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TMCNet:  Kyodo Top12 News (22:30)

[August 19, 2014]

Kyodo Top12 News (22:30)

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ---------- More police begin full taping of suspects during questioning in FY2014 TOKYO - Five more prefectural police forces have begun audio and video recordings of suspects during questioning in cases for lay judge trials in fiscal 2014, bringing the total number of such prefectural police forces to 13 out of Japan's 47 prefectures, according to a Kyodo News tally compiled Tuesday. Three more prefectural police forces have also decided to start full recordings by the end of this fiscal year next March or plan to do so, as an advisory panel to the justice minister supports the idea of mandating full recordings of interrogations by investigators in such cases. All the nation's prefectural police forces have already begun recording parts of the questioning process, such as when an interrogation statement is read to a suspect.


---------- Firm fails to have decontamination workers take health checks YOKOHAMA - A Yokohama-based firm has been reprimanded for not having one or more of its workers undergo required health checks after sending them to Fukushima Prefecture for decontamination work in the wake of the 2011 nuclear crisis, labor authorities said Tuesday. The Tsurumi Labor Standard Inspection Office issued an order to the firm, which is now undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, in June to take corrective measures for being remiss in its duty to have its workers medically examined. The inspection office said the firm was a subcontractor for a joint venture led by Tokyo-based general contractor Kajima Corp. which received an order from the Environment Ministry to engage in work to decontaminate soil and houses affected by the radioactive fallout from the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

---------- Malaysia's AirAsia says not bidding for Japan's Skymark KUALA LUMPUR - The head of Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Bhd on Tuesday dismissed a news report that his company eyes taking over Japan's struggling Skymark Airlines Inc., saying he wants to build AirAsia's own brand in Japan. "I deny it. There is no such thing. I am focusing on organic growth. That has been our model," AirAsia group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes told Kyodo News. His comment came after Japanese business daily Nikkei, in a report overnight, quoted unnamed sources as saying AirAsia is in talks with financial institutions on a possible tender offer for Tokyo-listed Skymark. The news has sent shares of Skymark, the third largest domestic carrier in Japan, soaring nearly 28 percent Tuesday to 230 yen.

---------- Japanese believed held in Syria said he planned to support rebels DAMASCUS - A Japanese man believed to have been captured in northern Syria by Islamic State militants said he came to the conflict-ravaged country in preparation for his plan to supply rebels fighting the ruling Assad regime, a rebel leader said Monday. Haruna Yukawa, 42, reportedly said he wanted to open an office in Turkey, which borders Syria, to bring supplies to rebels. Yukawa also said he planned to follow the movements of the Syrian military as well as the Islamic State, a militant group operating in Iraq and Syria, according to the regional leader of the Islamic Front, a rival rebel group to the Islamic State. A statement posted online by Monday claims Islamic State intelligence officers had captured a Japanese spy named Haruna Yukawa, but it does not disclose Yukawa's current condition and its authenticity has not been confirmed.

---------- Japanese port city mayor to visit N. Korea on Thursday TOTTORI, Japan - The mayor of a city in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan plans to visit North Korea on Thursday, in what is believed to be the first such trip by a local government head since Japan lifted its restrictions on travel between the two countries in July. According to the city of Sakaiminato, which had trade relations with North Korea until Japan's 2006 sanctions, Mayor Katsuji Nakamura is scheduled to visit a port in Rason, a special economic zone on the northeastern tip of North Korea that borders China and Russia, for a few hours. Nakamura will be accompanied by officials of Hunchun, a Chinese city in Jilin Province also on the Chinese-North Korean border which has proposed the tour. Sakaiminato and North Korea had a lot of trade, including crab and used cars, before the Japanese government banned the entry of North Korean vessels in 2006 in protest at North Korea's nuclear tests.

