pyongyang says they put a satellite in or by the orbit. shinzo abe held a meeting on wednesday to discuss the response. they include banning all north korea an ships, even humanitarian vessels from entering japanese ports. there will be tighter control on money transfers to the north and more organizations and individuals will have their assets frozen. the sanctions could also affect nonjapanese nuclear engineers visiting japan. if they visit north korea they could be prohibited from returning. prime minister abe earlier conveyed his plans in separate phone calls with his counterparts in the u.s. and south korea. south korean leaders are
taking a tough stand first time ever. they have shut down all activities in the kaesong industrial park. the manufacturing zone serves as a base for south korean firm. they employ more than 50,000 workers from the north. officials in seoul earlier said they would limit the number of their citizens who could enter the zone from 800 to 500. washington's top intelligence official is raising concerns over north korea's nuclear weapons program. he said the country could begin extracting plutonium from a restarted reactor within a matter of weeks. james clapper says it's
committed to developing a long-range missile capable of threatening the united states. james clapper revealed his annual threat assessment at a senate committee. he said intelligence officials judge that north korea has expanded its yongbyon nuclear complex, and said the reactor has been operating long enough to allow the recovery of plutonium from the spent fuel. north korea said in september that the complex had resumed normal operations. a six-party agreement in 2007 saw the country disable the reactor in exchange for aid. researchers in japan have made a potentially high-value mineral discovery on the sea floor near japan's easternmost islands. they are known as rare earth metals and are used in high-tech products. we look at how the find is raising hopes in the country. >> reporter: this deep sea exploration vessel is on a mission to find rare earth metals. it is heading to japan's ocean floor, 55 meters below the surface. it eventually finds a deposit deeper than ever before. it brings back samples and
scientists say there's a lot more from where they came from. >> translator: we hope to make japan a golden country. >> reporter: one of the metals the vessel found is cobalt. it's in high demand, being indispensable in manufacturing lithium ion batteries. smart phones and electric vehicle motors. much of it comes from africa but political instability there makes supply and cost unreliable especially in the republic of congo. it is the world's largest exporter of the metal. manufacturers hope the price fluctuations will decrease if it is extracted in large quantities in japan. it's likely the deeper they go, the higher the density of metal. giving researchers in japan hope.
>> translator: it's safe to say the quantity of rare earth metals will substantially increase. japan could become a resource-rich country. >> reporter: but there's a problem. it's difficult to know where the resources are and in what quantity. researchers from the university of tokyo have developed new technology to carry out surveys more quickly. a vessel can automatically detect the metals using ultrasonic waves making the process much faster. >> translator: in the past it was necessary to individually pick up rocks from the sea bed. it's important to note that new equipment makes it possible to survey wider areas. >> reporter: the japanese government plans to study the cost of drilling technology and setting up commercial operations. but it could be a long time before they can overcome cost and environmental concerns and to make their hopes a reality. nhk world.
analysts at a british think tank say that the asia pacific is the only region to see an increase in defense spending. they are saying simmering tensions in the south china sea and other areas are driving up military budgets. in 2015, asia pacific countries poured $356 billion into defense. china accounted for the biggest share. it increased spending by roughly 11% from the previous year. the philippines boosted its defense budget by nearly as much. manila and beijing are locked in a territorial dispute over the spratly islands in the south china sea. it refers to a runway in the island chain. there is speculation that beijing may use the islands for military purposes. financial markets are in turmoil as worries over the state of banks linger.
stocks in tokyo adds to concern by falling to a key level. we good to our business desk where gene otani is. investors are getting out of riskier assets like stocks. the nikkei average fell below the key 16,000 mark this wednesday. it headed 2.31% at 15,713. all the shares were lower. banking shares continued their downward trend with negative interest rates. the index plunged to a level we haven't seen since october 30, 2014. >> there are persistent concerns over the global economy, the yen is surging and there is growing concern regarding the u.s. rate hike. it's fallen more than 7% in only two days. the broader top
ix plunges. it's really a flight the. the japanese yen is back in focus. it's at its lowest level in more than a year. it may even test 110 yen. the stronger yen would squeeze corporate earnings on the yen. also weighed on sentiment. mitsubishi is down 7% and its arrival mizuho has hit a three-year low. one dealer has said money managers are also increasingly unloading shares in japan. they are looking to cut losses ahead of japan's public holiday on thursday. >> thanks for that report.
some traders bought japanese government bonds as a safer asset and others sold them to book profits. the moves follow the ten-year gdp dropping the first time into negative territory. moving on to other parts of the asia pacific region, some markets are back from the lunar holiday. the ftsti fell 1.57. let's take a look at sydney, dropped by 1.17%. the resource heavy index fell for the fourth straight session on lower oil prices. the under way in japan.
