welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday, june 8th, 9:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. the nuclear safety agency has instructed utility companies across the country to come up with measures to better respond to a serious nuclear accident. the government has already compiled a report for the international atomic energy agency about the nuclear accident at fukushima daiichi. it says the plant lacked sufficient safety measures to deal with theerious accident that caused the loss of all power sources. the nuclear and industrial safety agency asked utility firms to prepare portable lights
and communication equipment as well as generator trucks. these vehicles will be used for emergency ventilation to keep radiation below certain levels in the central control room. the agency also proposes boring holes or removing panels in a reactor building if there's a high concentration of hydrogen. the measure's aimed at releasing hydrogen outside to prevent an explosion. the agency has instructed utility companies to submit the safety measures by tuesday next week. the iaea will survey the long-term effects of radioactive water spillage from the damaged fukushima daiichi plant on the maritime environment in the pacific ocean. the iaea made the decision at a meeting of the board of governors in vienna on tuesday. australia, south korea and indonesia will lead the survey on possible sea pollution in the pacific ocean and the east china sea. samples of radioactive substances will be collected
from the sea waters and compared with data from before the nuclear accident in march. the survey will be conducted over four years beginning in july. in fukushima prefecture even residents living outside the exclusion zone have fears about radioactivity in and around their homes. one city is now facing this problem. radiation levels are being measured in this man's garden. although the reading is lower than the maximum aloud under japanese standards, it is much higher than he expected. he lives in data city fukushima prefecture. although the city is outside the exclusion zone, levels of radioactivity around 20 millisieverts have been found in ryozen district. this is a level set by the government for evacuation. three more areas in fukushima
prefecture are in the same predicament. date held a residents' meeting on sunday where officials from the central government explained their plans to deal with the radioactivity. >> translator: i have to close all the windows in my home and can't hang bedding or laundry outdoors. >> translator: why isn't our district part of the exclusion zone? radiation is higher than 20 millisieverts in some places. >> some residents say they want to evacuate voluntarily. the municipality has prepared temporary housing for them. those who have decided to remain are worried how they'll be able to cope with the situation. in response the municipality has made available handy docimeters. they can be used to collect the detailed data throughout the city. radiation levels measured one meter above ground remained lower than the maximum allowable level. however, levels in a rain water pipe showed more than 7.3 micro receive eithers, which is twice
the government standard. if radiation levels in the atmosphere exceeded 3.8 micro sieverts in the hour, residents would normally need to evacuate. the municipality plans to remove surface soil where the docimeter readings are high. >> translator: the city is asking residents to measure radiation levels in and around their homes. together with the residents, we hope to lower the levels in the atmosphere. researchers have found that the sea bed off japan's northeastern coast had been gradually sinking days before the march 11th earthquake. a team from tohoku university analyzed data taken at two
monitoring sites 80 kilometers off the peninsula in miyagi prefecture. in late may the team recovered measuring devices from the sea floor at a depth of 1200 meters. the data shows that the sea bottom subsided 15 centimeters from a magnitude 7.3 quake on march 9th and one meter in a magnitude 9 quake on march 11th. the data indicates that the seabed had been sinkingrate of day between the two tremors. the finding may help them to unravel the mechanism of an imminent giant earthquake. >> translator: we hope to use this information to improve the predictions of major quakes. now to our series of special reports leading up to the three-month anniversary of japan's march 11th disaster. over the past several weeks
we've talked about the devastating impact the earthquake and tsunami had on the northeast. thousands dead or displaced, towns and villages reduced to rubble. a nuclear crisis that's far from over. local culture was also hit hard. this dance is one example. it is said to date back some 200 years. it is performed mainly at houses of the deceased to console their spirits, especially around japan's bon period in august when souls are believed to return to this world. the dance is rooted in the cities of ofunato in iwate prefecture. similar folk arts exist in nearby regions. but since the tsunami, people are struggling to revive them. nhk world's lisa komiya has the story. ♪
>> reporter: this man has lived in ofunato for most of his life. the 65-year-old is the leader of a preservation society for a dance for the dead. he takes pride in singing and playing drums for dancers. for years his passion for this traditional art has driven him to perform countless times, but the tsunami washed away almost everything he's worked so hard to build. he says they couldn't find some of the swords and a few other things in the rubble, but he couldn't complain. >> translator: we weren't in a situation to think about folk art. the tsunami had taken away people's lives. >> reporter: despite their setback, local people are hoping furumizu and his group will perform the dance during the august festival when souls of the tsunami victims are expected to return home.
