the land is situated on okinawa's main island. >> translator: i sincerely thank all who reached this agreement. we will further strengthen the relationship between our nations. with mutual trust we will endeavor to take every step to reduce the burden on okinawa while maintaining deterrence. >> u.s. ambassador said it's the largest return of land of its kind in 30 years. she said this demonstrates a continuing effort to reduce the impact of hosting u.s. facilities on the citizens of okinawa while maintaining a commitment to security. the return was in exchange for relocating six helioports. the relocation was completed earlier this month.
in terms of land area about 74 and a half percent of facilities for u.s. forces in japan are currently in okinawa. the partial return of the northern training area will reduce the area to 70.6%. the announcement came after the u.s. military resumed flight operations of osprey aircraft six days after the aircraft was destroyed when it went down in shallow waters off the coast of okinawa. nhk has learned the japan coast guard is seeking more than 100 new recruits by the end of march to cope with a personnel shortage and need to boost security around the senkaku islands in the east china sea. chinese patrol boats have repeatedly entered japanese waters around the islands. the japan controls the islands. the government maintains the islands are an inherent part of japan's territory. china and taiwan claim them. the japan's coast guard deploy
12 ships around the islands but have been forced to dispatch many more. the coast guard filed a budget request to add 300 personnel for the next fiscal year which starts in april. the japanese government has released its latest monthly report on the economy. >> officials have upgraded their monthly economic assessment for the first time in a year and nine months. they say japan's economy is experiencing a moderate recovery while some areas have yet to see improvement. the report raises its assessment of sports krieciting signs of a return. it's positive about industrial production supported by those strong exports. the officials have upgraded their assessment of private
consumption. they say people spent more money on clothes and eating out on the back of improved incomes and stronger job market. japanese investors and taxpayers will help rescue struggling lcd maker japan display a financial package will come from top shareholder innovation network corporation of japan which is a state backed fund. officials at incj say they invest $640 million by acquiring bonds that are convertible to stock. japan display was formed in 2012 through a merger of the lcd units of hitachi and others. the company believes it can turn things around by focusing on organic el displays used in smartphones. it plans to acquire shares of research and development venture backed person of interest
panasonic, sony and incj. the benchmark nikkei closed lower as many investors notified lock in profits. here's more from the tokyo stock exchange. the nikkei rose in the morning session reaching new highs for the year. gains on wall street combined with the weaker yen to help boost investor sentiment. later in the afternoon profit taking kicked in and sent a range of shares lower. let's take a look at the closing levels for wednesday, december 21. nicky closed at 19,444, the broader topics shed half a percent. manufacturers led the loss. 0 olympus fell almost 4% and any kcon -- nikon fell 0.11%.
turning to currency markets the dollar pared back against the yen following the drop in stocks. it hit the 118 yen level after the boj governor said the recent decline of the japanese currency isn't a problem. overall volume was relatively low here in tokyo with few economic tradie ing cues as we d towards the year end holidays. moving on to other markets in the asia-pacific region. shanghai gained by 1.11%. 3137 is the closing number there. share prices in thailand inched down to close at 1508. down .2 of 1%. indonesia was down by 1% extending losses to a seventh day on concerns over capital
outflow. sidney added 0.7% to reach a high. japanese survey shows the average hourly pay for part time workers has topped 1,000 yen for the first time. that's about $8.5. ththey keep track on part time workers in three regions. hourly pay averaged 1002 yen up from a year ago. it marks an all time high for the third straight month. officials at the employment information firm attribute the trend to a labor shortage nationwide and hikike in the ofofficial minimum wagage in october. here's a look at some of the other business stories we're following. officials of a japanese electronics industry group say they expect domestic production
to fall this year by 6% from 2015. that's the first drop in three years. affected prouts are electronics, tvs and smartphones. it's due to a drop in demand. officials at japan national tourism organization say an estimated 1.9 million foreign visitors came to japan in november. that's a record high for the month. the figure brings the total number of foreign t tourists fr january to november to a record of 22 million. the increase is due mainly to visits by large cruise ships from china and more flights from south korea. japan's transport ministry has set aside funds to encourage airlines and smaller airports to attract more foreign tourists to regional areas. it will provide financial incentives for three years to airlines that launch or increase
services to regional hubs. regional train service in japan is working to get business back on track. that's because fewer commuters are using them as thehe populatn ages. so operators are offering something different sightseeing trains for leisure trips. >> reporter: sightseeing trains are making their way across japan. there are more than 100 different types. >> translator: we'll have good memories. >> reporter: many offer special services like meals made with local ingredients prepared by top ranked chefs. at popular viewpoints the train slows down or stops for a photo session.
