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TOKYO, April 15 Kyodo

---------- Dollar off 4-yr high on U.S. Treasury report warning about yen's fall

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded at the lower 98 yen level Monday morning in Tokyo, more than 1 yen off from its recently hit four-year high, after the U.S. Treasury Department said it will monitor Japan's policies to ensure they were not aimed at devaluing its currency for competitive purposes.

At noon, the dollar fetched 98.20-23 yen against 98.35-45 yen in New York and 99.28-29 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Friday.

---------- Panel calls for local gov't head to appoint education board chief

TOKYO - A government panel on education reform Monday proposed giving municipality heads the power to appoint local education board administration chiefs, overhauling the current system under which the boards mutually elect their own leaders.

The 15-member panel's suggestion to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would give local government heads more say in education policies as they will be able to directly appoint or sack administration chiefs of the boards. If realized, however, the plan could stir controversy over the political neutrality of municipality heads in education.

---------- China's GDP growth slows to 7.7% in Jan.-March qtr

BEIJING - China's economy grew 7.7 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, slowing from 7.9 percent in the October-December period of 2012, according to government data released Monday.

The figure was weaker than a market consensus that growth in the world's second-largest economy would accelerate to an 8 percent level. But it was higher than the government's gross domestic product growth target of 7.5 percent for 2013.

---------- Japan's key bond yield rises in morning

TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose Monday morning tracking selling of longer-dated government bonds.

The yield on the No. 328, 0.6 percent issue, the main yardstick of long-term interest rates, ended morning interdealer trading at 0.625 percent, up 0.005 percentage point from Friday's close.

---------- Tokyo stocks slide on firmer yen, weak U.S., China data

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks slid Monday morning as recent sharp gainers retreated amid a firmer yen and weak economic indicators from the United States and China.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 163.32 points, or 1.21 percent, from Friday to 13,321.82. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 10.33 points, or 0.90 percent, at 1,138.24.

---------- Tokyo Disneyland marks 30th anniversary of 1983 opening

CHIBA - Tokyo Disneyland marked its 30th anniversary Monday with a commemorative ceremony at the theme park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.

A performance featuring Disney's signature characters including Mickey Mouse took place in front of the Cinderella Castle before a speech by Toshio Kagami, chairman of Oriental Land Co., the operator of the theme park which opened to the public on April 15, 1983.

---------- N. Korea shows "no particular signs" of missile launch: S. Korea

SEOUL - Satellite surveillance of North Korea's missile launch sites over the weekend detected "no particular signs" that would indicate a test launch is imminent, South Korea's defense ministry said Monday.

"No particular signs were detected over the weekend," the ministry's spokesman Kim Min Seok told a news briefing, adding that South Korea is still keeping a close watch over the sites to cope with any test launch by the North.

---------- N. Korea must take "meaningful steps" to denuclearization: Kerry

TOKYO - Visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that North Korea must take "meaningful steps" toward denuclearization, while noting that Washington remains open to "authentic and credible" negotiations despite Pyongyang's bellicose rhetoric.

In his first speech as secretary of state on the "pivot" to Asia under President Barack Obama, the former Massachusetts senator said the United States welcomes China's call for ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, a point made when he met with Chinese leaders in Beijing over the weekend.

---------- BOJ easing steps to drastically change market expectations: Kuroda

TOKYO - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Monday the central bank's new monetary easing steps are expected to "drastically change the expectations of markets and economic entities" about the country overcoming nearly 15 years of deflation.

Speaking at a quarterly meeting of the central bank's branch managers, Kuroda said that the BOJ aims to achieve its 2 percent inflation target as soon as possible, with an eye to attaining the goal in about two years. It was his first meeting of BOJ branch managers since he took office on March 20.

---------- FEATURE: Arctic explorer Yamazaki sees impact of global warming firsthand

RESOLUTE, Canada - Spending six months of every year in the Arctic, Japanese adventurer Tetsuhide Yamazaki sees firsthand the impact of global warming through the thinning of sea ice, the expanse of which has roughly halved in three decades.

The ice is "very thin this year," Yamazaki, 45, said after confirming a thickness of 118 centimeters with a drill during his recent exploration of an area at the North Pole. Sea ice in the area usually has a thickness of nearly 2 meters, according to Yamazaki who senses the ice grows thinner every year.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Apr 16, 2013
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