Children are surrounded by flickering candle lights during an annual winter event featuring 1,000 lanterns made of snow at Jozankei Shrine in Sapporo, northern Japan, on Jan. 30, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan, NATO warn against Russia-China "growing" military proximity

TOKYO - Japan and NATO warned Tuesday against "growing" military proximity between Russia and China, pledging to beef up their security partnership amid Moscow's war in Ukraine and Beijing's military buildup in the Indo-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reached the agreement at their meeting in Tokyo as Japan and other regional democracies have been reinforcing security relations with the trans-Atlantic alliance, led by the United States.


Japan's PM Kishida grilled over son's excursion during official trip

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was grilled Tuesday by the opposition bloc over a magazine report that his son, Shotaro, who is also his secretary, went on a private sightseeing trip paid for by taxpayers while on official overseas business in January.

At a parliamentary committee session, Kishida defended his 32-year-old son, saying he bought souvenirs for members of the Kishida Cabinet on his behalf as part of Shotaro's "official duties" as secretary, without clarifying what kind of gifts he bought.


Philippines to return 1 of 4 robbery suspects to Japan in coming days

MANILA - One of the four suspects believed to be behind a string of robberies across Japan is expected to be returned from the Philippines in the next few days, the Southeast Asian country's justice minister said Tuesday.

The other three suspects requested by Tokyo for transfer to Japan will be sent once certain conditions are fulfilled, Philippine Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said at a press conference.


China strongly opposes planned U.S. total ban on exports to Huawei

BEIJING - Beijing on Tuesday expressed its strong opposition to a reported plan by the United States to impose a total ban on U.S. technology exports to China's telecom-equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning criticized Washington for "abuse of state power" to hobble the Chinese company by "stretching the concept of national security" and described the reported move as "an example of U.S. technological hegemony."


Japan's job availability in 2022 improves for 1st time in 4 years

TOKYO - Japan's average job availability in 2022 improved for the first time in four years as economic and social activities revived with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, government data showed Tuesday.

The job-to-applicant ratio rose 0.15 point from the previous year to 1.28, thanks to a stronger hospitality sector, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said. The figure has yet to reach the pre-pandemic level of 1.6 in 2019, indicating that a full recovery will take time.


Hotel-shopping complex opens at Tokyo's Haneda after 3-yr delay

TOKYO - A hospitality complex featuring Japan's largest airport hotel, an open-air bath and a range of shops and restaurants opened next to Tokyo's Haneda airport Tuesday after a nearly three-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full opening of Haneda Airport Garden, connected to the airport's Terminal 3, which primarily serves international flights, comes as Japan aims to welcome back inbound travelers after easing its border controls last year.


IMF says 2023 global growth to slow, but projection better than Oct.

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund said Monday that global growth is forecast to fall to 2.9 percent in 2023 from an estimated 3.4 percent last year, warning of downside risks from higher interest rates and Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

But the bright side is that the forecast is 0.2 percentage point higher than the IMF previously projected in October, with the institution expecting the world economy to grow 3.1 percent in 2024, as it sees inflation peaking and the post-pandemic recovery unleashing pent-up demand.


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.


Local-made snow lanterns in Sapporo