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Kyodo news summary -4-+
[February 03, 2009]

Kyodo news summary -4-+


(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Feb. 3_(Kyodo) _ ---------- 'Amakudari' arrangement to be banned by end of year

TOKYO - Prime Minister Taro Aso expressed willingness Tuesday to forbid ministries and agencies to play a mediatory role in finding postretirement jobs for their officials by the end of this year.

Aso also said at the House of Representatives Budget Committee that he will ban the so-called "watari" system in which retired bureaucrats repeatedly land postretirement jobs at entities connected to the ministries they worked at by the end of this year.



---------- 2 MSDF destroyers to be deployed for antipiracy mission off Somalia

TOKYO - The Maritime Self-Defense Force said Tuesday that it will send two destroyers on an antipiracy mission off the coast of Somalia once the defense minister issues a dispatch order.


The 4,650-ton Sazanami and the 4,550-ton Samidare of the 8th Escort Division of the 4th Escort Flotilla in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, will be deployed, it said.

---------- Bridge attack suspends traffic on supply route for NATO troops

ISLAMABAD - Traffic on the Peshawar-Torkham Road used to transport goods and fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan was suspended Tuesday morning after militants blew up a bridge, a senior police official said.

"All passenger and cargo traffic including supplies for the NATO troops has come to a halt," the senior security official said. He said unidentified people blew up the bridge between Ali Mosque and Katta Sang on the road early Tuesday.

---------- High court gives ex-fund manager Murakami suspended prison term

TOKYO - The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday sentenced former investment fund manager Yoshiaki Murakami to two years in prison, suspended for three years, overturning a lower court ruling that had given him an unsuspended prison term for insider trading connected to shares of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. in 2004.

The high court upheld the Tokyo District Court's order in July 2007 for Murakami, 49, to pay a fine of 3 million yen and a record 1.15 billion yen surcharge, imposed along with the unsuspended prison term.

---------- Gangster given life sentence for mistakenly killing inpatient

FUKUOKA - The Fukuoka High Court sentenced a former gangster to life in prison Tuesday for killing a man at a hospital in Saga Prefecture in November 2007 after mistaking him for a rival mobster.

Presiding Judge Shogo Kawaguchi scrapped a lower court decision that had given Fumio Imada, 62, a gangster affiliated with the Dojin-kai underworld syndicate, a lighter 24-year prison term.

---------- Gov't to transfer personnel functions to new Cabinet bureau

TOKYO - The government decided Tuesday to transfer the personnel functions of senior officials at some administrative entities to a new Cabinet Secretariat office next year, in a bid to give the Cabinet a stronger grip on the civil servant personnel system and streamline the administration.

The envisioned transfer is a key plan included in a four-year road map for civil service reform, which was endorsed at a morning meeting of a Cabinet taskforce. The government plans to submit related bills to parliament in March to realize the transfer.

---------- High court upholds death penalty for man, rejects not guilty plea

SENDAI - The Sendai High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling sentencing a 32-year-old man to death for killing two women in a robbery-murder case in Iwate Prefecture in 2006.

In handing down the ruling on Kazuyuki Wakabayashi, Presiding Judge Hiroshi Shida said that the defendant's decision to change his plea to not guilty at the appeals trial was "illogical and cannot be trusted."

---------- UNFPA ambassador Arimori urges awareness about HIV/AIDS in Malawi

TOKYO - U.N. Population Fund goodwill ambassador Yuko Arimori called Tuesday for better awareness among Japanese regarding the HIV/AIDS situation in the sub-Saharan African nation Malawi, saying AIDS is a leading cause of death for people there along with malaria.

The 42-year-old Arimori, who won the silver medal in women's marathon in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and the bronze medal four years later in Atlanta, said at a press conference in Tokyo that more than 13 percent of women in Malawi aged 15 to 49 have been infected with HIV.

---------- Iran launches communications satellite with domestic rocket

TEHRAN - Iran has successfully launched a communications satellite on a domestically developed rocket, state media reported Tuesday.

The launch came as Iran prepares to mark the 30th anniversary next Tuesday of the Islamic revolution that toppled the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Copyright ? 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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