glad to have you with us on this edition of "newsline." it's thursday october 6th, 8:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. one of the most powerful politicians in japan is going on trial in just two hours. ichiro ozawa is the former leader of this country's main governing democratic party. he's facing criminal charges in
connection with a political funding scandal. our reporter mitsuko nishikawa joins us live with details. mitsuko. >> reporter: hi, catherine. i'm in a park that's right next to the tokyo district court. many people are waiting, hoping to win seats for the public gallery. in yet another sign ichiro ozawa's case is attracting a lot of attention, it's extremely rare for a powerful politician in japan to be facing criminal charges in court. security is being increased in and around the building. ozawa is accused of falsifying financial reports. the charges are in connection with a $5.2 million purchase his political organization made. three of his former secretaries including house of representatives member tomohiro ishikawa were also caught up in the scandal. a lower court found them guilty last month. the case has focused on whether
ozawa conspired with and delivered some kind of orders to his former aides. he has consistently denied any involvement. it is expected that he will again profess his innocence in court. back to you, catherine. >> thanks very much, mitsuko. mitsuko nishikawa there outside the tokyo district court. "newsline" will be covering the trial throughout the day. do stay tuned for more details. now, japan's nuclear power officials are trying to make sure they don't repeat a dangerous mistake. a utility company started construction on wednesday to protect its nuclear facility. it's following an order from the japanese government. seawalls around nuclear plants must be at least 15 meters high. that's the height of the tsunami that flooded and disabled fukushima daiichi in march. people working for hokurika power company are building a reinforced concrete seawall at its nuclear facility in shika. the town is on the sea of japan
coast. the wall will sit 11 meters above sea level. it will be four meters high and 700 meters long. workers at hokurika electric are also preparing in case a tsunami surges over the wall. they will install a new drainage gate to minimize damage at the plant. power companies across japan are making preparations to better protect their facilities. workers will raise embankments or build new ones at 45 plants in all. that's 90% of the total. crews at the shimane nuclear plant in western japan were the first to begin construction. they started building an embankment in july. it will be 15 meters above sea level when it's finished. workers at the hamaoka nuclear power plant in central japan will start building a seawall in the middle of next month. the embankment will be 18 meters above sea level. it's expected to be finished by december 2012. all of this new seawall construction is expected to be
completed within the next three years at the latest. three people in belgium including an inspector from the international atomic energy agency are undergoing checks for radiation exposure. the u.n. nuclear watchdog says this comes after a mishap at a nuclear waste processing facility in northern belgium. the iaea says the incident occurred during a routine inspection of the belgoprocess nuclear waste facility in the town of desel. the operator of the facility says the three men were checking a container of radioactive material when it fell onto the floor and cracked. the iea says the three have undergone extensive procedures and medical checks. it says belgian authorities have sealed off the area and that no radiation has been released into the environment. a group of japanese university researchers has made a breakthrough that could offer hope to people suffering from muscular dystrophy.
the grub from the kobe university school of medicine, led by professor tats shi toda has been studying fukuyama type muscular dystrophy. this genetic muscle-wasting disease is found almost exclusively in japan. in this congenital disorder a gene mutation cause muscles to stop producing a protein called fukutin. the group says it found that the disorder develops when a second gene enters the mutant gene. it also found that a material called antisense nucleic acid helps the gene to produce fukutin normally. the researchers confirmed the function of the acid through tests on mice and on human cells in test tubes. they say the findings may lead to the development of a cure for the disease including the restation of muscles. professor toada says he hopes to conduct clinical experiments within a few years.
china's monetary policy tightening is reportedly causing the collapse of small businesses in the country. the government has raised the key interest rate five times since last october to try to curb inflation and avoid a real estate bubble. as a result, cash-strapped firms are finding it hard to borrow from banks. chinese premier wen jiabao says the government will consider how to help ailing companies and prevent them from turning to loan sharks for cash. wen made the pledge while visiting wenzhou city in the eastern province of zhejiang early this week, where many small- and medium-sized firms are struggling. the state-run xinhua news agency reported that 26 firms went bankrupt in the city last month. smaller businesses in china boost the economy by investing in real estate. there's concern that china's
economy may slow down if credit worries spread across the country. greece is facing social strife on top of the debt crisis. greek civil servants and other workers have gone on a 24-hour strike in protest against the government's latest austerity measures. air-traffic controllers went on strike on wednesday, grounding all flights. schoolteachers, hospital staff, and others joined them, partially suspending public services. many protesters holding banners and placards marched in athens and filled central parts of the capital. >> translator: my bonus and salary have been reduced. i can't pay my taxes anymore. >> translator: we have no way out. all greek people are angry. >> the government last month compiled an extra austerity package. it includes a rise in fixed asset tax and the suspension of about 30,000 public servants on partial pay.
the measures are in exchange for receiving significant financial aid from the european union and the international monetary fund. some of the world's most unique cars are on display at the shanghai custom car show, which kicked off on wednesday. crowds of well-to-do car enthusiasts have flocked to see the latest trends in customized automobiles. nhk world's mari yamada reports from shanghai. ♪ >> reporter: these cars have all been remodeled, from the frame to the hubcaps to the steering wheels. no expense has been spared to turn these vehicles into dream machines. >> translator: i am so happy to see dream cars. they're so cool. >> translator: brands from many countries are on display. i saw my favorite wheels and parts.
