Ecuador football fans holding beers pose for a photo at the FIFA Fan Festival site in Doha, Qatar on Nov. 19, 2022, on the eve of the World Cup's opening match. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan PM Kishida taps Takeaki Matsumoto as new internal affairs minister

TOKYO - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he has appointed former Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto as the new internal affairs minister, replacing Minoru Terada who stepped down amid growing criticism over political funds-related scandals.

Terada tendered his resignation the previous day, becoming the third minister to be effectively sacked in less than a month.


Japan adds 2 ships to its fleet of Aegis-equipped destroyers

TOKYO - Japan on Monday raised the number of Aegis-equipped destroyers in its fleet to eight from the current six, after the Maritime Self-Defense Force said two new ships had successfully intercepted ballistic missiles in exercises.

The tests came with North Korea test-firing ballistic missiles at an unprecedented pace, and with China ramping up its missile capabilities.


Japan finance chief vows all-out efforts to fight inflation

TOKYO - Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Monday the government will do all it can to cope with the cost of living crisis to put the economy on a higher growth path, as he sought parliamentary approval for an extra budget to fund an economic package.

In his speech to parliament after the government submitted the 28.9 trillion yen ($206 billion) budget plan, Suzuki said the economy is facing headwinds from accelerating inflation, driven by surging commodity prices due to Russia's war in Ukraine and the yen's sharp decline that has inflated import prices.


Gov't panel to back Japan's acquisition of counterstrike capabilities

TOKYO - The government's panel for defense buildup and budget financing is set to endorse a plan for Japan to acquire an enemy base strike capability, or "counterstrike capability," even under its postwar pacifist Constitution, experts of the panel said Monday.

The panel backed the idea raised by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a draft proposal at a meeting on Monday as it wrapped up nearly two months of discussion, the experts said.


At least 46 killed as M5.6 quake hits Indonesia's West Java

JAKARTA - A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Indonesia's Sukabumi regency on Monday, killing at least 46 people and injuring 700 others, local authorities said.

The quake struck at 1:21 p.m. at a depth of 10 kilometers. The epicenter was about 100 km away from the capital Jakarta.


China "forcefully" seizes likely rocket debris from Philippine Navy

MANILA - The Chinese coast guard has "forcefully" retrieved likely rocket debris that a Philippine naval boat was towing to a nearby island, Philippine authorities said Monday, in the latest encounter in the disputed South China Sea.

The Philippine Armed Forces Western Command said the incident happened Sunday morning, hours before U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Manila, as it received a report of a floating object, which resembled debris from a Long March 5B rocket that China launched in late October.


FOCUS: String of ministerial changes may prod Japan PM to reshuffle Cabinet

TOKYO - A close aid of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was sacked as a minister amid a political funds-related scandal, becoming the third member to leave his Cabinet in less than a month, in a heavy blow to his already fragile government.

With his power base weakening, speculation has been growing that by the end of this year, Kishida, whose approval ratings have been struggling, may carry out a second Cabinet reshuffle since he took office in October 2021 in the hope of propping up public support.


Top court scraps comic mag editor's guilty verdict over wife's death

TOKYO - Japan's Supreme Court on Monday quashed a lower court ruling that sentenced a former deputy editor of the popular Morning comic magazine to 11 years in prison for killing his wife and sent the case back to the Tokyo High Court for retrial.

Pak Jong Hyon, 47, has denied killing his wife Kanako, 38, with his defense team claiming she killed herself after becoming mentally unstable from postpartum depression.