. ♪ ♪ ♪ -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello there and welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday march 24th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. pakistani military personnel celebrated national day marching through the streets of the capital. they held their first parade in seven years. experts say it's meant to show their resolve to fight terrorism. the parade took place on monday during pakistan day. it was suspended for seven years due to security concerns. the show of force included a first look at a domestically
developed drone. military officials announced earlier in the month that the unmanned craft successfully test-fired rockets. members of special anti-terror units marched in front of foreign diplomats. pakistan authorities announced that their armed forces have killed more than 2,000 islamic militants in massive operations since last june. these follow an attack on an airport in the largest city of karachi. the extremists have retaliated. they've killed numerous civilians in attacks at tourist destinations and schools. people in japan will observe a solemn homecoming for nationals killed last week in tunisia. the bodies of three japanese victims of the terror attack in tunis are on their way home. they're among 21 people killed by gunmen targeting foreign inging foreign tourists.
a plane carrying 49-year-old chiemi miyazaki her 22-year-old daughter haruka and 66-year-old machiyo narusawa left a tunisian airport on monday. they're expected to arrive tuesday afternoon. tunisian authorities say four men were involved in the bardo museum in the capital. two were shot dead by security forces. authorities have arrested others with suspected links to the attackers and they're looking into how the members are connected to islamic extremist groups. japanese police are conducting their own investigation into the shooting rampage. they've set up a 60-member team to look into the deaths as suspected murder. they will apply the japanese penal code for crimes committed abroad. they plan to interview the three japanese tourists injured in the attack and they're considering whether to send officers to tunisia. shinzo abe is preparing to head to washington on a visit focused on deepening trade and military ties.
and he'll become the first japanese prime minister to address a joint session of the u.s. congress. chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga announced abe's itinerary. he revealed the prime minister will visit the u.s. for eight days late next month. >> translator: abe's next visit to the united states will have great significance, showing the world the strength of the japan-u.s. alliance. >> abe will become the first japanese prime minister in more than five decades to address congress, and he will be the first to address a joint session of the senate and house of representatives. abe's expected to discuss various issues with president barack obama including revisions to the u.s.-japan defense cooperation guidelines and negotiations for the transpacific partnership. the president of indonesia is visiting japan for the first time. joko widodo met on monday with the emperor and empress of japan
and prime minister shinzo abe. joko visited emperor akihito and empress michiko at the imperial palace. the emperor asked him about the current situation in aceh which was struck by the indian ocean tsunami in 2004. joko said 99% of the reconstruction is now complete. he expressed his appreciation for japan's support. later in the day, joko met prime minister abe. they discussed business ties and maritime security cooperation. >> translator: japan and indonesia are both maritime democratic nations in asia. i would like to dramatically strengthen our mutually beneficial partnership and contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the world. >> translator: first of all, i'd like to say that i am very grateful for your warm welcome. today i'd like to discuss cooperation between indonesia and japan.
>> the leaders issued a joint statement on plans to promote economic cooperation including greater japanese investments in indonesia and increased trade. the countries will arrange ministerial-level talks on building infrastructure in indonesia. japan will also help indonesia improve its maritime security capabilities, port facilities, and marine industries. investors on tokyo markets are taking the leading index higher and higher. ai uchida joins us now from the business desk to tell us all about it. the nikkei staying at levels we haven't seen in years. what's behind the buying spree? >> that's definitely the trend, catherine. investors around the world pouring into tokyo stocks because they think major companies here in japan are going to be reporting improved earnings. investors think this is going to lead to higher wages and support a solid recovery in consumer spending. now that tokyo's benchmark nikkei index has been rising six
weeks in a row, the buying momentum has taken a bit of a back seat this morning. still the nikkei is within reach of the 20,000 mark which is a level investors haven't seen since april 2000. that's nearly 15 years. so let's go straight to where the action is. ramin mellegard joins us from the tokyo stock exchange. good morning, ramin. tell us what you're saying over there. >> very good morning, ai. nearly 15-year wait. we have to wait just a little bit longer. markets have dipped just a touch. let's have a look at the exact opening levels for the nikkei and the topix. for tuesday march 24th. and we're just down a touch but still 19,740 on the nikkei. yesterday the nikkei closed at yet another 15-year high. foreign investors are looking very closely at japanese stocks which have outperformed many of their peers so far this year. stronger corporate profits have provided pretty good reason for investors to pile into japanese stocks. now, analysts are tell us that investors mostly keen to snap up shares with higher dividend payouts which must be bought before the end of the fiscal
year here in japan, which is fast approaching. in fact, it will be the last trading day of march. so a big focus on dividend payments and how that's pushing the nikkei higher. ai. >> speaking of which, which companies or which sectors in particular are you watching today? >> analysts have been pointing out quite a few companies in particular like canon, murata manufacturing, as well as those in the drug sector. many of which have taken a lot of steps to attract investors domestic and overseas of course because of the higher dividend payouts. and analysts are saying that total dividend payouts may actually hit record highs for this fiscal year ending in march. also despite the slight pause in the rise or advance of the dollar we're also still seeing a lost buying and exporters across a lost different sectors with overseas investors taking a very keen interest in japanese shares right now as well.
