a very warm welcome to nhk news line broadcasting to viewers around the globe. it's 10 a.m. in toknd i'm catherine kobayashi. south korea will push forward plans to set up a commando brigade this year to step up pressure on the north. its purpose would be to remove the north korean leadership in the event of hostilities on the korean peninsula. south korea's defense ministry reported the progress of the plan on wednesday to the prime minister. he serves at the country's acting president.
the special force would be tasked with infiltrating the north to take out kim jong-un. initiall2019 was the target year for the brigade, the military accelerated the plan. the south signed an intelligence sharing pact with japan last year. it said would follow up on that accord. it described the agreement as one of the achievements over the past four years, though some members of the opposition are against it. the ministry also hopes to address china's concern over the planned deployment of an advanced u.s. missile defense apparatus. china opposes the terminal high altitude area defense system because it fears it could be used to spy on its military. the south maintained it needs it to deal with threats from the north. the first tuna option of the year has taken place at japan's famed tsukiji market. safety concerns caused a delay at another location. after the ringing of the bell thursday morning, dealers got to
work yelling their bids. the highest of the day went for a 212 kilogram bluefin tuna. it fetched about $630,000, the second highest price in the last 20 years. >> translator: i want a high-quality tuna today. i want my customers to eat it soon. >> it was supposed to be transferred to the waterfront district in december but oil contamination issues have delayed the move. >> translator: we are in the middle of a confusing issue. workers are asking the tokyo metropolitan government to quickly settle >> the renovations could be
ready by later this year. time now to take a look at business headlines. members of the u.s. federal reserve have released minutes of their latest meeting in december. that's when they decided to raise the key interest rate for the first time in a year. let's learn more from ai. uchida. what did they talk about? >> they discussed president-elect donald trump and his policies how they could affect the economy. we're learning that almost all agreed there is a greater possibility the economy could get a boost. as for an economic forecast, participants emphasized their considerable uncertainty about the timing, size, and composition of any future and future fiscal and other economic policy initiatives. but almost all participants indicated that the upside risks to the forecast for economic growth had increased as a result of prospects for more expansion
their fiscal policies in coming years. trump has been pointing to a push for fiscal stimulus such as a huge infrastructure investment. the policy makers pointed out the possibility of raising interest rates more quickly depending on economic conditions. and to get a better idea about future rate hikes, market players will be watching for details of trump's policies. they'll have an eye on rust jobs data on friday. officials say inflation rates are likely to rise in 2017 nearing a 2% target but many analysts are skeptical of the forecast. bank of japan officials expect rates to raise to 1.5% that begins in april. they say the impact of cheap oil prices will lessen and add that the global economy improves based on trump's economic policies. but some private research firms are throwing cold water on the
forecast predicting the inflation rate will likely be between the upper 0% level to 1%. analysts cite uncertainty surrounding trump's policies and point out that japanese businesses are cautious about raising prices as consumers remain reluctant to spend. the boj has been carrying out massive easing measures to achieve their rate target and pull japan out of deflation. the consumer price index fell in november for the ninth straight month. boj officials have pushed back their time frame for achieving the 2% target five times. and now let's take a look at markets. investors reacted with cautious optimism. they found a silver lining in the prospect for more growth under the trump administration. wall street closed higher with dow jones closing just shy of the 20,000 mark. shares opened only slightly higher and remained flat on the first trading day for 2017 on
wednesday. let's take a look at where the nikkei is trading right now and you can see it is dipped in negative territory, down a quarter of a percent, still trading above 19,500. a rebound in the yen is weighing on the benchmark with exporters like car makers and electronics manufacturers seeing losses. let's take a look at currencies. the fed minutes suggest trump's stimulus proposals could cause inflation. you can see it dipped below 117 mark in asian trading, right now trading at 116.3. the dollar retreated against the euro after a pickup in eurozone activity and deflation in december. the euro right now -- the euro/dollar stands at 1.05. moving to markets opened at this hour in the asia-pacific, we're seeing a bit of a mixed picture.
seoul is flat, a touch in the negative. australia, though, is managing modest gains, up more than a third of a percent. china markets will open in about half an hour. officials at toyota motors say they are forming an international consortium for what is known as connected cars. toyota officials say they are teaming up with ford motor to team the group and involves psa groups mazda motor, suzuki motor and panasonic. this will enable drivers to use smartphone apps on vehicle dashboard screens. this will give consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road. automakers are racing to develop connected cars that provide a wide range of services. observers say toyota aims to set an international standard.
