February 23, Thursday, 2023 (1:30 p.m.) Newsline read by Ms. Keiko Kitagawa

1. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has greeted the general public on his birthday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Emperor turned 63 on Thursday. This is the first time he has delivered a public birthday greeting since he ascended the throne in 2019. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, only 4,800 people, chosen by lottery, were allowed into the palace grounds. 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared his intention to boost his country’s nuclear forces, just a day before the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The president hailed Russian forces in Ukraine, saying, “Our troops are heroically fighting the neo-Nazism that has taken root in Ukraine, protecting our people in our historical lands, and are fighting courageously and heroically.”
3. A senior United States government official has expressed deep concerns over China’s possible support for the Russian military in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine and said if assistance is given, it will seriously impact US-China relations.