People gather in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Tokyo to protest against Myanmar's military rule on Feb. 1, 2023, the second anniversary of the coup that ousted Myanmar's democratically elected government. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Sony Group promotes executive deputy president Totoki to president

TOKYO - Sony Group Corp. said Thursday it is promoting Hiroki Totoki, its executive deputy president and chief financial officer, to president and chief operating officer, effective April 1.

Totoki, 58, will replace current President Kenichiro Yoshida, 63, marking the first change in the group's top post in five years, but he will also retain his position as chief financial officer. Yoshida will remain chairman and CEO with the right to represent the company.


Japan mulls sending 200 bil. yen aid to Philippines for infrastructure

TOKYO - Japan is considering providing annually more than 200 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in aid to the Philippines for its infrastructure development, government sources said Thursday, with the two countries trying to bolster their economic ties.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also planning to agree with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is slated to visit Japan next week, to boost security cooperation amid China's growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region, the sources said.


Japan robbery suspects in Manila possibly involved in 6 bil. yen scams

TOKYO/MANILA - More than 6 billion yen ($46.6 million) has been defrauded in scams allegedly involving four Japanese nationals currently being held in the Philippines alongside accusations they are behind a series of robberies across Japan, the country's police chief said Thursday.

Tokyo and Manila are working out details for the deportation of all four suspects as early as next week but ongoing trials in the Philippines for two of them -- Yuki Watanabe, 38, and Tomonobu Kojima, 45 -- has created uncertainty around whether they can all be deported at the same time.


Crimes in Japan rise in 2022 for 1st time in 20 years

TOKYO - The number of crimes recorded in Japan in 2022 rose for the first time in 20 years, apparently due in part to an increase in street crime as COVID-19 restrictions eased, police data showed Thursday.

Overall, there were 601,389 incidents in which a crime was committed in Japan last year, up 5.9 percent from 2021, when the rate hits its lowest level in the postwar era. Consultations on domestic violence and suspected child abuse cases both hit all-time highs.


Honda to sell next-gen hydrogen fuel cell system from mid-2020s

TOKYO - Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will start selling its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems for cars and other products in the mid-2020s, initially targeting 2,000 units per year and ramping up to 60,000 in 2030, to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions.

The Japanese manufacturer, seeking to expand the take-up of zero-emission hydrogen, said it hopes to sell "a few hundred thousand" units of the system, jointly developed with General Motors Co., annually by the second half of the 2030s.


JAL, ANA both in the black in April-Dec. for 1st time since pandemic

TOKYO - Japan's two biggest airlines on Thursday posted net profit for the April to December period, marking the first time Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. have been in the black for three quarters of a fiscal year since hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With travel demand for Japan recovering quickly after the Asian country largely relaxed its pandemic-related border restrictions in October, JAL said it booked a net profit of 16.31 billion yen ($127 million) in the nine months to December, a reversal from a net loss of 128.32 billion yen logged in the same period a year before.


Minister hopes Japan students to join farewell events without masks

TOKYO - Japanese education minister Keiko Nagaoka on Thursday expressed the hope that students will be allowed to attend their graduation ceremonies in the spring without having to wear face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later in the day, however, the minister also told reporters that the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is "yet to decide" on the issue "at this point", but will swiftly start discussions.


U.S. opens embassy in Solomon Islands to counter China's influence

WASHINGTON - The United States opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday in a bid to increase its diplomatic presence, as China's military and economic influence widens in the Indo-Pacific region.

The development came as the United States and its allies, including Japan and Australia, are vigilant of China's expanding ties with Pacific island nations, and stepping up efforts to revitalize cooperation with them.


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