North Korean military personnel visit Mansudae hill in Pyongyang on Feb. 8, 2023, to offer flowers to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the nation's army. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Gov't likely to submit next BOJ chief nominee to parliament Feb. 14

TOKYO - The government is considering presenting its nominees for the next governor of the Bank of Japan and its two deputy chiefs next Tuesday, government and ruling coalition sources said Thursday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said the person to succeed incumbent Haruhiko Kuroda will need strong communication and coordination skills among other qualities required for the next governor.


Chinese military unit involved in balloon operation: sources

TOKYO - The Chinese military unit in charge of outer space and cyber warfare was involved in the operation of a balloon that flew over the continental United States before being shot down by U.S. forces, several Chinese sources said Thursday.

Beijing has so far maintained the airship was used for civilian weather research purposes. The Chinese military failed to notify the Foreign Ministry about its entry into U.S. airspace, prompting the leadership of President Xi Jinping to call for enhanced communications, the sources said.


Japan NPO head arrested for unauthorized organ transplant mediation

TOKYO - The head of a Japanese nonprofit organization has been arrested on suspicion of mediating an organ transplant performed overseas without government permission, in the first such case in Japan, investigative sources said Thursday.

Police have filed a case against the Association for Patients of Intractable Diseases with prosecutors following the arrest of Hiromichi Kikuchi for allegedly violating the organ transplant law.


Japan aiming for record number of foreign visitors in 2025

TOKYO - Japan aims to receive a record number of foreign visitors in 2025, a draft of the government's revised plan showed Thursday, with inbound tourism seeing a steady recovery since the country significantly eased border measures last October.

The tourism plan covering fiscal 2023 to 2025 also aims to increase per person spending to 200,000 yen ($1,500), up around 25 percent from 2019 levels, and see a 10 percent increase in the number of overnight stays in regional areas by foreign visitors.


Japan, Philippines to boost economic, security ties amid China rise

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. agreed Thursday that the two countries will further bolster economic and security cooperation, warning against China's growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

During their talks in Tokyo, Kishida pledged to provide a support package worth 600 billion yen ($4.6 billion) to the Philippines over the two years through March 2024 from Japan's public and private sectors.


Toyota profit falls despite record sales as rising costs bite

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its net profit in the nine months through December fell 18.0 percent to 1.90 trillion yen ($14.5 billion) from a year earlier as rising material costs eroded its profit margin despite hitting record high sales.

During the nine-month period, sales rose 18.0 percent to 27.46 trillion yen, a record high, supported by an increase in vehicle sales in North America and Asia alongside a weaker yen, the Japanese automaker said.


Japan to ease COVID-19 border controls on Chinese travelers: source

TOKYO - Japan is considering easing COVID-19 border controls on travelers arriving from China by the end of this month, a government source said Thursday, with the rate of arrivals testing positive for the virus dropping recently.

Instead of requiring testing of all visitors from China, the government under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to adopt a selective approach to testing arrivals, the source said.


Unidentified balloon spotted off southwestern Japan last year: gov't

TOKYO - An unidentified balloon was spotted over the sea off Japan's southwestern main island of Kyushu last year, the government said Thursday, in its latest revelation of suspected sightings of Chinese spy balloons similar to the one recently shot down by the United States.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference that Japan is working with Washington to determine whether the balloon observed in January 2022 was likely to have been a Chinese balloon similar to the one downed Saturday off the U.S. coast after passing over the continental United States.


Gold bars worth over 500 mil. yen donated to quake-hit Japan village

MORIOKA, Japan - Gold bars worth over 500 million yen ($3.8 million) have been donated to a northeastern Japan village by an individual who expressed hope that the proceeds from their sale would be spent for the good of the municipality, devastated by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster.

The municipal government of Tanohata in Iwate Prefecture said it was considering using the proceeds from the sale of the 120 bars, weighing 60 kilograms, for child-rearing support and the rebuilding of the decades-old village office. The donor has asked not to be identified.


Video: 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's army