A wooden boat loaded with about 500 "Hina" traditional dolls is cast out to sea during an annual Girls' Day festival at a Shinto shrine in Wakayama, western Japan, on March 3, 2024, in prayer for girls' growth and happiness. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Nikkei stock index ends above 40,000 for 1st time

TOKYO - The Nikkei stock index ended at a fresh closing high above the 40,000 mark Monday on firm technology stocks, reaching the milestone just over a week after hitting an all-time high for the first time in 34 years.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 198.41 points, or 0.50 percent, from Friday at 40,109.23, after hitting a record intraday high of 40,314.64.


Antitrust watchdog to warn Nissan for underpaying subcontractors

TOKYO - Japan's antitrust watchdog plans to warn major automaker Nissan Motor Co. for unilaterally reducing payments to over 30 subcontractors, a source familiar with the matter said Monday.

Nissan allegedly underpaid the companies by some 3 billion yen ($20 million) upon delivery of their services over an extended period, in violation of the subcontract law, the source said, with the Yokohama-based company admitting it was in the wrong.


Former embassy worker wins battle for Japanese employment benefits

OSAKA - A former employee of the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo was retroactively enrolled in Japan's employment insurance scheme on the order of the state-run job consultation office, allowing her to secure benefits she was previously denied when the embassy failed to sign her up, her labor union said Monday.

The woman was hired as a local clerical worker by the embassy in June 2021 and gave birth in January 2023. Although she took 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, she was unable to access further childcare leave benefits as the embassy did not take the legally mandated step of signing her up for employment insurance.


3 in China found guilty of operating Japanese anime piracy site

TOKYO - Three people involved in a website in China offering pirated Japanese anime have been found guilty by a local court of copyright infringement in the first such conviction of an overseas operator as a result of Japanese lobbying, a trade group said Monday.

A court in Jiangsu Province north of Shanghai handed down the verdict last December to the unnamed trio operating "B9GOOD" after the Content Overseas Distribution Association had filed criminal charges against them and the Chinese police charged them last year.


South Korea, U.S. begin military drill amid North Korea missile threat

SEOUL - South Korea and the United States on Monday began a large annual military exercise to prepare for an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean military said, following a series of cruise missile firings by North Korea since late January.

In the Freedom Shield joint exercise to be held for 11 days through March 14, the two allies will conduct 48 field drills, double the number last year, given North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear and missile technology, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.


Japan PM vows strong determination in repatriating North Korea abductees

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Monday that his government will, "with strong determination," make every effort to realize the return of all citizens abducted by North Korea.

Kishida's remarks came during a meeting at his office with family members of the abductees, who have recently said they would not oppose any move by Japan to lift sanctions against North Korea should Pyongyang return all abductees immediately.


Japan's capital spending jumps 16.4% in Oct.-Dec., in boost to GDP

TOKYO - Capital spending by Japanese companies surged 16.4 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Monday, indicating that the state of the Japanese economy may not be as bleak as initially thought.

Investment by all nonfinancial sectors for purposes such as building factories and adding equipment totaled 14.48 trillion yen ($96 billion), a record for the quarter.


1 dead after Japan fishing boat runs aground off Izu Islands

YOKOHAMA - A fishing boat with a crew of 25 mostly Indonesian nationals ran aground off the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the Japan Coast Guard confirming the sole missing member, a Japanese citizen, dead on Monday.

The tuna fishing vessel based in Kagoshima Prefecture, with 20 Indonesian and five Japanese crew, was drifting in waters off Kozushima, part of the Izu Island chain, at around 5 p.m. Sunday after suffering engine and power generator problems, the coast guard said.

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