-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com it's 121:00 -- 11:00 p.m. in tokyo. i'm michio kijima with the news at this hour. preparations for the launch of a final u.s. space shuttle are proceeding in the state of florida despite poor weather that could delay friday's liftoff. the launch will mark the end of the 30-year shuttle program. amid occasional showers, the u.s. space agency, nasa began fueling the shuttle "atlantis" early on friday. lightning struck several times near the launch pad but the agency says the shuttle suffered no damage. the four astronauts on the final mission donned their flight
suits and boarded their shuttle at the kennedy space center. so what task is the final shuttle going to carry out? nhk has the details from the kennedy space center. >> reporter: over the past 30 years, the space shuttle has delivered vast volumes of supplies and large equipment to the international space station. "atlantis" this time is carrying a device that will be used in an experiment. it will test refueling satellites to prolong their lives. this will be the last time that a device this large will be delivered into space until a new spacecraft becomes available to replace the shuttles. >> this is critical technology that needs to be demonstrated now. we can't wait another five years to demonstrate this technology. it's critical to be on this last
shuttle flight. >> reporter: under normal conditions, this mission would not have been allowed under nasa rules. after the space shuttle "columbia" broke up in midair as it was returning to earth in 2003, the space agency introduced a new rule. it required that a reserve spacecraft always be on standby to be used to rescue the crew of the iss in the event of trouble on the shuttle. but there is no shuttle on standby for this launch. instead, a russian soyuz spacecraft will be on waiting just in case. it is raining on and off in kennedy space center, florida, with occasional lightning strikes. nasa says there is only a 30% chance that the space shuttle "atlantis" will lift off as scheduled.
the operator of the fukushima daiichi plant is working to allow the injection of nitrogen to prevent an explosion. workers spent ten minutes in the building on friday to determine whether pipes can be connected to the containment vessel. the utility says workers confirmed the connections are intact and that work can start saturday. this is the pillar of the plan to bring the facility under control. but the work to insert the pipes has already been delayeded and the nuclear and industrial safety agency must spend several days doing safety checks before the nitrogen injection can begin. it e are mains uncertain whether it can be carried out by july 17th as scheduleded. prime minister naoto hkan
abruptly decided to conduct additional safety checks on all reactors in japan. kan told a cabinet meeting on friday he was late in giving instructions on the so-called stress tests and feels responsible. the additional screening is designed to find out how well nuclear facilities can with stand earthquakes and tsunami. after the meeting the chief cabinet secretary expressed regret over the confusion. >> translator: i apologize to all the people in japan, especially to genkai town and saga prefecture, which host the genkai nuclear plant. the government is rushing to finalize a clear policy on resuming operations at all nuclear power plants. >> the nuclear crisis minister goshi hosono says he agrees that careful consideration is necessary before resuming the genkai nuclear plant.
>> translator: i think the resumption of the nuclear plants will be suspended while the nuclear and industrial safety agency and nuclear safety commission are discussing the issue. up next, the first report in our series "road ahead." each week we bring you stories about people rebuilding their lives after the earthquake and tsunami. rather than give in to despair, many see they have a chance for a fresh start in life. last sunday, for example, a group of young people in iwate prefecture gathered for a mass wedding ceremony. for them it marks the first positive step down the new road ahead. here is our report. >> reporter: the earthquake and tsunami completely laid waste the city of kamashi. on july 3rd, a special wedding ceremony was held for couples whose weddings were postponed
because of the disaster. ten couples took part. an npo affiliated with the bridal business, planned the event at no costs to the brides and grooms. it loaned them wedding gowns and rings and anything else they needed for the ceremony. this couple had originally planned their wedding for this month, but the groom, takashi, and his bride were both unemployed because of the disaster. once they had thought it financially impossible to hold a wedding. >> translator: i applied because i wanted her to wear a wedding dress. >> translator: i'm so happy i could stand in front of everyone in a wedding dress. >> reporter: their first child will be born in october, they wanted to get married before then but all of the suitable venues were closed because of damage by the tsunami.
>> translator: it's been my dream. i never thought i would be able to wear a wedding dress. >> reporter: he and his wife and their daughter. they originally planned to wait until the fall to hold the wedding because they had just had a baby, but the tsunami changed everything. >> translator: we lost all of our mementos in the tsunami so this is really a chance to start over again. >> reporter: the tsunami completely razed the city on march 11. the family lived in the city and they owned a farm there. when the earthquake hit, he was at work. he rushed home to get to his wife and baby. holding their 3-month-old daughter, the family ran
desperately to higher ground. >> translator: i was so happy my family was alive. if they hadn't been there, i would have dived into the water to find them. >> reporter: the tsunami swallowed up their home without a trace. the family lost everything, including pictures from when yume was born and wedding rings and other keepsakes. the greenhouse where he used to grow lettuce was also leveled. he couldn't grow vegetables, the family's main source of income. they now live with his father, the couple's possessions and livelihood vanished in an instant but they say their family's love is priceless and they are grateful they all survived.
