Japan may consider further stimulus package for COVID-19-hit economy, says minister

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan could consider fresh economic stimulus, including a possible fourth extra budget, as the government expands a state of emergency amid a record surge in coronavirus infections, a prominent cabinet minister said on Thursday.

“Suddenly demand has gone, so I think the government, if it is necessary, will be willing to inject money into the economy,” Taro Kono, the administrative and regulatory reform minister, said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

Japan widens virus emergency to 7 more areas as cases surge

TOKYO (AP) — Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures Wednesday, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also said Japan will suspend fast-track entry exceptions for business visitors or others with residency permits, fully banning foreign visitors while the state of emergency is in place.

Asian shares mostly higher on optimism despite pandemic

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Monday as bullish sentiment persisted despite continuing signs of economic damage from the pandemic.

Traders continued to be cheered by prospects that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will pump more aid into the U.S. economy, a move that will help Asia and other export-driven nations.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 2.5% in early trading to 3,230.15. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7% to 6,714.20. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.2% to 27,945.18, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.4% to 3,584.97.

Kim Jong-un says North Korea plans to develop ties with Russia, China

TOKYO, January 9. /TASS/: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that his country plans to develop relations with Russia and China, North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported on Saturday.

Kim Jong-un was speaking at the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea, which opened on January 5.

In particular, Kim Jong-un noted that Pyongyang laid the foundation for the development and expansion of friendly relations with Moscow, and also received guarantees of strengthening ties with Beijing.

Japan: Oil hits 11-month highs on Saudi output cut pledge, equities rally

TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil prices on Friday hit 11-month highs and were on track for a strong weekly gain as a rally in global equities fed risk appetite and stoked bullish sentiment following Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut output.

Brent crude climbed 39 cents, or 0.7%, to $54.77 a barrel by 0757 GMT, after touching $54.92, the highest since Feb. 26.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained 33 cents, or 0.7%, to $51.16. The contract also touched its highest since Feb. 25 at $51.34 earlier in the session.

Both benchmarks are on track for weekly gains of more than 5%.

As Olympics loom, Japanese approval of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine unlikely till May

TOKYO (Reuters) - Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to win approval in Japan until May due to requirements for local clinical trials, the distributor said, casting doubt over a nationwide vaccination rollout before the summer Tokyo Olympics.

With an eye on the Olympics due to start in late July, Japan has secured rights to at least 540 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from several Western developers, the biggest quantity in Asia and more than enough for its 126 million population.

World leaders appalled by US rioting, urge peaceful transfer

TOKYO (AP) — Teargas and bullets in the U.S. Capitol building. Outrage and condemnation from leaders across the world.

“What is happening is wrong,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement Thursday. “Democracy — the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully — should never be undone by a mob.”

Japan: Oil rises to 11-month high after Saudi Arabia pledges unilateral output cut

TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday to their highest since February 2020 after Saudi Arabia agreed to reduce output more than expected in a meeting with allied producers, while industry figures showed U.S. crude stockpiles were down last week.

Brent crude rose as much as 0.9% to $54.09 a barrel, the highest since Feb. 26, 2020. It was at $53.82 a barrel at 0757 GMT after jumping 4.9% on Tuesday.

Japan: Tokyo's COVID-19 cases hit new daily record ahead of virus emergency declaration

TOKYO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo on Wednesday confirmed a record 1,591 new daily COVID-19 infections, with the record number of cases coming just days ahead of a state of emergency likely being declared for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures due to a surging "third wave" of infections.

The previous daily high in Tokyo was set on Thursday last week and saw 1,337 infections as rising cases in the Greater Tokyo area, comprising Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa, are showing no signs of abating.

Japanese PM Determined To Host Tokyo Olympics Amid COVID-19 Worries

TOKYO, Jan 4 (NNN-NHK) – Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, said here today that, he is determined to host the Tokyo Olympic Games, although the COVID-19 pandemic situation is worsening in his country.

Suga told a press conference that, he will prepare for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games with “determination,” and take all possible measures against the infection and deliver “hope and courage” to the whole world.

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