AJMEDIA News Digest: Jan. 29, 2023

Tokyo, 29 January, /AJMEDIA/

China resumes issuing visas to Japanese citizens

BEIJING – China said Sunday it will resume issuing visas for Japanese citizens, a procedure it suspended in early January in protest of Tokyo’s tightened COVID-19 measures for travelers from China.

The Chinese Embassy in Tokyo said it will resume the visa issuance on Sunday.


63% oppose consumption tax hike to cover Japan’s child policies: poll

TOKYO – Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may face difficulty advancing his policies to address Japan’s plunging birthrate, with a poll by Kyodo News finding Sunday that 63.6 percent disapprove any increased burden to finance the policies, including a potential consumption tax hike.

The support rate for his Cabinet stood at 33.4 percent, almost unchanged from last month’s survey.


FOCUS: Toyota CEO taps younger successor amid paradigm shift in industry

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp.’s surprise announcement Thursday of a change in its top management came as CEO Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the founder, picked an executive more than 10 years younger than him as his successor at a time when the global auto industry faces a once-in-a-century paradigm shift driven by decarbonization and digitization.

The head of the auto group’s Lexus brand operation Koji Sato, 53, will become CEO in April while 66-year-old Toyoda who has led the company since 2009 will become chairman, allowing him to devote more time to lobbying activities.


Charges in Manila may stall deportation of robbery mastermind “Luffy”

MANILA/SEOUL – The deportation of Yuki Watanabe, alias “Luffy,” the suspected mastermind behind a string of robberies in Japan who is now in detention in the Philippines, could be derailed by charges he faces in a separate case in the Southeast Asian country, according to a Philippine investigative source.

Watanabe has been charged with violating the law on violence against women and children, according to a local court. The investigative source said that Watanabe may be hoping that the case will be a “way to avoid” being sent back to Japan. It was not clear when the case was filed against him.


Ukraine steps up efforts to bar Russian athletes from Paris Olympics

GENEVA – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday intensified his efforts to prevent Russian athletes from participating in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine has written to major international sports federations asking them to clarity their position on the International Olympic Committee’s plans to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Olympics “under strict conditions.”


Sumo: Record-setting champion Hakuho emotional in retirement ceremony

TOKYO – Record 45-time Grand Sumo Tournament winner Hakuho had his retirement ceremony Saturday when his topknot was cut, one strand at a time, by some 280 acquaintances including former wrestlers and prominent figures in Japan.

Mongolian-born Hakuho retired in September 2021 and fellow former yokozuna Kisenosato, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda were among the participants at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.


Japan’s monthly COVID deaths top 10,000 for 1st time

TOKYO – A total of 252 new coronavirus deaths were reported in Japan on Saturday, bringing the death toll for January to 10,124, the first time a monthly figure has exceeded 10,000, according to a tally based on prefectural reports.

COVID-19 deaths have been rapidly increasing in the country since around November when the number of infected people rebounded. More than 7,600 people died in December, the highest monthly total at that time.


Third of Japan small, mid-sized firms intend to hike pay: survey

TOKYO – Around a third of small to mid-sized Japanese firms intend to raise wages in the future amid repeated government calls for pay hikes to counter inflation, a recent survey showed.

Some 34 percent of respondents said they are willing to offer wage hikes, including companies that have already raised wages, according to the survey by Daido Life Insurance Co.

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