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Kyodo news summary -5-

TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo

----------
Hon Hai asks for SoftBank's cooperation to buy Toshiba chip unit

TOKYO - Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has asked for
SoftBank Group Corp.'s cooperation in its bid to acquire Toshiba
Corp.'s chip unit, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Hon Hai, which bought Japanese display maker Sharp Corp. last
year, is also calling on other Japanese companies to jointly form a
consortium in an effort to gain approval from the Japanese government
which is concerned about technology drain.
----------
N. Korean army says "toughest" counteraction ready against U.S.

BEIJING - North Korea's army said Friday it is ready to take the
"toughest" counteraction against the United States if it continues
with "provocative" moves.
"Our toughest counteraction against the United States and its
vassal forces will be taken in such a merciless manner as not to
allow the aggressors to survive," a statement from the army, carried
by the country's official Korean Central News Agency said.
----------
University student killed by mob in northwest Pakistan for blasphemy

ISLAMABAD - One student died after two were attacked for
blasphemy by a mob at Abdul Wali Khan University in northwestern
Pakistan on Thursday, according to university and local officials.
Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student, died of a gunshot
wound after he and another student at the university in Mardan in
Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province were attacked and severely beaten for
purportedly spreading the Ahmadi faith via Facebook, according to
Deputy Inspector General Alam Shinwari of the local police.
----------
U.S. drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - U.S. forces on Thursday struck an Islamic State
tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with a GBU-43 bomb, the largest
non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, according
to U.S. media.
A U.S. aircraft dropped the GBU-43, known as the "mother of all
bombs," in an operation designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and
U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while
maximizing the destruction of Islamic State fighters and facilities,
according to the Defense Department.
----------
Top court upholds death penalty for woman for killing 3 men

TOKYO - The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence
given to a 42-year-old woman for killing three men she met through an
online dating service in the Tokyo area in 2009.
Kanae Kijima had pleaded not guilty but the top court upheld her
convictions for the murder of Takao Terada, 53, Kenzo Ando, 80, and
Yoshiyuki Oide, 41, between January and August 2009.
----------
Grief, resolve mixed as Kumamoto marks 1st quake anniv.

KUMAMOTO, Japan - Japan marked on Friday the first anniversary
of strong earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture that caused or led to
more than 200 deaths, with governments and those affected pledging to
overcome the disaster and accelerate efforts at reconstruction.
One year after the earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.5
temblor on April 14 and an M7.3 quake two days later that also
affected neighboring prefectures in Japan's southwestern Kyushu
region, more than 47,000 people are still displaced.
----------
Dollar down to upper 108 yen as U.S. bombing fuels risk aversion

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar edged down to the upper 108 yen level in
subdued Tokyo trading on Friday as U.S. bombing in Afghanistan added
to geopolitical risks, prompting market participants to seek the
relative safety of the Japanese currency.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 108.92-94 yen compared with
109.03-13 yen in New York and 109.01-03 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday. It moved between 108.85 yen and 109.23 yen during the day,
changing hands most frequently at 109.17 yen.
----------
Parents group head arrested over murder of Vietnamese girl in Chiba

CHIBA, Japan - A murder investigation following the discovery of
a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl's body in Chiba Prefecture last month
took a shocking turn Friday as police arrested the head of a parents'
association at the victim's school in connection with the case.
Police arrested Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, for allegedly abandoning
the body of Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third-grade elementary school pupil
living in Matsudo, Chiba.
----------
Japan's key bond yield at 4-month low after U.S. bombs Afghanistan

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government
bond fell Friday to its lowest level in over four months as investors
fled to the debt and other relatively safe assets amid growing
geopolitical tension following U.S. bombing in Afghanistan.
The yield on the No. 346, 0.1 percent issue, the main barometer
of long-term interest rates, ended interdealer trading at 0.010
percent, down 0.010 percentage point from Thursday's close.
----------
N. Korea missile capability may be improving overall: Japan think tank

TOKYO - A Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday of
the highly uncertain security situation in East Asia, saying that
North Korea may be improving its overall missile capabilities and
China may be moving to take control of disputed islands in the East
China Sea.
"North Korea's missile capabilities have diversified and may
have improved across the board," the National Institute for Defense
Studies said in its annual report on security issues in East Asia,
citing Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests over the past
year.
----------
Tokyo stocks fall as U.S. bombing in Afghanistan hurts sentiment

