Sea fog blankets the surface of the sea off Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, on the morning of Dec. 15, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Gov't to revise accord with BOJ to make price target flexible

TOKYO - The Japanese government is set to revise a decade-old accord with the Bank of Japan that states the central bank will aim to achieve its 2 percent inflation target "at the earliest possible time," government sources said Saturday.

In the first review since the joint agreement was made in 2013, the government will consider making the price goal more flexible, the sources said. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to work out details with the next BOJ governor, who will succeed Haruhiko Kuroda in April.


Japan New Year domestic trips forecast at 72% of pre-pandemic levels

TOKYO - The number of holidaymakers in Japan making domestic trips during the New Year vacation period is expected to rise by 3 million from a year earlier but remain at 71.8 percent of pre-pandemic levels, or 21 million people, according to travel agency projections released this month.

Major Japanese travel agency JTB Corp. partially attributed the expected increase from the 2021/2022 holiday period to people having a lower psychological barrier to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.


U.S. hails Japan's new security strategy as "bold and historic"

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government on Friday hailed Japan's new security strategy as a "bold and historic" step to help maintain peace in the Indo-Pacific, with the key Asian ally forging ahead with its biggest defense buildup plans since World War II amid China's rise and North Korean threats.

In a major shift in its security policy under its pacifist Constitution, the Japanese government decided to acquire strike capabilities that could potentially reach an adversary's territory and set a target of doubling its annual defense budget to about 2 percent of its gross domestic product over the next five years.


China to focus on stable growth in 2023 by prioritizing spending

BEIJING - The Chinese leadership has decided to focus on ensuring stable economic growth in 2023 by prioritizing the recovery and expansion of consumption, state-run media said Friday, as the world's second-largest economy has been slowing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

An annual meeting to craft economic plans for next year pointed out that, at present, the foundation for China's economic recovery is "not yet solid" and vowed to implement support measures, such as "a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy," according to China Central Television.



Mourners mark 1st anniversary of deadly fire at Osaka clinic

OSAKA - Mourners laid flowers Saturday on the first anniversary of a deadly fire at an Osaka mental health clinic that claimed the lives of 26 people and the suspected arsonist.

The victims of the fire on the morning of Dec. 17, 2021, in Osaka's Kita Ward included regular visitors to the facility and its director, Kotaro Nishizawa, 49. The fire occurred on a Friday, when the clinic would hold a scheduled group therapy session for people on absence from work.


Guam serves as Pacific "springboard" for U.S. forces: commander

DEDEDO, Guam/MANILA - A 16-year-old plan to transfer a significant number of U.S. Marines from the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa to the U.S. territory of Guam continues to make sense strategically and politically, a U.S. military commander said.

Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, in a recent interview with Kyodo News and other media, said Guam plays an important role as "springboard" for U.S. forces to rapidly respond, by air or sea, to any military crisis in the region amid looming threats from China and North Korea.


Protesters lambast Japan defense policy shift outside PM office

TOKYO - Protesters on Friday lambasted Japan's decision to acquire an enemy base strike capability in a major shift in defense policy, shouting slogans including calling the move "unconstitutional" while gathered outside the prime minister's office.

"Military power does not create peace" were among chants that rang out from the morning in Tokyo's Nagatacho district, as were those claiming the move goes against Article 9 of Japan's Constitution, which renounces war.


Snowboarding: Hirano, Ono win bronze at halfpipe World Cup opener

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado - Japan's Kaishu Hirano claimed men's halfpipe bronze, while fellow Olympian and compatriot Mitsuki Ono finished third among the women in the opening round of the snowboarding World Cup in Colorado on Friday.

Beijing Winter Olympic silver medalist Scotty James topped the men's field at the Copper Mountain resort, scoring 99.00 with a flawless second run. The Australian beat Switzerland's Jan Scherrer by 2.75 while Hirano secured bronze with an opening run of 88.25 before falling on his second and third attempts.