well, this week, experts are giving us their outlooks for the global economy. today, a distinguished academic tells us about prospects for china. dean of the university of institute for contemporary china studies governs policy and one of the members who drafted the country's current five-year plan. he told nhk world what kinds of growth can be expected this year. >> reporter: with similar measures in place, he says that growth is not the most important case in the economy. >> we expect china's economic growth rate for 2017 will be 6.5% or higher. most likely, between 6.5 and 6.7, which i think is
sufficient. i'm more focused on what i call three major efficiencies rather than the growth rate. the first is the economic efficiency, which is to see whether our labor productivity has increased and whether consumption is boosting the economy. the second is social efficiency, to see if more jobs have been created which lead to social stability. the third one auto ecological and environmental efficiencies f they are all combined, i think it would be all right even if the growth rate dips below 6.5%. >> one of the biggest concerns is trade. that's because officials haven't been able to meet their goals for several years now. from 2014 to 2015, the government wanted toyota volume to grow 6%. in fact, it dropped 8% from 2015
to 2016. total volume nearing 7% by november. >> translator: we have not been able to hit the target on trade since 2014 and it's also unlikely we can hit it in 2017. the unexpected slowdown of our trading partners is affecting the chinese economy. >> reporter: but he is optimistic. some experts have raised the concerns on the recent increase in housing prices and the possibility of a bubble which shrugs off the concerns. >> translator: there are 1.4 billion people in china. but only half of them live in a big city. so china's potential demand for offices and buildings is great, as people need them to start businesses in the world's largest market. local governments are taking appropriate measures, trying to reduce risks. i think there will not be a real estate bubble like the ones we
saw in japan and the united states. >> reporter: he also talked about the new u.s. administration. >> they are the greatest currency manipulators ever! >> reporter: donald trump has repeatedly accused china of manipulating its currency and has threatened to impose taxes on chinese goods. foo has his own accusations on donald trump. >> translator: mr. trump is not a professional. the u.s. treasury department has denied that china manipulated its currency and if he imposes higher tariffs on all chinese goods, its victim will not be china but american consumers, so such measures are 100% impossible. even if he decides to impose higher tariffs, it probably would be limited only on steel and automobiles. >> translator: foo has harsh words for japan, too.
this year marks the anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations and he says it's time japan views china in a different light. >> translator: i want the japanese media and shinzo abe to recognize chinese power has overtaken japan's and china has surpassed japan in technology and many other areas. if japan knows what is happening in china, japan will realize that there are opportunities and not a threat that change of perception will be the key. >> china's communist party is expected to -- investors are watching to see which direction we will have. nhk world, beijing.
>> that's the latest in business. it's back to catherine now. >> thank you, ai. french authorities are looking into the relationship between a missing japanese woman and her ex-boyfriend suspected of killing her. a month has passed since the 21-year-old went missing in eastern france. french prosecutors say they were searching everywhere and they suspect the chilean man may have killed her after some kind of trouble in their relationship. they have put him on an international wanted list on suspicion of murder. prosecutors told reporters on tuesday that the two first met at a university in japan. they added the pair broke up only recently. they have clues reporting to foul play on the night she went missing. they believe her ex visited her dormitory. the suspect has since returned to his home country. police in india have detained six men in connection with alleged sexual assaults on women who were out celebrating
the new year. warning, the following footage is graphic. the women were in a busy district of the southern city of bengaluru when they were attacked. police denied receiving any reports of the assaults and a senior official in the local government suggested that the women's attire had provoked the attackers. local media reported accounts from the victims and a man is shown grabbing a woman, assaulting her and throwing her to the grount. the six men were then detained on wednesday. sex crimes are common in india. this is the country's technology hub and it had been regarded as relatively safe. the head of the united nations nuclear regulator amano appears to be unopposed in his bid for the third term. the iaea announced on wednesday that the current director general was the only candidate to file before the december
deadline. amano assumed his post in 2009. he's the first japanese to head the iaea. he's been working to improve the safety of nuclear power plants since the 2011 accidents at fukushima daiichi. he has also been involved in iaea efforts to monitor iran's nuclear program. his reappointment will be finalized in japan is facing the challenges of an aging population. ballooning welfare costs and a labor shortage. government officials are trying to tackle the problem by encouraging seniors to re-enter the workforce. it's estimated that more than 2 million elderly people are eagerly and capable but don't have jobs. businesses and local governments are rolling out measures to tap this demographic but they've got some high hurdles to overcome.
nhk reports. ♪ >> reporter: the seats are full and this is no ordinary jazz concert. it's a job fair focused on the elderly hosted by the local government. nearly 200 people turn up to find jobs. most people here are in their 60s and they are seeking work for a variety of reasons. some want to stay active. others want to make a contribution to society that many say they need the money. >> >> translator: i have to work because i don't have much savings either. >> translator: i want extra cash on hand to help me have a richer life. >> reporter: this man is 65 years old. he spent decades working as a restaurant manager at a luxury hotel. he is starting to look for a way to re-enter the workforce.
