welcome back to "newsline." i'm miki yamamoto in tokyo. first the headlines for this hour. bank of japan policymakers have sent tokyo shares soaring by announcing they will ramp up their monetary easing program. kurds in turkey cheer as iraqi peshmerga fighters join the battle to keep the city of kobani out of the hands of islamic state. and chinese government
officials are stepping up pressure on the student protesters in hong kong. more than a month after the umbrella revolution began. bank of japan policymakers took investors by surprise and sent tokyo shares soaring. they announced they're going to crank up their monetary stimulus program to hit the inflation target of 2%. ron madison from our business desk joins us now with more details. >> that's right, miki. it was quite a surprise. in fact it's the first time that boj officials have expanded their stimulus since they launched it in april of last year. they say they're worried they won't be able to reverse japan's inflationary mind-set unless they take action. the policymakers voted in favor of the move by 5-4 after a board meeting. they say they'll ramp up their purchase of japanese government bonds. they want to expand the monetary base is the an annual pace of about 80 trillion yen, roughly $730 billion u.s. dollars. that's an increase of 10 to 20
trillion yen on the previous level they targeted. they also plan to triple the purchase of exchange traded funds and japanese real estate investment trusts. the policymakers released their latest outlook for the economy. they lowered their growth forecast for this fiscal year by 0.5 points to 0.5%. and they revised down the inflation forecast for this fiscal year by 0.1 point and next fiscal year by 0.2 points. boj governor haruhiko kur owed today held a news conference after the meeting. he said the board decided on the policy in order to achieve the 2% inflation target. >> translator: on the price front somewhat weak developments in demand following the increase in the consumption tax rate in april. and a substantial decline in crude oil prices have recently been exerting downward pressure.
if that downward pressure on prices continues, even in just the short term, there is a risk that the move away from a deflationary mind-set, which has so far been progressing steadily, might stall. to avoid this risk the bank thought it would be appropriate to expand both quantitative and qualitative monetary easing. the japanese economy has reached a critical moment in the process of emerging from deflation. the bank of japan will do everything in its power to achieve the target of 2% inflation as early as possible. >> well officials at some of japan's biggest firms had mixed reactions to the central bank's
decision. the president masa motor was positive. he says he's hopeful the extra stimulus can help the economy and boost domestic demand for cars. but sony's chief official in charge of finance was a little bit less upbeat. he said a weaker yen would hurt sales of the firm's smartphones, game products and tvs. yoshida says when the currency depreciates by just one yen against the dollar sony cuts its operating profit by about $27 million. well for some insight on this surprise decision by the central bank i spoke earlier with a former policy board member at the boj, and now teaches economics. i first asked for his reaction. >> i am surprised, too. for two reasons. one the timing. the other is that monetary easing was expanded. so most people expected this kind of easing, further easing,
either in december or january next year. it was surprise. and not many people expected this kind of increase in the monetary base, as well as the amount. >> so why did they do this at this time? >> well, i think as he pointed out, the reason rate of change in the inflation rate has come down and if the boj does not move this change in deflation mind-set may become in doubt so this is the reason. >> okay. so you say that they want to change this deflationary mind-set. does putting this increase of about 190 to 180 billion dollars go far enough, do you think? >> well, it's a big increase. i think as indicated in the text. the amount of increase in the monetary base is 83 yen which is
about 0.6% of gdp. gdp in japan is about 305 yen so 83 yen is about 16% of gdp. it's a huge number. huge figure. >> okay. you know, the boj governor kuroda is really sticking to his views that he can achieve 2% inflation in about the two years despite maybe some indications that it won't hit that. do you think he's being a bit too optimistic? >> well, as you pointed out at the outset, they expect the rate of inflation for fiscal year 2015 was revised downward from 1.9 to 1.7%. which indicates that -- which may suggest that the achievement of the target in fiscal year 2015 is very difficult. so, many, including myself, economists think that this achievement of the target in two years is very difficult, if not
impossible. >> so why does he stick to it, do you think? >> well, you know, the main purpose of this policy is to change people's expectations. so he has to show that he sticks to the original aim, and he does everything he -- is in his disposal to achieve it. >> okay, if we take a look at the votes, it wasn't very popular. four of the nine board members voted against it. as a former board member give us some insight into what was going on in that board room, and why do you think the four voted against it? >> i think they may have concern about the sheer amount of the purchase. as much as 83 million yen a year. this policy is open policy until the time when the japanese economy achieves 2% inflation in the sustainable manner. so, you know, this -- by the end
of this policy, we don't know how much the bank of japan is going to accumulate the japanese government bonds in their hands. >> okay so open ended sounds a little bit scary. did that pose any risks? >> well, i think implicitly the previous policy of open end, but this time policy was explicitly open ended. because, until recently, the bank indicated the amount of monetary base as of the end of this year, and the bank didn't mention anything monetary until the end of the year. but this time, instead of mentioning the amount outstanding as of the end of this year or next, they indicate that the pace of purchase and the pace of increase in monetary base until for a certain period.
>> really quickly the prime minister has, of course, a big decision to make coming up about the next consumption tax increase. does this give him any more justification for that? >> well, i think in effect today's action by the boj will push mr. abe to make necessary decision with regard to the tax hike. so, you know, i think mr. kuroda denied any intention whatsoever with regard to the tax hike, but in effect, this will push mr. abe to the corner, to make such -- you know, difficult decision. >> all right. well following the boj decision, tokyo share prices surged, and the yen plunged. the nikkei average jumped as much as 5.6% finishing at its highest level in just about seven years. at the close, the key index posted the biggest one-day gain in six years rising 4.8%, 16,413. it was the third straight day of
advance. a wide range of sectors saw heavy buying. shares of financial and real estate firms were among the best performers. now tokyo's benchmark opened up 1% receiving a positive lead from wall street. strong u.s. earnings and gdp data gave a boost to market sentiment, as well. also, investors took heart from news about the world's largest public pension fund. japan's government pension investment fund or gpif is to increase the ratio of japanese shares in its total asset holdings to 25%. this target was higher than they previously thought. and the upper momentum in tokyo helped push up shares in the asia pacific region. you can see there, gains across the board. all right. i'll be back a little bit later on in the show with more biz. japan's top government spokesperson says north korea's pledge to look more thoroughly into the fate of japanese
abductees offers a fresh perspective on the issue. his statement follows a visit to pyongyang by a japanese delegation tasked with getting an update on the investigation. chief japanese delegate junichiro ichihara had two days of talks with the chairman of the special investigation committee. its members are looking into the fate of japanese missing in north korea, including abductees. five abductees returned to japan in 2002. but what happened to 12 japanese citizens whom the government recognizes as abductees is still unknown. pyongyang says its investigations show that eight abductees are dead, and that the other four never entered north korea. japanese government officials say the meetings were meaningful. they say the delegation was able to speak directly with members of the committee. japan's chief cabinet secretary
summarized what north korean officials told the delegation. >> translator: north korean officials said they were again investigating whether japanese people had entered the country, how and why they entered, and their living environment. they explain that they're looking into former invitation centers where abductees lived. they say they are also conducting a parallel investigation on new material evidence and testimonies. they explained in detail with the methods andle the actual state of their investigation. >> suga says the committee will look into the fate of the missing japanese, regardless of what previous investigations found. he says the north needs time to do that. >> translator: north korean officials explained that they are in the stage of deepening their investigation, and want to avoid explanation that will lead to speculation. and they said they haven't found any objective and clear evidence at this point.
>> and he says japanese delegates told the committee members that resolving the abduction issue is japan's top priority. suga also says japan hopes to receive an initial report by the end of december. now, families of the abductees have heard what happened during the meeting in pyongyang. they say they're disappointed. chief japanese delegate june itchy ihara and the abduction minister have talked to the families. jam tanny says the delegation told north korean officials that resolving the abduction issue is japan's top priority. she says the visit was meaningful, but a representative of the family disagreed.top pri. she says the visit was meaningful, but a representative of the family disagreed.japan's. she says the visit was meaningful, but a representative of the family disagreed. >> translator: many of us pointed out that the visit to the north could be risky. in the end, pyongyang didn't give us any new information about the abductees. i feel really disappointed with
results, even though it's what we'd expected before the delegation went there. in other news, kurdish peshmerga fighters from iraq have now joined the campaign to save a syrian city from islamic state. turkish leaders allow the soldiers to use their territory as a jumping-off point, despite their complicated history with the kurds. nhk world's craig dale has more. >> reporter: the peshmerga fighters came to turkey from northern iraq. some arrived by plane, others drove in a convoy and gathered in the town of suruc. from there they're going to any al arab, known more commonly as kobani. they hadn't even fired a bullet but kurds in turkey welcomed the iraqi peshmerga as heroes. dozens of fighters have started using southern turkey as a base to join the campaign in kobani. the u.s.-led coalition has sent
jet after jet to the skies above the syrian city. they've been bombing islamic state positions. trying to help kurdish forces who have spent more than a month fending off the militants. the deal allowing the peshmerga to access syria via turkey raises a number of issues. kurds in turkey have also wanted to join the fighting in kobani but turkish leaders have resisted. they're involved in peace talks with kurdish separatists following years of civil war. and they don't want those elements to gain strength on the back of this conflict. their relationship with the peshmerga isn't so difficult. the fighters have a long and storied history stretching from the end of world war i through to years of resistance to the late president of iraq, saddam hussein. they've gained strength there the time since the war there thanks in part to relations with the west. the peshmerga now number up to 200,000. they've played a key role in repelling islamic state in northern iraq, and have expanded their territory.
>> they are for the kurds, those who face death. >> reporter: this analyst says the islamic state advance has unified kurds. and cast the peshmerga as the defenders of kurdistan. the word used to describe kurdish areas in the region. >> it's a question of survival. so they have to go and help each other. yes, they can. >> reporter: by giving the peshmerga access to their territory, turkish leaders are fulfilling their pledge to join the global campaign against islamic state without committing, for example, ground troops. now the fight for kobani isn't the only major battle under way in the region. the u.s.-led coalition has been bombing raqa in syria, considered a stronghold of islamic state. fighter jets have also been hitting targets around mosul in northern iraq and the iraqi army is locked in combat with i.s. militants on the fringes of baghdad and in the western province of anbar. but kobani has really come to symbolize the campaign against islamic state. it ties together a number of interests the turks, the kurds,
the syrians, the americans and their allies will know in the coming days if the arrival of the peshmerga fighters will stop the militants' advance once and for all. craig dale, nhk world. now to hong kong. pro-democracy protesters there are nicing intense pressure from the chinese government to disperse. it's been more than a month since the students opened their umbrellas and took over major roads. but officials from the mainland are making it more evident they want to shut down the protests. >> reporter: the demonstrators caught world attention when they opened their umbrellas in front of hong kong's government building to shield themselves from police pepper spray. the act of once again opening their umbrellas demonstrates their renewed intention to protest against the government.
>> translator: we are disappointed with the way the government is dealing with the situation, but we have clear purposes, and we won't give up. >> translator: we haven't achieved the goals and withdrawing now would be the same as backing down. >> reporter: meanwhile the protesters are facing increasing pressu pressure. a pro-china group announced they collected 7800,000 signatures against the occupied movement in three days. the chinese government is said to be supporting these pro-china groups from behind the scenes. it has a facility in schengen about 20 kilometers away from hong kong. reports say chinese government officials stationed at the facility instruct hong kong government officials there.
vehicles linked to the chinese government frequently arrive a depart from the facility. hong kong media say the director of china's hong kong affairs office was staying at the facility last week. it's believed that wong gave the officials from hong kong detailed instructions on how to deal with the students. hong kong's media is also feeling the pressure from china. the apple daily is the only newspaper in hong kong that is showing strong support for the student movement. since mid-october, crowds of people have often gathered in front of the newspaper's building to protest against the reports. acts of sabotage continued even at night. the apple daily says these protests are systematically organized.
this message soliciting people to join the protests reads an $38 a day reward will be given to those who take part. on several occasions the protesters have prevented the transportation of the newspapers from the office. >> translator: we feel strong pressure from beijing. we are not trying to oppose the government. we just want to have a little more democracy. >> reporter: as the pro-democracy protests continue, the chinese government's attempts to contain them is becoming more and more conspicuous. and we pick back up in business with economic data out of japan. leaders in japan have, of course, been trying to reverse decades of deflation. they want prices to rise, and consumers to keep spending.
they did get a mixed bag, though, when they looked at the economic data. the consumer price index rose in september. households, though, spent less. internal affairs ministry officials say that the index rose by 3% compared with the same month last year. the index increased for 16 months in a row. but it's a slight dip from the previous month's rise. that's mainly due to a fall in the prices of gasoline and electricity. the index does not factor in the cost of fresh food. but when the effects of a higher consumption tax are excluded, cpi is believed to have gone up by only 1% or so. government officials say household spending marked the sixth straight month of declines. they say households of two or more people spent an average of about $2500. that's a fall of 5.6% in yen terms from the same month last year. officials say people spent less than electricity due to bad weather. also, consumers went to restaurants less often as there were fewer public holidays compared to last year.
and officials are painting a mixed picture for jobs, as well. they say the unemployment rate worsened but they say the labor market is still pretty strong. officials say the jobless rate rose by 0.1 point to 3.6%. the number of people with jobs increased by 430,000 from a year earlier to more than 64 million. that figure has been climbing for 21 months. the number of people without jobs fell by 250,000 to roughly 2.3 million, and that's been falling for 52 months. labor ministry officials say the ratio of job offers to seekers was down slightly at 1.09. that means there were 109 positions available for every 100 job seekers. the first time in three years and four months that it has declined from the previous month. okay. that is going to wrap it up for biz. it's time now for a look at
the world weather with our meteorologist jonathan oh. jonathan, the springtime weather in argentina seems to be causing some serious problems. what's going on? >> miki, we're talking about some heavy rainfall and some flooding issues down towards south america. you know, when we keep an eye out on the satellite we try to keep an eye out for a situation where clouds are really firing up. and you notice, over brazil that that's certainly the case. and we have clouds that also fire up and moved away from argentina. and behind it, left a really watery mess. let me go and show you the video coming out of buenos aires where you can see the strong winds and torrential rains have triggered serious damage and widespread devastation wednesday. residents struggled to save belongings from flooded roads and homes. some people floating in small boats, and others wading through waist-deep water. many city schools had to be closed because of the flooding. several areas are still struggling with power outages. any time you go into a spring
weather situation, this is the southern hemisphere or the northern hemisphere you tend to have very unstable weather conditions. as we look forward to the next few days i think we have a little bit of good news. yes we still have some rain coming into the picture and that's not going to help, but the amount of rainfall, i think is going to be significantly smaller, and so hopefully that will give a little bit more of an opportunity for the water levels to start receding as we go into the weekend. we move up to now north america, and a big change is coming when it comes to the temperatures. high pressure in the midwest is going to drive down all the canadian cold air into the deep south of the united states. in the process, we have a low pressure system over the great lakes, with an impending cold front that's going to actually produce some snow into the windy city, into chicago, and then as it crosses the appalachian mountains we can see snow into areas as far south as the piedmont of south carolina, because of the cold air mixing in. so we'll be keeping an eye out for that. now, further down toward the south, we have a new tropical storm named advance in the
eastern pacific. a very interesting pattern going down to the southwest, eventually we are expecting it to turn back around and moving toward mexico as we go in to next week. and we are expecting it to become a hurricane. notice, very chilly temperatures as we go into friday, with negative one in winnipeg. chance of snow in chicago. notice we're in the teens now for highs in d.c. and atlanta. and all along the western side of the united states we'll be seeing a chance for some rain. and again, as we go into friday, we'll be looking at halloween and it looks like the temperatures are going to be much cooler, especially as we go further down to the south and the south carolina pumpkin pass. chances of snow coming up on saturday with highs only in the single zing its. here's a look at the forecast for europe, high pressure the big story right now when it comes to the forecast. we do have a low down through the balkan peninsula that's going to bring some instability, once again, and then another low coming off the atlantic. that's going to bring some showers into saturday. so clouds increasing for london with a high of 20 on friday. and then again, dry conditions for most of europe as we go
throughout the day. now take a look at the forecast for east asia, the rain is going to continue to extend from the river basin as we have a stationary front push toward the east and more rain expected for the korean peninsula expanding its way through japan. may even see snow in hokkaido as we go into the weekend. we do have a new tropical storm down near the philippines. this is nuri moving to the west at 15, with winds of 65, gusting to 90, expecting this to intensify and become a severe tropical storm as we go throughout the next few days. something that we'll be watching out for right now no threat to land. once again, rains for tokyo, seoul into shanghai and also to chongqing and the rain will continue to spread toward the east and north as we go throughout the weekend and it is a holiday weekend for those of us in japan, we are expecting the rain to actually continue especially for sapporo, rain into monday as well. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.