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Kyodo news summary -2-
[February 20, 2014]

Kyodo news summary -2-

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Feb. 21 -- (Kyodo) _ ---------- Tokyo stocks rebound in morning on Wall St. gains, weaker yen TOKYO - Tokyo stocks bounced back Friday morning, with the Nikkei rising 2 percent to recover most of the previous day's losses, as overnight gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen encouraged investors to hunt bargains.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 292.24 points, or 2.02 percent, from Thursday to 14,741.42. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 18.42 points, or 1.54 percent, to 1,212.98.

---------- Abe says upcoming TPP ministerial meeting "extremely important" TOKYO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday said the upcoming ministerial meeting of countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is an "extremely important" step toward concluding the talks.

"Very tough negotiations are continuing, in which national interests are clashing...I want our negotiating team to work as one to achieve national interests," Abe said at a meeting of TPP-related ministers held to confirm the government's stance in the regional free trade talks that involve Japan's major trade partner, the United States.

---------- Panasonic fined $4.7 million for auto parts bid-rigging WASHINGTON - A Canadian court has fined Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp. 4.7 million Canadian dollars for its involvement in bid-rigging of auto parts, the country's Competition Bureau said Thursday.

Panasonic pleaded guilty for conspiring with another Japanese motor vehicle parts maker in a tender to supply Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. with switches and sensors for models made between 2008 and 2009 such as the Corolla and Rav 4, it said.

---------- Some BOJ policymakers remained cautious about price outlook: minutes TOKYO - Some Bank of Japan policymakers maintained a cautious stance on the central bank's prediction that consumer prices are likely to come close to its 2 percent inflation target from the end of fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2015, the minutes of the January policy meeting showed Friday.

As in the October meeting when it released its outlook report, "A few members held a more cautious view of the outlook for prices compared with the forecasts in the baseline scenario, mainly because it seemed highly uncertain whether changes in inflation expectations would lead to a rise in the actual rate of inflation," the minutes of the Jan. 21-22 meeting said.

---------- FOCUS: Shimane residents have mixed feelings ahead of Takeshima Day MATSUE, Japan - Shimane Prefecture residents and historical researchers have expressed mixed feelings ahead of Takeshima Day, designated by local ordinance in 2005 and set to be marked Saturday under considerable scrutiny because of a territorial row with South Korea.

They are concerned their local activities for preserving the memory of the islets may be politicized amid the deterioration of the Japan-South Korea relationships and portrayed as ideological, local residents say.

---------- FOCUS: Candid friends add to pains for Abe's diplomacy TOKYO - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enjoys a seemingly unassailable grip on parliament and widespread support for his economic policies, but his diplomatic standing appears markedly less assured, with his nationalistic posture, amplified by a series of outbursts from people close to him, straining ties with neighboring countries and the United States.

Abe's ruling coalition has a comfortable majority in both chambers of parliament, with no national election expected until 2016. Further cementing his power is a recovery in the Japanese economy, promised by Abe to voters, following nearly two-decades of deflation.

---------- Japan grilled by TPP countries for hours over its sensitive goods SINGAPORE - Japan underwent almost six hours of intense questioning by other countries involved in talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord over its refusal to open up its market for its sensitive farm products at a meeting of TPP negotiators in Singapore this week.

The Japanese position on its five sensitive farm product categories -- rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and sugar -- dominated the discussions in the market access working group meeting that took place for about three hours each on Wednesday and Thursday.

(c) 2014 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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