A 17-meter-long trunk is erected vertically in Shimosuwa in the central Japan prefecture of Nagano on May 16, 2022, the final day of the Onbashira Festival at Suwa Taisha shrine. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan to accept small-scale tours from 4 countries as it opens up

TOKYO - Japan will accept small-scale tours for vaccinated tourists from the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore as a trial later this month toward the full-scale reception of foreign visitors planned for June, the government said Tuesday.

Japan has closed its borders to foreign tourists since the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. But it has been relaxing its travel restrictions in phases since March, accepting businesspeople, technical interns and students, as the COVID-19 situation has improved.


Japan Cabinet OKs draft extra budget to cushion rising prices

TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet approved Tuesday a 2.7 trillion yen ($21 billion) draft extra budget for fiscal 2022 to ease the pain of surging energy, food and other prices stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Once it clears parliament, the supplementary budget for the year that started in April will be used to finance part of a 6.2 trillion yen relief package compiled in late April.


Man mistakenly sent 46.3 mil. yen in COVID funds gambles it all away

YAMAGUCHI, Japan - A 24-year-old man mistakenly sent 46.3 million yen ($360,000) in COVID-19 relief money by the western Japan town he resides in, says he gambled it all away on overseas casino sites, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

The man is unlikely to be able to return the money transferred to him in error by the town of Abu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, according to his lawyer, who said a resolution through litigation is being considered.


Renesas to spend 90 bil. yen for factory revamp, chip production

TOKYO - Renesas Electronics Corp. said Tuesday it will invest 90 billion yen ($696 million) to reopen a factory in central Japan, aiming to manufacture more power semiconductors used in electric vehicles amid a growing demand for greener alternatives.

The chipmaker plans to restart in 2024 its Kofu factory in Yamanashi Prefecture, which had been shuttered in 2014, implementing new high-end equipment and doubling its power semiconductor output.


North Korea reports 269,500 more fever cases amid COVID spread

BEIJING - North Korea on Tuesday reported more than 269,500 new cases of fever and six more deaths in the past day as suspected coronavirus cases continue to spread rapidly.

The number of new fever cases between Sunday evening and 6 p.m. Monday fell from some 392,900 cases recorded the day before. The total number of deaths now stands at 56, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.


Zodiac superstition leads Cambodia leader to change date of birth

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that he has decided to shift his official date of birth to the day he was actually born, despite having used the wrong day for a few decades.

Hun Sen said he made the decision following the death of his elder brother on May 5, which he suspects might be in some way related to his sibling also having an incorrect date of birth that caused a conflict with the Chinese zodiac calendar.


Scholar eyes risk as Philippines eases foreign business ownership

MANILA - Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to liberalize foreign ownership of key industries in the Philippines were important as much as a "danger" should the next leader fail to safeguard national security, an economist says in commenting on Duterte's economic policy.

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is likely to continue Duterte's infrastructure program, foreign borrowing and a friendly approach to China used as a means to pull the economy out of deep recession in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Gov't to ask shinkansen operators to advance quake-resistance work

TOKYO - The Japanese government said Tuesday it will request companies operating bullet trains to accelerate construction work to boost the earthquake resistance of shinkansen lines if it is technically viable.

The move comes after services on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line were suspended for about a month due to a magnitude 7.4 quake that hit the country's northeast in March.