Kyodo News Digest: May 4, 2022

Carp streamers flutter in the wind over the Hino River in Kofu in Tottori Prefecture, western Japan, on April 30, 2022. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.


Japan’s child population falls for 41st year, record low amid pandemic

TOKYO – Japan’s estimated child population fell for the 41st straight year to a record low, government data showed Wednesday, as women are believed to have refrained from having children due to the expanding coronavirus pandemic.

The number of children aged 14 or younger, including foreigners, stood at 14.65 million as of April 1, down about 250,000 from a year earlier and the lowest figure since 1950 when comparable data became available, according to the data released by the Internal Affairs Ministry .


IOC to inspect proposed 2030 Sapporo Olympics venues this month

TOKYO – The International Olympic Committee will conduct inspections at the end of this month of venues the Sapporo Olympic organizers intend to use if the city is selected to host the 2030 Winter Games, a source with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday.

IOC staff will visit venues in Hokkaido, northern Japan, to check on their current operating conditions and sizes in order for the IOC’s winter Future Host Commission, charged with identifying host cities, to compile the materials and documents it needs.


Norman Mineta, 1st Asian American Cabinet secretary in US, dies at 90

WASHINGTON – Norman Mineta, who was the first Asian American ever to serve as a US Cabinet secretary and who in childhood had been incarcerated during World War II for his Japanese ancestry, died Tuesday at his home in Maryland, his former chief of staff said. He was 90.

During his 20 years as a member of the US House of Representatives, Mineta worked to address the country’s historical abuse of having forced some 120,000 Japanese Americans into wartime internment camps.


Sunken Hokkaido boat searched with camera, 12 people still missing

SAPPORO – Police searched a sunken tour boat off Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido with a drone Tuesday but found no signs of 12 people who remain missing, officials involved in the search operation said.

The authorities had struggled to search the inside of the 19-ton boat that sank more than a week ago with 26 people aboard and was found on Friday at a depth of 120 meters off the Shiretoko Peninsula.


Baseball: Tanaka strong as Eagles scrape past Fighters

SAPPORO – Masahiro Tanaka worked eight scoreless innings to win a pitchers’ duel as the Pacific League-leading Rakuten Eagles beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 2-1 Tuesday afternoon.

Tanaka (3-1) located his fastball and slider well as he struck out six and walked two while allowing four hits to outduel Fighters southpaw Takayuki Kato (2-2) at Sapporo Dome.


S. Korea’s Moon announces passage of prosecution reform bill

SEOUL – South Korea’s President Moon Jae In announced Tuesday the passage of a controversial bill that will significantly reduce prosecutors’ investigative powers, just before his term ends next week and despite strong criticism from the opposition party.

“Concerns over political neutrality, fairness and selective justice in prosecutors’ investigations have still not been resolved,” Moon said at the outset of his final Cabinet meeting, underscoring the significance of passing such legal reform.


Australia raises benchmark interest rate 1st time in over 11 years

SYDNEY – Australia’s central bank Tuesday raised its benchmark interest rate to 0.35 percent, its first hike in more than 11 years amid surging inflation.

An increase in the cash rate by 0.25 percentage point came after official data released last week saw headline inflation at 5.1 percent in the year through March, forcing the Reserve Bank of Australia to lift the rate from the record low 0.1 percent sooner than initially planned.


Baseball: Cubs’ Suzuki named National League Rookie of the Month

NEW YORK – Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki was named the National League’s Rookie of the Month for April, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

The 27-year-old former Hiroshima Carp slugger batted .279 with four home runs and 14 RBIs during his first month in the big leagues.


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