A shinkansen bullet train platform at JR Tokyo Station is crowded on May 6, 2023, with many travelers heading home toward the end of the Golden Week holidays. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Kishida, Yoon confirm Japan-S. Korea ties improve as labor row eases

SEOUL - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol confirmed that bilateral relations have been improving after Seoul announced a solution to a wartime labor compensation dispute that had escalated tensions between the two nations.

The meeting was held in Seoul as part of the restarting of reciprocal visits. Kishida made the first trip to South Korea by a Japanese political leader in over five years amid growing security threats in East Asia, such as North Korea's missile and nuclear development.


FOCUS: Biden's leadership on nuclear disarmament to be tested in Hiroshima

WASHINGTON - Joe Biden is due to become the second sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, a city razed by an atomic bombing at the end of World War II, with the international community taking a keen interest in what message, if any, he will deliver on nuclear disarmament.

Unlike Barack Obama, who left his mark on history by visiting the Japanese city in 2016, the primary reason for the current U.S. leader to travel there is to attend this year's three-day summit of the Group of Seven advanced economies from May 19.


80% in Japan oppose tax hike plan to cover defense outlay: poll

TOKYO - A total of 80 percent of respondents to a Kyodo News poll said they are against possible tax hikes to finance Japan's substantial defense buildup plan, despite an overwhelming majority expressing concern about China potentially taking military action against Taiwan, the survey showed Saturday.

The poll, carried out by mail from March to April, showed that while the Japanese public sees a need to boost the country's defense capabilities to some extent due to a deteriorating security environment, they are reluctant about increasing defense spending considerably or financing them through taxes.


FOCUS: Japan faces uphill battle to ensure food security

TOKYO - The recent gathering of farm ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations was a missed opportunity for Japan to set realistic goals to improve agricultural self-sufficiency as it faces a host of challenges to food security, experts say.

Everything from a chronic lack of resources, a dwindling working population, government reluctance to overhaul agricultural policy and boost rice production, and even changes in eating habits have reduced Japan to a nation precariously dependent on imports.


62% of Japan firms raise base pay in FY 2023 amid inflation

TOKYO - A total of 62.1 percent of companies in Japan have raised or plan to raise base pay in fiscal 2023, up sharply from 38.7 percent the previous year as they seek to secure talent and match rising prices, a Finance Ministry survey showed.

The trend was notable particularly in the nonmanufacturing sector, with 56.0 percent saying they have or will raise wages, expanding from 28.8 percent the year before, the survey said. In the manufacturing sector, the figure was at 69.8 percent, up from 52.0 percent.


50 yrs on, Japan convenience stores keep evolving to stay competitive

TOKYO - In the nearly half century since Japan got its first convenience store near Tokyo Bay, such outlets have become ubiquitous, with customers dropping by not only for groceries but also for financial services, package delivery, and much more.

But in recent years, the domestic convenience store market has become saturated and competition has heated up, prompting operators to seek more attractive products. A labor shortage has also become a serious problem, leading some stores to give up 24-hour operations and introduce unmanned cash registers to keep up with the changing times.


Manga illuminate stories of Japanese development aid workers

TOKYO - Online manga released by the Japan International Cooperation Agency are featuring the experiences of Japanese development aid workers in Asia and Africa to shine a light on their role in the country's official development assistance.

Six manga, in Japanese and English, tell the stories of how aid workers have struggled in pursuing initiatives, such as a subway development project in India and the promotion of sports in strife-torn South Sudan, and how they had been received by local people. The works have been released online since October.


Video: Golden Week return rush