is reporting the communist party will transfer bo's case to judicial authorities. he's accused of taking large bribes and abusing his power. bo is the highest ranking communist party official of the inland city of chongqing. he was expected to join the party's top brass this year, but a series of incidents led to his downfall. his former aide temporarily pled to the u.s. consulate in february. officials cited bo for violating party discipline. they suspended him from the post he held in the political bureau. then in july, police charged bo's wife gu kailai and her aide with murdering british businessman neil haywood. a chinese court handed her a suspended death sentence in august. bo's abuse of power allegation is tied to the role he played in the haywood case. making a decision on bo's future frees up chinese leaders to focus on their transition of power. delegates from across the country will convene in beijing to attend november's congress.
the meeting happens every five years. delegates to the 18th congress of the chinese communist party are expected to approve new policies. they will also appoint the next generation of party leaders. vice president xi jinping is slated to succeed hu jintao and assume the top post of general secretary of the communist party. analysts are focusing on the appointments and policy decisions that are made under the new leadership. people in northern japan watched work come to a halt on a nuclear plant there following lasts year's accident at fukushima daiichi. but they could soon see construction crews get back to it. it would be the first time since march 2011 this kind of work has resumed. crews with electric power development company, or j-power, started building the plant in 2008. it's located in the town of ohma in aomori prefecture. engineers expected to start operating the facility in
november 2014. but no work has gone on for the past year and a half. j-power executives decided earlier this month to resume construction after government leaders approved japan's new energy policy. the policy allows work to continue on plants already under construction while at the same time encourages japanese to end their reliance on nuclear power by the 2030s. industry minister yukio edano visited aomori prefecture two weeks ago. he told the governor that the ohma plant could be completed. j-power managers plan to inform residents of local municipalities of the decision next week. two other nuclear plants were under construction before last year's disaster. no decision has been made on resuming those projects. once these facilities are built, they must pass stricter safety standards before they can start generating power. members of the newly formed nuclear regulation authority will draft the rules. the government created the nra after the fukushima accident
exposed the shortcomings of the former watchdog. we're looking at what's expected of this new authority on today's "nuclear watch." the nra replaced the nuclear and industrial safety agency known as nisa. it also took over the responsibilities of the nuclear safety commission and other bodies. >> translator: the nra's most important task is to rebuild from scratch the public's trust in our ability to ensure nuclear safety. >> investigations into the fukushima accident place the blame on nisa for its cozy relationship with the nuclear power industry. a diet panel concluded the agency lacked expertise and was dependent on utilities. it also said nisa essentially took orders from power companies instead of properly regulating the industry and fulfilling its primary objective of ensuring safety. investigators attributed the agency's lack of independence to
its position within the ministry of economy, trade, and industry, which was promoting atomic energy. the japanese government has given the nra a mandate to create an organization that will regulate power companies effectively and independently. for more on this story i spoke earlier to nhk world's hajime okada. what's different about the nuclear regulation authority? >> the nra is designed to be independent from the government, a stage that's defined by law. its five members were appointed by the prime minister. also, some members include a former ambassador to the united nations and a seismologist as well as experts in the field of nuclear energy and radiation. >> will this be enough to guarantee the nra's independence? >> not really. the nra is now under the umbrella of the environment ministry. this means politicians and
bureaucrats will still have influence because they control the agency's budget. another issue is a composition of the nra's task. more than 80% of its employees come from previous regulatory bodies. to prevent conflictsf interest, the government says nra employees will be prohibited from moving or returning to the ministry of industry. the government unit that promoted nuclear energy, but critics are already finding loopholes in this. >> what challenges will the nra be facing over the coming months? >> there's a long list. without doubt, the most important and immediate challenge is redefining nuclear safety regulations. new standards will have to take into account the latest findings and technological advances to make sure nuclear plants can
withstand natural disasters and major accidents. once the nra sets its standards, it will conduct a case-by-case review of all of japan's nuclear reactors to determine which can be brought back online. the nra plans to come up with new criteria by july of next year. one concern experts must address is the issue of seismic fault lines below some of the plants. the nra will conduct its own inspections to assess any risks such faults pose to nuclear safety. >> is the strengthening of human resource also a priority for the agency? >> the diet panel investigating the nuclear accident said that the level of knowledge was among regulators was insufficient.
the nra will have to intensify training programs to bring its staff up to speed. and in the long term, as the nra chairman said himself, the biggest challenge for the agency will be regaining the public's trust. >> that was nhk world's hajime okada. japanese and chinese diplomats are trading fierce accusations before the u.n. general assembly, and there's no sign of them finding common ground in their dispute over a group of islands in the east china sea. >> translator: the islands are inherently chinese territory, and there is indisputable historical evidence to demonstrate this fact. japan stole them in 1895 at the end of the sino-japanese war. >> chinese foreign minister yang jiechi called the japanese government's purchase of the islands earlier this month a unilateral action that grossly violates china's sovereignty. he said japan's action
constitutes a grave challenge to the post-world war ii international order and to the u.n. charter. japan's deputy ambassador to the u.n. exercised his right of reply to refute china's claim. >> from 1885, surveys of the senkaku islands have been thoroughly conducted by japan. through these surveys it was confirmed that the senkaku islands had not been only uninhabited but had shown no trace of having been under the control of china. >> china's ambassador then presented his own rebuttal. he accused japan of blatantly distorting history. a warning from a top japanese business leader. japan business federation chairman hiromasa yonekura says japan and china have got to settle their dispute promptly or else both economies will suffer. yonekura spoke to nhk in beijing.
he referred to prime minister yoshihiko noda's statement that no territorial dispute exists over the senkaku islands. >> translator: the stance could be taken to mean that japan has no intention of settling the issue. the japanese government must adopt a more flexible attitude. >> yonekura also said the longer the friction remains the less investment will flow from japan to china. he said continued tensions will only hurt economic ties. the president of myanmar has praised opposition leader aung san suu kyi during a speech to the united nations general assembly. here's patchari raksawong in bangkok with the details. president thein sein's words of praise have special significance considering he served as prime minister during the harsh military regime. that same regime kept aung san suu kyi under house arrest for more than a decade. experts say his unprecedented
remarks are another attempt to convince the international community that his government is committed to democratic reform. thein sein used his u.n. speech to congratulate aung san suu kyi for the award she received earlier this month from the u.s. congress. >> the president also expressed hope that western nations would soon lift all economic sanctions against his country.
>> u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton met with thein sein on wednesday. she told him the u.s. would begin easing sanctions on trade. washington has already moved to lower restrictions on finance and investment. the obama administration will need to get approval from congress for the changes. some u.s. lawmakers remain concerned about myanmar's treatment of political prisoners and ethnic minorities. washington will keep a watchful eye on the progress of myanmar's reforms as it eases sanctions. now, aung san suu kyi is also in new york on wednesday. she took part in a u.n. symposium on education. she's been working hard to improve myanmar's ties with the outside world. observers say thein sein is stressing his alliance with the opposition leader to convince western nations to eliminate sanctions against myanmar. torrential rain continues to wreak havoc across pakistan. at least 370 people have been
killed and almost 1,200 injured during this year's monsoon. the national disaster management authority says southern sindh province is hardest-hit. 188 people have been killed and more than 28,000 displaced in the area. heavy rain has also devastated the eastern province of panjub. 60 people there have died. army troops are working around the clock to aid flood victims. officials say the military has used over 150 helicopters to distribute food. in sind province. reuters reports the prime minister ashraf has pledged more than 1.5 million u.s. dollars of food, tents and other emergency supplies. singapore's economic success comes largely thanks to its hardworking citizens. female workers often have to
choose between having a career or a family. and more and more are choosing to work. now, singapore says its birthrate has fallen to 1.2 children per female compared to 2.06 in the united states. nhk world yuko funizaki has this report on how females in the city center are coping with their competing ambitions. >> reporter: this youtube video was uploaded in singapore last month. it raised eyebrows by suggesting how couples should spend the evening on independence day. >> i'm talking about the stuff after that stuff. i'm talking about making a baby, baby. >> reporter: singapore is pulling out all the stops to encourage women to have more children. the government has extended paid maternity leave to four months. and new parents are rewarded
with a lump sum of up to $5,000 per infant. the government is even getting into matchmaking. the state-sponsored website links single singaporeans with like-minded people and social events. despite all these efforts, the birth rate continues to fall. one reason is a broad role women play in society. singapore has higher workplace equality than almost anywhere else in asia. here in the heart of business district, and if you look around you can find roughly the same number of men and women work in this area. 80% of working women in singapore have regular full-time jobs. that compares with about 40% in japan.
the link to gender is said to be one reason why singapore's economy has taken off. but while women seek fulfillment in their careers, they tend to put less emphasis on getting married or raising children. a government survey in 2010 showed 54% of women in their late 20s were still single, up 14 percentage points from a decade earlier. masahiro yamada is a japanese expert on family lifestyles has conducted research into the marriage trends of young singaporeans. >> translator: i think that there are two elements. one is that the people are choosing not to have children because they prioritize their career or hobbies, as in european countries. the other is that they limit the number of children so that they can spend more money and time on their offspring.
i call this tendency the asian type of falling birth rate. >> reporter: 33-year-old charmaine ho is a reporter for a fashion magazine. eight years into her career, she's now a senior writer. she often has to work late or spend her days off writing from home. one day she wants to start her own business. ho is getting married early next year. as she considers her future, she worries whether she'll be able to juggle both children and a career. >> that having kids in singapore is very expensive. we don't mean it in a monetary way. we mean in terms of the sacrifices you have to make at work, the sacrifices you have to make in general to your life. >> reporter: ho is adamant that she does want children, but she
doesn't like how competitive singaporean society has become. >> we have, like, 1,000 kids trying to get into the same university, where there's only, like, maybe 100. there's so many fighting with the whole nation. >> reporter: singaporean parents are increasingly competitive. they want their children to have the very best education no matter the cost. ho dreams of becoming entrepreneur. but she also wants children and to give them the best possible education. balancing those goals won't be easy. singapore has failed to stem its falling birth rate for 20 years. many women have the agonizing choice between success at work and happiness at home. yuko funazaki, nhk world, singapore. >> and that will wrap up our bulletin.
i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. japan is among the world's fastest aging countries, and its economy is struggling with deflation. now some companies are going one step further. nhk world's tomoka kamata explains. >> reporter: having your portrait taken for your own funeral might be surprising to some, but in japan, it's part of a range of services targeting the growing population of retirees. >> translator: i want to leave behind an enhanced picture of myself, my own favorite shot. >> reporter: people over the age of 65 have increased by more
than 1 million over the past year. they make up almost one-quarter of the japanese population, a proportion that's steadily on the rise. this wave of retirees was born during japan's postwar baby boom between 1947 and 1949. funeral homes, attorneys, and health care companies are co-sponsoring an exhibition in kawasaki. experts provide advice on the cost of funerals, graves, and related services. this is a comic book handed out for free for all visitors, and it describes how much money you need to conduct a funeral. visitors have the opportunity of lying down in a coffin.
they learn about the variety of models offered by funeral homes. >> translator: i think it would be nicer if it were a bit longer. >> reporter: a funeral coordinator is also on hand to teach how to properly convey one's wishes in a will. but what's prompting all these apparently cheerful retirees to attend this kind of event? >> translator: if i can clarify now how i want my funeral to be conducted, i think i will live more positively for the rest of my life. and it's also good for my family. >> translator: baby boomers have a strong tendency to express
their originality. that's why we're trying to offer a whole range of products that meet their demands. >> reporter: the popularity of this type of event shows the eagerness of retirees to arrange their funeral according to their own taste, and this new demand is opening a whole range of business opportunities. tomoka kamata, nhk world, kawasaki. a powerful typhoon is bearing down on okinawa, bringing strong wind and rain. meteorologist robert speta has more. robert? yes. this is typhoon jelawat. it is one very strong and potent storm system. starting to move towards the northeast and just brushing along the southern japanese islands here all the way from ishigaki over towards moo miyakojima. i want to show you some footage of this very strong and gusty wind.
here miyakojima, to 122 kilometer-per-hour sustained winds have already been reported at the airport there. that's typhoon-strength winds. but also wind gusts in ishigaki have been up to 182 kilometers per hour. a result of that you can see here, loose debris flying around, very dangerous to be venturing out there through the overnight hours here. winds continue to kick up. you do want to be staying in throughout the remainder of your friday and even going into saturday morning as the storm system continues to blow overhead. and then it's going to start to work its way up towards the northeast. okinawa, all that rough weather will be heading towards your area, typhoon-strength winds, also seas kicking up to about 12 meters high in some coastal areas. you have to remember sunday is actually high tide or the full moon with high tide. it will be one of worst of the year. so coastal flooding across this area very well could be high at risk. then even going into about sunday afternoon, expecting landfall in honshu around the key peninsula, eventually off
there towards hokkaido as the storm system continues to rush off into that direction. so flooding rains could potentially be occurring out here. also rough waves. you want to be staying away from coastal areas, as well, even off towards honshu and plus those gusty winds. now, also talking about those heavy rains, it does look like even flooding could be occurring across the key peninsula here. and we're also talking about elineer moving off towards the north, the main threat is it should just be kicking up waves across the eastern portions of honshu. we're also continuing to watch low pressure over korea. that's moving off towards the east. behind it, there's high pressure coming in from mongolia. that's going to bring in fair and stable weather. very good news out across portions of eastern china and korea. temperatures going to be cooling down as well, though. ulaanbaatar, 17 for your high on saturday, but the low only 0. you do want to bundle up through your overnight hours. across beijing, 25 expected. now over towards tokyo, the problem with that storm system coming up, well, that's going to be pulling warm air out of the south ahead of it, 30 on your sunday. so very warm and humid here
going through your weekend. now over towards europe, we're also watching some clearing skies across the british isles as a low-pressure area starts to weaken up overhead. it will be very decent at least through your friday, but then going into sunday and monday, just on the side of your screen here, some blue working its way, and that's indicating some heavy rain showers. that's going to be bringing in all that precipitation overhead. very windy conditions as well. also seeing similar conditions across the iberian peninsula. low-pressure area is slowly meandering down here off towards the east. you need the rains across portions of spain and portugal, which has been under severe drought, but actually a report in the last 24 hours of 82 milliliters in just one location. that could bring the risk of some flooding out across portions of spain. you'll need the rain towards italy. wildfires have also been reported here. rome, a high of 29. berlin, autumn-like with 18 for your high, and the same in london. you want your jacket when you go outside on your saturday. 15 expected going through your weekend. here's your extended forecast.
the u.s. space agency has been analyzing images of mars' surface take bin the rover. images released on thursday show smooth gravel and stones in a layer of conglomerate rock. the same formations are seen on earth at ancient river sites. mission scientists say the size of the gravel indicates that the stream was fairly shallow between ankle and hip deep, and moved at about 3 feet per second. they say it's the first evidence of water-transported stones on mars. nasa officials say they haven't determined how long ago the stream flowed, but they say they're finding support of the possibility that life once existed on mars. we'll be back with more updates in 30 minutes. i'm gene otani in tokyo.
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