nited frfrt. europepe u uonon l ldede work o measures to help their debt-strapped neighbors and refocus on a strategy for growth. european leaders have agreed to stand united against the economic crisis. they're now ready to implement new growth measures worth 120 euros or $150 billion marking a shift away from austerity policies. the two day european union summit began on thursday in brsels, belgium. leaders reached a deal to spend 120 billion euros equivalent to
around 1% of the eu's gross domestic product, promoting private sector investments. they also agreed to recapital ize the european investment bank to try to revive the economy which has been weakened by austerity policies. >> thank you. the growth agenda is the sign of our unrelenting commitment. >> the leaders are discussing a plan to form a banking union to unify oversight of lending institutions in the region. they also aim to issue joint eurozone bonds as a medium to long-term measure against the debt crisis. investors are looking at all of this to see what it might mean for markets. ai uchida swrojoins us from the business team. what's the sentiment today? >> the eu accord, actually that boosted sentiment somewhat, but a supreme court ruling in the u.s. that upheld president obama's health care bill, that actually worked to dampen sentiment. now, u.s. markets had a day of
choppy trade. the dow jones actually finish down but off their daily lows. dow jones closing down one-fifth of a percent at 12,602. we're going to go to ramin mellegard at the tokyo stock exchange. how are markets taking all of this in? >> lots to take in ai. we had economic data also before the markets opened here. let's have a look at some of the key economic figures which came out just before the stock markets opened. we had unemployment rate coming at 4.4%. that's an improvement slightly from 4.6% in april. also cpi was down 0.1% for the first decline in four months. we also had industrial production, which came at minus 3.1%. and that's two months in a row now that we've seen declines. so let's have a look at the knee
ca nikkei and the topix are kicking off this friday morning. yes. 8,821. so both indexes trading lower there. the topix at 755. now, recording the u.s. health care bill, it may sound like it only matters to the u.s. markets, but the ruling does remove a big amount of uncertainty for one of the biggest sectors in the u.s. economy which is the health care. hospital shares traded higher, insurers traded lower. but we're going to track two of the biggest pharmaceuticals in japan, takada pharmaceuticals, which have major operations in the u.s. and sell some key cancer-related and blood-pressure related drugs there. and, in fact, just yesterday, the u.s. fda approved a new drug for astalis pharma. that's going to be a crucial focus there. i mentioned yesterday, the auto sector, production numbers for the domestic markets here yesterday. toyota and honda actually showed a doubling of those production levels for may.
nissan also showed a gain as well. now, domestic demand also might be hurt after government subsidies run out in summer. and also, you know, the strong yen does hamper domestic pricing of autos here, and, of course, it also eats into overseas profits when repatriated. ai? >> well, ramin, speaking of the yen, euphorics traders, too, are watching developments of the eu summit. how is the euro fairing today? >> that's a key factor, of course, ai. we've been following the strong yen. let's have a look at the currency levels as well. the euro almost three-week lows against the dollar and the yen. the eu summit wraps up later today. markets not really looking for anything concrete to come out of that. also, bond yields in italy and spain are very high. and on a separate note, ai, interesting that spain and italy are actually in the finals of the euro 2012, as there's such a big focus for their fiscal
health as well. so interesting tie-up there. back to you, ai. >> sports mirroring life, ramin. ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange. ramin just mentioned japan's core consumer prices fell in may, the first decline in four months. the internal ministry said the index in may was down 0.1% from a year earlier. the index excludes the prices of fresh food. the fall in prices of home appliances like refrigerators and personal computers. tokyo stock markets are down half a per september this friday morning. i'll leave you with a check on how other asian markets are doing.
the u.s. supreme court has upheld president barack obama's health care reform law. 26 states had challenged the law. they claim the individual mandates surpasses the authority of congress and is unconstitutional. nhk world's matthew field reports from washington. >> reporter: barack obama pushed through an overhaul of health care as a pillar of his presidency, but some americans question the legally of what's known as the individual mandate. it requires americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine. the justices of the supreme court said the individual mandate is constitutional. >> today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the supreme court's decision to
uphold it. >> reporter: americans buy medical insurance on an individual basis. as a result, one in every six people in the u.s. is not insured. obama signed his health care law two years ago. it allowed every citizen access to medical coverage. but republicans have criticized the reforms as restrictions on personal freedom. they're also concerned that changes may lead to tax hikes. the court's ruling means that health care reform will remain in place. the administration has called it the signature accomplishment of obama's presidency. the republicans are expected to try to repeal the law in congress, and they're certain to make it an important issue in the run-up to the presidential election this november. matthew field, nhk world, washington. many in the u.s. don't have insurance for another kind of care. the one covering their teeth. one in three americans is not
getting the dental treatment they need simply because they can't afford it. nhk world has that story. >> reporter: it's 4:30 a.m., and already there are over 1,000 people in this line. >> i've been here since, like, 8:30 yesterday. i haven't slept. i feel fantastic. >> reporter: they've come for a dental care fair sponsored by local charities. low income and unemployed people who an not afford to visit a dentist can get basic treatment here free of charge. sandy preston hasn't seen a dentist in two years. she needs a crown on one tooth. however, only simple treatments are provided at the fair. preston has been unemployed for the last two years since the company she worked at went bankrupt. she's a single mother raising a
daughter on no income and has had to move in with her parents. a crown would cost about $1,500. so instead of going to a dentist, she's just been taking painkillers. >> i'd prefer to get the dentist to fix it correctly so i wouldn't have to take the medication, because i don't like to take a lot of medication. >> reporter: in the u.s., government health care programs are available to people over 65. those with disabilities and certain low-income families. but most people have to get health insurance from private companies. and even the government programs don't cover dental services generally. dental care is very expensive for those without insurance. a root canal treatment costs around $900, and a crown is about $1,000. last august, an unemployed man
died after an infection in his wisdom tooth spread to his brain. he couldn't afford to get it treated. it is not the fst time this has happened in america. in february, the u.s. senate issued an alarming report on the dental crisis facing the country. it said that as many as 130 million people, more than a third of the population, have no dental insurance. a growing number of americans are turning to dentists outside of the country for affordable treatment. one company in arizona offers so-called dental tours to mexico. this resident signed up recently. the round trip takes over 12 hours. this town, just inside mexico, has about 300 dental clinics.
every year, some 15,000 americans cross the border heap in search of dental treatment. this clinic has state-of-the-art equipment. her treatment goes smoothly. the cost, about a third of what she would have paid in arizona. >> saved $200. i'm really happy. really happy. >> 99% of the patients, they came from u.s. and we want -- they feel like they are in one of the clinics in u.s. >> reporter: american dentists are alarmed by the number of patients who are seeking dental care abroad. >> i've had patients that have come into my office that have had treatment in mexico, and some is not bad, but some of it is really bad. we would like to be able to treat those individuals.
>> reporter: unless new measures are introduced in future, millions of americans will have to continue relying on charity for their dental care or just grin and bear it. sho conscious matsumoto, nhk world, phoenix, arizona. more children will have access to dental care under the health care reforms introduced by president obama, but many adults will be left uncovered. companies in japan are constantly searching for rare earth metals to create products millions of people crave. sma smartphones and hybrid cars are a couple of examples. the supply of these minerals is limited. university of tokyo scientists have solved that problem. they say they found substantial deposits of rare earths in japanese territory, potentially enough to last more than 200 years. this brown powder is dried mud taken from the seabed near
minami-torishima. the island is some 2,000 kilometers southeast 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 japan's high-tech industry. companies use them in hybrid vehicles and liquid crystal displays. but the minerals are only found in limited places. the 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 started to look elsewhere for supplies. 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 meters below 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 the government to carry out tests to set up drilling technology. one troubled firm making a change at the top is tokyo electric power company.
tepco's new chair say he's committed to reforming management and regaining public trust following the fukushima daiichi nuclear disaster which began in march of last year. shareholders and customers are hoping the talk is more than just spin. shimokobe spoke thursday in tokyo. he took on his new job as chair a day earlier at tepco's annual shareholders meeting. >> translator: 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 outside criticism of its corporate culture and that every tepco employee takes into account our customers' 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-damaged liability
facilitation fund that helped tepco compensate disaster victims. he added it will be very hard for tepco to restart reactors at its idled plant in kashiwazaki-kariwa, niigata prefecture without consent from the local community. the new tepco chair had an appointment with the governor of fukushima prefecture on the second day on the job. yuhei sato asked shimokobe to ensure the safe decommissioning of tepco's crippled reactors. the governor also wants the utility to compensate the people affected by last year's nuclear accident. sato met with shimokobe and tepco's newly appointed president naomi hiro in fukushima. shimokobe apologized to residents in the prefecture for the difficulties caused by the meltdowns and explosions at the nuclear plant. sato said people feel anxious whenever problems occur at the plant. he said 160,000 people are still
living in temporary housing. the accident has caused extensive damage to all sectors in fukushima prefecture. sato handed a written request to the two tepco executives and he demanded the decommissioning of all reactors in the prefecture, the swift disclosure of information, and the payment of compensation. hirose said he will try to meet the request, even if it takes a long time. people in japan's northeast are focused on overcoming the challenges of the 2011 disaster, but it won't be easy. they have to rebuild homes, businesses, entire communities. we'll show you their struggles and their successes on "the road ahead" every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time here on "newsline." chinese military personnel have begun what they call combat ready patrols in the south's china sea. they're defending the waters around a group of islands. they think the territory holds reserves of oil and gas and they insist all of it belongs to
them. problem is, the vietnamese believe the same things. nhk world reports from hanoi. >> translator: china's actions are illegal. the mining fields china is trying to develop lie within vietnam's exclusive economic zone. >> translator: vietnam reacted angrily wednesday to china's plans of resources in the south china sea. the corporation on monday sought international to explore and develop oil and gas fields in disputed waters. the controversy focuses on an area of 160,000 square kilometers. the sector is closer to vietnam than other contested areas. vietnamese officials say they are already surveying the same sector for possible development.
