The annual Sendai Pageant of Starlight illumination event begins in Sendai, northeastern Japan, on Dec. 8, 2023. Zelkova trees lining a 500-meter street are lit up with about 500,000 LED lights, with about 2.4 million people expected to visit through Dec. 25. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


PM Kishida to replace gov't spokesman Matsuno amid funds scandal: source

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering replacing Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno over alleged failure to report millions of yen received as part of fundraising efforts for his party faction, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

An option for Kishida to revamp his Cabinet and executives of his Liberal Democratic Party, including Matsuno, has also emerged within the administration, the sources said, with other lawmakers of the intraparty group accused of being engaged in similar scandals.


China "not fearful of war" over Senkakus: military officer

BEIJING - A senior Chinese military officer said in a recent interview with Kyodo News that Beijing does not want a war over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands claimed by China in the East China Sea, but is "not fearful" of armed conflict.

Lt. Gen. He Lei, a former vice president of the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences, also indicated the possibility that China will target the Senkakus, which it calls Diaoyu, as well if it attempts to capture Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island, through the use of force.


Figure skating: Sakamoto wins 1st Grand Prix Final title

 - Reigning world figure skating champion Kaori Sakamoto picked up her first Grand Prix Final title Saturday.

The 23-year-old from Kobe, Japan, earned 148.35 points in the free skate for a total of 225.70 at Beijing's National Indoor Stadium.


Japanese associate professor 1 of 3 killed in U.S. college shooting

LOS ANGELES - A Japanese woman in her 60s was one of three faculty members fatally shot by a gunman earlier this week at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco said Friday.

The university, where the attack took place Wednesday, identified the woman as Naoko Takemaru, an associate professor of Japanese language studies.


Man arrested for cutting off octogenarian neighbor's ear in Tokyo

TOKYO - A 74-year-old man has been arrested in Tokyo for allegedly attacking and cutting off his octogenarian neighbor's left ear with a knife, police said Saturday.

Junichi Takebayashi is alleged to have attacked the woman who lives in an apartment next to his in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward on Friday night. Police said the woman heard a knock at her door and was assaulted when she opened it.


Football: Kawasaki edge Kashiwa in shootout to lift Emperor's Cup

TOKYO - Kawasaki Frontale won their second Emperor's Cup after beating Kashiwa Reysol 8-7 in an epic penalty shootout following a goalless 120 minutes on Saturday.

After the final ended 0-0 for the first time since 1990, Kashiwa goalkeeper Kenta Matsumoto made two saves but missed the crucial penalty as his team's 10th taker.


Rugby: All Blacks Retallick, Savea lead Steelers to big opening win

KOBE - All Blacks forwards Brodie Retallick and Ardie Savea each scored a brace of tries to power Kobe Steelers to an 80-15 thrashing of newly promoted Mie Heat in the opening game of the Japan Rugby League One season Saturday.

World Rugby player of the year Savea made his Japanese club debut, while Retallick marked his return after a previous stint with the western Japan side from 2019 to 2021.


Japan's Empress Masako turns 60, expresses eagerness to move forward

TOKYO - Japan's Empress Masako, on the occasion of her 60th birthday Saturday, expressed renewed eagerness to "keep walking toward the future" as she thanked those who have supported her throughout the six decades of her life so far.

"I have deep gratitude to everyone who has taken care of me, starting with my parents, who raised me with love," the empress said in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency, adding that she felt "disbelief" at reaching her diamond jubilee.

Video: Ceremony at Aso Shrine after restoration of gate destroyed by quake