welcome to nhk world "newsline," i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. the governor of japan's okinawa prefecture tells the prime minister he'll make a decision this week in a key step of the relocation of a u.s. military base. north korean leader kim jong-un tells military commanders to be ready for battle in an apparent provocation aimed at south
korea. and we go inside fukushima daiichi to look at the struggles and risks workers face on a daily basis to prepare the damaged nuclear plant for decommissioning. for nearly two decades, a thorn in the side of japan-u.s. relations. prime minister shinzo abe has met with the okinawa governor to try to persuade him to approve the reclamation of land to build a new air base in the northern part of the prefecture. nakima is ready to hear the proposal. nhk world has more. >> reporter: prime minister abe wants to move the marines to a new base in northeastern okinawa. nakima has been strongly opposed to the idea. he wants the government to come up with a plan that eases the burden on his prefecture.
futenma air base was built in 1955. it's now home to about 4,000 u.s. marines, but its urban location has been a source of con flix. people living nearby says it puts them at risk. in 1996, the u.s. and japan agreed to move the base elsewhere. many people in okinawa want it moved out of the prefecture. they insist that other areas of japan should share the burden of hosting military bases. u.s. officials have been pushing their japanese counterparts to solve the issue. the relocation is an integral part of their plan to realign their forces in the pacific region. when the current ruling party returned to power last year, its leaders agreed to move the base
to nago city. they plan to reclaim some coastal area and build a new base there. abe told the governor that he'll allocate around 3,000 million per year for the next eight years to boost okinawa's economy. abe promised to try to reduce the number of drills by a controversial u.s. aircraft. okinawa residents say the osprey planes pose a safety risk. nakayima said the offer was generous, but he said he'll need a couple of days to decide. >> translator: i've asked the government to resolve many long disputed issues. they are tackling the problems relatively fast, and things are
moving forward at last. it will be a good new year. >> translator: we will listen to the wishes of the people of okinawa and do everything we can as the japanese gott. >> reporter: after 17 years of protests and controversy, the people of okinawa are bracing themselves for a decision. one of the most problematic issues in japan-u.s. relations has reached a turning point. tomoko kamata, nhk world. north korean leader kim jong-un appears to be sending a provocative signal to his counterparts in seoul. he's publicly urged his military chiefs to be ready for battle and told them war could break out at any time. state-run tv broadcast pictures
of kim's visit to the command of army unit in the west of the country. the trip coincided with the anniversary of the day his late father assumed control of the military. kim told the unit to instruct its readiness for combat. he traveled with three of his top military leaders. north korea's top defense officials recently threatened to attack south korea without notice. they were responding to rallies in seoul where protesters torched photos of kim jong-un. meanwhile, south korean president park gunn hay urged commanders to be on heightened alert. some officials are concerned the north will take provocative actions. they say leaders in pyongyang will try to rally support following the kpe constitution of jang song thaek.
military officials carried out the attack as retaliation for an israeli civilian. a sniper from gaza shot dead an israeli men doing maintenance work on the fence at the border. hours later, planes fired at planes. military tanks also shelled a range of sites. hospital officials in gaza say the 3-year-old girl was near one of the targets. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu said the country could not ignore the shooting of one of its civilians. this latest flare-up of violence threatens to derail the process. officials at japan's science ministry have given engineers the go ahead to develop the country's next generation rocket
for launching commercial satellites. the project will begin in the fiscal year that starts in april. the h-3 will use liquid fuel for the main engine and solid fuel for its boosters. the development cost is estimated at 1.8 billion dollars. ministry officials hope the h-3 will blast off in 2020. the load capacity of the next generation rocket will be adjustable. it will be used to launch satellites weighing up to 6.5 tons. the new rocket would exceed the h-2a. engineers hope to reduce the figure by up to 50%. 20 h-2a rockets have been launched, more than 90% of the rockets have been successful. its high cost has hindered its international competitiveness. astronauts on the
international space station have finished installing a new pump. all nonessential equipment had to be turned after off a pump valve failed on december 11th. japanese astronaut steered a robotic arm to help them reach the installation point. >> merry christmas to everybody. it took a couple of looks to get it done, but we got it. >> the team have removed the faulty pump during another space walk on saturday. controllers at nasa plan to turn all the equipment at the space station back on after fully testing the new pump. a similar problem occurred on the i.s.s. three years ago. astronauts at that time also carried out space walks to make repairs. japan is coming down hard on
mizuho and their dealings with the mafia. >> apparently wanting to send the message that they take the situation very seriously and make sure there's not a repeat of this kind of thing, so the financial services agency is planning to order mizuho bank. the loans in question are the type offered through a group consumer finance company. the agency is expected to impose a suspension on new loan applications for one month. authorities are also likely to order the bank to improve training for employees engaged in loan screening and this is to prevent an occurrence. the bank and its holding company face an order to drastically review its management overall. this will be the second administrative penalty to be imposed on the bank in three months. mizuho financial group last month by authorities have been
investigating why a false report was made. documents were presented to the board of directors. bank officials claim their top executives were not informed about the loans. bank of japan's governor has asked corporate executives to do more to pull the country out of deflation. kuroda was at a gathering in tokyo, its chairman and executive of member firms attended. >> translator: if many firms raised prices and wages at the same time, that will have a positive impact on the economy overall, so the authorities in charge of policies must come up with bold measures that will let corporate executives change their attitude. >> kuroda also said he sees signs of an up turn in the economy, financial markets, and sentiment.
