Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto is lit up during a test event on March 22, 2024, a day before the start of the spring special night viewing through March 31. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


New national standards for Japanese-language schools to start April

TOKYO - Japan will introduce a new national accreditation system for Japanese-language schools from April in an effort to ensure their quality meets the needs of the country's growing foreign population.

Under the new system, Japanese language schools will have to meet certain requirements on staffing and curriculum to receive the accreditation, while instructors at accredited schools will need to obtain new national qualifications for teaching Japanese.


PM Kishida vows to strengthen Japan's deterrence capabilities

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed Saturday to enhance his country's defense capabilities in an increasingly severe security environment.

"We will deter emergencies and prevent threats to our country, such as an invasion," Kishida said in a speech at the graduation ceremony for the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka near Tokyo.


Fire-gutted market in central Japan quake takes step toward recovery

KANAZAWA, Japan - A historical marketplace in central Japan gutted by a fire following a powerful earthquake on New Year's Day marked a significant step toward reconstruction Saturday as it was revived for a day in the prefectural capital.

The event, which began at 8 a.m. and saw the Wajima morning market's characteristic orange tents being erected at the venue near a fishing port in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, drew around 13,000 visitors despite the rain, according to organizers.


133 killed in concert hall attack in Moscow suburb

TOKYO - At least 133 people were killed and dozens were injured when gunmen stormed a concert hall in a Moscow suburb on Friday, Russia's Investigative Committee said, while Tass news agency said four people suspected of direct involvement were detained.

The attack by several people clad in fatigues at Crocus City Hall, where explosions and a fire were reported, prompted the country's federal authorities to launch a terrorism investigation, according to media reports.


China coast guard blasts Philippine boat with water cannon

MANILA - Two Chinese coast guard vessels on Saturday fired water cannon at a Philippine boat on a supply mission to a grounded navy ship in the South China Sea, leaving the supply vessel heavily damaged, the Philippine military said.

The civilian boat, contracted by the Philippine armed forces to transport troops for rotation assignment and provisional supplies at the BRP Sierra Madre in Manila-controlled Second Thomas Shoal, was also subjected to dangerous maneuvers by the Chinese coast guard vessels, according to the military.


Cherry blossoms come into bloom in Kochi, season's first in Japan

KOCHI, Japan - Cherry blossoms came into bloom on Saturday in Kochi ahead of other parts of the country, a local meteorological observatory said.

The bloom in the western Japan city was one day later than usual and six days later than last year. The blossoms are expected to reach full bloom within a week to 10 days.


Figure skating: Japan's Kaori Sakamoto wins third straight world title

MONTREAL - Kaori Sakamoto won her third straight figure skating world championship Friday in Montreal, becoming the first woman to achieve a singles "three-peat" since 1968.

The 2022 Olympic bronze medalist rallied from fourth place in the short program to finish on top at Montreal's Bell Centre with a total of 222.96.


Baseball: MLB begins investigating scandal involving Ohtani, aide

LOS ANGELES - U.S. Major League Baseball said Friday it has launched an investigation into a sports gambling allegation involving Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

MLB "has been gathering information since we learned about the allegations" involving Ohtani and Mizuhara from the news media, it said in a statement, adding its Department of Investigations earlier Friday "began their formal process investigating the matter."

Video: North Korea football team arrives in Beijing