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TOKYO, July 21, 2018 (News Wires) - An extreme heatwave that has hit in Japan has led to temperatures as high as 40C, with the casualties climbing up as more deaths were reported on Saturday.

The Japan Times reports that more than 10,000 people had been taken to hospital due to heat stroke related symptoms.

The death toll had climbed to 30, after 10 more deaths were reported on Thursday.

Some areas in central Japan registered record high temperatures of 40C, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.

On Friday, temperatures had reached a little above 35C, with the heatwave set to continue over the next few days.

The Tokyo Fire Department reported that, rescue teams responded to more than 3000 emergency calls as the temperatures soared to 40C and 317 people were taken to hospital.

Students involved in outdoor activities across the country were also affected by the rising temperatures and some were taken to hospital after they showed symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion.

A six-year-old child died on Tuesday after participating in an outdoor class in school, which led the education ministry to urge educational institutions across the country to adopt preventive measures.

West Japan, still grappling with the devastating effects of torrential rains in the beginning of July, has now been hit by the high temperatures, which are hampering rescue and reconstruction efforts.

High temperatures also caused flight delays on Wednesday from Tokyo’s Haneda airport after one of the runway’s floor weakened due to heat and caved in, the Japanese transport ministry said.

“The actual total human toll may not ever be known as heat-related fatality reports are historically underdone since not all deaths are correctly attributed to heat and some result from accelerating serious health issues and the fatalities show up weeks later.

“The elderly and those with pre-existent conditions, such as asthma and heart failure, are likely to face declining health due to exacerbation of their conditions due to weather.

“Heat exhaustion and stroke, dehydration, migraines, loss of sleep and mood alteration can all occur due to dangerous heat.

“Historical data shows that more people are likely to be involved in vehicle crashes due to heat-related impacts, such as decreased ability to concentrate, the poor quality of sleep they get and impaired mood, etc.”

The heatwave in Japan is also reviving concerns about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will be held during the country’s notoriously sweltering summer.

While the Games have been held in places that are hotter or more humid than Tokyo, including Athens and Beijing, Japan’s sweaty summers offer both blistering heat and smothering humidity in a particularly unpleasant, and sometimes deadly, combination.

Olympic officials and Tokyo’s local government are touting measures from solar-blocking paint on roads to mobile misting stations to tackle the heat.

But some experts fear the efforts are insufficient, in a country where summer heat kills hundreds of people and hospitalises tens of thousands each year.

JOHOR BARU, Malaysia, July 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Japanese driver Yuya Sumiyama managed to finish at the top of his field on the first leg of the Johor round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) at the 2018 International Rally of Johor on Saturday.

The 42-year-old seasoned APRC campaigner, with his co-driver Takahiro Yasui, powered their Skoda Fabia R5 through all six stages today with a total time of 2:09:57.537 to extend his lead over his Cusco Racing teammate Mike Young from New Zealand.

Sumiyama said that Saturday’s outing was good and incident-free for him as his car performed well. “This year, the stages in Kota Tinggi’s Tai Tak Plantation was easier than last year due to the dry weather.

“I had a difficult driving time last year as the plantation stages were waterlogged due to rain,” he told Mailsport when met after the rally Saturday.

Young, who is also a favourite for the Malaysian APRC round, was leading in the first three stages in his Cusco-Racing-prepared Toyota Vitz before losing time to Sumiyama in the final three stages.

Young took second spot with a 3:16.815 gap behind Sumiyama. The other APRC contenders were India’s Abhilash PG and Malaysia’s Abdul Kaathir Mohamed Mustaffa who came in third and fourth respectively with a total time of 1:39:10.676 and 1:51:08.291.

Both drivers failed to finish Saturday’s Stage 5 with a Did Not Finish (DNF) and also a Did Not Start (DNS) for Stage 6 due to technical problems.

On the Malaysian Rally Championship (MRC) round, the first day proved challenging for the field of 31 cars.

Indonesia’s Rachmat took top spot with a total time of 2:25:55.339. He was trailed by Japanese driver Satoru Ito in second with a gap difference of 2:31.864 and Malaysia’s Datuk Mohd Hanif Borhan in third with a 3:01.971 gap difference.

Fourth spot went to favourite Malaysian driver Roduwan Rashid who earlier had difficulties due to a steering assembly leak. Fellow One Motorsport Bagan Datuk Rally Team (BDRT) teammate Suhaimi Nasro Ali took fifth spot after Roduwan.

The weekend’s action is expected to wind through dry and dusty plantation stages in Kota Tinggi, with 235km of timed stages around Tai Tak Plantation (total distance: 563km).

Into its 14th year, the International Rally of Johor is the first stop in the four-round Malaysian Rally Championship (MRC) which also takes in Perak, Terengganu and Perlis.

The 2018 International Rally of Johor:

Total Times APRC Leg 1:
1. Yuya Sumiyama (Japan) 2:09:57.537
2. Mike Young (New Zealand) 2:13:14.352
3. Abhilash PG (India) 1:39:10.676

Total Times MRC Leg 1:
1. Rachmat (Indonesia) 2:25:55.339
2. Saturo Ito (Japan) 2:28:27.103
3. Datuk Mohd Hanif Borhan (Malaysia) 2:31:29.074
4. Roduwan Rashid (Malaysia) 2:32:25.199
5. Suhaimi Nasro Ali (Malaysia) 2:34:27.356

TOKYO, July 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday imports of Japanese automobiles pose no threat to US national security, vowing to convince President Donald Trump not to impose tariffs that could damage the global economy.

