Kyodo News Digest: Aug. 14, 2021
Written by tokyoclub on August 14, 2021
The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.
TOKYO – Japan’s daily total of coronavirus cases topped 20,000 for the second straight day Saturday, adding to pressure on the government to expand the state of emergency that currently covers Tokyo, Osaka and some other prefectures.
The number of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms across the country totaled 1,521 as of Friday, up 43 from the previous day and hitting a record high for the second straight day, the health ministry said.
TOKYO – Torrential rain continued in wide areas of Japan on Saturday, with the weather agency issuing emergency warnings in Hiroshima Prefecture as well as three prefectures in Kyushu, all of which have registered record downpours.
Landslides and flood damage are feared in a wide area stretching from western Japan to the northeastern part of the country with a seasonal front expected to hover near the main island of Honshu for a week, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
BEIJING – North Korean Ambassador to China Ri Ryong Nam called the United States a “common threat” to the two countries, adding that Pyongyang and Beijing should work together to respond to it, the Global Times reported Saturday.
In an interview with the tabloid of the Chinese Communist Party, Ri criticized Washington for conducting military drills across East Asia, including those with South Korea.
SEOUL – South Korea on Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the day the first South Korean woman publicly spoke out about her experiences as a “comfort woman” during World War II as it commemorated those who were forced to work in the Japanese military’s wartime brothels.
In a prerecorded video message for the Japanese Military Comfort Women Victims Memorial Day, President Moon Jae In reiterated that his government will seek to restore the honor and dignity of the women while pursuing solutions based on a “victim-centered approach.”
TOKYO – Japan plans to revise its Medium Term Defense Program earlier than originally scheduled as it looks to boost spending to counter China’s growing assertiveness in surrounding waters and prepare for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait, government sources said Friday.
The program, which covers the five years through fiscal 2023, could be updated within the year, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi having agreed earlier this month that some changes are necessary, the sources said.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government on Friday warned of “acts of targeted violence” around the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, while noting that foreign terrorist organizations continue to seek to influence individuals in the United States.
In a terrorism warning bulletin issued the same day, the Department of Homeland Security said the country is under a “heightened threat environment” and the Sept. 11 anniversary as well as religious holidays could “serve as a catalyst” for violent activities.
Baseball: Ohtani drives in run, but Astros curb late Angels comeback
ANAHEIM, California – Shohei Ohtani delivered an RBI single in the eighth inning, but the Houston Astros snuffed out hopes of a late rally by the Los Angeles Angels to win their series opener 4-1 on Friday.
Batting leadoff as designated hitter, Ohtani singled off Kendall Graveman with two out and two on to score Brandon Marsh and bring the tying run to the plate.
TOKYO – Japan will give national public employees up to 10 days of paid leave a year to receive fertility treatments starting next January, in a bid to support couples hoping to have a baby as the country grapples with a rapidly declining birth rate.
“The public sector will take the initiative,” Yuko Kawamoto, president of the National Personnel Authority, said Tuesday at a press conference, indicating she hopes the move will encourage the private sector to follow suit.