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TMCNet:  Kyodo news summary -2-

[June 10, 2014]

Kyodo news summary -2-

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ---------- Japan seeks U.S. cooperation on N. Korea reinvestigation of abductees WASHINGTON - A senior Japanese diplomat said he sought U.S. cooperation Tuesday over a recent deal with Pyongyang on the reinvestigation of people abducted to North Korea decades ago.


"I think the U.S. side has a deeper understanding of our thinking," Junichi Ihara, head of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told reporters after meeting with his U.S. counterpart Glyn Davies in Washington.

---------- Law to enable foreigners with advanced skills to stay indefinitely TOKYO - Lawmakers on Wednesday passed the revised immigration law that enables foreign nationals with advanced skills to stay indefinitely in Japan as well as simplifies passport control procedures for foreign tourists.

The government is hoping an influx of people with special skills will help invigorate the economy. Specialists envisaged under the revised law are researchers and engineers in information technology, medicine and other fields as well as corporate managers and university professors.

---------- Diet OKs bills to free up Japan's retail electricity market TOKYO - Japan's parliament on Wednesday enacted legislation that will allow the country to liberalize the household electricity market that has been dominated by regional monopolies over the past 60 years.

The move will enable Japan to free up the 7.5 trillion yen market for households and other small-lot consumers around 2016 as part of a shake-up of the country's power industry in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, which exposed the vulnerability of the nation's grid and pushed up electricity prices.

---------- FOCUS: Struggling Sony counts on gaming unit in face of Microsoft challenge LOS ANGELES - Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s release of a plethora of software titles in the coming month for its PlayStation 4 machine will likely be followed closely by its financially struggling parent company.

As the 2014 Electronics Entertainment Expo, or E3, opened Tuesday, Sony Corp. is betting that the software lineup for SCE's successful game console will help shore up its bottom line, being chiefly eroded by charges linked to the closure of its money-losing Vaio PC business.

---------- Japan envoy highlights link between disasters, disabilities at U.N.

NEW YORK - Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa on Tuesday stressed the importance of recognizing the special needs of the disabled during major disasters, such as the one experienced by his country in March 2011.

"The needs of persons with disabilities are particularly sensitive in times of disaster," Motohide said at a conference for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which opened Tuesday.

---------- Large Japanese firms' April-June sentiment worsens after tax hike TOKYO - Business sentiment at large Japanese companies turned negative in the three months through June for the first time in six quarters, underscoring their concerns that the first consumption tax hike in 17 years from April 1 would hurt the economy, a government survey showed Wednesday.

The confidence index covering firms capitalized at 1 billion yen or more came to minus 14.6 in the second quarter of 2014, sharply down from a record high of 12.7 during the January-March period, the joint survey by the Finance Ministry and Cabinet Office showed.

---------- Diet OKs nominees for nuclear regulatory body commissioners TOKYO - Japan's parliament on Wednesday approved the nomination of two experts, including an academic who favors nuclear power, for the posts of Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioners as the regulatory body continues its safety reviews of halted reactors.

With the Diet's endorsement, Satoru Tanaka, a University of Tokyo professor who supports the use of nuclear power, and Akira Ishiwatari, a Tohoku University professor and geologist, will replace two of the NRA's five commissioners in September.

(c) 2014 Kyodo News

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