hello and thank you for joining us on this edition of "newsline." i'm raja pradhan with the latest at this hour le. japan's prime minister delivered his speech to u.s. congressional lawmakers in washington. shinzo abe is the first japanese leader to address a joint meeting in congress. he emphasized the significance of the close japan-u.s. alliance. >> we must make the vast seas stretching from the pacific to the indian oceans seas of peace and freedom. we will all follow the rule of law. [ applause ] for that very reason we must
fortify the u.s.-japan alliance. that is our responsibility. >> abe said japan was working to enhance the legislative foundations for its security, which includes legislation that will allow the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense. the prime minister promised japan will achieve the reform by this summer. and he also touched on historical issues. >> post war, we started out on our path, bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war. our actions brought suffering to the peoples in asian countries. we must not avert our eyes from that. i will uphold the views
expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard. >> abe referred to the transpacific partnership negotiations. he said japan and the u.s. must take the lead in the talks involving nations in the asia-pacific. >> as for u.s.-japan negotiations, the goal is near. let us bring the tpp to successful conclusion through our joint leadership. [ applause ] >> abe said the countries must take the initiative in building a fair, dynamic, and sustainable market that is free from the arbitrary intentions of any nation. u.s. ambassador to japan, care line kennedy listened to the speech with abe's wife and spoke to nhk in washington. am bar dollar kennedy says his mention of a visit to a memorial of american generals who fought in world war ii was powerful and
she responded to abe's remark how he is committed to upholding the view expressed by previous prime ministers regarding world war ii. >> i think this speech was to the american congress primarily and he did touch on regions and relations and he is committed to improving relations with japan's neighbors. >> and american lawmakers reacted. steve koen said that the prime minister expressed the importance of the u.s.-japan alliance clearly. the congressman also had this to say. >> i think his recognition of the deaths and sorrow that world war ii caused was historic and appropriate and his reference to women was also appropriate. while he could have gone further he wednesday a goodly distance to be commended. >> republican senator john mccain released a statement praising abe. he said he was grateful for his expression of respect. and welcomed the strategic guidelines and said that japan will be a proactive contributor
to peace. emergency workers in nepal are trying to distribute relief supplies to survivors living outdoors. the number of deaths from saturday's massive earthquake has risen to above 5,000. police say they have confirmed 5,266 people have died and more than 10,000 others are injured in nepal alone. the total number of deaths has topped 5,300, including victims in india and china. in the hardest hit district in central nepal, people who have lost their homes are living temporarily in a square. they are using makeshift tents to ward off rain and the cold. >> translator: there are after shocks. rain doesn't stop. we're in devastated conditions. what we really need is food and tents. >> the first group of japan's self-defense forces is in nepal to join the ongoing rescue work. a team of 22 members including medical staff arrived on wednesday night at the international airport in the capital kathmandu. they brought medical and other supplies.
the nepallies prime minister visited areas in kathmandu devastated by the quake. [ speaking foreign language ]. >> people have expressed anger saying the government has been slow in responding. and now in business, japanese government officials released the key economic indicator. ai uchida has more on that. ai, what are you seeing? >> we are hearing from the economy ministry officials. they have the industrial output for us. and this we call this a key indicator because japan is home to so many manufacturers and the latest data show that plant managers are seeing less activity in factory floors. officials say production in march was down by 0.3% from the previous month. this comes after a dip of 3.4%
in february. still, the ministry officials say output is showing signs of growing at a moderate pace. they expect overall production to rise 2.1% in april and then fall 0.3% in may. u.s. economic growth in the first three months of the year slowed more than expected. the downturn is attributed to weaker exports and lower business investment. the latest data from the commerce department shows the preliminary growth figure for gross domestic product is 0.2%, down sharply from the previous quarter's 2.2%. market expectations were about 1%. consumer spending increased 1.9%. that accounts for about 70% of gdp. the growth was smaller than expected due to the effects of cold weather. exports shrank 7.2% in reaction to the strength of the dollar. business investment was down 3.4% as firms rolled back their development investment amid falling oil prices.
market sources say the slowdown is only temporary, blaming it largely on harsh weather. they expect the u.s. gdp will recover and lead the world economy in the next three months and after. and to get an economist view on the weak data we spoke with michelle myers, the deputy head of u.s. economics of bank of america merrill lynch. >> we were largely disappointed by the composition of gdp growth. energy cap excollapsed strongly due to the drop? oil price. it looked like the stronger dollar weighed on economic growth. the trade deficit widened. and those two factors are potentially going to continue to hold back activity into q 2 and perhaps further. in response to the weak data we revised down our forecast for q 2 to 2.5%.
for the full year we are forecasting growth of 2.4% which matches the rate of growth we had seen last year. given the weaker tone to the data, i think all eyes will be on the next few data releases with hope that things do improve. in particular i keep an eye on next week's job's report for the month of april, the march numbers were quite sluggish. the hope is that things pick up and momentum builds again in the economy. policymakers at the u.s. central bank lowered their assessment of the economy but stuck to their policy of a rate hike in a future meeting. the statement released after the meeting says economic growth slowed during the winter months and points that exports declined but that the unemployment rate remains steady. but the policymakers note that these factors are transitory and they expect inflation to rise
gradually to the 2% target. people have been focusing on when the fed will raise its key interest rate which is close to zero. the policymakers say they will raise the rate when they see employment in the labor market and are confident of prices rising over the medium term. combining the assessment with the weak gdp figures market players believe it will not happen until september or later. share prices declined on the weak gdp and the fed statement did not help. the dow jones industrial average fell 0.4%. and the nasdaq fell 0.6% to. see how markets here are reacting let's go to ramin mellegard. good morning. what are we seeing at the open? >> i think we are seeing a combination of a lot of factors you mentioned there, the industrial output numbers from japan and of course the fomc meeting, the weaker gdp numbers
and weaker dollar all playing into what we are seeing for the nikkei. let's have a look at the opening numbers, down 1.5%. 19,760. that is over 300 points. so a pretty weak opening for thursday, april 30th. market players here taking a dovish tone following the monetary policy meeting and the statement followed the weaker than expected first quarter gdp data. analysts are segmenting that the rate hike may come later than a lot of market players had expected. we'll follow that. earnings in japan and the u.s. a big focus for a lot of investors. honda announced weaker than expected profit forecast and a weaker yen is offset by weaker markets in brazil canada and mexico. some of the suppliers for apple's new watch may be hit bay
sharp drop in product supply after apple announced certain faults which may have dented some of the production levels there. so we'll keep track of those sectors too. >> we did see a drop in the dollar after the gdp. what can you tells through? >> a bit of a reaction. the gdp showing the dollar following to its lower level in two months against the yen. but it did bounce back a bit later as the slow down was due partly to transitory factors, one of which is the weather. the euro was up against the dollar highest in almost two months. at one point it was higher against the yen. trading at nearly one and a half month high at one stage. private sector loans in march boosted the euro. now yesterday, most of the other asian markets ended lower. the hang seng fell on concerns
in the financial sector which weighed on the shanghai composite which ended flat. here in tokyo earnings will remain a big focus. we're going to have sony and nomura among the big names who will release earnings today. i'll have a morning wrap of how those shares trade and some of the asian indexes. back to you. >> ramin mellegard from the tokyo stock exchange where the nikkei and the topix are trading in the negative this morning. small communities without high profile attractions often find it hard to draw attention from tourists from people in bungotakada are trying to change that in an unconventional way. they are focusing on foreign visitors by turning back the clock. nhk world's keiko aso reports.
>> reporter: a delegation from south korea is value visiting bungotakada. they came to study the city, which has been remodelled to look like a town during the economic boom of the 1950s. the visitors are experiencing how japanese lived and played in the post-war years. residents in bungotakada have worked hard to recreate this period of history. as part of the town remodelling, owners of this pharmacy removed a sign board, revealing the original design. they also replaced aluminum window frames with old style wooden ones. from old shops to vintage cars the makeover is pulling in tourists from across the country. but more than ten years after
the community revival began, the flow of visitors seemed to have tapered off. satachi okono is on the town revival team. he things that bungotakada needs to focus on foreign visitors. kono is getting feedback on the idea. >> translator: you may get foreign visitors. it would be helpful if you had a list of korean expressions, wouldn't it? >> reporter: shop owners may take some convincing. many have had rare contact with foreign languages or cultures. for kono the visitors from south korea are an opportunity to test out his ideas. he wants to know whether they are interested in the town.
