hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's tuesday, july 16th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. russian defense officials say they're testing the combat readiness of their armed forces. they ordered what they say is the largest surprise drill since the soviet era. russia defense minister says the week-long exercises began saturday in the country's far east. he says about 160,000 personnel from the army, navy and air
force are taking part. military leaders have deployed around 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 naval vessels. the navy's pacific fleet command will send missile cruisers and destroyers to the sea of japan and okhotsk. president vladimir putin plans to head to sakhalin province on tuesday to view one of the drills. japanese trade representatives are getting ready to dive into some delicate negotiations for a massive free trade zone. the latest round of talks for the transpacific partnership or tpp is under way in malaysia. japan will be allowed to join the discussions toward the end of the 11-day meeting. delegates from the u.s., australia, new zealand, singapore and seven other countries have gathered in the city of kota kinabalu. the negotiations will focus on 21 trade sectors.
>> it's a huge benefit to all tpp members. japan's very important country in the region. >> participants say they have almost concluded discussions in some areas including electronic communications. but they say conflicting interests are slowing progress on tariff elimination, intellectual property and the environment. some delegates have a message for japan and other participants. >> don't hold up the conclusions japan is now part of it, so nobody can be holding it up. >> japanese delegates are planning to work to maintain tariffs on some farm products to safeguard their agricultural industry. the major exporters such as australia are expected to demand the removal of protections on rice and beef. the japanese want to eliminate tariffs to boost exports of automobiles and other manufactured products, but they may encounter strong opposition
from the united states. negotiators want to conclude the tpp talks by the end of the year. chinese authorities say top government and communist party leaders deliberately engineered their country's economic slowdown. new statistics show growth in the world's second largest economy has slowed for the second straight quarter. >> translator: the ruling party and the government have been focusing on improving the quality of economic growth. we're achieving stable growth through important structural reforms. >> the latest figures from the national bureau of statistics show gross domestic product for april through june grew 7.5% from a year earlier. gdp in the first quarter was 7.7%. bureau spokesperson says reforms by president gin ping's administration has set unavoidable short term
repercussions for growth. he argues the slowdown will be to china's advantage. consumer consumption will expand as cities continue to grow. he pointed out there's much room for development in the inland parts of the country mep says government officials expect to reach their target of 7.5% growth in 2013. now, an expert on the chinese economy says the latest figures are no cause for alarm. the director of japanese think tank the canon institute for global studies. >> the chinese economy is slowing down, but it's not stopping. it's growing year on year. so perhaps it's more accurate to say that china's raising its head slightly rather than dropping. >> he says rapid urbanization will prevent growth slowing too much. he says china's service sector is expected to expand and the country's leaders are investing
massively in infrastructure. but he says beijing will have to get tougher on social instability and intellectual property rights. >> translator: if china fails to implement proper structural reforms, there's a risk the country will become less competitive, its trade balance will suffer and the economy will slowly lose steam. >> seguchi says he doesn't believe china's economy will slump. he said the government has both fiscal and financial strength. delicates from north and south korea have failed to reach an agreement on a joint project that benefits both of their economies. they've been trying to strike a deal to resume operations at the kaesong o industrial complex, but their third round of negotiations missed the mark. officials for the south korean unification ministry say their delegates asked north korean representatives to prevent another suspension of operations. they say they were told south
korea was to blame for the closure of the site. both sides have agreed to hold more discussions on wednesday. the kaesong industrial complex is located on the north korean side of the border. it has remained closed since authorities in pyongyang withdrew their workers. analysts say a settlement is unlikely at this point because negotiators remain far apart. managers of a leading japanese food processing company have returned to a part of thailand that was ravaged by flooding two years ago. they've opened up a new plant in the central region of ayutthaya. the factory will serve the growing demand for seasoning products in thailand and other emerging markets. ajinomoto and other japanese firms were forced to close their factories and suspend production
in 2011 after floods hit ayutthaya. crews built the new plant four meters off the ground to protect against flooding and a one-meter wall surrounds the entire compound. >> translator: thailand is an important country because it's a key hub that allows our company to access the southeast asian markets. >> workers at the plant are expected to produce 64,000 tons of seasoning per year. locals say they hope more japanese companies will expand in the area. officials in northern india say more than 5, 700 people are still missing within month after torrential rain caused floods and landslides. they say number of dead could make it one of india's worst disasters in ten years. record rainfall in mid-june swept people, cars and buildings away. 570 people have been confirmed dead. but but estimates of the missing
have varied wildly. they say they spoke to family members to get their figure. most of the missing were pilgrims who were heading to sacred hindu sites in the mountainous area. the rescue operation was hamperred by the weather and terrain. some areas are more than 3,000 meters above sea level. now, people in south korea are battling torrential downp r downpour, landslides and floods there have left three people dead. meteorologists say 370 millimeters of rain has fallen on the northern province of gangwon since thursday. it caused a landslide that left three people dead. the flood swept vex away and submerged farmland. the capital has been hit, too. seoul has seen 279 millimeters of rainfall. weather officials say there will be more on tuesday. people in seoul and the provinces of gyeongi can expect up to 30 millimeters per hour.
