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Top Asian News 3:46 a.m. GMT

September 27, 2022 GMT

Tense Japan holds funeral for assassinated ex-leader Abe

TOKYO (AP) — A tense Japan prepared Tuesday for a rare and controversial state funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving leader in his nation’s modern history and one of the most divisive. Tokyo was under maximum security, with angry protests opposing the funeral planned around the capital and nation. Hours before the ceremony began, dozens of people carrying bouquets of flowers queued at public flower-laying stands at nearby Kudanzaka park. Thousands of uniformed police mobilized around the Budokan hall, where the funeral is being held, and at major train stations. Roads around the venue are closed throughout the day, and coin lockers at main stations were sealed for security.

In Tokyo, Harris calls US-Japan alliance ‘a cornerstone’

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shortly after arriving in Tokyo for the state funeral of assassinated former leader Shinzo Abe. Abe, a former prime minister who was assassinated in July, will be honored on Tuesday, and Harris is leading a U.S. delegation to pay its respects. “The alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said Monday at the Akasaka Palace. Kishida said Abe “poured his heart and soul” into strengthening ties between their two countries.

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Japan protests Russia’s expulsion of official, denies spying

TOKYO (AP) — Japan protested to Russia on Tuesday over the detention of a Japanese consulate official on espionage allegations, denying the allegations and accusing Russian authorities of abusive interrogation. The official was detained on Sept. 22 and interrogated with his eyes covered, his hands and head pressed and immobilized, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said, prompting it to lodge a protest and to demand an apology. On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry notified Japan’s Embassy in Moscow that the official had been declared “persona non grata,” or an undesirable person, on grounds he conducted illegal espionage activity and it ordered him to leave the country within 48 hours.

Australian police probe purported hacker’s ransom demand

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian police were investigating a report that a purported hacker had already released the stolen personal data of 10,000 Optus customers and was demanding a $1 million ransom in cryptocurrency, the telecommunications company’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The Australian government has blamed lax cybersecurity at the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier for the unprecedented breach last week of the personal data of 9.8 million current and former Optus customers. Jeremy Kirk, a Sydney-based cybersecurity writer, said the purported hacker had released 10,000 Optus customer records on the dark web and threatened to release another 10,000 every day for the next four days unless Optus paid the ransom.

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As Cantonese language wanes, efforts grow to preserve it

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three decades ago, finding opportunities to learn Cantonese in San Francisco wasn’t hard. But today in the city that’s drawn Cantonese speakers from South China for over 150 years, there’s fear that political and social upheaval are diminishing a language that is a cultural touchstone. The Chinese government’s push for wider use of Mandarin— already the national language, spoken by 1 billion people — along with the country’s changing migration patterns have contributed to an undeniable shift away from Cantonese. It’s a change that has reverberated from East to West. From the United States to the United Kingdom and beyond, there’s worry among native and second-generation Cantonese speakers about preserving the language, spoken by some 85 million people worldwide.

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Syria, North Korea take swipes at West as UN assembly ends

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Some of the West’s fiercest critics made their cases in the closing hours of the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders, as Syria and North Korea on Monday accused the United States and its allies of trying to impose their will on the world. Syria’s top diplomat called for a U.S.-led military coalition to get out of his country, a North Korean ambassador said his nation wouldn’t yield to U.N. demands to give up its nuclear weapons program, and both condemned sanctions against their countries. If the messages weren’t exactly new, they carried the extra weight of a once-a-year chance to speak from the same famous podium as the leaders of other nations, including their adversaries.

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UN speeches end with silence from Myanmar, Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — For the second straight year, Afghanistan and Myanmar were silent at the U.N. General Assembly’s leaders’ meeting, which ended Monday with no representative of either government stepping forward to talk as the United Nations tries to resolve who should represent them. At the annual high-level meeting of leaders, there was no speech from Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban, who now control the nation after a U.S. withdrawal last year, and no words from Myanmar, where a military junta toppled the civilian government last year and detained its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. For Afghanistan, it mirrored last year’s assembly when the Taliban — in its second chapter of ruling the nation — tried to figure out how to interact with the United Nations.

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Russia detains Japanese diplomat for seeking sensitive info

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia said Monday that it had detained a Japanese diplomat based in the eastern city of Vladivostok for soliciting “restricted” information, Russian news agencies reported. “A Japanese diplomat was detained red-handed while receiving, in exchange for financial reward, restricted information about Russia’s cooperation with another country in the Asia-Pacific region,” the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency, was cited as saying through its press service, without specifying the country. The FSB also accused the diplomat, named as Vladivostok-based consul Motoki Tatsunori, of seeking out information on “the impact of Western sanctions” on the surrounding Primoriye region, according to news agencies.

Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday. But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as it sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island, on Sept. 19. Two other Chinese naval ships and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, were spotted in single formation, the patrol boat, known as a cutter called Kimball, discovered. The Honolulu-based Kimball, a 418-foot (127-meter) vessel, observed as the ships broke formation and dispersed. A C-130 Hercules provided air support for the Kimball from the Coast Guard station in Kodiak.

US, allies push for UN rights body debate on Xinjiang abuses

GENEVA (AP) — The United States and several Western allies presented a proposal Monday for the U.N.’s main human rights body to hold a special debate over reported rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. The U.S. and Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were behind a draft proposal at the Human Rights Council that would call for a debate on Xinjiang at the council’s next session in early 2023, diplomats said. It amounts to the latest geopolitical salvo between the West and Beijing amid recent tensions over issues like the future of Taiwan.