>> translator: even a short explanation can help korean tourists when they walk around here. >> translator: a similar town in south korea is popular. so this town should be too. >> translator: i have learned how south korean verts would see our street so we can proceed with confidence. >> reporter: another way to attract more visitors is to set up more attractions. bungotakada is now teaming up with seven neighbor municipalities to do just that. kouno and his counterparts are putting together long-stay packages for overseas tour its. >> tourists can see a famous castle in this city. there is a temple here and an island here. then, they can come to our retro town. i have a lot of colleagues with the same goal.
we talk and come up with various ideas that wouldn't be possible if we were doing this separately. >> reporter: this town is determined to keep up with the times. offering baby-moon nostalgia and some old-fashioned holespitality, keiko aso, nhk world, bungotakada. more for you next hour on business. here's another check on markets.
some south koreans are embracing a difficult chapter of their history. they are learning more about japan's colonial rule over the peninsula and a growing number of people are visiting a restored japanese town from that era. nhk world's hirotsumi nagano reports. >> reporter: this is a fishing town with a population of 9,000. its streets are lined with traditional japanese houses. the village is crowded with visitors from all over south korea. one attraction is trying on a kimono. this cafe serves matcha green tea. last year, the town received
120,000 visitors, many of them young people. >> translator: it's just like becoming an idol or a japanese girl. i'm having a magical experience. >> reporter: during japan's colonial rule, japanese fishermen moved here as it has rich fishing grounds. the town bustled with life. after the end of world war ii, all the japanese left the town. over time, many buildings aged and the town became deserted. six years ago, the city which includes the area started a project to restore the japanese town as a tourist attraction. many structures built by japanese in south korea during colonial rule are being restored. a monument was set up here in honor of a japanese man who
helped build roads and other infrastructure, but as you can see, someone has covered it with cement. there was fierce opposition to the project. many people saw the town as a legacy of colonialism. but city officials argued that the restoration project was needed. >> translator: by preserving this history, we want to make sure that this painful period will never be repeated. our project will make people think about the future. >> this woman supported the project. she's the head of a history museum in the town.
>> translator: i was glad to hear about the restoration project. this japanese town is part of our history. >> reporter: park used to work at the south korean consulate general. she left that job so she could return to her hometown. she wants to use her knowledge and experience to help south koreans better understand japanese culture. despite the chill in bilateral relations many young south koreans are interested in japanese culture and visit guryongpo. >> translator: this town is living history. both cultures are side by side. this place helps people in both countries to understand each other, and i want to act as a bridge between them. >> reporter: the japanese town looks just like it did in old days. for many young south koreans,
this is a way to understand and reflect on their country's history. hiromutsui nagano nhk world, guryongpo. all right. and people in eastern china have seen severe weather in the past few days, but it seems to have tapered off but now they are experiencing rising temperatures. mai shoji has more in the world weather report. >> yes, good morning. we are still talking about some level of instability not as what we have seen through the past few days, especially yesterday, when this image happened across bengbu in eastern china. this isn't snow. this is hail storms. the damaging weather was felt in eastern china on tuesday when a hailstorm tore through the region for up to 20 minutes. a number of villagers were hit with befalling ice.
it destroyed crops and numerous greenhouses. in the worse-hit town, up wards of 2,200 hectares of crops were lost. during transition season it is not uncommon to hear about strong storms in southeastern china but typically the problem is heavy rainfall and flooding. so after this we may see the flooding continue. right now the heavy rainfall is concentrated down to the south in southern china. we are expecting 100 millimeters of rainfall. high pressure system will be predominant making things pretty calm. we do have this summer-like heat revailing across this area. beijing hitting 30 degrees. the daytime heating could produce instability in the daytime and evening hours. generally speaking we're looking at shanghai pretty calm into friday at 25 degrees and showers across hong kong and in taipei.
taipei, these are the areas where we have been seeing severe drought conditions. so this could actually be some welcoming rain. we see a build up of that rainy season already starting now. as for the rainfall into the southern areas, widely spread and also across here in western japan in an hour 76.5 millimeters was observed in kagoshima. that is still going to be likely with thunderstorms also associated with that. southern tip of korean and that's pulling into much of the western areas of japan. we're also likely to see the heat continue across northern locations. the northernmost island of this archipelago is seeing 25 agrees in in sapporo. another summer day. tokyo the same digits here. you can compare that. usually it's about 15 degrees average in hokkaido. beijing you can see 30 degrees and down here in bangkok, april is actually the hottest of the year, but 36 degrees with chance of thunderstorms.
out across here in the americas, generally speaking, pretty calm. we have some disturbances pulling into the northern plains and that's likely to bring some isolated thunderstorms. but we are looking at dreary conditions across the new england states where you have been seeing perfect weather conditions for the past few days. the wet and windy weather will be pulling in. it will be calm about 22 degrees. thursday, 17 degrees with rain in the forecast. we're still looking at some 30s how across los angeles, that's where we really want that rainfall over the severe drought areas. water consumptions are already restricted there but really not rain in sight at all. out across europe, the central locations still looking quite messy with the isolated thunderstorms that will be popping up. that's likely to widely spread into the central locations. but generally speaking the mediterranean area is looking at gorgeous sunshine once again. that's going to be good news for