a spokesperson for the chinese foreign ministry said the actions of its oil company were already made. >> translator: we hope vietnam will stick to our common ground, refrain from taking actions that may complicate and aggravate disputes and immediately stop all activities that encroach upon china's right of oil and gas resources in relevant sea areas. >> reporter: last week, the vietnamese parliament adopted a law claiming sovereignty over two disputed group of islands, the spratlys and paracels. three disputed island groups. maritime authorities also announced that four chinese ships left port on tuesday to patrol the disputed ar. with both sides stressing their respected claims, competing plans to develop resources in the south china sea look set to add fuel to regional tensions.
nhk world, hanoi. tension between south korea and japan over a few tiny islands is surfacing again. senior members of south korea's ruling party have visited the takeshima islands. they're at the center of a territorial dispute with japan. the party chairman and six other officials traveled on thursday by helicopter and patrol boat to the islets in the sea of japan. the officials inspected accommodations built by the south korean government and encouraged the coast guard stationed there. they said the tour of takeshim was part of a series of inspections for defense. these include visits to islands in the yellow sea off the western coast of the korean peninsula and to the demilitarized zone which divides northnd south korea. the japanese government has launched a protest with south korea over the visit.
takashi kurai at the japanese embassy in seoul visited the south korean foreign ministry and expressed dissatisfaction. kurai urged it to reconsider its actions. 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 to bring in siranian scientists stop enriching uranium for weapons development. the deputy foreign minister is former ambassador to japan. he's been taking part in negotiations with the five permanent members of the u.n. security council and germany. he 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 is under
pressure by 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. >> he points out that iran's nuclear program has become a matter 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 it's prepared to make it transparent enough to answer any questions. people in tokyo are enjoying a beautiful sunny morning even though the capital is in its rainy season. sayaka mori joins us with the world weather forecast. >> that's right. it's the rainy season in tokyo, but we're expecting dry and warm conditions here in tokyo. and the nice weather will likely continue into the weekend. meanwhile, the northern half of japan and the korean peninsula are experiencing hot and dry
weather. south korea has been dealing with the most -- the severest drought conditions in a century, but finally rain is coming down. a new low-pressure system will form, and that will produce heavy rain, thunderstorms, as well as gusty winds. and temperatures cooling down quite significantly so that could improve the situation. meanwhile, we an see a line of thundershowers forming over central china. down toward the south, very strong southwesterly monsoonal flow is producing lots of rain across bangladesh, northeast india, and the southwest coast of the indochina peninsula, in southern, central thailand. more than 200 millimeters of rain has fallen over the past 24 hours. in bangladesh, a series of landslides and floods occurred killing dozens of people. unfortunately, showers will likely continue into saturday, so that could hamper the rescue efforts. then we can see this pink showing up.
that is tropical storm right now situated over the south china sea. as the stormy conditions will likely continue in northern luzon and southern taiwan into tomorrow morning. right now, packing sustained winds of 72 kilometers per hour, with gusts of 108. so it has strengthened a little bit since yesterday. it will likely hit the areas in and around hong kong by saturday morning local time. so stormy conditions are expected to start this area from this afternoon. we're talking about as much as 100 millimeters of rain over a span of 24 hours. and then it will continue to move toward the west-northwesterly direction and head toward guangchi actually which is not good news because this area has been dealing with flood conditions due to a seasonal frontal line. let's take a look at imagings coming out of guanchi wednesday.
flooding rains affected southeast china during the first half of the week and caused landslides. in eastern krguanxi, landslides blocking roads on some of the highways. see workers clearing the roads and trying to make them passable. infortunately, an addition. 100 millimeter is possible over the span of 24 hours. that could raise the water levels and trigger flooding as well as landslides. all right, temperature wise, 33 degrees in hong kong, the same for shanghai. 31 in seoul. should be cooling down on your saturday. heading to the americas. we have a line of thundershowers over the midwestern states. a low-pressure system is approaching the west coast starting to produce light to moderate precipitation. across the western portions of british columbia and the pacific northwest. and we have been talking about excessive hot conditions across the central and eastern portions of the u.s. it looks like hot conditions