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks lost ground Friday as a U.S. decision to
bomb a target in Afghanistan added to geopolitical risk already
heightened by the situations in Syria and North Korea, with
Japan-U.S. economic talks also looming next week.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 91.21 points, or
0.49 percent, from Thursday at 18,335.63. The broader Topix index of
all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 9.24
points, or 0.63 percent, lower at 1,459.07.
----------
FEATURE: ALS sufferer publishes journey through life in own words

AKITA, Japan - Notes left by a farmer who lived with the
muscle-wasting disease known as ALS for 33 years have been compiled
into a book, giving voice to the personal experience of someone
living with the affliction.
Shigeru Matsumoto, a former head of the Japan Amyotrophic
Lateral Sclerosis Association, compiled his journal using a
computer-aided writing system that transcribes characters by sensing
electronic signals from slight movements of the jaw.


Kyodo news summary -4-

TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo

----------
Top court upholds death penalty for woman for killing 3 men

TOKYO - The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence
given to a 42-year-old woman for killing three men she met through an
online dating service in the Tokyo area in 2009.
Kanae Kijima had pleaded not guilty but the top court upheld her
convictions for the murder of Takao Terada, 53, Kenzo Ando, 80, and
Yoshiyuki Oide, 41, between January and August 2009.
----------
Grief, resolve mixed as Kumamoto marks 1st quake anniv.

KUMAMOTO, Japan - Japan marked on Friday the first anniversary
of strong earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture that caused or led to
more than 200 deaths, with governments and those affected pledging to
overcome the disaster and accelerate efforts at reconstruction.
One year after the earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.5
temblor on April 14 and an M7.3 quake two days later that also
affected neighboring prefectures in Japan's southwestern Kyushu
region, more than 47,000 people are still displaced.
----------
Dollar down to upper 108 yen as U.S. bombing fuels risk aversion

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar edged down to the upper 108 yen level in
subdued Tokyo trading on Friday as U.S. bombing in Afghanistan added
to geopolitical risks, prompting market participants to seek the
relative safety of the Japanese currency.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 108.92-94 yen compared with
109.03-13 yen in New York and 109.01-03 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday. It moved between 108.85 yen and 109.23 yen during the day,
changing hands most frequently at 109.17 yen.
----------
Parents group head arrested over murder of Vietnamese girl in Chiba

CHIBA, Japan - A murder investigation following the discovery of
a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl's body in Chiba Prefecture last month
took a shocking turn Friday as police arrested the head of a parents'
association at the victim's school in connection with the case.
Police arrested Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, for allegedly abandoning
the body of Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third-grade elementary school pupil
living in Matsudo, Chiba.
----------
Japan's key bond yield at 4-month low after U.S. bombs Afghanistan

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government
bond fell Friday to its lowest level in over four months as investors
fled to the debt and other relatively safe assets amid growing
geopolitical tension following U.S. bombing in Afghanistan.
The yield on the No. 346, 0.1 percent issue, the main barometer
of long-term interest rates, ended interdealer trading at 0.010
percent, down 0.010 percentage point from Thursday's close.
----------
N. Korea missile capability may be improving overall: Japan think tank

TOKYO - A Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday of
the highly uncertain security situation in East Asia, saying that
North Korea may be improving its overall missile capabilities and
China may be moving to take control of disputed islands in the East
China Sea.
"North Korea's missile capabilities have diversified and may
have improved across the board," the National Institute for Defense
Studies said in its annual report on security issues in East Asia,
citing Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests over the past
year.
----------
Tokyo stocks fall as U.S. bombing in Afghanistan hurts sentiment

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks lost ground Friday as a U.S. decision to
bomb a target in Afghanistan added to geopolitical risk already
heightened by the situations in Syria and North Korea, with
Japan-U.S. economic talks also looming next week.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 91.21 points, or
0.49 percent, from Thursday at 18,335.63. The broader Topix index of
all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 9.24
points, or 0.63 percent, lower at 1,459.07.
----------
FEATURE: ALS sufferer publishes journey through life in own words