he planned to further ease monetary measures and reach a 2% target. tokyo's main benchmark climbed three quarters of a percent today, finishing at 16,009. it's the highest close since 2007. futures sent the index higher towards the close. market heavyweight fast retailing jumped 5% to pose this year's high. analysts are saying hopes emerge that retail investors may buy back shares after the market digests its selling due to tax changes. the nikkei gained more than 5% through wednesday. most other markets in the region were shut for the christmas holiday. forces that were open finished their sessions higher, tracking overnight gains on wall street. shanghai finished at 2,106.
taiwan added 0.2 of a percent. in thailand, the s.e.t. index finished at 1,332. on to currencies now, dollar/yen is around 104.37. analysts say traders are reluctant to make bold moves during the holiday season. euro/yen is around 142.72. auto production in japan remains upbeat. output rose for a third straight month compared to a year ago, mainly due to strong sales of fuel efficient cars. eight major auto makers say they made more than 8,000 units last month. brisk sales of new models like
hybrids and mini vehicles are pushing up output. 7 of the 8 automakers logged increases compared to the previous year. honda marked a rise of 34.5% and showed a strong sale of fuel efficient smaller cars. toyota's production, meantime, was up 3.5%. automakers do expect a rush in demand before the consumption tax is raised in april. prices of corporate services in japan for december has risen among companies' improved earnings. officials said wednesday that the corporate services price index stood at 96.6 last month. that's a base against 100 set in 2005. the index increased one point from a year earlier and it was the biggest year on year rise since august 2008. it's also the second month of
increase. thanks to their better earnings. hotel operators also raised accommodation fees. software developers have also raised prices. firms are updating their computer operating systems, seeing as support for windows xp is set to end next april. service prices were up across the board, but they advice monthly figures fluctuate quite a lot. they are keeping a close eye on further rises in the index. that is going to do it for biz tonight. let's close it out with the markets.
u.n. officials believe thousands of people have been killed in the violence in south sudan. the president says government forces have taken back a key town held by rebels, but battles continue across the country. the fighting erupted mid-december in the capital j a juba. president kir said on tuesday his forces now control bor, the capital of the eastern state of junglai. >> the forces of the government have taken bor, and they are now clearing whatever pockets that are around bor. >> u.n. high commissioner for
human rights is said on tuesday that 34 bodies have been found in mass graves in the north of the country. u.n. humanitarian coordinator toby layncer says it's undeniable at this stage there must have been thousands of people who have lost their lives. the u.n. is now sending more peacekeepers to south sudan to protect civilians. the security council has unanimously approved plans to nearly double the size of the u.n. peacekeeping force there. the 15-member council on tuesday adopted a resolution to boost the number of troops and police officers to about 14,000. the resolution authorizes the transfer of units from u.n. forces in other african countries if necessary. over 80,000 people have fled their homes, with more than half of them seeking shelter at u.n. facilities. u.s. officials are urging all parties in the crisis to
immediately stop fighting. secretary of state john kerry made calls on tuesday to both president kiir and former vice president muchar. special envoy donald booth is working with leaders of kenya, sudan, and other countries in the region to arrange for negotiations. thousands of workers go inside japan's damaged nuclear plant every day doing one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, but few get to see what they actually do. teams continue the complicated task of removing fuel rods from one of the reactor buildings at fukushima daiichi. nhk world put on a safety suit and followed them in to give us a closer look.
>> reporter: workers in full protective gear have become one of the most recognizable symbols of the operation to decommission fukushima daiichi. this command and control center is where they come to put the gear on. >> you got to be careful with not letting radioactive particles inside of the building. >> reporter: the purpose of this protective suit is to prevent radioactive particles from sticking to the skin. i also have to wear two layers of socks. then, with triple layers of gloves, it's hard to move my fingers. >> translator: the idea is, if you touch a contaminated object,
you can immediately switch to another pair of gloves, while keeping the inner layer firmly in place. >> reporter: the mask is strapped on very tightly to avoid inhaling contaminated air. >> it's kind of hard to breathe, so you have to get used to it. >> reporter: on my way to the reactor number 4 building, i saw damaged structures still untouched. there's more pressing work to do. here, work is under way to remove spent fuel rods. wearing restrictive gear, workers carry out delicate work that cannot fail. it's not easy to communicate, so they discuss every detail of the operation in advance.
even just watching from the side, i was hot, thirsty, and exhausted. he knows the struggle of working in the protective gear. he spent 50 days last year at fukushima daiichi. >> translator: in places with high levels of radiation, the masks and suits we wore were sealed with tape. even at this distance, it was impossible to hear each other without shouting. >> reporter: hiyashi said it limited the amount of work they could do. >> translator: the mask wouldn't keep up with the pace of my breath. in just a few minutes, probably about five, i would start running out of oxygen.
so, i quickly understood i just couldn't operate at my normal pace. >> reporter: around the plant, 3,500 workers like hiyashi work every day. they are involved in different tasks, including heavy construction work. every time workers finish their shift, they are screened to make sure no radioactive particles are stuck to them. from the tips of their fingers, to the soles of their feet. they also have to periodically check their internal exposure to radiation. they sit in what's called a whole-body counter. for visitors like me, it is also mandatory. if contamination is detected,
you can't leave until properly cleaned. >> says no problem with internal radiation exposure. so, i can go home. >> reporter: the workers have a massive job on their hands. the success of the decommissioning process rests on their shoulders. nhk world, fukushima daiichi. temperatures are dropping in japan, with snow on the seaside. our meteorologist robert speta is here with more, and looks like he's in the holiday spirit, as well. robert? >> gene, definitely trying to keep spirits up today. what we are seeing is the snow on the sea of japan coastline start to taper off and looked like throughout the rest of wednesday, into thursday, you're going to be seeing some clear skies. things will be changing. we'll be looking at some
snowfall, but at least outside of the studios in tokyo, dry. cold, so it feels wintery. near the end of this weather cast, i'm going to show you what it looks like somewhere where it's not so cold out. first, let's talk about this. we do have that high pressure that i mentioned. keeping things dry here, also in korea and china. it will be changing, though. we have this storm system towards the south, that's going to be developing and bringing rain showers and thunderstorms moving out across much of the pacific coast of japan throughout the day on thursday, into friday. most will be rainfall. higher elevations could see snow. good news, it's going to pull moisture away from the philippines, definitely bringing foul weather to the areas still recovering, if you remember from typhoon haiyan, so definitely want some improving conditions for you. temperatures, into the 30s in the tropics. rain and snow mix here on thursday. let's see what's also going on into north america, where it is
just staying bitter cold here. we have high pressure dominating the east, following behind the ice storm that moved through monday. knocked out power for a lot of you. there is some more snow in the forecast. if you want a white christmas, you're going to have it in the western great lakes. it is going to be moving by from the west off there towards the east, and some improving conditions behind it. if you don't like the snow, this is a place where it is not feeling like winter. look at los angeles, the high temperature here, 31 degrees here on your wednesday. just cooking down here. over towards houston, the teens. miami at 25, but los angeles, sunny skies through the mid part of your week. into europe, this is the one part i want to be serious about here. we do have this storm system spinning near the british isles. some areas could see 140, 160 kilometer per hour wind gusts.
heavy rainfall, even parts of the alpine regions, you could be seeing 70 centimeters of snowfall with this. this continues to push off towards the east. that's in the west and it really is quite messy out here. but in the east, it's actually relatively dry. staying on the cold side for you there in warsaw. you have a high of 6. kiev, light rain showers, high of 3. vienna, partly cloudy skies. look at that, getting up into the double digits. now this is where i wanted to talk about where it's not winter at all, southern hemisphere, so winter in the north, nice and warm down here in the south. we have a little tropical activity towards the north, but i want to show you what's happening in the southeast, people out there celebrating the holidays. this is in sydney, and you can see they have the surf boards out and santa's out there getting people all in the festive mood. take a look at your temperatures if you're there. if you want to go on vacation
pope francis's first christmas eve mass as pontiff. ♪ the faithful celebrated the birth of jesus christ at st. peter's basilica on tuesday. pope francis told the congregation that if people's hearts are closed and dominated by pride, defeat, and self seeking, then darkness will fall within them and around them. he expressed his intention to promote reform. the church has suffered a series of scandals, including the sexual abuse of children by priests. pope francis became the first pontiff to be chosen by latin america. his humble and easy going manner has won him popularity during the first nine months of his papacy. the u.s. magazine "time" selected pope francis as its person of the year for 2013. and that's "newsline" for this hour.
>> pope francis delivered his first christmas day address from the central balcony of st. peters basilica in front of tens of thousands of tourists and children. he said he was joining in the song of christmas angels with all those hoping for a better world. for his first address, pope francis, who has been named person of the year by "time" magazine, called for peace across the world and spoke more particularly of syria and the central african republic. >> grant peace to the central african republic, often forgotten and overlooked. yet