welcome to "newsline." it's thursday, august 1st. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. the two remaining nuclear reactors still in operation in japan will be shut down for regular inspections in mid-september. the move will bring all reactors in japan offline for the first time in 15 months. kansai electric power company is set to submit an application to the nuclear regulation authority to shut down the number 3
reactors at the ohi plant in fukui prefecture on september 2nd. the number 4 reactor will be halted two weeks later. the nra implemented stricter safety checks in response to the 2011 accident at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. but it allowed the two reactors at the ohi plant to stay online because they did not pose a serious safety threat. nra experts are currently screening six nuclear plants after utilities filed applications to restart reactors. but no clear prospects for restarting any of the reactors have emerged. the operator of the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant is still struggling to stop radioactive water from reaching the sea. tokyo electric power company has learned that its efforts so far have failed. high levels of radioactivity have detected in the well sites. tepco has been using a hardening
agent to try to solidify the embankment of the power plant to a depth of 16 meters. it hopes that might stop the tainted water from leaking into the pacific. but company officials admit water levels in one of the contaminated wells have risen by about one meter since the work began in early july. it says construction work on the embankment is likely causing the problem. the company says it's struggling to harden the top layer of the soil, and water may be seeping out. the failures propted the head of the state's nuclear regulator to credit size the utility. he said tepco had no sense of crisis despite the emergency. japan's government has pledged to lower issuances of new bonds from next spring. prime minister shinzo abe wants to half japan's staggering deficit of $340 billion by fiscal 2015. a government panel has drafted the outlines of a midterm plan
to rebuild the nation's fiscal health. the plan lays out specific steps to reduce the deficit. the government wants to improve its current account balance by $80 billion between fiscal 2014 and 2015. to achieve this aim, the government says it will keep issuances of new bonds lower than the year before starting in the next fiscal year. the plan says nothing specific about a planned consumption tax hike. abe has said he will decide in the fall whether to go ahead with the hike. israeli and palestinian representatives are preparing for another push to try to secure the peace that has eluded them for decades. they've held their first negotiations in three years, and they've agreed to spend up to nine months trying to reach a deal. israeli justice minster and palestinian chief negotiator met over two days in washington.
u.s. secretary of state john kerry mediated. he said the negotiators will hold the next round of talks in two weeks either in israel or the palestinian territories. >> i can assure you that this negotiation and these negotiation, it's not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future. >> it's time for the palestinian people to have an independent, sovereign state of their own. >> negotiations to create the long sought for palestinian state have endured many stops and starts. the palestinians quit the last round of talks in 2010 to protest against expansion of israeli settlements. they returned to the table after israeli leaders agreed to release more than 100 prisoners. we are joined from jerusalem to
discuss why both sides have now agreed to try again. >> reporter: in a nutshell, they have vowed to renewed pressure from the united states. secretary of state john kerry has made middle east peace his priority. he has traveled to the region six times since he took office in february to encourage a return to the negotiation table. neither side wanted to be the one that stood in the way. israeli officials showed flexibility during the initial talks by agreeing to release palestinian prisoners, but the expansion of jewish settlements and occupied territory is by far the bigger issue. the israeli government is constructing these settlements in violation of international law. the israeli government has refused to put the freeze on further expansion. this also means that it will be very difficult to agree on where the borders will lie between the future palestinian state and israel. the debate over the status of
jerusalem and the right of return for palestinian refugees are other issues. unless the two sides work to address these challenges and find ways to compromise, this new round of talks could quickly end in another deadlock. so the latest development is significant only in the sense that the israelis and palestinians have been pushed to meet again after three years. the path towards peace remains a long and daunting one. the father of u.s. fugitive edward snowden says the fbi asked him to set up a meeting with his son in russia. lon snowden has told russian television about the episode. edward snowden is wanted by authorities back home for leaking details of government intelligence programs. the former national security agency contractor has been holed up at a moscow airport transit zone for more than a month. he has applied for asylum in russia.
his father told russia's state-run tv on wednesday he declined an fbi offer to fly to russia. >> i'm anxious, anxious to talk to him. the fbi had offered me the opportunity, they asked me if i wanted to fly to moscow some time ago, and under the circumstances, i did not want to go. >> speaking from a u.s. studio, snowden said he doesn't trust the fbi and doesn't want to be used as a tool to put psychological pressure on his son. >> i feel that russia has the strength and resolve and conviction to protect my son, to keep him out of the reach of those who would wish him harm. that's why, if it were me, i would stay in russia. >> lon snowden spoke to the u.s. media recently and made no mention of the fbi's approach. washington has been left shaken by the actions of edward snowden and by criticism about u.s. intelligence agencies
gathering confidential information around the world. the agencies have targeted foreign governments and u.s. citizens in the name of national security. nhk spoke with the former head of the national security agency and the central intelligence agency, michael hayden. hayden began working in intelligence while serving in the u.s. air force. former u.s. president george w. bush appointed him as the director of the cia in 2006. his mission was to strengthen u.s. information-gathering capabilities. while serving as the nsa director, hayden oversaw the surveillance of domestic communication carried out without warrants. hayden says snowden's case is very different from any other information leak in the past. >> it's not a glass of water or a bucket of water or a cup of water. that's bad enough. what snowden's revealed is what i choose to call the plumbing.
he's revealed how it is we acquire information. he's revealed the sources and the methods we used to go out and get this data for the safety and for the liberty of american citizens. >> snowden first took refuge in hong kong before flying to moscow. hayden suspects that snowden may have leaked confidential information to officials in both china and russia. >> i do know both the chinese and the russian services are very sophisticated and, therefore, i have every expectation they will be using all the tools available to them if they thought that in these computers or thumb drives or disks or whatever he has with him, inside there were the key secrets of the american intelligence community, i think they would spare no effort to get that information. >> stop watching us! stop watching us! >> u.s. advocacy groups are protesting against the surveillance program and the
fact that it has been conducted in secret. hayden says the government will make the surveillance program more transparent but that there is a price to pay. >> what i'm willing to tell my countrymen is, look, we're going to tell you more about this. all right? that's going to make you feel a lot more comfortable about the program, but you got to accept the fact you're probably going to be a little less safe, too. >> hayden said snowden's case will affect u.s. intelligence activities for many years to come. astronomers in japan say they've taken the world's first detailed photograph of the nearest major galaxy to our own. they used a high performance telescope in hawaii to capture the image of the entire andromeda galaxy. andromeda is some 2.3 million light-years from earth. all the stars at its center appear as a single shining mass. it's surrounded by clusters of other stars. the faint purple patches are
nebulas or vast clouds of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases. astronomers used the subaru telescope which sits atop a mountain in hawaii. last august they fitted it with a wide angle superhigh resolution camera. the camera's three meters tall and weighs about three tons. it has 116 light sensors. they're 40 times more powerful than those in a typical single-lens reflex camera. professor satoshi miyazaki of the astrological observatory in japan says the camera will put landmark findings within reach. >> translator: we want to try to solve the mystery of how galaxies evolve in the accelerating universe. we think we can produce some interesting study results. >> members of the observatory plan to use the telescope to analyze hundreds of millions of
galaxies over the next five years. a japanese cosmetics company is under increased pressure after a growing number of consumers have come forward complaining of serious side effects caused by its products. officials at kanebo cosmetics have confirmed that more than 4,000 people have developed problems after using the company's skin whitening products. kanebo says it has received complaints from more than 8,600 customers about noticeable problems such as white blotches. the officials say the company will cover medical costs and pay compensation based on its own criteria. the maker's recalled 343,000 items but it says 15,000 others may have escaped the recall. the products were sold in japan and ten other countries and territories including taiwan and south korea. but kanebo officials say they do not know the exact number of people who developed skin problems or the status of the recall in countries outside of japan.
the u.s. economy is showing signs of a moderate recovery. economic growth in the second quarter of this year beat analysts' expectations. the u.s. department of commerce has released preliminary gross domestic product data from the april to june period. it shows that the country's economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.7% from the previous three months. analysts had expected growth of around 1%. the figure's up from 1.1% growth in the january to march period. people pit more money into housing. investments in residential property increased 13.4%. consumer spending rose 1.8%. corporate spending on factories and equipment showed a 4.6% rise. government spending was down 1.5% due to automatic spending cuts that have been in place since march.
japan's earning season for the april to june quarter hit its peak on wednesday. many companies listed on the tokyo stock exchange have reported favorable earnings due to higher stock prices and a weaker yen. they compiled earnings date that that 328 firms had released by thursday. their combined pretax profit stood at $33.6 billion. that's up just over 40% from a year ago, marking the first year on year prize in three years. following the bank of japan's monetary easing in april, stock trading was boosted improving business in the financial industry. the yen's decline increased exports pushing up earnings of exporters such as autos, but transport and wholesale industries are struggling due to higher import costs for fuel and raw materials stemming from the yen's fall. now let's take a look at the market figures.
pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif recently returned to office. now he is looking to cement his power through his close ties with the president-elect mamnoon hussein. sharif's government is hoping the veteran politician and close ally will give it a boost as it struggles with daunting issues such as the sluggish economy and deteriorating security. nhk world's ma sake sued da has
more. >> he's declired return elected to the office of the president of pakistan. >> reporter: hussein was elected on tuesday by an electoral college made up of moefbs the two houses of parliament and four provinces. the 72-year-old hussein is a member of prime minister nawaz sharif's pakistan league. the president of pakistan is often seen as symbolic position with the prime minister holding the real political power, but hussein's victory has significance especially to the prime minister sharif recently returned to power following his party's landslide showing in may's general elections. for first time in the history of pakistan, an elected government saw a president that had
completed a full term. hussein served as governor of a province in 1999 when sharif was in his second term as prime minister. karachi, the country's largest commercial center, is the capital of the province, but his pakistan mission league. for sharif's government hussein represents an opportunity to strengthen his presence in the important southern province. not only does hussein have experience and influence as its former governor, but he also served as head of karachi's chr of commerce. sharif has tough challenges ahead including a string of terrorist attacks by islamic extremists and the sluggish economy caused by energy shortages. sharif's party won the may elections amid growing public distrust of politics. if he fails to implement
policies that ease discontent, criticism from the public is sure to follow. sharif must be relieved that his old friend is headed for the president's office. the prime minister will need allies in his corner as he faces a public call for quick fixes to the country's problems. masaki suda, nhk world, islamabad. in the seto inland sea in western japan, a group of artisans are harnessing the power of art to revitalize their communities. nhk reports. >> reporter: islands take on a different look with art. that's the main concept of an international art festival known as the seto.
