Feb 20th, 2016


1)   China’s Foreign Ministry is urging the United States not to invoke sanctions on North Korea.


Hong said on Friday that China believes what it calls hot issues cannot be resolved simply by sanctions or pressure.

2)   Police stormed a church in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, on Friday morning and arrested a 36-year-old man who had taken a woman hostage.

Police say the 51-year-old counselor has been rescued and her injuries are not life-threatening.

3)   A ruling party lawmaker in Japan has got into hot water for a remark that critics say could be taken as insulting toward US President Barack Obama.

Liberal Democratic Party member of the Upper House Kazuya Maruyama was a target of criticism during Diet deliberations on Thursday.

4)   Japan’s government plans to step up defense cooperation with countries around the South China Sea in response to China’s military buildup on an island there.

US officials say their surveillance has confirmed that China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system on Woody Island in the Paracel chain. China controls the island, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

5)   Japanese police arrested the head of a Tokyo-based trade firm on Thursday on suspicion of exporting goods to North Korea in defiance of Japan’s trade embargo.

The police allege that 48-year-old male president of Seiryo-shoji violated foreign exchange and trade laws by exporting clothes, tableware and food in January 2014. The exports were worth around 6 million yen, or 53,000 dollars at current exchange rates.

6)   The operator of Universal Studios Japan is considering cancelling its plan to open a new theme park in Okinawa Prefecture, southwestern Japan. Sources cite concerns the park may not be profitable.

The company announced the plan last March. It has since been consulting with the prefectural government over the plan. In July, USJ’s then-CEO visited the Ocean Expo Park in the prefecture, a candidate site.

7)   Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso says the slowing Chinese economy, tumbling oil prices and US monetary policy will be the major themes at next week’s G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors.