Hydrangeas bloom in the rain in the central Japan city of Nagoya on May 29, 2023. The Japan Meteorological Agency announced the same day that the rainy season had apparently started in the northern Kyushu, Shikoku, Chugoku, Kinki and Tokai regions. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Toyota, Daimler to merge Japanese truck units in advanced tech push

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler Truck Holding AG said Tuesday they will merge their truck subsidiaries in Japan by the end of 2024 to speed up the development of advanced environmental and safety technologies and share the hefty costs.

Toyota's subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd., and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., a subsidiary of the German company, will operate under a holding company to be set up by the two parent companies.


Japan court rules disallowing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

NAGOYA - A Japanese court on Tuesday became the country's second to rule that the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, in a move likely to add pressure on the government to accelerate efforts to do more to protect sexual minorities.

However, the Nagoya District Court, ruling on a lawsuit filed by a male couple in their 30s from Aichi Prefecture, dismissed their demand for the state to pay them each 1 million yen ($7,100) in compensation and stopped short of acknowledging that the legislative body neglected to take action.


North Korea says "reconnaissance satellite" to be launched in June

TOKYO - North Korea intends to launch a "military reconnaissance satellite" in June, the country's state media reported Tuesday, calling the move "indispensable" to beef up preparedness against what it said was the threat posed by the United States and its allies.

The plan was announced in a statement dated Monday by Ri Pyong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The Japanese government said Monday that North Korea notified it of a plan to launch a satellite between Wednesday and June 11.


Japan, China to resume defense officers' mutual visits, 1st in 4 yrs

TOKYO - Japan and China will resume reciprocal visits by their senior defense officers later this year, an organizer of the program said Tuesday, in what could be the first such interaction in four years.

The restart of the mutual visits between the Self-Defense Forces and the People's Liberation Army, with the aim of building confidence and preventing contingencies, follows the end of China's strict "zero-COVID" policy in January involving lockdowns and quarantines.


Toyota sets April global output record as pandemic impact recedes

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday its global production for April rose 13.8 percent from a year earlier to 787,800 units, a record high for the month, as it continues to overcome the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and chip shortages.

Its production outside Japan increased 14.7 percent to 514,738 vehicles, also a record high for April, with output in China surging 51.9 percent after the lifting of lockdowns in Shanghai and also increasing in North America and Europe, the automaker said.


Japan, U.S., Australia, Philippines eye defense chief talks in June

TOKYO - Japanese, U.S., Australian and Philippine defense ministers are planning to hold their first-ever quadrilateral talks in Singapore next month, a diplomatic source said Tuesday, amid China's growing maritime assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ministerial gathering would be held as Japan, the United States and Australia have been each bolstering their defense cooperation with the Philippines, while trying to showcase their collaboration as a group of four nations surrounding the Pacific.


Japan lower house passes bill to reform law on sex crimes

TOKYO - Japan's lower house on Tuesday passed a bill to raise the age of sexual consent from 13 to 16 to protect children from sexual abuse as part of reforms to the country's Penal Code.

The bill, which will also criminalize sexual offenses even in the absence of physical violence or coercion, will be sent to the upper house following it receiving unanimous consent in the House of Representatives.


Japan aims to halve pollen emissions in 30 years to tackle hay fever

TOKYO - Japan on Tuesday unveiled a comprehensive policy package to tackle hay fever caused by pollen from cedar and cypress trees, aiming to halve emissions over the next 30 years.

As hay fever is estimated to affect more than 40 percent of the population, the government plans to reduce areas of planted cedar by around 20 percent over the next decade by cutting 70,000 hectares of the trees per year, compared with the current level of 50,000 hectares.


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