The following is the latest list of selected news summaries by Kyodo News.
Japan to boost hospital capacity to treat more COVID patients
TOKYO - Japan's government said Friday it will boost the country's medical system to allow for 1.2 times more cases of hospitalization for COVID-19 patients compared with this summer's fifth wave of infections when many people were forced to recuperate at home.
In an outline of countermeasures presented at a panel meeting, the government of new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it will seek to increase the utilization rate of hospital beds secured for COVID-19 patients, in addition to designating more beds at public hospitals for exclusive use by sufferers of the respiratory disease.
Nationwide system failure hits NTT Docomo, disruption continues
TOKYO - Some NTT Docomo Inc. mobile phone customers on Friday continued to face difficulties in making calls and data connections, a day after Japan's largest mobile carrier was hit by a nationwide system outage.
NTT Docomo said it suffered a system issue at around 5 p.m. on Thursday due to troubles during work on its network. Services were restored three hours later, but connections remained unstable for some users due to network congestion as many people tried to access the network, the carrier said.
Japan PM Kishida dissolves lower house for Oct. 31 election
TOKYO - Japan's new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the House of Representatives on Thursday for an Oct. 31 general election that he said will set a course for the country's future as he seeks a public mandate for his government launched just last week.
The election must be held as the current term of lower house members expires on Oct. 21, and the Liberal Democratic Party led by Kishida is seeking to secure a majority with its coalition partner Komeito in the powerful chamber to better cope with COVID-19 and rejuvenate an economy damaged by it.
Biden to travel to Europe from late Oct. for G-20, climate talks
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Europe from late October to attend the Group of 20 summit meeting in Italy and the leaders' session of U.N. climate change talks to be held in Britain, the White House said Thursday.
The announcement came after the ruling out of a possible in-person meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, with Xi showing no intention to travel to Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Myanmar rejects ASEAN envoy's meeting with "specific individuals"
YANGON/BANGKOK - Myanmar's military government has said it could not approve a special ASEAN envoy's insistence on meeting with "some specific individuals" in the country, indicating it has effectively rejected his visit because of the request to meet civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and some other opposition leaders.
The Foreign Ministry under the military government issued a statement on Thursday saying "some requests which go beyond the permission of existing laws will be difficult to be accommodated," regarding the request by Erywan Yusof, ASEAN's special envoy on Myanmar and Brunei's second foreign minister.
Ex-U.S.President Clinton hospitalized with infection
WASHINGTON - Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized to receive treatment for a non-coronavirus-related infection, his spokesman Angel Urena said Thursday, adding that he is "on the mend" and is "in good spirits."
Clinton, the 75-year-old two-term former Democratic president, was taken to a University of California medical center and diagnosed with "an infection," a joint statement by doctors that was posted on Urena's Twitter account said.
Japan gov't keeps economic view in Oct. but exports downgraded
TOKYO - Japan's government on Friday retained its view that the pace of economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic-caused shock has "weakened" in its monthly assessment for October while downgrading its assessment for exports amid supply shortages.
The Japanese economy is "picking up, although the pace has weakened" due to the severe situation caused by the virus, the Cabinet Office said in its overall assessment, after revising it down the previous month for the first time in four months.
M3.6 quake shakes western Japan, no tsunami warning issued
TOKYO - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.6 struck the western Japan prefecture of Wakayama on Friday but there was no threat of a tsunami, the weather agency said.
The quake occurred at 7:57 a.m., registering 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in the town of Yuasa, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
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