hello there and welcome to nzline it's tuesday, december 31st, i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. russian president vladimir putin has ordered a tightening of security nationwide after a second deadly attack in two days. a bomb exploded on a bus in the city of volgograd. 14 people were killed. the attack came less than 24 hours after another at the
city's main railway station. the latest bomb ripped apart a trolley bus. it left behind a tangle of metal and glass. security authorities said a male suicide bomber carried out the attack. a day earlier another suicide bomber set off a device at the entrance to the railway station. 17 people were killed. the bombings have raised fears that islamist extremists based in the region could stage attacks during the winter olympics. the games are less than six weeks away. >> translator: i'm worried something similar could happen in sochi, and the damage could be even worse. as many people will be visiting the city. >> in the past few years militants have carried out attacks at an airport and a subway station in moscow. authorities have responded to the latest bombings by ordering more police officers to guard transport hubs in the capital. state-run media in china have reported that police in the xinjiang uighur autonomous region used deadly force to deal with an armed group that
attacked them. the xinhua news agency says nine people carrying explosives and knives went after officers on monday in the southern district of kashgar. it reports they also set police cars on fire. xinhua says security forces shot and killed eight members of the group, and detained one. it's labeling the attackers as terrorists but has not released names or motives. china's muslim uighur ethnic minority makes up about 90% of the population of kashgar. armed residents and police in the district fought in mid december. 14 residents and two officers died. uighurs often protest against the government's religious policy, and complain about the economic gap between their group, and the majority han chinese who hold key economic and political posts in the region. south korean president pack geun-hye says trust and feelings should not be sacrificed by digging up wounds of the past. she made the comments days after japanese prime minister shinzo abe visited a war-related shrine
in tokyo. park spoke during a meeting with senior aides. she said a country that repeats acts not in line with universal values can never be considered a first-class nation, no matter how affluent it is. she did not name japan, or abe. abe visited yasukuni shrine last thursday. the memorial honors japan's war dead, including military and political leaders convicted of war crimes by an international military tribunal after world war ii. abe says he went there to renew a pledge never to wage a war again. and to pay his respects to those who died in conflicts. he says he'll continue to try to explain his visit to people in asia, and other parts of the world. but government officials in china seem to have heard enough. they say the prime minister lost his chance for dialogue by visiting the shrine. >> translator: prime minister abe himself closed the door to talks with chinese leaders. chinese people don't welcome
him. >> qin says it's not possible for chinese leaders to meet with abe until he admits his mistakes and acknowledges what happened in the past. he says the visit to the shrine has also created great difficulty for bilateral exchanges and cooperation. a german government official has also weighed in. he urged japan to face its role in history. stefan ziebert is the spokesperson for chancellor angela merkel. he said all nations must face up to their role in the horrible events of the 20th century. he said an honest acknowled it future with former foes. ♪ >> this song is about a girl who died as a result of the atomic bombing in hiroshima. the day the paper cranes fly is
not as popular outside of japan, but recently people in australia started singing it. and credit goes to a man who spent much of world war ii in a japanese army prison camp. nhk world has the story. ♪ >> reporter: brisbane, northeastern australia. recently, local children sang "the day the paper cranes fly." 81-year-old neo begley is responsible for having australians sing this japanese song. begley's parents were missionaries. he was born and raised in china. during world war ii, he spent 3 1/2 years in a japanese army prison camp. after the war, he went back to australia, angered by painful memories of the cold, the
hunger, and the death of friends. 18 years ago, he published a book describing his harsh experiences. >> a daily ration of food was one cup of rice per person per day. one small turnip. and the only green vegetables which got were chrysanthemum leaves. the anger about the japanese was very strong. >> reporter: meanwhile, begley came across a book about a girl who died at the age of just 12, after exposure to the atomic bombing in hiroshima. sadako 7 sasaki had leukemia as a result of the bombing. to pray for recovery she folded thousands of paper cranes. ten years after the exposure, she died. a statue modeled on the girl stands in the children's peace monument in hiroshima. it broke begley's heart that
japanese children also suffered terrible experiences during the war. last year, begley visited japan. he was a guest of the japanese ministry of foreign affairs. they invited people whom the japanese army imprisoned. during the trip, begley felt a strong desire to visit the elementary school that sadako had attended. while the australian was there, he heard "the day the paper cranes fly." sadako's prayer in song. >> the children at the school sang a most beautiful song. and the children of japan used that song as their wish that there would be peace. >> reporter: after returning home, begley started to tell local children about sadako.
>> i was kind of sad about the girl dying. but, she went to a lot of trouble making all those paper cranes. so, yeah, it was a nice story. >> i thought it was amazing that she actually went to all the trouble to try and make all those paper cranes, even though she was going through leukemia. ♪ >> reporter: begley decided he would spread the paper crane song in australia. he even translated the japanese lyrics into english. >> then when they're old and in older and in positions of power and authority, they will hopefully say, hey, we ought to go down this road we don't have to have war, surely we can sit down and talk this through. we don't have to fight. >> reporter: the foremost victim in any war are children. begley feels that with all the political and religious
conflicts around the world, his mission is to convey the mindlessness and horror of war. takeo nakajima, nhk world, brisba brisbane. ♪ auditors in china have identified an alarming trend in the nation's finances. they found local governments have been building up a mountain of debt. officials at the national audit office say by the end of june, those governments were carrying debts of nearly $3 trillion. the auditors carried out a two-month investigation into debt and transactions outside the regular system, what's known as shadow banking. they said local government debt exceeds 17.9 trillion yuan. more than 2.9 trillion dollars. that's more than a third of china's gross domestic product last year. local governments are prohibited from issuing bonds to finance
infrastructure projects so they're using money collected from investors through shadow banking. the prospect of defaults has raised fears they could leave banks with a load of bad debt. officials from the bank of japan say the volume of money in the financial market hit a record high this year. the central bank's massive monetary easing program boosted the figure by 45%, topping the target of 200 trillion yen. spokespersons for the bank say its monetary base stood at 201.8 trillion yen, or more than $1.9 trillion monday, the last business day of the year. the monetary base includes the amount of currency in circulation, plus current account deposits held by commercial banks at the boj. the bank's executives plan to increase the monetary base to 2.6 trillion dollars by the end of 2014. they're hoping to pull japan out of deflation, but analysts say that can only happen if private sector banks lend more to businesses and households.
share prices in tokyo outperformed those on other major markets in the world this year. the benchmark nikkei index surged 56% for the entire year of 2013. that was the biggest yearly gain in 41 years. we report on how the last trading day of the year went in tokyo. [ bell rings ] >> reporter: a festive mood is dominating, even prime minister shinzo abe came to the ceremony that marked the end of trading for the year. now, the nikkei average climbed for a ninth straight session on monday, at 16,291. up 0.7 of a percent and the topics of 1,302 up 0.95%. many say a big factor which has made tokyosoft so strong this
year is a set of policies prime minister abe has implemented dubbed abenomics to get the economy going again. the monetary easing, fiscal spending, and a growth strategy aimed at pulling japan out of decades of deflation. now, on the back of these policies, of course, the yen has weakened significantly. the dollar traded at a five-year high against the yen in tokyo on monday. and the euro was near its highest level in five years against the japanese currency. this helped consumer electronic, auto and other export-related issues. now earlier i spoke with head of japan equity strategy at bank of america merrill lynch. i asked him about this year's price movements, and the outlook for 2014. >> the stock market was very good at the very start of this year. mostly from abenomics. i mean, put down political change, the most important part of the recent market, especially
from january to march, it was mostly increased by the big amount of expectation. and then, from april, actually governor froda was in position of boj, and the policies have started. the second half things are a bit changed. they tend to check and monitor what happens. so positive minutes of investors are quite stable, but no addition was done. so, second half was quite stable market for japanese equity. next year i expect a good market, mostly from the normalization of the global economy, rather than japan's specific issues. so normalization say typically in the united states is expected, starting from the fed, my year-end target is 17,700. which has, say, more or less 10% to 15% upside from now.
and it is supported by export sales volume is expanding, and also, inflation expectation. so it's a combination now of global economy, and domestic economy, both growing for next year. >> so, he is pretty bullish. but some people are worried that a sales tax hike in april may hurt the economy. now 2014 is the year of the horse in the oriental zodiac. investors are really hoping that japanese shares will continue galloping higher. japan automobile importers association says sales of imported vehicles are soaring. and will take a record share of japan's auto market this year. analysts say japanese consumers bought more than 280,000 imported vehicles in 2013. that's up around 40,000 from last year. it gives import vehicles a record 8% of the market. the analysts said affordable,
compact models spurred the sales. they said many of the vehicles are fuel efficient and so qualify for tax breaks in japan. germany's volkswagen has been cutting costs and driving down prices, by using the same components in many of its models. one volkswagen dealer in japan said consumers no longer see import cars as unattainable luxuries. >> translator: we offer many affordable models. so the customers are looking at them alongside domestic cars. >> analysts say volkswagen vehicles are likely to fare well as japan's auto market shrinks. south korea is well-known for its enthusiasm for education. more than two-thirds of elementary and junior high school students attend schools and other private institutions. government officials are combining this national
obsession with another korean strength, information technology. they're building a new education system using i.t. in the hope it will give young people an edge in the future. nhk world reports. >> reporter: a new fast developing city in south korea's central region. the school boasts traditional education system. teachers and students use state-of-the-art digital technology in the classrooms. the school provides free tablet computers to all students from the fourth to sixth grades. the tablets are linked by a crown computing to touch printouts. the school says the system makes learning faster and fun.
teachers can use a panel to display the students' answers or to bounce questions back to the class. >> translator: matthewsed to be hard. now it's fun. >> the technology helps teachers assess how well students are grasping the lesson. teachers frequently check her students' comprehension by e-mail. she can plot their responses on charts. >> translator: some students struggled with math, but now the lessons interest them. and their concentration has improved. >> reporter: children in big cities going through their grades by making use of the educational facilities behind me. but it's different for students to reach higher education. government officials are trying to bridge this gap with information technology.
the town of nito is home to about 7,000 people. he is in the fifth grade. his family runs a cattle farm. he helps out every day after school. last year he began using an online education site to build on his studies. provincial government officials developed the site with support from the central government. he uses the site to review lessons on science and social studies. he can also explore topics in more depth. >> translator: i enjoy studying this way. there's a lot of animation. and the teachers answer my questions. it's a lot of fun. >> reporter: teachers say the cyber education system has
improved the performance of students. they say it's opening doors for kids in an area where geography and lack of money can limit opportunities. >> translator: the data confirms the academic results have improved. >> reporter: but some teachers are struggling to adjust to the change. they know that this child's classes are popular so they are helping each other out with unfamiliar i.t. skills. keris is a state-run organization that promotes i.t. based education. officials there say it is unstoppable. >> translator: it's for the benefit of students that we're making these changes. teachers understand this, and that they need to improve their classes. some may be resistant. but, if we provide i.t.
instruction courses, we think teachers will embrace these changes. >> reporter: south korean officials plan to spend at least $2 billion on this prong exin the next two years. the eventual aim is to create unlimited access to online education materials for everyone. nhk world, saejong. south korea has already started to export this i.t.-based education system. officials hope to not only boost the knowledge of students, but also the country's reputation as an educational powerhouse. people who live in japan grow used to bracing themselves when earthquakes hit.
meicnc say ts japan year the were more than noticeable quakes. that's fewer than last yearut still above what was normal before the march 2011 quake. agency officials say as of sunday they had categorized 2,366 tremors as noticeable quakes. that's down from over 3,000 last year, and from more than 10,000 the year before. in april, magnitude6.3 quake shook western japan. that was the first time in two years seismologists had observed an intensity of six minus on the japanese scale running from zero to seven. in october a magnitude 7.1 quake offortheaern japan prompted officials to issue a tsunami viso. agency officials say the march 2011 earthquake is still producing aftershocks. they're urging pple b prepared for a major quake. well, thousands of foreign volunteers traveled to northeast japan after the 2011 earthquake
and tsunami. many of them helped clear debris in the city of ishinomaki in miyagi prefecture. now a team of locals is trying to give something back to people overseas. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: this man runs a gas company in ishinomaki. he's very busy these days with reconstruction efforts. he has another commitment, as well. he started an english magazine with two friends last year. they named it "rolling press," because they want to set people's minds in motion. they write about what's going on in their hometown. >> translator: we're trying to focus on locals who are working with a positive attitude.
>> reporter: arakawa had a good reason to start a magazine for people overseas. the march 11 tsunami destroyed his home and his business. he says the devastation made him feel hopeless. but then, many foreign volunteers arved, and offered help. >> translator: i was amazed that so many of them came and worked so hard for us. i'm not sure i would have done the same thing in their situation. >> kon-nichiwa. >> reporter: arakawa's team is working on an article about a japanese restaurant that was destroyed in the tsunami. many foreigners helped clear debris from the ruins. the restaurant was able to reopen this summer in time for its 100th anniversary.
>> translator: the support of many volunteers made it possible for us to reopen. >> reporter: one of his goals is to tell the story of survivors who are helped by foreigners. one of the volunteers was mcwilliams. she helped clear the debris in ishinomaki. now that the cleanup is finished, she's helping in another way, by translating articles in "rolling press" into english. >> i want to stay involved. and it's also just a continuation through the 2 1/2 years i've grown a kind of affinity toward ishinomaki and it's become a place that i feel is quite near and dear to my heart. >> reporter: so far, more than 1,700 copies of "rolling press" have been distributed around the
world. arakawa and his team are trying even more to disseminate to the world more information about the situation in affected areas and the progress of reconstruction. they've also conducted a tour for foreign visitors. arakawa hopes to share his experiences from the disaster and what he learned from them. >> translator: i felt natural power is a source so huge, and cannot fight for nature. but later i felt people's power is also very huge. can change your mind. can change your situation. >> reporter: arakawa tells the people on the tour about "rolling press." some took copies to bring home with them. it reminds people that, you
know, life here still isn't perfect and there's still a lot of work to be done. >> i would definitely like to come back again and see how it's doing in five year's time, you know, ten year's time. >> translator: i'd like many people to visit ishinomaki to see the rebuilding for themselves. they can connect with residents who were helped by foreign volunteers. that would help the economy, too. it's my dream. >> reporter: arakawa says he'll keep spreading the word about people in ishinomaki, their new lives and challenges. he also says he hopes to attract more tourists from overseas. june yoet moto, nhk world, ishinomaki. it is time now for a check on the extended weather forecast for selected cities around the world.