hello. you're watching "newsline." i'm keiko kitagawa in tokyo. a u.n. investigator said kim jong-un should be officially told he could be held responsible for crimes against humanity. the special monitor of the north korean human rights association, in a new report he asked the international community to find ways to bring north korea's leadership to justice and recommend the creation of an expert panel on the matter. he's also urging pyongyang to stop human rights violations and engage with japan and south korea over their citizens that were kidnapped by the north. he met with the families when he
visited japan in january. he said preserving criminal responsibility could be a way to free the victims. in december, the u.n. general assembly adopted a resolution accusing north korea's human rights violations, and recommended they should be referred to the international criminal court. but china and russia are against the move. kim jong-un said his country must send more satellites into space. he's calling on the country's scientists to use last week's rocket launch as a springboard to what he called bigger successes. it's thought to have been a cover for a missile test. the korean workers party newspaper says kim attended a banquet in pyongyang on saturday to celebrate the firing of the rocket. they quoted kim as saying he decided to go ahead with the launch because he strongly believes in the country's scientists. he reportedly said struggling against what he called enemies trying to deprive the country of
peace and autonomy will lead to the conquest of space. state-run media have been praising the launch in an apparent attempt to bolster kim's authority. australia is agreeing with japan on the need for additional sanctions. japanese foreign minister fumioey tschida and bishop met in tokyo. bishop stressed the importance of putting pressure on china, which appears to be wary of imposing tougher sanctions against the north. >> we've agreed that china is a key player to restart the negotiations with north korea. >> bishop added that they feel china can use its influence to curb north korea's behavior. the number of casualties continues to mount in syria ahead of the start of a nationwide cease-fire which was agreed to last week. the u.n. said 50 people have
been killed in recent air strikes. one of the attacks was on a hospital in the northwestern province of idlib. seven people died. the facility is supported by doctors without borders, or mss. it includes patients and staff and eight staff members remain unaccounted for. on the same day a missile struck near another hospital in the northern city of azaz near the turkish border. the observatory for human rights said it killed ten civilians including children. observers point to the possibility of syrian government or russian forces as they conducted the air strikes. the areas are controlled by anti-government forces. last friday, world powers including the united states and russia agreed on a cease-fire in syria to begin after a week. it would not include fighting against islamic state militants and other extremists. officials in turkey are
blaming russia for the air strike on azaz. >> translator: as we are holding talks here, russia hit a school and hospital in azaz with missiles, we believe launched from the caspian sea. a large number of children and civilians have been killed. >> a kurdish militia is stepping up its offensive against oh po nents in the area at the turkish border. in response, turkey on saturday started cross-border attacks on the kurdish group which it called a terrorist organization. turkey has also been at odds with russia since late last year when its military shut down a russian warplane. now, officials at japan's central bank are implementing their negative interest rate policy starting today. they're trying to get more money flowing through the economy. ai uchida joins us from the business desk. >> when you and i hear the term interest rates, we tend to think of positive ones and how much
we'd make on money in our savings accounts. now, a negative rate, that would mean we have to pay for that money at that bank. but who wants to do that. so we probably wouldn't keep it there, instead we'd use it to make other investments, or buy things. and that's essentially what officials at the bank of japan are hoping retail banks will do. the boj is applying a rate of minus 0.1% to some current account balances that commercial banks hold at the central bank. in other words, the commercial banks will have to pay a fee on some of the funds they park at the boj. financial institutions have already reacted. they lowered interest rates on deposits and mortgages after last month's policy announcement. this could have a widespread impact on how individuals manage their money. but the lower rates are a double whammy for the institutions. they'll face lower returns in their accounts at the boj, and less revenue from lending. this has sparked concern over the profitability of commercial banks.