"Imports of our nation's automobiles and auto parts have never damaged US national security and will not do so in the future," Abe said at a news conference to mark the end of the parliamentary session.

Washington launched an investigation in May into whether imported vehicles were a threat to national security threat. Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs as a key part of his economic message, repeatedly lamenting the US auto sector trade deficit, particularly with Germany and Japan.

Abe said Japanese companies built some 3.8 million cars annually in the United States, more than double the number of vehicles shipped there from Japan.

"Trade restrictions will not benefit anyone, and we will keep explaining that to the US and work closely with them to ensure those tariffs are not imposed, " Abe said.

 

CAIRO, July 19 , 2018 (MENA) - Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri held a phone call with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono to offer his heartfelt condolences over the victims of floods, the worst ever to hit western Japan in 36 years.

Some 219 persons were killed in the disastrous floods that rocked Japan last week. Many of the deaths have occurred in three prefectures: Okayama, Hiroshima, and Ehime.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said Shoukri expressed the Egyptian government and people's solidarity with Japan in face of this disaster.

He also lauded the deeply-rooted relations between Egypt and Japan, expressing interest in further developing them.

The Japanese top diplomat said he is looking forward to visiting Egypt and meeting President Abdel Fattah El Sisi soon.

He said Japan is keen on enhancing relations with Egypt in all domains through contributing to its mega projects that are currently under construction.

He invited Shoukri to visit Japan to continue talks over furthering bilateral relations in all domains in a way that level up to the distinguished political relations binding the two states.

TOKYO, July 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Japan and the European Union signed a wide-ranging free trade deal on Tuesday that both sides hope will act as a counterweight to the protectionist forces unleashed by US President Donald Trump.

The ambitious trade pact, which creates the world's largest open economic area, comes amid fears that a trade war between the United States and China will diminish the role of free trade in the global economic order.

"There are rising concerns about protectionism, but I want Japan and the EU to lead the world by bearing the flag of free trade," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a news conference after the signing ceremony.

The United States this month imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods to lower the US trade deficit, and China quickly retaliated with an increase in tariffs on US goods.

The Japan-EU trade deal is also a sign of shifting global ties as Trump distances the United States from long-time allies like the EU, NATO and Canada.

"We are sending a clear message that we stand against protectionism. The EU and Japan remain open for cooperation," European Council President Donald Tusk, who speaks for the 28 EU national leaders, told reporters.

The deal removes EU tariffs of 10 per cent on Japanese cars and 3 per cent on most car parts. It would also scrap Japanese duties of some 30 per cent or more on EU cheese and 15 per cent on wines, and secure access to large public tenders in Japan.

Europe's food sector is one of the biggest winners from the deal, which should allow it to capitalise on Japanese demand for high-quality cheese, chocolates, meats and pasta.

Japanese car and car parts makers are also expected to increase their sales to Europe, where they have lagged behind European rivals.

However, Japan's dairy industry is expected to lose market share to European products once tariffs of up to 40 per cent on some cheese imports start falling.

Japan and the EU also agreed on Tuesday to establish a regular dialogue on trade and economic policy, with the first meeting to be held before year's end.

The dialogue will be chaired by Japan's trade and foreign ministers and the European Commission's vice-president for competitiveness, both sides said in a joint statement.

Both Japan and the EU, having seen Trump pull back from free trade relationships, are keen to show they remain committed to removing barriers they say hamper growth, analysts said.

"Trade liberalisation and market openness continue to march ahead in Asia-Pacific," said Ajay Sharma, the regional head of global trade and receivables finance at banking and financial services provider HSBC.

EU accords with Singapore and with Vietnam were at the ratification stage, while deals with Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand were being negotiated, he added.

A China-EU summit ended on Monday with a communique affirming the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system.

Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan and 10 other states on his first day in office in January 2017 and has pushed to renegotiate a free trade pact with Canada and Mexico.

Trump says he is taking a hard line on trade to protect US workers and US companies, but critics say his approach is upending the rules of multilateral global trade.

Japan and the EU account for about a third of global GDP and their trade relationship has room to grow, according to EU officials, who expect the deal to boost the EU economy by 0.8 per cent and Japan's by 0.3 per cent over the long term.

TOKYO, July 17, 2018 (News Wires) - The EU and Japan signed a sweeping free trade deal on Tuesday that officials called a "clear message" against protectionism, as Washington imposes controversial tariffs and threatens a trade war.

The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU's top officials and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a free trade zone covering nearly a third of the world's GDP.

"We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism," EU Council President Donald Tusk said.

"Together we are making -- by signing this agreement -- a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together," added Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.

The huge deal was signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive "America First" trade policy.

Both the EU and Japan have been hit with new US tariffs despite their longstanding alliances with Washington.

Juncker said the deal sent a message that "trade is about more than tariffs and barriers, it is about values".

"There is no protection in protectionism," he said.

Abe, standing alongside the two EU officials, said the agreement, "shows the world the unshaken political will of Japan and the EU to lead the world as the champions of free trade at a time when protectionism has spread".

 

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