TOKYO, Feb. 13 -- (Kyodo) _ ---------- Nikkei down 1.8% after 3-day winning streak
TOKYO - Tokyo stocks plunged Thursday, with the Nikkei index marking the first drop in four trading days as investors locked in recent gains.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 265.32 points, or 1.79 percent, from Wednesday at 14,534.74. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 19.86 points, or 1.63 percent, lower at 1,199.74.
---------- NTT Docomo to offer communication service for dogs
TOKYO - NTT Docomo Inc. said Thursday it will start offering in March a communication service that allows owners to manage the health and locate the whereabouts of their pet dog through a tag attached to the animal's collar.
The tag equipped with 3G and Bluetooth connectivity functions as well as global positioning system can detect the movement of the dog and the temperatures around it so that owners can find out what their dog is doing via their smartphone and computer, Japan's largest mobile phone carrier said.
---------- N. Korea used complex network to evade sanctions: U.N. report
NEW YORK - North Korea went to great lengths to defy sanctions by using a global network, including companies based in China and Singapore, to evade detection of a cargo ship that was discovered to be smuggling weapons last summer in waters off Panama, an unpublished U.N. report showed.
"The employment of so many role-players in support of the trip suggests a network of entities centrally managed working together to deflect scrutiny in order to evade sanctions by minimizing the DPRK's visibility in transactions," according to the 59 page annual report by the Panel of Experts that was seen Wednesday by Kyodo News.
---------- N. Korea refuses to hold family reunions during S. Korea-U.S. drills
SEOUL - North Korea told South Korea in high-level talks Wednesday that it will not hold reunions of families separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War during the period the South plans to hold its annual joint military exercises with the United States, a South Korean official said Thursday.
The North insisted that South Korea delays the military exercises so they will not overlap with the reunions scheduled from Feb. 20-25 at Mt. Kumgang, a resort on North Korea's east coast near the border with the South.
---------- 4 killed, 6 injured in shooting attack in southern Thailand
BANGKOK - At least four people, including a Buddhist monk, were killed and six others injured in a shooting attack in Thailand's restive southern province of Pattani, police said Thursday.
The incident occurred in Mae Lan district on Thursday morning when suspected Muslim insurgents riding on motorbikes opened fire on a group of villagers, killing the monk and three others.
---------- January used car sales grow 9.1% in Japan
TOKYO - Secondhand vehicle sales in Japan increased 9.1 percent in January from a year before to 284,224 units, an industry body said Thursday.
Sales of passenger cars rose 10.0 percent to 253,449 units, while those of trucks went up 3.8 percent to 25,608 units and buses 11.8 percent to 731 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.
---------- Toyota recalling additional 286,000 vehicles in N. America
NEW YORK - Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it will recall a total of about 286,000 units of the RAV4 sport utility vehicle, the Tacoma pickup truck and the Lexus RX 350 in the United States and Canada, on top of about 713,000 Prius hybrid vehicles reported earlier.
The Japanese automaker will update the engine control unit software on the RAV4, Tacoma and Lexus RX 350 "to address an electronic circuit condition that can cause the vehicle stability control, anti-lock brake and traction control functions to intermittently turn off."
---------- Nissan puts new minicar on sale
TOKYO - Nissan Motor Co. launched a new minicar in Japan on Thursday aimed at young families, setting a monthly sales target of 5,000 units for the vehicle that is designed to maximize interior space.
The Dayz Roox is the second minicar that Nissan has developed jointly with Mitsubishi Motors Corp., following the Dayz, which debuted last June and became the eighth best-selling car in Japan in January.
---------- Japan hopes Obama visit will show firmer ties to Asian neighbors
TOKYO - Japan aims to enhance its relations with the United States when President Barack Obama visits the country in April, the top government spokesman said Thursday, apparently with an eye on tensions within Northeast Asia.
Tokyo wants to "further strengthen Japan-U.S. relations by widely exchanging opinions on global issues as well as topics specific to the Asia-Pacific region," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference, referring to a possible agenda for a summit between Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
---------- Lawyer files suit claiming secrecy law runs counter to Constitution
SHIZUOKA, Japan - A lawyer filed a lawsuit Thursday against the government seeking a court decision that declares the recently enacted secrecy law, which imposes stricter penalties on leakers of state secrets, runs against the Constitution.
The lawyer, Katsumi Fujimori, who belongs to the Shizuoka Bar Association, filed the suit with the Shizuoka District Court against the government and its legal representative, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki.
---------- Another Tokuda sister pleads guilty in election violation
TOKYO - Another elder sister of independent House of Representatives member Takeshi Tokuda pleaded guilty Thursday to the charge of illegally helping her brother's election campaign in 2012.
Narumi Koshizawa, 50, allegedly provided cash or airline tickets worth 150 million yen to employees of the Tokushukai group in a bid to make them join Tokuda's campaign in the Dec. 2012 general election.