their share prices have plummeted. central bank officials estimate the negative rate will initially apply to about $87 billion worth of funds. boj deputy chief said in a speech in the u.s. last week, the new policy is carefully designed to limit the burden on financial institutions. chinese officials say the ratio of bad loans at commercial banks have hit a level not seen crisis. the nonperforming loans accounted for 1.67% at the end of last year. the regulators say they totaled 1.27 trillion yuan, that's more than $195 billion. the figure is up 51% from a year earlier, marking the third straight year of increases. experts say a growing number of manufacturers and other businesses are struggling amid slowing real estate investment and weaker exports. this is causing pain for many lenders. chinese authorities have said
the banking sector as a whole is capable of withstanding the risks, but some analysts say the actual ratio may be several times bigger, citing the country's lax screening standards. they're promoting the consolidation of money-losing businesses as a pillar of its economic policy for 2016. but this is expected to create losses at the affected companies, making it tougher for chinese banks to collect on their outstanding loans. now, let's check on markets. share prices here in tokyo opened lower this morning. the nikkei index soon entered into positive territory. some are selling while others are buying on a weaker yen. let's check on the levels right now. the nikkei is back in the negative. down .6%. 15,922. at the open, investors booked profits after the index added a whopping 7% yesterday. that's the biggest gain since splt. september. some major exporters are higher on a weaker yen.
let's check on currencies. the yen weakened more than 1% against the dollar monday. many regained their risk appetite and selling safe assets like the yen. that comes after stock markets showed a strong rebound. the euro extended its fall against the greenback after european central bank president mario draghi said the ecb is, quote unquote, ready to do its part, hinting it may decide on further easing measures at its march meeting. let's take a look at other markets currently open across the asia-pacific. a bit of a mixed picture. australian shares are down by .6%. the kospi is up by .6%. preliminary figures for the last quarter of 2015 showed japan's gdp contracted by 1.4% in annual terms. one of the main factors was a drop in domestic consumption. a closer look reveals a disturbing trend, disposable income is declining and young working households are hurting the most.
nhk world's yuko fukushima reports. >> reporter: retailers across japan are reporting a slowdown in business. the manager of this hardware store says sales are at the worst level in ten years. >> translator: sales are about 10% lower than a year ago. spending by young people is plummeting. we are counting on elderly customers, or those in their 40s or older who can afford to spend. >> reporter: among those cutting spending are the sato family. they are in their 30s, both work and they have two children. they say their disposable income is shrinking year by year. one reason is the increase in social insurance costs. >> translator: monthly health insurance premiums rose from 106
to $115. >> reporter: income tax and pension premiums also climbed. these payments are withheld from his monthly salary. the deduction last month was up 5,000 yen from a year earlier. that's nearly $45. >> translator: the heaviest burden is probably the pension premium. >> reporter: a >> translator: although salaries have barely changed, pension premiums are rising so we have to lower our standard of living. >> reporter: a look in the garage reveals one change. they've replaced a car with a smaller model to reduce running costs. >> translator: the smaller car should help reduce taxes. and insurance premiums by about $260 a year. >> reporter: the satos are not alone. according to a government survey of working households. this data for november excludes
pensioners. income declined slightly from one year earlier. at the same time, deductions from wages, that's social insurance costs and taxes, rose. that pushed down disposable income. that caused people to tighten their purse strings and the result is a decline in consumer spending. at the supermarket, the satos are working hard to reduce their food bill. they are eliminating all unnecessary items. transpo >> translator: it's so expensive today. >> reporter: she plans a weekly menu around the cheaper ingredients. and looks for the discounts. >> translator: i often end up preparing dishes with inexpensive ingredients. now i wouldn't think of buying this or that to cook a special dish. our tight budget does not allow it. >> reporter: what concerns them the most, the hard times show no
sign of ending. a research institute compiled this data on household budgets from 2011 to 2015. it shows a slight rise in incomes in working households in four years, up around 2%. but the deductions rose much faster. taxes jumped more than 7%. and pension and health insurance premiums posted a double-digit increase. an economist said japan's social security system places too much importance on benefits to elderly people. he says that's weighing on the nation's economy. >> translator: i believe japan needs policy reforms to distribute more resources to working people, child-rearing families, and younger people. foreign investors may not be attracted by the course japan is taking, with the social insurance and tax burden