the railway company based in western japan offers a number of sightseeing trains. it made its debut three years ago. trips begin from osaka, kyoto or myagi. on average 90% of the seats are booked. the fare is about $10 more than regular express trains. spacious seating helps passengers relax. dining car serves local beef and sweets. >> translator: it's luxurious and i feel happy. >> translator: it's totally different from regular express trains. it's like riding first class on an airplane. >> reporter: the trains were launched in a bid to attract new business. compared t to two decades ago i
passenger numbers slump nearly 30%. >> translator: we have to make up for the loss of passengers. we hope to secure a profit by bringing in new customers, particularly tourists. >> reporter: to attract more riders the company has started designing trains with different generations in mind. this train is family friendly. each of the three cars has a play area for are children. the railway encourages ride towers stop at attractions along the way so local communities also benefit from the trains. >> translator: i would visit again if there were more trains like this one. >> reporter: in september service began on the blue symphony. it runs between osaka and nago prefecture. this train is geared towards older tourists. there's even a bar for a
relaxing drink. >> translator: each region has its own original specialties so i'm sure we can create all kinds of sightseeing trains. if they draw people's interests then we'll see increased demand for railway travel. >> reporter: sightseeing trains still account for just a small portion of the total revenues. but executives say with additional refinements they could be just the ticket for the bobottom line. >> you can catch our report again online together with a full transcript. look for nhk world and business wrap and that's a look at business news. i'll leave you with the markets.
north korean state media released photos of the country's leader watching military drills. korean central television said on wednesday kim jong-un watched a rocket firing contest. it said kim organized the event. the broadcaster also said kim inspected a nighttime flight drill by fighter pilots. state media has done numererous reports on kim's military inspections since last month. new u.n. sanctions were approved at the end of november. the latest propaganda comes just ahead of kim's fifth anniversary as the country's top military commander. the u.n.'s top human rights official asked to investigate philippines p president for murder. there's a claim he killed people when he was mayor.
rodrigo duterte made the comments in a speech last week. he said he would look for criminals to kill to set an example for police officers. he serveved on and off as mayor from 1988. he implied those actions took place in the earlier years when he was in office. the u.n.'s high commissioner for human rights say the killings would constitute murder. hussssein released his statemen through a spokesperson. >> it should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch when someone has openly admitted being a killer. >> they suggested duterte may have incited violence. he should be held accountable to show all people are equal under the law. police in the philippines say more than 2,000 people have been killed by officers in the crack down. many more have been killed by
vigilantes since duterte took office in june. people in southeastern china have marked one year since a massive land slide left dozens of people dead. they were not allowed to approach the site to mourn. a wave of mud and debrbris frorn industrial site engulfed employee dormitories and factories. 73 people died. four have never been found. most of the site has been cleaned up. new factories are being built. police officers were mobilized in a village to keep mourning victims away. obobservers say authorities are
trying to deflect public criticism of the government for its lack of safety measures. automakers in china has been enjoying steady growth thanks in large part to government tax incentives. but as such stimulus measures become less generous firms of the largest auto market are doing all they can to stream line manufacturing. we look at the race to stay competitive. >> reporter: domestic automakers have been spending big in china, rolling out newly designed models with advanced technology. investors are trying to grab market share from their well-known overseas rivals. >> translator: if there is no big difference in quality customers will choose cheaper chinese brands.
>> reporter: 40 firms counter their rivals by increasing efficiency in order to lower prices. a leading japanese brand has brought its manufacturing system used at key pads around the world. one of the system's aims is reducing overstock. factories build vehicles based on customer orders with different colors ground together. conveyors with components for each vehicle move alongside the line at the same speed. the height of the assembly unit can be changed giving each worker the utmost efficiency. >> translator: to win in the chinese market we have to keep our production process on the cutting-edge. >> reporter: the factory manages also pass on their know how to local parts suppliers. the managers meet with the suppliers in ways to improve their progress on a regular
basis. the firms have set the cost production arrangement that can benefit local companies. half of the cost savings go to product price cuts and the other half go to supplier profits. >> translator: thanks to the arrangement our skill level and business operations have significantly improved. >> reporter: there can be a down side, however. giving a boost to supplier efficiency could also have rival bands that use the same company but managers are willing to take the risk. >> translator: we think it's vital to establish a win-win trust base relationship with local businesses. nurturing the chinese market
will allow our brands presence to stay strong. >> reporter: analyststs predict next year china's old market will face a downturn. domestic and foreign firms are gearing up for a price war. turkey and rush are looking into the assassination of the russian ambassador. they are searching for links the shooter may have had to an organization behind a failed coup attempt. turkish authorities detained about ten people including the gunman's family and friends. ambassador andrew karlov was shot dead monday by a member of turkey's riot police. he shouted don't forget aleppo, don't forget syria before being killed by security. authorities believe those words suggest he was taking revenge for the seizure of aleppo by syrian troops backed by russia. reports from turkey say the
foreign minister spoke on the phone with u.s. secretary of state. he said ankara suspects the involvement of a group led by u.s. based muslim cleric. the turkish government claims the group launched a plot to overthrow the government in july. meanwhile foreign ministers of the two countries are coming together on another matter. they are hopoping that the evacuation of people trapped in aleppo will be completed as early as wednesday. the red c cross says about 25,0 people have already left. the syrian object varier to for human rights says as of tuesday afternoon there were around 3,000 still waiting. war-torn city had been an insurgent stronghold but they are withdrawing after opposition forces agreed to give up the remaining areas under their control. syria's civil war has been raging for five years seek way to end the fighting russia has hosted a meeting with the foreign and defense munsters of
iran and turkey. the officials met i in moscow o tuesday. russia and iran back bashar al assad's government while turkey supports syria's insurgent forces. >> translator: our main priority should not be regime change but defeating terrorist threats. all three countries represented here are united in this understanding. we have a common position here. >> lavrov said talks among the three countries is the most effective means of resolving the situation. observers say russia is trying to tends strife in favor of syrian government. john kirby told reporters secretary of state john kerry spoke by phone with the foreign ministerss of russia and turkey. >> secretary doesn't take it as a snub. again, he welcomes any kind of effort, whether it's bilateral
or multi-lateral that can get to us a better outcome. >> he added that the u.s. will continue to be involved in efforts to broker peace in the country. a huge explosion ripped through a fireworks market in mexico. there's a report that 26 people have died and 70 more are injured. the blast occurred at an open air market norg of mexico city. sending people fleeing with plumes of smoke around. >> it was verery loud. we saw the smoke. at first we thought it was an explosion at the gas station but then realized it was a forecast. >> firefighters and rescue workers are now combing through the rubble in ashes. details are not yet known but the same area was engulfed in fire in 2005. many in mexico celebrate christmas with fireworks. it's a major industry in the
area. from our weather desk jonathan oh is here to give us details on china's suffocating smog. >> we should see a little bit of an improvement as we could forward in time. certainly a little bit better than what has been taking place forr the past several days. the stagnant airir coupled with frigid air has led to some very, very dense smog that has been throughout northern china region including beijing. here's the latest video that comes out as we went throughout the day on wednesday and it's the fifth straight day that this thick smog covered the city, a red alert for heavy smog still in place since friday. locals are calling for more effective measures to tack tell problem. the concentrations of the hazardous particles were at dangerous levels at 360 micrograms per cubic level.
the safest is 10. so it's still very bad in terms of the ability to breathe. now we go into thursday morning local time and we still have some high air quality concerns when it comes to beijing area southward and some areas towards the east. we're seeing even a spread of the more moderate concerns as far south as chongqing. the winds are expected to help shift this and give a little bit of a reprieve as we go forward into thursday. maybe less of a haze but never the less a big concern it looks like the high air pollution will continue to be of concern. we have a low pressure system coming out of shanghai moving to the korean penalize. it's expected to spread over japan on thursday. central japan looking at rain late thursday into friday. and then by the time we go into the weekend might see a little bit of a dry weather pattern. some storms up towarards northe japan be on the look out for
that. to the south we havee a tropica depression east of the philippines, expected to continue to move slowly towards the islands there but we'll have to watch and see if it intensifies. manila is looking dry with aa high of 31. rain in tokyo and beijing looking at partly cloudy skies with a high of 6. quick look what's happening down towawards australia northwest o western territory. we still have a tropicall low that seems to be gathering a little bit of itself together. as we go forward in time it'ss likely to become a named storm possiblyly up to a category t t statusyy thehe time we go into the weekend and potentially moving back down the south and east. western australia we have one wave of moisture coming in for you. then the actual system may be approaching the coastal areas as we go towards the christmas weekend. now as you look at the forecast for north america relatively calm. we did have a low pressure system impacting the pacific northwest. that has moved further inlandd maybe bringing snow showers into
places like winnipeg. high pressure now dominating most of the united states including the pacific northwest. looking at drier conditions for seattle and also down towards the south looking at warmm conditions. 26 into los angeles under sunny skies on wednesday. now wrapping things up with a look at europe it has been very windy up towards the north into the scandinavian opinion. a low that's decent lie developed over the western mediterranean is expected to bring more unstable weather as we go throughout the day on wednesday with clouds possiblbl even some rain in paris and rome as we go throughout wednesday. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.
♪ host: hello, you're watching "france 24." time now for 60 minutes live around the world. these are the headlines. in germany forw the driver of the truck that rammed into a christmas market in berlin monday. 12 people were killed in the attack that was claimed by the islamic state group. at least 20 reported dead in the democratic republic of congo. dozens more have been hurt in the violent protests against the president, who is refusing to step down.