ai. >> talking about currencies. extending the slide against the euro and the yen. where are the pairs now? >> exactly. we've seen it coming off just a little bit. let's have a look at the exact levels. 119.77-79. it's come off those multiyear highs at the 122-yen level set two weeks ago. traders relate mulling over a potential delay in the timing of the rise in interest rates in the united states. a little bit of hesitation over the recent sharp gains. the euro has jumped 1.3% against the dollar from the same time yesterday. single currency is gaining ground against the yen. 131.07-12 euro/yen. we also have some interest in the asian region today. we're going to have the china flash mpc manufacturing pmi data due out later this morning. that will give some direction to the region's indexes. also any contraction about growth levels in china will have repercussions of course for a lot of resource-rich countries
in the asian region. for instance australia, which is of course -- china is australia's biggest trading partner. we'll keep an eye on those sectors as well. the nikkei and topix still in the negative. we'll see how that develops. back to you, ai. >>. >> we'll check in with you in a few hours' time. senior officials from japan and the u.s. are back to the negotiating table. they're trying to lay the foundations for a major trade deal covering 12 countries in the asia pacific region. and this time they're focusing on tariffs for auto parts. japanese ambassador for economic diplomacy takeo mori is in washington for the transpacific partnership talks. acting deputy u.s. trade representative wendy cutler is also taking part. officials with the japanese contingent are calling for the prompt removal of tariffs on auto parts going to the u.s. u.s. officials say they should be allowed to restore the tariffs if people on the japanese side don't open their
market. >> completing trade promotion legislation and tpp and ttip is the highest priority for this administration. and i believe that these will get done. they're not easy. it's never easy to do new trade deals. >> lawmakers in the u.s. are debating a law that would let president barack obama push the tpp quickly through congress. some are strongly opposed to the idea. negotiators are concerned the debate could cause more delays for the tpp talks. people in the u.s. administration are changing their tone on a major project spearheaded by their counterparts in china. one official says washington would welcome a beijing-led international bank as long as it works with other financial institutions. treasury undersecretary for international affairs nathan sheets released a comment on the asian infrastructure investment bank. he said the u.s. would back the
fund if it strengthened support for developing countries. sheets said the bank could help promote high-quality standards by co-financing projects with the world bank or the asian development bank. finance leaders from 33 nations including britain germany, and france say they'll support beijing's initiative. that's the latest in business for this hour. the nikkei is now flat. we'll keep track of trading for you. here's a check of markets. ♪
the japanese government has lent tens of billions of dollars to the operator of the fukushima daiichi plant to help the company deal with compensation demands since the nuclear accident four years ago. now officials at the board of audit say it could be decades before the company is able to repay the loans. the government issued bonds worth about $75 billion to help tepco cover the cost of compensation. the money is mainly intended for evacuees and for decontamination work. the government plans to recover the loans gradually through annual repayments and profits through the sale of tepco shares. but some experts say the total amount could exceed current estimates. >> translator: tepco will face in 30 years the additional cost
of disposing all the waste generated by decontamination work. on top of that the company will have to pay for the dismantling of fukushima daiichi and for the extraction of the fuel debris. >> tepco officials estimate total compensation costs for the victims of the nuclear accident will reach a total of $47 billion. they say they'll need another $8 billion to decommission the reactors and deal with contaminated water. about $3.7 billion will also be required to inspect and maintain related facilities until fiscal 2022. government auditors point out problems with a system to treat contaminated water. tepco has been using a purifying system built by french company areva. but it failed after only three months in operation. the auditors are urging tepco to seek compensation from the manufacturer if it's found responsible for the malfunction.
