Photo shows the Kammon Bridge connecting Kitakyushu (front) in Fukuoka Prefecture, on Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu, and Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture, on the western tip of the island of Honshu, on Nov. 14, 2023, the 50th anniversary of its opening. (Kyodo)

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


Japan's GDP falls 2.1% in July-Sept., 1st contraction in 3 quarters

TOKYO - Japan's economy shrank an annualized real 2.1 percent in the July-September period for the first pullback in three quarters, reflecting sluggish private consumption amid elevated prices and weak capital investment, preliminary government data showed Wednesday.

Real gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced in the country adjusted for inflation, decreased 0.5 percent from the April-June quarter, according to the Cabinet Office.


Most aspects of U.S.-led Indo-Pacific economic scheme near completion

SAN FRANCISCO - The United States and 13 other countries engaged in Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks set the stage Tuesday for their leaders to agree on ways to promote environmentally friendly and fair commercial activities -- meaning almost all areas of President Joe Biden's signature initiative are nearing completion.

As part of efforts to encourage the use of clean energy, the countries participating in the U.S.-led framework confirmed at a ministerial meeting in San Francisco that they will establish a fund, with Australia, Japan and the United States vowing to chip in $10 million each in seed money, officials said.


North Korea successfully tests new solid-fuel missile engines: KCNA

BEIJING - North Korea has successfully tested new solid-fuel engines for intermediate-range ballistic missiles, state-run media said Wednesday, with the development a concern to the region as the engines can be prepared for launch more quickly than the liquid-fuel type.

Pyongyang successfully conducted the first ground jet tests of the first-stage engine on Saturday and the second-stage engine on Tuesday, the official Korean Central News Agency said. An intermediate-range ballistic missile fired from North Korea can reach Japan, host to several U.S. military bases.


Japan, U.S. to make robust chip supply chains amid security concerns

SAN FRANCISCO - Japan and the United States agreed Tuesday to build robust supply chains for strategic items such as semiconductors and critical minerals by consulting each other more closely and detecting potential future disruptions rapidly as they ramp up bilateral efforts to safeguard economic security.

Following the second round of "two-plus-two" talks between their top diplomats and trade chiefs, Tokyo and Washington, though not mentioning China directly, urged the removal of all bans on Japanese food imports when such measures are not substantiated by science and said they will work to counter economic coercion.


U.S., Japan, South Korea to cooperate on North Korea, economic security

SAN FRANCISCO - The foreign policy chiefs of the United States, Japan and South Korea agreed Tuesday to boost cooperation in tackling North Korea's missile threat and ensuring economic security ahead of a U.S.-China summit, as they seek to build resilient supply chains for critical items.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin also discussed issues related to China, while sharing the view that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are unacceptable, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.


October foreign entries to Japan top pre-pandemic levels for 1st time

TOKYO - Japan saw an estimated 2,516,500 foreign visitors in October, up 0.8 percent from the same month in 2019, the first time the monthly figure has surpassed levels seen before the coronavirus outbreak, government data showed Wednesday.

The increase of visitors from Asia, Australia, parts of Europe, and North America, in particular, in an environment of a weak yen and resumed airline services contributed to the return of foreigners to Japan, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.


APEC ministerial talks begin amid geopolitical, trade tensions

SAN FRANCISCO - Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region began a two-day meeting on Tuesday with economic cooperation and free trade increasingly at stake amid Russia's war in Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East and an intensifying U.S.-China rivalry.

The ministers from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum are setting the stage for their leaders, who will meet later this week, to discuss the challenges faced by the region, with a much-hyped summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled to take place on the sidelines.


U.S. Marines set up littoral unit in Okinawa for islands defense

NAHA, Japan - The U.S. Marines set up Wednesday a littoral regiment in Okinawa capable of a flexible and rapid response to bolster the defense of remote islands in southwestern Japan amid China's increased military assertiveness at sea.

The existing 12th Marine Regiment based in the southern prefecture of Okinawa was reorganized into the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment, or MLR.


Video:  The Kammon Bridge celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 14, 2023