>> translator: i used to take it for granted that we were all together, but this experience taught me how important family really is. if just one of us had been lost. >> reporter: after the disaster with the loving support of his family, he was able to overcome a feeling of helplessness. he began to visit area farms, eventually he found land untouched by the tsunami. there he started planting vegetables on his own for the first two months he earned nothing. undaunted he pressed on, selling vegetables with other farmers also affected by the tsunami.
>> translator: well, we survived and we've decided to continue living here. it may take 10 or 20 years to fully recover but it will be all right. >> reporter: he and his family are building a new life where they first started out, the wedding ceremony was a symbol of the family's strong bond. [ speaking foreign language ] [ cheers ] >> reporter: these couples have gone through so many hardships. the couples have made their vows as they move on and start rebuilding their lives. >> until the end of the month, wedding events like this will b
prefectures. couples from fukushima prefecture are invited to take part because the area is not ready for such events. "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan post-march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout of the earthquake and tsunami. nuclear watch brings insight and information on the impact of the fukushima daiichi crisis and the road ahead examines japan's efforts to recover and rebuild. don't miss "nuclear watch" and "the road ahead" on "newsline." next we go to our bureau on bangkok for the latest on what's going on in the region. >> international forces have taken a step in the long process of withdrawing from afghanistan by coming amid the taliban's recent offensive. the move raises concerns about the future of security in the country. canadian troops held a ceremony
on thursday to formally hand over their field operations to u.s. forces. the withdrawal ends a mission as part of the nato-led force. canada has kept about 3,000 combat troops in afghanistan for more than five years. some 950 will remain until 2014 to help train afghan security forces. >> i'm extremely proud of my soldiers. our soldiers have, again, accomplished a great deal here in afghanistan. >> with the united states about to begin gradually withdrawing troops, allied nations including france and britain, have also announced plans to reduce their own military presence. meanwhile, local anger at international forces is on the rise. villagers in the eastern province of host took to the streets to protest a nato raid they claim killed is 1 locals
this week. the increasing number of civilian casualties is believed to be one way the taliban tries to broaden supports. insurgents targeted locations that were previously considereded secure. last month's raid on a heavily guarded luxury hotel in kabul lled 20 people, including the attackers. some observers fear afghanistan may not be able to control the worsening security situation without international support. the dalai lama is visiting the united states. despite warnings from china, senior u.s. lawmakers welcomed the exiled tibetan spiritual leader in washington. the dalai lama was invited to the capitol on thursday to discuss a situation regarding human rights and autonomy for tibet. house speaker john boehner paid tribute to the nobel peace laureate, his dedication to human rights. even though the dalai lama
denies seeking independence for tibet he criticized the state of human rights in china. china warned politicians not to meet with the dalai lama. he did meet with president obama amidst efforts to try to improve relations last year. with its beautiful temples and scenic sites thailand is sometimes called a tourist's paradise, but a unique attraction has been gaining popularity by giving visitors a
taste of life most people never get to see. here's the details. these tourists are being guided through bangkok's largest shantytown. tens of thousands of the city's poor live and work in the slum, an area normally associated with drugs and crime. but the community is also home to cooking with pu, a cooking school that's become a popular tourist attraction. >> this is a chile. four or five chiles for one person. >> reporter: pu is the name of the school's owner. for $30, they get fresh ingredients and less sons in how
to cook traditional thai dishes. they also learn pu's secrets to enhancing the flavors. traditional dishes such as tom yum, green curry and tom kha gai are on the menu. the students enjoy mastering the cooking but they also get to see a side of thailand often hidden from view. the real lives of people left behind by the country's economic growth. >> i'm learning cooking in a slum. this is a part where we don't normally get to see when we come here as a tourist. we want to see how the poor thai locals have to live and how they help themselves and make a living. >> coming here was fabulous. the best part is when you come in you see what you're trying to help. so i think it's a great place to
cook. >> reporter: pu was born and raised in the slum. she used to struggle to make ends meet earning up to $6 a day selling home-cooked meals to her neighbors. in 2007, an australian missionary foundation that helps residents of the slum develop sustainable micro businesses inencouraged her to open her cooking school. the school has been a success, attracting more tourists which generates income for neighbors and educates visitors about poverty. >> we have been able to hire other residents of the slum which helps more people earn money. that means we can accept more customers and generate more
money. >> it isn't luxurious or beautiful, but for tourists this trip into bangkok's underprivileged world is an experience they will never forget. nhk world, bangkok. >> that's another tourist spot worth visiting. that's it for our bulletin. >> thank you. japan's top prosecutor's office announced its plans for the problem plagued special investigative units of district offices. the head of the prosecutor's office announced a reform proposal on friday. they will apply to the special investigative divisions at district offices in tokyo, osaka and nagoya >> translator: i can't deny some independent investigators were arrogant. they thought they were somehow special and had a sense of
