glad to have you with us. everything seems ready to go on a launch pad in north korea. government leaders in japan and elsewhere say this is a test of technology for a ballistic missile. officials with north korea's space agency say the launch window is now through monday. the ground crew started fuelling up on wednesday. japan's self-defense forces are
ready to shoot down anything in japan territory. land-based radar units and destroyers are equipped with radar and interceptor missiles. two of them are patrolling in the east china sea around okinawa. a third is in the sea of japan. pac 3 surface to air missiles are set up in okinawa prefecture. others are in the tokeo area just in case. pong sang is one of the closest areas where debris is expected to fall. anna?
>> reporter: experts calculate the first booster will drop into the sea behind these islands. the south korean government has taken steps to reinforce safety measures. aircraft and ships have been urged to avoid the area from thursday to monday where debris from the rocket is expected to fall. town officials used loud speakers on wednesday to warn residents not to take their ships out to sea for the time being. this area is a tourist spot well known for seafood, particularly a kind of small octopus popular with visitors and currently in season. naturally restaurant owner and fishermen are concerned that their businesses might be hurt by any provocative action from north korea. back to you. >> thank you, anna. that was anna jung in south korea.
one of the factors in deciding whether to launch is the weather. rachel ferguson joins us now from the weather desk. >> hi there. yes, the weather will be a critical factor with an event like this. conditions look very favorable. we have precipitation across the korean peninsula but mostly confined to south korea rather than north korea. north korea staying mostly dry. you were talking earlier about the five-day window starting today. thursday, friday through sunday actually conditions look pretty good. monday however will bring gusty winds and light precipitation. generally the weather doesn't look like it will be posing particularly problematic. >> thanks, rachel. u.n. security council members are working on how to respond once north korea goes ahead with the launch. u.s. ambassador to the united nations susan rice holds the council's rotating chair. she says members agree the launch would be a provocation.
>> we think as a consequence of that, should it occur, the council will need to convene and respond credibly. >> the north launched a long-range market in 2009. the security council adopted the president's statement condemning the act rather than a resolution which would have been stronger. china holds veto power on the security council. u.n. sources say the country's representative is likely to oppose any new resolution. analysts say delegates of western nations are trying to drawoncessions from china and russia over the violence in syria and that they don't want to create any additional disagreements over north korea. south korean and japanese personnel are preparing to intercept anything that enters their air space. they say they have dealt with such provocations before.
>> reporter: north korea tested its first long range missile with a range of 1300 kilometers making it capable of reaching almost any part of japan or its territories. the first launch of a long range missile took place in 1998. that missile flew over japan before falling into the pacific ocean. in july 2006 north korea carried out a series of tests over the sea of japan, firing seven missiles at once. one of them has a range of 6,000 kilometers. that means it is capable of reaching the mainland united states. three years later pyongyang tested an improved version of the long range missile. analysts believe the missile development program has several objectives. one, to enhance military power.
the north korean government views missile tests as a trump card in negotiations with the u.s. analysts suspect north korea hopes to use missile technology exports as a source of revenue. >> earlier my colleague spoke on the latest developments in north korea. he studies and teaches on these issues at the national graduate institute for policy studies in tokyo. >> professor, one side says this is a rocket. the other side says this is a missile launch. what is your opinion? >> north korea is likely to mount what they call a satellite on the missile. i cannot be sure it is a satellite or not. this is believed to be a variant of the tipadon 2. important will be what they call a satellite into orbit.
previous attempts failed. in 2009 the first and second stages of the booster flew well but the third didn't separate. if north korea succeeds to put the satellite into orbit it will mean the country is capable of delivering a light weight payload to the continental united states. that would reinforce north korea's position when negotiating with washington. >> what distinguished this launch from previous ones? >> the fact that the missile will be launched to the south. on the past three occasions north korea launched to the east. since the earth spins to the east, the missile would have greater acceleration flying eastward. so why launch to the south? my guess is they are trying to simulate a missile attack against the u.s. mainland. in order to attack the u.s. mainland, you have to launch a missile to the north.
