to confirm that the japan/u.s. security treaty covers the senkaku islands. economic warning. a nobel prize-winning economist has some thoughts on getting japan's economy back on track. the defense secretary of the united states is looking to reassure south korea and japan about the importance of his country's alliances with them. james mattis is the first member ofof trump's cabinet to visit t two nations. mattis on thursday met south korea's acting president in seoul. mattis will attempt to remove concern about donald trump's campaign remarks. the president suggested he may review the nature of the alliances. in south korea, mattis wants to reaffirm both countries will press ahead with a plan to deploy an american antimissile system. the u.s. is increasingly concerned by north korea's intercontinental ballistic missile technology. mattis will arrive in tokyo on friday.
he's scheduled to meet prime minister shinzo abe as well as defense minister tomomo inada. the japanese and u.s. side are expected to confirm a number of things, including the senkaku islands in the east china sea fall within the scope of their security treaty. japan controls the islands. the japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of their territory. china and taiwan claim them. japan's top government spokesperson suggested it's important to keep reaffirming their stance on the senkakus. >> translator: the japanese government has repeatedly confirmed on different occasions that the senkaku islands fall within the scope of the japan/u.s. security treaty. we want to continue to reaffirm the position with the new trump administration at various opportunities. >> suga also said the government was pleased mattis was visiting so soon after the administration took charge. he said it demonstrated a
commitment to the asia-pacific region. trump continues to defend his order blocking refugees and people from seven muslim-majority countries from entering the united states. the ban has sparked protests around the world, caused chaos and confusion at airports, and raised questions over how it was handled. trump tweeted on wednesday that regardless of whether people call the action a ban or not, the measure was taken to keep bad people with bad intentions out of the country. >> the safety of the american people and the security of the american homeland are the president's top priorities, and most americans agree with the steps that he's taking to keep our country safe. >> the white house press secretary referred to a survey conducted by private research firm rasmussen reports. it suggests 57% of its respondents back the measure. american media have pointed out the firm's questionable polling methods in the past.
meanwhile, opposition to the order is mounting within the state department. u.s. media report that about 1,000 employees, including diplomats, have signed an internal dissent memo criticizing the executive order. world leaders have reacted to the travel ban. the u.n. secretary-general says it should be lifted sooner rather than later. >> this is not the way to best protect the u.s. or any other country in relation to the serious concerns that exist about possibilities of terrorist infiltration. >> theresa may told the uk parliament her government believed the u.s. policy is divisive. >> i have said that the policy is wrong. we will take a different view and we will continue to welcome refugees to this country. >> iran's president severely criticized trump, describing him as a newcomer who doesn't understand politics or international affairs. >> translator: you have issued
visas, you have stumped them in passports. you have signed them, and now you say you don't accept it and they cannot travel to your country. the u.s. government has contravened all international principles and commitments. >> however, the foreign minister of the united arab emirates spoke in support of trump's order. he said the suspension isn't directed at any particular religion and added, it's important to take into account that the ban will be reviewed within three months. a group of japanese-americans have also joined protests near washington against the travel ban. >> we know better that shutting the door on those in need is unacceptable and contrary to our core values as americans! >> about 1,000 protesters took part, including relatives of japanese-americans who were sent to internment camps on u.s. soil during world war ii. the internment was based on an executive order by president franklin roosevelt.
>> what we want to make sure is that history is not repeated and that what happened to the japanese-americans is not forgotten. >> the group denounces trump's immigration orders as xenophobic. the head of japan's biggest automaker is defending his firm's contribution to the u.s. economy. gene joins us with the details. gene, what did he say? >> the president of toyota motor is responding to pressure from the new u.s. administration. toyoda says his firm has boosted its u.s. production. u.s. president donald trump has called japan's trade practices unfair to american automakers, but toyododa says his company h changed a lot since the 1980s. he says it now produces a large number of cars in the u.s. and has built up a strong local supply chain. >> translator: our cars are
produced by american workers at an american plant and for american customers. i hope toyota will be seen as basically a u.s. . automaker. >> toyoda also referred to trump's plan to review the north american free trade agreement. he said his firm will do what it can to conform to any changes, and he'll watch how things develop. toyoda said he doesn't know for sure whether he will be meeting japan's prime minister on friday, but if he does, he will explain toyota's basic policy. donald trump claims japan makes it hard for u.s. automakers to sell cars there, but the head of an influential business group says that's not true, and he wants prime minister shinzo abe to make that clear to the u.s. president at a summit next week. chairman akio miymura of f the chamber of commerce and industry dismissed trump's claim that japan devalues its currency and
says unlike american cars, german cars sell well in japan. >> translator: u.s. automakers don't have enough dealer shaebz and repair factories in japan, and american cars are big. if they want to sell their cars here, they need to i improve th quality of their vehicles to meet the needs of japanese customers. >> mimura says he hopes the summit would be a step toward further discussions between the leaders. checking the markets, tokyo stocks fell sharply as the dollar lost ground against the yen. the u.s. currency weakened after the federal reserve gave few hintss on the next rate hike. our business reporter yan nguyen has more from the tokyo stock exchange. >> reporter: after the fed decided to keep its policy unchanged on wednesday, tokyo shares opened just a touch higher in the morning but quickly went south from there. let's take a look at the closing levels this thursday, february 2nd. the nikkei 225 lost 1.2%,
closing at 18,914. the broader topix also fell 1.5%. the dollar fell against the yen in tokyo. many traders were hoping for a more hawkish tone in the fed statement. on to individual stocks, many were moved by earnings reports. casio computer's stock was down more than 5%. that's after the company's nine-month profits slumped. in contrast, hitachi added 1.1% after the company raised its profit outlook for the fiscal yearar. now, markets in malaland chinan will be back from a week-long holiday on friday, and investors will be watatching the u.s. job report that's due out the same day. i'm giang nguyen reporting from the tokyo stock exchange. turning to bond markets, the yield on the 10-year japanese government bond climbed to its highest level since about a year ago when the bank of japan decided to introduce a negative interest rate policy. analysts say many people sold
jgbs amid uncertainty over the central bank's bond purchase program. and moving on to stocks in the asia-pacific region most benchmarks ended lower following the fed's announcement. hong kong's hang seng index fell 0.6%. financials and property shares led the declines there, but indonesia added 0.5%. in australia, the s&p/asx200 down 0.15%, 5,645 for the closing number there, despite the country posting a record trade surplus boosted by higher commodity prices. top labor and management officials in japan have agreed spring wage negotiations should aim for a fourth straight year of increases, but they are divided on the approach. business managers say the policies of the new u u.s. administration are making them cautio caututious. the chairman of the japan business foundation says the u.s. economy is surrounded by uncertainties. he's for r raising wages butut
they should involve bonuses and seniority-based pay. >> translator: our basic pololi is to keep the wage hike momentum going to support the economy. >> on the o other sidee of thth table, the japanese trade union confedereration is demanding ba wages be raisesed. >> translator: a base pay hikee is essential, given its impact on consumers' purchasing power and on society as a whole. >> the weaker yen is also likely to affect the wage negotiations. here's a look at some of the other business stories we're following. japan's top life insurer nippon life will raise premiums for some of its products from april. this comes as yields on japanese government bonds remain low due to the bank of japan's negative
interest rate policy. life insurers in japan invest premiums from clients and jgbs and other assets. in the case of a 40-year-old male client, a whole life policy with a payout of $270,000 will require a monthly premium of $120. that's about a 20% increase from the current figure. other life insurers are also o considering raising premiums. the japan-based messaging app operator line has started offering chat room software designed for companies. the new workplace chat app allows employees in the same organization to exchange messages, videos and voice mail. they can also share data and documents and set schedules for different groups. i.t. firms, such as microsoft and ibm, have already entered the workplace communication market. with line joining, the competition is likely to heat up. a nobel prize-winning economist is back in the spotlight. christopher sims is challenging a widely accepted claim.
sims says if interest rates are low or negative, monetary easing alone may not be enough to spur inflation. he says monetary policy needs to be combined with fiscal expansion to be truly effective. his ideas have caught the attention of policymakers around the world, especially here in japan. nhk world's reiko sakurai sat down with sims to hear his views and their implications for abenomics. >> reporter: christopher sims thinks that japan's aggressive monetary easing isn't working and won't work as it is. it's a year since the bank of japan has introduced a negative interest policy, but it's hard from hitting the inflation target. what went wrong? >> i was very optimistic about abenomics at the beginning, but then when the consumption tax increase was implemented in the midst of this, i realized there really was no coordination of
fiscal and monetary policy, and the public realized it, too, that there was going to be contractionary fiscal policy working against the expansionary monetary policy, and i think that's why it's had little effect until recently. so, in order for it to have a truly expansionary effect, the fiscal policy has to also be aimed at getting inflation back up to the target level. >> reporter: sims says prime minister shinzo e should announce he'llll postpone the consumption tax hike planned for 2019 until the bank of japan hits its 2% inflation target. >> it would be better if instead of setting a new date, it had been made clear that the increase in consumption tax was contingent on getting inflation back up to the target level.
that could mean earlier or later increase in the kumgts tconsump. if people see the tying of the consumption tax to inflation as a government commitment to generating inflation and to being willing to postpone tax increases until they see the inflation, the inflation might actually pick up quite quickly, in which case, 2019 might even seem too late. >> reporter: but the question is, can japan afford to boost government spending and push back a tax hike while shouldered with one of the world's biggest debts? sims stresses there's little possibility japan could end up like greece. >> one big difference between greece and japan, and the reason japan can still have zero interest rates, whereas greece pays high interest rates, is that japan's debt is almost entirely yen-denominated debt.
the government can print yen. so, a government that can print the money is promises to deliver in its debt never needs to default. >> reporter: sims says increased government spending to boost prices should be paid off by future inflation, not by adding to thehe burden off government t or cutting people's pensions. but he adds, that does not mean there will be no price to pay. >> it's true, inflation is a tax, and it's not just like other taxes because it falls more heavily on people who have assets and no loans denominated in yen. when i make this proposal, i'm not suggesting that financing the debt with inflation is
painless. the reason we want to do this is not to substance paying taxes with inflation and substituting the debt, it's because we don't think the economy functions very well when inflation is near zero. >> reporter: sims says governments have an obligation to show people why they need to go down this road. reiko sakurai, nhk world, tokyo. >> and you can catch our report again online together with a full transcript. look for nhk world and "business wrap." that's a look at business news. i'm going to leave you with the markets.
a massive factory fire in the philippines has killed at least three workers and injured more than 100 others. the blaze occurred in an export processising zone sthth of mani. the fire in kokota provincnce rippeded throughgh the three-st building. thousasands of employees were forced to flee for safety. the localal governor told d med that somome workers jumpmped fr wiwindows to escape. the fire was finally brought underr control on thurursday af burngg through the night. firefighters hope to begin inspecting the building once the flames have died down. the factory exports prefefabricated housing parts t japan. in 2015, a fire at a rubber slipper factory near manila killed at least 72 people. it was one of the worst factory fires in philippine history. the governor of okinawa had a clear message for u.s.
lawmakers during their meeting in washington. his constituents are opposed to the relocation of a u.s. military base in the southern japanese prefecture. takeshi onaga met separately with seven members of the u.s. house of representatives in closed-door sessions on wednesday. onaga explained okinawa's situation regarding the relocation of the u.s. marine corps futenma air station. >> translator: locals have strongly opposed the plan. ignoring public opinion can destabilize the japan/u.s. security alliance. we think nothing has changed since the world war ii. >> he said the relocation needs to be reviewed. the plan calls for moving the military base from a densely populated area to a location near the coastline within the prefecture. almost everyone in south korea uses a smartphone, so businesses in the hyperconnected country are coming up with new ways to use the devices to reach
customers. nhk world looks at one company's lighthearted approach. >> reporter: it's 6:00 a.m. in seoul. women in uniform are loading their carts with probiotic drinks, cheese, coffee, and other products. they take to the streets before the sun is completely up. these women work for korea yokute, a berry product manufacturer which originated in japan. they visit homes and businesses to sell their products directly to consumers. these yakut encaladeies hayakut common figures in south korea. they account for a big percentage of sales in the country. businesspeople and housewives once made up the majority of their customers, but younger people, including students, are
now discovering the company as well. and behind their growing popularity is this app. the app location tells me there's a yakut encalady just around the corner. it tracks the location of the vendors in realtime as they move around the city. it operates like a game. users can hunt for yakute vendors as if they were playing pokemon go, and people using the app can buy special products. images of these items are popping up all over social media along with messages like "i got this through the app." this vendor has worked for yakute for more than 20 years. she says she's surprised by the sudden increase in younger customers.
>> translator: more people are asking for coffee or probiotic drinks, and that's really helpining my sales.s. i think it's building closer relationships between vendors and customers, too. >> reporter: some products can be purchased online through the app. company officials feel the synergy between technology and their traditional sales methods as a business opportunity. >> translator: i didn't expect the app to be so effective. we are receiving more and more orders online. the smamartphone e app's playin growing role in business. we want to respond appropriately to this trend. >> reporter: young south koreans spend hours each day glued to their smartphones, so businesses hope that advertising through apps will result in marketing messages that stick. jeong won-hyeong, nhk world,
seoul. time now for a check of the weather. people in northern japan are once again dealing with blowing snow. our meteorologist jonathan oh has the details. >> my goodness, if you're talking about winter weather and you go to hokkaido, you'll definitely be seeing some of that because of this blowing snow that's been rolling through the area. look at the satellite imagery here and you may be able to tell the telltale signs of the sea-effect snow of the warm air from the warm waters interacting with the cold air to the north, and this pattern is leading to images like this. take a look at this video. it will give you an idea. barely can see anything because of this blowing snow. heavy snow, strong winds impacting hokkaido. and this accident involveved mo than 20 vehicles. it took place in nan poro today. two people were injured and the drivers say that the visibility was poor when the accident took place. some areas of hokkaido hitting about 40 centimeters of snow the last 24 hours, and it looks like
that we may be dealing with a little bit more snsnowfall as w go t throughout the evening hou on friday and as we go into friday because of that northwesterly pattetern continug to r remain in place. so be on the lookout. not only are we going to see snow, we're also looking at strong winds, gusts up to 108 kilometers per hour. and this rain, even gunma may be dealing with snowfall up to 60 centimeters by friday morning. things are going to wrap up, though. we are going to see things calming down a bit as we go into friday. sapporo may get relief as we go into the last of the workweek, but we are looking at rain coming back into the picture as we go into sunday from niigata into osaka. the korean peninsula and high pressure over china ushers that in. the return flow down toward the south also bringing some cloud cover anand showers into places like chongqing, and we'll be looking out for that once again as we goo into friday. i do want to draw your attention down here, though. see this blob of moisture east
of the philippines? this is a low pressure system that is interesting because it has the potential to become tropical, but for the moment, at least the models are indicating this system will eventually turn toward the north and east and not really making much of an impact. so, hopefully, that will be the case, but we'll be watching that through the rest of the week. 12 in tokyo, 6 in seoul and beijing, showers in shanghai and manila, also dealing with rain as we go through friday. as we go look at n north americ on the western side of the continent in the country, notice the low pressure system off the coast of the united states past california. now, earlier in january, we were dealing with a lot of rainfall and flooding problems and heavy snow, and then we had a b break rr about t the last week or so. ononce again, anoth system will be coming on shore, and we are looking at the possibility of seeing some heavier snowfall and possibly some heavy rainfall as well. so we'll be looking out for this particular pattern as we go throughout the day late thursday into friday. showers will also expand down to the south into places like los
angeles as we go through thursday. 19 for the high. 7 in seattle, 6 in vancouver. snow possible into denver. down toward the south into houston, atlanta, also into miami, looking at some showers. finally drying out up to the north and east, but chilly. minus 3 for the high in toronto. wrapping things up with a look at europe. we have an oncoming system on the western side, a low pressure system with some c cooler air trying to move in. it's going to be a bit windy, so hang on to your hats if you're going to be out and about as we go throughout the day on thursday. wet from london down toward lisbon and cool weather controls the conditions back toward the east. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook. ♪
genie: this is france 24. time for 60 minutes live around the world. i'm genie godula. these are the headlines. more official. parliament approves state one of the bill that gives parliament power to start pulling britain out of the eu. sworn in as the new secretary of state. the trunk administration's moves have antagonized muslim nations, european allies and mexico.