hello and welcome back to nz fz. i'm shery ahn. let's get started with the head lines. a court has ruled against restarting two nuclear reactors in central japan. it's the first such decision since the nuclear disaster three years ago. engineers at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant have carried out a new plan to divert groundwater into the sea.
twin bombings kill more than 100 people in central nigeria. an attack authorities believe could be the work of the islamist militant group boko haram. people opposed to a plan to restart two reactors at a nuclear plant in central japan have won a victory. a japanese court says safety measures at the plant are insufficient, and it's ordered the operator to keep the reactors offline. now this is the first ruling against a restart of a nuclear plant since the accident at fukushima daiichi three years ago. the two reactors at the ohi nuclear plant in fukui prefecture were shut down in september for regular inspections. residents and their supporters have had filed a lawsuit asking for the reactors to be kept offline. they argued that they were not designed to withstand huge earthquakes. the plan's operator kansai electric power company insists the facility is safe. the fukui district court upheld the claims of 166 plaintiffs
living within a 250 kilometer radius of the plant. the presiding judge said the utility's estimates for possible maximum tremors are overly optimistic and unreliable. he said the cooling systems of the reactors could fail to function in an earthquake. officials of kansai electric say they will appeal the ruling. the court's decision could have an impact on discussions about whether to resume nuclear power generation. all 48 of japan's commercial reactors are currently offline. japan's nuclear regulation authority is screening safety measures at several plants to determine whether they can be restarted. >> translator: i have no comment on court rulings. we continue to conduct safety screenings in accordance with our own policy. >> japanese courts have historically ruled in favor of power utilities. most lawsuits filed since the late 1960s by residents hoping
to halt nuclear facilities have been dismissed. plaintiffs in two cases had their claims upheld recording the plant in ishikawa prefecture and the reactor in fukui prefecture. but higher courts later overturned the rulings. now, a group that opposes nuclear power generation says about 30 cases are presently before courts against 16 nuclear facilities across japan. now, chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga talked to reporters about the ruling, and said the government's policy on restarting the plants will not change. >> translator: the government is not a party to the lawsuit. i will decline to comment on the ruling. >> suga said the government is waiting for the nra to determine whether nuclear plants can be restarted in line with what are set to be the world's toughest safety standards.
>> translator: the decision to resume operation at the nuclear plant should not be in the least arbitrary, or involve government interests. but, instead, be made objectively with safety a priority. >> the operator of the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant has started releasing groundwater into the sea. the water flows from mountains around the plant. workers have been pumping it into storage containers before it reaches contaminated areas. tepco expects this release will reduce the amount of contaminated water that continues to accumulate at the plant. nhk world's noriko okada reports. >> reporter: a total of 560 tons of groundwater pumped from the grounds of fukushima daiichi was released through pipes and into the sea. government officials and the plant's operator tokyo electric
power company, conducted surveys of the groundwater prior to the release. they say the radiation levels were far below government safety standards. about 400 tons of groundwater flows into the building, and becomes contaminated every day. engineers have built a system to pump up fresh groundwater through rails before it reaches the damaged reactor unit. they store the water in tanks to check the level of radiation, and release it into the sea only if it's not contaminated. this young man from a nearby coastal community approved the release. but some are uneasy about the plans, as they fear it may impact fishing in the area. >> translator: we want them to make sure they don't release
contaminated water. >> reporter: government officials say they will constantly monitor the safety of the water. >> translator: our duty is to supervise this operation. we will do all we can to dispel the concerns fishermen and people have in fukushima. >> reporter: tepco officials admit this operation cannot be the main solution to stop the buildup of contaminated water. they estimate only about a quarter of the contaminated water accumulating every day can be reduced. engineers at the site still have to pump up large amounts of contaminated water, and keep it in storage tanks. the plant's operator has also been looking at other solutions. they're examining the plant to
create an ysebaertier around the damaged reactor building to prevent the groundwater from flowing in. they've also started to clean up contaminated water already stored in nearly 1,000 tanks around the facility. but the water treatment system has been repeatedly suspended due to technical problems. managers at the crippled plant say they plan to release the groundwater once a week for the time being. noriko okada, nhk world. people who filed a lawsuit over an air base west of tokyo can rest more easily now. a japanese district court has ordered the suspension of night time and early morning flights by japan's maritime self-defense force at the base in kanagawa prefecture. now this is the first such court order over a noise pollution suit involving an air base in japan.
now yokohama district court made the ruling in a lawsuit filed by some 7,000 people living near the atsugi base. the suit was filed against the central government which administers the base. atsugi is jointly used by the msdf and the u.s. military. the plaintiffs complained of noise pollution, and demanded compensation, as well as a suspension of nighttime and early morning flights. the presiding judge ruled the level of noise is illegal. he said it seriously violates residents' interests in terms of health and living environment. the judge said the residents have the right to seek a suspension of flights. the judge ordered flights by msdf aircraft be suspended between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. except when the defense minister deems flying is unavoidable. he also ordered that residents be paid compensation for past damages. but the court dismissed a demand for a suspension of u.s. military flights. he said the judge said government -- japan's government
is not authorized to control the u.s. use of the base. nigerian authorities are working to determine who's behind back-to-back bombings that ripped through a central city. more than 100 people died. some are pinning blame on boko haram. the islamist militant group that kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last month. nhk world's craig dale reports. >> reporter: the first car bomb went off in the middle of the afternoon, reducing a busy part of the central city to rubble. the second exploded about 30 minutes later, just as people were helping the victims. >> i saw the explosion up. the number of people i saw, there were pieces, and they were taking them out. >> reporter: no one has claimed responsibility, but investigators see the work of boko haram. the extremist group is fighting to create an islamic state in
nigeria where half the population is christian. boko haram is tracted worldwide attention after its members kidnapped more than 200 girls last month from this school in a remote northern village. their leader threatened to sell the teens into slavery. the families of the abductees are struggling to stay hopeful. >> i thought that by now they would have done something. unfortunately, nothing. >> reporter: nigerian leaders are relying on foreign help to track down the girls. their army is working with battalions from neighboring countries in west africa, and they're getting logistical support from the u.s., britain and france. lawmakers have also extended a state of emergency in three northern states, giving security forces more pow irs to combat the insurgency. >> our troops, and our military personnel and all the forces will not be able to operate to curb this if we don't have
emergency powers within that zone. >> reporter: human rights activists say the missing schoolgirls are complicating the campaign to crush boko haram. >> they are now a human shield. and you cannot shoot at boko haram without shooting at the girls. ♪ >> reporter: despite the odds, some nigerians are staying positive the girls will be found. >> we believe the girls are safe. we believe the girls are alive. and we believe with the tremendous support the nigerian military is getting we believe the girls will be rescued and returned home. >> reporter: nigerian president goodluck jonathan says every necessary measure should be taken to locate the schoolgirls. in response to the bombings in jos he said his government is fully committed to winning the war on terror. boko haram attacks have killed more than 1,000 people this year alone. craig dale, nhk world. let's now get the latest
business stories from ron madison. >> all right. thank you, shery. officials at japan's central bank will keep priming the pump. they decided last year to invest billions of dollars every month to get more money flowing through the economy. they've agreed to carry on with that strategy. bank of japan board members have finished two days of meetings. they say the economy continues to recover moderately. it grew at an annual rate of 5.9% in the first quarter. the fastest rate in nearly three years. but they say the increase in the consumption tax last month made the pace of recovery fluctuate. consumers and company managers rushed in to buy things that they wanted before the tax went up. they held back on purchases after the increase. board members also say that exports have leveled off, and improved earnings are making company managers invest more. boj governor hard huko kuroda expects lower consumer spending to cause japan's economy to shrink in the april to june quarter but he does think that's just a blip in the long-term recovery.
