on the front lines. syrian government troops renew their offensive following the pullout of u.n. monitors. residents who remain in the syrian city of aleppo are picking their way through the streets. opposition fighters made a stronghold of the northern city but for the last month, government troops have committed themselves to winning it back. government jets are dropping bombs across aleppo. rebels say some hit a makeshift
hospital for opposition fighters. at least 35 people were killed, including civilians. the planes appear to be targeting residential neighborhoods, too. smoke blankets the area. a turkish tv cameraman says government and opposition forces have each found footholds in different parts of aleppo. he says residents have to be on the lookout for snipers from both sides. >> translator: you could come under attack at any moment. it's like playing russian roulette. >> the renewed offensive follows the end on sunday of the u.n. monitoring mission. opposition fighters say government forces are preparing to mount a major attack on aleppo. the rebels have recruited local men to help them in their fight. two japanese women are waiting in istanbul to claim their sister's body. mika yamamoto was shot and killed while reporting from aleppo. authorities sent her remains
across the border to turkey. >> translator: she told me she was in a safe place, just two days ago. i still cannot believe things turned out this way. >> the japan press released video yamamoto recorded just before she died. yamamoto said fighter jets were bombing residents indiscriminately. she said she couldn't believe people were still living there. yamamoto and her partner were accompanying opposition fighters when shots rang out. her video ends there. now let's take a look at the latest in business news with yongghi kang. tell us what's happening. >> well, catherine investors
around the world are looking for clues on whether global central banks are going to take extra steps to boost the economy and the latest indication is coming from washington. minutes of the most recent u.s. central bank policy meetings show that members agreed on the need for mormon tear easing f signs of economic recovery are not seen. the minutes of the two-day federal open market committee meeting that ended on august 1st were released on wednesday. many of the policymakers acknowledged that it would be necessary to take additional monetary action fairly soon, that's unless signs of substantial economic recovery are confirmed in key u.s. economic data to be released at later dates. the policymakers also agreed to keep short term interest rates at extremely low levels until late 2014, as the jobless rate will likely say high over an extended period. they are set to hold their next round of policy discussions in mid-september. now let's get a check on the
markets. u.s. stock prices ended lower with continued worries about a global slowdown. the fomc minutes showed that the fed may be inclined to take extra measures to boost the economy and that hurt the dollar. for more details and to see how stocks are trading this thursday here in japan, we are going to ramin mellegard, who is standing by at the tokyo stock exchange. so good morning, ramin. how are things kicking off this morning? >> very good morning to you, yongghi. indeed a lot of focus on the fomc minutes, showing that a lot of the policymakers there are more inclined to boost growth and that pretty much led to the fall in the dollar that we were watching, and as such it means that the fed would essentially be adding more cash to the system. now, of course, that also inversely led to a rise in some commodities, such as oil and gold as well, so some market movements there on the back of that. let's have a look at how things are kicking off here this thursday in tokyo.
both indexes there, the nikkei and the topix trading lower in the first few minutes of trading, and 9086 for the nikkei and 758 for the topix. let's not forget the nikkei was down for two days in a row yesterday, on wednesday, on below average volume, really markets were really waiting for the fomc meetings, but the currency moves may be of a more indication as to where japanese stocks trade today, because we did see quite a bit of a shift there, both on the dollar/yen and the euro/yen. let's have a look at currency levels as well. dollar/yen looking at that right now, 78.52-56. i can tell you at the end of stock trading here on wednesday, it was at the lower 79 yen levels. now 78.49-57, so it did move there. the dollar did weaken after the fomc meetings. euro/yen coming up on the screen, the euro fell against the yen at 98.41-46, and now it was trading around 98.70 levels
when stock trading ended here yesterday, wednesday, in japan. so the currency moves there, yongghi, might affect some of the exporters. yongghi? >> and ramin, we are approaching the last week of august. what else is in store for global investors? >> well, of course with the fomc meeting minutes out of the way now, the next focus may likely be on the jackson hole, wyoming, economic symposium at the end of this month, where fed chairman bernanke will be giving a speech, and he tends to give a little bit of information or hints as to what he or the federal reserve may be inclined to do, so that could be another focus. let's shift to the euro and in europe, of course, key meetings there between german chancellor merkel and the greek prime minister samaras on friday and that will give further indications as to the direction of the euro and of course eurozone debt and bond yield, so still some key events there to
look forward to for the markets but for now the nikkei and the topix in the first few minutes of trading lower this thursday morning. back to you, yongghi. >> all right, ramin, thank you very much. that was ramin mellegard at the tokyo stock exchange. toyota motor will join hands with u.s. power company duke energy at a u.s. non-profit organization to develop efficient charging systems. under the project toyota will lease the prius to some households in indiana. can runs longer than current models. the participants will also receive a device that allows the car to connect to the power grid. the test will involve automatic recharging of batteries when power demand and charges are low, that will be based on information provided by the utility. this is part of toyota's move to
boost its global presence in electric cars. and more on corporate news, ailing japanese electronicsmaker sharp may get more money from its banks to boost its financial condition. the loan amount could reach $2.9 billion. officials at mizuho corporate bank and the bank of tok tokyo-mitsubishi are considering lending $1.6 billion at the end of this month and over $1.2 billion in september. the banks already lent about $830 million to sharp without collateral but sources close to the bank say this time they're considering loans with security. in march, sharp executives agreed to receive about $830 million in investment from their taiwanese business parter, honghai precision industry but management is seeking review of the investment terms after sharp's stock price plunged. under such a situation, sharp
may face difficulties in raising money by issuing commercial paper, if investors downgrade their assessment of the firm. and that is all for now in business. i'll leave you with the latest recap. people use smartphones to do almost everything, make calls, go online, play games. they also snap photos with the devices and upload the pictures to the internet. that function has proven to be a problem for japan's compact
digital cameramakers. sales are suffering. but one company has found a way to give people convenience and quality. nhk world's jun yotsumoto explains. >> reporter: taking photos with smartphones, something people do every day, everywhere, good enough for these folks. >> translator: the smartphone's quality satisfies me. >> translator: it's convenient because i can upload pictures to facebook. i don't think i need a digital camera anymore. >> reporter: the rise of the smartphone has caused sales for compact digital cameras to decline. slow economic growth and a high penetration in developed countries are also having an impact. one of japan's biggest cameramakers, nikon, is trying to reverse the trend with its new invention.
>> translator: we've created this camera to invigorate a new market. this should be an eye-opener. >> reporter: it has all the distinctive characteristics of a high-quality japanese digital camera, powerful zoom lens, continuous shooting mode, high sensitivity. people can also use it to edit photos. but it has one key difference -- it runs on google's android software. many amateur photographers don't like having to connect cables when uploading their photos to their pc. this camera allows people to skip that step and upload pictures directly to facebook, twitter or other social networking sites.
