♪ hello there. and welcome to "newsline." it's thursday april 9th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japan's emperor and empress are about to begin the second day of their visit to the pacific island nation of palau by remembering a tragic moment in history. they're going to fly to a nearby island, site of one of the fiercest battles during world war ii. emperor akihito and empress michiko began their first visit to palau on wednesday. they attended a banquet that was hosted by the country's president, tommy remenghesau, and his wife debbie.
the presidents and first ladies of micronesia and the marshall islands were among the dignitaries. the second day of their visit will take them to the world war ii battlefield on the island of peleliu. more than 10,000 japanese soldiers and u.s. soldiers died in that battle. they will also visit a memorial for u.s. troops. the couple will later immediate islanders, many of them of japanese descent, before returning home thursday night. the defense chiefs of japan and u.s. sat down for face to face talks on the security
alliance. they've agreed to speed up a review of defense cooperation guidelines and they've also found common ground on a number of issues. more from nhk world's mitsuko nishikawa. >> reporter: as a part of his first tour of asian countries since he took office in february, u.s. defense secretary ash carter decided to make japan his first stop. after attending a ceremony at japan's self-defense forces, carter entered formal talks with defense minister gen nakatani. the two spoke for more than an hour. bilateral defense cooperation guidelines have not been revised since 1997. nakatani says he's aiming to finalize a review of the guidelines by the end of the month. he says it's important to complete because the security situation in the area has drastically changed. the two also spoke about the rising tension over the senkaku islands in the east china sea. japan controls the islands and the government maintains they
are a part of japan's territory. china and taiwan claim them. nakatani and carter both say they found common ground about the continuing intrusion of chinese government vessels into japan's waters in the area. >> translator: we agreed to oppose any attempt to change the territorial status quo through force. >> i also reaffirmed president obama's july 2014 commitment to apply our security treaty to all areas under japanese administration. >> reporter: their talks also touched on a controversial issue, the current relocation plan of the u.s. marine corps futenma air station within okinawa prefecture. okinawa's local governor is pushing for the plan to be scrapped. he says people there are strongly opposed to it. and he insists moving the base within okinawa doesn't lessen the burden to those who live in
the area. but nakatani said the government must push ahead with the relocation. >> translator: we have reconfirmed that the plan to relocate the base within okinawa is the only way to avoid continued usage of the current site. >> reporter: american officials say they are concerned about the possibility of a delay, and they're urging their counterparts in tokyo to proceed with the plan. >> we appreciate prime minister abe's and the japanese government's continued support for this important effort. >> reporter: both governments are expected to finish their review of the defense cooperation plan before japan/u.s. summit talks get under way in washington later this month. mitsuko nishikawa, nhk world, tokyo. japan's prime minister has reiterated that moving the futenma air station is necessary. shinzo abe says relocating from a densely populated area will reduce potential dangers and he
says it will also enhance the effectiveness of the japan/u.s. alliance. the prime minister was responding to a call from an opposition member to enact a special law on the relocation and conduct a local referendum. >> translator: we are proceeding with the work for constructing a replacement facility to remove the danger of the futenma air station as soon as possible. we are carrying out the plan in accordance with existing laws and regulations. i don't think we need to establish an additional law. >> abe said the issue is not suitable for a referendum. he says local referendums are aimed at reflecting varied needs of residents to the administration of municipalities. japan's nuclear watchdog is sending inspectors to monitor drills at idled reactors. they want workers to know how to
deal with severe accidents before they're given the green light to toooo put their plans back online. all commercial reactors are now offline. the nuclear regulation authority has to determine whether the operatorss measures meet the stricter requirements introduced after the 2011 fukushima accident. four reactors have cleared the new regulations. two are in central japan at the takahama plant. and two are in the southwest at the sendai plant. operators are required to explain procedures to handle severe accidents. one example is preventing damage to the reactor core by using newly introduced emergency power generation vehicles and pump trucks. participants will be told about the accident scenario and they'll have to carry out the necessary procedures within a limited time. similar checks will be conducted once a year to confirm that workers are capable of responding to accidents. some students in fukushima
are celebrating recovery along with their new academic year. they attended their opening ceremony at a school constructed after the disaster. futaba future school is in the town of hirono. it lies about 25 kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant. at the ceremony fukushima governor masao ichiburi offered words of encouragement. >> translator: i am sure that all of you as students in the new school will become symbols of restoration. i hope you will create a better environment for futaba in the future. >> there are 152 students enrolled in the school. a majority of them come from towns and cities near the plants which are still under an evacuation order. >> translator: as one of the first students in this school, i've decided to create a new
school tradition that will last for 10 years, or even 100 years. >> school officials say they want to work to study ways to recover as well as nuclear accident prevention. some 20 celebrities including an olympic athlete, a former astronaut, and a playwright will hold special classes. residents of a south korean city say a plan to restart one of the country's 24 nuclear reactors has cast a shadow over their community. they say they want it shut down for good. but government officials say bringing the facility back online is vital to meet the nation's growing energy needs. more from nhk world's kim chan-joo. >> the number 1 reactor at the nuclear power plant went online in 1982. it's the second oldest reactor
in the country. operation stopped when it leached the end of its design life in november 2012. in february the nuclear safety and security commission approved restarting the facility. the deliberations went on for 14 hours. two commissioners said that was not long enough and walked out. the remaining seven members made the decision. one of the commissioners who approved the restart maintains the reactor is safe. he says the commission has applied new safety standards following the meltdowns in japan in 2011. >> today it's the highest, very strongest regulation applied. >> brownouts are not uncommon in summer and winter when demand spikes. the plant's operator says the old reactor is essential for
stabilizing the power supply. it hopes to hit the on button again at the end of the month. but some people near the facility say their concerns are being ignored. for more than seven months these tents have been set up for residents protesting plans to restart the old reactor at warsung power plant saying the decision will affect people's right to live. >> i cannot trust statements that the plant is safe. >> we're worried that what happened in fukushima in japan might happen here. >> kim sungwan leads the group opposing the restart. he has been running a restaurant for 25 years. these days he says business is bad and the town has become deserted. >> translator: since the catastrophe at fukushima,
out-of-towners have stopped coming here. nobody wants to buy real estate to live in this area. >> kim is worried the number of visitors will fall even further if warsung is put back online. he doesn't trust assurances from the government or the power company. >> translator: the government announced the reactor is safe. but the experts who say it's safe, do they live here? no. they're all far away from the nuclear plant. they only reap the benefits of the power generated here. >> reporter: a recent survey shows 57% of south koreans oppose nuclear power generation. only 33% favor it. nonetheless, the government plans to extend the operation of other reactors that have passed their original expiration dates.
it also expects to open nine new reactors by 2023. kim chang-ju nhk world, gyeongju. japanese stock markets have enjoyed a bullish run this year. hopes are now high the nikkei may soon hit the key 20,000 level. ai uchida joins us from our business desk. you have all the details. what's happening in the markets? >> there's quite a lot happening in the markets. a lot of it looks to be in favor of stocks catherine. both domestic and foreign investors seem to have a lot of confidence in the japanese economy. this positive sentiment has been pushing up stock prices and on wednesday the nikkei rose to the highest level in 15 years. there are, though still some uncertainties, and some analysts say stock prices are too high. and of course the u.s. markets will have an impact on tokyo. overnight we saw rebound on wall street after the release of the minutes from the u.s. federal reserve's latest meeting. the dow jones industrial average rising more than a tenth of a percent, ending above 17,900.