>> translator: there is no need to change our view. we expect consumer spending will remain steady. the impact of the tax hike will likely start to weaken in the summer or after. >> kuroda also mentioned recent sluggish stock prices. he says the overall upward market trend hasn't changed. he thinks stock prices will reflect the upbeat outlook for corporate earnings. now following the bank of japan's policy decision, tokyo share prices ended lower. the nikkei average closed down a quarter percent, 14,042. a stronger yen hurt overall sentiment, shares in the real estate sector especially saw pretty strong selling. here's how other major markets in our region finished out the day. many markets tracked the weakness that we saw on wall street. chinese equities managing to reverse earlier losses, though. the shanghai composite finishing with gains of nearly 0.9%,
2,024. shares of coal related companies got a boost from media reports that chinese regulators plan to set up a national market for coal trading. and in manila the key index there down 1.75%, to finish at 6,762. that's a retreat from this year's high that it hit on tuesday. a wide range of stocks ran into heavy selling. shares of consumer goods companies underperformed. well consumers in japan tightened their purse strings at supermarkets in april. this was in reaction to the higher sales tax. the japan chain stores association reported that sales at major superintendents nationwide last month were down 5.4% from a year earlier on a same-store basis. that's the first decline in three months. demand was particularly weak for processed food and beverages with long shelf lives. sales of detergents and cosmetics were also sluggish. but association officials say the pace of decline was within expectations. they say sales are likely to recover from next month, as
consumer appetite remains steady. japanese leaders have been hoping exports will pick up a bit of momentum but things are not going quite as they wanted. they found out that the trade balance is in a deficit for the 22nd month in a row. finance ministry officials say the deficit for april was $8 billion. that's down 7.8% from a year ago. exports surged more than 5% in yen terms. automakers shipped more cars to europe, and people in the telecom industry shipped more products to china, including lkd panels for smartphones. imports were up 3.4%. that was slower than what we saw in march. some analysts say the increase in the consumption tax dragged down imports. the weaker yen and easing vis ka requirements are causing more people to choose japan as a holiday destination. the number of people visiting in japan hit a record high in april. the previous record was set back in march. officials at the japan national tourism organization say more
than 1.2 million people visited japan in april. that's up more than 33% from a year ago. they say a promotional campaign for april's cherry viewing season also helped attract more tourists. the number of visitors from the philippines jumped almost 130%. those from mainland china rose mar than 90%. the officials think the trend will continue in may. they'll step up efforts to get more people to visit japan this summer. more and more of what people do every day gets tracked and then stored in databases. most of that information is never seen again. but specialists in south korea are tapping in to big data, and they're finding some big benefits. here's nhk world's anna jung. >> reporter: it's 2:00 a.m. in seoul, but this bus is crowded with people heading home after work or drinks with friends. the city night owl service of 44 buss from midnight until 5:00
a.m. about 6,000 passengers use it. the city government wanted to make the service's nine groups more efficient. so it decided to employ big data. the government began working with a major telecom company. at the company's data center, information is gathered around the clock from base stations throughout the country. >> based on cell phone conversations we can figure out how many people there are and when in a certain area. >> reporter: the company used the data collected from 3 billion cell phone calls. the darker colors correspond to heavier car volume. this is a more detailed map. the red line shows the old bus route. as the light color indicates, buses ran on less crowded streets.
so the route was changed to the more crowded blue line, bringing more late-night passengers home. >> translator: our scientific approach made the service more convenient, and we got good feedback from passengers. the success has led to the widespread use of big data for other government services. >> reporter: a growing number of private companies have taken note. this man bought a chicken franchise in seoul about a year ago. he was invited to the business by a friend after retiring from the military. but he was struggling to attract customers. he wants to change the location of his restaurant, so he's checking this website from a large credit card company. searching locations by specific area and type of business reveals volumes of data about properties.
the data includes old tenants, sales, and length of time in business. the credit card company holds huge amounts of sales data for each affiliate store. the company developed a system to identify sites with the best business potential. it does this by analyzing its own sales data. it combines this with others, such as information on local consumer trends collected by marketing firms, and real estate by government agencies. >> translator: new store owners are very likely to affiliate with a credit card company like us. so we are willing to help by providing valuable information using big data. >> reporter: south korea leads the world in broad band internet and smartphone use.
that's a rich technological environment for the government and private sector. they're now joining hands for this experiment in big data analytics. anna jung, nhk world, seoul. >> all right that is going to wrap it up for biz this hour. let's get a check of the markets. officials of japan's professional soccer body have asked a team to investigate a
banner displayed by fans during a game. they want to know whether it was intended to be discriminatory. division two is based in western japan. supporters displayed a misspelled banner likely reading sanuki is obstructive during a match on sunday. officials of the fc asked fans to remove the sign after they found it. the chairman of the j-league said he would decide how to deal with the matter after hearing the result of the team's inspection. he also said his decision might include some form of penalty. in march j-league executives ordered division one's reds to play a game without spectators as supporters put up the banner japanese only. they said the sign could be taken as discriminatory regardless of its intentions. now soccer fans are itching to watch the game's greatest players face off at the world cup in brazil.
