A woman lights a lantern at temporary housing in the Kumamoto Prefecture town of Mashiki on April 14, 2022, the sixth anniversary of two devastating earthquakes in the southwestern Japan prefecture. A total of 276 people were killed in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures in the quakes on April 14 and 16, 2016. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan's population down 640,000 in 2021, biggest drop on record

TOKYO - Japan's population totaled 125,502,000 as of Oct. 1, down 644,000 from a year earlier, marking the biggest decline on record as stricter border controls over the coronavirus pandemic reduce the entry of foreign residents, government data showed Friday.

The tally, which also includes foreign residents, dipped for the 11th consecutive year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.


Russia says Black Sea ship sunk after Ukraine claims missile strike

KYIV - The flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet has sunk after an explosion following an onboard fire, the country's Defense Ministry was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency Thursday, in a development that comes ahead of an expected major new offensive in eastern Ukraine.

The ministry said the warship Moskva sustained hull damage, according to the Russian news agency. The ministry's statements came after Ukraine's military said Wednesday it had struck the ship with a Neptune short-range cruise missile.


U.S. lawmakers vow support for Taiwan to guard democracy

TAIPEI/BEIJING - A delegation of senior U.S. lawmakers reassured Taiwan on Friday of strong support as the island comes under intensifying pressure from China, dispelling doubts about Washington's commitment amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is heading the bipartisan delegation, told President Tsai Ing-wen that "to abandon Taiwan is to abandon freedom and democracy" as well as "free trade" during their meeting.


Yen slips to fresh 20-year low in upper 126 zone against U.S. dollar

TOKYO - The Japanese yen slipped to a fresh 20-year low in the upper 126 level against the U.S. dollar in Tokyo on Friday, as it continued to face selling fueled by the prospect of a widening policy gap between the Bank of Japan and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The yen sank below the previous low of 126.31 quoted Wednesday, briefly falling to 126.70, its weakest level since May 2002, after U.S. Treasury yields surged overnight on growing expectations that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates aggressively, dealers said.


Japan's FY 2020 greenhouse gas emissions hit record low

TOKYO - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions hit a record low in fiscal 2020, rewriting lows recorded over the preceding two years, due to reduced economic activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of renewable energy use, the government said Friday.

National emissions in fiscal 2020 totaled 1.15 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, down 5.1 percent from fiscal 2019 for the seventh straight yearly decline and the lowest figure since comparable data became available in fiscal 1990, the Environment Ministry said.


Husband of Japanese ex-princess fails N.Y. bar exam for 2nd time

TOKYO - Kei Komuro, the husband of Japanese former princess Mako Komuro, has failed the New York state bar examination for a second time, a source familiar with the matter revealed Friday.

Having previously failed the state bar exam last July, he took the test again in February this year. Komuro is expected to take it again in July.


Taiwanese activist jailed in China returns home after 5 years

TAIPEI - A Taiwanese activist jailed in China for five years returned home on Friday after being accused of undermining national security.

After arriving at Taiwan's main international airport in Taoyuan in the morning, Lee Ming-cheh was picked up by a vehicle arranged by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, which said, "There is no guilt in spreading the idea of democracy."