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TMCNet:  Kyodo Top12 News (13:10)

[August 15, 2014]

Kyodo Top12 News (13:10)

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ---------- Abe renews peace pledge on 69th anniversary of WWII's end TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renewed his pledge Friday to contribute to world peace at a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II, amid concern that Japan may be shifting away from pacifism under his leadership. The ceremony followed the decision of Abe's Cabinet on July 1 to approve reinterpreting the Constitution to allow the Self-Defense Forces to defend allies under armed attack in collective self-defense. "Today is the day to renew our pledge for peace," Abe said at the ceremony attended by Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and about 4,700 relatives of the war dead.


---------- Abe sends ritual offering, 2 ministers visit war-linked shrine TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering and two of his Cabinet ministers visited the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, a source of friction with neighboring Asian nations, as Friday marked the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. Abe was expected not to visit this time, after his contentious December visit to the Shinto shrine, the first in seven years by a sitting Japanese leader, infuriated China and South Korea and disappointed the United States, Tokyo's key ally. On Friday morning, Abe sent his aide to make a ritual offering at his own expense, seen as an attempt to appease his conservative supporters, given there are some quarters within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who want the prime minister to go there.

---------- Park urges Japan to make next year "starting point for new era" SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun Hye urged Japan on Friday to work with South Korea to make next year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties, a "new starting point for a new era" of relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, South Korea's Foreign Ministry criticized as "deplorable" Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's latest ritual offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo and the visits there by two of his Cabinet ministers earlier Friday, the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. "Based on friendship, I hope both countries make next year as a new starting point for a new era," Park said at a speech marking the anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan's colonial rule on Aug. 15, 1945.

---------- Park proposes creation of nuclear safety body in Northeast Asia SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun Hye on Friday proposed the creation of a body to ensure nuclear plants in Northeast Asia are operated safely, involving mainly South Korea, China and Japan. "I propose creating a consultative body for nuclear safety in Northeast Asia with South Korea, China and Japan being the central participants," Park said in a speech delivered on National Liberation Day, marking the end of Japan's colonial rule in 1945. "The United States, Russia, North Korea and Mongolia are also to take part in the body," she said. She said the idea is to follow an example of how the European Union has forged multilateral cooperation and created the European Atomic Energy Community.

---------- Abe to hold summit talks with India's Modi on Sept. 1 in Tokyo TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tokyo on Sept. 1 to strengthen the two countries' "strategic global partnership," the government said Friday. In an official visit to Japan from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, Modi, who became prime minister in May, will have an audience with Emperor Akihito on Sept. 2, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. "We would like to further develop the Japan-India strategic global partnership" through Modi's trip, Suga said. "Japan-India relations possess the highest potential of development in the world," he said, citing India's robust economic growth and the country's being the world's largest democratic state.

---------- Iraqi Christian delegation presses U.N. to help persecuted minority NEW YORK - A delegation of Iraqi Christians has come to the United Nations to press the international community to take action to help scores of the minority population who they say increasingly face peril from persecution by Islamic extremists. "Right now this is a full blown genocide in motion and people are being massacred and ethnic cleansing has occurred," Mark Arabo, the spokesman for the group, told Kyodo News during the delegation's three-day visit that ends Friday. He cited reports of massacres, rapes and targeted killings that were being meted out as people were driven from their villages and homes. They have taken refuge in schools, parks, cultural centers and even on the streets where food, security and health concerns are on the rise, he said.

---------- U.S. urges China to ensure freedom for human rights lawyer Gao WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department urged China on Thursday to ensure freedom for prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was released from prison earlier this month. "We urge Chinese authorities not to impose any restrictions on his movement so he can be able to travel freely and be reunited with his family," Marie Harf, a spokeswoman of the department, told reporters. The U.S. government had asked China to release Gao, who was detained in 2011 after he looked into corruption allegations involving Chinese bureaucrats, and called for the rule of law. Sources with knowledge of the matter said members of China's state security apparatus appeared to be following Gao even after he left a prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

---------- U.S. welcomes start of work for Okinawa Marine base relocation WASHINGTON - A U.S. government spokeswoman said Thursday that Washington welcomes the start of preparatory work in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture toward the construction of a coastal facility that will accommodate a U.S. Marine Corps base from a densely populated area in the prefecture. "It's a critical step toward realizing our shared vision for the realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa," Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters. The Japanese government installed buoys to cordon off a stretch of shoreline of the Henoko district in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture amid demonstrations by protestors. Waters off Henoko will be the site of a replacement facility for the Futenma base.

---------- Sony to make image sensors for automobile-mounted cameras TOKYO - Sony Corp. will start making image sensors for automobile-mounted cameras, with their mass production slated to begin next year, company sources said Friday. By expanding into the growing automotive camera market, as automakers seek to develop automated-driving vehicles and other smart cars, the major Japanese electronics company aims to improve its sluggish electronics business. To be mass-produced is an image sensor for car-mounted cameras that will detect and monitor obstacles and other cars in front of and behind the vehicle while driving, the sources said. The sensor is highly sensitive to light and is able to easily detect people and obstacles on roads at night. It is even capable of displaying surroundings in color in moonlight, they said.

---------- Gov't to provide financial aid to promote Japanese books abroad TOKYO - The Japanese government will provide financial aid to promote translation of Japanese books about Japan's culture, history and advanced technology into English to bolster understanding toward the country abroad, government officials said. Such initiatives have been launched amid increasing published claims worldwide by China and South Korea about history and other issues with Japan. The Cabinet Office put 80 million yen in the budget for the current fiscal year ending next March for assisting translation of Japanese books, which is typically difficult to do for a private company as a business to make profits.

---------- Tokyo stocks edge down, dollar holds firm mid-102 yen range TOKYO - Tokyo shares edged lower Friday morning as investors locked in profits following recent gains in thin trading during Japan's Bon summer holiday season. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 20.66 points, or 0.13 percent, from Thursday to 15,293.91. At 1 p.m., the Nikkei index was down 15.81 points, or 0.10 percent, at 15,298.76. The broader Topix index was down 1.30 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,269.20. On the currency market, the U.S. dollar held firm in the mid-102 yen range. At 1 p.m., the dollar fetched 102.52-53 yen compared with 102.40-50 yen in New York late Thursday afternoon. The euro was quoted at 136.99-137.06 yen against 136.89-99 yen in New York.

---------- Weather forecast for key cities in Japan TOKYO - Weather forecast for Saturday: Tokyo=fair, occasionally cloudy; Osaka=cloudy, then occasionally rain; Nagoya=cloudy, then occasionally rain; Sapporo=fair, occasionally cloudy; Sendai=rain; Niigata=rain; Hiroshima=rain, then cloudy; Takamatsu=cloudy, then occasionally rain; Fukuoka=rain, then cloudy; Naha=cloudy, occasionally rain.

(c) 2014 Kyodo News

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