but those with tickets are growing concerned about the organization of the event. public transportation workers and police have launched a series of strikes. at least 250,000 people in sao paulo were affected when bus drivers halted almost all buses running in the city. many didn't want to wait in large crowds at bus stops like this one. and went home by car, causing even more traffic. >> translator: this traffic, and these strikes, really hurt us workers. >> the strike was staged by bus drivers who are dissatisfied with the deal reached between their unions, and bus operators. >> translator: we're striking because we don't accept the salary increase. the offer fell short of our expectations. >> organizers of the world cup face more headaches in the northern city of manaus. the roof of an airport terminal
partially collapsed. no one was injured but a large area of the lobby and basement parking lot were flooded. airport authorities say rainwater probably seeped into the ceiling. the roof that caved in was part of the renovations done ahead of the games. authorities are hurrying to renovate airports before the opening match. work at some likely won't be done until after the world cup. let's now bring in rob ert speta for a check of the weather. depressing here in tokyo today. when will this rain stop? >> shery, i would still recommend having an umbrella on hand throughout the rest of wednesday across much of central and northern japan. even into thursday. now, the worst of the storm system really is going to be cleared out. you can see on the satellite picture it is still moving off toward the northeast after dumping a tremendous amount of rainfall in western portions of japan. actually shikoku 228 millimeters reported at one location. winds also up to 97, nearing 100
kilometers per hour, just as this storm system continues to skirt the coastline. you have all those winds continuing to push onshore. right now actually looking at those very gusty winds across much of the tu hoch u region. what we're going to be seeing is it's dragging in very cold air behind it along with a very deep dip in the jet stream. aloft we're going to have chilly air and then tomorrow afternoon or really thursday afternoon, that is, you're going to see some warming at the surface. so that's going to start to spark up some instability in the atmosphere. i think much of the kanto plain, there is that threat of some strong to possibly even severe thunderstorms flaring up out there. so something to keep an eye on as it does move off. now western japan, and even over towards the korean peninsula and to northeastern china, high pressure is really dominating, keeping things calm for the most part. you may suffer from some itchy eyes out here, though. you have that yellow sand blowing in from the west. also some air pollution in the atmosphere. so there is the threat of that. that pm2.5 we often talk about. southeastern china still looking
at rain showers. very typical for this time of year. it's the rainy season. front continues to dominate much of these areas south of the yangtze river basin. south of shanghai, as much as 100 to 150 millimeters of rainfall. outside of hong kong nearing 100 millimeters in the past 24 hours for you. the tropics, afternoon thunderstorms, actually some strong storms blew up there on your wednesday into manila. back towards bangkok, high of 37. some rain showers and thunderstorms there for you. for that matter i do want to talk about the indochina peninsula, because the southwest monsoon really kicking in out here and it's being enhanced by this low pressure area into the bay of bengal. don't expect this to become a named storm system. but it is really kicking off some heavy showers across much of the coastal areas ofmien mar, over towards thailand and there's that threat of flooding there. but also, i think this is going to push the onset of the monsoon a little bit above or earlier than average. look at this, already is ahead of average time here. may 19th typically by may 20th
you start to see the showers out in central portions of myanmar. this is really pushing ahead. so by late may and even before early june, we could see that across the eastern coastlines of india. i do want to talk about also the balkan ben ins la. all week and last week for that matter we've been saying that the heavy rain showers out here caused some significant flooding. you've seen images on the ground likely. this is from space. now you have the danube off towards the north, down towards the south, this is on may 18th before all the rainfall occurred. look at the big difference on may 19th. all these showers flowed downstream and wow. it just caused that absolutely historic flooding out here. it's cleared up in the east. but back towards the west we do have a low. that's spinning across much of western europe. these areas of the red you're looking at the threat of severe thunderstorms and also the threat of heavy rain, much of portugal under heavy rain warnings at this time. here's a look at your temperature. and i'll leave you with your extended forecast.
these are the headlines for you this hour. a crisis meeting in thailand the lien -- between rival political parties ends without a resolution. the meeting was held by the head of the army one day after imposing martial law across the nation. twin car bombs in nigeria leave at least 118 dead with no claim of responsibility yet, but it does seem in line with the boko haram group, who are still holding 200 schoolgirls they kidnapped over a month ago. the balkans began counting the