"newsline." voters in the united states have heard the pitches, they've seen the campaign ads, they know the stakes. now election day is here, and they're heading to polling stations across the country to decide who will be their next president, democratic incumbent barack obama or republican challenger mitt romney. residents of two villages in the state of new hampshire cast ballots at midnight. people in live in dixville notch and harts location have been the first to vote since 1948. voters at the dixville notch put their ballots in the box at 12:00 a.m. officials counted them right away. >> for president, this has never happened before in dixville. we have a tie, five votes each. >> obama and romney didn't tie in harts location.
the president won 23-9. election day is a little different this time around for people in the state of new york. the storm that hit the u.s. northeast put some polling stations out of commission. the governor is relaxing the rules so voters won't be shut out. andrew cuomo issued an executive order allowing residents in areas affected by the storm to vote at any station. officials in neighboring new jersey are also making it easier for people to cast ballots. more than 60 polling stations in new york city are still unusable because of flooding or lack of electricity. workers have set up alternative sites. the voting process in manhattan and the city's other borrows has become more high-tech. they can mark paper ballots and insurt those into a scanner. it's the first time the system will be used in a u.s. presidential election. the results will start streaming
in tuesday evening in united states. obama and romney will watch the returns come in from the respective home bases, chicago and boston. obama arrived in his hometown early in the morning with the first lady. the latest polls suggest the president and his republican challenger mitt romney remain locked in a dead heat. obama spent the final campaign day visiting three swing states including ohio. he criticized romney's economic policies saying they would expand the wealth gap. romney also visited ohio along with three other battleground states. he said obama's work to fix the economy has ended in failure. romney and obama spent a lot of their time during this campaign arguing about the economy, but they also sold voters on their foreign policy plans. they talked tough on china. however, they didn't flesh out their approach for dealing with the world's second largest economy. nhk world's sue assume my kojima
went to find some answers. >> reporter: president barack obama was elected four years ago. he promised a change from his predecessor, george w. bush. he has taken an approach to foreign policy. >> we were able to refocus our attention to not only the terrorist threat, but also beginning a transition process in afghanistan. it also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade. >> reporter: the operation candidate mitt romney said he would take a different approach. he said the u.s. must maintain its own strengths to create stability around the world. >> it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape history. >> reporter: both candidates have talked about relationships with china, but often in
economic terms. neither has explained enough how he would deal with beijing diplomatically. china is now the world's second largest economy. it's also strengthens its military power and it's growing more assertive in territorial disputes. professor sew cha chin is an expert on foreign policy at american university in washington, d.c. he says both obama and romney would, if elected, continue the u.s. policy of engagement in the region. >> asia pacific is the natural choice for the policy of u.s. foreign policy given the very size of economy, and this is the most dynamic region in the world.
think about u.s., china, japan. number one, number two, number three economies, all in asia pacific. zhao says the potential for conflict remains but the flash points have shifted. >> before there were two historically so-called hot spots may bring the two powers to war, one, korea peninsula, and the other, taiwan strait. but there are two other points now, one east china sea, east sea and two, south china sea. >> the professor says chinese leaders will act more aggressively as their confidence grows. chinese officials will select a new leadership after the u.s. presidential vote. zhao says it will be important
for new leaders of both countries to work on creating mechanisms to avoid military confrontation. >> i always say that the current, relatively stable circumstances is a result of co-management of beijing and washington. the dispute is east sea or in south china sea may still need the -- some kind of cooperation or even co-management between ey to establish peace and stability in the asia pacific
lies in thands of the next u.s. president. in a short while, we will know who will be in this position. susumu kojima, nhk world, washington. china has also been the focus for the japanese auto industry of late. sales are dropping. gong gi canning is here with more. >> we already heard from honda, mazda and toyota about how the dispute is affecting their sales. this time we're hearing from nissan. japan's auto industry is shifting into low gear because of the yen strength stemming from a territorial dispute. nissan is among the most hardest hit, exposed most heavenly to the chinese market which accounts for 26% of its global sales. nissan says its first half operating profit dropped 7% in yen terms from a year earlier to about $3.6 billion.
that's mainly because of the yen's strength. the company predicts that profit for the entire business year ending next march will fall nearly 18% from its previous projection to a little over $7 billion. nissan officials attribute the drop to declining sales in china as well as the strong yen. they have cut their sales target in china by 13% to 1.17 million vehicles. tran tran we need to watch seriously and see what will happen to the japan-china relationship. we're naturally cautious about future investment and doing market research. the fallout from japan's dispute with china over islands in the east china sea has prompted a number of japanese executives to reassess their operations. some have decided to get out of china. others will stick around.
a research firm conducted a nationwide survey in october of more than 10,000 companies, almost 30% said the territorial dispute is affecting business. about one-third said china is now less attractive either as a market or a manufacturing base. researchers also asked the heads of more than 1,600 companies with direct business in china about their future plans. more than half said they'll maintain operations. nearly 16% said they'll either cut back or quit. now, in corporate news, executive z at japan's suzuki motor have thrown it in reverse, pulling out of the u.s. auto market. the company has decided to focus on emerging economies such as india. suzuki has been selling mostly small cars in the u.s. since 1985. the company's annual sales there peaked in 2007 when they sold more than 100,000 units.