AKITA, Japan - Notes left by a farmer who lived with the
muscle-wasting disease known as ALS for 33 years have been compiled
into a book, giving voice to the personal experience of someone
living with the affliction.
Shigeru Matsumoto, a former head of the Japan Amyotrophic
Lateral Sclerosis Association, compiled his journal using a
computer-aided writing system that transcribes characters by sensing
electronic signals from slight movements of the jaw.
----------
U.S. drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - U.S. forces on Thursday struck an Islamic State
tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with a GBU-43 bomb, the largest
non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, according
to U.S. media.
A U.S. aircraft dropped the GBU-43, known as the "mother of all
bombs," in an operation designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and
U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while
maximizing the destruction of Islamic State fighters and facilities,
according to the Defense Department.
----------
Seven-Eleven ties up with Seino on home delivery amid labor shortage

TOKYO - Japan's largest convenience store operator Seven-Eleven
Japan Co. has tied up with logistic company Seino Holdings Co. to
outsource product delivery amid the rising labor shortage at its
outlets, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Seino Holdings will establish a subsidiary that will take over
the home delivery service offered by roughly 150 stores in Tokyo,
Aichi and five other prefectures. The new company will begin its
service in May with some 100 workers to deliver products bought at
Seven-Eleven convenience stores.
----------
FOCUS: School parent group head's arrest over girl's murder shocks
community

CHIBA, Japan - A community is in shock after learning that a man
arrested in connection with the murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese
girl in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, is the head of the parents'
association of the elementary school that the victim attended.
Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, a self-proclaimed real estate broker, was
described by neighbors as a "doting father." He was arrested Friday
on suspicion of abandoning the girl's body, but not so far for the
murder itself.
----------
Court upholds 23-yr imprisonment for 2 men over fatal street racing

SAPPORO - An appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court
decision sentencing two men to 23 years in prison for killing four
members of a family and injuring another in a car crash while street
racing in Hokkaido in northern Japan in 2015.
The Sapporo High Court turned down the appeal by Ryuji Tanikoshi
and Ryuichi Komi, both 28, who were convicted of charges including
reckless driving causing injury and death.

Kyodo news summary -3-

TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo

----------
Grief, resolve as Kumamoto marks 1st quake anniv.

KUMAMOTO, Japan - Japan on Friday marked the first anniversary
of strong earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture that caused more than
200 deaths, with governments and those affected pledging to overcome
the disaster and accelerate efforts at reconstruction.
One year after the earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.5
temblor on April 14 and a M7.3 quake two days later that also
affected neighboring prefectures in Japan's southwestern Kyushu
region, more than 47,000 people are still displaced.
----------
U.S. drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - U.S. forces on Thursday struck an Islamic State
tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with a GBU-43 bomb, the largest
non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States, according
to U.S. media.
A U.S. aircraft dropped the GBU-43, known as the "mother of all
bombs," in an operation designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and
U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while
maximizing the destruction of Islamic State fighters and facilities,
according to the Defense Department.
----------
Tokyo stocks fall as U.S. bombing in Afghanistan hurts sentiment

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks lost ground Friday as a U.S. decision to
bomb a target in Afghanistan added to geopolitical risk already
heightened by the situations in Syria and North Korea with Japan-U.S.
economic talks also looming next week.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 91.21 points, or
0.49 percent, from Thursday at 18,335.63. The broader Topix index of
all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 9.24
points, or 0.63 percent, lower at 1,459.07.
----------
Top court upholds death penalty for woman for killing 3 men

TOKYO - The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence
given to a 42-year-old woman for killing three men she met through an
online dating service in the Tokyo area in 2009.
Although Kanae Kijima had pleaded not guilty to the murders, the
top court ruled she killed all three -- Takao Terada 53, Kenzo Ando,
80, and Yoshiyuki Oide, 41 -- between January and August of 2009.
----------
Seven-Eleven ties up with Seino on home delivery amid labor shortage

TOKYO - Japan's largest convenience store operator Seven-Eleven
Japan Co. has tied up with logistic company Seino Holdings Co. to
outsource product delivery amid the rising labor shortage at its
outlets, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Seino Holdings will establish a subsidiary that will take over
the home delivery service offered by roughly 150 stores in Tokyo,
Aichi and five other prefectures. The new company will begin its
service in May with some 100 workers to deliver products bought at
Seven-Eleven convenience stores.
----------
Head of parents group nabbed over murder of Vietnamese girl in Chiba