>> translator: i want them to dance, especially this august for the victims. that's what i'm thinking about. >> reporter: costumes and masks play an important role in this traditional dance, but furumizu says losing them shouldn't stop people from performing. he's determined to keep this folk art alive. he picked tokyo as a location for his first post-disaster performance. he says rebuilding his preservation society will cost 4 million yen or about $50,000. he believes teaching people in a big metropolis about this dance of the dead will encourage donations. a fellow folk dancing company in the japanese capital offered some assistance. its members invited him to take part in a fund-raiser for organizations like his that are based in the disaster areas.
furumizu wanted to dedicate the show to the tsunami victims. he agreed to use the reclaimed swords and arranged the choreography so the audience could join the performance in prayer. a few hours after the last rehearsal, it was show time. once people took their seats, he explained the meaning of the dance and how important it is for the people of his home town. >> translator: this dance is a dance of buddhist chants. it's meant to console the spirits of the deceased. i want to perform this now because it is such a painful time for us. >> reporter: for the first time furumizu performed to remember the tsunami victims. as he poured his soul into his singing and drumming he felt his local folk art turn into a special memorial dance. at one point a dancer got off
the stage and handed the sword to the audience as he slowly moved around. people took it and held it high as they prayed for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. >> translator: our aunt and nephew were all washed away in the tsunami. so i prayed deeply for them, and i'm feeling thankful for the dance. >> translator: i think everybody is feeling somewhere in their hearts that they want to pray for those who passed away. for this year's bon memorial service, i will also perform this dance with respect and put my heart into it.
>> reporter: furumizu is vowing to make this performance his new start and do his best to hold a memorial da dance service in his home town this august for the annual bon festival. lisa komiya, nhk world. our feature rorts leading up to this three-month anniversary of japan's march 11th disaster will continue. we'll take a closer look at a life-saving operation by japan's self-defense forces. find out about helicopter unit that worked through the night on march 11th to rescue survivors despite adverse conditions. on thursday we'll tell you about the psychological impact of the accident at fukushima daiichi. people living near the nuclear plant have plenty of concerns about radiation. we'll travel with japanese and u.s. doctors who are trying to help them.
anti-government forces in yemen have stepped up their offensive against a major southern city, increasing the pressure on president ali abdullah saleh to step down. armed tribesmen opposing saleh's rule have pushed outovernment forces and seized nearly all areas of the city of taiz by tuesday. in the capital sanaa, anti-government demonstrators, mainly young people, gathered for a rally dubbed a million man march on ttdz afternoon. they say they will block saleh's return to yemen. saleh is receiving medical treatment in neighboring saudi arabia for injuries sustained in a rocket attack on his presidential palace last week. a report says the president sustained burns over 40% of his body. but he's said he will stay in power and go back to yemen soon. saleh also faces growing international pressure to step down. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton said on monday that a
swift transfer of power is in the best interests of the yemeni people. a russian soyuz spacecraft has successfully lifted off carrying japan's satoshi furukawa and two other astronauts. >> liftoff. >> we have liftoff of the soyuz 27 rocket and spacecraft carrying mike fossum, satoshi furukawa and sergei vokoff into orbit. it was launched from the baikonur cosmodrome in kazakhstan. the ship jet issonned rockets on its ascent. the soyuz is due to arrive at the international space station on friday. this is fuhr u caw wa's first flight since he was chosen as a cabinet astronaut two years ago. he's scheduled to stay on the
space station for about five months. he'll be joined next month by the crew of the last space shuttle mission. he'll carry out scientific and medical experiments using his expertise as a surgeon. japan plans to begin checking imported perishable foods next week for e. coli as an outbreak of a deadly strain continues to spread in europe. the e. coli scare has spread to 13 european countries and there have been fatalities mainly in germany. japan's health ministry decided to test 1% of imported vegetables, meat, fruit and other perishables at its 31 quarantine offices across the country. >> translator: i am taking the outbreak in europe seriously. we will run thorough checks to secure the safety of imported food in japan. we're joined from our biz
desk. we have fresh economic data out. >> very good morning to you. i have japan's current account numbers for you. japan's current account surplus for the month of april declined two months in a row due to the march 11th disaster. the finance ministry said in a preliminary report on wednesday that the surplus for april totaled about $5.1 billion. that's a plunge of 69.5% in yen terms from a year earlier. the trade balance resulted in a deficit standing at about $5.2 billion. however, the income balance was up 34.9%, helping the overall account surplus stay in the black. moving on, u.s. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke says the nation's economic growth seems slower than expected with labor markets losing momentum in recent weeks. bernanke made a speech in the united states -- the u.s. state of georgia on tuesday. >> u.s. economic growth so far
this year looks to be somewhat slower than expected. with the effects of the japanese disaster on manufacturing output likely to dissipate in coming months, and with some moderation in gasoline prices a prospect, growth seems likely to pick up somewhat in the second half of the year. >> bernanke also stressed the fed will maintain its extremely low interest rate policy for the time being and keep a close watch over the u.s. economic outlook. separately on the same day, president barack obama also commented on the economy. he said a double dip recession is not a concern at the moment, although it is unclear if job growth will rebound soon. now, let's take a look at the markets. the dow fell for the fifth trading day in a row after comments from the fed chairman failed to inspire markets. to see how stocks are trading here in japan we cross over to ramin mellegard at the toke yoke stock exchange. how are stocks kicking off this wednesday morning? >> we were trading in the negative in first couple of
minutes but now both the nikkei and the topix both in the positive. both those indexes ended yesterday in the positive. but the nikkei still be low that key 9500 level. we'll see how that proceeds throughout the rest of the day. u.s. stocks didn't look too convinced following fed chairman bernanke's address about the state of the u.s. economy. yesterday saying that the recovery was uneven and also that it was moving along frustratingly slow, relating directly to the number of unemployed. now the dow gave back some of its earlier gains ending lower along with the nasdaq and the s&p. now here in japan we did see markets rebound and touch yesterday but the nikkei still did not manage to close above 9500 for three straight trading sessions as global markets still concerned about the u.s. economic recovery. and that worry has also translated into the currency markets weighing on the dollar. have a look at that and the
greenback also actually temporarily fell below 80 yen level overnight in new york. and that followed the market moves in london on monday as well. now, investors are also convinced that interest rates are likely to rise earlier in euro zone than in the u.s. given recent economic indicators. and that's also weighing on the dollar. now, the european central bank is expected to give an indication as to its intentions to raise rates this year later on thursday this week. so that's going to be a big focus, and that may go some way to ease up pressure on the euro, especially following the recent concerns the markets have had about the second bailout package for greece, which also played into the currency markets. but for now, the nikkei and the topix trading marginally in the positive but we'll see if it can close above 9500. we'll have the full market wrap after the market closes for you
later. back to you in the studio. >> thanks a lot for that report. that was our market reporter ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. the government will set up a new panel to determine key issues when it reviews the country's energy policy following the accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. the decision came at a meeting of the government's new growth strategy panel on tuesday. those who attended included prime minister naoto kan, cabinet ministers t the bank of japan governor and the head of japan chamber of commerce and industry. in reviewing the current energy policy the leaders agreed to prioritize talks on how to promote energy saving and renewable energy sources such as solar power. up until now the policy placed significance on the use of nuclear power. participants also agreed on how to include safety of nuclear power generation based on the probe of the accident at the
fukushima plant. possible revisions in the nation's power supply system including how to separate utility's energy generation and transmission units will also be explored. the leaders agreed that a new panel to help pinpoint the main issues at a meeting to be held in july. now, a recap of the latest market figures.
