welcome to "newsline." it's friday april 10th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. the operator of the crippled nuclear plant in northeastern japan is employing some high-tech help for the decommissioning. officials with tokyo electric power company want to see inside a fukushima daiichi reactor, but it's too dangerous. so they're sending in a robot instead. three of the plant's reactors melted down after the march 2011 earthquake and tsunami. workers haven't been able to determine the extent of damage or find molten fuel. high levels of radiation are keeping them away.
tepco officials plan to put a remote-controlled robot into the number one reactor containment vessel. they'll be able to steer the snake-like machine around obstacles. they'll measure radiation and temperature levels and the robot's camera will allow them to see the damage. until now, they've used computer simulations to try to understand what's inside. they've gathered results indicating the nuclear fuel has melted and fallen to the bottom of the vessel. tepco officials say they hope the robot will help them gain clues on how best to remove the nuclear fuel. removal of melted fuel is considered one of the toughest challenges in the decommissioning. now the government-backed entity overseeing the process has revealed strategic new plans. officials from the nuclear damage compensation and decommissioning facilitation corporation are looking at three options. the conventional method involves filling the containment vessels with water. but that poses challenges of repairing potential leaks.
the second option would allow workers to remove the melted fuel from the top of the reactor. and the third method involves creating a hole in the side of the container. officials warn steps must also be taken to prevent radioactive materials from spreading in the air. the japanese government and the plant's operator expect to choose a method by 2017. iranian president hassan rouhani says world powers must remove all sanctions against his country to conclude an agreement on its nuclear program. >> translator: we will not sign any agreement unless all economic sanctions are lifted at once, on the same day as implementation. >> rouhani urged the western countries to compromise to
complete the accord. iran and the six world powers came up with a framework deal last week to keep tehran's nuclear program peaceful. the nations are the five permanent members of the u.n. security council and germany. rouhani called the settlement a victory for iran. he said his country has not surrendered to the pressure of sanctions or bullying. negotiators aim to finalize a pact by the end of june. the head of the u.n. nuclear watchdog says if iran concludes the deal his organization will be ready to watch whether tehran implements it. the national atomic agency director yukiya amano spoke about the latest developments. >> translator: the iaea welcomes the framework agreement between iran and the six major powers. >> the pact grants iaea inspectors power to conduct snap
inspections as well as access to undeclared nuclear facilities. >> translator: the important aspect is that the accord includes implementing the additional protocol. i think that the framework deal increases the iaea's authority and capability to check unclaimed facilities or activities. >> amano expressed the agency's readiness to provide technical support for all parties to reach a final agreement. north korean officials have adopted a budget in parliament designed to rebuild the nation's economy and improve people's livelihoods. nhk's correspondent says the north korean leadership hopes the budget will boost the popularity of leader kim jong-un. the country's official media reported on thursday the supreme people's assembly convened in pyongyang. pak pong jug says he'll create
economic programs on all fronts for the nation building process. the government is promising to solve problems related to food, electricity and other aspects of daily life. the past budget plan reported allots more spending than last year on agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and other sectors. north korea's media did not clarify whether kim attended the session or why it didn't report on this. some observers say kim may have been injured based on photos released on wednesday. that's by north korea's state-run tv. his right wrist appears to be bandaged. others say kim has cemented his power to the point where he no longer needs to attend parliamentary sessions. investors have been pouring into japanese stocks. they're taking the leading nikkei index towards levels not seen in 15 years. ai uchida joins us from our business desk. everybody's waiting for that 20,000 key level. how close are we this morning? >> at the open the nikkei was just about 11 points away from that level. so everyone holding their breath for that 20,000 level. we have been watching the index
tease investors for several weeks now as it inched closer and closer to that key level. analysts say investors bought shares on hopes for stronger corporate earnings and signs the jaf knees economy is coming out of the woods. let's get all the details from our market man, ramin mellegard. what are you seeing at the open? >> it's all getting pretty exciting as we're approaching that 20,000 level, ai. we'll see if we hit that this morning. let's not forget the nikkei's been up around 500 points since monday and it all bodes pretty well as we head into corporate earnings season here in japan. so let's have a look at the exact opening levels shall we for april 10th friday here in tokyo. 19,987 up .25%. topix trading higher as well. the nikkei has been boosted by foreign investors looking to snap up shares of japanese companies which they regard as still undervalued and attractive based on factors such as strong earnings higher dividend payments, and pretty aggressive
cost-cutting measures. the fact that public pension funds here in japan are increasing their holdings of japanese stocks provides another safety net, if you will for overall support of japanese stocks. adding to that of course is the weaker yen which has been propping up a lot of exporters and positive sentiment in global markets. now let's just remind viewers overnight. the dow jones industrial average rose by 0.3%. the tech-heavy nasdaq as you can see, up almost .5%. european markets ended higher on healthy economic data out of germany. pretty positive stuff all around, ai. >> okay, ramin. looks like the dollar rose after the support of weekly jobless claims in the u.s. tell us about that. >> yeah let's have a look at the dollar/yen. and it's currently trading, still at the mid 120 yen levels. i can tell you the dollar has been supported by weekly jobless claims data. that really helped reinforce
