welcome to nhk "newsline." it is wednesday, april 13th i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. voters heading to the polls in south korea to pick parliament in a general election. her ruling party's imagine suffered in the run up because of the division of members. all 300 seats in the national assembly are up for grabs. park's party has been criticized for internal feuding between the supporters and opponents and during the selection process. the party is expected to win a majority. the focus is on how many more seats it can add.
the people's party, which split from the main opposition minju party is gaining momentum and on course to win more seats, keeping its promise to break up the two party system. vote counting will begin after the polling station closes at 6:00 p.m. local time. they're expect today be known around 10:00 p.m. chinese advicepre puerto ri prec dialogue with japan. the leader of the two countries had agreed to resume talks earlier this year. he met the friendship organization in beijing on tuesday. sources close to the delegation to the resumption of the japan high level economic dialogue. wang reportedly said politics is closely related, and closely linked to business. particularly high level economic exchanges, and china should
closely watch the direction of prime minister shinzo abe's government. washington is expected to gauge public opinion before deciding whether president obama will visit hiroshima in may. obama will be in japan for the g7 summit. his secretary of state made an historic visit to the city. he was with his counter parts on monday when they visited peace memorial park. he became the first secretary of state to vitz the site where his country dropped the atomic bomb in 1945. while lighti highlighting the significance of the visit. >> it underscored how we need to make every effort to diminish or reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world and pursue peace and diplomatic problems. >> they're discussing many factors around the possibility of i trip to hiro shima, but it
could look like an apology for the bombing. many americans view it at the end of the world war ii as necessary to avoid further massive american casualties. japan's foreign minister refrained from commenting on the potential visit. >> translator: it is important for world leaders to see the devastation of the atomic bombing in creating momentum for a world without nuclear arms. >> he said he hopes to encourage more world leaders to visit hiroshima. officials at the monetary fund are worried about the economy fund. ai uchida joining us from the business desk. what's behind the look? >> they look around the world. they don't like what they see or shall i say they don't like what
they don't see. in their latest world economic outlook report, they say there is just too much uncertainty in the world. that's why they cut forecasts both for raw growth and for specific countries, including japan. now, as for overall growth, the officials have downgraded it slightly to 3.2%. a slight downgrade from their january forecast. they say that the recovery has been weakened by sluggish trade in oil producing and resource rich nations due to china's slow down. the officials say japan, they say that japan will grow 0.5%. now, that is half of what they said last time. the outlook is even grimmer for 2017. when the scheduled consumption tax hike goes into effect. the report says japan is expected to become the only major nation with a contracting economy, as you can see here. mis officials are urging tokyo to adopt the policy and
strengthen structure al reforms. the ims, let's talk about other economies, they've downgraded the outlook on the u.s. economy to 2 point %, the euro to both down 0.2%. china, ims officials did raise the growth forecast for the world's second largest economy to 6.5%. a slight increase of 0.2%. this is in light of beijing's stimulus policy to a rate of 6.2%. the officials say the rebalance and slower chinese economy continues to pose a risk to the global economy. let's check on what is happening with markets. share prices on wall street did end higher, boosted by a jump in
crude oil prices. the dow jones industrial rose almost 1%, tech heavy nasdaq closed higher at 0.8%. let's see how tokyo is kicking off this morning, we're going to go to ramin mellegard. what can you tell us. >> good morning. the price of crude oil surged, and we also saw a rise in the dollar against the yen. which basically should bode well for exporters here. we're seeing that reaction for the nikkei in the first few minutes of trading. the nikkei is up actually over 300 points, almost 2%. let's be exact here. 1.92%. we're above 16,000 for the first time since friday. so pretty positive stuff here. now, a pause in the yen's rise had been enough to step back in the stock market. the nikkei was up on tuesday, and up against, as i said, 1.9%
today. together with the currency movements, crude oil rallied as well, so we may see some gains in energy and commodity related sectors. i'll keep track of those. now, the u.s. benchmark, west texas intermediate crude futures went above $42 a barrel for the first time in four months. that's on hopes of an output cap by major oil producers when they meet this weekend. reports said saudi arabia and russia may agree on sunday when they meet. crude futures also rose more than 4%. now, one focus may also be on shares of motomura, which saw a jump on tuesday on further job cuts. up to 1,000. they say financial markets have forced them to make tough decisions following this of course, we did see shares in the u.s., american deposit he receipts, adrs jump around 9%.
>> what can you tell us about currencies. the dollar/yen big focus meeting coming up later this week. >> that g 20 minister meeting will be a big focus. dollar/yen 108.68. it's hovering around the high. cautious pace of rate hikes in the u.s. according to analysts, japan may look to the g20 that a strong yen may hurt global market sentiment. on tuesday, japan's minister said they may take appropriate measures against excessive currency movements. let's look at the some indexes open now. kospi is on holiday. cause stral yeah is up 0.75%. i'll check the market whs he they open in an hour and a half.
that's all for me. back to you. >> sounds good, ramin. thanks for the update. we'll check with you in a few hours time. they'll ex paneled tpand th reforms, service industries on a trial basis. they say the reforms will cover financial real estate, construction and other sectors, starting next month. they expect the unprecedented tax cuts to stimulate the domestic economy. finance ministry officials said at a news conference saying tax burdens going up. the reforms will eliminate this problem, and reduce taxes by 500 billion juan. that's about $77 billion a year. >> translator: the reform will help rejuvenate companies and improve the economy. at a time when the business environment is becoming increasingly severe.
>> vice finance minister says he aims to achieve stable economic growth. leaders of the group of seven nations will meet in may in central japan. the people of the prefecture see it as a big chance to put themselves on the tourist map. nhk world reports. >> reporter: amateur radio operators have set up in honor of the meeting. >> translator: here is the latest on the summit, standing by. >> these local enthusiastenthus is the abbreviation for summit. they advertise on websites for hand radio users. make contact receives a card commemorating the big event.
>> translator: we are introducing people to the g7 summit, but also, we're acting as tour guides. telling everyone come to miay. >> on this day, they responded to 150 calls. they are planning to operate the service until the summit opens in may. >> translator: the responses have been amazing. so many people are eager to talk with us. we would leeike to be as much hp as possible to bringing more visitors to mie. >> not far away, an auto dealership is gearing up for the gathering of world leaders. it is heading a camper with
special interior. the furniture is made of locally grown japanese cypress. traditional. company officials say the custom fittings have pumped up the price, but they wanted to create a roving ambassador, and it doesn't pay to cut corners. >> translator: we want people to know more about mie's tradition and culture. we'll keep trying to promote the prefecture to the world. >> mie prefecture was the first place in the world to produce cultured pearls for jewelry. the visit might be surprised where they show up. these are pearl oyster shells and pearls. they are the company that makes
it. this is how they did it. they molded the pearls in resin casings before fitting them into their products. some of the gradings are now dressing up a golf course, very close to the summit meeting. >> translator: the most difficult part was to give our products warmth. we want to help support the pearl industry by giving people a chance to see why pearls are so appealing. >> excitement is building in mie. residents hope their promotion campaign starts a movement that lasts well beyond the g7 summit. ginga tamura, nhk world. that's the latest in business.
now it's time for "eye on asia." pyongyang is accusing seoul of abducting 13 citizens, and it demanding their return. seoul says they defected of their own free will. south korean government officials revealed a restaurant manager and 12 female employees arrived last thursday seeking asylum. they had been working at a restaurant set up by north korea in an unidentified country. red cross society has issued threats. it says if seoul does not apologize and send back the citizens, there are be serious consequences. china's foreign ministry says 13 north koreans had been there and had left legally with valid passports. north korea red cross society expressed displeasure. they said they plotted with the country to take them by way of
southeast asia. top officials from the united states and india have agreed to step up military cooperation, amid marty activities. ash carter and indian defense minister announced the agreement on tuesday. logistic cooperation air and naval basis as well as other facilities and sharing supplies. >> we agreed in principle to share and exchange logistics. as has already been noted. which will allow us to do even more. >> carter said strategic cooperation will range from the india ocean to the asia pacific area. >> we will promote peace, stability, and progress in our region and the world. >> he noted the two countries are discussing further cooperation as well.
japan's maritime self-defense force has visited a naval facility on the south china sea for the first time. kamran bay is one of the closely guarded bases. hand in its maritime dispute with china. nhk world has more. >> reporter: japan federal defense are in the bay in vietnam on the south china sea. japan's first port call at the bay is aimed at the current china increasing military activities in the area. it is home to several russian built ship crafts. the natural harbor was turned into a base by the united states during the vietnam war. the russian military occupied it
until 2002. vietnam opened a major newport facility here in march, said to include two the first of exercise will be held. >> we made a port call in vietnam and we plan to conduct drills with the vietnamese navy to promote friendly ties. >> translator: there is no room to criticize any bilateral cooperation as long as it's normal. but if it targeting a third country, it won't serve peace and stability in the region and if it affects china, we oppose it as a matter of course. >> china has claimed small-i
islands and port facilities. it claims almost all of the south china sea as its own. several countries including the philippines and vietnam have claims within the same area. the u.s. has called on china to stop. u.s. war ships have sailed close to disputed islands to demonstrate support for freedom of navigation, drawing criticism from china. vietnam's willingness to the closely guarded military facilities reflects the strategy for countering its more powerful neighbor. nhk world, cam rahn bay, vietnam. thailand on wednesday, the
traditional new year when they break into a water fight. this time around, though, things will be different. the nation is experiencing its worst drought in 20 years. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: during the festival, people soak anyone and everyone, friend, strangers, even tourists. regulars armed with water guns and buckets take to the streets as towns and cities transform into watery battle grounds. but this year, authorities are calling on people to use as little water as the sprinkle splash slogan is intended to spread the message
of saving water. northeastern thailand, feature small holes cut down on the amount of water each time. >> translator: just a little water is enough for people to have fun. many of our neighbors don't even have drinking water. every drop is precious to them. >> one of the areas hit hard dis about this year's drought. farmers are most suffering from the water loss as the drought crisis, rice paddy fields are left uncultivated. >> an essential lifeline in remote districts, since local reservoirs dried up late last year, villages lineup every morning for cooking and drinking water. >> translator: i know that april is time, and every year, we try
to have a little fun. but not this year. we just don't have any water. >> the entering prime minister is urging people to think about marking the new year in a more traditional style. he is suggesting the thais by keep the practice and gently sprinkling water as a blessing and good luck wish. >> this year, we all know we're having water shortages. we a may not ban the festival, but it depending on how people behave. we have to safe water by our safes. >> the festival is much loved by both thais and tourists. the drought is forcing everyone to strike a balance between celebration and saving precious water. nhk world.
