TOKYO, Feb. 18 -- (Kyodo) _ ---------- 1 killed, dozens injured as Thai police raid protest sites
BANGKOK - A policeman was shot dead and over 40 people were injured in Bangkok on Tuesday as around 25,000 Thai police attempted to clear five sites occupied by antigovernment protesters, according to a police spokesman and emergency medical personnel.
As part of the massive operation, police stormed a protest site near Democracy Monument, using tear gas and rubber bullets to retake it amid the resistance from protesters.
---------- Nikkei surges 3%, posts biggest gain since Aug. on BOJ policy decision
TOKYO - Tokyo stocks rose sharply Tuesday, with the Nikkei index surging over 3 percent, its biggest point gain since August, as investors welcomed the Bank of Japan's decision to boost its loan support program.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed up 450.13 points, or 3.13 percent, from Monday at 14,843.24, its highest finish in about two weeks. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 31.95 points, or 2.68 percent, higher at 1,224.00.
---------- Japan may make concessions in TPP farm trade talks
TOKYO - Japan's minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks signaled Tuesday that Tokyo may make concessions over tariffs it has sought to retain on five sensitive farm product categories, amid strong pressure from Washington.
Suggesting it may reduce or abolish some of the tariffs on 586 items in the groups, Akira Amari said at a press conference that TPP negotiations will never make progress "if there is no change at all."
---------- Traffic systems gradually returning to normal after heavy snowfall
TOKYO - Expressways and major roads connecting the Tokyo metropolitan district and surrounding areas gradually returned to normal operations Tuesday following disruptions caused by heavy snow at the weekend, although some produce remained in short supply at Tokyo supermarkets due to paralyzed distribution.
Closures of the Kan-Etsu and Chuo expressways were almost lifted by Tuesday morning, while the National Route 18, on which many vehicles were stranded around the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures, was reopened to traffic.
---------- Japan vows to aid Mekong states toward ASEAN Economic Community
TOKYO - Japan vowed Tuesday to continue assisting five Southeast Asian countries along the Mekong River in building infrastructure and developing the regional economy toward the establishment of a more integrated ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015.
Parliamentary Senior Vice Foreign Minister Norio Mitsuya said at a Japan-Mekong forum in Tokyo that Japan will help create the envisaged community by "enhancing connectivity and reducing development gaps" between more developed states such as Singapore and less developed ones including Myanmar.
---------- Penalties sought on overseas investment firm for stock manipulation
TOKYO - Japan's financial market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, plans to recommend that the Financial Services Agency penalize an overseas investment company for manipulating Japan's stock market from abroad, securities industry sources said Tuesday.
Employees of the company are suspected of having repeatedly placed massive orders for nearly 100 issues with intention of canceling them immediately under the so-called "misegyoku" method to manipulate their stock prices, the sources said.
---------- BOJ maintains ultraeasy monetary policy, extends loan support program
TOKYO - The Bank of Japan decided Tuesday to maintain its ultraloose monetary policy and extend its special loan support fund program for one year to encourage banks to boost lending to businesses with growth potential, with the aim of bolstering an economic recovery.
The BOJ left unchanged its assessment of the domestic economy for the fifth straight month, saying in a statement that it "has continued to recover moderately," after weaker-than-expected gross domestic data indicated a slowdown in the country's economic growth amid sluggish exports.