superiority over prosecutors. >> the proposals are in response to a justice ministry panel's demand for reform in the wake of a scandal. an osaka investigator tampered with evidence against a woman for abusing the postal discount program but was later acquitted. there was a call for to merge two of three special units that now conduct their own investigations into one section. they called for a systemic oversight of all special unit investigations. the office ordered the special units to videotape questioning of suspects on a trial basis. joining us now is our senior reporter. koji, do you think the reform plan will be sufficient for the public prosecutors to regain public trust? >> it depends on how strictly the prosecutors will carry out
the plan. before, a series of scandals took place. they were seen as protectors of japanese justice. the special units arrested powerful lawmakers including a former prime minister, often in connection with money scandals. but the entire institution was shaken by a recent case in which three prosecutors were arrested in connection with evidence tampering. soon after, a series of accusations including this case came to light. an nhk survey conducted just after the case broke suggests 60% of the public no longer trusts the prosecutor's office. >> now, these false accusations by the prosecutors, what are the factors behind these accusations? >> first, we should note that more than 99% of defendants in japan are found guilty. prosecutors tend to concentrate
the attention on evidence that is advantageous to them and direct their investigation in a calculated way. the supreme public prosecutor's office conducted a survey of 1,400 prosecutors to draw up the reform plan. then one in four prosecutors admitted their superiors asked them to provide depositions that will fit the scenario of a particular case. >> do you think the reform plan will keep prosecutors from abusing their authority? >> to some extent. but the question now is whether there will be able to make full audio and video recordings of interrogations. they already do it in south korea, hong kong and many u.s. states. but japan lags behind. many japanese investigators still believe the system will hinder obtaining a genuine confession. the supreme public prosecutor's
office is now introducing a trial period to test its efficiency. i think a full action of recording interviews will be the quickest way to regain public trust. >> thanks, koji. appreciate it. hello again. time for another look at the weather. into eastern asia the northeast will be unstable into the weekend. heavy rain once again targeting the korean peninsula. actually south korea will be seeing maybe another additional 100 millimeters of rain into the next 24 hours. you add it to the 100 millimeters they just received and there will be a high risk of flooding and landslides. northeastern china with ongoing showers and thunderstorms moving through and northern japan will be seeing showers.
we have the front line moving through. the rest of japan, mostly clear and dry. very, very hot though. we may see thunderstorms popping up in the heat of the day, especially in central locations. let's go down to just east of taiwan. we have a tropical depression that's now a low forecast to become a tropical depression in the next 12 hours. so this is what we see in the forecast. it looks like it will be headed up just north of taiwann toward it is coast of eastern china. really intensifying the downpours in both locations as well as the northern philippines. that's pulling in all of the humid monsoon winds across the west coast. i think you can actually see some pink popping up here in the west showing you the heavier rainfall. let's head to our temperature chart now. 35 degrees in taipei. another hot day here and around that in bangkok, too. we have 30 in manila, 33 in hong kong. 35, the heat getting all the way up there in beijing. 33 in tokyo.
it's set to be above average for the next several days. 23 meanwhile, much cooler in ulan batour. southwest of mexico, let's see what's happening with tropical storm calvin. it's heading northwest over the water. it is strengthening but moving slowly at the moment. i think this one is probably going to dissipate over water in the next five days and shouldn't cause much problem before it does so. we'll keep an eye on it. certainly you will see scattered thunderstorms along the western coast of mexico. heading up to canada, western canada seeing a large low pressure system dominating bringing thunderstorms down into the northern plains. large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain expected anywhere you see it in the yellow here. another area of severe storms pushing up into the midatlantic. it's safe to say along the
atlantic seaboard it looks unstable for the next 24 hours. temperaturewise, around about 30 in d.c. and atlanta. new york, also seeing 27. meanwhile, 28 in chicago. 37 in houston. 43 in phoenix. it will be very, very humid. much cooler in seattle at 18 degrees. 20 in vancouver. all right. as for europe, very wet and windy with off and on thunderstorms as well. all the way up to the british isles and scandinavian peninsula. the heaviest rain in denmark on saturday. meanwhile, severe storms are starting to erupt around the alpine region. we'll watch for that, too. showers lingering in northwest russia. down to the south it will be mostly hot and dry. we see the surge of heat into budapest. 35 for you. 37 in belgrade and 33 in vienna. here's your extended forecast.
once again the top story at this hour. preparations for the launch of a final u.s. space shuttle are proceeding in the state of florida despite poor weather that could delay friday's liftoff. the launch will mark the end of the 30-year shuttle program. amid occasional showers, the u.s. space agency, nasa began fueling the shuttle "atlantis" early on friday. lightning struck several times near the launch pad but the agency says the shuttle suffered no damage. the four astronauts on the final mission donned their flight suits and are now boarding the shuttle at the kennedy space center. and that's our broadcast for this hour on "newsline." we'll be back with more news in half an hour. i'm michio kijima in tokyo.