Kyodo news summary -5-
Olympics: Medalists join 4,600-person walk to promote 2020 Games
TOKYO - Olympic and Paralympic athletes participated in a walk with some 4,600 people near the venues of the Tokyo Games on Saturday in a bid to set the mood for next year’s competition.
The participants walked a route near the Tokyo Bay area, where many of the 2020 venues are located, on a hot day in the Japanese capital. They spent time looking at the exterior of the athlete’s village and the Ariake Arena, which is under construction before hosting the Olympic volleyball and the Paralympic basketball events.
Temperatures rise across Japan, 460 taken to hospitals
TOKYO - Temperatures rose across Japan on Saturday to highs usually not seen until the height of summer, causing hundreds of people to be taken to hospitals and prompting the weather agency to issue heatstroke warnings.
The city of Taketa in Oita Prefecture, southwestern Japan, marked 35.0 C, the hottest in the country this year, while more than 420 monitoring spots, including those in central Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, all saw the mercury rise above 30.0 C.
Olympics: British chief predicts Japan medal bonanza at 2020 Games
LONDON - Britain’s Olympic chief believes Japan will shoot up the medal table when it hosts the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, making it difficult for his own team to continue its rise.
Great Britain became the first nation to increase its medal haul at the Summer Olympics following the edition it hosted, when it won 67 medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games compared with 65 at the 2012 London Games.
Trump seeks deeper economic ties with Japan as he begins state visit
TOKYO - U.S. President Donald Trump expressed hope Saturday of deeper economic ties with Japan in the nation’s new imperial era of Reiwa, as he started a four-day state visit that will make him the first foreign leader to meet with new Emperor Naruhito.
“It’s my sincere hope that in the Reiwa era the economic ties between the United States and Japan continue to grow deeper and stronger, if that’s possible,” Trump said in a meeting with Japanese business leaders in Tokyo, the first of a series of events including an audience with the emperor and Empress Masako on Monday.
Japan, U.S. trade chiefs meet in Tokyo ahead of Abe-Trump summit
TOKYO - Japanese and U.S. trade chiefs met Saturday in an attempt to advance talks on a bilateral deal ahead of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump.
The latest round of negotiations between Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s minister for economic and fiscal policy, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Tokyo is unlikely to yield a breakthrough, however, as the countries remain at odds over tariffs on agricultural and industrial products.
M5.1 quake hits Tokyo, vicinity shortly before Trump’s arrival
TOKYO - An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.1 rattled parts of Tokyo and its vicinity on Saturday, about two hours before U.S. President Donald Trump’s arrival on a four-day visit as a state guest, but no tsunami warning was issued, the weather agency said.
The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at 3:20 p.m. at a depth of 38 kilometers, was southern Chiba Prefecture, the agency said. It is right around the area where Trump is scheduled to play golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday.
Sumo: Rank-and-filer Asanoyama wins maiden championship
TOKYO - Rank-and-filer Asanoyama clinched his maiden championship on Saturday by beating ozeki Goeido with one day remaining at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
In addition to the Emperor’s Cup, the No. 8 maegashira Asanoyama will receive an American-made trophy from U.S. President Donald Trump, who will attend Sunday’s tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Chinese ships sail near Senkaku Islands for 44th straight day
NAHA, Japan - Chinese Coast Guard ships sailed near Japan’s Senkaku Islands on Saturday for the 44th straight day, the Japan Coast Guard said.
It was the longest period for Chinese government ships to either intrude into the territorial waters around the uninhibited islands or travel in the so-called contiguous zone surrounding the Japanese waters, the coast guard said.
Central Japan Railway’s test bullet train hits 360 kph
TOKYO - A prototype bullet train of Central Japan Railway Co. reached the highest speed ever for the model hitting 360 kilometers per hour, the operator said Saturday, hoping to promote it in overseas markets such as the United States and Taiwan.
It was the fastest speed for the N700S train scheduled to commence commercial service in July on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line linking Tokyo to Osaka, the company said.
Japan city aiming to become esports mecca to attract young people
KANAZAWA, Japan - As one way to attract young people, a central Japan city facing the Sea of Japan is aiming to become a mecca for esports by attracting related businesses and helping youth to work in the industry.
Although Japan is home to famous game titles and a large gaming market, it lags behind South Korea, the United States and Europe in promoting esports, or competitive video gaming often held in large arenas in front of thousands of spectators.
FEATURE: U.S. fast food chains embrace shift to alternative meat
NEW YORK - Burger King has become the latest fast food chain in the United States to add an alternative meat option to its menu, joining an industry-wide push to appeal to growing numbers of health -- and environment-conscious consumers.
In early April, 59 of the fast food giant’s restaurants in the St. Louis area started offering the Impossible Whopper, a vegetarian version of its signature burger priced about a dollar higher than the original. Following the successful test run, Burger King announced it would introduce the meatless option nationwide by the end of the year.
Sumo association scrambles to beef up security for Trump visit
TOKYO - The Japan Sumo Association is scrambling to institute security measures, some of them unprecedented, ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s attendance Sunday at the tournament in Tokyo to present a newly created trophy to the winner.
In a very unusual step in the long history of sumo in its present form of professional bouts, the association will ask spectators coming to the last day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan to submit their personal information including name, address and phone number, according to the association.