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.