it's 7:00 p.m. on a thuhursy here in tokyo. i'm james tengan. here are the stories we're following this hour. a new approach workers flipped a switch on the fukushima ice wall to try to block the flow of contaminated water. summit preparations world leaders are gathering in washington for the nuclear security summit.
the focus will be on preventing nuclear terrorism. tackling intolerance. a government report says discriminatory actions against for rerns is rampant. work that's begun to free soil around the fukushima daiichi plant. tepco started the work on thursday after the nuclear regulation authority gave the go ahead. workers began pumping liquid of minus 30 degrees celsius into underground pipes around the buildings. tepco says they will freeze the soil in phases. the first phase will use 1,000 of the 1,700 pipes. engineers will monitor groundwater levels to stop the ice wall from dropping them too much and allowing the radioactive water to leak from the buildings. a project of this magnitude has
never been down before. tepco explains now they are navigating in unchartered territory. >> reporter: kyoto electric power has big plans but with complicated problems comes large doses of doubt. reduce contamination of ground water at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. tepco officials have taken steps to lower the volume. they started by pumping away ground water before it reaches the reactor building. also built a steel wall near the shore to keep contaminated water from flowing into the sea. now it's time to try the ice wall. officials say once completed it will drastically reduce the flow of groundwater into the reactor. steps are already in place. the wall will reduce it from 400
tons to 50 tons per day. so far pipes extend 30 meters into the ground. if all goes according to plan a 1.5 kilometer wall of ice will be created. construction of the wall began about two years ago. but the nuclear regulation authority hesitated to give the go ahead. tepco plans to free the wall upstream from the reactor. it raised concerns that the wall could push ground water lower and cause contaminated waters to leak out from the reactor building. tepco decided to build the ice wall first. then free the ground upstream in stages. tepco hoped to complete the ice wall by the end of march. but the regulator has only now
given green light with caution. >> translator: the project is a first-ever and a big challenge. it's important that tepco take steps to monitor its progress and continues to collect data. >> reporter: tepco officials have been waiting for this moment. >> translator: i'm very thankful we can off terrify ice wall. it's the biggest and last remaining option we have to tackle the problem of contaminated water. >> reporter: but some people doubt the $300 million plan will work. >> translator: the frozen soil will melt on its own if it's left on its own. it could melt one day. what do they do if some parts don't freeze. ideally it should be a solid wall that lasts a long time. >> reporter: tepco says it will take about six weeks for the
wall to start functioning. whether or not it functions as planned remains to be seen. world leaders are gathering in washington for a summit dedicated to preventing the use of the most destructive weapons. the nuclear security summit will focus on terrorism threats, and it takes place in the shadow of the brussels attacks. security is tight around the convention center and hotels where the leaders will stay. they will spend two days discussing ways to prevent terrorists using nuclear materials. white house officials say it includes the growing menace of the group islamic state. >> it would be very dangerous and deeply troubling if isil was able to get its hands on nuclear material. >> on the sidelines of the
meeting, abe will attend a trilateral summit with park and u.s. president obama. it's the first meeting of its kinds in two years. abe said he will confirm his cooperation with them against north korea, which has continued nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. abe will also hold separate meetings with park to improve bilateral ties. that's the first since tokyo and seoul agreed to settle the issue of comfort women. a global defense information firm says north korea's nuclear missile development is more advanced than previously repoported. ihs released its analysis of images and gave a technical assessment of north korea's missile system. it says pyongyang has designed a way for a nuclear missile to reenter the atmosphere. it also says the detonator appears to have been miniaturized and lightened. it says images from february and
march suggest possible plutonium reprocessing at the yongbyon nuclear complex. a senior defense official says his country will not recognize an adiz if china declares one in the south china sea. >> we will not recognize an adiz in the south china sea, we do not recognize the adiz that was in the east china sea. we don't believe they have a basis in international law. and we will fly, sail or go wherever international law allows. >> u.s. officials have said that the adiz wouldld destabilize t region. china is building runways and installing radar systems on reclaimed islands in the south china sea. the country has deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island it effectively controls. u.s. officials have repeatedly
urged beijing not to take provocative actions in the south china sea where china has territorial disputes with its neighbors. president obama is expected to convey his stance to chinese president xi jinping on the sidelines of the nuclear summit. japan's prime minister is picking some of the world's sharpest brains on a range of difficult economic issues. gene otani that's the details and a wrap up of all the other top headlines. shinzo abe wants to be well prepared important the summit in may soo he'ss canvassing the world's finest economic minds on a range of challenging matters. he sat down with five experts in washington. he told them the g7 summit has to send a message to the world that member countntries will pu together to achieve sustainable growth for the global economy.
abe has been getting a lot of economic advice lately. he hosted meetings in japan where we heard from the world's foremost economists. in washington his guests included world bank president and forormer u.s. federal reser chair alan greenspan. >> translator: i want to get experts opinions on global economy. >> the economists said the g7 nation has taken a cooperative approach to fiscal policies. checking the markets. for details we go to the tokyo stock exchange. >> reporter: the nikkei ended lower. the nikkei closed down .7 of a
percent at 16,758 and topix was lower by about the same margin. for the month of march the nikkei gained 4.5%. first monthly gain in four months. but after big losses early this year the index is still down more than 10% for the quarter. now let's look at somee individual shares. sharp trade down 4.4% after taiwan's hon hai approved the deal. banking own energy stocks rebounded. sumitomo mitsui and mitsubishi added 1.8% each. japex rose almost 2%. shares of toshiba climbed 5.8%. they agreed to sell 80% of its stake in home appliance. on friday we'll get the bank of
japan quarterly sentiment survey and manufacturing data from china. we'll see how markets react to those figures. it was a mixed day in trading. in china the shanghai composite edged up. many market players avoideded mamaking trades before the pmi data comes out on friday. the s&p/asx 200 climbed 1.4%. some benchmarks retreated from the gains made yesterday. those came after the u.s. fed chair's dovish remarks on rate hikes. singapore fell more than 1%. hong kong's hang seng index edged lowered. investors sold financial sector shares following weak earnings from some major mainland banks. japanese government
officials are tearing up a key tourism market and setting up a bigger one. they are doubling their goal for the annual number of foreign visitors by 2020 to 40 million. more than 19.7 million travellers arrived in 2015 setting a record. government officials said the ambitious new goal with eye on paralympics and olympics in 2020. authorities plan to ease visa requirements for tourist from china, indiana, philippines, russia and vietnam. here's a look at some of the other business stories we're following. japan's housing starts rose almost 8% in february from the same month last year. land ministry officials say construction began on nearly 73,000 units. number of built for sale condominium was up for the first time in six months.
apple has returned to a smaller screen size for its latest iphone. the new model has a camera and data processing speed equal to the 6s hand set released last september. but it's cheaper and comes in the more compact size of earlier iphone models. apple says in the october to december quarter sales grew at its slower pace ever. managers at smaller japanese firms that to expand overseas are increasingly targeting foreign workers to help and they don't have to look far. many are recruiting people who came to japan to study and stayed to try to build a career. >> reporter: a chinese lesson is under way at this metal processing company north of tokyo.
this woman was hired full time after she finished graduate school in japan last year. she also speaks english and japanese. the bulk of the company's orders come from major manufacturers in japan. but many of its clients have moved production abroad. that's forced the company to re-think its customer base. in recent years, its executives have been focussing on dealing directly with firms overseas. but they've had trouble finding japanese employees with the right skills. so they've turned their attention to foreign graduates of japanese universities and vocational schools. four of the companies now have workers that come from overseas. a compmpany executive has hihig hopes that foreign employees will help the firm business
expand in china, vietnam and other overseas markets. >> translator: we're aiming to make inroads into overseas markets. many foreign students are extremely competent. we expect they'll be able to engage in planning and day-to-day operations. > reporter: li is alslso invd in produduct design. this gives her the technical knowledge she needs to engage in other optics o of the business. in january, she traveled to china to negotiate with a local firm. she's now a major player in the company's business in the country. >> translator: i'm involved in work that affects the firm's future. i'm really grateful that they put so much trust in me. >> reporter: a recent survey suggests that 65% of foreign students studying in japan want to work in the country after
they graduate. but the process of applying and interviewing for a job can be long and confusing. >> translator: foreign students don't know how to go about looking for a job in japan, because the process is unique. and businesses don't't kw how to connect t with them. >> reporter: efforts are now under way to fix that problem. officials with the economy ministry in the southwestern region of kyushu launched a website last year to introduce foreign students to small and medium-sized businesses. students make videos in which they describe their strong points and demonstrate foreign language skills. >> my name is -- >> reporter: recruiters can view the videos on the website.
they can t then contact candidas directly. about 100 students from ten countries have registered with the site since it was launched five months ago. small and mid-sized companies across japan are hoping that an international approach to hiring will help them prepare for a global future. nhk world. and that's it for business news. i'll leave you with the markets.
japan is grappling with an intolerance problem. rallies calling for some foreigners to being kicked out of the country are a frequent sight. justice ministry released a report on xenophobic behavior. >> reporter: this strict is the home of the city's most well-known korea town. also chinese and indian populations but the multicultural mix attracts a different group. last weekend a hate rally took place. demonstrators shouted anti-migrant and refugee slogans. these type of rallies are being
held across japan. messages are mixed with resistance by anti-discrimination groups. hate speech is rampant on internet. campaigns continue to be posted on video sharing sites. the report says attacks mainly targeted people with korean roots. this worker did not want to use her name. they is korean and has lived in japan for 30 years. she has protesters outside where she works.
>> translator: they shouted. i don't want to see these rallies. >> reporter: something is being done. in december 2014 the supreme court ruled that hate speech is illegal. it ordered a group to pay compensation for repeated discriminatory speech near a school in kyoto. in the wake of the decision an ordinance to regulate hate speech was adopted at osaka municipal assembly. it will take effect in july. parties have worked to draft a bill foror the government to do more to raise public awareness. this man has worked for ten years. he thinks friction between japanese and nonjapanese can not be avoid but he has a praragmat
view. >> translator: both sides should get closer. if frictions continue things will not improve. >> reporter: comes a gobble spotlight. the big question is what kind of country will they see. japanese officials are trying to make it easier for tourists to find their way when they come to tokyo. they're introducing new symbols to be used on tourist maps. officials with the national mapping body are responding to complaint that some maps are difficult for foreign tourists to understand because they are different from those used in their own countries. the move comes as japan gears up for the olympics and paralympics that tokyo will host four years from now. the current symbol for hotel which is a letter h in a circle will change to something more pictorial. police boxes will be marked with
a new symbol instead of an x. officials also published new rules on changing place names. the japanese words for river and mountain will basically be replaced with their english equivalents. production of the maps featuring the new symbols will start in april. organizations and private firms will be asked to use them on maps and smartphone apps visits. tourists in tokyo were able to feast their eyes on cherry blossoms today as it was nice and warm. here's jonathan oh. >> the weather should cooperate. we are expecting the weather to stay relatively dry in tokyo on friday. it will also be a tad bit cooler. i want to show you some pictures
coming out of tokyo. these pictures, there's tokyo midtown. you can see the contrasting in the flowers and the tower right there with that clear blue sky and other beautiful flowers blooming around this time of year. we have really seen a nice crop of flowers blooming across the western and central portions of japan. we are expecting, as we go into april, which happens to be on friday for the first day, to see that expansion go through the region and may, hokkaido will get in on the action. nevertheless looking pretty good for central tokyo. the western side getting a little wetter. the reason why is because a low pressure system has now developed, bringing in some of the moisture from china and developing over the ocean. as it moves to the north and east of kyushu and western portionsns of japan will nd tht umbrellala because it's going t be wet. now for us in central jajapan, are expecting mainly a cloudiei day, m may see a few showe especially toward the evening hours or so. but maininly going to be ary day.
but temperatures are going to come down as we see highs dropping down to around 16 degrees on friday. look at this, though. saturday and sunday looking pretty dry. it's over toward the west in fukuoka where we'll see rain for friday and then a more unstable pattern by sunday. so a lot more cloud cover and showers extending from sapporo all the way to the western portions of japan coming into the weekend. now to the west into china we have high pressure controlling the southeastern portion of the country. showers expected in chongqing, but a low pressure system has developed. and you notice as the isobars are together, that's because we have a very strong low and a high down to the south. when they're close to each other we see the winds picking up. that's going to lead to concerns with yellow sand as we go into friday so just be careful and be wary of the fact that you may be having respiratory issues. for friday, 23 in chongqing. 16 for tokyo with cloudy skies.
and shanghai, you'll start to dry out once the shower activity starts to move toward japan on friday. as we look at the forecast for north america, after a a busy winter in wyoming, the low pressure system has pushed to the east but ahead of it we had a lot of warm air coming in from the south. already had six tornado reports coming out of oklahoma and surrounding states. and as we go throughout the day on thursday, more southeherly fw will come into the picture. we had severe thunderstorms, heavy downpours with flash flooding taking place. we are concerned that is going to be the case as we go throughout the day thursday, especially those extending from indiana down to louisiana. beware of that weather situation. that weather is continuing to push to the east. and instability expected into d.c. and atlanta. and it's going to extend into the weekend with cooler temperatures, snow possibilities into canada and single-digit highs into new york on sunday. very active weather in europe.
visitors at a zoo in tokyo are taking their last ride o on safari bus bidding an up-close good bye to the lions. the park was the first in the world to introduce the safari bus tour featuring lions in 1964. the bus will temporarily stop running after thursday for renovation. >> translator: i was surprised when the lion came up right in front of me. >> translator: i'm a bit sad, but i plan to come b back as so as the busus tour resumes. >> the zoo plans to allow visitors to come back again for encounters with the kings of the jungle in 2019. live reports from myanmar and more at the top of the hour