Japanese comedian Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura strikes a pose at a theater in Shanghai on Nov. 17, 2023, while wearing nothing but a pair of underpants and tights, giving the appearance that he is naked. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


FOCUS: Japan faces "friendshoring" dilemma in Asia amid China risks

SAN FRANCISCO - A growing sense of urgency to ensure economic security is precipitating the formation of like-minded groups in the Asia-Pacific, where the reengagement of the United States is met with China's quest for greater influence.

The new paradigm is putting Japan's diplomacy -- and its ultimate vision for its own engagement in the region -- to the test.


Poverty in Palestine may rise 45% in month 3 of Israel-Hamas war: UN

NEW YORK - Poverty in Palestine's territories could surge by 45 percent, or some 660,000 people, if the conflict between the militant group Hamas and Israel continues for its third month, according to a recent U.N. Development Program projection.

The third month of the war could see the total poverty rate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip increase to 38.8 percent from 26.7 percent of the population, a report by the UNDP and the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia showed. Palestine has an aggregate population of 5.5 million.


Baseball: Japan walks off with Asia pro championship

Makoto Kadowaki singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to seal Japan's victory in the Asia Professional Baseball Championship with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over South Korea in Sunday's final.

Trailing in the bottom of the 10th at Tokyo Dome after South Korea scored a run via the international tie-break rule that starts extra innings with runners on first and second, Shogo Sakakura's one-out sacrifice fly tied it before Kadowaki ended it with a two-out single off Jung Hai Young.


Australia rips China over "unsafe, unprofessional" naval interaction

SYDNEY - Australia said Saturday it had expressed serious concerns to China over an "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction between Australian naval divers and a Chinese warship earlier this week, which resulted in minor injuries.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said in a statement the incident occurred Tuesday when Australia's Toowoomba, a long-range frigate, was conducting diving operations to clear fishing nets from its propellers in international waters inside of Japan's exclusive economic zone.


SoftBank landline telephone services fully restored after disruption

TOKYO - SoftBank Corp. said Sunday its landline telephone services have been fully restored following a disruption since the afternoon of the previous day in parts of eastern and northern Japan.

The company said a network equipment malfunction that was believed to have affected hundreds of thousands of lines had been repaired by around 4 a.m. Sunday.


Figure skating: Kaori Sakamoto eases to 2nd straight Grand Prix gold

ESPOO, Finland - Japan's Kaori Sakamoto won her second straight figure skating Grand Prix series event Saturday, finishing ahead of compatriot Rion Sumiyoshi at the Grand Prix Espoo in Finland.

Two-time defending world champion Sakamoto followed her top-scoring short program by also winning the free skate, adding 135.52 points for a 205.21 total at Espoo Metro Areena.


No. of Japanese restaurants abroad triples in last decade to 187,000

TOKYO - The number of Japanese restaurants outside Japan increased more than threefold over the past decade to around 187,000 in 2023 as the country's eatery chains expanded worldwide, a recent survey by the farm ministry showed.

The number increased around 20 percent from the previous survey in 2021, with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries attributing some of the growth to increased interest from anime fans in Central and South America.


FOCUS: Law change puts traditional Japanese daikon farmers in a pickle

AKITA, Japan - Farmers of traditional smoked daikon pickles, a popular bar snack from Akita Prefecture in northeastern Japan, are facing a conundrum as they struggle to comply with new industrywide food standards that are set to come into effect next year.

Along with the aging of producers who for generations have passed down the traditional flavors of iburigakko, as the pickled smoked radish is known in Japanese, some farmers are closing their businesses because they cannot afford the cost of renovating processing facilities to standards required under the revised Food Sanitation Law.


Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist group leader Ikeda dies at 95

TOKYO - Daisaku Ikeda, the longtime leader of the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, one of the largest religious groups in Japan, and founder of Komeito party, the junior coalition partner of the country's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, died of old age Wednesday, the group said. He was 95.

Ikeda died at a Soka Gakkai facility in Tokyo, the group said. He became the third president of Soka Gakkai, with a claimed membership of over 8.27 million households, in 1960. The group provides a powerful electoral base for Komeito.


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