People visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan, amid snow on Jan. 24, 2023. The Atomic Bomb Dome is seen in the background. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan PM Kishida to consider visiting Ukraine if right conditions met

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday that he will consider visiting Ukraine to hold talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy if the right conditions are met.

"Nothing has been decided at this point, but we will consider" whether to visit Ukraine depending on "various circumstances," Kishida said at a parliamentary session after a ruling party lawmaker urged the premier to follow the example of leaders from other allied nations who have already visited the country.


Japan's top court rules 2021 vote disparity constitutional

TOKYO - Japan's Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled the vote disparity of up to 2.08-fold in the 2021 lower house election was constitutional.

The top court decision followed 16 conflicting rulings from lower courts, with plaintiffs demanding that the outcome of the House of Representatives election held on Oct. 31, 2021, be nullified.

Among the 15 justices of the top court's Grand Bench, 14 ruled the 2021 lower house election as constitutional, while one said it was unconstitutional.


Japan cuts economic view in Jan. as COVID-19 surges in China

TOKYO - The Japanese government on Wednesday downgraded its economic outlook for the first time in 11 months, reflecting a fall in exports amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China.

The Japanese economy is "picking up moderately, although some weaknesses have been seen recently," the Cabinet Office said in its overall assessment report for January, noting that it continues to be weighed down by a multitude of factors including price hikes and supply chain constraints.


China confirms record 6.94 mil. daily COVID cases in late December

BEIJING - Chinese health authorities said Wednesday it confirmed 6.94 million new coronavirus cases on Dec. 22, marking the highest number of daily infections as the country's reversal of its "zero-COVID" policy strategy sparked a massive wave of cases.

The number of new cases has since fallen to 15,000 as of Monday with 896 deaths, compared with a record 4,273 deaths on Jan. 4, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. The official death count does not include those who died at home.


Japan's opposition grills PM Kishida in Diet over tax hike plan

TOKYO - Japan's opposition bloc on Wednesday stepped up its offensive against Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over his government's plan to raise taxes to boost defense spending, arguing the decision was made without sufficient parliamentary debate.

In the first full-fledged debate since the ordinary parliamentary session began Monday, Kishida only repeated his mantra that he will "continue to politely explain" his policies to the public, drawing heckling from opposition lawmakers.


Cargo ship with 22 aboard sinks off Nagasaki, 2 dead, 9 missing

FUKUOKA - A Hong Kong-registered cargo ship with 22 people aboard sank off Nagasaki Prefecture in southwestern Japan early Wednesday, killing two crew members and leaving nine others missing, the coast guard said.

Thirteen of the 22 crew members -- 14 Chinese and eight Myanmar nationals -- had been rescued following a distress call by the 6,551-ton Jintian issued the previous night.


Cold snap brings disruption across Japan as heavy snow continues

TOKYO - Heavy snow continued Wednesday across much of Japan as the country grapples with the most severe cold snap of the season so far, with trains and vehicles stranded and at least one person left dead as winter storms caused difficulties.

Record cold temperatures were seen in parts of Japan, with snow falling on the Sea of Japan coast stretching from the country's north to west. Amid concerns of further snowfall including in low-lying areas on the Pacific coast, the weather agency is calling for vigilance against blizzards, rough seas and icy roads.


Tokyo stocks rise for 4th straight day, strong steel shares buoy mood

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks extended their winning streak to four days Wednesday with strong steelmaker issues and other cyclical stocks buoying sentiment, while caution about corporate earnings prospects left overall gains moderate.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 95.82 points, or 0.35 percent, from Tuesday at 27,395.01. The broader Topix index finished 7.77 points, or 0.39 percent, higher at 1,980.69.


Basketball: Hachimura excited to join Lakers, to wear No. 28 on jersey

LOS ANGELES - New Los Angeles Lakers acquisition Rui Hachimura on Tuesday expressed his delight at being traded to what he believes is "one of the greatest" NBA franchises.

"I will say the Lakers are one of the most famous teams in Japan," the forward, who will wear No. 28, said in a press conference.



Video: Monkeys snuggle up to beat winter chill at Kagawa zoo