>> translator: i think many people expect a new product to have the functions of a smartphone. this model will be convenient for digital camera users, just like using a smartphone. >> reporter: nikon executives emphasize only cameramakers could create something like this, which offers the best of both worlds. it's part of the effort to rejuvenate japan's electronics industry. the country's been lagging behind competitors in home appliances and mobile phones. digital cameras are seen as the last stronghold. other japanese cameramakers are now rushing to produce models with new functions, hoping they will change the picture of what people do every day. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, tokyo. south korea has decided to send back to japan a letter from
prime minister yoshihiko no da, calling for a peaceful settlement of the territorial dispute between the two countries. sending back such a letter is an unusual step in terms of diplomatic protocol. noda sent the letter to south korean president lee muyung bak last friday. expressing regret over the recent visit and remarks on bilateral ties. south korea controls the islets claimed by japan. they're called takeshima in japan and dokdo in south korea. in the letter noda says japan proposes the two countries resolve the matter peacefully according to international law. he urged south korea to act cautiously with the broad view of bilateral relations. a south korean government official told nhk that the letter has got the facts wrong. south korean media reported that the government is not happy with japan calling the territory by its japanese name. asked about south korea's
decision to return his letter, noda said he learned about it in the news and didn't have further knowledge of the matter. a controversial u.s. military transport aircraft could arrive in okinawa soon. the top commander of the u.s. marine corps in japan has indicated that the osprey could be sent to okinawa by the middle of next month. the aircrafts are currently at iwakuni base in yamaguchi prefecture, western japan. >> it all depends on when we get the approval of the japanese government. so i would like to say that it would be by the middle of september that we would have, you know, the ospreys here at futenma. >> marine corps lieutenant general conditionette ettett e speaking with nhk in okinawa. the marine corps plans to start deploying the tilt rotor osprey in futenma, in japan's southernmost prefecture in october. public protests over the
deployment of the military aircraft is mounting in japan following crashes in morocco and florida. aviation experts point out the possibility that the aircraft could temporarily become less stable in the transition mode. >> for our training purposes, you know, it would be within the confines of the airport at futenma or it's going to be up in the northern training areas where we do have confined aerial landing sites and transition into helicopter mode as it comes in to land in the combined aerial landing sites. >> analysts say the u.s. military is apparently trying to satisfy the japanese public by limiting the areas where the osprey changes its flying modes. japanese government researchers have gone to citizens to find out how they feel about nuclear energy. their poll suggests nearly half say nuclear power generation should stop by the year 2030. the researchers randomly chose about 280 people for talks on energy issues.
they asked partipants how much of the power supply should be nuclear in 2030. almost half said the nation's reactors should be scrapped. 15% said nuclear energy should make up about one--seventh of electricity needs. 13% would accept reactors producing a quarter of the country's power. that would put japan almost back to where it was before the fukushima disaster. researchers also asked participants what they thought was the most important factor authorities should consider in a new energy policy. three-quarters of respondents said safety. 40% cited a stable power supply. 16% said cost was the most important factor. prime minister no da isn't just listening to ministers, experts and opinion poll data. he's also meeting face to face with some opponents of atomic energy.
no da sat down with ten citizens groups that oppose nuclear power generation, they criticize the government for reactivating two reactors in the ohi plant in central japan. they said researchers did not learn from the accident at fukushima daiichi and did not listen to citizens' opinions. they urged the prime minister to halt the reactors and scrap all of the country's nuclear plants. no da replied he approved the restart of the ohi facility after confirming its safety. he argued he made the decision for the sake of people's lives, not to benefit certain business groups. >> translator: our basic policy is to reduce our dependence on nuclear energy. in the medium to long-term, we are aiming to shift the nation's structure which relies on nuclear power. >> the citizens groups have been organizing anti-nuclear rallies near the prime minister's office every friday.
former prime minister naoto kan helped them arrange their meeting. experts studying the lessons of last year's disaster say firefighters must save themselves first during tsunami. the march 11th earthquake and tsunami in eastern japan left 254 firefighters dead or missing. many were trying to shut floodgates and evacuate people when they died. a panel of experts is compiling its final report on the lessons learned. firefighters are key to rescue and evacuation activities during disasters in japan. their draft report says firemen must put top priority on evacuation during tsunamis so that those who survive can rescue others. >> translator: we have to protect the lives of both firefighters and people. we are working on revising disaster manuals for our firefighters. >> the report also recommends
that municipalities draw up plans for residents to take the initiative in evacuation. that would help take some of the strain off the firefighters. sustainable development, that's promoting economic growth without damaging the environment. it's been a buzzword for politicians for a long time now. one town in brazil has been putting that idea into practice. nhk world's jun oykawa reports. >> reporter: acai trees are grown, and these trees are cultivated for its fruit. to revive the rich forest of amazon the farmers are planting acai, banana, pepper in one
place. acai is one crop grown in tome-acu, a town founded by japanese immigrants. the food is first pulped before being shipped. tome-acu ships about $5 million worth of this pulp every year. around 30% goes to japan. acai juice is thought to become popular in many countries recently. farmers in tome-acu have developed new cultivation methods. of only growing acai ponds, they cultivate a variety of crops side by side on their land. this is known as pollen culture. they adopted this approach after other methods failed. japanese immigrants first arrived in tome-acu in 1929.
