hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday, january 20th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japan's prime minister shinzo abe says the country will play an active role to achieve stability in the middle east. abe held talks in benjamin netanyahu on monday. >> translator: japan will play an active role to bring stability to the middle east. i would like to offer candid advice to both israelis and palestinians as a true friend. >> abe is to visit the palestinian territories on tuesday. he expressed condolences for four jews killed in recent terror attacks in france. he said the international
community must continue to do its utmost against terrorism. abe and netanyahu announced a joint document that calls for deepening defense exchanges. it also says their countries will start preliminary discussions on an investment pact. abe also said this year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of the cities hiroshima and nagasaki. he stressed that japan attaches great importance to the control and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. abe urged israel to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and quickly ratified the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. before the news conference abe laid a wreath at the yad vashem holocaust memorial in jerusalem. he pledged to contribute to world peace so as not to repeat the tragedies of war. the memorial is dedicated to the 6 million jews who died in concentration camps during world war ii.
abe signed a book to express sympathy for the victims. >> translator: i declare my determination never to allow such tragedies to happen again in the year marking the 70th anniversary of the end of world war ii and the liberation of auschwitz. >> abe said people must continue to strive for a world free of discrimination and war where human rights are protected. he said japan is determined to contribute even more proactively to world peace and stability. japan's defense minister has visited self-defense force personnel engaged in international anti-piracy efforts and a u.n. peacekeeping mission in east africa. gen nakatani visited djibouti to inspect the maritime self-defense forces' anti-piracy operations in waters off somalia. members of sdf have been guarding commercial ships in the
area since 2009. about 600 personnel are currently deployed. along with two destroyers and two patrol planes. more than 200 piracy cases were reported each year from 2009 to 2011. the number fell to 15 in 2013 and 11 in 2014. nakatani also visited south sudan to observe ground self-defense force personnel who are helping to improve roads in the capital juba. >> translator: i hope they will faithfully carry out their missions as a member of the united nations. they have a lot to do. >> nakatani suggested that he will prepare bills to allow the personnel to use weapons when coming in the aid of foreign troops or non-governmental organization members taking part in peacekeeping activities. he also indicated that the government will extend the sdf's
mission beyond february at the request of south sudan's government. foreign ministers from around the european union are joining forces to fight terrorism. they met face to face on monday in brussels, and they're now calling for an international conference on how to stop the flow of funds to terrorist organizations. eu high representative for foreign affairs and security policy federica magorini says they see the importance of the cooperation and they agree that terrorism is a common threat for europe as well as african and middle eastern nations. >> i have to say that probably for the first time, there was a real deep awareness of the needs to work together. >> they've pledged to work closer to share information on terrorism threats. they've also decided to hold regular talks with some middle eastern and african countries to
help them overcome political instability and civil war that often fosters terrorist groups. anti-terrorism measures are expected to be high on the agenda at an eu interior ministers meeting later this month. media in belgium are reporting that a suspect has surrendered himself to police. authorities believe the man sold weapons used in one of the attacks in paris. earlier this month amedy coulibaly used automatic rifles and other guns to take hostages at a kosher market in eastern paris. four hostages were killed before police stormed the building and shot coulibaly dead. reports say the man arrested in belgium is a known arms smuggler and is believed to have given coulibaly weapons in exchange for a car. reports also say the arms dealer had been in contact with coulibaly for months before the attack. a search of the dealer's home turned up documents detailing transactions with coulibaly.
and the reports say the car exchanged for the weapons was registered in the name of hayat boumeddiene. the woman was believed to have been coulibaly's partner and has been on the run since the attack. a non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting poverty says the wealthiest 1% could own more than the rest of the world's population by next year. oxfam international released the report on monday and called for action to stop inequality from growing. researchers say the richest 1% have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014. they say it will top 50% next year if the current pace continues. they say members of that group had an average of 2.7 million last year and they say about 30% of the world's 1,645 billionaires are americans. officials with oxfam released
their findings ahead of the annual world economic forum meeting that opens on wednesday in davos, switzerland. executives at a japanese trading firm are set to benefit from sweeping reforms in china. ai uchida joins us now with details on that story and more. ai? >> catherine, leaders in beijing say they want to do business with the rest of the world and they vowed to open up their finance, their culture and health sectors to foreign investment. well, executives at idochu corporation in japan are heeding the call. they're getting ready to sink billions of dollars into a chinese state-owned conglomerate, and they're teaming up with counterparts at a thai firm to get the deal over the line. executives at itochu and thailand's pokopan group will invest in the hong kong listed main unit of citic. sources close to the deal say they'll contribute half each to the $8.5 billion investment and the money will buy them about 20% of shares.
itochu executives want to use the network in china to expand their business in real estate and infrastructure. the people at citic focus largely on financial services but they have interests in a wide range of other sectors too. analysts say the deal will create one of the biggest business networks in asia. they're calling it the latest step in the transformation of china's state-owned enterprises. managers at japanese department stores say their disappointing run has stretched to nine months. they say sales in december last year were down from the same period in 2013. they reported a slump in sales every month since the consumption tax went up in april. officials at the japan department stores association surveyed 240 stores nationwide. they say the stores brought in about $6 billion, down 1.7%. they blame bad weather for keeping customers away. but they also say sales in december 2013 were higher than
usual because people were spending heavily in the leadup to the consumption tax hike. still, they say sales for all of last year came to about $5 about billion, up 0.3% from 2013. it's the third straight year the figure has been up. people in the united arab emirates are getting a close-up look at some of the brightest ideas in renewable energy. they're checking out hundreds of innovations at an environmental technology expo in abu dhabi. representatives from more than 600 firms and organizations worldwide are showing off their designs. officials from japan's space agency jaxa are taking part. they want to use a solar plant in space to send microwave beams to earth to generate power. >> translator: we got a lot of questions. i felt people were very interested in the idea. >> engineers at a japanese firm unveiled a plan to create a building one kilometer tall on a manmade island.
they say it would produce enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs. they say the only thing they need to make it a reality is money. now let's take a look at markets. stock investors here in tokyo are in a positive mood this tuesday morning. helped by a weaker yen against the dollar. and they're cheered by growing hopes that the european central bank will unveil plans to buy sovereign bonds. the nikkei average trading higher by more than 1.1% this morning. now, market players are eagerly waiting for china's gdp numbers, which is due out in less than an hour. now, on currencies the dollar remains firm at the higher 117-yen level, bouncing back from the lower 116 range we saw last friday. people who track currencies say traders are now less risk averse so they're selling safer assets like the yen. the euro is regaining? ground after hitting an 11-year low last week. it was below 1.15 against the
dollar last friday. it is now edging closer to about the 1.16 level. and in other markets in the asia pacific region south crease kospi is trading higher by more than a third percent, above that 1,900 line. let's see what's happening in australia. the benchmark index there. trading lower by just about a quarter percent. so we will see where china takes us today. and i'll have their latest gdp figures for you next hour. for now i'll leave you with a check on other markets. ♪ ♪ pope francis wrapped up a five-day visit to the philippines on monday.
80% of the country's 100 million people are catholics. and the first papal visit to the country in 20 years was emotional for many. nhk world's charmaine deo'gracias reports from manila. >> reporter: a crowd of an estimated 6 million people gath yertd for an open air mass in manila's rizal park sunday. >> translator: i can't explain any my feeling. my joy is overwhelming. >> reporter: residents of tacloban waited patiently for the pope before he visited them on saturday. the island was devastated by a huge typhoon that left 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013. rose angeles says faith kept her
family strong after the typhoon destroyed their home. like many others she spent the night at the venue waiting for the pope. >> he's bringing us hope. to carry on. to carry on with our lives. he's bringing hope to all the victims. >> reporter: pope francis told the crowd estimated at more than 100,000 people that he wished he had come sooner. >> translator: when i saw from rome that catastrophe, i felt i had to be here. and in those days i decided to come here. i'm here to be with you. a little bit late, i have to say, but i'm here.
