and submitted to the lower house on Dec. 6, is expected to clear the House of Councillors on Monday, according to government sources.


U.S. House passes bill to block imports from China's Xinjiang region

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill banning imports from China's Xinjiang region amid concerns over forced labor of the Uyghur ethnic minority there, a move that is likely to worsen tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which aims to hold China accountable for what the U.S. government calls a "genocide" against the Muslim Uyghurs in China's far-western region, passed the House as a compromise bicameral bill. It will be sent to the Senate for "swift action," according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Delegation of French lower house members visit Taiwan

PARIS/TAIPEI - A delegation of French lower house members arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday, about two months after their Senate peers did so, in a move almost certain to draw rebuke from China.

The delegation, led by former environment minister Francois de Rugy, is expected to hold talks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang during its stay through Sunday, according to the self-ruled island's Foreign Ministry.


Indonesian migrant boat capsizes off Malaysia, 11 dead, 25 missing

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's coast guard said Wednesday that 11 people died and 25 were missing after a boat carrying undocumented migrants from Indonesia capsized off the coast of the southern state of Johor.

"The boat that is believed to be from Indonesia, heading to Malaysia, overturned after being hit by strong waves due to bad weather this morning," the Johor branch of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said in a statement.