increasing. people spending only the minimum and vitality being lost. we need to think very hard about ways to prevent our country from becoming such a gloomy, aged society. >> reporter: the ballooning cost of social security isn't even discussed in japanese politics. so it's likely to continue pressuring young households, and in turn, to remain a headache for japan's economy. yuko fukushima, nhk world. thailand has also come out with gdp figures. they show growth for the last quarter of 2015 slowed a bit due to weaker exports, which account for two-thirds of the economy. gdp grew 2.8% for the october-to-december period from a year earlier. that is slightly lower than the 2.9% in the previous quarter. sluggish exports in the face of china's slowdown weighed on growth. that was despite fiscal stimulus
asawa conducted in central japan. he said the performances were fruitful and enjoyable. he wants to share the joy with the performers. he said the music director of the boston symphony for nearly 30 years. he's won accolades for his performances with the berlin philharmonic and other leading orchestras. the 80-year-old conductor has been nominated for a grammy multiple times. this is his first time winning. the foreign ministers of japan and russia laying the groundwork for a summit between their countries' leaders. their meeting in april is expected to advance peace treaty negotiations over territorial disputes. >> translator: when foreign minister lavrov visits japan, i want to discuss peace treaty negotiations, including the
northern territories and other bilateral issues. >> the two countries haven't concluded a peace treaty since the end of world war ii, because of four russian-held islands which japan claims. leaders in tokyo maintain the islands are an inherent part of japan's territory illegally occupied after the war. taiwanese authorities are confronting a new problem caused by the earthquake in the southern city. they're dealing with sinking buildings caused by liquefying soil. the earthquake on february 6th killed 116 people, including more than 30 children. local media report that in one coastal area, structures sank about one meter. many houses have had their first floor buried. >> translator: i've never seen this before. it's scary.
>> translator: experts say the damage is so bad that the buildings are beyond repair. >> the premier has ordered officials to survey the damage. he plans to have them publish a list of other areas that could face the same problem. the philippines have decided to auction off the jury of one of its most infamous women. imelda marcos, now an elected member of the philippine congress. her treasure trove is estimated to be worth at least $21 million. officials tasked with recovering the couple's ill-gotten wealth say they hope to have the gem on the auction block before june. imelda marcos was known for a lavish lifestyle and for her extensive designer shoe collection. they were seized from the palace after the marcos family fled the
country in 1986. other pieces were confiscated in hawaii where they lived in exile. the government tried to auction the collection in 2005, but marcos contested the move. on february 25th, the country will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the people power revolution. authorities in australia have ceased illegal stimulants worth $900 million u.s. dollars. >> we're here to have the joint operation that resulted in the largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine in australia's history. the largest drug seizures in the country's history. >> they confiscated more than 700 liters of liquid methamphetamine hidden in boxes of bra inserts and art supplies. the goods have been sent from hong kong. police arrested four chinese nationals, three of whom are from hong kong, on charges of making and smuggling the drugs.
methamphetamine smugglers have targeted australia in recent years. they were in cooperation with their chinese counterparts. people in rural china experience the impact of severe income inequality in many ways. one being a lack of access to medical care. many are trying to use smartphone answer, trying to connect to doctors who will discuss and diagnose their ailments. here's the report from beijing. >> reporter: more and more people across china are downloading cell phone apps such as this one. first, they sign up with a medical consultation service. then all they have to do is tap in their symptoms. in just a few moments, they can get a diagnosis.
>> translator: if you want advice from specialists before deciding whether you should go to hospital again, you can tap inquiry, then you can either choose specialists or free inquiries. >> reporter: the people who came up with one of these services are based here in the beijing hub. there are some 40,000 registered doctors from all over the country on their books. that way they ensure every one of their 90 million customers gets help as soon as possible. officials at the firm say on average, it takes just three minutes to get a final diagnosis. >> translator: we've been producing some really good results. pregnant women and children always need reliable treatment. the number of people who use our service is steadily increasing, as our reputation grows.