however, if you do so, the first stage of the booster will fall over china and the second one over russia. so you don't want to do that. as a result, the north koreans have decided to launch a missile to the south where it has a clear path over the ocean. >> right. is the launch likely to succeed, do you think? >> well, north korea is launching more or less the same missile as the one launched in 2009. so north korea is using the proven technology. but then the missile threw more than 3,000 kilometers. however, in the flight tests, north korea never succeeded in launching what they call a satellite. so the missile launch is likely to succeed, but what they call a satellite might not be put into orbit. this is their fourth attempt. we'll wait and see what happens. people in japan's northeast are focused on overcoming
challenges of the 2011 disaster, but they have to rebuild homes, businesses, communities. we'll show you their struggles and successes on "the road ahead" every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time here on newsline. >> the ruling party has secured a majority in the general election in south korea. the victory for the party is a major boost for the leader. she's expected to run for president later this year. vote counting ended thursday. spokespersons for the election commission said the party took 152 of 300 seats in parliament. the democratic united party took 127. the ruling party lost ten seats but will maintain a hold on parliament with a single party majority. party members struggled in an election seen as referendum on the four-year rule of president
bak. they say the gap between rich and poor got wider. she said she would ignore politics that ignored citizens. the opposition failed to capitalize on dissatisfaction. the result is expected to affect what happens in the presidential election in december. china's ruling communist party suspended a former senior member from the post he still held. bo used to be party chief and destined for better things. the news agency reports the party suspended bo from his post on the political bureau. members suspect he was involved in serious violations of discipline. he was a notable member of the so called prince ling faction of children of senior leaders. he was a contender for the top ranks. but fled to the u.s. consulate in february to seek asylum.
party leaders dismissed him as party chief. political analysts say the decision to banish bo from the bureau ends his career and his troubles aren't over. the news agency reports his wife is being investigated for the murder of a british citizen. neil haywood was found dead in a hotel last november. the news agency said she's been turned over to authorities. the police said the murder was motivated by a fight over business interests. here's more on the story from beijing. >> reporter: people in the chinese capital have plenty to say about the suspension and his wife's suspected involvement in murder. >> i think he's a typical politician with a long list of scandals. >> i don't think the communist party should have suspended him. we need a politician like him.
>> the state-run news agency is calling for chinese to stay united. it's asking them to join forces under the communist party's leadership. the scandal won't just go away. especially given the fact that bo's wife is being questioned by homicide police. the british government have been asking china to reinvestigate this. now foreign secretary william hague is welcoming china's action on the case. >> it should be investigated in itself irrespective of political considerations. >> reporter: the issue remains very political. chinese authorities hope they have minimized the effects by sidelining him.
investors on tokyo stock markets are in a pessimistic mood. they have been on a selling spree this month. let's see if today is different. here's more from the business desk. >> good morning. the nikkei has been closing down for seven straight days. we saw a rebound in u.s. markets. they rebounded with strong earnings and lower bond yields in the euro zone helping to boost sentiment. the dow jones industrial average rose 0.7% on the day ending five days of losses. let's see how stocks are shapinging shaping ing up in tokyo. some good news coming from earnings. how are markets reacting? >> very good morning to you. we did hear about alcoa reporting a surge in profits. u.s. markets did take it positively. also there is relief there following the bond yields in spain and italy backing off a little bit from the highs we had
seen earlier in the week. let's see how that translates into the opening levels thursday morning for the nikkei and the topix. we are seeing a little bit of rebound both the nikkei and the topix trading higher. the nikkei has been down 10 of the last 11 trading sessions and is getting relief today, not only because of the u.s. markets but also hopes that the bank of japan may take extra measures to ensure the goal of 1% inflation to hopefully put the yen back on a weakening trend. that follows the bank of japan meeting which wrapped up this week when it didn't add any additions to the asset buying program and some market players were skeptical about the b.o.j.'s stance. however, there is hope that at its meeting this month in april, that it might resume that goal as well. we'll see. let's look at some of the currency levels.
you can see with the dollar yen and the euro yen, the yen is a touch weaker today. that might help the exporters we have seen selling off in the last few sessions. dollar yen 80.90 to 93. the euro/yen around 106. it was around 105 levels this time yesterday. the yen weakening a touch against the dollar and the euro. >> earnings still to come from the united states. i hear there are big names due out. >> definitely. we have heard already from alcoa, the aluminum giant. that surprised to the positive. next we'll hear from google, j.p. morgan chase and other retail high tech and domestic accounts which should give another signal to a possible turnaround for the u.s. economy. many say it might be a better indicator than the economic indicators we have had. a lot of corporations have to give an outlook for a
forward-looking insight into their corporations. that might give investors and market players a better idea. as we have been covering the geopolitical risks involved and we'll see the market reaction to any possible north korean missile launch. we'll follow that throughout the trading day today. for now, the nikkei and topix are trading higher. back to you. >> thanks for the update from the tokyo stock exchange. the u.s. government is suing apple and five major u.s. and european publishes over al lell price fixing of electronic books. they say it violates u.s. anti-trust law. in the lawsuit filed with a new york district court it demanded apple and the publishers cancel the deal. three of the five publishers are ready for a settlement but apple declined to comment.
the department said the price fixing took place in 2010 when apple put the ipad tablet computer on the market and began selling e-books online. it is claimed steve jobs, apple's top executive offered the five ailing publishers to fix the price of e-books to eliminate free and fair competition among e-book sellers. here is a look at how other markets are shaping up this thursday morning.
more from business next hour. >> thank you very much. workers finished building the world's longest cable bridge connecting vladivalstok to an island two kilometers away. the last panel of the bridge was put into place on thursday. cables diagonally extended from two tall towers support the girder. the span is the world's longest at 1,104 meters. that meets the current record holder in china. the bridge was rushed to completion ahead of the asia-pacific economic cooperation forum in september. the march 11 disaster inspired an outpouring of creativity in japan. people have been moved to write, paint and sing. a 10-year-old girl sings about living in darkness and searching for the light, a theme that's
struck a chord. ♪ >> a song that speaks to its audience. in this case, tsunami survivors. the young pianist and composer of the song is hirari sato. she started playing piano at age 5. she's been blind since birth. early on she showed a talent for setting her thoughts and feelings to a melody. she lives in central japan. she's visiting with her mother. in march last year as the terrible events unfolded she listened to the news coverage. her mother's explanations helped her picture the devastation. as the images played out in her
mind, an idea took root. she wanted to help. she wrote her first complete song. arriving, she visited a junior high school damaged by the tsunami. >> no windows? so it's like being outside. >> touching the wreckage, feeling the debris beneath her feet hirari got a deeper understanding of what happened. >> i can't believe the things that were swept away by the tsunami. i want to sing songs that will touch the hearts of these people. >> time for the performance. hirari's concert is held at an inn destroyed by the tsunami.
>> her love in the song washed over all of us. >> she made me want to live my life in a more positive way. [ applause ] >> i'm happy that my singing could cheer them up. i hope they will look into their hearts and find the strength to move forward into the future. >> all right. hirari's cd goes on sale this summer. some of the proceeds will be donated to those affected by the disaster.
rachel ferguson joins us now with the world weather forecast. >> we have a system impacting much of japan, pulling away now and leaving behind clear spring conditions. however, back across the continent it will be a little bit of a different story. we have lots of rain moving to eastern china here. southeastern portions will be hit with some pretty heavy precipitation, maybe even accumulations of a hundred millimeters in a 24-hour period. a little bit further toward the west in the bay of bengal. bangladesh, northeastern india and myanmar once again pounded by heavy rains. remember earlier in the week they were experiencing heavy rain here and lighter showers that lingered. this heavy rain is falling on already saturated land which will certainly increase the risk of landslides and flooding. we are looking at lots of 20s, low 20s to mid 20s across the region. tokyo 21 today.
15 in seoul and getting up to 15 toward the north. further south, of course, much hotter. 36 degrees for you in bangkok. a steamy day and 34 in manila. severe weather breaking out across the west down to the southern plains. we have another storm moving to the west that will expand thursday into friday bringing precipitation to much of the western half of the united states. we had reports of a tornado touching down in california which is quite rare. more additional snowfall thursday into friday. that will be accompanied by strong gusts which could make travel dangerous in the mountain passes. as we head to the east, things are looking nice and clear. however your overnight wednesday into thursday will bring with it freeze warnings and watches. daytime highs will moderate to seasonal averages.
14 degrees in chicago. 16 in new york city. getting up to 17 degrees in winnipeg with the storm system moving north through the plains today bringing warm winds from the south with it. just a matter of days ago, winnipeg's high was around about the freezing point. a big jump there. as we head to europe we'll see lots of unsettled weather scattered throughout the continent. we have about four low pressure systems moving through here. the heaviest precipitation will be in northern spain. some of it will be snow. snow also in parts of scandinavia and more heavy showers for northern parts of italy. temperatures are going to be not bad. moderating in the east. we're getting to 15 in kiev. 10 in stockholm. cool in london at 11 degrees. also a little bit cooler than we have been seeing recently in the iberian peninsula. 15 in madrid. here's your extended forecast.
missile. officials with north korea's space agency say the launch window is now through monday. the ground crew started fuelling up on wednesday. japan's self-defense forces are ready to shoot down anything that enters japanese territory. destroyers and land-based radar units will track the flight and analyze trajectory. the ships are equipped with radar and sm-3 interceptor missiles. two are patrolling in the east china sea. a third is in the sea of japan. sdf units are set up in four locations along the flight path. other units are set up at three locations in the tokyo metro area just in case. that wraps up this edition of "newsline." thanks for joining us.