thanks for watching nhk world. it's time for this hour's news. 30 years ago today a commercial airliner crashed into a mountain near tokyo in what was japan's worst ever air disaster. now relatives of the victims are making their annual visit to the crash site. a japan airlines boeing 747 crashed on august 12th, 1985. 520 people on board were killed. only four survived. relatives started climbing the mountain early on wednesday.
they offered prayers at a cenotaph set up to mark the crash site. >> translator: my son was born the year i lost my younger brother in the crash. my son got married, so i came here to introduce his wife to my brother. >> translator: we should never forget the accident. we need to keep the memory alive. >> two years after the crash, investigators concluded that the rear pressure bulkhead tore apart during the flight, making the plane uncontrollable. they said flawed repairs had weakened that part of the plane. the work had been carried out after a tail strike incident seven years before the crash. this man was among the climbers. he's an engineer specializing in safety for a japanese automaker. >> translator: every day work may sometimes make us feel like safety comes second to the welfare of the company, but i want to use this visit to
remember that safety should always come first. [ bell ringing ] >> more than a thousand people visited the mountain every month this year, including those who lost loved ones and others who realized the true importance of safety. officials with japan's coast guard say they've been informed by the american military that a u.s. helicopter has crashed into the sea. they say it happened in waters off the southern prefecture of okinawa. the site is believed top about five to ten kilometers east of an island in iruma city. 17 crew members were on board. they say all of them have been rescued but seven are injured. japanese defense ministry officials say they were told that a uh-60 helicopter was involved. they say it was trying to land on a ship at the time of the accident. the relocation of a u.s. military base within okinawa has
been causing deep divisions within local officials and the central government. many residents and politicians have voiced opposition to the move. represents from the two sides are holding talks to try and resolve the standoff. chief cabinet secretary yoshihi yoshihide suga met with the governor. they're discussing the relocation of futenma air station. it came one day after officials suspended work on a replacement base. officials plan to move the base to a less populated area within the prefecture. that's in keeping with an agreement with the u.s. in his meeting with suga, onaga reiterated his opposition to the plan. >> translator: i told him how the people of okinawa feel. it will be difficult to solve the problem unless the government understands that
feeling. >> suga acknowledged difficulties in resolving the issue, but he said he wants the relocation work to proceed. onaga agreed to visit tokyo as early as next week to hold more talks. the two also agreed that suga's deputy will visit okinawa. two of japan's opposition parties say they may consider submitting joint counter proposals to a set of national security bills being debated in the upper house of the diet. the chair of the policy research committee of the democratic party met his counterpart from the japan innovation party. they discussed how to handle the debate over the security legislation sponsored by the ruling coalition. the dpj has prepared the gist of its draft amendments to a law aimed at ensuring japan's security in perilous situations surrounding the country and to a
law on cooperating with u.n. peace keeping operations. in contrast to the government's draft legislation, the dpj draft amendment to the first law retains its geographic call limits to providing rear support for foreign troops. it also says japan's self-defense forces may not transport nuclear weapons. the draft amendment to the second law would limit those to be protected by the sdf during armed attacks to u.n. officials and civilians engaged in peacekeeping operations. the two opposition parties have similar views on the peacekeeping law. he also suggest the the parties could coordinate views on the law concerns perilous situations around japan. he said he hopes to discuss with the dpj whether to submit the two drafts jointly to the upper house. the parties have already jointly submitted to the lower house an alternative to another government-sponsored bill.
people in okinawa are remembering the fierce battle that took place 70 years ago in the final days of world war ii. retreating japanese troops left many of their wounded behind, and recently, the daughters of one soldier traveled to the island to see first hand their father's darkest days. nhk world's uichiro nakamura has the story. >> reporter: many people sought refuge in caves during the battle of okinawa. this is one of them. it's 270 meters long. the japanese army also used it as a field hospital. a soldier came close to death in the darkness. 70 years later, his daughters are retracing his footsteps. their father was katsuhir
katsuhiro hibino. he passed away six years ago. >> translator: it's somewhere around here. >> reporter: hibino was carried to the cave in may 1945. he was badly injured. as the american army closed in, the japanese soldiers retrted, leaving hibino behind. local villagers sheltering in the cave saw he was in pain. many okinawans were angry at the imperial army. they had been used as human shields in the fighting, but these locals took pity on the dying soldier. they fed him and nursed him back to life. >> translator: i think they were very kind, even though he was a japanese soldier. food was scarce and they themselves were struggling to find something to eat.
>> translato >> reporter: after the war, hibino returned to his home on the mainland. he came back to okinawa more than 100 times. he wanted to thank the people who saved his life and talk about his wartime experiences. nhk found an old recording of hibino. a researcher had interviewed him about war. he spoke of how hopeless he felt in the cave. as the japanese army withdrew, a medic gave him a packet of a deadly poison. >> reporter: but he didn't die.
the people of okinawa rescued him from the darkness. hibino's account of the war ends on august 22nd, 1945. he got word the fighting was over and stepped out of the cave. the daughters have had a taste of their father's experience. they now feel a special responsibili responsibility. >> translator: the torch has been passed to us, and now we must tell the story of the tragedy my father experienced and the importance of keeping peace. we must also make sure the torch is passed on. if we do this, i hope people will join forces to ensure war
is not waged again. >> reporter: inside this cave, a life was saved. a man emerged from the darkness and his story lives on. nhk world, nanjo, okinawa. the latest data from china suggests the economy is slowing. government officials say that's due to weaker exports and sluggish real estate investments. officials with the national bureau of statistics say industrial output rose 6% in july from a year earlier, but that's still below last year's level of 7%. output was down for steel and glass as well as chemical fibers for clothing, shoes, and automobiles. retail sales rose 10.5%.
they were strong in the -- the filg yours were consistent with recent data that suggests domestic demands is weakening. financial policymakers in china have doubled down on the country's currency. central bank chiefs have devalued the yuan by 1.6%. that comes after their announcement on tuesday of what they called a one-time depreciation of nearly 1.9%. many analysts see this as an all-out effort to boost exports. policymakers at the people's bank of china manage it through the midpoint range. that allows the yuan to rise or fall by up to 2% on any given day. bank officials on wednesday set the reference rate at 6.3306 yuan to the dollar. that was down from the previous day's close. investors reacted swiftly to the latest announcement. they started dumping yuan and
buying up dollars. they're trying to make exports cheaper and more competitive in the latest bid to spur their cooling economy. they say the yuan may weaken further. japanese share prices plunged on thrz after the yuan was lowered for a second day. we get the details from the tokyo stock exchange. >> some market players fear this is something bigger. at this point, it's hard for investors to figure out this is just a part of beijing's stimulus measures. so it's definitely prompting many market playersn tokyo. let's look at the closing levels for august 12th. the nikkei closing at a two-week low, 20,392. the broader topix closed down 1.25%. it's obvious the yuan's devaluation is spanning risk-off moves. that's raising demand for the
dollar as with many japanese dealers on holiday. the dollar jumped to a two-month high during tokyo trading hours. many reports from japanese official institutions saying that the yuan's devaluation will have a limited effect on the japanese economy, but some people are definitely worried that the cheaper yuan could trigger a decline in the number of chinese tourists visiting japan. made in japan beauty products were very popular among chinese tourists, so cosmetics makers kose and shiseido both saw declines. automakers honda and toyota were also among the losers. honda fell over 2% as the automaker depends heavily on sales in china. as for winners, textile makers unitika and pioneer were bucking the trend. that's a wrap for today.
back to you. the devaluation of the yuan and weaker economic data weighed on chinese markets. the shanghai composite fell more than 1%, closing at 3,886. property stocks were down on slowing investment in the sectors. some investors continue to sell shares in airline companies because they think the lower yuan will push down profits. hong kong's hang seng extended its losing streak to a third day. it lost about 2.4% to hit a five-week low. growing concerns over the chinese economy dampened sentiment. china's move to devalue the yuan dragged down many other currencies and stocks in the region. indonesian and malaysian shares fell sharply after the currencies of both countries tumbled to 17-year lows against the dollar. sydney dropped nearly 1.7% to hit a seven-month low. the australian dollar plunged to
its lowest level against the greenback since 2009. a family feud is shaking up one of south korea's best-known conglomerates. the two sons of the founder of lotte holdings are battling for succession, and the struggle has people around the country talking. nhk world's mitsuko nishikawa has the story. >> reporter: more than 300 reporters gathered in seoul to hear remarks. his father founded the conglomerate. >> translator: i apologize to the people of south korea for the recent developments. i am the one to be blamed for the public concern and despair over our situation. >> reporter: lotte is one of the largest confection their makers. its operations are even bigger in south korea. until earlier this year, he held
the post of general chairman. don-bing was a chairman and so was his older brother. but in january, don-ju was dismissed om his post a shake holder's meeting. don-bing was given the right to represent the group along with his father. many observers believed don-bing would become the next chairman. but two weeks later, don-ju visited the group's headquarters in tokyo with his father. he declared the dismissal of all board members, except his father. the management team headed by don-bing hit back. they held a board meeting and declared that he would become honorary chairman without the right to represent the company. the feud has kicked off a media frenzy in south korea.
>> reporter: many peemt were reminded of last year's dispute involving korean air, which is part of the conglomerate. the granddaughter of the company's founder lost her temper and ordered a plane to return to the gate after the crew served her nuts in a package instead of on a plate. the lotte issue has dominated headlines and drawn widespread criticism thanks to the family's massive wealth and power. it's the fifth largest conglomerate in south korea with more than 100 group companies and assets of $78 billion. like many others, it is dominated by a single family. people have criticized its shareholding structure for being opaque. at his press conference on tuesday, don-bing v vowed to
simplify ownership and reduce the number of shares his family owns in various group companies. he also touched on the situation with his father and brother. >> translator: i'm ready to speeblg to them on a personal level, but i will not consult them on the management of the group. >> reporter: lotte shareholders are set to meet in tokyo next monday. company officials say they'll use the meeting to determine the group's management policy and settle the dispute about who's in charge. mitsuko nishikawa, nhk world. japanese astronauts has spoken to reporters from on board the iss. he says his work is going well. >> translator: i've got into the full swing of the world. i enjoy looking at earth, taking
pictures, and tweeting when i have time. my days on board here are productive. >> yui has been working on a variety of scientific studies since arriving at the space station on july 23rd. one of them is an experiment to grow fresh produce in space. on monday, yui and other crew members ate a space-grown vegetable for the first time. a japanese unmanned cargo vehicle is due to dock at the space station on august 20th. yui is scheduled to operate a robotic arm while communicating with a fellow japanese astronaut on the ground. >> translator: i hope i can showcase the power of japan to the world through the operation. >> yui will stay on the iss for five months. many people in japan are taking a break this week for the midsummer holidays known as obon. they're heading to their hometowns or vacation spots, and
the flow of travelers has reached its peak. passengers in major cities packed on to bullet trains. one "shinkansen" leaving tokyo for nagano, north of the capital, was 110% full. another from nagoya to western japan was filled to 160% of capacity. air travel was also congested. almost all domestic flights leaving tokyo and osaka were fully booked. many motorists were stalled in traffic. an expressway was backed up as long as 43 kilometers. the congestion is expected to continue through thursday. a panel of international scientists has recognized the top ten most fascinating plants and animals recently discovered. and they've added a japanese sea creature to their list that has been at the center of a 20-year-long mystery of the deep. >> on the seabed of southwest
japan is a strange sight. it looks like a work of art. the artist that created this two-meter-wide design is a small puffer fish. researchers from around the world selected it as one of their top ten new species of 2015. an underwater photographer discovered this new species. okata has taken photographs in waters all over the world. he first came across the geometric designed 20 years ago. he had never seen anything like them before. >> translator: i was startled. i wondered what a design like that would be doing there. >> reporter: the years passed. okata saw the same pattern many times. he and his colleagues used to speculate about how they were
made. >> translator: local divers and i started calling it the mystery circle. >> then four years ago, okata saw something unexpected while photographing a circle. a small puffer fish appeared. it started digging a groove. wiggling its body, it dug a groove in the sand. moving up and back again, it steadily deepened the groove. then it moved to the central area. it rakes the sand using its fins like a broom. in the space of a week, the tiny fish had created a beautiful design two meters wide. in human terms, that's the equivalent of 30 meters across. males of this species create the circles as spawning nests. the ridges are thought to protect the eggs from water currents.
it's extremely rare for fish to create such complex designs for this purpose. last year, okata and japanese researchers announced the new species, naming it the white-spotted puffer fish. global fame followed when the fish won a top ten ranking from the international institute for species exploration. the u.s.-based group uses the list to promote awareness of biodiversity. >> translator: i didn't know it was a new species. i'm proud it was selected as one of the top ten in the world. >> the institute lists about 2 million known species around the globe. it estimates about 10 million more have yet to be discovered. >> translator: each year, 18,000 new species are discovered. anyone could find one. but if no action is taken when something unusual is discovered, it will go unrecognized.
i think interest and curiosity are very important. >> scientists now know what the patterns are for, but they haven't yet discovered why they're so large and beautiful. perhaps it's a case of males trying to impress females. that's something any species can relate to. >> romantic overtures. you're watching "newsline" here on nhk world. i'm james tengan. record-breaking downpours are pelting the north and south of japan. sayaka mori is here to tell us the details. >> yes, james. torrential rains are affected hokkai hokkaido. hundreds of houses are without electrici electricity. also, roads are completely flooded in several areas. in the west, nagasaki, 230 millimeters of rain fell in just 24 hours, making it the heaviest rainfall on record for this area in august.
so flooding is taking place across the west. the rain in the west is caused by the remnants of typhoon soudelor. the system has become a low-pressure system but still bringing heavy rain flow and winds across a wide area. this system is likely to move into the east as we go into the next couple of days. so rain is on the menu in osaka on thursday. rain will come down in tokyo on thursday as well. that will continue into friday. sapporo, another day of rainy weather on thursday but getting drier starting friday. that's good news for you. now across the central pacific, we're watching a hurricane. hurricane hilda has become a tropical storm so that's good news. and it is expected to take a more southerly direction compared to the previous forecast. so the direct hit is not expected on the big island. however, this area will see heavy rainfall and very strong wednesday and very rough seas as we go into the next couple of
days. take a look. hilo, heavy rain and thundershowers expected, especially starting late wednesday going into thursday. and rainy weather will continue at least into your friday. in honolulu, you could be hit by -- you could be seeing the effects of the storm as well. wet conditions will likely continue into the weekend. now, across europe, a ridge of high pressure is continuously bringing dry and hot conditions across central europe and causing some problems. take a look at this video from poland as well as germany. continuing heat and dry weather in central europe are taking a toll on the local waterway. the demand for electricity along with the lack of water to cool and produce additional power are leading to outages in poland. those also trying to travel along the elb river in germany are running into travel with low levels, forcing companies to cancel various trips along the waterway. dry and hot conditions across central europe will continue for the next several days. take a look at these numbers.
>> you're watching live from paris. the headlines this hour -- armed with a new plan to help resolve the crisis in syria, the iranian foreign minister is in lebanon for talks before heading to damascus later on wednesday, as rone positions itself as a key player to solve the syrian conflict. has he resigned or hasn't he? a spokesman for the libyan prime minister says he's not stepped down, this as tense u.n.-brokered peace talks between the country's rival factions continue in geneva. and debating the nitty-gritty, greek m.p.'s will