An indigenous ritual dance is performed in the Kagawa Prefecture capital of Takamatsu, western Japan, on March 25, 2023, to celebrate its listing on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan demands release of national detained in China: top spokesman

TOKYO - Japan has urged China to release one of its citizens detained in Beijing as soon as possible and allow consular officials to meet with him, the top government spokesman said Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference that the Japanese government is in contact with people related to the man, who is in his 50s. Japanese drug maker Astellas Pharma Inc. has confirmed he is one of its employees.


Japan, South Korea mull 1st security talks in 5 years in April: source

TOKYO - Japan and South Korea are arranging to hold their first working-level security talks in more than five years next month, a diplomatic source said Monday, in the run-up to a scheduled visit by President Yoon Suk Yeol to the United States.

An early resumption of the dialogue, last held in March 2018, was agreed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Yoon at their summit on March 16, as Tokyo and Seoul work to improve their ties, which were frayed by a bilateral wartime labor dispute in recent years.


Relocated Japan Cultural Affairs Agency opens in Kyoto

KYOTO - Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency on Monday opened in Kyoto after relocating from Tokyo, becoming the first government body to move its headquarters from the capital as part of the nation's push to boost the regions through decentralization.

The agency, which transferred its main functions to the western Japan city including the commissioner's office, will focus on disseminating Japanese culture from the ancient western capital that is famous among foreign tourists for its traditional aesthetics.


Ex-Taiwan leader Ma kicks off China visit, 1st by former president

SHANGHAI - Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Monday kicked off a 12-day trip to China, making the first visit to the mainland by a former leader of the island since the two sides split in 1949 due to a civil war.

Ma, a senior member of Taiwan's main opposition Nationalist Party, is scheduled to travel to cities including Shanghai, Nanjing, and Wuhan and meet with local students, according to the China-friendly political party, also called the Kuomintang (KMT).


North Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles: South Korean military

SEOUL/TOKYO - North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, South Korea's military said, in an apparent response to ongoing joint military drills involving South Korea and the United States.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the two missiles were fired from the North Hwanghae Province area, with the first detected around 7:47 a.m. and the second around 8 a.m. Each flew about 370 kilometers, it said.


Businessman detention shocks Japan firms in China, dampens sentiment

BEIJING - The recent detention of a senior Japanese pharmaceutical company official in Beijing has shocked Japanese businesses operating in China, with momentum for their China-bound investment dampened as the incident has triggered fresh anxiety over the risks of doing business in the Communist-led nation.

The businessman in his 50s, who was detained in the Chinese capital this month and whom Astellas Pharma Inc. has since confirmed as one of its employees, may be facing spying allegations.


Sumitomo Mitsui to invest $1.5 bil. to own 15% of Vietnam's VP Bank

TOKYO - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. said Monday it plans to invest 35.9 trillion dong ($1.5 billion) in Vietnam's VP Bank as part of its efforts to seek growth opportunities in Southeast Asia.

The investment by the Japanese group will make it a leading shareholder in the bank, with a 15 percent stake. VP Bank, the second biggest private lender in Vietnam known for its competitiveness in loans for smaller businesses, will become an affiliate of Sumitomo Mitsui.


Baseball: WBC-winning Japan manager slams sudden bracket change

TOKYO - Japan's World Baseball Classic-winning manager Hideki Kuriyama on Monday criticized organizers of the tournament for their sudden change in bracket that as a result pitted the United States against his team in the final.

The two teams were to meet in the semifinals under the original bracket, but the organizers announced a schedule switch on March 16 for two quarterfinal games in Miami amid speculation that they did so to offer a matchup between two of the game's biggest stars -- Los Angeles Angels teammates Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani -- in the final.


Video: Swimming star Rikako Ikee graduates from university