The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, convenes a weeklong meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 4, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


China aims for around 5% GDP growth in 2024 amid property crisis

BEIJING - China on Tuesday set itself a gross domestic product growth target of around 5 percent for 2024 during the opening of an annual session of its parliament, with the Asian powerhouse striving to shore up its slowing economy amid a long-running property crisis.

Beijing also announced in a budget report delivered at the National People's Congress session that it will increase its military spending this year to 1.67 trillion yuan ($231 billion), a 7.2 percent rise from last year and a sum around 4.3-fold larger than Japan's defense budget.


Japan ministry urges Line app operator to bolster data protection

TOKYO - Japan's communications ministry on Tuesday urged LY Corp., the operator of the Line messaging app, to strengthen the protection of users' personal data following a massive data breach.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said the app provider relies heavily on Naver Corp. of South Korea, a major shareholder of LY, to operate the app system and lacked appropriate countermeasures against cyberattacks.


Japan eyes up to 800,000 more skilled foreign workers over next 5 yrs

TOKYO - Japan is set to sharply increase the number of foreigners it accepts under its skilled worker visa with plans to receive up to 800,000 people in the next five years, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

In an attempt to cope with an acute labor shortage, the government is considering adding the road transportation, railway, forestry and timber industries as targets of the visa system, which was introduced in April 2019, the source said.


Super Tuesday voting, key point in U.S. presidential race, under way

WASHINGTON - The most critical voting day of the 2024 U.S. presidential primary calendar, which sees nominating contests in over a dozen states, got under way Tuesday, with Donald Trump hoping to make clear that he is the Republican's pick to face off against his Democratic successor Joe Biden in November.

On what is known as Super Tuesday, about a third of all delegates are at stake in both the Democratic and Republican contests.


Japan PM Kishida to address U.S. Congress on April 11

WASHINGTON - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 11 when he travels to Washington for an official visit, congressional leaders said Monday.

The leaders, including House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson, said in a statement that Kishida's visit "symbolizes both nations' commitment to peace and prosperity and to an international community that promotes democracy, security and stability."


Doctor given 18 yrs for consensual killing of woman with ALS

KYOTO - A doctor was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 years in prison for the consensual killing of a woman with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a rare neurological disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2019 in Kyoto, western Japan.

The Kyoto District Court found 45-year-old Yoshikazu Okubo guilty of administering a lethal dose of a sedative to Yuri Hayashi in her apartment on Nov. 30, 2019, at her request. Prosecutors had sought a prison term of 23 years.


Chinese ships fire water cannons at Philippine boat, injures 4

MANILA - The Philippines on Tuesday said two China Coast Guard vessels fired water cannons at a boat chartered by its navy while traveling in the South China Sea, causing damage to the boat's windshield and minor injuries to at least four personnel on board.

Manila said the boat was heading to a Philippine navy outpost on a disputed shoal on a supply mission when it encountered the Chinese vessels. The incident is the latest attempt by Beijing to prevent Philippine ships sailing to the outpost since early last year.


Japan gov't to stop COVID-19 treatment subsidies at end of March

TOKYO - The Japanese government said Tuesday it will cease subsidizing medical expenses for people infected with COVID-19, including no longer fixing the cost of medicines, at the end of March due to a fall in the number of cases.

With Japan's health care arrangements returning to pre-pandemic status from April, patients will have to pay 10 to 30 percent of the cost of coronavirus treatment drugs. Income levels and age determine how much each person pays.

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