in tokyo, this is nhk "newsline." i'm james tengan. we start off with a quick look at the hour's top stories. the president of scandal-hit mitsubishi motors says he will step down. he says he is taking responsibility for trouble caused by the company to customers and stakeholders. with its manipulation of fuel economy figures. fresh doubts.
nhk has learned that suzuki motor didn't use approved methods to test the fuel efficiency of its vehicles. and the white house says president barack obama will push towards his goal of nuclear disarmament during his upcoming visit to hiroshima. scandal-hit mitsubishi motors has announced its president will step down. gene otani joins us from the business desk with more on that and other headlines. the president and ceo of mitsubishi motors tetsuro aikawa will resign next month, the date of the firm's annual shareholder meeting. the company's head office is under inspection by the transport ministry in connection with reports that the auto company rigged data on fuel consumption.
>> he added an official from nissan motor will take charge of development at mitsubishi. more than 620,000 mitsubishi are affected. one of its line remains suspend and there is as yet no prospect for its resumption. another japanese auto maker also rigged figures. >> translator: we deeply apologize that we arrived at our figures through a failure to utilizize the proper measuremen standards. >> suzuki said the issue affects
16 models that are presently on sale. he said the company has tested fuel efficiency since around 2010 by means other than the government-recognized method. but he said the company did not intend to make its mileage figures look better. he made no mention of any plans to resign. japanese government officials have released the latest report on gross domestic product. the economy has grown by a fraction. officials at the camden office say gdp in real terms was up by 0.4% from the previous three months in the preliminary report for the january to march quarter. that works out to an annualized growth rate of 1.7%. it's the first positive change in two quarters. consumer spending increased 0.5%. external demand also boosted gdp with more exports to the u.s. and europe. meanwhile corporate capital investment shrank 1.4% on the back of slowdowns in china and other emerging economies. housing investment also declined
down 0.8%. annual gdp growth for fiscal 2015 was 0.8%. that's below the government's forecast of 1.2%. some analysts say personal spending was boosted by an extra day in february due to the leap year. they say consumer sentiment regains gloomy and many people are reluctant to spend on big-ticket items. nhk world went to find out the latest. >> reporter: fewer people are buying condominiums. the rate of apartment units sold in greater tokyo is at the lowest level since 2009, which was right after the global financial crisis. the looming cost of building materials and wages are pushing up the average sales prices. leases in the buildings in the suburbs are drawing attention from the people who say they can't afford to buy in central
tokyo. commuting takes at least 40 minutes but the lower prices are attracting potential buyers. salespeople are telling customers that now is a good time to buy. the central bank's negative interest rate policy has led to lower mortgage rates. government incentives are also available. but not many consumers are biting. >> translator: i think we need to see more positive factors in the economy, such as bigger wage hikes and a stable outlook for our sales to grow. >> reporter: car dealers are also struggling. the figures for march show a year over year decline in monthly sales. this vehicle which sells mini vehicles has suffered a double blow. sales slumped 20% after the hike in 2014 and then a tax increase for many vehicles led to a further 10% drop the following
year. the dealer introduced a new service this february in the bid to boost sales. it started releasing mini vehicles with multi-year contracts for less than $100 per month. the new service will help the company keep in touch with customers as a way to bring in revenue from service fees. >> translator: the auto market is shrinking. we'd like to survive by being innovative. >> reporter: there are other ongoing concerns. the earthquakes in japapan. the natural disaster has caused the plants to temporarily halt production. it has dampened inbound consumption that has vitalized the local economy. furthermorore, the stronger yens hurting profits of majoror exporters. toyota motor executives say they
are operating profits for the year through next march will fall by more than 40%. uncertainty in the country's economy prevails. the government is planning to raise the consumption tax from the current 8% to 10% next april, and people are wondering whether the prime minister shinzo abe will change his mind based on the latest data. checking the markets. tokyo share prices end the day flat after japan's gdp data set off a volatile trading session. for the details we go to our business reporter at the tokyo stock exchange. phoebe. >> there have been a mixed reaction to japan's gdp data from january to march. the gross figure of 1.7% was much betterr than expectedd but analysts say there are concerns as to whether the japanese economy can continue the momentum. let's look at the closing levels on this wednesday, may the 18th.
the nikkei 225 finished at 16,644. topix rose 1,338. crude prices are holding on to gains. we saw another strong performance from the energy sector. oil developer inpex soared 8%. the positive gdp data gave the financial sector a boost with three of the country's largest financial groups up sharply, but it wasn't all positive as fresh doubts emerged in the auto industryry. shares off s suzuki m motor p p 9%. that's afterer nhk andnd other a outlets reported it idz an unauthorized method to measure fuel efficiency. we have seen strong data today, but some investors are concerned it may put further stimulus measures on hold. i am phoebe am roseau from the tokyo stock exchange. most of the markets in the
asia-p-pacific endnded lower. healthy economic data out of the u.s. fueled speculation that the fed may raise interest rates as early as june. this dampened investor sentiment. in china the shanghai composite declining by 1.25% to close at 2807. the index extended losses to a second day. uncertainties over the country's economy weighed on the market. indonesia's jakarta composite gained 0.1%, finishing at 4734. investors picked up bargains after the index hit a two-month low on tuesday. here is a look at some of the other stories we're following. the number of foreign visitors to japan in april set a new record for a single month. officials at the j japan nation tourism organization estimate more than 2 million 80,000 people arrived in the country, up 18% from a year earlier. they attribute the rise to the
cherry blossom season and more calls by cruise ships from china and elsewhere. chinese officials say new home prices in the country rose last month in more than 90% of major cities. the national bureau of statistics says in april 65 of 70 locations saw gains. it makes for the sixth straight month that cities where prices rose outnumbered those where they fell. housing demand has received a boost from government measures including a series of interest rate cuts. nippon p paper group says is planning to create a manufacturing line for a new material that's five times lighter than iron but five times as strong. the facility will produce about 500 tons of the material every year. researchers are looking at ways to use it in a range of fields from auto parts to disposable diapers. that's it for business news. i am going to leave you with the markets.
u.s. president barack obama will use his visit to hiroshima to promote his campaign for a world without nuclear weapons. obama will travel to the city next week after attending the g7 summit. a senior director of the national security council said obama is committed to spreading the message that disarmament is essential for global sesecurity >> thehe president hopes that b
visiting hiroshihima he will be able to re-validate that message to reaffirm that message as one that will not only mark his administration but w will also continue to be a strtrong amerin message for many years to come. >> he called on russia to join international efforts to abolish nucleaear armsms. he alslso said the u.s. will ke working with other countries to stop north korea's nuclear program. another white house official told nhk that obama won't apologize for the u.s. atotomic bombmbings in japan but he will pay his respects to all victims of world war ii. preparations for the visit coincide with an annual custom in the city at this time of year when officials carefully take out a collection of books, a registry containing the names of atomic bomb victims. the books are aired to protect them from dampness in the coming rainy season. on wednesday officials offered a silent prayer in front
of the peace memorial park centoaph at 8:15 a.m. the time the bomb was dropped on august 6th, 1945, and and then they reremoved from the stone chambe the 110 books making up the register and checked them one by one for any damage. 108 of the books contain the names of 297,684 people. they include the names of the bomb survivors or hibakukusha, o died by augustt 5th last year. another book contains the names of nine people who were exposed to the nagasaki atomic bombing but whose relatives asked for their names to be kept in the hiroshima centoaph. the remaining book contains the names of the unknown victims. >> translator: i think the register of the atomic bomb victims contains the emotions of the deceased and their families. we are doing the work carefully to console the souls of the
dead. >> most of the books will be returned to the centoaph by the end of the day but some wilill placed therere on august 6th afr adding the names of those who died over the past year. > the japanese olympic committee is launching an investigation into tokyo's bid to host the 2020 games. the president says it will set up a panel to looook into about2 million in payments connected to the process. tsunekazu takeda told aa diet committee the panel will include an outside lawyer. >> translator: the panel will conduct hearings with members and staff of the bidding committee at the time. >> sports minister hiroshi hase said the government will provide materials for the investigation. he said the government supported the campaign but from the sidelines. french prosecutors have already launched an investigation. they want to know more about the
funds which were transferred from japan to a firm in singapore. they are looking into if they were used to bribe the son of a former member of the international olympic committee. people in southwestern japan are still living in shelters a month after a series of powerful earthquakes struck but are getting a helping hand. hundreds of government workers from across the country are arriving including those from the northeast where disaster hit in 2011. nhk world reports. >> reporter: these city workers from northeastern japan know firsthand about the damage earthquakes can cause. they lived through one of the strongest five years ago. now they are bringing that experience to kumamoto. the team has a big job ahead of them. about 60% of homes in the village were destroyed or damaged.
this man leads the group. >> translator: our top priority is making full use of our experience to pay back the support we received. >> reporter: a new program is arriving. residents are flocking to a local government office for disaster damage certificates. >> translator: can you issue the certificates? >> translator: we are preparing them. can you wait a bit longer? >> translator: no. no one can wait any longer. >> reporter: the certificates are issued after the damage of the home is assessed. residents need them to start rebuilding their lives including financial support. but none of the officials here have ever assessed disaster damage. >> translator: accurate assessments are the key. our experience shows that if we fail to do so residents will lose confidence in us. >> reporter: ono visit residents
to offer explanations and tries to ease their concerns. he checks in on the man in the government office. >> translator: i am from the city government. we received great help from everyone in kumamoto shortly after the disaster five years ago. following procedures and making preparations takes time to the village government will not be able to issue the certificates so soon. in my case it took about a month and a half. the certificates cannot be issued immediately after disasters. >> reporter: employees of other municipalities are joining in to form a task force. the team holds a seminar for those who are new to assessing disaster damage. they explain standards and how to use special devices to examine how much buildings are tilting. >> translator: these people came to help us even though they have
not completed the work to rebuild their own areas. i think that is because they themselves experienced a disaster. we wanant to use their knowledg to quickly return our village to what it was before the quake started. >> reporter: damage assessments are now well under way. the workers hope to have them done by the end of the week. people in china are becoming increasingly concerned about soil contamination. its harmful effects on people's health have made headlines, sparking action from the govevernment. >> r reporter: lasast montheopl throughout china hea s some ockingng ns. ♪ >> reporter: about 500 students at a schoooo in developed skin
rashes a respiratory illnesses. some were diagnosed with leukemia. >> translator: some parents of the students who have become ill suspect t that the nearby chemil factory has something to do with the contaminated soil. >> reporter: the cause was tainted soil on the school grounds. a local government invesestigatn reveveed the preresence of carcinogens, including chloro benzene at more than eight times the safety standard. since then local people have become sensitive to the health effects of soil pollution and are worried that if farmland is contaminated the products grown there could be harmful to people who eat them. >> translator: i am worried about soil contamination so i buy vegetables at shops that i trust but i don't know which shops really can be trusted. >> reporter: for years chinese businesses, including chemical plants, have discharged highly
contaminated wastewater often with little or no treatment. the government has tested soil nationwide. unsafe levels of cadmium, arsenic and other substances were detected in 16% of thehe tt sites, including farmland. details have not been made public, but the numbers show that the most heavily polluted areas were near the yangtze river, including in jiangsu province. soil surveys started last year. this is one of the first private companies in china to do so. >> translator: people are becoming more concerned over environmental issues, so we are receiving m more calls. >> reporter: soil samples arrive at their offices every day. customers include real estate developers and local governments.
>> reporter: techniciansns look for any of 46 substances using the latest equipment. their samples often contain carcinogenic materials at over 10 timimes the government's safy standard. firm officials say the detailed results can only be shared with the customers. >> translator: the quality of the testing is important. we want to improve both the hardware and software to keep our customers happy. >> reporter: this man researches soil pollution. he says people across china must take steps to combat the problem. >> translator: china has laws
concerning air and water pollution. but there are no laws on soil pollution. legislation has to be introduced right away. and we need to set up ways to prevent pollution and restore contaminated land. >> reporter: his words reflect a growing awareness in china that people must control what goes into the soil so they can be confident about what goes into their bodies. thanks for that report. nhk "newsline" comes live from tokyo where it's fair weather current temperature reading of 20 degrees celsius. will blue skies continue to prevail for us? >> sunny and warm weather will likely linger goioing into next
week. migratory high pressure systems will come to the area one after another into the snext several days. today's high wasas 27.6 degreesn tokyo. ththat was more like early july. and in seoul 30 degrees. extremely high temperatures across many portions of eastern asia. a high pressure system is still covering much of the area, so temperatures will be quite high as we go into the weekend and into next week. so the high will be over 30 degrees into your friday. it's extremely high for this time of year. tokyo it will stay warm and sunny. but as opposed to that, naha will see gloomy conditions persisting. it's the rainy season and taipei will see rainy weather persisting over the next several days. it's been dry across the north but wet across some areas and the same setup will persist over the next several days. across india and sri lanka.
drenching rains have been causing numerous problems. in sri lanka 11 people were killed due to floods and landslides and over 100,000 people have been told to evacuate. more rain is expected, and over the past several days, seven days, about 600 millimeters of rain has fallen across t the western areas. that's a lot! and more rain is on the way. the low pressure system is nowo making its way towards the north. the stronger southwesterly monsoon will affffect the weste areas of the island and more rain is expepected for the next three days. the low pressure systetem which dumped heavy rain in sri lanka is developining and could bececa cyclonic storm in the next 4848 hours and affect the east coast of india. strong winds and heavy rains are anticipated for the northeast coast of india. chennai high winds.
colombo, high temperatures. and new delhi heat wave warnings still in place for the north of india. hundreds of people killed due to heheat stroke and heatat-relate illnesses and temperatures will remain quite higigh for the nex several w weeks u until the mon season starts. a across cuba, w wide weath affected parts of the country. we have video. damage done by a possible tornado. the combination of the daytime heheating and thehe trorough of pressure made conditions unstable in central cuba on monday. a ssible t tornado desestroyed homes and uprooted trees. hail was also reported and about 70 millimeters of rain fell in just one hour. unstable weather will likely persist in cuba. severe weather also occurred in the south of the u.s. and more severe weather is anticipated. watch out for tornadoes, thunderstorms and gusts and also large hail. severe floods are taking place across the south of texas. additional rain will just worsen the situation. here are your highs on your
nhk "newsline" comes to you live from tokyo. one of ballet's most prestigious honors has been awarded to two dancers including a woman born here in japan. hannah o'neill was jointly named best ballerina at the benois de la danse in moscow. the awards ceremony was held at the bolshoi theater. she won for the title role in paquita and shared the prize with a spanish ballerina. o'neill is a principle dancer with the paris opera.
>> it is 1:00 p.m. in paris. you are watching "france 24." we will be here for the next at next half hour of news. a state of emergency as demonstrators take to the streets across the country. opposition is demanding the validation of a referendum to ro ousted. bernie sanders valve to soldier on after taking oregon.