initially they grew black pepper. it came to be known as black diamond for the price it commanded. however, in the 1970s, disease hit the pepper plantations, devastating the crops. the town faced a crisis. shujitsu no da remembers how serious it was. >> translator: we lost our pepper crops and were left with debts to repay. for the future of farmers it looked bleak. >> reporter: the farmers realized it was too risky to depend on a single crop, so they turned to agriculture focusing on crops resistant to disease or bugs. they created plantations almost as diverse as forests with a wide range of plants.
having many different crops gives the farmers a constant reliable source of income. it also helps to improve the soil quality. the shade from the trees means that less growth so the farmers now use far fewer chemicals. they hold regular meetings to develop and improve their cultivation methods. >> translator: as well as revitalizing the soil, poly culture gives farmers a variety of crops. it also regenerates the forests, and this helps to reduce global warming. >> reporter: this community turned to poly culture after years of trial and error. the same approach is now spreading in neighboring
countries such as bolivia. jun oikawa, nhk world, tome-acu, brazil. two powerful storms in the west pacific are affecting people in taiwan and southern japan. rachel ferguson gives us the latest in her world weather forecast. >> we're starting to see those affect in the sakeshima islands and also in eastern taiwan. let me give you the latest statistics on tanbin. it is just about stationary now, which could cause a little bit of an issue in terms of the prolonged stormy conditions for these areas. we were expecting landfall in taiwan, today, thursday, it doesn't look like it's going to happen now until friday, and the winds are at 126 kilometers an hour, with gusts at 180 kilometers an hour so that means as well as structural damage, very rough seas, waves up to about seven meters, and then we have the rainfall to contend
with as well which for a stationary system it could continue for an extended period of time in the same place, upping the threat of landslides. in the next 24 hours you could see 250 millimeters of rain from this system and behind it we have another powerful system pretty much coming in the same direction. this one is typhoon bolivan, also a strong typhoon moving 15 kilometers an hour in a westerly direction, wind speeds sustained at 144 with gusts of 198 kilometers an hour. and it's heading in towards southern japan as well. it's going to be coming towards okinawa by friday at which point it should be a very strong tie poon. this someone is intensifying and twice the size of tanbin. we have a dangerous situation as we head into the end of the work
week and weekend. the added danger with bolevan it might swerve to the northwest and if it does it will impact the korean peninsula. the korean peninsula has been dealing with widespread flooding over the last several weeks with a few different systems coming through, even in the last few days, a heavy band of rain was impacting north korea. it's now down into south korea and the rest of that front is moving up into japan, bringing thunderstorms and heavy rain here as well. so plenty going on here in the western pacific. let's go to our other tropical storm now, this is isaac, which is just passing the leeward islands at the moment, going through the leeward islands and then just south of puerto rico, and the virgin islands, and then it looks like it's going to graduate to hurrican we do have hurricane warnings in effect for the dominican republic. it looks like it's going to be passing across hispaniola and heading in towards cuba as a weaker system into the weekend.
moving west at 35 kilometers an hour, wind speeds sustained at 75 kilometers an hour and remember this is a strengthening system. so we're talking about the potential for storm surge, dangerous rip tides, as well as very heavy rain. totals here could reach between 300 and 500 millimeters so landslides and mudslides as well as flash flooding will be very high risk. flooding also high risk in the southwest of the u.s. at the moment, we've got a low and some monsoonal flow coming up into the four corners, southern nevada as well, southern california, that could cause some problems with flooding today. temperature wise it's going to be hot and dry in the central plains, so fire warnings have been posted here. as we head on into europe, it is going to be hot as well down toward the south with thunderstorms moving through central locations up in towards finland. let's talk about those temperatures then, we're still seeing 37 in madrid. we're also in the upper 30s in athens and just the mid-30s in