>> reporter: representatives from about 70 companies from seven countries and territories, including the u.s. and japan, are participating in this show. these firms either manufacture or sell automotive parts such as steering wheels and passenger seats. a representative of the event said chinese people will soon have two or three cars per family. he said the custom car market is expected to grow as more and more people look for cars that are uniquely theirs. the exhibition features about 140 cars that have been remodeled. this on the aesthetics. many participants are exchanging information about converting their car. china's new car sales exceeded 18 million units in 2010, overtaking the u.s. for two consecutive years as the world's number one auto market.
the chinese market is attracting international players, including those from japan, germany and the u.s. as wealthy chinese consumers spend more money on their cars. >> translator: the chinese market is expanding, with many wealthy customers. we want people to enjoy spending their money on our products. >> we see a very bright future going forward. and even if it's a small market now, we believe that it's going to just continue to gain speed and continue to be a larger place to do business. >> reporter: this custom car show wraps up on friday, but organizers are already talking about holding another exhibition. it's yet another sign that rich people in china are getting even richer. mari yamada, nhk world, shanghai. it's been a tough six months for tens of thousands of people
in japan. they lost their jobs after the march 11th earthquake and tsunami. they can't find work, and their benefits are running out. nhk world's chie yamagishi tells us why landing a job is proving so difficult. >> reporter: the remains of send sendai's industrial complex at the city's port. a constant reminder of the damage caused by the march 11th tsunami. destroyed. of the more than 100 businesses here. among them, a cardboard factory. 44-year-old hireno suzuki worked here in a contract for a transportation company. he operated the forklift and
moved around rows of paper. the factory shut down after the sunni hit. the transportation company was forced to lay off workers. suzuki lost a job he'd held for 22 years. >> translator: at first i thought we would work again, but after six months the factory hasn't even started its repairs. my former colleagues and i are anxious to work there again. that would be the best option for us. the plant intends to reopen for business. the tsunami damage forced it to scale down its operations. the factory monitor hopes to protect his own workforce, but subcontract workers such as suzuki could stay laid off. >> translator: building a new factory from scratch would cost about $92 million.
without support from the government it will be tough to rehire workers. >> reporter: suzuki cannot afford to wait. he and his wife along with their two daughters live with his parents. they receive $2,100 per month in unemployment benefits, which is about half of his former salary. that has to cover school fees and the mortgage on the family home. a six-month moratorium on the monthly payments just ended. from now on he will have to hand more than half of his benefits payments straight to the bank. to make matters worse, suzuki will stop receiving his
unemployment assistance at the end of march 2012. >> translator: the home loan payments will make it difficult for us to afford food, lighting, heating, or school tuition. >> reporter: finding work is suzuki's top priority. he attended a job fair in the city of is of is noe maki in mi prefecture. 43 companies, meanwhilely from the tohoku region, were there. but most came from the retail sectors. companies in the manufacturing and marine processing industries were largely absent. they're the mainstays of tohoku's economy. >> translator: no plant or manufacturer is taking part in the fair. >> reporter: about half of the
jobs available are temporary. suzuki tried to find a position as a regular long-term factory employee. but he couldn't. >> translator: once my unemployment benefits run out i'll have to look for work outside meiyagi prefecture. but i've heard that factories here are recovering little by little. so maybe jobs will come up. at least that's my hope for now. >> nhk world's chie yammagishi gave us some more insight on the tough unemployment situation in northeastern japan. here's her conversation with our michio kijima. >> chie, you told us about one man's story. how are other survivors faring?