views that a rate hike is on the way. back here in asia investors will also continue to watch how shares in china-related markets trade. especially after hong kong's hang seng rallied to another seven-year high on buying from mainland investors and on record volumes i have to add. offshore investing dented somible in onshore investing. and shanghai composite falling back. so we'll keep track of shares of that. i can tell you right now the nikkei has actually traded above 20,000. we'll continue to monitor that. if it dips below it or if it continues higher. a little bit of breaking news there. so a lot of focus there on foreign and domestic investors which has pushed the nikkei higher. as i said above 20,000. first time in 15 years. that's all for me. back to you. >> all right, ramin. exciting stuff, thanks a lot for that update. the nikkei at levels we haven't seen since april 2000. now more than 50 countries and territories have come on
board a development bank proposed by china but japan is holding off. officials in tokyo now say membership in the bank would impose a financial burden on them of up to $3 billion. japan and the united states are taking a cautious stance toward the asian infrastructure investment bank, aiib. tokyo believes if it were to join its financial obligations would not match the influence it would be expected to hold in management. on the other hand, the officials say membership could lead to better relations with china. they believe if tokyo participates in talks to establish the aiib it will have a say in negotiations to create its rules and organizational structure. they say kneel continue to call for transparent management. as we've been reporting, the benchmark tokyo nikkei index has reached the 20,000 mark for the first time in 15 years.
that index last hit that level back in april 2000. investors are buying up japanese shares on a positive outlook for corporate earnings. market watchers say comes are raising wages. they say that could boost consumer spending. as you know the last time the nikkei was at 20,000 was back in april 2000. and that was at the height of the dotcom bubble. not long after, the bubble burst. japan's main index has steadily declined since then. >> reporter: concerns over deflation and bad loans made by banks dragged down share prices in japan. the day after the 9/11 attacks the nikkei fell below the 10,000 mark for the first time in 17 years. in 2003 the benchmark slipped below 8,000. the market rose somewhat as the nation's economy began to pick up. in july 2007 the nikkei recovered to the 18,000 mark.
but those gains were soon wiped out as concern spread over the issue of subprime mortgages in the u.s. then lehman brothers failed in 2008 pushing the nikkei downward. it tumbled below 7,000, hitting its lowest level in 26 years. the key index stayed weak due to the effects of the strong yen along with earthquake and tsunami in 2011. in late 2012 prime minister shinzo abe returned to power. some foreign investors began buying japanese stocks on expectations that his abenomics policy would get the economy moving. the bank of japan's massive monetary easing in april 2013 and additional easing in october 2014 weakened the yen. that helped improve the earnings of exporters and pushed up their stock prices. the nikkei 225 climbed back to
16,000 at the end of 2013 and to 18,000 in 2014. share prices have continued to rise this year as japanese companies report higher earnings and investors expect the u.s. economy to improve. >> it has come to my attention during that aiib story we had a wrong title for the story, we do apologize for that confusion. japanese stocks have become one of the world's hottest investments. chief japan equities strategist of goldman sachs, kathy matsui, explains why. >> japanese corporate profits are very strong. they've essentially doubled since 2012. japanese profit growth is higher than profit growth in the united states, in europe in most countries in asia, excluding japan. earnings have also doubled. valuations are still very reasonable. another reason though i believe the market has been
quite strong is that japanese companies are now beginning to listen to some of the requests of shareholders calling for better focus on things like return on equity. and i think the last reason the market has been so strong is because domestic japanese investors are finally buying. japanese public pension funds have been buying. japanese corporations like i said, have been buying their own stock. the bank of japan is buying 3 trillion yen annually. and in fact foreigners since the beginning of this year have been net sellers. so very interestingly, domestics are leading the charge here. >> matsui is keeping a close eye on wage hikes by japanese companies and what happens to the global economy. she warns there could be risks. >> so far, indications from the shinto spring wage negotiations
suggest that the outcome of base wage increases will be better than they were last year. and the good news is inflation is a lot lower than it was last year. so real incomes will probably grow quite positively this year as compared to last year. of course, there are lots of hurdles perhaps in the external environment. the fed is likely to hike interest rates sometime before the end of this year. how are global markets going to react to that? we have now geopolitical risk almost every day which could hit market sentiment. currency fluctuations. there's lots of potential things that could go wrong globally. >> matsui says stock prices won't rise in a straight line. still, the stage is set for further growth in the market. >> in fact we think the nikkei can rise by continued japanese corporate profit growth by more domestic investor participation. we also believe that some foreigners who have been
sidelined in this rally will start to participate, will start to buy japanese equities. and we also think that some of these reforms, including corporate governance, including getting more women to work in the workforce, including possibly tpp, these are all part of the so-called third arrow which many people are still very very skeptical about. if these start to make some progress, visible progress that could serve as a positive catalyst to get more investors to buy the stock market. >> the nikkei has backed off from the 20,000 level right now. but we will keep track of all trading for you throughout the day. it is back to catherine now. >> thanks very much ai. we bring your attention to northern afghanistan now where taliban insurgents have attacked a government judicial complex. a fierce gun battle left ten people dead and more than 60 wounded.