people are flocking to confectionary stores ahead of valentine's day. chocolate makers are never satisfied, of course, they want more customers. and they've come up with mouth watering ways to get them. nhk world's miwako hoshiba reports. >> reporter: chocolate makers start to get creative around valentine's day. some of their offerings stand out. like this necktie, a novel way to get sweet with an office worker. while others need explaining, these are for diabetics. so no sugar and fewer calories. let's not forget flavor. this store sells a range of single origin products that focus on the essential ingredient, the bean.
it imports raw cocoa beans from nine countries. the flavor comes from where the beans were grown. all the production is done in store from roasting to mixing. it takes three days to make one bar of chocolate. >> translator: we want to convey taste and aroma according to the bean's origins. i hope our customers enjoy the differences. >> reporter: almost all the cocoa beans used to make chocolates we eat in japan are made outside the country but one project is under way to try something new. a confectionary maker introduced cocoa beans produced in japan. they have come up with a product that is fruity and mild. the company has teamed up with a
farmer in the ogasawara islands. they have a subtropical climate year round. it is warmer than most of japan but not ideal. to get the optimum temperatures and soil conditions the farmer had to create a tropical environment. after five years he succeeded in cultivating 500 cocoa trees. the product will arrive on store shelves in two years. >> translator: japan has the agricultural technology and skills to create something really delicate. i wa to brinthese tother d create chocola that can win regnition ound the world. >> reporter: japanese eat less chocolate than people in many other developed countries but that all changes on valentine's day. tempted by creativity, sweet lovers just can't get enough.
here's a look at some of the other business stories we're following. ♪ nissan motor has posted record net profits for the first nine months of the current fiscal year just shy of $4 billion. cheaper oil boosted sales of vehicles, including suvs in the united states. the strong performance made up for losses from weaker currencies in emerging markets. executives have kept unchanged their forecast for nissan's total net profit for the year. they are expecting it to be their largest ever. falling oil prices and china's slowdown are is casting a shadow over the japanese economy. prices of goods traded among companies fell in january for the 10th straight month. officials at the bank of japan say the producer price index was down 3.1% from the same time last year. the lower price of oil should please travelers on japan airlines and all nippon airways.
they will drop their surcharges on international fares. tickets for one-way flights connecting japan and north measuring -- america and europe will fall more than $60. passengers from japan and mainland china will get about $13 off. japanese people have spent years in the grips of a deflationary mind set caused by falling prices and wages but i met one ceo who believes that may be changing as more consumers are willing to spend for quality goods. it looks like like a regular camp site. [ speaking foreign language ] >> but this tent is actually pitched on the grounds of a unique company in central japan. the firm encourages its staff to spent time here for r & d and also recreation.
the goods they produce aren't cheap. this tent costs a whopping $2,400, but it comes with a lifetime warranty and customers feel the quality justifies the cost. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: meet ceototoyama who runs snow peak. >> where do the customers see the value in your products? >> we don't think our products are all that expensive. basically, we make things that we would like to use ourselves. we want thanks that will last for years, that are easy to use, and that work well in the field. so we think the prices reflect the value of our products.
>> reporter: snow peak produces many of its products in tsubayu. skilled workers have been turning out goods here for generations. their expertise isn't cheap, but the ceo feels that's what sets his products apart. >> in a way, snow peak is a local brand selling the name to the world. the area, the manufacturing hub of the region. snow peak serves as a platform that brings together manufacturing techniques offered by each company to create products for our outdoor lifestyle culture. this location is critical. if we weren't here, we won be able to do our business. >> reporter: in the 90s, many japanese firms sought out cheaper labor costs overseas, but the ceo stuck to his philosophy. when i asked him if he would
consider producing a cheaper line of goods, he doesn't hesitate with his answer. >> translator: that would undermine everything we stand for. if we made a second brand and sold cheap products without lifetime warranties, we will be the same as other companies. >> instead of looking abroad for answers, he turned his focus to his customers in japan. these days he runs more than five camping events a year. it allows him to market his products. it also gets feedback from core fans. >> translator: my customers told me our prices are beyond their means. they also said we didn't have enough distribution channels, so it was hard to find our products. these were some of the comments they made while chatting around the bonfire. >> reporter: there's a lot of outdoor manufacturers outside of japan. how do you intend to compete with them? >> translator: i've never worried about what other companies in this industry are doing.
we're a team of people who love the outdoor life. we often say that we aspire to be a consumer-to-consumer company. our business approach is simply to continu providisersith thind of value they w't get anywhere else. >> reporter: yamai used the word platform when defining his company. he told me snow peak is that place where customers, product makers have a meeting ground. obviously that's not too far from the outdoors. >> that's it for business news. i'll leave you with the markets. ♪ ♪
the website of japan's national tax agency stopped working on wednesday after being targeted by hackers. the incident follows similar attacks last month on companies belonging to private companies and the japanese government. sections for filing income tax returns and other parts of the website have been suffering intermittent malfunctions for six hours. the site will begin accepting online tax returns in a few days. officials are investigating the incident. the hacking group anonymous have tweeted that it targeted the site. the group said the attack was to protest japan's continued whale and dolphin hunting. officials suspect they may have used a method in which they
overload web servers with massive volumes of data. the websites of the japan external trade organization and a private financial firm were also affected by similar problems on wednesday. tourists from around asia are choosing to spend their annual, week-long holiday in japan. many have already visited the big cities, so now they are looking further afield. nhk world explains. >> reporter: these taiwanese tourists are climbing the steps to a shrine in western japan. they're on vacation for the lunar new year. >> translator: i wish for the safety and happiness of my family. >> reporter: they also learned how to make the famous udon noodle at a noodle shop and taste it on the spot.
>> translator: it's delicious. i'm so happy that i can hand-knead noodles. it feels much more like traditional japan in the countryside. >> translator: the countryside is attractive to our generation. >> reporter: chinese and taiwanese tourists are exploring all over the country. but not all of the countryside seems ready for the huge influx. ♪ >> hokkaido, very good. [ laughter ] >> reporter: the lunar new year coincides with sapporo's snow festival. but at the city's main airport passport control is packed with travellers. the lines snake into other hallways and in some cases, it takes almost two hours to pass immigration.
and there's another problem. all of sapporo's hotels are already full. but that's prompting visitors to venture into areas that have seen few foreign travelers before. an hour's drive from sapporo, around 30% of this hotel's reservations right now are for non-japanese guests. about 400,000 japanese visas were issued in china last month, making this time of the year busier than last. with the growing amount of tourism year round, smaller cities in japan may have to get used to more visitors. oftentimes the real japan can be discovered off the beaten path. thanks. time now for weather with sayaka morery who stars off with stormy weather in euro. >>eather has been wild in western europe this week. we have been seeing heavy snowfall in the alpine region and strong wind gusts and giant waves hit the west coast of the continent. let's go to some video from
spain as well as france. giant waves and strong winds battered northern spain. structures along the coast were damaged. a search operation is underway for someone who was swept into the sea on wednesday. winds of 140 kilometers an hour were recorded in france. now storm system is pushing toward the inland locations but the cold front will affect the northern of the iberian peninsula with powerful winds through wednesday and this will cause stormy weather across much of the balkan peninsula as well as parts of turkey in the next 24 hours or so. temperatures will going to be still on the mild size in kiev and athens. in the single digits for central europe, and then quite warm in lisbon at 18 degrees for the high with cloudy conditions on your wednesday. let's go to hawaii. one of the biggest surf of the season will affect the north
coast of hawaii on wednesday. there is a powerful low pressure syst in the norther area and this is extending well to the north and west-facing shores of hawaii. we have high surf warnings in place across these locations. waves could hit up to 15 meters. it is going to be dangerous conditions but good news for many surfers. one of the most famous surfing events will likely be taking place on your wednesday. i know that many surfers have been waiting for this opportunity for years. the last time it took place was in 2009. it is going to be a good one for many surfers. and in the southern hemisphere we are talking about excessive heat in western australia with the highs over 40 degrees on sunday and a heat dome will continue to cover the west. the temperatures will be hot into thursday at least.
the average temperature this time of year is 31 degrees but on wednesday the temperature hit 40.3 degrees and staying warm until your thursday. as we go into the weekend things will be cooling down. that's good news. finally in north america we are looking at dry conditions in the central portion of the continent and snow for the great lakes region. and ohio river valley. 25 centimeters is expected over the next 24 hours. the biggest concern is going to be extremely low temperatures. you could be surprised by looking at the temperatures in fact. minus 15 degrees for the high in winnipeg on your wednesday. you could feel like minus 30 degrees with strong winds and then as we go into the next several days, temperatures cool down further. toronto, the average is zero degrees. but the high could be negative 20 degrees on saturday. cover your skin to avoid frostbite.
a group of japanese researchers will use primitive boats to recreate an ancient sea voyage. they are trying to solve a mystery surrounding the islands that are now part of okinawa prefecture the reseahers belve t ancient ancestors inhabited the islands during the stone age. >> we're trying to replicate the voyage of 30,000 years ago. >> this man is leading the group of arc keyologists and adventures.;
>> welcome back to the france 24 newsroom. time for 60 minutes live around the world. these are the headlines. big wins for the two outsiders in the u.s. presidential campaign. billionaire donald trump comes in first for the republicans in the new hampshire primary. democrat bernie sanders finishes far ahead of hillary clinton. french foreign minister confirms long-standing rumors that he is leaving his job. he's now to head up the highest