nesian search crews looking for the missing airasia flight have made a grim discovery. they found large pieces of debris and dead bodies. and they believe they might have come from the passenger jet. officials say they found bodies in waters southwest of kalimantan island. the missing jet lost contact near that area. they've also found about ten
objects floating around the region. authorities say they're now 95% sure that the debris came from the missing aircraft. the airasia plane with 162 people on board went missing on sunday, 40 minutes after taking off from suedsurabaya in indonesia to singapore. they say the a320 plane likely crashed into the ocean between kalimantan and belitung islands. the weather was stormy when the aircraft lost contact. indonesia's government has expanded the search area to over 150,000 square kilometers. they're being assisted by 43 ships and 37 planes including those from singapore, malaysia, and australia. the u.s. china, and south korea also sent vessels to the region. japanese stock prices ended lower on this last trading day of 2014. political concerns in greece weighed on market sentiment.
but, on the year the benchmark nikkei was up more than 7% and the year-end closing price was the highest in 15 years. ramin mellegard from the nhk world's business desk gives us the details and looks back at the year's trading. [ clapping ] >> well despite the lower share prices markets were in a pretty festive mood here. there was a ceremony to mark the last trading day of the year and market players here will now have a five-day break for the new year. but let's have a look at how the nikkei and top pix ended december 30th. the nikkei closing at 17,450 down 1.5%. and the broader topix at 1,407 down 1.2%.
so some investors are concerned about the outcome of the upcoming election in january and they sold stocks to avoid some of the risks. but on the year the nikkei was up more than 7% that's much weaker compared with the previous year. the index had surged 56% in 2013. as for currencies the dollar rose about 14% against the yen this year. it's at its highest level since 2007. the weaker yen boosted major exporters' shares. now earlier we spoke with hiro sales strategist at dee you awow securities for his take on the markets in 2014 and his views on 2015. >> i think this year's japanese market was pretty spirited. but the first half of the year the upside was quite limited because yen did not appreciate a lot. but second half the market environment has changed dramatically.
the index went up drastically due to several surprise ss additional easing by bank of japan. or lower house election. and the postponement of a sales tax increase which is scheduled to 2015 october. so those positive surprise ss the nikkei went up to near 18,000 level. i think next year 2015 is better than this year. i expect the nikkei will go up to 22,000 to 23,000 level at the end of the next year. and there are several reasons. most important factor is corporate earnings. outlook is very good.
and the other one is the u.s. economic recovery is also has a good impact on japanese economy. especially in the area of export to the u.s. i think there's some risks in the market. i think the timing of the rate increase by federal reserve in the u.s. is very important. when the oil prices start decline very substantially, then the market start to consider some debt problems of the russia and that will increase some external risks. >> as he mentioned, a lot of investors will be watching for what the federal reserve may do. but also on how policymakers in japan, china, europe as well as emerging economies, react. and that's all for me for this year. >> that was ramin mellegard from nhk world's business desk.
voters in greece will head to the polls for general elections early next year. the parliament has rejected the nominee by prime minister samaras for president. he was unable to gain the 180 votes needed to win the post. the former european commissioner had not been able to get the mandatory two-thirds of the 300 total votes in the previous two rounds. the requirement was lowered to 180 for the third round of voting. samaras set january 25th as the date for a parliamentary election. the greek government has been implementing severe austerity measures in exchange for assistance from the european union. the country's financial problems have affected the rest of europe. the main opposition party, which opposes the measures is leading opinion polls. it is yet unknown whether samaras can remain in office. the greek stock index closed 4% below the previous week and at
one point it was down 11%. ten-year bond yields surged to 9.8% at one time. concerns over greece's political turmoil hit other european markets. the stock markets in italy and spain also plunged more than 2% at points on monday. italian authorities say not all listed passengers on a burning ferry in the adriatic sea have been accounted for. more than 400 people were rescued. eight are confirmed dead. the ferry had left the greek port of patras for ancona italy. the fire broke out before dawn on sunday on the ship's car deck. >> translator: the shock came suddenly. i was so scared by the falling floor, heat and large amounts of smoke. >> the ferry's manifest listed
478 passengers and crew members. authorities said they had not confirmed the whereabouts of about 40 of them. china's communist party leaders have renewed their efforts to ensure loyalty to general secretary xi jinping. they say they will not tolerate the formation of intraparty factions. the state-run xinhua news agency reported the governing communist party held a meeting on monday of politburo members. the report quoted the party's position that it will not allow setup groups who have the purn of making personal profit. analysts say leaders have been stepping up their anti-corruption campaign, and trying to tighten their grip on the party and the government. officials decided earlier this month to expel former politburo standing committee member for taking bribes and leaking party and state secrets.
zhou was in charge of internal security and was the leader of the so-called oil industry faction. another senior politician link jihua is also under investigation on suspicion of committing a serious disciplinary violation. he was a former president hu jintao's close aide. he had reportedly made up a group from his home province and ask asked zhou to cover a scandal involving his son. google's e-mail service gmail has been frozen in mainland schiena. internet analysts suggest possible blocking by the government. users say they have been unable to send or receive e-mails through the service since friday. singapore-based spokesman for google told reuters news agency there's nothing wrong on its end. china's foreign ministry spokesperson said she did not know about gmail being blocked. she did not mention any involvement by the government. officials in china have been
cautious about the spread of critical opinion through the internet. the government has maintained tight controls and has blocked twitter and facebook. north korea -- north korean media are urging people to pledge more loyalty to the country's leader. they made the call on the third anniversary of kim jong-un assuming the top military post. kim became the supreme commander on december 30th, 2011 following the death of his father, kim john ill. state-run tv showed footage of kim touring a military facility and inspecting the training of troops. an editorial in the ruling workers party newspaper praised him for initiating a new prosperous military oriented era. the paper says people should defend kim with their lives. media in the country also reported for the first time that kim jong-un's sister kim yo jong joined him on the visit. the report suggests she is
stepping up her presence in the north's leadership as an aide to her brother. every year hundreds of thousands of high school students in south korea take one of the most important tests of their lives. college entrance exams. and recently they're seeing more and more competition from people of all walks of life who are trying to pursue a higher education. nhk world explains. >> reporter: this is women's school in seoul. it's for older women who never finished middle school or high school. officials held a ceremony ahead of the college entrance exams. the principal handed out sweets to all 148 students, wishing them good luck.
officials at south korea's education ministry say more and more senior citizens are enrolling in college. in five years, the number has grown five-fold. schools started offering classes for adults in 1978. each one pays about $640 for three months' tuition. there are 50 schools across the country catering to elderly men and women. these schools help them enter the college. in this classroom elderly students are busy reviewing their notes ahead of the college entrance exam. the students range in age from their 40s to their 80s. many of them are over 60. in the 1960s, south korea was much poorer than it is today. leaders put a top prize on economic growth.
very few people had the luxury of going to college. and the widespread sexism of the time made the situation even worse for girls. but now things are different. the south korean economy is strong. many older men and women can pursue the education they never received in their youth. >> translator: i really enjoy studying a lot. i feel it offers a lot of opportunities for me to bring out my full potential. >> translator: i want to keep going to school without worrying about my age. as long as i'm healthy enough. >> reporter: this woman is 82 years old. she's the eldest person to take this year's entrance exams. her father died when she was just 6. her two brothers went missing after being recruited by the authorities during japan's colonial rule of the korean
peninsula. she had to drop out of middle school to help support her mother. she went to work as a textile factory. she says it was tough to see her former classmates going off to school in their uniforms. >> translator: i was never able to find better work because i didn't have enough of an education. deep in my heart i always wanted to continue my studies. i always felt small and shy in front of other people. >> reporter: cho faces the same challenges common to many elderly people. she sometimes has difficulty remembering what she's learned, but she says she doesn't want to stop. she's planning to go to college for a degree in social welfare so she can help people in need.
>> translator: being able to go back to school almost makes me feel like i was born again. the dream i had while working all those years has finally come true. from now on i want to live a life worth living. >> reporter: more and more south korea's senior citizens fulfill the dreams they couldn't achieve when they were young, with the help of schools like this one. nhk world, seoul. authorities in japan are dealing with the country's third bird flu outbreak in less than a month. they have ordered a mass cull and put restrictions on shipments. authorities on monday tested dead chickens from a powellry farm in the western prefecture of yamaguchi. they say the birds tested positive for the h5 strain of the virus. they say 37,000 chickens will be
culled. and they've restricted birds and eggs from being moved within a three kilometer radius. on sunday authorities in the southwestern prefecture of miyazaki found the h5 strain at a poultry farm. they culled more than 42,000 chickens. the virus was found at another farm in the same prefecture two weeks ago. prime minister shinzo abe has ordered government officials to take swift action to contain the outbreak. he instructed authorities at the agriculture ministry and other offices to collect information and cooperate on a response. and he told them to keep the public up to date with accurate information. japan's leaders are in a race against time.
the proportion of elderly is increasing faster than any other country. and the birth rate remains low. since 2007 the number of deaths each year has outpaced the number of births. the crisis is hitting home and not just in small towns with declining industries but in the heart of the capital. nhk world's jun yotsumoto reports. >> reporter: tokyo is bustling. more than 2 million people come and go at this train station, one of the world's busiest. the area is known as japan's hub culture center attracting many visitors, even from abroad. many young singles move in from across the country. unlike many other regions, the population here is still on the rise. but a nationwide demographic study indicates that won't be
the case for long. it suggests toshima's population of women of child-bearing age will decline to almost half by 2040. that means less and less children will be born here. the mayor was taken aback by the results. >> translator: it was a big shock. i jumped out of my seat. why toshima city? >> reporter: the problem is that the area is simply not suited for young families. this woman moved to toshima a year and a half ago with her daughter and husband. she chose the area for the urban convenience. but, finding a place to live was difficult. >> translator: i felt there were so few properties for families. >> reporter: most available apartments were studios for singles.
she was surprised to learn 60% of toshima's households have just one member. the neighborhood has few parks. she takes her daughter to play on a patch of ground with little greenery. she is a schoolteacher and wants to go back to work as soon as she can. but she can't find a day-care center for kyoko. hundreds of children are already on the waitlist. >> translator: the day care i was counting on has just one opening. i'm quite worried. i'm afraid i won't find a place for her. >> reporter: she meets once a month with a committee that gathers ideas from residents. they discuss how best to improve the city's services so people will stay even after they have families. >> translator: i think we need something that's easy to understand, like no child has to
wait for day care. >> translator: i'd like a one-stop place where you can get advice about health and raising children. >> reporter: members are preparing a report of recommendations to present to the mayor next month. >> translator: i hope to contribute to making toshima a better city for children where they will have their own place. >> reporter: mayor takino says the voices of the people are important. >> translator: i will take into consideration recommendations from those young women about what kind of community they want to live in. it will be a big challenge for me to reflect them in my policy. >> reporter: this professor says the challenge could become even bigger. he's one of population researchers involved in the
study. >> translator: people are moving from rural areas to the tokyo metropolitan area. but even so if they can't bear and raise children here the population will rapidly decline all across japan. >> reporter: leaders from all levels of government are facing growing pressure to act before it's too late. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, tokyo. officials with the world health organization have released the latest figures on the ebola epidemic. they say the number of confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in west africa has topped 20,000. of them 7,842 have died. liberia, sierra leone and guinea have been the hardest hit. health workers from the three countries are working with w.h.o. officials to try to contain the outbreak. they're isolating patients and taking precautions when burying bodies. the disease spread rapidly in
the fall. about 1,000 new infections per week were being reported. the most recent data shows the figure has declined to 740. the virus is still spreading intensely in sierra leone. this has been the worst ebola outbreak since the disease was identified in central africa in 1976. owners of a once popular robotic dog are trying to delay the inevitable. they're worried about the future of their pets since the japanese manufacturer stopped offering repairs. so, they're digging through old parts to give their beloved androids new life. nhk world has the story. >> reporter: robot technology advances day by day.
one robot has been around since it first came on the market 15 years ago. it's a robotic pet. owners from all over the country gather at the annual event. >> reporter: ibot learns through interactions with its owner. the robot's personality change depending on how they're treated by their owners. some raise their ibot like it was a child. some people even take their petro boughts on overseas trips.
>> translator: it's really part of our family. it gives us comfort. >> translator: i like it because it says positive things. >> reporter: but there's trouble. the robot is no longer being produced and in march the manufacturer stopped doing repairs or carrying replacement parts. until recently owners have sent their robot to the manufacturer for repairs. now the owners are confused. >> i didn't know that robots could die, so i was shocked. >> reporter: at the robot, their concern was justified. many dogs are unable to 23i7bish
the routine. this couldn't move at all and had to be carried off the stage. he owned the immobilized robot. >> translator: it was probably too difficult. i wish it could have held up just a little longer. >> reporter: knackshima is trying to fix it by himself. 15 years ago, he became the owner of a real dog and an ibot. last year the dog died. now all he has left is his petro bought. he hopes to prolong his robot's life because the pet gave him so many happy memories.
after some research he carefully removes the back. although his robot couldn't move at the dance competition. it's again. >> translator: it will last for awhile. it's worked for 15 years. >> translator: i hope it will stay in good condition for a long time. >> reporter: one day, he will keep the robots going, but until that day arrives, their owners will cherish them. nhk world. and now here's the weather forecast.