prime minister shinzo abe has worked to reshape japan's economy and get back to growth. now he's setting his sights on amending the constitution, but his party must make a strong showing in this month's upper house election so it can push its policy forward. less than a year, japanese voters have a chance to judge him on his record. don't miss our special coverage leading up to the july 21st election. a senior u.s. diplomat says negotiators may be able to work out an agreement to keep some american troops in afghanistan beyond their pullout date. nato-led combat forces are scheduled to withdraw from the country by the end of next year. >> of course, without an agreement on our presence in afghanistan, we would not remain, but we do not believe that that's the likely outcome of these negotiation. unlike iraq, to which comparisons are often made, the afghans actually need us to
stay. >> dobbins spoke at a senate hearing following an announcement by white house spokesperson jay carney. carney said the so-called zero option is still on the table. that would mean the complete withdrawal of u.s. troops by the end of 2014. around 60,000 american forces personnel are currently stationed in afghanistan. the question of whether some of them should stay after the end of the nato combat mission is a sensitive one. tensions between the two countries flared last month when u.s. officials announced they would hold direct talks with the taliban. the afghan government reacted strongly saying it would suspend talks on a bilateral security pact. u.s. leaders say the final decision on the pact will be made in negotiations with their afghan counterparts. the central bank of indonesia has raised its key interest rate for the second consecutive month. the move is likely to raise concerns that the largest economy in the asean region may be slowing down.
nhk world reports from jakarta. >> reporter: the bank of indonesia is raising its rate by an unexpected 0.5 percentage point to 6.5%. the announcement on thursday was a surprise as the amount of the hike is twice of the market predictions. the move come just one month after the bank raise it a quarter of a point. it had been unchanged for 15 months. one point is to counter growing concerns over inflation. fuel prices are soaring, the country cut subsidies on petroleum last month causing prices to surge by more than 40%. food price hikes are also expected during the current muslim fasting period of ramadan.
imports costs are rising. this is fueling inflation. u.s. federal reserve signalled in may that it was thinking about winding down its money easing policies. since then investors have been driving down currencies including the rupiah. while devaluation of the rupiah continues the central bank intervened. as a result, countries fall foreign exchange reserve fell to $98.1 billion in june. that was lowest level since 2011. an interest rate hike was inevitable measure. indonesia has been enjoying rapid economic growth in recent years. the country's natural resources exports have been booming and has huge domestic demand from its 240 million consumers.
with a sear roifs rate hike, the central bank is showing its determination to keeping inflation in check and to stabilize the rupiah. but the measures are also increasing concerns of an economic slowdown. the question now is whether indonesia can sustain a healthy level of growth without losing jobs and social stab ibt. reporting for nhk world, jakarta. the asean economic community is gearing up to launch in 2015. potential partners from the japanese business world are in hanoi to try to get in on the ground floor. nhk world reports from hanoi. >> reporter: the federation of japanese chambers of commerce and industry in asean represents japanese business in southeast asia. members of the group met wiin
hanoi on friday. the japanese business leaders have raised hopes for the asean economic community. >> the most important for japanese companies. the most important base for the manufacturer. >> reporter: when asean economic community is established in 2 thousand 15, it will allow the free movement of people, goods through its member nation. the community is poised to become a global economic hub with a combined population of 600 million and strategic location near china and india. however, there are wide gaps in the gdp per capita among member nakss and many calls for business activities. japanese visionist leaders are urging asean to implement
measures to facilitate japanese involvement. they want 'sean to simplify export and import procedures and beef up intellectual property protection. they also want to see the introduction of a so-called business travel card, which businesspeople could use instead of a visa throughout the economic community. >> translator: the requests from the japanese side were very practical, so we want to improve our business conditions in response to them. >> reporter: the federation made a specific request based on feedback from japanese businesspeople working in southeast asia. when the asean economic community launches in two year, it will have a combined population larger than that of the eu. so business leaders around the
world are eager to ride on the momentum of the expected growth. reporting for nhk world, hanoi. emerging economic powers still struggling with poverty. emboldened citizens still demanding democracy. the threat of violence. the push for peace. the shadow of conflict. get news and insight on south and southeast asia every weekday live from bangkok only on nhk world "newsline." few people are aware of it, but computers and phone screens fluorescent and l.e.d. lamps all emit a lot of what's known as blue light. even though it's part of the visible light spectrum, people usually don't notice. but exposure to it could affect their health. in japan last month about 300 doctors and researchers attended an international symposium on blue light. they learned about the latest
research on how the light affects human health. >> blue light affects not only the eye but also. >> reporter: the professor of kyushu university says that people are exposed to blue light for a long time at night, their body's internal clock may not function well. this clock controls body rit ums. the professor focused on melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep cycles. when the body's internal clock is working normally, not much melatonin is released during the day, but at night a large amount is released. in his experiments, the professor uses three rooms. this one has almost no blue light. there's a small amount in this room. and a lot in this one. test subjects spend a night in one of these three rooms, and the professor measures the changes in the melatonin levels. subjects exposed to a small