CHIBA, Japan - A murder investigation following the discovery of
a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl's body in Chiba Prefecture last month
took a shocking turn Friday as police arrested the head of a parents'
association at the victim's school in connection with the case.
Police arrested Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, for allegedly abandoning
the body of Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third-grade elementary school pupil
living in Matsudo, Chiba.
----------
FOCUS: School parent group head's arrest over girl's murder shocks
community

CHIBA, Japan - A community is in shock after learning that a man
arrested in connection with the murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese
girl in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, is the head of the parents'
association of the elementary school that the victim attended.
Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, a self-proclaimed real estate broker, was
described by neighbors as a "doting father." He was arrested Friday
on suspicion of abandoning the girl's body, but not so far for the
murder itself.
----------
Court upholds 23-yr imprisonment for 2 men over fatal street racing

SAPPORO - An appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court
decision sentencing two men to 23 years in prison for killing four
members of a family and injuring another in a car crash while street
racing in Hokkaido in northern Japan in 2015.
The Sapporo High Court turned down the appeal by Ryuji Tanikoshi
and Ryuichi Komi, both 28, who were convicted of charges including
reckless driving causing injury and death.
----------
Tokyo issues warning to Japanese schools in S. Korea over tensions

TOKYO - The Japanese government has warned schools for Japanese
nationals in South Korea to keep abreast of developments relating to
North Korea in light of increased tensions, the education minister
said Friday.
The e-mail notice, dated Thursday, instructs school
administrators to gather information about the situation regarding
North Korea from Japanese diplomatic offices and local authorities to
keep their students safe, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology Hirokazu Matsuno told a parliamentary
committee.
----------
Panasonic eyes top electronics brand in Asia by 2020

JAKARTA - Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. is seeking
to double its sales in Asia by 2020 and become the top premium brand
in the region by that year, according to company executives.
Despite tough times in the Asian electronics market last year,
Panasonic was able to achieve a sales gain of more than 15 percent in
the home appliance sector, the company said in a press release issued
at a Panasonic Business Strategy 2017 event in Jakarta on Wednesday.
----------
Japan's key bond yield rises in morning as investors lock in gains

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government
bond rose Friday morning as investors focused on locking in gains.
The yield on the No. 346, 0.1 percent issue, the main barometer
of long-term interest rates, ended morning interdealer trading at
0.025 percent, up 0.005 percentage point from Thursday's close.
----------
Dollar stuck in lower 109 yen range in Tokyo after U.S. attack on IS

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar hovered in the lower 109 yen range
Friday morning in Tokyo as a U.S. attack on Islamic State in
Afghanistan weighed on the U.S. currency.
At noon, the dollar fetched 109.16-18 yen compared with
109.03-13 yen in New York and 109.01-03 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday.

Kyodo news summary -2-

TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo

----------
Man arrested over murder of Vietnamese girl in Chiba

CHIBA, Japan - A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday in
connection with the murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl whose body
was found last month near a drainage ditch in Chiba Prefecture
northeast of Tokyo, investigative sources said.
Police arrested Yasumasa Shibuya for allegedly abandoning her
body, and not for the murder itself. Shibuya's DNA matched a sample
police collected at a crime scene, according to the sources.
----------
Panasonic eyes top electronics brand in Asia by 2020

JAKARTA - Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. is seeking
to double its sales in Asia by 2020 and become the top premium brand
in the region by that year, according to company executives.
Despite tough times in the Asian electronics market last year,
Panasonic was able to achieve a sales gain of more than 15 percent in
the home appliance sector, the company said in a press release issued
at a Panasonic Business Strategy 2017 event in Jakarta on Wednesday.
----------
Tokyo stocks lower in morning after U.S. bombed Afghanistan

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks fell Friday morning, tracking an overnight
fall on Wall Street after the U.S. military dropped a massive bomb in
Afghanistan, while Nikkei index heavyweight Fast Retailing provided
support on positive earnings.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 62.16 points, or 0.34
percent, from Thursday to 18,364.68. The broader Topix index of all
First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 7.42
points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,460.89.
----------
Japan's key bond yield rises in morning as investors lock in gains

