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Chinese cities find coronavirus in frozen food imports

Chinese cities find coronavirus in frozen food imports

Two cities in China have found traces of the new coronavirus in cargoes of imported frozen food, local authorities said on Thursday, although the World Health Organization downplayed the risk of the virus entering the food chain.A sample taken from the surface of frozen chicken wings imported into the southern city of Shenzhen from Brazil, as well as samples of outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp sold in the northwestern city of Xian, have tested positive for the virus, local Chinese authorities said.Shenzhen authorities identified the chicken as originating from a plant owned by...

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Aug 14
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Defectors say South Korea probes threaten North 'Underground Railroad'

Defectors say South Korea probes threaten North 'Underground Railroad'

A combination of coronavirus border closures and an unprecedented pressure campaign by a South Korean government keen to engage with North Korea may destroy networks defectors have long used to start new lives, activist groups say.South Korea’s Unification Ministry said last month it will “inspect” 25 defector-run nongovernmental organizations, citing their failure to file necessary documents, and check if 64 others are following conditions to stay registered.The sweeping probe comes as South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s administration strives to restart dialogue and economic projects...

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Aug 12
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'Everyone else is doing it': Social conformity a top motive for Japanese to wear masks

'Everyone else is doing it': Social conformity a top motive for Japanese to wear masks

Conforming to social norms is the primary motive for during the coronavirus pandemic, survey results recently showed, dismissing the oft-touted reason that wearers are putting them on to protect themselves and others.A team of psychologists led by Kazuya Nakayachi, a Doshisha University professor, surveyed 1,000 people about the wearing of masks and its efficacy based on a five-point rating scale, and found that the top reason for wearing masks was because everyone else was doing so.With its findings, the team urged public health policymakers to “consider social motivations when...

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Aug 12
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Japan’s opposition DPP party to split as merger talks hit impasse

Japan’s opposition DPP party to split as merger talks hit impasse

Some members of Japan’s Democratic Party for the People will not participate in a merger with a larger opposition party due to disagreements over policy, the former’s leader said Tuesday.Yuichiro Tamaki said he is among the lawmakers choosing to splinter off rather than join forces with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, ending months of discussions aimed at building a united front against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition.“We were unable to agree on key policies such as lowering the consumption tax,” Tamaki said at a news conference following a meeting of the DPP...

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Aug 12
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Japanese come out in support of arrested Hong Kong activist

Japanese come out in support of arrested Hong Kong activist

People across Japan on Tuesday came out in support of Agnes Chow, the pro-democracy activist who was arrested in Hong Kong a day earlier for allegedly breaching a sweeping national security law imposed by China.The hashtag #FreeAgnes was trending on Japanese Twitter in an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old, who frequently tweets in Japanese and has appeared on TV programs here.Japan’s top government spokesman voiced “grave concern” over the situation in the semiautonomous territory without directly addressing her arrest along with nine others in the highest-profile bust since the...

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Aug 11
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All national universities in Japan now control exports of sensitive technology

All national universities in Japan now control exports of sensitive technology

By this spring, all national universities in the nation had created export control sections to prevent nuclear, radar and other high-level technologies with the potential for military use from being transferred abroad, and had set relevant rules, according to the education ministry.Last year, five of the 86 state-run universities did not have such units and 17 had lacked rules on export controls. But as of April, all of the institutions had introduced both, a tally by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry showed.Universities in Japan have faced growing calls to...

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Aug 11
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Over 60% of Olympic volunteers worry about anti-coronavirus measures

Over 60% of Olympic volunteers worry about anti-coronavirus measures

More than 60 percent of volunteers registered for next summer’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are worried about how anti-coronavirus measures will be implemented and the format of the events, according to a recent survey by the games’ organizers.In a multiple-answer question to volunteers at the venues and athletes’ village on what concerns them about their upcoming role, those who were worried about the anti-virus steps and how the games will be held accounted for the largest number at 66.8 percent.The online survey was conducted between July 1 and 21 on about 80,000 volunteers, of...

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Aug 10
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Japan election in October 'difficult,' says LDP strategy chief

Japan election in October 'difficult,' says LDP strategy chief

Hakubun Shimomura, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s election strategy chief, has suggested that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is unlikely to call a general election in October, by dissolving the House of Representatives, amid the novel coronavirus crisis.“It depends on the coronavirus situation,” said Shimomura, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Election Strategy Committee, in an interview, when asked about speculation that Abe, president of the party, would dissolve the all-important lower chamber of the Diet and hold a general election in October.“Some argue against the Lower...

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Aug 11
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Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow arrested under national security law

Hong Kong activist Agnes Chow arrested under national security law

Prominent Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow was arrested late Monday under China’s new national security law, a police source and a statement on her verified Facebook account said.“It’s now confirmed that Agnes Chow has been arrested for ‘inciting secession’ under the national security law,” her Facebook account said.A police source confirmed that Chow was among 10 people arrested on Monday in a national security investigation.The national security operation saw and other senior executives at his Apple Daily newspaper detained. Police said they arrested nine men and one woman, aged...

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Aug 10
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Huawei to stop making high-end Kirin 9000 smartphone chips due to U.S. sanctions

Huawei to stop making high-end Kirin 9000 smartphone chips due to U.S. sanctions

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said production of its most advanced smartphone chips would stop in September due to U.S. sanctions, causing a “huge loss”.Huawei — the world’s biggest producer of telecoms networking equipment — has become a pivotal issue in the geopolitical standoff between Beijing and Washington, which claims the firm poses a significant cybersecurity threat.Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong told a tech industry forum on Friday that production of the company’s high-end Kirin 9000 chipset would stop from Sept. 15, due to U.S. sanctions.Washington cut off Huawei’s access to U.S....

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Aug 8
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World's first trial for self-driving amphibious Japanese bus to start in Gunma

World's first trial for self-driving amphibious Japanese bus to start in Gunma

A town in Gunma Prefecture will kick off trials for an autonomous amphibious tour bus this winter as part of a project to foster tourism and facilitate the transport of goods between islands.The trial will be the first of its type in the world, according to the town of Naganohara. The amphibious bus began manned operations last month around Yamba Dam, a long-delayed project that was finally completed in March.The project team involving the Saitama Institute of Technology and other organizations plans to conduct research and development on the vehicle for two years, with an eye to putting it...

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Aug 8
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China warns Japan a TikTok ban would affect relations: report

China warns Japan a TikTok ban would affect relations: report

China has warned Japan that banning ByteDance’s short-video app TikTok would have a “large impact” on bilateral relations, broadcaster TBS reported Friday, citing unnamed Japanese government sources.A group of lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has decided to push for steps to restrict the app over concerns people’s data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, local media reported.The foreign ministry was not immediately available to comment. The government has not said it is considering banning the app.U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday a sweeping...

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Aug 7
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Energy traders flock to Japan and its $136 billion 'dream' market

Energy traders flock to Japan and its $136 billion 'dream' market

Some of the world’s biggest energy traders are looking to get ahead in Japan’s nascent power market.From Royal Dutch Shell PLC to German utility RWE AG, companies are hiring, reassigning staff and building relationships with Japanese firms to profit in the $136 billion market. After building mature markets in Europe and the U.S., they have their sights on the third-biggest economy, which is taking shape the way European trading did 20 years ago.While western markets are increasingly dominated by renewable energy and shrinking profit margins, the potential for price volatility and arbitrage...

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Aug 7
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Russia warns it will deem any incoming missile as nuclear

Russia warns it will deem any incoming missile as nuclear

Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned in an article published Friday.The harsh warning in the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) is directed at the United States, which has worked to develop long-range nonnuclear weapons.The article follows the publication in June of Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy that envisages the use of atomic weapons in response to what could be a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.In...

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Aug 7
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Japan short of rescue plans for regional lenders hit by pandemic

Japan short of rescue plans for regional lenders hit by pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is deepening the pain for Japan’s regional lenders, heightening concerns that a potential wave of business closures will test policymakers’ ability to avert a damaging banking-sector crisis.Many central government and bank officials see the risk of a crisis emerging in the next few months, when more struggling firms could go under and hit regional banks already weakened by a shrinking domestic economy and years of ultra-low interest rates.Yet officials still have few plans besides prodding the ailing lenders to recapitalize or consolidate — and little clue on how to...

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Aug 7
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Toyota warns of 64% drop in full-year net profit

Toyota warns of 64% drop in full-year net profit

Toyota on Thursday warned of a 64 percent drop in full-year net profit and reported a slump in quarterly earnings, as the coronavirus pandemic shreds the global auto market.Japan’s top car maker, which had previously declined to give a bottom-line forecast because of ongoing uncertainty, now projects a net profit of ¥730 billion ($6.9 billion) for the fiscal year ending next March, down from ¥2.07 trillion the previous year.Its forecast for annual operating profit remained unchanged at ¥500 billion, down nearly 80 percent from the previous year.“The impact of COVID-19 is wide-ranging,...

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Aug 6
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Pandemic and stay-home gamers help Nintendo's profit to surge

Pandemic and stay-home gamers help Nintendo's profit to surge

Nintendo Co. said Thursday its net profit for April to June soared to ¥106.48 billion ($1 billion), a 6.4-fold rise from a year earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stay-home requests spurred demand for its Switch console and software.The video game maker booked an operating profit of ¥144.74 billion for the fiscal first quarter, a 5.3-fold increase, as sales more than doubled to ¥358.11 billion.The increase in game titles helped lift sales of the Switch, Nintendo said, adding that titles released in previous fiscal years have also continued to sell well, with life simulation...