media report that four gunmen in military uniforms stormed the compound in the heart of mazar-i-sharif thursday. they exchanged gunfire with security troops for seven hours. all the gunmen were eventually killed. interior ministry officials say prosecutors and police officers were among the victims. the taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was in retaliation for the torture of comrades detained by authorities. insurgent attacks on the city have been rare and the security situation there was thought to be stable. observers say the latest attack is raiseing concerns among citizens now that most international forces have left the war-torn country. researchers at a u.s. think tank are showing the progress of china's controversial reclamation activities in the south china sea. they revealed satellite images of the buildup of mischief reef in the spratly islands. the reef is a focal point of a
territorial dispute between china and the philippines. researchers with the center for strategic and international studies posted the images online. they say the pictures were taken in mid-march. they show a chain of artificial land formations and new structures such as sea walls. f hchlt f nhk obtained imams of the reef taken by military at the end of january. they revealed china had just begun the reclamation. in a february image an amphibious transport vessel is visible near the reef. the ship can carry up to 800 people and 20 amphibious armed vehicles. chinese officials have now expanded to seven reefs around the separatepratly islands. at one site a strip of reef has been entirely reclaimed. philippine military officials suspect china plans to construct a runway. a chinese government spokesperson says her country maintains the legitimacy of its reclamation projects in the spratly islands. >> translator: the construction
is entirely within the scope of china's sovereignty. it is fair reasonable and lawful. it does not affect and does not target any country. it is beyond reproach. we are building civilian facilities. these include shelters and navigational aids. we will provide search and rescue functions and weather forecasting services. >> china claims almost all areas in the south china sea. the philippines and vietnam dispute that claim. and officials in the u.s. have also expressed concern over the issue. nigerians are living under a daily threat of violence from the boko haram group. the country's incoming president has vowed to get tough since winning last month's election. but some people feel their only choice is to flee. a boy who made a narrow escape met with nhk world's correspondent and shared his story. >> reporter: this is a refugee camp in chad.
