Kyodo News Digest: April 22, 2024

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers is showered with sunflower seeds by teammates in honor of the 176th home run of his Major League career during a game against the New York Mets in Los Angeles on April 21, 2024. (Kyodo)

The following is the most recent list of selected news summaries from Kyodo News.


LDP may lose three seats in the House of Commons during midterm elections. Sunday: Kyodo survey

TOKYO – The ruling Liberal Democratic Party could lose three seats in the House of Representatives in a midterm election next Sunday, a Kyodo News survey showed, potentially taking a further toll on already unpopular Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The midterm elections will come as the LDP, led by Kishida, has come under intense scrutiny after some of its factions failed to report portions of their fundraising income and spent years collecting slush funds for their members.


The search continues for seven crew members after two SDF helicopters crashed in the Pacific Ocean

TOKYO – The search for seven members of the Maritime Self-Defense Force continued Monday. They are missing after two helicopters crashed during an anti-submarine exercise in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday evening.

The two SH-60K patrol helicopters, which the Defense Ministry believes likely collided, each had four people on board, one of whom is believed to have been killed. The Defense Department plans to analyze two flight recorders recovered from an area where the search is taking place.


Military spending will rise to new highs in 2023, amid the war in Ukraine and tensions in China

LONDON – Global military spending has reached a record high of $2.44 trillion in 2023, up 6.8 percent from the previous year, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, crises in the Middle East and the China’s military buildup, an international security think tank said Monday.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said total spending rose for the ninth year in a row, the largest amount since comparable data became available in 1988.


Japan’s prime minister sends an offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine for a spring ritual

TOKYO – Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday sent a ritual offering to mark the spring festival at the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, seen by some of Japan’s Asian neighbors as a symbol of the country’s past militarism.

Kishida sent the ceremonial tree, called ‘masakaki’, to the Shinto religious temple in central Tokyo on the first day of the three-day ceremony.


Chinese professor at Japanese university. missing in China since February 2023

BEIJING/TOKYO – A Chinese professor from Japan’s Asia University has become inaccessible in China since February last year after temporarily returning to his home country, sources familiar with bilateral ties said on Sunday.

Fan Yuntao, 61, was contacted by Chinese authorities before he disappeared, the sources said, adding that he was possibly being held. The whereabouts of Hu Shiyun, a professor at Japan’s Kobe Gakuin University, also became unknown in China, the college said in March.


25-year-old man arrested over discovery of two burned bodies north of Tokyo

UTSUNOMIYA, Japan – A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the discovery last week of the burned bodies of a man and a woman at a river north of Tokyo, police said Sunday.

They said Ryoken Hirayama, who turned himself in at a police box in Tokyo on Wednesday, is being questioned on suspicion of damaging the bodies by setting them on fire, possibly in concert with others, at the site in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture , close to a resort hotel and a golf course.


12-year-old Japanese dancer wins top prize in youth ballet competition

NEW YORK – A 12-year-old Japanese ballet dancer has won the top prize for her age group for classical dance at a major international ballet competition for young dancers.

Yuna Yamada, a high school student from Sapporo, Hokkaido, northern Japan, topped the category for girls ages 9 to 11 in classical dance on Saturday at the Youth America Grand Prix, known as the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition.


Delta is eliminating baggage checks for connecting flights in the US from Haneda

TOKYO – Delta Air Lines Inc. is eliminating mandatory baggage checks for its passengers at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport when taking connecting domestic flights in the United States, a senior executive said.

Jeff Moomaw, Delta’s vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, said in a recent interview that the airline is working out the details of the planned measure in consultation with Japan’s Ministry of Transport, along with U.S. authorities, with a view to its implementation of the new rule this year on The Earliest.

Video: Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in Shibuya