---------- Australia, Indonesia agree to resume intelligence, military cooperation SYDNEY - Australia and Indonesia have struck a deal to resume intelligence and military cooperation, suspended last year after reports of Australian spying on the Indonesian president, his wife and government ministers, local media reported Tuesday. "We have reached agreement on the joint understanding and we are currently arranging a time to sign it," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was quoted as saying by Australian Broadcasting Corp. ABC reported that Bishop, who has been in negotiations with her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa for months on the matter, will fly to Jakarta within days to join to formally sign with him what will be called the "Joint Understanding of a Code of Conduct." --------- Women occupy only 6.6% of managerial posts at Japan firms: govt TOKYO - Women occupied only 6.6 percent of managerial posts at Japanese companies in fiscal 2013, government data showed Tuesday, indicating the huge challenge facing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government in achieving its goal of raising the ratio to 30 percent by 2020 to bolster Japan's economic growth. Moreover, the survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Minister found the ratio of women holding the post of section chief or higher has remained essentially flat since fiscal 2009 when the ministry started studying the matter. The ratio was 6.3 percent that first year. The survey also found only 38.2 percent of companies polled are taking steps to put more women in leadership positions. In October 2013 the ministry surveyed 6,115 companies with more than 10 employees and received answers from 3,874 businesses.

---------- Development of blood test for detecting 13 kinds of cancer to begin TOKYO - A group composed of the National Cancer Center, private companies and universities in Japan said Monday it will begin a five-year project to enable the detection of 13 kinds of cancer by taking a blood sample. The 7.9 billion yen project led by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, an independent administrative agency known as NEDO, is aimed at enabling early stage cancer detection through a simple blood test. The envisioned blood test is expected to help diagnose stomach, esophagus, lung, liver, biliary tract, pancreas, colon, ovary, prostate, bladder and breast cancers as well as sarcoma and glial tumor. The test will screen microRNAs as tumor markers. The microRNAs, substances in blood and other bodily fluid, have been found to increase when people develop cancers. Over 2,500 types of microRNAs have been confirmed in humans and are expected to serve as markers for different cancers.

---------- 2 Japanese bearings makers fined by China for price-fixing cartel OSAKA - Two major Japanese ball bearings manufacturers said Tuesday that they have been slapped by Chinese regulators with fines totaling roughly 4.8 billion yen for participating in a price-fixing cartel. China's National Development and Reform Commission imposed a fine of some 2.9 billion yen on Tokyo-based NSK Ltd., while levying a fine of about 1.9 billion yen on Osaka-based NTN Corp., they said. In statements, the two companies apologized over the matter, adding that they will ensure their compliance with relevant laws and regulations. NTN said it will book the fine as a special loss in its group earnings for the April-September period. The Chinese move comes after the European Commission ordered the two companies in March to pay fines for a price-fixing cartel involving automotive wheel-hub bearings.

---------- Protest-hit U.S. town lifts curfew while National Guard is called FERGUSON, Missouri - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday lifted the curfew issued for the city of Ferguson two days earlier after bitter protests triggered by the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by police. The governor also called the National Guard to the town on Monday after reports of looting by some demonstrators and the use of tear gas by police against protesters. The governor had declared a state of emergency and issued a midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew on Saturday after confrontations between protestors and police forces grew intense, following the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called on the relevant U.S. authorities to ensure that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are protected in the city, according to spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

---------- Tokyo stocks rise, dollar firms in upper 102 yen zone TOKYO - Tokyo stocks finished higher Tuesday, with the Nikkei stock index extending its winning streak to a seventh trading day on buying bolstered by overnight gains in U.S. shares and a weaker yen trend. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 127.19 points, or 0.83 percent, from Monday at 15,449.79. The broader Topix index finished 9.03 points, or 0.71 percent, higher at 1,280.29. On the currency market, the U.S. dollar held steady in the upper 102 yen zone. At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 102.59-61 yen compared with 102.51-61 yen in New York late Monday afternoon. It moved between 102.53 yen and 102.65 yen during the day. The euro was quoted at $1.3351-3352 and 136.97-137.01 yen against $1.3359-3369 and 137.00-10 yen in New York.

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

(c) 2014 Kyodo News

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