October 2, Monday, 2023

1. The head of an animation firm in Kyoto City has denied in court that his studio stoke the idea for a novel, as a man accused of a deadly arson attack claims. Kyoto Animation President Hatta Hideaki testified as a witness in the trial of Aoba Shinji at the Kyoto District Court on Monday. Hatta said it is heart-wrenching that the incident happened due to Aoba’s mistaken belief. 2. Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates says it is changing its name to focus on compensating the victims of its late founder. The agency has been at the center of a scandal over sex abuse involving Johnny Kitagawa. It also says it’s starting a new company to manage their roster of talent. The company says 478 people have come forward as of the end of last month with allegations of abuse involving Kitagawa. Of those, 325 are seeking compensation, which the company will begin distributing starting in November under a new name: “Smile-Up.”
3. Tokyo metropolitan police have arrested another ex-cram school teacher on suspicion of conspiring to shoot images of a girl’s underwear with a former colleague already under arrest. Police also referred the school to prosecutors for alleged violation of the personal information protection law.

September 29, Friday, 2023

1. The US State Department has announced that US and Chinese senior diplomatic officials held talks in Washington this week. The department said US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister for Asia Sun Weidong on Wednesday. 2. Japanese Princess Kako, the second daughter of Crown Prince and Princess Akishino, will visit Peru in November to mark 150 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. Prince Kako will our the South American nation for 10 days starting on November 1. It will be her second official overseas trip. Japan and Peru signed a commerce and navigation treaty in 1873. 3. The US Defense Department says Ukrainian pilots have begun training in the United States to fly F-16 fighter jets. But the training program could be disrupted if the US government shuts down this weekend. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh confirmed that English language training has started for several pilots from Ukraine. Such training is required for pilots to learn the technical terms needed to operate the fighter jets.

September 28, Thursday, 2023

1. Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will start the second round of the release of treated and diluted water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean on October 5. TEPCO says it made the decision about the schedule after examining the facilities for the release and the results of the first round of discharge and found no problems or reasons to change the procedure. 2. Japanese automakers have reported slumping new car sales in China in August. The firms have been struggling with their lineups of largely gasoline-powered and hybrid models as the country shifts rapidly to electric vehicles.
3. The latest trade data show that the release of treated and diluted water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has hit Japan’s seafood industry. The value of exports to China fell more than 75 percent in August compared to the previous year.

September 27, Wednesday, 2023

1. Okinawa’s governor has indicated he will not approve by Wednesday’s deadline the Japanese government’s project for the relocation of a US military base within the southwestern prefecture. Tokyo plans to shift the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station from the densely populated city of Ginowan to an offshore site at Henoko in Nago City.
2. Nursery school children in the northern Japan prefecture of Aomori were recently given the chance to harvest soybeans whose earlier generations had traveled to space. A local variety of soybeans were brought to and kept at the International Space Station for four months in 2010 for experimental purposes. The beans were planted at a local agricultural high school after their return from space. Students at the school have continued growing the beans since then. 3. Children have returned to a school in a town near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv after a charity group there set up a bomb shelter as classes resume. Japan helped fund the facility. UNICEF says one-third of Ukraine’s school-age children, about 1.5 million, rely on online learning as their schools were destroyed or have no bomb shelters.

September 26, Tuesday, 2023

1. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has hinted at the possibility of President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the US in November. At the news conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Wang unveiled a white paper titled “A Global Community of Shared Future; China’s Proposals and Actions.” He emphasized China’s commitment to working with other nations to create a beautiful future for humanity.”
2. Trial runs of a bullet train of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line have begun in an extended part of the line set to open in March. The new section links Kanazawa Prefecture and Tsuruga Station in neighboring Fukui Prefecture, both along the Sea of Japan Coast. 3. Nissan Motor has ramped up its electric vehicle strategy in Europe with a bold new target. It plans to sell EVs there by 2030. Nissan says that of the over one million EVs it has sold globally, one-third have been in Europe. The carmaker apparently hopes to get ahead of the competition as the continent speeds up its shift to EVs.

September 25, Monday, 2023

1. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has mapped out a new economic stimulus package partly in response to the continued high cost of living. “We’ve come through the pandemic and everyone is now struggling with high prices,” Kishida said. “We want to implement economic measures to appropriately return to the public the increased tax revenues, which are the result of growth.” 2. This season’s first auction of blowfish has been held in the western Japanese city of Shimonoseki, heralding the arrival of the traditional winter delicacy on the market. The auction was held early Monsay morning at the Haedomari fish market, which handles largest amount of the wild torafugu variety in Japan.
3. Shipments of Chinese mitten crabs have started in the eastern province of Jiangsu in China. The seasonal delicacy is also known as Shanghai hairy crab. In China, it is popular to steam the crabs whole and dip the meat in vinegar flavored with ginger.

September 22, Friday, 2023

1. Japan’s Crown Prince and Princess Akishino have attended a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the country and Vietnam in its capital Hanoi. The two are now visiting Vietnam. In a speech at the ceremony on Thursday evening, the Crown Prince said the bilateral friendship has been nurtured over a long time through constant efforts by people of both countries. 2. Japan, Germany, Brazil and India have confirmed that they will work together to try to reform the United Nations Security Council. The foreign ministers of the four countries, known as the G4, met on Thursday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. The countries are seeking to secure permanent seats on the council. Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko and the other ministers agreed that it is becoming increasingly important to strengthen the functions of the United Nations, due to Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
3. Policymakers at the Bank of Japan have decided to leave the central bank’s easing program unchanged as they wrapped up their two-day meeting on Friday. Investors are now focusing on whether BOJ Governor Ueda Kazuo will offer any fresh signals on the timing of a policy shift at his news conference scheduled after the meeting.

September 21, Thursday, 2023

1. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing harm to people worldwide. He emphasized the need for the United Nations to undergo reform as the Security Council is not functioning as it should. Cleverly said Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia has been slower than some would like, but the country was being careful to minimize casualties. He noted that Ukraine has achieved success in that regard. He also stated that the UK will continue to provide support, assessing Ukraine’s weapons needs.
2. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has stressed the need for United Nations reform at a time when the rule of law is being challenged by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. 3. Ukraine and Russia exchanged criticism at a special session of the UN Security Council, held to address the situation in Ukraine. The meeting took place at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday alongside the General Assembly. Attendees included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

September 20, Wednesday, 2023

1. US President Joe Biden has hosted the first summit between his country and five Central Asian countries. The meeting, dubbed C5+1, was held in New York on Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Along with Biden, the leaders of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended the meeting. 2. Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has called for international cooperation in tackling a range of complex problems the global community is facing in his speech at the UN General Assembly. He also urged reform of the United Nations.
3. Japanese transport officials are predicting that the country will be short of over 30,000 bus drivers by fiscal 2030.

September 19, Tuesday, 2023

1. The Group of Seven foreign ministers have issued a statement denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces. The top diplomats met for about two hours on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. 2. The Polish government is stepping up its border security as more people try to illegally enter Poland from Belarus. The two countries share a 400-kilometer border and Poland suspects Belarus is deliberately using migrants to destabilize the area. A spokesperson with the Polish Border Guard told NHK that not a single day passes without illegal border crossings. 3. An annual competition featuring dozens of giant pumpkins harvested from across Japan was held on Shodoshima Island, western Japan. The 37th giant pumpkin contest was held in the town of Tonosho in Kagawa Prefecture on Sunday.