Flights cancelled as snowstorms threaten Japan

Tokyo - Authorities in Japan have issued snowstorm warnings for the north of the country and certain coastal areas, Japanese media reported Friday.

Dozens of flights have already been cancelled to and from the northern island of Hokkaido, the reports said.

The meteorological authorities issued warnings for heavy snowfalls, rough seas and avalanches.

Japan industry production plummets, jobless numbers rise

Tokyo - Japan's industrial output suffered a record fall in November, as unemployment numbers rose and slowing inflation rates raised deflation fears, officials said Friday.

Tokyo stocks gain despite industry output drop

Tokyo stocks gain despite industry output dropTokyo  - Stocks in Tokyo gained ground Friday despite a government report saying industry output recorded its sharpest fall in history.

Japan and Vietnam reach free trade agreement

Tokyo - Japan and Vietnam signed an economic partnership agreement Thursday, laying the ground for about 92 per cent of their trade in terms of value to be duty free in 10 years, the Kyodo news agency quoted officials as saying.

The agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and Vietnamese Industry and Trade Minister Vu Huy Hoang in Tokyo.

Japan mulls joining fight against Somalia pirates

Tokyo  - Japan is considering dispatching warships to the Gulf of Aden to join international efforts to combat piracy in the region, officials said Thursday.

Government spokesman Takeo Kawamura said the government may send a destroyer to the region off the Somali coast to prevent pirate attacks against Japanese ships.