Kyodo News Digest: July 17, 2021
Written by tokyoclub on July 17, 2021
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attends an online meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders on July 16, 2021, in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of Japan’s Cabinet Public Relations Office)(Kyodo)
The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.
SYDNEY – Leaders from 21 Pacific-Rim economies including Japan, the United States and China pledged on Friday to beef up the availability of COVID-19 vaccines to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and to provide the necessary ongoing support for their economies to recover.
“We will only overcome this health emergency by accelerating equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured and affordable COVID-19 vaccines,” the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum said in a statement issued after their informal virtual summit.
OSAKA – A Ugandan athlete who took part in pre-Olympic training camp in western Japan has gone missing, leaving a note to the effect of, “I want to work in Japan,” local officials said Friday, with police now conducting a search in a case that may raise further questions about the safety of the games to be held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Julius Ssekitoleko, a 20-year-old weightlifter staying in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, purchased at a local station a shinkansen bullet train ticket to Nagoya, about 200 kilometers away, the city said, nearly a day since the athlete was last seen.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government on Friday warned of the “growing risks” businesses operating in Hong Kong could face as China tightens its grip on the former British colony under a newly enacted national security law, while imposing sanctions on seven Chinese officials.
“Hong Kong’s business environment has deteriorated in the past year,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, noting that Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in the region has chipped away the region’s reputation for “accountable, transparent governance and respect for individual freedoms.”
SEOUL – A South Korean civic group said Friday it strongly supports UNESCO recommendations that urge Japan to honor wartime forced labor victims, claiming exhibits at a Tokyo center on Japanese industrial sites listed as World Cultural Heritage lack explanation on the victims.
The center featuring the sites called Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution opened in Tokyo in March 2020 with the support of the Japanese government, based on the recommendations made by UNESCO since 2015 when the sites were inscribed on the World Heritage list.
Hong Kong protest documentary screened at Cannes Film Festival
HONG KONG/CANNES, France – A special screening of the Hong Kong protest documentary “Revolution of Our Times,” depicting the events of the city’s 2019 pro-democracy protests, was held at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday.
The decision to show the documentary, which was kept under tight wraps until its screening, may anger Beijing and Hong Kong authorities due to its political themes, with the authorities branding the protests as riots by “anti-China elements.”
HIROSHIMA – The head of the International Olympic Committee traveled to Hiroshima on Friday and called for global solidarity in building a more peaceful future, amid opposition from some survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing on the city who say the visit ahead of the Tokyo Games beginning next week is politically motivated.
Thomas Bach’s one-day trip from Tokyo to the western Japan city, which has been at the vanguard of the global campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, comes as public frustration persists over the IOC pushing ahead with the Olympics despite the coronavirus pandemic.
NAGOYA – Ozeki Terunofuji appears poised to earn promotion to sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna after reeling off his 13th straight win on Friday, leaving him tied with yokozuna Hakuho for the lead at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament with two days left to go.
Terunofuji entered the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena with the knowledge that a third straight championship here or a comparable record would earn him promotion.
China’s new envoy to head to U.S. in late July amid tensions
BEIJING – China’s new ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, a former Foreign Ministry spokesman, is likely to head for Washington in late July, succeeding Cui Tiankai, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Qin, currently serving as deputy foreign minister, reportedly took a tough stance against the United States during his time until 2011 as director general of the ministry’s Information Department, its chief spokesman.