solemn obligation. the u.s. and israel work together against threats from iran. they agreed on the need to protect israel from iran. they differed on how they would go about doing that. obama is making his first vit to israel as president. >> we agree that a nuclear armed iran would be a threat to the region, the world and a threat to israel. >> obama said he would prefer to resolve the issue diplomatically. he said would in his administration would do whatever ask necessary to keep the iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons. netanyahu thanked obama for reaffirming the right to defend themselves against threats.
>> foremost is iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. >> he said he appreciated u.s. efforts to stop the iranian nuclear program. he said those tools must be augmented by a clear and credible threat of military action. police in south korea are investigating what they suspect is a cyber attack against the institutions.al computer networks at key media outlets and major banks shut down, leaving employees staring at blank monitors and people unable to withdraw cash from atms.
south korea's public broadcasr sa the network thousas of computers. police say two other broadcasters reported similar problems. company officials warned employees not to allow the problem to spread further. spokespersons for shinhan bank say their automatic teller machines stopped working at around the same time. >> translator: i have never seen such a crush before. we are really in trouble as we were suddenly paralyzed. >> reporter: the national police agency has dispatched cyber terrorism investigators to the affected companies. a south korean communications commission official gave an update from seoul.
>> translator: we have confirmed computer hacking puts a malicious program into the network. >> some people in seoul suspect that north korea is behind the latest hacking incident. >> translator: i was a bit disturbed by north korea trying to paralyze south korean companies. >> a south korean defense ministry representative says i.t. personnel have found no signs of any problems with their computer network. he says they have raised their information warfare alert system as a precaution. people in south korea's presidential office have also taken action. a spokesperson says president park assigned her officials to quickly restore the country's affected computer networks to their normal status and find out what caused the outages. government officials in seoul have dealt with several cyber attacks in the past. they overloaded websites with mass iive amounts of data in ju
2009. they confirmed for the first time a cyber attack by north korea. in march 2011 hackers blocked access to the website of the office of the south korean president and other government agencies. they traced the take to a north korean government agency in china. two months later another agency halted atm services at a south korean bank. professor kim jong un says the latest cyber attack is different from those in the past. >> translator: many private firms use shared servers. workers for these companies use the same programs in the same computer systems to nd out emails and access data. if hackers infect such a shared
server with a computer virus, all the firms using the same server will be affected. i think this is what happened today. i think it was an organized crime. because the perpetrators were familiar with our schedule. they aimed for 2:00, when banks carry out most of their transactions before closing time. broadcasting firms assemble materials for programs aired in the evening around that time. the virus was like a time bomb for the computer networks. it took a certain period of time
after the network system was infected for it to explode. i suspect the time lag between the possible infection and today's incident is likely to have been planned to coincide with the north's announcement that it will attack the south. >> north korea's media report that the country's leader, kim jong un has supervised military exercises involving drones and missile interceptor systems, the state-run television chang its regular programming on wednesday evening to report on the drills. >> korean central television
says the country's air force and artillery units proved that they are prepared against any enemy attack. it says veral drones carried out mock attacks targeting ground targets. it also says a missile shot down an object mimicking a low flying u.s. tomahawk cruz missile. kc-tv says kim told the commanders he could issue an attack order at any time if the country's enemies make threatening moves. it quotes him as saying he would give orders to destroy military installations in any war zone and also u.s. bases in the pacific. earlier this month north korea's leadership unilaterally declared that it had nullified the 1953 truce th ended fighting inhe kore war.
engineers at japan's fukushima daiichi nuclear plant say an animal could have been to blame for a power failure earlier this week. the partial blackout temporarily disabled equipment that cools thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods. tokyo electric power company traced the cause of the power outage to a temporary electrical switch board. it's housed inside a truck trailer that crews set up after the accident at the plant two years ago. workers found burn marks on the switch board's terminals and nearby walls. they also came across a dead creature nearby that looks like a rat. they say the animal is about 15 centimeters long. engineers believe it could have touched the terminal causing a short circuit.
they say this could have led to problems with two other switch boards. >> there is a strong possibility that this was the cause but we are continuing the investigation to confirm what really happened. >> the systems that cool spent fuel rods and pools connected to reactors one, three, and four along with another pool shut down on monday. the pools contain about 8500 units of spent fuel rods. their cooling systems are now working. people in the markets are listening closely to what central bank chiefs have to say. good morning. >> it's a bit of a banner week. we have a new governor in the bank of japan.
say. investors are analyzing what the u.s. banks have to say. they will maintain the current levels of economic stimulus. they will continue to support the gradual recovery in the economy until there's clear sign of improvement. the decision was made at a two-day policy meeting that ended on wednesday. they said the u.s. committee is growing moderately. they pointed to continued improvement in the housing market and a rise in household spending and corporate capital investment. the unemployment rate remains high at the upper 7% level. they warned against a fiscal policy stemming from mandatory stemming cuts. fed officials say the bank will continue to eject funds into the market giving these challenges. they are doing this by buying $85 billion worth of mortgage backed security and long term
government bonds each month. they will maintain a near 0% interest rate policy. some federal reserve officials have expressed concern. that month of asset purchases could disrupt markets and bring about higher prices. in a news conference about the second day of the policy board meeting ben bernanke said those risks can be contained. >> the committee considered risks toinancial stability. it will lead some to take on excessive risk in a reach for yie yield. in the committee's view the costs remain manageable. we will take them into account add we determine the size, pace of our asset purchases. >> following those comments u.s. stocks gained ground on
wednesday. the dow jones road more than a third a percent. to see how stocks in tokyo arerare h performing this thursday. markets here will closed. are we seeing positive momentum in tokyo too. markets really took some comfort there from the fed chief bernanke's words. that boosts share prices in the u.s. let's have a look at the opening levels for the nikkei and the topix for this thursday, march 21st. we did have some trade data here. the figures for february and that showed a $8.1 billion deficit and that's the eighth straight month of deficit. that's the trade balance figures for february for japan. let's have a look at the opening levels for the nikkei and the
topix. let me just remind viewers that before we broke off the nikkei went through a pretty volatile twodays due to uncertainties over the bailout plan and it gained 247 points on tuesday as the yen resumed its weakening friend against the euro and the dollar. it's up again today. we pretty much wiped out the losses from monday. we're in the positive so far. >> what can you tell us about currency levels? where do we stand this morning? >> the yen resumes its weakening trend and the euro a big focus are now at the lower 4 y levels. 124.14 to 17. this banking issue overshadows. it's rebounded. traders really taking a bet it
will have less of an impact than originally thought earlier this week. i'm talking about monday. investors will be looking to see european pmi data. let's bring up the dollar/yen. that's trading right at the upper 95 yen levels. fed meeting wpped up wednesdayhe in the u.s. as it's expected the new bank of japan chief will likely call for more aggressive monetary easing measures. traders are betting that the yen will continue on that weakening path. he'll be giving his news conference later today on thursday. market players will be listening closely to any words which will call for an expansion of the current bond buying program which is really the market's want to see if that's going to be expanded or not. we'll see how tt aects currencies as well as stocks after he speaks.
back to you. >> sounds good. let's see about other markets in the asia pacific. people in zimbabwe have voted for change. election officials say about 95% of voters in last saturday's referendum want to limit the powers of any future president. >> i now announce that the draft resolution is declared to have been adopted by the people of
zimbabwe as the constitution of zimbabwe. >> under the new rules all future presidents will be limited to two, five-year terms in office. the parliament will also have more say over the country's governance. the referendum took place after neighboring countries put pressure on zimbabwe where 89-year-old robert mugabe has held the presidency for more than 30 years. the approval paves the way for a presidential election as early as july. mugabe is likely to run against his coalition partner and prime minister morgan vangir people in japan are looking back at a painful period in their history. on wednesday, they marked the 18th anniversary of the attack on tokyo's subway system. in 1995, members of the aum shinrikyo cult carried out an attack. subway officials organized a
memorial at one of the stations the cult targeted. they prayed at 8:00 a.m., the time the attacks began. relatives of the victims went to the remony. they offered flowers for the loved ones they lost. takahashi was among the attendees, she's the widow of a deputy station master who died in the attack. >> translator: 18 years have passed. but i still recall the shock of the attack as though it just happened yesterday. we must keep the memory of it from fading. >> judges on japan's supreme court have finalized death sentences for 13 people for their role in the attack and other crimes. aum shinrikyo's founder is one of the death row convicts.
>> reporte japan's mt famous mounta mountain. lasting just minutes, tourists come from around the world to photograph this moment of beauty. >> we are french. >> brazil. >> germany. >> reporter: a local resident gave advice where to take photos. >> translator: i want people to shoot the best photos of the world famous mount fuji.
photos they can be proud of. >> reporter: her reputation as a photo guide has spread earning her the nickname mt. fuji momma. she has taken 37 pictures of the majestic peak. she documents different faces. she now gets reservation from many countries. a group of tourists arrive from taiwan. she took up photographty three years ago. >> i saw there's an article in the internet. the owners are good at taking photos. i want to learn from her.
>> reporter: almost right away she's explaining how to shoot. >> translator: it should be set manually to 16. >> reporter: the correct settings, the aim is to capture it. >> translator: it disappears like a flash while you're admiring it so push the shutter button quickly. >> reporter: a cloud appears. she knows what to do. she leads a group to a different spot.
you can shoot the mountain in the direction of the lake but only with the aim right. >> translator: lie down. >> reporter: for five minutes what spectacular phenomenon takes place. you can only hear the sound of shutters. >> translator: i got it. >> reporr: the gup is on cloud 9. they captured double diamond fuji. >> translator: that was fun. >> translator: i hope guests take good photos back to their country and encourage other people to come and take more pictures of mt. fuji.
>> reporter: mount fuji momma has plenty of photos >> fuji mama is most likely having a good day today. people in tokyo and surrounding areas are enjoying sunny, clear skies and signs of spring. >> hello to spring here in tokyo. let me first show up a video from a couple of places and to yesterday where temperatures rose to about 21 degrees speeding up the blooming process here. that cherry blooms first appeared last saturday, ten ds earlier than usual. people got out to enjoy the beautiful scenery on this and the flowers are expected to be in full bloom this coming sat. what a beautiful view with the new building. that's the sky tree in the back.
moving to the satellite picture. bad news with the winter coming back to northern japan. it's a very different story here yet again with wintry pressure pattern kicking in here with gusts reaching about 122 kilometers per hour. 30 centimeters of snow is falling. the rest of the country is feeling this gusty conditions. we can still eny the flower season all the way up to may. it should start blooming in a few days. already tokyo has been blooming
but we can still enjoy it for another week. rest of the asia is looking like this with high pressure covering much of the korean peninsula. down toward the south with this tropical depression has formed east and it will be affecting the region until the next couple of days so the risk of land slide, mudslides as well a thunderstorms will be scattered across the country into friday. manila 34 for your temperature and tokyo sinking down to 14 degrees. that's about 10 degrees dropped from a couple of days ago. we're up to minus 9 for your high up there. moving over to the american continent, north america, the pacific northwest has this really potent system moving in. it will be dumping significant amounts of snowfall. about 30 to 90 centimeters is likely in the higher elevations.
that will moving into the northern rockies. the gusts are very strong bringing blizzard conditions. here across the great lakes region also significant lake effect is on its way dumping heavy snow and that will be persisting in southern canada especially southern quebec. new finland gusts will reach up to 140 kilometers per hour. the temperatures are well below your average in new york. down to freezing point and we're looking at winnipeg minus 9. i'll leave you now for your extended forecast.
a reminder of our lead story this hour. u.s. president barack obama said he's committed tprotecting the security of isel from e thats iran. obama made the remarks after meeting with prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> we agree that a nuclear armed iran would be a threat to the region, the world and a threat to israel. >> obama said he would prefer to resolve the issue dip low