hello there. welcome to nhk "newsline." it is thursday, november 24th. 10:00 a.m. many areas of northern and eastern japan are getting their first taste of winter. mother nature ignored the calendar and is bringing early snow and sleet. it's the first snowfall in center tokyo in 54 years. >> translator: i'm worried that the trains will stop on my way home. >> japan's meteorological agency said they saw the first snow in tokyo at 6:15 a.m. a cold air mass is hovering over the northern and eastern parts of japan.
the officials are warning people of icy roads and disruptions in transportation. our meteorologist robert speta joins us now with more. >> this exceptional cold air mass dominating much of northern and central japan. you can see on our satellite picture you have northwesterly winds coming in. that classic sea-effect snowfall. typically whenever we get an area like that, the mountains of central japan blocks any snow from getting over. down toward the south we actually had a low coming in and, yes, that brought us our first snowfall since 1962 in november. quite incredible. snow in tokyo is rather rare. you only see it about once or twice a year so this early in the winter season is exceptionally unusual. how much is going to be coming down? as we go ahead through the rest of the day, looks like in downtown tokyo an additional 2 centimeters of snowfall is possible accumulating on surfaces that are not warm, car
tops and table tops out there. looks like the heaviest will be back toward the west. you can see about 15, maybe 20 centimeters. how long will it be lasting? not very long. as we go ahead into the afternoon hours, this is going to taper off. the low is going to push farther to the east and we'll see cloudy skies and even warming conditions by friday. the snow that did come down, it will melt off rather quickly. not the case back toward the north though where more is still in the forecast in northern japan. >> thanks very much, robert. robert speta there. he'll be back later on in the program with more in world weather. japan's foreign minister said his government is weighing its response to russia's deployment of anti-ship missiles on islands claimed by japan. the missile issue creates a diplomatic headic some three weeks before russian president vladimir putin is due to visit japan. russian media reported on tuesday that advanced surface to ship missile systems were installed on two of four russian held islands. the japanese government
maintains the islands are an inherent part of japan's territory and that they were illegally occupied after world war ii. the peace treaty has been left unsigned since the end of the war. >> translator: we'll certainly attend to such a move and will think of how to respond to the matter when we've confirmed what's happening. >> kishida added that the concluding a peace treaty with russia has been one of the most pressing issues for japan's diplomacy. president putin is scheduled to visit japan in mid december for talks with japanese prime minister shinzo abe. russia's presidential spokesperson has defended the deployment of the missile systems. he says the move was justified because the islands are russian territory but indicated the missile issue shouldn't affect preparations for the president's trip to japan or negotiations for a peace treaty. japanese weather officials
say they continue to detect seismic activity off fukushima prefecture. a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the area tuesday morning and they are warning people that another tremor of the same strength could strike within the next seven days. the officials say they observe 90 quakes registered 9 or higher by 6 p.m. on wednesday. tuesday's quake caused a 1.4 meter tsunami in northeastern japan. that's the highest in the country since a huge earthquake struck the region in 2011. fishermen on wednesday checked for damage. they said nearly half of the 700 seaweed cultivation rafts at the port were washed ashore or became tangled with one another.
>> translator: it will take a long time to recover. >> he said fishermen are feeling the effects of the disaster five years ago. he said the seaweed crop was good this year and he feels disappointed. others feel a more recent catastrophe. >> we're still rebuilding from the powerful typhoon that hit the area earlier this year. the disasters keep coming. i need a break. >> fishermen at another port worked to salvage a ship capsized by tsunami waves and were also trying to recover its anchor. workers at a care facility for the elderly in northeastern japan are looking after seniors shaken up by the quake. 18 senior citizens on wednesday visited the facility in miyagi prefecture. the town was severely damaged by the powerful earthquake and huge tsunami in 2011. they said the jolt reminded them of the disaster five years ago and that the aftershocks left them physically and emotionally drained. the caretakers say that the
elderly people are restless and have trouble sleeping. they tried to put them at ease by having the visitors talk about what they experienced the day before. >> translator: i felt uneasy because the sound of the siren was echoing loudly and endlessly. i was so scared. >> translator: i sobbed when bad memories came flooding back. >> the operator of the facility is ready to continue to provide support as many of the elderly people lost family members and their homes in the 2011 tsunami. a professional board game player has vested an artificial intelligence program in tokyo. he faced off in the final match of the ancient board game go on wednesday. the program was developed by researchers at the university of tokyo and other software developers. they came into the final match with one win each.
it was close at first but the ai program conceded defeat after just only three hours of play. >> translator: i didn't feel like i was facing a computer. it played like a human being. it was very strong in some parts of the game. >> translator: the matches were very meaningful for us. we've learned what we should fix in order to get stronger. >> the program was developed in an effort to create a stronger program than u.s. i.t. giant's google program. it defeated one of the world's top players four games to one earlier this year. japan's environment ministry is investigating whether a highly infectious and deadly strain of bird flu is spreading. the virus was found in droppings of migratory birds.
ministry officials are examining areas where the birds have been spotted. officials are monitoring the animals to see if they show any signs of illness. the ministry says the same strain known as h5n6 was found earlier this month in dead wild birds in southwestern and northeastern japan. let's turn to business stories. investors are feeling confident and the dollar and wall street are rallying. let's go to our business desk. get us updated on the markets. >> over on wall street, the dow jones industrial average and nasdaq closed at record highs. you can see that the dow jones closed above 19,000 for a couple days. for two days actually now. now investors are betting on a rate hike next month, which is pushing the dollar higher against the yen and that upbeat sentiment is giving a boost to tokyo markets. the benchmark nikkei average opened higher and is trading at
the highest level since early january. the nikkei 225 up by 0.9% at 18,333. investors are buying a wide range of shares. exporters like car makers are leading the gains on the weaker yen. so turning to currency levels. the dollar went above 112 yen for the first time in eight months in just about eight months. the pair now at the mid 112 levels. the u.s. currency is stronger against the euro. economic data in the u.s. was supportive. durable goods orders for october came in much stronger than market expectations. let's also get an update on what's happening in other parts of the asia pacific. we're seeing losses in korea and australia. t china's markets will open in just under half an hour. minutes from a meeting of
the u.s. central bank in early november show a majority of the policy makers believe the key interest rate should be raised in the near future. the policy makers concluded that the u.s. economy had expanded at a faster pace than in the first half of the year as the labor market improved. the document says most participants expressed a view that it could well become appropriate for raise the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon. the meeting was held one week before the u.s. presidential election. some of the officials said the government's future policies were uncertain. they decided to keep the key interest rate unchanged at that meeting indicating the need to see evidence of rising employment and prices. fed chair janet yellen hinted about a possible rate hike in her congressional testimony after the presidential election. market players are predicting the fed will make its move for the first time in a year at its next meeting in mid december. experts say india has some
of the worst air pollution in the world. executives at toyota motors say they want to help fix the problem and they've held an event in the country to promote their eco-friendly cars and technologies. mockups of hybrid car engines and batteries were on display at the venue in new delhi. toyota also took visitors on rides. >> translator: india has a potentially huge market for low emission cars. we believe toyota can make a contribution with its environmentally friendly vehicles. >> india's government plans to tighten emission standards to european levels. other japanese automakers are also trying to increase sales of their hybrid models in the country. tourists to japan might soon be getting a special discount on alcoholic beverages. government officials are thinking about lifting the liquor tax for visitors from abroad. the exemption could come into force from april. it's expected to be included in
the government's review of the taxation system for the next fiscal year. under the proposal, foreigners who visit sake breweries and distillries in japan could make tax free purchases of the products. the shoppers could, for example, save a little under a dollar on a bottle of sake. the officials say the move would help tourism and revitalize local communities. they're also planning to allow japanese passengers returning from overseas to shop at duty-free stores in airport arrival areas. japanese company is developing robotic legs to help people with spinal injuries walk again. the developer says he is motivated by the smiles on the faces of those who wear the legs. >> reporter: these are the robotic legs. when worn by people by people
with spinal injuries, they help them stand up and walk with the push of a button. a robot and auto parts company developed the legs. the development team is led by a man whose company is partly driven by the search for new business opportunities. >> translator: the basic technology of robotics uses motors, sensors and computers. i wanted to use the technology and apply it to a new area. >> reporter: a university hospital asked the company to develop a walk assist robot. the hospital has been struggling to find good rehabilitation equipment for the disabled. >> translator: when i try to stand up, i can't. help me up. >> reporter: a patient can stand up with help but walking is
tricky. he came up with the idea of installing motors in the joints of the equipment to make the legs move. he studied out the able bodied walk. >> translator: i gathered data on ankle and knee angles and the relationship between those ankles and the movement of the hip joint. >> reporter: his researchers concluded that motors were needed in hip joints, knees and ankles. they adjusted the strengths of the motors so joints could bend smoothly. it took nine years to make robotic legs that everyone was satisfied with. then it was time to test them. the university hospital has been conducting clinical trials for three years. university student damaged his spine in a car accident. he uses the legs in
rehabilitation. >> translator: i'm more motivated than before to walk. i hope to be able to go to places like restaurants that often have stairs. >> translator: the expression on the faces of patients who stand up and walk for the first time or start walking faster, well, they look so happy. my dream is that they will one day be able to use the legs in the home and as part of their daily lives. >> reporter: will he realize his dreams? he says he will continue trying to climb the technological steps toward perfection. one day, he hopes his robotic legs will help the disabled to lead normal lives. >> and that's the latest in business for this hour. here's a check on markets.
in one corner of this bookstore, you don't get a choice. no title, no author's name. the cover is hidden, wrapped in a recommendation note written by hand. >> translator: it was our best selling book last week. >> reporter: one of the employees came up with the idea. he was looking for a catchy way to market a book. >> translator: i want to get as many customers as possible to read with no preconceptions. just pick up a book. >> reporter: he called it paperback x. on the cover he wrote a personal note. >> translator: as you read, the author's dedication to discovering the truth really hits home. it's really moving.
