Kyodo News Digest: December 21, 2021
The following is the latest list of news highlights selected by Kyodo News.
Moderna says COVID booster shows effectiveness against Omicron
WASHINGTON – U.S. biotech company Moderna Inc. said Monday that a third shot of its coronavirus vaccine was found in a lab test to dramatically increase antibodies that would fight the highly transmissible variant of Omicron.
As the United States experiences a further rise in coronavirus cases, the U.S. capital said on the same day it was reinstating its indoor mask mandate from Tuesday.
G-7 expresses “grave concern” over erosion of democracy in Hong Kong
WASHINGTON – The Group of Seven industrialized nations on Monday expressed “grave concern” at what it sees as an erosion of democracy in Hong Kong after pro-Beijing members swept the territory’s Legislative Council elections.
The Chinese and Hong Kong authorities should “restore confidence in the political institutions of Hong Kong” and “put an end to the unjustified oppression of those who promote democratic values and the defense of rights and freedoms”, the foreign ministers of the countries of the G-7, including the United States and Japan, said in a statement.
Osaka clinic fire suspect may have copied animation studio arson
OSAKA – The suspect in a fatal fire at a mental health clinic in Osaka last week may have intended to copy a deadly 2019 arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, which also involved a purchase of gasoline before the incident, investigative sources said on Tuesday.
Morio Tanimoto had left in his suspected living quarters in Osaka’s Nishiyodogawa neighborhood a newspaper page with a report on the fire at an animation studio that killed 36 people, prompting police to believe that he could have decided to use a similar method after reading the article, the sources said.
Figure skating: Kihira to miss Olympics, Hanyu back to national championships
TOKYO – Japan’s Rika Kihira is set to miss the Beijing Winter Olympics after failing to recover from a right ankle injury in time for this week’s qualifying event, the national championships, a source close to the file.
Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan’s two-time Olympic gold medalist in the men’s event, is expected to return from an injury layoff, people familiar with the matter said.
US urges Japan not to join nuclear ban treaty meeting (sources)
WASHINGTON – The United States urged Japan not to attend as an observer the first meeting of signatories to a UN treaty banning nuclear weapons, US government sources say, reflecting Washington’s opposition to the pact.
The Japanese government has suggested that it will align itself with the United States and take a cautious approach to the matter, the sources said. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that Tokyo did not have “concrete plans” to attend the meeting as an observer.
Typhoon Rai kills 375 in Philippines
MANILA – The death toll from Typhoon Rai in the Philippines rose sharply to 375 on Monday evening, with 56 others still missing after one of the country’s deadliest storms in recent years, according to local media.
Reports say the latest Philippine National Police figures also show some 500 people were injured in the typhoon, which struck late last week and caused widespread landslides and flooding.
Japan increases its 5-year budget for hosting US troops to 1.05 trillion. yen
TOKYO – Japan and the United States have agreed to increase Tokyo’s contribution for hosting U.S. military forces to 1.05 trillion yen ($ 9.2 billion) over the five-year period to counting from fiscal year 2022 starting in April, government sources said on Monday.
The roughly 5% increase in so-called host nation support, equivalent to 211 billion yen per fiscal year, came in response to calls from the administration of US President Joe Biden for the Japanese government to shoulder a greater share of the costs. costs, given the need for US forces facing China.
The Tokyo Games cost 1.45 tril. yen, no additional funds are needed
TOKYO – The total cost of hosting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer is expected to be 1.45 trillion yen ($ 12.8 billion), down 191 billion yen from the previous year. previous estimate, with no additional burden to impose on taxpayers, a source from the games said on Monday. .
The reduction was due to streamlining measures surrounding the games and the fact that most events unfolded without spectators amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the source said. As of December of last year, the cost was estimated at 1.64 trillion yen.