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government
bond rose Friday morning as investors focused on locking in gains.
The yield on the No. 346, 0.1 percent issue, the main barometer
of long-term interest rates, ended morning interdealer trading at
0.025 percent, up 0.005 percentage point from Thursday's close.
----------
Dollar stuck in lower 109 yen range in Tokyo after U.S. attack on IS

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar hovered in the lower 109 yen range
Friday morning in Tokyo as a U.S. attack on Islamic State in
Afghanistan weighed on the U.S. currency.
At noon, the dollar fetched 109.16-18 yen compared with
109.03-13 yen in New York and 109.01-03 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday.
----------
U.S. ready for preemptive strike against N. Korea nuke test: report

WASHINGTON - The United States is ready to launch a preemptive
attack with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials
become convinced that Pyongyang is about to conduct a nuclear weapons
test, a U.S. television network reported Thursday.
While media reports are mixed and the Department of Defense has
declined to comment, NBC News said by citing multiple U.S.
intelligence officials that the United States has positioned two
destroyers capable of shooting Tomahawk cruise missiles in the
region, one just 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site.
----------
Major commercial complex Ginza Six to open April 20 in Tokyo

TOKYO - Major commercial complex Ginza Six in Tokyo's Ginza
shopping district was unveiled to the media Friday ahead of its
opening on Thursday.
The 19-story building with six underground floors houses 241
stores and restaurants, including flagship outlets for international
brands like Celine, with a total floor space of around 47,000 square
meters.
----------
Japan OKs pact to supply munitions to U.S. more flexibly

TOKYO - The Japanese parliament on Friday approved a revised
Japan-U.S. agreement that gives the Self-Defense Forces more leeway
in providing ammunition and other supplies to the U.S. military.
The agreement, aimed at boosting logistics cooperation between
the Japanese and U.S. forces, is in line with the changes brought
about by Japan's security legislation that came into force early last
year. The legislation has loosened the constraints of Japan's
war-renouncing Constitution.
----------
FEATURE: Japanese farmers using biogas tech to turn waste into wattage

KAGOSHIMA - Some Japanese farmers have begun looking to biogas
technology to allow them to make their properties into power plants,
giving them a way to transform animal and other waste into profits.
Biogas is a combustible substance consisting of mainly of
methane that can be produced through fermentation of organic
materials such as livestock waste or food waste.
----------
Trump vowed to consult Abe before any attack on N. Korea: sources

TOKYO - U.S. President Donald Trump promised Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe in telephone talks earlier this month to consult
with Japan before taking action -- including military action --
against North Korea, bilateral diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
Trump also indicated to Abe that the United States will tighten
sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with North Korea if China
does not cooperate in addressing the threat presented by Pyongyang's
nuclear and missile development programs, the sources said.
----------
U.S. to take up currency issues at G-20 talks: Treasury official

WASHINGTON - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will take up
currency issues during a meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs next
week, a senior Treasury Department official said Thursday.
President Donald Trump's remark Wednesday that the U.S. dollar
"is getting too strong" suggests Mnuchin may express preference for a
weaker dollar during the two-day meeting of G-20 finance ministers
and central bank governors from April 20 in Washington.
----------
25% of post-Kumamoto quake deaths followed stay in a vehicle

KUMAMOTO, Japan - About a quarter of those categorized as having
died as an indirect consequence of the strong earthquakes that struck
Kumamoto last April were found to have stayed overnight in a vehicle,
according to a Kyodo News investigation.
Of the 170 people who died due to causes indirectly linked to
the disaster, such as evacuees who suffered post-quake deterioration
in their health, at least 41 people, or 24 percent, died after
spending a night or more in a car.

Kyodo news summary -1-

TOKYO, April 14 Kyodo

----------
Man arrested over murder of Vietnamese girl in Chiba

CHIBA, Japan - A man in his 40s was arrested Friday in
connection with the murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl whose body
was found last month near a drainage ditch in Chiba Prefecture
northeast of Tokyo, investigative sources said.
The arrest of the local man concerns the abandonment of her
body, not the murder itself. The man's DNA matched a sample police
collected at a crime scene, according to the sources.
----------
U.S. to take up currency issues at G-20 talks: Treasury official

