Kyodo News Digest: May 19, 2021 – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Kyodo News Digest: May 19, 2021

Written by on May 19, 2021

Photo taken May 8, 2021, shows a golden loach being displayed at a cultural exchange center in Oe in Yamagata Prefecture, northeastern Japan, after being found in a nearby rice paddy. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

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


Japan gov’t drops immigration bill with Sri Lankan death in spotlight

TOKYO – Japan’s government decided Tuesday to withdraw a bill revising rules on how to accommodate foreigners facing deportation, ruling coalition lawmakers said, amid criticism over the alleged improper treatment of a Sri Lankan woman who died while held at an immigration facility.

The abrupt decision to give up on the passage of the bill during the current parliamentary session through mid-June came amid growing concerns within the ruling camp that pushing through the amendment of the immigration law, which could worsen the conditions for asylum seekers in Japan, may invoke a public backlash.


Japan gov’t, plaintiffs of asbestos suits agree on settlement

TOKYO – The Japanese government and plaintiffs in lawsuits over damages caused by asbestos agreed Tuesday on a settlement after the Supreme Court held the state liable for lung cancer and other illnesses contracted by construction workers exposed to the material.

The plaintiffs signed an agreement with health minister Norihisa Tamura after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga offered an apology in a meeting with them and their lawyers in four suits on which the top court ruled the previous day.


Japan to restrict arrivals from Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka

TOKYO – The Japanese government said Tuesday it will impose stricter restrictions for those who have been in Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka in the 14 days before arrival to prevent a more contagious coronavirus variant first found in India from spreading.

The tighter steps, to be effective in stages from Thursday, came as the three neighbors of India have seen surging infections due to the new coronavirus variant.


U.S. House speaker urges world leaders to boycott Beijing Olympics

WASHINGTON – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for world leaders to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over China’s alleged human rights abuses, including against the Muslim Uyghur minority in its Xinjiang region.

“Here’s what I propose…a diplomatic boycott,” Pelosi told a congressional hearing to examine the implications of holding the Olympics in China, adding, “Let’s not honor the Chinese government by having heads of state go to China.”


U.S. Forces Korea head nominee to work for better Japan-S. Korea ties

WASHINGTON – Army Gen. Paul LaCamera, nominated to become the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, vowed on Tuesday to work toward improving the soured relationship between Japan and South Korea in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile threats.

“We need to continue to look for multilateral or trilateral training operations to bring them together,” the current commander of the U.S. Army Pacific said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, referring to Tokyo and Seoul.


Toyota to halt 2 plants amid chip crunch, 20,000 vehicles affected

NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will suspend production lines at two plants in Japan for up to eight days in June due to a global semiconductor shortage, affecting an estimated 20,000 vehicles.

Toyota’s first domestic output adjustment caused by the chip shortage will impact the production of three models — the C-HR and Yaris Cross crossover SUVs as well as the Yaris compact car.


Chinese envoy to Japan raps Quad grouping as “100% outdated”

TOKYO – Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou on Tuesday criticized the Quad grouping comprising the United States, Japan, India and Australia as representing a “Cold War mentality” and “100 percent outdated.”

In an interview with Kyodo News, Kong urged Japan to depart from diplomacy that follows in the steps of its ally the United States and to strengthen ties with China by exerting “strategic independence.”


Popular Japanese actor Masakazu Tamura with 60-year career dies at 77

TOKYO – Japanese actor Masakazu Tamura, who appeared in a number of popular TV series and films in his 60-year career, died of heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo last month, people close to him said Tuesday. He was 77.

Tamura, a son of Kabuki star Bando Tsumasaburo, was a household name throughout Japan for playing an awkward but comical police officer in a 1994-2006 TV drama series “Furuhata Ninzaburo,” featuring guest villains such as members of the now-disbanded pop idol group SMAP and former baseball player Ichiro Suzuki.


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