that's all for now in business news. back to catherine with the main news. >> thanks very much, ai. we've got a couple of stories about people who are trying to cheer up residents living in the disaster areas in japan's northeast. french pastry chef reopened his shop on tuesday in shiogama city nearly three months after the tsunami struck miyagi prefecture. the damaged force ed dromer and his japanese wife to close shop. they're using locally produced salt as to add a subtle flavor to his treats. the salt called moshio is created by drying seaweed after immersing it in sea water. >> translator: i want to continue making sweets. i will never quit. >> many people came to buy the cakes right after the shop
opened. dromer said he's happy to see his customers again. further north in iwate prefecture, people who are staying in an evacuation center in the town of otsuchi have come up with an interesting way to save their homes. in the beginning they were collecting the wood and using it to heat bath water, then they thought of ys the salvaged lumber to cover part of the cost of rebuilding their touwn, so they began selling it online. orders poured in from all over japan. one person even came from germany to make a direct purchase. >> translator: my wish is for the fire from the lumber to be a lamp of hope. and welcome to your weather
update. we're still taking a look at the conditions in east asia talking about all that rain still in place. we've got that seasonal rainfall right now and it is bringing some of the more heavier rains towards the southern islands of japan as well as showers for the pacific side of southern japan as well. rainfall amounts among the islands here have been really adding up over the past couple of days, and the rainfall amount over the next 24 hours could easily exceed 100 millimeters. again, a lot of rain we're talking about. you do want to stay well aware of heightened flooding as well as landslide risks. now the tail end of that frontal boundary is movin china. it will still remain wet and unsettled for central and southern areas of china as well as in the northeast here, too, that same system continues to push through showers and slowly now it will be heading in towards the korean peninsula. in southeast asia, showers and tropical downpours,
thunderstorms still quite a bit heavier rain is possible across central and northern areas of the philippines over the next day or so. and then through the indochina peninsula and the bay of bengal as well scattered showers around. heavier isolated downpours will be possible in parts of myanmar and bangladesh and northwest india. these areas still continue to see rain and there is that chance of heavy to very heavy rainfalls to develop today. the highs will be getting up pretty high in hong kong, 32 is your high. even hotter in shanghai, 33 for you. then 23 degrees in tokyo. gray and on the cool side here. over towards the americas looking at all that activity here in and around the central americas. again today we've got a tropical depression just south of mexico in the eastern pacific. that will be the first one of the season and it is expected to strengthen further. it is going to likely become a
tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours, then over throughout this week we'll watch that slowly strengthen and possibly becoming a hurricane. now, we've also got a large low area here in the caribbean as well. combined they're all bringing showers to both islands as well as central america. deadly flooding situation reported in haiti. looks like you will need to watch out for further showers. another very wet area has been up in the mountain west of the united states. widespread flood watches, warnings will remain in place and it will be staying wet here. also looking at showers the upp. hot around the east coast. you do want to watch out for that extreme heat. over towards europe and it is still going to be aun unsettled picture. we'll talk about thundershowers widespread across parts of continental europe and scandinavia. the british isles another low will continue to stay in place
and bring on showers mostly to scotland as well as ireland. and the heat hangs on out towards eastern europe, too. gets up to 30 degrees in war saw as well as kiev and still pretty warm in vienna as well. here is your three-day outlook. ♪ our lead story this hour, the japanese government's nuclear safety agency has instructed utility companies across the country to come up with measures to better respond to a serious nuclear accident.
the government has already compiled a report for the international atomic energy agency about the nuclear accident at fukushima daiichi. it says the plant's lacked sufficient safety measures to deal with a serious accident that caused the loss of all power sources. the nuclear and industrial safety agency asked utility firms to prepare portable lights and communication equipment as well as generator trucks. these vehicles would be used for emergency ventilation to keep radiation below certain levels in the central control room. the agency also proposes boring holes or removing panels in a reactor building if there's a high concentration of hydrogen. the measure's aimed at releasing hydrogen outside to prevent an explosion. the agency has instructed utility companies to submit the safety measures by tuesday next week. and that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us.
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