that wraps up "eye on asia." belgian investigators say two more people have been arrested for the suspected involvement in the brussels attacks. they believe the suspects rented an apartment for one of the bombe bombers. the taxattacks were carried out the airport and metro station. investigators arrested mohammed a brinny last friday. they believe he brought explosives to the airport. abrini has been linked to the november paris attacks. investigators are working to undercover everyone who was behind the terrorist attacks that left more than 160 people dead in the two cities. authorities in switzerland have confiscated a master piece that was looted by the nazis.
the pan that papers tipped them off and coverup of the ownership. it was allegedly looted from an art dealer. in 1996 it, was sold at an auction in london. they learned the law firm at the center of the panama papers set up the company that acquired the painting. according to media reports, it was established to mask the ownership of the artwork. they stored it in geneva. it is estimated to be worth around $25 million. it is time now for a check of the weather. people in tokyo are seeing gray skies this morning. will the sun becoming outing out any time soon? our meteorologist robert speta joins us for the answer and more. >> it does not look like the sun will be coming out as we go ahead to the rest of wednesday into thursday. in fact, we're looking at some
increase in the precipitation overall across most of japan, already starting into the southern japanese islands where we've been seeing heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms starting to brew up. southwest, towards hong kong, a high wind advisory, all shifting off to the northeast. late morning, afternoon hours, we have the severe thunderstorms out there, parts of okinawa, and it shifts off by wednesday evening, into thursday morning. over to nagoi, have the rain boots ready, an umbrella into your morning commute. it is going to be a wet one out there before things start to change up as it shifts toward the east. overall, it will be definitely some heavy rain. but as i mentioned, things will start to improve. so the sun will start to come back out, probably by thursday evening into friday and saturday. even some above average
temperatures pushing their way into the forecast as well. good news in the extended outlook. manila, 36, partly cloudy skies. bangkok, start of the water festival, thai new year, starting out there on your wednesday, high of 38, hazy conditions for you. take a look over here towards the americas. let's talk about severe weather, really, starting to taper off towards the southeast, new storms forming in western texas. it's already impacted the area. in fact, back here on your monday into tuesday, we had some large hail report upwards of grapefruit size at one location. that's absolutely incredible. winds combined with 112 kilometers. video from the storm system towards the east there into arkansas. this is not from a tornado. it's actually straight line wind that caused this damage. downing large trees, power lines. you see damaged numerous homes
and vehicles as well. even hail up to about golf ball size was reported from the storm. so significant damage coming out of that. really, the severe weather threat as i mentioned from that system is starting to taper off in the southeast. we have more storms in the western texas. that will drift off towards the east. the biggest issue going ahead into the next 24 to 48 hours will be the rainfall. especially in the southern areas, louisiana, mississippi, upwards of 100 millimeters, flash flood advisories have been issued. cooler. chicago with a high of 9. washington, d.c., low teens. rebounding, though, by thursday into friday. so if you want more spring like weather, it does look like above average will finally surge in behind this with sunny skies working its way into the picture. really across western europe, you can see on the satellite picture, strong thunderstorms, paris, high of 17, thunderstorms in your forecast.
this week's global 3000 heads to brazil where we learn how cities can better protect themselves from flooding. in pakistan we meet a courageous woman who is causing a stir in a male-dominated profession. but we start in the usa where there once high hopes for a new trade agreement was become of them? nafta gaffe to there are more than 3000 two hundred multilateral trade agreements worldwide free trade agreements. but what results to the yield? supporters say that greater freedom for companies creates re