Back to Main
Kyodo news summary -5-

TOKYO, Aug. 4 Kyodo

----------
Abe Cabinet's support rate rises to 44.4% after reshuffle: poll

TOKYO - The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
Cabinet has risen 8.6 points since mid-July to 44.4 percent after he
partially reshuffled his ministers, a Kyodo News poll showed Friday.
The nationwide telephone survey conducted Thursday and Friday
showed a turnaround in the approval rating, which last month sank to
35.8 percent, the lowest level since Abe commenced his second stint
as premier in 2012. The rate fell following a series of scandals,
including cronyism allegations against the premier.
----------
Singapore PM's nephew gets "threatening" letter from gov't

SINGAPORE - Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's nephew
said Friday that he has received a "threatening letter" from the
Attorney-General's Chambers after his recent social media post
criticizing the city-state's judiciary.
Li Shengwu, the eldest son of Lee's younger brother Lee Hsien
Yang and currently a junior fellow at Harvard University, wrote on
his Facebook page that the AGC "had sent me a threatening letter
saying that my private post is an attack on the Singapore judiciary
and is in contempt of court."
----------
Toyota, Mazda to form capital tie-up for EVs, to open new U.S. plant

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. said Friday
they will form a capital tie-up to strengthen cooperation in such
areas as electric vehicle development while announcing a plan to
begin building cars together in the United States.
Toyota and Mazda signed an agreement to deepen their
partnership, apparently to better compete in the intensifying race to
develop self-driving technology and environmentally-friendly
vehicles, as global carmakers face growing compliance costs for
stricter emissions and other environmental regulations being imposed
by governments.
----------
JT to acquire Indonesian cigarette maker, distributor for $1 bil.

TOKYO - Japan Tobacco Inc. said Friday it will acquire an
Indonesian cigarette maker and its distributor for around $1 billion
to tap expected growth in demand in the Southeast Asian nation, the
world's second-largest tobacco market.
Japan Tobacco will buy PT. Karyadibya Mahardhika and PT. Surya
Mustika Nusantara by December in its first major acquisition in the
region, further expanding its business in emerging markets amid a
health-conscious trend in developed countries where cigarette demand
is shrinking.
----------
Pakistan's new prime minister forms Cabinet of Sharif loyalists

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
formed a Cabinet on Friday consisting mostly of holdovers from that
of deposed predecessor Nawaz Sharif, many of whom pledged to continue
regarding Sharif as their leader.
The 27 ministers and 16 deputy ministers in the Cabinet were
sworn-in by President Mamnoon Hussain at a ceremony.
----------
New defense minister Onodera upbeat on SDF strike ability

TOKYO - New Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera sounded a positive
tone Friday about the possibility of Japan's Self-Defense Forces
acquiring the ability to strike overseas targets to defend Japan.
Onodera made the remark in an interview with Japanese media a
day after he was given the defense portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle,
amid suggestions the SDF might in the future be able to knock out
missile launch sites in North Korea.
----------
Japan, India launch forum to coordinate development of northeast

NEW DELHI - India and Japan have set up a new forum to
coordinate Japanese cooperation and assistance for India's relatively
underdeveloped northeastern region, the Japanese Embassy said Friday.
Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu, in an address at the
forum's inaugural session Thursday, said Japan has been cooperating
in various fields in the northeast, viewing it as a "strategically
and economically important juncture between India and Southeast Asia."
----------
Envoys from 80 countries to attend Hiroshima A-bomb ceremony

HIROSHIMA - Representatives of 80 countries and the European
Union plan to attend a ceremony Sunday in Hiroshima on the 72nd
anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in World War II,
city officials said Friday.
The United States will be represented by the charge d'affaires
ad interim from its embassy in Tokyo, as new ambassador William
Hagerty is yet to arrive in Japan.
----------
Dollar hovers in lower 110 yen range pending key U.S. jobs data

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar hovered in the lower 110 yen range after
briefly slipping into the 109 zone Friday in Tokyo, with market
players stepping back from taking bold positions ahead of key U.S.
jobs data.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 110.08-09 yen compared with
110.00-10 yen in New York and 110.63-65 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday. It moved between 109.85 yen and 110.18 yen during the day,
changing hands most frequently at 110.10 yen.
----------
Ex-minister Hosono to leave opposition Democratic Party

