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 people in charge of fukushima daiichi are planning to decommission two other reactors at the nuclear plant. negotiators from six world powers and iran are hoping they can put aside their differences to reach a deal on the iranian nuclear program. and japanese historians are digging into the past to find the wisdom their ancestors left them to be better prepared for future disasters. the utility in charge of japan's damaged nuclear plant is now considering decommissioning every reactor at the facility. the 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled four reactors at fukushima daiichi. two other units left largely undamaged or were left largely undamaged, but they likely won't go back online.
tokyo electric power company executives haven't officially ruled out using reactors 5 and 6 to generate electricity in the future. now they say they'll decide what to do with the units after they speak with authorities in fukushima prefecture and in the towns that host the plant. their official decision could come next month. prime minister shinzo abe has urged them to scrap the reactors. he says they should concentrate on dealing with a series of problems including leaks of radioactive water. tepco officials plan to use the two reactors to train workers involved in decommissioning the four damaged units. the utility is already organizing funding for decommissioning reactors 5 and 6. but it's expected to fall short by more than $250 million. if the decision is made during the current fiscal year next march. tepco is allowed to raise power rates to make up the difference. workers at fukushima daiichi are on day three of an operation
that's essential to decommissioning the plant. they're removing nuclear fuel from a storage pool in the reactor 4 building. the workers used a crane to lift a container filled with fuel units from the pool. the container called a cask can carry up to 22 units and weighs 91 tons when fully loaded. the crane is equipped with double cables and an earthquake dampening system to prevent the cask from falling. an accident could result in the release of radioactive materials. once the cask is out of the pool, workers will remove radioactive substances from its surface. then they'll transfer it to another storage pool about 100 meters away. the workers started moving fuel units into the container on monday. the pool holds more than 1,500 units. tepco plans to complete the transfer i about the eby the en year. the global nuclear watchdog says it will send a team of experts to japan next week to
inspect decommissioning work at fukushima daiichi. the japanese government asked the international atomic energy agency to send the team. 19 iaea and international experts will start a ten-day visit on monday. they'll travel to the plant to observe work to remove nuclear fuel from the reactor 4 building. they'll also conduct hearings with officials from the government and tepco. and they will be examining how workers are managing radioactive wastewater at the plant. earlier this month analysts working for the iaea checked marine. the experts will follow up on that work and then submit a report to the government. negotiators from iran and six major powers are pushing to end a long standoff over tehran's nuclear program. they'll sit down later on wednesday in geneva.
each side has harbored suspicions about the other for years. but they're hoping a deal may finally be within reach. delegates from iran, the united states, russia, china, britain, france and germany came close to an agreement when they met earlier this month. the major powers offered to ease economic sanctions. if the iranians scale back their uranium enrichment activities. officials from the international atomic energy agency and iran agreed last week on a framework to allow inspectors to visit nuclear facilities. but the people at the talks in geneva still have much work to do. french negotiators are demanding that the iranians stop the construction of a heavy water reactor. they say it could produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. the iranians have refused to stop building. u.s. president barack obama is asking lawmakers to pause before they push for more sanctions on iran. he says tightening the restrictions could interfere with the talks in geneva.
obama met with a group of influential senators at the white house. press secretary jay carney says obama asked them to let negotiators try to win some concessions first. >> the president underscored that in the absence of a first step, iran will continue to make progress on its nuclear program. >> many lawmakers, both democrats and republicans, oppose easing sanctions. some are coming under pressure from israeli lobbyists. iranian leaders do not recognize israel as a state and have threatened to wipe it off the map. the philippine government says the death toll from typhoon haiyan has topped 4,000. about 1,600 people are still unaccounted for. the typhoon slammed into the central philippines on november 8th, unleashing much of its force on leyte island. the national disaster risk and management council updated its casualty report on wednesday.
it said 4,011 people have been confirmed dead, and 18,557 others injured. 3,310 of the deaths were in leyte. that's about 80% of the total. the island was hit hard by storm surges. nearby samar island suffered 411 deaths. most of the dead have yet to be identified. the storm caused widespread damage, severed roads and bridges are making it difficult to get food, water and other supplies to the survivors more than ten days after the typhoon struck. many of those injured are believed to be without adequate medical services. the philippine government has been stepping up its relief efforts, sending in helicopters and ships. the united states, japan, china and other countries are assisting. china says it will send a hospital ship to the philippines to treat injured survivors. the two countries are locked in a territorial despite over islands in the south china sea. but observers say china wants to have a more visible presence in
the international aid effort to help the philippines. the international team reviewing ways to destroy syria's chemical weapons stockpile are looking at all the options for carrying out their work. the head of the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons says the chemical agents could be destroyed on a ship if no country accepts them. opcw director general spoke to nhk at the group's headquarters in the hague on tuesday. opcw officials finished inspecting syria's chemical facilities at the end of october. they are now working on the next stage of putting the 1,300 tons of chemical agents out of action. they plan to remove them from the country and destroy them in the first half of next year. he said the opcw is talking to belgium, france and other nations about accepting the toxic agents. but es if no country agrees, there are other options.
>> there's the other option, in fact, of destroying those chemica chemicals of some facilities to be installed on a large ship. >> uzumju says the most challenging part is transporting the chemical agents within syria and getting them safely to a port and then taking them out. he says the disposal team will need to use commercial facilities to handle the waste generated during the destruction process. uzumju says the opcw plans to ask for $54 million from member nations to pay for the disposal work. a u.n. general assembly committee has accused the north korean government of what it calls systematic widespread and grave human rights violations. the accusations comes in a draft resolution approved by the general assembly's third committee on human rights. the resolution expresses serious
concern over allegations of torture and unlawful detention in north korea and the abuse of repatriated defectors. it also calls for an early resolution to the issue of north korean abductions of japanese and other foreign nationals. the draft resolution sponsored by japan and the european union was approved without a vote. north korea's representative on the committee rejected the resolution. north korea and seven other countries did not take part in the resolution process. u.n. members including china and russia said countries' specific declarations on human rights are unfair. japan, meanwhile, welcomed the resolution. >> translator: north korea should accept this internationally shared opinion. it should work to improve its human rights situation and resolve the abduction issue. >> the committee also approved country-specific resolutions on human rights in myanmar, iran
and syria. the u.n. general assembly is expected to adopt all four of the resolutions at a meeting in december. u.s. ambassador to japan, caroline kennedy, started her official duties on wednesday. japan's prime minister, shinzo abe, told her that he looks forward to developing bilateral relations. abe met kennedy for the first time at his official residence in tokyo. >> translator: no other newly appointed ambassador to japan has drawn such a large crowd during a visit to the imperial palace for the credentials ceremony. the japanese people have high expectations for you. i would like to take this opportunity to further develop the bilateral relationship between our countries.
>> kennedy said she was happy to receive such a warm welcome and that she is honored to be working with abe and japan's government. the u.s. ambassador said she is willing to work on strategic, economic and humanitarian issues. she said cooperation between the two countries is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region. kennedy also said she is looking forward to meeting japanese people and seeing many places across the country. there is a time when almost everything in tokyo was considered expensive for overseas visitors, but it looks like times have changed, especially for asian neighbors. ron madison is here with more on that. ron. >> yeah, this is definitely something that the government has been working very hard on. that's getting those tourist numbers up. they've got a lot of money to spend, as you say. it looks like their efforts are actually paying off now, gene, because the cheaper yen as well as relaxed visa requirements for the citizens of five southeast asian nations are encouraging tourists. a record number of visitors, in fact, came to japan between january and october.
officials at the national tourism organization say japan welcomed more than 928,000 guests from abroad just last month. that hiked the ten-month total to nearly 8.7 million, beating a record that was set in 2010. tourists from thailand jumped more than 93%. and 74% more visitors came from ma mainland china. the number of south korean travelers dropped 6% for the first time in 20 months. officials say they'll step up efforts to meet the government target of drawing 10 million visitors a year. well, not only the numbers of foreign visitors but the money that they spent during their stay is also on the rise. it may reach a record this year, exceeding $10 billion. officials at the tourism agency say that foreign visitors spent nearly $9 billion between january and september. the figure is the highest since the government began collecting data three years ago. and it's up about $1.7 billion from a year earlier. the figure for the july to
september period was about $3.2 billion. and that was the highest figure for a quarter. this translates into spending per traveler at an average of over $1,000. cameras and watches were pretty popular items. a japanese government panel of experts is urging a review on how public pension funds are managed. they propose reducing holdings of domestic bonds to boost returns. the panel submitted its proposals to economic revitalization minister. experts had been discussing ways to effectively utilize pension funds amounting to about $1.6 trillion. they urge a review of asset allocation. that's to minimize the risks of possible devaluation in bond holdings if interest rates go up. now, they especially want the government pension investment fund to diversify its risks. this fund invests most of the country's pension assets. 60% are in domestic bonds. that includes government bonds. the panel proposed that the fund should invest more in stocks and
add higher risk financial products such as real estate investment trusts. the fund is one of the world's largest institutional investors that has asseted totalling nearly $1.2 trillion. a check of the markets. monetary policy direction of the federal reserve is back in the spotlight. investors are waiting for the minutes of the latest policy meeting which are due out later. ahead of that, european stocks are trading lower. london losing 0.5%. frankfurt's market down about 0.25% while paris's cac 40 down 0.4%. most asian markets closed lower. nikkei down 0.3%. but chinese did show strength amid hopes for reforms in the financial system. the shanghai composite rose 0.6%. markets in india and indonesia extended earlier declines. both of them finishing down more than 1%. the downbeat performance came after the organization for economic cooperation and development cut next year's growth forecast for these
economies. moving on to currencies, the dollar lacks clear direction against the yen. the pair currently changing hands at 99.91. trading is stayingre sluggish ahead of the release of the fed's minutes as well as key economic data out of the u.s. now, among them, retail sales figures for october are due out. meanwhile, euro/yen is being quoted at 135.17. the japanese government and ruling parties have agreed on a significant cut in a key subsidy, and that's for farmers who limit their rice production. government officials and lawmakers of the liberal democratic party plan to abolish the so-called rice production adjustment system in five years. each rice farmer who takes part in the system currently receives about $150 for every 1,000 square meters of rice-producing land. under the agreement, the subsidy will be halved for next fiscal year. the original plan was to reduce the amount to about $50. the government and ruling
parties will officially decide on the subsidy revision as early as next week. well, carmakers from around the world are showcasing their vehicles at the tokyo motor show. many of them are promoting the latest models of their ecofriendly cars. the biennial show is in its 43rd year. japanese manufacturer toyota unveiled its first fuel cell vehicle. it runs on hydrogen, and officials say it will be available in 2015. exhibitors from nissan are presenting a three-seater electric car. it features a narrow front end that makes it more aerodynamic and a wide back end for stability. as well representatives from germany's bmw unveiled electric cars with faster acceleration than their standard models. some japanese companies are showcasing new mini vehicles popular at home. one model lets owners change its colors just like a smartphone
can switch cases. the leading motorcycle maker yamaha announced that it will enter the car market by 2020. it said it will produce compact vehicles and aims to market them globally. the motor show will open to the public from saturday. it will run through december 1st. all right. that is going to do it for biz tonight. i'll leave you with the markets. the earthquake and tsunami
that ravaged northeastern japan in march 2011 killed more than 18,000 people. giant waves have pummeled the region many times and the distant past as well, and residents have tried to leave records of these events. now, some researchers believe that old accounts can help prevent future disasters. nhk world's reporter reports. >> reporter: this is an amateur historian. she explores areas in northeastern japan focusing on geographical names. she says many locations have links to past disasters. this area is call ed big ship stream. it's almost three kilometers inland, yet a local legend says that a ship was swept there by a tsunami that occurred long ago. >> translator: this place is to deep in the mountains that i
never believed a ship or a tsunami could reach this far. but on march 11st, the tsunami did reach here. so i realized that the legend was probably true. >> reporter: she says place names may hold messages from people living in the area centuries ago. she asks locals about these tales. >> translator: i feel very strongly that place names are important. the locals have suffered from tsunamis for many generations. i think these names reflect their experiences. >> reporter: it's not only amateur historians that are studying the past for clues to dangers in the future. researchers at a national university are digging into the archives to help them prepare for disasters. last year tohoku university
established the international research of disaster science. this historian is the director. he studies old documents to see how people dealt with past disasters. the tsunami two years ago inundated the sendai plane. he superimposes a map from the flooded areas from the 17th century. he found that the 2011 tsunami didn't affect the old main road and nearby villages. he says this knowledge could have helped lessen the damage from the disaster. >> translator: it's possible that the highway and towns were built in places that people felt were safe based on their experience with the many tsunamis that had hit the area. >> reporter: he collaborates with other researchers specializing in the science of tsunamis. they are now looking at one that
struck in 1611. researchers had assumed that the tsunami was caused by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1. but he and his team made new findings. they now believe the quake had a magnitude of 8.5. he says that if such a massive quake did occur 400 years ago, tsunamis might hit the region more often than previously thought. he presents the results of the research in lectures. he hopes to have more opportunities to exchange views with other researchers. >> translator: if amateur historians dig deeper into the history of disasters in their area and present their research locally, i think our society can develop greater resistance to these catastrophic events. >> reporter: local residents
have left a legacy of their experiences. but uncovering these stories, hirakawa believes it can offer life-saving wisdom to future generations. takefumi, nhk world. a cyclone is heading towards india. our meteorologist, robert speta, has been closely observing the storm for us. robert, what's the latest? >> gene, this is still pulling off there towards the west. expect it to make landfall right around early friday morning. as it approaches india and the east coast here. really, actually a real similar area as we saw with the cyclone just about a month and a half ago when that came on shore. this one by far much weaker. winds right now 70 to 80 gusting up to 90 kilometers per hour. this by no means will be a big wind maker. you may see winds up to 120 kilometers per hour. a big rainmaker especially on the northern periphery.
you have that wind shear toward the north. right along the coastlines we're looking at the risk of some flooding out here, up to about 200 millimeters falls in the next 72 hours. something to watch through the next several days out here. now, the good news farther towards the east as far as the tropics look, actually are really quiet out here in the western pacific. good news for forevrecovery eff into the philippines. thailand, rain showers towards the south. also leading edge of a cold surge pouring in from china. that's bringing showers and cloudy skies across taiwan and southern portions of china. outside of that really the big topic out here today is that snowfall across the sea of japan coastline. higher elevations, isolated areas could see up to about 30 centimeters. tokyo, on the other hand, not really going to be seeing too much of it. most of that snow tapers off along the west coast once it gets over to the east. it dries out a lot and partly cloudy skies on thursday. 16 for the high. over towards seoul, nine on thursday. and beijing, some sunny skies in your forecast with a high of 11.
let's talk about what's going on in the americas. really out here, the snowfall as well, one of the big topics, especially there across northern portions of the rockies. we're looking at isolated areas about 30 centimeters, widespread, though. could be up to about five to ten centimeters. that same low pressure bringing that snowfall in the mountains. it's going to continue to roll off towards the east. when that happen, it drags in all that moisture. the northern plains, widespread areas of five to ten centimeters of snowfall expected. we already have cold air out ahead of this. what this is going to be doing, it's going to plunge down towards the south. what we're looking at is one of the strongest cold snaps yet here in the winter season going into 2013. as that cold air dives in out of canada and moves across winnipeg, push down across the great lakes into the eastern seaboard. i want to look at some of these lows during the early morning hours. this is what it's going to be feeling like there into bismarck. just minus 19. do have a jacket ready for that. chicago, continuing to drop down all the way down to minus seven by the end of the weekend.
even over towards winnipeg, we're looking at minus 22 on saturday as well. so it is going to be staying well on the chilly side. staying with topic of winter, here in late november, let's talk about some of the snowfall across the british isles. we have a low-pressure area pushing through here. this has been dropping some snowfall already. you do have the advisories and warnings in effect, but not to mention it's accompanied by winds up over 100 kilometers per hour, at least gusting that high at times. that's creating conditions for whiteout out here as this does continue to drift off towards the east. even the low country looking at five centimeters, the heaviest into the alpines region and pyrenees. down towards the mediterranean, we have been watching a low-pressure area that's bringing all sorts of foul weather first across spain. now over italy and towards the balkans, but it is tapering off and slowly weakening. that's a look at your world weather. here's the extended forecast.
been honing his expertise with a robotic arm. an unmanned japanese cargo carrier delivered three microsatellites to the space station in august. wakata used the robotic arm to release them into space. japanese technicians helped develop one of the satellites. it will be used to take photos of the earth and to conduct amateur radio experiments. another japanese astronaut carried out similar exercises with the robotic arm last year. that's "newsline" for this hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo.
never give up its nuclear rights. in egypt, at least 10 soldiers are killed and 35 hurt in a car bomb targeting an army convoy. that is the bloodiest attack in years. well into the night in france as the national football team turns it around to qualify for next yours world cup. thanks for joining us here on "france 24."