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Aug 6
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7,600 Japanese Facebook accounts stolen in suspected scam | The Japan Times

7,600 Japanese Facebook accounts stolen in suspected scam | The Japan Times

The account details of some 7,600 Japanese Facebook users appear to have been stolen by scammers and stored on a server based in Russia, a cybersecurity company said Tuesday.From around late June, domestic users started receiving videos from accounts impersonating a friend on the social media site, according to the government-linked Information-Technology Promotion Agency, Japan, and other sources.When accessed, the video link takes the user to a fake website mimicking the Japanese Facebook login page, where account information can be stolen if entered.Although Facebook Inc. has not...

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Aug 4
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Despite virus spike, Japan government won't ask people to forgo summer travel | The Japan Times

Despite virus spike, Japan government won't ask people to forgo summer travel | The Japan Times

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday that the government has no intention to request that people refrain from traveling to their hometowns or elsewhere during the upcoming Obon holidays — despite the spread of the novel coronavirus in many parts of the country.“We are not asking people to refrain across the board. We are just asking them to be very cautious,” said Suga, the government’s top spokesman.Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister in charge of the coronavirus response, said the previous day that the matter should be handled carefully while expressing concern about the...

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Aug 3
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Japan confirms first cases of COVID-19 in pets as two dogs test positive | The Japan Times

Japan confirms first cases of COVID-19 in pets as two dogs test positive | The Japan Times

Two pet dogs belonging to two coronavirus patients have tested positive for the coronavirus, a pet insurance company said Monday, marking the first cases in which infection of a pet has been reported in Japan.The two dogs have not shown any symptoms and one has already shown negative results in more recent tests, Anicom Holdings Inc. said.While COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among pet cats in a number of countries including the United States, Belgium and France, fewer cases have been reported involving dogs overseas, according to the company.The Anicom group launched a new service in...

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Aug 3
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7-Eleven owner to buy Marathon’s Speedway gas stations for $21 billion | The Japan Times

7-Eleven owner to buy Marathon’s Speedway gas stations for $21 billion | The Japan Times

Seven & I Holdings Co., the world’s largest convenience store franchiser, agreed to buy Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway gas stations for $21 billion, forging ahead with one of the year’s biggest deals even as the pandemic depresses economic activity in the U.S.The transaction will add 3,900 stores to 9,800 locations operated by the retailer’s U.S.-based 7-Eleven Inc. unit, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Monday. Seven & I shares fell as much as 8.4 percent in early trading, the biggest intraday decline since March.The deal is the second-largest purchase of a U.S. target this...

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Aug 3
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Japan may add punishments for not following anti-virus measures | The Japan Times

Japan may add punishments for not following anti-virus measures | The Japan Times

Japan may introduce orders and punishments for businesses that fail to meet business suspension requests as part of a revision to a special measures law to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, according to economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.Nishimura said he is in talks with the Cabinet Legislation Bureau over the possible revision.“There are things that should be rushed, and there are things that should be discussed calmly,” Nishimura said in a recent interview. “The special measures law should be used in other ways (such as when other infectious diseases spread in...

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Aug 2
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Philippines losing virus war, doctors warn Rodrigo Duterte | The Japan Times

Philippines losing virus war, doctors warn Rodrigo Duterte | The Japan Times

Dozens of doctors' groups on Saturday warned that the Philippines was losing the coronavirus fight, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to tighten a recently eased lockdown as cases surged and hospitals turned away patients.Eighty medical associations representing tens of thousands of doctors signed the open letter, a day after the country posted a record single-day count of more than 4,000 new infections, pushing the total past 93,000."Health care workers are united in sounding off a distress signal to the nation — our health care system has been overwhelmed," the letter said."We are waging a...

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Aug 1
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Clever cat wins police plaudits in Japan for leading to rescue of man stuck in canal | The Japan Times

Clever cat wins police plaudits in Japan for leading to rescue of man stuck in canal | The Japan Times

A cat in the city of Toyama has been honored by local police for helping lead to the rescue of an elderly man who had fallen into an irrigation channel.On June 16, a 77-year-old woman taking a walk around 7:30 p.m. found Koko, a female cat who belongs to a neighbor, staring into the canal and acting strangely. When she followed the cat’s gaze, she discovered a man lying on his back in a 60-centimeter-wide and 40-cm-deep canal. The water was about 15 cm deep.Calling out for help to her 48-year-old daughter who lives nearby, she immediately went to the man’s rescue. She was soon joined by...

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Jun 28
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Japan cross-party group may send election observers to Hong Kong | The Japan Times

Japan cross-party group may send election observers to Hong Kong | The Japan Times

A cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers will consider sending a team of observers to Hong Kong in an effort to make sure that its Legislative Council election in September will be held in a fair manner, after China recently enforced a new security law strengthening control over the region.The group, slated to be officially launched on Wednesday, is also expected to urge the Japanese government to relax visa requirements for Hong Kong citizens and not to assist investigations of those suspected of violating the security law, sources related to the group said.Many fear that people opposing...

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Jul 27
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