TOKYO - Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Friday he
will leave the Democratic Party to form a new political group, a move
that could cast into further disarray the main opposition party that
was shaken last week by the sudden resignation of its leader.
"I will depart the Democratic Party, stand up and make a new
political party capable of governing," Hosono told reporters after a
meeting of an intraparty group he established. Some members of the
group are likely to follow him into his new political venture.
----------
Toyota net profit up 11% in April-June, upgrades FY 2017 outlook

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. reported Friday its group net profit
in the April to June period rose 11.0 percent from a year earlier to
613.06 billion yen ($5.5 billion) while upgrading its profit and
sales estimates for the full year through March.
Japan's largest automaker said its consolidated operating profit
dropped 10.6 percent to 574.29 billion yen on increased sales costs
in North America and research and development expenses. Its sales
climbed 7.0 percent to 7.05 trillion yen.
----------
Ex-S. Korean foreign minister had surgery in Kochi, returns to country

KOCHI, Japan - Former South Korean Foreign Minister Choi Sung
Hong has returned to his country in stable condition after falling
into critical condition due to intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of
stroke, and undergoing surgery in the western Japan prefecture of
Kochi while traveling.
The 78-year-old Choi was transported by ambulance to Kansai
International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, some 330 kilometers away
from the hospital in Kochi City, on Thursday and met by officials of
South Korea's consulate general in Osaka.

Kyodo news summary -4-

TOKYO, Aug. 4 Kyodo

----------
Toyota, Mazda to form capital alliance for joint EV development

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. said Friday
they have signed an agreement to form a capital alliance to boost
joint development of electric vehicles.
Japan's largest carmaker will take a 5.05 percent stake in Mazda
for 50 billion yen ($454 million) and Mazda buying a 0.25 percent
shareholding in Toyota that are equivalent in value to the Mazda
shares.
----------
Dollar hovers in lower 110 yen range pending key U.S. jobs data

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar hovered in the lower 110 yen range after
briefly slipping into the 109 zone Friday in Tokyo, with market
players stepping back from taking bold positions ahead of key U.S.
jobs data.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 110.08-09 yen compared with
110.00-10 yen in New York and 110.63-65 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday. It moved between 109.85 yen and 110.18 yen during the day,
changing hands most frequently at 110.10 yen.
----------
Abe Cabinet's support rate rises to 44.4% after reshuffle: poll

TOKYO - The approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
Cabinet has risen 8.6 points from the previous poll in mid-July to
44.4 percent after he partially reshuffled his ministers, a Kyodo
News poll showed Friday.
The nationwide telephone survey conducted Thursday and Friday
showed the turnaround in the approval rating, which sank to the
lowest level last month since Abe commenced his second stint as
premier in 2012 following a series of scandals, including cronyism
allegations against the premier.
----------
Ex-minister Hosono to leave opposition Democratic Party

TOKYO - Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Friday he
will leave the Democratic Party to form a new political group, a move
that could cast into further disarray the main opposition party that
was shaken last week by the sudden resignation of its leader.
"I will depart the Democratic Party, stand up and make a new
political party capable of governing," Hosono told reporters after a
meeting of an intraparty group he established. Some members of the
group are likely to follow him into his new political venture.
----------
Toyota net profit up 11% in April-June, upgrades FY 2017 outlook

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. reported Friday its group net profit
in the April to June period rose 11.0 percent from a year earlier to
613.06 billion yen ($5.5 billion) while upgrading its profit and
sales estimates for the full year through March.
Japan's largest automaker said its consolidated operating profit
dropped 10.6 percent to 574.29 billion yen on increased sales costs
in North America and research and development expenses. Its sales
climbed 7.0 percent to 7.05 trillion yen.
----------
Ex-S. Korean foreign minister had surgery in Kochi, returns to country

KOCHI, Japan - Former South Korean Foreign Minister Choi Sung
Hong has returned to his country in stable condition after falling
into critical condition due to intracerebral hemorrhage, a type of
stroke, and undergoing surgery in the western Japan prefecture of
Kochi while traveling.
The 78-year-old Choi was transported by ambulance to Kansai
International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, some 330 kilometers away
from the hospital in Kochi City, on Thursday and met by officials of
South Korea's consulate general in Osaka.
----------
Japan's key bond yield falls on lower U.S. Treasury yields

