March 27, Monday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. China’s Foreign Ministry says a Japanese man detained in the country is suspected of engaging in espionage activities. Major Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma has confirmed that one of its employees in his 50s was detained in Beijing on suspicion of violating Chinese law.
2. Myanmar’s junta chief has overseen a massive military parade and stressed his soldiers will continue to confront pro-democracy forces head-on. Top general Min Aung Hlaing called the pro-democracy groups “terrorists.” He said their attacks are a conspiracy to devastate the country, and the military will resolutely oppose them.
3. Ukraine and Western nations are slamming Russia’s plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that a storage facility for such weapons is scheduled to be constructed in Belarus by July 1. The Ukrainian foreign ministry condemned Putin’s plan on Sunday, calling it another provocative step by his administration.

March 24, Friday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed to further solidify the country’s three-way security cooperation with Japan and the United States in the face of North Korea’s repeated military provocations.
2. Several hundred thousand people have marched in Paris to protest pension system reforms by the administration of President Emmanuel Macron. The French government is promoting the reforms that include raising the pension age from the current 62 years to 64. Last week, the government forced a reform bill through parliament without a vote by taking advantage of a constitutional article.
3. Miura Riku and Kihara Ryuichi have claimed gold in the pairs figure skating at the World Championships in Japan. The pair, known as “Riku-Ryu,” performed last after topping the short program the day before. They started with a twist lift and three consecutive jumps. They earned the highest “level four” for the execution of the lift. They accurately performed their spins and lifts, and skated to the end with elegant and synchronized moves as the crowd cheered them on.

March 23, Thursday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio returned to Tokyo on Thursday morning after visiting Ukraine and other countries. Kishida said his visit made him painfully aware that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an outrage threatening the international order. Kishida said seeing the places where people have suffered aggression with his own eyes,and listening to the personal accounts of their horrific experiences, made him keenly aware of the recklessness of Russia’s actions.
2. The new school year began this week in Afghanistan, but in most parts of the country girls can only attend elementary school. The Taliban Islamist group regained control of Afghanistan in August 202. The group has refused to allow girls to attend junior and senior high schools. Last December, the group suspended university classes for women. 3. Campaigning has begun for gubernatorial elections in nine prefectures across Japan, kicking off a series of nationwide local elections held every four years. The key campaign issues include policies to support children and child-raising amid the falling birthrate. Candidates are also expected to focus on the revitalization of regional economies.

March 22, Wednesday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. Japan has won the World Baseball Classic for the third time, beating the defending champion United States 3 to 2 in the final. It’s their first title since 2009. Japan finished the tournament undefeated and Ohtani was named the Most Valuable Player.
2. Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The two leaders have framed their relationship as one with “no limits.” Putin and Xi discussed their shared goal of providing a counterbalance to the West. They hailed what they called a “new era.”
3. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has said Tokyo will make 30 million dollars available through NATO trust funds to help Ukraine acquire non-lethal equipment. Kishida said he definitely wanted to visit Ukraine meet Zelenskyy in person and deliver his country’s unwavering solidarity before Japan hosts the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.

March 21, Tuesday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline read by Ms. Keiko Kitagawa

1. Japan advanced to the final of the World Baseball Classic by beating Mexico 6-5. “Samurai Japan” will face Team USA in the final on Tuesday in Miami.
2.Japanese officials say Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is heading to Ukraine after visiting India. It will mark the first visit to Ukraine by a Japanese leader since the start of the Russian invasion.
3. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held an informal meeting in Moscow on Monday. The Chinese president is on a three-day state visit to Russia. This is his first visit since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

March 20, Monday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Moscow to hold summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Xi started his three-day state visit to Russia on Monday. This is his first visit since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February last year. A summit meeting is scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
2. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has invited his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to the G7 summit in May and Modi accepted. The two leaders met in New Delhi, the capital of India on Monday. Both countries agreed to continue to commit to maintain a rules-based world order. 3. Six major central banks have announced a coordinated move to inject more dollars into the global financial system. The decision follows the collapse of two US banks and comes amid a deal for an emergency takeover of Credit Suisse.

March 17, Friday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. Western analysts say Russia’s offensive in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk may be losing steam as Ukrainian troops continue all-out resistance. Russian private military firm Wagner Group and Ukrainian forces are locked in a fierce battle for full control of the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut. 2. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Beijing intends to play a constructive role in bringing about a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia. China’s Foreign Ministry said the two ministers held telephone talks on Thursday. The ministry quoted Qin as saying he had expressed concern about an escalation of the Ukraine-Russia crisis and the possibility of it getting out of control.
3.Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have agreed to resume the so-called shuttle diplomacy between the leaders of the two countries. Such mutual visits have not taken place in more than a decade.

March 16, Thursday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. The Japanese Prime Minister and South Korean President are holding talks in Tokyo. Kishida Fumio and Yoon Suk-yeol are hoping to improve strained relations between the countries, as North Korea speeds up its nuclear and missile development. Yoon is the first South Korean president to visit Japan in 12 years – excluding international gatherings.
2. Japan’s defense ministry says the suspected intercontinental ballistic missile fired by North Korea on Thursday likely had the capacity to travel as far as 15,000 kilometers. That is enough to reach the entire US mainland. There is a high possibility that it was what’s known as a lofted missile. 3. A senior White House official has spoken about the US drone that went down into the Black Sea, after it has a physical encounter with a Russian jet. He said the device might never be recovered.

March 15, Wednesday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. Economic data released by China on Wednesday show the world’s second-largest economy picking up at the beginning of this year, following the end of the “zero-COVID” policy. The National Bureau of Statistics says retail sales in the first two months rose by 3.5 percent from the same period a year ago. It was the first increase after three straight months of declines going back to October of 2022. 2. Japan’s annual wage negotiations are set to peak on Wednesday, when many companies will respond to labor unions. Many unions are having their demands met, but the question is whether workers at not only big firms but also smaller ones will be given persistent pay raises. 3. Japan’s Upper House has stripped a member of the chamber of his status as a lawmaker for failing to attend a single Diet session. On Wednesday, the Upper House plenary session voted 235 to one to expel opposition Seijikajoshi 48 Party member GaaSyy. He will no longer be a lawmaker.

March 14, Tuesday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline

1. South Korea’s military says North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday morning. This comes one day after US and South Korean forces began joint military drills. 2. US President Joe Biden has pledged to do whatever it takes to contain the fallout from a pair of banking collapses. He is working to restore confidence after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
3. China’s President Xi Jinping is reportedly planning a visit to Russia next week for talks with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.