neighboring nigeria. a steady stream of new arrivals seek shelter here from boko haram. many of the children are suffering from malnutrition. the islamic militant group has been fighting government forces in northeastern nigeria. boko haram's cruelty to children is startling. not only does it kidnap children to use as fighters and slaves it also forces them to become suicide bombers. this 16-year-old boy is a refugee here. he escaped from a village in northeastern nigeria. >> reporter: >> reporter: boko haram members gathered the men in my village and killed them each in turn. >> reporter: the boy crew a picture of the fighter attacking his village.them each in turn. >> reporter: the boy crew a
picture of the fighter attacking his village. on the morning of january 3rd he was returning home from a local clinic when he saw his neighborhood in flames. he hid in a nearby house. but he saw a horrifying sight through the window. >> translator: the fighters stopped a bus and climbed onto the hood. then they randomly shot at the passengers. >> reporter: the boy ran towards where a village elder lived, hoping to take shelter with him. but boko haram fighters were there. they were pointing their guns at more than 200 girls they had rounded up. >> translator: one girl i know was forcibly taken away by a man who looked like a leader of that group of fighters. >> reporter: the boy was terrified. he ran as fast as he could
through the village. the streets were filled with fighters and dead bodies. he ran all the way to a large lake. part of the border between nigeria and chad. he jumped into a boat with about ten other people from the area. the boat started to sail away. but just as they thought they were safe gunshots were fired at the boat from the shore. >> translator: this is me on the boat. i helped some people who had been shot in the leg. but some of them died from their wounds. only five of us survived. >> reporter: the boy lived on a diet of water weeds as the boat
slowly crossed the lake. after two weeks, they landed in chad and were rescued by soldiers. he's been at this camp about three months now. he's been asking around trying to get information on his parents and siblings. >> translator: i want to see my family. i hope the world will become a peaceful place so no more children will suffer. >> reporter: boko haram continues to terrorize nigeria. many people in the country are watching closely whether the new government will be able to curb the group's terrorist activities. it is time now for a check of the weather. people across much of northeastern areas of the u.s. are dealing with severe weather conditions and travel delays. meteorologist robert speta joins
us with more. >> we are seeing rain now as the storm system it's continuing to push towards the east. it is one massive storm system. actually, you can see that cloud cover extending across northeastern states of the u.s. even into canada we're looking at snowfall. squall lines setting up into the deep south. we have actually been seeing reports of some damage coming from very high winds out here. a mobile home completely destroyed. one casualty was reported on wednesday. we've been still seeing that threat of severe weather. video we have first coming out of the missouri area where actually this was even back on tuesday before this main squall line we're seeing now set up across st. louis. we saw the surging waters wash out roads t major flash flooding took place here. you'll see the local repair garage completely inundated. this foot an is out of kansas on wednesday. there was no report of injury or damage with this particular event but you can see a funnel cloud or tornado there starting to develop up a few flashes of
lightning. that really was the big thing we've seen across the central plains the last several days. now all this severe weather is shifting towards the east and it is heading to some major population areas. we are looking at millions of people really being impacted and those travel delays are very real. in o'hare international airport in chicago, it does look like airport authorities have noticed people they could be waiting three to three and a half hours at this time because of these storms that are continuing to move overhead. any time you see boxes with severe thunderstorm watches or warn action issued that does not just mean for people on the ground but flights in the the air. they're not supposed to fly or land or take off in those as well here in the u.s. right now, here on thursday night, we're still seeing that threat of more hail up to grapefruit size could occur. we're seeing reports of that. the biggest threat is damaging winds. even looking at the threat of tornados as this does push down toward the southeast, and eventually extending over towards the deep south. behind it temperatures will continue to drop off as well. i want to make note of that.
it does look like not only down here toward the south but also in the north, northeastern portions of the u.s. extending through new england, you could be seeing snowfall. but also into canada. this storm system's kind of a double-edged sword. i know in the south you are looking at that threat of severe weather. but if you are in canada, you're not sitting pretty either. you could be seeing upwards of 20 centimeters of snowfall. you're looking at fairly gusty winds. wet snow on some of these tree branches with gusty winds means the threat of some of them snapping, that means the threat of power outages. a lot of people being impacted by this. take a look at the three-day forecast for selected cities. st. louis, good news by friday ask saturday sunny skies moving in for you. portland, you're going to be seeing rain a little bit of snow mixed in. washington, d.c. as well. those thunderstorms kicking up on your friday. east asia talk about japan. western japan, some rain showers overhead right now.
this is moving east over tokyo. have an umbrella ready, it's going to be continuing to push through even a surge of moisture could be kicking up a few thunderstorms out here for some of you. especially by friday night heading over towards saturday morning. i do want to switch gears, quickly talk about this. in the indochina pen minutes lashes it is hot. we are looking at the wall between the northeast and southwest monsoon, sunny skies. main regulatory factor in the tropics for temperature is cloud cover. you're not seeing a lot of it so temperatures are on the rise. with that said stay cool out here. i'll leave you now with your extended outlook.
tokyo's benchmark nikkei index reached the 20,000 mark for the first time in 15 years. the index last hit that level back in april 2000. investors are buying up japanese shares on a positive outlook for corporate earnings. market watchers say comes are raising wages. they say that could boost consumer spending. the nikkei is currently at 19,903. we'll keep an eye on the levels throughout the day. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. "newsline" will be back at the top of the hour. thanks for staying with us.
later on in the show where we have the following topics coming up -- welcome to istanbul syrian refugees seek a new life in turkey. poppy predicament. rural poverty drives myanmar's illegal opium trade. and nature trail -- a quest to find a rare and endangered bird in benin. millions of sirens have fled their homes since the outbreak