tech-heavy nasdaq closing in at 4,950, up .8%. so let's see how investors here are reacting to all this. ramin mellegard standing by at the tokyo stock exchange. good morning, ramin. what are you seeing so far? >> very good morning. definitely some positive sentiment coming out of the u.s. fed officials there revealing basically those improvements in the u.s. economy and also i know you're going to have more details on that. but some of the negatives may just be that the stronger dollar may have weighed on some of the u.s. exporters and also adding to some inflation. so some headwinds there. but let's have a look at the opening levels for the nikkei and the topix. pretty positive start so far. nikkei up a third of a percent for this thursday april 9th. and just a reminder. the nikkei closed wednesday at a 15-year high and we're just short of that 20,000 level now. and according to analysts hopes are strong that corporate earnings here in japan may provide another boost to sentiment, although we also may
come in for a little bit of profit-taking before we get to that 20,000 level. we shall see. now, a weaker yen couples with a gradual recovery in the u.s. economy, which is of course the biggest market for a lot of japanese automakers and consumer electronics firms has really given hopes of a further boost to japan's economy. and according to analysts companies such as toyota may actually expect to get all-time highs in some of their profits. earnings reports, which are due up in just a couple of weeks. ai. >> talking about corporate earnings, how is the season in the u.s. starting off? >> well the usual kickoff is aluminum giant alcoa. it did see shares actually falling in after hours. and that was after revenue forecasts fell a little bit short of expectations. we're going to have a whole bunch of earnings reports coming out across a lot of different sectors, but also i want to focus on china-related
exchanges. let's not forget the hang seng rose 3.8% yesterday. the shanghai composite gaining as well. global investors really taking note of key sectors such as high-tech, transport, and consumer-driven shares. i'll definitely be watching out for those exchanges as well. ai. >> and in currencies we saw some volatility in the dollar after those fed minutes came out. how are key pairs trading now? >> definitely that pair was closely watched. 120.13 to 15 right now. it actually initially slipped against the yen after the fed policy minutes were out. they're showing officials a little bit split over the timing of a rate hike indicating the fed may be unsure over the direction of the u.s. economy. it's in a bit of a tight range right now. on the euro the dollar's a little stronger. weekly jobless claims as well as industrial production in germany may be a further guide for that pair. now of course i'll have more on all of those plus the sectors here in japan, which may be affected by the gains in china.
that's all for me. back to you. >> sounds good ramin. thanks a lot. and as we've been discussing, policy makers at the fed have released the minutes from the policy meeting in march and they were divided over when to raise the key interest rates. some called for a hike in june while others advised waiting till later. fed chairman janet yellen said they'll raise the rate after further improvement in employment and prices hinting at a raise in june or later. the record shows that most officials agreed they should at least suggest that a rate hike is getting closer. as to when some said they should increase the rate at the june meeting as the economy is improving. others, though said they should see how the dollar's rapid gains and lower than expected inflation rates will affect the economy. chairman of the japan business federation sadayuki sadayuki sagakibara has urged the president of indonesia to improve the investment climate and lower regulation on foreign
firms. he and 50 re79 tiffs of japanese firms are visiting indonesia. they met indonesian president joko widodo in jakarta. they discussed how japanese companies can supply technology to build infrastructure in the country. the business leaders mentioned indonesian government restrictions make it difficult for japanese firms to procure materials that allow them to apply their cutting-edge technologies. joko agreed there is a need to consider easing regulations that hinder foreign firms' attempts to invest. people who run budget airlines are winning customers all over the world. now one carrier in japan is hoping business takes off with the opening of a new terminal at tokyo's narita airport dedicated to low-cost airlines. nhk world's daisuke azuma tells us how the airport is hoping to increase share. >> reporter: after starting operations in august last year.
it flies three domestic routes that originate at narita airport. the company based in shanghai has put great emphasis on the japanese market. >> translator: the tickets are so cheap you don't have to think too hard before you buy them. >> reporter: the airline plans to start flights between narita and mainland china sometime this year. the sharp rise in chinese tourist numbers represents a major business opportunity. the challenge now is how to satisfy repeat customers. company executive kuniye hasegawa visited kyoto. she sat down with local business people to find ways to provide visitors with new experiences. >> translator: we hope to help chinese people learn more about kyoto.
>> reporter: hasegawa had a chance to talk with the manager of a kimono rental service. she asked whether people on group tours from china can enjoy working in kyoto wearing a kimono. >> translator: it's possible to get 100 tourists dressed in kimono in less than an hour. we have many staff to help tourists dress in kimono. >> translator: oh, that's a great idea. thank you. >> reporter: hasegawa also visited miyazu city about 60 kilometers north of kyoto. it's known for a sand bar called amano hashuate meaning bridge in heaven. the spot is among the three most scenic views in japan. but only 1% of foreign travelers to kyoto manage to make it out to the area.