amount of blue light released a lot of melatonin and their internal clocks functioned well. but the more blue light other subject were exposed to, the less melatonin they released. he also noted a corresponding disruption in their internal clocks. >> translator: blue lights activates certain functions in our bodies. at night we should be relaxing for a good quality sleep, but exposure to blue light disrupts this process. >> reporter: how might disturbing the rhythm of the body's internal clock affect health? this professor studied the relationship between the internal clock and high blood pressure. he used mice, some with disrupted internal clocks and others with normal internal clocks. when he fed them very salty food, the blood pressure of the animals with disrupted internal clocks rose. >> translator: the body's rhythm
is directly connected to so many of its functions including the working of the liver and heart. when rhythm abnormalities persist, lifestyle diseases are the most likely result. >> reporter: it's still not clear how much exposure to blue light will result in illness, so in japan and many other countries, no regulations exist that deal with managing the amount of blue light. meanwhile, this april, germany announced guidelines for lighting. they pointed out that it is desirable to expose to an appropriate amount of blue light during the day but to reduce the amount at night. the guidelines also mention which type of light should be used in various locations, like homes, schools and nursing care facilities. it's now becoming more common in germany to see lighting fixtures that can adjust the amount of blue light. at a vocational school in
munich, some of the classrooms are equipped with the most up-to-date lighting system. they look like normal light, but the color adjusts automatically. when we fast forward the video, the amount of blue light gradually reduces until night, when almost none is emitted. >> translator: the value of this type of lighting is widely recognized and more manufacturers are beginning to take an interest. >> reporter: there is still much we don't know about how blue light affects our health, so researchers will continue their work and people in countries without blue light regulations will have to fend for themselves. now, let's take a look at the market figures.
festival goers in japan are getting into the spirit of summer. some of them are celebrating the season in unusual ways. in hakata, teams of men carried floats flu the streets as part of an ancient tradition. the first group arrived at the shrine just before dawn. the men were carrying an elaborate float that weighed roughly one ton.
the hakata gion yamakasa festival is said to date back to the 13th century. legend says a buddhist priest sprinkled holy water around the district to dispel an epidemic. rnts held the religious ceremony every year to keep the disease away. time now for a check on the weather with meteorologist sayaka mori. good morning. it's refreshingly cool this morning in tokyo. quite a relief from all the heat and humidity we've been getting. >> that's right, catherine. it will be quite pleasant across the eastern half of japan compared to what we saw last week. it was stifling hot in tokyo. the highs remained over 35 degrees for four consecutive day, but on the western japan remaining on the warm -- excuse me, hot side for the next several days because the heatmaker is still in place across the south.
yesterday the outflow from the high pressure brought quite heavy rain across western japan. take a look at this video. torrential rain plummeted parts of the prefecture monday. the downpour brought 160 millimeters of rain in a space of just three hours. one local police van got stuck as you can see in the video. and elsewhere, a road collapsed and swallowed up a car. two people in the car suffered broken ribs, another escaped with minor injuries. serious conditions out there. but the good news is that rain has stopped. nice clear skies throughout the day across western japan, but we may see afternoon showers due to a cool there in the upper atmosphere. more of a concern is going to be across the korean peninsula as well as northeastern china. more rain is coming in today. we're expecting about 120 millimeters of rain tomorrow morning and north korea could be hit the hardest with expected
amounts of 200 millimeters for the next 24 hours. serious conditions will continue here and moisture from a tropical storm is causing rain for southern china but temperatures are on the hot side still. a tropical depression has formed just east of the philippines. it's not sure whether the system could intensify or not, but could affect korea, taiwan. this area was hit by the tropical storm so additional moisture is certainly not welcomed. temperatures cool down to 30 in tokyo, but heat is still building across ib land china, 37 for you in chongqing on tuesday. north america, there are three distinctive features. severe weather across the north. flooding rain across the south and dry and hot weather across the east. we actually have three reports of tornados in montana. tornado warnings and watches for eastern saskatchewan, and north dakota and flooding rain for the southern plains. we actually have 100 millimeters
of rain in parts of texas. that's double the amount that we normally see for the entire month of july. flooding rain continues for the next couple of days across here and most of the rain will intensify over the four corners region, but a completely different story across the east. hot conditions across the northeast in the mid-30s in places like chicago, washington, d.c., and new york city, heat is also building across seattle going up to 30 degrees on tuesday. finally a quick look at europe. dry weather and hot weather across the west. heathrow airport at london temperature hit over 31 degrees on saturday making it the hottest since 2006. conditions will remain on the hot side for the next several days and unstable weather still continues across the biloxi region and a chain of low pressure system is moving into the southern parts of scandinavia. temperatures quite mild across stockholm, 29 degrees, 29 in
there's one more story to share with you before we go. people who watch britain's royal family are eagerly awaiting the birth of a royal baby. the duke and duchess of cambridge are expecting their first child any day now. officials with the royal mint say babies born on the same day will receive silver pennies as gifts. the mint will produce commemorative coins bearing the year 2013 and a fragment of the royal coat of arms. it will come in a pouch with a message card. people in britain customarily give silver goods to the parents of newborns for good luck. parents can apply for the coins via the mint's facebook page within 60 days of the birth. they'll be asked to attach a