since the start of the summer season tourists have been hopping around eight islands discovering more than 200 works of art. internationally renowned artists are working with the region's unique landscapes, heritage and lifestyle. the island of naoshima was the first to embark on this adventure. 25 years ago, the landscape was an environmental disaster. poisonous gases from metal refineries had killed nearly every tree on the island. until a team led by an architect revitalized. he replanted the area and designed eight museums highlights the beauty of their surroundings. 2 1/2 decades later, naoshima has become to be known as a
hotspot for contemporary art. ando is now working on a project to renovate houses and turn them into small museums. he comes to the island frequently, meeting with visitors to explain his idea. >> translator: just look at this beautiful nature and the history of the island. we need to save its temples. i want visitors who come here to understand the importance of preserving ancient buildings. >> reporter: ibukijima is the latest island to join. the main industry here is fishing. catching and drying sardines. but the population is dwindling. nearly half of the islander es as are holder than 60. a new initiative is aiming to revitalize the community. at the center of it is a teacher at an art school in chiba prefecture.
over the past year elderly residents have followed his lead and worked together on an art project. >> translator: everyone will be able to come and see it. i'm happy if people visit us from far away. >> translator: if i were at home, i'd be spending all my time watching tv alone. i thought i should join all the others. >> reporter: his team have decorated a shuttered school with 60,000 fishing floats. the symbols of the local industry are arranged to look like a giant school of fish. >> translator: it's funny. one of the fishermen told me that sardines actually don't swim together like this. in any case, i hope this project will help revive the local community. i want everyone to feel this is their own creation.
>> reporter: on the first weekend of the summer season, about 2,000 visitors set foot on the island, more than three times the local pop about lags. >> translator: it feels like being in the middle of the ocean. >> translator: it was a great opportunity to discover the island. >> reporter: as the example of the island shows so well, art can be a force for change and revitalization. the energy and creativity on show at the festival are a powerful testament to that. reporting for nhk world, seto inland sea. tomorrow we'll bring you the second part of this special report. it will focus on the artists' efforts to turn the region into a major hub for asian art. time now for a check on the weather with meteorologist sayaka mori. good morning. it seems people in western
europe are dealing with severe heat. >> exactly right, catherine. it's baking hot across the iberian peninsula. yesterday the mercury hit 38 degrees in madrid. now, to show you how people are escaping the heat, take a look at this footage. people in downtown madrid have gotten a break from the ongoing heat wave. this oasis in the city center offered people a chance to disconnect from the daily stress and roasting heat. the visitors enjoyed a real sandy beach, ice sculptures and even cocktails. but the structures stood only for about two hours. i think more people will come to the place because heat will be continuing for the time being. now, we have lots of heat alerts posted for many areas. the orange shows the second highest level. so that is posted. upper parts of the iberian peninsula, central europe as well as northern parts of the
balkan peninsula. through saturday temperatures still on the hot side. 38 degrees on friday as well and milan 33 on thursday. we'll steadily go up into 30 into the mid-30s into your saturday. so watch out for heat stroke. the reason for the hot weather is this high pressure system covering most of the western continent, central continent as well and also strong southerly winds are flowing into this frontal system coming in from the atlantic, which could cause some quite heavy rain for the northern half of the uk into the next few days. now further towards east asia, a rain band is lying over japan producing lots of rain. we have, of course, about 60 millimeters of rain in just one hour in the prefecture and that's good news because western parts of japan dealt with flooding. now thunderstorms will linger
through honshu today. and you'll notice that a circle of purple can be found across the south china sea. this is a tropical storm, the ninth of the typhoon season so far, which could hit the island of hainan by saturday morning local time as a tropical storm and continue to head towards northern vietnam. stormy conditions will likely occur across hainan this evening. more stormy conditions, of course, into the weekend. not just this area but also the northwestern side of the philippines will see stormy conditions due to the monsoon. temperatures are quite high across much of eastern china once again. 38 degrees for you in shanghai on thursday. all right. finally in north america, we are seeing a long rain band stretching from the southern half of the plains up into ontario as well as the great lakes regions. severe weather can be found across this area and across the
north. even tornadoes cannot be ruled out in some places and rain for the southeastern corner of the u.s. and as we go into thursday lots of rain across the eastern third of the u.s. including washington, d.c., as well as new york city and across the west. mostly dry but some spotty showers can be found across the west. temperatures are cooling down into the lower 20s in seattle. nice and comfortable in chicago with 26 degrees and hot towards the south. here is your extended forecast.