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Kyodo News Digest: April 15, 2024

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“Miko” shrine attendants at the World Heritage-listed Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine in Nachikatsuura in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, dance in front of a waterfall during a ritual praying for a rich harvest on April 14, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo


The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.


Japan PM Kishida Cabinet’s support rate rises to 23.8%: Kyodo poll

TOKYO – The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet stood at 23.8 percent, up 3.7 percentage points from an all-time low that was logged in the previous poll last month amid a political funds scandal involving the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a Kyodo News survey showed Monday.

The three-day telephone poll from Saturday also showed 78.4 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the LDP’s decision not to punish Kishida, who doubles as LDP president, over the scandal.


TEPCO begins loading nuclear fuel into idle Japan reactor

NIIGATA, Japan – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. started loading nuclear fuel into a reactor on Monday at an idle plant northwest of Tokyo as part of preparations to potentially restart the facility.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority granted approval earlier in the day for the loading of the No. 7 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture. However, the timing of the restart remains uncertain.


G7 eyes sanctions over Iran drone, missile attack on Israel

ROME – The Group of Seven countries considered Sunday imposing sanctions on Iran for its weekend missile and drone attack targeting Israel.

G7 member states “unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel,” they said in a statement released after their leaders held emergency online talks.


OpenAI opens first Asia office in Tokyo as ChatGPT use grows

TOKYO – The developer of the widely used artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT said Monday it has opened an office in Tokyo, its first in Asia, as part of efforts to respond to the popularity of the service in Japan.

“This is just the first step in what I hope would be a long-term partnership with the people of Japan, government leaders, businesses, and research institutions,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said in a video message delivered at a press conference in Tokyo.


Yen sinks to 154 range vs dollar for 1st time in 34 years

NEW YORK – The Japanese yen fell into the 154 range against the U.S. dollar on Monday in Tokyo for the first time in nearly 34 years on receding expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates soon amid signs of persistent inflation.

The dollar traded at 154.27-37 yen at 8:40 a.m., a level last seen in June 1990.


Samsung awarded $6.4 billion in U.S. grants for Texas chip facilities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government said Monday it will provide up to $6.4 billion in direct funding to Samsung Electronics Co. to help it expand production of semiconductors in Texas.

The funding will be used for the creation by Samsung of a comprehensive, diverse leading-edge manufacturing cluster, which includes factories designed to mass produce 4- and 2-nanometer chips, as well as an advanced packaging facility, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.


Stolen $65,000 gold bowl found in Tokyo secondhand store

TOKYO – A pure gold bowl priced at around 10 million yen ($65,000) that was stolen from a Tokyo department store last week was confiscated on Monday at a secondhand store in the capital, according to police.

Masaru Horie, who was arrested Saturday for the theft, is believed to have received about 1.8 million yen for the bowl at a different secondhand store in Koto Ward. It was then resold to the one in Taito Ward where it was confiscated.


Japan to continue diplomatic efforts after Iran’s attack on Israel

TOKYO – Japan will continue to make every possible diplomatic effort to calm down tensions following Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel over the weekend, the top government spokesman said Monday.

Japan has been strongly urging Iran and other relevant parties to exercise restraint, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a news conference. “We will continue to make all necessary diplomatic efforts, including further efforts at a high level.”

Video: Ritual at World Heritage-listed Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine

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