A new shinkansen train, the E8 series, is being unloaded from a vessel at a port in the Miyagi Prefecture city of Sendai, northeastern Japan, on Jan. 29, 2023. The train will be introduced on the Yamagata Shinkansen Line in the spring of 2024, replacing the E3 series and raising the maximum speed of the service from the current 275 kilometers per hour to 300 km. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Nissan, Renault agree to make mutual cross-shareholding equal

TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA have agreed to bring their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15 percent, the Japanese and French carmakers said Monday, marking a major revamp of the decades-old capital alliance.

Calling the agreement "an important milestone" in their partnership, they said in statements that Renault will cut its 43.4-percent stake in Nissan, while the Japanese automaker maintains its shareholding in its partner and will invest in Ampere, a new electric vehicle company to be established by the French carmaker.


Net population influx into Tokyo accelerates for 1st time in 3 yrs

TOKYO - The net population influx into Tokyo accelerated in 2022 for the first time in three years as social and economic activities have picked up in Japan amid receding worries about the novel coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Monday.

Marking the strengthening of Tokyo's centralization, people moving into the Japanese capital outnumbered those leaving by 38,023 last year, up sharply from a record-low 5,433 in 2021 amid the pandemic.


China says ready to normalize cross-border travel

BEIJING - Beijing said Monday it stands ready to work with all countries to facilitate normal cross-border travel a day after lifting visa issuance restrictions on Japanese citizens that had been imposed in protest of Tokyo's tighter border controls for travelers from China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference that Beijing is "against politicizing" COVID-19 responses and expressed regret over South Korea's recent decision to extend its restrictions on issuing short-term visas for travelers from China through Feb. 28.


WHO keeps COVID emergency in place as deaths rise globally

GENEVA - The World Health Organization decided on Monday against declaring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, as deaths have started rising again since China dismantled its strict "zero-COVID" policy in December.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus determined that the ongoing pandemic "continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern," in line with the recommendations of a panel of health experts, the organization said in a statement.


Manila hopes to deport Japan robbery suspects by 2nd week of Feb.

MANILA - The Philippines is hoping to deport the suspects behind a string of robberies in Japan by the second week of February in time for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s visit to the country, a senior Philippine government official said Monday.

Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla made the remarks during a press conference, at a time when Japanese police have been requesting the transfer of the suspects from Manila where they are currently being detained.


Takahama nuclear reactor in Japan's Fukui halted after alert goes off

FUKUI, Japan - A reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama nuclear power station in Japan's Fukui Prefecture was automatically halted Monday after an alert went off warning of a rapid decrease in the number of neutrons within the unit, the complex's regulator and operator said.

The No. 4 reactor was halted at 3:21 p.m., the Osaka-based utility said, adding that there has been no indication of the incident causing environmental contamination. The reactor's cooling function is normal, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.


2 believed to be skiers caught in avalanche in Nagano found dead

NAGANO, Japan - Two men believed to be skiers who went missing after being caught in an avalanche in central Japan's Nagano Prefecture over the weekend have been confirmed dead, police said Monday.

A total of 13 foreign nationals backcountry skiing in three groups were caught in the avalanche Sunday on a 2,100-meter-high mountain slope, with two going missing. Two men showing no vital signs were found the following morning by a search and rescue team.


ANA delays departure of 2 flights from Naha Airport over bomb threat

NAHA, Japan - All Nippon Airways Co. delayed two flights scheduled to depart from Naha Airport on Monday after receiving a bomb threat, according to the Okinawa prefectural government.

Both flights eventually departed around two hours behind schedule after it was confirmed there were no abnormalities. No passengers or crew members were injured.


Academics, execs urge BOJ to switch to longer-term inflation target

TOKYO - The Bank of Japan's 2 percent inflation target should be redefined as a "long-term" one to give its monetary policy more flexibility, a panel of scholars and corporate executives said Monday, calling for a review of a decade-old joint statement between the central bank and the government underpinning the goal.

The panel also stressed the need for a "normalization" of bond markets where the BOJ has commanded a huge presence by buying government bonds to keep bond yields extremely low to support the economy, even though the central bank has recently begun allowing 10-year bond yields to trade more widely to fix market distortions.


Woman who served in SDF sues state, assailants over sexual harassment

TOKYO - A woman who was sexually harassed while serving in Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force said Monday she has filed a civil lawsuit against the perpetrators, as well as the state for its failure to prevent abuse and investigate her claims.

In the suit filed at the Yokohama District Court, Rina Gonoi, who served in a unit at Camp Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture, is seeking 5.5 million yen ($42,400) in damages from the five perpetrators and an additional 2 million yen from the state.


New train for Yamagata Shinkansen Line