TOKYO - The yield on the bellwether 10-year Japanese government
bond ended lower Friday on an overnight drop in U.S. Treasury yields,
but the fall was limited ahead of U.S. July jobs data due out later
in the day.
The yield on the No. 347, 0.1 percent issue, the main barometer
of long-term interest rates, ended interdealer trading at 0.060
percent, down 0.005 percentage point from Thursday's close.
----------
China replaces top envoy for N. Korean nuclear affairs

BEIJING - Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean
Peninsula affairs who chairs the six-party talks on North Korea's
nuclear program, has been replaced by Assistant Foreign Minister Kong
Xuanyou, it was learned Friday from diplomatic sources.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has informed other members of the
six-party framework of the appointment of Kong, who for the time
being will remain assistant foreign minister.
----------
Tokyo stocks fall on strong yen, U.S. jobs data eyed

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks fell Friday on the strength of the yen
against the U.S. dollar, but the fall was limited with investors'
focus already shifting to U.S. jobs data for July due out later in
the day.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 76.93 points, or
0.38 percent, from Thursday at 19,952.33. The broader Topix index of
all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 2.37
points, or 0.15 percent, lower at 1,631.45.
----------
Hun Sen says Cambodia still needs helping hand from Japan

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen believes his
country will continue to need Japan's assistance to achieve its goal
of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030.
In a written interview with Kyodo News before an official
working visit to Japan from Sunday, Hun Sen, 66, said he hoped Japan
will continue to provide support in areas such as infrastructure
development, human resources, tourism, and encouraging more Japanese
investors to invest in Cambodia.
----------
Honda's N-Box top seller in Japan in July, 1st time in 4 months

TOKYO - Honda Motor Co.'s N-Box minicar was the best-selling car
in Japan in July, regaining the top spot for the first time in four
months, data released by industry bodies showed Friday.
Japan's third-largest carmaker by sales volume sold 14,503 N-Box
minicars, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. Although a new model
will be released this fall, it remains popular for its spacious
layout and other features.
----------
Japan's new foreign minister to make debut at ASEAN meet

TOKYO - Japan's new Foreign Minister Taro Kono will make his
debut on the international stage this weekend when he takes part in
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Manila, the
government said Friday.
In his first official overseas trip, Kono will meet bilaterally
with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts on the sidelines of
the gatherings with relations between Japan and its neighboring
countries tense due to territorial and historical issues.

Kyodo news summary -3-

TOKYO, Aug. 4 Kyodo

----------
Tokyo stocks fall on strong yen, U.S. jobs data eyed

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks fell Friday on the strength of the yen
against the U.S. dollar, but the fall was limited with investors'
focus already shifting to U.S. jobs data for July due out later in
the day.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 76.93 points, or
0.38 percent, from Thursday at 19,952.33. The broader Topix index of
all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 2.37
points, or 0.15 percent, lower at 1,631.45.
----------
Hun Sen says Cambodia still needs helping hand from Japan

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen believes his
country will continue to need Japan's assistance to achieve its goal
of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2030.
In a written interview with Kyodo News before an official
working visit to Japan from Sunday, Hun Sen, 66, said he hoped Japan
will continue to provide support in areas such as infrastructure
development, human resources, tourism, and encouraging more Japanese
investors to invest in Cambodia.
----------
Honda's N-Box top seller in Japan in July, 1st time in 4 months

TOKYO - Honda Motor Co.'s N-Box minicar was the best-selling car
in Japan in July, regaining the top spot for the first time in four
months, data released by industry bodies showed Friday.
Japan's third-largest carmaker by sales volume sold 14,503 N-Box
minicars, up 11.4 percent from a year earlier. Although a new model
will be released this fall, it remains popular for its spacious
layout and other features.
----------
Japan's new foreign minister to make debut at ASEAN meet

TOKYO - Japan's new Foreign Minister Taro Kono will make his
debut on the international stage this weekend when he takes part in
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Manila, the
government said Friday.
In his first official overseas trip, Kono will meet bilaterally
with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts on the sidelines of
the gatherings with relations between Japan and its neighboring
countries tense due to territorial and historical issues.
----------
Actress Mariko Ishihara not likely to be indicted over shoplifting

TOKYO - Actress Mariko Ishihara is not expected to be indicted
for allegedly shoplifting food at a Tokyo supermarket after
investigators referred her to prosecutors Friday with a
recommendation of leniency, police said.
The 53-year-old actress who gained popularity through her roles
in TV dramas in the 1980s was suspected of stealing a bento lunch box
and tea from a shop on July 18.
----------
Strong typhoon could make landfall in southwestern Japan

TOKYO - A strong typhoon could make landfall in Japan's
southwestern main island of Kyushu by Sunday night, bringing heavy
rains and strong winds, the weather agency said Friday.
Typhoon Noru, the season's fifth typhoon, is now approaching the
Amami Islands, south of Kyushu, and then is likely to turn north
toward Kyushu, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
----------
S. China Sea, N. Korea issues to hover over ASEAN meetings in Manila

MANILA - Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and North
Korea's nuclear and missile activities will be high on the agenda of
a series of regional foreign ministerial meetings in the Philippine
capital from Saturday.
Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman of the Philippine Department of
Foreign Affairs, said the two issues "are a concern for several
countries in the region" and will likely figure in "candid and
free-flow discussions" during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the
post-ministerial conferences, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the East
Asia Summit through Tuesday.
----------
Gov't eyes submitting bill to Diet in fall to lower age of adulthood

TOKYO - New Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Friday that the
ministry is considering submitting a bill to lower Japan's legal age
of adulthood from 20 to 18 in the extraordinary Diet session likely
be convened this fall.
"I will strive with all my power to submit it as early as
possible," Kamikawa said at a post-Cabinet meeting press conference.
----------
Ex-minister Hosono to leave opposition Democratic Party

TOKYO - Former Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Friday he
will leave the Democratic Party to form a new group, in what would be
a fresh blow to the main opposition party following the abrupt
resignation of its leader last week.
Hosono informed members of his intraparty group about his plan
to quit, according to the members. He is rumored to be seeking an
alliance with independent lawmakers close to popular Tokyo Gov.
Yuriko Koike.
----------
Parts of woman's body dumped by police officer by mistake

TOKYO - A police officer dumped a plastic bag containing parts
of the body of a woman in her 80s at a garbage collection point at a
Tokyo police station in July by mistake and some of them remain
unrecovered, the police said Friday.
According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the officer in
his 20s attached to Mejiro Police Station was aware that the bag
contained human remains but discarded them because he thought they
were unimportant due to their small size.
----------
Sharp returning to electronics show IFA after 4-year hiatus

OSAKA - Sharp Corp. will exhibit its products at this year's
IFA, Europe's largest consumer electronics trade show, in Germany
after taking a four-year hiatus to deal with financial troubles, a
senior company official said Friday.
The electronics maker looks to promote its 8K ultra
high-definition display at the show held annually in Berlin, in which
the company last participated in 2012.
----------
Fujitsu to boost IT service manpower in Philippines, India

MANILA - Fujitsu Ltd. is poised to boost its manpower in the
Philippines and India for enhanced information technology services
abroad, aiming to meet demand from the United States and Europe while
reducing costs.
The major Japanese IT solution provider is planning to increase
the combined workforce in the two countries from the current 6,000 to
9,200 within this year to strengthen such services as software
development and multilingual support, a Fujitsu spokesman said.

Kyodo news summary -2-

TOKYO, Aug. 4 Kyodo

----------
Dollar slips to upper 109 yen on concerns over U.S. economy

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar briefly slipped to the upper 109 yen
level Friday morning in Tokyo amid concerns about the prospects of
the U.S. economy following the release of weak economic data.
At noon, the dollar fetched 110.16-18 yen compared with
110.00-10 yen in New York and 110.63-65 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday.
----------
Sharp returning to electronics show IFA after 4-year hiatus

OSAKA - Sharp Corp. will exhibit its products at this year's
IFA, Europe's largest consumer electronics trade show, in Germany
after taking a four-year hiatus to deal with financial troubles, a
senior company official said Friday.
The electronics maker looks to promote its 8K ultra
high-definition display at the show held annually in Berlin, in which
the company last participated in 2012.
----------
Japanese bond futures rise on U.S. Treasury market gains

TOKYO - The price of the key futures contract for 10-year
Japanese government bonds rose Friday morning on a gain in the U.S.
Treasury market overnight, triggered by the weaker-than-expected U.S.
Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing data for July.
The price of the September futures contract rose 0.06 point from
Thursday to 150.25 on the Osaka Exchange.
----------
Tokyo stocks fall in morning on yen's firmness

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks fell Friday morning as market sentiment was
cooled by the yen's firmness against the U.S. dollar.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 72.68 points, or 0.36
percent, from Thursday to 19,956.58. The broader Topix index of all
First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 3.53
points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,630.29.
----------
Fujitsu to boost IT service manpower in Philippines, India

MANILA - Fujitsu Ltd. is poised to boost its manpower in the
Philippines and India for enhanced information technology services
abroad, aiming to meet demand from the United States and Europe while
reducing costs.
The major Japanese IT solution provider is planning to increase
the combined workforce in the two countries from the current 6,000 to
9,200 within this year to strengthen such services as software
development and multilingual support, a Fujitsu spokesman said.
----------
Toyota, Mazda to form capital alliance for joint EV development

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. are set to
form a capital alliance to boost joint development of electric
vehicles, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Japan's largest carmaker is mulling taking a roughly 5 percent
stake in Mazda, while Mazda may also invest in Toyota, the sources
said.
----------
Islamic State sent IED parts to Australian terror suspects: police

SYDNEY - Two men charged with terror offences received advice
and components to make an explosive device from a senior member of
Islamic State overseas with the aim of bringing down a commercial
airliner, Australian Federal Police said Friday.
Speaking at a press conference, AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael
Phelan called the plan "one of the most sophisticated plots that has
ever been attempted on Australian soil."
----------
Minister seeks balanced budget as Japan eyes free education program

TOKYO - Finance Minister Taro Aso, reappointed to the post in
this week's Cabinet reshuffle, called for a balanced budget Friday to
help the government meet its goal of making preschool education free.
"When it comes to making education free...there are various
things that need to be done, including finding a funding source," Aso
said in his first press conference after retaining the portfolio on
Thursday. "It's clear that we need to balance spending and revenue."
----------
PPAP star Piko Taro gets married with model Yasueda

TOKYO - Comedian Piko Taro, best known for his viral hit song
"Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen," announced Friday he has tied the knot with
model girlfriend Hitomi Yasueda.
The 44-year-old, whose real name is Kazuhito Kosaka, and the
29-year-old Yasueda filed for marriage on Thursday, he said on his
blog.
----------
Sales of foreign-brand vehicles in Japan see 1st fall in 16 months

TOKYO - Sales of new imported foreign-brand vehicles in Japan
dropped 3.8 percent in July from a year before, marking the first
fall in 16 months, due partly to soft sales in Volkswagen cars, an
industry body said Friday.
Sales of cars, trucks and buses made by foreign automakers
totaled 20,993 units, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said.
----------
Talks on N. Korea sanctions resolution make progress: diplomats

NEW YORK - Negotiations on a new U.N. sanctions resolution in
response to North Korea's recent long-range missile launches are
making progress, diplomats said Thursday.
"Things are finally progressing," a Western diplomat said.
"Within a bit of time, we hope for an adoption" of a new resolution.
----------
Fire near Tsukiji fish market put out after 15 hours, no injuries

TOKYO - A fire near the famed Tsukiji fish market in central
Tokyo was extinguished Friday morning some 15 hours after it broke
out, burning a roughly 935 square meter area but causing no injuries,
firefighters said.
The Tokyo fire department mobilized around 60 fire engines to
battle the blaze, which started around 4:50 p.m. Thursday and filled
the fish market and nearby area with thick smoke.


Kyodo news summary -1-

TOKYO, Aug. 4 Kyodo

----------
Talks on N. Korea sanctions resolution make progress: diplomats

NEW YORK - Negotiations on a new U.N. sanctions resolution in
response to North Korea's recent long-range missile launches are
making progress, diplomats said Thursday.
"Things are finally progressing," a Western diplomat said.
"Within a bit of time, we hope for an adoption" of a new resolution.
----------
Tokyo stocks open lower on stronger yen

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks opened lower Friday as the yen's advance
against the U.S. dollar dampened investors' sentiment.
In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock
Average fell 89.75 points, or 0.45 percent, from Thursday to
19,939.51. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 6.60 points, or 0.40 percent, to
1,627.22.
----------
Fire near Tsukiji fish market put out after 15 hours, no injuries

TOKYO - A fire near the famed Tsukiji fish market in central
Tokyo was extinguished Friday morning some 15 hours after it broke
out, burning a roughly 935 square meter area but causing no injuries,
firefighters said.
The Tokyo fire department mobilized around 60 fire engines to
battle the blaze, which started around 4:50 p.m. Thursday and filled
the fish market and nearby area with thick smoke.
----------
Dollar slips below 110 yen line in early Tokyo deals

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded just below the 110 yen line early
Friday in Tokyo, down slightly from its levels overnight in New York.
At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 109.88-89 yen compared with
110.00-10 yen in New York and 110.63-65 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m.
Thursday.
----------
Japan's June real wages dip for 1st time in 3 months

TOKYO - Japan's real wages in June decreased 0.8 percent from a
year before for the first fall in three months, labor ministry data
showed Friday.
Nominal wages, including bonuses, fell 0.4 percent to 429,686
yen ($3,880), for the first drop in 13 months, the Health, Labor and
Welfare Ministry said in a preliminary report.
----------
Toyota, Mazda to form capital alliance for joint EV development

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. are set to
form a capital alliance to boost joint development of electric
vehicles, sources close to the matter said Friday.
Japan's largest carmaker is mulling taking a roughly 5 percent
stake in Mazda, while Mazda may also invest in Toyota, the sources
said.
----------
Ties with Japan will not change after Cabinet reshuffle: U.S.

WASHINGTON - U.S.-Japan relations will not undergo any change as
a result of Japan's Cabinet reshuffle carried out on Thursday, the
State Department said.
"We have an ironclad relationship with Japan. That will not
change," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a news
briefing.
----------
Japan, U.S., S. Korea to press N. Korea over ICBM test

TOKYO - Japan, the United States and South Korea agreed Thursday
to ratchet up pressure on North Korea following its latest
test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to
Japanese officials.
The agreement was reached during a videoconference between
Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of Japan's National Security
Council, and his counterparts H.R. McMaster of the United States and
Chung Eui Yong of South Korea, the officials said.
----------
Abe's speech suggests delay to Constitution plan: LDP heavyweight

TOKYO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's comments Thursday about
altering the Japanese Constitution suggest he has changed his mind on
a plan to get a proposed amendment submitted to parliament this fall,
a senior member of his Liberal Democratic Party said.
At a press conference Thursday after reshuffling his Cabinet and
key posts in the LDP, Abe said debate on the Constitution "is not
dependent on any schedule."
----------
New defense chief vows to restore public trust after scandal

TOKYO - New Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera vowed Thursday to
restore public trust in his ministry following a data coverup scandal
and said one of his main tasks is to review Japan's defense program
guidelines last made in 2013 amid growing North Korean missile
threats.
"We will make sure the same problem will not happen again and
make utmost efforts to revive public confidence," Onodera said at a
press conference after he assumed the ministerial post, referring to
the scandal which has thrown the Defense Ministry into disarray and
led his predecessor Tomomi Inada to resign last week.
----------
Cambodian police detain minor political party's leader

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian police said Thursday they have detained
the leader of a minor political party for questioning in connection
with a drug-related conspiracy case.
National Police spokesman Gen. Kirt Chantharith said the police
took Nhek Bun Chhay, the president of Khmer National United Party,
into custody in compliance with a court warrant relating to a
years-old case relating to illegal drug production and imports of
drug substances.
----------
New Okinawa minister defends budget policy as U.S. base battle drags
on

TOKYO - Tetsuma Esaki, the new minister in charge of Okinawa
issues, defended Thursday the idea that funding in the national
budget for the island prefecture's development should be linked to
the fate of a key U.S. air base at the center of an ongoing legal
fight between the central and prefectural governments.
The central government is pursuing the transfer of U.S. Marine
Corps Air Station Futenma, located in a densely populated area in the
city of Ginowan, to the more sparsely populated Henoko coastal site
elsewhere in the prefecture.