but the recession following the 2008 collapse of lehman brothers was a blow to suzuki. the stronger yen also made the situation worse. annual sales for last years plummeted to 27,000 units. suzuki spokespersons say they'll continue selling vehicles in hawaii while only offering motorcycles and marine engines in the rest of the country. here is what's happening on the markets. let's first take a look at europe. stocks are trading high as you see on your screens. investors are waiting for the results of the u.s. presidential election which has just started. london shares, ftse up by .5%. the dax is up by .55%. in paris, the cac 40 is up by about .7%. meanwhile asian stocks are mixed on tuesday. in in tokyo the nikkei average closed below the key 9,000 level for the first time in three trading days ending at 8,975,
down about .4%. australia's s&p asx 200 rose a quarter percent after the central bank kept its interest rates unchanged at 3.25%. the shanghai composite index extended losses for the second day to close at 2,106, down about .4%. taking a look at the four x market, the yen is giving up earlier gains ahead of the u.s. election. after trading lower, 102 yen levels. japan has decided to ease restrictions on beef imports from the united states. the government has made the decision after a panel of experts reported that the step will post no safety risk. u.s. beef imports will start to increase from as early as the beginning of next year.
japan's health ministry decided to allow imports of beef from cattle 30 months or younger. that is on condition that the brain and spinal cord continue to be removed. these are parts where the pathogen of mad cow disease is believed to accumulate. japan decided seven years ago to limit u.s. beef imports to cattle age 20 months or younger in order to prevent mad cow disease or bsc from entering the country. the measure was taken after bsc was found in cattle in the u.s. in 2003. an expert panel has earlier concluded that tricks of bse is very small even if the cattle's age limit was raised. there have been no reports of bse in the u.s. during the past ten years. this is how some consumers and retailers reacted to the news. >> translator: they say u.s. beef prices will come down about 20% once the ban is eased and
imports increase. i think our customers will be happy. >> translator: it doesn't matter how much cheaper u.s. beef will get. i want them to put food safety first. >> the easing of the ban will also apply to beef imports from canada, france and the netherlands. japan's latest key economic indicator fell in september for the sixth straight month. a declining global demand is a primary reason. the cabinet office said on tuesday that the coincident index dropped 2.3 points to 91.2, that's against a base of 100 for the year 2005. the index tracks the current state of the economy and reflects activities like employment and industrial output. the decline was the result of the global economic slowdown and falling car production that followed the end of government subsidies for buyers of eco-friendly cars.
cabinet officials changed their assessment of the economy from weakening to signaling a possible turning point. they indicate there is a possibility that the economy may have started slowing down. they said they will remain cautious about a further slowdown in other major economies. business leaders are looking for any competitive edge they can get in this climate. some in japan are finding it's not enough to rely on employees who are technically talented. they said identifying and keeping people who get along with others is just as important. >> reporter: workers at this call center sell a variety of products. this name tag system was introduced to point out work areas in need of improvement. each tag has an integrated sensor capable of identifying other tags. when one worker interacts with another, a record is kept of who spoke to whom, when and for how
long. this data represents a week's worth of conversations logged by a group of employees. people who interact often with others appear closer to the center. the red mark denotes a team leader. a case study focused on him found he had little interaction with his staff. it revealed he was too tied down to his desk and wasn't paying enough attention to the people around him. >> translator: this has made me realize that i need to provide more direct support to my team of phone operators. >> reporter: the group leader decided to modify his working style. he now makes more of an effort to talk to his team members face to face. the tag system was developed by electronics giant hitachi.
it's designed to detect and record physical movements as well as the length of time people speak to each other. the system then determines how animated the conversation was based on body movements. >> translator: the technology gives us skrun tifk data on actual communication and tells us about the vitality of our work environment. >> reporter: this chart shows the energy levels of conversations at the call center. it reveals that groups with good sales figures have animated chats on their coffee breaks. >> translator: i love being able to shoot the breeze on my breaks. it energizes me and motivates me to get back to work. >> reporter: employees were asked to spend their breaks with co-workers around their own age. their rate of securing new orders shot up by 13%.
>> translator: this system shows there are lots of ways to boost sales. so i'm sure we'll be making major changes to how we manage this call center. >> the people at hitachi developed another tool to analyze behavioral data. the system gives retailers recommendations such as where clerks should stand to maximize sales. that's all for now in business news. back to the main news with gene otani. >> interesting, thanks for that, yonggi. syrian opposition leaders say they've struck another blow against military forces. they say a car bombing killed at least 50 soldiers. the attack happened at a military check point in the central province of hama. the british-based syrian observatory for human rights made the announcement. a spokesperson said the free syrian army and other groups likely organized the bombing. state media report two people died, not 50. they've also been covering another car bombing, this one in
the capital of damascus. the explosion killed at least 11 people. an anti-government activist told nhk the target was a building used by pro government militia. the syrian military has been intensifying air attacks on opposition strongholds in the north. this video is said to be from the province of idlib. anti-government groups aabout 1100 people have been killed in the past week. the waters of southern japan, plans are hatching to tap an almost limitless source of free electricity from ocean currents. around the world tidal power and the movement of the waves are already being used as a source of electricity. there have been few efforts to harness the energy of deep sea currents. in the wake of the fukushima nuclear accident, this new japanese project could be a big boost in the search for alternative sources of green energy. nhk world's tack yeah kawasaki
reports from okinawa. >> reporter: propellers slowly turning under the surface of the sea. it could be the first step to capturing the energy of the ocean currents. it's part of an ambitious project led by a professor and his team at okinawa institute of science and technology. the plachb is to create a network of 300 huge propellers positioned a hundred meters under the surface. they could generate 1 million kilowatts, equivalent to the power from a nuclear reactor. the researchers want to top the power of the current by flows northward past the islands and along the coast. this deep slow-moving current provides a constant flow of
moving water making it's deal for generating power. >> translator: once the turbines have been placed deep down in the current, we'll have a constant source of daily energy. >> reporter: the first step for the team is to test a small prototype turbine. the turbine is suspended under the water from a buoy on the surface. to replicate the current the turbine is pulled through the water at a child's walking speed. the propellers begin rotating, but suddenly it all goes wrong.
>> reporter: all three blades snapped the instant they were hit by a strong way. >> translator: our first step is over because of the broken propeller blades, but we got the turbine turning under water so in that sense it was a success. but we need to work on it some more. >> reporter: the hollow propeller blades are filled with plastic resin. this time they are tested to see how much pressure they can take. >> translator: the pressure on the blade is now 248 kilograms, twice as much as it could take before. later,
the propellers are taken out for testing under water. this time they continue to turn. better yet, the turbines are generating. >> translator: if we gradually increase the scale, in the three decades i believe we would be able to generate as much power from ocean currents as we get from several nuclear reactors. there is huge potential. it's amazing. this is an energy source that can last for hundreds of years, tens of thousands of years. >> reporter: over the next few years, the researchers aim to start generating power from medium-sized generators placed in the sea. it will be a major step toward
unlocking the energy of the ocean currents. tack yeah kawasaki, nhk world, okinawa. meteorologist robert speta joins us with the latest weather forecast. we start with what the day will look like on election day, robert. >> a few areas across the country we're specifically watching. this area of cloud cover in the western great lakes will bring snowshowers with it across portions of minnesota and over towards wisconsin, but not just here, down towards the southeast. this area of cloud cover is a low pressure area, already brought severe weather across the gulf states. now it's pushing off towards the east. remember florida is a swing state here. the weather affecting that area will be crucial. in jacksonville, actually expecting rain showers across the area for the day. it's not just there in the northeastern portions of florida. even down towards the south around tampa bay, expecting rain showers and even thunderstorm activity. farther to the north and northeast, partly cloudy skies
in washington, d.c. it's going to be cold in new york, sunny. but look at that, if you're heading out to any of the early morning polls, do bundle up across much of that area, and into the west, seattle with rain showers for you. the same in vancouver as well as into los angeles, sunny skies, well above average temperatures ain't that area. do get out and vote. take a look at this storm system, talking about bringing the rough weather into florida. then it's not over yet. it's going to push over in the northeast. on wednesday bringing rough weather across portions of the northeast. new england, extending towards new york and pennsylvania, heavy snowfall and gusty winds. even white-out conditions across this area. definitely want to watch this storm system. it is going to be bringing rough weather to many people out here who are still without power. so very dangerous conditions indeed here. over towards eastern asia, see the spin in the cloud cover, this is part of a potent low
pressure area that's already brought near 80 kilometer-per-hour winds in nagasaki. improving conditions across tokyo. but hokkaido and hoke queue, you could see 60-mile-per-hour winds associated with it. also 250 millimeters into the next 24 hours. still a strong system. that's expected to hokkaido. high pressure coming from the north will be improving conditions. beijing with a high of 11. seoul at 13. over to tokyo, into the low 20s by midweek. over towards europe, we have been watching this area of cloud cover. it's been moving across eastern europe, across the balkans. you've been seeing rough to severe weather throughout the pest several days. this is video out of the region where heavy rain over the week end caused rivers to burst their banks throughout slow vein yeah.
alarms were sounded as floods cut off entire communities. you can see many cars submerged as the floods continue to ravage the area. croatia was also hit by heavy rain and strong winds which flooded streets and brought down trees. fortunately the damage was minimal here. so really good news. but now that storm system is still pushing off towards the east into eastern parts of europe. still bringing gusty winds around the black sea. definitely want to watch that. off towards the northern portions of the uk, we have snow over in the scandinavian peninsula and into the low countries. temperatures will reflect this. loren done with only a high of eight. stockholm, four on your tuesday. down in athens a little warmer, 27 for your high on your tuesday. here is a look at your extended forecast.