>> reporter: people listened in pouring rain from an approaching typhoon, which forced the pope to return to manila earlier than planned. the visit came at a delicate time for the catholic church in the philippines. some say its influence has been waning as the economy grows and society's values change. a controversial reproductive health law permitting the use of contraceptives was passed into law in december 2012 under the government of president benino aquino. pope francis emphasized importance the church places on traditional family values. >> we know how difficult it is for all democracies today to preserve and defend such basic human values as respect for the
inviolable dignity of each human person. respect for the inalienable right to life beginning with that of the unborn. ♪ >> reporter: the catholic church has been a cornerstone of life on these islands since the time of spanish rule. the church seemed to grant want to use the pope's visit to underline the durability of the institution and the faith in an era of changes and challenges for the philippines. charmaine deogracias nhk world manila. the woman at the center of the nut rage case has appeared in court for the first time. the former korean air vice president was indicted after delaying a plane over how nuts were served.
cho hyu-na has pled not guilty to charges of violating aviation safety law. nhk world's kim chan-ju reports from seoul. >> the trial opened on monday in seoul. cho, the daughter of the airline's chairman, delayed one of its flights at an airport in new york on december 5th. she'd been outraged when a cabin attendant offered her nuts in a bag rather than on a plate. the plane was taxiing for takeoff, but she demanded that it return to the gate. she also ordered the cabin service chief off the flight. south korean prosecutors indicted her this month for forcibly changing a flight plan in violation of aviation safety regulations. about six weeks since the in-flight outburst, the so-called nut rage incident continues to rock south korean society. scores of local and foreign
journalists have gathered at a district court in seoul to cover the first session of her trial. in the hearing, cho's lawyer said she's very sorry for what she did. but they added that since the plane was only 17 meters away from an apron when it returned, the action did not violate regulations. the case has drawn a storm of criticism in south korea. people say cho acted the way she did only because she's the chairman's daughter. she has since resigned from all of her posts at the airline. >> translator: i am deeply sorry for causing this problem. >> reporter: cho's father is also the chairman of one of hanjin one of south korea's most powerful business conglomerates. its assets include the airline and a leading maritime shipping firm. >> translator: my parenting was lacking.
i will do my best that nothing like this happens again. >> reporter: tv and newspaper reports on the scandal appear nearly every day. some focus on conglomerate executives' arrogant leadership style or inflated salaries. if convicted of violating aviation safety rules, cho could face up to ten years in prison. kim chan-ju, nhk world, seoul. a former aide to south korean president park geun-hye has testified in the defamation trial of a japanese journalist. he denied he and park met on the day of a deadly ferry accident in april. hun ye made the testimony at a court in seoul on monday. former bureau chief of a newspaper tatsuya kato is on trial over a column he wrote about park's whereabouts at the time of the disaster. last august, he quoted in the
column an article from a south korean newspaper that said park was missing for several hours that day. he indicated that she may have been with chang. the former aide told the court he was having lunch with an acquaintance and did not see park. but kato's defense argued that chong suddenly recalled the lunch during prosecutors' questioning and that his schedule that day remains unclear. government officials in tokyo and seoul have reached a fishing agreement on japan's exclusive economic zone. they've been trying to crack down on the number of south korean ships that repeatedly catch more than their quota. south korean officials agreed to reduce the number of boats that use long lines with multiple hooks by about 20% over the next five years. they'll also increase the penalties for illegal operations. and they may start to impose higher fines. the agreement allows fishermen to resume operations that were suspended last july. representatives from both nations negotiate every year how
many fishing boats can operate in each other's economic zones. they began their latest talks last april and their negotiations took six months longer than planned. a teenage group from japan is bending heavy metal into completely new shape. babymetal is a trio of girls aged between 15 and 17. they're not typical head bangers, but they're already performing alongside the genre's very best. nhk world's yuji osa has more. ♪ >> reporter: babymetal made their major debut in 2013. their signature style mixes the aggressive sound of heavy metal with the girls' own take on cuteness. the adventure started on youtube. is this promo video for the song
"give me chocolate" became an instant hit beyond japan. more than 20 million people have already watched it. babymetal's big turning point came in july at the songsphere festival in the uk one of the world's largest heavy metal events. the band performed alongside heavyweights such as iron maiden and metallica. ♪ most hardcore metal fans had no idea who the teenagers in black and red dresses were. of the 65,000-strong audiences they took to the group instantly. >> we realized music can reach the hearts of people despite any language barrier. our music has been accepted by many, and that makes me extremely happy. >> reporter: a major british
heavy metal magazine fell in love with babymetal. it has frequently featured them as an up-and-coming band. and babymetal's first album reached the top of the billboard's world album chart in september. babymetal became so cool they even earned a spot on a tour with lady gaga. the response of the audience was such that organizers added solo performances in new york and london. ♪ >> translator: we're striving for a style that makes us stand out from the rest. we believe in babymetal. that's who we are and who we will continue to be.
