Japan puts 22,000 soldiers on full alert as typhoon approaches



Typhoon Haishen, which is expected to hit southwestern Japan in the next few days, prompted the country’s military to put 22,000 troops on full alert, according to a top government official.

The Japanese Defense Minister, Taro Kono, disclosed this on Saturday as reported by the NHK broadcaster.

“In case something happens, 22,000 members of the self-defense forces are on full alert.

“The self-defense forces must gather all their strength and be ready for anything,” Kono was quoted as saying.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said that the typhoon might cause high waves that could be comparable to tsunamis.

Atmospheric pressure in Haishen’s centre is 920 hectopascals, while its wind power is 180 kilometers (111 miles) per hour.

Gusts are up to 252 kilometers (156 miles) per hour.

Haishen is expected to hit Japan’s Kyushu island on Sunday or Monday.

Nearly 100 flights in southern and southwestern Japan were canceled on Saturday due to the approaching typhoon.

Kyushu Railway Co. said its bullet and local train services in the region may be suspended on Sunday and Monday, while West Japan Railway Co. is considering suspending Sanyo Shinkansen services between Hiroshima and Hakata stations all day Monday.

Many schools in the Kyushu region are expected to be closed on Monday.

As a wide area of western Japan is likely to be affected by severe weather, six prefectures have released water at a total of 23 dams.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, this is to prevent disaster.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


Olympics: Japan to require COVID-19 tests for athletes, draft shows



Organisers of next year’s delayed Olympic Games will require coronavirus tests of foreign athletes upon their arrival in Japan, draft measures released on Wednesday show.

Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan will face the same requirements, according to the measures, which are still being discussed.

Although foreign athletes and other participants will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period, virus tests will be required on arrival and departure, under the plan.

Organisers also propose to limit travel within Japan for athletes, who will be restricted to such places as towns hosting national delegations and training sites.

The pandemic, which has infected more than 31.3 million people and killed about 964,000 worldwide, has prompted hard questions about the viability of next year’s Games, even as new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has emphasised their importance.

Japan has avoided the kind of explosive outbreak suffered by nations such as the United States, India and Brazil, with roughly 80,000 infections and about 1,500 deaths to date.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Source: NAN
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Japan factory activity struggles to recover as output falls – PMI



Japan’s factory activity extended declines in September, largely due to a sharper fall in output, as the world’s third-largest economy struggles to stage a robust recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was largely unchanged at 47.3 in September, compared with a final 47.2 in the previous month.

Output contracted at a faster pace for the first time in four months, weighing on the headline index, which remained below the 50.0 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for a 17th month.

“New order inflows continued to fall in September, reflecting subdued demand,’’ said Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

“That said, the picture of the economy remained much improved when compared to the height of the pandemic during the second quarter.’’

While still remaining in contraction, other indicators in the manufacturing survey such as new orders and suppliers’ delivery times saw their slowest pace of declines since January.

Other positive signs in the survey included manufacturers’ views on future output, which rose to a more than two year high.

Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, faces the daunting task of restoring the economy after it posted its worst post-war contraction in the second quarter.

Suga is expected to first target quick policy wins that will later give him the political capital to pursue tougher reforms.

The PMI survey also showed a slight improvement in service-sector activity in September, which contracted at its slowest pace in seven months.

The au Jibun Bank Flash Services PMI index rose to a seasonally adjusted 45.6 from the previous month’s final of 45.0.

The au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Composite PMI, which includes both manufacturing and services, edged up to 45.5 from a final 45.2 in August.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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Suga hopes for ‘forward-looking’ ties with S. Korea in letter to President Moon



Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, expressed hope for “forward-looking” relations with South Korea as “important neighbors” in his recent letter to President Moon Jae-in, Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

Suga sent a reply to Moon on Saturday for his congratulatory message, as he was sworn in as the successor of Shinzo Abe, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

He expressed the hope that the two sides would establish forward-looking ties by overcoming “difficult issues,” Kang added without elaborating.

Suga was apparently referring to longstanding disputes over shared history, especially compensating victims of forced labor and sexual enslavement of women during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea.

A combined image of South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (Yonhap).


Moon earlier sent a letter to Suga, in which he proposed joint efforts to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations, shortly after his inauguration.

On Sunday, Suga reportedly had a phone conversation with United States President Donald Trump.

Cheong Wa Dae officials have not announced when Moon will also talk with Suga on the phone.

ited by Emmanuel Yashim
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Tokyo 2020 consulting firm paid around $370,000 to Diack’s son – report



A consulting firm for Tokyo’s Olympic bid committee paid around $370,000 to the son of Lamine Diack, once one of the world’s most powerful sports officials, around the time Japan was picked to host the 2020 Games, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

The report comes amid French investigations into the former head of Tokyo’s bid committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, for approving around $2 million in payments to Black Tidings, a now-defunct consulting firm in Singapore.

The report said the findings, based on a review of financial documents as well as reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and several media organisations including Kyodo, may shed light on what happened to the $2 million.

Black Tidings made multiple transfers to Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, including some paid into a personal account and others transferred to his company, the report said.

The combined total was around $370,000, it said.

Papa Massata Diack told Kyodo that the payments were not related to the Tokyo Olympics. He declined further comment in an e-mail to Reuters.

French prosecutors had been looking into whether Black Tidings paid the younger Diack to influence the father, who was a member of the International Olympic Committee and believed to control votes among African members.

Takeda resigned last year due to the scandal, admitting to the payments while denying wrongdoing.

The Kyodo report said he denied any knowledge of money transfers from Black Tidings.

“At the time, I did not know anything that happened after (making the payment to the consulting firm),” he said.

Reuters could not immediately contact Takeda for comment.

The older Diack, former head of world athletics’ governing body, was convicted in France on Wednesday for corruption in relation to a Russian doping scandal.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the government planning to host the games next year instead.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Source: NAN
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