Nemophila flowers are in full bloom at Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, eastern Japan, on April 18, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


2 Japan SDF choppers crash during drill leaving 1 dead, 7 missing

TOKYO - Two Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters crashed during a drill in the Pacific late Saturday, leaving at least one of the eight crew members dead, with the other seven still missing, Japan's defense minister said.

The two aircraft, which crashed in waters around 270 kilometers east of Torishima Island in the Izu Island chain during a nighttime anti-submarine drill in the area, are believed to have collided with each other, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told reporters Sunday. The Izu Islands are located south of Tokyo.


Chinese professor of Japanese univ. missing in China since Feb. 2023

BEIJING/TOKYO - A Chinese professor of Japan's Asia University has become unreachable in China since February last year after he temporarily returned to his home country, sources familiar with bilateral relations said Sunday.

Fan Yuntao, 61, was contacted by Chinese authorities before he disappeared, the sources said, adding he may have been detained. The whereabouts of Hu Shiyun, a professor at Japan's Kobe Gakuin University, also became unknown in China, the college said in March.


Japan PM sends offering to war-linked Yasukuni shrine for spring rite

TOKYO - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday sent a ritual offering to the war-linked Yasukuni shrine, viewed by some of Japan's Asian neighbors as a symbol of the country's past militarism, on the occasion of its spring festival.

Kishida sent the ceremonial tree, called "masakaki," on the first day of the three-day ceremony at the Shinto religious facility in central Tokyo.


25-yr-old man arrested over finding of 2 burnt bodies north of Tokyo

UTSUNOMIYA, Japan - A 25-year-old man was arrested in connection with last week's discovery of the burnt bodies of a man and a woman on a riverside north of Tokyo, police said Sunday.

They said Ryoken Hirayama, who turned himself in at a police box in Tokyo on Wednesday, is being questioned on suspicion of damaging the corpses by setting them on fire, in possible collusion with others, at the site in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, near a resort hotel and a golf course.


12-year-old Japan dancer wins top prize in youth ballet competition

NEW YORK - A 12-year-old female Japanese ballet dancer has won the top prize for her age group for classical dance at a major international ballet competition for young dancers.

Yuna Yamada, a junior high school student from Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan, on Saturday topped the category for girls aged 9 to 11 in classical dance at the Youth America Grand Prix, known as the world's largest student ballet scholarship competition.


Blinken to visit China next week, with Russia high on agenda

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make a three-day visit to China next week to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and other senior officials, in the latest effort to control tensions even as the major powers continue to spar on many issues.

During the visit from Wednesday, Blinken will express "deep concerns" over China's support for Russia's defense industrial base, while other high-priority issues will include the importance of stability around Taiwan ahead of next month's inauguration of the self-ruled island's President-elect Lai Ching-te, a senior State Department official said.


Delta to scrap connecting flight baggage checks in U.S. from Haneda

TOKYO - Delta Air Lines Inc. will scrap required baggage checks for its passengers from Tokyo's Haneda airport when they take connecting domestic flights in the United States, according to a senior executive.

Jeff Moomaw, Delta's vice president for the Asia Pacific region, said in a recent interview that the airline is working out the details of the planned measure in consultation with Japan's transport ministry alongside U.S. authorities, with an eye to introducing the new rule this year at the earliest.


Criteria shift raises U.S. subcritical nuclear test count: peace NPO

TOKYO - A Japanese peace research institute discovered in March that an additional subcritical nuclear test was added to a U.S. tally due to a change in its criteria, with a series of plutonium experiments from 2007 now being grouped together to represent a single test.

Peace Depot Inc., based in Yokohama near Tokyo, filed a request last September with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the details after it was revealed last year that the number of U.S. subcritical nuclear tests had risen from a total of 32 to 33.

Video: Nemophila flowers in full bloom in Ibaraki Prefecture