Blooming cherry blossoms at Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto are lit up on March 24, 2023. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan, Philippines, U.S. to set up 3-way security framework

MANILA/WASHINGTON - Japan, the Philippines and the United States plan to set up a trilateral framework involving their national security advisers, officials familiar with the matter said recently, amid China's growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Their first discussions under the new scheme may take place as early as April, Eduardo Ano, security adviser to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., told Kyodo News. Ano said he is "willing to attend" the meeting although details, including which country will host the talks, remain fluid.


Japan parliament enacts record 114 tril. yen budget for FY 2023

TOKYO - Japan's parliament on Tuesday enacted a record 114.38 trillion yen ($870 billion) budget for the new fiscal year from April to beef up defense capabilities in the face of security threats from its neighbors and to support the economy, which has been struggling with inflation.

The defense budget will reach 6.82 trillion yen, the largest on record. Fiscal 2023 marks the start of a five-year period intended to fundamentally revamp the country's defense posture by spending a combined 43 trillion yen to cope with an increasingly assertive China, alongside a nuclear-armed North Korea and a volatile Russia.


Man indicted in wake of viral video of him licking soy sauce bottle

NAGOYA - A man arrested for allegedly licking a tabletop soy sauce bottle at a conveyer-belt sushi restaurant in Nagoya and then posting a video of the act online was indicted Tuesday on a charge of obstructing a business.

The case of Ryoga Yoshino, 21, is believed to have been the first instance of a customer being arrested for such behavior, following revelations of similar acts at eateries in Japan earlier this year.


North Korea's Kim orders expansion of weapons-grade nuke material output

BEIJING - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered an expansion of the country's production of weapons-grade nuclear materials to accelerate its output of powerful nuclear weapons, state-run media said Tuesday.

Kim gave the instructions on Monday as he inspected work being done for mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles, according to the official Korean Central News Agency, which released pictures of objects believed to be warheads of different types.


Football: Colombia bounce back to defeat Japan 2-1 in friendly

OSAKA - Colombia came back to beat Japan 2-1 in an international football friendly Tuesday thanks to a spectacular bicycle-kick winner from Rafael Borre in the 61st minute at Osaka's Yodoko Sakura Stadium.

Brighton star Kaoru Mitoma gave Japan an early lead with his own highlight-reel goal before Jhon Duran's equalizer saw the teams head into halftime knotted 1-1.


U.S., Japan strike deal on boosting supplies of EV battery minerals

WASHINGTON - The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with Japan on reinforcing supply chains of minerals vital for electric vehicle batteries.

The agreement will allow Japanese companies to receive EV tax breaks if critical minerals from the United States or countries it has free trade agreements with are used in the cars' batteries.


U.S. aircraft carrier enters S. Korea port amid N. Korean posturing

SEOUL - A nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier arrived at a port in the South Korean city of Busan on Tuesday, as tensions ratchet up with North Korea following a series of missile tests and other provocations.

It is the first time since September last year that a U.S. nuclear carrier entered a South Korean port.


Russia test-fires anti-ship cruise missiles in Sea of Japan

TOKYO - Russia's Pacific Fleet warship has test-fired anti-ship cruise missiles in the Sea of Japan off Vladivostok, the country's Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Two "Mosquito" cruise missiles, developed during the Soviet era, attacked a mock enemy warship about 100 kilometers away during an exercise in the Peter the Great Gulf, according to the ministry.


Japan to crack down on social media stealth marketing from Oct.

TOKYO - Japan will regulate from Oct. 1 stealth marketing in which influencers or others are paid to push products and services to their followers without disclosing a financial interest, the government said Tuesday.

The Consumer Affairs Agency added stealth marketing within the definition of "improper representation," an activity banned under the law against unjustifiable premiums and misleading representations.


Boxing: Former Olympic, world champion Ryota Murata confirms retirement

TOKYO - Ryota Murata, the first Japanese boxer to win both Olympic gold and a professional world championship, confirmed Tuesday that he was hanging up his gloves "with no regrets."

"It took me a long time to make the decision, but I couldn't find anything more I wanted out of boxing," the 37-year-old said at a press conference in Tokyo.


Video: Blooming cherry blossoms at Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto