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Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP

Updated 2/18/21, 8:50 a.m.

Japan’s 2020 Olympics Committee has a new leader — a woman. Seiko Hashimoto is a seven-time Olympic Athlete who replaces a politician who resigned after making derogatory remarks about women. But that doesn’t end the controversy.

AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana

The Biden Administration is sending more COVID-19 vaccines to states. While the supply remains uncertain, here in Hawaii and around the country, the shots remain voluntary. But's no longer the case in the largest country in Southeast Asia.

Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP

An influential grouping of Pacific Islands is facing a crisis. The Pacific Islands Forum suffered a split last week, and its future is uncertain.

AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, FILE

Vaccinations for COVID-19 continue to go into arms around the state — although health officials would still like to have a bigger supply. Vaccine distribution is underway across most of Europe, and several other parts of the world. For parts of the Asia Pacific, that process still has not begun.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton/U.S. Navy via AP

President Joe Biden spent two hours on the phone this week with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Wednesday's wide-ranging talk covered both some areas of dispute and those with the potential for cooperation. The initial phone call between the two leaders came near the end of a busy week in the South China Sea.

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The United States is sanctioning the military leaders in Myanmar, following last week's coup. While political uncertainty continues in that country, protests are increasing in neighboring Thailand.

AP Photo/Ajit Solanki

The state Department of Health says more than 210,000 COVID-19 vaccines have now been distributed around Hawaii. Those shots continue with a combination of the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.

Elsewhere, other vaccines are in use, and that includes the country with the second-highest number of cases — trailing only the United States.

Adriana Morales from Pixabay

The continuing pandemic has touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world — both directly and indirectly. Much less is known about its impact on animals. One capital city in the Asia Pacific is taking a step to learn more.

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Every new presidential administration brings a series of changes to federal positions ranging from cabinet secretaries to senior positions at the Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere. And a quiet announcement late last week drew some attention in the Asia Pacific.

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Starting today, visitors from South Korea can skip quarantine here if they have a negative COVID test from a trusted partner. These are challenging times for international travel, but tourism organizations in the Asia Pacific are still working on plans for the future.

Hawaiian Word of the Day: February 5th

Feb 5, 2021

Ulia kaʻa is an auto accident, and we hope you never have one. But if you do, you'll know what to call it, ulia kaʻa.

cegoh from Pixabay

While progress continues with vaccines around the world, travel plans remain on hold for many. A major international business gathering planned for May in Southeast Asia is the latest to be postponed.

Hawaiian Word of the Day: February 4th

Feb 4, 2021

ʻAhamele means concert. ʻAha is a gathering, and mele is music. So ʻahamele is a concert.

Several locations in the Asia Pacific are extending restrictions related to the continuing pandemic. But the extent and timing of those actions vary, but governments are taking a cautious approach.

Hawaiian Word of the Day: February 3rd

Feb 3, 2021

Kaila hou is how we say modern in Hawaiian. Literally it means new style. Kaila means style and hou for new.

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

One of the questions surrounding the pandemic is when students should return to in-classroom learning. The answers are mixed, both here in Hawaii and in places from Chicago to California. It's also a matter of debate in Thailand, where most classes are moving ahead this week.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

The Year of the Ox officially gets underway a week from Friday. But Lunar New Year celebrations start much earlier — especially in mainland China. And for the second year in a row, the coronavirus is the focus of attention.

AP Photo/David Goldman, File

Starting next week, travelers from South Korea will be able to join Hawaii's Safe Travels program — allowing those with a negative COVID test from a "trusted partner" to skip any quarantine. That news comes as South Korea has just announced its next steps to fight the virus.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

An international think tank has released a new report ranking the response to the coronavirus pandemic by countries around the world. The list includes 98 locations. And while the United States comes in near the bottom of the list, half of the top ten are in the Asia Pacific.

AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 20 countries around the world have more than a million cases of COVID-19. The United States tops the list by far at more than 25 million cases. But the latest country to break a million is in Southeast Asia.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Among the many locations dealing with rising cases of the coronavirus is Malaysia. The Southeast Asian country imposed some restrictions earlier this month, but a debate is underway about whether to take further steps.

Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill / U.S. Army

The early days of the Biden Administration have been busy. One focus has been steps to control the pandemic and increase the distribution of vaccines. But a wide variety of other issues remain — including some with one of America's closest allies in the Asia Pacific.

AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

Travel figures are starting to come out for the full year of 2020, and they show the impact of the global collapse in air travel. The Hawaii Tourism Authority hasn't yet posted its year-end statistics, but there's news from major airports in the Asia Pacific.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

The "peaceful transfer of power" is an expression we've heard a lot leading up to today's inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. As President Biden begins his term, what does the state of political leadership look like around the Indo Asia Pacific?

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Japan's Prime Minister says safeguarding the country's hospital system is one of his top priorities. He made the comments to parliament Monday in an opening address that comes as the country is struggling with a growing spread of the coronavirus.

KarinKarin from Pixabay

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everything from life expectancy in the United States to economies around the world. It's even had a surprising impact on a particular activity in Southeast Asia: piracy.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

As coronavirus vaccines continue to roll out around the world, there's a growing focus on the differences among versions. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have a high rate of effectiveness. So does the Astra Zeneca version. But there's a bit more uncertainty with some vaccines coming from China.

AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana

As planning continues for wider vaccinations across the state, that process is taking place around the world. That includes Indonesia, where authorities are taking a slightly different approach with a different vaccine.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

New cases of the coronavirus are continuing to rise, not only in the United States but also in several other parts of the world. That includes Malaysia — where the government has now declared a state of emergency covering the entire country.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

In the closing days of the Trump Administration, there are still new developments in certain policy areas. And some of them could complicate transition efforts for the incoming Biden Administration. One example is U.S. policy when it comes to Taiwan.