>> reporter: people in rural china usually wait in long lines for hospital treatment. many are fed up. they are embracing the new way of doing things. more than 110 million people have signed up with this firm in the beijing province, which combines a traditional brick and mortar approach with the power of the internet. a doctor is at each branch to offer a diagnosis. and then if necessary, go online with the patient to consult a specialist. >> translator: doctor, one of our patients has diabetes. i've given him medication, but his blood glucose level remains high.
>> translator: what's his blood glucose level now? >> translator: right now it's 9. >> translator: what drugs is he taking? >> translator: two kinds of drugs for him. >> reporter: the doctors say the medication isn't enough. they decide the patient needs one more drug. >> translator: this is a small town, but now we have access to big hospitals through the internet. it's a great service that's really convenient for people like us. >> translator: i think the internet is helping to the big disparity. >> reporter: patients in most parts of china now have access to nearly a dozen online medical services. they are trying to make up for the shortage of face-to-face support with a new form of cyber care. nhk world, beijing.
coming up next is the world weather forecast with our meteorologist, robert speta. >> yes, let's start down here towards the south with our friends in new zealand. i know they are preparing for a rather potent late summer storm out here. you'll see it on the cloud cover coming in from the west. that satellite picture showing all those brighter cloud tops really pushing in. but if we take a look at the 48-hour precipitation, this gives you an idea of what's to come. some areas down to the south island, just to the west of queenstown, you'll see upwards of 300 to 400 millimeters of total precipitation out of it. back to the north we'll be looking at gusty winds. enough to really blow some things around. already severe weather warnings have been issued across much of the region. especially over to the south island. but if you are traveling in and out of wellington, you might get delays at the airports as well. christ church could see some rainfall on the lee side of the mountains here.
big other thing we'll be talking about with this, though, is the temperatures continuing to drop down. classic cold front moving through queens down here. 25 for your high on your tuesday. by thursday, just 18 expected. let's look to the other side of the world now and talk about what's going on here into europe. in fact, across the british isles, we have a large low pressure area pushing just north of the islands there. that's going to be bringing gusty winds, high gales continuing to impact parts of ireland, towards scotland as well. the tight pressure gradient will be setting up with that. down to the south, another low pressure pushing through the mediterranean. the trough extending through this area. that will bring heavy showers, even some thunderstorms to kick up with it. that's not the first impacts from the storm. in fact, back towards the west, this has already brought widespread precipitation in parts of spain, over to france. we have video coming out of spain. there across the pyrenees, definitely in some heavy snowfall to be had there.
this mountain area saw some very heavy snow. snow plows working consistently there on sunday evening when the snowfall began. the system did bring some big delays in transportation across the mountains, but also in the low-lying areas, we had some severe flooding taking place. and look at that, people just wading through the water there. definitely very dynamic storm system. still potent, still moving off to the east. you'll continue to see the thunderstorms through your wednesday. rome with a high of 16. showers in your forecast. north of that, though, things are on the cold side with the front dipping to the south. berlin and toward paris, still into the single digits. let's look at what's going on across japan. i know the past weekend, we saw some near record-breaking warmth in many areas. tokyo pushing upwards of 20, 24 degrees at times. but it is definitely back to normal. now, we have the strong northwesterly winds continuing to come across the sea of japan, as the open cell cumulus as you
can see on the satellite picture, and that means a lot of snow. in niigata, about 50 centimeters reported in the last 24 hours. if you're a skier, anybody who likes to get out in the snow, the classic sea-effect snow machine will continue to bring much more snowfall. tokyo, i do want to note, dry conditions out here. also toward eastern china, high pressure continuing to dominate. temperatures in shanghai with a high of 10. taipei getting up to 15 there on your tuesday. all right. here's your extended outlook.
>> hello, and welcome to "euromaxx highlights" where we round up the best bits of the week for you. let's have a look whats coming on today's show for you -- time to keep. how the blogger "watch anish" is stirring up the clock industry. time to party how vrot-swaf celebrates being european capital of culture. and, time to sleep. a spaced out hotel in the czech republic the world of luxury watches has always been something of a closed club. but social media is changing that. one blogger who's fanatical about watches has broken into this elite branch.