utility officials say they're considering the proper course of action. a controversial plan to relocate a u.s. military facility in southern japan has hit another roadblock. the governor of okinawa has taken the first step towards making defense officials reconsider the construction of the base. nhk world's jun yotsumoto explains.defense ministry officials to stop all work that would change the conditions of the sea zone. >> reporter: okinawa governor takeshi onaga urged defense officials to comply with the government, he said if they don't he will revoke the approval to destroy the reefs, a necessary step in the construction of the u.s. military facility. onaga says it's highly likely that the defense personnel has caused damage to reefs outside the approved construction zone. japan's top government
spokesperson says they don't accept onaga's request. okinawa's move to suspend the government at this stage is extremely regrettable. we had obtained construction approval from discussions. >> reporter: other government officials say they may take a countermeasure to continue the plan. present in japan since the end the u.s. military has been present in japan since the end of world war ii, but a crime nearly two decades ago turned public opinion in okinawa against hosting american soldiers, and the relocation of the base has been a thorn in japan-u.s. relations ever since. in 1995 three u.s. servicemen were charged with the rape of a 12-year-old local girl. people in okinawa took to the streets to show their anger over the attack, and government officials from both countries agreed to abolish the air station and return the land to the people of okinawa.
but the agreement fell far short of what many local people wanted. both governments announced that futenma would be relocated within okinawa, reclaiming the coastal area along the northeastern shore. in 2013 prime minister shinzo abe announced measures to revitalize the prefecture's economy. he promised to allocate the equivalent of $2.9 billion to okinawa each year for eight years. the then governor hiro azakaima approved the plan shortly thereafter. last year a new governor was elected who was opposed to the plan. takeshi onaga wants to get rid of futenma altogether. okinawa is japan's southernmost prefecture. the island district accounts for less than 1% of japan's land, but it hosts more than 70% of
the u.s. military facilities in the country. onaga says japanese people must share the burden of hosting u.s. forces if the forces are essential to the country's security. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, tokyo. >> a u.s. state department official has urged japan to stick with the original plan for the relocation of the base. >> construction of the replacement facility is a result of many years of sustained work between the u.s. and japan. it's also a critical step toward realizing the shared vision of u.s. forces to okinawa. >> the u.s. spokesperson believes construction on the facility will proceed as planned. a chinese skipper has been convicted of poaching coral in japanese territorial waters. xu yijong was arrested last
october for taking coral off the ogasawara islands 1,000 kilometers south of tokyo. a district court sentenced him to 18 months in prison suspended for five years. he was also fined more than $30,000. the presidetion judge said he threw the coral into the sea to cover up his act. but he added that other poachers have also caused damage. coast guard officials have spotted more than 200 chinese boats in japan's waters and exclusive economic zone near the waters since last october. they've arrested 11 people. five have been indicted. monday's ruling was the first among the cases. senior officials from japan's ruling coalition and the chinese communist party have agreed that ties between the countries must be improved. liberal democratic party secretary-general sar kaz yue tanigaki and komeito secretary-general are visiting beijing. they've met yu xinsh nechlt a
senior official of the xhienz communist party. both sides agreed to resume exchanges between the ruling parties of the two countries. yu duchd on japanese prime minister shinzo abe's plan to issue a statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of world war ii. he called on japanese leaders to uphold past statements including the one by former president tomic hichlt murayama. in 1995 murayama expressed deep remorse and offered a heartfelt apology for japan's past colonial rule and aggression. tanigaki said japan will continue to be a peace-loving nation as abe has repeatedly stressed. he said he believes the statement should not be something that chinese leaders should worry about. china and russia have been strengthening their diplomatic and commercial ties.
but people living in one border town in china are worried about their future. they used to see russian tourists in their shops and restaurants. but they don't so much anymore. now that their neighbor's economy has gone from supercharged to sluggish. nhk world's alexander kuznetsov reports. >> reporter: the chinese town of suifenhe lies on the border with russia. over the past decade it has grown steadily. especially because of lumber imports from russia. at the same time suifenhe has been developed as a destination for tourists from russia's forest province. previously half a million visitors traveled here each year. but these days there are almost no russian visitors to be seen.