>> reporter: babymetal are preparing a new tour for may that will take them once again to europe and the united states. just like their music, their ambition to conquer new audiences is simply relentless. ouji yuji osawa, nhk world. time for a check of the weather. people in some areas of southeast africa are deal with severe flooding. this comes after the region was battered by a powerful storm. mai shoji joins us with more in world weather. >> reporter: people in southeastern africa are dealing with storms. this is after the cyclone barnsi which had triggered severe flooding the past week. you can see it was a very intense storm system. that's actually not the moon but -- the reflection of the moon but that's actually lightning. incredible image coming out.
the satellite image doesn't show it has been moving over water. another storm, though you can see. it's dispersing but it is still surging that moisture. so the rain band is still here across northern madagascar malawi and mozambique. we have some images to show you. the condition of the severe flooding. heavy floods in malawi has killed at least 176 people and displaced at least 200,000. submerging whole villages in some areas, drowning crops and washing away livestocks as you can see here. the threat of water-borne diseases such as malaria, coal rah, diarrhea have become the priority according to the aid agencies. and mallory's government said it is working on a disaster preparedness strategy as we speak. looks like the conditions aren't going to be improving. i'm afraid to tell you we have got more accumulation of rainfall in the area where the images came out from and the river is already bursting its banks. it's the highest level since
1971, and any additional rainfall could trigger further flooding i'm afraid. here in the north we have more rain in southern areas of sicily where 80 millimeters of rainfall fall in a span of six hours. flooding is going to be a huge concern here as well. and in northern locations the avalanche risk is very high. out here in the british isles and the iberian peninsula we have an incoming system that will provide very wet and windy conditions. gusts could reach about 100 kilometers per hour across the british isles. london at 3 degrees. actually down toward the south in madrid we're likely to see another round of snow for your tuesday. out here we have a tropical depression that used to be a too foon typhoon that slammed into the philippines. weakening but likely to bring winds about 100 kilometers per hour in typhoon. that's going to move over naha, okinawa and merge with another system bringing mixed
precipitation to the korean peninsula. as we can see, in the next 48 hours the wet weather will be engulfing much of japan. that's going to be bringing avalanche advisories very high. so we do have advisories already widely posted here. today is daikon. it's supposed to be the coldest days of the season. but it looks like we're seeing 11 degrees, hanging on to the double digits in tokyo. northeastern u.s. stilt seeing a few centimeters of snowfall and that's going to be combined with 90 clmz per hour gusts of blowing snow. from canada as well. wind advisories in place. but take a look at that. likely to see warm conditions toward the south pape little too warm in los angeles. that combined with gusty condition, critical fire weather is still in danger. out toward the north we're likely to see more snow piling up, especially around the northern rockies and the cascades. vancouver at 10 degrees with partly sunny skies.