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Top Asian News 3:21 a.m. GMT

September 28, 2022 GMT

Abe’s militaristic funeral captures Japan’s tense mood

TOKYO (AP) — The leadup to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial state funeral could seem like a never-ending exchange of heated words — both for and against. But it was the images of Tuesday’s ceremony that most clearly told the story of a nation still deeply divided over the legacy of perhaps the most polarizing leader in its modern history. Sections of Tokyo, still on edge after Abe’s assassination in July, looked more like a police state than the capital of one of the most stable nations in the world. Twenty thousand police officers and more than 1,000 soldiers crammed the neighborhoods around the massive funeral hall, as thousands of protesters took to the streets.

Japanese former leader Abe honored at divisive state funeral

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s assassinated hawkish former leader, Shinzo Abe, was given a rare state funeral Tuesday full of military pomp and surrounded by throngs of mourners as well as by widespread protests, with thousands taking to the streets in opposition. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the publicly financed ceremony was a well-deserved honor for Japan’s longest-serving modern political leader. The event was attended by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Japanese Crown Prince Akishino and other foreign and Japanese dignitaries. Japan’s main political opposition parties boycotted the funeral, which critics say was a reminder of how prewar imperialist governments used state funerals to fan nationalism.

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VP Harris seeks computer chip partners in Japan meetings

TOKYO (AP) — Armed with a new law that boosts U.S. support for computer chip manufacturing, Vice President Kamala Harris said the administration was looking for new investments and partnerships as she sat down with Japanese technology executives on Wednesday. The morning meeting on her last full day in Tokyo reflects the administration’s focus on boosting semiconductor manufacturing and expanding the supply chain for critical materials. The economy’s vulnerability to disruptions in the flow of computer chips was revealed during the pandemic, when a shortage helped increase costs and stall the assembly of cars and other products. “The citizens and the people of our countries rely on products without even knowing sometimes how reliant those products are on semiconductor chips,” Harris said during the meeting at the U.S.

China’s Xi reappears on state TV amid rumors over absence

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping reappeared on state television Tuesday after a several-day absence from public view that sparked rumors about the 69-year-old leader’s political fortunes. Xi was shown visiting a display at the Beijing Exhibition Hall on the theme of “Forging Ahead into the New Era.” Accompanied by Premier Li Keqiang and other top leaders, Xi, who is also head of the ruling Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army, viewed some of the displays and commented on China’s economic progress over the past decade. The visit was Xi’s first appearance on television since he returned from a regional summit in Uzbekistan last weekend.

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Imperial Japan university unites graduates decades after war

TOKYO (AP) — Growing up, Fumina Oka knew little about the mysterious university her Taiwanese grandfather attended in northern China’s Manchuria during Japan’s occupation in the early 20th century. But as the 28-year-old journalist studied the little-known Kenkoku University, she became fascinated about a place that started out as a grand piece of imperial propaganda meant to celebrate Japan’s prewar colonization of large swaths of Asia. In recent years, the dwindling number of surviving students, their families and those who have researched its history have come to share a sense of cross-national unity. It is built on sometimes surprising friendships forged at the Japan-run university, which glorified official notions of pan-Asian harmony even as imperial troops brutalized much of the region.

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Tokyo Olympics bribery arrests widens to third Japan sponsor

TOKYO (AP) — Bribery allegations against a former Tokyo Olympics organizing committee member ensnared a third company that sponsored the Games, as Japanese prosecutors “re-arrested” Haruyuki Takahashi for the third time Tuesday. The latest allegations of dubious payments center on 15 million yen ($104,000) Takahashi and another official received from Daiko Advertising Inc., based in Osaka, central Japan, Tokyo District Prosecutors said in a statement. The arrests, coming on the same day as the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is drawing foreign dignitaries including IOC President Thomas Bach and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, underline the determination of the prosecutors to get to the bottom of the Olympic scandal.

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Washington announces more aid for flood-ravaged Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United States has boosted assistance to Pakistan’s flood relief efforts, announcing $10 million in aid, in addition to Washington’s already announced financial assistance of $56.1 million, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Washington is the biggest contributor of aid to cash-strapped Pakistan, which has struggled to provide tents, food and other supplies for hundreds of thousands of people living in makeshift camps after being displaced by record-breaking floods that have killed 1,638 people since mid-June. The latest announcement came weeks after the U.S. set up a humanitarian air bridge to help the impoverished South Asian nation. Once the scale of the devastation became clear, the United Nations appealed for $160 million in emergency funding to help over 33 million people affected by the floods.

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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.

Former student convicted of spying for Chinese government

CHICAGO (AP) — A former graduate student has been convicted of spying for the Chinese government by gathering information on scientists and engineers in the U.S. who had knowledge about aerospace technology and other technology. A federal jury in Chicago convicted Ji Chaoqun, 31, on Monday of conspiracy to act as an agent of China’s Ministry of State Security without notifying the U.S. attorney general, acting as a spy in the U.S., and lying on a government form about his contacts with foreign agencies. The jury, which deliberated for about six hours over two days, acquitted Ji of two other wire fraud counts alleging that he lied to the U.S.

UN official warns of conflict, more poverty in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A senior U.N. official warned Tuesday of a possible internal conflict and worsening poverty in Afghanistan if the Taliban don’t respond quickly to the needs of all elements of society, saying their crackdown on the rights of girls and women signals indifference to over 50% of Afghanistan’s population and a willingness to risk international isolation. Markus Potzel, the U.N. deputy representative for Afghanistan, told the Security Council some of the Taliban’s “claimed and acknowledged achievements” are also eroding. He pointed to a steady rise in armed clashes, criminal activity and high profile terrorist attacks especially by the Islamic State extremist group which demonstrated in recent months that it can carry out assassinations of figures close to the Taliban, attack foreign embassies, fire rockets against Afghanistan’s neighbors -- and maintain their longstanding campaign against Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities.