People view cherry trees in full bloom at Yonomori area in the Fukushima Prefectural town of Tomioka, northwestern Japan, on March 30, 2023. An evacuation order for the district that has been in place since after the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be lifted on April 1. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


TPP members agree on Britain joining trans-Pacific free trade accord

TOKYO - Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed on Britain joining the 11-nation free trade pact at an online ministerial meeting Friday, marking the first expansion of the deal and raising the bloc's share of global economic output to 15 percent.

Britain's accession to the high-standard TPP is widely seen as a counter to economic coercion and protectionism and a model case for future aspirants, including China and Taiwan. The trade bloc's gross domestic product currently accounts for 12 percent of world GDP.


Japan to tighten export controls of advanced chip equipment to China

TOKYO - The Japanese government said Friday it will tighten export controls for advanced chip manufacturing equipment to prevent the technology from being used for military purposes, joining U.S.-led efforts seeking to stymie China's ability to develop high-end semiconductors.

Japan's decision to expand the scope of chip-manufacturing goods that require approval for export, expected to come into force in July, is likely to anger Beijing, although Tokyo did not single out the neighboring economic powerhouse as the main target for the restrictions.


Japan vows to boost child allowances to tackle falling birthrate

TOKYO - Japan's government pledged Friday, in a draft policy package to tackle the rapidly declining birthrate, to remove the income limit for parents to receive child allowances and increase the benefits for families with multiple children.

But the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has still shied away from clarifying to what extent it would hike taxes to fund the budget for such measures, which critics call "pork barrel" policies, in the run-up to a series of local elections in April.


Trump indicted, becomes 1st ex-U.S. president to face criminal charge

NEW YORK - Donald Trump was indicted Thursday over undisclosed crimes following a probe into hush money allegedly paid to a woman after an affair, U.S. media and prosecutors said, making him the first former American president to face a criminal charge.

The unprecedented development is likely to have an impact on Trump's bid to enter the Republican Party primaries through which he hopes to be nominated to contest next year's presidential election.


Turkey approves Finland's NATO membership bid amid Russia fears

ISTANBUL - The Turkish parliament has approved Finland's bid to join NATO, clearing a path for the country to join the security alliance amid continued fears about the threat posed by Russia among its European neighbors following its invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey was the last of NATO's 30 members to ratify the accession of Finland, which shares a land border with Russia and had long maintained neutral relations with its neighbor. Thursday's move could trigger a reaction from Moscow, which has previously warned of military repercussions if Finland joined NATO.


Japan, China foreign ministers to hold talks in Beijing

TOKYO - Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announced on Friday his plan to visit Beijing this weekend for talks with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, where he will push for the early release of a Japanese businessman recently detained in the country for alleged espionage.

Hayashi said at a press conference that he will also make a four-day trip to Brussels from Monday to attend a foreign ministerial meeting of NATO countries and their partners, at which they are likely to reaffirm their unified stance over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


Japan space agency delays H2A rocket launch after next-gen failure

TOKYO - Japan will delay an H2A rocket launch scheduled for May to August or later, the country's space agency said Friday, as it shares parts with its successor rocket that was forced to self-destruct shortly after takeoff in March.

No new launches are currently planned after a series of setbacks for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, including the next-generation H3 rocket's failure and that of the smaller Epsilon-6 in October, which was ordered to self-destruct after deviating from its intended trajectory shortly after takeoff.


Inflation pain to continue for Japan consumers in new fiscal year

TOKYO - Japan will see another wave of price hikes at the start of the new business year from Saturday as higher raw material costs eat into company margins, dealing yet another blow to consumers already facing inflation rates that have outpaced wage growth.

Over 5,100 food and beverages, ranging from mayonnaise and dairy products to imported wine will be pricier. Research firm Teikoku Databank estimates an average household will have to pay an extra 2,140 yen ($16) a month for foodstuffs.


Video: Cherry blossoms in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima town