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tv   Newsline 30min  KCSMMHZ  June 28, 2012 6:00am-6:30am PDT

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buried treasure. researchers in japan say they've discovered a major supply of rare earths, minerals essential for making high-tech equipment. welcome to nhk world "newsline." companies in japan are constantly searching for rare earth metals to create products millions of people crave. smartphones and hybrid cars are just a couple of examples. but the supply of these minerals is limited. university of tokyo scientists might have solved that problem. they say they found substantial deposits of rare earths in japanese territory potentially enough to last more than 200
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years. this brown powder is dried mud taken from the seabed near an island 200 kilometers south of tokyo. the researchers say the mud contains high concentrations of rare earths. >> translator: if we can develop the rare earths it will have a great global impact. >> rare earths are a key resource for the high-tech industry. they are used in hybrid vehicles and liquid crystal displays but they are only found in limited place neps u.s. geological survey says china accounts for 97% of the world's production. chinese government officials cut exports of the minerals by 40% in 2010. they said they were protecting the environment. in september that year, a chinese fishing vessel collided with japanese patrol boats. exports of rare earths to japan have been sporadic ever since. japanese firms starts to look elsewhere for supplies.
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the university of tokyo scientists carried out a seabed survey. they analyzed the mud samples and discovered the high concentration of rare earths. they estimate the area of mud covers at least 1,000 square kilometers within japan's exclusive economic zone. they think it contains some 6.8 million tons of rare earths. but the minerals are nearly 6,000 meter bess low the surface of the sea. no one has ever mined at such depths so new technology is required. engineers suggest using oil well drilling equipment. they would lower a pipe from a ship to the ocean floor, then they would blast air through this pipe forcing mud and sand up to the surface. they estimate crews could haul up some 15,000 tons of mud every day. >> translator: this is not something that we can do on our own. it will be very important for all of japan to cooperate. >> the researchers plan to ask
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the government to carry out tests to set up drilling technology. scandals, cover-ups and high-profile mistakes are transforming japan's corporate culture, and we've been watching a new dynamic develop these past couple of days. investors are complaining, and corporate executives are apologizing. the scenes are unfolding at some of the annual shareholders meetings. more than 40% of listed companies met thursday with their investors. that's a total of about 700 firms. olympus is one of them. former managers at the optical equipmentmaker stand accused of covering up more than a billion dollars in investment losses. >> translator: the scandal was the result of former managers trying to make profits from stock investments. >> current president hiroyuki sasa blamed long-term leadership for the scandal. he planned to limit the
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president's term to a maximum of six years. olympus will also fill more than half of its board of directors positions with people from outside the company. shareholders of daio paper can relate with olympus investors. the firm has also been tainted by scandal. its former chair is accused of taking personal loans from the company between 2010 and '11. he allegedly borrowed more than $110 million. daio president masayoshi sako apologized to shareholders at their annual meeting. he said his firm will also appoint directors from outside to enhance management oversight. for more insight, i spoke with our business reporter yonggi kang. so attitude among shareholders seem to be changing here in japan? >> that's right, gene. one of the things we can say for sure is that shareholders have become a lot more vocal, and that's been largely driven by a string of corporate scandal that hit corporate japan recently. now, olympus is a prime example of this. shareholders have become more
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cautious about how the companies they invest in are being managed, and they want a say. this is what some shareholders had to say. >> translator: i want tepco to implement clear changes that are based on common sense. >> translator: setting aside past events, i hope to hear how the management can be improved. >> translator: compliance is a basic issue for businesses. i want olympus to improve. >> we heard from the shareholders. how are corporations responding to this? >> well, what they're doing is they're aiming for more transparency and better corporate governance. and one fact to confirm this is that more companies are hiring directors from outside, as we're seeing with olympus and daio paper, what they're doing now. >> and are we going to actually see some results from this better corporate governance? are we going to see more
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transparency? what's going to happen, do you think? >> experts are saying that changes may be slow, but we are actually moving in a positive direction, though. i spoke to one attorney who specializes in corporate governance, and he told me that japanese companies are still behind their western counterparts in terms of transparency and compliance, but the fact that more companies are hiring directors from outside is a positive sign. hitachi, for example, is said to be a conservative company, but its executives decided at its shareholders meeting last week to hire two directors from overseas. however, the lawyer also pointed out that many japanese firms are still hesitant about bringing foreign talent from outside. he said that corporate japan must embrace diversity and change their traditional way of thinking in order to compete in this global competition. >> yonggi, thanks. nhk world's yonggi kang.
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one troubled firm making a change is tokyo electric power company. he's committed to reforming management and regaining public trust following the fukushima daiichi nuclear issue that began last year. they hope the talk is more than just spin. shimokobo spoke in tokyo. he took on his new job as chair a day earlier at the annual shareholders meeting. >> tepco is a huge monopoly and has failed to pay attention to customers' needs and social trends. i will make sure tepco listens carefully to kritd simp of its outside culture and every tepco employee takes into account its customer's needs. >> tepco has been attacked not just for its handling of the fukushima disaster, but also for unilaterally imposing price increases. shimokobe is a 64-year-old lawyer. he served as chairman of the government-backed nuclear damage
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liability facilitation fund that helped tepco compensate disaster victims. he added it will be very hard for tepco to restart reactors at its idle plant in kashizaw kashizawa niigata prefecture without consent from the local economy. barclas has been hit with the largest fine. must pay more than $450 million for manipulating key interest rates. the regulators say barclays manipulated the london interbank offered rate or libor. they made false reports on short-term interest rates from 2005 through 2009. the regulators say traders at barclays sought to benefit their positions by asking colleagues to fix the rate reports. bank officials admitted to the wrongdoing and said four top executives will give up their yearly bonuses. this innocent the first time libor has been under scrutiny.
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in february, swiss authorities began investigating a number of foreign banks for possibly manipulating the international benchmark. european leaders opened a two-day summit in brussels, belgium. they will discuss the way to bail out debt-riddens members and other issues such as growth plans and fiscal integration. the eu recognizes that economic recovery across the region has been dampened by austerity measures and nations with excessive debts. as part of the region's growth measures, theedle eleaders will consider recapitalizing the investment bank. they'll also agree on a stimulus package to spur private sector investment in infrastructure projects. at the summit, the leaders will also discuss mid to long-term solutions for the debt crisis. these include the creation of common eurozone bonds and a banking union. but germany, the eu's largest economy, has been voicing strong objection to the idea of common
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bonds. the people at google are hoping their new focus on hardware pays off this week as the company rolls out its first tablet device. the internet and software giant is taking aim at firms like apple and amazon for a share of the market dominated by the ipad and kindle. nhk world's misato ichikawa has more. >> reporter: google staff unveiled their new product at an i.t. conference in san francisco. it was developed with taiwanese manufacturer asis. >> and here it is. >> reporter: this is google's first tablet offering. the company has taken in pursuit of apple which claims a 60% market share in tablets.
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the device's selling point is its size. the nexus 7 is more compact than the apple ipad. and the price at $199 is less than half the cost. >> music, movies, books, magazines, apps and games, all the great content from google play right at your fingertips. >> reporter: last week i.t. giant microsoft announced it would start selling its own tablet. online megastore amazon also enjoys solid sales with its economical kindle a -- released last year. analysts say google's aim is to build sales in the lower end of the market first. google's tablets hit stores in the u.s., canada and uk in mid-july although a japanese release is yet to be announced.
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but experts predict the number of japanese users would grow rapidly spread by the use of digital books and other applications. >> translator: mobile phones are a bit too small to read on, but it's too much trouble to start up a computer every time. tablets have potential in japan. digital books will take off in japan this year, and awareness of tablets will increase. tablet's share of the world pc market is expected to grow to about 10%. i believe it's going to be a good segment. >> reporter: japanese consumers will be hoping the google tablet is worth the wait. misato ishikawa, nhk world. the new president of panasonic says the company will reform its core television production line to make them more profitable. the japanese electronicsmaker posted its worst loss in
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the fiscal year through march. he made the remarks on thursday when he pledged a speedy restructuring of the business. he said tvs failed to make profits despite large sales. the business recorded losses for four years in a row, although tvs have long been at the center of panasonic's home appliances sector. >> translator: it's very important that we remodel our company to one that sticks to profitable fields as soon as possible. otherwise ow status in the world will deteriorate all the more. >> the president says the company will reduce the number of tv models and outsource their production to other companies. here are the latest market figures.
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iran's deputy foreign minister says western sanctions will only complicate international negotiations over his country's nuclear program. representatives from the u.s., eu and other world powers want iranian scientists to stop enriching uranium to a level that could be used for weapons development. saitabas spoke to nhk. he's a former ambassador to japan. he's been taking part in negotiations with the five permanent members of the u.n.
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security council and germany. aranchi says the u.s. and europe must recognize iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. >> it's a big misunderstanding if they think that iran has -- iran is under pressure by the sanctions. no. not at all. >> yes, sanctions have been costly. sanctions have caused extra expenses for us, but they haven't been able to -- you know, to force iran to give up its rights. >> araghchi points out iran's nuclear program has become an issue of national pride because the country has been able to independently build related technology. he says iran will never give up any part of its achievement but is prepared to make it transparent enough to answer any questions. the story involving mexican drug cartels, gun-running and secret documents is playing out in washington, d.c.
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members of the republican-led house of representatives vote thursday on whether to charge u.s. attorney general eric holder with contempt. it's related to a botched sting operation on the u.s./mexico border. holder is the country's top law enforcement officer. he's facing the charge for refusing to provide documents on a gun trafficking investigation known as fast and furious. the operation was intended to link u.s. gun purchases to mexico's drug cartels, but investigators lost track of many of the weapons. one was found near the site where an american border patrol agent was killed. the u.s. bureau in charge of firearms ran the operation. it's part of the justice department which holder heads. republican lawmakers have demanded that more documents related to the investigation be disclosed. >> we've given them ample opportunity to comply. unfortunately, they are not willing to show the american people the truth about what happened. >> white house press secretary
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jay carney says the justice department has already provided thousands of pages of documents. holder has also testified before lawmakers numerous times. >> it's the kind of political gamesmanship that frustrates the american people so much about what happens in washington. >> carney says the vote is designed to damage the obama administration ahead of the presidential election in november. a vote against holder would mark the first time congress has cited a sitting attorney general for contempt. the governor of fukushima prefecture has asked tokyo electric power company to ensure the safe decommissioning of its nuclear reactors. he also wants the utility to compensate people affected by last year's nuclear accident.
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the governor met officials at a government office. kobe and the firm's president hirosi were appointed the previous day at a shareholders meeting. shimokobe apologized to fukushima residents for the difficulties caused by last year's nuclear accident. sato also -- sato said people feel renewed anxiety whenever problems have occurred at the plant. he also said 160,000 people are still living in temporary housing. the accident has caused extensive damage to all sectors in the prefecture. sato handed a written redwoeft the two officials. he demanded the decommissioning of all reactors in the prefecture. the swift disclosure of information and the payment of compensation. he also said he will try to meet the request, even if it takes a long time. american engineers have spent years learning how to decontaminate nuclear sites, they've cleaned up after nuclear tests and helped decommission reactors.
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now they're teaching their japanese counterparts how to tackle the problems at fukushima. nhk word's miho fukaniga has the story. >> reporter: workers have an extensive list in fukushima. they have to decommission the crippled reactors and decontaminate the area. japanese government officials say it will take up to 40 years to complete the work. japanese officials have asked for help. they hope technological skills from the world's largest nuclear power can improve the situation. environment ministry officials sought out over 30 u.s. companies that specialize in nuclear decontamination. they invited the firm's executives to tokyo to meet with their japanese counterparts. several of the companies refined
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their techniques working on one of the u.s.' largest ever nuclear cleanup. the site in the state of washington was once the country's center of plutonium production. it provided the fuel for the nuclear bomb dropped on nagasaki in 1945. the u.s. government decommissioned nine reactors at the end of the cold war, but they left radioactive waste that contaminated soil and water. decontamination work began in the 1980s, but officials at the department of energy say they need another four decades to finish the cleanup. a colorado-based company is one of the companies working at the site. the vice president came to tokyo to share his experience with japanese executives. he showed images of the site and discussed the lessons his team
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learned. >> when people look at the work done there, they say it's not like fukushima. it's not the same. that's true, but when you look at how cesium acts with soil or cesium on a piece of concrete or on a roof, it acts the same in the united states as it does in japan. and so the lessons we've learned over the 20 years of doing the work are directly applicable. >> reporter: more than 80,000 people still live away from their fukushima hometowns. they cannot return until the radiation readings drop. decontamination workers have been using high pressure hoses and removing topsoil, but they're looking for more efficient methods. >> translator: i want to know if there's something i can do for decontamination other than just spraying water.
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>> it was often easier to remove the soil or the sidewalk or the tile roof, say, of the structure instead of trying to decontaminate it and put a new one in place. now, that means you have a lot of waste to deal with, but years ago we came to the realization that it was cheaper to find a way to deal with the waste than to spend all our time trying to decontaminate. >> reporter: the u.s. executives also traveled to fukushima to view the work there. countries on both sides of the pacific are facing decades of decontamination work. exchanging knowledge may help to speed up the process. miho fukunaga, nhk world, tokyo. >> all right. here's the weather forecast with robert speta. robert? >> we do have tropical storm
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here. just north of the philippines. most of that convection is over the northern portions of luzon. it's been bringing heavy rainfall. about 100 millimeters recorded in the past 24 hours in some locations here. good news it is starting to taper off as the storm continues to rush off towards the northwest. look at that. moving forward at about 25 kilometers per hour. eventually, though, going into saturday, especially into the afternoon hours, you could be seeing this making landfall just fords the south of hong kong. this entire area has been under some hot heat as well. so this may come as some relief cooling down the atmosphere. still, you'll be accompanied by some gusty winds and heavy rain showers. and also down towards the central and southern portions of the philippines. rain in place bringing the risk of flooding and landslides. farther off towards the north, that rainy season stationary boundary we've been talking about for quite some time is continuing to affect portions of central and eastern china off toward the southwestern portions of china where we should v some
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photos coming out of in this entire region. flooding has been taking place the last few days raising the river levels and cause something landslides in the eastern portions of the gaungxi region. it's caused land slides blocking roadways and some highways and the local highway department had to call out these people to clear out one of these roads due to the landslide coming across and blocking traffic. and unfortunately, now going into your weekend. it does look like yet more rainfall is going to be on tap due to this boundary continuing to linger here. and also over towards the southern portions of japan, you also have that heavy rainfall in place, pushing off toward the east. meanwhile in the korean peninsula, parched conditions continue to remain in effect. good news. friday afternoon and saturday, look at this big blue mass from the west bringing welcomed rainfall. severe weather also could be accompanying that with frekwend gusts of wind and cloud to ground lightning. high of 31. shanghai 33.
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manila, 31 accompanied by some rain showers. in the americas, dry conditions across most of the region here with the exception of a frontal boundary setting up across the western portions of the great lakes. this could be bringing isolated strong thunderstorms. down towards the south and off towards the west, those dry conditions are also going to be accompanied by some hot weather. critical fire weather in effect due that dry weather into the rockies. widespread wildfires already burning here. into the east, the great lakes regions, you also will be accompanied by dry air. this could spark some wildfires. if any do erupt, 50 kilometer. per hour winds will be assisting. definitely going to be -- continue to watch this area very closely. look at these temperatures. oklahoma city with a high of 31. exceptionally hot here. houston, 37. atlanta and washington, d.c., though, you're not going to be cooling down either. 36 and 34. now into europe, the british isles has been remaining rather wet here. especially across the northern
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portions of scotland and ireland. there has been a frontal area continuing to linger here. it will slowly start to dissipate but throughout the next 24 hours, about 20 to 30 millimeter an hour rainfall could be occurring along this frontal boundary. south of it, high pressure is in effect across much of central europe. hot weather as well. look at vienna up to 31 on your friday. saturday could even be getting into the mid-30s. similar conditions off toward the east. currently, though, on your friday, kiev at 23. warsaw at 21. now here's a look at your extended outlook.
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we'll be back with more updates in 30 minutes. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here at nhk world, thanks for joining us.
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