>> translator: from here you can see what looks like a bridge that leads to heaven. that's how it gets its name. >> reporter: the city has another feature unfamiliar with foreign visitors. a cathedral reflecting japanese and western culture. the seating areas are covered by tatami mats. built in the late 19th century, it's said to be the second oldest catholic church in japan. hasegawa reported on her findings at a meeting with airline officials. >> translator: our tie-up with the kimono rental service would help cut the fees by 5% to 10%. that would be appreciated. >> translator: it will be good if we print all the information in our in-flight magazine. >> reporter: company officials provide information not
available in guidebooks and improve ties with local business people in order to expand markets. >> translator: we have to consider what customers do after taking a flight. that's the quality of service we're aiming for. while the u.s. and europe have many years of experience with low-cost carriers, japan has less than four. but it's certain that the lcc market share in japan will expand. >> reporter: as more tourists are visiting japan, the market is expected to grow. offering lower prices is important. but making innovative -- is the key to success. daisuke azuma, nhk world. >> and that's all for now in business. i'll leave you with a check on markets. ♪
it is time now for a check of the weather. people in central areas of the u.s. are dealing with severe weather and cleaning up after getting hit by large hail. meteorologist robert speta joins us with more. >> i do want to first mention that large hail you quickly talked about there because what we are seeing in some areas is these severe thunderstorms and hail up to baseball and maybe even softball size as we go ahead and we've already been seeing hail that size reported here. it has been causing some damage. actually, i've seen some photos of some cars with their windows completely smashed out. and you take a look at the satellite picture. in these areas in the bright white across the central u.s. that is where we are seeing
these strong to severe thunderstorms out here today. but not only on your wednesday evening are you going to be looking at the storms but this is going to continue to develop pulling in that moist air from the south, and combined with this cold air in the north. you just get that interaction we're talking about. so severe weather threat still here on wednesday. and then eventually extending over through thursday. let's do the key thing. this is tracking toward the east. we're going to be looking at the threat of some potentially large tornadoes as well. and this is occurring over a densely populated area as opposed to back toward the west where there's typically a lower population in the central plains. a lot of people millions of people are going to be impacted by, this not only residents but also travelers. if you're flying in and out of o'hare you could be seeing some significant delays there in chicago. now, as this does continue to move off into the northeastern u.s. it is going to bring the threat of severe thunderstorms but we're going to be ceiling this roller coaster of temperatures if you will.
this warm air called a low-level jet or a warm conveyor belt is definitely rising temperatures in washington, d.c. over through boston as well. going up to 26 from 12 on thursday and friday in d.c. it drops off once the storms move overhead. even into the midwest as well. we're already seeing the storms and the temperatures continue to drop. i very dynamic weather setup in the central and eastern u.s. something we're going to be watching the next 24 hours. you do want to be aware of these tornadoes. they do occur in your area. back toward east asia nothing as far as tornadoes are concerned but we are seeing some rainfall across parts of southeast china. you need the rain. significant drought in place right now for northern portions of taiwan. they're starting to conserve water pretty significantly out here. and then we have this front which is still lingering off toward the east. for now japan you're sitting on some partly cloudy skies. we're going to be seeing high pressure overhead. but once this low does continue to develop it is going to work
its way off toward the northeast and bring another shot of rainfall on friday into saturday across most of japan. your temperatures look like this, though. shanghai with a high of 14. cloudy skies for you. seoul at 16. partly cloudy. toward tokyo. 13 there. partly cloudy skies on your thursday. that's up from just around 5 on your wednesday. do want to take you into the tropics. quickly want to mention palau cloudy skies, thunderstorms possible in the afternoon. i know the japan royal family's out there visiting at this time. but want to make your attention a little bit back here toward the east in ulithi. still some passing showers. i make mention of it. remember one week ago today that's when this photo was taken, a monster of a typhoon. when this was taken it was directly over the island or atoll of ulithi. this is an image before the storm showed up. now, this is afterward. they are still recovering out here. and these are some newer images coming out of this area. definitely most of the