Japan to seek UNESCO listing of remote islands, Christian sites
TOKYO - The Japanese government plans to submit a proposal to UNESCO by around the end of the month to add a number of islands in the country's southwest to the natural sites on the World Heritage list, the government's top spokesman said Wednesday.
It is also expected to propose that a number of sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures linked to the history of Japan's persecuted Christians be added to the cultural sites on the World Heritage list.
H.K. star Andy Lau injures hip in Thailand ad shoot
HONG KONG - Hong Kong mega-star Andy Lau was injured when he fell from a horse while working in Thailand, he said in a statement on his official website Wednesday.
The 55-year-old actor-singer-movie producer said that while participating in the filming of a commercial there Tuesday, he "fell from the back of a horse and suffered a ruptured pelvis."
H.K. leader warns against independence in policy address
HONG KONG - Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying said Wednesday during his farewell policy address there is "no room" for independence or separation from China, warning against a growing anti-China sentiment in the former British colony that returned to Chinese rule 20 years ago.
Calls for self determination for Hong Kong have grown in recent years during Leung's tenure, which is set to end in June this year after he canceled his re-election bid last month, citing family reasons, amid growing tension between Beijing and the territory where freedom and rights guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" framework are seen to be eroding.
Civic groups hold forum in Philippines to campaign against mercury use
MANILA - Civil society groups held a forum in the Philippines on Wednesday as part of a global campaign against the use of mercury, which can contaminate ecosystems and cause Minamata disease, a neurological problem linked to the consumption of mercury-contaminated seafood.
The seminar in Quezon City, a suburb of Manila, was mainly organized by EcoWaste Coalition, a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues, and was participated in by Hideo Ikoma, 73, a victim of the disease that was identified in Japan 61 years ago, who shared his personal experiences.
Latvian finance minister wary of "hard Brexit"
TOKYO - Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola struck a cautious note on Wednesday toward Britain seeking a clean break from the European Union's single market for goods and services.
"Naturally if the hard Brexit takes place, I don't think there will be anybody who would gain in Europe," Reizniece-Ozola said in an interview with Kyodo News, citing that both Britain and the European Union stand to "lose their competitiveness."
Dentsu cuts 5 execs' pay due to overwork-related suicide of employee
TOKYO - Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc. said Wednesday it has cut the pay of five of its board members due to their failure to prevent a suicide by a young employee that was recognized by labor authorities as a case of death from overwork.
Dentsu said it has also penalized "harshly" three superiors of Matsuri Takahashi, who committed suicide in December 2015 aged 24, without elaborating what punitive measures were imposed.
Taiwan cross-strait negotiator suggests talks with China counterpart
TAIPEI - The head of Taiwan's quasi-official agency responsible for negotiating with China proposed Wednesday that he and his Chinese counterpart meet on the outlying island of Kinmen in the Taiwan Strait.
Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Tien Hung-mao, who took over the helm of the organization in September last year, told attendees at a gathering with the media in Taipei that he hopes he can meet Chen Deming, chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.
Shogi ass'n chief to quit over false cheating charge against player
TOKYO - The head of the Japan Shogi Association said Wednesday he will step down to take responsibility over a top-ranked player facing a false allegation that he cheated with software assistance during official games last year.
"There was a flaw in dealing with (the matter). I deeply apologize to Hiroyuki Miura ninth dan for causing trouble," Koji Tanigawa, 54, said at a news conference in Tokyo, using the title "ninth dan" for highest-rank players of the chess-like Japanese board game.
U.S. urged to ban Taiwan delegation from Trump inauguration: report
BEIJING - China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman urged the United States on Wednesday to ban a delegation from Taiwan from attending the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump, Reuters reported.
Hua Chunying said China wanted Washington "not to allow the Taiwan authority to send a so-called delegation to the United States to attend the presidential inauguration," which will take place on Friday, the report said.
Toshiba eyes spinning off flash memory business
TOKYO - Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday it is considering spinning off its mainstay flash memory business, a move that could help it generate cash through the sale of a stake in the new entity to offset losses in its U.S. nuclear business.
In a statement released following reports on the matter, the embattled Japanese electronics manufacturer said, "Toshiba positions its memory business as a focus business, and is studying the possibility of splitting it into a separate company," emphasizing nothing has been decided yet.
Dollar recovers 113 yen line, caution remains over Trump remarks
TOKYO - The U.S. dollar recouped overnight losses to climb above the 113 yen line Wednesday in Tokyo, but its gain was capped by a reported comment by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that he believes the dollar is "too strong."
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 113.32-34 yen compared with 112.57-67 yen in New York and 113.28-30 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday. It moved between 112.58 yen and 113.43 yen during the day, changing hands most frequently at 113.05 yen.
U.S. F-35 fighter jets arrive in Japan, mark 1st overseas deployment
YAMAGUCHI, Japan - A group of F-35 fighter jets arrived at a U.S. Marine base in western Japan on Wednesday, marking the first deployment of the stealth aircraft outside the United States and reflecting the country's policy of focusing on Asia.
The move is expected to increase the importance of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni as a key military post in the region at a time when Japan faces rising Chinese maritime assertiveness. Some F-35s will arrive later, raising the total number of the deployed aircraft to 16, according to the U.S. military.
© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire