tv Newsline 30min KCSMMHZ January 3, 2013 6:00am-6:30am PST
welcome to nhk world "newsline" on this national holiday. workers at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern japan are starting off the new year preparing for a delicate operation. tokyo electric power company crews need to remove hundreds of spent fuel rods that are being stored on site. it's the first major step toward decommissioning the facility, a process that's expected to take 40 years. prime minister shinzo abe visited fukushima daiichi on the weekend and expressed his
intention to extend full government support. >> translator: the state of emergency is over and we're now in a transition phase with efforts focused on decommissioning. the government will do all it can to help speed up this process. >> during the initial decommissioning phases tepco workers will need to remove thee pool in the reactor 4 building. they took out two rods last july during a trial. tepco engineers have since studied how to remove about 1,500 others. they plan to start mid-november and complete the process in december 2014, a year earlier than initially scheduled. they want to remove the rods as soon as possible because of concerns about the storage pool's quake resistance. high radiation levels at the reactor site will make it difficult to proceed. tepco workers have faced other challenges. last september they accidentally dropped a 470 kilogram beam into reactor 3's spent storage pool.
that set them back three months. it will be harder to figure out how to remove the melted fuel. tepco managers plan to complete that process within ten years. to meet their deadline they'll need to accelerate a preliminary survey and development of robotic tools. prime minister abe also spent time during his visit to the northeast speaking with people who survived the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. he visited them in their temporary houses and listened to their problems. now abe says he'll give more power to the agency that oversees the reconstruction of areas hit by the disaster. more than 300,000 people are still living in temporary housing. abe spoke with some of them last saturday when he visited fukushima prefecture. >> translator: the major problem is that the reconstruction administration suffers from bureaucracy.
i want to concentrate authority in the agency to speed up the decision-making process. >> about 300 people worked at the reconstruction agency. they coordinate rebuilding and do much of the legal and bureaucratic work related to that. government officials say now they'll take on oversight of decontamination work and they'll be responsible for moving people forced out by the nuclear accident back into their homes. the people who run a nationwide charity say they need help to help those who survived the disaster. they say donations dropped sharply last year. organizers at the central community chest of japan say they collected more than $43 million in the 18 months after the disaster. donations added up to 35 million in the first six months. they dropped to a fifth of that during those same months last year. the decline has been even sharper since september.
only around $115,000 a month is trickling in. officials with the charities say the money funded more than 1,400 nonprofit organizations working across northeastern japan. donations also helped volunteers pay for transportation and accommodations. >> translator: we volunteer and have to pay for our travel expenses. if this situation continues individuals and groups will be hard pressed to keep working. we need support so that we can put forward our best efforts. >> the charity is calling on people across the country to give. people all over japan are packing trains and airplanes to
they restored costumes and instruments free of charge. the first performance in two years took place on wednesday in a gymnasium near temporary housing. evacuees traveled from far away to come and watch. they cheered and applauded when they saw the lion at the center of the dance. some even had tears in their eyes. >> translator: we've had this lion dance as a ritual to usher in spring and it turned into an occasion for locals to get together again. i'm glad the performance is helping rebuilding this community. >> the lion about it the heads of many observers, a tradition that is supposed to bring good health. thousands of people waiting to go home. tons of debris waiting for disposal. vast tracts of land awaiting to be restored.
overcoming the challenges of japan's 2011 disaster won't be easy, but step-by-step, people are moving forward. find out how on "the road ahead" every wednesday at 1:00 p.m. japan time right here on "newsline." japanese vice prime minister and finance minister they feel extremely encouraged that someone that maintained friendly relations with myanmar is japan's vice prime minister. he said the japanese government and private sector will together assist myanmar with its reform efforts. he said the government will first forgive 60% of myanmar's existing $5.7 billion debt
obligations. he promised to provide a new loan of roughly $570 million by the end of march to repair thermal power stations. it will be japan's first loan to myanmar in 26 years. aso's pledge of economic assistance comes at a time when democratic reforms in myanmar are encouraging companies in japan and other nations to start doing business in the country. u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton has been released from a hospital in new york after undergoing treatment for a blood clot in her head. the state department made the announcement on wednesday saying she is making good progress. clinton left the hospital by car and was accompanied by her husband, former president bill clinton, and her daughter, chelsea. doctors diagnosed clinton with a concussion in mid-december after a stomach virus caused her to become dehydrated and faint. physicians found a blood clot between her brain and skull during a follow-up exam and
admitted her to the hospital on sunday. they have been treating her with blood thinners. clinton missed an international conference on syria and testimony before congress because of her illness. but the state department says she has been carrying out her duties. officials say clinton had a half-hour telephone conversation with the united nations and arab league envoy to syria lakhdar brahimi. clinton is due to step down as secretary of state later this month. president obama nominated senator john kerry as her successor. now here's the weather the new leaders of japan and south korea decided it's time to mend fences. japanese prime minister abe will send an envoy to seoul on friday to meet with president-elect. japanese prime minister shinzo abe will accepted an envoy to seoul on friday to meet with president-elect park geun-hye. she stressed the need to
conclude an economic partnership deal but stood firm on differences over history and territory. she's expected to discuss some of them with former japanese finance minister fukushiro nukaga. abe said two weeks ago his government would cancel an event next month to the fukushima islands. diplomats are also struggling to reconcile views on so-called comfort women. in many cases these women were coerced by japanese soldiers to serve in brothels during world war ii. park is expected to sharpen her policy on japan before she takes office on february 25th. ping won't take office as chinese president until march, that is, but the new leader of the communist party is already laying out his economic plans. he wants chinese to spend more on goods and services, at the same time, he wants to maintain stable prices.
government officials say they'll orchestrate reforms to shift the economy from one focused on exports to one driven by domestic demand. the debt crisis in europe slowed the growth of exports through last summer and economists estimate growth for the entire year fell below 8%, the first time that happened in 13 years. the slowdown has begun to level off. after the central bank cut key interest ralgts twice, the prices of commodities and housing is showing signs of rising again. populous, prosperous, pushing ahead. china's rise, grounded wealth, power, and problems and income gap divided people, pollution threatened their health and disputed seas strain relations with its neighbors. find out of the challenges china faces on "newsline." people all over japan are packing trains and airplanes to head home after the holiday.
and drivers are caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic on expressways. the travel congestion after the new year break is peaking on thursday. >> translator: we are staying with my granddaughter. she came to visit us for the first time. it is hard to say good-bye. >> translator: our seven grandchildren and two daughters have been living in southern japan since the disaster. i hope fukushima will return to normal soon. >> airline officials say many domestic flights to tokyo or osaka are full to capacity. they say planes will be packed again on saturday. >> translator: i had mini rice cakes. >> translator: i met my university friends and spent time with my parents. i had a very relaxing holiday. >> highway officials say traffic jams extend more than 20 kilometers on some sections of
an expressway connecting tokyo and nagoya. they expect worse traffic on thursday. rescuers in japan made headway in their efforts to save a number of people who are missing or stranded because of severe winter weather. they have reached three people in the japanese alps but at least two others are missing in the mountains and another group has disappeared in a different part of the country. the rescuers made it to three climbers stranded in the hotaka mountain range. bad weather forced them to take a break in a hut. they have so far brought two climbers to the hospital but they have to wait for the weather to clear so they can use a helicopter to rescue a 50-year-old man who has frostbite and has gone through cardiac arrest. in another part of the mountain range rescuers have resumed their search for two climbers who have been missing since monday. the compions said the men left their tent and didn't come back. he told police they may have been caught in an avalanche.
and rescuers are trying to save eight men near the sea of japan coast. the men rode their snowmobiles up a mountain on wednesday and the blizzard prevents them from coming down. they said in a phone call earlier in the day they had taken shelter in a hut. government and opposition forces in syria show little sign of letting up in their civil war. government pilots have bombed a gas station in a suburb of damascus. they killed dozens of civilians. fuel is scarce. the activist said the plane struck as crowds gathered at a gas station to await a delivery. opposition fighters found it more offensive in and around damascus. government forces retaliated with more air strikes. opposition members say government pilots are targetsing crowded places. more than 60,000 people have
been killed since the uprising began in march 2011. last week a human rights group linked to the opposition had the death toll at 45,000. they sat real number is likely to be higher. researchers have stumbled on a method reinforcing concrete that could save lives next time a tsunami strikes. turns out the technology was already at hand. it was just a question of knowing where to look. we explain. >> reporter: this is a sticky goo with great powers. this is a member of the polyurethane family. it is a protective coating. it is used on fish tanks and park fountains. it has two key properties, it is
wear the proof and prevents rust. but you can now add another property. it is a shock absorber. researchers are to measure construction companies made a discovery. they conducting experiments on blocks of concrete, a shock test. a weight adroppis dropped from meter. first, ordinary concrete, it breaks after just two drops. a new test, this time the kron kreet concrete is painted with the substance. the weight is dropped more than 20 times and the concrete doesn't break apart. further testing showed that the coated concrete can resist three tons of pressure. why so strong?
seismic engineers examine the resin. they say it's a result of extreme elasticity. when concrete painted with this substance is subjected to a large impact, the resin stretched like rubber. it acts like a protective film and prevents the concrete from shattering. >> translator: concrete is normally very strong. but it can't withstand a big impact. it will crack. the coating can prevent the concrete from shattering. strength and flexibility are the key elements of this substance. >> reporter: researchers at the construction company have spent the past two years testing ways to use this product. they are forecasting on strengthening building
materials. >> translator: it may change the way that civil engineering structures are reinforced in the future. >> reporter: the study began after the team investigating the damage caused by last year's tsunami. this was a typical scene they came across. a fish farm left in ruins. but the tanks were intact. what was the difference? the concrete at this fishery was painted with the substance. >> translator: i was amazed it couldn't withstand the shock. >> translator: if a structure can withstand a tsunami and remain intact, then many lives will be saved. so we would like to promote
disaster risk reduction, starting with public facilities. >> reporter: testing continues, a key goal is to get recognition for the resin as a reinforcing material for bridges and water walls. they hope the government will give a seal of approval within three years. nhk world. japanese researchers are pushing hard to develop cells that can accept solve a number of medical riddles. several groups plan to use induced potent stem cells in clinical trials and put them to practical use. researchers can program ips cells into any kind of tissue. the nobel committee awarded a doctor a prize for physiology or medicine for his work with them. a team at the kobe institute plans to create retina tissue. they will transplant it into patients suffering from a
disease that could eventually cause blindness. if they win approval they will start the world's first clinical trial of ips cells within the year. researchers on a government-led project will start to develop drugs for diseases currently without a cure. scientists at five research institutes will create ips cells from the tissues of patients suffering from alzheimer's and parkinson's disease. they will transfer the ips cells into deceased tissue to find out how the illnesses develop and then work with pharmaceutical firms to decide how to treat the diseases. the researchers hope to develop new drugs and start a clinical trial in five years. some adults have to get used to electronic gadgets but many young children take to them
naturally. now they're starting to use smart phones and the educational apps designed for them to get even smarter. >> reporter: this woman and her daughter live in tokyo. her daughter is just a year and 10 months old but already she is preoccupied with mom's smart phone. this app is a favorite. she touches a drawing of an animal, a photo pops up on it on screen and then makes a sound. the apps designed it to advance the intellect of young children. she started playing with her mother's smart phone just two or three months after she was born. now she uses six different educational apps. >> translator: it's really helpful for times when i can't give her my complete attention or when she starts throwing a tantrum in public.
i hand this to her and instantly she can get all her attention. >> reporter: the youngsters at this nursery school are also going digital. turn the power on, please. they use tablets for learning. the apps teach the children to write the japanese alphabet by tracing their fingers along the characters. more than ever, teachers and parents are turning to these devices to help them raise children. a market research company asked about 650 moms if they let their children use smart phones and other electronic gadgets. two out of three mothers said they do. and more than 80% of them said the devices are useful. software developors seek great opportunities in educational apps. for example, this maker of karaoke machines, two years ago
it started selling educational apps. now it offers 20 kinds. this woman heads the developers. she is the mother of a a-year-old and 3-year-old. her goal is to make apps that help moms like her. recently she attended a luncheon with other mothers. she wanted to test a new app that teaches children to remember the map of the world and to gauge their reactions. >> translator: the earth stretched. it's turning. >> translator: i think it's great. if you have children do this activity on paper, it doesn't really grab their attention. but they love games. so making school is not like a game. it's a great solution. >> reporter: now her company plans to concentrate on educational apps and to sell the product in other countries. sumo wrestlers in japan know
a thing or two about eating. it's how they get big and stay big. no surprise, perhaps, that one of their new year traditions involves food. grand champions attended this year's festival at a shrine near tokyo. they wished residence a happy new year and tossed 6,000 rice cakes to them. some japanese consider sumo wrestlers symbols of strength and health. >> translator: we can be strong like the sumo grand champions after eating these rice cakes. >> translator: i came here today to wish for good health. so i'm happy to get the cakes. >> translator: i was tossing the rice cakes, praying for everybody's best wishes this
japanese vice prime minister promised his country will soon resume a loan program to myanmar to spur development. aso made the pledge at a meeting with myanmar president in the capital of the southeast asian nation. he feels encouraged that someone maintained friendly relations with myanmar has become japan's vice prime minister. aso is a former prime minister said that the japanese government and private sector will assist myanmar with reform
efforts. he said the government will first forgive 60% of myanmar's existing $5.7 billion debt obligations. and he promised to provide a new loan of roughly $570 million by the end of march to help repair thermal power stations. it will be japan's first loan to myanmar in 26 years. aso's pledge of economic assistance comes at a time when democratic reforms in myanmar are encouraging companies in japan and other nations to start doing business in the country. and also, rescuers in japan have made head way in their efforts to save a number of people who are missing or stranded because of severe winter weather. they've reached three people in the japanese alps. but at least two others are missing in the mountains and another group has disappeared in a different part of the country. the rescuers made it to three climbers stranded in the hotaka mountain range. bad weather forced them to take
a break in a hut. they have so far brought two climbers to the hospital. but they have to wait for the weather to clear so they can use a helicopter to rescue a 50-year-old man who has frostbite and has gone through cardiac arrest. in another part of the mountain range, rescuers resumed their search for two climbers who have been missing since monday. the men left their tent and didn't come back. he told police they may have been caught in an avalanche and rescuers are trying to save eight men near the sea of japan coast. the men road their snowmobiles up a mountain on wednesday. a blizzard prevented them from coming down. they said in a phone call earlier in the day that they had taken shelter in a hut. next hour. i'm gene otani in tokyo. have a great day wherever you are joining us and happy holidays. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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