WASHINGTON - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will take up
currency issues during a meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs next
week, a senior Treasury Department official said Thursday.
President Donald Trump's remark Wednesday that the U.S. dollar
"is getting too strong" suggests Mnuchin may express preference for a
weaker dollar during the two-day meeting of G-20 finance ministers
and central bank governors from April 20 in Washington.
----------
Tokyo stocks lower in early trading after Dow hits 2-month low

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks were lower in early trading Friday, as the
Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a two-month low overnight
following the U.S. bombing of Islamic State tunnels in Afghanistan.
In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock
Average fell 74.93 points, or 0.41 percent, from Thursday to
18,351.91. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 9.70 points, or 0.66 percent, to
1,458.61.
----------
25% of post-Kumamoto quake deaths followed stay in a vehicle

KUMAMOTO, Japan - About a quarter of those categorized as having
died as an indirect consequence of the strong earthquakes that struck
Kumamoto last April were found to have stayed overnight in a vehicle,
according to a Kyodo News investigation.
Of the 170 people who died due to causes indirectly linked to
the disaster, such as evacuees who suffered post-quake deterioration
in their health, at least 41 people, or 24 percent, died after
spending a night or more in a car.
----------
Dollar trades in lower 109 yen range in early Tokyo deals

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded in the lower 109 yen range early
Friday in Tokyo, almost unchanged from its overnight levels in New
York.
At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 109.10-11 yen compared with
109.03-13 yen in New York and 109.01-03 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday.
----------
U.S. drops largest non-nuclear bomb on Islamic State in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - U.S. forces on Thursday struck an Islamic State
tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan with a GBU-43 bomb, which the
U.S. media said is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat
by the United States.
A U.S. aircraft dropped the GBU-43, known as the "mother of all
bombs," in an operation designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and
U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while
maximizing the destruction of Islamic State fighters and facilities,
according to the Defense Department.
----------
Japan making plans for crisis on Korean Peninsula: sources

TOKYO - The Japanese government has been working on plans to
respond to a potential crisis on the Korean Peninsula since February
in light of increased pressure on North Korea from the United States,
government sources said Thursday.
Discussions in the National Security Council have so far
included a plan to evacuate Japanese nationals from South Korea and
measures to respond to the risk of North Korean soldiers trying to
enter Japan disguised as refugees, the sources said.
----------
Nepal to hold 1st military drill with China, possibly irking India

KATHMANDU - Nepal's military will hold its first joint drill
with the Chinese military later this month, the Nepalese army
confirmed Thursday, evidence of increasing ties that could irritate
Nepal's southern neighbor India.
Nepalese army spokesman Gen. Jhankar Bahadur Kadayat told Kyodo
News that the drill will be held April 16-25 around Kathmandu. He did
not say how many troops will participate.
----------
Gov't panel outlines proposals pertaining to emperor's abdication

TOKYO - A government advisory panel outlined Thursday its final
proposals on Emperor Akihito's abdication, including what status and
treatment he should be given after becoming the first living emperor
to relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne in around 200 years.
The panel is expected to finalize a report containing the
proposals at its next meeting on April 21 for submission to Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe.
----------
Yamato to raise parcel delivery rates for 1st time in 27 yrs

TOKYO - Yamato Transport Co., Japan's leading door-to-door
parcel delivery provider, said Thursday it will raise its base
shipping fees for the first time in 27 years.
The company has begun negotiations with major clients including
Amazon.com Inc.'s Japan unit. It will also improve delivery truck
drivers' working conditions, boost recruiting and install more parcel
lockers for customers to receive deliveries at convenient locations
such as train stations.
----------
China opposes use of force in dealing with North Korean tensions

BEIJING - China on Thursday expressed opposition to the use of
any military force in dealing with rising North Korean tensions, as a
U.S. naval strike group was heading to the region in a show of force.
In the North Korean capital, however, there was little evidence
of outward concern, with great attention focused on a ceremony where
the country's leader Kim Jong Un, flanked by high-ranking officials,
cut a red ribbon to mark the opening of a skyscraper-lined
residential area.
----------
2 Chinese women sought over alleged vandalism at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

TOKYO - Police said Thursday they have obtained arrest warrants
for two Chinese women after Meiji Shrine in central Tokyo was
vandalized earlier this month with an oily liquid.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police said Piao Jinyu and Piao Shanai,
both 49, are suspected of vandalizing the shrine in Shibuya Ward on
the morning of April 3 and were identified from surveillance camera
footage.