Kyodo Top12 News (10:30)
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ----------
Japan, NATO agree to work more closely, sign partnership program
BRUSSELS - Japan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreed Tuesday in Brussels to work more closely and extensively in areas such as maritime security and cyber defense and humanitarian operations. After their talks at the NATO headquarters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen signed a roadmap, called the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program, detailing areas of focus for bilateral cooperation. At a joint press conference following their meeting, Abe said, "With security in Asia and Europe closely intertwined, we have shared the recognition that cooperation is important for Japan and NATO, which uphold common basic values such as rule of law."
Japan keen to lift ban on collective self-defense, Abe tells NATO
BRUSSELS - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his resolve Tuesday to push for a change to the government's current interpretation of the Constitution and lift a self-imposed ban on collective self-defense. Abe indicated during a speech to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's decision-making body that there are limits to the activities of Japan's Self-Defense Forces under the current interpretation of the country's pacifist Constitution. Based on the current interpretation, Japan cannot exercise the right to collective self-defense, or defend an ally under armed attack, given the constraints of Article 9 that forbids the use of force to settle international disputes.
G-7 ministers agree on market reforms to enhance energy security
ROME - Energy ministers from the Group of Seven leading economies agreed to promote market reforms during their two days of discussions in Rome on ways to strengthen collective energy security amid growing tensions over Ukraine. The G-7 energy ministers are "extremely concerned by the energy security implications of developments in Ukraine, as a consequence of Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," their joint statement said. European countries are challenged by their heavy reliance on Russian natural gas, a factor behind their reluctance to impose stronger sanctions on Moscow for its aggressiveness toward Kiev. The G-7 ministers said they are united in their determination to help Ukraine in strengthening energy security. Ukraine is faced with Russia's threat to cut off gas supplies because of unpaid bills.
MHI, Siemens to set up joint venture for steel production machinery
TOKYO - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Wednesday it has agreed with Siemens AG of Germany to establish a joint venture for steel and metal production machinery next January. They aim to expand "the product line in the steel and metal production machinery business" and to accelerate globalization, Mitsubishi Heavy said in its press release. The new company, to be set up in Britain, will be owned 51 percent by Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery Inc., an MHI group company, and 49 percent by Siemens, with its chief executive officer currently being selected, it said.
China reports 1st death from H5N6 bird flu virus
SHANGHAI/TAIPEI - A 49-year-old man who died of acute pneumonia in Nanchong city in China's Sichuan Province was infected with the H5N6 strain of bird flu virus, health officials said. It was the first death of a person confirmed to have been infected with the strain, according to Taiwanese health authorities, who have been in contact with the Chinese authorities. It could be the first confirmed case of human infection with the H5N6 strain, according to Toshihiro Ito, a professor at Tottori University in Japan who is versed in avian influenza. The H5N6 strain, a subtype of the H5 variety that is highly toxic to birds, is different from the H7N9 strain which has caused human infections in China.
5 nuke states sign Central Asia nuclear weapons free zone at U.N.
NEW YORK - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- five major nuclear weapon states -- on Tuesday signed the protocol to the treaty to establish a nuclear free zone in Central Asia at a ceremony held at the United Nations. "Today, we are witnessing a historical event," said Kazakhstan's U.N. Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, who spoke on behalf of the five central Asian countries. "Here, in this room, we have signed the protocol that is an integral part of the treaty providing to the Central Asian states security assurances against the use, or the threat of use, of nuclear weapons." Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have long lobbied for the establishment of such of zone in their region.
Vietnam protests to China over drilling in South China Sea
HANOI - Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on Tuesday called Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi to protest Beijing's launch of drilling activities near the Paracel inlands in the South China Sea, the state-run Vietnam News Agency said. The Vietnamese minister said that "the move had seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and its sovereign right and jurisdiction over the country's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf," according to the report." Minh also demanded that China remove the drilling facilities. Minh, who doubles as foreign minister, said China was deploying many vessels including warships to the oil and gas mining areas of the sea.
March U.S. trade deficit falls 3.6% to $40.38 bil.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. deficit in global trade of goods and services in March fell 3.6 percent from the previous month to $40.38 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The overall deficit declined for the first time in four months due partly to rebounding exports to emerging markets such as China. The U.S. deficit with China in March dropped 2.2 percent to $20.4 billion, with exports increasing 9.6 percent to $10.83 billion in a turnaround from a 4.6 percent decrease in February and imports growing 1.6 percent to $31.23 billion. The trade deficit with Japan jumped 12.9 percent to $5.94 billion with exports rising 13.1 percent to $6.03 billion, while imports increased 13.0 percent to $11.97 billion.
U.S. to levy antidumping duty on Japan, China, S. Korea steel
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department imposed temporary duties Monday on steel products from countries such as Japan, China and South Korea, saying they are sold at unreasonably low prices in the United States. Two major Japanese steelmakers, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and JFE Steel Corp., will face a 172.3 percent antidumping duty on their grain-oriented electrical steel, according to the department's preliminary decisions. The steel product is used in transformer cores. All other Japanese producers and exporters will face a 93.36 percent penalty on their products. U.S. authorities will slap a 159.21 percent margin on the steel products of all Chinese steelmakers including Baoshan Iron & Steel Co. and a 5.34 percent duty on those of South Korean steel firms including industry giant Posco.
3 climbers die, 3 others missing in mountains in Japan
GIFU, Japan - Three people died and three other people remained missing in mountain climbing accidents in central and eastern Japan on Tuesday, the last day of the Golden Week holiday period. Two men froze to death during a climb up the 3,190-meter Mt. Okuhotakadake, which straddles Gifu and Nagano prefectures, police said. The Nagano and Gifu prefectural police received an emergency call late Monday and searched from early morning Tuesday until noon when they found the pair, who had both suffered cardiopulmonary arrest. Meanwhile, a woman was confirmed dead after falling from a trail on Mt. Arafune in Gunma Prefecture. Three people remain missing on the 2,017-meter Mt. Kumotori, which stands on the borders of Tokyo, Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures, Yamanashi police said.
Tokyo stocks open sharply lower on Wall St. losses, yen's rise
TOKYO - Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower Wednesday after a long weekend in Japan as market sentiment soured following losses on Wall Street and the yen's appreciation. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 242.66 points, or 1.68 percent, from Friday to 14,214.85. Japanese financial markets were closed Monday and Tuesday for public holidays. The broader Topix index was down 18.72 points, or 1.58 percent, at 1,163.76. On the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 101 yen zone in Tokyo early Wednesday. At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 101.73-75 yen compared with 101.63-73 yen in New York at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The euro was quoted at $1.3928-3930 and 141.70-77 yen against $1.3922-3932 and 141.55-65 yen in New York.
Weather forecast for key cities in Japan
TOKYO - Weather for Wednesday: Tokyo=fair, occasionally cloudy; Osaka=fair; Nagoya=fair; Sapporo=fair, occasionally cloudy; Sendai=fair; Niigata=fair; Hiroshima=fair; Takamatsu=fair; Fukuoka=fair; Naha=cloudy, then rain.
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