Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2023, shows a designated aesthetic area in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan PM vows to spend 3 bil. yen to help achieve world without nukes

NEW YORK - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Tuesday that Japan will contribute 3 billion yen ($20 million) to help achieve a world without nuclear weapons, a goal he has described as his life's work as a lawmaker representing a constituency in Hiroshima.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Kishida also said Japan will continue making efforts to reform the world body. His remarks came amid perceptions that the United Nations has become increasingly dysfunctional in tackling international disputes, especially over the Ukraine war launched in February 2022 by Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.


August foreign entries to Japan at 2.2 mil., 85% of pre-pandemic level

TOKYO - Japan saw an estimated 2,156,900 foreign visitors in August, which represents 85.6 percent of the level in the same month in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak, government data showed Wednesday.

A recovery trend continued, with the rate surpassing 80 percent for the first time, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.


Sex abuse-tainted Johnny's discussing talent agency name change

TOKYO - Scandal-hit male talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. has discussed changing its name to distance itself from its late namesake founder, the company said Tuesday, as it attempts to repair the reputational damage caused by decades of sexual abuse of aspiring teen pop singers by Johnny Kitagawa.

After acknowledging Kitagawa's sexual abuse, his niece Julie Keiko Fujishima stepped down as president on Sept. 5, but the agency's initial decision to keep its name has brought criticism from not just victims but also companies using the agency's performers in advertising campaigns.


U.S. drops anti-whaling wording opposed by Japan in Indo-Pacific pact

WASHINGTON/TOKYO - The United States has abandoned efforts to include anti-whaling language in its Indo-Pacific trade pact following fierce opposition from Japan, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The resolution of the main point of contention between two key members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework has paved the way for a comprehensive agreement to be reached at a summit in San Francisco in November.


China to soon decide whether to arrest Japanese national over spying

BEIJING - China is expected to soon decide whether to formally arrest a Japanese businessman who has been detained in Beijing since March on suspicion of espionage, sources familiar with the bilateral relationship said Wednesday.

The Chinese government recently notified Tokyo that local authorities had placed the Japanese national under criminal detention. Chinese law provides for up to 37 days of criminal detention before a decision on formal arrest is made.


Japan's crown prince, princess arrive in Vietnam

HANOI - Japan's Crown Prince Fumihito and his wife Princess Kiko arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday for an official visit to Vietnam to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.

It is the couple's first official visit to Vietnam since 1999, when they also traveled to Laos and Thailand. Vietnam extended a formal invitation in early August.


Updated COVID vaccine targeting Omicron subvariant rolls out in Japan

TOKYO - An updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant became available in Japan on Wednesday ahead of an expected surge in infections around the year-end holidays.

The free vaccination campaign, in which anyone six months or older is eligible, will continue through the end of March, with the elderly and other high-risk populations encouraged to get protection.


Baseball: Buffaloes clinch 3rd straight PL pennant

OSAKA - The Orix Buffaloes became the first Pacific League team to win three straight championships since 1994 on Wednesday, when they clinched the pennant with a 6-2 win over the Lotte Marines.

The defending Japan Series champions overcame a 2-0 deficit at their home park, Kyocera Dome Osaka, with a six-run seventh inning and went on to secure their franchise's 15th PL pennant.


Video: ASEAN holds first-ever joint military exercises in Indonesia