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Kyodo news summary -4-.

TOKYO, Dec. 24 Kyodo

---------- Japan skeptical of N. Korean evidence, to lodge protest

TOKYO - The Japanese government concluded Friday that none of the evidence North Korea provided last month to back up its claims that eight Japanese abductees are dead and two others never entered its territory is credible, a member of the victims' support group said.

The government plans to lodge a strong protest with the North and urge that it deal sincerely with the matter -- and in a way that involves North Korean leader Kim Jong Il -- Ryutaro Hirata quoted government officials as telling the victims' families.

---------- Hosoda suggests economic sanctions against N. Korea

TOKYO - Japan's top government spokesman suggested Friday Japan may invoke economic sanctions against North Korea, saying Tokyo ''will have to take severe action if there is no response from North Korea'' concerning the abduction issue.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a news conference that Japan will ask North Korea to reinvestigate the cases of Japanese abducted by Pyongyang agents.

---------- Koizumi challenges Putin over territorial row

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Friday challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin over remarks made Thursday, in which the Russian leader was baffled about why Japan continues to claim all the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

''It is incomprehensible to Japan, too, why Russia does not return the four islands,'' Koizumi told reporters, commenting on Putin's remarks without elaboration.

---------- Man with kids asks court's permission to change registered sex

GIFU, Japan - A man diagnosed with sexual identity disorder who has two children filed a request with the Gifu Family Court Friday to change his registered sex to female.

This is the first attempt by a parent to change his or her registered sex in Japan, a group supporting the company employee said.

---------- DPJ lawmaker Kamata resigns over campaigners' law violation

TOKYO - Opposition Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Sayuri Kamata resigned Friday as a member of the House of Representatives, following the Supreme Court's dismissal of her key campaigners' appeal over their convictions for breaking the election law.

Kamata, 39, submitted a letter of resignation to Speaker Yohei Kono of the lower house, who approved her resignation at a meeting of executives of the house's Committee on Rules and Administration.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Dec 29, 2004
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