>> many zriefrsz can't find work. some people lost not only their jobs but homes and 234r50efamil members. they have no clue how to get on with their lives. in iwate and fukushima prefectures nearly 70,000 survivors registered at local dual placement centers as of the end of august just as hidenorri suzu suzuki did. the labor ministry confirmed nearly 25% have been 34r5ised on payrolls so far. >> what kind of measures are being done to help people who are out of work? >> the government is extending the extension period for up to 120 days for people throughout japan. those in the worst-hit coastal areas are eligible for a longer extension, an extra 90 days. >> you just suggested that temporary unemployment benefits are just temporary solutions. what are other measures that could help people gain a stable
source of income? >> restoring damage to businesses is an essential part of creating more jobs in devastated parts of the northeast. smaller companies that have grouped together to support recovery efforts are eligible for a state subsidy to recover their costs. but given the vast number of companies affected by the disaster 9 demand for assistance has already outpaced the available government funding. to speed up the recovery more initiatives are necessary to help survivors find sxwrobz support companies as they try to rebuild. >> all right, chii, thanks. that was nhk world's chieyamagishi reporting tonight. next we go to our bureau in
bangkok. the latest on what's going on in the region. >> the top leaders of afghanistan and india have provided a glimpse of southeastern asia vp politics at work. they agreed to strengthen stiez in areas that include fighting terrorism. nhk world's fumeio sugaya reports from india. >> reporter: afghan president hamid karzai was in new delhi on tuesday for talks with indian prime minister manmohan singh. the two leaders signed a broad-ranging agreement that allows india to try afghani forces and help develop the mining industry in afghanistan. karzai said south asia must continue to deal with threats of terrorism. >> afghanistan as india seeks a life that is free of violence, free of extremism, and that provides opportunities to the youth of this region to grow into a more prosperous and
calmer and more secure future for all of us. >> we had detailed and frank discussions on the issue of terrorism. this threatens our entire region, and no country can remain immune to its lethal effects. >> reporter: the deal came about as a result of growing tensions between afghanistan and pakistan. at the afghan government says last month's assassination of former afghan president burhannudin rabb ni was plotted by pakistan. he had been a prominent negotiator with the taliban. karzai is trying to pressure pakistan by deepening ties with india. pakistan's relationship with india also remains 12r5i7bd. fumeio sugaya, nhk world, new delhi.
meanwhile, after the meetsing president karzai said he has no intention of pursuing direct talks with the taliban for the time being. with no sign of progress in efforts to talk with the taliban, karzai gave a speech in new delhi and said he had been unable to find any reliable negotiating partner in the militant group, calling pakistan his country's twin brother, karzai said he would use pakistan as a channel for talking with the taliban because of its connections to the group. and next to the philippines, where one of the country's long-term nickel mines came under attack earlier this week. communist rebels claimed responsibility and accused the miners of harming local people and the environment. this photo shows the smoldering aftermath of the attack which took place on monday. hundreds of guerrillas stormed a
mining site on the southern yiechbld mindanao. a subsidiary of japan's sumitomo metal mining was among those targeted no one was harmed in the incident. in a statement issued on tuesday communist rebels claimed responsibility. the group named the companies it said threatened local people and the environment. it listed accusations including the cutting down of trees and widespread use of sulfuric acid which the rebels claim is harmful to humans and nature. the communists vow to step up efforts at mining by foreign firms in the philippines. i'm patchari racks wong in bangkok. >> all right. now let's take a look at the global weather forecast with saiki ochi.
welcome back to your weather update. southeast asia is finally seeing the tropical storm system dissipate, and we do have much calmer wind conditions for areas across the indo-china peninsula. however, there is still just a lot of remnant moisture around, so we're still looking at rain that hangs on to the hainan peninsula, hainan island, as well as the southeastern corner of china today. we have a low also bringing rain across the philippines here. really a wide area of southeast asia again looking at the more rain. to the north it's a much dryer picture for the rest of china. the korean peninsula too is drying out. in japan some areas may see heavy downpours throughout the day. you do want to watch out for that. as for highs on thursday looking at much warmer conditions in tokyo, getting up to 25 during the day. 24 in seoul. 24 degrees in shanghai. equally quite pleasant here. as for the americas lots of
clouds continuing to stream in from the pacific. lots of activity for the west. intermountain west, west coast of the u.s. and canada and upper elevation. snow, also the upper plain states here. winds are picking up and we do see very dry conditions. windy weather will continue up to the risk of wildfires in the area. there have been some reported already. and the risk remains high throughout the night. the eastern half of the united states and canada dry. a little rain hanging on to the canadian air maritimes, but that is starting to head out. highs on thursday will be shaping up to be 24 degrees in chicago. 32 in houston. a lot of warmth for the midsection and eastern half of the united states but definitely a much cooler picture for the west coast. 16 for seattle and 14 degrees in
vancouver. clouds moving on into continental europe and the dry weather is about to change. windy weather for the british isles as well as scandinavia. windier weather will spread through the rest of the uk. this frontal system is going to head on in, start bringing a round of rain into continental europe, rain band will stretch anywhere from the northern end of the iberian peninsula all the way up toward the baltic states. so what are conditions for a change? it's been dry for the past few days definitely here. as that frontal system comes on in a lot cooler weather will also start to invade europe. 15 for your high in london. paris comes in in the upper teens. berlin at 21. 13 for stockholm. the south still looking quite warm. especially the iberian peninsula, madrid, expecting a high of 32 degrees.
of this country's main governing democratic party, is facing criminal charges in connection with a political funding scandal. it's extremely rare for a powerful politician in japan to be facing criminal charges in court. security is being increased in and around the tokyo district court. in a park next to the building many people gathered for the chance to win seats for the public gallery. ozawa is accused of falsifying financial reports. the charges are in connection with a $5.2 million land purchase made by his political funding organization. three of his former secretaries, including house of representatives member tomohiro ishikawa, were also caught up in this scandal. a lower court found them guilty last month. the case is focused on whether ozawa conspired with and gave instructions to his former aides. he has consistently denied any involvement. it's expected he will again profess his innocence in court.