here in japan, it's 7:00 p.m. on a friday. i'm james tengan. welcome to "newsline." here are some of the stories we're following this hour. act of defiance. pentagon officials say north korea has launched what appear to be two midrange missiles despite u.n. security council resolutions. toshiba says its u.s.
subsidiaries are being investigated in connection with an accounting scandal. people on japan's northern island have high hopes for the new bullet train line. tour operators are offering some special hands-on activities. and stealing for change. leaders in chi lko tousm traform a strugglg industrial region. defense officials in south korea and the united states say north korea has fired two missiles. they're analyzing the details, but some countries say the launch violates u.n. security council resolutions. officials in seoul say the north launched what appears to be a nodong ballistic missile toward the sea of japan at around 5:55 a.m. on friday. they say it flew about 800 kilometers and landed in the sea of japan. they say pyongyang fired another missile from near sukchon 22
minutes later but that it disappeared from radar immediately afterwards. pentagon officials say both projectiles are believed to be nodong mid-range ballistic missiles fired from a road mobile launcher. multiple missile launches have been confirmed this month. pyongyang fired six projectiles believed to be rockets toward the sea of japan on march 3rd. a week later, the country also fired two short-range missiles thought to be scuds. south korean defense officials believe the north's latest launch is another response to the ongoing u.s./south korean joint military drills. they're on the alert for other hostile actions by pyongyang. north korea's state media reported earlier this week that the country had successfully simulated the re-entry of a ballistic missile into earth's atmosphere. it also said leader kim jong-un ordered preparations for the testing of a nuclear warhead and trial launches of ballistic missiles. japan's prime minister shinzo abe has instructed
relevance ministers to coordinate closely with the u.s. and south korea. the national security council met shortly after the launch. abe instructed his ministers to do everything necessary to gather and analyze information, secure the safety of aircraft and ships and offer information to the public swiftly and appropriately. foreign minister fumio kishida also addressed the issue. >> translator: this is clearly a violation of the u.n. security council's resolution. i strongly condemn north korea for its escalation of provocative acts. >> the foreign ministry issued a complaint against the north through diplomatic channels. and nhk has learned that the japanese government issued a missile interception order in anticipation of more missile launches. the self-defense forces are preparing to send an aegis ship to borders around japan as well as deploying surface-to-air pac-3 missile launchers.
u.s. states department john kirby said that north korea should refrain from conducting acts that will raise tensions and fulfill its international responsibilities. the statement also said the u.s. will fully carry out its responsibility of defending its allies, japan and south korea. south korea's chief envoy on north korea's nuclear program has flown to discuss it with his chinese counterpart. he arrived on friday for a meeting with china. >> translator: we will share our stances toward north korea's provocations and threats. i intend to discuss ways to change the north's thoughts and actions through the steady implementation of u.n. sanctions. >> kim says the international community should focus on putting pressure on the north, adding it's premature to discuss the option of dialogue with
pyongyang. earlier we spoke to an expert on north korea for his thoughts. >> the timing is very significant. the ballistic missile firing came the day after additional united states sanctions on pyongyang. kim jong-un tried to show off the missile-striking capabilities in defiance of toughened sanctions. and a surprise firing from a road mobile launcher near pyongyang is a critical point. the launches can be easily hidden and are undetected by satellite. in the past, they have exposed their preparation on launch pads. the provocation is the latest display of self-claimed nuclear-striking power targeting the united states. kim jong-un's strategic calculations may further escalate military confrontation on the korean peninsula. pyongyang can stimulate beijing
to jump in to tone down tensions with the frame of six-party talks for denuclearization, inserting compromising a peace treaty deal. today's launch holds significant consequences for ballistic missile defense in the region. north korea's mission now constitutes a direct threat not only to south korea but also to japan and the united states. overall, pyongyang will intensify military tension with unexpected provocations, full-scale, before the seventh party congress in may. kim jong-un ordered nuclear-tipped missiles to fire at any time. unlike pyongyang's typical saber-rattling during the annual united states/south korean joint exercises, the anger level has increased this year.
no doubt pyongyang is improving its nuclear and missile capabilities, but the real threat comes from kim jong-un's strategic misjudgment. the tri-lateral cooperation and collaboration among washington, tokyo and seoul is a mandatory countermeasure against those threats. a syrian man says he's working to secure the freedom of a japanese journalist being held hostage. the man claims to be in contact with militants holding yasuda, and he says he will be released if japanese officials agree to negotiate. footage of yasuda was posted on social media on wednesday. he went missing last june after traveling to syria to cover the civil war. yasuda is believed to have been taken by members of the al nusra front, an al qaeda-linked militant group.
staff members at nhk's cairo bureau spoke on the phone with the syrian man who says he received the video from al nusra. he declined to disclose yasuda's whereabouts out of concern for his safety. a professor is an expert on the middle east. he says the video. doesn't include specific demands so negotiations for yasuda's release have probably not begun. japanese officials are analyzing the video, trying to understand why it was posted. sources say the government has received proposals from people volunteering to act as go betweens with the hostage takers. a japanese official is set to take on a key u.n. role. diplomatic sources have told nhk the u.n. security council has
approved the appointment of y yamamoto as secretary-general for afghanistan. he's been serving as special representative since 2014. in his new position, he will also head the u.n. assistance mission in afghanistan. he previously worked for japan's foreign ministry. yamamoto steps up to the post as security deteriorates. there are increasing number of rebels joining the group. officials at toshiba have unveiled a plan to rescue the firm from financial trouble. gene otani has that and the other top stories from the world of business. >> thanks, james. toshiba is trying to streamline its business following accounting scandals. executives at the struggling japanese company say they aim for a turnaround by focusing on its core semiconductor and
energy businesses. toshiba announced its business plan for the group for fiscal 2016 on friday. >> translator: we want to regain trust and see the company reborn by making steady progress in our business. >> the company officials are aiming for a net profit of about $360 million. last year toshiba downgraded its group's pretax profit over the past seven years by about $2 billion after its accounting irregularities were revealed. the company has said it will sell its medical business as well as refrigerator and appliances business. they also plan to cut 13,800 jobs and suspend recruiting new graduates. toshiba plans to invest nearly $8 billion over the three years into the production of 3-d flash memory chips for smartphones and other products. in the energy sector, the
officials aim to win new orders for 45 nuclear power plants in emerging countries and elsewhere during the next 15 years. news of the turnaround plans came as toshiba officials announced that it its subsidiaries in the u.s. are under investigation. the move is in connection with the company's accounting scandal. the officials say the u.s. subsidiaries have been asked by the department of justice and securities and exchange commission to provide details about their accounts. the subsidiaries include westinghouse. toshiba officials say they cannot comment on the investigation but that they would immediately disclose the outcome, if necessary. westinghouse wrote down losses of about $1.3 billion in assets in fiscal 2012 and 2013. however, the details only became known after they were pointed out by officials at the tokyo stock exchange. minutes from the bank of japan's last board meeting show that policymakers discussed
further expansion of quantitative easing, but they instead decided on the negative interest rate policy. the decision in january was a close call. five were four while four were against. many called for additional easing to prevent people from hanging on to their deflationary mindset amid global market volatility. the boj officials presented two possible scenarios. one was the neglect tough interest rate policy. the other, a further increase in liquidity being pumped into the markets. many policymakers said a negative interest rate would be desirable, b aew expressed concern. the boj says the negative interest rate policy has been effective in pushing interest rates on housing loans lower. but the bank also says it would be some time before consumption and capital investment are boosted. checking the markets, share prices in tokyo posted another weekly loss as the stronger yen
weighed on exporters. for more details, we go to our business reporter, giang nguyen, at the tokyo stock exchange. >> reporter: well, the yen's persistent strength is a concern to investors here, and it's prompting some analysts to look to the bank of japan to increase stimulus at its policy meeting in april. let's see the closing levels this friday, march 18th. the nikkei closed 1.25% lower at 16,724. the broader topix also lost about 1%. the nikkei also lost 1.25% on the week, posting its second consecutive weekly decline. the dollar has fallen below the 111-yen level, hitting its lowest since october 2014. the dollar weakened against major peers after the fed hinted the rate hikes this year would be more gradual. so traders are hunting for safe-haven assets like the yen and japanese government bonds. yields on the ten-year jgb hit a record low at one stage.
the yen's appreciation weighed on share prices, like carmakers. toyota and nissan ended lower. and denso retreated more than 3%. toshiba rose more than 4%. shares recovered on some optimism the company is making progress in restructuring. but japanese stocks clearly underperformed other asian markets. the stronger yen is weighing heavily on sentiment. giang nguyen reporting from the tokyo stock exchange. >> thanks very much for that report. moving on to other markets in the asia-pacific region, let's take a look at shanghai. gaining by 1.7%. 2955 is the closing number there. sentiment improved as the yuan climbed to a three-month high against the dollar. the index rallied more than 5% on the week. let's take a look at indonesia. the index there little changed. 4885 the closing number, ending flat, one day after the central bank lowered its key interest rate 25 basis points to 6.75%. third rate cut this year.
hong kong's hang seng index gaining by 0.8%. it closed at the highest in more than two months led by gains in casino operators. sydney up by 0.3%. higher commodity prices gave a lift. here's a look at some of the other stories we're looking at. officials at the tokyo stock exchange say the net value of shares sold by foreign traders last week hit a record high on the back of a strong yen and china's slowdown. sales exceeded purchases by nearly 1.2 trillion yen, or about $10.7 billion. the previous record was the week of black monday in october 1987 when markets around the world crashed. chinese officials say new home prices in february rose in more cities than they fell, marking the fourth straight month of increases. demand has grown due to government measures such as interest rate cuts and easing of housing loan regulations.
meanwhile, scores of condominiums remain unsold in provincial cities where prices continue to sag. people on japan's northern island of hokkaido are hoping the new bullet train linked from tokyo will bring a big increase in tourists. travel companies have created activities that take visitors up close to traditional culture, preparing for the new arrivals. nhk world's jun takahashi has more. >> reporter: visitors from south korea make their way to the fish restaurant in a port city in hokkaido's south. they get some pointers from the chef, then try putting them to use. managers at a local hotel are trying the hands-on experience. they want to give guests a taste of the seafood and also some
insight into an ancient cuisine. >> translator: very tasty. >> reporter: nearly 350,000 foreigners make their way here every year. most come in tour groups from mainland china and taiwan. the new bullet train launching march 26th will make it easier for people to come on their own. >> i think it's very useful because it will much cut the time. >> reporter: many firms are exploring ways to capitalize. staff at this tokyo-based travel agent sell packages to hot spots all over the world. now they are setting their sights here. >> translator: fishermen have started offering cruise tours.
they're using fishing vessels, which is unique. >> translator: making it easier to travel is the key to expanding the market for tourist activities. so we're taking a close look at ways we can take advantage of the new shinkansen line. >> reporter: managers at the agency are checking out us potential. she visited an inn that's more than 80 years old. the chef wants to offer shops where guests can try making soba buckwheat noodles. >> translator: the noodles should be as thin as this one coin. >> reporter: the chef used the down to let the guest better grasp how thin the noodles should turn out. >> translator: well done. see? you touched the coin.
that means it's thin enough. >> translator: i should have worked a bit harder. delicious. it's a very special experience. the chef speaks a little english, which i think is enough. it's even better than being fluent because it makes the experience more authentic for tourists. >> translator: the growing interest is thanks to the shincansen. i want tourists to actually see and experience what we can offer. >> reporter: business owners in hokkaido say the train link can't come soon enough. travel agencies are also keen to reap the rewards. both are poised as numbers of japan hit record highs. jun takahashi, nhk world.
>> thanks very much for joining me on biz. i'm going to leave you with the markets. chinese leaders are struggling to turn out the flagging fortunes of the nation's rust belt. they're trying to find jobs for millions of unemployed workers who once filled what are now called zombie factories, state-owned enterprises laden with overcapaty, debtnd deining profits. nhk world's takeshi tagawa
supports. >> reporter: china's largest steel production center lies in this province. a main avenue in the town bears the name. but that nickname no longer applies. the region is a front line for structal refor and peoe are ruggling hureds of worke descend outside a local vernment building. they say they e not beg paid. the town's key steel mill has suspended operation.
its 7,000 employees have been put on indefinite leave. this man in his 20s worked there. he has snowballing debt to cover living expenses and medical fees for his sick child. >> translator: i haven't been paid for six months. my family cannot even afford to buy food. it's really tough. >> reporter: many shops once patronizedy workerhave bee forced to close. >> translator: we're in the red. our sales are only a fraction of what they used to be. >> reporter: local authorities are trying to promote other industries. mountains in the province have been earmarked as a promising tourist destination. officials say the landscape
resembles the fabled kingdom of a monkey king. the mythical figure with powers appears in the classical story "journey to the west." >> translator: we call that rock our monkey king. >> reporter: locals point to how the rock resembles the monkey king. as the boulders represent his chair and bed. officials have installed street lamps to maybe the area more tourist friendly. they also plan to widen roads and improve internet access. but donkey ride operators say it's hard to find customers. about many residents are questioning the government's new focus. >> translator: tourists rarely come in winter. sometimes we see not a single visitor over a whole month.
>> reporter: experts say authorities must focus on creating new jobs if they hope to revive the local economy. >> translator: the society will be destabilized if relocation of laid-off workers doesn't work well. authorities must come up with an effective solution to all problems. >> reporter: leaders in beijing are pulling out all the stops to fix struggling industry. they've put up a sizable fund to help jobless workers. but the outlook remains unclear, as increasing numbers of people find themselves out of work. and down on their luck. takeshi togawa, nhk world. a kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for a
deadly car bombing on sunday in the turkish capital of ankara. 37 people were killed in the attack. it's the city's second suicide bombing in a month. turkish authorities say a woman in her 20s carried out the suicide attack in a busy commercial district. the kurdistan freedom falcons militant group posted a statement claiming responsibility. the group was also behind the car bombing last month that killed 29 people. following sunday's attack, the turkish government conducted air raids on kurdish militant caps in iraq. a winner has finally been declared in missouri's tight contest as part of the race for u.s. democratic presidential nominee. hillary clinton is the confirmed winner by a razor-thin margin. that means she won all five primaries for the day dubbed mini-super tuesday. u.s. media reported on thursday that clinton's rival, vermont senator bernie sanders, conceded defeat. the two had been in a tight race in the state.
clinton won 49.6% of the votes to sanders' 49.3%. sanders says he will not seek a recount. clinton's victory had already been confirmed in north carolina, florida, ohio and illinois. four states that held primaries on tuesday. sanders has gained support among young voters. and despite trailing clinton, he does not appear ready to suspend his campaign. on the republican side, tuesday's race in missouri still remains too close to call between front-runner donald trump and texas senator ted cruz. while we're on the subject of the u.s., let's see what weather conditions are like there with jonathan oh. >> hello. i don't think there will be a break coming up on friday, at least for the southern portion of the united states. we have a stationary front that continues to linger over the area. and that's going to be the instigator of more storms as we go throughout the day on friday. just to set the scene of what this thing has already done, on thursday, we received two tornado reports, one in texas,
one in mississippi. 52 wind reports. and 65 hail reports when it comes to this particular storm. and that stationary front continues to remain along the gulf coast of the united states. as it continues to move over the area, it's going to interact with the cold air from the north and the warm air from the south. that clash will lead to the strong probability of thunderstorms especially around eastern texas into louisiana and mississippi, so be on the lookout for the storms as we go throughout the day on friday. still seeing some showers up toward the north and east into toronto and new york. and back toward the west, snow was falling into denver. a high of negative 2 coming up on friday. we also have some unstable weather the sthern ptions of europe. look at this particular area of clouds that continues to spin over italy. it has been there for the past few days. it will continue to remain over the area, bringing showers into the balkan peninsula and also into italy. and then back toward the iberian peninsula, a low-pressure system is coming on shore. that's going to bring some
>> i am molly hall. here are your headlines this hour. it is crunch time in brussels. the eu and turkey try to reach a deal on the migrant crisis. they hope to finalize a pact with the turkish minister in the coming hours. brazil's political drama continues after antigovernment protesters of the embattled leader called for rallies today. north korea