sunday afternoon in suifenhe, not too many russian tourists you can see nowadays in the streets. some shops already closed. even one of the most popular restaurants is shut down due to the number of visitors significantly decreasing. the tourists are no longer coming, and that is mainly due to the ruble's 50% plunge against the yuan over the past year following the west sanctions over the ukrainian crisis. this children's clothing shop opened eight years ago. to me the demand from russia. sales rose steadily as it built up a strong customer base. both with individual visitors and wholesalers. >> translator: we used to sell 200 to 300 jackets like this at this time of the year. but so far we've only sold five
to ten of them. >> eight sellers have canceled their orders, and now the shop has stock piling up in its warehouse. >> translator: since we opened the shop we've built up friendly ties with the russians. we're hoping the ruble rises again so our russian customers come back. >> reporter: but local government officials are worried. if things stay this way, businesses in suifenhe may collapse. >> translator: we have built up our business with the russians thanks to our shared border. looking into the future we must work our hardest to overcome all these difficulties.
>> reporter: but people in the chinese border town have not yet seen how they can overcome these difficulties with the future of the russian economy remaining uncertain. aleksander kuznetsov, nhk world, suifen hechlt. it's time to check on the weather. we're seeing clear blue skies in tokyo. people here are enjoying the beginning of spring. but it's a different story in northern japan. meteorologist robert speta joins us with more. >> actually, if you are there into yamagata prefecture and much of hokkaido as well a little farther toward the north not seeing clearing skies today. actually some snowfall being expected across much of this area. you're also looking at some fairly high wands. actually, parts of ohio have been seeing gusts. well over 100 kilometers per hour. also been seeing some snowfall recorded around 38 centimeters in the halftime 24 hours. you can take a look at the satellite image, you really can see it. just that big swirl dominating much of northern japan.
and wrapping in around the western periphery of that swirl we are seeing those winds kick up around 126 kilometers per hour. still possible. i do want to remind you, most of this is concentrated in northern japan and along the sea of japan coastline. especially in the higher elevations. that's where you're going to be seeing the snowfall. good news as we look ahead through the forecast, high pressure's coming in from the west. already creating some clear conditions across northeastern portions of china, through the korean peninsula and this is going make its way into negotiate japan kick that lead off to the east sapporo see some snow expected on tuesday but it's going to clear is up and warm up by thursday. high of 10 there. some partly cloudy skies. tokyo as well into the mid teens. so with all that said if you do enjoy the cherry blossoms or the sa sakura, i do recommend get outh there and starting to see the first bloom this coming weekend, not until about next week if you are in tokyo is it going to be really a full bloom. but officially in tokyo we did see the first -- or at least the start of cherry blossom season. we actually have some video
coming out of this area where yes, officially it did start. actually on monday. this is three days earlier than normal. and i do want to kind of point this out. you see most of these aren't quite bloomed yet. there's only a few on it. that's because there is an official status for the start of cherry blossom season in tokyo. gma declared when five buds have blossomed on the tree at the yasukuni shrine. some may be asking how they determine start of it. that's it. you may be visiting tokyo, parts of japan you may be thinking robert, you're kriend of crazy because we're not seeing the blossoms in full bloom just yet. that is the official status. let's look to the americas now. not quite bloomed in d.c. still waiting on that. but i want to talk about the severe weather occurring back toward the west where we're going to be seeing a storm system coming oust pacific northwest and with it you have this cold upper-level air diving in.
and a kink in the jet stream. that's called a short wave trough. and that provides some instability in the upper atmosphere. combined with the moisture coming out of the south. and look at this some flag warning dangers. where all these air masses combine we're looking at that threat on tuesday of damaging winds and even large hail coming out of this. it does look like that threat is going to be there. even the possibility of tornadoes. but i don't think this is going to be a big issue with this one. other squall lines going to be firing up bringing us march severe weather. if you have travel plans across the area do be aware of it. even in chicago seeing some delays at the airports. mostly due to shoefl and some gusty winds occurring in that area. let's wrap things up in europe. later on i'm actually going to talk about what's going on into paris. you've been seeing some very smoggy conditions across that area but just to the south of that some severe weather still in place. large hail.
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