it's become his daily routine to visit the job support center. he sees many openings for house cleaners and security guards but that's not what he's after. >> translator: there are many jobs but they are not the ones i want. >> reporter: many seniors are looking for white collar jobs but few companies are offering those types of positions to the elderly. one staffing agency is working on a solution for this mismatch. this man is ceo of the agency. he's trying to create jobs for people aged 55 or older. he visited an i.t. firm in tokyo and made a suggestion to the managers. seniors tend to be early risers so why not hire them to handle data entry in the early morning. he call it is a win-win solution. regular workers won't have to work late just to type in data
as seniors get a white collar job, just what many of them are searching for. >> translator: so many of the firms have no experience hiring seniors. we want to come up with successful successful examples so more companies are willing to hire more. >> reporter: this customer support call center recently started hiring seniors. they only used to employ younger people but a staffing agency urged the firm to take a different perspective. he pointed out that many phone calls actually come from elderly people and that seniors may be a better fit to handle these inquiries. >> we realize that seniors have high communication skills and are quick to catch customer reactions. we appreciate these kind of skills in our business. >> reporter: an expert says actively creating jobs for
seniors is crucial in dealing with japan's aging society. >> translator: by 2040, japan's working population is expected to decline by 10 million people. we need to increase the number of seniors who work, consume and pay taxes to deal with the aging society. >> reporter: the aging population is creating challenges for japan, and that leads to ballooning costs enabling more seniors to enter the workforce and will help stabilize the economy for the future generations. nhk world. the japanese government wants to make sightseeing easier for tourists ahead of the 2020 olympic and paralympic games. one way is to use rechargeable
ic cards. the museum art of tokyo has started testing the cards which removes the need to buy an admission ticket. computers recognize the card. users can choose from five languages, including english and chinese for details about the work on display. >> translator: we hope visitors will enjoy japan's superb technology and we hope it leads to the development of various industries. >> the tests will be analyzed in the lead-up to the games. for people who work in the tourism industry, one big challenge is communication. many make efforts to improve their english but for some people in the southwestern city of naga, there's another alternativ alternative. >> reporter: this is a popular area for boat cruises because of its scenery.
so they are encouraging people to use simple japanese. a lot of tourists from other asian countries are interested in japanese culture and learning their language. officials started holding classes for people in the tourism sector and they are saying that it's okay to use simple phrases. after the class, this boy wanted to try out what he he said he began to be more confident at his job.
he says he now realizes that hospitality not only language skills is what matters. the people of this area are trying to get over their shyness and create a more friendly environment. nhk world, yanagawa. >> sometimes all you need is a smile. millions of people in china are covering up their smiles. they are spending their first week of this new year under smog. robert speta is joining us for
more. >> there has been haze really reducing that air quality, especially around the beijing area. unhealthy to hazardous. aqi indices have been ranging in here. the high pressure makes for clear and sunny skies but sets up the atmosphere to not get much stirring in the air and we set up the inversion. so over the next several days even, we have red alerts being issued out there. whenever you get the areas in the red, typically schools are closed down and businesses are shut down and people are asked to stay indoors and visibility is reduced. this is going to be something we're watching over the next several days. you can see rain down here and there is a low pressure area developing and that's what we're talking about. we see the stirring of the
atmosphere. down towards the south, we have rain on and off and it's going to improve the air quality. in beijing we have snowballs with that that will stir up the atmosphere. it's not as bad as beijing but there's still haze in the forecast. it's exceptionally cold, too. the cold air is not always bad. sometimes it can be good. i'll show you video at this festival that just started on tuesday. the ice festival there. this is the 33rd annual one. it's quite famous. absolutely massive. you can just see these ice sculptures. over 100 activities planned as well including this ice slide. that looks like absolute fun there. and definitely a gorgeous sight if you are visiting that area. where this cold air is coming from, by the way, is siberia.
you can see rain moving over this area in northeastern china but to get a perspective of how cold it's going to get, it's diving down towards the south and even into the tokyo area, we'll look at subzero temperatures. not as cold as hardinbut sapporo at minus 7 and tokyo, subzero temperatures. still on the chilly side. a bigger picture, down towards the south, taipei with a high of 27. in the tropics, rather warm. but thailand has seen rain and it's caused flooding. we have a tropical low developing just towards the west that enhances the monsoonal flow and there's a threat of additional flooding out there. if we look out here across europe, especially eastern europe, we have a large low
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