i really hope you will experience this work too. >> reporter: customers were intrigued. three months after going undercover, the book has sold about 3,000 copies. >> translator: it did capture my interest. someone must really want me to read it. the recommendation convinced me to try. i've never seen anything like this. >> reporter: to maintain suspense, the book is sealed. the only way to find out what's inside is to buy it. now more than 200 bookstores around the country are selling books in the paperback x style. in this store, she volunteered to promote a book as a paperback x. >> translator: as a bookstore employee i wanted to sell certain books i thought was important, but it's never worked out very well. i never sold very many. >> reporter: they followed the formula. she made her review emotional and personal. >> translator: this book shocked me so much it left me shaking. i can't believe it. i thought really?
i read it many times over. they say books don't really sell, but i think everyone is looking for a book that is fun or interesting to read. they just need a little push to take that book in hand. >> reporter: bookstores are losing customers to digital media. creating a little mystery in their products might be one way to win them back. japan's auto industry provided much of the horsepower for the country's postwar economic growth. cars were being made in japan much earlier than that though. as our next story shows, an innovative model from the 1930s is back on the road. >> reporter: the first compact four-wheel drive auto to be mass produced anywhere in the world. manufacturing started in 1936. the former imperial army used
the vehicles for reconnaissance and communication. when the war ended, production stopped. of the 4,700 cars that came out of the factory, only six were known to still be around. a few years ago, another one turned up at an auto repair shop in kyoto. this man owns the business. the car was manufactured in 1938. his father bought it around 1955. >> translator: back then, a four-wheel drive vehicle was rare. i still remember staff members taking it for a spin in their free time. >> reporter: eventually the vehicle wore out. three years ago, a nonprofit group offered to revive it.
the head of the organization visited to check on the vehicle's condition. the prognosis was good. >> translator: automobiles are a way of understanding industrial history. i want to restore the car so future generations can learn from it. >> translator: more than anything i want people to know that this unique automobile was made in japan. >> reporter: the car was transported to another city for restoration. original parts were used whenever possible. here's the engine as it was. after disassembling it, the team members concluded they could repair most of the parts. they also were able to rescue the door by replacing the bottom
part with new steel plates. the driver's seat couldn't be salvaged. some other items, however, were switched out for components found at auction. they had been confiscated by the soviet army during the war. engaging this lever while pressing a button activates the turn signal. after two years, the vehicle was ready to roll. the team refurnished the curve shape and the original color. >> translator: my mission has been making this car run again. that's kept me motivated to work hard all this time. >> reporter: auto enthusiasts turned out to see the fully restored vehicle. >> translator: cool. >> translator: the body is round and smooth. it has a warmth that modern cars lack. >> reporter: nagata came to watch the test run.
>> translator: it's starting to move. wonderful. >> reporter: after decades, the engine was revving. >> translator: the car has been resurrected. i hope many people will get a chance to see it. >> reporter: eight decades is a long life span for any piece of equipment especially a car. thanks to the efforts of the restoration team, this one is like a kid again headed to the future in high gear. drivers here in tokyo aren't in high gear. they're being cautious on the roads. people in the city are seeing snowflake in november for the first time in 54 years. our meteorologist robert at the time speta joins us now with
more. >> quite unusual. if people are out and about, continue to go slow on the roadways. it is slow out there and it is very slick even into the tokyo area as images we've been seeing throughout the day here today where we've been seeing snowfall. that will continue through the early afternoon hours. low pressure is still tracking toward the south of japan here. as that moves off toward the east, conditions will start to improve by afternoon. before that happens, some areas could see an additional 2 centimeters of total snowfall accumulation. western tokyo might see up to 10 centimeters overall snowfall. that's in the mountains. the foothills outside of the metropolitan area. the heaviest stuff is going to be back here toward the west. now, as we look ahead though, things will be warming up by friday. that's good news if you don't like the snow. most of the accumulation that we are seeing in tokyo will be melted off. the big reason for that the low
will move to the northeast and sunny skies by friday. mountains really stop any snowfall from making over toward the pacific coastline including tokyo but we're still expecting plenty of more snowfall across parts of northern areas. for today, tokyo high of 4. snow in your forecast. seoul at 3. beijing at 4. staying on the chilly side back toward the north. completely flipping gears though, i do want to talk about the philippines. we have a low pressure area. now calling this a tropical depression. the big thing is any time even with weaker storms to get them this far south in the philippines typical this late into the tropical season you get a threat of flooding. we're looking at 200 to 250 millimeters of precipitation. you could see a threat of flooding or landslides. moving to americas, i want to talk about this. if you have travel plans today
headed to thanksgiving holiday, i know a lot of people in the northeastern u.s. are out on the interstate. it does look like it's going to be a slow go in a few areas. we're looking at snowfall across parts of upstate new york over toward new england if not snow, maybe a rain/snow mix. slick roads with that. also into the pacific northwest, might be a slow go. central areas of the country and down toward the south looking rather beautiful here on your thursday. all right. i'll leave you now with your extended outlook.
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